What is the difference between water based polyurethane and oil based polyurethane? Both oil and water based polyurethanes are like a coat of armor for the hardwood floor below, protecting the wood from damage. Each type of polyurethane is a sacrificial layer that will show scratches and wear marks over time, and both oil and water based polyurethane have their strengths! DURABILITY: If each product is applied properly using quality products, the difference in durability is indiscernible. A lot of clients think that water based poly is not as durable as an oil based poly, but a newer brand, quality water based poly will last just as long if it is well taken care of! COLOR: Oil-based poly has an amber hue, whereas water based poly is clear. An oil based polyurethane will continue to amber and darken over time, while water-based poly will remain clear for the lifetime of the hardwood floor. This color difference is less noticeable over a stained hardwood floor, but an oil based poly will still exhibit an amber hue that will continue to darken over time. DRYING TIMES: Oil-based poly takes much longer to dry and cure, and only one coat of oil based poly can be applied to a hardwood floor in 24 hours. Water-based poly dries much faster, and several coats (up to 4) can be applied in one day. Water-based poly can be walked on with socks in about 4-6 hours after last coat has been applied, while oil based poly must dry for at least 24 hours before walking on it with socks. SMELL: Oil-based poly has a very pungent smell and emits a strong chemical odor and noxious fumes while drying that should not be inhaled. We normally advise our clients to be out of the house and also to remove their [...]
Once you have decided on a beautifully hand-finished floor, putting thought into your choice of trim work is the key to giving your room a stylish, polished look. The right trim unites the floor, walls, window and door frames, and fixtures into a coherent whole. And there are countless options for each type of trim, from clean lines for a modern room to more decorative styles perfect for Victorian-style homes and more traditional settings. As you flip through catalogues and website pages of trim, think about the period and style of the architecture, the color and texture of each element of the room, as well as the type of atmosphere and furnishings you want for the space. Here are six common types of trim you may consider: Crown Molding: Traditionally found in a more decorative setting, this popular trim between the wall and ceiling has evolved, with more streamlined designs available for modern rooms, as well as more ornate styles. Crown moldings are great to consider when you have showcase fixtures such as chandeliers, as they draw the eye toward the ceiling. Baseboards: The baseboard is the most common type of trim, and for good reason. They cover the uneven joint between the wall and the floor and protect the wall from wayward feet, furniture, etc. Whatever style you choose, consider a quarter round or a shoe molding added to the bottom to make the baseboard thicker and help cover any expansion or contraction of the floor. Chair Rails: Also known as dado rails (in architecture, the dado is the lower part of a wall), chair rails are a type of molding fixed horizontally to the wall around the perimeter of the room. The purpose originally was both aesthetic and functional, as the paneling below [...]
When it’s time to buy hardwood flooring, there are so many decisions to be made. You have to decide which rooms to floor, color, material, plank size and more. Here’s one you may not have heard of: pre-finished or unfinished flooring. If you haven’t had a wood floor installed recently, you may not even know about this option. To make the decision even harder, there are pros and cons to both types of flooring, and it may come down to simple preference. Installation Prefinished wood flooring planks are cut, sanded and finished in the factory, which makes them sturdier, longer lasting and easier to install. They can be installed in as long as it takes to lay the floor, and you can walk on them right away. Unfinished wood floors, sometimes called site-finished, have to be installed, sanded, stained and sealed in your home. Layers of polyurethane can take hours to dry. If you live in your home at the time of installation, this can be an inconvenience. The finish Pre-finished hardwood floors have beveled edges on the planks, leaving tiny grooves in the floor once installed. While some may find that to be a beautiful bonus, others might not like the less-than-smooth finish. This all depends on your preference. The color Pre-finished hardwood comes in a limited range of colors and styles, so if you’re looking for something specific, you may not find it. Having unfinished wood installed, stained and finished in your home allows for nearly endless options. If you’re only installing it in part of the home and you wish to match some other floors already there, unfinished offers you a better chance of getting it just right. A professional installer can do a great job getting the color just right. The color of the pre-finished hardwood may [...]
Here are some basic hardwood flooring maintenance tips for anyone that has new, old, or recently refinished hardwood floors. Sweep and vacuum your hardwood floors regularly: Particles like grit, gravel, and salt are abrasive. Your weight on top of those particles turns you into sanding machine that will grind down the finish on your floor. Do not clean the floor with furniture polish, vinegar, ammonia, pine cleaners, or Murphy’s Oil Soap: Those cleaners may dull or even damage the finish and will create problems when your floor needs recoating. We recommend Bona Professional Swedish Hardwood Cleaner for all polyurethane-finished floors and Rubio Natural or Satin soap for all Monocoat-finished floors. The Bona professional line is actually different and better than the Bona cleaner that is available through Ace and WalMart because it contains a degreaser. Recoat your hardwood floors before you wear any spots through to bare wood: Wood floors don’t wear evenly. You will see wear first appear in small spots at exterior doors and in front of the fridge. Those little-worn spots of driftwood cannot be spot-fixed; once you’ve killed the finish in one area, you need to resand the entire space. Keep a vigilant eye on your trouble spots and recoat the floor BEFORE they wear through. There is not a finish on the market today that will last even 10 years unless you periodically refresh it. Recoat your floors when they first appear scratched and dull, but before they are worn through to bare wood. This can be as often as every year for kitchens that are not swept, or as infrequently as every 15 years in upstairs bedrooms. Recoating involves lightly etching the existing finish of a floor with a fine grit screen under a buffer or pole sander and then laying down a single layer [...]
How to Pick the Right Flooring Company Installing new hardwood floors or refinishing your current hardwood floors is a big investment. Done right, they will bring comfort and joy to your family while increasing the value of your home. With such a large investment on the horizon, it is crucial that you invest some time and energy into picking the right hardwood flooring company to work with. While there are many home improvement projects that homeowners can successfully take on themselves; flooring is not one of those projects. There’s too much that can go wrong and the stakes are too high. We recommend that you choose an experienced professional! Here are just a few things you should look for when researching and talking with flooring companies in your community. Great Customer Service: When you pick a flooring company, you are agreeing to let them make changes to one of the most valuable assets you own. Referrals are always good but make sure you also look at online reviews. Read through the reviews to make sure the flooring contractor has been timely, respectful of your property, trustworthy, and of course, delivers a quality product. Access to Good Product Lines: Make sure your contractor has access to the top flooring materials on the market. Ask the company you are working for about the variety of flooring options that have and make sure to also do your own research on the best flooring products to meet your needs. Experience: Talk to your contractor and make sure they have experience doing hardwood refinishing, installs, repair work, and subfloor fixes. There are so many little factors that can change a job scope that you want to make sure if something pops up after the job has started your contractor will be able to address the problem and [...]
A Quick Guide to Refinishing Hardwood Floors Whether it’s a secret treasure discovered under carpeting or hardwood floors you’ve had for years, uncovering and refinishing hardwood floors will bring new life and a completely new style to your home. Hardwood flooring has stood the test of time, stylistically and literally, because of its ability to be refinished. Floors can be refinished to restore the wood’s original appearance and shine, change its color or finish, or blend to with newly added wood. What’s involved? There are several steps involved in the process of refinishing and recoating, and many depend on the particular home and flooring situation. You should plan on several days for each step – even better, plan to go on vacation and come home to fabulous new floors! The following are the basic steps involved: Step 1: Sand the floors. When there is a wax coating on top of the floor's polyurethane finish or when the wood underneath the finish has been damaged or stained, the finish must be sanded down. During this step, the existing finish on top of the hardwood floors is sanded down to just bare wood. At Highland Hardwood Flooring we use a dustless sanding system which will reduce the amount of dust that is spread throughout your home during the sanding phase. Step 2: Pick a stain. Applying a stain to the hardwood is optional but if you want a certain color stain applied it will need to be done after sanding and before applying a finish. Step 3: Apply a finish. This adds personality and durability to your floors. Most finishes require 2-3 applications with sanding between each application. There are three kinds of finishes you can choose from for your floors. Polyurethane: oil or water based. Polyurethane has varying degrees of luster with a shiny or [...]
We just completed this flooring project for a client. In addition to putting in new flooring, repairing old flooring, and matching stain we helped this customer take down a wall to open the floor plan up. In addition to flooring skills, our team is skilled in other areas of construction and renovation. Daniel Holyfield, the owner of Highland Hardwood Flooring also owns a renovation and construction company called Paramount Homes.
Hardwood Floors - Something New and Something Old On this job we took the older hardwood floors from the bedroom and reinstalled in the hallway which is open to the living room. We then installed new oak floors with a custom stain to match the original hardwood flooring from the bedroom. A little bit of repurposing and a little bit of new. We love when we can save old hardwood floors and bring them back to the original shine.
We just completed this refinishing job in Butchertown neighborhood in Louisville. What a fun project. These floors were trashed and all other flooring contractors who bid the job were bidding it recommended a whole new hardwood floor installation on top of the old flooring but we saved the hardwood floors for this customer and saved her thousands of dollars. We also kept a small part of history intact in a historic part of Louisville.
Here is a peek at our latest project. A complete new floor installation with a beautiful dark stain.