Jobsite Preparation & Maintenance for Hardwood Floors
What type of subfloor do I need? A minimum thickness of 5/8” plywood or 3/4” OSB is required (standard builder subfloor). Hardwood floors should not be installed over particleboard.
Do I require additional subfloor to install hardwood? In some cases additional subfloor needs to be added to raise the floor to meet an adjoining flooring’s height. (Most linoleum or tile floors have an additional subfloor beneath whereas carpeted areas generally do not. Rather than add subfloor to level an area, the additional subfloor potentially can be removed.)
What humidity levels are recommended in the home? We recommend that humidity levels be kept as constant as possible. The humidity should be set between 35-45%. A good humidifier is required if you put in wood floors. Do not have the humidity set so high that there is moisture building up on your windows.
I have squeaks now under my carpet? How is this remedied? Once carpet and underlay have been removed, an inspection of your subfloor should follow. Inserting screws through your subfloor into your joists can repair most squeaks. We will be stapling every 6-9 inches along every row. This will substantially strengthen your subfloor. Squeaks may reappear at different times of year. Squeaky subfloors cannot be warranted.
What should be done first, Painting or Hardwood? Either or. If painting is done prior to installation of hardwood, keep some paint on hand for touchups. Our crews try to be careful not to damage walls however, we are using saws and tools indoors and the potential for damage is there. Painting is sometimes easier to touchup rather than having to come back to repair a floor that has been marked up by the painting crews. No painting should be done once hardwood is delivered for acclimation or during installation due to increased moisture in the air.
In what order should we install our new floor coverings? We are getting hardwood, carpet, linoleum and tile? Linoleum, Hardwood or Tile, then Carpet. Tile could follow the hardwood if tile can be installed without walking on the hardwood.
Should my new cabinets be installed before my new hardwood? Although we like the ease of installation if cabinets are not installed, generally there is less damage to the hardwood if the cabinets are installed prior to the hardwood flooring. Make sure you let the kitchen company know that you are installing hardwood so they can make the adjustments. Toekicks to be left off until hardwood installation is complete.
Do my baseboards have to come off to install hardwood floors? Yes they do. They are usually raised up from their original place hiding unsightly paint ridges. If removal of baseboards presents special consideration such as in a historical home, a trim molding can be applied to the existing baseboard.
Do casings around my door frames need to come off to install hardwood? No. Touchwood will undercut your casings and slide our wood underneath to give a clean, finished look.
Is there a lot of dust? Yes. Although not near as much dust as a finished on site floor as our crews use dust collection on most saws. Refer to our Installation Preparation Checklist, which is given out at time of sale, to help prepare for the construction that is about to take place in your home. We charge 30% more to cut outside or in the garage.
How do I care for my hardwood? For best results follow manufacturer’s recommendations and products. Other products such as felt pads “Feltac” will further protect your new floor against scratching. Touchwood sells a wide variety of protective materials such as “Feltac”, “Glide ‘n Guard” appliance tracks, cleaners and cleaning kits. It is also ideal to keep your home at 35-45% humidity level.
What happens if my hardwood floor gets wet? Wipe spills and puddles up as they happen and you will not have any problems with your hardwood floor. If you have a slow leak from the dishwasher or fridge, the boards will start to “cup”. This should go back down with time if the leak is corrected.
What if I spill a glass of milk on the floor? Will it smell? Once again, wipe up the spill. If milk runs into the bevel and down inside the wood, do not despair. If wood can naturally breathe, it will dissipate and not cause any odor, bacteria or mildew.
Are the bevels in hardwood floors difficult to clean? Some are. The deeper the bevel, the more chance for dirt or crumbs to roll into them. The smaller bevel will collect little or no dirt: a yearly cleaning may be required. Sweep or vacuum to remove grit before you wash floors. A damp cloth is sometimes required to wipe up sticky substances such as jam.
Generally how much notice do you need to bring the materials in and to have them installed? Usually, we require 3-6 weeks from the time you place the order to when it can be installed. Our Hakwood product from Holland will need to be ordered 8-10 weeks out. The more notice given, the more flexible we can be at time of scheduling your installation. Custom manufactured stairs or wooden accessories items require 4-6 weeks notice.
What can I do to prepare for my hardwood installation? Touchwood Flooring provides all clients with a Preparation Checklist to help get ready for the construction about to take place in their home. Unless we are doing some of the prep, we would like to see the room cleared out, carpet and baseboards removed and a clean, level broom swept floor.
About Touchwood Flooring
What is TOUCHWOOD FLOORING Ltd.’s warranty? Touchwood Flooring has a 5 year installation warranty on their hardwood flooring installations. Each flooring manufacturer has their own product warranties.
Is there any certification that your hardwood flooring Installers and Sales People have? All our staff are National Wood Flooring Trained. Touchwood Flooring has expanded on this extensive criteria, and put forward our own standards, that help set us apart from the competition. Our procedures are followed to ensure consistency in the sales office and out on the jobsite.
Can I pay cash to eliminate the GST? No. Touchwood is not a “back of your truck” operation. Touchwood is an honorable company, who pays its taxes. The consumer can end up paying more in the long run by dealing with a less than reputable company that doesn’t charge tax. Quite often these companies do not have WCB, or liability insurance. As the general contractor (which you now are) you are liable if someone is injured on site or worse yet, if they injure someone else due to carelessness. In most cases the material charges are 75% of the cost of the job, and if installed incorrectly, the client has no recourse. It’s hard to go to the Better Business Bureau if you have no written receipt.
What methods of payments do you offer? Cash, Cheque, Visa, Master Card, Interac
Do you require a deposit? Yes we do. 50% down will secure pricing and material arrival.
Can I take samples home to compare with my existing furniture and/or cabinets? Yes, we sign out our samples. We recommend you look at the samples at different times of the day, as the lighting will change the look.
Can I see your workmanship here in town? Yes, we work with a number of reputable builders in Edmonton. Our work is showcased in their Showhomes, we have provided a list of showhomes to visit. Keep in mind, most Showhome hours are as follows: Monday to Thursday 3-8 p.m., Fridays closed, Saturday and Sunday 12-5 p.m.
Do you sell the wooden floor registers and cold air returns? Yes, another of our specialties. We can provide you with wooden registers and cold air returns that are finished to match your wood flooring. Registers are available in a flush mount style or a rimmed option. The price is worth it, as it finishes off your flooring beautifully.
What are budgetary numbers I can use? Hardwood floors usually are installed between $10-15/sq.ft. (Approximately $3.25 for installation is included in that price). Type of wood, grade, board width, stain, and difficulty of installation dictate price. There are lots of trim pieces and details that are not generally quoted in with this base price such as Carpet Removal, Disposal, Veneer Toekicks, Delivery, Cleaning Kits, Transitions, Baseboards, Plumber etc. Once we do an in house estimate or do a take off from a blueprint, our estimate will detail everything so you will know exactly what you are paying for.
Do you have pictures to look at of completed jobs? We have a portfolio with a large assortment of photos showing our expertise. Have a coffee and explore many hardwood flooring options on our big screen. Also, check us out on Houzz for many of the design forward projects that we have been a part of.
References? Yes, our business is mostly based on referrals. Please see our list of testimonials included in this website or take a look at our google reviews. At our showroom you can read through the many cards, customer surveys and letters we receive that are in with our photo albums. If you would like to speak to someone in person, we can set that up prior to signing with us.
What associations is TOUCHWOOD FLOORING LTD a member of? Touchwood Flooring has been a proud member of the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) since its incorporation in 1997. We are members of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and are in good standing with the Better Business Bureau.
How long do you honor the price quoted? Hardwood is a commodity item and therefore quotations are honored for only 21 days. To confirm pricing a deposit and a signature is required on the contract.
What other web sites do you recommend for additional information? Please visit the following sites: hakwood.com, vintageflooring.com, preverco.com, woodfloors.org, miragefloors.com, europlex.ca, opusflooring.com, fuzionflooring.com.
Does TOUCHWOOD provide free estimates? We offer free estimates and will provide you with a detailed written estimate within 24-48 hours of our visit. Contact us to book an in-home consult.
What are your business hours? Monday to Fridays 8am to 4:30pm. Saturdays 10am- 4pm. Touchwood is closed for statuary holidays and most long weekends. Evenings are by appointment only. Contact us to book an appointment.
Hardwood General Questions
Does Hardwood Scratch? Yes. Hardwood will scratch, ding and dent. It is the nature of the beast. The beauty of having hardwood is that it conceals and camouflages marks. We like to call it character. Most scratches are surface scratches that will not have penetrated the protective coating. The finish is designed to be hard but pliable enough not to shatter and chip. To camouflage scratches, low sheen floors, textures or floors with grain are recommended.
What happens if I drop something on my hardwood floor? Depending on how heavy and sharp it may dent the surface and possibly crush the fibers of the wood. There are repair sticks for minor repairs. If substantial damage has occurred the boards can be removed and replaced. (This is an easier repair if flooring is prefinished.) Would you recommend hardwood for people with pets? Yes. We would recommend using grainy species, textures, or hardwoods with lots of color variation or a lower gloss level to camouflage against damage from heavier pets. Heavier pets will mark the floor but the trade off is that your flooring choice is clean and healthy. Keep their toenails clipped to help against wear.
Are hardwood floors good for people in wheelchairs? Yes, but once again it is recommended to use the grainy species, textures or woods in lower grades with more color variation and hardwoods with lower sheens. It is recommended that a large mat is used at the entrance to roll the wheels back and forth, so as not to track unwanted grit onto floors. Natural Oils are highly recommended for wheel chairs as these floors can be touched up as scratches happen.
Can your 3/4” Prefinished Hardwood be refinished? What about engineered Yes. ¾ “ Prefinished Hardwood can receive the same amount of refinishings as a 3/4″ unfinished hardwood floor. 6-8 refinishings! Engineered floors with a 4mm wear layer can be expected to be refinished 4 times professionally. You can change the color and the gloss level when you refinish the wood. We recommend a professional finisher to do any refinishing as an amateur can cause permanent damage. There is an extra charge to sand out the bevel.
Can your floor be top-coated to blend the wear patterns? It is possible to “screen” (lightly abrade) and add a topcoat of urethane to your prefinished hardwood. There are special techniques needed prior to coating prefinished hardwoods that have an aluminum oxide coating. We recommend dealing with a professional finisher. Also, floors cannot be top-coated if they have not been maintained correctly. (Do not use filmy cleaners, wax or soap on hardwood floors.)
What is better? Oiled finishes or Urethane finishes? Weekly Maintenance is the same; sweep and damp mop. (different cleaners though) However, Oil finishes have the advantage that you can touch up scratches or wear with additional oil. Once Urethane finishes are scratched, they are scratched forever. If you are not one to touch up the oil and you leave it, the floor will eventually wear off the finish and need to be sanded and refinished. If this is you, urethane finishes would be better. Prefinishes are a harder finish, but with maintenance, oil floors can look new forever.
How thick is your Prefinished product? Most of our pre-finished hardwood is 3/4″ thick which is the industry standard. We also carry some solid hardwood floors that are 3/8”, 5/8” and 5/16”.
How long will hardwood floors last? If taken care off, they should last a lifetime. Sanding and refinishing should be done when required, to protect your floor and make it look like new.
What is TOUCHWOOD FLOORING LTD.’s warranty? Touchwood Flooring has a 5 year installation warranty on their hardwood flooring installations. Each flooring manufacturer has their own product warranties.
Can solid hardwood be installed over radiant heat? Engineered hardwood flooring is warranted for radiant heat and is generally 75% more stable than solids. They can be installed by nailing, glue, or floating installation techniques depending on the system.
Can hardwood be installed over concrete? Yes. Several options are available. Engineered flooring can be installed directly over concrete with a foam underlayment or by glueing directly to concrete. You can use solid hardwood installed over 2 (two) layers of 3/8″ plywood over poly. Or, like gymnasium flooring you can install the solid hardwood over a sleeper system. The last two options add additional height to your finished flooring.
I want the hardest hardwood, What is the best? Brazilian Cherry is the hardest exotic species we carry while Northern Hard Maple flooring is the hardest domestic species. However, we do not try to sell on hardness alone. For example, even though Ash, Red Oak and White Oak are all softer species than Maple, they will hide scratches and scuffs more as they are grainy woods. Most hardwoods will stand up quite well in normal applications; however Black Walnut and Black Cherry are quite a bit softer than the rest of the domestic species. Black Walnut and Black Cherry will perform well too, depending on the client’s expectations. Black walnut with a texture such as a handscrape or a wire brush will make the floor far more durable than a smooth top.
Am I getting an inferior product if I go for a lower grade? Not at all, most mills use exactly the same milling and finishing techniques on all grades of their products. The warranties are even the same. A lower grade indicates more color variation and mineral streaking in the product and a shorter average board length. Popular now, is wood with knots and character. The quality is the same. The only exception is Tavern Grades which have little to no warranty and have not been accepted to the regular line of products for a number of reasons such as milling or finish or board length.
Explain how your products are graded compared to others on the market? Each product line has their own standards for grading their hardwood products. Many have a high, mid and lower grade. Unfortunately for the consumer, the grades all have different names causing much confusion. Touchwood Flooring’s sales consultants are well versed in the grading and characteristics of each of the product lines that we carry and will be more than happy to go through them with you. Touchwood Flooring has large samples showing the differences in the grades to help you understand visually. Also, refer to the manufacturer’s website to view their grading practices.
Is hardwood good for kitchens? Yes. We are installing wood in many kitchens with great success. Kitchens are the one area that is susceptible to damage because of the many things that tend to get dropped. With wood, the odd knick or dent tends to look natural, unlike the man made floorings such as laminates or linoleum. As far as spills go, they should be wiped up as soon as possible. Wood is a hypoallergenic floor and will not cause mildew or odor if milk gets spilled and runs between the cracks. – Providing that the wood is able to breathe and naturally dissipate the moisture. (Not trapped under a rubber-backed mat.) Don’t forget to use Glide and Guard Floor Protectors under your fridge and stove. Low sheens and textures work well in kitchens.
Is hardwood good for bathrooms? Half-baths or powder rooms are acceptable to install hardwood in. Full baths are not recommended, nor warranted because of high humidity levels.
What about installing at my front door? Hardwood can be installed right up to the front door but is not recommended if the entrance is the main entrance to the home. In our climate, there is the potential for lots of snow, sand and grit to be tracked in. An option may be to dedicate a small area to slate or tile at the front door. Wood flooring butts nicely into both floorings. In some cases, your home will look larger if you run the wood right to the front door.
Are Canadian grading standards higher for their hardwood products than the American made products? No. The grading standards in the United States are set by NOFMA (National Oak Flooring Manufacturers Association) and in Canada by the CLA (Canadian Lumberman Association). However, the products will have different appearances and properties depending on where the species came from. (ie. Southern Red Oaks tend to have more color and mineral streaks than the Northern Red Oaks. They are not as hard as the Northern Oaks as well.) The quality of a product is ultimately the combination of these factors; raw material selection, kiln drying, grading, milling and sanding and finishing. Touchwood only carries high quality products ensuring the best floor for their customers.
Will my floor change color over time? Yes. All wood species, whether prefinished or on site finished will react as the wood’s tannins are exposed to light. Of the domestic woods, Cherry, Walnut and Birch will react the most. It is important to be aware that exotics have a more dramatic color change than domestic species. Natural colors will show more color change than stain products, but stained products will change as well. Fumed Hardwoods will lighten with exposure to light.
Can I get the same material down the way if I want to add on? In most cases you can get the same product down the way but expect that your existing floor will have changed color because of exposure to light. Also, the milling and finish improves as time goes on, so the potential of having a smaller bevel and a different gloss level than you had before is probable. Keep in mind the same color paint looks different from room to room, so to have a slight variation in the hardwood usually works as well.
Is hardwood flooring cold in the winter months? Today’s homes have heated basements making the floors considerable warmer than wooden floors of earlier generations. Wood is a natural insulator. 1″ of hardwood has a similar insulation property as 8″ of concrete. Warmer than both linoleum and ceramic tile.
I am concerned about my hardwood floors shrinking in Alberta’s dry winter months. Is this an issue? Wood floors will contract in the drier months when the humidity in the home decreases. It will go back together again in the spring. Wider width boards will show more gapping than narrower widths. Some species, such as ash will perform exceptionally well in our climate. Proper humidification is essential in winter months. If you are concerned, we highly recommend looking into Engineered Hardwood.
What are the health advantages? As opposed to carpeting, hardwood floors can be cleaned thoroughly to remove allergy-causing agents such as dust, pollens, animal hair or dander. Also, if something is spilled on wood, if it is wiped up quickly and can naturally breathe, it will not cause odor, bacteria or mildew.
What is the advantage of Prefinished Vs on Site Finished products? Prefinished Floors have the advantage of a harder, longer lasting “dust and puddle free” finish. More effective cost, less labor intensive, no lingering smells and less time spent in the home. It is also far easier for repairs and does not tend to show the gapping between the boards when humidity is low. Site Finished floors will initially have a perfectly sealed look. You can virtually choose from an endless selection of species and looks. (i.e. A Birdseye maple floor or an Australian Cypress floor) There are pros and cons to both. It comes down to finding a product that best suites your needs and expectations.
What is the best time of year to install hardwood flooring? In our Alberta climate there is not an ideal time of year to install hardwood flooring. Alberta gets very humid in the spring and summer and then very dry in our winter months. The hardwood will react to both conditions. It is recommended that the wood is installed in a normal occupancy condition and that a good humidifier is used to stabilize the humidity year round.
What is the best gloss level to have on my floors? High gloss? Semi-gloss? Satin looks? The best gloss level is your personal taste. Keep in mind the lower the gloss level such as a “Satin Finish” provides you with the least troublesome floor. The lower the sheen the less the dust, scratches and scuffs will show.
How long does the wood have to sit in my home to get acclimatized? In most cases, 2-3 days is enough. Touchwood Flooring takes moisture readings of your subfloor and your hardwood upon delivery as well as humidity readings in the home. If moisture or humidity readings are beyond acceptable limits, extra time may be required. All painting and moisture inducing trades should be completed prior to delivery of wood. Heat and Humidifiers should be on and constant. Special conditions are required for infloor heat.
Can we store the hardwood in the garage or basement until you get there? Absolutely not. Humidity and moisture levels are likely to be different than those in the home.
Is wax paper required? No, it is not required to lay wax paper between subfloor and the hardwood. Warranties are the same either way. Touchwood Flooring recommends the use of wax paper as it reduces moisture transfer from wood to subfloor and vice versa. It can also keep dust down and crews appreciate easier installation on top of it due to ease of board movement. Wax paper can not be used when hardwood is nailed with a glue assist.
How is hardwood floor or engineered hardwood attached to a wooden subfloor? Solid 3/4″ hardwood is either nailed (with cleats) or stapled. Glue is used at starting and finishing rows, and for the odd repaired board.
What direction can my floor run? Installation has to be across the floor joists or on a diagonal. A 1″ thick or greater subfloor will give you the option to run hardwood in any direction. Most subfloors are 3/4″ thick, so by adding a 1/4″ subfloor, your floor can accommodate a different direction.
What do you do where the linoleum curls up under the cabinets? These “toekicks” will either have veneer installed to blend with the hardwood flooring or the cabinets.
Do you install stairs? Yes, and we are good at it. We have a vast experience in installing stairs, whether it is strip flooring with a bullnose or the installation of solid treads or stair caps. Having our own millshop allows us to custom make stair components that would not be possible with just flooring and nosings. Renovations pose all sorts of challenges when it comes to stair work. Have a look at our photo album and see our tread samples when you are in the showroom. This will help you visualize the finished product. In past years our portfollio has expanded to slab tread on metal stringers and full wrap treads with open risers.
Can I install this myself? Yes, providing you are comfortable with power tools such as miter saws and table saws. The quality of our prefinished products are excellent for the Do it Yourselfer. Having a product that fits nicely together will help you attain professional results. With purchase of wood, you will receive 10% off equipment rentals such as pneumatic stapler at Snowbird Rentals.
Do you install under the fridge, stove and dishwasher? In new construction we install under the all appliances however in renovations, we install under fridge and stove, but not the dishwasher. We will install up to the dishwasher and leave an escape board if required so you can get your dishwasher out if you need to.
How do you finish up to my existing floor covering? Touchwood Flooring will custom make wooden transition pieces to existing floor covering. (No vinyl t-caps or metal thresholds.) Existing carpet meeting up to new hardwood flooring will have to be “kicked in”.
Can you cut outside? Depending on the time of year we can do our cutting outside. We do charge 30% more on the labor portion.
Do I install into my closets? We would recommend installing into closets, mainly for resale value.
Do you calculate any waste or cutting allowance into the project? We allow for 5% cutting allowance for most species. For wider species, difficult installations or exotic woods, Touchwood would generally allow for about 7-10% waste.