Hardwood Flooring Q & A

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Cleaning and Maintenance
Cleaning Products, Cleaning Instructions, Care & Maintenance, Humidity & Home Environment
Costs, Types of Flooring, Subfloor, Ripping out Old Floors & Salvaging, Radiant Heat and Sound Proofing
Cracks, Dents and Scratches, Creaking, Cupping and Leveling (& Blending 2 surfaces together), Light/Dark Spots, Spills, Residues and Stains
Costs, Filler, Finish Problems (e.g. Air Bubbles)
Uncategorized, Tools, Stairs

See the Ten Most Frequently Asked Questions

Cleaning and Maintenance
Cleaning Products
>Do you need to wax or clean hardwood with a buffer or electric polisher? What is the best cleaning product?
>Are the cleaning products we use making our new floors look dull and mottled? What can we use to get the shine back?
>Why should we not use "oil based cleaners" on our hardwood floors?
>What's the best cleaner for wood floors?
Cleaning Instructions
>How do we clean these old floors?
Care & Maintenance
>How do I care for my hardwood floor?
>Should padding be placed under our area rug?
>I put on three coats of polyurethane on my newly sanded and stained floor, do I need to wax it?
>How do I get my dull laminate floor to shine?
>How long should I wait to replace the furniture after the final coat on our floors?
>What can I put in between wide pine boards after installing so stuff won't fall in the cracks?
Humidity & Home Environment
>Is this true about new hardwood needing to settle?
>Preventing cracks in floor boards of harder species.
>Is cracking due to humidity?
>We have large cracks even in our master bath. Now after 3 months of humidity control & moisture on the insides of my windows the cracks are even worse. I can see the subfloor through some of them. Is moisture the only cause of these cracks or might there be some other causes we should consider, and what are the best ways to take care of this problem?
>How long would it take for the wood to respond to the increased moisture, and is is reasonable to expect the cracks to close completely? What is the recommended thing to fill these cracks? Wood putty, etc?
>How do we protect our floors from cold weather?
>Have you ever seen a change with your moisture meter on hardwood flooring in just one week?
>How do you prevent douglas fir from oxidizing and turning orange?

>Is it not true that the wood should have sat in the house for a week before moving in?
>What's the best wood floor for a kitchen?
>Will I need to install a new floor, or can I salvage this one?
>What is your ballpark figure for installation of hardwood?
Types of Flooring
>Hardwood and the hardness scale?
>Where can I find ebony flooring in Toronto?
>Is it a bad idea in general to screw/nail down part of a floating laminate floor?
>What is the best wood to install in a home with a large dog?
>Should we buy the thicker engineered hardwood?
>Would wide plank flooring would be suitable in the Edmonton, Alberta region, with its cold, dry winters?
>What is the difference between a varnished, laminated and pre finished floor?
>If a pre-sanded v-groove hardwood floor is laid, buffed and varnished 3 times, how much of a 'groove' will you see/feel?
>How do I prepare my sub floor?
>Tongue and groove flooring over concrete?
>Should we remove some of the multiple layers of subfloor before installing?
>Should a water vapor barrier be put down if the hardwood flooring is to be installed over osb over a full unfinished basement? How should the flooring be laid? Parallel or perpendicular to the floor joists?
>I'm planning to install 3/4" Hardwood in our rooms, but there are some uneven spots. Is there any kind of leveling compound we can use?
>Do I have to remove the old flooring in the kitchen for the transition to the rest of the house without having to put a subfloor under the rest of the house to bring it up to level with the kitchen floor or can I use some sort of transition strip?
>I understand that we have to install solid hardwood over 3/4" plywood. I'd like to install the plywood now and paint it. Can I later put hardwood down over the painted plywood?
> I installed 3/4 OSB directly over a concrete slab, above grade, with a vapor barrier Rosen paper and Nailed down 3/4 Maple. What problems can I look forward to?
>Is it possible to put something overtop the particle board before putting down carpeting or hardwood to help with sound proofing?
>Is it good to put a new oak floor over an old one, or is it better to tear up the old one and put new plywood boards and then the new oak floor?
>Can we lay the plywood over the parquet? (And a bit about bamboo!)
>Should I install laminate over hardwood?
>How can I level out the subfloor with the cement lips for installation?
>How do I correct the uneven, downhill slant in my floor before installing?
Ripping out Old Floors & Salvaging
>How do I remove an old floor?
>I want to salvage some oak flooring from a house that is being torn down.What is the best approach to avoid spliting and cracking of the flooring?
>How do I safely salvage a gymnasium floor?
>Is there anyway to remove and relocate 3/8 strip flooring?
>How do I tear up these floors without damaging them further?
>Should I remove the glue on the parquet I tore out before I install it somewhere else?
>How do we remove the plywood sheeting and tiles that are on top of our hardwood?
>My foyer has 1/4 inch plywood glued down over the old hardwood. How do I remove it?
>I'm in the process of removing laminate floor titles that had been glued on oak hardwood floors in the dining room. eventually, I'll be getting the floors in the whole house sanded and refinished, but until then, is there aneasy way to get the sticky glue residue off without harming the wood? Or canI at least put something down that won't be a problem come sanding time butwill keep me from sticking every time I walk on it?
>How do we get the old lanolium off the floor to get to the wood?
>How can we remove carpeting which was glued to wooden steps about 30 years ago?
>Installing damaged salvaged maple flooring?
>How do I remove tile to install a hardwood floor?
>How and how long do I dry this salvaged maple?
Radiant Heat and Sound Proofing
>Can I install hardwood over radiant heat?
>We have some concern about noise/sound insulation. what is the best product to use? How should it be installed?
>I would like to have my floors redone so there will no more uneven floor and sound proof a little in the process. What do you suggest here?

Cracks, Dents and Scratches
>Filler for repairing gaps?
>Can we use urethane to fill gaps between planks?
>Do you think that 1/16" is a large gap?
>How do we fix a dent?
>How to touch up indentations from dog's claws (on maple floor)?
>Should I fill in deep gouges?
>How to fix a piano made gouge?
>How do we blend in nail heads that are sticking out?
>What can we do about these 1/2" gaps?
>How do I remove staples from the floor?
>How do we remove scuff marks from our floor?
>What are signs of termite damage on my hardwood floors?
>I have deep gouges in my stair treads and risers. I used a putty filler and then stained some of the stairs only to discover they are still quite visible. Is there anything to do to make these marks blend in with the rest of wood?
>How can I remove the cigarette burn mark on my wood floor?
>There is some termite damage in almost all the boards of our new homes floor. I want to know if I could use wood filler over these spots or maybe even the sawdust and glue.
>Our problem is that the flooring seems to have lots of cracks between the boards and somebody in the past put a lot of NAILS in the boards in the hallway. Can we putty this or is there a better way to repair it?
>No gaps have developed anywhere on our floors, save an 8ft run betweentwo planks in the kitchen. the gap is 1/8th of an inch (A nickel fits inside of it). How can we repair this and still have the floor look great?
>If space between planks is wide can these gaps be filled without ruining the "look"?
>How do I silence the squeaking of our hardwood stairs?
>How do we stop our floors from "popping"?
>Something heavy was dragged across floor and left a mark. How do we fix this?
>How can we fill the 1" cracks between the boards of our floors?
>Does a 3/16 variance over 10 ft. span for 3/4 thick cause creaks?
>How do I remove the staples in my floor and what do I fill the holes with?
>Our floor is making some creaking noises in some areas. How can wefix this?
Cupping and Leveling (& Blending 2 surfaces together)
>Our floor was put down in the summer and this winter it buckled along some of the seams, I think it was due to the cold winter (-35c) that we had.
>I've installed hardwood in my living room. There are some uneven transitions from board to board. How can I fix this?
>My floors are not even due to settling of the houseover the past 50 years, is it a problem refinishing them or would it beOK?
>How do we fix our buckled floorboards?
>After removing a wall, how do I join or blend these two floors?
>How to fill space (removed) wall left?
>How do you replace/or blend a single piece of flooring?
>My maple floor gets a hump in it every humid summer, what do I do?
>How do I eliminate the air bubbles under our new laminate floor?
>How do we fix the sloping floor joists on the second floor of our log home?
>We have an area approximately 15" x 20" that is not level. Is there any wood floor product (epoxy, urethane) that could actually be poured into this "valley" in our floor and would dry level with the clear finish that the floor already has?
>There is an area around a vent where the floor seems to have bowed and squeaks when you walk over it. Would nailing the area around the vent solve the problem?
>Our hardwood that has buckled due to settling of 100 year old home. No boards havebroken; only some have gouges or splitting. Should I sand and refinish?
>Could we level our own floors?
>Is it possible to sand particle board where it is buckled with a belt sander?
Light/Dark Spots
>We have light areas on our floors where we once had rugs, how do we blend them in?
>How do we fix the yellow spots where the carpet covered the hardwood?
>I recently had someone come to my condo to replace a section of my laminate flooring. The new flooring ended up being about two or three shades lighter than the old. Is there any way to darken it without replacing it?
>What can I do about the uneven color, lighter and darker shades, on my floor?
>Since our maple floors were installed, we have noticed that there are patches where the colour of the flooring is much lighter than other areas. Is it oxidation?
Spills, Residues and Stains
>Some snow or water got into the pipes and dripped creosote onto our wood floor!
>After removing an old carpet I discovered paint had been dropped on the hardwood floor in several places. How do I remove it?
>Is there is any way I can remove the paint off door trim without removing the stain also?
>How do we repair water damage?
>Why do we have white spots on our floors?
>Should I use wood bleach to get rid of these deep stains?
>How do we remove the stain from the plaster that dripped onto our stair treads?
>How do we remove this glue residue from our floor?
>We have a water stain. The previous owner left some oak sawdust for hardwood floor repairs. How do we use it?
>How do we remove dog pee stains from stair treads?
>I have a dark spot on my hardwood floor which came as the result of my dog urinating on the floor. How do I remove it?
>we removed carpeting to find that pet stains have penetrated our beautiful hardwood floors - some areas are very dark, other areas appear almost "bleached" out. Do you have any suggestions on removing or lessening the stains?
>How do I remove or hide brown circles?
>What kind of bleaching can be used to remove dark pet urine stains?
>The hardwood floors in the upstairs portion of the house that we bought has been speckled with paint. How can we remove it?
>There are some black spots on our hardwood floor. How can we get them it out?
>What do we do about the white spots left from the white stain we sanded off?
>Only the first coat of paint on our pine floor is removable with chemical stripper. It is possible that an epoxy paint was used underneath. What can be used to remove epoxy paint from wood?
>What can be done to remove this glue/carpet/mess residue? Any chemicals capable of not damaging the poly finish of the old hardwood and at the same time remove the glue?
>How do I get carpet underpad off our wood floor?
>My old farm house has painted wide plank pine floors. What would you recommend to remove the many layers of paint?
>Do strippers need to be neutralized with mineral spirit?
>Should we apply polyurethane over peeling paint?

>Gloss, Satin, or Semi-Gloss?
>How long will it take me to sand my floors?
>How long would it take you to refinish, stain, and polyurethane...?
>Should I sand my own floors?
>How do I buff spots a pole sander can't reach?
>Is it possible to refinish engineered floors?
>Can I sand with nails in place? Can I recoat with a low gloss oil-based urethane?
>Do I have to sand the whole floor, then stain, then polyurethane?
>I was wondering if waxing the floor would be a good option to varnishing?
>Can a soft wood be sanded like a hardwood?
>Is it possible to have too many coats of urethane?
>Cost to resand 1400 sq. ft.?
>What do people charge for sanding and finishing natural (3 coats- No Sealers)?
>How much will it cost to refinish my hardwood floors?
>There is a living room, dining room, staircase and upstairs hallway, together with 4 small bedrooms which we would like to have done. Is this going to cost thousands of dollars or can it be done quite reasonably?
>If I fill some gaps *******, and the wood expands some during the summer, will that squeeze some of it out?
>Should finish be applied over filled nail holes?
> Is there a filler for filling the gaps between the planks? Should I punch the nails through and rescrew the planks to the joists before sanding? Do I apply the filler before I sand? What sealer should I use?
Finish Problems (e.g. Air Bubbles)
>What causes air bubbles?
>Did not buffing between coats cause this?
>We had the flooring company come back a second time tofill in some gaps and buff and put another coat on. We now have veryvisible air bubbles in our urethane finish (they were not present the first time). What is the best way to remove the air bubbles?
>I have two rooms. One is 9x12 the other 11x20. They are already stained with a royal mahogony minwax stain. It has a high gloss finish and the finish is now scratched and starting to peel. What do you suggest we do, strip and sand right down? What would the cost be approximately? How long would it take?
>At a doorway my urethane finish has lots of debris in it. How do I fix this?
>A contractor just finished installing/finishing my hardwood floors and left multiple lap marks (covering the entire width of the floor). What should be done about them?
>When there are air bubbles in the polyurethane finish, can you spot sand some of them by hand and then touch up that spot with another coat of polyurethane?
>There are some worn areas on our floor that need refinishing. Is it possible to redo only the worn areas andhave them blend into the older finished areas without redoing the entire floor?
>After many professional sanding and recoats, why is our floor is still rough?
>What do I do now that my finish is peeling off because there is wax in the grain?
>What do we do about problems with swirl marks in the floor finish?
>Why did the polyurethane peel right off?
>There always seems to be a film on the floor and they show all the dirt. Can I remove the 'shiny' top coat and redo with something more 'matte'?
>We have sanded off all the old stain, used the 120 grit to give a smoother finish, used a polyurethane but it still looks dull. I was reading on sanding tips and it says that after we sand the stain off, put the new stain on, then add the polyurethane, to sand it again lightly with a 120 grit and then add another coat of polyurethane for a smoother finish. Is that correct?
>We have put on 2 coats of water based polyurethane on our floors. The floor feels rough. How do you get that hard smooth finish?
>We have done the second coat of polyurethane but the floor is still rough and not shiny! What do we do now?
>The polyurethane coat on our hardwood flooring is peeling and flaking. I was able to scrape off most of the coat in one room. Should I apply wax or polyurethane?
>I just applied stain and poly. Why are my floors sticky?

>Why is my stain not drying faster?
>We stained our floors. Why are some areas lighter than the rest?
>Can a dark stain be stripped and stained to match lighter floors?
>Do I choose a wood putty to match the colour stain I use? Can I use a minwax-type gel stain that I have used on furniture, or do I need a special floor stain?
>Is there anything that I can do now to repair that blotchy appearance on the pine plank floors I just stained and refinished?
>What colour hardwood works best for a small room?
>How do I get the stain on my banister to look even and not blotchy?
>I stained the floor and allowed it to dry then put the polyurethane on it, which made the floor white, and in some spots the stain came off. why?

>Does Face Lift Floors sell wood?
>Finding it hard to match an existing floor?
>I removed cabinets in our kitchen and found unfinished flooring. How do I match this area to the rest of the kitchen floor?
>How do I prepare wood floors for folk art style painting?
>Should I frame my fireplace? How?
>How do I install railing posts on hardwood?
>What type of tool should be used to install tongue in groove flooring?
>Do I just router the bullnose along the 'grain end' of the stair tread?
>I am told by the builder that stair treads have to be glued in. Can I simply put oak slabs over the existing tread? Also, do I have to cut off the outer lip if I go with a thin stair nosing?
>Pneumatic hardwood flooring Nailer or Stapler?
>Should I install veneer on treads?
>What should we do with our plywood staircase?
>Do I/how do I remove old stair treads?
>How do I remove adhesive from my risers?
>How do I install hardwood on my stairs?
>Why doesn't anyone want to sand my risers?
>My stairs are creaking a lot and i want to fix this. I have taken up the carpet but can't find any nail heads, I do not know where the joists are, and I can't access the stairs from below. What should I do?
>What is the best type of sander to use on pine treads?
>What is the best way to refinish stair treads?
>Should I use veneer on stair treads?
>What is the best thing to put on interior oak stair treads?
>What kind of paint should I use on the railing?
>Can we stain and polyurethane the stairs before installation?
>Is it a good idea to put hardwood on your stairs?
>Should I glue solid oak treads onto existing fir treads?
>I would like to place a laminate hardwood over my stairs. I do not want to have to remove the stairs and rebuild. How do I do this?
>When placing hardwood on stair treads, do they have to be 1" thick or thicker? And do you use one plank of hardwood or could you use strips of hardwood for stair treads?
>Do I have to remove my banister on my stairs to install the hardwood or can it be left in place?
>Who do I turn to for treads and railing to match my floors?

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