Step 1: Onsite Estimate
Heights Hardwood Floor Service will need to have an estimator look at your floor before we can give you a firm price for installing or refinishing. However, it would facilitate the process if over the phone you can provide the approximate size and scope of the job.
In the greater Cleveland area, most homes built in the 1900's will have oak flooring present. Often kitchens would be installed with maple flooring and the "servents quarters" of the old eastside homes would have a soft wood like Pine or Douglas Fir. There was a period of time between the end of WWII and the early to mid 60's when hardwood flooring went out of favor and, thus, flooring is often not present in these homes.
Wood flooring has become a popular choice in kitchens. Due to the nature of most kitchens (cabinets, islands, many corners, etc.), such jobs can be particularly complex and must be carefully planned. New floors can be installed around existing cabinets or before new cabinets are installed. Sanding and finishing can also occur before or after cabinet installation, we strongly recommend that you meet with one of our estimators on the job-site well in advance to discuss hardwood flooring in your kitchen.
Painted floors must be tested by a laboratory for lead content. If the paint contains lead, it must be chemically removed from the floor prior to the commencement of sanding. Testing usually costs about $35, and Heights Hardwood Service can refer you to a testing laboratory if requested. If the paint does not contain lead, it can be sanded without chemical stripping, the cost of sanding painted floors is significantly higher due to the added labor and materials.
Step 2: Scheduling The Job
We usually need two to four weeks lead time to schedule a job. Contact us as soon as you know when you would like the work done, and we will do all we can to accommodate you. We rarely have to postpone a promised start-date for a job. However, Heights Hardwood Service cannot guarantee against unforeseen circumstances, which may force us to postpone. We will always give as much notice as possible on such occasions, and will attempt to reschedule as soon as we can. We will give you a fairly accurate assessment of how long a job will take, but Heights Hardwood Service cannot be held liable if a job
takes longer than the initial estimated duration.
A 50% down payment and signed contract are required to secure a scheduled start date. In the case of installations, all material cost is due upon acceptance.
Our sanding equipment requires 220-volt power on a 30 amp (minimum) circuit. Typically we can use the outlets for electric ranges or clothes dryers. If there is no 220-volt power readily available, please contact us to make alternative arrangements. We will also need access to your power box usually located in your basement.
Without exception, we INSIST that our customers provide a key to the jobsite in order to avoid costly and time-consuming delays. We will return your key via mail unless otherwise instructed.
By providing cell phones to employees, Heights Hardwood Service is in contact with our crews. It is just as important being in contact with you. HH requires a phone number where you can be reached during the day. If you plan to be out of town, please tell us how we may contact you, or arrange for someone to serve as your contact for us here in town. No additional (not specified on the contract) work will be performed without the customer’s (or sub-contractor’s) approval.
Step 3: Before We Begin
Subfloor Preparation Floors must be completely cleared prior to the commencement of work; we do not move furniture. Customer will be charged at an hourly rate for any delays resulting from work areas not being cleared prior to arrival.
HH does not return to re-hang doors. HH recommends that our customers remove doors themselves for new installations, to ease the process of putting them back once we are done. (Interior doors are rarely interchangeable, and struggling to figure out which door goes where after they were removed by someone else can be time consuming and frustrating.)
Customers should consider removing carpet themselves but can opt for HH to do the work. Our customers must be aware that floors that are covered at the time of the estimate may require additional work that may not have been apparent to our estimator. Removal of adhesive residue and/ or paint is often necessary prior to refinishing, and Heights Hardwood Service will bill hourly plus materials and disposal for any such work. For new installations, the subfloor must be clear and clean; delays or subfloor preparation work will be billed hourly. (Consult our installation handout or ask one of our estimators for more information about subfloor preparation.) We understand that new construction and remodel projects can be messy; however, our work is of such a nature that we must minimize exposure to dirt and other contaminants. HH INSISTS that a job-site be swept clean prior to our arrival; we will not commence work if the area is not free of dirt and debris. On a site where other construction or remodeling is in progress, we require that any and all dust- and dirt-producing activities be halted before we begin coating a floor. Likewise, we require exclusive access to our work areas throughout the coating process; this will ensure that Heights Hardwood Service is solely accountable for keeping the finished floor contaminant-free. Any damages to the floor’s surface which are caused by other construction activities will result in added repair charges of $75 per man, per hour, plus travel time and materials.
Superficial scratches can often be eliminated by an additional coat of finish, but deeper scratches or gouges often require re-sanding the floor. Heights Hardwood Service disclaims liability for damages caused by other contractors and non-HH employees. HH does not clean up after painters. In summation, a new wood floor is a significant investment, and proper planning and execution will ensure the best possible results.
Step 4: Material Acclimatization
New wood must be stored on-site for at least one week prior to installation, allowing the wood to acclimatize to the temperature and moisture conditions of the house. This acclimatization will help minimize expansion and contraction in the future. HH INSISTS that the jobsite be maintained at a temperature no lower than 65 degrees Fahrenheit from the time the wood is delivered until the job is completed. New wood CANNOT be stored in a basement or garage. Any exceptions to these requirements may comprimise the integrity of the finished product, for which HH disclaims all liability.
Our local wood distributors conveniently make on-site deliveries. It is imperative that the job-site be accessible to the delivery person so that the wood may be STORED INDOORS. Unfortunately, we are only given general delivery times (morning or afternoon), so we ask that our customers plan to meet the delivery person, leave a key somewhere on-site, or leave a door open.
Step 5: Dust and Clean Up
HH will attempt to minimize airborne dust during refinishing for the safety of the crews and the alleviation of clean-up. We will hang plastic in door openings adjacent to the work area and vacuum all horizontal surfaces in the work area. We encourage our customers to take added precautions with dust-sensitive items, such as computers, other electronic equipment, dishes and glassware, art objects and other items that could be damaged by dust.
Whenever possible, such items should be removed far from the work area, and ideally covered with sheets or plastic. Our customers should also mask off or disable all smoke alarms, as the fine sanding dust can cause false alarms. Heating and cooling vents must not be masked; we need the air circulation they provide, and we may need to control the temperature of the work area to facilitate the proper drying of our finishes. We do recommend that you change your air filters once work is completed, or plan to do your scheduled heating/cooling system cleaning soon after our work is completed. Our customers can generally plan on about 4 hours of light dust-related cleaning for average-size jobs as a result of the refinishing process. Heights Hardwood Service makes no guarantees relating to dust containment and cannot be liable for any dust-related damage.
Customer Paint Touch-ups
Our customers should be prepared to do some touch-up painting after our work is completed. We strive to be as careful as possible during our work, but some touch-up painting may be necessary.
Step 6: Getting Back In
After the final coat of finish is applied, light to normal foot traffic may resume in a few hours in the case of water-based finishes and 12-16 hours for oil-based finishes (lighter is better for the first few days). We recommend waiting 48 hours (if possible) before replacing furniture. Large area rugs can be replaced after 2 weeks.
Step 7: Billing
Any and all balances are due upon completion of work. Delinquent accounts are subject to a flat $100 late fee, plus monthly interest at the highest rate allowed by law, without exception. We accept all Visa and MasterCard.
Step 8: Maintenance Tips
1. Dust mop or sweep your floor regularly. If you do sweep, we recommend nylon brooms, as straw brooms tend to be too rough on some floor finishes.
2. For spills or spot cleaning, spray your cleaner directly on the spill, or on the terry cover of your terry mop, and clean as needed.
3. For general cleaning, spray an area 4 x 4 with your cleaner or spray directly onto the terry mop head, making sure not to over-wet your floor. Too much liquid will cause damage to your hardwood floors. For best results, buff dry with a towel after cleaning. Bona makes a floor cleaner sold at your local big box hardware store or you can use a mixture of vinegar to water, 10-1 as your cleaner.
4. Make sure your tables and chairs have soft Felt Floor Protector Pads on the bottom of their legs to help prevent scratches. The felt pads must be kept free of grit, and will periodically need to bereplaced.
5. Use exterior walk-off mats and an area rug just inside your doors to help keep grit off of your floors.
6. Place area rugs in high traffic areas, especially in front of your kitchen sink, stove and refrigerator.
7. Keep your pet’s nails clipped.
8. When moving heavy furniture, always pick up the furniture rather than sliding it across the floors.
9. Do not roll or slide appliances across your floor. We recommend the Florguard Floor Protection System.
10. Both men’s and women’s shoes should be properly maintained. Heels with an unprotected tip will cause damage to your hardwood floors.
11. Even with proper maintenance, eventually your floor may become dull or worn looking. Contact a qualified hardwood flooring professional—it may be time for a topcoat or refinishing.