1) Is Signature Hardwood Floors licensed & insured?

Yes, Signature Hardwood Floors is completely insured, bonded and licensed. We carry general liability insurance and are bonded (which is optional), as well as workers’ compensation insurance (which is required by law). The Contractor’s State License Board recommends hiring licensed, insured and bonded professionals.  To verify a license before hiring a contractor check the Contractor’s State License Board’s website at http://www.cslb.ca.gov, or call 1-800-321-2758. A helpful publication you can retrieve from the CSLB’s website or by calling is “What you Should Know Before you Hire a Contractor.”

2) Do I have to move out of my home while having my floors installed or refinished?

The answer to this question depends on the areas of your home receiving work. If the entire home is receiving new wood or being refinished, then the answer is yes, you will need to move out for 5 days.  If we are only working in a small area of your home, and you choose to stay, be prepared for some noise and disruption.

3) What do I need to remove from my home, and will you help me with this?

Before work begins, you will need to remove all furnishings, draperies, paintings, and other items from the rooms receiving work. Dust containment systems can minimize debris, but no system is 100% effective, so cover any items that you want to keep dust-free. We are not insured to move furnishings, therefore we can not move your furnishings, however we will recommend a mover.

4) Will your proposal include removing and hauling away my carpets, pads, tackstrips, linoleum, ceramic tile and mortar, particleboard and the like?

Our proposal will not include removing and hauling away your carpets, pads, tackstrips, linoleum, ceramic tile and mortar, particle-board and the like unless you have requested that we do so – we will list a specific price for removal of your existing flooring or baseboards on your proposal.

5) What do I need to do before the job begins?

  • The job area will need to be cleared of all furniture, appliances, fixtures, and valuables.
  • The area needs to be cleared of other workers and their equipment.
  • Make sure there is adequate electric power available on the jobsite for the operation of the floor equipment we will be using.
  • Make sure there is adequate heat and moisture control to prevent damage by dampness, extremes of heat or cold, strong sunlight or other factors over which installer has no control.
  • Protect personal items from dust.

6) What type of sub-floor preparation do I need for hardwood floors?

Correct floor preparation with hardwood floor installations is the single most important part of the job. It insures the floor will be a success one year from now or twenty.

Floor preparation involves steps that must be followed before any actual installation. Checking for flatness or securing loose wood sub-floors are all key aspects making sure the sub-floor is in sound condition before it is covered with any new final floor. An age-old saying in the floor business sums it up well; “your final floor will only be as good as your sub-floor.” The quality of any new floor will be compromised just as much as a cheaper priced floor if these steps are not followed.

Lack of floor preparation is rampant in the flooring business, specifically with hardwood and laminate installations. When interviewing potential installers ask what type of floor preparation may be needed. If they’re covered by carpet it will be difficult to assess, but if you get a reply along the lines of just scraping or sweeping floors, you should look elsewhere

Make it clear to anyone performing the work that you want it done right. Taking shortcuts by failing to look at floor preparation seriously will only cause headaches at a later date.

7) If I’m having solid wood floors installed do they need to acclimate before they are installed?  If so, how long does that take?

Yes, definitely, absolutely!!! Acclimation to the installation environment for solid wood floors should never be overlooked. While it’s not as important for engineered products due to the stability in the way they are constructed, solid products will expand and contract considerably, given the right conditions.

Far too many times we hear and see jobs that gap, months after the installation, or they swell and buckle. By following some simple guidelines these events should not occur. Unfortunately, many run of the mill installers and builders for that matter, don’t know about proper jobsite conditions. In some cases it’s often….”get it in and we’ll worry about problems later.”  Inevitably they learn their lesson with costly repair bills and replacements, not to mention disgruntled customers. Following are some basic guidelines for a problem free installation: before during, and after.

  • Solid wood flooring should be delivered to the jobsite and allowed to acclimate to the conditions in which it will be installed or near occupancy levels. Temperature and humidity should be monitored.
  • Delivery should be after major projects have been completed and thoroughly dry, such as dry wall and masonry work. Doors and windows must be in. Testing of wood sub-floors should be performed and moisture levels should not exceed 12-14%¹
  • Drainage- It is vital the grading should be directed away from the home to prevent unnecessary moisture problems.
  • Basements and crawl spaces need proper ventilation. The flooring finish film of 6 mil in thickness must be used as a proper vapor retarder in any crawl spaces or where the soil line lies underneath.

Its too easy to allow schedules to dictate how and when we approach various portions of individual projects, but unlike priming one room when there are four others still awaiting a first coat of mud…..this one cannot be rushed for the sake of expediency.  It typically takes two to three weeks time on average for floors to acclimate to your home.

8) How long will the job take?

Of course this varies from job to job, on average it takes three to six days for sanding and finishing a pre-existing wood floor. Installing a new wood floor is a three to four-week process including delivery, installation, sanding and finishing.

9) Will I need to repaint my walls and baseboards after my floors have been refinished or installed?

We sand and coat the floors up to the baseboards and walls, and therefore they may need to be touched up after the job is completed.

10) Does Signature Hardwood Floors Guarantee their work?

Signature Hardwood Floors Guarantees the quality of the materials installed to meet the manufacturers’ specifications but we do not guarantee the performance of the floor after the job is done, because so many factors are completely out of our control, such as the sub-floor, the joists and underpinning, in addition to the temperature and humidity in and under the building.

11) What does Signature Hardwood Floors not take responsibility for?

  • Accepts no responsibility for latent defects in sub-floors such as moisture in concrete, wood shrinkage, etc.
  • Makes no warranties, either expressed or implied and disclaim liability for cupping, buckling, shrinkage, cracking (separation of boards) or insect infestation in hardwood flooring. As we noted above, we do everything in our power to confirm the most optimal conditions before we install new flooring, however many factors are completely out of our control after the job is complete, such as adequate heat and moisture control, extremes of heat or cold, in addition to the temperature and humidity in and under the building.
  • Makes no warranties or guaranties that newly finished floors will match exactly to existing floors.
  • Accepts no responsibility for refinishing engineered floors down to the base layer. Manufacturers of engineered floors say floors may be sanded 2-3 times.  We check the thickness at the heater vents, however are not able to confirm thickness is the same throughout the project area.

12) When can I move my furniture & area rugs back in my home?

The time required will vary depending on the type of finish used.  Do not put area rugs or furniture back on floors for 48 hours.  After the finish has dried, put felt pads on the bottoms of any furniture to minimize scratches and dents. Place scatter rugs at all entrances, avoiding those with rubber backs, which can discolor your floor. Avoid walking on your floors with cleats or high heels in disrepair.
 See our  “Caring For Your Floors” section for more information.

13) How should I expect my refinished or newly installed floors to look?

Keep in mind that no two floor boards will be identical. Variations in appearance are completely normal. As your floor ages, some color change can occur. This also is normal, but can be minimized by limiting exposure to direct sunlight, and periodically moving furniture and rugs. Cracks are normal as well, and will appear and disappear between floor boards during seasons of high and low humidity. Generally, anything less than the width of a dime is considered normal, and will correct itself as seasons change. Flooring inspectors recommend inspecting the floor from a standing position in normal lighting to identify irregularities.  Finally, keep your wood floors looking their best by properly maintaining them. Use a cleaning product recommended for your floors and use it regularly to keep them looking beautiful for years to come.  When the job is complete we will send you a “Floor Care Sheet” with all the pertinent information needed to keep your flooring looking beautiful.  See http://www.woodfloors.org for more information and see our “Caring For You Floors” section for information on maintaining your floors.

14) Why does my floor have cracks in it?

Because wood is a natural product it will react to changes in its environment. Normal cracks are not uncommon if there are separations between individual flooring pieces and are uniform and general throughout the floor.

The most common causes of separations are Mother Nature and dryness. The loss of moisture results in the most frequent reason for shrinkage of individual pieces and cracks. Most cracks are seasonal – they appear in dry months, or the cold season when heating is required, and close during humid periods. This type of separation and close is considered normal. In solid 2 1/4″ wide strip oak floors, dry time cracks may be the width of a dime’s thickness (1/32″). Wider boards will have wider cracks and the reverse is true.

The cure is to minimize changes by adding moisture to the air space during dry periods. A constant Relative Humidity (RH) of 50% works in concert with the manufacture of wood floors to provide stability in the floor. You must live with normal cracks or add humidity – it’s your choice.

15) Why do my floors squeak?

Prolonged cycles of contracting in dry winters and expanding in humid summers may cause squeaks in your hardwood floor. Air conditioning in summer and humidifying in winter will prevent extreme cycles.

16) How do I know when it’s time to refinish my solid wood flooring?

The first thing to do is to determine whether the finish is worn off or just dirty. Go to a high-traffic area, where the finish will be most worn, and pour a tablespoon or two of water onto the floor.  If the water forms beads, congratulations! Your floor is properly sealed. Perhaps it needs only some cleaning and stain removal.  If the water takes a few minutes to soak in, only darkening the floor slightly, the finish is partially worn. Proceed with caution.  If the water soaks right in, leaving a dark spot, the finish is seriously worn and it’s probably time to re-coat or refinish the floors.