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Getting New Hardwood Flooring: An Interview with Meg White of Gleaming Floors LLC

By Meg White

Please tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

Gleaming Floors, LLC

Gleaming Floors, LLC is ready to handle your project! We use a variety of finishes from the traditional oil-based to the less toxic yet highly durable water-based polyurethane.

Gleaming Floors, LLC is on the cutting edge of hardwood flooring industry and has been a staple to the Dallas Highland Park, University Park and North Dallas area. Whether you are planning to refinish your existing wood floors or install new ones, Gleaming Floors, LLC hardwood floor service is just a phone call away. We pride ourselves in offering high quality workmanship and we offer our services at very competitive rates. We bring years of experience to the table, and we maintain our high standard, strong work ethics and reliability.

Our work crew consists of highly qualified and experienced wood floor and tile installation professionals. We work closely with several custom builders and remodelers, individual home owners, well known interior designers and real estate companies.

Is there a common misconception that homeowners have about hardwood flooring?

A good number of our customers think engineered flooring is cheap, less appealing and not as durable as solid floor. It is not necessarily true.

Engineered and solid hardwood flooring has its own pros and cons. There are important factors to consider when deciding between engineered and solid floor. Engineered wood floors are real wood floors that are manufactured using multiple layers of wood veneers. The grain of each layer runs in perpendicular directions which creates exceptional dimensional stability. It is less likely to expand and contract, buckle or cup. It is suitable for areas that have higher humidity or moisture content. We however do not recommend any type of wood flooring in any area that has a really high humidity or moisture.

If wide plank floors are desired, engineered flooring is preferred as they greatly reduce the expansion and contraction of floor. Just like solid wood floor, engineered floors can also be refinished. Some of the veneer layers on engineered woods are thick enough to be sanded once or twice lightly, before the thin upper layer wears away.

Solid wood flooring is exactly what the name implies. It is relatively easy to sand and refinish and it can be sanded several times until the nail heads begin to show. The floor is installed by nailing through the tongue to the sub-floor.

As far as pricing is concerned, engineered flooring is not always inexpensive than solid floor. There are several factors that contribute to the price of engineered and solid hardwood flooring and these are important things that we try to make our clients understand for them to make an informed decision. Some factors are hardness of wood, specie, origin of timber, color, grain pattern, and stability. With appropriate care and maintenance, both engineered and solid hardwood floors will provide you with absolutely beautiful floor covering that will last for decades.

What are the main decisions homeowners need to make when it comes to getting new hardwood floors?

Use: Wood flooring is the most beautiful, economical, environmentally friendly, and easy to care for material you can choose for your home. The enduring beauty that it offers will last a lifetime or even beyond. It never goes out of style and goes well with any furnishings. It is easy to maintain and care for and does not trap dust and mites or contribute to indoor air quality problems.

Location and application: The most significant aspects to consider in deciding between engineered or solid is the location of your home, type of home you live in, the amount of human traffic and pets. These aspects will help you determine the right type of flooring to use:

1. Humidity and moisture in your location. These affect the percentage of expansion and contraction of wood floor causing seasonal gaps and cupping.

2. Style of your home: Colonial, country French, cottage, ranch, Tudor, contemporary, Cape Cod, Mediterranean, Victorian or Craftsman. Knowing the style of your house can help you develop a better plan in choosing the right wood floor.

3. Type of installation: Above grade; below grade; concrete slab; radiant heat; plywood.

4. Traffic.

5. Budget and availability of material.

How do you recommend that people choose the right type of wood and finish for a particular room?

Choosing the right flooring for a particular room in your home may seem like an overwhelming decision. It's a course of action that combines your lifestyle, personal taste and budget. Things to consider are the size of family, the amount of traffic the floor will receive, children, pets, expected frequency of cleaning, and moisture that flooring will be exposed to.

For kitchen flooring, sturdiness and ease of cleaning are top decisive factors. Although we normally see ceramic tile, porcelain tile, vinyl or linoleum in kitchens, hardwood floor is now chosen by more than half of our customers in recent years for the reason that hardwood floors create a warm and classic look in the kitchen. Engineered wood resists humidity better than solid wood and is a smart choice in a damp kitchen. There are also prefinished options that withstand heavy foot traffic.

Bathrooms obviously see a lot of moisture. Functional flooring choices include linoleum, ceramic tile, limestone, marble and granite. Powder rooms may have wood floors.

Wood flooring for the rest of living space comes down to a matter of personal preference. Oak is the most popular among hardwood floors. This wood comes in different quality grades ranging from boards with plenty of irregularities and character marks to boards that are almost totally uniform.

Basement: More homeowners are deciding to use hardwood flooring in their basements despite the risks of damage from the water vapor that may not be evident until sometime later. Wood floors may warp in time as water vapor evaporates from the groundwater in the soil beneath the concrete slab. Instantaneous damage can result from flooding and leaks. Replacement can be very costly and time-consuming.

Homeowners need to be aware of the potential problems and replacement costs inherent with hardwood floors but safety measures can be taken to minimize damage risks. Because wood is susceptible to damage from moisture, it is important to note that heating and air conditioning systems play a vital role in keeping basement wood floor in good condition.

During wet and cooler seasons, the furnace aids in drying out excess moisture. In warmer months, the air conditioner reduces moisture and humidity in the basement. Although the risks of eliminating the potential for water infiltration remains, the latest engineering is widening the choices for beautiful basement flooring. If homeowners do their research and take proper damage preventive measures, they can enjoy the classic design elements and easy maintenance of hardwood flooring. Hardwood flooring is no longer designated to just the main living area spaces.

Floor finishes: Floor finishes are either oil-based or water-based. We favor water-based polyurethane over oil-based in that water-based polyurethane provides a clear finish and has low odor. It is quick drying that allows us to recoat floors in two hours. We can apply the recommended number of coats in a day if the first coat was applied in the morning. The downside is it costs almost twice as much as oil-based.

Oil-based polyurethane leaves an amber glow and requires fewer coats. It is less expensive than water-based. It is easier to apply but it has stronger fumes and takes longer to dry.

Water-based floor finish has different levels of sheen.

Matte: This finish tends to highlight the color and texture of wood more than a reflective finish and creates a sophisticated, timeless look that provides a softer, quieter atmosphere in the home. Low-luster floors hide small scratches and dents better than their high gloss counterparts. This can be an advantage for people with small children and pets.

Satin: Satin finish provides easy maintenance. Marks and scratches are less obvious. Satin finishes look newer longer than higher glosses and are most popular among prefinished flooring manufacturers and professionals that finish floors on site.

Semi-gloss: Commonly found in commercially prefinished hardwood flooring. It reflects more light, accentuating imperfections and dust. High gloss: Tends to highlight imperfections including dust buildup which equates to more frequent cleanings.

To sum it up, low-luster floors are easier to maintain and clean than high-gloss varieties. Low-luster finish makes it easier to keep the natural look of floor because there is less "shine" to maintain. Again, this is less work and less worry for homeowners, especially those who live in areas where harsh weather conditions bring a lot of moisture and dirt into the house. The higher a gloss level, the more wear and tear will show.

It is important to note that not all hardwoods will produce the same sheen level. Natural wood color or patina and differences between open and closed grained woods will produce subtle and unique variances in the resulting sheen level. Other than appearances, the sheen level chosen is an aesthetic choice that does not affect the durability of the finish.

Do you have any maintenance and/or cleaning tips to help preserve hardwood floors?

Hardwood floor is very easy to clean and maintain. The better care you take, the longer your floor will maintain its original beauty. Use a stick vacuum that has soft bristle to pick up dirt and hair. A terrycloth mop with rotating head is highly recommended for picking up dust. Professional cleaning products can be used to remove tough stains and spills without dulling the finish of your wood floor.

Do and Don'ts:

  • Don't use ammonia cleaners or oil soaps on wood floor. These products will dull the finish and affect your ability to recoat later.
  • Don't use wax on wood floor with polyurethane finish.
  • Don't use wet mop to clean your floor. Wood naturally expands when it is wet and can cause your floors to crack.
  • Do use cleaners that will not leave a film or residue.
  • Do use a professional hardwood floor cleaner to remove occasional scuffs and heel marks.
  • Do clean sticky spots with a damp towel or sponge.
  • Do minimize water exposure and clean spills immediately.

Can you briefly explain the difference between sanding and refinishing a floor?

Sanding is cutting the top most layer of hardwood floor by using a belt sander. Refinishing is practically the same as sanding. In order to refinish hardwood floor, you have to sand it first.

Screening on the other hand is the process of abrading the finish without sanding down to raw wood. After screening, the wood floor has to be recoated with a finish.

What's the best way for people to contact your company?

We can be reached at phone numbers 1-214-608-3773 and 1-214-629-3933. Our email addresses are megwhite@gleaminghardwood.com and roos7wht@aol.com. For more information about Gleaming Floors, LLC, please check out our website

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About The Author

Meg White is the Managing Partner of Gleaming Floors LLC and has been working for the...

Phone: 1-214-608-3773

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