Saturday, June 27, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Spend the Money... Cheap verathane will not last. Buy the professional quality verathane for a durable finish.
We are using a paint tray with a liner, a broom handle and a wool verathane application head. Rule #1, Apply the verathane in even coats with the grain of the wood. #2 Maintain a wet edge. #3 don't paint yourself into a corner!
Slow smooth motion will avoid air pockets within the finish.
Don't apply too much at a time or you will have puddles. Give it 3 or 4 good even coats for a durable finish. Again, I can't stress this point enough. $30.00 verathane will not last as well as $100.00 verathane. The better materials are nearly often worth the extra money!
Monday, May 11, 2009
Here's an exhausting hobby! Rule #1, get knee pads. The trick to this is to keep your wet edge to prevent color discrepancies. In just the few moments it took to focus and snap some photos I could see dark spots. Keep in mind though--once the verathane goes on you won't see very much color variation. We actually had this color custom tinted by our paint store. It was a combination of 3 different colours in an effort to closely match a pine floor adjacent.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Pulling the boards into place is not easy--so often we drive a chisel into the subfloor and use it to ratchet the boards tight for nailing. It always works better with 2 workmen.
Thresholds and in particular nosed thresholds at the top of stairs should look like the existing stair treads. You can rip a piece, glue, nail and screw to emulate the same look in most cases. Hide your screws where you can.
Casings and jamb extensions will often need trimming so that the flooring slips under and doesn't leave an unsightly gap. We use a flush cut backsaw (a saw that cuts on the pull stroke--Japanese steel preferred), and rest it on a piece of the actual flooring for a guide.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Here we are nailing wide plank beech flooring with an old fashioned T-Nailer. You need strong arms to use this unit all day. This is a pneumatic stapler. You still trigger using the mallet, however it does some of the work for you and shoots a staple with excellent holding power. These two are working in tandem...one holds the board tight with a chisel (an old one), and the other fastens using the pneumatic nailer.
This floor is being put down over a good solid softwood floor... this makes an excellent base. Every board is glued down to prevent squeeks. IN the old days they would use a layer of building paper to prevent squeeks.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Every board is glued to prevent squeeks and for added strength and durability.
A cut off plank is used to bump the flooring into place. Trim off the tongue of the block leaving the groove face... this way you don't cause splinters that will obstruct the flooring from laying flat.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Out comes perfect flooring!
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Plants draw moisture up the stem to the leaves. Wood from a tree is just a slice of the stem.
Wood cells can be as long as 2 1/2" and they look like tubes. When the wood is alive they are full of moisture
Oak has rather wide cells and that give it a distinct grain. Mahogany is a similar shape of cell.
Sealing the end grains can prevent any wood from expanding and contracting quite so much and so quickly.
Many exterior builders seal the lumber all 6 sides.
The more wood flooring is dried, the harder it gets. When wood flooring is dried using heat the sap cooks. This cooked sap will not absorb moisture the same as air dried or partially dried floors, and it will actually deter the infiltration of moisture some species like pine.
This is why Merv dries his flooring to 6% rather than 8% moisture content.
Quite often floors are destroyed by moisture damage-- It takes considerably more moisture to make 6% flooring swell than it does flooring dried less.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
The other issue with pre-finished hardwood flooring is that it is typically not available in wider than 5” strips and the moisture content is rarely less than 8%. Our flooring is dried to 6% or less. We have seen flooring from brazil between 10-12% which is wet enough to buckle, twist and shed much of the coating in the first year. Even flooring with 8% moisture will have durability issues and movement.
Early flooring was comprised of alternating strips between 3-8” planks to make best use of the materials. It is a very different look and it simply cannot be matched in a pre-finished product.
They would also hand plane the rough materials while they were in place. It was always a rough, hand hewn look, charming and personalized. That can be done, however the price will be astonishingly high. Rather than $15/sq.foot it may be closer to $35/sq. foot. Finishing with sanders is far more efficient and much more quickly done.
When you buy pre-finished flooring you don’t have control over what finish is applied. Stains and Coatings vary greatly in both performance (durability), and how they age. When it comes to price stain can be purchased for between $20-200/gallon. Verathane can vary between about $30-150/gallon as well. Factory finishes can vary wildly in which product they choose to apply. It is often lacquor which is hard, but humidity can cause imperfect finishes.
The major difference between pre-finished and finished in place flooring is that you can create custom colors to nearly any tint and shade. From pink to green… natural is rarely the choice anymore.
Pre-finished flooring is often small chunks between 16” and 3’ long. Twisted material is simply cut shorter and milled at the ends as well.
Our finished in place flooring is typically between 8-12’ in length and put down by craftsmen. Working with our flooring enables patterning and borders as well as countersunk plugs. Surface screwing and installing tapered plugs adds a historical look to a floor. Alternating the species of plugs will also add character and interest as well. We can also give an antique look by just sanding lightly leaving a slightly uneven appearance to the planks. Nothing you would trip on—just an authentic type of look. Sanding happens with a large polisher rather than a drum sander.
Speak to one of our flooring installers if you are considering solid wood floors. If you are a builder or home renovator you may wish to visit the mill and talk to Merv about improving your offerings. Typically it means buying better and building better and more often than not—increasing your profit margin.