FAQs

Q. Are your estimates free for Hardwood Floor Service in Boise and the surrounding area?
A. Yes, give us a call and we’d be happy to come to your home and give you a free consultation.

Q. How Dustless is the dust containment system?
A. Our dust management system goes beyond just less dust. Its focus is on air quality and having a livable remodel. A number of our clients choose to live in their home while we work. We don’t say we are “dustless” or delivery a 99% dust free, we feel that is misleading. We will leave your home clean and not a dusty mess.

Q. We want our floors stained, how do I choose my stain color?
A. We offer consulting and provide you with the tools and resources with color selection. There are so many varieties in wood that simply showing a sample in a showroom or brochure would not fully do it justice. Each floor will take to the stain slightly differently; we have found over time this is the best way to show you what the color will truly look like. We can also arrange to show stain samples before the job begins if arrangements are made.

Q. We have hired Integrity Hardwood Floors for our job. What time can we expect the crew to arrive on our scheduled work day?
A. We value your time as well as ours. We plan with you the schedule, access to your home, and estimated time frame for completing your project. You will receive a call or notification the day before and after each day with the progress. If you have a request in time we can do our best to suit your needs.

Q. I just had my floors sanded. How long until I can walk on them / move my furniture back onto them / put down my area rugs?
A. A large benefit to our BONA system is it’s quick drying. Roughly 3 hours after the coat has been applied you can walk on the floor. Please do so in a hard sole shoe, not bare foot, and not socks. Furniture can go back 24 hours after the last coat has been applied, and you should wait one week for area rugs to go back.

Q. I just had my floors done, what’s the best way to maintain them?
A. Here is our link for how to best maintain your hardwood floor investment. Clink here How To Maintain. We offer quality cleaning products we have tested and highly recommend, contact us for more information.

Q: How soon after the in-home consultation can my stairs be done?
A: From in-home consultation to start of work usually depends upon the options you choose. Some materials may be custom-ordered and may take some time to get in. You may always call us in our offices and be kept up-to-the-minute on your orders – we welcome your cooperation in every phase of your work with us.

Q: Does the decreased humidity in the winter affect my hardwood floors?
A: In many cases, wood floors respond to the lower humidity by contracting or shrinking. If the wood contracts significantly, small gaps may appear between the boards. This is normal, but can be prevented with proper precautions. One of the best ways to ensure that your wood floors will give the performance you expect is to make sure your home has proper humidity controls in place. This means using a humidifier to maintain optimal moisture levels in your home. Keeping levels above 40% in the winter will help prevent gaps from appearing in your wood floors.

Q: Can certain rugs harm my new wood floors?
A: Yes, they can. Our advice is to avoid solid foam backed rugs, which can retain moisture and dirt, damaging your flooring. Instead look for waffle-pattern backed rugs and 100% natural rubber is best.

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Common Maintenance Questions for Hardwood Floors

 

Q: Can I use one of those steam cleaners advertised on TV on my wood floor?

Everyone has seen the commercials or home show vendors demonstrating a steam cleaner magically sanitizing, disinfecting, deodorizing, and cleaning a wood floor. But that doesn’t mean that wood flooring manufacturers or finish manufacturers think steam cleaners are appropriate for a wood floor; in fact, some have begun to specifically mention steam cleaners in their list of don’ts.

Inspectors are also starting to come across floors that appear to have been destroyed by repeated steam cleaner use. Peeling finish, whitening finish and cloudy finish are just some of the side effects being reported by people looking at floors after steam cleaning. In general, the oft-repeated industry saying “Water and wood don’t mix” holds true. Unless the wood flooring or finish manufacturer says it’s OK, it’s safest to assume steam cleaning is a no-no on a wood floor.

Q: I read that a good wood floor cleaner is vinegar with water; is that OK?

Vinegar and water used to be a typical recommendation for cleaning wood floors with a urethane type of finish. These days, however, most manufacturers recommend cleaners that are specifically formulated for wood floor finishes; in fact, vinegar is acidic, and using too much could damage the finish. People who insist on still using vinegar should use plain vinegar—not apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar or any other type, which could leave a sticky residue on the floor.

Q: I’ve been using a product on my wood floor that says it is a wood polish/conditioner.

Now it seems like my floor has a sticky film all over it, and I can see footprints in it. How do I get this residue off? Unfortunately, many home owners are surprised to discover that, although the product they used said on the label it was for wood floors, it wasn’t really recommended for wood floor finishes … and now they have a big mess on their hands. Some of these products seem to leave a film on the floor that is very difficult to remove. Others may not leave a sticky film but may cause contamination problems down the road when the floor needs to be refinished. If you know the manufacturer of the wood floor or the finish on the floor, call and ask for their recommendation as to what to do. If you don’t know, call our wood flooring professionals, we can review and recommend a product specifically designed for stripping such residue off a floor. If not, the floor will probably require re-sanding.

Q: Can I vacuum my wood floors?

Vacuuming wood floors is a great idea. Dirt and particles that are left on the floor act like an abrasive when people walk on them, so vacuuming them as often as possible will prolong the life of the finish. Couple caveats: Don’t use a vacuum with a beater bar, which can damage the finish. Also make sure the wheels are in good condition and roll easy.

Maintenance Mantras

These guidelines apply to any wood floor. Following them will help your floor go longer between recoating and re-sanding:

  • Sweep and/or vacuum the floor as often as possible.

  • Never, ever wet-mop a floor.

  • Only use cleaners that are recommended by major wood floor finish or wood floor manufacturers.

  • Use walk-off mats and area rugs at all doorways.

  • Put floor protectors on the bottom of all furniture and anything else (baby exercisers, toys, etc.) that might rub on the wood floor.

  • Wipe up all spills immediately. Products such as Kool-Aid will stain most finishes if left on the floor.

  • Keep pet nails trimmed. Know that dogs running through the house will scratch any finish.

  • Consider using runner/area rugs in high-traffic areas.

  • Keep your home at normal living conditions for your area—no extremes of humidity or temperature.

 
Take Care Of Simple Wood Floor Problems
August 18, 2016,

 

Life happens on our hardwood floors.

Don’t let life’s little mishaps ruin your day or hardwood floor. Here are some simple ways to address normal issues.

Scuff marks getting you down?

A bit of baking soda on a damp sponge will erase them or try a tennis ball. Just make sure you apply light pressure so you don’t change the sheen. Take caution with a high-gloss finish, as it can slightly dull glossy floors, but duller sheens are usually fine (when in doubt, test it in an inconspicuous spot first).

Noticed a stubborn food, water or grease stain on your hardwood floor?

Always use a commercial cleaner to treat this problem. One that is approved by the manufacture or trusted hardwood floor expert.

Hairline cracks between the floor?

Don’t panic and attempt to fill them. Dry heat during the winter months’ causes wood floors to shrink and crack. Cracks should close up during the summer. I use a humidifier the day we turn the heat on, it is healthy for my sinus and the floor.

Finish looking dull?

It might be time to call a professional to review them. This can be caused by improper cleaning techniques or products plus daily cleaning cannot clean deep enough. A Deep Clean should be done every 12 months to revive the floor. If more is needed a refresh will even the sheen and provide a protective wear layer. The floor is prepped and a new coat applied. Recoating is necessary about every three to seven years based on your lifestyle on the floor.

Scratched or dented my hardwood floor?

Identify what type of scratch you have: Surface Scratch, just in the finish coat or protective layer. Minor Scratch, makes a slight indention into the wood possibly through the color. Deep Scratch, more of a gauge past finish into the wood.

This is more challenging, certain products could hurt the floor more than help or make the issue look worse. Stain pens, fill and other options can work with some simple techniques.

We will tackle these topics more in depth, to help you live life on your hardwood floors with less worries about “life on the floor”.

 

 
Hardwood Flooring Trends – Treasure Valley

 

First, we understand that different home owners have different tastes when it comes to style, color choices, and different types of wood in different styles of homes. We generally advise our clients to do what they prefer and works for their home (and budget) unless they are selling their house, in which case it makes sense to go with what the majority of buyers in a neighborhood prefer. But, assuming you are planning to stay and live in your home, choose what works best for you.

Second, this hardwood trend observation is based on what we see at Integrity Hardwood Floors. This is divided into two sections: Hardwood Color Preferences and Hardwood Style Trends. , There are other trends we can review and will update as we go into 2016.

 
Hardwood Color Preferences

 

Dark Hardwood Floors

Yes, dark is in! Dark floors continue to grow in popularity, especially among higher end homes. They give a contemporary and classic look. The two popular stains are Ebony (darkest and coolest) and Jacobean (a very dark brown, but a tad warmer than ebony). We have many customer who opt for a 50/50 blend of Jacobean and Ebony for a deep and rich tone. This color is often called espresso. There is a nice Coffee Brown, not to mention numerous other colors…

Dark floors do make a statement, and they are perfect for highlighting white kitchen cabinets (which are currently the most popular selection).

Dark floors can be a bit more challenging to clean and maintain as they tend to show dirt and scratches a bit more. On the other hand, dark can camouflage older floors’ imperfections (e.g. wood with pet or water stain, gaps in floors, etc.

Natural Hardwood Floors

Wait a minute, we just said Dark Hardwood Floors and now your say Natural… Yes, most of the refinished and installs are kept natural. Not the “old yellow” natural but color of the real hardwood. This is times, elegant and easy to maintain.

You cannot go wrong with a natural finished hardwood floor, it is a strong go to. This is what hardwood is meant to look like and when finished with quality finished that natural beauty warms the house.

Gray Hardwood Floors

Yes, gray is still popular… after all, it’s the “new neutral.” Gray has been hip and trending other areas for a while – paint, tile, appliances, carpet, etc, so hardwood was a natural choice. For hardwood, it started with pre-finished hardwood, but now we have many higher end customers asking us to sand & refinish their floors then stain gray.

It’s a sleek and stylish look and creates drama as it’s a little bit different and unexpected. Gray is a great base as it’s not overpowering, so it doesn’t fight with the other colors in your home and allows you accent key elements. Some prefer lighter gray, some darker gray, and if it’s refinished on site, you can test and experiment with the colors by altering the mixture of white and ebony.

Gray hardwood flooring is more expensive to achieve as getting the color balance right is a bit tricky (make sure you select someone experienced in this area), and you need to use a water based poly so that that floors don’t yellow. It’s also better to use a higher grade of polyurethane such as Bona Traffic HD for the optimal look, highest durability and no amnbering.

Satin Finish

Satin finishes are by far the most popular, especially among home owners in the Treasure Valley. Satin finishes are more stylish and they are very practical as they tend to look better longer, and they show dents, scratches and dirt less than semi-gloss finishes. We have seen more interest in a semi-gloss as long as it is not too shiny….

Water-based vs Oil

Here in Idaho we take pride in our quality of life and it shows in our investments to continuously improve. Indoor air quality is very important and recent laminates that off gas formaldehyde has brought this to light.

We see a lot of “poison”, our name of acid cured finishes. They yellow the floor, off gas poison of 30 to 60 days. Not healthy for anyone. Today we see the desire to use water-based solutions but they have to be durable. This topic along is an educational document in itself. We’ll start on that soon.

 
Hardwood Style Trends

 

Wider Planks

Wider planks make your space look larger. They also look more contemporary (and very wide planks can look authentic and rustic). Most customers who are installing new hardwood prefer to go wider in the planks, even if it’s just a bit wider than standard (or basic) 2 1/4″ strip. It is amazing how big an impact just switching from a 2 1/4″ to 3 1/4″ or 5″ plank can make. In some settings wider planks such as 5″, 6″ or 7″ can really make a big statement. The trend is clear – wider and wider and wider.

Site Finished Hardwood vs. Pre-Finished

In the Boise area, site finished wood is on the return over prefinished hardwood in terms of style and maintenance. Most prefer the cleaner, smoother edges and more contemporary look. It also gives your home a more authentic look (vs. prefinished hardwood will often show the edges of the base wood color underneath.

Site finished wood is easier to clean (dirt tends to get stuck in micro-bevel edges) and is more resilient to water (often the edges of prefinished wood are not fully covered with finish while site finished floors are sanded smooth and flat and then coated evenly with the poly). This is especially important in heavier traffic areas and areas with more water/moisture such as kitchens and entryways.

Another benefit of site finished wood is the ability to customize the color to one’s taste. Stains can be tested (and even mixed) on-site before finalizing color decisions. In addition, it’s much easier to match colors from room to room, if you have hardwood in some areas already and are now adding to a new area.

In the picture on the right, you can see the micro-beveled edges a bit (it is much more apparent in person vs the photo) vs. the photo above which is smooth as it is site finished.. In many prefinished woods, you can see the lighter color oak in the grooves (but of course you won’t see that in the professional photos that have been touched up).

Reclaimed or Distressed Hardwood Floors

There’s been a trend towards authenticity and an “old world” look. These woods celebrate the natural character of hardwood and its imperfections. One way to achieve this antique look is through reclaimed wood. Reclaimed wood is very in vogue now and its eco-friendly. Some is salvaged from old beams and antique flooring, or logs salvaged from rivers and lakes.

Reclaimed wood is in high demand and very short supply, and hence it is very expensive. To achieve a similar effect but lower price, hand-scraped woods and machined distressed provide other options. These floors look old and worn but for a fraction of the price. The trend tends to be towards a “less stressed” look.

Domestic “American” Hardwood

Hardwoods that are grown and made in America seem to be most popular. Part of this may be a preference for supporting local companies to help support our economy and a reaction to some of the lower quality imported materials.

But, I think a larger part of it is goes back to the desire for authentic styles and colors as well as a desire for uniformity within the house. These woods (oak, hickory, maple) tend to hold up well to foot traffic as they hide the scratches better. This may also be partially driven by more affordable costs as well as a desire to be more eco-friendly, Another advantage are these hardwood are from our environment and do better with our seasons.

Maybe there are no real trends, just maybe we like what we like, enjoy your hardwood floors and live on them.