Some common questions our customers asked us in the past.

Do you do free estimates?
How much does my project cost?
My floor doesn't look so bad, do I really need to sand it down to the bare wood?
Will these black stains sand out?
How long will refinishing take?
Do I have to move out while you do it?
Can you refinish in winter with the heat on and windows closed?
What else should I do to get ready for the refinishing process?
What's the difference between oil and water-borne finishes?
Do you install new wood floors?
Is my subfloor the right composition and thickness to hold strip flooring? What if it isn't?
I have carpet and a pad laid directly on the subfloor - do you remove that?
Do you have to remove the baseboards to install new floor?
Is one species of wood better than another? Is there a difference between different grades of wood?




















Do you do free estimates?
Absolutely. Call Tommy : 617-774-8802. We are a fully insured company and carry insurance liability and workers comp. We also have great references which can be furnished upon request.

How much does my project cost?

It's best to get an actual onsite estimate which is free. 

My floor doesn't look so bad, do I really need to sand it down to the bare wood?
Maybe not. If the existing finish shows no evidence of having been waxed, has only surface scratches, has no obvious wear areas and is largely intact, it is possible to do what is called a screen and recoat. This involves using a buffer with a 180 grit screen to lightly scratch the top layer of finish so that a new layer of finish will bond to it. 

Will these black stains sand out?

This is always a hard question. It is almost impossible to tell by looking if a stain will sand out. Dark stains from urine are the worst, largely because urine is corrosive and chemically burns the wood. However, it is always best to try to sand out a stain before trying more drastic measures occasionally they sand right out. If the stains don't lighten on sanding, patching is an option.

How long will refinishing take?
Depending on the square footage of your home.

Do I have to move out while you do it?
Not necessarily. However, if the floor we're sanding is the only access path to bedrooms or your bathroom, we would recommend finding another place to stay during the coating process. And anyone who might be adversely affected by the finish fumes from oil-modified finishes (waterborne finishes are fine)—infants, pregnant women, asthmatics—should not stay in the home during the finishing process.

Can you refinish in winter with the heat on and windows closed?
Absolutely. We work primarily with Bona brand waterborne finishes which have much lower levels of VOCs and toxic solvents and will not compromise your interior air quality, even during the closed-up winter season. Cracking windows slightly overnight in the affected rooms helps to dissipate fumes without significant heat loss. We do recommend closing vents in the room being sanded to keep dust out of the air circulation system.

What else should I do to get ready for the refinishing process?
Remove all furniture and take pictures down from walls in the affected rooms. If your window treatments come down easily, remove those too. Fumes from oil-modified polyurethane can be lethal to small pets (birds, gerbils, guinea pigs—anything smaller than a rabbit) so we require that those animals be removed from the premises for the entire coating process. Larger pets can stay in the home, but we recommend securing them on another level to keep them away from the work area. If your pets are traumatized by strangers or noise, you might consider sending them on a short vacation while the work is completed.

What's the difference between oil and water-borne finishes?
Though oil-modified polyurethanes have been the go-to finish for hardwood floors for decades, waterborne finishes have caught up to, and in some cases exceeded them in quality. The greatest advantage of an oil-based polyurethane is how easily it adds a deep amber warmth to all woods. But their fumes and the slow drying times make them difficult to work with, not to mention the vast quantities of paint thinner it takes to clean up all our brushes and applicators. The modern waterborne finishes that we favor have a much lower VOC profile and clean up with water. And the waterborne line allows us to offer a commercial grade catalyzed finish called Traffic that is much more durable that any oil-modified finish. We are happy to accomodate customers who insist on the oil-based finishes, but our default choice will be a waterborne.

Do you install new wood floors?
Absolutely. We specialize in American hardwoods because we find that wood behaves better when it's installed in homes in a similar climate to the one where the wood originally grew. Come on down to the shop and take a look - we are partial to site-finished full 3/4" thickness tongue and groove flooring, but we carry prefinished and engineered flooring options as well.

Is my subfloor the right composition and thickness to hold strip flooring? What if it isn't?
The ideal substrate for regular 3/4" strip flooring is a minimum of 3/4" of plywood or solid wood. Most homes built prior to 1965 will have an adequate subfloor. The next best option is 3/4" of OSB (Oriented Strand Board). If you have OSB that is thinner than 3/4" or particle board of any thickness, then we have a small problem because both are "crumbly" and won't hold a nail permanently. Inadequate subfloors can be torn out and replaced or, sometimes, we can put a new subfloor directly over the existing one.

I have carpet and a pad laid directly on the subfloor - do you remove that?
We can charge you for tearout of carpet, pad and tack strip or you can do it yourself. It isn't a difficult job, but it is a tedious one because you have to be sure to remove every carpet pad staple.

Do you have to remove the baseboards to install new floor
All our install jobs are bid with the assumption that all quarter-round, baseboard, radiators and appliances will be removed before we arrive. If we're doing a kitchen install as part of a kitchen renovation, it is often easiest if we install the floor after the old cabinets have been removed but before the new ones have gone in.

Is one species of wood better than another? Is there a difference between different grades of wood?
Choosing hardwood flooring is much like choosing a car; different lifestyles demand different qualities. Most people assume that they need to pick the hardest wood possible, but day-to-day abrasion on a floor is taken by the finish on top of a wood floor, not by the wood itself. So, extremely hard woods will not dent as easily if you throw a can of peas at them, but their density doesn't help the finish last any longer.

We recommend that customers consider not only wood hardness (American Cherry, for example, is much softer than most people realize), but its seasonal dimensional stability (some woods shrink more in winter than others) and whether it complements the other woods in the home.

Coniferous woods (fir or pine) are significantly softer than most hardwoods and deep dents and dings will appear quickly in floors made of those materials. Still, even those dents do not seriously affect the performance of the floor, and some people consider such marks a form of character or patina.

Wood grade is entirely an aesthetic evaluation. As the National Oak Manufacturerer' Assocation puts it: "Appearance alone determines the grades of hardwood flooring since all grades are equally strong and serviceable in any application". The higher the grade, the higher the cost, the more uniform the appearance of the boards and the higher the proportion of long boards in any given set of flooring.
 The one grading category that can make a difference to the performance of your floor is "quarter-sawn" or "quartered". Wood of any species that is quartersawn is much more dimensionally stable through changes in humidity and is much less prone to gapping and cracking over time. Minnesota has one of the country's largest annual ranges of humidity change so dimensionally stable lumber makes an especially good investment here.




 

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Tommy's Floor Company Hardwood Floor Services

Billerica, April 2015

your complete hardwood floor services




​"we believe in having repeat customers and referrals therefor we take great pride of our work"


​~Tommy


the Floor Company

by Tommy

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Call Tommy       Tele: 617-774-8802                         Fax: 781-605-2242                       Email : tommy@tommyfloorcompany.com