Hardwood Flooring Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to sand and finish a wood floor?

Most 400-700 square-foot jobs can be completed in two days. On the first day we complete sanding and apply one coat of sealer, and the second day we apply the finish. There are several variables that could extend this time.

How strong is the odor?

The odor strength depends on the products used and can be attributed to the level of Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) in the finish. When the VOCs evaporate, they can create that “new floor” smell in your home. There are many different products on the market today that contain lower amounts of VOC without compromising the quality of your finish. If VOCs or odor are a concern, please tell your Earl’s sales representative.

Will I have dust everywhere?

Our goal is to leave your home as clean as when we arrived. We use plastic to seal off areas in your home where we aren’t working, and when finished, vacuum all the dust and wipe everything down. Although sanding machines contain a majority of the dust, small levels do become airborne. We recommend removing all dust-sensitive items (e.g., computers, art, etc.) from the rooms being worked in to ensure they stay dust free.

When can I walk on the newly finished floors?

In general, most finishes we use are quick-dry and can be walked on within just a few hours. However, we always recommend that you stay off your floor as long as possible, as finish tends to scratch easiest during the first few days.

When can I move the furniture back onto the floors?

We recommend waiting 48 hours before replacing furniture. If it has to be sooner, be sure to set items in place and not drag them across the floor. Rugs should be left off for a period of 1-2 weeks.

How should I clean my wood floors?

Sweep on a regular basis to remove dust and dirt, and use a recommended hardwood floor cleaner, such as Bona (find Bona at www.bona.com or at most home improvement stores). You can also use a 10:1 ratio of water and vinegar. For more information, see Floor Care.

Can I fix the squeaking noises in the floor?

Squeaks are common in older homes and are generated from the friction between two boards rubbing together. Finish nails and/or screws can be driven into problem areas. However, this leaves holes in your floor that, although can be filled, are usually unattractive. Each situation is different, but in general we think it is part of the uniqueness of an old home.

Why are there gaps between the boards?

Wood flooring expands and contracts based on the humidity level in your home. To minimize this situation, keep the humidity close to 50 percent. Use a humidifier during the dry winter season and run the air conditioner or a dehumidifier during periods of high humidity.

Should I use a wood filler or putty to fill in gaps?

In general, we don't recommend using putty or filler. Putty that doesn't harden will eventually dry and work its way out within a year. Filler, which does harden, can sometimes make the problem worse by not allowing enough space for expansion and pushing the wood out further. Filler can also work its way out and leave pieces on your floor.

Is hardwood flooring a good choice for someone with allergies?

Unlike other flooring options or coverings, hardwood traps less mold, mites, dust and pet dander which can irritate your allergies. If you do use rugs or other coverings on top of your hardwood floors, we recommend you routinely keep them clean and free of these items.

Is hardwood flooring a "green" product?

Forests in the United States are 90% larger today than they were 50 years ago and twice as much grows each year than is harvested. Trees are individually selected for harvest which encourages forests to naturally renew and regenerate themselves.
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