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Category Archives: Home Improvements

When Is It Time To Refinish Your Hardwood Floors?

When Is It Time To Refinish Your Hardwood Floors?


Refinishing your hardwood floors is one of the least expensive ways to improve and change the look of your home. It is especially impactful if you have hardwood underneath your carpet and/or if you change the stain color.

To some extent, this is a personal choice as to when you refinish your hardwood floors. I certainly have customers who are very particular and like their floors in tip top condition; I have others that have let their floors go for 20-30 years, so there is a wide range. On average, most customers will sand & refinish their floors every 10 yrs or so – potentially sooner if you have a busy household with lots of kids and pets; potentially longer if you/your kids take your shoes off in the house.

Refinishing your hardwood often costs less than most customers think – I love doing these free flooring estimates because I always feel like I’m delivering good news – here’s an inexpensive way that we can greatly improve the look of your home…and, it’s less than you thought it would be!

For those of you not familiar with the process, it is a bit long and messy, so this is often why people put it off. First, you sand the floors – you take off the first couple of layers (including the current stain color), so you are left with raw unfinished wood. Usually, you do 3 cuts (each one with finer sanding grains) so the floors are smooth. Then, you apply stain (or leave natural) and let it dry 24 hours. You then add on 2-3 coats of polyurethane letting each coat dry for 24 hrs (and you screen it in between coats so the poly will stick better). Women – for those that get manicures, it’s basically the same process to make sure your nail polish stays on longer.

During this time, you can not walk on the floors and ALL furniture needs to be moved out of the rooms. This is where the complications lie.


So, when is the best time to refinish your hardwood floors?

1. Before you move in. By far, this is the best time to refinish hardwood since there’s no furniture and no disruption of living nor the smell. So, if you know someone moving into a new home and considering this, tell them to do it NOW (before they move in) and not later. It’s also less expensive if the room is empty (no cost for moving furniture).

2. If you already live in your Charlotte or Lake Norman home, then try to refinish the floors while you are away. This is a must do if it involves steps or sections leading to the bedrooms – remember you can’t walk on them for 4-5 days. You also avoid the smell this way. Alternatively, you could stay with family or friends.

3. If you are selling your home, try to refinish before you sell. If your hardwood floors are in bad shape, it’s a reflection of how well the house your house is maintained. Doing this project before the house is listed is a very smart investment and believe me you will get your return on it. It will help your house sell faster and a higher value. If it’s not done, potential buyers know they will need to do it and they will think it’s more expensive than it really is and hold back that amount in what they are willing to pay for the home. Again, you may consider doing this while you’re away. Or, if you’ve already moved, now is a perfect time for it.

Fixing Your Squeaky Hardwood Floors

Fixing Your Squeaky Hardwood Floors

You are sneaking into the kitchen for a midnight snack and suddenly the floor squeaks loudly as you take a step. Snack attack fail! What can be done to fix those squeaky hardwood floors?

What Causes the Squeak?

There are several reasons why a hardwood floor will squeak. Simply put, wood rubbing on wood is causing the squeak. One type of creak comes from a “side-to-side” squeaking in which two flooring planks are rubbing because they have expanded and are competing for space. Hardwood flooring contractors will often use a material that will naturally contract and expand based on the humidity and temperature in the room. However, if they do not have enough room to expand they could end up rubbing.

Sometimes hardwoods are just not nailed down properly which causes the boards to rub.

Additionally, some squeaks develop between the flooring and the subfloor. This is one is more difficult to fix. Insure that your flooring installer uses a quality underlay material when they install your hardwoods. This will help reduce this problem.

Another cause may be that the cross bracing has been install improperly. The one-by-threes should be positioned beneath the subfloor in an X pattern. Sometimes these braces can be placed too closely together and can rub.

Locating the exact cause can sometimes require a trial-and-error approach.

How to Fix the Squeak

For the “side-to-side” squeaking caused by the expansion of the boards, there is an easy solution. Powdered graphite can be applied generously over the seam to help eliminate the creaking. As you apply the powdered graphite, place a rag over the area that is squeaking and work the powder into the crack over and over until it has penetrated and quiets the squeak. This may require a few applications. Simply clean up the excess graphite with a damp cloth.

To fix the squeaking due to the braces in the subfloor, you can sand or chisel them down if you are able to see and reach them. If the subflooring isn’t accessible it becomes more difficult to fix this kind of squeak. Nails can be shot through the floor into the subfloor. Screws can also be used and would provide an even stronger hold. Any nail holes can be concealed with a filler in a color that matches your flooring. The whole floor can then be sanded and refinished—or you can just sand and refinish the holes.

If after all of these attempts, your floor is still squeaking in an inaccessible area, then you have two choices: either tear the flooring up to get to the source of the squeak or live with the squeak.

Above all, you need to be sure to hire a reputable flooring installer that will circumvent these problems with quality flooring installation.

Can I use a steam cleaner on my Hardwood or Laminate Floors?

Can I use a steam cleaner on my Hardwood or Laminate Floors?

It’s Spring and homeowners are excited about opening their windows, getting outside in the garden and planning their summer months. However, along with nice Spring weather comes the dreaded spring cleaning. Our flooring installation team gets asked this question a lot: “Can I use a steam cleaner on my hardwood or laminate floors?” The quick answer is no but read on to find out the best way to maintain hardwood floors and laminate flooring.

Hardwood Floors

Steam cleaners are not recommended on hardwood flooring. A tried and true rule for hardwood flooring maintenance is to never use water! Over time the steam from a steam cleaner would be absorbed by the wood and eventually cause swelling and buckling. The boards will begin to lift whether they are engineered hardwoods or solid wood. Each of these types of construction will be damaged by excessive moisture.

Laminate Floors

It is not a good idea to use steam cleaners on laminate flooring either. As with hardwoods, it is the moisture that is the damaging agent here. If the moisture from the steam gets into the glue at the joints the adhesive could be broken down. Even when there is no glue, there will often be swelled edges and sections that peak due to the dampness. Some people feel it is a good way to maintain laminate floors, however, the risks involved keeps us from giving it our recommendation.

Hardwood Floor Care

So, now that you know what not to do, what should you do to maintain hardwood floors?

For daily dusting you can use a dust mop sprayed with a dusting agent to pick up dirt, dust and pet hair. You can always use a disposable electrostatic cloth as well. That will be fine for daily care.

Dusting won’t get the deeper dust, oil and grime that build up on the floors however. For weekly maintenance, use a vacuum to get the dirt off of your hardwoods. Next dilute a wood cleaning product according the directions on the product. Then saturate a rag mop in the solution and wring it out until you get as much of the solution out as possible. Run the damp mop across the floor. Avoid standing water as it could damage the floors. Afterwards, be sure and run a mop dampened with clear water over the hardwoods to remove any left-over solution. You can even use a fan to dry the floors faster if live in a humid area.

Hardwood floor maintenance tips:
• Do not use regular household cleaners. They will cause permanent damage.
• Never use a product with ammonia.
• Use felt contacts when moving furniture. Dragging furniture across wood floors will scratch and gouge them.
• Use blinds in the room where the hardwoods are to prevent fading.
• Remove all shoes at the front door but especially high heeled shoes.
• Keep your dog’s nails trimmed.
• Use rugs in high-traffic areas.
• Clean up spills immediately.

Laminate Floor Care

Use a dust mop or vacuum on laminate floors to pick up dust and grime. Next use a damp mop for spot cleaning. Clean up any liquid spills as soon as possible. Don’t let water stand on the laminate floors—be aware of the area around your pet’s water bowl as well.

For occasional cleaning, use a product that is specifically made for laminate flooring and follow the directions for cleaning. Your floor only needs a light mopping.

Laminate floor maintenance tips:
• Never use soap-based cleaners on laminate flooring.
• Use mats at entry ways to collect dirt before it gets onto the floor.
• Use protective felt pads when moving furniture.
• Try not to wear high heel shoes on your laminate floors.
• You can use color match correction pens to fix minor scratches and nicks.

Here’s some more great tips from How Stuff Works on laminate floor care and hardwood floor care.

Of course, you are always free to call us or drop into our store if you have questions about flooring and we will be glad to help you out.

Home Improvement Service

Home-ImprovmentAt Above Board Flooring in Charlotte, North Carolina, we do much more than flooring. Remodeling your bathroom? We can help. Need new granite countertops in the kitchen? No problem! We can even tackle room additions, custom staircases, window replacements, painting and deck installation. Free estimates are available, and we can even come to your home for a consultation with samples in hand. No job is too big or too small!Our team of experienced professionals are versatile, flexible, and able to customize their array of talents to meet your project needs. We are dedicated to exceeding your expectations and we aim to go above and beyond for each and every client.

Our home improvement services include the following:

• Kitchen Remodeling
• Bathroom Remodeling
• Painting
• Window Replacements
• Room Additions
• Decks
• Stair Cases Sales and Installations
• And More
If you are in need of a project not listed here please call us.

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About Us

Above Board Flooring is Charlotte North Carolina's leading flooring expert. Learn More About Us

Mecklenburg County Towns and Neighborhoods we service:

South Charlotte:
Including Ballentyne, Matthews, Mint Hill & Indian Trail:
The Arboretum on Pineville-Matthews Road,Ayrsley in the Southwest corner of Charlotte, Ballantyne off Johnston road near South Carolina, Barclay Downs by the SouthPark Mall, Beverly Woods by Park Road in South Park, Carmel Village by Carmel Road, Blakeney near Ballantyne neighborhoods, Chantilly around Plaza-Midwood, Cotswold, Dilworth, Landsdowne, Madison Park by E Woodlawn Road and Park Road, Myers Park, Nations Ford,Parkdale, Piper Glen, Quail Hollow, SouthPark, Steele Creek

North Charlotte:
Derita, Highland Creek, NoDa, University City, Northlake, Hidden Valley, Pleasant Grove, Croft, Newell

Lake Norman, NC:
Including Mooresville, Huntersville, Davidson, Cornelius, Troutman, Statesville, Sherrils Ford and Denver , NC

The Peninsula,The Point, River Run,Birkdale, The Hamptons, Govenors Island, Alexander Island, Wynfield, MacAulay, The Farms, Northstone, Skybrook, Antiquity, Sailview, Norman Pointe

West Charlotte:
Ashley Park, Berry Hill, Biddleville, Lincoln Heights, Oakview Terrace, Paw Creek, Shuffletown area, Thomasboro/Hoskins, Wesley Heights, Mountain Island Village,Yorkmount Park

East Charlotte:
Eastland, Grier Heights, Plaza-Midwood, Sherwood Forest, Hickory Grove, Hickory Ridge, Idlewild, Oakhurst, Reedy Creek, Shamrock, Sardis Woods, Stonehaven, Center City,

Charlotte, NC Location
10100 Park Cedar Dr.
Charlotte, NC 28210

Mooresville, NC Location
836 Williamson Rd.
Mooresville, NC 28117

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