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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I have recently moved into my house and noticed that there are little cracks appearing in between boards.

A: While we understand that the appearance of said “cracks” is very concerning to a new home owner, this is quite normal. The wood is responding to a dry indoor climate. You will usually note that this happens in the winter months, when we continually run the furnace throughout the winter the humidity inside the house will drop to a level that will cause the flooring to dry out, thus creating “cracks” in between plank flooring. Generally separation will reverse itself throughout the Spring months as humidity changes in the house. Different species react to our dry Idaho climate differently.

Some species of hardwoods are more susceptible to expansion and contraction. Being that this is an environmental issue, it is NOT a warranty issue. Be sure prior to purchasing any home or picking out hardwood that you have researched or met with a hardwood flooring professional. It is very important that you know what you have as a flooring product and what your expectations should be.

We recommend meeting with one of our salesmen so we can help pick out the right flooring for your lifestyle and needs.

Q: This “Separation” concerns me greatly, what can/should I do about this.

A: The industry recommendation is to have a humidifying unit installed on your furnace. There are models that run with your furnace as well as units that run independently, turning on when the humidity level in the house drops to a certain level. By doing this we are adding humidity to the in-house environment which will help keep all of your wood work, flooring, molding, cabinetry, furniture etc., from losing their moisture. It has also been proven that a humidifying unit in-house is good for the health of you and your family. For information and pricing on such units please contact your local heating and cooling company.

Q: What is the average curing time for wood finishes?

A: Curing time for wood flooring finishes to reach full hardness is 2-4 weeks. The curing time depends on the type of finish as well as the temperature and relative humidity. It is important not to use any liquids, including water to clean the floor during the first three weeks.

Q: How do lacquer and water based finishes differ in the overall appearance of hardwood flooring?

A: Conventionally, water based finishes do not alter the appearance to such a large extent as a lacquer base finish would. The color of water base finish is closer to the color of the original product and the lacquer based finish has the tendency to darken the appearance of the wood flooring.

Q: How soon can I put area rugs down on a newly finished hardwood floors?

A: Area rugs should not be placed on a newly finished floor for at least two weeks. If color variation is a concern, it may be necessary to wait six months so the flooring can amber. This will create less of a color variation if the carpet is left in place for an extended period of time.

Q: How will daylight (UV Rays) affect the color of my hardwood flooring?

A: Almost all hardwoods have a tendency to darken over time. This depends upon the exposure to ultraviolet light daylight), the type of wood species, and the wood finish that is applied. Some exotic species may also become more reddish over time, some darker foreign and domestic hardwoods with a westward facing window and constant exposure to light may appear to fade in color from over exposure to UV Rays.

Q: How do you determine the stability of a wood?

A: Stability of a wood is determined on how well it will react to changes in temperature and relative humidity. Contraction and expansion can occur if the wood is exposed to drastic changes and extreme conditions both during and after the installation process. Be sure to contact us regarding which species are most stable in our Southern Idaho climate.

Q: Why should I choose “unfinished” flooring over “pre-finished” flooring?

A: Unfinished flooring provides a smooth even surface without grooves (Micro-beveled). This flooring is easier to clean, as dirt and moisture will not get into the small grooves. An unfinished floor would be installed, sanded and finish/coated on-site. This is the only way to achieve a smooth and perfect finish. Using an unfinished product extends the life of your flooring. An unfinished product can be re-finished 5 to 6 times resulting in 90-139 year life. Many pre-finished floors can never be sanded down and refinished.

Q: What type of finish should I choose for my new floor?
The most common finishes are Swedish finish (acid cured), or a Water based finish (two-component).

A: Swedish finishes have been used for many years and has a well prove reputation. It requires typically two coats and is quite durable, wear resistant and is fairly in expensive. The down side is that a Swedish finish has a high VOC count. The release of formaldehyde occurs during the application.

Water base finishes are environmentally friendly and have been used for about fifteen years. Good quality products, which are two-component, are as durable and wear resistant or better than Swedish finishes. The water base finishes are more expensive and require a minimum of three coats.

Q: I have noticed that some boards in my kitchen are “raised up”, is this normal/acceptable.

A: If you notice that your hardwood flooring in front of the dishwasher, or the fridge, or in front of a door etc., this is a sign of excess moisture. A leak in the water line of a dishwasher or fridge, a bad seal on the bottom of a door. This is the hardwood flooring reacting to an increase in it's moisture content. When hardwood absorbs moisture or water, it will expand sideways, this creates a wavy appearance. We call this “cupping”.

The solution depends upon the moisture content of the hardwood flooring. If the moisture reads between 9%-14% one can generally put fans on the hardwood to help expedite the drying process. Left alone it could take 6 months to 1.5 years to completely dry out enough to be re-finished.

If the moisture content is higher than 14% we would recommend tearing out the damaged flooring, letting the sub-floor dry out (which could take 1-3 weeks), then re-installing and re-finishing the flooring.

Note: Depending on the extent of water damage, the affected flooring may in time lay down flat all on it's own as it dries out.

Q: I just moved into my new house and I am curious as to what I should use to clean my new hardwood floors.

A: Damp mop with white vinegar and water (1 cup vinegar to 1 gallon water) or use glitza clean, Bona clean or any other NUETRAL Swedish approved floor cleaning product. Swedish approved products can be purchased at Intermountain Wood Products, 300 S Adkins Way in Meridian; Ottley Floor Company, 280 E Corporate Dr in Meridian; Don Aslett's Cleaning Center, SE Corner of Maple Grove and Overland Rd in Boise or Waxie Sanitary Supply, 2240 S Cole Rd #110, Boise.

NEVER use Murphy's Oil Soap, Pledge, Mop & Glo or any other products containing wax or oils. The rule of thumb is: If you can buy it at the grocery store, Fred Myers, Walmart, Winco etc. It is not an acceptable cleaner.

Q: Why doesn't my floor look like a “Table Top”?

A: Each piece of flooring sands differently depending on the grain type, making it virtually impossible for a completely flat surface. Hardwood flooring should be viewed from a standing position, not from the hands and knees.

Q: Can I clean my floor with anything to help enhance it's sheen?

A: Unfortunately there currently is nothing on the market that can be used to enhance the sheen of your floor that won't cause problems for the future. Generally cleaning products will enhance sheen or give the appearance of glossiness will contain Wax, Oil, or a combination on chemicals that will adversely affect the maintenance of your floor. The best thing to do is have a maintenance coat applied every 3-5 years to help re-invigorate your finish.

Q: What is a maintenance coat, How often should this be done?

A: A maintenance coat entails buffing the surface of the existing floor and pulling a new coat of finish. This should be done every 3-5 years. If you have used any of the cleaning agents we will have an adhesion problem, meaning that the leveling agents in the finish will re-act with a pH imbalance, wax and oil cleaners etc. causing it to bubble, leave craters, fog up etc. At this point you are looking at re-finishing your floor sometimes for three times the cost of a maintenance coat.

Q: Will a maintenance coat remove dents, scratches or discoloration?

A: A maintenance coat will not remove dents or discoloration, some scratches will buff out depending on how deep they are. A maintenance coat simply thickens up the finish allowing for a longer finish life.

Q: How often do I have to re-finish my hardwood flooring?

A: Barring any major damage to the surface (Scratches) or structure (Water Damage) you should not have to re-finish your hardwood floor for 20-35 years depending on the species and it's durability.

Q: How do I know if I should have a maintenance coat applied or if I need to have the floors re-finished?

A: It is recommended that you give us a call to come look at your floor and assess on-site what the best options would be for you.

Q: My child has smeared some gummy substance on my flooring that will not come off, is there something that I can use on my floor to clean tough goo up without damaging it?

A: The finish on your floor is a lacquer-based product. If you get something on your floor that is being stubborn and will not come off you may use “Lacquer Thinner” to remove it. NEVER dump lacquer thinner directly onto the floor, always dampen a rag and use the damp rag to clean up.

Q: I am getting ready to sell my house and I have removed all of my throw-rugs, the wood around my rugs is considerably darker than the rest of the floor. Is there anything that I can do to fix this?

A: Wood darkens over time and exposure to light. There is usually a color variation due to this fact when you move your rugs or furniture around, if the rugs are removed from the area the color will catch up in time.

Q: What is the Janka Scale?

A: The Janka scale is a reference scale used to rate the hardness of a wood species. The hardness indicates the ability to resist wear, denting, and surface scratches. (Red oak has a Janka Scale rating of 1260 lbs/sq".)

Q: What do you mean when you talk about stability?

A: Stability refers to the reaction of a wood species to changes in humidity and temperature (climate). A lower stability increases the chance of movement within the wood floor, example: expansion and/or contraction.

Q: How do they grade American hardwoods?

A: U.S. Hardwood Grading Rules. The efficient use of wood is a key factor in the sustainability of the U.S. hardwood resource. To this end, U.S. hardwood lumber is graded to the rules of the National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA). The NHLA grading rules maximize both the yield and the value of sawn wood, which minimizes waste and reduces pressure on the environment. In addition, the NHLA grading rules provide both the buyer and seller with a consistent language for conducting hardwood lumber transactions. Buyers worldwide rely on the NHLA grading rules to specify degrees of quality. For more information on NHLA grading rules, browse through AHEC's Illustrated Guide to American Hardwood Lumber Grades. Information provided by the American Hardwood Export Council.

Q: How do they grade Brazilian hardwoods?

A: A system used to categorize specific characteristics of imported wood species. This is NOT the same grade system used for oak. Brazilian grades are based on color variations, as well as grain patterns and overall visual consistency. The grading system reflects more the European system, offering a first, second and third grade. The first grade does not permit defects and has an average length of 3.0 to 3.5 foot minimum. There is also some more consistency in the appearance. The second grade allows more color variation and minor defects. Third grades & character grades allow minor defects and discoloration as well as an average length of 2.5 feet.

Q: Are U.S. Hardwoods Sustainable?

A: Sustainable Hardwood Information - A longstanding tradition of sustainable forest management, bolstered by a strong legal framework for environmental conservation, has ensured that our forests continue to thrive and expand. Indeed, hardwood growth has consistently exceeded harvest for the last fifty years, during which time the inventory of hardwoods standing in U.S. Forests has increased by over 90%. The U.S. hardwood industry's superior environmental track record not only provides for the health and future of our forests, waterways, and wildlife, but also produces consistent grades and allows for constant and reliable shipments. For more information on the sustainability of the U.S. hardwood resource, from biodiversity to harvesting and regeneration to waste minimization, browse through AHEC's online sustainability brochure. Information provided by The American Hardwood Export Council.

We look forward to working with you!
Sunrise Hardwood Floors, Inc. Sales (208) 941-4690 or (208) 941-0037 Fax (208) 922-5255
Email us at: SunriseHardwood@aol.com
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