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Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

By Topical Category:

1. Our Product

2. Price Quotes and Samples

3. Ordering

4. Delivery

5. Installation

6. Maintenance

 

Frequently Asked Questions

1.      Our Product

2.      

1.       Why should I buy your planking?

  •  We’ve seen all the other floors out there and our prefinished planks have a style and historic character that can't be matched by the big box stores or even many other companies selling wide planks. (See "Our Planks" and "Our Finishes" for details)

  • Our handcrafted period reproduction planking looks like an old plank floor, not an expanse of perfectly flat wood covered in shiny polyurethane (like a dance floor). Our floors have the character and charm of an old tavern floor without the expense of antique or reclaimed woods at much higher prices.

  • We’ve sold hundreds of custom floors to satisfied and loyal customers. Repeat and referral business is quite a large portion of our sales.

  •  Honest, Personal service: When you call I will personally answer your questions and guide you through the whole process. Whether you order is for 100 sq ft or 2,000 sq ft I am involved from beginning to end.

    • If my schedule permits, I will personally deliver your planks and spend as much time with you as necessary to answer your questions. I love meeting my customers and seeing where our planks are being installed. It’s the part of owning this business I enjoy the most. 

I've heard wide planks will cup so my contractor says I shouldn't buy anything over 5 inches wide . Is that true?

  • I think this is the strangest "conventional wisdom" re wide plank floors. We've seen wide plank floors over 250 years old that are as flat as the day they were laid and 5 year old strip floors cupped badly. So, width isn't the issue to "flatness" as much as moisture and methods of installation are.

  • Yes, you can get the occasional board that goes rogue but we've sold thousands of big planks without any major cupping issues. We stand by our floors and will gladly replace any plank that cups or splits abnormally as long as you own the floor. So far, we've replaced less than 10 planks in the last 8 years!

 

2.       Which Wood Species is best for me?

·         This leads to so many questions the best answer is to call me (215-997-3390) so we can discuss your design goals, lifestyle, etc.

 

3.       Which Finish is right for me?

·         Click Here for a detailed write-up on choosing the right finish

 

4.       Can I install your planks in a kitchen?

·         Certainly. About 30% of our floors include a kitchen in the floor plan. Plank flooring adds a warmth and softness to a kitchen or bath better than ceramic tile or stone.

 

5.       Is wood ok over radiant heat?

·         Yes, We’ve sold many floors to customers with radiant heat. Wood is an excellent conductor of heat and radiant heating works well with wide plank flooring. Let us know which type of radiant system you are planning on using and we will discuss the details with you or your contractor to ensure a perfect installation.

 

Getting Price Quotes and Samples

 

  REQUEST PRICING

 

1.       What information do I need to get a price quote?

·         To provide a fixed price quote to you for the various wood species and finishes we offer you only need to give us the total square footage of your project and a delivery address or just the zip code.

 

2.       How long is your price quote good for?

·         Usually 60 days it may be subject to price increases if our material costs rise substantially. In the past I’ve been able to honor price quotes as old as a year or longer. I will do everything I can to maintain the prices I offered for as long as I can. I will notify you if the prices have changed and will give you a reasonable time to go with the original price quote.

 

3.       Are samples free?

·         Yes. If after receiving our price quote you want to proceed we will send a box of samples priority mail at no charge or obligation.

Ordering

 

1.       What are the steps to placing an order?

·         Click here to link to “Our order Process”

 

2.       Is a deposit required?

·         Our usual terms are a deposit of 50% with a signed order and 50% at delivery. We accept checks, MC, VISA and Discover Cards.

 

3.       How much lead time do I need?

·         Depends on your quantity ordered. For orders under 1,000 sq ft plan for about 4 weeks from the time we receive a deposit until delivery. Orders over 1,000 sq ft will take longer.

·         We are very good at scheduling and have rarely been the cause of a delay on a project. More often than not we are asked to hold up delivery until the project is ready.

·         Remember : Our planks should be installed as the last item in your project. If you would be ready to install wall to wall carpeting you’re ready to install our planks.

Delivery

 

1.       How do you ship the planking?

·         We inspect and wrap our planks in packages of two planks face to face with foam protection between finished surfaces.

·         I will personally deliver your planks unless you are very far away ( over 700 miles from our shop, or sometimes farther if it saves you money and I have the time) or my schedule does not permit it. Then we will ship via common carrier or UPS Freight.

 

2.       Receiving the flooring?

·         If I deliver and you ordered over 400 sq ft or  if we have to carry the planks over hill and dale to get them inside you should plan to have some help available.

 

3.       How much room do I need to store the planks

·         Since our planks are very long you’ll need a dry space about 3 ft x 13 ft to store them. Wider if your order is over 400 sq ft.

 

Installation

 

 Do you provide instructions for the “Do it Yourselfer” ?

·         Yes, we have developed detailed instructions over the years from doing the installs ourselves and working with homeowners.

 

·   Click here for Rustic or Tongue & Grooved plank detailed installation instructions

 

1.       Do the planks have to acclimate to the room?

·         No and yes!  If you are buying our pre-finished planking, keeping it inside in a dry space and planning to install it right away that’s fine. We’ve done that hundreds of times with great results.

·         Our planks are kiln dried to 6 to 8 % moisture content and are manufactured and kept in climate controlled space, much like any home, until delivery.  So there isn’t much opportunity for them to absorb moisture before delivery.

·         If you purchase unfinished planking it is best to let it sit in the space it will be installed in for a week or so before installation. The space should be weather tight with heating or air conditioning systems on and running normally.

 

2.       Should I use glue?

·         We recommend using glue on each plank. Besides helping to keep the floor flat it makes for a more solid floor since it fills any voids between the subfloor and the planks.  This is especially in the case of older homes where the subfloor may have slight scalloping between the joists. After the glue hardens your floor will feel very solid underfoot.

 

3.       Top nailing

·         Top nailing (or screws and plugs) are required on our handmade wide planks. This is the time honored method used in colonial days and it adds to the sense of history you get from our floors.

·         The nails are optional but highly recommended. We’re partial to the added texture of the nails and relatively few customers opt for installations without the top nails.

 

4.       Can I use screws and plugs instead of nails?

·         Yes. Even on our prefinished planks you can use hardwood plugs over screws. If you take this approach we will provide the plugs, screws, drill bits and marking templates for you.

 

Maintenance Questions

 

1.       How should I protect the new floor?

·         You want to make sure the floor is protected after installation when other work is still going on. Here are some tried and true recommendations to make sure the new floor isn’t damaged.

 

2.       How do I protect against scratches

·         Protect wood floors from grit, dirt and sand by placing mats and throw rugs at doorways. Install felt pads under furniture legs and vacuum/dust your wood floor regularly.

·         Test any rubber backed, foam backed or non-skid rugs or rug pads. They may contain additives that will discolor the floor OR LITERALLY EAT INTO THE FINISH.

·         Do not use plastic or metal floor glides.

 

3.       How do I maintain the finish?

·          Click here for maintenance procedures for oiled finishes

 

 


 

Detailed Instructions for Installing Tongue & Grooved Planks

 

Supplies You’ll Need

 

 

Markers – We usually use a black medium point marker to mark the nail holes through the templates. If you are installing a very dark or black floor you can use a white china marker. Use whichever works best for you.

 

Drill Bits – (for top nailing) Although we give you a 9/64” bit to start, you may want to have one or two on hand since it isn’t unusual to snap them in half.  If you are really good, one bit will stay sharp enough for even the largest project.

 

Supplies – Sub-Floor Adhesive: We recommend applying2 stripes of construction floor adhesive to the back of each plank. While it does help hold the planks in place, the primary purpose it to fill in the gaps between the planks and any sag in the subfloor between joists. It really tightens up the floor when it dries( it takes a few days to cure) and results in a very solid feeling under your feet. 

 

Although any good wood floor adhesive will work we’ve found one of the easiest to use (with good flexibility to allow expansion and contraction unlike some polyurethane glues which dry too hard) is OSI SF450 Heavy Duty sub floor Adhesive (in black and green tubes). It can be purchased at Home Depot or Lowe’s in cases of 12 large tubes. We recommend you buy a good large tube caulking gun. The price difference between the cheapest and the best gun is a few dollars. Get the good one, you won’t be sorry. 

 

Tar Paper Strips –They are used to shim up the end of one plank where two planks  meet end to end only when the sub-floor drops away over a joist. Simply slide one or two under the lower plank until it matches the adjoining plank.  This is a common problem in newer homes that use thinner sub-flooring or joist spacing greater than 16”.

 

Mineral Spirits – You will get glue on your hands, especially at first and you may get it on the top of the planks. A LITTLE Mineral spirits on a paper towel gets it off easily.

 

(Remember, wide planks will move constantly as they gain and loose moisture. Some will move more than others. Some may have shrunk ever so slightly between the time we hand make the planks until we apply the finish)

 

A Piece of Sponge - (the cheap kind)  It’s inevitable that you will chip out a few nail holes when you drill the 9/64” pilot holes. The sponge is used to apply a little stain or natural oil to any chip outs, or scratches that will occur. The stain is a good finish in itself doesn’t require top coating in small repairs. (Natural Oil planks obviously don’t get stain)

 

Paper Towels -  You’re using stain and glue. You will need paper towels!

 

Tools You Should Have

 

You will need a few tools tools that can be found in most homes: A 12 ft tape measure, a circular saw, a jig saw, a drill, and a hammer (if you are also using the surface Rosehead nails).

 

A couple of other tools will make it infinitely easier if you can either borrow them from a friend or rent them.

 

A small pancake compressor and a hardwood flooring nail gun - makes it really easy to fix the planks in place after you apply the glue.  If not you can use a regular nail gun with 16 gauge nails, an angled nail gun or a manual hardwood flooring installer.

 

A sliding compound miter saw – Although a circular saw works fine, a sliding compound saw or a radial arm saw makes it a little easier to cut straight ends.

 

Router  - If you have a router it will be very easy to re-bevel any end cuts you make that will be in the middle of the room. The bit to use is a 45 degree chamfer bit. If you don’t have a router, a small hand plane works fine.

 

A shop vac- does a better job of cleaning the sub-floor and getting up the drill hole debris than a dustpan and brush but it isn’t necessary.

 

Some suggestions: - use a sanding block with 120 grit paper to clean up edges,

-          an electric drill with a cord is faster than most rechargeable drills

-          use a 3/8” drill bit to start the corners of jig saw cuts for heat vents, etc,

 

NOTE: Do not allow anyone to use or apply any tape (including blue or green painters tape) to the new floor if it has a polyurethane top coat. It can remove the finish!


 

Installation Procedures T & G Planks

 

Getting Started

Where to start.  If one wall has a threshold and the opposite wall does not, start at the wall with the threshold. That way you won’t have to trim a plank perfectly straight. The last plank will be against the far wall and the cut edge will be covered by trim molding.

 

If you are doing a very wide room you may want to start in the middle and go both directions to the walls. Us a small spline (we can supply them to you if you let us know ahead of delivery)to join the groove sides of the planks in the starting rows.

 

That first row is crucial. Be sure to square the planks with the room and any thresholds. Lay out a few rows if necessary to reach an important threshold. More often than not your room won’t be perfectly square to doorways, walls, etc. Old homes can be out of square by several inches. Choose which is most important ie to be square at the doorway or straight in the room.

 

TIP! Usually in newer homes, plywood sub-floors are square to the room …but not always! If it is, simply place the first plank against the starting wall and measure to the edge of the nearest plywood sheet. Double and triple check you measurements. If you get this first row in straight the rest of the room is a breeze.

 

Installing the First Row

 

Draw a pencil line along the edge of this first row that you have now ensured is straight and square. Flip the planks, apply 2 stripes of glue on the bottom along the length of the plank. Carefully turn the plank over and set it in place along the pencil line.

 

TIP! To flip the plank over, with the glue now on the back, without making a mess, lay the plank next to the pencil line, grab it on the end and turn it over, sliding the end into place. After a few planks this becomes easy.

 

This first row is usually against a wall so you can also tack the plank down right next to the wall where the (finish) nails will be covered by the finish molding.

Now, tack down the tongue side of the plank to the sub floor every 12” or so.

 

TIP! Start tacking the floor in place where the ends of two planks meet. That way they will be tight and won’t shift apart.

 

 

Installing Subsequent Rows

 

After the first row is in place the following rows go in pretty fast. There are only a few things to consider.

 

Seam placement -  It looks better if seams (where two planks meet end to end) are at least 2 feet away from seams in adjoining rows. We never have them less than 12 inches apart.  Also avoid a repeating pattern of seams that looks odd.

 

Nailing Patterns – (If you are using the Rosehead Clincher Surface Nails)

 

Since the rosehead nails are mostly decorative on the tongue & groove planks you can use as many nails as you like to get the look that appeals to you.

 

 

 

However, most customers choose the following patterns and rules on tongue and groove planks:  IMPORTANT: You can always add more nails later but you can’t remove them if you’ve used more than you like.

 

5-      4” from the end of each plank where they meet at a seam.

6-      4” from every wall at the ENDS of plank rows

7-      If they still want more nails to show they will install top nails every 32 inches but no less than 12 inches apart. We actually place the nails by sight along the length of the planks without measuring. We are very aware of patterns and alignments of nails in adjoining rows. The idea is to have a pleasing layout and avoid odd nail lineups. After a row or two this will become obvious.

8-      On the first and last rows (walls along the length of the planks) move the nails on the edge next to the wall in about 2 inches so they will not be under the quarter round molding

 

 

Selecting & Cutting Planks to Reduce Waste

 

Layout a few planks in a garage or anywhere you can select easily.  Be aware that colors, graining etc will vary considerably. Select planks accordingly, especially in the most noticeable sections of the floor.

 

You only need to cut one board per row, next to a wall. You have a lot of room to play with since at the very least you will install ¾ inch quarter round trim. So, if you can get within ¾ inch, you’re fine.

 

A sliding compound saw works best but a circular saw is ok.

 

TIP! Try to select boards so you will cut less than 12” or more than 30” from a plank.  That way you can use the cut pieces to start another row and will have less waste. Use the leftover cut pieces as soon as you can in subsequent rows so you don’t end up with a pile of cut ends.

 

When you cut the end of a plank it is a good idea to rub some finish on the cut end. This will help keep the planks in balance.

 

Backing into Small Recessed Areas

 

Sometimes it is easier or necessary to back into an area after you have the bulk of the room installed. The problem is the tongue is on the wrong side of the plank so you end up with two grooves against each other. To solve this easily just cut strips of ¼ inch plywood (splines) about ½ inch wide and glue them into the groove of the plank already in place. Then nail through this strip as you would the tongue on any other plank. Now you can install the remaining planks.

 

Working as a Team – (Mostly for Top Nailing Rosehead Clincher Nails)If two or more people are installing the floor it is most efficient 

(and less disruptive) to work together to get about 4 rows cut, glued and tacked in place. Then one person continues to cut, glue and tack planks in place while the other person follows up marking nail holes, drilling pilot holes and pounding the rosehead nails in place.

 

Installing The Last Few Rows

 

Since you won't be able to use the edge nailer right up to the last wall you have to top nail the last few planks. You can fill and stain the nail holes or let them as they are.


PRECAUTIONS FOR NEW FLOORING!

 

Your flooring has been finished with one of the best finishes available anywhere.  However, all finishes take time, several weeks and even months. to cure to final hardness.

Placing carpets and throw rugs on top of new flooring will extend the curing time substantially.

 

During this cure time it is important not to cut or scuff through the finish.  Avoid knobby hard soled shoes and high heels, especially with hard plastic nubs. They can cause compression damage.

 

We always recommend installing wood flooring last in your project.  If construction or painting work is still to be done after the floor is installed be sure to protect it properly.

 

  1. If light work remains, (painting, etc) lay down one or two layers of contractors’ paper.  DO NOT TAPE IT TO THE FLOOR. TAPE IT TO THE BASEBOARDS INSTEAD.

 

  1. If heavier work remains including the use of  scaffolding, ladders, etc. lay down a layer of paper, then use ¼ inch plywood to protect from damage from dropped tools, grit, nails, etc.

 

DO NOT USE PAINTERS TAPE (or any tape)   The tape can bond to the finish and pull it off when removed. 

 

DO NOT USE STEAM CLEANERS ON ANY WOOD FLOORING!!!    It will eventually lift the finish by swelling the wood around nail holes, etc.

 

TO MOVE FURNITURE, refrigerators, etc follow these instructions:

 

  1. Lay down a clean blanket

  2. Use  ¼ inch thick plywood on top of the blanket (not cardboard!).

  3. Lift or move the furniture onto the plywood

  4. Roll or slide the furniture on the plywood. Two blankets and two pieces of plywood makes it easier when moving across a whole room.  Keep placing one in front of the other as you go across the floor.

  5. DO NOT PULL THE BLANKET TO MOVE THE FURNITURE!

 





Recommended Residential Hardwood Floor Maintenance- Hardwax Oil Finishes

 

Protect the Floor –Place tracking mats at the exterior doors, in front of sinks and refrigerators and in heavy traffic areas.  Do not soak the floor or allow water to puddle or run into seams.

 

Avoid any rubber backed, foam backed or non-skid rugs. They may contain additives that will discolor the floor.

 

Place FELT pads on chairs and furniture to prevent scratching. Do not use plastic or metal floor glides.

 

All Finishes - Clean Regularly – Dust mop or vacuum the floor with a bristle head vacuum on a regular basis.  Spills and dirt may require more than just mopping. To thoroughly clean the floor, lightly sponge mop with a mild soap solution using a DAMP MOP.

 

 IMPORTANT! DO NOT USE SIMPLE GREEN, MURPHY’S OIL OR ANY CLEANING PRODUCT NOT SUITED FOR WAXED FLOORING (as indicated on the label) It may strip the finish from the floor.

 

For Unstained Natural European Hard-Wax Oil finish use the OSMO cleaner wax and occasionally apply another coat of the OSMO hard-wax oil to rejuvenate the finish.

 

For deep cuts or scratches you can sand the damaged area as needed and apply two coats of OSMO Polyx Oil (ie the hard wax oil) to the area, 24 hours apart. Color variations will “catch-up”  within a few weeks.

 

You can order additional OSMO Hardwax Oil and OSMO Cleaner Wax directly on Amazon.com.



 

 

 

 

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