FAQ

Whatever the floor, whatever the timber, new or old, big or small, let Grant Sutherland Floorsanders show you how we can transform them into beautiful polished floors that will change the look and feel of your home.



General information


Quotes


We can give you an indication only of what your job may cost over the phone, if you are able to supply us with the measurements, condition of the floor. However, we recommend an onsite quote as it is free with no obligation. For very small areas we have a minimum charge policy.
Maintenance quotes are recommended or a reglaze to maintain floor appearance. Re visits every 2 or 3 years will maintain and protect your floor.


Floor preparation


Nail holes, gauges, gaps and other random holes


Nail hole filling is a customer preference, some floors require nail hole and gap filling to give a uniform look while other floors should not be filled to keep it unique rustic look. When floors are trowel filled it is important to remember the filler/epoxy has no flexibility so with temperature change and moisture in your floor it may crack and release, therefore you cannot guarantee its longevity. I can recommend whether to fill or not at the time of the initial quote. However the final decision is yours.


Carpet, lino, tacks and staples


We can remove and dispose of carpet and vinyl, tacks and staples, this is an additional cost which will be discussed and added to the quote, or you could remove them carefully yourself with pliers - try not to break them. Otherwise they may require grinding off and or punching below the surface prior to sanding


Carpet/Vinyl preparation


We can also do all your prep work that is needed before laying carpet, vinyl or flooring. It is recommended that the floor sanding and polyurethaning to be done first, followed by the carpet. Carpet creates a lot of dust that can affect the coatings.


Painting of skirting boards


I would recommend that you paint ceilings and walls prior to the sanding and coating of your floors. The skirting boards should be painted after the floors have been sanded and coated.

During the sanding process our machines may rub against the skirting boards and mark them.


Dust


Sanding your floors can be a dusty job. Our machines have their own dust bags vacuum cleaners attached and we vacuum the floor between coats. There will be an element of fine dust particles through the air. We recommend you remove or cover any electrical appliances and curtains prior to the sanding process.


Older floors with gaps & cracks.


Older floors with gaps and cracks can be trowel filled with the appropriate colour.


Black water stains


Water stains may not always come out, it's all dependent how deep into the timber they are. It will only be apparent once we commence sanding on these areas. No guarantees that water marks will ever come out with sanding; board replacement can solve this issue.

Furniture


You need to be responsible for moving your furniture and appliances due to liability and insurance issues. The customer is solely responsible for their furniture; ensure floors are all clear of furniture and debris.
Remove all indoor plants as polyurethane upsets plants.


Types of finish


Polished floors may require different finishes according to the floor area such as sunlight and the daily living situation of the area to be coated. The lesser the shine the more forgiving the floor is to scratches, defects, dust, dirt and general wear n tear.


The difference between moisture cured polyurethane & water borne


Moisture cured is solvent based polyurethane and is very strong smelling and takes 24 hours to harden. Water borne is water-based polyurethane which is non-smelling and only takes approximately 4 hours to dry. Both products take 7 days to fully cure
In the final stages of sanding and polyurethaning we recommend that you find alternative accommodation as you are unable to walk on the floor and the smell is very strong if moisture-cured polyurethane is used. You must not walk on the floor during the coating process.

Staining


Ensure you are present to choose your colour. Colours vary on different timbers and depending on your timbers condition, the colour you have chosen can look quite different on your floor. Leave painting of your skirting boards till after your flooring project.
You must not walk on the floor once the coating process has begun as this coat takes 24 hours to dry. I recommend also 24 hours after the final coat has been applied, it's a good idea to remove shoes also. It takes 7 days for the polyurethane to reach full strength.


Maintenance


Cleaning instructions


Use an anti static mop to collect dust and dirt, wash the floors regularly with hot water and gentle detergent, do not soak floor. Waxes or silicone cleaners should never be used on the floor they can damage the floor and make it very slippery.


Furniture


I would suggest at least 48 hours (at your own risk) and DO NOT DRAG your furniture across the floor as you risk scratching, pieces of felt or similar should be placed on the feet of your furniture to prevent damage. Never wear stilettos on wooden floors as they will dent it, remind your teenagers and visitors.


Humidity levels


Humidity in your home should be kept at approximately 45%. A dry house will cause flooring to shrink during high temperatures (heating), cracks will appear between the flooring boards. Too much humidity will cause the flooring to swell and could cause the boards to cup or crown. Wood is a natural product that will shrink and expand depending on weather and treatment.


Timber Endurance


Movement within your Floor


Wood is a natural material and therefore a certain amount of movement can be expected. This is due to the absorption and release of moisture which results in the swelling and shrinking of the timber. Throughout the year, we experience a range of weather patterns - cold, damp conditions create high humidity levels causing the wood to swell, whereas heating and sunlight have the reverse effect. All timber used in flooring is seasoned or kiln dried to reduce the moisture content in the wood, however the wood´s ability to absorb moisture remains. This is reduced by a polyurethane or oil finish being applied to the wood either in the factory for prefinished engineered timber or directly onto the floor, once installed, in the case of solid timber. We recommend that all concrete subfloors are moisture sealed prior to installation. In floating floors, the underlay is moisture proofed or plastic sheeting is laid. However, a small degree of expansion and contraction is to be expected in any wooden floor. 8 to 12mm expansion gaps are left between the floor and the wall to allow the timber to grow and shrink. These gaps are covered by skirting or beadings and trims. To help minimise these effects users can stabilise the environment of the building through temperature and humidity control.


Wear and Tear


A certain amount of wear and tear, along with some minor scratches, are to be expected over time. These can add to the character of the wooden floor and are usually considered a feature, not a defect. Prefinished engineered floors can be sanded and recoated with polyurethane 3-4 times, whilst solid timber floors can be sanded and refinished 4-5 times. Sanding and recoating floors extends their lifetime and helps eliminate the possibility of moisture seeping into high traffic areas where the polyurethane or oil finish has become worn.


Heating and Timber Flooring


All forms of heating - including freestanding heaters, radiators, heat pumps, under floor heating etc. affect the temperature of the floor and need to be increased and decreased gradually. Insulation in concrete slabs, dehumidifiers and heat transfer kits will also impact on the temperature and humidity level of your timber floor. The floor should remain at a temperature below 24° C or 75° F, no matter what type of heating is used.


UV and Sunlight


All natural products are affected by the sun. Excessive amounts of strong sunlight and UV rays will have a detrimental affect on wooden floors. It will dry out the timber and cracks may appear; in addition to this it will bleach the wood and the area may become significantly lighter. This can be greatly reduced by choosing a window glass which minimises the transmission of ultra-violet light from the sun and reduces the heat gain in a room from bright sunlight.


Controlling your Environment


Each floor is part of a building system and the performance of the floor is dependent on other elements within the building. The key element which influences the way a timber floor will react is moisture. As mentioned above, wood is hygroscopic, absorbing and releasing moisture to and from the air depending on the temperature and relative humidity of the air. This loss, gain or redistribution of moisture creates visible movement. You can expect your floor to move to some extent. You can expect fine gaps to appear from season to season, especially in rooms which experience unusual or significant changes in humidity and temperature (both from heating and sunlight).


The moisture content of timber in a building moves towards the Equilibrium Moisture Content (EMC) of that building. EMC is a function of the average temperature and relative humidity of the building.


In general, floating floors will react more to a high EMC than direct fix floors and moisture problems can result in cupping and/or swelling. When the EMC falls back within the range, cupping and shrinkage should correct itself.


Bathrooms and laundries can often have higher EMC´s. In these areas the timber should be well looked after and the following steps should be taken to keep the EMC within an acceptable range.



If the house is being maintained at a comfortable temperature and relative humidity, then the EMC should not go above 13%. Moisture content above this usually indicates a problem such as inadequate ventilation, moisture egress from the subfloor or plumbing or drainage problems.


Please be aware that there are potential problem areas within a house where the floor may be more likely to take on moisture. This may result in expansion, possibly damaging the finish - for example by the base of external doors that do not have adequate door seals; rooms on the south side of houses which are seldom used and are unheated during winter; doorways with immediate access to the house from swimming and spa pools; underneath dishwashers which accidentally drip; potentially "wet areas" such as bathrooms and laundries as previously discussed. It is not recommended that a house be left unheated for long periods during winter, as the EMC will rise without the drying effect of the heating and venting associated with normal occupation. After a period of being unoccupied, do not suddenly heat the house. This may dry out the surface of the flooring faster than the middle and bottom of the timber, leading to differential shrinkage. This can in turn cause cracking of the polyurethane along the joints and cupping of the boards.

Health & Safety

During the application of polyurethane all animal and plant life should be out of the building area due to the possibility of inhaling toxic fumes and skin or eye contact irritation with the product. Once the polyurethane has dried and cured the floor is safe. We would highly recommend a minimal of 5 to 7 days for this cure process for health & safety issues alongside the practicality of not marking the floor, but ultimately that is at the discretion of the owners.