Wood floors add value and beauty to your home, but as with any major home improvement, you can expect some measure of inconvenience and disruption. There are some preparations you must make before the installation can proceed, to ensure a satisfactory result:
What is expected of me before the install day?
1. The building should be completely closed, with outside windows and doors in place to prevent exposure to the elements.
2. All trades using water and/or other liquid components, such as drywall crews, painting contractors, or ceramic tile installers, should have their work complete before the hardwood floors arrive on site. The temperature and relative humidity must be at “normal living conditions” – that is, between 15 – 24 degrees Celsius, and between 35 – 55% relative humidity. If you are planning on air-conditioning your home, then that system should be in place and operating before the hardwood is installed. Temporary heating systems can greatly increase the humidity level in the building, so they should be disconnected, and the permanent heating system should be functional at least 3 days prior to installation of the flooring.
3. All furniture and appliances should be removed completely from the work area. Old floor coverings such as carpet, vinyl, etc. should be removed and the subfloor should be re-nailed to eliminate/reduce squeaks before the new hardwood is installed.
4. Plastic sheets can be hung over doorways leading into the work area to reduce the spread of work generated dust. Cutting and sanding wood produces a lot of dust, there’s no way around it. Some companies will see the dust as being your problem. They may do a quick vacuum and wipe a rag over the floor. At Darmaga we use dust bags for the mitre saws. After the project is complete we sweep the floor. Please note with any installation of floor there is always dust created and may take a few cleanings to get it to an ideal state.
5. Flatten Subfloor. It is rare that the floors in a house are truly flat this is especially true for older homes. The most common problem with flattening negligence, are areas where the flooring sinks, squeaks, or bounces when walked on. In most cases, where the level is off only a small amount, this will not deteriorate the integrity of your flooring; however this is not always true if your floor is off substantially. Dealing with a wooden subfloor is much easier to work with than a concrete sub floor; however in both cases, the solution is adding leveling compound or adding substrate to low spots or if possible, grinding down high spots. A FLAT sub floor will yield flooring that feels nice and solid, and lasts longer! At Darmaga we can help with minor leveling issues, which can be done at time of installation. After the carpet is removed you will be shown the area of concern and you will be given a price by our office before we proceed. For more in-depth leveling issues, which cannot be determined or foreseen at the time of the estimate; it is recommended you find a professional contractor you trust.
Are there extra costs that may arise during an install?
1. Subfloor -Our estimator cannot evaluate the level or general condition of the subfloor/concrete if it is covered by carpeting or furniture. There may be an additional charge if any extra work is required to correct hidden subfloor/concrete problems.
2. Hidden wires – behind/under baseboards or attached to the bottom of the subfloor must be brought to the estimator’s attention so we can evaluate the best way to proceed without incurring damage, however, Darmaga Hardwood will not be held responsible for any incurred damages to wiring systems. Some wiring systems we have encountered do not conform to building codes so please investigate and /or inform our estimator.
3. Plastic sheets hung – if you would like we can supply or supply and install.
4. Furniture moving – if required we can move furniture but we do not move pianos or appliances.
Do I need to acclimate the floor before installing?
The point of acclimating wood flooring before installing it is to allow the moisture content of the wood to adjust to “normal living conditions” at the site – that is, the temperature and humidity conditions that will typically be experienced once the structure is occupied.
Thus, it does no good at all, in fact; it is likely harmful to store wood flooring at the jobsite under conditions that don’t reflect those normal environmental conditions. Some wood flooring may already be at the proper moisture content when delivered. To allow it to sit at the jobsite under excessively humid conditions will only cause the flooring to absorb unwanted moisture or in the case of overly dry conditions lose required moisture content.
The key message is not that acclimation is good; rather, installers need to understand the dynamics of water and wood and make educated judgments about when and how much acclimation is required. To do so requires knowing what the moisture content of the flooring is at the time of delivery and what its expected moisture content will be “in use”.
What direction do you lay flooring?
When you can, it is suggested you lay flooring with the length of a room; it makes a room feel larger. When you lay with the width, it does the opposite. This doesn’t always work out, as it is also suggested that you lay in the direction of the light source. This helps to reduce the amount of lines you see when you walk through a room, making it look less “choppy”. Our sales staff can work with you to help you decide which is most appropriate for your space, however it is ultimately up to you as to what look you prefer.
Do I need to worry about Insurance of installers?
Yes, for two reasons: First, to protect you against accidental injury. Using a company that does not have proper insurance coverage leaves you open to being sued personally if there is an accident. Secondly, in case they cause damage to your house.
At Darmaga the installers are covered with both workers compensation (WSIB) and liability insurance. No worries for you or us.
What is underlayment and do I need it?
Underlayment is a layer of material which is usually installed on top of a subfloor that provides a surface suitable to receive a new floor covering and acts as a vapour retardant and or sound absorption prior to installing a floor.
The use of quality underlayment is critical to a successful installation and to protect your hardwood floor from moisture issues evolving from your subfloor, especially with concrete subfloor.
At Darmaga we use quality underlay to offer you the security and confidence in your floor installation. If you are going to lay something inferior it is not only a waste of time and money on the product but also on the entire investment of your floor.
Do all companies have the same warranty?
Not at all! If you are purchasing flooring from a company and having your own contractor install the flooring you want to make sure your installer is a professional. You will want to ask what their warranty is. Keep in mind, if there is any concern of factory defect in the product, a floor laid is a floor accepted and will usually void any manufacturer’s warranty. If you are buying flooring on a supply and install basis, you want to make sure the company warrants their installers work and the installers are qualified.
At Darmaga we have industry recognized installers and we fully warranty the work. We work with the installers and the manufacturers so there is no back and forth for the homeowner, if there is a problem (unfortunately that sometimes happens) we resolve it and make it right…right away.
What are the different moldings and what are they used for?
1. Quarter Round molding is used to hide the expansion gap left around walls during installation.
2. T molding is used as a threshold in doorways or as a transition strip where the hardwood flooring meets floor or carpet of similar height. T moldings can also be used to change the direction in which the floor is laid.
3. Reducer molding is used as a transition from the height of one floor to the height of another floor.