We've collected the most common questions we're always being asked. Hopefully this page will have the answers to most of your questions too.

What steps are involved in the hardwood floor refinishing process?

We’ve written a detailed guide that answers this for you in great detail. It’s called: “Our 21 Step Hardwood Floor Refinishing Process”.

You can find it on the Downloadable Info Sheets page.

How do we deal with all the dust?

If you pop over to the 101% Dustless System page you can read our detailed explanation of how we effectively handle dust containment.

How many days will it take to restore my hardwood floors?

Most average sized houses in Naperville have a living room, dining room, hallway, entrance and a couple of bedrooms. If the hardwood floors are in good shape and don’t need any repairs and you’re going to keep them natural and not stain them, you’re looking at an average of 3 days. Bigger and more complicated layouts will obviously take a little longer.

One the first day we remove all the existing finish and prep the floor for the first sealer coat. Depending on the size of your home, we can usually apply this first coat by the end of the day. This is the longest day. Over the next 2 days the remaining coats are applied.

If you would like to have your floors stained, be prepared to add at least another day to the process. Other extras like restoring stairs, removing carpet and fixing any repairs that are needed will also add extra time to the job.

What types of finishes do we use?

We’ve written a detailed guide that answers this question for you in great detail: “How to Choose a Hardwood Floor Finish that’s Perfect for You” .

You can find it on the Downloadable Info Sheets page.

Will the smell and fumes be really bad?

Many people are worried about this. You may have smelled the rotten fumes from solvent based finishes in the past. Even worse are the fumes from conversion varnish systems (like Glitsa Swedish finishes) which can stink and gas off for weeks, which makes it very uncomfortable to stay at home during this time.

We decided to stop using these nasty smelling and dangerous finishes a long time ago. Now we only specialize in using high-end water based finish systems which have an extremely low non-offensive odor for a short period of time as they dry. As they dry they release water vapor instead of harmful solvents which can damage the health of your family and pets. This makes it much easier for you if you need to stay in a section of your home during the restoration process as you won’t have to worry about being driven out by eye watering fumes and off-gassing.

Can I just clean and put a new coat of finish my floors?

You may have seen some of these new businesses coming out of the woodwork promising amazing results for your floors by just using a “newly discovered” recoating system that is completely sand free. They promise fast, dust free results that are the same or better than traditional hardwood floor refinishing.

For one thing, these systems have been around for a long time and are used by most if not all traditional, professional floor refinishers. Basically it involves using a type of chemical cleaner and a buffer to abrade the top coat of an existing floor and then a new top coat of finish is applied.

Some guys have found it to be faster, easier money as they don’t have to invest in expensive proper tools and equipment to do a complete restoration.

And the truth is in some cases it can be a great option. But… (and this is a big but) your floors have to be in very good shape originally for this to be a viable option. If you have dings, scratches, bruises, stains, greyed wear through areas or any other damage to the actual wood – not just the finish – then no matter how many recoats you do, they will not be removed. That’s what a lot of these guys “forget” to tell you.

If you just recoat over damage, you’ll just have a nice shiny new top coat that highlights the damaged parts even more. A total waste of time and money.

If this really worked as some guys promise, why wouldn’t we be offering it and only specialize in ‘dustless, no-sanding recoats’ too? It would be much easier on us and we’d definitely make more money.

The truth is, the only way to remove this type of wear and damage is to completely remove the existing finish, take the floor back to bear wood, repair the damaged areas and then apply a whole new finish system. Then you’ll have floors that are even better than new because of the latest finishes we can apply.

On the other hand, if your hardwood floor have been restored by us previously and you have followed our cleaning and maintenance instructions, then a clean and recoat could most certainly be an option. (This assumes that the finish is not totally worn through and you are not worried about removing most of the surface scratches.)

In fact recoating your floors every 5 to 10 years is highly recommended. If you have a chance to do them before the finish wears through, it will most certainly prolong the life of your hardwood and reduce the need for re-sanding them down the road.

Just to give you the heads up – we won’t recoat floors that we haven’t previously restored. This is because out of all the hardwood restoration processes, recoats have the biggest failure rates. And it’s always the same thing that causes it – the homeowner hasn’t followed good care instructions and now waxes, oils or some other type of chemical has been applied or spilled on the floor which now prevents the new finish from adhering. Even the “recoat specialists” have high failure rates that you can read about on many forums all over the internet.

Yes, doing it properly and right will cost a little more and take a bit longer, but we feel the exceptionally better end results are worth it.

Can you repair an area in my floor that has water damage?

Yes, this won’t be a problem. We’ll just need to have a look at what damage needs to be repaired so we can provide an estimate. If you have existing carpet covering a water damaged area that prevented us from knowing it was there, we’ll inform you immediately and come to a decision about how to proceed together.

On top of that it’s also important to find the source of the damage so it can be repaired and future damage is prevented.

What can you do about the deep scratches in my hardwood?

We try to preserve as much of your floors as we can, so when we sand we try to remove as little wood as possible. That means that if you have very deep scratches or dings it may be best for the future life of you floor to replace the damaged areas with new wood.

We can always sand deeper in these areas if you want us too but it’s good to be aware that the more we take off the less wood you end up having. It’s important to remember your floors can only be sanded three to five times at most.

Why does my floor have gaps and can you fill them?

All things made from wood will expand and contract because of humidity changes from season to season during the year. Especially here in the Midwest we have big changes between seasons. This is what causes cracks and gaps in your floors, especially if you have wide plank floors.

In the colder months when you turn the heating system on, the humidity in your home will drop quite a lot. When this happens, everything made from wood, including your floors will contract and shrink a little.

When we sand and prep your floor we trowel filler over your entire floor and force it into these gaps. Down the road you may still see some minor gaps again though because of the reasons we talked about above. It’s a normal, natural occurrence and nothing to be concerned about, it won’t affect the structural stability of your floors at all and when the warmer weather rolls around and you open your house and turn off the heating system your floors will expand and the minor gaps will disappear. Because the boards will also expand, you may see some filler pop out of the previous gaps that were filled. Again this is nothing to be concerned about, you will just need to clean-up this loose filler if it ever comes out so it doesn't get tracked around the floor ad scratch it.

If you’d like to reduce the occurrence of gaps during the colder months you could invest in a humidifier to control the humidity level to 45 – 55 percent inside your home.

Why do hardwood floors change color over time?

A lot of the older solvent based finishes would badly change color over the years. You could especially notice it on older floor when you moved an area rug. This is caused by ultra violet sunlight rays – either direct or indirect. Unfortunately there wasn’t much that could be done about this other than move your rugs around from time to time or keep your shades down during the sunniest part of the day, both of which aren’t very practical.

With the recent advances of water based finishes and the anti UV additives incorporated into the higher-end products, this natural phenomenon can be greatly reduced if you use them. All the finish systems we use have UV protection.

How do I remove the carpet that’s over my hardwood?

We’ve written a detailed guide that answers this for you: “How to Remove Carpet Without Damaging Your Hardwood Floors” .

You can find it on the Downloadable Info Sheets page.

What’s involved in staining a hardwood floor?

Our guide: “Staining Hardwood Floors” will answer this question in detail for you.

You can find it on the Downloadable Info Sheets page.

What parts of a staircase do you restore?

We restore the treads (the part you walk on) and sometimes the risers (the vertical part between the treads) of the staircase if they’re solid wood. We don’t sand spindles, railings or stringers. This is far beyond the scope of floor restoration work and you’re better off having a craftsman who specializes in this field to take care of this for you. We can provide you with a phone number of a business that does this specialized work.

A lot of risers are made of a thin veneer over the top of a plywood backing. Because of this they can’t be sanded. You have a couple of choices as to what you can do with them.

A very popular option that you’ll see in a lot of the home designer magazines is to paint them with a durable paint to match the rest of the stairs components. It gives a very high-end, classy look as well as opening the space to provide an airy, spacious look. It also makes them very easy to touchup with a fresh coat of paint down the road.

The second option to restore risers involves a little more work and money – having them re-veneered. We will match the veneer to your existing treads, install them and then coat them with the same finish system you decide to use on your floors.

What should I do to look after my floors?

We’ve written an informative guide: “How to Look After Your Hardwood Floors” which will answer this for you.

You can find it on the Downloadable Info Sheets page.

When can I put back the furniture and area rugs?

In an ideal world, waiting a week before replacing your furniture would be great but we know that this isn’t always possible. The finishes we use are 70 – 80% cured after two days, so we suggest you to wait at least until then. If it’s convenient to wait longer, that would be great, but if you can’t, just make sure to be extra careful over the next couple of days.

Please be sure to put the felt pads we’ll give you under your furniture.

With your area rugs, we advise you give the floor at least 2 full weeks to let the finish cure before putting them back on your hardwood floor.

I have a floating engineered floor, can it be sanded?

We’ve written an informative guide: “Engineered Floors – Can They Be Sanded” which answers this question in detail.

You can find it on the Downloadable Info Sheets page.

Do we work on the weekends?

Restoring hardwood floors is a very physically demanding job. During the week we work extremely hard. By the time the weekend rolls around we’re ready for our beauty rest and if you’ve seen our photos on our 'Meet the Crew' page you’ll see why :)

Not only that, we’re also family men and we love to spend as much time with our kids as possible.

If all that is needed is a top coat to finish your restoration and you have an extremely tight schedule, we may be able arrange something on a Saturday but please don't count on this – it’s hard to say no to the kids!

Do we install base-shoe molding and baseboards?

Solid wood base-shoe that needs to be coated with the floor... yes . Painted base-shoe and baseboards... no . But we have a great partnership with a carpenter and painter that we’ll give you the contact details for if you have baseboards needing to be installed and painted after we’ve finished.

We don’t remove existing base-shoe and re-install it because it will more than likely be damaged as it’s being removed and it will be impossible to re-install properly.

Do my base-shoe and baseboards need to be removed?

No, it’s not necessary to remove them if you’d rather not because they’re in good condition. We can get close to them with our sanders and the remainder of the old finish we can remove with our hand scrapers. There may have a few small scuff marks afterwards so a few small paint touchups may be needed if you decide to keep them in place.

Do we remove and replace furniture?

If you have a few small pieces you need help with we can assist you. But because we’re not professional movers, our insurance won’t cover us for any damage done to your furniture if we have a mishap.

If you need, we can provide you with the name and number of a professional moving company our clients have been happy with. They’ll do a great job of carefully removing your furniture prior to our arrival and then carefully replace it once the finish is dry.

What kind of guarantee do we offer on our work?

The Our Amazing Guarantee page will fill you in on all the juicy details.

What options are there for payment?

We happily accept cash and checks.

We understand many people like to collect points or air miles with their credit cards. We can arrange credit card payment if you insist but because we have to add a 3.5% surcharge to your invoice to cover the transaction fees most find it’s not worth it.

Am I able to stay at home during the restoration?

Yes, it’s possible with a few restrictions.

Towards the end of the job, while the finishes are being applied and are drying, you won’t have access to those areas for at least 4 hours. For the finish coat we like to keep everyone off it for 24 hours to ensure a top quality job without any contaminants. This can be a hassle if you are having your entire house refinished or main access hallways etc. It may be best to stay somewhere else for a few nights if this is the case.

What time do we arrive in the morning to start working?

When we start a restoration we like to show up right at 8am. This gives us a good start to the day so we can get a lot done. Of course, if that’s not good for your schedule, we can arrange another time that’s more suitable.

When we do the recoats, it depends on your schedule. If you’ve entrusted us with a key to your home like most of our clients do then it won’t matter. Otherwise we’ll work around your schedule – morning or afternoon – whatever is best for you.

What can I do to save some money?

We know this isn’t a cheap project and anything that can be done to save some money is always welcome.

The best way to save some money would be to take up and dispose of any carpets, underlay, smooth-edge, staples or unwanted base-shoe and baseboards before we arrive. If you have some handyman skills, you could also look after any needed repairs – we’ll be happy to give some advice on how to do this properly.

After the jobs completed you could install the base-shoe as well.

What kind of insurance coverage do we have?

Please pop over to the Why We’re Different page and read reason 12 which talks all about our insurance coverage.

Do you have any references I can look at?

We’re slowly getting our website in order and uploading the feedback we have from our many happy clients on our Photos and Feedback page.

If you’d like the name and number of the client we’re working with at this very moment, please call or email and we’d be more than happy to share it with you. (Providing our client agrees.)

Who will be working on my floors?

Please follow this link over to our Meet the Crew page and there you’ll get to see our handsome photos and a little bit of info about each of us.

What areas and suburbs do we work in?

Naperville is our main area but we also work in La Grange Park, La Grange, Hinsdale, Western Springs, Clarendon Hills, Downers Grove, Oak Brook, Woodridge, Lisle, Glen Ellyn, Wheaton, Burr Ridge, Lemont and Homer Glenn.

How long will my newly refinished hardwood floors last?

How long your floors will last really depends on quite a few different factors. Are you going to wear dirty shoes inside? Do you have pets? How many? Are they allowed to run around on the floors with long untrimmed nails? Will you regularly sweep and clean your floors and follow our care instructions? Will you invest in a good door mat and maybe some runners and area rugs?

There really is no simple answer. You can have a 20 year old floor that still looks great because it has been well cared for and on the other hand have a 2 year old floor that is in bad condition because it’s been horribly abused.

There’s no possible way for us to know how you are going to care for your new floors. We urge you to read and apply the tips in the Cleaning Guide we’ll leave with you at the end of the project, including using the hardwood floor cleaner and felt pads. If you take look after them well, your floors will look great for many, many years to come.

We hope you've been able to find the answers you were looking for. If you have any more questions feel free to give us a call and we'll be happy to answer them for you.

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