The Blog

UV Curing of Hardwood Floor Finish

I recently had the pleasure of being involved in a hardwood flooring school that featured UV (Ultra-Violet) curing of the floor finish in a residential home.

The process of UV curing is simply sanding and finishing the floor as with any other site-finished application and then curing the floor with an ultra-violet light as soon as the floor is dry enough to walk on.

When I first heard of UV curing I was under the impression that this type of floor finishing was developed for commercial applications so I was surprised that we were going to apply the finish in a home.  I wasn’t sure how UV curing would benefit a homeowner.  As I found out at this class there are many benefits to UV curing.

  • UV curing produces a very durable finish.
  • The floor is cured to 100% after the light passes over it which allows the home owner to move their furniture minutes later.
  • The floor can be covered immediately to prevent damage by other trades working in the home.

But what I like most about UV curing is that often when a flooring contractor is applying a final coat there is a chance that a spot is missed, someone accidentally steps in the finish, or that debris falls into the finish.  With UV curing,  these issues can be corrected before the finish is cured.  For the flooring contractor this eliminates a call-back to correct these issues later.

I was sceptical about UV curing before this class; however, I now have a much better understanding of how it is applied and the benefits in both the residential and commerical markets.

Check out this article regarding this school posted in Hardwood Floors magazine E-News.

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Is Your Hardwood Floor Contractor Certified? Education and Certification is a Necessity.

With trades such as electrical, plumbing, and carpentry, architects often specify that the trades people performing the work be certified in their respective fields.  Unfortunately the same cannot be said for wood flooring contractors.

As a wood flooring inspector I often see error made by wood flooring mechanics that could have been prevented had the mechanic understood the basic fundamentals of wood flooring and the techniques necessary to assess a job-site for readiness prior to beginning installation. Understanding how to test the job-site for readiness is essential for a successful installation and is rarely performed correctly, if at all.

Installation certification training goes into great detail on important environmental considerations that can affect wood flooring before, during and after installation.  Sand and finish certification stresses the importance of following industry approved procedure with sanding and finishing wood floors.  For this reason most finish manufacturers recommend NWFA certified sand and finishers, and they list that on the labels of their products.

Dealing with a certified wood flooring professional ensures that the contractor working in your home has been tested for their knowledge of the industry standards regarding execution and has a resource for technical information when needed.

Do you want to know more about certification and training?  Just send me a note.

Cupping of a Gym Floor

Feel free to read my Troubleshooting article published in the February/March 2014 edition of Hardwood Floors magazine.

Cupping by the Key:  An Unexpected Source of Moisture in a Gym Floor

Hardwood Floor Maintenance

There are many products and methods available in the market today for cleaning hardwood floors, and like everything else these days the first place people look for answers is on the internet.  Unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation on google and youtube.

The key to knowing what product and method to use when cleaning your hardwood floor is understanding what type of finish your flooring has. Most surface finishes, whether site-finished or factory finished, fall into the category of urethane finishes. These products should be kept clean with frequent vacuuming with a soft bristle brush attachment and wiping up spills immediately.  When a deeper clean is required then a wood floor cleaner manufactured by a floor finish manufacturer is your safest bet.

Using a mop bucket and string mop or a steam cleaner is not recommended as excessive moisture is a recipe for disaster.  Forcing steam into the cracks of the floor with a steamer or flooding the floor with water using a string mop will certainly damage the floor and nullify your warranty.

Penetrating Oil finishes have made a real come-back in the last few years and just as with hard surface finishes the key is frequent vacuuming.  Unlike surface finishes, oil finishes may require a special oil soap and refresher to maintain them.  Since there are different ways the penetrating oil finishes are manufactured, it is important that you use the oil soap specified by the manufacturer.  This may take some investigation if you are unsure of which product the flooring refinisher used. Keeping your floors clean is the best way to extend the time between re-coating or re-sanding and re-finishing.

Please read this article in the Hardwood Floors magazine for more information.

 

Why Choose an NWFA Certified Wood Flooring Inspector

Determining why a hardwood floor has failed after installation requires experience, skill, and knowledge. A hardwood flooring inspector certified by the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) has to meet certain requirements in order to achieve and maintain certification.

To be eligible to attend the NWFA inspector Certification course, you must have at least three years experience in wood flooring installation and sand & finish. In addition, you must have successfully completed two NWFA installation training events and two NWFA sand & finish training events, pass a written examination based on your knowledge of the industry standards regarding installation and sand and finish, and pass a hands-on examination where a NWFA instructor examines execution according to industry standard guidelines.

Before becoming an inspector, it is important to understand how wood floors are installed in “real world” situations in order to recognize how hardwood flooring issues can occur.

When installation and sand and finish certifications have been achieved, you can attend the NWFA Inspector Training School. This program trains the inspector in investigation techniques and report writing. The school is followed by a written examination testing your knowledge and your ability to write inspection reports based on scenarios of typical flooring problems. These scenarios are examined by a review board made up of inspectors and they determine if the examinee’s conclusion was correct and if the report is written in such a way that it can be used as evidence in court. Before certification is awarded, three inspection reports must be submitted for review and approval within one year of passing the written test.

In order to maintain certification, three continuing certification units are required annually. Certified Inspectors must also submit and gain approval on one inspection report every year.

Choosing a NWFA Certified Wood Flooring Inspector is a way to ensure that the person you have chosen to inspect your hardwood floor or represent you as an expert witness in court is experienced and knowledgable in hardwood flooring.