The “green revolution” has hit the home floor industry — and not a minute too soon. “The newest thing out now is a water-based finish that leaves your floor looking velvety,” says Dave Warrenchuk, owner of DMW Hardwood Floor, who works out of his home. “It’s a lot more environmentally friendly than the oil-based urethane. It’s like a latex paint.” A number of U.S. states have banned the use of toxic, potentially cancer causing solvent-based finishers. However, there are some advantages to using oil-based finishes, like making cracks disappear after your hardwood floor is sanded. “A cold winter and dry air will cause the floor boards to shift and the cracks to reappear,” says Warrenchuk, whose now-retired father was in the floor restoration business for 47 years. “But with an oil-based (finish) they won’t appear. With a water-based finish they will appear, but we can use a darker color.
It’s a problem - wood expands and contracts with dryness.” After applying the finish, Warrenchuk informs the homeowner about any existing and potential floor cracks. “Some people like the cracks because it adds character to the home,” he says. “The nice thing about a water-based finish is that it won’t hide the scratches, but it’s durable and easily maintained. Water based is used in newer homes, because the floors are tighter and there is less settling in the home.” Besides rejuvenating existing floors, Warrenchuk will also install brand new ones. It’s a process that can take him several days to complete. “Usually the material has to sit for seven to ten days (in the client’s house) to acclimatize itself to the environment,” says Warrenchuk, who also does fancy floor inlays of walnut or purple heart. “Wood has a moisture content of seven to ten per cent. And it has to match the moisture level of the home. We pile it in a room until it adjusts to the humidity level, otherwise it will expand or shrink.” After the wood has adapted to its new environment, Warrenchuk, who charges 90 cents per square foot, lays and then staples the individual planks across the sub-floor’s joists.
Then, he lets the other trades people complete their work (if it’s a complete home renovation) before finally sanding the new floor. As well, Warrenchuk can mechanically buff walnut, black, red or other staining colors on to the floor.
Like Warrenchuk, Emmanuels Flooring Ltd deals solely with hardwood floors. “I give customers an estimate and help them move all their furniture out, so all the rooms are empty,” says Gideon Kotulas, owner and manager of the company. “We charge by the square foot and by what kind of material we’re using (when resurfacing floors). The minimum charge is $250.” Depending on the type of wood used, installing a new floor runs from seven dollars to $14 per square foot.
Maybe your taste runs to vinyl or Wood Flooring in Santa Cruz CA, rather than tile. Then Judy McGregor, manager of retail flooring may be of assistance.
Among other products, her store carries the new Mannington gold series vinyl flooring and fresh introductions from Armstrong products. “Flooring is now much more colorful than before when it was mostly white,” says McGregor, adding vinyl covering ranges from $9 to $53 per square yard. “From a design aspect, they’re a nice contrast to the white European cabinets. There has been a shift from a high gloss to a Mexican look in ceramic tiles, so you get a little bit of texture.” Bill Knight also installs new floor coverings, including hardwood. “Lots of people are yanking out their old carpets and refinishing the existing hardwood floors or installing brand new ones,” says McGregor, adding low maintenance, affordable, track-less carpets are currently fashionable.