Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Proper Estimate

I admit, in the early days of starting my own business, estimates were sometimes thrown together and scribbled on a piece of paper and handed to the customer.  When you have to wear all the hats, it’s easy to get in a hurry. Today, however, with technology and more educated customers, a proper estimate is critical.  It can make or break a job and a career. 

With hardwood floors, as with most flooring, everything is based on “cost per square foot”.  Materials, labor, sanding & finishing, moldings, everything should be broken down for the customer to see.  Not only is it easy to justify your figures, it’s also much easier to make changes when the customer calls a couple days later and decides to” leave off the bedroom”.

We have written our own spread sheet which calculates cost and materials, provides a separate material list, and is easily changed with just a couple key strokes.  It’s easy to store (and not loose), and can be used for invoicing as well.

Best of all, when we are in front of the customer, we can give them an exact price, not a guess.  If at that time they want to add to or change, it’s done right there.  Once all the details are ironed out, we go to the car and print a very professional and accurate proposal which can be used for a contract, protecting us and the customer.

If you are a homeowner, don’t settle for some scribble on a piece of paper, know what you’re getting, and what you are paying for.

As a side note, special thanks to Michael Luckey for the brilliant program he has written.  We couldn’t do what we do without your expertise.  Hats off for the great job.

Friday, September 23, 2011

What is "acclimation"?!

One of the main questions we are asked when starting a floor project is "How long will this take?"  Well truthfully that depends on a few factors.  When installing any hardwood floor, there is a time period for the wood to sit "on site" and become accustomed to the conditions of the house.  This is acclimation.

Simply put, acclimation is the time it takes for wood to get used to the conditions in your home based on the current moisture conditions.  These conditions will change with the seasons.  There are higher moisture levels in the summer because the AC is running and there is more humidity in the air.  There is less moisture in the winter due to the heat running constantly.

The wood species you select will also contribute to the acclimation period.  Harder woods (more dense) will take more time, and softer woods less time.  A typical oak floor will generally take about 10-14 days.  A much harder Brazilian Walnut will take 14-21 days or more.

A laminate flooring needs 3-5 days of acclimation and most engineered floors need to acclimate for 5-7 days.  These ranges can vary depending on the types of hardwood.

The only way to know when wood is ready to install is to test it.  A moisture meter specifically designed for wood will tell you the exact moisture content of the species you are using.  The moisture content of the subfloor you are installing under the floor should be checked as well.  When these two number jive, you are ready!

Proper acclimation will assure proper installation, which will greatly reduce the chances of any future problems associated with floors.

*For more information visit our website at www.ogleshardwoodflooring.com or the National Wood Flooring Association at www.nwfa.com

Cleaning your hardwood floors

Customers are constantly asking us how to maintain their wood floors.  Nothing could be simpler!  If floors are less than 15 years old, they will usually have a polyurethane finish, which requires very little up keep.  There are many commercial cleaners on the market which you can purchase and use with a "swifter" type mop.  A home made solution is using vinegar and water (1:3 ratio).  Whatever solution you decide to use, don't use too much liquid on the floor.  Just spray the floor lightly and mop!  Keep the mop only slightly damp and never saturated.

Vacuuming and dust-mopping on a daily basis can help keep dirt and grit off the floor.  Small dirt particles left on the floor from sweeping can act like sandpaper on your floors.  Keep rugs both inside and outside of entry ways, and in high traffic areas such as kitchen sinks, hallways, and at the refrigerator.

Proper cleaning will give you the maximum life from your floor finish and reduce the chance of you having to sand and finish your floors.  Good luck and happy cleaning!

*For more information visit our website at www.ogleshardwoodflooring.com or the National Wood Flooring Association at www.nwfa.org