You’re searching for a wood floor expert: all we do are wood floors. Need guidance with your hardwood floor? You’ll find it here. Our team will walk you through the various paths you can take to achieve the look you want: this extends to wood species, style, stain color, sheen of the finish, etc. If you know what you want, we will support you! If you don’t know what you want, we will support you!
Design / Aesthetic
We specialize in unfinished, solid hardwood flooring. The product is delivered to you in its raw state from a locally-sourced, sustainable forestry certified mill. Our carpenters install the floor based on National Wood Floor Association guidelines for best practices. After the floor has been properly acclimated, our finishing team begins the next step.
Solid hardwood flooring is an organic material and therefore responds to the relative humidity and moisture content of the environment. There are a lot of variables involved in acclimating a hardwood floor from the mill to its new home.
Following an in-home estimate that you then accept via email (an additional site visit may be necessary), the materials are ordered and a lead time is generated upon order confirmation from the mill.
Payment for materials is due within 72 hours of delivery of the materials.
Wood is delivered by an independent contractor employed by the mill or FedEx. You must provide either a lockbox code, key, or be present so the delivery can be made.
Wood must be stored inside the home under normal living conditions. If floor installation is part of an overall renovation, all work that creates artificial humidity must be completed prior. Examples of this are not limited to the following: installation of new doors and windows, insulation, drywalling, mudding, taping, oil priming, and stonework. It is also advised that custom tilework should be included prior to floor installation: that includes bathrooms, hearths, kitchens, etc.
You must run your heating and cooling systems as you normally would, both prior to and after the wood is delivered. If you have a furnace, it is advised that you install a humidifier. Ideally, you also have central air conditioning.
The best thing you can do for your wood floor’s overall health is to maintain consistent levels of humidity throughout the year. That includes running your heat with a humidifier throughout the winter, running your air conditioner to remove humidity during the summer, and only living with open air during the times of year in which the climate is temperate.
Typically, a floor sits bundled for approximately two weeks prior to installation in the home. The time of year does influence the length of acclimation; ideal humidity levels are between 40-60%. Keep in mind that you are having a floor installed during a moment in time; it will always look its best during the time in which it was installed. The better you control the relative humidity, the better your floor will behave.
Finishing / Refinishing / Restoration
We specialize in site finished hardwood flooring. The term refinishing refers to the restoration of a floor that has already been finished. The term finishing refers to the sanding and application of product on a raw hardwood floor that has been installed.
Newly-installed floors: although raw hardwood floors are slightly easier to sand than older floors, they still require a full premium sanding sequence. A newly installed hardwood floor is not flat. The purpose of sanding is to flatten and create a consistent palette to receive stain, oil, or polyurethane. We strive for a consistent, chatter- and scratch-free finish.
Existing wood floors: The restoration of an older floor requires more aggressive sanding. Sanding an existing hardwood floor can present more variables; the older the floor is, the more character it will inevitably have. We always try to preserve the integrity of the hardwood floor by not making repairs for cosmetic reasons.
Historic floors: We love working on historic projects! There is no greater treasure than a historic home. A lot of decorative floors are very fragile, and our technicians are educated in the various ways to preserve the integrity of the floor.
Nothing is 100% dust-free; we choose to accurately represent the process by saying that our machines are dust-contained and about 90% of the dust is removed. We recommend that you remove pictures, mirrors, knickknacks, fine drapery, or any other type of material that might be damaged by minimal amounts of dust.
Our craftsmen are conscientious, skilled, and educated, but they are human beings and it is always possible that there may be light clean-up or touch-ups required to shoe-molding, base-molding, and walls, knicks on door frames, doors or cabinets in tight spaces that may need attention following completion of your flooring project.
We use American Sanders and Lagler sanding machines. All machines are either self-contained or are attached to a vacuum system. Our technicians will decide the sequence of sanding that will benefit your project: this may include a drum sander, an edger, a palm sander, a planetary sander, and obviously old-fashioned elbow grease. If you have any questions about the sanding sequence, you are free to ask our technicians, as it always depends on the craftsman’s preference.
We will always recommend you vacate the premises to reduce the possibility of inconveniences and imperfections resulting from continued traffic on the floor. We need to work efficiently, and this can often be hindered by your occupancy during the process. Pets should ideally be boarded elsewhere during the project and at least 5 days after the project’s completion (please keep your pets corralled; we don’t want to lose your pets!).
Custom Woodworking / Repairs
Hardwood floors can take a beating overtime and sometimes even reach the end of their lifespan. We can effectively determine whether your floor should be repaired or replaced. We are skilled at repairing worthy candidates, whether the floors are on joists, sleeper joists, have a subfloor, or on concrete.
In addition to functional repair, we are also skilled in the rebuilding of decorative hardwood floors.
If hardwood floors are part of a renovation and you are removing walls and adding flooring, we can determine the most cost-effective and efficient way to give you a seamless product.
Sometimes remodeling an old home means you need to mimic old pieces that resemble the time period of the house with a custom transition in between rooms. Our carpenters can make them onsite. This includes simple transitions from, for example, a tiled bathroom to a wood floor.
Although stairs differ somewhat in process from hardwood flooring, it is sometimes necessary for stair treads to be repaired or replaced. Our carpenters can address and resolve stair issues that include replacement, rebuilding, and reworking.
We DO NOT do individual board repairs. Our repair services are offered as part of an overall restoration product. It is not possible to replace individual boards and refinish them in a way that resembles a finished wood floor.
Trimwork involves removing, reinstalling, adding, or replacing the base- and/or shoe-molding where the wall meets the floor. This can also extend into vent work, cabinetry trim, and toe-kicks. Whether you need to add pre-primed white trim or a solid, custom-stained wood trim.
We do not do crown molding, door casings, or window casings. We cannot guarantee a perfect match between new trim and historic trim. We use our discretion to mimic it the best we can.
Any hardwood floor needs to be properly maintained to preserve your investment.
For polyurethane floors: depending on the traffic and location of the floor, it will need to be buffed and recoated every 5-7 years. A buff and re-coat entails a light abrasion of the polyurethane (water or oil); this process knocks down surface scratches, evens out traffic patterns, removes contaminants, and creates a mechanical bond for an additional polyurethane coat to be applied. Once the floor is buffed, either at 180 or 220, the floor is vacuumed and coated with the appropriate finish. The floor is then subject to the same curing guidelines as the product specifies. (link to PDF)
For Hardwax oiled floors: there are several different maintenance products. In general, an oil floor looks its best from 18 months to 3 years. Your technician will determine which maintenance product is ideal to regenerate your floor.
Paste Wax floors are maintained by being re-waxed as necessary based on the sheen.
Established in August of 2011, CHR was created out of a passion for woodworking, frustration with the low wages local companies were offering technicians, and a desire to offer the community something “different.” In CHR’s infancy, the team consisted of Brandon doing the physical labor and Jessie handling administrative tasks. This dynamic continued until April of 2018, when Brandon + Jessie divorced and she absorbed full ownership of the company.
Since 2018, CHR has evolved into a unique, special place to work and an equally lucrative operation. Scaling a trade related business into profitability without shifting into a corporate environment where the passion is lost, has proven to be a difficult but rewarding experience. We attribute consistent quality and customer experience as keys to success; our mission, contrary to the structure of other popular contracting businesses, has become to prioritize the following:
We invest in the finished product. We believe in owner and technicians collaboration. It is not the intention or “end goal” that this company grows into a franchise or a model in which the owner is not directly involved; we have no desire to expand if that means compromising the healthy, friendship forward environment that exists today. We believe that hands-on trade experience is just as valuable as traditional education and this entitles technicians to compensation proportional to their acquired skill level. In summary, you aren’t just paying for labor, you’re paying for experience.
Have you ever done a labor intensive project at your home? Like cleaning out a basement or garage full of stuff? Sure, you might have been able to physically labor for an extended period of time, but imagine if you had to do that everyday. We subvert the mentality that tradespeople should work harder and longer than white collar people- our days start around 9am and end around 4pm. Overtime is always available but never mandatory. Lunches are paid, paid time off is provided, holidays are paid, chiropractic care and yoga classes are covered. Our recently-purchased warehouse in Detroit-Shoreway, affectionately called “The Shop,” boasts a halfpipe skate ramp topped with solid hickory flooring, a music room, a woodshop, and ample space for a plethora of hobbies and projects. The Shop is available to everyone that works here and people can always be found hanging out together there. Profit is important, but it’s not our sole motivator.
Passionate, valued employees are more likely to invest.
We have found that happy, passionate, empowered technicians strive to produce a product they are proud of instead of solely going through the motions.
- You are responsible for moving all of the furniture out of the designated areas. This includes stoves and refrigerators that are not built in (dishwashers rarely need to be removed). We do not move anything for any reason; we are not trained movers and our insurance does not cover damage to belongings or injury to technicians. Some companies offer this type of service and we do not care: it has never been something we are willing to take on. If you need a professional moving company, we are happy to recommend one; we do not endorse any company, we are simply just connecting you. You are welcome to find your own moving company that you are comfortable with, as well.
- In some circumstances, it’s necessary for us to remove doors or trim. This is not free, and the cost will be billed to you.
- We do not typically hang plastic because the machine dust collection tends to suck it into the machine. However, you can request that we plastic off what is applicable or you are welcome to do your own prep prior to our arrival.
- It is not an industry standard to tape off and protect your walls from dust, stain, or finish. Oftentimes, the adhesive on the tape, when it comes in contact with finishes, bonds to the paint and, upon removal, removes the paint. You must plan to have a painter come in to touch up your trim and/or walls upon completion: this is NOT included in your quote and is not our responsibility.
- Most people choose to vacate the home during the process: if you are uncomfortable with that, then you are of course welcome to be present. However, you are not welcome to watch us or help us: we appreciate your excitement about the project and your eagerness to assist, but we work best when undisturbed in our process. If you have a camera in your home, of course that is your right and we respect that, but we don’t like to be videotaped or photographed without our permission. You have hired us because you trust us as professionals and we need that autonomy to complete our work.
- We prefer being able to unlock and lock the home ourselves: there are circumstances in which we need to leave to go get supplies, get lunch, etc., and we do not want to leave your home or our supplies vulnerable. Please provide us with a temporary door code, garage code, temporary lockbox, or key.
If you don’t want your home on social media, please let us know. Most of our clients enjoy seeing it and are able to follow along with the process on our stories and posts. We respect your privacy and it is your right to decline. We will never publicly post your precise location, the front of your home, or the address.
- For refinished floors, the coating should behave as specified by your technicians: the finish should not flake off, easily scratch, bubble, or delaminate. That does not mean that it is impenetrable. Normal wear-and-tear is to be expected: your floor will never look as perfect as it does the day we finish. You must remember your wood floor is the largest piece of furniture you own and also gets the most use, so agonizing over every little imperfection will just bring you frustration. National Wood Floor Association guidelines specify that all imperfections must be visible from a standing position of four feet away, so crawling around on your hands and knees with a magnifying glass and a flashlight is not only rude but also not recommended. If you go looking that closely for something you will find it. It is possible that the final coat may catch tiny bits of debris, hair, bugs, or other foreign objects. We are not responsible for these small and unavoidable imperfections: we are human beings, not robots, working in a house, not an environment that is perfectly sanitized and free of all debris.
- For installed floors, we can only acclimate the product to a moment in time. There are certain times of year that are ideal, however most of our clientele do not deter their project based on these conditions. Wood is a natural product; it will expand and contract. We install our hardwood floors based on the National Wood Floor Association guidelines for best practices: that includes leaving proper expansion gaps, using a proper fastener schedule, using an appropriate moisture barrier, and acclimating the wood. After we are finish, it is your job to maintain the climate of your home throughout the year. For further information, see the installation section under our Services tab. We did not build your home, nor have we lived in it, so there are limitations to what we can guarantee should you choose not to follow our recommendations.
- For repairs
- In general, newly-repaired hardwood floorboards should not break. If we advise you that your floor is on its last legs and the repairs we make may not hold up, these repairs are not warrantied.
- Upon restoring floors in old homes, most of the time, people do not know the house’s history. It is possible that contaminants such as salt, chemicals, pet urine, or other substances can bleed back out of your floor after it has been finished. This may or may not cause a physical imperfection in the coating that can cause the sheen to differ; we are not responsible for such uncontrollable variables. You must remember that we are just refinishing the floor and we cannot control what happened to it before.
Who Does The Work
- We are proud to offer paid apprenticeship and benefits to all of our full-time technicians. We believed in paying a competitive and liveable wage and promoting a healthy work-life balance and allocation of time for hobbies outside of work, before it was cool. Our technicians are expected to provide 5-6 laboring hours per day; their paid lunch, as well as morning meeting and drive-time, are all included in the eight hour day. It is a common misconception that laboring people should be constantly in motion for as long as the project takes. Instead, we choose to identify a reasonable timeline and work to meet that timeline instead of trying to crank out as much as we can per day. We are quality versus quantity: we do not like to be rushed or scrutinized for our time management. Upper management is involved on a daily basis: you do not need to keep track of what your technicians are completing per day. As a team, we discuss timelines daily. The price you pay does not change based on how quickly we complete the job, therefore you shouldn’t worry about it.
- Have you ever done a very difficult home project, such as cleaning out the basement or garage, in which you are lifting very heavy things or exerting your body in a very physical way? You may have been able to work for an extended period of time one weekend. Imagine if you did that every day. You would not be able to allocate 10-12 hours of your time to be laboring, and neither can our technicians. The reason we have what some would consider a shorter work day than they’re used to seeing is so that we are not stretching ourselves too thin and pushing our technicians’ bodies into premature deterioration.
- The word subcontractor carries a negative connotation. You’ve probably heard a horror story from a friend or family member about how they hired a company and, unbeknownst to them, their project was sold to another party that did not deliver the experience that they were promised. Our subs are held to the same standards as every employee. You will often see subcontractors and employees working together on the same project. Our warranty, insurance, worker’s comp, all extend to every member of this company, whether they are an hourly employee or subcontractor. All payments are made to Cleveland Hardwood Restoration.
- For water-based finishes:
- Wait until 2 days (48 hours) have passed until placing furniture or other heavy items to be moved onto the floor; we recommend felt pads underneath any furniture legs or other things that could potentially be moved and scratch the floor.
- The curing process is finished in 5 days, after which area rugs can then be placed; any time before that could possibly cause discoloration and trapping of moisture in the floor.
- For oil-based finishes:
- Dry times per application can vary between 12-18 hours, based on the humidity outside, which makes completion timelines difficult to approximate.
- In general, we recommend that you do not walk on the floor, at all, for 72 hours upon completion. At that point, you can walk around in socks or house slippers. We recommend you do not place furniture for two full weeks.
- The finish is 75% cured in 2 weeks and fully cured in 30 days.
- Because this finish is slower to dry and cure than others, you should be ginger with it for the full 30 days.
- For natural oil finishes:
- These finishes are composed of linseed oil and beeswax and are considered oil-based, therefore are influenced by humidity and dry time can be difficult to approximate
- We recommend you do not walk on the floor for 48 hours. After 48 hours, socks or slippers are acceptable. (No bare feet, as the natural oil of your feet can sometimes react with the finish).
- Although there is an accelerant hardener, there is no plastic in this finish (unlike a polyurethane). Therefore, it is considered fully cured once it’s dry.
- Oil finishes are the most vulnerable to UV light and tend to lighten over time. If you place a rug down make sure you are using a natural rug underlayment such as wool or felt. Plastic underlayment products are likely to negatively affect the finish. If you place a rug down and do not move it for an extended period of time, you can expect a “picture frame” to appear and for the finish to be darker under the rug. To avoid this, we recommend taking rugs up during spring cleaning and keeping them away for a period of time. This allows the floor to “catch up.”
- Blinds and window treatments are recommended to control the amount of natural light that beams down on the flooring, no matter what type of finish you have.
- Oil finishes must be cleaned with the Rubio Monocoat surface cleaner. It is more like a conditioner and you should do the floor in its entirety as you will notice a difference in texture and sheen. In the event that you need to sanitize your oiled floor, it is fine to use vinegar or any other natural product sparingly. This will not be an issue unless used habitually.
- No natural wood product is immune to the animal claws. Most scratches happen before the floor is fully cured. We recommend, if possible, that your large pets stay off the floor until it is fully cured. Keeping their nails trimmed is also advised. Some clients put special socks or boots on their pet’s feet for extra protection. If you have chosen a finish with a slow cure time you can also purchase Ram Board or the equivalent and cover the floor so your animal does not ruin it prematurely. These products are breathable and still allow the floor to cure while being waterproof and also cardboard like, so they don’t slide around and “sand” the floor.
- All polyurethane finishes (oil OR water) should be cleaned with Bona hardwood floor cleaner with no dulling residue, as to prevent wearing the finish down with acidic cleaners or residual build up of wax-type cleaners (Murphy’s oil soap, Orange Oil, Old English, Method, Pledge, etc.)
- Steam mops are not recommended for any finish.
- Mop and bucket is not recommended for any finish. Dousing wood with water never ends well.
- Roomba or other robotic style cleaning machines are fine, as far as we know.
- For future floor care:
- For polyurethane products:
- Every 5-10 years, a buff and coat of the floor is recommended as to repair surface scratches, maintain consistency of wear, and refresh the sheen.
- For oiled products:
- Our specialist will evaluate what type of prep is necessary before your floor is reoiled. In general you should expect it to last for 18 months to three years
- Our preferred brand does make different maintenance products outside of the surface cleaner: your technician will educate your further
- For polyurethane products: