Project Preparations

  • 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. 
  • Contaminants
    • 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

  • Employees
    • 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. 
  • Subcontractors
    • 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

Floor Care

  • 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