FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Jeffco Information

Can I visit your showroom?

Yes! We have a showroom, open to the public from 8am to 4pm. Click here for appointment availability. We offer many different options in solid and engineered flooring, prefinished and site-finished. Our trained showroom professionals can help guide you to the right product.

Interested in luxury vinyl plank and luxury vinyl tile? We’ve got it! Ask about our LVP and LVP showroom.

In addition to supply flooring, does Jeffco install, sand and finish flooring?

Jeffco does not offer any labor related to hardwood flooring. We work with and support the top flooring contractors in the region to make sure they have everything they need to create a beautiful hardwood floor.

How can I find a flooring contractor?

Give us a call! We’ll need a few details about the job and then we can provide you with multiple contractors who are suited for your job.

Where do you deliver and what's the cost?

We charge 8¢ per square foot to deliver to the ground floor. To deliver to the second story or basement, we charge 14¢ per square foot. Bundles are between 40 and 100 pounds each and each bundle has about 20 square feet. Let us do the heavy lifting for you! Typically we deliver within 2-3 business days, and occasionally the same day!

We deliver to Middle Tennessee, Southern Kentucky, and Northern Alabama. If you are unsure if you are in our delivery area, give us a call! We may be able to work something out.

General Flooring

What is the difference between site-finished and prefinished flooring?

Site-finished floors: Unfinished flooring is purchased, delivered and installed. The flooring is then sanded and the desired stains and/or sealers are applied followed by applying the finish coat on site.

Prefinished floors: A much simpler process, prefinished flooring comes ready to install. Some of the newer technology prefinished floors (ones coated with UV oil) are recommended to be cleaned with a special soap as soon as they are installed to keep the floors protected.

There are advantages to both types of flooring. Site-finished floors allow for more customization. The species of wood, the color of the stain and sealers, and the sheen of the flooring are all chosen with tons of different options available. Prefinished floors have these options already chosen in combinations that typically can’t be altered.

The plus side to prefinished floors is the installation process is typically quicker and cleaner. Site-finished floors require time for installation, then time for sanding. The sanding process can cause dust to build up in the room as it settles (though advancements in dust-containment equipment has helped mitigate this issue, if used properly.) After some combination of staining and sealing, the floors must be finished. There is a recommended waiting time between certain steps to make sure all of the products perform properly which may add time to the process.

Neither option is necessarily better than the other. Prefinished floors are better for some jobs and site-finished floors are better for others. The specific needs of your job must be considered when choosing which is right for you.

Can I purchase wooden floor vents?

Yes! We stock white oak and red oak vents in standard sizes of 2″x10″, 2″x12″, 4″x8″, 4″x10″, 4″x12″, 4″x14″, 6″x10″, 6″x12″, and 6″x14″. These are available in flush-mount and round-over (drop-in) options. We also stock limited amounts of hickory, walnut, maple, and brazilian cherry. If we don’t have it in stock, we can have it special ordered for you.

Have an uncommon size or a wall return vent? Give us a call! We can special order what you need.

Is engineered flooring fake wood?

This is a common misconception in hardwood flooring. Engineered flooring has a “lamella” which is a solid piece of hardwood as a top layer which once installed is indistinguishable from solid hardwood floors. “Engineered” simply refers to the layers under the lamella. Typically, multiple layers of plywood are glued together with alternating grain directions. This causes a more dimensionally stable product which can be installed in more situations than solid wood flooring. Engineered floors are not as susceptible to swelling and shrinking from seasonal variations of moisture in the air (higher in the summer causing cupping, lower in the winter causing gapping.) For example, solid hardwood flooring should never be installed below grade. The subfloor (usually concrete) is more likely to have higher moisture contents, so solid hardwood is likely to cup or even buckle if installed in a basement. Since engineered flooring responds less severely to changes in moisture, it should be used in basements or in any area that is going to be subject to swings in moisture content or relative humidity.

Pay attention to the wear layer. Not all engineered floors are created the same. Solid hardwood flooring has a wear layer of about 4mm. Engineered hardwood flooring can have wear layers anywhere from 1.5mm to 6mm and beyond. This means that some engineered floors can be sanded and refinished as many times as solid hardwood flooring. Some engineered floors can’t even be refinished once. And it doesn’t stop there. When shopping for engineered floors, pay attention to whether ‘mm’ or ‘mil’ is being used to measure the wear layer. While they sound similar when being pronounced, they are very different! ‘MM’ is an abbreviation for millimeter while ‘mil’ is an abbreviation for one thousandth of an inch. So while a 6 mil and a 6 mm wear layer sound very similar and may be confused, a 6 mil wear layer is equivalent to roughly 1.5 mm. This is four times thinner than a 6 mm wear layer! While they sound similar, the 6 mil wear layer likely can’t even be sanded once while the 6 mm wear layer can be sanded as many times or more than solid wood flooring.

What is 'green wood'?

All wood flooring that we sell has been kiln dried to a stable moisture level to minimize dimensional change. ‘Green wood’ is a slang term for wood that was not properly kiln dried. When a floor cups or buckles, a builder or contractor will often blame the wood shouting it was ‘green wood!’ This is almost never the case. All flooring that enters our warehouse is checked for proper moisture content to make sure it is within an acceptable range of 6-9% for our region.

If your contractor is telling you it was ‘green wood,’ ask them what the moisture content of the flooring was when installed. National Wood Flooring Association guidelines state that installation of material is acceptance of the flooring being as expected before installing. True ‘green wood’ would read off the charts on a moisture meter in which case the problem would be caught before installation.

Can I put wood flooring in my basement?

Yes! Engineered flooring is the recommended type of wood flooring for basements. Engineered flooring is not as susceptible to movement caused by variation in moisture contents. Use of a subfloor sealer like Bona R540 is also recommended to help guard against moisture issues that can be present in basements.

Solid flooring has been installed in many basements with varying results. You might get lucky and not have any issues. But your floors may also cup or buckle if excess moisture is present causing major problems. There are usually no remedies when this happens because installing solid wood flooring below grade is outside of NWFA guidelines, so product manufacturers will point to this as to why the material failed which voids any sort of warranty there may be on the product.

Is an underlayment required for my floors?

Houses with crawl spaces or concrete slabs both need some sort of moisture barrier to ensure any moisture coming from below the floors is slowed. Complete inhibition of moisture can cause mold build up, so it is important that moisture is allowed to move. There are a few different options for moisture barriers.

The most common form of moisture barrier is Aquabar “B”. Aquabar is a roll of paper (consisting of two layers of kraft paper laminated in asphalt) which is rolled out before installation begins. HWD-15 (sometimes called felt paper) is another option for moisture barrier that is similar to roofing felt. Most contractors prefer Aquabar over HWD-15 as it has a more optimal moisture permeation rate for wood flooring.

We are seeing a downward trend in paper being used as a moisture barrier. Subfloor sealers and adhesives are rapidly gaining in popularity. Bona R540 is a subfloor sealer that replaces the need for Aquabar or felt paper. R540 is rolled on the subfloor followed by a waiting period depending on the specific application. Flooring can then be installed over it with no need for paper.

More floors are being glued down now as the popularity of wider widths grows. Widths over 4″ are recommended to be full-trowel glued or glue-assisted (using nails or cleats in addition to strings of glue.) Bona R851 is a popular adhesive that has taken off in recent years. R851 and other adhesives help keep the floor in place by both attaching the flooring to the subfloor as well as acting as a moisture barrier to reduce the harm caused by moisture.

Combining Bona R540 as a subfloor sealer with R851 as an adhesive is one of the best ways to install a floor in terms of moisture protection.

Do petproof / waterproof / kidproof floors exist?

Short answer: no. Though many wood products and non-wood products alike claim to be indestructible or life-proof or water-proof, all flooring can be damaged given the right circumstances. Harder finishes like oil-based PoloPlaz Primero or water-based Bona Traffic HD will cut down on the amount of surface scratches, but if enough pressure is applied by a hard object, the finish will scratch or the wood will indent.

Even luxury vinyl plank products which make the largest claims as being indestructible are not completely safe from scratches. If an object harder than the floor is moved across the floors with enough force, it will scratch. No matter how ‘life-proof’ it is.

Can I put wood flooring outside?

Kiln-dried wood flooring is not recommended to be installed outdoors. Wide swings in moisture levels will cause the flooring to deteriorate quickly. Only flooring specially designed to be used outside should be installed.

Can I put wood floors in my bathroom?

It is not recommended to put wood floors in bathrooms since moisture from showers and sinks commonly cause wet floors. Luxury vinyl plank or tile is recommended in bathrooms.

How do I keep my furniture from scratching my floors?

We sell various sizes of floor glides that can be applied to the bottom of furniture. They can either be tapped in with a hammer into wooden legs or there is an adhesive stick-on option. The tap-ins will stay in chair legs better, but the adhesives work well on legs that cannot be nailed into.

Install

Can my floors be refinished?

There are several factors that go into whether your floors can be resanded. How many times has the floor previously been sanded? If the floor is engineered, how thick is the wear layer? If you are unsure, we recommend sanding a small section in a low traffic area like a closet or under a bed to see how the floors react. If possible, remove a strip of wood from a doorway or closet to further investigate how much of a wear layer your floors have left.

Can I get my floors refinished without making a mess?

Dust containment equipment has come a long way in the last few years. Dust containment is quickly becoming the norm for contractors. If properly used, dust containment greatly decreases the amount of dust that is created by refinishing. It does not completely eliminate the mess. Sectioning off rooms may also help to cut down on the amount of dust created on a project.

I'm building a new house. When should I order my hardwood flooring?

The National Wood Flooring Association recommends that heat and air conditioning be operational for at least two weeks before installing hardwood floors. This ensures a stable environment when the floors are installed. Installing floors later in the process also protects them against wear and tear caused by other trades like painters or trim carpenters.

Oftentimes, builders will install the floors earlier in the process because it is easy. One of the top questions that we have to answer every summer is why did these floors cup? The answer is usually that the floors were installed in the winter with no heat on. In the winter, flooring lacks moisture so it shrinks. In the summer, moisture is reintroduced via humidity in the air and the floors expand. Since the floors were not installed in a stable environment, the effects of the moisture are exaggerated and the floors will cup or even buckle.

How should I budget the cost of installing and finishing my floors?

Consider the labor involved. The joke we use in the industry is your floors can be done quickly, done well, or done cheap. But usually you can only have two. If it’s done quickly and cheap, it probably wasn’t done well. If it was done well and cheap, it probably wasn’t quick. And if it was done quickly and well, it probably wasn’t cheap.

There are many factors that go into your labor cost. A job that has five rooms and a hallway may cost more than the same square footage that is only one room. The materials used greatly affects the overall job cost as well. If floors are left natural and only coated with oil-based finish, they are going to be much cheaper than a multi-step stain process coated with water-based finish.

Should I acclimate my new wood flooring?

Wood flooring should only be acclimated in certain situations. Please only acclimate flooring to normal living conditions. If the heat and air conditioning is not operational, acclimating floors to the house will hurt your chances of having a beautiful floor. Acclimation is only necessary if the flooring and subfloor are outside the optimal moisture content ranges for installation which should be checked with a moisture meter.

Is there a way to install floors wider than 4" without them cupping?

Yes! Many builders and contractors will shy away from wider widths because of jobs in the past that have gone wrong. The wider a floor is the more closely moisture contents should be watched. The subfloor and flooring need to be within 1-2% moisture content when installing. A subfloor sealer like Bona R540 will help to ensure the success of a floor by providing the optimal moisture movement under the floors as well as protecting against higher moisture contents.

Engineered flooring is a great option for wider widths. Engineered floors are made so that they respond less to changes in moisture. Though they are generally more expensive than solid floors, engineered floors are optimal for wider widths of flooring.

Sand & Finish

Can I make my floors look raw and unfinished?

Raw and rustic is a very popular look. Several products have been introduced in recent years to accomplish this look. Bona NaturalSeal and PoloPlaz Pearl are both sealers with a little bit of white pigment in them which creates the raw look. These products are not easy to work with so talk to your contractor about using them before the project begins. Lap lines are very common if not applied properly.

Bona Traffic Naturale is a common finish used as a top coat but any matte finish will help create a raw look.

Bona Craft Oil or Rubio Monocoat can also be used to create a raw look as they can make the floor look and feel raw.

What is the best way to choose a stain color?

Our showroom has all Duraseal, Bona, and PoloPlaz stain colors on white oak and red oak boards. The boards also show the difference in color between water-popped and non-water-popped.

Paper and online color charts may also be used but are not considered to be accurate. We recommend always sanding a patch and testing stain colors on your floor to ensure the right color is chosen. Stain samples should use a similar sanding sequence as will be used when the entire floor is stained as this can greatly affect how a stain looks. Different amounts of stain will soak into the floor if the final cut is done with 80 grit as opposed to 120 grit causing the stain to appear lighter or darker.

Does Jeffco match stain colors?

Jeffco will custom match stain for trim pieces and treads for flooring purchased at Jeffco. For flooring not purchased at Jeffco, we can advise which stain color will be closest but make no guarantee on a stain match. We are only familiar with the products we sell and cannot divert resources to matching products that we did not sell.

What is water popping?

Water-popping is the process of adding water to unfinished floors. The water opens the grain of the wood and allows more stain to soak in. This usually makes the stain a little darker. It also makes the process of staining a little more forgiving for the contractor–mistakes are not as easily spotted. For this reason, many floors are water-popped before staining.

How long should I wait to walk on my floors after they have been finished or refinished?

This varies by which kind of finish is used. Many products can be walked on in as little as 24 hours and can hold up to light traffic within 3-4 hours. Floor finishes remain susceptible to scuffing or marring until they are fully cured. Most water-based finishes are fully cured in a week. Oil-based products can take as long as a month to fully cure. Many of these details can be found on our website under individual products.

All dry times and cure times are based on ideal conditions. Extreme temperature or humidity can greatly alter these times.

What's the difference between oil-based and water-based finish?

For many years, oil-based finishes were the only types of finishes applied. Durable and cheap, oil-based finishes are still used widely today. Due to advancements in technology and increasing awareness of VOC levels, water-based products have become popular in recent years. Some contractors unfamiliar with water-based finish will try to say that water-based products are not as durable as oil-based products. While this may have been true in the past, it is not true today. Water-based products dry in a fraction of the time as oil-based. There is very little odor as the VOC levels are much lower in water-based finish. Plus, oil-based finishes amber over time; water-based finishes stay a lot clearer and affect the color of the floors far less than oil-based finishes.

What is the difference between a one-component and two-component water-based finish?

A two-component finish needs a hardener added before it is ready to use whereas a one-component finish is ready to use out of the bottle. Two-component finishes are more durable and chemical resistant than one-component finishes. Several new one-component products such as Pallmann Power and PoloPlaz 1K tout that they are almost as hard as a two-component while still being a one-component. Two-component finishes must be used within a few hours of mixing so there are benefits to working with a one-component finish such as a lower waste factor.

Does Jeffco have low VOC products?

Yes! Two-component hardwax oils such as Bona Craft Oil or Rubio Monocoat stain and finish the floors in one step and are 0% VOC. Bona Craft Oil can be topcoated with Bona Traffic HD (low VOC) allowing for differing levels of sheen. Most water-based products are low VOC. If you are worried about VOCs, steer clear of oil-based products and especially older technology like moisture-cured finishes.

Will the stains and finishes you sell hold up outside?

No. Products specifically intended for exterior use should be used outside. Products like Rubio Hybrid Wood Protector are fit for outside use.

Should I use Minwax stain?

We do not recommend the use of Minwax stains. Minwax stain is intended for furniture and similar applications–not wood flooring. Duraseal QuickCoat Stains are made by the same company but contain a sealer in them which is needed for hardwood–especially when water-based products are used. When Minwax stains are used, a sealer is often needed on top of the stain which negates any potential monetary savings. Duraseal Quick Coat Stain, Bona DriFast Stain, and PoloPlaz Supreme Stain are all stains that are intended for hardwood flooring and have sealers in them.

Maintenance & Repair

What should I clean my floors with?

We recommend using a Pallmann or Bona floor mop kit. Jeffco sells professional grade cleaners which have stronger degreasers ensuring a cleaner floor than residential cleaners found in grocery or hardware stores.

Be careful using As Seen On TV or products you may see on social media as they may make your floors appear cloudy or erode the finish off of your floors. Some cleaning products such as Orange Glo or Pinesol may cause problems when trying to refinish your floors.

There are several contractors in the area who offer deep cleaning services. Be sure this deep cleaner is intended for hardwood floors! Bona’s PowerScrubber is the main deep cleaner in the market. Interested in having your floor deep cleaned? Give us a call! We can recommend a contractor.

How can I repair a scratch in my floors?

Floor scratches can be a tricky thing to fix. Much depends on how bad the scratch is and which way the scratch runs relative to the boards. If the scratch is confined to one or two boards, a skilled contractor can tape the area off and sand and refinish the affected boards. Caution should be exercised before deciding to attempt a repair. Repaired boards may not perfectly match the surrounding boards, especially with older floors. UV exposure gradually changes the way wood floors look. When wood is sanded, part of this UV exposure can be reversed which may take a while to even back out. Consider if the scratch is bad enough to risk having the whole board stick out.

If the scratch runs perpendicular to the direction the boards run, the complexity of the fix increases dramatically. Since more boards must be sanded, the likelihood of the spot sticking out after refinishing increases. It is important to consider if it is actually worth attempting to fix the scratch.

Hardwax oil products such as Bona Craft Oil or Rubio Monocoat are much easier to fix. One of the main selling points for these products other than being low VOC is that spot fixing is considerably easier. These products are one-and-done products which essentially combine the stain, sealer, and finish all into one step. This increases the likelihood of a scratch being able to be fixed by a skilled flooring contractor.

Why are my floors cupped?

Floors cup for one reason– as a response to moisture. There are multiple sources of moisture that can be the culprit in a cupped floor.

Was the heat and air conditioning working before installation for at least two weeks? Failure to provide a stable environment before installation can cause many issues with cupping down the road–especially if the floors are installed in the hottest or coldest months of the year.

Was the moisture content of the flooring and subfloor checked before installation? The two readings should be within 3-4% for solid flooring less than 3″ wide and within 1-2% for solid flooring wider than 3″ wide. These readings can be taken with a moisture meter.

What is the relative humidity of the area? If it is outside of the 30%-50% optimal threshold, this could cause issues for your flooring.

Is the roof or an appliance leaking? A cupped floor can oftentimes be an indicator of a slow leak. If the leak is only in one area, this could be something to look into.

How can I fix my cupped floors?

We recommend waiting a full seasonal cycle to see how the floor reacts to the change in seasons. If a cupped floor is sanded at the wrong time, it can reverse the problem and create a crown instead of a cup (instead of edges being higher than the middle of the board like a cupped board, the edges of a crowned board are lower than the middle of the board.)

If the floors lay flat in the winter and are cupped in the summer, this is normal! If the floors have gaps between boards in the winter and the gaps close together in the summer, this is normal! Refinishing or filling these floors may fix the floors for one part of the seasonal cycle but could cause problems in other parts of the cycle.

Can gaps between boards be fixed?

Many houses have one or two pronounced gaps in the flooring somewhere in the house during winter months. These are usually not able to be fixed. This gap occurs where the joists in the subfloor switch directions. The longitudinal swelling of these perpendicular joists cause the gap. Many people try to fill this gap. While this may cause a temporary fix to the solution, this filler or putty will typically be squeezed out of the gap in summer months when the floors naturally swell and close the gap.

Will tape harm my floors?

We don’t recommend it. Nothing should be taped to your floors before the finish has completely cured. For water-based finish, this can be as soon as a week. For oil-based finishes, this may be as long as a month! As a rule, it is best to avoid taping anything to your floors. Tape may damage the finish or leave a residue that is difficult to remove. If you must tape something to your floors, test in an area like a closet to see how the tape reacts to your floors.

Are floors able to be dried out after being flooded?

It depends. If floors are simply cupped from a minor flood, there are contractors in the area who have drying machines which may be able to flatten them out without sanding. This all depends on the severity of the flood. Resanding the floors may be an option but oftentimes floors must be ripped out after a serious flood.

How do I protect my floors during construction?

Yes! We sell multiple products that can protect your floors, with varying price and effectiveness. FortiBoard, Floorotex, and Rosin Paper are all options.

FortiBoard is the toughest option. It is essentially a tough non-corrugated cardboard that can be rolled out over your floors.

Floorotex is not quite as tough but has its own advantages. It is thinner and thus can be rolled out over stairs.

Both FortiBoard and Floorotex are breathable and do not trap moisture underneath them. They are the recommended options.

Rosin paper is the cheapest option. Rosin paper can help protect floors against paint splatter or other minor flaws but does not hold up well against scratches and dents. Caution should be used as rosin paper can sometimes cause discoloration to floors.

It is not advised to cover your floors before they are completely cured. This may slow or stop the curing process causing issues when removed.

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