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Hardwood Floors

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Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > House & Garden > Floors > Hardwood Floors


Reviews: Refinishers & Installers Questions and Advice

2010 - 2013 Reviews


Hardwood flooring installer

March 2013

We bought Brazilian Cherry flooring to do a DIY project for our second story. With work and life commitments, we have only completed one room and are looking for someone that will install the remaining 1000 square feet. We would appreciate someone that will quote reasonable prices, be nice to work with and have a positive attitude. Thanks for any help. RK


Andrew Huerta is amazing. He's also cheaper than folks you'll find at some of the fancier stores. He did a finish-in-place in our home with a custom stain and it's absolutely amazing. http://www.yelp.com/biz/floors-by-andrew-woodland Tell him that Leslie sent you. leslie
Call Vinny at T and T Flooring (510) 536-8333. Over the years, they worked on 2 of our houses and they do great work. My brother just had them refinish his floors and he's happy with the quality of their work. They also install floors. They are the first floor company for me to call. happy with T and T Floors
I highly recommend Mark Alcott of Bullet Proof Flooring. They refinished all of the floors in my home and they were completely professional, very reasonably priced (the lowest quote, actually) and my floors are stunning. I understand that Mark also installs hardwood flooring and am in the process of getting that done in one room but I've yet to see the finished product. If his installation work is anything like his refinishing work, he's incredible. The best part was the cleanliness of the crew. They left my house pristine - not even loose sawdust. This is rare in any contractor. Mark, the owner of Bullet Proof Floors, can be reached at (510)314-5839. Hannah
We have been incredibly pleased with wood floors installed by Angel (925-550- 3889). He has done about 2000 feet of bamboo and laminate in our home, plus a beautiful job with baseboards/trim. He is very responsible, trustworthy and efficient. His prices are quite reasonable and he stands behind his work. Breese

We need to get the hardwood floors refinished

Aug 2012

My husband and I just bought a new house and we need to get the hardwood floors refinished, have some rooms re-painted, and do some plumbing work. The house is in North Berkeley. Looking for recommendations for each of these 3 areas. Thank you!! Caitlin


I just had every floor in my 1926 Craftsman home refinished. They are beautiful and Mark, the owner, made sure to make the floors in keeping with the old feel of the floors and house. He advised against sheen as well as a lot of other really esthetically creative advice. I am amazed Mark and his crew are absolutely reasonably priced, totally trustworthy and clean. I can't give a bigger thumbs up. And he also lays hardwood floors and keeps the period looking the same! Bullet Proof Floors owned by Mark Alcott.(510) 314-5839. HANNAH

Hardwood floor repair and refinishing

April 2011

I have hundred year-old fir floors in my home that need some real TLC. I'm partial to independent flooring folks as I've had mixed reviews with larger companies in the past. Can anyone recommend someone local who you've had positive experience with? Thanks! Maria


We've had excellent results with Christy Tomalonis. It's been a few years, but here is the phone number I had for her: 510-301-5900. Jody L
Lori Ortiz is a pleasure to work with and does a terrific job. She works solo, and clearly loves making old wood beautiful again. Just recently, Lori restored the floor in two rooms in my home, both Douglas fir, and I couldn't be more pleased with them. I can't speak to the repair concern, but the restoration was great. She also hauled away my 20+ year old dusty rug. Reasonable rates; very good communicator. Her number in Martinez is 925-788-3599. Jen

Hardwood to match 100 year old floors

Oct 2010

We have to replace the hardwood in one room in our house due to a flood, but the existing floors are about 100 years old. We have been having trouble finding hardwood to match. They are white oak and about 2'' wide and I need either 1/4'' or 1/2'' thick boards. I imagine lots of homes in Berkeley have this type of hardwood. Has anyone found a store that has something like this? I have checked Lumber Liquidators and the Floor Store with no luck. Please help! -Tired of living without floors :(


You should know that after the oak is finished, it will look different from how it looks before finishing. When we put on an addition in our 100-y.o. bungalow, we had new oak flooring installed right alongside the old (where walls were removed), and after the floor was finished (clear, no stain), you really couldn't tell the old from new. Sorry, I don't know where my contractor bought it, but maybe get a few samples and put a finish coat on to see how it ends up looking. It may not be as far off as you expect. R.K.
I know who can do this for you, but this place is at a relatively high price point. The company is called Tree Lovers Floors and they are based in San Francisco. I'm an interior designer, and I have worked with them quite a bit. What you are looking for is going to be costly, but they have about 30 years in the business and are the best floor people in the Bay Area, so if there is an alternate solution out there, they are going to be the best ones to advise you. Christopher Hildreth is the owner. At times he can be a bit abrupt but he's the best in the business. Good luck! Tree Lovers Floors 664 Natoma St San Francisco, CA 94103-2720 (415) 863-6833 Best, Mariko

Recommendations for hardwood floor refinishing

Oct 2010

Looking for any updated (all postings feel very outdated) recommendations for someone local (or business) that you have had good experience in refinishing hardwood floors. We have a small (1100 sq ft) craftsman that desparately needs a floor facelift thank you debbie


I recommend you use ORLANDO HERRERA of Hardwood floors for less 415-240-7801...We just got our entire house including the closets.... hardwood floors refinished. We were told by another floor expert that our floors were in such bad shape that they couldn't be saved...The floors were in bad shape...there was a lot of water stains and rotten wood that needed to be replaced. One bedroom even had tile glued direclty to the hardwood. Orlando came in peeled away all the tile glued to the original floors. Replaced the bad areas of wood through out the house build a brand new thrushold in the dinning room and even put back the original wood trim in around the fire place....Him and his crew came in every day on time and he finished the job on time and on budget.....His bid came in the cheapest as well....I have photos of before and after if you would like to see them e-mail me I'll send over the file...I'm very pleased with his work... Sharon
We are still very pleased with the work Above Grade did on our hundred-year-old hardwood floors a couple of years ago. They still look great, and the repairs they did are top notch. We are doing a few rooms at a time, and will call them again this year when we get ready to do the remaining floors in our house.

Hardwood Floor Refinisher

March 2010

Can anyone recommend a really good but not too expensive hardwood floor refinisher? Homeowner in Thousand Oaks


Pieter Van der Muellen at 510.268.3768 does wonderful work with hardwood floors. ingrid
You might try Jesse Goldstein (415) 499-1449 in San Rafael. He's got a lot of experience (HI vacation spots, Napa Valley estate; Oakland hills/E. Bay, Marin/S.F. clients) and might be looking for work this coming month. He replaced part of a living room hardwood (oak) floor and repaired a knotty pine ceiling that had nails go through it. I thought he did a good job. This was about three or four years ago, so I don't know what he's charging now. He's personable and friendly and you can always call and arrange for an estimate. -- Happy with the wood surfaces in S.R.
We had our older oak floors refinished by Above Grade Floors (510-882-2561) in May 2009 and were very happy with them. The floors had a lot of wear and areas of water damage from the previous owners. Lam and his crew replaced a number of floor boards and stained and refinished everything for a seamless look. They did a great job, were quick and cleaned up after themselves, and the price was quite reasonable compared to other companies we received bids from. Cristina

Question about hardwood floor contractors

Feb 2010

We are in the process of getting estimates for a hardwood floor in our family room in El Cerrito, approximately 450 sq ft. Does anyone have any experience with Amber Flooring? How about with Robert Gomez and Jeff Nelson of Trammel-Nelson Wood Floors? Any recommendations?


I can't recommend Lucie Balduc/In-Home Restoration (800-898-4708) highly enough for anything having to do with wood floors. Or anything made out of wood, for that matter. For my new floor she got me the best deal on both wood and installation and she finished it with her own proprietary finish that lasts twice as long as the commercial ones most refinishers use. Lucie also restored and refinished my delicate french antiques (including a parqueted table with hundreds of tiny little insets) so that they're breathtaking. She's an absolute magician with wood as well as a pleasure to work with. You can tell from the outset that you're in the hands of a master. And, best of all, she's very reasonably priced. Harriet
Hardwood Floor Repair/Refinish If your hardwood floors are in need of repair, refinishing or you need new floors installed, I can recommend Waldemar Operacz (''Valdi''). Valdi has helped me with two projects-- new install and refinish/repair--in the past. He's reasonable, does good work and shows up when he says he will. He also sticks to his bid. Feel free to call Valdi at 925-212-8707 for a bid for your hardwood floor project. Jennifer, a happy customer
I would like to highly recommend Number One Hardwood Floor based in Alameda. I had them install new kitchen hardwood floor and refinish all of my oak floors in my craftsman home. They did an excellent job and the price was very competitive. Tai was a dream to work with, he did what he said he was going to do, and kept to the schedule. Their number is (415) 203-3440 David C.

2008 - 2009 Reviews


What to do about fir subfloor? new flooring?

Sept 2009

I've recently purchased my first home and like most homes in the East Bay, it is a bit of an antique/project! We pulled up the carpet and were expecting to see hardwood floors -like most antique homes in the bay area- but found instead a fir subfloor. It is, to be kind, a hot mess. I had thought I wanted to refinish it, but being that it is the subfloor there is no further insulation between it and the basement, so both sound and cold come through with ease. So now I'm leaning towards installing new hardwoods. But to do it myself or have it installed is the question. Anyone have input regarding installing Ikea floors themselves? Ease of project and the result? Anyone used Empire floors to do a full install? Any local installers recommended? Of course, I'd like to do this as cheaply as possible as well! Help please. floor ditherer


Hi, we just put a wood floor in our kitchen, replacing linoleum. Empire and Abbey don't do hardwood. They only do Pergo-type engineered wood floors. We got estimates from Lumber Liquidators, Amber, Tulip, and Alpine Wood Floors. Alpine came in the lowest, and we are very happy with the floor. It was installed and finished over a week, when we were away (finish is stinky until dry, and they put 3 coats on) Call Tony Pham 510-919-0801. After the fact we talked to Granite Expo and they told us they could have beaten the price; may be worth looking into. heidi
I have remodeled several homes, and here is my advice: Ikea laminate is junk, and so is most of what they sell at Home Depot. Whatever you do don?t use Home Depot installers! Empire is also a rip-off. They sell junk and charge a fortune. I suppose it might be OK if you?re just staging a home for instant resale ? but I just don?t like to use those companies that advertise so much on TV. SOMEBODY is paying for all that advertising, and I don?t want it to be me. Go to the Floor Store, and look at the laminates they have on clearance. You can get a MUCH better product for the same money - -especially if you don't need an entire house full. Some of the laminates are thicker than others -- there is a difference in quality. Get them to give you a piece, and then compare the thickness, and the durability of the finish, etc. Laminates aren't hard to install, but it went much faster when I had my son helping me, and he did all the cutting. Lumber Liquidators has some great pre-finished hard wood floors. The pre-finished stuff is tougher because the finish can be baked on in a factory. When you install raw, and finish in your own house, you're limited because of the toxicity of the finishes, and they aren?t as durable. But, the cost of installation of hardwood needs to be considered. If I were planning to stay in the house forever (and didn?t have dogs), I would go hardwood. The hardwood guys I?ve used are Sunshine Floors 510-223-4300 or David & Sons 925-676-8801. They are both honest, and reasonable. The product I like the most is Mannington Adura Vinyl flooring that looks like hardwood (because I have dogs, and worry about scratching, and cleaning). You can install that yourself too. Well this is probably more information than you wanted. . . Good luck, Marilyn Marilyn D.
We recently had our hall floor redone by Lori Otiz. She owns her own flooring and refinishing business and is fabulous to work with. She specializes in saving that old fir in very creative ways (it's worth a mint!)and she will come out at no charge to give you estimates and advice. She can be reached at (925) 788-3599. And, if you do need to lay a new floor, she'll teach you about types of flooring, floor levels and upkeep! Julie
Sept 2009

Does anyone have a good person to do floor refinishing? I need someone who can match old wood and do it in a timely and cost effective manner. Thanks sharon


Julio Otzoy is a master floor refinisher. My floors were dessicated by the sun, deeply stained and cracked in some places. They were completely restored. Where wood was replaced it is impossible to tell the old wood from the new. Delightfully, when the job was finished every speck of dust was gone. He is honest, extremely hardworking and an all around joy to work with. You can reach him at Julio Otzoy-Leiva / ON-LINE FLOORING & CARPET P 510-260-5317 or otzoy@yahoo.com I think he also does tile and carpet. Jolie
June 2008

The recommendations for hardwood floor refinishers are a bit dated. Does anyone have some recent suggestions? We have random pattern Oak floors. About 1200 sq. feet to refinish and our house is temporarily vacant. Thanks! CV


Robert Dodd of Norcal Flooring did an excellent job for us and we highly recommend his work. He refinished all the hardwood floors in our home using a ''dustless'' system and also installed a new bamboo floor. Check out their website at www.norcalflooring.com for more details and/or give them a call at (510)653-3013. Rusty
I highly recommend Joey Yovino-Young, who I found on BPN. He was reasonably priced and worked us into his schedule to get everything done when we needed it. He did a great job matching new wood to our existing floors and would not finish until he felt it was perfect. We left him in our house for the week while we were out of town, and he understood exactly what we were going for and had it exactly right for us when we returned. I can't say enough about Joey and his professionalism (and skills). joey@llamachew.com Alex

2005 - 2007 Reviews


Nov 2007

We have twice hired a wonderful floor craftsman for a new floor installation and renewal of an old oak floor. He is great at what he does, is tidy, honest, and reasonably priced. I have friends who have also hired him, and loved him as well. He is: Joey Yovino-Young joey@llamachew.com Lindsey


I had posted a positive review of Mark Grochowicki based on his work refinishing our hardwood floors. But when I posted we had not yet had our bamboo floors installed by him. Well, it turns out his friend does the work for installation. And while the price was good and the work seems fine, his friend moved our furniture in the process and damaged it quite badly. While I was upset that our (expensive) furniture had been damaged, I was equally disappointed that his friend never mentioned the damage and apparently wouldn't have said a thing if I hadn't mentioned it first. Based on that, I would have to downgrade my previous glowing review. Not so happy with floor guy now
Nov 2007

I am having existing hardwood floors refinished as well as new hardwood floors installed in my kitchen. I've heard mixed things about Tulip and Amber. I've heard great things on BPN about Tony at Specialty Floors but am a little reluctant to go with someone who doesn't have a showroom with plenty of samples to look at. (Maybe this is silly?) I'd appreciate any feedback about these places--or somewhere else you highly recommend. Needing help


I can't speak directly to your question, but I have to recommend Joey Yovino-Young who refinished the original fir floors in our almost 100 year old house. He's a one-man show and has been doing this work for years and is a true craftsman. He takes great care, knows his stuff and charges what I thought was a reasonable price (included in his bid was painstaking work of removing old paint from the hallway, stairs and RISERS--he was the only person who would even consider doing the risers, because it is so much work). He did a spectacular job, and anyone who comes over to our house marvels at our floors. You can reach him at joey@llamachew.com. I know he does installations too, but we just used him for refinishing. I had a number of bids, from Tony and Tulip too, but I was most impressed with Joey. I also really liked that he does his own work and doesn't have a crew who comes in to do his work. Feel free to contact me for more information jvo
This goes back many moons to 2000 when we bought our house. We used Amber to refinish one floor and lay another. They did a beautiful job on the refinishing. Really wonderful. But the floor they put down was not done to my standard. There were gaps, some parts were not exactly level, the stain that they put on top bubbled in some areas. And when it gone down to the 95% finish mark, they walked and it became impossible to get them to come back and finish the details. Was Very disappointed at the time.
If you have an installer that you like (such as the one you mentioned in the post), you can get your flooring product from the ''Handlogger's Flooring'' in Point Richmond. They provide flooring and lumber for commercial and residential. They have a website where you can find out their location, etc. http://www.handloggers.com/ . They have a huge amount of materials to look at in their showroom. Most of the products that I liked were in the $10.00 per square foot range but they have stuff as low as $5.00 and there is a price break with greater amounts over 500 sq. ft. I think. anon
We used Amber in the past and they did a good job but left alot of dus. We recently did a remodel and had new floors installed by Sawmill flooring of 580. They did a great job with good prices. We have new hardwoo and bamboo and brazialn cherry prefinished. It all looks great. They are very neat and finished on time. virginia
As recomended by BPN over the past, I got 3 quotes from Tulip, Amber and Above Grade. Turned out, Above Grade Floors had lowest bid so we hired them. Overall experience was very pleasant, on time, within our very tight budget and schedule. After few days that we're out for coating process, we came home with beautiful floor and clean home. We would recomend them to anyone who need floor refinished. Their number is 510 882 2561. Kim
I didn't see the original question, but i'd like to report a good experience with NBA Hardwood Floors (510) 812-2706 (based in Oakland). They just refinished our hardwood floors and we think that they did a great job for a reasonable price. I dealt with Anna. Dan
We just had a very small job done with Tulip and they did not match the wood very well when filling holes/grooves. When I called back to let them know we were not satisfied (as they advertise that they guarantee satisfaction) with the mismatch in color, Avi ?the manager ?owner said he didn't understand what I was talking about when its pretty simple to understand that the wood filler does not match the wood very well. They do advertise that they have 14 different crews so maybe we just got a bad one and maybe he was just having a bad day. Anon
Nov 2007

Does anyone have recommendations of someone to install, stain, and finish a hardwood floor (about 1000 square feet) in the Lafayette/Walnut Creek area? We're looking for someone who does high quality work at reasonable prices.


We have twice hired a wonderful floor craftsman for a new floor installation and renewal of an old oak floor. He is great at what he does, is tidy, honest, and reasonably priced. I have friends who have also hired him, and loved him as well. He is: Joey Yovino-Young joey@llamachew.com Lindsey
Dan Leonard of Craftsman Floor Company (licensed) is THE best. They are located in Kensington but I'll bet they will go through the tunnel. Dan and his guys are awesome. They are prompt,friendly, professional,honest and best of all do great work. They have installed hardwood flooring and it is beautiful. They also re-finished some of my hardwood floors and the other (old) ones look so shabby now. Better book him before I do! Call Dan at 510-235-5156 Happy Feet
I'm pleased to recommend Mark Grochowicki, who is in the process of refinishing the hardwood floors of our new home in Orinda. We received his name from our realtor, who used Mark to install and refinish the floors in his own home. Mark's bid for the work was the cheapest of the four I received, and his work has been terrific. Just as important, he is trustworthy, honest, and an all around nice guy. Due to a mistake on my part, I chose the wrong color finish for our floors. He offered to change it and charge us just the cost of the materials! And he's going to take care of it four days after I alerted him to the issue! You can't ask for more helpful or prompt service. His cell phone number is (925)323-3342. Tell him that Gloria in Orinda referred him. Gloria
Call the Handloggers wood flooring in Point Richmond. Although they do not install, they keep a list of installers that they can recommend and if they ever hear any negative feedback about any installer it is immediately dropped from their list. They are a commercial and residential wood flooring supplier. I just stopped in there the other day to scope things out and I was very very impressed at the depth and breadth of knowledge about wood flooring plus their product selection was great, and you can get ballpark prices right away (unlike another place that I looked at). The owner spent about 1/2 hour with me explaining the pros and cons of various lines of woods, budget issues, etc. to help me figure out what is the best thing for us. I would highly recommend calling and stopping by (even though I know you're just looking for installers).
Handloggers Flooring, LLC.
305 Cutting Blvd.
Pt. Richmond, CA 94804
Phone: (510) 231-6190 or (800) 461-1969
http://www.handloggers.com/contact_us/index.html
Hours of Operation:
Monday Thru Friday - 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
anon
Nov 2007

Does anyone have experience using Norcal flooring for a hardwood floor refinishing job (with some repair work too)? They do dustless sanding and use a low VOC water-based sealer and finish (made by BonaKemi) which seems good to me. I'd appreciate any input on your experience with their services. K


We're using them right now. They installed new hardwood in a couple rooms downstairs and engineered wood for our entire upstairs. The job isn't finished yet, but so far I've been very pleased with their work, their responsiveness, their professionalism, and their flexibility in accommodating our schedule and other work going on in the house. Their bid was one of the higher ones we received, but not by much. I did like the thoroughness of their proposal, though. Everything was clearly itemized. Kara
Oct 2007

We are thinking about hardwood in the hallway to match the entry. Any leads on craftsmen appreciated. Alice


Talk to Paul at Bay Area Floor Services 1-408-360-8082 He does a super job at reasonable prices. He will let you buy materials and charge you for labor, or he will buy the materials and break down all the charges for you so you know exactly what you are paying for. I am not sure whether he does tile now (he tiled a bathroom for us and did a super job) but he does a great job on hardwood and laminate. He did laminate throughout our old house 9 years ago, which looks as good today as the day he installed it, and just finished yesterday installing natural maple in our new place (he installed the wood floor and then sanded and sealed it in place). His employees sealed off the closets and hall to minimize dust from the sanding. He has refinished hardwood floors for my sister and her neighbor as well, and everyone has been very happy with his work. Susan
I'm posting to recommend a good flooring installer. We had Ross Cordero of RC Flooring install new Marmoleum in our kitchen and bath. Marmoleum is a great, green product by the way! But Ross did an excellent job and was super nice. He works with Berkeley Design Center, but I think also does jobs not connected to them. Wemre really pleased with our flooring and Imd highly recommend Ross. RC Flooring 510.222.1210. jv
I would like to say that Dale Swirsding did a great job cleaning and rewaxing our hardwood floors. They look beautiful and are not slippery. Dale was really helpful, and I would recommend him without hesitation. I was grateful to find his name on the Berkeley Parents Network. Liz in Berkeley
July 2007
I just showed my in-laws our upstairs remodel and was beaming proudly over the little bit of wood flooring we added where an outside balcony had been. I remembered I wanted to share the flooring guys with BPN! I found Juan Reyes (510 932 4876) here and was thrilled with his work. Fast, affordable, creative, and quality craftsmanship. They kept the existing flooring clean and created a seamless joint between the new and old. They were pleasant and seemed to really enjoy their work. We certainly love the outcome. Kim
June 2007
My wife and I used Kim from Number One Hardwood Floors back in 2000. We used him again this year and his work is fantastic. He and his crew's work is excellent. Kim shows up on time, finishes on time and is flexible when change is needed. Best of all, his prices are very reasonable, especially given the outstanding quality and workmanship. He knows what he's doing, and the end product is a high quality new wood floor, steps, and his wood floor refinishing is also wonderful. He works in the East Bay, San Francisco, and Marin. His phone number is (510) 220 2683
-Kevin A
June 2007
I can recommend Tony of Specialty Hardwood Floors. I got his name from the Parents' Network, and he was as described by others: very efficient, worked quickly, very reasonable price and did some extra work at no charge.....fixing some loose stairs. He & his crew moved my heavy furtniture out of the room (and back) and repaired two very discolored parts of the floor so well I couldn't see where he had done the work. He was very prompt and helpful and the floor looks beautiful. His phone is 510-387-3155. joank
April 2007

A glowing review for Joey Yovino-Young. He just finished a very involved refinish/replacement floor job at our home. You could not ask for a nicer, neater, more professional fellow. He is interested in local work in Berk/OAK and nearby. Joey is honest and his rates are very reasonable. joey@llamachew.com Lindsey


March 2007

We just had our new floors done by Reborn Floors in Berkeley-- they did the job within a week, and Minh, the manager, was extremely thoughtful about calling us and telling us about timing. The team of guys who did the work were super friendly and talented. Their prices are competitive and they have a nice showroom on San Pablo. julie


August 2006

Juan Reyes is finishing up a job replacing our kitchen floor and he is wonderful. His price is extremely good and his workmanship is excellent. He's reliable and a nice person.
John


May 2006

I highly recommend Ivon, at Great Oak, to do your floors. He did an excellent job installing new hardwood floors for us, as well as refinishing one of our damaged floors. Ivon is professional and his work is great quality. We were well satisfied with the results, plus he was easy to work with as well. His number is (510) 465-0876. Sincerely, Susan S


May 2006

The Great Oak Hardwood, proprieter, Yvan Igbinedion. 510-465-0876. They have refinished the floors in my home, and I have referred many of my friends who have had only positive experiences for both installation and refinishing using both common and exotic woods. THe consistent reports are tidy, efficient, great quality, very reasonably priced, excellent customer service. What more can you ask for? rita


May 2006

I found Tony of Specialty Hardwood Floors in the Berkeley Parent's Network. He just finished my hardwood floors, and did a great job. He was very professional, was always on time (and sometimes early!), worked quickly, and takes great pride in his work. I was very pleased with the job, and wanted to provide the feedback to this forum. His number is 510-387-3155. Alison


March 2006

I have hardwood floors thoughout my house, and they are in great condition generally, but in a few spots, particularly under and around the dining room table and chairs, they look terrible. The varnish is gone, they are scratched, and the space between planks is no longer sealed. Having a toddler and a baby hasn't helped the situation, as there is always food on the floor. I am wondering if it is possible to do spot revarnishing or do we have to do a full refinishing job? I would like to wait to do that until the kids are bigger, but I am worried about causing long term damage to the floors. Anyone have experience with this? Also, does anyone have any good ideas on how to protect floors under a table besides an area rug? Thanks in advance. Amy


Afer uncovered the carpet in our house, we realize how bad the floor was. We really didn't think it was repairable, fortunately my co-worker referred me to Autumn Leaf Floor Service. Ming and the crew did such a wonderful job. It was better than what we've expected. Thanks Autumn Leaf Floor Service( 510-213-0312). Autumnleaffloors[at]gmail.com Lisa
Feb 2006

Our hardwood floor in the living room and dining room area (about 500 sq. ft) was in bad shape due to years of wear and tear from the previous owner. After getting several estimates from those recommended in the BPN, we decided to go with Tony Nguyen of Specialty Hardwoods (510) 387 3155, also www.specialtyhardwoodflooring.com. His estimate was by far the lowest bid and he did excellent work. He is a super friendly guy, he shows up on time, finishes on time and easy to get a hold of. Based on my experience with him, I also hired him to do the baseboards in the living and dining rooms. By the way, the floors now look great. Chris


November 2005

My mother recently had a wonderful experience with Tony of Specialty Floors (510-387-3155, 415-215-0379). My mother's home is very difficult to access (landlocked, no parking, many stairs) and the job was a challenge. Tony's pleasant, "No problem" attitude was indeed true for him. They were always on time and, even with added attention to detail requested, the original, very reasonable, price held. A job well done. No problem. Erin


Sept 2005

We recently purchased a home in Berkeley that had very damaged hardwood floors. We hired Autumn Leaf Hardwood Floors to refinish and stain them. Franscisco was a dream come true. He was on time, actually early, hard working, extremely dedicated and highly professional. We had a few setbacks in our house renovation project and Francisco was very accommodating to our scheduling changes. This guy worked from 8am to 9:30pm on certain days to make sure our floors were in perfect condition for our move-in date. I cannot say enough wonderful things about him. Meticulous, attention to detail, hard working and resonable rates. I just wish I had more things for him to do. He was such a pleasure to have around and his work is of the highest quality. Even when my movers put some stratches in the floors on moving day, Francisco was right back to smooth them out and fix them. What a guy! He comes very highly recommended by us. Autumn Leaf Floor Service( 510-213-0312). Autumnleaffloors[at]gmail.com Eva


August 2005

I found a few referrals for hardwood floor refinishers in BPN's past recommendations (some time ago). Can anybody give me a more current recommendation? OR, can anybody comment on their experiece with either of the following refinishers?:
Allison w/ 'Hardwood Floor Show'
Lam/ with 'Above Grade Wood Flooring'
Tony w/ 'Specialty Hardwood Flooring'
We are just about ready to start the project and I want to make sure that we make a great decision in terms of who to go with! Thank you all for you input. Heather


We just refinished our hardwood floors and used a local company, Amazing Hardwood Floor in Alameda. 523-5346. (http://amazinghardwoodfloor.com/) The crew was timely, hauled away the old carpet, kept dust to a minimum and did a great job -- even the hardwood repair around the fireplace looks as good as the original. Betsy
We had our floors refinished by Tulip Floors in El Cerrito last summer. They did a beautiful job and were super organized and professional. Everything was on time. I don't have their phone number but they have a website. Laura
We used Lam/Above Grade in June for the living room and dining room and came back from a few days away to beautifully done floors. They also repaired a section and we could not see the difference between the old and new area they matched it so well. We had several bids from companies listed in the BPN and Lam was the only one who noticed areas that could use a little extra work and made some room transition suggestions. We are using him next week for our bedrooms. The price was not the cheapest, nor the most expensive, but the work was very good. hm
June 2005

We recently has new floor installed in our living room. And refinished the four bed rooms. They did a very good job so that both the refinished floors looks just like the the new installed one. We love it so much, we are so please that we end up installing hardwood in our stair and replaced all the hand rail, and remodeled our wood fire place. Mr Nam from Hardwood Floor Master is very profesional. He would give us lots of good advice for floor care. We are very very happy with our floor. we have recommend this company to all our friend and relative. the company number is 510-429-9388. I hope you would want to try them too..you will satisfy. Tina


June 2005

We just remodeled our house and used Amber Flooring (who had been recommended by friends) in Oakland for 2 rooms that needed hardwood floors and had a very unpleasant experience. When we scheduled an initial appointment with them to see samples and have them come do measurements the employee who showed up came with no samples and really was unhelpful and was not clear on why he was there. We had to go down to their office and get our own samples (which was not convenient). When they put in the flooring they damaged our walls in the kitchen and the bathrooms and left off pieces of baseboard.

When we called them to get this fixed they were unhelpful and borderline rude. They never told us the best way to clean the floors after installation and when I inquired they said "read our website." For the amount we spent with them the service was less than satisfactory. I just wanted to warn other consumers if they are to use them for hardwood floors. Wendy


In response to the less than glowing review of Amber Flooring I was disappointed to see the negative posting for this company. My business helps clients to select contractors for things like painting and refinishing floors. Recently we suggested Amber Flooring to a client who is living out of the area. They came in and did a terrific job refinishing the floors in an older home. The price was competitive and they were polite and timely with their work. Naturally, everyone has their own perceptions of good service and some companies like people have bad days. We have had other clients and perspective client who were also happy with their work. Home Stagger in the East Bay
Feb 2005

I just hired Juan Reyes and his Uncle, Carlos, to install new wood floors in downstairs of my house in the Oakland Hills. I checked their references which were glowing. They have tons of experience having worked for a larger company but recently started their own business. They were terrific; friendly, fast, and gave me a great price. The floors look perfect. Juan Reyes can be contacted at (510) 932-4876. Natasha


Feb 2005

After using a Xmas tree preservative, our hardwood floor was badly damaged from the drippings.A pro. told us we"d have to refinish. Fortunately discovered a true"Miracle Worker"specializing in blending flaws and small finish repairs.She prideful and passionate about her work and generous with her time.She even educated me with some tricks of the trade. She's starting her own business,after working with a partner for 14 yrs.& is extremely reasonable. She's a delightful person along with her patience and skills. My floor looks brand new and totally repaired. I VERY HEARTILY recommend her. Her name: CAROLYN DOUGLAS at (510)847-1994.


2001 - 2004 Reviews


Nov 2004

We recently refinished our hardwood floors and got three bids. We hesitantly turned down the Ho Family and went with Lam (Above Grade Wood Flooring) 510 882-2561 and haven't been happier. The workers were amazing (Lam only comes to make the bid) and worked 150%. We're incredibly frugal people and gave each worker a tip. I can't recommend them highly enough. Work done September 2004 Kathy


Sept 2004

I've removed carpeting that's been down for 10 years and am pleased that the hardwood floors underneath look like they can be saved. Does anyone have any current recommendations or warnings about refinishers in the Berkeley area?


We have great floors that were done by The Floor Show. Call Mike or Allison at 845-4633. Happy with my floors
July 2004

We just bought a home in Orinda, and need to refinish the hardwood floors. There are so many choices in the phone book. I don't even know where to start. Who do you recommend (and NOT recommend?)? Thanks! Ynez


I highly recommend The Floor Show in Berkeley to refinish hardwood floors. They've done a fantastic job on our floors every time we or friends have used them. Call Allison at 845-4633. A happy customer
I would STRONGLY recommend 3rd Generation Flooring - we have had them refinish/repair floors when we pulled up our carpeting and with our last remodel had them install new floors that needed to match our existing floors. They do fantastic work and were very clean!! (which was very important to me with a child and 2 dogs). Kathy
Ynez - I saw your posting about needing hardwood floor refinishing and would highly recommend Ace Hardwood Floors in Berkeley. Their # is 510-558-9697. shush
We used Christie Tomalonis at 436-6597, 539-0303 (pager) about 6mo ago. She is very good, detailed and reasonably priced. I got her through UCB list as well. Simona
April 2004

We're getting ready to move into a new house with hardwood floors in need of refinishing. About 1600-1800 square feet. We live in the Walnut Creek area (East Bay) and need someone who is inexpensive and can come out at the end of April. I'd appreciate any advice others could pass along. Thanks, Shannon


Tony at Specialty Hardwood Floor (510)387-3155 (415) 215- 0379 refinished and repaired our floors before we moved in. Later he put in a wood floor for us in our downstairs. He was the most reasonable estimate we got and did a great job. He was also very reliable--on time, finished the work when he said he would and it cost what he said it would. arona We had our floors refinished by Bill Howard Floor Co. about 18 months ago. They are a family company and did a great job. They also repaired holes in the floor and added new boards to an area where we had ripped up linoleum. Their price was very reasonable. I believe you can reach them at (925) 449-3355. In our case, we arranged for their work to be done while we were on vacation (to avoid the fumes of the polyurethane), which worked out very well. Erin
March 2004

To Steve, who needed flooring installer recommendations: James Sarmiento does an excellent job of installing both wood and laminate floors. We got our t.v. room done in a weekend (Pergo) last year, and we are so happy with it. We decided on Pergo rather than wood because of our three dogs and our baby boy.

BTW - James does everything. he's done a bit of electrical wiring for us and also built a wall for us to separate one huge room into two bedrooms. He is efficient, works diligently, is conscious of your budget, and is honest, above all. We are hoping/planning on having him ''remodel'' our garage into an office space.

James Sarmiento: 877.334.6763, pager; (650) 589-2391, home Good Luck.


Dec 2003

We recently hired Above Grade (owner Lam Ng) to repair and refinish a very damaged old wood floor in our kitchen, refinish the hall floor, and install a new hardwood floor in an addition. They did a beautiful job for a very reasonable price. They even offered to come back and do another sanding & coat for free after our cat got out and walked across the floor before it was dry after the last coat. We get a lot of compliments about the old kitchen floor - it looks incredible. We will definitely use them again.

Above Grade Wood Flooring
510 882-2561
abovegrade AT aol.com
Ginger
Sept 2003

I am seeking recommendations for someone to install new hardwood floors and refinish existing hardwood floors. Cost is a big consideration. Thank you. Amy


I have been researching Hardwood floors for the past 5 years. The list of I have generated, discounting Tulip because I don't think I can afford them, is:
NBA hardwood floors - anna/alex bui 971.0534
Minh (reborn hardwood floors) - 510.531.4261
Home Depot -
Amber floors - miguel 486 1750
ashby - bayarea floors
Berkeley Design Center 510.652.6064
and the Ho family, found on the Parents Network.
2 friends have used Minh, one installed laminate, the other refinished her floors. They both found the quality of his work and his price to be good. The first was a little less than pleased with Minh overall because he felt that Minh installed a different (cheaper) base board than they had origianlly agreed upon. THe other was perfectly satisfied. I am slightly biased towards Amber, partially because they have a very professional staff, and a showroom where you can see many of the options. However, when Minh made a bid, he promised to match any other (reasonable) estimate. A side note:According to Minh, one reason for finding a significantly cheaper price is that the installer/refinisher may not be carrying the required insurance, certainly a consideration when having any do work in YOUR house. Another option is to buy the wood and have your contractor install it. I found the prices to range from about $4-9 per square foot for the materials- most hovering around the $5-6 range, and about $1-2/linear foot for the base board. The cost of labor, however, can break the deal. Good luck Suffering from Hardwood Envy
August 2003

Everybody has recommended the Carpet and Linoleum Center in Alamo to have Wilsonart installed. I found AMC Hardwood Floors dialling for dollars. Their quote was a third less than the Alamo shop, a savings of $2,400! Have any of you worked with them? Anybody else you know to do this job? Thanks Linda


We used Professional Flooring and Design in Concord (925 671 2556) to install our WilsonArt kitchen floor about 3 years ago. While I have had some reservations about the WilsonArt tiles themselves, I think they did a very good job (in fact, a few unrelated contractors have even commented on what a good job they did, and they almost never do that!). It is imperative to have a very good installation, as the lines can start to show between the tiles. I would even suggest looking at a floor that is a few years old, if you haven't done so already, to make sure you like how they wear. Claire
You asked if anyone has worked with AMC Hardwood Floors in your post -- we have recently (March 2003), but for refinishing our hardwood floors, not for installing laminate. That being said, I picked them because their bid was the lowest of the low bids I got (our purpose was to refinish floors in a house we were about to sell). This is my sense: The guy who did the bid was more cordial/professional than the guys who showed up to do the work. The guys who did the work asked me how much he had bid the job for (which I was a bit put off by) and when I told them, they joked about how there it was so low that they might as well pay me to do the floors. (Hmmph) Then, they did their work quickly and adequately. The fumes were so noxious I would reel when I stopped by the house to check (we were completely moved out of the house) but the two guys doing the work did not wear masks or worry about opening windows. I know your job will have different safety issues, but it disturbed me that the workers took so little care for ventilation for themselves (was it an education issue?). Also, there was a pretty big language barrier in communicating directly with the guys who did the work. You might ask the guy who gives the bid if the workmen assigned to your job will have the language skills to converse about inevitable questions that arise during your job. All in all, we were satisfied with the work. But within the context of what I've mentioned above. anon
We had a great guy install laminate flooring in our loft in SF. His name is Nilo Bartolome and not only did he do a great job, he went with me to pick out materials, was affordable and extremely reliable. It was a great experience and the floors look great. He also tiled our bathroom floor and it looks wonderful. Give him a call. 510.4272873 heidi
Aug 2003

Dale Swirsding is great. He's a one man shop, very good, very professional. I've had him refinish, patch and also clean, buff and polish dingy floors. I can't find his number right now, but it is Swirsding Floors and I know it is in the white pages kristi


Jan 2003

Lee's Hardwood Floor has the best price and does a wonderful work with new or refinish. They put in a new hardwood floor in our kitchen and refinished the existing floor with some water damages beautifully last year. They are fast and very reliable and were least expensive of three companies I received quotes from. Jenny Lee is very reliable and will come to your home right away to give you a quote. I looked for their # but couldn't find it. They should be listed in the yellow pages in the 510 area. Chong


I had the floors refinished 4 years ago when I moved into a house with some nice floors hidden under years of use. The work was done by Floors to Glow! 510-215-6470, Yoram Peleg, Yoramms pager 419-7049) Very reasonable priced. Dawn
My husband does floor refinishing. Works for The Floor Show. Of course I love the work they do. a fan
Jan 2003

Are you thinking of installing a new hardwood floor or refinishing an existing floor? Recently I had a new hardwood floor installed by Reborn Hardwood Floors. The company is recommended in the Parents Network archives for doing good work refinishing hardwood floors. I'm sorry to say they did mediocre work installing a new floor. For example, even though there was lots of flooring material left at the end of the job, they used a couple of floorboards that should have been rejected due to color variance and/or quality. It was like they didn't notice. And they never came back to finish the job, as they promised they would. After that experience, I wouldn't hire them again even though they were pleasant to work with. fan of quality work


July 2002

Call Christian Paul Hardwood Floors at 1-800-679-5800. You will receive expert advice, quality work, and most wonderful of all - reliability. For example, a 10:00am appointment really begins at 10:00am. Lisa


Earlier Reviews


Feb 2000

We just used the Ho family (see past recommendations) to refinish our entire downstairs. They did a great job, were very fast, very neat and VERY cheap! Amy


June 2000

We used Dale Swirsding of Swirsding's Floor Service (548-7766) to sand and refinish our hardwood floors before we moved into our new house this year. He did a fantastic job. He does all the work himself and cares deeply about the result. He was extremely flexible in meeting our timetable and coordinating with other people that were working on the house around the same time. The result of his work is beautiful. Michael


I wholly recommend Christian Paul Hardwood Floors. They're in Piedmont and do a great job, prompt and very courteous. 510-655-5990. Christian
I just saw the posting today about Christy. I've seen her work and it's very good. She was a neighbor and did the floors of the house she rented on our block. They looked beautiful. She also did a small area of our house. It involved tearing up the ugly, old linoleum and refinishing the floor. Her prices were extremely reasonable and she is a perfectionist. I highly recommend her. Lynn
10/99
I had my floors refinished before I moved into my house five years ago. I used the Ho family (261-8201), and they had such good prices! They charged $1/sq foot compared to Tulip (another company) who charged $2.25/sq foot. They did a good job and were in and out of my house in three days. One drawback was their spoken English, which wasn't so great. I did misunderstand them though about using stains (I didn't realize that's why my original floors were dark), and I was surprised when the finished floors turned out so light (I didn't know I had to request staining). In the end, I am happier with the unstained and brighter floors. I was referred to the Ho's by another campus person, and she and four of her officemates had hired them for their homes
From: Sherry (3/99)
One more note on HARDWOOD FLOORS, I also highly recommend Reborn Hardwood Floors: Minh Nguyen, 531-4261. We have oak kitchen floors which were done originally by Western Floors which was supposed to be great and did very poorly and then by another company which also did poorly. Minh guaranteed me these would wear well and they have.
10/99
Wood Floor Installer: Hardwood Floor Maters, 415-810-1615. We recently had them refinish our floors and friends had them install new floors and we're all happy. They're prices were a few hundred dollars less than everyone else's which is a added bonus.
From: richard (3/99)
For hardwood floor work I heartily recommend Dale Swirsding of Swirsding's Floor Service. He does everything from installation & repair, to re-finishing, is honest, very thorough, and is easy to deal with. His phone # is 548-7766; e-mail Dale1floor at aol.com
From: Couto (3/99)
You mentioned Winfield Construction for your floors - I can't speak to his work, but he is a personal friend and I can vouch for his integrity and honesty. Good luck.

Maintaining waxed floors

Sept 2005

Help! I have never had this much trouble caring for my hardwoods. We recently bought a house and the floors must be waxed because nothing will work on them-just leaves a streaky residue and they look worse. Any suggestions??


Waxed floors have to be waxed. You could get help from Dale Swirsding of Swirsding's Floor Service (548-7766). He does great work, but more recently I just do it myself. (Every time he comes, he grumbles that we need to refinish our floors, and we do, but it's not in the budget!) I just get on my hands and knees every few months and wax the areas not covered by area rugs - use hard wax (buy in hardware store), wait 15 mins, and rub with dry towel. Good arm exercise!
strong arms!

Replacing oak floors with cherry

April 2005

My husband and I were lucky enough to get a tax return this year and decided that we'd finally get a hardwood floor so we'll never need to look at that hideous linoleum again, Our ENTIRE house is in your standard white oak, which is why we decided to go with a wider plank br. cherry. However, I am starting to wonder if after a few months we're going to think it's too dark. Has anyone else gotten this kind of wood floor, or similar? Just right? Ultimately too dark? Any other suggestions for "darker than white oak" that ALSO isn't awfully expensive. And please, no posts about sustainability, what about bamboo (I find it ugly), and being more eco - I live a fairly eco-friendly existence across the board. Unfortunately, in this case eco means way more $$$, and after much soul searching we decided that we can try to make up for this one trangression in other ways. Of course, if you have a less expensive eco-friendly tip, I am very open. They key is a wood floor darker than white oak. Much thanks, catherine


You could stain your oak floors to a darker color and then if you got tired of it you could go back to a lighter color. I would caution you against tearing out oak floors. We have oak floors in our house and we love them. When we moved in they were stained a dark color and we had them refinished to their original lighter color. People always comment on how nice they look. They make our whole house lighter and more cheerful. Christa Tomalingas did a great job; she is an artist and can do detail work if it is needed such a putting a great transition around our fireplace. If you do take out the oak take it to Omega Salvage and they will probably buy it from you. Older oak floors are in demand because the wood is much better quality than anything you can buy now. Judy

Cleaning Hardwood Floors


Nov 2011

We just move to a house with wooden floors and we would like to know how to clean them without damaging the quality of the wood. We have a 9-month-old baby who sometimes licks the floor so we would like something non-toxic. Thank you very much for your recommendations. AO


The best and safest commercial product is probably 'Bona'. Will not leave a film on the floor, nor does it contain any dangerous toxics. Alternately, you can make your own solution with a bucket of water, a squirt of soap and a litle white vinegar. Perfectly safe, and it works as good as any commercial cleaner. For better results, towel off the floor after mopping. CB
The wood floor specialist I knew said to use a mixture of plain distilled vinegar mixed with water in equal parts. It doesn't smell bad and seems to keep our floors clean. Then spot-clean anything especially stuck-on or sticky with a mild soap if necessary. This has worked for me for the past 15 years. (Costco sells vinegar very cheap in big jugs.)
As manager of a cleaning service and a Berkeley Mom whose babies also enjoyed licking floors, I can share our professional wood floor cleaning technique, which works beautifully and is totally non-toxic: First sweep or vacuum your floors, then mop with a combination of 8 parts water to one part white vinegar. We prefer to construct our own mops using a bristle deck broom wrapped in a cotton towel or rag. Just add the water solution to the towel and wring it out so your mop is only damp. Re-position the towel as you go, rinse as needed, and throw the towel in the wash when you're done. The texture of the cotton and bristles allows you to scrub well without ever scratching the floor. Deb G
Oct 2009

I've been using the Swiffer Wet Jet all-surface floor cleaner for our new red oak kitchen floor. I love how easy it is (no rinsing!) but it leaves the floor dull and not so clean. Can you recommend your wood floor cleaner? No-rinse is best, but I'm willing to hear everyone's opinion if you use something terrific! Thanks.


I like the Murphy's Oil Soap Squirt & Mop the best. It comes in the white bottle, not the clear one. (The clear bottle variety needs rinsing, I believe.) Our floors look great after we use it. A runner up would be Method Wood Floor cleaner, which is also a no-rinse product. I don't feel it left the floors as new looking, but it did a pretty good job. I buy it when I can't find the Murphy's stuff.
July 2004

Looking for advice on the best way to self clean hardwood floors. I am completely clueless in this regard. Someone mentioned a Swifer Mop. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks! marjorie


Hi -- We just refinished our hardwood floors and I asked the refinisher how to clean them. He said use this cleaner called Bona Hardwood Floor cleaner with a microfiber mop. You just spray it on and mop as you go. Of course, with 3 kids, first I have to sweep, then Swiffer to get the dust up, followed by the microfiber mop. That seems to do it -- until the kids eat again! Good luck. My mom uses plain old vinegar and water and says that's fine too. Trish
I mop my eucalyptus floors with water and vinegar. I use white vinegar, and simply add a cup or so to a bucket of hot water. I don't like using chemicals on my floors, plus I find that vinegar adds shine and deodorizes the house. tatiana
2001

We're getting ready to sell our house and would like to clean (not refinish) the hardwood floors throughout. Has anyone had this done by professional cleaners that they can recommend? How much did it cost? We have a small two bedroom, one bath house--approximately 1200 square feet. The floors look like they have some ground-in dirt in heavily used areas and we're not sure it's worth the expense to have them completely refinished. I'd try scrubbing them myself but I'm about 6 months pregnant and have lots of other work to do, like packing. I checked the recommendations list, but didn't see any referrals for floor cleaning, just installation and refinishing, so I'd appreciate any advice others could pass along. Alison


When we moved into our house, we wanted to take advantage of the floors being clear of furniture, rugs, etc., to give them a good refinishing or cleaning. The floors were in good shape and didn't really need refinishing. I spoke with Tulip about refinishing, they recommended as a less-expensive alternative, a deep cleaning and seal by a woman named Joy (510-524-9059). She told me that she and her partner used some kind of process where the final waxing was was infused with a polyurethane seal. I have no idea whether there was really anything so special about this process, but the floors looked great, and have held up quite well over the past two years. Cost was about $350-$395 for two large-ish rooms (living room and dining room). I wasn't there, but I understand there were chemicals and big machines involved. I was nearly nine months pregnant, and moved into the house the next day and noticed no odor, tackiness, etc. I found Joy to be extremely responsive and responsible, and Tulip claims they get great reviews about her from other customers.
From: riley (3/99)
To the person requesting recommendations about hadrwood floors. Albany Childrens Center had their floors sanded and refinished in December by Tulip Floors. They did a great job. If you would like to go by and take a look at their work the Center is located 1140 Ninth in Albany, in the UC Village.
From: Ellen (3/99)
We were very happy with Tulip Floors. They redid the floors in our home before we moved in two years ago.
From: Dylyn (3/99)
I would like to recommend Reborn Hardwood Flooring at 531-4261. I just used them last month. My floors were in pretty bad shape and they did a beautiful, very professional job with three coats of polyurathane (spelling?). I had my living room and dining room done and the total cost was $550 (far less than the $1000 quoted by several companies). They were also able to do the work on very short notice.
From: Monica (3/99)
The folks from Tulip Floors refinished the floors in our home and did a great job. Everything was smooth, professional and on time. In addition to refinishing, they did some extra work - building subfloors where there had been floor furnaces and installing hardwood in these same ares. A visitor to the house wouldn't be able to tell those spots had been patched because of the professional way they weaved in the slats - including matching inlay.
From: lklevine (3/99)
Back in 1996, we used The Floor Doctor in El Cerrito to refinish our badly worn hardwood floors and were quite happy with the service and result.
From: Tamara (3/99)
We just had the floor in our bedroom refinished. We had also received an estimate from Tulip, however, they were much more expensive, and it was difficult trying to get them scheduled in a convenient time period. I got the name of a woman, Christy Tomalonis, from the recommendation list on the parents page. We were very happy with the quality of the work, and she charged us much less than what Tulip had quoted.
From: Nancy (3/99)
Tulip Floors refinished and patched hardwood floors for a remodeled kitchen that we did, and we were not at all happy with them. Hard to tell what was the direction of the general contractor, or if they would have acted differently on their own. Their sanding was very uneven, as were the finishing layers they applied, so they had to go back and keep resanding to try to make things even. The result is that if we ever have to refinish again we will have to have an entirely new floor put in as the existing floor is sanded too thin. Now we are noticing buckeling of the floorboards due to the thinness of the wood.
From: L (3/98)
There's a very nice and hardworking woman named Christy Tomalonis who did our floors three years ago. She's a perfectionist and her rates are very reasonable. She has many years of experience. At the time she could be reached at 339-0347.
From: Nils (3/98)
I would recommend Mike Mitschang, 658-6765. He worked with a team whose business name I couldn't find in the phone book- (women-owned / run). They did a very good job in our house, and also we liked what we saw in the homes of the references he gave. He did the 'right stuff' for containment of underlying lead-based paint, too (the main reason for our work).
From: April (5/98)
We have had refinished our maple and oak hardwood floors and have had some installation done to match existing flooring. We've had good experiences with two floor people. One is Tulip Floor at 528-8547 and Avi was the person we dealt with there. The other is a woman named Christie Tomalonis at 436-6597, 539-0303 (pager). We used Tulip the first time through and were happy but for some reason used Christie the second time. I can't remember why unless maybe Tulip couldn't do it when we needed it done. I'd recommend either as reasonably priced and professional.
From: Joyce (5/98)
I have had Deluxe Floor Company, 12443 San Pablo Avenue, Richmond (510-234-5926 or 510-529-1865) do my hardwood floors a couple of times during the last 15 or 20 years. They are reliable and reasonable. They do fantastic work. They have also done floors for a San Francisco Designer Showhouse a number of years ago.

DUSTLESS wood floor refinishing

March 2007

Dustless is the new way to get wood floors re-done with less fine dust left around the house. Has anyone had experience with this type of refinishing, and a referral? The archives offer little on dustless. (Partial dustless doesn't seem dustless enough.) Any good ideas on how and where to store our furnishings during this work? Hopeful re floors


NorCal flooring does high quality dustless wood floor refinishing (they also install new wood flooring) Contact Cynthia Dodd, (510)390-0072
Melanie

Hardwood floorboards are starting to ''give''

March 2010

Help! My split-level house was built in the 1930's and has original Hardwood Oak floors throughout. I have recently begun to notice that a few of the floorboards in the entryway sink - ever so slightly - when I walk on them. There is a large basement underneath this area of the house and I'm worried that whatever is holding up the floor is compromised. Who should I call to look into this? Thanks


I have old hardwood floors in my home as well, though no basement. I'd be worried about termites so would have someone look from that point of view (maybe Leading Edge, which is a fabulous termite company in the East Bay). As far as looking at the hardwood only, I finally found a wonderful flooring company to come up with creative solutions for my floors and then do the work. The woman's name is Lori Ortiz, (925) 788-3599, or Loriwoodfloors.com. You'll appreciate her and her work! Julie
Give my green builder/carpenter/handyman Idan Bearman a call, he's amazing. I've recommended him on BPN before and I first contacted him after seeing a rec for him on BPN. He's done numerous bigger jobs for us over the past few years but one of the first ones was just what you have. In our case it turned out to be a floor joist that had dry rot caused by a bathroom leak that was not fixed right by the previous owners. Idan replaced the joist and subfloor board in just a few hrs, made sure there was no damage to the hardwood floor and inspected his work a few months later when I called him for some other work. Everytime I hire Idan I'm delighted by how is easy it is to deal with him and how well the work turns out. such a huge difference than when the cable guys, gardener and even my cleaning service come around. I can't tell you how much easier it makes my life having someone I fully trust whenever I need anything done on my property. For the bigger jobs in the past I've had other people give me bids along with Idan and although he wasn't always the most affordable, his bidding process and attention to all the details of the jobs made me choose him over and over so now I don't even bother calling anyone else. You will do well to check him out, I'm sure you won't want to hire anyone else. His telephone number- 510 830 7927 Molly
You could call an architect, an engineer or a pest control company. It is possible you have termites. This happened to me in my Dining Room, and I discovered a small colony of termites. Luckily they hadn't done a whole lot of damage yet. I was surprised to find that they had been eating the hardwood oak, not just the joists and subfloor. Andus

Where to buy hardwood flooring

May 2004

Anyone have any suggestions as to where to buy white oak hardwood flooring. We've been to lumber liquidators, and might go with them, but a friend had some issues with her order from there so I'd like to research other options. Truitt and White only carries red oak. LK


After a year you probably won't be able to tell the difference between white and red oak because the red soon disappears. Cabinetmaker
We just installed finished oak flooring over the past two weekends. Hard work, but lots of fun. We bought it online at http://www.internetfloors.com. They have a great selection, shipping was very reasonable and very fast. And best of all, there was no sales tax! They have a very large selection of flooring, so if you have a brand in mind, do your research and compare prices! Anon

Hardwood on Slab?

2001

Hi, We just bought a house with slab foundation. It has carpeting through-out....including the dining area. With two small kids, I find this very gross and want to put hardwood floors down, but I've never lived on slab before. Does anyone have experience with slab foundations and how hardwood floors on slab are? Is it particularly cold in winter? I know that hardwood on non-slab foundations have give....is hardwood on slab too "hard" of a walk? any other idiosyncrasies of slab? does anyone have recommendations on hardwood floor sellers/installers?


General rule is, for you to be able to do hardwood on slab it needs to be a floating floor. You need to separate the wood from the concrete. If you don't then you will run into problems with the moisture and temperature swings of the slab. This presents two options. Option one and the most common is to use an engineered wood floor that is a hardwood veneer laminated on a softwood sub ply. These floors are generally made so that the tongue and groove are so tight once they are put together the floor acts as one unit independent of the slab. The nature of the engineered ply floor makes it much more stable and less susceptible to the moisture and temperature swings. Option two is using solid plank wood flooring that has a special clip system to join it together as well as a poly felt moisture barrier. The only one I know of that has a very good and successful reputation is Junkers. I would recommend contacting Golden State Flooring (650.872.0500) or EcoTimber (510.549.3000) for the engineered flooring and Junkers (714.777.6430) direct to find a certified distributor and installer in your area. -Paul
I recently purchased some pre-finished hardwood flooring from Lumber Liquidators, on the frontage road in Albany, and got a terrific price. They have many grades and woods available, and we bought the "good" grade maple with 7-coat finish for something like $3.20/square foot. As for installation, I'm fairly sure you would put down wood strips and nail the flooring crosswise over the strips, so there would be a little dead space, allowing for give and preventing the flooring from getting damp. Valerie

Prefinished vs. unfinished hardwood floors

April 2008

I am considering replacing the carpet in a couple rooms of our house, plus a flight of stairs, with hardwood floors. I've talked to a couple of companies and they really advocate using prefinished flooring. The price is about the same for both, but I guess it's quicker and less messy to install the prefinished. For those who've gone with unfinished, just how messy is the installation? What can I expect? Apart from being able to sand the unfinished floor in the future, what are some of the pros and cons of each flooring type? Also, is there much space between the prefinished planks after they're installed? The installers tell me the tongue-and-groove fit closely together, but when I saw someone's house who used prefinished flooring, it just didn't look very smooth and it looked like dirt could get between the planks. Thank you for any feedback you can provide! anon


We just had a prefinished (bamboo) floor put in. Advantages for us: Quicker, no stinky finishing, no drying time. The grooves are very slight -- it's not like an unfinished floor, which is sanded and sealed in place so the grooves don't really exist anymore, but they certainly don't collect dirt when the floor is properly installed. Bottom line, if you want it to be completely smooth, you should probably go with the unfinished flooring, but personally I think the prefinished looks fine. Either type of flooring can be sanded and refinished in the future. I'd highly recommend the flooring company we used, btw: www.avisfloors.com JP
I had the same decision to make as you. I chose to install the unfinished hardwood floor versus the prefinished because I had more freedom in selecting the type of finish that would protect my floor. There are different types of water-base and oil-base finishes that endure different pressures per square inch. (I wanted one that could endure high pressures to get the most protection for my oak flooring.) I also chose the prefinished flooring because I had more options in the staining. I chose a wood flooring contractor with dust free capabilities to avoid the mess. I used Oaklandwoodfloors.com. They did a terrific job. Hope this helps. Juan

Hardwood Floors in the Kitchen?

Oct 2007

I am interested in recommendations for wood flooring for a kitchen. I have reviewed the archives, however, there are so many new products available and the 'existing' products seem to have evolved also. My understand is that bamboo, although desirable is not the right product for a kitchen. Some of the laminate products do seem a good choice, especially the ones that have several 'layers' so there is a possibility of sanding them in the future. However, the choices are overwhelming. So, what do people recommend? Which brand, which grade within the brand, and where is the best place to purchase? Many thanks. waiting to get rid of that old linoleum!


We are putting wood down throughout the house (except the bathrooms and laundry) and went with a beautiful engineered hardwood. The product we went with is BR-111 (br111.com). I also recommend our installer, H&H Flooring. (www.handhflooring.com) Gary Harrison is fantastic, professional and an expert in the field of flooring. He is not a salesman. He will honestly tell you what you can and can't do based on your specific situation. Gary also does carpeting and sheet flooring. You can call him to set up an appointment. Good luck! Angela in Richmond
July 2005

I have owned homes with every kind of kitchen floor available, and I much prefer hardwood. It is softer on the feet and hides dirt better than anything else, even tile or lineoleum chosen to disguise dirt. Pair it with washable rugs, and you can then wash most of your floor by putting it in the washing machine! You use Bona, a special hardwood cleaner that is biodegradable etc., on polyurethane-finished floors. I don't know about laminates but I wouldn't use a soft wood because kitchen floors take so much wear and tear. It will eventually need refinishing, but this is easy enough with hardwood. Mary Ann


Sept 2004

We are thinking about tearing up the linoleum in our kitchen and refinishing the wood underneath rather than replacing it with tile. Is there any down/up side to wood floors that we should consider before making our decision to go ahead? Any suggestions? Thanks! Jeanne


We removed the old vinyl in our kitchen and had hardwood floors installed a few years ago. I had initially thought we could just take up the vinyl and refinish the oak underneath, but it turned out that the oak didn't cover the whole floor; some had been replaced with plywood when the vinyl was installed in the 50s. You might pull up little pieces around the room to make sure you have good wood everywhere.

There are pros and cons of oak flooring in the kitchen. Pros include a uniform look throughout the house and ease of cleaning (I damp mop every two weeks, but it never shows dirt). The downside, however, is that the wood is *hard*, and thus tougher on the body and the ears (the room feels more acoustically ''live''). Good luck! anne


The downside is that most kitchens see a lot of foot traffic and a lot of water (from spills, leaks, and so on), so be sure you have a really good installation and a really good finish (like polyurethane). Our kitchen floor (refinished 80 year-old wood) is pretty beat up. I think the previous owners used a suboptimal finish. We keep rugs on most of it now! The upside of wood is that when you drop something fragile (glass or ceramic) the object is less likely to break than if you had tile or stone or concrete, because wood gives a little. And it's comfortable to stand on. David in Berkeley
Hi - we did exactly what you're contemplating, and are very happy with the results. Of course, some idiot had put very cheap black linoleum in our kitchen, so almost anything would have been an improvement, but when we had the fir subfloor refinished, it was so beautiful - a warm honey color - and it really completed our sort of Victorian/country kitchen. It also lightened up the room dramatically. The downside is that fir is a soft wood, so it dents easily. After a few months you can see little dents all over the place (though I wouldn't call them obvious). But it doesn't really bother us, so if that wouldn't be a problem for you, I highly recommend refinishing your kitchen subfloor. Star
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