SHOP BY DEPARTMENT
sail_away

Please share your experience installing/finishing hardwood floors

sail_away
9 years ago

I've posted this question on the Flooring forum, as well, but I'm also putting it here because this is the main forum I check in with and also seems to be one of the busiest---so more chance of responses.

We're finally ready to have hardwood floors (white oak) installed in our living room/dining room and have the 20 year old oak floors already installed on the first floor of our house refinished at the same time. I'd love to hear how some of you worked out the logistics.

The floor guy initially recommended that we finish all the floors with Glitsa Swedish oil-based finish. He said we have the Swedish oil finish on our old floors, which have held up pretty well. They were installed and finished prior to our moving into the house. I was concerned about the toxic fumes from the Swedish finish, and we had decided to go with a two-component water-based finish (Glitsa Max). However, now DH has changed his mind and is convinced we should have the Swedish oil-based finish for more durability, as well as a better look. I am very concerned because I have pretty severe asthma and some chemical sensitivities. I'm not sure I'll be able to move back in after just a couple days---possibly not even after a couple weeks---with the Swedish finish. Also, with a Swedish finish we will have to figure out where our two cats can go while the floors are being finished. I'm mostly concerned about my breathing, however.

What have your expereinces been having floors finished or refinished? How long were you out of the house and how long before you started moving furniture back in? What type of finish did you choose? How happy have you been with it over time?

Have any of you compared water-based finishes to oil-based? Can you tell me how they each look? DH said he read that the water-based (including the two-component water-based) finishes look like wood with a layer of plastic on top, which has a lot to do with his determination to continue with the Swedish oil-based finish, despite my health concerns. He also believes it will last longer.

Any advice you can give would be appreciated. At this point, DH is pretty determined to go ahead with the Swedish oil-based finish, and I am just scared of how it's going to affect my health and for how long. I don't want to make DH settle for a less satisfactory finish on the floor due to my health problems, but I need to be realistic in what I can manage.

Comments (28)

  • Gracie
    9 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    We are in the same predicament. The Swedish finish looks like new 12 years later and I want that same wearability if we extend the hardwood throughout the first floor. I think we'll need to combine the floor with a trip to Hawaii. Won't the budget love that!

    I believe the Swedish finish is similar to the conversion varnish used on cabinets. Did you have any trouble with new cabinets?

  • EngineerChic
    9 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Have you looked at Bona finishes?

    We used an oil based polyurethane on our second floor, I don't think it was specifically Swedish, but it looks a lot like the finish on the original floors (1965). The fumes were potent on the first coat, and less so on the next 3 coats. We used plastic to seal off the stairwell and that helped a lot.

    As for where to go ... Do you have a Residence Inn nearby? They accept pets and with the kitchenette you can probably camp out in one for a week pretty comfortably. There are even 2 bedroom units, and they'll give you a thing to post on your door that says, "Pets, no housekeeping please" or something like that.

    If they do 3 coats in 3 days, and then run fans for the rest of the week (once it has dried, not while still wet) then you will probably not be able to smell anything.

    In my area it's about $100 per night for the hotel, but if you ask you might get a better rate for the whole week.

  • Related Discussions

    Need installer to finish my hardwood flooring installation

    Q

    Comments (10)
    ricewO, I had found someone from Angie's list on July 4th that sounded great but he had to be booked in advance and could not buy the BR-111 product at the same great price as from TrueHardwoods.com so told me to buy it and call him and he would see when he had time. He wanted me to order one extra box but he said if I was going to be picky on boards, then two extra boxes. I had ordered 8% extra and he felt that was not enough (he was right I see now). When I called him to tell him I think I made a mistake with the order and I should have ordered 2 T-Moldings and 2 Reducers and not 3 Reducers and no T-Moldings, he told me I needed 4 Reducers and 1 T-Molding. He was too far from me to do a quick stop over here to measure again. My current installer before hiring him, came by and pulled up the carpet to test which molding he brought with was the right one and also bought me a white foam pad with a big board to stand on (pulled the rug and padding up so the wood and pad would be on the cement floor)to let me make a decision on if I liked the feeling of a glued down floor or a floating floor. That is when I decided that I did not want 3 extra boxes of wood like my neighbor who ordered a different product from TrueHardwoods.com so I went with my current installer and also my current was able to begin right away. BUT I see now that I was wrong and my current is not doing a good job and I am afraid for him to cut new molding to install since all his cut boards are poorly done with various size spaces next to my wall. Also the installation itself was done wrong and I had to call the manufacturer of the FloorMuffler with Ultra Seal and put them on Speaker phone since the current installer did not believe the instructions and was not using the ULTRAseal tape (he had it tucked under the pad!) at all and was not gluing the pieces together and was not putting the pad up against the wall a bit. The manufacturer said to insulate and protect from moisture he was doing it wrong and I was right. Then my current installer did it right in front of me and then when I left the room and came back I saw he was doing it wrong again! He installed damaged boards and some of the boards are not enough distance form each other with the seams. I am unhappy with his installation but very happy now with the beautiful Brazilian Cherry floors and so glad I went with the 5" wide boards since the grain is gorgeous and the coloring is now the orange reddish color I felt it should be when first installed despite not looking like that in the box. I really would like someone to install the last row of boards when the new box comes in and cut the new baseboard trim to install it so the cuts and piecing together can be professional. If I have no one else, I would have to have the current installer complete the installation of the wood with me there the whole time since I do not trust him anymore. I almost did not hire the current installer when he did not return my phone calls when I found the 47 foot crack in the cement floor but he arrived Thursday morning without return my phone calls the prior night or the prior days and I wanted the floor done. He also ripped out two side corner moldings near my tiles (my brother took the molding off the walls everywhere else and did a good job) and metal is showing and he cracked two tiles. He installed the two T-Moldings and you can see nail heads and he scratched the molding and a tiny crack now from putting the nail in the molding. Now I see why he wanted to reuse the old trim since I do not feel his carpenter skills are that good. He was referred by a client of mine that used to sell the current installer insurance before he retired from the insurance business. I had a painter come in today to give me an estimate on just painting the walls and not the trim. I have another painter coming by at 2 PM to give me an estimate also. Thank you ricewO for the suggestion of Angie's list. I may call back the other installer as well as all the messages I left last night on Angie's list's carpenters, flooring installers and painters. Thank you for your nice offer. I wish you lived near me.
    ...See More

    Pre-finished hardwood floors -- any experiences?

    Q

    Comments (5)
    We just put Bellawood in our kitchen. We have Brazilian cherry 2 1/2" that we got from Lumber Liquidators. I was having similar concerns, but when pricing things it seemed kind of crazy to spend more for unfinished wood (which is what our pricing looked like). Although it's only been 2 weeks, I love it. I've spilled plenty (flour, milk, even paint- all fine) and I was concerned about things getting stuck between the boards, but it really hasn't been an issue. We have three children 7 and under and are tough on just about everything, so it may be a different story in 10 years, but right now, the floor is stunning despite everything that's already been done on it. My husband is doing our whole kitchen and did the floor in a weekend. Another nice part of the pre-finished is that you can immediatly start using the space. Although our kitchen isn't done, we are using it a lot and it was great to be able to use it again. Good luck!
    ...See More

    What finish is on your hardwood floors?

    Q

    Comments (12)
    We waxed ours, and so we have to keep rewaxing them, but scratches are never an issue. We have original oak from 1950, but we did have to do some small patches before we moved it because the previous owners' dogs had left urine stains with quite a stench. They had deodorizers in the house when we were viewing it, which masked the smell, and they refused to attempt to get rid of the odor, as it required new flooring. Two rooms had carpet over the original hardwood, and so we removed the stinky carpet and got great hardwood, although as I said it required some small patches. However, I was nauseous from the smell for quite a few weeks, as my room had carpet over concrete, and I did not realize that carpet needed to be removed. Wax does not create a horrible smell.
    ...See More

    Refinishing RED oak hardwood floors. Please share.

    Q

    Comments (6)
    You should have your banisters stained at the same time. On the sheen we did satin. I can't remember the brand name because the wood floor person brought it, but I think it started with a "D."
    ...See More
  • northcarolina
    9 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I used a hardwax oil (Rubio Monocoat) on our kitchen floor and it was the nicest HW finishing experience we've ever had. No odor and one coat only, so the floor was out of commission for only a short time. The lack of odor or off-gassing was the reason I used it, because some of the family has respiratory sensitivities as you mention. We've had this finish on our basement stairs for about a year and a half but only a couple of months in the kitchen, so I can't say much about longevity there. The few reviews I found were good. There are a couple of other GW'ers who have used it. It does not look like poly (either oil or water based) since it is a matte finish. It does bring out the wood color like any oil, though. So far I am very happy with it and unless something odd happens with the kitchen floor, I'll plan to use it when we have to refinish the rest of our floors.

    You can find more information about it on an internet search for Rubio Monocoat. I'll link a review I found below. I believe they also tested other hardwax oils, so that might help you too.

    Here is a link that might be useful: The Hardwax Oil Experiment

  • northcarolina
    9 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    p.s. I just saw the above post about staying in a hotel. When we had a floor refinished a few years ago, I ran away from home (ha) with our young son for a few days to my parents' house. There was no way we could stay in the house with the fumes, especially since he was so small. With the Monocoat, we stayed home (I stood there and watched while the floor guy applied it -- he said it was fun). No bothersome smell at all, which for me was the whole point. The only difficulty was keeping the dogs out of the kitchen for a day or so while it dried.

  • breezygirl
    9 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Here's your post. I saw you couldn't find it. :)

  • marcolo
    9 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I have water-based Bona Traffic over oak floors stained in Provincial. Hard as a rock, as far as I can tell, after 2 years. My floors don't look like plastic. I chose the intermediate level of sheen rather than high gloss. If you want the yellowing of oil you can add Bona Amber to the polyurethane.

  • clinresga
    9 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Just did entire upstairs with new oak hardwoods. Elected to go with oil based poly trying to match the downstairs flooring. Took forever to cure: we were unable to go upstairs for over a week--high Atlanta humidity slowed the drying down considerably. Fumes were way intense and even after it was dry enough to replace furniture they lasted, albeit more mildly, for another week at least. We like the look of the oil base, with the slightly yellow tinge giving it a warm feel, but it would not be to everyone's tastes. We'll see about durability over the next few years.

    Still by far my favorite finish is the Waterlox we used throughout our lake house. It looks great, super easy to apply, very durable (five years on original coats) and when we do get ready to refinish, we can do it ourselves--no sanding needed, just clean and reapply another coat.

  • sail_away
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    First, I'm totally embarrassed that I couldn't find this and posted about it disappearing. Maybe I overlooked it because I was searching in the wee hours of the morning. We have a lot of prep work to do, painting, etc., before the floors are installed, so I tend to work on that during the day and then do my work-for-pay at night and into the early morning hours. Thanks for everyone's replies.

    May Flowers, Sadly, we have no new cabinets. Right now we are doing all the floors on the first floor. We already had LVT put in the kitchen/family room. The rest of the first floor (except the laundry room where we will be installing the rest of the LVT later) will be hardwood. I can tell you that when we had a travel trailer I always had trouble with the fumes (fomaldehyde?) from the woodwork whenever I would open it up after it had been closed up for a while. I have had asthma since birth which has frequently ended up with me in the hospital. I have allergic rhinitis, so sometimes I will know there is something irritating my breathing before I even can smell it. Although I've been dealing with this lifelong and have learned it's essential to try to remain calm when having diffiuctly breathing, it still is quite frightening---thus my extra concern about this. Ahh, Hawaii. Hmm, maybe I'll tell DH that it was recommended I go to Hawaii, and then leave him with two cats and child. :)

    Engineer Chic, Thanks for the info about Residence Inn. I have managed to find one place that we could go, at a reasonable cost. My first choice doesn't accept pets. I'm going to look for a Residence Inn and see if that would be another possible choice. Yes, we can camp out for a week if necessary, but it won't be easy with my adult, multiply handicapped child and two cats in tow. Also, I work at home, and it would be difficult to maintain that while camping out. I've already arranged to take some time off, but I will probably have to extend it---another blow to the budget. Yes, I did look at Bona. I think the Glitza Max, which I was hoping we could use, is the equivalent of the Bona Traffic, but it is the brand our floor guy (who is HIGHLY recommended) uses.

    NorthCarolina, The Monocoat sounds interesting---I'll look into that. How is it maintained? Do you damp mop at all or just vacuum/dust? Sadly, no option to go to parents. There is no room in their home, and I don't think they could deal with my child's special needs even if they had room.

    Breezygirl, Thanks for popping this back up where I could find it. Sheez ... I feel stupid. I didn't just search once---it was three times!

    Marcolo, I'm glad to hear that. I'm stil hoping we can go that way. I really don't have any desire to add any yellow to my flooring; in fact, that's one thing I really don't like about the original oak floors. Is Provincial a dark stain? I'm too lazy to have a dark stain on my floor, as it's too much maintenance for me. I'm considering keeping it natural, but I have to see a sample first to know for sure. I'd love to add some red tones, but keep it light-to-medium, but the floor guy says that it has a tendency to look kind of pink---not the look I'm going for. I am not real fond of the busy look the grain in the oak can give the floor, so I need to make sure that if we stain it it doesn't accentuate the grain too much.

    Clinresga, Your expereince with the oil-based is what I'm afraid of. We do have a basement where we can stay, and I'll ask them to be sure to seal off the door to the basement very thoroughly, but I know I'll need to be away for some time, as well. I'll also look at Waterlox. How do you maintain/clean it?

    Thanks everyone. You've given me some more ideas to research, and I feel a bit better equipped to ask the floor guy questions this week when we make the final decision. (The floors are going in the week of the 7/23.)

  • clinresga
    9 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    We generally just vacuum the floors regularly, damp mop periodically. Waterlox recommends either their own cleanser, dilute white vinegar, or Murphy's soap (though they warn that it may dull the finish). We have on rare occasions used vinegar, that's really about it. It is abused heavily at the lake, lots of wet feet, wet dog, lots of messy cooking, and it looks great today, just like it did when it was first applied. None of the shine and "plastic" look of poly, esp with the lower gloss finishes. I'm a huge fan.

  • badgergal
    9 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I have had my hardwood floors refinished 3 times by 3 different companies.
    The first refinishing was done 13 years ago when we purchased the house but before we moved in. We didn't like the plasticky look of the floors that were in the house. I'm fairly certain that the floors were finished with Bona products.

    After 10 years the floors, the finish was worn off in some high traffic areas and we had lots of scratches from our dog. We decided to have them refinished. When they came to give us an estimate they told us we should have had a buff and coat done on the floors after 4-5 years and they would have looked great again without resanding. Would have been less expensive.

    The second refinishing was done with Bona water based poly. We used a natural/clear stain. The stain had some odor to it but the poly did really smell. I actually was able to stay in the house but was not able to walk on the floors until late on the second day. Furniture could be replaced 48 hours after the final coat but rugs could not be replaced for 1 full week.

    We didn't know when we decided to redo our kitchen this past fall, that we would need to add hardwood in places. Adding the hardwood necessitated another complete sanding and refinishing for kitchen, dining, hallways and foyer because the flooring was continuous with no transition or stopping points. The GC's flooring people also used Bona water based poly. They too recommended buff and re-coat if it starts showing wear after about 5 years. This 3rd refinishing was also done with very little odor.

    With your asthma, on thing you should be sure to do is have the refinishers use an atomic dust containment system. It really works so much better than just an ordinary vacuum system. We had it used each time and there was very little dust to clean up. Without the atomic dust containment you will be dealing with lots of dust everywhere even if they put up plastic. The dust might be worse for your asthma than the fumes.

  • badgergal
    9 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I have to clarify that the plasticky floor finish that was initially in the house was not the Bona finish. The Bona finish was what I think that we used on that first refinish. We definitely used the Bona on the other 2 refinishings.

  • babushka_cat
    9 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    i had the floors in my house redone about 2-3 years ago. very dusty and the odor from the poly was horrendous. i had made arrangements to house sit and my cats came with me. it took 2 weeks before the house aired out enough to be livable but the odor lingered another 2 weeks.

  • sail_away
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Clinresga, Your floors sound wonderful. I'm starting to get excited about the prospect of having the majority of our first floor have oak floors, instead of just worrying about all the $$, work, and concern for health issues with the finishing.

    Badergal, I know that Bona has various products. Did you have Bona Traffic (the two-component water-based) or one of the other Bona finishes? I know the floor guy uses dust containment, but I don't know if it's atomic. How can you tell which it is, and what's the advantage of the atomic dust containment?

    Babushka, Yikes! That's what I'm afraid of. Are you talking about an oil-based polyurethane?

  • rococogurl
    9 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Most of the floor finishes today -- water or oil base -- produce good results. They really have it down. It depends on how you want to maintain floors afterwards.

    In general, the oil-based and actual oiled floors take a bit longer to cure and smell terrible at first. Certainly Waterlox and the tung oil does. But the contractors set up fans in /near the rooms which are left on for 24-36 hours with windows open, which helps dissipate the smell.

    However, you seem really concerned about the breathing issues so one of the water-based Bona products would likely be best. We used Bona natural on oak floors in our apartment and there was 0 smell. It was durable and easy to clean.

  • babushka_cat
    9 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    yes, mine were oil based poly. i entertained the idea of water based but the former owner had refinished one part of the house in water based and it has not held up well at all. the finishers strongly recommended the oil for a lasting finish. just make plans to go elsewhere while it airs out. mine were done in fall and during some inclement weather - in the middle of summer with windows open will help speed the process. if i were to do it again i would do poly.

  • dseng
    9 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    This may not apply in the OP's case, and I know I'm bucking a popular trend, but, cases like this (i.e. severe breathing issues compounded by fumes or off-gassing) seem to lend themselves perfectly to pre-finished flooring. We installed pre-finished red oak in a previous remodel and it's held up through multiple dogs and kids for the past 8 years. We'll be installing prefinished 5.25" wide red oak in our current LR/DR remodel. It goes down fast and the price was surprisingly low.

  • tetrazzini
    9 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Funny you should bring this up today. I just found out about a new non-toxic wood finish on Sunday. I was on a Garden Conservancy tour and, since the homeowner at one of the homes was also its architect, he opened the house to us as well. He's a high-end architect, and his house was amazing. (I coincidentally ran across it in an old issue of Inspired House magazine, by the publishers of Fine Homebuilding.) Every tiny detail was of high quality. (The house had a brilliant passive solar design which keeps it cool in summer.) Anyway, I asked him what finish he used on his wood floors and other woodwork; he said it's called Penofin, and that his firm likes their Verde (green) finish. Its MSDS backs up the company's claim that it's non-toxic. It looked really nice, and has held up despite the thousands of people who tramp through his house. (In addition to the GC tours, they participate in an annual fundraising event that over 1000 people attend.)

    In my house I used standard polyurethane on our main floor, and Basic Coatings Emulsion "low VOC" finish on our second floor. It's held up pretty well but not great in high traffic areas. The standard poly downstairs has held up very well, but I prefer low- or non-toxic whenever possible.

    Since you're asthmatic, I'd call the company just to be sure it's safe.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Penofin

  • badgergal
    9 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Sail away: the atomic dust containment system is a truck mounted powerful vacuum with hoses that attach to the sanding and finishing system. There was an up charge for using the Atomic Dust Containment equipment over the normal dust control that would be used. Apparently the ADC is a system developed by Bona. So I guess you just need to ask specifically what type of system the flooring people have. I am adding a link that has a graphic about the dust.
    We used the Bona Natural. We felt that overall the finish held up well. But since my floors are ash and not as hard as oak we did have a fair amount of scratches from our large dogs. We also only have a patio door to our yard so snow and rain was often brought in on their feet. After 10 years there was wear on the finish by that door. Most people did not notice the scratches or that area of wear. They thought the floors looked great and they couldn't believe we were redoing the floors.
    We didn't hesitate to use the same process and products again when we had to redo the floors one more time for our remodel.
    Hope you can get the detail of your floor refinishing figured so that your health is not compromised at all. Good luck.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Dust containment info

  • windycitylindy
    9 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Clingresa,

    One thing to be aware of is that the Swedish-finish oil-based Glitsa fumes are heavier than air. Our flooring guy told us that the basement would have worse fumes than the rest of the house. This was a huge factor in our deciding to go with a water-based finish. It doesn't look plasticky at all. In fact, it has an amazingly soft, smooth finish (satin). Our floor guy used something called Dura, and it's really beautiful.

    We also have friends who recently had Swedish finish done. The fumes aggravated their child's asthma to the point that they had to stay out of their house for two extra months. Apparently the full cure time is about 3 months (confirmed by our floor guy). Their experience also helped us decide to use water-based.

    We really didn't want to worry about greater health risks. When our flooring guy mentioned that we were lucky in our state because Swedish finish was still legal here, we realized there was no way we could use a finish that wasn't allowed in most states any longer.

    If you want photos of our water-finish floors, send me a message with an email address.

  • sail_away
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Well, I'm finally checking back on this thread. We just moved back into the house after having the new wood floors installed and then having the old and new floors all finished at the same time. DH would not budge on the finish, so we ended up with the Swedish Oil Finish. I mentioned to DH that some states have made Swedish Oil Finish illegal, but he still wanted that finish for our floors because that's what we had before (or so the guy who bid the job thought). Want to know something funny? The day before they started finishing the floors the guys working in our home stated that we had WATER based finish. So who knows?

    On the plus side, I'm very happy with the looks of our floors. They did an excellent job threading in new boards with the old to combine the new wood floors with the ones that were installed twenty years ago. You can't tell which is old and which is new---it all just looks like a beautiful new floor. We decided to go with the natural finish, and I couldn't be happier.

    We stayed in a hotel one day longer than the floor guys suggested, and I'm glad we did. Yesterday I spent much of the time parked in the car in front of our house, after DH had gone in (with a respirator on) and opened windows everywhere to start airing the house out. Later, we added fans and then the started the furnace on fan only. As I write this, I'm sitting in my house with fans running everywhere and almost every window open (on three floors). My eyes sting a little and my throat hurts; I have a nagging headache. I also have noticed some impact on my breathing. However, I'm hanging in there and haven't had a full-blown major asthma attack so far. Upstairs is definitely better than downstairs. I'm disappointed to have to deal with this, but it does seem to be getting better. I'm hoping to be able to sleep upstairs tonight, but if I can't, I'm going to ask my sister if I can sleep on her sofa tonight.

    Does anyone have information on the time it takes for the floor to fully cure (and, thus, for the off-gassing to end)? Also, I'm wondering about moving furniture back in. I've heard everything from two weeks to sixty days, so I'm not sure what to expect. The foor guys seem to only state that the vast majority of the chemicals are off-gassed in the first forty-eight hourss. That's all well and good, but with something this strong, the few remaining can be pretty significant.

    If I can get through this without a trip to the doctor/hospital, it will be worth it. I'm so excited to finally have this done.

  • poohpup
    9 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    We just had our floors redone with three coats of the Swedish finish. I have to say that the odor was really horrible. They started finishing the floors on a Monday and applied the final coat on Weds. We stayed in a hotel from Monday until coming home on Friday. I came by the house Thursday morning and opened every single window and spent three hours reading a book in the driveway while the house aired out. Did the same thing Friday morning while the kids were in school and it made a big difference. We left the windows open for a couple of days and the odor was almost completely gone by Sunday. We were able to sleep in the house that Friday without any problem. The floors were redone in early June and there aren't any lingering odors at all. I think they were pretty much gone that first week.

    Our floor guy told us not to put furniture back on the floors until one week after the last coat was applied. We were also told not to put back any rugs until three weeks after the final coat. He advised us to use felt pads for our area rug rather than those rubbery non-slip pads. He said those would end up sticking to the floor and ruining the finish.

    Both my kids have Plasma cars with hard wheels and they love to ride them up and down the hallways. I was cringing at the idea of them using them on my new floor. My floor guy told me to keep them off the floor for at least 30 days but 60 would be better. The kids haven't asked about them yet so I haven't gotten them back out. lol

    I'm sorry the fumes are bothering you so much. It will get better and it will get better quickly. I think you'll be really happy you did the Swedish finish. That's what I had on the floors prior and they looked pretty darn good after 18 years. My floor guy said the Swedish finish was definitely the most durable and with two kids and a dog, durable sounded great! Good luck and I hope your house is sweet smelling soon!

  • sail_away
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Poohpup, Thanks for the encouragement. It is better today. We started with opening up all windows and doors for much of Saturday. Since Sunday morning, we've been keeping the windows and doors open, with fans strategically placed to move air from outside through the house and then out again. It is better than last night---in fact I notice a vast improvement. Last night my breathing got so bad that DH wanted me to either crash at a friend's house or check into a hotel for the night. I really didn't want to do that, so we moved an extra fan into our bedroom, opened windows at each end, and closed the door to the rest of the house, and finally my breathing problems eased up a bit. I'm doing MUCH better today. I anticipate I will have some difficulty again tonight, because when we start closing doors and windows on the main floor the fumes seem to increase again. It should be much better by tonight though, as this will make 2-1/2 days of totally airing out the house with fans. I think, if nothing else, we've learned what we need to do to make it bearable.

    Thanks, too, for the information about furniture, rugs, etc. I'll have to look for the felt to put under our rugs. I don't think I've seen that before. What about vacuuming? We have a central vac and I'm wondering if I should wait until after the first 30 days to use it on the hardwood? I love the central vac for hard floors, but perhaps it would be a little too much initially? I'm also concerned about the large hoses on the floor. Unfortunately, both our outlets for the central vac are in areas where we have hardwood, so I may not be able to use it on my hard surfaces in kitchen/family room either. I might actually have to pick up a broom to clean my kitchen floor for a while. Let me know if your floor guy said anything about vacuuming.

  • poohpup
    9 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Glad to hear it is getting better. I was told not to vacuum the floor for at least 30 days. He also told us not to do anything more than sweep and spot clean with water. I haven't vacuumed my floors yet. Just been sweeping. I'll most likely wait until we're past the 60 day mark.

    Below is a link to the type of pad they suggested. I have a 10x13 rug in my family room and I bought this type of pad for it. Just put it down about 10 days ago and am very happy with it.

    It will be worth it! The odor is really awful at first but gets better so quickly. Hang in there!

    Here is a link that might be useful: Recycled felt rug pad

  • joyce_6333
    9 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Sail-away: I'm late to this thread, but glad to hear things are getting better with the odor. Yes the odor is horrid..it's Formaldehyde. We used Glitsa in our old house (new floors and refinished floors), and after 10 years, they looked like new. We also used Glitsa in our new home with a matte finish. I love the matte finish. If I remember right, no one was allowed to walk on the floors for a week, and then they put down padded furniture moving blankets to protect the floors. I also was told to just sweep and clean with clear water. Use a little vinegar for really dirty floor. I do have a few rugs around, and my favorite pad is the one I got at Hom furniture. It's felt and really holds the rug in place. No creeping.

  • sail_away
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Joyce, Glad you've been so happy with the Glitsa. I hope ours wears as well as yours. We had the Satin finish applied, on the advice of our floor guy. He said the matte might look unfinished to us. Frankly, it looks like matte to me, no shiny look at all. Not only do I prefer a not-too-shiny floor, but I also think that maintenance is easier. We have been thinkinga about installing prefinished oak flooring in our master bedroom upstairs, but I actually found myself thinking we might want to have unfinished oak installed and finished like the main floor. Despite how bad I felt last night, I'm actually considering doing it again. I guess that shows how much I love the look of my new floors. Part of our floors are newly installed, and part were refinished at the same time the new floors were finished. The original floors didn't look half as good when first installed as they do now.

  • sail_away
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Anna, Sorry you're having a tough time. Some people's sense of smell is more acute than others---maybe that's true of you? I could smell it, but it wasn't the smell so much as the effect it had on my breathing due to allergies and asthma. One advantage we had is that we did this in the summer. Therefore, we could keep windows and doors open. We left windows open on the upper story of the house at all times and I even parked in our driveway with my laptop so I could work using our wifi and left everything I could open during the day. We kept a large box fan in our dining room window that had the fan aimed outside so that it would pull air from outside the front of the house all the way through the house and back out through the dining room. I believe we kept that particular fan running in the window for an entire month. By the end of the month, I wasn't walking in the door and immediately noticing the effect of the fumes on my breathing.

    After almost 4-1/2 years, still love the look of the floors. However, we won't be enjoying them anymore, as we have sold that house and downsized into a new home. I can tell you that the new owners were very happy with the hardwood floors.

  • Kathryn P
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    I didn't read the whole thread, but will add that if you have a gas dryer the smell will stick around longer. Vapors get trapped in the dryer and then ignite when it is used, so the place will reek of kerosene. It took a few weeks for that to stop around our house.