Timeless Hardwoods

Hardwoods are a large (but worthy) investment in your home.  You want them to stand the test of time.

Here are two links to some fantastic advice to read if you are in the process of choosing what style and color of hardwoods you want to install in your house.

http://www.mariakillam.com/the-new-timeless-hardwood-floor/http://www.mariakillam.com/docs/TimelessHardwoodFloorMay.pdf

 

 

Stairs

Stairs are tricky.  The installation and refinishing of stairs merits its own chapter in the book of hardwood flooring work.  To do them well, they require a lot more labor, time, precision and craftsmanship than most general floor refinishing.  For these reasons, stair work tends to be more costly and not every hardwood flooring company does them.

Planeta Works does hardwood stair work and does it well.  Artur is an expert in refinishing stairs and in the more custom work of installing brand new stairs.

Here are some fun examples of some of the stair installation and finishing work Planeta Works has done.

Below are photos of some new custom fir treads Artur cut, installed and finished at a house in Ballard.  He also installed and finished the ledge you see just above the stairs.
Shane Fir Stairs Shane Stairs Fir Shane Fir Stairs 2

 

These stairs in a Bellevue home originally had carpet.  The owners of the house wanted the stairs to match the rest of the flooring in the house.  Artur cut, installed and finished new custom american cherry stair treads, risers and two landings.

Bellevue Stairs Bellevue American Cherry Stairs Bellevue American Cherry Stairs 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this lovely, historic home in Ravenna, Artur refinished the original fir treads, risers and landing, getting rid of the old dark stain and modernizing the house to get it ready to sell.

20130720_091955 20130715_103513

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new owners of this Kirkland condo wanted the carpet gone and had us install, stain and finish new oak treads and risers on their stairway.

Carpeted Stairs

Carpeted Stairs

New installation of wide-board oak with a grayish stain.

New installation of wide-board oak with a grayish stain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some other terms you might hear surrounding stair work are, stair return and skirt board. These are finishing pieces and are most often needed when the stairs are not enclosed by a wall or to continue a baseboard feature down the stairway.  Planeta Works is experienced in installing and recommending these important finishing details.

Feel free to contact us with any questions you have or to have us come give you a free estimate.

Adventures in Refinishing Hardwood Floors – We’ve Been There

This summer, Artur and I bought our first home.  We had been looking for over a year and dreaming for more than that.

We knew that any house we bought would need some remodeling. With our budget, Artur’s skills, and what we know about real estate, buying a fixer was the best investment for us.  Plus, we aren’t turn-key kind of people.  We wanted a fixer. In July, we got the keys to our dream fixer.

Refinishing the hardwood floors was at the top of our new-house projects’ list.  Most of the house already had a mix of red and white oak flooring.  It was in amazing shape considering it hadn’t been refinished in at least 15 years. The living room and the kitchen were the only rooms that didn’t have hardwoods.  The living room had some very, shall we say, “dated” green carpet and the kitchen had a mix of hardwood and linoleum.

Kitchen before:

 

Living room before:

IMG_1316

 

To bring in a more cohesive look to our home, we decided to pull up the carpet and linoleum, install a new mix of red and white oak to match the existing floors in the rest of the house, stain all areas a richer color and finish them with a Swedish Finish.

Here’s the living room mid-carpet removal. (You wouldn’t believe the amount of dirt we found under this carpet despite having been taken care of over the decades, further reinforcing our love of hardwoods.)

IMG_1341

 

Here’s the kitchen mid-linoleum removal. (Sorry for the blurry picture.)

IMG_1344

After the carpet and linoleum were gone Artur started installing the new wood we had ordered.

NOTE:  Before installing new wood flooring it is very important to store the flooring in your home or installation space for at least a week prior to installing. Wood is very sensitive to moisture and heat and needs to acclimate to the new climate, lowering the risk of warping or bucking after installation.

To begin the installation process, Artur first lays down a moisture barrier.  Then, before nailing down the boards, he sorts them out in a way that looks balanced and nice, both in color variation and board length.  See below.

IMG_1450

Here are photos of the kitchen and living room after the floors have been installed but before staining and finishing.

IMG_1517

 

IMG_1482

 

The stain we choose was Provincial from Daly’s.  We love how the stain pulls out the character in the wood, ties in the red and white oak, as well as adding a richness to the floors without being too dark.

Here are the floors after being sanded, covered with a layer of filler (always necessary), sanded again, stained and finished with three coats of Swedish Finish.

Living Room – After

photo 1 photo 2

 

Kitchen – After

photo photo 2

 

A side-by-side view of the before and after of the kitchen floors:

photo 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A side-by-side of the before and after of the living room floors:

photo 1photo 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We love how the floors turned out!  Although we have worked with many many clients as they navigate decisions about their hardwood floors in their own homes, we hadn’t ever gone through that process personally.  After this experience, we now feel that much more knowledgeable and prepared to help our clients as they make decisions regarding their hardwood floors.

Coming soon, more personal experiences from the Project Planeta Remodel and why you should always do your thorough research before hiring a contractor.

Abracadabra!

After seeing the before and after shots of the job that Artur recently finished at a house in Magnolia, my first thought was, “WOW” and and then, “I’m married to a magician.” Take a look at the before. BeforeThis parquet floor was under some carpet in a bedroom.  Artur knew that there was parquet, but as is often the case when carpet is involved, he did not know of the stain damage and the lack of parquet along the border in this particular corner.  It was kind of a mess.

Normally, parquet comes in pre-made squares which you install section by section rather than installing each short, individual board.  Because Artur wasn’t aware of all of the patching needed on these floors, he hadn’t called around to check on the availability of the pre-made parquet squares in White Oak before starting this job.  As these things can go, none of the distributors in town had any in stock.

Artur had two options.  The first being to order the parquet squares, put the job on hold, inconvenience our client and throw our work schedule out of whack, or hand cut each small board needed to make the parquet squares, piece by piece by piece and then install them piece by piece by piece.  He chose the second (and only real) option — 350+ hand cut pieces of White Oak later, and a lot of patience and attention to detail, the floors were complete. Here is the stunning and beautiful result. After Our clients are very happy and so are we.  This isn’t magic, it’s an example of Artur’s skill, expertise, experience, patience, attention to detail and pride in his work.  It’s one example of why he is considered one of the best wood floor experts in Seattle.

To quote our client, “Wow is an understatement! We are so pleased. You are married to a terrific professional. Of course, you know this.”

Yes, I know this.  Artur is happy someone pointed this out to me in writing, at last!

One more before/after shot. Before 2    After 3

Before and After in Maple Leaf

Here are some photos of a job we did earlier in the winter in and old craftsman home in the Maple Leaf neighborhood of Seattle.

We ripped up the old carpet in the living room, the tiles in the entryway and some flooring that had been glued down in the kitchen and dining room.  We then installed and finished new Red Oak Select hardwoods in the living room, dining room, kitchen and entryway.  The results are beautiful.  Having one type of flooring through the entire first floor made the house look so much bigger and feel more cohesive.  Check it out!

 

8th ave ne dining:kitchen before

Kitchen/Dining Room Before

 

8th ave NE kitchen

Kitchen After

 

Before of Kitchen Area

Kitchen Corner Before

 

8th Ave NE kitchen - after

Kitchen After

8th ave ne dining room - after

Dining Room After

8th ave ne living room before

Living Room and Entryway Before

Living Room Before

Living Room Before

8th Ave NE living, dining - after

Living Room and Dining Room After

image[5]

Entryway Before

8th Ave NE dining room  - after

Living Room and Entryway After

After The Final Coat

Here are the care guidelines we recommend for the first two weeks after the final coat of finish has been applied to your floors.

– No walking on the floors for 24 hours.  *See below for airing out your house post-finish.

– After 24 hours, you may walk on the floors with no shoes.

– We recommend you keep shoes and pets off of the floors for a minimum of three days.

– After three days, you may put furniture back on the floors but NO AREA RUGS.  In order to best protect your beautiful new floors from scratches we suggest you put some sort of felt pads (like these) under all furniture.

– After two weeks you may put down any area rugs you have.  Putting them down before the two week period will compromise the full curing process of the finish and may lead to discoloration.

What’s the safest and quickest way to get rid of the odor from the finish?

The best and quickest way to air out your house after the final coat has been applied is air movement.

–  Open up as many windows and doors as possible.

–  Please do not do this until 24 hours has passed as to avoid any dust or particles landing on potentially wet finish.

–  Fans are great for getting air movement in the space as well.

–  In the winter, it’s ok to leave the heat off for a day or so while you are airing out the house but please turn it back on after a day to ensure the proper curing process of the floors.

–  In addition, you may want to change the filter in your furnace.  We take great care in sealing off any heating vents and areas of the house that are not having work done but dust and odors can still escape the work area.

A Tale of Two Species

Artur and I are huge fans of older homes. They ooze character, craftsmanship and are the historical storytellers of our neighborhoods.

We recently worked on a 1909 gem in the Ravenna neighborhood of Seattle. Our clients had us pull up the old carpet and refinish the fantastic hardwoods beneath. We were excited to find that both the living room and dining room floors were composed of two different species of wood. Both had a center square of Douglas Fir with an Oak border. This is a common hardwood flooring layout for homes built during this period in the Pacific Northwest.

Because Douglas Fir was so plentiful in our part of the world, it was more economical to install the majority of the square footage with this wood leaving only the border for the pricier Oak planks.

Wall to wall carpeting didn’t exist in 1909. Instead, people used area rugs, often Persian or Oriental, to decorate their living spaces. These rugs were perfect for covering up the more inexpensive center square of Douglas Fir, leaving only the Oak border showing. So clever and functional, if not a bit deceptive!

See the before and stunning after photos below.

20130716_084728

BEFORE

20130720_091927

AFTER

 

20130716_084640

BEFORE

20130720_091846

AFTER

 

20130716_084719

BEFORE

20130720_091832

AFTER