Sand & Finish

This may be the final process in your new un-finished hardwood flooring installation from Residential Floors or it may be the process your old floor needs to get it looking brand-new again. Either way, you can count on us to provide you with the timely expertise in rendering your floors to the pinnacle of beauty you expect.

Sand &Finish(S&F) vs. Screen & Coat(S&C)

If your hardwood floor has lost its ‘like-new’ appearance in traffic lanes, then it’s time to give us a call. Most floors, given this depreciation in appearance, really only need a Screen & Coat service to get their floors looking great again. By scuffing-up the surface and applying one, or two, fresh coats of urethane the floors will shine as good as new; and this is a common maintenance practice with any hardwood floor. If you choose to ignore these ‘warning signs’ of wear and avoid the Screen & Coat maintenance, then you can expect that you’ll eventually expose the wood itself and need a Sand & Finish procedure to even-out the appearance of the hardwood flooring.

Here’s a more technical, detailed explanation of the two services and why they are different:

It’s important to understand the difference between these two services in order to best care for your hardwood floor. Let’s first set the foundation of the structure of your wood flooring, assuming it’s a solid, 3/4” product: During the lifespan of a solid 3/4” product only 3-4 ‘sandings’ can be done before the integrity of the tongue-and-groove or ship-lapped board will be compromised (too much of the ‘wear layer’ has been relieved and the ‘milling point’, tongue and groove, are ‘hinging’ with the torque of the growth rather than being stable). While this doesn’t sound like a lot, you have to realize that, given proper intervention and maintenance, that these 3-4 ‘sandings’ may typically span a 50-100 year wood calendar. The ‘trick’ is to keep-up with a regimen of maintenance; and this is where the difference of our services of ‘S&F and S&C’ is important to differentiate.  Sand &Finish is a process whereby the actual wood is cut (sanded), rendering fresh wood fiber, followed by coats of new finish. Screen & Coat is a process whereby the existing urethane coat(s) is abraded or removed and replaced with fresh finish. The latter, as you can see, never cuts into the wood.When your floor seems dull or the gloss is gone or uneven without bands of raw hardwood showing and discoloring then all you need to have Residential Floors do is an ‘S&C’; and your floor will look and perform as if it were brand-spankin’ new again. Typically speaking, and considering the average household traffic, this should be done at 4-5 year intervals. If you’re good about having this done as part of a maintenance schedule with us, then the likelihood of having to have your floors sanded for the first time is protracted for a couple decades, or longer!

As long as you don’t wait too long on the ‘S&C’, entertain a clumsy door-to-door chainsaw salesman, or let Dad model his new golf shoes on Father’s Day on your hardwood floors, then sanding is not likely to be indicated for a long, long time.

Important Note: Homes with hardwood flooring throughout will, inevitably, show signs of wear in halls and common areas long before other rooms. It’s wiser to have these high-traffic zones Screened & Coated as needed (delaying the other rooms for the time-being) than to wait for the low-traffic rooms to need intervention. Odds are that if you wait that long, you’ll be faced with Sanding every single floor in order to get them to match properly.

Types of Finish

You will likely want to discuss finish options with a Residential Floors professional at the time you schedule your appointment for services as there are many quality finishes to choose from but your application may indicate a specific type or composition of finish that will perform the best. When choosing a finish, you should always consider the level of gloss you desire, first. Whether you prefer a mirror-finish high gloss urethane or the warm luster and patina of buffed Tung-oil is the type of information the Residential Floors pro needs in order to make the proper recommendation. The level of gloss, or sheen, can be indicative of the hardness of the finish. Typically, the higher the gloss then the harder the finish; but also bear in mind that the higher the gloss the more noticeable the changes (scratches, scuffs, wear) will be. The composition of a finish is often a choice made by the professional in relation to the needs of the environment or the desires of the customer. Oil-base products dry slower than water-based products; but they tend to be a tougher finish (this is changing day-by-day). Oil-based products also add an amber hue to the color of the wood, where water-based products don’t enhance the color at all. Water-based products can actually ‘cure’ in an hour, or so, permitting the professional to apply 3 coats of finish per day—for fast turnaround rooms. Your application is unique and, unless you have a strong, personal preference, the Residential Floors professional is typically responsible for the selection of the finish in the gloss level you choose.

Atypical Finishes–Sometimes a customer will desire a more ‘period’ appearance for their hardwood flooring and a Tung-oil application and buffing is the logical choice here. Tung-oil is not a film that sits on top of the wood but, instead, penetrates and hardens the top layer of wood fiber. The sheen level is manipulated by a build-up of coats and the ‘burnishing’ of the wood and oil. Someone who wants the quick-dry convenience of a water-based product with the amber hue of an oil finish will be happily satisfied with a ‘mongrel’ alkyd-modified water-base urethane–which accomplishes both variables. Moisture-Cured urethanes are the hardest finishes available but are comparatively more expensive, have an extremely high permeating odor, and their applications require that everyone in the process wear respirators. Although they are very, very hard-wearing finishes, they are not for everyone.


This is a relatively simple step that can be added to your finish job that really adds to the beauty of the work. This process heats and ‘clarifies’ the surface of the urethane rendering a perfectly smooth and flawless finish. A new finish looks fantastic as is, but hard-buffing really enhances that finish that much more!

Hardwood Flooring to Fit Any Décor

Residential Floors offers all the most popular hardwood flooring species in varies styles and plank widths:

  • White or red oak
  • Maple
  • Cherry (including Brazilian Cherry)
  • Walnut
  • Mahogany
  • Pecan
  • Ash
  • Pine

Why Hardwood Flooring?

Over a quarter-century ago, Residential Floors was established as a premier source and contractor for hardwood flooring. We recognized the beauty and long-term value that an honest wood floor provides a home. The benefits of having Residential Floors provide you with a new hardwood floor are many. Here are a few things you may want to consider:

  • A nail-down hardwood floor adds to the structural integrity of the home.
  • Timeless Décor-hardwood floors never go out of style. They’re ‘décor neutral’, which means that they enhance virtually any decorating scheme or theme.
  • Long-term Value–a properly maintained hardwood floor will retain its integrity and appearance for decades–not just years. It’s not uncommon to expect that your great-grandchildren will be walking on the same floor that you are today.
  • Breathe free, Sneeze less–hardwood floors are ideal for families who are prone to certain airborne allergies. Hardwood floors won’t support the growth or harboring of common allergy agents.
  • Love the Maintenance–What’s not to love? A quick sweep, vacuum or dry-dust is all you need for routine care of your hardwood floor.
  • Selling Feature–because of its popularity, beauty and long-term value, hardwood floors are a tremendous selling feature or asset to your home. It is one of the few types of flooring which will actually add to the value of your home; and is a known improvement to achieve a greater return on investment.
  • Versatility–new technologies in engineered hardwood floors, along with novel installation techniques and finishes, enable a hardwood floor installation in any room of your home.
  • Quick Transformation–Having a gathering next week? A pre-finished hardwood floor provides a quick transformation: from ‘Blahhh’ to ‘stately’, oftentimes in a few hours* (*excluding product acclimation).
  • Environmentally Sustainable–or ‘Green’, if you’d prefer, is the trademark characteristic of hardwood flooring. It is a naturally harvested product which can return to its roots with nominal or negligible environmental impact.
  • Easy Repair-Damage a board? Dishwasher explode? Rest assured, your hardwood floor boards can be replaced or refinished with little expense or inconvenience to you–most often, creating an untraceable repair.