Thursday, August 27, 2015

Low cost Providers and Materials

Low cost Providers and Materials

When you are planning your remodeling project, do not let your wallet dictate your actions.  It is better to delay your project to have the results that you want than to take short cuts or go with the least expensive options.
This is especially true when looking at big remodeling projects like Kitchens, Bathrooms and Floors.  Remember you will be living with the end result for years so you need to make sure that you make wise decisions and do not select materials or contractors because they are the least expensive.  
When researching contractors, review ratings on places like the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, Houzz, etc.  Ask to review their general liability insurance policy. Spend time on their websites to review their work.  Ask for references and actually talk to people that they completed work for recently.  Keep in mind, some contractors do not have good project management skills and may take weeks or months to complete the work.  Make sure that your contractor has good management skills as well as good trade skills. You want your home back in order sooner rather than later.
When looking at materials go on-line and research.   Check out consumer reports and look for any articles written about issues with the products.  This is especially important for products that have been under fire in the media ( Lumber Liquidators.)  Many products look similar from the surface but do not have the same level of quality.  For example with Engineered Hardwood looks the same from the surface but the wear layer may be paper thin on an inexpensive product. This means that it cannot be refinished and it may only last 5-7 years depending on how many scratches get put in it over time.
If a price is too good to be true, walk away.  More than likely you will experience the headaches that come from a contractor cutting corners because they bid the project too low.  As contractors, we are in business to make money.   

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Remodeling Communication and Expectations

You have decided to remodel your home, selected a contractor and are ready to begin your project.  Here is a list of things to discuss with your contractor to make sure that you are in agreement and that expectations are set and realistic.   

  • ·          What are the terms of your contract?  How quickly do I have to pay my final invoice?
  • ·         How long will the project take?  What is the schedule? What types of things may cause time lines to be delayed?
  • ·         How will workers access my home and what hours will they be working?
  • ·         Do I have to secure my pets?
  • ·         Can I live in my house during the process?  Will there be strong smells or loud noises that make it difficult to stay?
  • ·         How much will demolition and construction disrupt my home?  What are your clean up procedures and do you clean up the site every day?
  • ·         If changes are made during the process, how will the changes and related costs be documented?
  • ·         What types of things do I need to know about the products that I have selected to be installed?  Are there maintenance or care instructions?  What are the warranties?
  • ·         Who do I communicate problems or concerns to and what is the best way to communicate? Text? Phone? Email?
  • ·         Ask about certificates of insurance and licensing.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Hardwoood flooring humidity control and wear layer surfaces

Humidity control and wear layer surfaces of hardwood.

This year the phone has been ringing off the hook for hardwood flooring.  People want to install new hardwood flooring into their homes and have been flocking to box stores and show rooms looking for product.  We are thrilled to have our phones ringing off the hook asking for installation but are less thrilled about the products that they have already purchased without understanding  product quality, wear surface or the required humidity control to maintain its stability in their home.
It is very important that you have a basic understanding of wear surface and humidity control before you purchase any products for your home.  We recommend you have a qualified flooring contractor to come in to before you begin your search process. They will measure, educate you about humidity control and wear layer surfaces.   They will also be able to show you any products that they carry and give you an idea on cost for good quality flooring.  You need to be prepared before you begin your shopping process.  You need to understand how different flooring adapts to our Minnesota climate.
Many of the box stores and show rooms carry inexpensive hardwood products that look like their more expensive counter parts on the surface.  The problem is that they have little or no wear layer.  This means the product is a buff and coat product that cannot be refinished.  These floors have a 5-7 year life span if nothing scratches them and you do not have any children or pets.  Often the boards are not finished on the sides so when they are installed the color in between boards is missing making the floors look like they were not installed properly.  The reality is that these products are cheaply produced and do not stand the test of time.   They look beautiful on the surface but are not a good value.
Be on your guard when shopping at a box store looking at these products because you will be working with someone who makes $10 an hour who has little or no education about hardwood.  This also can be true at show rooms that specialize in vinyl  tile and carpeting but happen to carry hardwood. They do not tend to understand the characteristics of wood species, climate control or wear surface.
Humidity control on your furnace is extremely important for hardwood stability especially if you decide to purchase exotic woods like bamboo or South American woods.  If you don’t maintain humidity control in your home, your boards will expand and contract causing gapping or crowning.  Before you buy hardwood, make sure you know the humidity levels in your home throughout the year. Two good humidification systems are April Air and Honeywell.  Any good HVAC contractor will be able to install them on your furnace. 
Hardwood flooring is an investment that should last a very long time.  Take the time to understand its maintenance requirements, installation requirements, and learn about humidity control so that your flooring purchase and installation stand the test of time.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Skip the steam cleaning products for your Hardwood floors!!!

B & R Hardwood and Tile, Inc
8445 Powers Place
Chanhassen, MN 55317

Hardwood Flooring is very expensive and needs to be well maintained for it to last over time.  Water is an enemy to wood flooring.  There are numerous commercial products out today which make it appear like steam cleaning is good for wood.  IT IS NOT.  Save your money and skip the steam cleaners.   Here is why:

  • ·         Water damages hardwood and may void your warranty.

  • ·         The moisture generated from the steam is absorbed by the boards which may cause swelling and buckling.  Board replacement is expensive and usually you have to refinish your entire floor.

·       The steam cleaners are expensive and there are better products out there like Bona Floor Care kits.

F      For more information on floor care, go to our website at or call 612-644-8779.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Easy Tile Care

Easy Tile Care  
Contact B & R Hardwood and Tile  612-644-8779 or visit us on the web at
Type of Tile/UsageRoutine CleaningHeavy Duty Cleaning
Glazed walls/countertopsWipe with damp cloth or sponge using all-purpose cleaner.  Use window cleaner for glossy surfaces.   Wipe dry with cloth.Clean with scouring powder, commercial tile cleaner, or all-purpose cleaner using non-metallic scouring pad or very fine grade stainless steel pad.  Rinse and wipe dry.
Glazed tile floorsVacuum regularly to remove gritty particles.  Damp mop using solution of water and "soapless" detergent.Use a commercial tile cleaner or a strong solution of water and "soapless" detergent.  If stained, use scouring powder paste.  Let stand for five minutes, brush and scrub. Rinse and dry. For large areas and for areas that are difficult to clean, a power scrubber is recommended.
Glazed Tile ShowersUse all-purpose or bathroom cleaner.  Allow to stand for five minutes rinse and dry.  May also use a mixture of equal parts water and white vinegar or a commercial tile cleaner.Use chlorine bleach or hydrogen peroxide1.  For stubborn stains, use scouring powder containing a bleaching agent.  Let stand four to six minutes, then scrub and rinse thoroughly.   To remove mildew, use a commercial tile cleaner, chlorine bleach or ammonia(1). DO NOT MIX.
Unglazed tile wallsSponge with a diluted solution of water and "soapless" detergent.Use scouring powder paste.  Let stand for five minutes, then scour with brush.  Rinse and wipe dry.
Unglazed tile floorsVacuum regularly to remove gritty particles. Damp mop or sponge with water and/or a diluted solution of water and "soapless" detergent. Use scouring powder paste.  Let stand for five minutes, then scour with brush.  Rinse and wipe dry.  A small brush is suitable for small floors; consider a scrubbing machine for larger areas.
Natural Porcelain/Semi-Polished Porcelain*Vacuum regularly to remove gritty particles.  Damp mop using a solution of water and "soapless detergent", rinse and then wipe dry.Use scouring powder paste.  Let stand for five minutes, then scour with brush.  Rinse and wipe dry.  A small brush is suitable for small floors; consider a scrubbing machine for larger areas.
Commercial ApplicationsFor smaller commercial areas, vacuum regularly to remove gritty particles.  Using a "soapless detergent", scrub with an inexpensive nylon brush (such as a "Doodle Bug").  Follow by using a dry/wet vac to remove water and soap residue.  Note: After initial cleaning, replace nylon brush.  Replace thereafter as it becomes worn.  A clean scrubber makes for a clean floor.  For large commercial settings, consider the use of a commercial floor scrubbing machine.
1.) With colored grout, test a small inconspicuous area first or follow grout manufacturer's instructions.
*A note on Semi-Polished Porcelain:  Porcelain tile is virtually impervious to stains and wear.  However, the polishing process opens microscopic pores in the surface of the tile.  Therefore, it is recommended that a penetrating sealer (such as Aqua Mix "Penetrating Sealer", "Sealer's Choice" etc.) be used 2 hours prior to grouting.  Penetrating Sealers need only be applied once, following the manufacturer's instructions.
Remember, prompt clean-up of spills and regular cleaning will keep your ceramic tile surfaces looking their best.
DO's and DON'Ts of Ceramic Tile Care
Do not combine ammonia and household bleaches.
Do not use harsh cleaning agents (such as steel wool pads) which can scratch or damage the surface of your tile.
Do test scouring pads in a small area first.
Do use a silicone sealer on grout joints if continuous staining is a problem.
Do read and follow label directions for all cleaners.
Care and maintenance of Tile Grout
Grout may present a special cleaning problem because it is susceptible to many staining agents. Apply a silicone sealer to grout joints several times a year for maximum protection.
In addition to keeping the grout clean, be sure to keep grout joints in good repair. Scrape out loose, cracked or powdery joints and refill with a good grout.
One common grouting trouble spot is the joint between the tub and and the wall in your bathroom. As the house or tub settles, the grout may crack and crumble. It's relatively simple to remedy. Remove the old grout with a sharp pointed tool, watching out that you don't scratch tile or tub. Then dry the joint thoroughly and fill with a flexible caulking compound, such as silicone rubber caulking.
A Word about Cleaners
There are many excellent household cleaners on the market today. They should all do a good job for you, so use your favorite. Remember, read and follow the manufacturer's instructions and recommended usage. They will perform as promised, if you use them as directed.
Here is some general information about the cleaners which are mentioned in this brochure.
All-purpose cleaners included such products as Soft Scrub, Scrub Free, Mr. Clean, Top Job, Fantastik, Ajax Liquid, Liquid Comet and Dow Bathroom Cleaner. You can find them at your supermarket.
"Soapless detergents" are also commonly found on supermarket shelves. They include such cleaners as Spic & Span and 409.
Scouring powders which are readily available include Comet, Bon Ami, and Ajax. Nylon scouring pads may also be used (such as Scotch Brite), but steel wool pads are not recommended.
Commercial cleaners such as Aqua Mix or Hilliard's "Assurance", are suitable for heavy duty cleaning in commercial applications.
Stain Removal Guide
StainRemoval Agent
Grease and fatsSoda and water or commercial spot lifter
Inks and colored dyesHousehold bleach
BloodHydrogen Peroxide or household bleach
Coffee, tea, food, fruit, lipstick, juicesNeutral cleaner in hot water followed by hydrogen peroxide or household bleach
*Caution: Vinegar may damage some tile glazes.  Be sure to test this solution first in a small area to see if it etches the tile or erodes the grout.

Hardwood Floor Care

B & R Hardwood and Tile  612-644-8779

Hardwood Floor Care
Hardwood floors are very durable yet vulnerable in many ways. This care sheet should be used as a guide to help keep your floor looking beautiful for many years. Here are some rules to help you out.

1. Wood floors will respond noticeably to changes in humidity level in the home, especially in the winter. A humidifier will help but will not completely eliminate this reaction.
New Wood Floors

2. Wood floors will exhibit the following traits: When new, small splinters of wood will appear; dimples or scratches can be caused by moving furniture, dropping heavy or sharp objects, etc. Some shrinkage or warping can be expected; especially around heat vents or any heat producing appliances.

3. Warping will occur if the floor becomes wet repeatedly or is thoroughly soaked even one time. A dulling of the finish in heavy traffic areas is likely; a white, filmy appearance is caused by moisture (often by wet shoes or boots).
In daily care of hardwood floors, preventative maintenance is the primary goal.

4. Spills
Food spills should be cleaned up in a timely manner using a dry cloth. Use vinegar and warm water solution for tough food spills.

5. Shoes
It is recommended that you do not wear high heals on your hardwood floors. Heels that have lost their protective cap (thus exposing the fastening nail) can exert over 8,000 pounds of pressure per square inch on the floor, That's high enough to damage hardened concrete; it will mark your wood floor.

6. Mats
Use protective mats at the exterior doors to help prevent sand and grit from getting on the floor. Gritty sand is wood flooring's worst enemy.
7. Yellowing and Warping
Be aware that yellowing and warping of the surface can result from rubber backing on area rugs or mats.

8. Furniture Legs
Install proper floor protectors used on hardwood floors. Protectors will allow chairs to move easily over without scuffing. Clean the protectors on a regular basis to remove any grit that may accumulate.
9. Cleaning
Sweep on a daily basis or as needed. Never wet mop a hardwood floor. Excessive water causes wood to expand, possibly damaging the wood. When the floor becomes soiled, damp mop with a mixture of one cup vinegar to one gallon water. When mopping, be sure to remove any excess water from the mop.
10. Waxing
Waxing or use of products like Murphy's Oil Soap is not recommended. Once you wax a polyurethane finish floor, it is very difficult to re-coat the floor, as the new finish will not bond to the wax. Also, once wax is used, then you must maintain the wax and the floor. Preventative cleaning and annual screen should be performed to maintain the desired level of luster.
11. Re-coating
It is important to remember that re-coating is much cheaper and easier than re-sanding. Re-coating will take out minor surface scratches and dirt that has penetrated into the surface of the finish. If areas are neglected too long and the finish is worn through, then re-sanding is required. Floors should be re-coated every year to ten years depending on wear. A general rule for re-coating is start at 10 years for one person and subtract two years for each additional person or dog living in the house.
11. Gapping
Minnesota is a tough state for hardwood floors as the humidity rises so much in the summer and falls so much in the winter. Minor gaps in the hardwood floor will occur in the winter and the floor may swell in the summer. This is normal.
Special Note:

We hope that you enjoy your wood floor and refer our name, B&R Hardwood and Tile, to anyone interested in having a hardwood floor installed or for refinishing his or her existing hardwood floor.
B&R Hardwood and Tile is not responsible for any damage due to misuse or by not following the customer care instructions above.   call Kurt Kuhlmann
@ 612-644-8779

Saturday, May 25, 2013

B and R Hardwood and Tile installation and Refinish / Installation Process

What to expect during the Hardwood Flooring Installation and Refinish Process:

B & R Hardwood and Tile has been in the flooring business for 15 years installing and restoring hardwood floors to their natural beauty.  Our crews are trained to follow the National Wood Flooring Association Guidelines.

1)      B & R meets with clients to evaluate and measure the floor. During this time, we inspect for pet damage, cracked boards, uneven boards, warping and other issues that can impact your flooring over time.  We measure the hardwood including, closets, hallways, treads and risers and other areas the homeowner wants included.  Bids are usually emailed to the homeowner within 5 business days.

2)      It is easiest to provide an accurate bid if flooring is exposed.  If the flooring is covered by vinyl, tile large rugs, carpeting or other items, we cannot guarantee our bid because we are unable to evaluate the entire floor.  Flooring issues that cannot be seen by the eye such as: crowning, ruined boards and poor sub floor conditions will cause additional charges to the project.

3)      Our refinish process includes two cuts of sanding and three coats of finish.  Our product is two coats of high quality professional oil base finish followed by one coat of water base finish.  This creates a smoother tougher finish

4)      Most refinishes are completed in 3-4 days unless the homeowner decides to add a custom stain color.  Custom stain colors usually add one day to the process and an additional charge.

5)      If trim and base shoe is removed and reinstalled during the refinish /installation process, there is an additional fee.  Generally, we recommend removing base shoe for all floor refinishing so that the sander can get as close to the wall as possible. We highly recommend removing both the trim and the shoe for projects which involve stain. 

6)      During the process, you will have to avoid the using the areas that are being installed or refinished.  Also, be prepared for a very strong smell which will dissipate over time.  Some customers elect to go on vacation or to stay somewhere else during the process.

7)      The homeowner is responsible for moving all furniture, household items, window treatments, items in closets and wall hangings.  If our crews arrive and have to move belongings, we will charge the customer for moving the items.  B & R will assist with furniture removal for a fee.  If you elect to have us move items, we will not be held responsible for damage to furniture or walls.

8)      B & R uses dust containment equipment for the best professional results.  We do not have a dustless system.  The homeowner should expect to find dust throughout the work area as a natural result of refinishing the floors.  Walls, windows, and sills will have a fine layer of dust on them.  B & R is not responsible for the clean-up of dust.  B & R can provide post –construction cleaning services for an additional charge.

9)       B & R recommends that you allow us to do demolition when removing old flooring, carpeting, etc.  This ensures proper evaluation of the sub floor and that all staples and other items are removed prior to new flooring installation.  If the homeowner elects to do their own demolition, they assume all responsibility for sub-floor and flooring problems which may arise in additional charges.   B & R will not be held liable for crowning or sub floor issues that happen because the customer elected to do their own demolition.

10)   During a flooring installation project, we highly recommend replacing old trim and base shoe.  Most customer’s that elect to re-use their old base trim and base shoe, find that it looks old and tired next to their new flooring.  It is much easier to keep a project on time lines, when a contractor purchases new trim and base shoe at the beginning of the project rather than the end.  About 75% of our customer’s replace trim and base shoe during a new flooring installation.

11)   Flooring installation and refinishing may cause damage to your walls.  At the end of the project, B & R will spackle and sand any damage but will not take responsibility for painting walls or doing paint touch ups. These are the customers ‘responsibility.  B & R will provide painting services for an additional fee.
12) B & R Hardwood and Tile, secures your home using a lock box for entry into your home.  Only our employees have access to the lock box.
B & R Hardwood and Tile, Inc.  8445 Powers Place, Chanhassen, MN 55317 Phone 612-644-8779
Website www.brflooring. biz    email kurt