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Stairs - Frequently asked questions 

Is it a worthwhile investment to install hardwood stairs before I sell my house?

Absolutely. This may sound like a bias answer. So ask your real estate agent, and I am sure that he/she will explain to you that by installing Hardwood stairs will not only deem your home more "Sellable" than the house down the street that has carpeted stairs. But, because changing your stairs from carpet to hardwood is relatively inexpensive in the grand scheme of things, you certainly will not lose.

How much does it cost to redo my staircase in hardwood?

This is of course our most frequently asked question. Stairs come in all shapes and sizes. There are also different options that may be desirable to one and not to others. Therefore to get an accurate estimate on "your" specific design, stair count, spindle or picket count and material options etc... Please see "How much does it cost" on the main menu. There you will be able to calculate "YOUR" project cost in real time.

Does you company provide the staining as well as the construction of hardwood stairs?

Yes we provide staining of your hardwood stairs. As well as a sealer and polyurethane applications. 

How long will it take to change my carpet stairs to hardwood?

This is a question that we receive quite often. The time it will take to complete a hardwood staircase will depend significantly on whether or not you will need to have the stairs templated or not. Some stair treads require a template, which will translate into a rough cut  3 - 5% larger than the stair, and then to be accurately fitted in on site. Other stair treads are in stock and can be on site the day of the commencement of the preparation work i.e carpet removal, Bullnose cutting/removal, creating tread templates etc.... Therefore the construction of the new staircase will take between 2 and 4 days. This does not include the desired colour and finish.

I have 2 landings on my staircase. What are my options when changing my staircase form carpet to hardwood

Your options with regards to refinishing the landings on your new hardwood staircase are to either use hardwood flooring planks, or to use a solid hardwood piece, shaped to fit the space.

Does "Stair Steps" install new banisters

Yes we install new banisters (or handrails). We have many different designs and species to choose from.

What type of hardwood can you install on my staircase?

We can install any type of hardwood on your staircase. Including but not limited to Oak, Maple, Jatoba (Brazilian cherry), Ash, Birch etc.. (Although Birch is not recommended.)

How much does it cost to change my wood spindles to wrought iron?

To change your current wood spindles to wrought iron spindles will depend on the the spindle design and count. If you would like to access our free online calculator, see our "Hardwood stair cost calculator" under the main menu item "How much does it cost", Once there, input spindle count under "Additional option", and then enter desired "Replacement material" in the drop down menu directly under the above option. Alternatively call us at (647) 280-8965 or see "In-home Quote" on our main menu heading.

We have a big curved shelf on one side of our spiral staircase, can you make this hardwood too?

The stairwell shelf  that you will find on the closed side of a spiral staircase can, and usually is redone using the same hardwood as the stairs. This includes the same bullnosing, stain etc.. as the stairs, only curved exactly to fit the current radius.

How close can you match the new stairs to our existing floors?

Assuming that you are talking about matching "hardwood floors" to your new "hardwood stairs", and that you know the brand of the hardwood, we can match it 99%.  If you do not know the brand of the flooring and/or are using a different species (Oak to Ash or Maple etc...) we can match 96%-99%. But even if you are matching tile or laminate etc.. we can match between 96%-99%.

My staircase only has 1 picket per step. It seems like a big gap. Is that okay?

Absolutely not. Any part of a staircase, including spindle spacing on the stairs, balcony, or the tread to tread spacing on open stairs must not exceed 4". The rule is the a 4" sphere should not be able to pass through. This is so that children do not get their head stuck. Or worse, actually falling through. We can will address this problem.

Do you have to remove my railings, or can you install around the spindles?

The railing and spindles AKA pickets or balusters must be removed and new spindle holes will be drilled to accommodate spindles.

My bottom stair is curved. Can you maintain the same shape?

Yes of course. The profile of your existing stairs will remain exactly the same.

Will my stairs still squeak after the new stairs are installed.

We address all squeaks before the new treads are installed. Also, once the new treads are installed, your staircase will become much "tighter" further eliminating the return of such problems. There are occasionally  however stubborn squeaks that can only be addressed on the backside or soffit of the staircase with re-shimming. But 95% of the time addressing the underside is not necessary.

Will I be able to use my stairs while the work is being done?

We can pre-stain, seal and polyurethane materials before installation giving you complete access 100% of the time.

Can you provide all of the material for the stairs

Yes we can provide all of the materials. We have dealt with many different stair tread manufacturers with a varying success. We now only use two separate manufacturers. Our customers are very happy with the quality of our materials. We only use solid  hardwood treads, with attractive modern bull nosing's  

Are you able to sand and stain my existing stringers when you do a staircase

Yes of course. Although we do recommend installing new stringers. Sometimes when sanding thin "Builder grade" stringer veneer, the existing stain runs deeper than the actual veneer itself and proceeds into the plywood base. This will leave patches darker than the rest of the stringers. With new stringers you never have to worry about this problem and the match to your treads will be perfect.


Floors- Frequently asked questions 

How much do you charge per square foot to install engineered hardwood floors, hardwood floors and laminate floors?

The answer to all three of these questions will obviously depend on a number of factors. Please see our "How much does it cost" main menu item to access our calculators. This will enable you to get a free instant calculation estimate of your specific project. Including material choice, area size, and many other details from start to finish in real time.

If we decide to purchase the hardwood from you, Will it be Canadian wood or Chinese?

We ONLY supply Canadian grown, kiln-dried, milled and finished hardwood flooring.

Is Canadian hardwood better than Chinese hardwood?

Canadian hardwood is more durable than Chinese hardwood for a number of reasons. There is always an exception to the rule, but in our experience, not many. The top three reasons that Canadian hardwood is better that Chinese hardwood are as follows. 1) The wood itself. We know because during installation some boards need to be "Persuaded" in order to slide the tongue and groove together, due to the natural crowning characteristic of wood. Especially when using long board lengths, During this fitting process Chinese wood will break apart. Canadian wood will show no signs of wear. 2) Canadian manufacturers apply more coats of finish. We have seen 3 or 4 year old floors constructed with wood that is "Made in China" that need to be refinished 3) The drying process is inferior. There is an abundance of Chinese wood on the market that was not dried properly before milling, so many of the board widths vary due to the boards having different moisture content, which in turn causes shrinkage, causing noticeable gaping. 

Why are my floors so squeaky, and can you fix them?

Sub-floors generally squeak because of loosened fasteners driven into a sub-floor into the floor joists. We will address your squeaky floors before installation begins. We guarantee your satisfaction.

What does laminate flooring AC ratings mean?

Although Abrasion Class (AC) ratings, which is a representation of resistance to abrasion, stains, impact as well as burns are important. if you are considering laminate flooring for your home, you don't need to go overboard. Below will show you that according to the Association of European Producers of Laminate Flooring (EPLF) AC2 is all one needs. - - - - - AC1 is suitable for lighter traffic like a bedroom. --- AC2 is suitable for living rooms and dining rooms. --- AC3 is suitable for small offices and less frequented commercial locations --- AC4 Is suitable for higher traffic commercial areas like offices, and restaurants. --- AC5 is suitable for busy commercial areas like department stores and Government buildings etc..

What is the engineered hardwood "Spinglock" system?

We offer a very unique type of engineered hardwood that will never separate at the cross cut side's (small side's) of the planks. If separation was to occur, this is where it will happen. The reason that the Engineered Hardwood that we supply lacks these gapping possibilities is due to the incorporation of a locking system.  Once this system is installed it is extremely difficult to separate the boards. In contrast, engineered hardwood, as well as any laminate product for that matter comes apart with far less force.

Do you guarantee your workmanship?

Yes. We provide a written 1 year free of defects installation warranty.

Do you guarantee your flooring materials?

Yes. All of the hardwood that we supply carries a minimum 25 years warranty. Our preferred brands carry a 35 year warranty. Our engineered hardwood and laminate also carry 25-35 year warranties.

How do I maintain and clean my hardwood floor?

Preventive maintenance is the key. DO NOT walk on your hardwood floors with shoes on, as it's only a matter of time before they become scratched.  DO wipe up spills immediately. DO vacuum regularly using a soft bristle brush, not a beater brush. DO use felt tipped furniture pads under tables, couches etc... Directional blinds so as light does not always hit the same area's of the floor everyday. For deep cleaning use products such as Bona to remove any normal build up.

Should I keep my house at a certain temperature?

In short,  If you have effective humidity control within your home, and the temperature does not fluctuate significantly, your wood floors will be fine. This is because your humidity control system will compensate (add or decrease water) for the air's ability to hold moisture. The optimal level of humidity to keep your home at in order to eliminate the chance of checking (cracking) or buckling is between 40% - 50%.

Will humidity affect my hardwood floors?

Yes, "Relative humidity" (RH) should be kept between 40% - 50%. The higher the RH, the higher the moisture content, which expands the wood causing it to swell, cup and buckle. When RH levels become is too low, the moisture in the wood reduces which causes the boards to shrink.. The result will be "Checking" or cracking. If there is one thing that you should do as an owner of a hardwood floor is ensure that your RH levels are in check. and clean up an spills immediately.

Is wax paper a vapour barrier?

Wax paper is not approved by the Canadian Construction Material Centre (CCMC) as a vapour barrier. Because hardwood floors are typically installed on the main or second floors (warm to warm) a vapour barrier is not only "not needed", but is counterintuitive.  Any moisture that may settle as a result of a liquid spill will become trapped, and depending on the amount of liquid that was spilled, this could cause wood rot.  

Do I need to have an underlay under my new laminate floors?

Yes most definitely. Especially in high rise condominiums where the condominium board stipulates "Sound transmitting class" (STC) and "Impact insulation class" (IIC) ratings of normally 60 or better. In your home although there are no codes to be met, the higher the ratings, the quieter your house will be with regards to loud televisions, Hi Fi, as well as foot traffic.

What does hardwood floor "Milling issues" mean?

Milling issues or problems are a nasty aspect of the hardwood flooring industry that few people are aware of. When one is viewing sample boards in flooring shops and home improvement stores, MILLING ISSUES most likely will never enter into their minds. Which is completely understandable. I mean, why should you know about milling issues? But.... one of the problems are that many, we mean many hardwood flooring manufacturers do not kiln dry the hardwood BEFORE the wood is milled. This will cause boards with higher moisture content, after the milling process to shrink, which creates a gap equal to the shrinkage difference. Most times this can be noticed before installation if the wood had already dried out. But if the wood has not completely dried out yet, further shrinkage will happen after you have installed it. Not a pretty site. So a more appropriate term for this problem should be a drying issue opposed to a milling issue. The other problem we have come across goes by the name "Lipage". Lipage is a milling issue, and happens when the tongue's and groove's are milled at slightly different heights with relation to the 3/4" thickness of the board. If you were to run your hand over the floor surface after the installation has been completed, the floor will not be smooth. The floor boards will be at slightly different heights. Also not only is this not a pretty sight, but uncomfortable to walk on when in bare or stocking feet. 

I am selling my house. Will I get my money back by installing hardwood floors?

No one can accurately answer that question. But hardwood floors are one of the most important features that a prospective buyer is looking for when buying a home. Bias? If you think so, then ask a real estate agent. You will get the same answer. Keep in mind that hardwood floors will also make your home more "sellable" than the house around the corner from yours that's up for sale, that has carpet flooring.

Should I acclimate my hardwood flooring before installation?

You will find so many different answers to this question, it makes it very difficult for a homeowner to know what to do. The truth of the matter is, Time has no bearing on how long that you should acclimate hardwood. Humidity levels and temperature do. Depending on the temperature and humidity conditions of both the storage and it's final resting place, acclimation may take 5 minutes or 5 days. Acclimation of hardwood flooring also depends on the species. For example Hickory and Maple should NOT be Acclimated because they naturally absorb moisture quicker than other species

Does it matter what type of material the backside of engineered hardwood is made from?

Yes it matters a great deal what the underside of engineered hardwood is made from. Many stores where inexpensive engineered hardwood is sold you will find the backing or underside of the product made of spruce plywood. This matters because different species of wood will expand and contract at different temperatures and humidity levels. logically if you were to have a shift in temperature and/or humidity levels, with a more dense hardwood laminated or glued to a less dense softwood resistance is inevitable. This could cause warping and/or checking (cracking).



Miscellaneous - Frequently asked questions 

Do you install baseboards and trim, If so how much do you charge?

Yes we install baseboards and quarter-round or shoe mold trim. To calculate the pricing, please click on the "How much does it cost" main menu item, and then click on either flooring calculator. Once there, you can easily figure out the cost of any flooring project. This is an instant real time cost breakdown calculator.

Our bedroom is really cold in the winter above the garage, can you address this before new floors are installed?

Many houses, especially ones designed before the 1980's have a cold room above the garage. You can hire a company to spray insulation in-between each joist cavity within the garage ceiling. But the problem with this method is that if there are any obstructions in the joist cavities, such as duct work, solid bridging or scrap wood etc... the insulation will never completely fill each cavity. Of course you will never know this because you will never be able to see the completed job, even if camera's are used. We, on the other hand will remove the sub-floor while maintaining a tie-in with the structure. Install "Batt insulation" with the proper R value in every nook and cranny. Re-install a sub-floor, and complete the job with the new desired flooring of your choice.

How much do you charge to remove carpet?

The price to remove carpet or any other type of flooring can be easily calculated using our calculator tool. Please see "How much does it cost" on the main menu. Then click on any of the calculators to get pricing.

What area's do you serve?

We serve the entire GTA. Our main project locations have been based in Mississauga, Toronto, and Oakville.

Do you charge to provide an in-home quote?

We do not charge for in-home Quotes. We are very confident  that once you speak to us about your flooring and/or stair project, you will understand the work involved, and feel assured that we are the right company to do the work, along with our very competitive pricing.