The Yelp Way of Doing Business

yelp-reviews-filteredI found the following news article online of interest:

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Yelp Hit With Class Action Lawsuit For Running An “Extortion Scheme”

Two law firms, Beck & Lee from Miami and The Weston Firm in San Diego, have filed a class action lawsuit in Los Angeles federal court alleging unfair business practices by local business review and rating website operator Yelp.

The plaintiff in the suit, a veterinary hospital in Long Beach, CA, is said to have requested that Yelp remove a negative review from the website, which was allegedly refused by the San Francisco startup, after which its sales representatives repeatedly contacted the hospital demanding payments of roughly $300 per month in exchange for hiding or deleting the review.

From: http://techcrunch.com/2010/02/24/yelp-class-action-lawsuit/

B & G Hardwood Flooring as for a long time we’ve had five, 5-star reviews on our Yelp. Then from a reviewer totally unknown to us (and we know all of our customers quite well), Yelp published a two star review and removed all the five star reviews.  Another client of ours posted a five star review only to have it removed two days later.  Now Yelp has called us saying they can improve our ratings if we purchase advertising from them.  Some things never change.

Read more about Yelp’s practices at:  http://yelp-sucks.com/

Laminate Hardwood Flooring: What Is It And Exactly Why Is It So Popular?

Laminate hardwood flooring is a popular floor choiceLaminate hardwood flooring is very flexible flooring that provides the appearance of regular hardwood flooring, minus the expensive cost. Though laminate flooring does appear to be hardwood, it’s not made of solid wood. Since it is made of many materials bonded together under very high pressure, it’s also referred to as engineered hardwood. It is an easy task to set and care for this type of flooring, and when you walk on it, it’s almost like you’re sailing. This is the reason laminate hardwood flooring can also be called a floating floor.

Considerations for Laying Engineered or Laminate Floors

You can set engineered / laminate flooring relatively quickly. When you see the first few planks of the floor going together, you can finish the rest of the job on your own. You can install laminate floors in almost any room of your home. Nevertheless, it’s not recommended for use in bathrooms, mudrooms or any other room where there could be an excess of moisture. The excess water may damage the flooring, which would cause you to have to remove and replace sections of the laminate flooring.

Laminate hardwood floors are typically about half the price of comparable hardwood floors. They are simple to install, and there’s never any finishing or refinishing to concern yourself with. Adding laminate flooring doesn’t require any nails, however, you can choose to glue it to the subfloor. Another advantage of laminate flooring is that you can set it down on just about any form of floor, except, of course, carpet. It is ideal for being installed together with cement, wood or vinyl. All you have to do is to always to make certain the ground underneath is level before you begin to place planks.

Installing Engineered  Floors: Measure Twice, Cut Once

You may get instructions about how to install the floor beforehand from the flooring retailer where you purchased the laminate flooring. You need to ensure the installation surface is free of any dust or small pieces of dust that may work their way up through the laminate wood floor. You might also need to check to make sure the subfloor is soundproof and that it is level. Usually people who have mounted laminate flooring state that there are squeaks when they step on it. That is not the problem of the laminate flooring itself, but that the ground below it had been not precisely leveled before the flooring was laid.

You need to take special care when you install laminate wood floor over radiant heat flooring systems. It’s important that you read both the instructions for how to place laminate floor, as well as the instructions regarding the radiant heat system before you start.

5 Tips When Selecting Wood Flooring for Your House

Wood flooring in Santa Rosa CA homeThere are always many possibilities when it comes to hardwood flooring options. Laminate and hardwood floors are available in an overwhelming variety of colors, styles, widths, and installation techniques. Below are a few tips to help you decide.

Foremost and first, always set a budget for your project. Spending past your budget can happen very easily given the wide variety of designs and materials available.

  1. Style and color ought to be your first considerations for the area that you’re updating. Is this a stylish area, such as a living room, or is this the household room where the kids and pets will be spending a lot of time? A laminate substitute might be best for your family room, and perhaps a more elegant choice such as a American Cherry or Hickory in the living area.
  2. Selecting the colors for the space is essential as well. The setting of the room will determine what tones you will use. A dark shade for the activity area to greatly help hide dirt and keep a consistently lower light level down for the giant screen TV might be a good choice, for example.
  3. Don’t put a wood floor in the powder room or toilet (kitchens are also risky). Any location selected should be impervious to moisture.
  4. Proper installation of the flooring must be your highest priority. Wood floor installation requires professional methods and understanding of perspective cutting that most home owners don’t have, even if you’re an otherwise great do-it-yourselfer. Be sure to do the research first, if you choose to try it. Take a look at the sides and corners that will need to be cut.
  5. Be sure the area in which you will be installing your new floor on top of is even and smooth. You will want to select a floor underlayment that will give padding, soundproofing and additional insulation for your new floor.

Hardwood Flooring Options in Santa Rosa

Hardwood Flooring Choices In Santa Rosa: One ExampleHardwood flooring is the preferred type of flooring of many homeowners around the world. It is the main amenity that many home buyers and investors often look for.  In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, its manufacturing process is not as harmful to the environment when compared to the manufacturing of other flooring materials.

The visual appeal of hardwood flooring is an attribute that no other type of flooring displays.

Hardwood flooring is a versatile and resilient type of flooring constructed with beautiful wooden planks that range in thickness, width, color and design.  When it comes to choosing a style of wood flooring, the options can become overwhelming. The final result, durability and ease of care makes it well worth your time to learn as possible about wood flooring so you are well-informed when choosing the perfect style.

Hardwood Flooring: An Abundance of Types, and Choices

Hardwood flooring is the top choice for a majority of homeowners, designers and home improvement contractors.  As you may know, there are many varieties of wood but a few of the more popular styles include bamboo, maple oak, white oak, red oak, Brazilian maple, Brazilian oak, mahogany, Brazilian cherry wood, walnut, maple, ash, American cherry, birch, beech, natural/rustic, hickory, teak and Brazilian walnut.

Three main types of wood flooring are: strip flooring, plank flooring and parquet flooring.

Strip flooring is designed to have a linear effect, which can help lengthen your home and make your house appear larger and more airy.  Strip flooring is only available in widths from 1 1/2 inches to 2 1/4 inches.  It’s less expensive than parquet or solid wood flooring and has a very sturdy top layer.

Plank flooring measures three to seven inches wide and also has a linear effect but is preferred more often because it lends a casual yet modern effect to the home.

Parquet flooring involves smaller pieces of wood joined together to create a geometrical pattern similar to a mosaic. It’s the most expensive of the three but the dramatic effects are breathtaking.

Hardwood floors are an important investment that will enhance the beauty of a home throughout generations. When the time comes for you to choose the best Santa Rosa Hardwood flooring company, we hope you’ll consider  B & G Hardwood Flooring.  We’ve been serving Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, Marin County and Napa County from the same location for more than 30 years.  If you’re looking for a trusted hardwood flooring company with knowledge and accreditation, we’re your company.

Beautiful Hardwood Flooring for Your Home in Santa Rosa CA

Hardwood Flooring Santa Rosa CAAre you looking for an investment for your home that will both increase its value and make it more beautiful at the same time? Consider lovely hardwood flooring in Santa Rosa CA. You will fall in love with the exquisite look of these floors and it will add thousands in value to your home. Come look at all the choices you have.

If you’re a Santa Rosa or Sonoma County homeowner looking for hardwood flooring, you can choose hardwood floors that are engineered or you may want real hardwood. If the area is high traffic and may get wet, such as a bathroom or a room leading in from a pool area, engineered floors may be the best choice. If it is a lower traffic area such as a bedroom or study where you want the richness of authenticity then real hardwood is most likely your best bet.

Hardwood flooring in Santa Rosa CA come in many shades and styles. It won’t be difficult to find the look and feel you are hoping to convey in your home. The richness and flexibility of hardwood floors will give you so many design options when decorating and redecorating. You will not regret your floor covering choice. Hardwood floors look beautiful with everything from white wicker in a sunroom to beautiful dark cherry wood in a man’s study. You can choose a floor that will look stunning with french provencial furnishings in a sitting room or leather furniture in a den. Your imagination is your only limitation.

Hardwood flooring in Santa Rosa CA is not that difficult to care for either. Some people believe it is, but that is a myth. Just purchase a dust mop and dampen it for touch ups on a regular basis. Every now and then you can clean the floors with a cleaner designed especially for hardwood floors. To avoid sun damage to your hardwood floors in Santa Rosa CA, you should not allow too much of Santa Rosa’s bright sunlight to hit the floors directly. Just use curtains and shades judiciously to protect your hardwood floors.

Linoleum or tile will not give you the rich, old world look and texture of hardwood floors. Also, when you change your decor, chances are you will have to change your tile or linoleum. This just isn’t the case with hardwood flooring. Carpet harbors dust mites that can be easily mopped up on a hardwood floor. There are so many pros to hardwood flooring in Santa Rosa CA. You really should give serious consideration to placing it in your home. Start shopping for hardwood flooring in Santa Rosa CA today.

 

Engineered Flooring “Floor Noise”?

We installed a floor recently for a customer who purchased the flooring from a company who sells but doesn’t install flooring. It was 1/2″ engineered flooring for a nail-down installation. When I saw the felt padding next to the engineered flooring he purchased I asked if the plan was to use the padding under the nail down flooring. He told me that was what the retail flooring supplier told him to use. The flooring store told him the padding would do four things: insulate the floor and keep it warmer, smooth out the imperfections in the subfloor, and make the engineered flooring quieter to walk on.

I suppose that is pretty much true, but that is not all that the padding will do. Let’s take a look at their reasons for recommending the padding.

First, the padding will insulate the engineered flooring, keeping the heat in. Heat rises, so you need to concentrate on insulating the ceiling first, then the walls, windows, doors and then the floor. The manufacture doesn’t specify what the R value of 1/8″ padding is, but I’m sure if it had a noticeable value it would likely be advertised. Plus, the fact that it is on the floor helps even less. I’d be willing to bet if you had two rooms, one with the padding and one without, you wouldn’t be able to tell which one was which from the temperature.

With regards to the idea that the padding would smooth out the imperfections in the subfloor. If there were nails or screws that were sticking up from the subfloor, it would compress the padding where they touched and help a little. Better would be to drive the nails or screws flush. If there was a high joint in the subfloor, it would also help a little but again — a better idea would be to grind down the high spot as we normally do before installing flooring over a wood subfloor. Remember, the padding is only 1/8″ thick (or thin, you might say).

With regards to ‘Making the floor quieter to walk on’: On multi-story floors, padding on floating floors inhibits the sound from traveling through the floor in one level to the ceiling in the lower level. An upgraded pad will reduce the hollow sound when walking on a floating floor. However, we are not talking about a floating floor in this case, we’re dealing with a nail-down floor. The metal fasteners will transfer sound to the floor below, and a nail-down floor shouldn’t have a hollow sound in the first place. If you were walking on the floor with hard soles on your shoes, I think it would be a little quieter.

So what did the retail store fail to mention? When you walk on the nailed floor the padding will compress slightly and cause the floor to make… “floor noise.” The joints will move slightly and make noise along with the fasteners, which very well may start to squeak.

I explained this to the customer and suggested he read the padding manufacturer’s specifications, which state: “Floor noise is not a defect.” (You have to go online to find that information, but it’s there.) He asked me why would they recommend using it then? Hmm, why would a retailer recommend buying anything from their store? I’ll have to research that one and get back to you…

The customer decided the flooring store retail clerks were smarter than I was, so we used the padding (and it’s hard to argue with that when they are walking on two legs and I’m crawling on my hands and knees).

Before we finished installing the engineered flooring, the customer asked me why I thought the floor was making “noise” in the hall. I told him it was just “floor noise.” (We started installing the floor at the hall so we had been traveling over the hall more than the rest of the floor.)

I’m confident that in a few weeks, the hall won’t make any more noise than the rest of the floor will.

Hardwood Floors: Maybe They Aren’t For Everyone, After All

Hardwood Floors

hardwood floorsI recently received a call from a woman who said that she wanted to change the flooring in her kitchen to hardwood floors. While I was at her home measuring her hardwood floors (something we do free of charge), she asked me what type of material I thought she should use for the flooring. Before I was able to ask her any questions to help narrow the choices down she began to explain that her son played baseball, and constantly failed to take his metal cleats off when entering the house! Without hesitation, I suggested a floor comprised of three inches of dirt.

She said, “No, I am serious.” I replied: “So am I.”

That certainly would have been an interesting job to take post-installation pictures of, anyway.

It’s hard to know what to tell someone looking for hardwood floors in that situation. After all, have you ever seen baseball played on a hardwood field? There’s a reason for that.

– George

Hardwood Floors

Hardwood Floors: 9 Tips for Protecting and Minimizing Damage

Hardwood Floors

Maybe the hardwood floors you put in have a few bad scratches. Or, perhaps you are thinking about installing new hardwood floors and you want to proactively work to prevent damages before they happen. Either way, you’re in luck, as I’ve got some proven tips for how to protect your hardwood floors from costly damage.

1. Seal Your Hardwood Floors Correctly

Keeping excess moisture out of the wood in your hardwood floors is essential to keep the boards from warping or becoming discolored.

2. Clean Up Spills on Hardwood Floors Immediately

Your hardwood floors shouldn’t become damaged if only a few drops are there for several minutes. A lot of water, juice, cleaner, other liquid, or even a damp mop left there can stain hardwood floors in a way that is very tough to fix without refinishing.

3. Keep Hardwood Floor Scratches From Happening With the Right Finishes

A tough, durable finish will help prevent damage from pet claws, furniture, kids toys and dropped items.

4. Use Throw Rugs on Hardwood Floors in the Main Areas of Your Home

Over time, hardwood floors can wear like any other type of flooring, though not as quickly as carpet or vinyl. If you use a run in an area that gets a lot of foot traffic you can help in the reduction of wearing them out prematurely.

5. Place a Rug in Front of the Sink

Floors that are right by sinks get tons of fluids and other utensils such as forks and knives dropped on them. Rugs help in protecting your floors and will also keep slip and fall injuries from happening.

6. Inspect Roofing for Leaky Spots

If you don’t keep your roof in good repair, then there is more likelihood that small leaks could turn into big problems. Be sure to have your roof inspectedonce a year to make sure you don’t run into any costly repairs on the roof or your beautiful floors!

7. Put Felt Padding On the Bottom of Furniture

These will reduce floor damage when chairs are being move up to the table or a desk is being repositioned. Check felt padding periodically because they wear out over time and will need to be replaced.

8. Keep Direct Sunlight Off the Hardwood Floors

UV rays will fade wood floors over time. To prevent damages from ultraviolet rays you should use a horizontal blind on the window & a vertical blind on your sliding glass door.

9. Add a Humidifier

Wood flooring expands and shrinks over time as they take in and lose moisture. In the winter, if the furnace is running consistently, wood floors may dry out to the point of shrinking noticeably or even splitting. Have a quality humidifier installed as part of your HVAC system will alleviate this danger.

 Hardwood floors are a significant investment and one youll want to keep in top shape. When you make the decision to install wood flooring, make sure you follow the above tips to keep them in good shape and help them last a long time.

Hardwood Floors

Recoating Hardwood Floors vs Refinishing

Recoating Hardwood Floors

Over time, it’s inevitable that a hardwood floor will become nicked and scratched from normal everyday wear and tear. If your hardwood floor has what’s known as a memory finish, it can generally be recoated, meaning you won’t have to sand your entire floor first. Recoating works in situations where the floor is mildly nicked and dinged, the finish isn’t completely worn away, and it doesn’t have a build up of wax and other chemicals (the latter can create adhesion problems as well as cause the floor to be able to reject the modern finish, resulting in ripping and peeling).

A recoat is an easy process that entails a thorough cleanup and scuffing (mild sanding) to the wood floor’s final applied level of finish. Then the new refresh coat of finish is applied. Recoating can revitalize your shine and rid the floor of any kind of mild discolorations which have settled into the wood. This rejuvenates the wood floor and increases the life of the protective finish. It is best to recoat the floor while it still looks good. This will extend the life of one’s floor and reduce how often it has to be refinished.

Recoating hardwood floors should not be mistaken for or confused with refinishing a hardwood floor. Refinishing hardwood floors entails extensively sanding the floor to expose your wood – necessary when there are deep scuff marks, damage, or perhaps if the floor has been waxed.

Hardwood Floor Recoating: Testing

To find out whether the floor can be recoated, execute a small area test in the inconspicuous location. It is often best to analyze along a wall where floor cleaners may have accumulated. Clean up the area employing a wood floor cleaner, and after that lightly sand with light (120 weight) sandpaper. Next, wash away any accumulated dust, and then apply polyurethane floor finish on the area. After applying the finish, you should wait one day before doing anything else. The finish must be smooth, and should not be rippled or have an orange-skin feel. Scratch the surface with a moderate level of force using a coin; it should not flake or perhaps peel aside. If the surface area does not pass these checks, the floor will likely have to be completely sanded as well as refinished.

If you are uncertain whether or not the floor has a wax layer, wipe a tiny area with a rag wet with thinner. In the event the thinner takes away the existing finish, your floor has a polish coating and will definitely require a complete sanding and refinishing.

In order to recoat your hardwood floor, the floor first must be lightly sanded. You might want to employ buffing equipment (turning at 300 revolutions per minute/RPM). Floors in good condition can be sanded with 120 weight sandpaper. If the floor is poorer condition, 100 or perhaps 80 weight sandpaper may be necessary. If one of these lower weight (higher grit level) must be used, it is advisable to re-sand your floor using a 120 weight paper to remove any resulting swirl marks in the wood floor. This can ensure a smoother final surface area.

After sanding, your floor should be vacuumed to remove wood, dirt and dust. Next, wet a rag with pure spring spirits and run the rag on the floor to pick up any kind of fine dirt or slimy residue. Avoid using less processed oil-based materials on the rag, including kerosene or wax-based treatments, as these could result in poor adhesion as well as peeling.

When applying the finish, it’s best to use the exact same finish that was originally applied to the floor. If the new finish layer isn’t compatible with the existing layer, problems such as peeling can happen. If you’re not sure what the present finish is, your safest way of determining compatibility is to decide on a small inconspicuous area to apply a tiny spot to analyze. If, after a few days, you’re not seeing any warning signs of bubbling, ripping, or decline in finish strength, then it should be safe to seal the entire floor.

Once you have decided on your finish, put it on to the sides of the floor which has a brush, after that coat other floor using a froth or lamb’s constructed from wool applicator. Make use of smooth strokes, going in the direction of the wood grain. Ensure that the house is well ventilated and if possible, avoid occupying the dwelling during the first few days after each coat to avoid breathing noxious fumes.

By committing to the appropriate care as well as maintenance of the hardwood floor, including recoating as well as refinishing when required, you will be able to give your floor a much longer life.

And, if you don’t want to deal with any of this, you can always feel free to call about our services for refinishing and  recoating hardwood floors; We’d be happy to help you out.

Hardwood Flooring Fallacies: When a Low Bid Isn’t a Bargain

Hardwood Flooring

I had an interesting conversation with a client the other day who’s going to have me install his hardwood flooring here in Santa Rosa, CA.  He got several estimates from local Sonoma County hardwood flooring companies, one of which was 30% higher than mine from a larger hardwood flooring company who advertises “Great deals on hardwood flooring.”  They called him back asking if they got the job.  He told them he was going with someone else.  Then they told him they would match my bid, plus give him an additional 10% off!  He told them they were almost $1000 higher than I was.  They told him it didn’t matter, and that they would still do it.

He told me he didn’t trust them or the job they might do.  He felt comfortable with me and the knowledge I had expressed when I measured his floor, and because of that I earned his business.

My question is “Why would anyone in the hardwood flooring installation business match a 30% lower bid plus give another 10% discount?  The obvious reason: They were way too high in the first place.  They make their money on the consumers that believe their radio and TV ads, and trust that they are telling them the truth about having the lowest pricing on hardwood flooring.

That being said, I still don’t understand how this hardwood flooring company can manage to stay in business.  They didn’t know what my price was, if I forgot to measure a room or just don’t know how to make and accurate estimate.  My guess is they won’t stay in business too long.  The old saying “You get what you pay for” isn’t always true.

Another customer told me that they had a hardwood flooring company come to give them an estimate and the first question, before they measured the job, was, “What is your lowest bid?  We will beat it by $50.”  My questions would be, “Do you have a license?  Do you know how to measure a floor and come up with an estimate?  Do you have references and how many days have you been in business.”

You are going to spend quite a bit of money on quality hardwood flooring and floor installation.  Make sure you do your homework first, and know who you’re dealing with.

 

Hardwood Flooring