On May 4’09 the Landmark Society had its fourth session of Your Old House Workshop Spring Series. The speakers for this session were Mr. Lee Bradley — owner of Bradley Flooring Inc for over 30 years, and Mr. Craig Dupra- a National Wood Flooring Association, certified instructor and Hardwood flooring contractor for over 20 years.
Mr Dupra started the evening by speaking to each of the attendees and understanding their motivation behind participating in the workshop. It was an interesting way to familiarize with the audiences’ needs and address them specifically. He mentioned that Hardwood Floor Repairs is not a licensed industry in New York State, so it is extremely hard to find a qualifying contractor, and especially being a homeowner it is difficult to discern between a good and a bad contractor. Yellow pages are not the solution as it is very expensive to place an advertisement in them and most contractors can’t be found there. The best way to find a hardwood repair contractor is to consult a fussy neighbor who got a job well done.
Following the primer on how to find a hardwood floor contractor, Mr Dupra gave an overview on hardwood floors which included the type of woods, their characteristics, sizes, Janka scale, sawing techniques and finishes. He said that Rochester region either had white or red oak hardwood floors. This area used 5/16 sized lumber as they are moisture stable and have less expansion and contraction due to their thin size. A typical hardwood floor lasts for a minimum of 100 years. He talked at length about various finishes including shellac, lacquer, poly-urethane, Swedish finishes and water based finishes.
Mr Bradley then educated everyone about scratches, wear and tear and routine maintenance of hardwood floors. The best way to clean hardwood floors is by vacuuming and sweeping with a bristle brush and sometimes with a special wood cleaner. It is never a good idea to use a sponge or a traditional mop with soap on a hardwood floor as soap increases the solvency of water, which leaves a film on floors. For re-coating hardwood floors hard waxes and cross-linking oils can be used.
Mr Dupra brought with him a lot of abrasive samples for refinishing floors and explained the various techniques for the same. The final part of the workshop was a visual treat for the attendees as they got to see various samples of hardwood floors. Some of the samples were of reclaimed hard pine, distressed hard pine, hand-sculpted wood, engineered floors and hand-scraped floor. He concluded the workshop by breaking the misconception that cutting trees is a bad thing. He said “A forest that is never cut is a forest that is dying”.
It was the most interactive workshop in the entire series so far. The session was nicely interspersed with regular question and answers in between. We look forward to having you all for many more of these series and would very much appreciate your comments and feedback. . Last but not the least, we would like to thank both of our speakers: Mr Lee Bradley and Mr Craig Dupra for their valuable time and effort. A special thanks to Mr Bradley for bringing home baked cookies for everyone. They were a real delight!
Posted by Nimisha Thakur, Preservation Associate