Our Process

Step 1: Onsite Estimate

Seattle Floor Service will need to have an estimator look at your floor before we can give you a firm price for installing or refinishing. However, it would facilitate the process if over the phone you can provide the approximate size and scope of the job.

Wood Type

In the greater Seattle area, hardwood floors in pre-1950 houses were often top-nailed; that is, regular rows of spots are visible where nails have been set and filled. Tongue-and-groove floors lack these characteristic rows of spots.

Many homes in the Seattle area have fir flooring in some or the entire home. Fir floors are significantly different from oak and other hardwood floors, and Seattle Floor Service has a handout pertaining specifically to refinishing fir floors. Please review this online (PDF) if you have fir floors as it contains important information that you should have before deciding to refinish fir floors.


Wood flooring has become a popular choice in kitchens. Due to the nature of most kitchens (cabinets, islands, many corners, etc.), such jobs can be particularly complex and must be carefully planned. New floors can be installed around existing cabinets or before new cabinets are installed. Sanding and finishing can also occur before or after cabinet installation, we strongly recommend that you meet with one of our estimators on the job-site well in advance to discuss hardwood flooring in your kitchen.

Painted Floors

Painted floors must be tested by a laboratory for lead content. If the paint contains lead, it must be chemically removed from the floor prior to the commencement of sanding. Testing usually costs about $35, and Seattle Floor Service can refer you to a testing laboratory if requested. If the paint does not contain lead, it can be sanded without chemical stripping, the cost of sanding painted floors is significantly higher due to the added labor and materials.

Step 2: Scheduling The Job

We usually need two to four weeks lead time to schedule a job. Contact us as soon as you know when you would like the work done, and we will do all we can to accommodate you. We rarely have to postpone a promised start-date for a job. However, Seattle Floor Service cannot guarantee against unforeseen circumstances, which may force us to postpone. We will always give as much notice as possible on such occasions, and will attempt to reschedule as soon as we can. We will give you a fairly accurate assessment of how long a job will take, but Seattle Floor Service cannot be held liable if a job takes longer than the initial estimated duration.

A 60% down payment and signed contract are required to secure a scheduled start date. In the case of installations, an additional 25% of the total bid amount is due upon completion of the installation, prior to finishing.

Power Source

Our sanding equipment requires 220-volt power on a 30 amp (minimum) circuit. Typically we can use the outlets for electric ranges or clothes dryers. If there is no 220-volt power readily available, please contact us to make alternative arrangements.


Without exception, we INSIST that our customers provide a key to the jobsite in order to avoid costly and time-consuming delays. We will return your key via mail unless otherwise instructed.

Phone Number

By providing cell phones to employees, Seattle Floor Service is in contact with our crews. It is just as important being in contact with you. SFS requires a phone number where you can be reached during the day. If you plan to be out of town, please tell us how we may contact you, or arrange for someone to serve as your contact for us here in town. No additional (not specified on the contract) work will be performed without the customer’s (or sub-contractor’s) approval.

Step 3: Before We Begin

Subfloor Preparation Floors must be completely cleared prior to the commencement of work; we do not move furniture. Customer will be charged at an hourly rate for any delays resulting from work areas not being cleared prior to arrival. All interior doors in the work area must be removed prior to our arrival. SFS does not return to re-hang doors. SFS recommends encourage our customers to remove doors themselves, to ease the process of putting them back once we are done. (Interior doors are rarely interchangeable, and struggling to figure out which door goes where after they were removed by someone else can be time consuming and frustrating.)

Customers should consider removing carpet themselves but can opt for SFS to do the work Seattle Floor Service does not remove linoleum. Our customers must be aware that floors that are covered at the time of the estimate may require additional work that may not have been apparent to our estimator. Removal of adhesive residue and/ or paint is often necessary prior to refinishing, and Seattle Floor Service will bill hourly plus materials and disposal for any such work. For new installations, the subfloor must be clear and clean; delays or subfloor preparation work will be billed hourly. (Consult our installation handout or ask one of our estimators for more information about subfloor preparation.) We understand that new construction and remodel projects can be messy; however, our work is of such a nature that we must minimize exposure to dirt and other contaminants. SFS INSISTS that a job-site be swept clean prior to our arrival; we will not commence work if the area is not free of dirt and debris. On a site where other construction or remodeling is in progress, we require that any and all dust- and dirt-producing activities be halted before we begin coating a floor. Likewise, we require exclusive access to our work areas throughout the coating process; this will ensure that Seattle Floor Service is solely accountable for keeping the finished floor contaminant-free. Any damages to the floor’s surface which are caused by other construction activities will result in added repair charges of $75 per man, per hour, plus travel time and materials.

Superficial scratches can often be eliminated by an additional coat of finish, but deeper scratches or gouges often require re-sanding the floor. Seattle Floor Service disclaims liability for damages caused by other contractors and non-SFS employees. SFS do not clean up after painters. In summation, a new wood floor is a significant investment, and proper planning and execution will ensure the best possible results.

Step 4: Material Acclimatization

New wood must be stored on-site for at least one week prior to installation, allowing the wood to acclimatize to the temperature and moisture conditions of the house. This acclimatization will help minimize expansion and contraction in the future. SFS INSISTS that the jobsite be maintained at a temperature no lower than 65 degrees Fahrenheit from the time the wood is delivered until the job is completed. New wood CANNOT be stored in a basement or garage. Any exceptions to these requirements may comprimise the integrity of the finished product, for which SFS disclaims all liability.

Our local wood distributors conveniently make on-site deliveries. It is imperative that the job-site be accessible to the delivery person so that the wood may be STORED INDOORS. Unfortunately, we are only given general delivery times (morning or afternoon), so we ask that our customers plan to meet the delivery person, leave a key somewhere on-site, or leave a door open. We require a 75% deposit before any materials are ordered.

Step 5: Dust and Clean Up

SFS will attempt to minimize airborne dust during refinishing for the safety of the crews and the alleviation of clean-up. We will hang plastic in door openings adjacent to the work area and vacuum all horizontal surfaces in the work area. We encourage our customers to take added precautions with dust-sensitive items, such as computers, other electronic equipment, dishes and glassware, art objects and other items that could be damaged by dust. Whenever possible, such items should be removed far from the work area, and ideally covered with sheets or plastic. Our customers should also mask off or disable all smoke alarms, as the fine sanding dust can cause false alarms. Heating and cooling vents must not be masked; we need the air circulation they provide, and we may need to control the temperature of the work area to facilitate the proper drying of our finishes. We do recommend that you change your air filters once work is completed, or plan to do your scheduled heating/cooling system cleaning soon after our work is completed. Our customers can generally plan on about 4 hours of light dust-related cleaning for average-size jobs as a result of the refinishing process. Seattle Floor Service makes no guarantees relating to dust containment and cannot be liable for any dust-related damage.

Customer Paint Touch-ups

Our customers should be prepared to do some touch-up painting after our work is completed. We strive to be as careful as possible during our work, but some touch-up painting may be necessary.

Step 6: Getting Back In

After the final coat of finish is applied, light to normal foot traffic may resume in 24 hours (lighter is better for the first few days). We recommend waiting 48 hours (if possible) before replacing furniture. Please consult with us directly before replacing area rugs.

Our customers should be prepared to do some light touch-up painting after our work is completed. We strive to be as careful as possible during our work, but some light touch-up painting may be necessary.

Step 7: Billing

Any and all balances are due upon completion of work. Delinquent accounts are subject to a flat $100 late fee, plus monthly interest at the highest rate allowed by law, without exception. We accept all Visa and MasterCard.

Step 8: Maintenance Tips

  1. Dust mop or sweep your floor regularly. If you do sweep, we recommend nylon brooms, as straw brooms tend to be too rough on some floor finishes.
  2. For spills or spot cleaning, spray Detergent Neutro Hardwood Floor Cleaner directly on the spill, or on the terry cover of your terry mop, and clean as needed.
  3. For general cleaning, spray an area 4′ x 4′ with Woodwise Hardwood Floor Cleaner, or spray directly onto the terry mop head, making sure not to over-wet your floor. Too much liquid will cause damage to your hardwood floors. For best results, buff dry with a towel after cleaning.
  4. Make sure your tables and chairs have soft Felt Floor Protector Pads on the bottom of their legs to help prevent scratches. The felt pads must be kept free of grit, and will periodically need to be replaced.
  5. Use exterior walk-off mats and an area rug just inside your doors to help keep grit off of your floors.
  6. Place area rugs in high traffic areas, especially in front of your kitchen sink, stove and refrigerator.
  7. Keep your pet’s nails clipped.
  8. When moving heavy furniture, always pick up the furniture rather than sliding it across the floors.
  9. Do not roll or slide appliances across your floor. We recommend the Florguard Floor Protection System.
  10. Both men’s and women’s shoes should be properly maintained. Heels with an unprotected tip will cause damage to your hardwood floors.
  11. Even with proper maintenance, eventually your floor may become dull or worn looking. Contact a qualified hardwood flooring professional—it may be time for a topcoat or refinishing.