Working on wood floors requires a great amount of skill and craft. A wood flooring contractor is expected to provide top-quality services when sanding, installing, or carrying out any other wood-flooring procedure. A great way to assure that wood flooring tasks are completed both efficiently and accurately is to become NWFA-certified. Consisting of a series of tests and minimum years of experience, the NWFA certification exam beyond prepares contractors for tackling on any wood-flooring task at the highest level of competency.
Wood flooring is a complex trade in which professionals must have an expert understanding of many different substances. Materials range from being comprised of solid hardwood, which is milled from a single piece of timber, to engineered wood, which is manufactured by binding wooden substances to form composite materials. As a comparison, solid wood floors have thicker wear surfaces and can tolerate more sanding and finishing than can engineered wood floors. However, both types require careful precision in both installation, sanding, and finishing.
Sanding not only smooths newly-installed floors, but also restores the original condition of older floors. Use of successively finer sandpaper grades eliminates visible wear and damage. Polyurethanes, oils, and waxes then finish the installation or restoration. Proper vacuuming, sweeping, and damp mopping can aid in maintaining cleanliness and appearance.
Installation should be on a sound, flat subfloor in a stable environment. Extreme changes in temperature or humidity cause wood to expand and contract stressfully. A moisture test should be part of every installation.
Architects often require trade certification for electrical, plumbing, and carpentry contractors and probably should require the same for wood flooring contractors as well. Wood flooring inspectors say they often see errors that could be prevented with adequate understanding of the basic fundamentals of wood flooring and with proper assessments of job sites prior to installation.
Installation certification training instructs mechanics on important environmental considerations for wood flooring before, during, and after installation. Sand and finish certification stresses the importance of approved procedures for sanding and finishing wood floors. NWFA-certified wood flooring professionals tested for their knowledge of industry standards have access to all information resources they need to do their jobs competently and completely.
Judged and found fit by their peers, NWFA-certified installers and sand & finishers have credentials for their wood flooring knowledge, skill, and ability. Most manufacturers recommend NWFA-certified professionals for their wood flooring products. Candidates for NWFA certification as either installation or sand & finish professionals must have two years of wood flooring experience and must complete two NWFA-approved workshops or equivalent manufacturer training. All NWFA-certified professionals must abide by the NWFA Standard of Conduct.
Each certification, for installation and for sand & finish, requires two written tests based on NWFA installation and sand & finish guidelines. Candidates receive test results immediately. The testing fee is $75 for NWFA members. Each certification also requires two performance or hands-on tests that candidates may take at qualifying NWFA or manufacturer training events. This testing fee is $100 for NWFA members. Successful candidates maintain their certification by earning at least three continuing certification units attending NWFA-approved training and the Wood Flooring Exposition and by paying certification dues annually.
NWFA-certified wood flooring inspectors offer their customers the most thorough inspection services available. Eligibility for testing to become an NWFA-certified flooring inspector requires three years of experience in installation and sand & finish and completion of two NWFA installation and two NWFA sand & finish training events as well as NWFA inspector training, which administers a four-hour, open-book test based on NWFA installation and sand & finish guidelines and other industry publications. The testing fee is $250 for NWFA members. Inspector candidates must submit for review and approval two report scenarios for simulated complaints within 10 days and three actual inspection reports within one year after completion of the four-hour written test. Successful candidates maintain certification by earning three continuing certification units and by submitting at least one actual inspection report annually.
As you can see from the many steps and requirements in the certification process, those professionals that possess the certification are experts in their field. Finding someone to complete a flooring job on a discount may sound good at first, but in the long run you may find yourself paying for the job twice if they do not prove competent. Metro Atl. Floors has heard plenty of horror stories from clients that wasted hundreds, and sometimes even thousands, of dollars before calling us to clean up the mess. Flooring work is just like anything else, you inevitably pay for what you get. An investment as valuable as your homes floors should not be provided on a bargain.