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Wood Floor & Stair Refinishing

Give your home a refreshed look and feel with a refinish.

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New Wood Floor Installation

Hardwood flooring creates a warm, welcoming environment for your home.

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Hardwood Floor Recoating

Some floors just need a recoating to revitalize their beauty.

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Hardwood Floor Repairs

We can make the new flooring blend in and leave a flawless, uniform finish.

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Now, before we get going, I’m going to admit that I’m a pretty big dog lover, so my point of view may be a little biased. They say that your dog is just an extension of its owners personality, and I can definitely attest to that. However, your furry friend doesn’t mean that you can’t have and maintain a beautiful hardwood floor. Now, there are a few different things with your flooring that will affect its durability and resistance to dents and scratches.

wood floor-dog-entryway

Wood Hardness

The first leading factor as to how your flooring will hold up against wear and tear from a pet is the natural hardness of the wood species. You are probably thinking that the harder the species of wood the less likely it is to dent or scratch, and you would be absolutely correct. That is why when clients ask me what species of wood to choose, I generally recommend hickory or any species that has a higher hardness rating than hickory. Choosing a harder species of wood will help to keep your floor from denting, especially if you have a medium to big sized dog. If you have a smaller dog, you could choose a slightly softer species of wood and still have a great looking floor.


Type of Finish

Sometimes clients have the misconception that you can just put a very hard finish on the floor and it makes it virtually indestructible. The issue with this, is that if you put a very hard finish on a softer wood, the floor will still dent. That is why we recommend a combination of a harder species of wood, as discussed previously, with a more durable finish. Typically for finish, we recommend either a commercial grade finish, or a UV finish. These are both great options for protecting your floors, especially if you have pets. Another option is to use a hard wax oil as opposed to a film finish which is what the commercial and UV finish are. The film finishes provide a topcoat on the floor, whereas a hard wax oil penetrates into the actual wood fibers to provide a protective barrier. The advantage of this product over film type finishes is that if the wood floor dents or scratches, you don’t notice it as much because it has more of a low sheen matte finish to it.


Regular Cleaning of Your Hardwood Floor

Regular cleaning of your wood floor is one of the most important, and easiest, things you can do to keep your floors looking great! If you own dogs, regular cleaning is even more important. Where I live there is a lot of sand and my dog loves to roll around in the dirt, and of course he digs! Guess where all the dirt and grime ends up when he comes in the house? You guessed it, on the floors. If we don’t regularly clean the floor it would over time wear the finish out sooner from all of the dirt getting ground into the finish.


Trimming your Dogs Nails

Now you may be wondering what this has to do with keeping your hardwood floors looking nice. Well, keeping your dogs nails shorter prevent them from wanting to dig in as much as they are walking. it also protects the flooring from scratches as their nails are also a bit more blunt and not so pointed.


We hope that these tips help keep your hardwood floors looking great and your furry friend happy to be on hardwood floors!

When working with clients during the consultation period, one question I am asked quite frequently is how much dust will be created in the process of refinishing the floors. Here at Signature Custom  Flooring, we want to provide our clients with the best possible experience, so we take pride in treating your home how we would want ours treated when having work done on it. I remember a statement from a carpenter, before I started sanding hardwood floors, that stuck with me. He said, you can do a great job, but if you leave the home dirty when you leave, that will stick with them longer than the great quality of work you do! So, in order to provide our clients with the best possible experience, we have spent a lot of time and done our research to equip ourselves with the machines that allow us to complete a job virtually dust free. Let’s take a closer look at how we accomplish this.

When we refinish hardwood floors a lot of dust is created as a byproduct. One of the main components in controlling the dust is our large dust containment system that all of our tools and machines are connected to. Think of the large dust containment system as a giant vacuum that has three powerful motors. The dust created by the machines is drawn into the dust containment system, the sawdust is deposited into a bag and then the air passes through a filter before being recirculated. This system is highly efficient and eliminates virtually all of the dust created in the process. This allows our clients to have peace of mind knowing that after we leave they will not have a huge cleaning project ahead of them after the dust has settled. But we didn’t just stop there.

We wanted to take it a step further, and so we added an air scrubber to our arsenal to combat the dust that is created in the refinishing process. Even though the dust containment system catches the majority of the dust, we understand that dust can be created from some hand tools that can’t be connected to the dust containment system, or when changing out the bag as the vacuum system can’t run during this process. Due to this, we also use an air scrubber to help with any free floating dust that occurs when the dust containment system is off or not in use. The air scrubber draws in the surrounding air into a pre-filter, to collect the majority of dust, and then passes it through a HEPA filter to collect even the smallest particles, before returning the air. These machines help to create a dust free environment when working on the job, and provide our clients with the satisfaction of knowing that when we leave, their house might even be cleaner than when we arrived.

Did you know that wood floors are like chameleons and can change color instantly? Okay just kidding! But just because the natural color of your wood floor or stairs is a certain color doesn’t mean you are stuck with it. Some species of wood you can just stain and change the color that way. Others require a bit more skill, knowledge and technique to change the color.

Let’s take a look at these wood stairs and landing I was able to transform for one of my clients in Neenah, WI. This project was definitely more challenging than others, as the customer wanted to go from the natural red tones of mahogany, to a more subtle brown tone. In addition to this, the landing area between the flights of stairs was in a herringbone pattern which makes additional work for the sanding process, especially because this floor was going to be stained a different color. Knowing that this floor was about to undergo some major changes, it was crucial to make sure that we set ourselves up for success. When sanding a floor, we want to sand with the grain of the wood, so that any minor scratch marks from sanding are oriented the same way as the pattern of the wood grain. However, it is impossible to do this with a herringbone pattern, because the boards are oriented in such a way that the wood grain faces different directions. In order to minimize the scratch marks from sanding we used machines and various grits of and paper to achieve a scratch free surface from a standing upright position. This was done using an edger and then followed up with a rotex sander. 

Color Change

Once we had finished sanding and removed all the finish off of the herringbone landing and the stairs, it was time to start changing the color of the mahogany floor. In order to remove the natural red color from the floor, we needed to use a two-part commercial bleach on the floor. This isn’t your normal type of household bleach, and as such, it required a lot of protective gear for the application. We avoided any unnecessary risk by protecting our skin, hands, eyes and respiratory system from this bleach. Once we mixed up the bleach we applied one coat evenly over the floor and then let it sit until it was completely dry, and then applied a second coat. The bleach requires about 24 on the floor to be effective, which after that time we washed the floor with clean water to neutralize its affect.


After the bleaching process was complete, the red tones of the floor were gone and we had a very neutral pallet to work with. The final color for the floor involved two custom colors of Rubio Monocoat that were layered over top of each other. The first color was applied, and then 16 hours later, the second custom color was applied over top of that to give the floor its final signature touch. We couldn’t have been more thrilled with the outcome of this project.


When it comes to hardwood flooring, the benefit over other types of flooring is that the color can be changed without having to replace the floor. So, if you have a floor that you want to change to a unique color contact us, we would love to give your floor a Signature look!

What is a reactive? No, we aren’t talking about how I reacted to Aaron Rodgers going out in the first game of the 2018 season. I definitely reacted to that! I was like NOOOO!!! Here we go again, another year of the backup QB play. But low and behold here comes Aaron back in the second half and leads the packers to a great come from behind victory! Sorry I got a little side tracked here. Reactives, what are they and how do they affect wood flooring? Lets dive in and talk a little more about this topic.

What is a reactive, and how does it work?

Like its name suggests, reactives need something contained in the wood to react with. These naturally occurring substances in hardwood are called tannins. An interesting fact is that tannins have been used in many different industries. Originally, tannins were extracted from hardwoods and used in the tanning process of animal hides. It is also what can give wine a bitter taste as they use oak barrels to store the wine in during the fermentation process. In the hardwood industry, a reactive is a component, that when applied to a hardwood floors, reacts with the naturally occurring tannins that are present in the wood to acheive various effects.



Do they work on all wood species?

Because tannin levels in the wood determine the change in appearance when using a reactive, not all hardwoods will respond the same way. Reactives have a profound affect on hardwoods like white oak, but have very little to no affect on woods like pine or maple. However, hardwoods that have low levels of tannins can be pretreated with tannic acid, or something as simple as earl grey tea, which have high levels of tannins, so that reactives will have a greater affect on the wood.

What are the effects of reactives on hardwood?

The effects of reactives can be quite profound, especially when applying to hardwood like white oak. Tannin levels can vary board by board so there is a large range of variability even within the same species of wood. This variability will cause some pieces of wood to change to a really dark grey and yet others won’t change much at all. Other external factors that contribute to the effects of a reactive can be the soil quality in which a particular tree was grown, and also the reactive product itself. Some manufactures have their own reactive products like Rubio Monocoat’s Smoke and Fume, which each have very distinct effects. Or, using a little chemistry, we are capable of making our own reactive, namely iron acetate, using steel wool and vinegar.


Will it work on my existing floor?

Reactives can work on your existing floors, but can be greatly affected by the type of finish and cleaners that were previously used on the floor. Some finishes can neutralize the tannins in the wood, which can cause certain areas of a floor to appear splotchy. These areas will need to be touched up with some color to make them blend in. So, the overall answer is yes it will work but there are things to consider when thinking about having it done.


As you can see having us use reactives on your floor opens up many colors possibilities and layers of colors. To learn more about color possibilities you will want to go read a blog post we did on that! Read more

Have you ever noticed how changing the color of a room can drastically change the feel and appearance of that room. As a kid I remember when my mom told me that I could paint the color the wall in my  room any color I wanted. I remember how exciting that was! It’s like that when you get to change the color of hardwood floor. That is one of the beauties of hardwood flooring is that no matter how old it is you can have it refinished and change the color of it. There’s many different ways and techniques that you can do to change the color of you your hardwood floors.  Unlike tile, Carpet, laminate, luxury vinyl, and other hard surfaces. Hardwood is also a renewable source and we like to utilize a lot of eco-friendly green certified products to ensure that the environment and us are safe as possible. So let’s dive into a few different color topics.


How to choose the right stain colors?

So we’re gonna go over this real briefly but one of the questions is how do you choose the right stain color for the room that you want to have refinished. So a lot of it goes into a little bit deeper than just trim paint color you have to look at the choice of the stain color or the flooring color as just a small part of the over all interior feel that you want. So when we look at helping customers choose a color for their hardwood floors.  we try to get a feel for what the space is going to be once it’s fully furnished. So overall you want to take the whole space Decour paint color trim crêpe Paris accent pillows all of these different things into consideration when you’re choosing the right color for your hardwood floors.


Stain Samples

Stain samples. There’s many different ways of choosing a stain sample and here are a few of them. Having just a sample board of hardwood with the stain color on it is one option. Looking at pictures of furnished rooms with the same species of wood is another option. Stain fans which are generally a small Venere peace with the stain color on it another option is to visit house HO stain samples. There’s many different ways of choosing stain sample and here are a few of them. Having just a sample board of hardwood with the stain color on it is one option. Looking at pictures of furnished rooms with the same species of wood is another option. Stain fans which are generally a small veneer piece with the stain color on it another option is to visit house Houzz or Pinterest for stain or color ideas. We prefer to do the stain samples directly on the species of wood in your home. We found that wow the sample boards are a good idea they’re not necessarily accurate. One depending upon the species of wood you can drastically change if the floor is aged. Let’s take for example maple flooring. Depending upon the age of the maple how much sun exposure can change what the flooring looks like overtime so this can drastically change the color of the stain that is applied.stain-samples







Light floors to dark?

Yes light floors can be changed to dark this generally requires a floor to be refinished but it is not something that cannot be done.


Dark floors to light?

This is a little bit more difficult depending upon the species of all the wood and how it sanded. If the floor is water popped and let’s see it’s maple sometimes the dark can penetrate very far down into the wood floor and this can require additional sanding to remove the color especially when going light.transformation-dark-hardwood










Stain vs Natural?

There are benefits to stand or colored hardwood compared to natural. Now if you have a rustic home like a log cabin or cabin in general a natural rustic floor can look very elegant in that space. But if you have more of a colonial or a traditional type house you probably don’t want to do something rustic because that style isn’t going to fit so you could go with a little bit less lower grade of flooring and have it stained and get a really rich lock to the floor. So to stay in or keep it natural depends upon what the space looks like and the feel.


Dying a Floor

Dying a wood floor is a process of introducing a pigment that can changes the base color of the wood. It allow us to then do stain over top. This adds another depth of color and can also make certain woods be more consistent in color. Floors that don’t accept stain very well like maple and birch. Dying the floor can get it to be much more consistent in color.  red-oak-dyed








Reactives are different chemicals that get applied to the floor and react in different ways with the natural tendencies of the wood. They can cause some pretty cool and dramatic effects in wood.wood-floor-reactive-process











Changing the original color of wood can be challenging. Even if you try dye and or stain the color, if prominent can still show through strong. Like brazilian cherry, mahogany have a very strong red tone. What the bleach does is remove the color from the wood by chemical reaction. The downside to bleaching is that it does break down the wood fibers and makes the wood not as hard.mahogany-bleached  










These are just a few things to consider when adding color to your wood floors. It can change a space and make it feel more inviting modern classic contemporary all of these can be achieved just by changing the color of your flooring and this is one thing that I just absolutely love about hardwood flooring and just how even after floor that’s 100 years old it can be transformed into this beautiful floor that that just sets off an old house. Or even if it’s a 10-year-old house and the floor is a little dated or you wanna update it just changing having the floor refinishing changing the color of it whether it’s a stain dies all of these different things can just drastically make the room feel so many different ways. The sky is the limit when it comes to color with your hardwood floors!



Installing hardwood flooring is one of the best ways to renovate your home, update the look and style of a room or your entire house, and increase the value of your property. But just because wood floors are great in one room doesn’t mean they’ll work in another, and it’s important to install wisely. The bathroom is one example of a room that isn’t suited for hardwood floors, and the main reason for this is moisture. That being said, hardwood can work in powder rooms and half bathrooms, because these rooms don’t have the same high level of humidity as full baths.


Why Hardwood in the Bathroom Isn’t the Best Idea


Wood is a living material that can absorb moisture, and as it absorbs and dries out, it expands and contracts. When this happens repeatedly with the flooring, it can cause warping and buckling, and that’s not something that you want to happen to your hardwood floor. The bathroom is one of the most high-humidity rooms in the house because of steam from the shower and bathtub, which is the main reason why hardwood isn’t recommended in the bathroom.  


Water Damage Is Also an Issue


The bathroom is also a high-traffic room in the house, and when you combine this with the beating your floor takes from sink and shower water, you’ll realize why you might want to opt for an alternate flooring material. Whether it’s the kids sloshing around in the tub, you having your morning shower, or even just brushing your teeth before bed, bathroom floors often have water splashed on them, and this can lead to water damage that requires regular maintenance and repairs to combat rot and mold. As such, you’ll want to choose a bathroom flooring material that’s more water resistant and more dimensionally stable.


Can You Ever Install Hardwood in the Bathroom?


Although it’s a good rule of thumb to avoid hardwood in the bathroom because of the potential for water damage and rot, you might be able to get away with installing wood floors in half baths and powder rooms. These rooms are suited for wood floors because they don’t have showers and tubs, which are responsible for the majority of the humidity in a bathroom. However, to avoid water and moisture damage, it’s essential to keep the bathroom well-ventilated, clean up spills immediately, and use rugs or mats to protect the floor.


Hardwood floors look great, they feel nice on your feet, and they can increase the value of your home, so it’s easy to see why many homeowners are tempted to install this type of flooring in every room possible. But hardwood isn’t ideal in all situations, and high-humidity bathrooms are one place where you’re better off going with another flooring material or choosing engineered wood instead. But if you’re really keen on natural hardwood floors, you can install them in half baths and powder rooms that don’t have showers, as long as you take care to keep them clean and dry.


I can only imagine that everyone at some point in their life has heard the phrase “the sky is the limit.”sky-sunset-mountains We often use this phrase to describe endless possibilities, whether in our career field, education, technology, or our own personal development. It is a means of motivation pushing us to dream and not be satisfied with the status quo. Just as “the sky is the limit” in our personal lives, we believe that the color palette is the limit for your hardwood floors as you design the dream space you have always wanted.

There are many different ways to achieve the color or style you are looking for in your hardwood floors. If you are having a new floor installed, the type or species of wood will affect the color of the floor and will also change the way that different stain colors appear. If you are wanting to spruce up an already existing floor, our knowledgeable craftsmen can create for you a stain sample board using the same species of wood that your current floor is made of so that you know exactly what the stain will look like on your floor. And did I mention that our craftsmen also do custom mixes of stains increasing your stain and color options exponentially, helping to create that space you have always dreamed of.stain-samples

If you are ready to explore all of the different options that we offer, we would be thrilled to join you in making your floor as unique as your signature. And remember, always keep dreaming, after all, the color palette might not be the limit, but rather the beginning of something extraordinary.


New homeowners often contact us to see what we can do with wood floors that are damaged and fairly outdated.  That was the case with this birch floor in Green Bay.  On this project, we had the opportunity to work with an interior designer in Green Bay (Design Of The Interior).  They gave us a sample of the color pallet they were looking at having the birch floor match.  With that, we created a color that matched their sample.color-matching-sample  As we continued to refinish the wood floors throughout this house in Green Bay, we were excited to see the whole space transformed with this new color.  We could keep talking about the process of refinishing these birch floors, but what better way to show you than by video!  So join us and watch the behind-the-scenes process of what all goes into this job! 

As you can see, we put a lot of effort and attention into refinishing a floor.  There is a great deal of knowledge, skill, and detail involved in refinishing a birch floor like this one.  We can’t wait to see what the space looks like once it is all furnished!


There is something very satisfying in restoring things to their original beauty. I remember spending time with my grandfather, who was a farmer, and after the crop season was finished, we would thoroughly clean off the equipment. I can still remember helping clean off all of the dust and dirt from the tractors, and loved having the satisfaction of being able to see my own reflection in them when we had finished. In much the same way, cleaning your wood floor is very important in keeping it looking great. Cleaning your floors regularly will help to increase its longevity, however, over time there can be a build up of of residue from the cleaner, and not being able to apply enough pressure to remove all of the dirt. If your floor and finish do not show signs of wear but have lost their original luster, the best thing to do is have a professional come in and deep clean your floors.


Deep cleaning hardwood flooring is a process where we come in and use an automated scrubber. The scrubber applies a commercial grade cleaning solution, and then the multiple brushes work the solution into the floor, even cleaning the grain of the wood. The squeegees and onboard vacuum make sure to remove all moisture and excess water during the cleaning, leaving the floor clean and dry. If you think your floors might just need to be deep cleaned, contact us! 

Maintaining anything is a great way to keep things looking great! Wood floors are no different. So whether your floors have just been finished or you are looking on how to maintain them we will give you a few tips on how to get the most out of your floors.

Sweep or Swiffer

Keeping grit and other debris off the floor is important in keeping your floor looking in top condition. If you allow dirt and debris to build up on the floor, it will begin to grind into the floor and can scratch the finish and wear it down over time. To prevent this, you want to sweep or swiffer the floor based upon how much traffic your floor gets.



First off you’ll need to know what type of finish you have on your wood floors. Different types of finish have a large impact as to what type of cleaner you should use. If its a film finish you should use a neutral PH hardwood floor cleaner. If you have a penetrating or hardwax oil use the recommended cleaner from the manufacturer. Cleaning the floor will remove dirt and surface stains and renew the shine and luster of your floor. 

Pallmann Cleaning kit


Indoor Climate 

You may be thinking what does indoor climate have to do with maintaining my wood floors? So, your hardwood flooring was once a living thing, and after it is turned into wood flooring, even though it is not growing it is still affected by temperature and humidity. Keeping the temperature between 65-75 degrees all year round along with RH(Relative Humidity) of 35-50% year round will help your floor perform at its best! 



I hear from many wood flooring professionals that they don’t like the use of rugs on hardwood floors. However, the right type of rugs, placed in high traffic areas can help prevent unnecessary wear to your hardwood floors. A couple of key areas for rugs are by the sink, dishwasher, and exterior doors. These places tend to have more moisture and are also higher traffic areas.  Here is a good article we wrote about choosing the right type of rug for your floors. 


Deep Cleaning 

This is a service we offer that cleans the floor with a special machine. The machine applies cleaning solution and then has a cleaning brush that cleans the finish. The built in vacuum removes any of the moisture thats left, giving you a floor that is clean. This option is great for older floors that are in great condition, but just need a deep clean to bring them back to life.



Contacting a professional to re-coat your hardwood floors can add years to the life of your floor.  What we do is come in and clean the floor with a special cleaner, lightly abraid the floor and then apply a new coat of finish. This will take care of any scratches in the surface of the floor, and will add years of life to the floor by adding more protection.

recoating hardwood floor


Taking these steps will help to ensure the longevity of your hardwood floors and protect your investment. If you are unsure about your floors, or have any questions on how to take care of your hardwood floors, contact us, we’d love to help you out. 


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Dogs and hardwood: How to keep your floor looking great

Posted by Aaron Schaalma on Nov 23, 2018

Now, before we get going, I’m going to admit that I’m a pretty big dog lover, so my point of view may be a little biased. They say that your dog is just an extension of its owners personality, and I can definitely attest to that. However, your furry friend doesn’t mean that you can’t […]

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