Prefinish Hardwood Flooring Layers Diagram
See The Difference in Our Prefinished Hardwood Flooring Process
Know the difference between a ropey finish vs our full fill finish?
Our first process station is the sanding operation. This involves two sanders, a “calibration” sander and “surface, polishing” sander. The calibration sander is removes approximately .010” from the bottom of the boards and the surface sander removes about .020” from the tops. Together, these two operations bring uniformity of dimension to the flooring and a smooth surface for finishing. Minor variances which could cause the stains and finishing materials to be poorly applied to the flooring are removed. A panel cleaning brush cleans dust residue from the surface of the boards before they pass to the next process station, staining or priming.
The staining operation utilizes two precision roll-coaters and stain brushes as well as UV, conventional and IR curing ovens. This station can accommodate waterborne, UV cured stains or tie-coats as required for the particular finish. The conventional stain-curing oven dries water base and solvent stains. It is also raises the surface temperature of all flooring to uniform the finish performance from summer to winter.
All stains and primers cause the grain of wood to rise causing very tiny surface “splinters”. A denibbing station, (a stiff bristle brush) is located after the stain cure to remove “raised grain” caused by the staining process. All stains are smoothed during the denibbing process preparing them for the “fill” operation, if needed.
The “filler” station is not needed on all species of wood. If the surface of the flooring is more “open grained” or slightly rough, (in species such as Red Oak), the fill operation will be used. Flooring runs through a roll-coater that packs UV cured material into the pores of the wood and then passes through UV lights for curing. Filling creates a smoother and consistent surface on which to apply the remaining finish coats. Another denibbing station follows the fill operation which smoothes the surface for the first of the sealers.
With two fill machines so we can now “double fill” the exceptionally open pore sometimes found on exotic solid woods and on many veneers. This additional station provides us with filling flexibility second to none in the industry.
Full Fill Hardwood Flooring vs Big Box Stores - Why full fill maters
Next is the HA (high abrasion) sealer, a UV cured material is applied which provides the wear resistance guarantee we provide to our customers. The flooring next moves through a UV light curing station. A second sealer is applied, UV cured and then the material passes through either a series of denibbing brushes or a belt sander and panel cleaner. The denibbing brushes are used for all physically distressed and hand scraped flooring. Smooth surfaced flooring goes through the belt sander which in unmatched for the smooth finish it provides. Most lines have either a denibber or a sander at this position. We are one of the very few that enjoy the flexibility of having both.
The UV cured topcoat contains Ceramic particles for scratch resistance and gloss retention. It can be applied with up to three (3) roller coaters for a smooth and even finish. The gloss level is determined with the last topcoat. Next, the final cure is achieved by a large bank of powerful UV lights and the flooring is ready to be packed a mere 12 minutes after passing through the sander.
Each piece of finished flooring is examined for finishing and machining defects. All “first quality” flooring is placed directly into a box, labels are placed on the box and it is ready for sale. Any flooring with defects is removed from the line to be end-matched, re-finished or boxed as “cabin grade”, depending on the customer’s preference. The end-matching and re-finishing processes increase the yield and profitability of the run for our customer.
Note: While most of our products are finished in this way, some products we import. With our knowledge of the finishing process we ensure great quality of all our products according to grade.