On the Road Again

As the school year starts and the Trekker bicycling club gets going again, delays sometimes happen. Here the group gets an unexpected delay due to a biker getting not one, but two flat tires at once. After the break we pedaled to the pizzeria for some hard earned nutrition. Okay, that last part may be debatable–pizza is not the healthiest, but it is fun to eat! The Higginses are looking forward to another great year of after school pedaling as we lose a few graduates, but gain some really great freshmen! See you on the streets! – Dan

SALE ALERT: Mirage Hardwood Flooring Rebate

Starting October 3rd, Mirage Floors is offering  a $0.50 per sq. ft. rebate on hardwood flooring purchases. The sale includes all species, colors, and widths of Mirage Classic, Mirage Engineered, and Mirage Lock products.

Dan Higgins Wood Flooring is a Mirage Floors Elite Maestro Dealer. As Elite Dealers, we provide the full range of Mirage products and services.

The rebate sale runs through November 26th, but our installation calendar is already filling up with customers who want to improve their homes before the holiday season.

See our selection of Mirage Products in our showroom.

For more information, contact us.
For complete rules and information, visit Mirage’s Website.

FAQs: Prefinished vs. Unfinished Floors

Our customers often ask whether a prefinished or unfinished floor is the best option for them. We want every customer to be educated to make the best decision for their home. Here are some questions our customer ask about prefinished and unfinished floors.

What is a finish?

A finish is a protective coating that seals your wood floors. It helps protect against wear and tear, stains, and moisture.

We installed an unfinished maple floor at the Pemberton Borough Gym. Here you can see the floors during the staining and finishing process.

What is unfinished flooring?

Unfinished flooring is also known as site-finished flooring. The flooring arrives at the installation site without any finish and must be sanded, stained, and finished after installation. The flooring usually receives two to three coats of polyurethane and is air-dried at the installation site.

What is prefinished flooring?

Prefinished flooring is also known as factory-finished flooring. All staining and finishing is done in climate-controlled factories, before the wood arrives at the installation site. The wood receives up to several coats of polyurethane dried by UV lighting.

We installed a prefinished Mirage Floors 4 1/4″ maple flooring in “Umbria”.

Which is easier to install?

Prefinished floors can be installed in as few as one day and are ready to go after installation. On-site finishing involves many steps: installation, sanding, sealing, staining, and more. You have to wait for the finish to dry before placing furniture or area rugs on the floors. Depending on the type of finish, you may need to wait several days before walking on the floors in shoes. Many homeowners prefer to get back to living in their house as quickly as possible, making prefinished floors a better option. Some builders and contractors prefer to finish the floors during the last step of building or renovating, limiting the risk of damage to the finish during construction.

Which costs more?

Up front, prefinished floors usually cost more than unfinished floors. However, once the cost of sanding and finishing is taken into account, prefinished floors cost less as a finished product.

Which performs better?

Prefinished floors are finished with several coats of high performance aluminum oxide urethane and cured with UV lighting. A site-finished floor will usually get two to three coats of finish which is air-dried. The finish on prefinished floors usually performs better over time. Many prefinished wood flooring manufacturers provide a warranty on their floors to protect against defects in the finish. Warranty coverage on unfinished floors vary based on the sand and finishing professional.

Which is safer?

When drying, hardwood flooring finishes let off volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are carcinogenic.  When installing prefinished floors, all curing takes place in a factory instead of your home, so you are not exposed to the VOCs. On-site finishing means that the VOCs will be the air while the finish dries. Here in New Jersey and many other states, flooring finishes are required to be low in VOCs according to state standards, which limits safety concerns with on-site finishing.

Which is better for colors?

When staining unfinished hardwood, you have more flexibility to stain with custom colors or try match existing flooring color–though it’s impossible to perfectly match to an existing floor. Prefinished floors now come in so many colors, it’s easy to find a color that will compliment your current floors.

Prefinished hand-scraped floors often have deeper micro-bevels that add to the character of the wood and compensate for discrepancies between boards.

Which looks better?

Prefinished floors have micro-bevels, small cuts on the edge of the boards which keep the floors from being perfectly smooth. The micro-bevels vary in size; beveling can be so shallow it’s hardly noticeable, or so deep it becomes part of the character of the floor. Unfinished floors get rid of any beveling during the sand and finishing process. Some homeowners prefer the dimension and shadows created by micro-beveling. Others prefer the smooth surface of a freshly-sanded floor. It’s a matter of preference.

Can I refinish the floors?

Both prefinished and site-finished floors can be sanded and finished, as long as they are solid wood or thicker engineered wood. Hand-scraped floors can be difficult to sand and finish because they have to be sanded to a smooth finish.

So which is better for my home?

There are many factors to be considered when selecting prefinished or unfinished hardwood floors. We recommend talking to a hardwood flooring expert to help you select the best option for your home.

Talk to the experts at Dan Higgins Wood Flooring.

Home Inspiration: Ocean City Natural

Last week, our job supervisor Jimmy and his crew took a trip to Ocean City, NJ, to install Mercier Pro Series 3/8″ x 3 1/4″ engineered maple flooring in “natural.” We often recommend engineered wood flooring for beach homes, since it’s adaptable to beach climates.

We also love installing at the Jersey shore, since we get to enjoy the beautiful scenery and even make some new friends.

Before you wrap up your summer at the shore, contact us about your beach flooring needs.

Related articles:
Floors for Down the Shore
Inspiration: Avalon Beach House
Home Inspiration: Sea Isle City

Chalk It Up to a New School Year


It must be getting close to a new school year, as Ms. Higgins has the hubby getting things ready for her new students. Joann Higgins teaches math at Urban Promise Academy, a high school in Camden, NJ, that helps students meet their academic potential. This week, Dan made each student a portable blackboard to practice math in a different way. We at Dan Higgins Wood Flooring hope the Urban Promise Academy students have a great first day of school!

Floors for Down the Shore

As summer is winding down, we’re all squeezing in our last weekend trips “down the shore,” as we say here in New Jersey. Before you pack it in for the winter, take a look at your floors. If it’s time to replace them, check out our recommendations for flooring for the beach.

Recommended floors for the beach:

Engineered hardwood flooring is more adaptable to beach climates than solid hardwood flooring. Engineered hardwood floors are made of 100% real wood and can be installed anywhere in your home, even in difficult beach locations. Beach houses are often subject to high humidity and engineered hardwood is less likely to buckle when the humidity rises.

Laminate flooring comes in many styles; they can look like wood and ceramics. It’s scratch resistant; if you didn’t wipe all the sand off before coming inside, no worries. Hybrid laminate flooring is also available, which has the scratch-resistant surface of a laminate with a water resistant core.

If you don’t want to dry off before coming inside from the ocean, luxury vinyl tile is your best bet. LVT is water resistant and has a thick, scratch-resistant coating so you don’t have to worry so much about sand rubbing on the floor.

Not recommended:

Carpets can be hard to clean; on vacation, vacuuming and steam cleaning the carpet is the last thing on your mind. Dripping water and sand can get trapped in the carpet and be hard to remove.

Solid hardwood flooring, while beautiful, needs a humidity-controlled environment. The fluctuating weather down the shore is not ideal for solid wood, which expands and contracts with the humidity levels. If you decide on solid hardwood, make sure you get an expert installation. An expert installer will properly measure the humidity levels, acclimate the wood, and leave space for the floors to expand.

Home inspiration:

Hardwood Flooring in NJ Beach House
We installed a Johnson Lexington Series 9/16″ x 6″ hand-scraped engineered oak in “Lipizzan” at this home in Avalon, NJ.
At this beach home in Sea Isle City, NJ, we installed an LM Flooring Rock Hill 1/2″ x 5″ hand-scraped engineered hickory in “Tango”. We also custom-stained hickory stair tread to compliment the flooring.

Before you head down the shore, come visit one of our showrooms. We’ll help you find the best floors for the Jersey shore.

How to Pick a Flooring Installer

Picking out your flooring is only half the battle. Even the best product will not last or look beautiful if installed poorly. Dealing with a bad contractor can leave you with an unfinished installation, poor workmanship, and money down the drain. Here’s how to select a quality flooring installation contractor:

Check who will actually be doing the installation.

If you buy your floors through a big box store, they may offer free or cheap installation. However, those installations are often subcontracted to the lowest bidder. Sometimes you get what you pay for: the lowest bidder is probably not the most skilled or experienced.

Get a realistic timeline.

When work is done in your home, you’re rearranging your whole life around your contractor. You don’t want any extra days of work added at the last minute. Contractors sometimes don’t want to give you the whole truth if they think it will deter you from booking the job. It’s better for you if you can plan ahead for a big job. If the speedy job sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Ask for credentials.

Here in New Jersey, unregistered contractors are illegal, subject to jail time and penalties of up to $20,000 per offense. Registered contractors are also required to prove proper insurance coverage. If your contractor isn’t willing to show your proof of registration and insurance, they could be working illegally. If something goes wrong on the job, you could be left out to dry. Some contractors have been known to cut and run.

Read the warranty information.

If you already have a product selected, check the manufacturer’s warranty. Many flooring manufacturers require proper job site preparation, wood acclimation, specific installation types, and moisture requirements. If a contractor isn’t following the warranty requirements, your warranty will be voided.

See when they want to deliver.

If the contractor is planning on showing up the day your wood is delivered or is bringing the flooring on the first day of the job, find another contractor. Wood delivery is the canary in the coal mine for an installer. Wood is a living, breathing material that contracts and expands due to temperature and moisture. If the wood isn’t acclimated to the inside of your house, it cannot be properly installed. If your contractor isn’t taking the time to make sure the wood is ready to install, what other corners are they cutting?

Find out what happens after the job.

The job doesn’t end on the last day of installation. Even if a floor is installed correctly, repairs may be required. Will your contractor follow up with repairs free of charge? If you need to make a warranty claim, will you need to file it? If your contractor doesn’t offer follow-up services, you can be stuck with the added expense and aggravation of repairs and warranty claims.

Don’t decide by price alone.

You will live with your floors every single day. It’s a big investment; you want it done right. Find the balance between affordability and quality, or it will cost you in the long run.

Trust the quality installations from Dan Higgins Wood Flooring.