Nature Wood Floors Terms and Conditions
Shipping Your Product
Since most shipments of hardwood flooring are larger and heavier than a typical package, orders must be shipped by freight carriers that use much larger trucks and equipment to handle the size and weight. Material will be stacked on top of pallets or blocks and secured together with heavy duty straps and/or wrapping. It will then be loaded on a trailer to begin transit from one shipping terminal to the next, until it arrives to one in your local area. From there, a customer service rep from the freight carrier will contact you to schedule an appointment at your residential location.
Delivery times will vary on each order and only start once the order has been pulled, packaged, and picked up. The majority of transit times will fall between 2-4 business days, with some requiring additional time for cross country shipments. All delivery dates are estimated and based on the tracking information provided when the product has begun transit. If a product is in stock when ordered, the shipment is likely to be picked up within a day or two of the order. The freight carrier handling your shipment will contact you at least one day before your delivery to schedule the time for the shipment to arrive. All delivery dates and times are estimates, so it is important not to schedule your installer until you have received your product. This also applies to any hired assistance for bringing the material inside the residence at the time of delivery. Be sure to confirm an exact delivery schedule with the freight carrier before arranging help. Transit times are estimates only and NOT guaranteed. Nature Wood Floors can not be held liable for any charges incurred by the customer because on schedule differences.
Freight Carriers are limited on how long they can hold an order once it arrives to the local delivery terminal. Most carriers allow 48 hours from the time the product arrives in their location to when they must have a delivery appointment scheduled with the customer. It is important for the customer to be available at their provided phone number for when the freight carrier calls to schedule a delivery appointment. If not, a return call must be made back to the carrier right away. Storage charges can be incurred to the customer if they do not schedule delivery within an appropriate time with the freight carrier. Orders can also be returned at the customer's expense if the customer denies these charges or does not give a response in time. It is important for any customer to plan ahead when placing orders that require a specific delivery date. In most cases, orders can be placed with a delayed shipping status to accommodate a specific delivery date range. This requires proper instruction from the customer to a Nature Wood Flooring rep before the order is processed. Call for additional details.
Unloading Your Shipment
Deliveries are mostly curbside and the driver is not responsible for bringing the flooring material inside your home. For deliveries that are located on a limited/restricted access road (ex: Cul-da-Sac, Low Power Lines/Trees, Unpaved or Curvy Conditions), the driver may not be able to get to the end of the driveway. In these situations, the driver will make a decision on where is the closest & safest place to deliver. Liftgate service is requested with most deliveries and can be an advantage to you for assistance in unloading the material from the truck, however, liftgate service is not guaranteed for all deliveries. In the instance where weight, length, volume, or location restricts the use of a liftgate, the customer must be prepared for those situations and cannot refuse a shipment based on this. We recommend to all our customers to always have a plan with additional assistance to help in unloading the material and bringing into the residence. Bundles/Cartons of flooring can weigh anywhere from 35 - 90 lbs, so it is important to plan ahead if assistance is needed. Someone 18yrs or older must be present at the time of delivery and able to sign for the material. Drivers are NOT allowed to drop material off without someone to sign for it.
Inspecting Your Shipment
When your order arrives, you want to be sure the quantities match what you ordered. To guarantee customer satisfaction, please make note of the following when receiving your order:
- Visually inspect the condition and entirety of the shipment, make sure to note missing items or damaged materials. The order confirmation email you received lists all the materials and quantities you ordered. You will need to examine the shipment and count each item to make sure everything ordered has been received.
- Once unloaded, it is recommended that you store the flooring material in the location where it is to be installed. This will allow the flooring material to acclimate and will reduce the number of times you will have to move the flooring.
- DO NOT let the driver leave until you have verified the material received is in good condition and that all material has been accounted for. Any damaged or missing items must be noted on your delivery receipt. If not noted, Nature Wood Floors cannot file a claim on your part to replace the lost or damaged items. In such cases, you will be required to file a claim yourself directly with the carrier.
Damage can occur from time to time during the transit process of your order. It is important to understand that a small percentage of damage is allowable/expected and is figured into your original 10% waste factor when ordering your material. That 10% is partly made up of your own expected installation waste, but also includes the occasional defects that can be caused by manufactured defects and transit damage. Although, we understand there are still cases where excessive damage can occur and a claim can be filed with the freight carrier if that happens.
If damage or missing items are noticed upon arrival, it is important to inspect the shipment as much as possible to confirm how much has been effected and to note it on the delivery receipt the driver provides. Without a note, the customer is accepting the shipment and saying it has arrived fully and in good condition. If you end up with a shipment with damage, just know that most damage that happens is typically minor and shouldn't effect your installation. If your product arrives in carboard boxes, make sure the damage received isn't only to the packaging. If damage has been done to the board, inspect it closer to see which side of the board was effected. Most factories package material upside down so that any potential damage is only effected to the bottom. In which case, this would not effect the installation of the board. Other minor damages that can slightly effect your installation are damages to the ends of the boards and Tongue & Grooves. These types of damages fall within the acceptable amount of defects as long as they are not excessive. Boards with damage to the ends can be used at the walls since you will need to cut the board to fit in the space anyway. Tongue & Groove damage is easier to deal with as long as most of the tongue is left intact. Small areas where the tongue is broken off will not effect the integrity of the board as long as the rest of the tongue and groove can attach. Any damage to the top side of the board must be monitored for how many boards are effected. As long as it is not an excessive amount and falls within the allowable defected percentage, than it should not effect you completing your installation, especially if a good portion of the board can still be used after cutting out the damage.
In order to provide us with a better understanding of the damage you received, we require our customers to provide photos of the material so we can inspect the boards with you. This is typically done by taking photos with a camera or phone device and emailing them to our customer service department. The more photos you can provide, the better we can help come up with a solution for you. Be sure to contact us at that time so we can help provide further details.
Never Refuse A Shipment
Refusing a shipment will incur additional shipping charges that the customer will be responsible for paying, as well as, delay any claim that can be made against the shipment. Refused shipments are subject to return shipping costs and any restocking fee incurred by the supplier. If you have received damaged and believe it to be extreme excess, please contact Nature Wood Floors right away for assistance. Although, it is extremely rare that an entire shipment has been destroyed during transit. It is much easier for you to receive the product and make a note of the damage that is present. We will then work with you and the freight carrier to have replacement material sent. If a shipment is refused but found to have minor or no damage, the customer will be responsible for a redelivery fee charged by the freight carrier.
Do not discard any of the damaged material or packaging until told to do so by the freight carrier or Nature Wood Floors. Once reported, the damaged material is the property of the carrier, by law, and they have 120 days to decide if they wish to inspect, pick up or advise to discard the damaged material. Nature Wood Floors cannot be held responsible for any damages or shortages. The carrier is responsible once the product leaves our possession.
Returns need to be treated case by case and are determined by many factors. Approval from Nature Wood Floors is required before any return can be accepted. There is a 30 Day time limit from the day your product has been received when ordering online. Local sales start the day payment has been processed. If you'd like to return a product, there will likely be a restocking fee that will be charged by our supplier and will need to be reduced from any refund given to the customer. Any shipping costs incurred to bring the material back to the supplier will also be passed along to the customer. Original shipping charges to the customer are final and cannot be refunded.
Returns can only be accepted if the material has been unopened and without any damage to the material and packaging. Accessory pieces such as moldings, stair parts, installation accessories, etc, cannot be returned. Custom milled items are not returnable and made final once production has started. If material needs to be shipped back, the customer is responsible for stacking and securing the material back onto the pallet in order to be picked up from a freight carrier. If the original packaging material cannot be used to resecure the shipment, the customer is responsible for providing their own material to ensure the product is packaged properly. Freight carriers have the right to refuse shipments if they deem a package is not securely fastened to avoid potential damage. Any damage incurred during transit back to the supplier will need to have a claim filed by the customer.
Cancellations are also treated case by case and will depend on how far along an order has already been processed. If you choose to cancel an order, you must do so before the items start production or begins transit from the supplier location to either yours or our own location. Once these products are received to our warehouse, or even loaded on a trailer to begin transit, there are return shipping costs and restocking fees that will be charged to us and have to be passed along to the customer. Orders that require material to be sent from a supplier to our own receiving warehouse cannot be cancelled once it arrives.
Any refunds or credits are typically processed back to the original payment method that was used. If a credit card was used, allow 24-72 hours for the banks to process the refund back to your card. If cash, check, or electronic money transfer was used to purchase your order, allow a few days for a check to be generated and mailed to the address you provide.
Hardwood Flooring Characteristics:
Unlike manufactured flooring products, hardwood is a natural material that has its own characteristics and properties. Due to these unique qualities, your newly installed floor will vary from samples and pictures shown. Below are some common examples you can expect from this extraordinary material:
- Changes in Color: Over time, wood flooring colors will change with exposure to artificial and natural light. These changes are normal, and to be expected. To avoid the appearance of discoloration, you should occasionally move area rugs and furniture to promote even light exposure. Some wood species color changes are more dramatic than others. For example, Brazilian Cherry and Tigerwood become deeper and redder with light exposure over time. Brazilian Cherry can even start out a golden color before darkening to a redder tone it is known for.
- Natural Movement: Seasonal moisture and temperature levels will cause wood to expand and contract and can even do so during natural acclimation before installation. Though this may give the appearance of gaps or cracks in your floor during installation, this should not be considered a product defect. You can overcome small gaps like these by applying matching wood putty. For floor care after installation, the addition of a whole home humidifier or air conditioning for mid/late summer and fall will help keep a home from building up excessive moisture, not only in the hardwood flooring, but within the walls and ceilings as well. Maintaining a home at 35%-55% relative humidity will help assure the minimum amount of movement due to the floors' moisture content. Engineered flooring is less susceptible to swelling and shrinking because it has been designed for enhanced dimensional stability.
- Natural Variations: Just as no two trees are identical, no two wood planks have identical grains, hues, and textures. Naturally occurring wood can have knots, mineral streaks, and a wide variation of colors and grains. These differences make each floor one-of-a-kind and also cause one lot to look different from the next lot even when purchasing the same product as last time. Nature Wood Floors is not responsible for differences in appearance from one lot to the next, or samples/diplays being different from the final product.
- Board Lengths: Hardwood Floors will come in a variety of lengths with most giving dimensions for where the lengths can fall between. (For example; 1'-7' Random Lengths). Whatever lengths are given for a product, a typical result for products will see a majority of the lengths that fall in the middle of the dimensions, unless otherwise stated. For example, when given 1'-7' lengths, the majority of the boards can likely fall between 2'-5'. Same guidelines would apply for longer length options. Products are also allowed to NOT give you a length specified in the description. For Example: Ordering a 2'-10' Random Length product but not receiving any 9' or 10' lengths. This can sometimes happen and still be acceptable. This is because the purpose of the mentioned lengths is to give you a certain average range. Just because there are no 9' or 10' lengths does not mean you are not getting the average that is expected. In this case, if you still have a good amount of the lengths that fall around 5'-8', then you are still getting the expected average above the standard 1'-7' option.
- Also, certain species or grades that are meant to have a more natural characteristic look may have a lesser average length than other species or higher grade products. For Example: a Select Grade may give you a 4' average, but a #2 Common in the same lineup may only give you a 2 1/2' average. Same is applied when comparing different species. Pine trees grow very tall, which helps the end result of flooring have a longer length average. But when compared to Walnut trees, which grow much shorter, they will give a lesser average length even in the same grade when compared to each other.
- Nature Wood Floors is not responsible for replacing material or refunding a customer because the average lengths was not what they expected or if a product did not come with enough of a certain length. This is a natural product which makes every order random with lengths and averages varying from order to order.
- Width Variations: Dense wood species, such as Brazilian Walnut (Ipe), Brazilian Teak (Cumaru), and others that are known to be much harder/denser can have width variations in the boards. This happens because the extreme density causes the plank to jump more often during milling which can give boards slight differences in widths. This occurs more frequently the wider the board gets. For example, a Brazilian Walnut floor may be labeled as a 5" wide plank, but some boards may come in at 4 15/16" or 4 7/8". This is not considered a defect by the manufacturer and cannot be returned or refunded based on this. An experienced installer understands how to work with these differences by using the matching widths in one full row. There will also be boards that can be 5" on one end and off by a 1/16", 1/8", and even up to 1/4" width on the other. These are typically used by the walls as cut pieces, but there will be instances where these boards must be used in the middle areas where gaps will be present. These gaps can be filled with a matching wood putty. Again, this is not a defect and a common trait when dealing with very dense species. Products that allow for width variations are recommended to have a higher waste factor figured when ordering to help cut down on these issues. It is also the purchaser's responsibilty to have an experience floor installer that knows and understands how to work with this type of product.
- Nominal Lengths & Widths: Nominal is a common term mentioned in the hardwood flooring business and is used with all products from Nature Wood Floors. This allows for lengths and widths to differ slightly from what dimensions are described in a products specifications. For example: a product labeled as a 5" wide board measures an actual width of 4 7/8" wide, or a 1'-7' Random Length product ends up having 9" pieces. Width differences can sometimes affect repair jobs when trying to replace damaged wood with a new product that is not from the original mill. Always ask one of our reps before replacing small areas in an existing floor.
- Natural Waste: Hardwood flooring is a natural product and no matter how high of quality a product is you can always expect a certain amount of waste that needs to be factored in. 5% is allowed for boards with waste that can consist of certain milling or finish defects. When measuring your product, be sure to allow for 5% of milling or finish defects, as well as, an additional 5% for cutting waste during installation. Damage occurred during transit cannot be foretold, so it is also part of the 5% expected imperfections in the wood. Freight claims can only be made when the shipping damage, plus defects, goes above 5% of the ordered material. In which case, shipping damamge must be noted on the delivery receipt when signing for the material.
Understanding Humidity Levels
Hardwood flooring is a natural product that will respond to different humidity variations. This means that even though the wood has been dried, cut, and processed into flooring material, the hardwood may expand or contract because of moisture. A change in seasons is when these changes become especially noticeable. During warm and humid summers, hardwood flooring expands. During dry winter weather, hardwood flooring contracts. Because this seasonal movement is normal for hardwood products, the best way to reduce such movement is by installing humidity controls and making sure that they function before flooring is installed.
In order to prevent your floor from expanding or contracting, it’s important to keep up with hardwood flooring maintenance. With this in mind, you have to understand how these changes are caused based on the specific climate you live in as well as the climate of your home. But don’t worry, preventing movement of your hardwood flooring isn’t solely based on maintenance. There are also preventative measures that can be taken when your hardwood flooring is installed.
Wood is a hygroscopic material. When wood is exposed to air, it will either dry or pick up moisture until its reactions occur at equal rates with the humidity and temperature of the air. When the moisture is absorbed, the wood will swell. Wood will begin swelling as the moisture levels increase anywhere from 0-30%. When the moisture is lost, the wood will shrink. Shrinkage of wood begins at 25-30% of moisture content. Anything above 25%-30% means that your hardwood flooring is dimensionally stable.
Hardwood does not shrink or swell equally in all directions. A change in moisture content of a piece of hardwood flooring from 0% to 28% will increase the size of the piece approximately 0.1% along the LENGTH of the board, and 5% to 15% change in size in WIDTH of the strip with plain sawn flooring.
Acclimating Before Installation
Acclimation describes the process of conditioning hardwood floor so its moisture content is at the optimal level for the environment it is to be installed. For most wood flooring, the wood floor must be within 4% of the moisture content of your subfloor. For solid wood flooring with planks wider than 3 inches, the flooring should be within 2% of the subfloor. If the wood has a lower content than the acceptable range, it will absorb moisture and swell up. Too high a content causes it to lose moisture, resulting in shrinkage. What you should strive for is referred to as equilibrium moisture content, or the point where the wood will not gain or lose moisture.
Wood flooring typically comes from a region with a different climate than where you live. Furthermore, it’s frequently stored and shipped in environments that are far more extreme than those within the comfort of your climate controlled home. When it arrives for installation, it naturally has a different moisture content and requires time to adjust to its new environment. While most manufacturers recommend around one 7-10 days for acclimation, the actual duration depends on factors such as moisture content at the time of delivery, the type of wood, its dimensions and its finishing method. It’s important to note that not all wood needs to acclimate to its environment — for instance, it could arrive at equilibrium moisture content. Engineered and solid factory-finished flooring often doesn’t require as much acclimation time, provided the environment is within what’s considered average humidity and temperature levels.
If you’re not sure whether your hardwood flooring needs to go through the acclimation process, contact us to speak with one of our experienced representatives that can help you make an assessment.
Because your home is normally heated during cooler months, your hardwood flooring gives up some of its moisture and contracts. Naturally, when this happens, thin gaps can appear between planks. As a homeowner, you should be prepared for this to occur. However, in order to try to prevent these separations, you can install a humidifier in the furnace or bring a movable humidifier into the room. As long as your humidity doesn’t fall lower than 40%, no gaps should appear between your hardwood flooring planks. Generally, once the weather starts to warm up for springtime, heating is turned down and humidity levels will naturally rise. In turn, most of the gaps in your hardwood flooring material will close up on their own.
When spring shifts to summer, your indoor humidity can rise up to 90%, causing your hardwood flooring product to expand. Even just a few days of humidity can cause wood flooring to cup, which means that the edges on the wooden board are higher than its center. Cupping can also happen when spilled water gets absorbed by your hardwood floors. To avoid cupping, keep your indoor humidity levels between 40-60%. High levels of humidity can cause hardwood flooring to expand significantly, sometimes causing the affected boards to lose their structural integrity and crack. That’s why it’s very important to never allow indoor humidity to rise over 65%. Your hardwood flooring maintenance can be made easy by keeping air conditioners or dehumidifiers running during the humid summer weather.
When leaving your home for a long duration, it is important to plan ahead for home conditions while you are gone. Keeping your A/C running while you are out can help prevent excessive change in the atmosphere. Humidifiers & Dehumidifiers are also something to think about to help avoid possible movement in your hardwood floor.
Wood Flooring Expansion and Contraction
Unlike many floor coverings, hardwood flooring material can last the lifetime of the building in which it is installed. As a homeowner, you should note that the number one enemy of your hardwood floor is moisture. Hardwood flooring naturally expands when moisture is present and shrinks when moisture is absent. Although not every reaction is a problem, stated below are some of the common results when water and hardwood flooring combine.
CRACKS BETWEEN BOARDS: When homes are heated, humidity levels plummet. In dry months, cracks can easily develop to the thickness of a dime on a typical solid 2¼ inch hardwood oak floor. These spaces in your hardwood flooring are to be expected and will usually close up as the seasons’ change and moisture returns to the air. If you want to try to combat these cracks between boards, try installing a humidifier in the furnace.
CUPPING: As with cracks between your hardwood flooring material, both cupping and crowning are also natural reactions to moisture. Cupping happens when the edges of a hardwood flooring board are higher than its center. Humidity is usually the culprit, although cupping can also happen if water is spilled onto the floor and absorbed into the hardwood flooring material. This moisture causes the wood to swell, crushing the boards together and deforming them at the edges. In order to repair your damaged hardwood flooring product, the cause of the moisture needs to be controlled. To speed up the drying process, use a fan and recoat your hardwood flooring with a flooring dealer approved finish once completely dry. This will leave your hardwood flooring material looking as good as new!
CROWNING: This is the opposite of cupping. Instead of the middle of the board being the highest point, the edges now surpass the center. This occurs when the surface of your hardwood flooring material encounters moisture and can also occur when flooring has been sanded too soon after it has cupped.
BUCKLING: Buckling is one of the most extreme reactions that can occur with your hardwood flooring. Buckling happens when the floor pulls away from the subfloor, up to heights as high as several inches. In such cases it is still possible for hardwood flooring to be repaired rather than replaced, depending on the severity.
Preventing Moisture Problems
Controlling humidity is the most important factor in preventing problems with moisture and your hardwood flooring material. Proper hardwood flooring maintenance will also go a long way. To prevent moisture issues, it is best to:
- Buy a “floor care kit” recommended by your hardwood flooring professional and clean your wood flooring with a cloth lightly dampened by the recommended cleaning product. Your flooring manufacturer will provide directions for use.
- Clean your hardwood flooring material only when necessary. Do not clean your wood floors with water or water-based products on a regular schedule.
- Never damp mop on a wood floor! The water deteriorates the wood and finish.
- Never let a water spill dry on the floor.
Radiant heating for floors is a system designed underneath your floor to assist in warming the house. This process is done in many different designs in todays world, but each one can be potentially harmful to your hardwood floor. Because of this, Radiant/Hydraunic Heating is NOT covered by warranties offered on products sold by Nature Wood Floors. This does not mean a hardwood floor cannot work over these heating systems, but it is important to understand completely the product you are buying before making a purchase.
Radiant heat is not recommended for application with most solid woods since being a natural material, exposure to high levels of moisture and extensive fluctuations in temperature result in contractions and expansions. The presence of dry heat directly under solid wood floorings can, therefore, lead to quick drying out and contraction of the wood, which might result in cupping issues or the development of large gaps between floorboards. This is why most warranties by manufacturers rarely cover installations over radiant heat. If a solid wood is required over radiant, it is best to stick with narrow planks sizes and Rift & Quartered Sawn lumber.
Engineered wood flooring is, in general, more dimensionally stable than solid wood flooring. However, not all engineered wood flooring is recommended or appropriate for use over radiant heating systems. Engineered flooring with a less-stable wear layer species such as hickory, maple, and most exotic species are not normally best suited over radiant heat unless otherwise suggested by the flooring manufacturer. The cut and thickness of the wear layer may also affect how the floor performs over radiant heat. Follow the flooring manufacturer recommendations for maintenance, environmental (T and RH) requirements, surface temperature requirements, and whether or not each specific product is intended to be used over radiant heat.
Successful wood floor installations occur when the radiant heat system design engineer, the radiant heating system installer, the wood flooring installer, and the end-user all communicate and fully understand what is required for the entire flooring system being installed. This communication should include which type of wood flooring to use, what installation method to use, understanding how this heat source may impact the wood flooring, what precautions to take before, during and after installation, and consistent communication among all parties when any changes take place to any part of the system. Before the final purchase is made, it is up to the purchaser and end-user to have a clear understanding of the flooring product use and maintenance requirements, as well as the radiant heating system features, limitations, and capabilities, and how all of these work together within the system, to stay within the necessary parameters.
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