Popularity of Hardwood Floors Continues

Photo: Shaw Floors

Photo: Shaw Floors

Hardwood flooring has been the first choice of homeowners for over 100 years thanks to its innate beauty and lasting durability.

What are some of the benefits of having hardwood floors?

Hardwoods will last much longer than most flooring products. Solid wood flooring also provides the flexibility and capability of being refurbished/sanded many times to recreate a completely new floor or simply a change in color/look.

Which styles are popular today?

Classic Red and White Oak in 2¼” and 3¼” widths is the standard because of availability and price. As the economy gets stronger consumers are exploring wider solid flooring options. Flooring manufacturers are increasing the selection in all profiles to include greater than 5” width even in engineered flooring.

Any flooring trends that are specific to metro Atlanta?

We install more hardwoods than is generally seen across the country. We live in a forest and seem to have a great appreciation for wood.

How do I choose the right flooring for my home?

Some things to consider are: Classic vs. Modern; Species consideration-the color and look you would like to achieve; the size of the room also give consideration to the width and length of the boards for a visual presentation; and prefinished or site finish.

There are many new options in color and species in prefinished wood both in solid and engineered that we originally only could achieve the look in a site-finish installation. There are now more hand-scraped and wire brushed offerings that create a very unique look.

The last important element is to evaluate the sub-floor moisture levels and of course your budget. There have been more offerings in wood flooring in the last three years than in the previous 10 years.

How do I budget?

There are three elements that go into the price of hardwood floors: 1. Species–the type of wood either solid or engineered and again applying the variable of width and length. 2. Installation-nail or glue or both depending on the installation of solid or engineered. 3. Staining, sand and finishing cost if it is an unfinished product or the adhesive in installing a  prefinished engineered wood. The cost can begin around $8/square foot and continue to increase based on the type and width of the product.

How about maintenance?

There are many products on the market that clean the hardwood without a water application. An electrostatic mop with Microfiber technology contains most dust for the daily upkeep.

Source: Jerry Park, project consultant, MODA Floors & Interiors

Why You Want Clean Carpet

Photo: Shaw Floors

Photo: Shaw Floors

Have you ever noticed that only a few days after cleaning, you can see dust everywhere, settled on glass tabletops and the like? Dust happens. Household dust carries bacteria, dander, mold spores, germs and pollen. To add to the flurry of grime, your family, friends, pets and even that open window bring in fresh dirt all the time. A lot of it is settling on your carpet.

Between longer work days, time-consuming commutes, and kids’ activities that keep the calendar full, who has time to worry about cleaning the carpet? Today, we’re spending less time on household tasks, yet we still expect excellent results. Lucky for us, carpet-cleaning products, methods and equipment are improving all the time. Cleaning carpet may seem like more of a chore than dusting a coffee table, but properly cleaning and maintaining your carpet makes all the difference in the world.

How often do you clean your carpet?

Source: Carpet and Rug Institute

Domestic Vs. Exotic Hardwoods

Photo: Bona

Photo: Bona

When it comes to choosing the right wood for your floors, you must consider the differences between domestic and exotic wood. Each type has its own benefits and strengths. Domestic and exotic hardwood lumber bring together a wide range of aesthetic and practical considerations when choosing your hardwood floor. They all vary with different characteristics like color, hardness and availability.

Domestic Hardwoods

Domestic hardwoods refer to any and all species found in North America like Oak, Birch, Maple and American Cherry. Domestic hardwood flooring is considered to have a warmer, more traditional appearance.

Exotic Hardwoods

Exotic hardwoods are species found around the world, usually coming from the more tropical areas. Some common exotic species are Brazilian Cherry, Brazilian Walnut (Ipe), Purple Heart and Australian Cypress. Exotic hardwood flooring is considered to have a more striking appearance, giving off a more contemporary/modern look.

Color Change

The natural change in color of all wood species over time is a process caused by oxidation and exposure to light over time. This can happen on finished and unfinished wood and varies by species as to whether it darkens or lightens in color. Exotic hardwoods such as Brazilian Cherry may change color very rapidly and drastically while a domestic hardwood like Red Oak may be much slower with minimal changes in color variation. Check with your floor care professional to get a better idea of what to expect when your floors age.

Hardness

A wood floor is only as hard as the species of wood that is installed and not determined by the finish topcoat. Domestic hardwoods are softer than most exotic species, ranking in the low-medium range in hardness. Exotic hardwoods are harder and denser than domestic wood. However, it is important to remember that hardness is not the only factor when considering a durable floor. With modern industry practices, both types of wood will provide you with a floor that will last a lifetime.

Availability

When it comes to domestic vs. exotic hardwood flooring, availability can become a key issue. The availability of species will depend heavily on specific trends in your area. Because of availability issues, some exotic hardwoods may only come in specific sizes and cuts. Generally, some people choose domestic hardwood flooring over exotic to support sustainable practices and local jobs.

Source: Bona

 

Take Care of Glazed Ceramic Tile

Photo: daltile

Photo: daltile

Contaminants and spills on a glazed ceramic tile are, generally, easier to clean than most other unglazed ceramic and porcelain surfaces.

Glazed tile products should be cleaned routinely with an all-purpose, low VOC household or commercial cleaner. The product chosen should also be grout joint cleaning compatible. The type of product may vary depending on the tile application and use. A multipurpose spray cleaner, which removes soap scum, hard water deposits, and mildew designed for every day use, can be used on wall tile areas in residential baths and showers.

The entire area should be cleaned and scrubbed with cleaner solution through the use of a cotton mop, cloth, sponge or non-metallic brush. The entire area should be rinsed with clean water to remove any cleaning solution residue. Remember that you should sweep or vacuum floor areas prior to cleaning to remove any dust or debris. Routine cleaners should never contain hazardous or polluting products including, but not limited to acids or ammonia. Acids can damage the grout and the glazed surface of the tile, and ammonia can discolor the grout.

Unglazed tile should be cleaned routinely with concentrated tile cleaners that have a neutral pH for safe regular use. These cleaners are better suited at removing grease, oils and normal spills from unglazed products. Again these products will vary depending on the application, amount of traffic and the use. The product chosen should also be compatible with cleaning the grout joints at the same time.

Source: daltile

Protect Hardwood Floors From Chairs and Furniture

Photo Courtesy: Bona

Photo Courtesy: Bona

In the realm of floor care, a lot of attention is placed on protecting floors against outside contaminants and making sure everyone in the home is aware of good floor-friendly habits.

Sometimes, furniture and chair legs can get overlooked as potential sources of floor damage. Unprotected furniture and chair legs can still grind grit and debris into your floor’s finish. Greater concern for scratches and gouges comes from heavier pieces of furniture. For another added layer of hardwood floor protection, chairs and furniture legs need to be made more floor-friendly.

Furniture Protection Types

A popular form of chair leg protection is the chair glide or furniture pad. Quite simply, these are pads made of different types of material that are put on the bottoms of your chair legs. There are different types of chair glides, each offering different levels of cost and protection.

Tap-on/nail-on pads. These types of pads are very secure since they are attached to the furniture leg with either a small nail or screw. Tap-on pads use different materials to make contact with your floor, depending on your floor type. Care should be used with tap-on pads because if they are not properly installed, the nail or screw may be exposed to harm your floor.

Self-adhesive pads. These are peel-and-stick pads that can be found almost everywhere. They are typically made of felt or rubber and are the least expensive. However, the adhesive on these pads won’t last as long as tap-on or slip-on pads.

Slip-on pads. These pads are made to fit over a chair leg and are often made of rubber or soft plastic. These won’t have a problem of falling off like a self-adhesive pad or have the potential to scratch your floor like a broken tap-on pad.

Floor Type Matters

While most chair glides and furniture pads are sold as universal pads for all floor types, some consideration is needed for the floor type you have. Common materials to make chair glides and furniture pads are felt, rubber, cork, plastic and metal. Be especially careful with chair glides since they are made to help furniture move on the floor. Choosing the wrong material with chair glides can lead to floor damage.

Carpet. A harder material like steel or plastic work best.

Hard Floors (hardwood, ceramic tile). Felt and rubber work best. If using rubber, be wary of potential scuff marks. Make sure the felt is thick enough for even heavy furniture.

Soft floors (vinyl, rubber). Felt, rubber and plastic work best.

Furniture Traffic Considerations

Just like foot traffic, how often your furniture moves will play a part in choosing the right type of furniture pad or chair glide. For heavy pieces of furniture that won’t be moved at all, you have a wider range of furniture pads to choose from. Thick pieces of felt or rubber work well with heavy furniture.

In dining rooms or kitchens, you will have high furniture traffic, so choosing a felt pad can be a good option. Plastic pads or glides will wear down over time, so be sure to check the life of your chair glides periodically. Depending on your kitchen floor, rubber might need to be avoided for scuff marks.

In family rooms with couches and sofas, consider how hard the furniture will be treated. Will kids jump on the couch, or will you plop down in your favorite chair after a long day of work? These types of actions will cause small movements, so choose your furniture pad wisely. A rubber pad can do well in this scenario since it will help to restrict furniture movement.

Source: Bona

Top Kitchen Remodeling Projects for Ultimate ROI

daltile Photo

Photo: daltile

It’s a well-established fact that improvements to the kitchen are one of the best things you can do to increase the value of your home. Market Watch recently stated that the average minor kitchen remodel brings a return of 82.7 percent. Major kitchen remodels bring an expected return on investment of 74.2 percent.

Whether you’re getting ready to sell your home or are making improvements for the long haul, giving the kitchen a facelift does wonders. Here are three of the most profitable projects to increase the value of your home.

Redesign the Backsplash

Redesigning the backsplash can be as simple or complex as your budget allows and it can redefine the room to give you that new look you’re going for. Get outside the box with a uniquely shaped tile, fresh color or a new layout.

If you’re planning a major overhaul, you have many more options to consider. As long as the cupboards are ripped out, why not reconsider extending your backsplash up the wall? Traditional backsplashes are usually limited to a few inches around the sink and stove. Tiled walls are durable and easy to clean. They let you make a contemporary design statement as well.

Get a Slab Countertop

A slab countertop is durable and gives you a continuous look that makes your kitchen look high-end. Nothing can quite match the elegance of natural stone countertops. Natural stone does require some special care so take that into account as you design your new kitchen.

If you love the look of natural stone but aren’t sure about the maintenance, check out engineered stone surfaces. More than 90 percent natural stone, these products give you the color and textures you want plus they can be stronger than granite and resist scratching, heat and stains better than granite. They are pretty much maintenance-free.

Upgrade the Tile Flooring

If your big plans are interfering with the budget, a good mid-range option with lots of possibilities is porcelain tile. Porcelain tile comes in just about every color, texture and design you could possibly imagine.

Want to create a classic farm house kitchen? Think about wood tile. Want natural marble floors but it’s way out of the budget? Try a porcelain tile that mimics the veining and depth of natural stone. Porcelain doesn’t require the special treatment that hardwood or natural stone do.

Updating your kitchen is always a good investment. Get the best return on your investment with the right tile selections.

Source: daltile

Environmental Benefits of Wood Floors

Photo: Shaw Floors

Photo: Shaw Floors

Wood flooring is the most abundantly renewable flooring material available. Sustainable forest management makes it possible to harvest wood without any serious impact on the environment, because trees are a renewable resource that can be replaced time and time again.

Check out these environmental facts about wood floors:

  • The average annual net growth for hardwoods is greater than average annual removals. (Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service)
  • Indoor air quality is better with wood floors. (Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
  • Wood is a carbon neutral product that produces oxygen during its growth cycle and stores carbon during its service life. (Source: University of Wisconsin Wood Products Program Solid Wood Flooring Life Cycle Analysis)
  • Wood floors use less water and energy to produce than other flooring options. (Source: University of Wisconsin Wood Products Program Solid Wood Flooring Life Cycle Analysis)
  • At the end of its service life, wood flooring can be burned as fuel or recycled.(Source: University of Wisconsin Wood Products Program Solid Wood Flooring Life Cycle Analysis)
  • Wood floors last hundreds of years, so they won’t need to be replaced as often as other flooring options. (Source: National Association of Home Builders)
  • While it takes most hardwood trees 40-60 years to mature, the inventory planted today won’t be needed for 100+ years. (Source: National Wood Flooring Association)

Why do you like wood floors? Do you have them in your home?

Source: National Wood Flooring Association