Beetle Infestation: What to Look For

Photo: Shaw Floors

Photo: Shaw Floors

Insect infestations are not common in wood floors, but they can occur. Many people know that termites are often associated with the destruction of wood products, but beetles can infest wood as well.

The most common destructive beetle associated with wood floors is called the lyctid beetle. It is often referred to as the powderpost beetle because the damage it causes reduces wood to a powder-like consistency.

A powderpost beetle is a wood-boring insect that is reddish brown to black, about 1/32”-1/8” in length, and has an elongated, flattened body. Because this beetle is quite small, the damage they can cause is much more likely to be seen than the beetle itself.

Powderpost beetles also may not originate in wood flooring. They can be introduced into the structure in wood furniture, cabinets, paneling, moldings, firewood, and even picture frames and small decorative grape vine wreaths, so identifying the primary source is necessary to alleviate the problem and keep it from spreading.

Infestation occurs long before the wood floor is installed. Female lyctid beetles lay their eggs within the pores of the wood. The larvae feed on the wood, creating tunnels that fill with a powdery substance called frass. Later, when the larvae mature, they exit the wood, creating small pinholes, generally measuring 1-3mm. These exit holes will often be surrounded by frass. This frass material is very fine and will feel like talcum powder when rubbed between two fingers.

This infestation typically occurs in hardwood lumber. Kiln drying lumber will eliminate powderpost beetles, but infestations can occur at any point in the supply chain, including production, storage and transport. U.S. wood species are not prone to powderpost beetle infestations due to the industry standards utilized for drying and storing lumber, but imported wood species do not necessarily following these stringent requirements and may be more prone to infestations.

Not all pinholes in wood flooring indicate that powderpost beetles are present. Small pin holes in the face of wood products are a natural characteristic of wood, and will not damage the floor or affect its performance. In addition, any wood product that has been in use for five years or longer is very unlikely to have powderpost beetles as the starch content of the wood, which the beetle needs to survive, declines as the wood ages.

If powderpost beetles are suspected, a wood flooring professional can evaluate the floors and recommend a course of action for repairs.

Source: National Wood Flooring Association

 

Does Your Kitchen Look Dated?

Photo: Daltile

Photo: Daltile

Nothing dates your home quite like style trends that ended long ago. To make your space look fresh, try incorporating new kitchen ideas. Here are some tips and ideas to help you get started.

Make a Statement with Your Backsplash

To make a bold statement, go with a backsplash that’s taller than average. Create a statement wall around your sink, or another area of the kitchen you want to emphasize. A wall and counter glazed tile shines and shimmers to reflect light and catch the eye, which is just what you want from a statement wall. A backsplash can serve as more than a material that protects the walls from kitchen splashes. It can also be an artistic element that stands out and adds a special touch.

Add the Simple Beauty of Rustic Style

Rustic charm adds a beautiful touch of warmth to any modern kitchen design. When paired with the gleam of stainless appliances, stone stands out. Luckily, instead of learning masonry, you can get the same gorgeous look with Brickwork tile. This tile looks like individual bricks that have been carefully mortared into place, but it has the easy maintenance of ceramic, cleans up easily, and stands up to wear and tear. Add the beauty of stone to your island, walls, countertops, or all of the above.

Give Your Room More Dimension with Texture

Three-dimensional design always creates a modern look, and a textured backsplash design can add a lot to your space. Metal accents can make your backsplash shine, and the 3-D design brings life and detail to the room. Choose accent tiles that are whimsical, elegant, or simple to express your personal style, and mix and match your tiles to create an amazing overall pattern.

Source: Daltile

New Luxury Vinyl: Not Your Mother’s Old Vinyl Floors

Photo: Tarkett

Photo: Tarkett

When many of our clients think about vinyl flooring, it brings back images of their mother’s inexpensive linoleum or vinyl floors. That is not the case anymore. The newest generation of vinyl products are now referred to as Luxury Vinyl. This product category has experienced explosive growth and is currently the fastest growing flooring product in our industry.

The growth of Luxury Vinyl can be explained by its amazing combination of Appearance, Durability, Comfort and Affordability. Let’s examine each of these areas:

Appearance: Manufacturers use high-definition printing to create hardwood and tile looks that are highly authentic. Rather than sheet goods, Luxury Vinyl comes in size options that replicate hardwood and tile. Some models can even emulate wire brushing and light scraping found in real hardwoods. You can get the look of hardwood and stone – minus the maintenance.

Durability: A durable top layer protects against excessive wear from kids and pets. The wear layer is chip resistant and offers superior stain resistance and is very cleanable. In my opinion, the most amazing feature of this product is its water resistance. It can be installed in areas that experience some moisture without worrying the product will swell or delaminate. This makes the product ideal for kitchens, laundry rooms and lower level recreation areas.

Comfort: Luxury Vinyl is more soft under foot versus typical hard surface products, making it easier to stand on for extended periods of time. These floors are typically quieter and warmer than other flooring options and do not require additional underlayment.

Affordability: The total cost of materials and installation of Luxury Vinyl is significantly less than tile and hardwoods. There is typically less floor preparation required for this product, and it can be installed over many existing substrates. In addition, a number of these products come with locking systems that allow for a “floating” installation, which eliminates the need for costly adhesives.

The future looks bright for Luxury Vinyl. There is so much to like about these products. I fully anticipate that our suppliers will continue to bring more innovation to further enhance this category of exciting products. We hope you will visit one of our stores to allow us the opportunity to show you some of the many options available in Luxury Vinyl.

Source: Dean Howell, owner, MODA Floors & Interiors

Protect Your Oiled Floors

Photo: Monarch

Photo: Monarch

Treatment with wood oil is very popular as it brings out the same beautiful look that many exotic wood species have. Wood floors treated with oil bring out the wood’s natural character and warmth. Wood oil doesn’t give any direct protection against wear but helps to repel water. It’s a good idea to think about which rooms are suitable for oiled wood floors.

It can be difficult to see and feel the difference between an oiled wood floor and a waxed wood floor. A waxed wood floor is softer and a little more slippery than oiled wood floors.

Things to think about when you dust and clean your oiled wood floor:

Protecting your oiled floors is simple. By routinely cleaning, you remove dust and dirt before they scratch and dull the surface, or wear away the floor.

Always keep water to a minimum when cleaning your oiled wood floors. If you spill (food or drinks), wipe up immediately to prevent any permanent damage or staining.

Sweep or vacuum your oiled floors as often as needed.

Don’t use ”all-purpose” cleaners on your oiled floors as they tend to leave a dull residue and you end up using too much water, which is damaging to your oiled floors.

Things to think about when you maintain your oiled wood floor:

Use a special oil product for maintaining and protecting your oiled floors.

If you have laid an oiled floor in an area where there is a high risk of spilling water, like in a kitchen, apply oil refresher to add a layer of protection and increase the life of your new floors.

The oil refresher can be applied as needed but usually a few times a year. Always make sure the wood floor is cleaned before re-applying.

Source: Bona

Choose Your Hardwood Floor Sheen

Lauzon FlooringWhen you buy a hardwood floor, you deserve to love every little detail. Choosing your floor’s sheen—also referred to as luster or gloss level—is one such detail. This decision can make a big difference in the overall look of your room.

What is sheen?

Sheen, luster, or gloss level, is an optical term that describes a surface’s ability to reflect light. The higher the gloss level, the more directly it reflects light, and the lower the gloss level, the more the surface absorbs and diffuses the light. For example, there is no such thing as a 100 percent gloss floor, but if there were, it would be as reflective as a mirror!

Gloss level is normally measured at a 60-degree angle with a gloss meter, which is the equivalent to looking at the surface while standing up. The gloss level calculation is then derived by the amount of reflection from the finish. The gloss meter compares this value with the black-glass standard, which has a defined refractive index of 100 “gloss units.

The glossier you go, the more light reflects off the floors. This in turn, shows more dirt and dust as well as imperfections in the hardwood floor.

Good to know!

It’s important to realize that different hardwood species—and textures—will produce different gloss levels. Natural wood color or patina, as well as differences caused by open- vs. closed-grain woods, and texture will produce subtle variances in the gloss level.

Picking a gloss level is more of an aesthetic choice and does not impact the durability of the finish. However, over time foot traffic will dull most hardwood floor finishes and create visible traffic patterns. With its superior anti-wear properties, Lauzon’s Titanium finish will maintain the luster of your hardwood floor over time, so you won’t see foot traffic on any of our sheen levels.

Source: Lauzon

What’s the Best Way to Clean Hardwood Floors?

Hardwood Floor PhotoAvoid Water and Vinegar to Best Clean Hardwood Floors

Looking for the best way to clean hardwood floors? What may work for some parts of your home might not be the perfect match for your floors. Finding an effective way to get the best clean for your hardwood floors is an important step in effective hardwood floor care.

Avoid Cleaning with White Vinegar and Water for Hardwood Floors

For many people looking for a quick and easy DIY cleaning solution, nothing beats vinegar and water. Cleaning with vinegar and water is cheap, safe for the environment and generally does a great job at cleaning many items in your home.

Just don’t use vinegar and water to clean hardwood floors.

Using vinegar and water as a homemade hardwood floor cleaning solution can have a negative effect on your hardwood floor. It’s important to remember that when you clean your hardwood floors, you aren’t actually cleaning the wood—you are cleaning the chemical finish on the wood. The finish is the protective layer of your hardwood floors.

Since vinegar is an acid, it will actually break down the finish on the surface of your floor, and over time it will reduce the shine and leave a dull appearance. Using vinegar and water to clean floors can also lead to an excessive amount of water on the floor, which can cause swelling and discoloration.

The Best Way to Clean Hardwood Floors

When it’s time to clean your floors, here are some hardwood floor cleaning tips to remember:

  • Prep your floor for cleaning by sweeping or dust-mopping to get rid of large particles of dirt and debris.
  • Use a pH neutral cleaner that will be gentle on your hardwood floors.
  • Use a fine spray mist to clean your floor in sections. Avoid putting too much liquid on your floors.
  • Use a microfiber mop to clean. Traditional mops can work, but they can leave excess water on your floors.

When looking for the best way to clean hardwood floors, skip using white vinegar and water to clean your floors. Using a specially formulated hardwood floor care cleaner is a smart way to maintain the beauty and look of your floors.

Source: Bona

 

Which Hardwood Texture Suits Your Style?

Lauzon FlooringThe texture of a hardwood floor can add a lot to a décor. It can accentuate the elegance or add to the warmth of a more casual setting. A variety of hardwood flooring textures are available on the market.

Smooth. Nature’s Classic Elegance, Expressed Simply

A very delicate sanding gives wood a silky texture with classic allure while highlighting the grain. Smooth is a timeless texture that is still the most popular in hardwood flooring.

Open Grain. The Uniqueness of Wood Shines Through

Every wood species is unique, and this is what makes the material so warm and rich. A species’ cellular structure influences its appearance and, in some cases, its texture as a hardwood floor.

Open-grain hardwood species, such as Oak and Hickory, are “ring-porous.” This means they have large pores that are easily visible to the naked eye. Open-grain woods may appear coarser than closed-grain woods because the surface isn’t as smooth. When the wood is sawn, the pores are split, creating beautiful little rifts and valleys. This open-grain pattern stands out even more when dark stain is applied, but is still noticeable with lighter shades.

Hand Scraped. Uniquely Perfect Imperfection

Hand Scraped texture, sometime called “Wave,” ranges from subtle to extreme, and from repetitive to more authentic pattern, depending on the method used and the desired result.

One common way to produce a Hand Scraped texture is to use automated machines. When the wood is milled, the machines skim the surface of the boards, creating rows of depressions within the wood’s surface. Gouging and/or sanding wheels with varying rotations, depths, and sizes are selected depending on the desired results. Machine scraping usually lead to a more repetitive and noticeable pattern.

Remember that each manufacturer has its own Hand Scraped process, so one manufacturer’s Hand Scraped flooring will look different from the others’. Plus you should NOT expect your delivered flooring to look exactly like the small sample you saw at a flooring retail store. The beauty of real hand scraped flooring is that it’s meant to look antiqued, so no two pieces will be exactly the same.

While this texture is ideal for rustic décors, it also creates a nice contrast in modern rooms and adds casual appeal to traditional settings.

Wire Brushed. Distinctive yet Discreet

Like Hand Scraped hardwood floors, Wire Brushed floors, sometime called Wirebrushed, Etched or Distressed, can range from moderate to extreme in texture.

To create this texture, the wood is delicately brushed with steel bristles, opening the grain, removing the soft portion of the top of the wood plank, leaving the hardest wood and revealing a subtle scuffed effect. It’s a warm, natural texture you can see and feel that accentuates contrasts in color and masks the effects of daily traffic.

Source: Lauzon Flooring