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