Wood Floor Sheens: Which Is Better?

Photo: Shaw Floors

Some wood floor sheens are shiny and some are not. Is one type of sheen better than the other?

It really is a matter of preference. If you choose to install a site-finished floor, you can choose any sheen that you like. Gloss finishes offer the most shine, and will reflect the most light. Semi-gloss finishes offer some shine, and will reflect some light. Satin or matte finishes offer the least shine, and will reflect the least light.

Generally speaking, the less sheen, the less you will notice small scratches and other wear that is normal with wood floors. If you choose to install a factory-finished floor, you will be limited to the sheen available for the material you select. All sheens will offer the same protection for your floor, so it truly is a matter of which look you like best.

Source: National Wood Flooring Association

Flooring Moisture Management

Photo: Shaw Floors

Photo: Shaw Floors

Wood is an organic material that reacts to its environment. It is hygroscopic, which means that it absorbs and loses moisture in reaction to its surrounding environment. In humid environments, wood gains moisture and swells. In dry environments, wood loses moisture and shrinks. This is completely normal and happens at all stages of the wood life cycle, even as the tree is growing in the forest.

If wood gains or loses too much moisture, problems can occur.

Wood that gains too much moisture can cup. Cupping occurs across the width of a floor board, with edges that are raised on each board and centers that are lower than the edges. Cupping always happens due to a moisture imbalance through the thickness of the board.

Wood that loses too much moisture can gap. Gapping occurs between floor boards. Gaps can vary in size and are considered normal if they appear and disappear during seasonal changes in humidity. Gaps are not considered normal if they are large or do not close during more-humid months.

Both of these issues can be minimized by maintaining an environment that is consistently between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit, and 30-50 percent humidity. Significant fluctuations outside these ranges can result in cupping or gapping.

Source: National Wood Flooring Association

 

 

Trends in Hardwood Flooring

Photo: Lauzon Every hardwood floor opens up a remarkable range of style and design options. There are floors that harken back across the ages and continents to exotic times and places.

That means you can create a completely different ambiance in every room of your home inspired by nature’s extraordinary diversity.

Smoked Neutrals

Midway through the decade, designers are moving away from overusing stainless steel, chrome and brass in favor of the smooth natural elegance of smoked woods. A soft palette of grey, taupe, white and cream tones offers a lovingly lived-in look and a subtly rich texture that changes with the light.

Au Naturel

With “Au naturel” you find the raw beauty of wood in all of its finishes. What catches the eye is the intricacy of the grain. Nature’s patterns are revealed to soften any décor. Isn’t that the appeal of a seaside resort—an invitation to reconnect with the natural world?

Rich Vintage

Part of the contemporary scene is built on a healthy reverence for the past. Rich Vintage evokes ancestral grandeur as easily as it does the simplicity of the homestead. Not surprisingly, rugged and warm browns dominate here, from deeply hewn to honey golden.

Patterns

Who said flooring has to stay in the lines? Intricate patterned wood floor installations were the hallmark of wealth and status back in the day because it meant you could afford the artisans. With state-of-the-art technologies, you can create easy-to-install elegantly patterned hardwood flooring. You can create a truly original space that plays with grain, line, light and texture.

Source: Lauzon Flooring

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

 

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