Photo: Shaw Floors
Installing hardwood flooring is an easy way to improve the look, durability and value of your home. Consider these factors before deciding on whether you prefer solid or engineered hardwood flooring.
The location of your hardwood flooring basically falls into three categories:
- On Grade – at ground level.
- Above Grade – any second level or higher.
- Below Grade – any floor below ground level, including basements or sunken living rooms.
Traditional solid hardwood flooring is not well suited for below-grade installations due to the possibility of moisture issues. The construction of an engineered hardwood gives it enhanced structural stability that allows it to be installed at any grade level when a moisture barrier such as Selitac Thermally Insulating Underlayment or Silent Step Ultra 3 in 1 is used during installation.
What type of subfloor do you have?
If you plan to install over concrete, you must use an engineered product to ensure structural integrity. Solid wood flooring or engineered flooring may be used over plywood, existing wood floors or OSB subfloors. Be sure to refer to Shaw’s installation guidelines for specifics on subfloor requirements.
Will there be moisture in the room?
If you’re considering flooring for a bathroom where continuous moisture is expected, you will want to select a product other than hardwood. While the moisture resistance of an engineered hardwood makes it suitable for rooms below grade or ground level when installed with a moisture barrier, it’s not advisable to install any hardwood flooring in a bathroom.
Shaw Floors Laminate
With today’s technology, laminate flooring is a strong alternative to hardwood. While the look of laminate and hardwood flooring may be similar, knowing the differences between laminate and hardwood flooring will help you make the best choice for your home and budget.
Here are some quick comparisons.
Construction. Wood materials are pressed together to make a plank. The top layer is a photographic layer made to mimic various surfaces like wood and stone. It can be installed in basements.
Cost. Less expensive
Repair. Minor scratches can be repaired, but new flooring needs to be installed for major repairs. Since laminate is made of composite wood, it cannot be refinished.
Lifespan. Average of 15-25 years
Construction. This flooring is made of solid wood. The look of the wood comes from the natural state of the wood itself. The grain and color are unique. Installation of hardwood flooring below-grade is not recommended.
Cost. More expensive
Repair. Minor and major damage can be repaired. Hardwood floors can be refinished multiple times throughout their life.
Lifespan. 100+ years
Cleaning Hardwood Floors and Laminate Floors
Even though the materials vary, cleaning hardwood and laminate flooring is basically the same. You’ll want to set up a maintenance routine of daily dust mopping, weekly cleaning with a vacuum/wet mop and a deep clean/polish every few months or as needed. A proper maintenance plan will help keep your floors looking great for as long as you own your floors.
We all know how light affects our moods. What if you could design with light, preserve your fantastic view and protect your floors from harmful UV rays? We say “No Problem!”
Photo: Shaw Floors
Some allergens are more common outdoors, like pollen and mold spores, while others are more common indoors, like dust mites and animal dander. All allergen sources, however, can be present anywhere at any time. And because the cost of air-borne allergy-related illnesses can be staggering – up to $17.5 billion in health care costs and more than 6 million work and school days lost each year – it is in your best interest to prevent and minimize allergy triggers whenever possible.
While outdoor allergens can be hard to control, there are ways to minimize the impact of allergens that occur indoors. Frequent dusting, vacuuming and washing will minimize many indoor allergens, but these activities also can stir them up as well. One way to prevent allergens altogether is to eliminate many of the areas where they can gather. Flooring is one example.
Flooring is one area of the indoor environment where the amount of indoor allergens can be controlled. Certain types of flooring, such as carpet, are simply better gathering places for allergens. Small microorganisms, pollen, dust, dust mites, mold, animal dander, and other substances tend to accumulate in carpet fibers. Other flooring types, such as wood, tend to minimize the accumulation of allergens because there are no fibers to trap these substances. Taking steps to minimize these kinds of allergens can result in improved indoor air quality.
When it comes to flooring, the Environmental Protection Agency finds that hardwood floors improve indoor air quality. This is because hardwood floors do not harbor microorganisms or pesticides that can be tracked in from outdoors. In addition, hardwood floors also minimize the accumulation of dust, mold and animal dander. Both of these findings result in improved indoor air quality.
Clean floors last. It’s best to clean rooms from the top down so that any dust and debris won’t find their way onto a newly-cleaned floor.
Dry mop/dust floors. Use a microfiber dusting cloth or a vacuum to remove the initial layer of dust and debris on floors. If you are using a vacuum, avoid using the beater bar so the vacuum’s brush doesn’t damage the floor.
Spray mop floors. Use a cleaning solution designed for your floor type. Avoid DIY vinegar solutions or steam mopping your floors since they both can damage your floor’s finish leaving it to look dull and cloudy. If your mop doesn’t have a spray function, fill your cleaning solution in a spray bottle and spray floors a bit at a time to avoid an excess amount of liquid on your floors.
Apply a new coat of polish. Now that your floors are clean and dry, applying a coat of polish is a great way to revitalize your floor’s finish. A coat of polish can even out a floor’s look, filling in any small scratches and adding a new protective layer on top of your floor.
Here are some tips that can help protect your floors even more.
- Use floor mats and area rugs to protect high traffic areas. If using mats and rugs, try to get rugs and mats with a natural rubber backing since some materials can discolor floors after extended use.
- Protect floors from sun damage. Rearrange furniture or use curtains to protect floors from fading and UV damage.
- Protect furniture legs with appropriate pads and covers. Felt or rubber pads can help avoid scratches from accidental dragging of furniture on your floors.
- The best way to revitalize your floors is with a deep clean. A good deep clean can get into the seams of the floor where normal spray mopping can’t.
Photo: Shaw Floors
Unlike furniture and décor, flooring trends shift and evolve slowly, making it possible to select a style that stays fresh for years. Here’s a list of time-tested trends that have captured the attention of flooring and design experts.
Delustered flooring—meaning no glossy finishes—creates a dry, European look. Choose hardwood with a raw, hand-hewn appearance and carpet with a woolen, cottony finish. These styles shine without any added luster.
The trend is moving away from exotic looks to a feeling that’s more familiar. The classic nature of these traditional domestic grains has another benefit; knowing exactly where the wood is sourced ensures environmental responsibility as well as quality.
Play With Patterns
This is no passing fad. Patterned carpet can create layers of texture that add plenty of visual interest to any space. Choose a classic pattern to accent your style without overwhelming it.
When picking your planks for hardwood looks, go for wide and long. These bigger pieces add just the right amount of modern for a clean look that’s still traditional.
Not all floors are truly bespoke, or made-to-order, but trends are leaning toward floors that are made-to-last. Choose a high-quality floor with unique details for a look that will be in style for a long time.
Source: Shaw Floors
A rug on top of your living room hardwood is an accessory that can easily transform your space. Small rugs look great on top of sleek hardwood flooring and can add a whole new dimension to the room, especially if they include rich colors, textures or patterns.
Any carpet can be custom bound into a unique area rug. With such a wide variety of carpet styles and designs, giving your room a completely different atmosphere is simple and effortless. Consider these rug ideas for your living room design.
Houses catering to a family should include a rug that can withstand the wear and tear usually inflicted upon the floor by children.
“Real Simple’ magazine suggests patterned rugs to make the space more visually interesting, adding another element of texture to your living room.
Use Your Rug As An Accessory
The size of your rug should be smaller than the area that your furniture covers. People often make the mistake of using an oversized rug for their room, covering up more of their hardwood floor than they have to. According to HGTV, the front two legs of your sofas or chairs should be placed on the area rug, supporting the gathering space, but not taking away from the overall sleekness or openness of the room. Think of the rug as an accessory, just like your ottoman or coffee table. It shouldn’t take over your flooring, but complement it instead.
“Real Simple” recommended using a decorative rug to draw attention to a specific piece of furniture, like your bold-colored sofa. This is easily done by contrasting the color of the rug with that of the piece of furniture you want to make the focal point of the living room.
Source: Shaw Floors