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

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

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

The Benefits of Hard-Wax Oil

The rich patina of each floor is only enhanced with age and use; the more it is walked on, the more beautiful it becomes.

Hard-Wax Oil FlooringEmbracing an entirely different custom in a unique way is a great way to break from tradition. Despite the American market’s strong affinity for polyurethane-finished floors, hard-wax oiled floors have been the standard in Europe for centuries. By bringing European-inspired floors to customers in the United States, the design community and hardwood professionals have been abuzz with excitement at the possibilities that come with hard-wax oiled hardwoods.

In Europe, there are hard-wax oiled floors in public spaces that have been installed for 30 to 50 years. A well-maintained oiled floor will actually get better with time as the actual color of the floor will become more distinct over time.

All-Natural Ingredients

Hard-wax oil is made from all-natural ingredients. These natural oils penetrate deep into the wood fibers to protect from within, while the moisture-repelling waxes remain on the surface to create an appealing matte finish and protective layer. Hard-wax oil nourishes and protects the wood while preserving its natural look, which is often lost with the higher luster of polyurethane finishes.

Minimal Maintenance Required

Repairs on hard-wax oiled floors are quite simple with minimal maintenance required. Spots and scratches can be minimized and often eliminated with buffing and a small application of the same oil. With proper care, a hard-wax oil floor will last for years. By comparison, polyurethane finishes are commonly used to create a thick film on the surface of the wood. While extremely durable, repairs can be difficult because the finish does not bond chemically to previous layers and grips only where the surface has been thoroughly abraded. Thus, these floors will typically need to be sanded and refinished over time.

In summary, a natural oiled floor provides a warmth and refinement that is difficult to achieve with modern day acrylic or polyurethane coatings. The rich patina of each floor is only enhanced with age and use; the more it is walked on, the more beautiful it becomes.

Long, Narrow Space? Try These Tips

Photo: Shaw Floors

Photo: Shaw Floors

In a long room, a balanced look can be achieved by painting one of the walls at the long end a much darker shade of the room’s main color. Doing that will create the impression that the darker wall is closer and make the space seem more uniform in shape.

For homeowners who like to bring the outdoors inside for their decor, a series of shelves displaying house plants will create the same focus as a darker accent color on a far wall. The same effect can be created with a book-lined wall or floor-to-ceiling shelves filled with collectibles. These approaches will also add texture to the home design.

If colors are kept in proportions that are nearly equal between walls, draperies and upholstery, there’s less chance that one color will dominate the room. Accessories in bright colors can be used to complement furnishings, or darker colors may be chosen for area rugs to anchor the room without overpowering the overall space.

Plan Seating First

One good thing about a lengthy space is that it lends itself to different activity areas. It helps to plan out seating areas first and arrange other pieces around sofas and chairs. Then while kids play in one designated zone, their parents can stretch out to relax on the sofa elsewhere in the room.

Using small rugs to break up the sections, while leaving some flooring exposed between them, is an effective way to separate the zones. To make a relaxation zone more cozy, it helps to face a sofa away from more active areas and make the separation as a “getaway” spot more pronounced.

Differentiating sections of a room can also be accomplished by using partial dividers that allow one to see the whole space from end to end. The open design atmosphere is enhanced when shelves have no backing, which allows the room to be seen beyond the items on display.

Source: Anderson Floors