Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

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.

Importance of Moisture Management for Wood 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. Wood gains moisture and swells in humid environments. In dry environments, it 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 gaps.

Source: National Wood Flooring Association

Scratches on Your Wood Floors?

This brief video offers tips on how to prevent scratches on your wood floors and what you can do about them if they are already there.

Did you know MODA Floors & Interiors is a Bona Certified Craftsman?

Source: Bona

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