Hardwood Floors Improve Indoor Air Quality

Hardwood Floor PhotoYou probably think a lot about whether the food you eat is safe. But how safe is the flooring surface in your home?
When it comes to flooring, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finds that hardwood floors improve indoor air quality. They don’t harbor microorganisms, allergens or pesticides that can be tracked in from outdoors. Hardwood floors also minimize the accumulation of dust, mold and animal dander, which makes them a healthy option for your child’s first steps and beyond.
Allergens can exist everywhere. Some 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 impact 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 makes sense 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 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 area of the indoor environment where the number 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.

Learn About the Sand-and-Finish Process

Are you looking to update your hardwood floors before the onset of holiday gathering traffic? Prepared by Bona, these tips will help you understand what to expect before, during and after the sand-and-finish process.

https://us.bona.com/articles/what-to-expect-when-sanding-and-finishing-hardwood-floors.html

Why Choose Hardwood Floors?

Durability and cost are two factors to consider when choosing a hardwood floor for your home. Hardwood floors, when properly maintained, can last many years and look beautiful. They also add value to your home. Learn more in this brief video from Bona.

Want to Install Wood Flooring in Your Home?

Here is a step-by-step guide to getting there.

  1. Determine where in your house you would like to have wood flooring. Wood floors can stand up to all the big and small moments that happen at home.
  2. Establish a general budget range and desired timing for the project.
  3. Find a professional to help with selecting/ordering product and installation. Wood floors can last for the lifetime of your home, so you want to choose a professional who has the knowledge and skills to do the job right.
  4. Choose the type of flooring, design requirements, and colors that are necessary for your project.
  5. Plan a time to have the work completed.
  6. Discuss maintenance requirements with your flooring professional. Schedules can vary depending on use, finish wear and tear, and lifestyle.
  7. Enjoy your beautiful new wood floors for many years to come. One of the advantages of wood floors is that they can be refinished, which makes them a great long-term value.

Source: National Wood Flooring Association

Maintenance Tips for Hardwood Floors

When you consider the overall life of a hardwood floor, the benefits of wood flooring outweigh the initial cost. Here are some maintenance tips to help you keep your floors looking great.
  • Wipe up spills immediately with a slightly dampened cloth.
  • Use breathable throw rugs at doorways to help prevent debris from being tracked in and scratching the floor.
  • Sweep with a soft bristle broom or dry microfiber mop. A wet mop and steam mop are not recommended because water and steam can damage the finish and the wood.
  • Follow a regular cleaning schedule to ensure a better performance of the floor. Sweep or dust mop as needed, vacuum weekly using the bare floor setting and clean with the appropriate wood floor cleaner monthly.
  • Use a humidifier throughout the winter months to minimize gaps between the floor boards.
  • Ask a wood flooring professional for a recommended maintenance schedule. Schedules vary depending on use, finish wear and tear and lifestyle.
  • Ask a professional if your wood floor could use a new coat of finish. Most scratches in wood flooring will occur in the finish, not the wood itself. A professional may be able to lightly abrade the finish and apply a new coat to restore the floor.
  • Consider new finish options to give an updated look and style. There are wood floors in excess of 300 years old that are still in service today, but have gone through numerous style changes.

Give Your Living Room A Wow Factor

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.

Durable Patterns
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

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

 

 

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

 

Which Hardwood Texture Suits Your Style?

Lauzon FlooringThe texture of a hardwood floor can add a lot to a décor. It can accentuate the elegance or add to the warmth of a more casual setting. A variety of hardwood flooring textures are available on the market.

Smooth. Nature’s Classic Elegance, Expressed Simply

A very delicate sanding gives wood a silky texture with classic allure while highlighting the grain. Smooth is a timeless texture that is still the most popular in hardwood flooring.

Open Grain. The Uniqueness of Wood Shines Through

Every wood species is unique, and this is what makes the material so warm and rich. A species’ cellular structure influences its appearance and, in some cases, its texture as a hardwood floor.

Open-grain hardwood species, such as Oak and Hickory, are “ring-porous.” This means they have large pores that are easily visible to the naked eye. Open-grain woods may appear coarser than closed-grain woods because the surface isn’t as smooth. When the wood is sawn, the pores are split, creating beautiful little rifts and valleys. This open-grain pattern stands out even more when dark stain is applied, but is still noticeable with lighter shades.

Hand Scraped. Uniquely Perfect Imperfection

Hand Scraped texture, sometime called “Wave,” ranges from subtle to extreme, and from repetitive to more authentic pattern, depending on the method used and the desired result.

One common way to produce a Hand Scraped texture is to use automated machines. When the wood is milled, the machines skim the surface of the boards, creating rows of depressions within the wood’s surface. Gouging and/or sanding wheels with varying rotations, depths, and sizes are selected depending on the desired results. Machine scraping usually lead to a more repetitive and noticeable pattern.

Remember that each manufacturer has its own Hand Scraped process, so one manufacturer’s Hand Scraped flooring will look different from the others’. Plus you should NOT expect your delivered flooring to look exactly like the small sample you saw at a flooring retail store. The beauty of real hand scraped flooring is that it’s meant to look antiqued, so no two pieces will be exactly the same.

While this texture is ideal for rustic décors, it also creates a nice contrast in modern rooms and adds casual appeal to traditional settings.

Wire Brushed. Distinctive yet Discreet

Like Hand Scraped hardwood floors, Wire Brushed floors, sometime called Wirebrushed, Etched or Distressed, can range from moderate to extreme in texture.

To create this texture, the wood is delicately brushed with steel bristles, opening the grain, removing the soft portion of the top of the wood plank, leaving the hardest wood and revealing a subtle scuffed effect. It’s a warm, natural texture you can see and feel that accentuates contrasts in color and masks the effects of daily traffic.

Source: Lauzon Flooring