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.
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.
Shaw Floors has announced a full palette of colors for its 2019 Color of the Year: Whisper. The palette of five hushed neutrals will be embodied in Shaw’s 2019 hard and soft surface product introductions.
Whisper features five colors: Glacier Ice, Clay, Blush, Mist, and Dusty Lilac. Infused with a dusty softness, the approachable palette provides the neutrals consumers love with subtle pastel undertones for interest, beauty and variety. The colors are easy to integrate into a home’s design scheme and may be used alone in a space or together as a palette.
“With Whisper, we’ve moved away from our obsession with grays and are embracing colors that inject a calm, inviting serenity into the home,” said Pam Rainey, ASID, IIDA, Shaw Floors’ vice president of product design. “The palette conveys an ethereal, dreamlike environment where we can find peace and relaxation.”
Shaw Floors will launch new products in 2019 that not only coordinate with the Whisper palette, but embody the colors as well. Alongside the products, the brand will release a selection of design themes that showcase the palette in various ways.
The most important step in caring for your carpet is vacuuming it thoroughly and frequently. This is particularly true in high-traffic areas. Walking on soiled carpet allows the soil particles to work their way below the surface of the pile where they are far more difficult to remove and can damage the carpet fibers. Frequent vacuuming removes these particles from the surface before problems occur.
For rooms with light traffic, vacuum the carpet traffic lanes twice weekly and the entire area once weekly. In areas with heavy traffic, vacuum the carpet traffic lanes daily and the entire area twice weekly. Up to three passes of the machine will suffice for light soiling, but five to seven passes are necessary for heavily soiled areas. Change the vacuuming direction occasionally to help stand the pile upright and reduce matting.
Extend the life of your carpet with a quality vacuum
An inexpensive machine may remove surface dirt but will not effectively remove the hidden dirt and particles embedded in the pile. Invest in a good vacuum cleaner to get the dirt you can’t see and prolong the beauty and life of your carpet. To ensure that your vacuum will conform to the highest industry standards, make sure that your vacuum cleaner is certified through the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) Seal of Approval/Green Label Vacuum Cleaner Program. Visit www.carpet-rug.org for details.
Select the best vacuum for your type of carpet
Shaw Floors recommends using vacuums with a rotating brush or combination beater/brush bar that agitates the carpet pile and mechanically loosens soil for removal. Carpet with thick loop pile construction, particularly wool and wool-blend styles, may be sensitive to brushing or rubbing of the pile surface and may become fuzzy. In addition, shag (or cabled) styles with long pile yarns tend to wrap around the rotating brushes causing damage to the yarn. For these products, Shaw recommends a suction-only vacuum or a vacuum with an adjustable brush lifted away from the carpet so it does not agitate the pile. Be sure to test a vacuum with a beater/brush bar in an inconspicuous location before regular use, to make sure it doesn’t produce excessive fuzzing.
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
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