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

Shaw Floors Announces Color of the Year

Every year since 2014 Shaw Floors has named a Color of the Year for the upcoming year. (Royal English Navy, Lady in Grey, White Hot, Lush and now Gold Rush) Shaw says these colors work well alone and can deliver even more pizazz when they work together.

Gold Rush brings energy to a room, creating a range of emotions from warmth to excitement, from serious to playful. What do you think about the color? Will you use it in your home?

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

Partnering for a Cause

What began as the sponsorship of the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway has evolved into a multi-faceted program for St. Jude and Shaw Floors and its dealer network. Now, Shaw’s Carpet Cushion for St. Jude raises money with every purchase.

St. Jude works to find cures for children fighting childhood cancer around the world. Watch this brief video to learn more about Shaw’s involvement with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital today.

Give Your Living Room a Personality of its Own

Photo: Shaw Floors

Photo: Shaw Floors

A living room can become a welcoming space to both family and visitors with the simple addition of special details. Much like the distinctive grain of hardwood flooring  it’s the details that give a room a personality of its own.

When a living room is a long rectangle, the shape can be used as an advantage. Arranging the space into two squares, with bookshelves or a sofa table placed as dividers, will break up the area naturally. Using different rugs also divides the floor into distinct sections.

In cases when a formal style works best for a particular room, the room design should be symmetrical. Or, home decorators can try a modified symmetry by having two identical sofas face each other but place different lamps or side tables alongside them.

Good Traffic Flow

The right mix and arrangement of pieces creates a room design that has a comfortable traffic flow between furnishings.

Achieving correct balance is particularly important in a large room where people gather. If there’s too much space between furniture pieces, the room will have a chilly atmosphere. Push furnishings too close and the look may be too cluttered.

A fireplace may serve as a focal point with an equally weighty piece of furniture – such as a large bookcase or hutch – to counteract it across the room. Having two loveseats face each other in front of the fireplace is often more inviting than placing one long sofa along a wall. Or, two easy chairs can face a sofa, with a small table and a lamp for reading set between them.

Scale is also a concern in home design, because large pieces will fill blocks of space better than small furniture, which could become dwarfed by a large area.

Color Coordination

To keep a classic look in a large room, the fabrics on a sofa and a loveseat can be different as long as they coordinate well in colors and patterns. Homeowners may use furniture already in the home by upgrading some pieces with new upholstery or slipcovers that can be changed seasonally.

The answer is to separate the space into several conversation areas, but linked by colors and complementary patterns and solids. The result will be a comfortable place for both everyday use and entertaining guests.

Source: Anderson Floors