Monthly Archives: September 2012

How Were Engineered Hardwood Floors Invented?

Prior to the second world war most homes in America had solid hardwood flooring.  Homes were built on raised wooden sub-floors which allowed for solid wood to be installed by nailing the planks into the sub-floor.

When World War II ended in 1945 all the young vets were coming back home.  They were getting married and starting families and so the building industry saw a spike in the demand for new homes.  New homes needed to be built quickly and inexpensively.  So as a result tract housing neighborhoods were developed and concrete slab foundations were developed as a new technology replacing raised wood sub-floors.

This created a problem for the hardwood flooring industry because you could not put solid wood directly on concrete.  So the need for new types of flooring grew in demand.  More homes were installing linoleum (today known as vinyl) and wall-to-wall carpet.

So the wood flooring industry which lost a tremendous amount of market share basically had to get together and come up with a hardwood floor that could be glued or floated directly on a concrete slab and be resistant to moisture… the Engineered Hardwood Floor was born.

Every Urbanfloor™ hardwood floor is constructed with 8-Ply cross grain construction for optimum strength and durability.

What Does Greater Stability Mean?

By: Urbanfloor Dan

Urbanfloor Uses 8-Ply Cross Grain Construction With All Our Wood Planks

Engineered wood floors are real wood floors that are manufactured using three to nine layers of different wood veneers.  The sub layers can be of the same species, or of different species.  The grain of each layer runs in different directions, which makes it very stable.  This means that the wood will expand and contract less than solid wood flooring during fluctuations in humidity and temperature.  The top layer of engineered wood flooring consists of high-quality wood. While this type of flooring can be sanded and finished, it cannot be done as many times as solid wood flooring.  Engineered wood flooring can be installed above, on or below grade.

The instability of solid hardwood is usually moisture or heat related.  Under adverse conditions, solid hardwood floors can warp, cup, swell or split apart.  Engineered hardwood flooring overcomes these problems by constructing a multiple-ply plank which counteracts twisting and remains flat and intact.  This makes engineered hardwood flooring a better choice for installation over radiant heat sources, over concrete whether it’s below grade or above, and in rainy climates.

Eliminating the Confusion of Engineered Hardwood and Laminate Flooring

By: UrbanfloorDan

Soooooo yeah… it’s 10:27pm PST according to the bottom right corner of my laptop on a Monday night as I type this up.  I gotta admit I’m a a lil bit agitated.  You see I just spent the last 15 minutes or so using Google with the key words “Tomato Tomatoe Potato Patatoe” and quite frankly got some of the most annoying sites and answers on the planet that didn’t answer the question.  Why am I even asking that question when I’m writing a blog about a hardwood flooring topic you ask?  The answer is simple.  I’m an absolute crazy person and God bless Urbanfloor for giving me some creative freedom when I write so I can attempt to make this at the very least a bit interesting for you to read.

So after a bit of research tomato and potato are singular and tomatoes and potatoes are plural.  Although the confusion tends to take place on the plural spelling.  Dun, dun, dun!!!!  Surprise!

You see how confusion so easily can happen with a simple yet common fruit and vegetable spelling?  Proper communication is important isn’t it?  Such a common error in the English language.  I felt compelled to share the proper after my rather annoying internet research adventure.  Bare with me for a few seconds as we achieve enlightenment together.  Now we can all get a better sleep at night. ;)

Proper singular spelling: potato
Proper plural spelling: potatoes

Proper singular spelling: tomato
Proper plural spelling: tomatoes

In other words stop spelling tomato “tomatoe” and potato “potatoe.”  Get it?  Got it?  Good!  See all the trouble I go through for you guys?! ;)

So how does this fruit we love in our salads and this vegetable that makes the greatest tasting french fry at your favorite fast food joint relate to hardwood flooring you ask?  Many confuse “Laminate Wood” with “Laminate Floor.”  There’s a difference you ask?  Yep, you betcha!   If it hasn’t been made clear in the conversation already with your local flooring dealer which floors you’re looking at and “laminate” is in the discussion just ask “Is this Engineered Hardwood or Synthetic Laminate?”  Here’s the skinny on the two:

Laminate Floor (A.K.A. Floating Wood Tile)

Laminate

“A laminate floor may satisfy your needs when a solid hardwood floor has been eliminated as a feasible option. Laminate flooring is durable, scratch-resistant, and designed for high traffic areas. It is also very easy to maintain, with an attractive quality that separates it from other flooring options. But here is where it parts ways with both solid hardwood flooring and engineered hardwood flooring; laminate flooring is an imitation of real wood. Actually, it’s literally a photo of real wood, constructed with a top photographic layer laminated with an aluminum oxide finish. This finish gives laminate floors their rugged resistance to abrasion. Beneath the photograph or “décor” layer is layer of dense fiber board which is strong and serves as a good core. A bottom layer or “backing” will act as a stabilizer as well as providing moisture protection. So in very clear ways, laminate flooring is quite different from both solid hardwood flooring and engineered hardwood flooring. A solid hardwood floor is, of course, made completely of a natural hardwood species; an engineered hardwood floor has a single top layer of natural hardwood. So while both solid hardwood and engineered hardwood contain real hardwood species, a laminate floor contains no hardwood species at all. Technically then, if you have a laminate floor, you don’t have a hardwood floor.

Much like engineered hardwood floors, you can typically float laminate floors. But, you can’t glue laminates to a sub-floor, nor can you nail them down. A laminate floor requires an underlayment. Many lines of laminate floors have incorporated a tongue-and-groove design which makes it very easy to install, particularly if you’re not a professional.” (Source: BuildDirect University)

Engineered Hardwood

Urban Lifestyle Collect (Chiseled Edge Series) “Birch Shadow”

“If you were to ask which of the two options was closer to solid hardwood, the answer would be engineered hardwood flooring, simply because engineered hardwood contains a top layer of real hardwood. This top hardwood layer lends the floor an air of authenticity without the additional expense. The look and feel of solid hardwood is reflected in your flooring, but with an additional layer of either high density fiber or multiple layers of plywood underneath. This additional layer is what is called a core. The core in the engineered hardwood flooring gives you a considerable advantage in certain areas where solid hardwood would not be as suitable; for example, it is designed to reinforce the hardwood when it is exposed to humidity or other environmental factors which can damage solid hardwood.

You can float an engineered hardwood floor as well, unlike solid hardwood, with locking systems designed for an easier installation. There are some varieties of engineered hardwood flooring that can be glued down to a concrete sub-floor. The glue acts similarly to an underlayment to protect the flooring from temperature changes and moisture. Many types of engineered hardwood feature a locking system with a great deal of flexibility: you can put it down, and take it up when it’s time to move. Don’t try that with solid hardwood!”  (Source: BuildDirect University)

Hardwood Flooring Layout and Positioning

By: UrbanfloorDan

Ever see the reality T.V. show Top Chef on the Bravo Network?  Contestants are chefs from all over the country all competing until one of them is chosen as “Top Chef.”  One of the things they are judged on is the presentation of their prepared dish.  The appearance of a meal can make it look appetizing or not, right?  The way we wear our clothes also presents an appearance.  For example with me let’s just say I’m not exactly in the best shape in the tummy area so I like to wear black shirts to give a slimmer appearance.  For women you might wear heels to appear taller and make your legs look longer.

I remember when I was a kid back in the 80’s my mother was a real estate agent.  There was a number of techniques she would use to get a home sold.  Sometimes the homeowner kept a cluttered house.  She would have it cleaned up and organized for showing.  Sometimes my mother used prop companies and interior decorators to refurnish and decorate a home making it look like a model home.  On open houses on colder days sometimes she would bake fresh warm bread in the oven so the aroma spread throughout every room in the house giving a warm and cozy feel.  If you watch any of the real estate reality shows today these very techniques are still used today because appearance and presentation give the spaces a special look and feel which leads to the end result… getting the home sold in the quickest amount of time and at the highest asking price.

When you watch movies camera angles, set decoration and special effects aren’t always what they appear even though when we watch on the silver screen it can look so real.

That said your hardwood floors can create special effects, appearance, feeling and presentation by the position of the wood planks and layout when installed in your home.  There are a few ways this can be done.  Let’s take a look.

Length
If you want a room in your home to appear longer you may want to consider having your hardwood floor installed lengthwise.  Installation will be dependent on the house joist system.  Always consult with your licensed contractor prior to install.

Length

Parquet
This non-linear style can installed in various directions which can create a geometric design in your room.  There are a wide range of patterns that can be done.  Installation will be dependent on the house joist system.  Always consult with your licensed contractor prior to install.

Parquet

Diagonal
Installing the flooring at a diagonal angle can  offer you a room with a more stylish character and much less boxy feel.  Installation will be dependent on the house joist system.  Always consult with your licensed contractor prior to install.

Diagonal

Random Width Planks
By using 2 or 3 different sized wood plank strips you can break up the monotony rather than using all same size planks and give a little more variance and character in a room.  Installation will be dependent on the house joist system.  Always consult with your licensed contractor prior to install.

Random Width

Prestige Oceanfront Resort Sooke, BC

Hyde Park Distribution is entirely 100% Canadian as well as being family-owned & operated, with industry expertise totaling more than 15 years in the hardwood business.  Owner Tom Neaves strives to deliver only the very best customer service and quality wood products 100% of the time.  As a well-respected figure within the lumber community, Tom knows his wood. (no pun intended) To learn more about Hyde Park or have questions, need guidance or inquiries you can connect with Tom or his helpful team HERE.

By: UrbanfloorDan

So this project was put in front of me by one of “the family” (Movie: The Godfather reference in case you didn’t catch it) Sergio Andrade who works exclusively with Hyde Park.  This hotel project really got me thinking.  I’ve traveled through many parts of the U.S., Europe, Asia and South America but I have never been to Canada!  I mean how long is a flight from L.A.?  Two… Two and half hours?  Shame on me!  Every time I see a photo or read an article about Canada it’s always a beautiful picture and a positive word.  The lush forests, clean cities, white powder snow and then when you hear about the people in Canada the only thing I ever hear is how nice people are… and that I’ve experienced first hand.  Hey, just cause I haven’t been there doesn’t mean Canadians don’t visit here.  I’ve met a few visitors here in L.A. and when doing some biz have chatted on the phone… always nice… “eh!”  I’m getting off course so getting back to the pictures I always see in Canada and how they’re always beautiful…  this hotel project by Hyde Park is no exception.

Birch Shadow shade/color from our Chiseled Edge Series within our Urban Lifestyle Collection was installed in the gorgeous Prestige Oceanfront Resort Sooke in British Columbia, Canada.

In BC, Canada “Prestige Hotels and Resorts is one of BC’s finest family owned chain of resorts, hotels and inns. With a passion for excellence and an uncompromising commitment to superior service, we invite visitors to experience beautiful British Columbia complemented by our unique brand of hospitality. Located throughout the Interior of British Columbia and on Vancouver Island, each resort, hotel and inn offers the opportunity for a truly unique regional experience.”

Our Birch Shadow wood planks undergo a dense stain treatment that transforms an ordinarily pale birch wood into a darker duskier look perfect for classic and contemporary settings.  It’s always a proud moment when you have a product that ads class and warmth to a client’s home but also available when you visit and travel.  Thank you Prestige and Hyde Park for including us in your customer’s luxury experience and all the great memories that Urbanfloor will be apart of right underneath every guest’s feet.  Enough of my blah, blah, blah…  See the results yourself.

Opulent Two Queen

 

Opulent King

 

One Bedroom Suite

 

What Does the LEED after my name mean?

Denise Colestock, LEED A.P. BD+C

Denise is one of the newest members of Team Urban and has a background in design and architecture with an emphasis in sustainable design.  In her free time she enjoys hiking, paddle boarding, traveling, reading, running and yoga- usually with her active toddler in tow.  Denise even has her own urban farm which satisfies her passion for local, healthy eating- and introducing her son early to nature in its purest form.

What Does the LEED after my name mean?

By Denise Colestock, LEED A.P. BD+C

As the newest member of the Urban Floor team, I am excited to share my knowledge and passion for sustainable design with our clients and colleagues.  The credentials after my name, LEED BD+C, mean that I am a LEED Accredited Professional and have passed an exam that allows me to design environmentally friendly buildings using strict codes and guidelines that lead to efficient buildings.

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is redefining the way our built environments are designed, constructed and operated.  Factors that are considered when creating a LEED building include sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.  This rating system can be used for commercial buildings as well as for residential homes and neighborhoods as a whole, and is constantly aimed at achieving high performance in human and environmental health.

With a background in design and architecture, I am excited to bring the latest news and trends to the Urban Floor team when it comes to flooring design and sustainable building technologies. To learn more about the LEED system, please visit www.usgbc.org.  Also feel free to contact me directly at denise@urbanfloor.com if you have any questions regarding environmentally friendly design.

Art Collectors & Former Gallery Owners Make Art of Their Home

Info Source: ArchDaily
Architects: Fernau + Hartman Architects
Location: , CA, USA
Architectural Team: Richard Fernau, Laura Hartman, Laura Boutelle, Jenee Anzelone, Kate Lydon, Jason Wilkinson, Luc Johnston
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Richard Barnes & Marion Brenner
Landscape Architect: Pamela Burton & Company
Contractor: Jim Quick, Coastal Builder, Inc.
Mechanical: Lee Falkenstern, LDF Engineering, Inc.
Structural: Craig Dobbs
Civil: Penfield & Smith
Electrical/Lighting: JMPE Electrical Engineering + Lighting Design

In the Santa Ynez Valley in California a beautiful home was designed by architecture firm Fernau & Hartman Architects.  Their clients, one of which works as a visual artist and both are avid art collectors and former gallery owners wanted a home that incorporated energy-efficiency as well as a complimenting harmony with the rural landscape and Mediterranean climate of the area.  As I’m sure you have noticed above from the significant resources it certainly takes a reputable team to bring projects like this to life.  Certainly not like going to a planned neighborhood and just choosing one of three plans.  This is custom all the way and the talents of everyone involved certainly show it.  The design of the home compliments the surrounding landscape.  Well thought out and planned!

Photo Credit © Richard Barnes

 

Photo Credit © Marion Brenner

Want to see more of this magnificent home and get more details on the brilliant design elements from the inside-out?  Visit ArchDaily HERE

Congratulations to Our Summer 2012 Apple Sweepstakes Winners

An “Apple a day” keeps the doctor away and for a few they now have an Apple in their home each day!  We ran a summertime sweepstakes from July 4, 2012 to August 31, 2012 on our Facebook page.

Grand Prize: 21.5″ 2.5Gh iMac ($1199 Value)

Second Prize: The New iPad3 16GB Wi-Fi ($499 Value)

Third Prize: 8GB iPod Touch ($199 Value)

In addition we also ran an Apple Trivia game on our Facebook page where participants answered a trivia question based on Apple company history for eight weeks leading up to the big day.  It was lot’s of fun for everyone and we have more in-store coming up.  Thank you to everyone that participated!

Here are the lucky winners on this round and big congrats!!!

August 31, 2012 Winners

 

Plugin from the creators of Brindes Personalizados :: More at Plulz Wordpress Plugins