Category Archives: Flooring

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

Ron Call’s Tip of the Week #009- Keep Your Furniture from Sliding Across the Floor

Tip of the Week
Friday, May 18, 2012
by Ron Call, your Urbanfloor guy

Ron Call, your Urbanfloor Guy

Last week I talked about how to protect your hardwood floors from being scratched by your furniture by using felt pads under the legs of chairs and tables.  As a follow up to that, do you have young kids in your home that like to use your couches as a trampoline?

Kids love to play and jump on furniture.  The problem is that when they jump from couch to couch they tend to slide around on the slick surface of the wood floor.  To prevent your furniture from sliding around after you place your felt pads under the feet, head out to your local hardware store.

There you will find rubber mesh material typically used to line cabinet drawers and shelves.  Cut them to fit under the legs of your furniture with a pair of scissors and place them under the legs of your couches or any other piece of furniture that you don’t want to easily be moved.  Now your kids can pretend to be the next Olympic champion or the next super avenger and furniture will stay in place.

Have flooring questions?  Need expert help?  Need expert advice?  Just Ask Ron HERE

Ron Call’s Tip of the Week #005- Man’s Best Friend and Your Hardwood Floors

Tip of the Week #005 
April 20, 2012
by Ron Call, your Urbanfloor guy

Ron Call, your Urbanfloor Guy

If you have dogs in your home especially large dogs it’s a good idea to have throw rugs strategically placed over your hardwood floors.  Place them under your coffee table, dining room table and if possible around the perimeter of your bed as well. 

Hardwood floors can be be pretty slick.  Just ask your 6 year old who likes to slide around in his socks.  Some dogs have a difficult time getting up off the wood floor when they are lying down and will extend their claws to try and get a better grip thereby digging their nails into the wood flooring causing scratches.  If your dog has his favorite place to lay down, place a throw rug down.  It will enhance the designer look of your home, make your dog’s life easier and it may save you the frustration of having to pay to have scratches fixed.

Is it Okay to Use Lacquer Thinner on Finished Flooring?

One of our customers wrote in to us with quite the dilemma:

“we have the hickory sunset hand scraped finish wood flooring, the installer used lacquer thinner to wipe up a certain area. the finish now looks and feels different in that area. is there a way to correct this problem? help please!!!!!”

Hickory Sunset from our Handscraped Series in the Urban Lifestyle Collection

 

We’re leaving out the name to protect the innocent but thought this was an important tidbit of info to share with ya’ll.

Lacquer thinner should NEVER be used on finished flooring, because it will strip the top coat and there really isn’t a way to get the poly urethane top coat back to match the other wood planks once it’s gone.  The only way to fix this is to replace the damaged planks with new ones.

When you are a contracted installer it’s tough to admit error especially when there is money at stake but this is where a code of solid business ethics comes into play and you “man-up” to responsibility and learn so it never happens again.  If an installer makes a mistake they should guarentee their work.  If they make a mistake they should fix it.  As consumers we don’t always know best which is why we hire professionals to do certain jobs in the first place right?  We depend on their advice and expertise.

This is a particular case where an installer was at fault not the end user.  Just remember when it comes to your hardwood flooring the Urbanfloor website has a great FAQ page with a plethora of info and right here on our blog site we have a tab called ‘Ask Ron‘ where you can ask any question you have to Ron Call “Your Urbanfloor Guy.”  Ron has over 30 years of experience specializing as a flooring contractor.  If you’re ever in doubt, have installation questions, what you should prepare for when gettng new floors or best practices for taking care of your hardwood flooring… Just Ask Ron.

 

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