Category Archives: Educational

To Base or Not to Base

To Base or Not to Base
by Ron Call

Often when people are looking to upgrade their homes with new hardwood or laminate flooring they often overlook the details like base boards and trims.  They will spend many hours shopping and comparing prices on the net or drive from store to store.  But they seldom give much consideration to the moldings.  You can purchase an inexpensive floor and install new base boards and the job will look awesome.  You can also install a high-end beautiful floor and remove and replace your existing base boards and if they don’t look good or they’re not wide enough to cover the required expansion gap you will be disappointed.

If your existing base board is in good shape and you want to keep it you have two choices:  1) You can remove it and replace it after the flooring is installed, or 2) You can leave it on the wall then leave the proper expansion gap between the floor and the base and cover it with quarter round or base shoe molding.  Either method works fine.  It’s all a matter of the final look you want.

Here are a couple photos of an install with just base and one with base board and quarter round.  It’s really up to you as to which method you choose.  Just be sure to figure the extra cost into your budget.  If you try and remove and replace the existing base board and a piece or two should break be sure that style is still available so you can purchase replacements.

Base Board Only

 

Base Board with Base Shoe Molding

 

Fear of Frying!

Fear of Frying!
by Ron Call

Many times through the years as I’m measuring a customer’s home for new flooring the same question arises time after time.  I think I might want hardwood in my kitchen but I’m afraid of it getting wet.  There are many factors to consider when choosing new flooring such as cost, appearance, wear etc.  Each type of flooring whether choosing wood, laminate, tile, sheet vinyl or vinyl composite tile (VCT) all have advantages as well as drawbacks.

Ron Call, your Urbanfloor Guy

Tile is hard under the foot when standing and cooking and is cold on your feet when you’re making your morning coffee at 6 am.  If the rest of your home and adjacent areas like your dining room or breakfast nook have beautiful hardwood, using sheet vinyl or VCT will probably detract from the overall look of your home.  Have no fear; I’ve installed hundreds of kitchens with great success.  Here are a few things to keep in mind when your floor is being installed. Make sure your contractor fills the entire perimeter (expansion gap) at cabinets behind the refrigerator and around islands with flexible clear silicone.  This will prevent spilled water from getting underneath your floating floor or you’re glued down floor.  Even a major spill can be mopped up before you can do much damage.  Also never use inexpensive water based adhesive to glue down your hardwood floor in possible wet areas.  Use a good urethane adhesive like Urban Four.  I’ve seen glued down engineered floors completely flooded that once dried sustained no visible damage.  Also if you’re a do-it-yourselfer and you’re planning on using one of the new glue less fold and lock floating floors in your home just use a little waterproof Titebond wood adhesive in the tongue and groove when you’re installing in the kitchen.  This will prevent topical spills from seeping between the planks giving you time to mop up the spill.  Lastly make sure you have a couple left over boxes of the original wood stored away in your home in case a few planks need replacing.  Bon appetit..

Xolcation Series

Xolcation

“XOLCATION” is an original web series executive produced and created by Eduardo Xol (pronounced soul), who is best known for his work as a member of the design team for the two-time Emmy award-winning international hit, “Extreme Makeover Home Edition.”  Eduardo continues to work in television, currently serving as a lifestyle expert on Utilisima, a Fox International Network reaching more than 21 million homes in 34 territories across the Americas and throughout the Balkans.

“XOLCATION” documents the renovation of a California weekend beach house belonging to celebrity couple Jennifer Finnigan and Jonathan Silverman. Eduardo assembled a special team of close friends and talented individuals for this project. The goal? To create a brand and product integrated web series that brings the “vacation at home” experience to an outdated living space, which is in much need of a facelift to truly become a home away from home to relax and enjoy as if on vacation.

The series begins with a special focus on the bathrooms and kitchen that quickly evolves into a much larger project. Eduardo’s inspiration for the renovation came from his first visit to Kohler, Wisconsin. When Eduardo began working with his clients, he decided to pitch the documentation of the project to KOHLER and “XOLCATION” was born.

This is the first complete renovation that Eduardo is fully in charge of since leaving “Extreme Makeover Home Edition”.  It gives the viewer a rare and intimate look at Eduardo’s life while getting valuable information about planning and executing a home renovation project of this magnitude.  “XOLCATION” is a hybrid of documented reality and produced entertainment. Kohler will be the main presenter of this web series and is co-producing the project with Eduardo’s production team at Eduardo Xol, Inc.

Eduardo’s cast for the web series includes his clients, Jennifer Finnigan and Jonathan Silverman. Finnigan is a three-time Emmy Award-winning actress, who next stars in the new David E. Kelly series “Monday Mornings” set to air on TNT.  While Silverman is best known for his film role in “Weekend at Bernie’s, he recently wrapped the movie “Self Storage” and stars in and directed National Lampoon’s “Another Dirty Movie”.

Eduardo’s on-camera cast also includes Dinah Leffert (Project Manager), Richard Morales (Communications Director), Trey Payment (Personal Assistant), K.C. Morgan (Design and Build Associate), Bryan Cooper (Lead Carpenter) and Daniel Lopez (General Contractor). Alexander Jeffrey, who is not seen on camera, serves as the Director of the web series.

View the official promo trailer here:

50 Shades of Gray???

By: Denise Colestock, LEED A.P. BD+C, Urban Floor, San Diego Regional Account Executive

Welcome Home Collection (Birch- Ash Bark)

Okay, maybe not 50 shades of gray, but a few is what Urban Floor is looking at for our Urban Lifestyle collection.  It seems that designers and consumers are looking for wood floors in shades of gray for residential and commercial use.  And how can we ignore the trends?  We aren’t.  We have started the research and design phase of adding gray shades to our wood collections to make sure our clients find what they need and want.

We have been reviewing feedback from our dealers, designers and in-field representatives to make sure we find the shades that are right for our clients- popular grays and perhaps even some that inspire new ideas and trends.  We do have a gray in our Welcome Home Collection in Birch Ash Bark but we feel our clients need more choices when it comes to price, smooth, handscraped and wear layer thickness.

Staying on top of trends is important to Urban Floor, but so is traditional and classic design.  As we add style to our collections, you will not have to worry about losing the look that has always worked.  We strive to keep our clients satisfied and well-acquainted with our products.

Denise Colestock, LEED A.P. BD+C

Denise is an integral member of Team Urban and keeps Urbanfloor “fashion forward.”  She 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.  If you have any questions regarding environmentally friendly design you can contact Denise directly at denise@urbanfloor.com.

8 Environmental Facts of Hardwood Floors

Because trees are a renewable resource that can be replaced time and time again wood flooring is the most abundantly renewable flooring material available. Sustainable forest management makes it possible to harvest wood without any serious impact on the environment.  Here at Urbanfloor we only use products from ecologically managed forests and suppliers.

 

 

 

 

8 Environmental Facts of Hardwood Floors:

  1. Average annual net growth for hardwoods is greater than average annual removals (Source: US Department of Agriculture Forest Service)
  2. Trees absorb CO2 from the air and store it (Source: Wood for Good)
  3. Indoor air quality is better with wood floors (Source: US Environmental Protection Agency)
  4. Wood is a carbon neutral product that produces oxygen during its growth cycle and stores carbon during its service life (Source: University of Wisconsin Wood Products Program Solid Wood Flooring Life Cycle Analysis)
  5. Wood floors use less water and energy to produce than other flooring options (Source: University of Wisconsin Wood Products Program Solid Wood Flooring Life Cycle Analysis)
  6. At the end of its service life, wood flooring can be burned as fuel or recycled (Source: University of Wisconsin Wood Products Program Solid Wood Flooring Life Cycle Analysis)
  7. Wood floors last hundreds of years, so they won’t need to be replaced as often as other flooring options (Source: National Association of Home Builders)
  8. While it takes most hardwood trees 40-60 years to mature, the inventory planted today won’t be needed for 100-plus years (Source: National Wood Flooring Association)

You can learn more about the environmental benefits of wood floors by downloading a copy of the University of Wisconsin Wood Products Program Solid Wood Flooring Life Cycle Analysis or by visiting the NWFA website.

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

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.

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