Category Archives: Engineered Hardwood Floors

3 Wood Flooring Recommendations Perfect for Your Dining Room

With Thanksgiving here soon – we’re pretty excited to stuff our faces with great home cooked food including the usual culprits of turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauces, and of course the pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream. What’s one thing all of these have in common? They all end up in the dining room where guests and families begin to indulge. Urban Floor recommends it’s top 3 engineered wood flooring choices that are an excellent choice for your dining room.

1. Chianti

The Chianti hardwood floor is a great option for dining room flooring.

Dark wood flooring is especially popular these days, which brings us to our first recommendation: Chianti. This hardwood floor heightens your dining room experience with a warm, elegant feel perfect for family gatherings and events such as Thanksgiving.

Pro Tip: Area rugs are hardwood flooring’s best friend! They complement each other well. To add a little style or class to your dining room, consider an appropriate area rug to fit underneath your dining room table where you and your guests will be dining.

2. Messina

The Messina wood floor is perfect for the dining room.

Another European white oak suggestion that works very well for the dining room because of two simple aspects:

Dark wood
- it’s dark, but does not overwhelm.

Lacquer finish
– it also has a nice, smooth wire brushed finish topped with lacquer for excellent durability.

Durability is an aspect that should be considered for dining rooms as foot traffic generally flows in the dining room – not just for events, but because people often walk through this room to get to their kitchens.

3. Walnut Apache

Walnut Apache hardwood flooring works very well for the dining room.

Deviating a bit on this one, but the Walnut Apache is also an excellent hardwood flooring choice for dining rooms. It’s a dark brown hardwood floor that seeks to stand out with its semi-gloss stain. If you’re looking to really impress, then the Walnut Apache will certainly deliver. Its half-inch thickness also makes it perfect choice for hosting events – especially Thanksgiving dinner.

If you noticed, we stayed away from distressed or hand scraped flooring options as dining rooms are meant to impress. Of course, distressed and hand scraped wood floors are stylish in their own regard, but they do not come off as elegant or as “classy” as a nice European Oak, dark hardwood floor (with the exception of the Walnut Apache made from American Walnut and features a heavy scraped finish that appears more smooth than natural).

The one thing we’re all thankful for here at Urban Floor are our wonderful customers who appreciate the passion we have for exceptional hardwood flooring. Happy Thanksgiving!

Chuck Talk: Basic Understanding of Moisture and Hardwood Floors

Chuck from Urban Floor covers a basic understanding of moisture and harwood flooring.

Chuck preparing to educate you on moisture and hardwood floors!

Engineered wood floors offer a lot in terms of benefits, but as with any source of wood – moisture content management is important for optimal results.

It All Comes Down to Balance

First, we must inform you that ALL woods hold moisture content. The difference is that engineered hardwood floors are built in a manner that allows them to manage moisture easier. This doesn’t mean they are free from problems when rapid swings in moisture content arise.

  • When relative humidity rises, then woods begin to absorb more moisture. This occurs most during summer.
  • When relative humidity drops, then the wood releases the moisture content it was holding back into the air. This occurs most during winter.

It’s a constant cycle – a cycle that depends on reaching equilibrium. Equilibrium is often met when relative humidity levels fall anywhere between 30%-60% depending on manufacturers.

For any hardwood floor to reach its equilibrium, the moisture content contained within the wood must balance out the relative humidity of the air.

If relative humidity levels are too low, then a common problem that may occur with word floors is the issue of “cupping”, or when corners lift. The issue can be fixed if you get a control on humidity levels – bringing them back down to an appropriate measure. Cracking may also occur if the air is too dry (i.e. relative humidity is too low).

Humidity levels that are too high come with their own set of possible issues as well, such as expansion of the wood. Certain actions within the house may cause indoor humidity to rise. Some of the most popular include running a dryer, stove, or shower. Other appliances such as humidifiers will affect this as well.

Various factors such as the location you live in, the appliances you are running, whether or not you have an indoor humidification system, the type of hardwood you have (including what species of wood), installation process, and other aspect will all have an effect on the performance of the floor.

What Should You Do?

Chances are, you aren’t an expert in hardwood flooring and so most of this may not make much sense to you.

However, by having a simple understanding of the product you paid for, there may be a time where you understand what may be occurring if you notice a slight change on your engineered hardwood floors – in turn, prompting you to take action.

Pro Tip: It is possible to check moisture levels using a tool such as a “Wagner Meter”, which is a commonly accepted moisture meter. It won’t offer much value unless you are experienced/professional.

Urban Floor’s Simple Hardwood Floor Buying Guide

simple hardwood floor buying guide by Urban FloorWhen it comes to modern hardwood floors, there are so many varieties, designs, colors, finishes, styles, installation options, etc. to choose from that it can be quite overwhelming to newcomers or even current hardwood floor owners who are looking for a fresh change. This is why your hardwood flooring experts at Urban Floor have created a simple hardwood floor buying guide for you to follow when selecting a type of hardwood floor.

3 Q’s

1st question: where are you planning on installing your hardwood floors?

This will help you determine the type of hardwood floor you should select. If you are having hardwood floor installed over concrete, then you will want to purchase engineered hardwood floors because they are specifically made to be installed in areas where other options cannot physically deliver on.

2nd question: do you live in an environment subjected to moisture?

Environments subjected to varying degrees of moisture change (i.e. living near a beach/basements) should be taken into consideration. If you live in a high moisture environment, then engineered hardwood floors would be a better option as they are strategically engineered to handle shifts in moisture. Moisture can cause hardwood floors to warp and this is limited with engineered floors.

hardwood floor foot traffic3rd question: will you be having people in your home often? Hosting events?

If yes, then you will want to consider hardwood floors that offer excellent protection against foot traffic. Hand scraped engineered hardwood floors offer durable protection from foot traffic as they are made to resemble floors that look worn. One thing to look for regarding foot traffic is the thickness of the floors. The higher the thickness, the better it will handle foot traffic. For example, ¾-inches of hardwood is much stronger than 5/16-inches.

Tip: The Janka Rating of a hardwood floor will also give you insight into how strong a wood floor is.

That’s a Wrap

From answering these 3 questions, you’ll be able to narrow your choices down. Everything else is about aesthetics and appearance, which is entirely subjective to each individual and you may have to play around with many samples until you find a specific floor that suits your style.

Work with your hardwood floor salesman to further narrow down your options and be sure to ask them certain questions that can be found in another one of our simple guides. View the guide here.

What Hardwood Flooring Trends Do Homebuyers Prefer (2014)?

It is common for hardwood flooring trends to change often, with consumer’s tastes and preferences differing in many ways to the point where it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is a reputable majority finds true satisfaction in.

Urban Floor
wants to give you a few pointers on what homebuyer’s preferences are – mainly based on hardwood flooring trends that have been picked up on this year. One thing we know for sure is that hardwood floors are quickly becoming the new standard of flooring in homes – over carpet that is!

Brown Is The New Black

These days, it’s hard to go wrong with hardwood floors that contain brown. Homebuyers are enthusiastic about brown floors mainly because they are easier to match furniture and other surrounding décor with – perhaps something that is highly attractive to first time homebuyers who feel swamped with many important decisions.

Brown floors also manage to give off a wholly “natural” look that is hard to emulate using other shades. Many hardwood floors we offer feature natural grain patterns, unfilled knots, and a hand-scraped finish that adds to a floor’s natural, authentic touch. A nice light beige hardwood floor will complement any house well. The whole idea of “natural” is something that has been taking off for some time now – not just in hardwood floors, but other areas such as the foods we consume.

Satin Finishes

Homebuyers are beginning to prefer satin finishes to shiny, glossy finishes. Glossy finishes do not give off the “natural” feel that consumers are looking for – natural is important! Glossy finishes have a tendency to show dirt, footprints, and other imperfections, as well as require more upkeep and maintenance over satin finishes.

Did You Say… Kitchen Flooring?

Tile used to be the automatic, go-to choice for kitchen flooring, but surprisingly homebuyers have gradually begun the shift from tile flooring to hardwood flooring; largely in part because many home and décor magazine feature this style.

The reasons why? Because hardwood flooring is easier on your feet, adds more style to your kitchen, matches cabinets well (this depends on the colors of the cabinets), makes your kitchen appear larger than it really is, is easier to clean, and happens to be very competitive in pricing in comparison to tile.

At the end of the day, a homebuyer will select a hardwood floor they believe fits their needs. Urban Floor is always trying to keep up with the latest trends so that we can provide our sincere customers with the necessary options they need in order to make an informed, well thought out decision.

homebuyers hardwood flooring preferences

The Empire, featured in our Royal Court Collection, looks great in kitchens!

Urban Floor is Proudly Featured on Reality TV Series Rowhouse Showdown!

rowhouse showdown

Image provided by Rowhouse Showdown cast member, Kathy Kuo.

What is Rowhouse Showdown?

Rowhouse Showdown is an exciting new reality TV series that features a well-known renovation expert and the show’s host, Carter Oosterhouse, who has renovated roughly 500 homes. Carter has been featured in other home-makeover shows such as Trading Spaces and Million Dollar Rooms.

The show is actually a contest that consists of three separate teams competing against each other to see which team can renovate a house the best. The show takes place in Cincinnati, Ohio, using rundown homes in distressed neighborhoods for the teams to compete with.

Have You Seen Our Floors Yet?

If you have been tuning in to the shows on Wednesday nights and have a sharp eye, then you’ll be able to notice some of the engineered hardwood flooring – by your very own Urban Floor – that has been used in the show. We’ll give you a few seconds to guess… did you guess the Downtown Series (located in the Urban Lifestyle Collection) or Royal Court Collection? If so, then we’re going to have to call you the real winner of the show!

Eco-Friendly Living

The show’s host, Carter, is a huge fanatic of eco-friendly living – something we love here at Urban Floor! This is why we source our raw materials from ecologically well-managed forests and suppliers.

In a blog post featured on GLAMOUR, Carter was interviewed and asked: “Are there any easy little ways everyone can be more eco-friendly at home that people might not have considered?” In short, he suggested that people compost more often. You can read the whole interview with Carter for more tips on eco-friendly practices on their blog.

If you’re in to shows involving home makeovers or renovating homes, then you’ll definitely enjoy Rowhouse Showdown! You can find the show featured on the FYI Television Network on Wednesday nights starting at 8ET/9PT.

Let us know on our Facebook or Twitter if you were able to spot our beautiful hardwood floors! We’d love to hear from you.

Ever Wonder Exactly How Engineered Hardwood Floors Are Made?

Over here at Urban Floor, we’re big proponents of the engineered flooring movement. Here’s a question for you: What comes into your mind when you hear or see the word “engineer”?

Perhaps it’s something along the lines of man-made construction using skills, knowledge, and science? If so, this is exactly what we’re referring to when we say, “engineered hardwood floors” – hardwood floors that are constructed using skills, knowledge, and science to create a product tailored a specific way.

How Engineered Hardwood Floors Are Made

It all starts with beautiful trees that are carefully cut down, loaded, and sent to a factory where the engineering magic begins. There are a wide variety of tree species that engineered hardwood floors can be made from, each with varying degrees of strength!

First, the large chunks of tree must be de-barked using industrial machines for preparation. A question lurking in the wood flooring industry is what to do with the bark chippings from this mandatory process. So far the best use is for bark mulching – which is used for gardening and landscaping for various purposes. One example of bark mulch’s benefits is that it can hold in moisture for plants, effectively slowing down the time it takes for them to dry out.

After the trees have been debarked, it’s time to turn large chunks of solid wood into fine-engineered hardwood floor planks – the ones that are actually installed in your home. The tree is shaved into slices of real wood known as veneers. This veneer is what will be featured on the top of your engineered floor, giving it the hardwood appearance you seek. Below this veneer contains multiple layers of strategically placed plywood. It’s strategically placed because these plywood layers are stacked on top of each other in opposite direction. This is what gives engineered hardwood floors the benefits they have over solid hardwood flooring options: dimensionally stable and more resistant to changes in temperature and humidity reducing expansion, shrinking, and warping, as well as reducing the tendency of split wood.

The final step of the process ends at a finishing factory where your wood floors are prefinished with different sealants for added protection and longevity. Your engineered hardwood floor may also be sent through a distressing process that involves hand scraped finishes or wire brushed finishes for customizability-sake. It all depends on what you want your floor to look like – old, modern, exotic, etc. It then ends up carefully laid into your home (often by a professional), waiting to receive compliments from your family and friends.

engineered hardwood floors

The process of how engineered hardwood floors are made is truly fascinating. Hopefully you begin to see exactly why we love engineered hardwood flooring so much. Really though, we love all hardwood floors!

 

Urban Floor Engineered Flooring Article Featured on the LA Daily News!

Engineered Flooring to Become New Leader in Hardwood Floor Market

engineered flooring

Very exciting times for us at Urban Floor with a new article that was covered in the LA Daily News on the topic of engineered flooring and how they have risen from the bottom to a fierce, reputable contender in the wood flooring industry.

Just how much of a contender are engineered hardwood floors? Well they currently hold just close to 50% of the total hardwood floor market, and will soon surpass solid hardwood flooring options as the market leader.

We’re strong believers in hardwood flooring options that keep the environment in mind, but options that also make sense. The benefits of engineered hardwood floors do outweigh other flooring options in many ways. Sure, solid hardwood flooring and laminate hardwood flooring have their benefits. Solid hardwood flooring can be refinished and re-sanded multiple times, while laminate flooring is typically the most cost-effective choice.

So back to making sense… just how does engineered flooring “make sense”? No brainer:

Environmentally conscious – for each square foot of solid hardwood veneer, you can make up to 24 square feet with engineered hardwood. Talk about saving trees.

Installation – Engineered hardwood can be installed in just about any place, including above concrete, which we believe is quite impressive. Now who would be installing hardwood over concrete? People who have basements that do not want carpet and do not enjoy walking over concrete.

Have it your way – The many different ways engineered hardwood floors are manufactured is truly amazing. Different sizes, colors, thicknesses, width, styles, patterns, you can customize your engineered hardwood the way you want it.

Basically, we love engineered hardwood floors, which is why many of our collections are indeed just that – engineered hardwood floors! Read the full article on why engineered hardwood floors are gaining market share.

What is the Janka Hardness Test and Does It Matter?

You may have heard of this whole “Janka Hardness Test” business, but aren’t exactly sure what it is or what it means to you. No problem, we’ll try and help you out.

You should know that the Janka Hardness Test applies to both engineered wood flooring as well as solid wood flooring. Engineered wood floors typically feature a plywood base with a solid wood overlay, or “veneer”.

Janka Hardness TestSo what exactly is the Janka Hardness Test? It’s quite simple. An 11.28 millimeter steel ball is forced halfway into various wood species to measure how resistant a species is. A rating is then applied to compare exactly how hard certain hardwood floors really are. A rating of 1290 is used as a baseline to see which woods are soft and which are hard. Ratings above 1290 are considered harder variants and those below 1290 are regarded as softer choices.

What do these numbers mean to me?

The harder the wood, the more trauma it can take before it dents. Harder woods are more forgiving of careless mistakes. Harder woods are also forgiving of large pets and kids that roughhouse. Harder woods are better for heavier traffic scenarios but come with a downside: they don’t deal as well in dry climates and have the potential to split.

Ultimately, you want to choose the wood species that looks best to you, regardless of Janka ratings. If you like a certain type of hardwood because you believe it will match your home better or make it easier to work with, then that should be the one you pick. Also, it’s important to understand that the finish of a hardwood floor is the real defense against scratches and the like.

Read more about selecting a wood species here.

How Long Do Hardwood Floors Last?

This is a common question that many hardwood floor owners have. The answer is both simple and complex. The simple answer is that the wood in the floor itself can last a lifetime. The complex answer is that while the wood may last forever, the beautiful finish/gloss/shine that it has will dissipate over time.

If you’re comparing hardwood floors to carpet then you’ll be happy to hear that carpet should normally be replaced about every 10 years while hardwood floors don’t need to be replaced, but refinished or recoated.

hardwood

So the real question becomes: “When should I refinish or recoat my floors?

The answer really depends on how well you take care of your floors.

  • Do you routinely clean your wood floors?
  • Do you make sure to immediately clean up any spills that may happen?
  • Do you stay proactive by keeping your pets from damaging your floors?
  • Do you constantly rearrange heavy furniture with proper padding underneath?

We hope you’ve answered “yes” to these questions because this is how you can really prolong the life and finish of your luscious hardwood floors.

Recoating is a simpler process that aims to extend the life of your finish. Refinishing wood floors is a much deeper process that essentially gives you the look of having freshly installed floors. Recoating is less expensive and if done roughly every 3-5 years, then you can drastically reduce the amount of times to have your floors refinished. Typically hardwood floors should be refinished every 8-12 years, but this varies depending on how rough you are with your floors.

Some people don’t refinish/recoat their floors and are perfectly content leaving them the way they were installed. That’s fine, but it will lack the eye-catching luster that brings hardwood floors to life.

With the technology we have today, engineered hardwood floors are built to last. Combine that with a strong multilayer polyurethane and aluminum oxide finish and now we’ve got a floor that’s ready for battle.

Read more about engineered hardwood floors.

Engineered Hardwood Floors for the New Year

With the New Year here, we’re proud to show off two of our premier Engineered Hardwood Floors Collections: Composer and Royal Court. These collections offer an illustrious approach to hardwood flooring.

Engineered Hardwood FloorsThe Composer Collection aims for a classical approach with its natural splits, mineral streaks, and unfilled knots. Finished with a strong Klumpp German finish combined with unique technics of wire brushing and sand blasting, this collection is very resistant towards scratches and dentation. This 11.5” wide engineered hardwood flooring collection is a combination of classical craftsmanship with modern technology, which makes for a perfect balance of harmony in your home.

A sub-collection includes our Composer Orchestra Collection. This 7.5” wide Collection boasts a vintage feel that combines the beauty of European oak with unmatched durability. Our inspiration comes from driftwood, capturing the atmosphere of the ocean. By selecting the Viola, Cello, or Piccolo variants, your home will feel one step closer to the relaxing vibes of the beautiful blue ocean. View The Composer Collection 

engineered hardwood flooring


The Royal Court Collection offers a prestigious approach to your hardwood flooring needs. With a bold overtone, this collection craves the attention of anyone who steps in to your home. Like the Composer Collection, engineered hardwood floors are used to enhance the style of any room by giving it the eye-catching elements that a King or Queen would seek. View The Royal Court Collection

We know many people have New Year’s Resolutions, perhaps switching to engineered hardwood floors is yours.

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