Category Archives: News

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.

Urban Floor Releases Brand New Hardwood Flooring Line

Urban Floor is proud to unveil its recent addition to our beautiful collection of hardwood floors: Chêne. Urban Floor now offers 90 spectacular hardwood floors to choose from, spanned across 8 different themed collections.

The release of the Chêne flooring line is a great way to celebrate the recent news of Urban Floor ranking in as one of the top hardwood flooring brands for both price and product availability.

Chêne By Urban Floor – European Oak Hardwood Flooring

chene european oak by urban floor

The brand new collection boasts 7 different selections to choose from that vary in shade: ranging from very light to very dark depending on your preferences. We’re certain that anyone interested will find a flooring choice that perfectly accompanies any existing furniture and colors within your home.

We’re huge advocates of engineered hardwood flooring, and our Chêne new hardwood-flooring line fits the bill. Engineered hardwood floors offer benefits that other flooring choices simply cannot provide.

Plank size is certainly something to consider in selecting a hardwood floor and we took a middle ground approach by carefully crafting the Chêne hardwood floors to feature 7.5-inch wide planks.

All of the Chêne hardwood floors are wire-brushed meaning an industrial grade wire-brush is used to selectively remove the soft grains of a wood’s surface, leaving the hard grains showing. This creates a luminous rustic texture that reveals a hardwood floor’s inner beauty – it’s grain, streaks, grooves, and knots.

The flooring collection is also constructed using fine European Oak, which happens to be one of the most popular wood species used in our culture. European Oak is known for its rich design and functionality – using a special technique that results in a product featuring wider planks and tighter grain patterns.

Whether you’re browsing our new Chêne oak flooring collection or one of our other timeless collections, we’re sure you will find a hardwood floor that exceeds your expectations on both quality and value.

Happy Flooring from Urban Floor!

Urban Floor: One of the Best in Price and Product Availability

best hardwood floor brandUrban Floor is proud to announce it’s latest achievement in the lovely world of hardwood flooring: we ranked in as one of the best hardwood floor brands of the year for two separate categories! The categories include both price and product availability.

The achievement comes from the release of an extensive market intelligence report performed by ReCo that is featured in a reputable hardwood flooring trade publication, Floor Covering Weekly.

We’re absolutely stoked over this news, because it shows that all of the hard work performed here at Urban Floor is beginning to show measurable progress that is truly made possible by you guys, our sincere customers who find true value in the solid and engineered hardwood floors that we proudly offer.

The same study also revealed that carpet still leads the market in flooring, but we like to believe it’s because people have not been given a chance to see the positive reasons in making the switch. That or many people are simply content with the carpeting they have had in their homes for multiple years.

Hardwood floors bring more than just value to your home, they bring a touch of beauty that is completely customizable to your own, personal taste. That is why we offer a broad selection of affordable flooring that’s widely available, because different people have different tastes and it’s important to make sure we offer a floor fit for anyone. We also plan on adding a new line of floors in the foreseeable future so stay tuned for it’s exciting release!

Again, we want to graciously thank our customers, fans, and those who have shown support since our beginning. Your support is an integral part in helping us bring the best quality hardwood floors into the homes of those that realize how the housing market is slowly shifting from carpet flooring to hardwood flooring.

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.

5 Ways To Prevent a Ruined Hardwood Floor

ruined hardwood floor

As we begin to see more and more families make the switch to hardwood flooring, we want to remind you of a few ways to keep yourself from the sight of a ruined hardwood floor.

1. Welcome Home

As you’re out and about throughout the day, your shoes pick up a handful of debris ranging from just normal everyday dirt to gum, and if you’re really unlucky – dog doo. The last thing you want is for this debris to catch your hardwood floors. This is why it is essential to add a welcome mat to the entrance of your home, giving you an efficient space to take your shoes off without adding in the extra chore of cleaning your floors.

2. Too Much Cleaning

Everything in life is about balance. While cleaning your wood floors is definitely a great habit to pick up, it can actually be damaging. Here’s the main reason why: too much water or solution. Dry mopping or dry-damp mops work best. The last thing you should do is blast your floors with a wet mop. The same goes for overdoing it with cleaning solutions.

Instead of cleaning the whole floor, perhaps stick to certain areas that appear filthier than others. Some people have tried steam cleaners (with some cleaners advertising a “wood flooring option”). Our advice – stay away from steam cleaners.

3. Here Comes The Sun

For those who live in cooler climates, this won’t affect you much. But for those of us stuck with lots of sunlight should highly consider investing in blinds, shades, drapes, and/or moving furniture around to distribute the sun equally throughout the room. Too much sunlight may damage hardwood floors, can dry out the finish, and cause discoloration.

4. Cushioning the Furniture

It’s nice to come home and throw yourself into a chair to relax. Sometimes, this results in unwanted scratches to your floors. An easy solution: furniture padding. You should spend no longer than an hour of your day searching for furniture pads to place under the corners of any furniture – couches, chairs, tables, etc. Chances are, your local hardware store will be carrying them.

5. Cat Scratch Fever

Pets are great companions, but your hardwood floors may have a different relationship with them. The biggest concern with pets is their nails. Their nails could leave small scratches, leaving you with a ruined hardwood floor. If pets could, they would probably trim their own nails like we humans do, but they can’t. When you begin to notice your pets’ nails becoming a little too long, then it’s time for a trimming. With some pets, this chore can be a real hassle. If that’s the case then look into a professional groomer who can also give them a nice bath, too!

The Latest Hype: Matte Finish Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are known for their glossy, shiny, almost wet-looking appearance. A hardwood floor’s gloss comes from the amount of light that is reflected off of them, usually measured from a 60-degree angle; the angle at which you will most likely view hardwood floors if you are standing.

There’s a type of gloss finish that actually doesn’t have much gloss to it: matte. Matte finishes attempt one thing: to make hardwood floors seem as real as possible with a very small amount of shine. Matte finish hardwood floors are picking up some ground as consumers are craving a truly “natural”, clean feel to their homes. They give off the illusion of raw wood. There’s something about natural that makes us feel comfortable.

So how shiny, or not so shiny, is matte? Typically, a hardwood floor’s sheen level is measured by its luster, ranging from 0-100%. A hardwood floor’s luster is the amount of glow that is seen from reflected light. Here’s a comparison of various hardwood floor finishes:

High-Gloss = 75% or higher

Semi-Gloss = 55% – 70%

Satin = 30 – 50%

Matte = 1 – 20%

As you can see above, matte floors have the least amount of shine. Everyone has their preference as to what they want in their homes, but perhaps a few considerations should be made.

Matte finishes, and low-luster finishes in general, hide scratches, dirt and other imperfections much better than glossy floors. Matte finishes are more child- and pet friendly than high-gloss finishes because they don’t show as much dust, dirt, or footprints.

On the other hand, glossy finishes just seem too pretty to look at. They tend to be cleaned more often, but for good reason: because shiny floors look impressive. Glossy floors are capable of giving your home a boost to the “wow factor”.

If you’re interested in matte finish hardwood floors, look at our Villa Caprisi Collection, The Composer Collection and our Downtown Series within our Urban Lifestyle Collection. We also have our new Chene by Urban Floor Collection, coming soon… Stay Tuned!

matte finish hardwood floors

Protecting Your Hardwood Floors from Guests

It’s common for families and friends to get together for celebration. It’s also common for many homeowners with hardwood floors to realize how their guests have left the floors with scratches or spills.

Hardwood floors are very durable; especially engineered floors that are specifically made to handle guests. However, it’s hard to control what happens during an event. Follow our 4 tips below to ensure you are proactively protecting your hardwood floors from guests:

Rugs
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: rugs are hardwood floor’s best friends. The trick here is to strategically place any rugs in ‘hot spots’, or spots that will contain lots of foot traffic. You definitely want to place a rug right at the entrance for people to take their shoes off or wipe their shoes down. This also goes for any backdoor or side entrances where your guests may be going in and out.

Chairs
If you have any chairs, then you may want to consider adding some cushion to the bottom in case you have guests that decide to plop into the chair, with their weight causing the chair to move backwards, potentially scratching your floor. Depending on the type of chair, you will either need felt pads or chair glides. Both are easily attainable at your local hardware store.

Paper Towels
Chances are, a few minor spills will happen during your event. Keeping a sufficient stock of paper towels handy can save you anguish later on. In case a guest spills soda while pouring, a paper towel can quickly mop up the mess. Keep a few a rolls scattered in various spots throughout the house where you believe a spill is most likely to occur. If a larger spill happens, then it would be best to use a mop to clean your hardwood floors.

Outdoor Eating
If you’re overly stressing about your floors and weather permits, then you should consider having your guests eat outside to further reduce the likelihood of any damage or spills occurring. This will require you to have enough chairs and tables handy, as well as table covers, paper plates, and plastic utensils. Most importantly, make sure the trashcan is also placed outside.

We hope these tips help you in proactively keeping your hardwood floors looking sharp for any event you host. Above all make sure you enjoy the time you have with your family and friends!

Read more on how to prepare hardwood floors for you, your guests, and your family.

Hardwood Floor Trends of 2014

As professionals of hardwood floors, it’s important to stay on top of the latest hardwood floor trends. So what have hardwood floor consumers been raving about? Here’s what we’ve found:

Wide planks – Many consumers of hardwood flooring are starting to prefer planks as wide as 10 inches or higher! The new standard has been set to a width of 5 inches. Some may even say that 7 inches is the new standard. We can safely say that we are up to speed on this latest shift towards wider planks.

Exotic woods – Just the word ‘exotic’ brings out a feeling of awe. The thing about exotic woods is that they feature unusual grains and patterns that are completely natural. Examples of exotic woods include Acacia and Brazilian Cherry. Consumers of hardwood floors prefer this natural, wholesome look in their homes.

Engineered flooring – It’s no surprise that engineered flooring is still a strong hardwood floor trend as it’s an eco-friendly approach to hardwood floors as well as cost-effective. On top of this, engineered floors can be installed over concrete and below grade (unlike Solid flooring). In general, the trend towards ‘green’ products has been gaining growth for quite some time.

Dark colors – Hardwood floor enthusiasts are beginning to prefer bolder, darker colors such as dark brown, black, or auburn. Darker colors provide a more sophisticated, vintage appearance that can be very captivating. This isn’t to say that lighter colored floors are outdated. It’s all a matter of preference.

Wood walling (also called wood wall covering) – This is a recent phenomenon in which the walls of your house are replaced with hardwood flooring. It may sound very bizarre, but it’s catching ground. Again, it goes back to the whole idea of the natural look that provides homeowners with a sophisticated appearance that cannot be achieved through traditional white walls.

Head over to our Pinterest account for more ideas on hardwood floor trends & designs!

hardwood

How to Install a Hardwood Floor

DIY experts take us step-by-step to help install beautiful wood floors

Step 1: Choose the Boards

Choose the hardwood species and board widths for the room installation.

Step 2: Measure the Room

Measure the width and length of the room and multiply for the square footage. When ordering hardwood flooring, allow 10-15 percent extra for irregular boards and any cutting mistake.

Step 3: Check for a Squeaky Floor

Check the sub-floor. Minimum requirements are a 3/4″ plywood sub-floor. Make sure there are no squeaks in the floor. If there’s a squeak, screw a long drywall screw into the sub-floor and joist where the squeak occurs. Remove shoe-molding from the room and sweep and clean thoroughly.

Step 4: Roll Out the Vapor Barrier Paper

Roll out strips of vapor barrier paper, allowing at least a 4″ overlap and staple securely to the sub-floor. Use 15 pound tar paper or felt. It is relatively inexpensive (it’s approximately $12 a roll at a home improvement store). Mark with a pencil along the baseboards where the joists are located.

Step 5: Start Installation

Start the installation at the longest unobstructed wall. Remove the shoe molding, and snap a chalk line 3/8″ out from the baseboard (this allows for expansion in the hot, humid weather and contraction in the colder, drier weather of the hardwood flooring).

Step 6: Place the Boards

Begin by selecting a long board to start the first row. Pick one that is straight. Align the edge of the board with the chalk line and drill pilot holes down through the hardwood plank and into the sub-floor and joist. Face-nail each board at the point of every joist and set the nail with a nail-set. Face-nail the entire first row and remember to keep the board lengths random. It is important to face-nail the first row because the pneumatic nail can’t get down in there. It will hit the wall and the force would push the wood against the baseboard, which would lose the 3/8″ expansion and contraction.

It is important to lay the first boards perpendicular to the joists which are underneath. That is important because you want a nice solid anchor. Look at the subfloor to see which way the nails and seams ran. Try to go underneath the crawl space to see how they run.

Step 7: Hand-Nail the Rolls

After the first few rows have been installed, drill pilot holes down into the tongue of each board and hand-nail the rolls until there is enough clearance for the pneumatic nail gun.

Tip: Lay out a box of hardwood boards ahead of the installation to visualize lengths, wood grain and colors of the boards. When laying out the boards, keep in mind to never have the ends of boards in adjacent rows line up with each other. Keep the lengths random and at least 6″ in length.

Step 8: Staple the Boards

Using the pneumatic nail gun, place the gun lip over the edge of the board and strike firmly with the mallet, driving the staple into the tongue of the hardwood plank.

When installing up to a threshold, it is not critical to make cuts exact. Come back later after the floor has been installed and use a circular saw to cut across for a precise cut.

use pneumatic nail gun to staple tongue into plank

Step 9: Cutting the Baseboard

When cutting along the baseboards, select a piece that will fit in there and leave 10 or 12 inches more and cut it off. Use the other piece on the beginning of the next row. You don’t always have to get it in there real close and throw out the end piece. That will save some time and waste.

use cut off boards from one row to start next row

Step 10: Fill in the Gaps

Be sensitive to the way the ends fit together. One end has a tongue and the other end has a groove — this is called end matched. Make sure to always cut the wall end of the wood so that you do not cut off the groove that fits to the tongue. If that happens, that would result in a pretty big gap. Find a piece and lay it alongside the hole and flip it over. Make sure when you make the mark to cut off the wall side, not the room side. When you make the mark, butt it up against the baseboard and then mark at the end of that tongue. That will leave a 3/8″ gap for expansion and contraction when installing the piece.

Note: Before nailing, make sure to put at least two nails in every board. The rule of thumb is to place a nail every 10″ to 12″.

Step 11: Work Around Clearance Issue

As you near the opposite wall, clearance for the pneumatic nail gun again becomes an issue. Drill pilot holes and hand-nail the boards until there is no longer clearance for the drill and hammer. At that point, drill pilot holes down into the top of the boards and face-nail the boards, remembering to set the nails with a nail-set.

Tip: Use a pry bar and a few extra scraps of flooring to firmly seat the hardwood plank as you nail.

Step 12: Fit Last Board Into Place

If there’s a narrow gap for the last board, take a measurement and rip (cut length-wise) the last board to fit into place. Remember to leave a 3/8″ gap at the end wall for expansion and contraction space.

Step 13: Fill Holes With Wood Putty

Replace shoe molding in the room and putty all of the nail holes that have been face-nailed. Be sure to get wood putty that matches the floor. Fill the hole and wipe off the excess.

Step 14: Hardwood Floor Maintenance

Maintenance is easy for a pre-finished hardwood floor — keep grit off of the surface by sweeping regularly and use a flooring cleaning kit (alcohol-based) and spray on and wipe off with a damp cloth. Hardwood floors also help cut down on dust mites.

See more pictures and examples at http://bit.ly/129zwQu

Tips for Handling Asbestos During Home Renovations

Tips for Handling Asbestos During Home Renovations
by Brian Turner

Since Hurricane Sandy hit the tri-state area, many older homes must be renovated and rebuilt. These home renovations must be greeted with caution because many homes built before 1970 may have materials containing asbestos. Insulation, floor tiles, drywall and joint compounds may all contain asbestos.

Asbestos may become airborne when removed from the home for replacement. When asbestos is inhaled, it becomes lodged in the lungs. Ten to 50 years later, it may develop into mesothelioma. This type of cancer is difficult to treat and may be fatal. Consider these tips to minimize asbestos exposure:

1.  Do Not Disturb Asbestos
If you encounter asbestos, you should not drill through it, saw it, break it, hammer it or disturb it in any way. Housekeepers or janitors should not sand or buff floor tiles made with asbestos. Wet stripping is recommended with floor tiles made of asbestos. During the buffing process, low abrasion pads are recommended. Speeds below 300 are suggested.

2. Involve Professionals for Asbestos Containment  
Report all suspected asbestos materials to Environment, Health and Safety (EHS). The report may include damaged insulation on a pipe, broken ceiling tiles and spray-on insulation. Asbestos abatement workers may be hired to determine if asbestos is present and remove it from the home. In the meantime, others should be prevented from disturbing the asbestos to avoid exposure.

3.Monitor Your Health After Exposure
After exposure to asbestos, you should monitor your health closely for early detection. A mesothelioma blood test can detect the cancer before symptoms appear. After exposure, you should be tested annually. Ensure the test is approved by the FDA. Other diagnostic tests may include an X-ray of the lungs to determine how well the lungs are working.

Click Image to Enlarge

Asbestos in the Home

Image courtesy of the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.

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