Making your hardwood floors family-friendly

 

A large, active family (including pets) is a gift, but let’s face it, all the lively, vivacious commotion may require some adjustments to your home. While you can strive to maintain a mess-free, danger-free living zone, you don’t have to sacrifice style or sophistication to achieve it. A house is meant to be lived in, not admired on a shelf, so it’s important to be realistic about your daily requirements when choosing a home décor. Instead of waiting till the kids outgrow their home-marring antics, consider installing a hardwood flooring that can meet the challenge, take a beating and keep on giving. Hardwoods are easy to mop up and they make it a cinch to manage pet hair, debris and dirt, keeping allergens to a minimum. Hardwoods are also far more comfortable for bare feet than tile or stone flooring in the kitchen. We offer dozens of sturdy, durable, high-traffic flooring choices that will tantalize the eye while going easy on your pocketbook. From toddlers to teenagers, it’s best to go with the highest ratings on the Janka hardness scale, usually Brazilian Cherry, Hickory or Santos Mahogany, although one of our trained specialists can help you navigate the different species, finishes and colors if you have something specific in mind. A rustic orshabby-chic style of décor with a vintage touch may suit your chaotic lifestyle better than a more contemporary design. Remember also that darker colors and more complex grains tend to minimize the appearance of stains and footprints while adding a cozy feel to any room. If your shedding pet’s hair or fur is a concern, think about choosing a flooring color that blends in with your pooch’s coat. Your pet’s nails will also need to be trimmed and rounded to avoid scratching your flooring. Overall, our “Chiseled Edge Collection” or “Mountain Country Collection” to be the most appropriate floor species for families with canine members.urban 022

Your hardwoods can be accented and protected with area rugs, which not only add color and whimsy to a room, but also serve as a soft landing for little people who are just learning to use their legs. Area rugs can be washed or disposed of once they’ve absorbed a maximum of abuse, and as such are very versatile and handy. They also provide a great buffer for pet bowls, sparing your hardwoods the daily crumble of kibble and overturned water bowls.

The main thing is that family, pets and hardwood flooring are highly compatible. With a little extra care, proper species and style selection and an adaptive décor, your house can be the home sweet home you always dreamed of.

 

The Great Flooring Debate: Should you put flooring beneath counters and appliances?

 

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Before you start remodeling your master bathroom or installing a brand new kitchen, you should first stop and ask yourself a question that has been puzzling people for years. Should you bother to lay hardwood flooring beneath your appliances and cabinetry, where nobody is going to see it?

Most folks will ponder that puzzle for only a few minutes before coming down on one of the argument or the other. But there are valid arguments to be made on both sides of the issue. So let’s have a look at what many home contractors and experienced homeowners and interior designers have to say.

 

Arguments for Complete Flooring

The general consensus among those who believe that yes, you should extend those beautiful hardwood floors even into unseen spaces, comes down to one major point. They feel that since nobody has a crystal ball to peek into the future, it’s always a good idea to leave yourself plenty of options later on down the road.

  • Let’s say, for example, that you skip the flooring beneath your kitchen counters. What happens years from now when you decide to upgrade that kitchen and rearrange the whole flow of the room?

 

  • Your choices are going to be dictated by whether or not you floored underneath those counters or appliances. If you did not, then when you move things around you’re inevitably going to wind up with big conspicuous blank spots where instead of polished hardwoods you have ugly plywood subflooring.

 

  • Had you gone the extra mile, then you would have wall-to-wall hardwoods. Your room would be a smooth canvas on which to draw up whatever kind of design configuration suits your style and taste.

Arguments against Flooring Underneath

That makes perfect sense. But other people will point out that flooring all the way underneath stoves, dishwashers, bathroom vanities, or kitchen cabinets is a total waste of money. They say it makes a whole lot more sense to omit those sections.

  • If you have 60 or 80 square feet of space occupied by counters and cabinets, for example, you can potentially save some cash to pay for the base moldings.

 

  • There is another reason you may want to go with cheap subflooring beneath those cabinets and counters. If you do not put your hardwoods underneath them, that makes it possible to install the heavy appliances and cabinetry first.

 

  • You don’t risk dragging a stove or heavy counter over the hardwoods and scratching or otherwise damaging them. Then install the floors cleanly, right up snug to the edge of your cabinets and they’ll look great and be a tight fit.

Perhaps the bigger question is what do you and your floor installer think is the best course of action? Have an in-depth discussion and let your flooring professional know your current vision as well as your long-term plans. Then crunch the numbers and pick the method that makes the most sense!

 

How to choose the best species for your flooring!

 

Choosing the right wood species for your hardwoods is an important decision, as it will affect the look and feel of your home for years to come. With over 60 unique flooring products to choose from, we are confident you will be able to find your perfect match, that special combination of style and function that will satisfy your eye, your conscience and your wallet.

Although there are many factors to consider — including the amount of traffic your floors will encounter, the room, furniture and walls where your new floor will be installed and of course your budget — your choice of wood will be essentially a creative one, based on your personal preference. Don’t be afraid to set practicality aside and go with a flooring that you just find irresistibly attractive. You will be more inclined to care for the wood and take the necessary preventative measures when you are dealing with a floor you adore on a daily basis.Hickory-Tumbleweed-TCH-412-HT-R-RGB

 

Let’s start by considering the amount of traffic your floor will sustain. Do you have children? Pets? A large family that is always coming and going? In this case, a harder, more durable wood that is not as susceptible to dents will be the best selection. If you would like to research this more in depth you can consult the Janka Hardness Rating, a scale that rates the different wood species according to their ability to withstand force. Brazilian Cherry, Santos Mahogany or Hickory are all excellent choices when it comes to a strong, resistant wood that will be slow to show scratches, wear or tear. The Chiseled Edge flooring is also a good option for a high traffic area. The chiseled marks reduce the visibility of most dentation and scratches (www.urbanfloor.com/Maple-Legacy.html). Our shades range from light to warm to dark and rich, so never feel you have to substitute function for aesthetics.

Brazilian-Cherry-Natural-EX-BC303-RNext let’s consider the walls and other furniture in your home. To highlight a dark mahogany desk for instance, it’s always best to select a light-colored flooring to establish contrast and create a dynamic interior design. Grain will also play into the equation. Do you desire a more streamlined, contemporary look? Then you may want to consider a few of our modern maple selections. If you plan on creating a distinctly rustic décor, oak and hickory might be the way to go!

Lastly, be sure to examine the wood samples in Birch Shadow Urbanfloor.comyour own home under your normal light conditions. Flooring you fancied in the showroom may not look the same once you get it into your natural habitat. Play around with natural and artificial lighting, making sure you will like your selection under all conditions.

For more assistance with choosing the right wood species for your home, feel free to contact us. We will be happy to answer your questions and help guide you as you enhance both your home’s value and appearance with the beauty of hardwood flooring.

 

 

Laminate flooring Vs. Hardwood flooring

 

What is Laminate flooring and how does it differ from hardwood Flooring?

With hundreds of different flooring product choices on the market, homeowners want to make informed decisions. One of the most common areas of confusion has to do with the difference between hardwood flooring and laminated flooring, oftentimes referred to as “laminated hardwood” or “Pergo”.

What is Laminated Flooring?

Laminate wood flooring is manmade flooring that usually contains a layers of compressed high density fiberboard (HDF), sandwiched between layers of synthetic material.

  • There is an outer layer, which is the actual laminated layer. It protects the material from normal wear and tear such as scuffing.

 

  • Beneath this thin layer is a highly realistic, high resolution photographic image of wood. The sole purpose of this layer is to create a visual illusion of actual wood.

 

  • Then comes an inner core of high-density fiberboard, made of fibers, compressed at high temperatures and fused together with chemical adhesive. This layer adds structural strength to this product.

 

  • Finally, at the bottom of the flooring where it contacts the subfloor, there is a backing that serves as a moisture barrier to prevent the floor from swelling and warping.

Laminate is fast and easy to install, and some of it simply snaps into place without nails or glues. But it is also much less stable than a hardwood floor, and offers none of the warm aesthetics of authentic wood.LaminateFlooring-300

Price versus Longevity

Laminated flooring is considerably cheaper than real hardwoods, which is its biggest selling feature. But when we’re talking about something that will become a permanent part of your home, it’s important to break down those financial calculations to make sure they take everything into account.

Let’s say, for example, that you’re building a house and you expect to live in for the rest of your life and then perhaps pass it on to your children. Many laminated floors can be expected to last 5 to 10 years. But hardwoods typically last a minimum of 75 years, and some of them have been around for centuries.

Maintenance and Repair

Meanwhile laminated flooring cannot be repaired, which greatly limits its sustainability. You may have no choice but to rip up the entire floor and replace it with something new. Do that two or three times and a cheap laminate floor may wind up costing twice as much as a real hardwood floor.

Real hardwood is much more durable, and can be repaired is necessary. Repair it, sand it, or if you desire, stain it to a different shade. The same hardwood floor can be used for generations as long as it’s well maintained.

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Hardwood floors add value to your house

 

Why Hardwood Flooring Adds Value to Homes

These days the inventory of available homes is enormous, and that gives buyers a diverse selection of inventory. Home sellers need to distinguish themselves from the herd, and that can be a difficult challenge. But paying close attention to important details can pay big dividends.

When selecting your flooring, for example, there are many interesting choices and possibilities. Hardwoods may be the way to go, however, because they have attributes that set them apart in attractive ways that often make them a bottom-line asset. Hardwood flooring not only enhances the beauty, ambience, and quality of life in a home, for instance, but it can be a dynamic facilitator of faster sales at better prices.

 

Return on Investment

Adding-Value-To-Your-Home-e1338351026288According to an article published on CNN/Money, adding hardwood floors also tends to boost the resale value of a home in the same way that adding a fireplace or extra room does.

Of course conventional wisdom tells us that the best dollar-for-dollar returns usually come from creating an extra bathroom or remodeling and upgrading the kitchen. Hardwoods can play a contributing role in that regard, too, though, because many of today’s hardwood flooring products have the finish and durability to make them perfectly compatible with kitchens and bathrooms.

Less Time on the Market

As a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker commented in a professional forum on Realtor.com, “Hardwood floors enhance the chances of your house selling faster. It will compete better with the inventory of ‘like’ properties.” But there is more to the idea of a quick sale than meets the eye. Real estate professionals often use “time on the market” (the number of days it takes for the property to sell) as a guiding metric.

In healthy market cycles, for example, that timeframe is typically six or seven weeks. Data from the National Association of Realtors confirms that when the market was booming back in 2004 the median selling time shrank to just four weeks. But during the real estate recession that followed the average time on the market ballooned to ten weeks, while prices plummeted nearly 13 percent. So if hardwood flooring can speed up a sale, it means that it has the potential to be the difference between a house that sells as if it’s a bull market and one that languishes for months on end without a nibble.

Search Engine Parameters

Meanwhile one of the most convincing arguments for hardwood flooring happens to be one of the most often overlooked. Buyers don’t want to waste time touring homes that do not meet their criteria, so they tend to be quite specific about the features and amenities they want. They’ll search the MLS listings, for instance, using strict parameters. Not surprisingly, “hardwood floors” is one of the most popular search terms used today.

You may have a wonderful home with dynamite curb appeal. But if it doesn’t have hardwood flooring it may never even show up in a buyer or Realtor search that specifies hardwoods. You’ll remain hidden below the radar, while other homes in your neighborhood generate plenty of buzz and positive interest.

Value-Adding Characteristics

Even when buyers do not ask for hardwood floors, however, they tend to respond favorably when they encounter them in a home. They immediately feel that the builder or homeowner did not cut corners just to save money. Hardwoods are indicative of custom homes, for example, and instantly convey finer taste and enduring elegance.

By the same token, the presence of wall-to-wall carpeting or comparable generic types of flooring can be a telltale sign that saving a few dollars was more important than investing in durable quality and sustainable aesthetics.

Choose wisely and carefully, based on your own unique personal tastes and preferences. But don’t forget to factor in the influence that excellent hardwood flooring may have on your home’s value and marketability.

 

Refinishing Your Hardwood Floor

 

url-73The first step to refinishing your hardwood flooring is deciding whether your project needs a complete refinishing job.  If the floor is clearly damaged from flooding or stains, you may need to repair before refinishing. Remember that your floors need to be at least 3/4’’ thick. To avoid sanding down to the sub-floor, check with a professional if your floor is thinner than ¾.’’ Realize that if your floor is slightly thinner, it may not be able to be refinished. Pay close attention to the flooring beneath the hardwood. If there is a floor covering underneath, remove the old floor first.

Home improvement jobs take a lot of preparation, analyzing, and time before beginning the work. The floor must be cleaned and sanded properly in order to start the refinishing process. Make sure everything is cleared out of the room. Remove all furniture and closet items and cover all light fixtures. Next, remove shoe moulding by wedging a pry bar between the moulding and the wall. Place a block of wood behind a bar to prevent damage. Seal the door with masking tape in order to close off the room from the rest of your space. Lastly, vacuum the floor to remove dirt.

Now it’s time for sanding! A drum sander is the perfect tool to use. Most of the time these tools can be rented. A few tips for using this are:

  • Step 1
    • Begin sanding in the center of the room. Sand with the grain from one end of the room to the other, overlapping passes by an inch or two. Repeat the procedure on the other half of the room. Sand the entire center portion of the floor.
  • Step 2
    • After the main portion of the floor has been sanded with the drum sander, hand-sand or use an edge sander to sand areas where the drum sander did not reach. Use the same grit sandpaper you used with the drum sander. You may need to hand-sand or use a detail sander to reach the corners.
  • Step 3
    • When the entire floor is finished, vacuum and repeat the entire process using smaller grit (larger number) sandpaper with each pass.
  • Step 4
    • Finish by sanding the entire floor with 120 grit sandpaper.
  • Step 5
    • After the last sanding, vacuum once more and wipe with a dry cloth or tack cloth

Staining your floor

You can apply a clear sealer to your newly refinished floor or apply a stain, water- or oil-based. Some stains require more than one coat with a sanding between. Remember to keep the furniture out of the room until the floor is completely dry. After the floor is dry, reinstall the shoe moulding. To get the best finish, buff the floor after staining or sealing.

 

Environmental Benefits of Hardwood Floors

 

Many people are attracted to wood floors because of their elegant and quality appearance. They are a beautiful addition to a home and they are also an eco-friendly choice. Wood flooring is environmentally friendly.

Wood is a carbon neutral product and provides oxygen during its life cycle.

Indoor air quality is greatly improved when wood floors are present and installed correctly.

Production of wood flooring saves natural resources because they use less water and energy than other materials.

Another great benefit of wood flooring is that it can most definitely be recycled or burned as fuel. This is not the case for various other flooring options.

Aside from looking wonderful in a home, wood floors are truly the best option when deciding on an eco-friendly material. They last for decades and do not need to be replaced frequently, if ever! Who would have thought those beautiful wood floors you step on every day could be helping the environment? url-14

 

Why Choose Hardwood?

 

Let’s get basic! Why not? You’re on our page because you might be considering installing wood flooring into your home. Awesome thought. Now let’s learn a little about how wood floors can benefit your home, family, and life! First off, wood floors reveal a sense of elegance when entering a home. They immediately project comfort and style along with a right-at-home feeling.  Because wood floors are natural, they bring a positive environmental factor right into your home.  A great thing about wood floors is that there are so many styles to choose from to match any type of décor.  Every different type of wood has a unique style, design, texture, and color. The options are almost limitless when it comes to customizing your dream floor. Because hardwood is top-notch quality, your home will always stay beautiful as long as the right maintenance is put into keeping your floors the same quality as if they were just bought!

Hardwood lasts for decades. There is no doubt that it reminds sustainable for many years. It is fairly easy to maintain also. Dust mopping on a regular basis will keep your floors looking new as well as the occasional approved cleanser. For those who love to go green, wood flooring has tremendous environmental benefits. Wood floors use less water and energy to produce than other possible flooring options such as laminate or tile. Although they last hundreds of years, the flooring can be recycled! Indoor air quality is even improved when hardwood is installed. Your health will begin to see benefits from your wood floor too. Dust, mold, mites, and dirt build up on carpets, irritating colds, allergies, and other health problems. Allergy sufferers find many pros when it comes to wood floors because of the improvement in air quality.We all know wood flooring is quite an investment. Even though this is true, it is ultimately a great long term investment because it increases the value of your property and adds a beautiful charm to the overall feeling and appearance of your home.
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Picking the Perfect Area Rug for Your Flooring

 

A bedroom is a place to call your sanctuary. To have the most comforting satisfaction, most people want their decorations and flooring to be just right. Hardwood flooring of course adds elegance and style, especially to a bedroom. It can also add value to your home! Before you make a decision about what kind of flooring best suits you and your style, consider how long you plan on staying in a certain spot (as flooring can be expensive), consider design trends that match with the flooring you choose, and also be aware that it is perfectly okay to design your home  by using area rugs that complement the room’s theme. These come in a variety of sizes, styles, and colors. If placing an area rug on top of your wood floor, remember that hardwood has many benefits such as quality and durability. This means that you do not want to take away the beauty of your hardwood floors by choosing the wrong area rug. A few simple steps will help you find the perfect rug to fit your style.

1. Measure. Of course you need to know what size rug you need to fit the space you are looking to place it. The key idea is to find a rug that does not cover the entire floor, but to leave enough space to be able to see the beautiful wood.

2. Style says it all.  First recognize the color of your floors. The color of the rug and color of the floors should contrast each other. Also, consider those objects around you. What color are the walls? What does your furniture look like? For lighter furniture and cherry wood floors, a traditional area rug would look perfect. These kinds of rugs show many patterns such as diamonds or flowers.

3. Texture is important too! You want to feel comfortable when walking on your brand new area rug. A woven texture tends to be rough, a braided texture is more relaxed and soft, and a bamboo texture is rough.

Final tip: Padding prevents the rug from sliding which is perfect for it to stay in place. The padding should be an inch shorter than the rug itself.

 

 

 

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

 
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