Tag Archives: Engineered Hardwood

14 Tips for Engineered Flooring Care

Caring for your new engineered flooring is an important task to keep your floors looking great for years to come. Caring for engineered wood is very similar to caring for hardwood floors, but if you’re new to wood flooring, you may feel a little lost about which products to use and how to avoid damage during everyday use. Here are 14 tips to help you in caring for your engineered wood floors.

How to Care for Engineered Floors

  1. Most manufacturers recommend cleaning hardwood or solid engineered flooring with a damp mop or cloth only. If you find you need a little more cleaning power, purchase a cleaner made specifically for finished wood flooring. Remember, your engineered flooring is cared for mostly the same as you would for hardwood floors since the uppermost wear layer is comprised solely of hardwood.
  2. Always sweep or dust before you mop. Remove as much dirt and debris before mopping to avoid damaging your floors.
  3. Clean up spills as soon as possible. While engineered hardwood flooring is less susceptible to water damage than Solid hardwood flooring, prolonged exposure to liquids can result in damage.
  4. Use only a dry to damp mop or cloth for best results when cleaning.
  5. Protect your engineered floors from UV damage by pulling drapes or blinds during peak sunlight hours to shield your floors from direct sunlight.
  6. Place all houseplants and furniture on soft coasters or felt pads to avoid nicks and scratches.
  7. When cleaning your engineered hardwood flooring, wipe in the same direction as the wood grain for best results. This will help remove stubborn dirt from cracks and crevices in the flooring.
  8. You can choose to fill in nail marks created during installation by filling them with similarly colored wood putty. Simply wipe away any excess putty and gently clean the area with a small coat of urethane. Allow to dry for one hour.
  9. Sweeping or dusting your floors every day will help prevent a build up of dirt that will require hard scrubbing or cleaners to remove. Regular care is best for your engineered floors.
  10. Keep pets’ toenails trimmed and filed to avoid damaging your floors.
  11. Be sure to keep the moisture level of your home regulated year round to keep your engineered Hardwood floors looking great for years to come. Proper humidity control is essential for the long term upkeep of your floors.
  12. Hard water can leave a dulling effect on your engineered floors over time. Use softened water or special hardwood floor cleaners to remove this mineral buildup and restore a natural luster your flooring.
  13. Do not place electronics directly on your engineered hardwood floors. The heat generated from electronics can damage your flooring over time.
  14. Choose your engineered floor care products carefully. Be sure to read the entire label before using a product on your engineered floors. In general, if a product is safe for use on hardwood floors, it is safe for your engineered flooring.
  15. Caring for white plank floors may require a little extra TLC. Never bleach or use detergents containing bleach on your white plank engineered floors. To keep your floors white, avoid using well water (which may contain staining iron) and clean your floors daily.

Caring for your engineered flooring properly will ensure your floors stay beautiful for years. For more tips on caring for your new engineered floors, contact Urban Floor, the premier producer of engineered hardwood flooring since 2003.

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You Get What You Pay For

You Get What You Pay For
by Ron Call

So I’m driving down the road today with my wife in the car coming back to San Diego from a business trip in LA.  I admit after a long 5 hours in the car I was a little grumpy.  And this radio advertisement comes on and tells me they sell their flooring at 80% off cost.  After I calmed down ranting and raving things like “sure 80% off a 100% mark up, bunch of lying so and so’s”!  My wife says don’t get mad about it just blog about it.  So anyway I’m calm now and collecting my thoughts.

Ron Call, your Urbanfloor Guy

Everyone needs to make a profit.  That’s how we all pay the bills right?  If no one could make a profit we’d all be poor living on dirt floors.  But 80% off?  Come on, next they will be selling stuff at what?  100% off?  Remember you get what you pay for.

I did an installation for a customer last month that is a perfect example of you get what you pay for.  I’m a licensed flooring contractor that works out of a small shop.  I am typically hired by retailers, interior designers and general contractors to do installations of the flooring that they sell.  Occasionally I’ll have a customer usually a referral where I’m asked to provide both the flooring and the installation.

So I head over to her house to meet with her and go over all the details.  I find out what type of flooring she wants, I figure out how much material that will be needed and what type of sub-floor she has (very important).  Because she lives upstairs in a condo, I also need to make sure for any sound proofing requirements.  She also lived right on the ocean which can bring a whole set of challenges in itself.  So I submitted my bid for labor which detailed exact square footage required, moldings, base boards, demo of the old floor etc., everything but the floor that she would eventually choose. We planned on me returning in a few days with samples of all the different types of flooring she was interested in.  A couple days later she called to say that she was putting things off for a couple weeks as her mom was ill.

Two weeks later she called me very excited that she had found the perfect bamboo floor at that large national discount chain.  (I won’t mention their name) but they constantly advertise on T.V. and have their signs hanging in baseball parks all over America.  I was a little disappointed that I didn’t sell her the floor myself but I was happy she was happy, and work is work.

So we scheduled the installation for two weeks later.  She scheduled her vacation time so she could be home during construction.  The plan was I would pick up the bamboo and deliver it, start the demo and prep which was extensive, then on day 4 after proper acclimation we would start putting down some wood.

Here’s where its starts getting a little sticky.  We pick up the bamboo and deliver it to the house up two flights of stairs and stack it in the dining room.  I open one of the boxes to verify the color and quality and to my shock and dismay it’s solid bamboo not engineered.  Which basically means it needs 10 -14 days acclimation not the standard 3 days for engineered products.  This customer’s home was one block from the ocean which means acclimation is hyper critical even for engineered products let alone a solid one.

I tell my customer the situation and I explain that we cannot start the install for two weeks.  She was beside herself telling me that she could not change her vacation time and what could I do.  I explained that without proper acclimation her floor would have no warrantee from the manufacturer.  And that from my experience, installing a solid floating floor without proper acclimation would almost surely fail and that I, in all good conscience could not install it.  So the job was rescheduled for 2 weeks later as the discount store did not have a similar engineered product in stock so we could not exchange it.  My customer thought she was getting a good deal saving what she thought was a few cents per square foot.

In the end she took 2 more weeks off work unpaid and I lost 2 weeks of work myself.  Between the both of us it cost us thousands of dollars.  I went to the see the store manager at the discount warehouse and he was no help at all.  I asked him if he qualified his customer’s to make sure that what he’s selling people is actually suitable for the application involved (he should have known she lived by the ocean and sold her engineered flooring).  He basically told me when a customer comes in and buys a floor that his sub-contractors don’t install he just sells the customer what they want.  Cash and carry, all he cared about was that he made the sale.

The purchase of new flooring in your home can be one of the most expensive purchases that you will ever make.  You need to make sure that you shop at a good retailer with experience and one who only utilizes good licensed contractors.

Some retailers don’t use sub contractors they use their own employees, which is fine as long as the retailer is themselves an experienced contractor.  There are many factors to consider when choosing new flooring and there are many things that need to be considered to ensure your flooring purchase is a good experience such as type of floor, environment, location of the home, sub floor, type of home (ie: single family, condo, apartment, mobile home or a high traffic business location), method of installation, type of floor, warrantee and the list goes on and on.  Sometimes when you’re trying to cut corners and save a few pennies it ends up costing you more in the end.  Remember you get what you pay for!

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)

Visiting the Lazio Region of Italy

Thursday, June 7, 2012
by Dan Simon

The Lazio Region of Italy is located in the central area of the Italian peninsula and is the divide between the north and the south.  The west coast of this region overlooks the Tyrrhenian Sea.  Since the country of Italy is commonly known as the shape of a boot…  to get an idea of its geographic location just look down at your leg and it would be located just above and below your knee.  The name Lazio (pronounced ‘lattsjo) comes from the Latin, LATIUM.  Lazio is divided into five Provinces – Frosinone (FR), Latina (LT), Rieti (RT), Roma (RM), and Viterbo (VT).

Lazio Region and Provinces

The Lazio region is rich in culture and history perhaps most famously for being the center of the Roman Empire as well it is the world center of the Catholic religion home to the Vatican. The foundation of ancient Rome begins in the 8th century BC.  Outside of Rome this region is mostly plains and hills with a mountain region located in the Province of Rieti.

More than have the population of the entire region live in or around the city of Rome.  Lazio is the third most populated and the second richest region of Italy.  Rome has pioneered many engineering feats that have been the foundation of the technologies we benefit from today.  The area has inspired countless motion pictures like Gladiator.

There is no argument that can be made how much this region has influenced and inspired the world for centuries and that influence has even stretched to Urbanfloor and our Villa Caprisi Collection and hence the name ‘Lazio’  as the name of one of the 8-colors in this collection.  To view photos and get more details simply visit HERE.

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