Tag Archives: hardwood floors

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.

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!

To Base or Not to Base

To Base or Not to Base
by Ron Call

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

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

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

Base Board Only

 

Base Board with Base Shoe Molding

 

Ron Call’s Tip of the Week #007- Do It Yourself Molding Installation

Tip of the Week #007
May 3, 2012
by Ron Call, your Urbanfloor guy

Ron Call, your Urbanfloor Guy

If you have decided to tackle your own flooring installation be sure and read up on the subject and watch my videos.  An otherwise perfect installation of the floor can be overshadowed by sloppy trim installation.  Transition moldings and base boards will make or break the final look of any job.

Transitions can be tricky especially when working with a concrete sub floor where nailing them down is not an option.  Most installers will use a good construction adhesive and blue painters tape to secure them in place while the adhesive cures.  When installing multiple pieces for example at a tile or stone transition where there are angles, like a fireplace or tile entry way the installer often finds the next day after the adhesive has cured that the pieces have shifted and have become misaligned or there are now gaps.

This often necessitates buying new moldings and starting over as removal at this point almost always results in breakage.  This is often caused by some one stepping on them before the adhesive has had time to fully cure or the trim piece was slightly bowed and lifted up off the floor and the tape could not hold it.

A simple method to prevent this is to purchase a $20.00 hot melt glue gun from your local hardware store.  When applying your construction adhesive leave a small area on both ends of each piece and a small spot in the middle of the channel where the glue is to be applied.  This is where you will place dollops of thermal plastic glue.

Apply the construction adhesive first, making sure your molding is cut properly. (Dry fit first) Then quickly place the hot melt glue in the three spots where there is no construction adhesive.  Quickly place the molding in place and hold in securely for about three minutes while the thermal plastic glue sets up.

The thermal plastic glue will hold the molding in place until the construction adhesive has had time to cure.  No need for blue tape and your job is complete and your molding look like they where done by a pro.  Now go enjoy your new floor.

Ron Call’s Tip of the Week #005- Man’s Best Friend and Your Hardwood Floors

Tip of the Week #005 
April 20, 2012
by Ron Call, your Urbanfloor guy

Ron Call, your Urbanfloor Guy

If you have dogs in your home especially large dogs it’s a good idea to have throw rugs strategically placed over your hardwood floors.  Place them under your coffee table, dining room table and if possible around the perimeter of your bed as well. 

Hardwood floors can be be pretty slick.  Just ask your 6 year old who likes to slide around in his socks.  Some dogs have a difficult time getting up off the wood floor when they are lying down and will extend their claws to try and get a better grip thereby digging their nails into the wood flooring causing scratches.  If your dog has his favorite place to lay down, place a throw rug down.  It will enhance the designer look of your home, make your dog’s life easier and it may save you the frustration of having to pay to have scratches fixed.

Ron Call’s Tip of the Week #004

Ron Call, your Urbanfloor Guy

Tip of the Week
April 13, 2012
by Ron Call, your Urbanfloor guy

Be sure to only use the manufacturer recommended cleaner on your hardwood floors.  Here at Urbanfloor we recommend Bona* brand.  Not using the proper cleaning product may void your warranty and it may cause other problems by changing the appearance of your floor.  Contact your authorized flooring dealer for the correct product for your floor. 

*Urbanfloor is not related or affiliated with Bona USA, Inc. and does not gain any monetary benefit by referring Bona products. Recommendations are voluntary and solely based on our own experience. Bona and BonaKemi USA Inc. are registered trademarks of their respective owners.

Ron Call’s Tip of the Week #002

Tip of the Week
March 23, 2012
by Ron Call, your Urbanfloor Guy

One of the first things people love to do when they get a brand new hardwood floor is show it off. Often they will have a party and invite all their friends.  Beware of beautiful ladies in stiletto high heel shoes.  Women love them and they may look stylish but a hundred pound woman in heels can apply more pressure per square inch than a fully loaded refrigerator. And if the heel is damaged it can be even worse. So high heels off at the door ladies or a real expensive repair job may be required after the clean up.

Reduce Water Exposure to Your Hardwood Floors When It Rains

Tip of the week
March 17, 2012
by Ron Call

Ron Call, your Urbanfloor Guy

It’s a rainy day here in So Cal.  Make sure you have walk-off mats placed at your front door and any other high traffic entry ways into your home to reduce water exposure to your floors. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to take off your shoes after being outside in the wet weather as well.
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