Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Solid Vs Engineered Hardwood Flooring - Pros and Cons

Solid hardwood flooring is the more traditional type of wooden flooring compared to engineered hardwood flooring. Engineered floor is not a new phenomenon and has been around for several decades. Here, we shall take a comprehensive look at whether solid hardwood floor is better or engineered hardwood flooring by analyzing the pros and cons of each. Solid hardwood is used from a single piece of wood which is then split into various slabs (longitudinal) to fit into each other at the tongues and grooves. Engineered hardwood has a specific manufacturing practice where several wood pieces are formed into layers, each one known as 'ply', and these plies are placed in a cross grain pattern and bonded together using heat and pressure.

Now, let us look at the pros and cons of each.

The biggest disadvantage of solid hardwood is the fact that they react to moisture. If the relative humidity in the room is a bit on the higher side then this type of flooring can expand. When the relative humidity drops they contract. This is regarded as instability in terms of languages used for flooring. As a result of this phenomenon, solid flooring cannot be used in basements, toilets or at any place where there is a susceptibility of moisture accumulation. Normal dehumidifiers can easily act as a prevention mechanism to such instability but the problem is inherent to this type of flooring. Engineered flooring does not have any such problems as they do not react to moisture. They can be installed in the basements, toilets or even on concrete floors. However, it has to be ensured that there is no moisture on the surface or in the room while installing such type of flooring.

Solid hardwood flooring can last for several generations. As a matter of fact, more than 50 years can be an easy task for solid hardwood flooring. Sanding, refinishing or re-coating the surface once every 20 years can be good enough to maintain solid hardwood. With time, it shows the true elegance and natural grains of the wood hence enhancing the beauty and aesthetics of the property. Engineered hardwood flooring can also last for a long time and they are equally easy to maintain. They are resistive to scratches or quick wear and tear, however they do not possess the quality of getting their appearance enhanced as the wood has been made into plies rather than being used as a block. It is eco-friendly since the manufacturing process uses up a lot of waste which is an advantage that solid hardwood flooring doesn't offer.

The answer to the question solid wood or engineered is so subjective that there is no right or wrong answer, it all depends on your property's conditions, your needs, your taste and of course your budget.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Exotic Hardwood Floors

With an impressive durability and unique appearances, exotic hardwoods are an excellent choice for the homeowner who wants the durability of hardwood but wants something a little different at the same time. exotic hardwoods offer a variety of colorations and patterns that are not commonly seen in domestic hardwood flooring. Learn more about what makes a wood floor exotic, the durability they offer, and how to care for your exotic wood flooring.

What Are exotic hardwoods?

An exotic hardwood is defined as any type of wood found outside of the United States that is imported into the country. Brazil, Australia, Africa and countries in the Far East offer a large variety of woods not native to the U.S. There are over 100 species of trees that are considered exotic to North America and offer a distinctive and visually striking appearance that differs from standard American hardwood floors.

Exotic hardwood floors, like standard hardwood floors, are manufactured in both solid hardwood and engineered assortments. Solid hardwood is a single slat of wood; engineered wood is a sandwich of laminated wood with real hardwood veneer on the top layer.

Hardness Rating

All wood is subject to the Janka Hardness Rating scale to detect its strength. This hardness test measures the force required to embed a.444 inch steel ball to half its diameter into the wood. The Janka Rating is the industry standard for assessing the ability of various wood species to endure pressure and determine the energy needed to nail and/or saw the wood.

Tests performed by the U.S. Forestry Lab indicate that most exotic woods are frequently more durable than other types of hardwoods. Brazilian Teak, for example, has a rating of 3,540, which makes it perfect to handle the abuse of large families with indoor pets. African Mahogany has a rating of 830, and is more likely to be damaged by heavy traffic and scuffed by your pet's nails.

Care and Maintenance

Exotic hardwood floors, like domestic hardwood floors, require little maintenance to uphold their luster. Wipe spills immediately and limit any exposure to water. Regularly dust and sweep to reduce the risk of dirt buildup. Only use mild solvents specifically designed for hardwood floors, making sure to avoid harsh abrasives and scouring pads. A natural cleaner of equal parts white vinegar and water usually works best, but you must be sure to dry the floor completely when finished cleaning..

Always use caution when moving large pieces of furniture or heavy equipment across the floor. Although exotic hardwoods are durable and tough, they still have limits and will scratch and dent when too much weight is scraped the wrong way across the floor. Furniture coasters and lifting straps can help protect the life of your floor.

Many varieties of exotic wood floors are photosensitive, so avoid leaving them unprotected in direct sunlight as they may change color over time. Close curtains and blinds when possible and use rugs in areas that could be affected.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Hardwood and Vinyl Flooring Cleaning Tips

Here are five tips for cleaning vinyl flooring.

Leave a doormat in front of any entrances into vinyl rooms. A doormat will help rid your vinyl floor of it's two greatest problems: dirt and chemicals. Tracked-in dirt requires extra sweeping, and grit will act like sandpaper, removing the finish from your floor. And although you can't see them, chemicals from outside your home can stick to your shoes and then to the floor, causing possible discoloration.

Proper maintenance. The key to keeping any floor in good shape is to keep it clean, and linoleum or vinyl is no exception. Try to remove any dirt before it gets ground in, and your vinyl will remain in better shape for a longer time. clean (sweep and mop) the floor frequently; it is a good idea to quickly run a broom across the kitchen or bathroom floor daily.

Soap away sticky substances. If you have sticky substances (such as a spilled drink) on your vinyl floor, quickly mop it away before it can settle. Combine a squirt of detergent (one approved to clean vinyl flooring) with a gallon of warm water. Mop, then rinse with a damp mop.

Never attempt to spray away dirt with heavy-duty cleaners; clean your vinyl floor using the mildest possible method. Sweep or vacuum it routinely, and soak up any spills right away. To clean dirt that a broom or vacuum cannot, use a mop dampened with warm water.

Use the correct product. If you have no-wax vinyl that requires cleaning, wash it with a cleaner made specifically for no-wax floors (and always follow the directions on the bottle). If you have any questions regarding what product to purchase, never hesitate to ask the worker at the store you are buying the product in.

Here are some suggestions to keep your hardwood floors looking clean and new.

Sweep and vacuum the floors on a regular basis.

Place door mats in front of high traffic areas such as doors and kitchen sinks.

Make sure to clean liquid spills as soon as they occur.

Place floor protectors to the bottoms of chair legs and movable furniture to prevent scratching of the wood.

Clean the floors weekly with a hardwood floor cleaner (there are many varieties on the market); Spray the cleaner on a cloth then wipe the floor surface.

Make sure not to use excessive amounts of oil of water to clean the floor; and make sure to wipe up any water or oil applied quickly (or else warping can occur).

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Carpeting and Hardwood Flooring Installation

The floors in your house are the most important part to making the room look welcoming. No matter the color of the walls or the furniture, as long as the floor is clean and sharp looking you will be in good shape.

You have to consider that you have many different options with your floor situation. First, there is carpeting. Carpeting comes in many different materials, colors and weaves for you to choose from. A shag rug is going to be a lot fluffier and a lot cozier than a tight woven rug. You can choose from any color under the sun to cover your floors in colors that match your setting.

Wall to wall carpeting can last for as long as you take care of it properly. A good carpeting system with quality material can last for decades without needing replacement. Although you do have to worry about sun damage and weathering as well as keeping it vacuumed to eliminate bacteria.

Hardwood flooring on the other hand is a much cleaner approach. It also may help your home build elegance and style. You can get many different types of hardwood that will match your style of your house and allow for a simpler easier maintenance routine. Hardwood floor only needs to be kept up with sweeping and mopping with an occasional wood treatment depending on the finish.

Gloss finish is easier for a hardwood floor because it is easier maintained. When the gloss rubs off over years of foot traffic it will need a new gloss but until then it is the best material for resisting spills and wood wearing.

There are many different types of wood to choose from and different colors and finishing that will make your rooms have the feel that you want. Mahogany, cherry wood, classic sandalwood and more are available for different colors, tones, hardness and length of life.

You can have different parts of your house that have carpeting and wood as well. Rooms that have carpet can be cut off at the threshold. You can have padding under the carpet for a cushy comfortable floor to walk on and enjoy.

Your beautiful new sparkling hardwood floor will allow you a low maintenance and high profile addition to your house. You can bring class and worth to your house from redoing your floors. You can even up the resale value of your house due to the upgrade of your floors.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hardwood Cabinets - Care Tips

When you have hardwood cabinets installed in your home, take the time to sit back, look, and enjoy the true beauty of this upgrade. You may think that you do not have to worry about cleaning and caring for your new cupboards for a while, but this is not true. Ensuring that everything continues to look as good as new starts with proper care from the very beginning.

Before you do a thing with your new cabinets, read the manufacturers' maintenance instructions. The various finishes available for hardwood require different cleaners and care options. Find out what is recommended for yours.

Even if a cleaner is recommended, you should still test it out before using it on every square inch of the surface. Apply a little of the solution to an area that is not easily seen. Wait a while to make sure it does not damage the surface in any way.

You need to dust regularly to ensure that dust and debris do not cause any damage. Use a lint-free cloth to do this, and consider dampening it slightly, but always dry all surfaces when you are done.

Remember that hardwood cabinets are similar in durability to fine wood furniture. You need to treat them as such and protect them from excess moisture, which can damage them. Watch around the sink, oven, dishwasher, and even baseboards for this problem. Dry any water you find, and then look for the source to stop the problem if you can.

Sometimes your cabinets will get stained. Use non-alkaline soap and water to clean these, unless the manufacturer does not recommend it. Then, when you are done, use a soft cloth to dry and buff the surface. Never leave any kind of cleaning solution on the surface of a cabinet, because it will damage the wood. Never use scrubbing pads, powdered cleaners, or abrasive cleaners at any time on hardwood furnishings.

Cleaning the interior is simple. All you need to do is wipe it down with a damp cloth or sponge. Make sure it is dry before you put your dishes and food back inside.

When you are cleaning windows near a cupboard, spray the glass cleaner onto a rag while standing away from the wood surface. Then, use the rag to wipe down the window. Spraying directly on the window could allow some of the cleaner to hit the cabinetry and damage the finish.

When cleaning pulls and knobs on your cabinetry, use mild soap and water. Like the windows, if you use harsh chemicals here, some could drip onto the wood. Also, strong chemicals may harm the finish on the handles as well. If the soap and water are not sufficient, remove the handles and clean them away from the cabinetry.

If you find damaged finish, be very careful in how you handle it. You may want to have the installer come and fix the problem. Otherwise, try to get a repair kit directly from the manufacturer to ensure you match the finish perfectly. Pretest to ensure you know what you are doing, and follow the instructions well as you fix the problem.