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Resource Center



Questions From Our Comments Section





We love our blog readers! They ask us some great questions and bring a great community feeling. Of course, if one person asks a question, someone else has probably wondered about the same thing, and so in that spirit we’ve decided to share some of the recent queries from our comments sections!

Read on to learn more, and don’t hesitate to chime in with questions of your own!
 
Q: What about engineered wood floors with pets? –Carla

Hi Carla! The suitability of engineered hardwood for pets depends on a few things. The size and species of your pets is a big consideration; big dogs have a higher chance of scratching engineered hardwood than a smaller dog or a cat. For example, a playful Great Dane with scrambly paws and claws would cause more damage than a Yorkie. There’s also the accident factor to consider, whether it’s a puppy being house-trained or a cat with a hairball. Engineered hardwood is not waterproof, and the chemical makeup of pet urine (cat urine is very alkaline) can lead to damage. As a rule we recommend other materials over engineered hardwood for pet owners, but the final decision will come down to your preferences and what you want out of your floor.
 

Your best friend doesn't have to be your floor's worst enemy.

Your best friend doesn’t have to be your floor’s worst enemy.






Q: I am interested in buying a house built in 1989 but it has laminate floors. How safe is this house with those laminate floors? -Gloria

Hi Gloria, it’s impossible for us to say 100% definitively since we don’t have any information about that specific flooring other than it is in fact laminate. However, we can tell you that if the laminate is more than a few months old and has ever been ventilated (i.e., the windows in that room have been opened), you should be just fine. Unsafe laminate floors don’t continuously produce the hazardous chemicals you read about, once they’ve been emitted they’re gone and the flooring won’t make more. The home should be perfectly safe! If you have more concerns before purchasing the house, we recommend speaking to the homeowners and the realtor, as they should be able to give you more detail about the specific make and model of laminate in that home.
 
Q: I’m possibly installing a solid hardwood Acacia flooring. The store suggested I use a pad underneath to help with echo, suggesting that tighter, harder flooring echoes more. This seems odd to me, as I have seen dozens of exotic hardwood floors to down directly on black felt. Your thoughts on this? –Scott

Scott, you’re dead right. We put proper padding under floating floors, not under nailed or stapled down floors, which is how solid hardwood gets installed. The only real alternate to the black felt is a red rosin paper, which has some moisture barrier benefits. In truth, neither is required, and – I verified with our installers – they’ve never used anything else, just the black felt, red rosin, or nothing at all. That’s how it is with solid hardwood. Your intuition is being a good friend to you today.

A beautiful solid acacia floor.


 




Q: I have a finished basement that seems to attract water issues from the water main springing a leak into the basement, my dog having an accident, and a condensate pipe overflowing. I need a flooring that will not have to be removed if there is a substantial amount of water. I am leaning towards thin set and grouted porcelain flooring. What do you think I should do? –Carolyn

Hi Carolyn, I would say yes, you’re in the right area! Glazed porcelain is designed to withstand water and is available in a large variety of colors, so hopefully you’ll find something that fits your decor. It’s a great bet for basements!

Posted in Customer Q & A

4 Things You Need To Know About Floor Pad




We talk a lot on this blog about how important it is to do your research. Trust me on this one: the headaches of research now are worth their weight in migraine prevention gold later. Lost in the metaphors yet? Me too. Let’s break it down further: Research will save you time and money, because it lets you make an informed flooring decision and prevent problems down the line.

Not only is this true for your flooring material, it’s also true for your underlayment. Choosing the right pad is critical for a long and happy life with your floor. Here are five important things to keep in mind during the research and selection process.
 

‘PAD’ AND ‘MOISTURE BARRIER’ DON’T ALWAYS MEAN THE SAME THING

Most of today’s underlayments do have built-in vapor barriers that resist moisture diffusion through walls and subfloors. It’s a well-known fact that prolonged moisture exposure can be detrimental to flooring materials like hardwood and laminate; the best thing you can do is prevent those problems before they start. A moisture barrier is a very thin sheet of plastic that goes on top of the subfloor. It’s usually 6 mil thick – 6 micrometers, or 6 tenths of a millimeter – I know it sounds small, but it’s more than enough to get the job done.
 
pad-and-barrier
 
Be sure to check that your underlayment has a moisture barrier; even if you’re using a laminate with attached pad you may still need to use a moisture barrier. Check the manufacturer’s specifications, ask your installer, or call your flooring retailer if you’re unsure. Better safe than sorry!

What’s The Difference Between A Moisture Barrier And A Vapor Barrier?

These two terms are used interchangeably when talking about floor pad. If your underlayment advertises a vapor barrier as opposed to a moisture barrier, there’s no need for confusion. It will also work to block moisture and you won’t need to add an additional layer of pad.
 

THERE IS A GREENER OPTION

It is possible to get premium protection while still looking out for the environment. Our best-selling SuperFelt underlayment is made of recycled felt fibers that offer superior warmth and sound-proofing. Since this is a thicker pad, it may not be suitable for all floors, so be sure to check your manufacturer’s specifications before purchase and installation.
 

Superfelt Roll

Superfelt Roll


 

IT’S IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND YOUR SUBFLOOR

A great life with your new floor doesn’t start with the material you choose – it starts with your subfloor. Odds are you have one of three types of subfloor:

• Cement
• Wood
• Pre-Existing Floor Covering

Creating a level surface is critical regardless of what kind of subfloor you have. Seams, grout lines, and imperfections will all need to be repaired prior to installing your new floor. This will prevent myriad issues down the line. For a more in-depth look at subfloors, check out this post.
 

Leveling a concrete floor.


 



Your subfloor type will help you choose your perfect underlayment. If you have a concrete subfloor, particularly in an area like a basement, moisture can be an issue, so you’ll definitely want a vapor barrier. Unchecked moisture from concrete subfloors can lead to mold, compromised adhesives on glued down flooring materials, and warped flooring.

Moisture prevention is also important for wood subfloors. Whether you have a plywood subfloor or a plank subfloor, a moisture barrier or underlayment paper will help prevent moisture problems before they start. Again, don’t forget to check your manufacturer’s specifications and talk to your installer!

Underlayment can cover up very minor subfloor imperfections, but it should not be seen as a substitute for taking the proper leveling measures. Remember, a level subfloor is critical!


DON’T FORGET RUG PAD!


Throw rugs are one of our favorite ways to add charm and personality to a room. With reasonable price points and an endless supply of styles it’s easy to find a throw rug that meets your needs and matches your decor. They’re also great for covering up flooring imperfections, stains, or scratches. The only issue? Unsecured throw rugs can be slippery on smooth surfaces like laminate and hardwood.

Is this a major issue? Not really, no…until someone trips over a bunched throw rug. Non-slip grippers and pads are available at most home improvement stores; some are the more traditional checkerboard-style rubber, but some newer models are made of felt or felt-rubber combinations.

Posted in Basic Installation Tips

Do or Don’t: Vinyl Flooring




DO: Sweep and vacuum regularly. A little bit of daily maintenance keeps things nice and clean, and prevents allergens like dust and pet dander from building up.
 

"Cute doesn't clean up after itself, Dad."

“Cute doesn’t clean up after itself, Dad.”


 




DON’T: Let spills sit for too long. Even though the vinyl itself is waterproof, liquid left to its own devices can seep down into the seams and cause subfloor damage. It can also weaken the adhesive on glued down vinyl floors and lead to unsightly staining.
 
DO: Use the right cleaner for your specific mess. Not sure what to use? Always check your manufacturer’s recommendations first. Still not sure? We’ve got a handy cheat sheet already put together.
 
DON’T: Use any harsh abrasive chemicals on vinyl floors. Bleach is a no-go, as is acetone. They’ll erode the wear layer and cause the decorative pattern layer to degrade beyond repair. Of course, one of the great things about floating vinyl floors is that you can replace individual planks without ripping up the entire floor, but it’s best to avoid the hassle altogether.
 



no-chemicals-for-vinyl
 
DO: Try something new! One of the great things about modern vinyl is its versatility in both strength and appearance. There’s never been a better time to try vinyl in an area of your home you might not have considered before, like a master bedroom or guestroom.
 
DON’T: Assume that the sheet vinyl of yore is still the only option on the market. Today’s vinyl floors are tough and trendy without the spongy hassles of the 1970’s. The latest innovation in vinyl is WPC, an engineered virgin vinyl product with outstanding strength and soundproofing capabilities.

What are your vinyl dos and don’ts, friends?


Posted in Vinyl Flooring, waterproof

How Is Laminate Flooring Made?




Next up in our “How Is That Flooring Made?” series we have…Laminate Flooring!
 

What Is It?

Laminate is a multilayered composite product that was originally designed as a less expensive alternative to hardwood. Here’s a breakdown of the layers that make up a plank of laminate flooring:

Backing Layer This is the bottom layer. It’s designed to provide more stability and prevent rising moisture. Typically made from melamine plastic, the backing layer is sometimes covered with an attached pad.

Core Board This is the thickest layer, the real ‘body’ of the laminate and a wood-derived product. Composed of resin, binders, and wood particles, this layer gives laminate all of its stability. The core board is commonly referred to as High Density Fiberboard (HDF); it’s made of leftover wood products from saw mills and manufacturers like sawdust and wood chips. Since no new trees are cut down to gather the aforementioned wood particles, HDF is considered a green product!

Decorative Layer This is the visible part of the laminate, the photographic image that mimics whatever wood species or tile design that particular style is going for. This layer is very thin.

Protective Layer This is the very top layer, also called the Wear Layer, a transparent coating that protects the decorative layer and adds an extra punch of durability. They can be high gloss, matte, or somewhere in between.

Through vigorous applications of heat and pressure, the backing layer and core board are fused together and topped with the photographic decorative layer and the top protective layer. It comes off the production line in sheets and is then cut into planks. For a more detailed look at the manufacturing process, check out this post in our Resource Center.
 

Laminate diagram from laminate innovator Formica.

Laminate diagram from laminate innovator Formica.


 

Is Laminate Flooring Safe?

Yes. Laminate is safe for long-term use in your home. The melamine resin in laminate core board contains formaldehyde; however the amount present is strictly regulated. Flooring materials undergo safety testing just like food, cosmetics, medications, work sites and more. As part of our commitment to customer safety and reassurance, Floors To Your Home conducted independent third-party testing at our own expense to make sure every laminate floor we carry is safe. Want to know more? We put together a handy FAQ here. And, as always, don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-804-5251 or chat at FloorsToYourHome.com with any questions.
 
safe-laminate-trees
 

What Types Of Laminate Are Available?

Laminate is commonly divided by appearance rather than technical differences. As their names indicate, wood look laminate is designed to look like wood, while tile look laminate is designed to look like tile. Another way laminate is differentiated is padding. Some laminate floors have pre-attached underlayment, others don’t, and underlayment needs to be purchased separately. Laminate is available in as many styles and finishes as hardwood; there’s a wide variety of everything from sleek modern looks to classic designs to trendy rustic distressed looks. Specialty laminate goes off the beaten path with unique colors, wide planks, random width designs, and more! Check out the latest innovations here.

Different laminates are also designed for different purposes. Similar to how hardwood is measured with the Janka scale, laminate floors are measured with the Abrasion Class rating system. The AC ratings go from 1 to 5, with 1 being suitable for moderate residential foot traffic to the heavy-duty 5, which is designed to withstand very heavy commercial foot traffic.
 
ac-ratings
 

How Do I Know If Laminate Flooring Is Right For Me?

Laminate is arguably the most versatile flooring option on the market today, in terms of both style and usefulness. It’s easy to install, available in an unrivaled range of colors and finishes, and highly durable. Specialty laminate is on the cutting edge of style! It’s important to note, though, that laminate is water resistant, not water proof. The transparent top layer and the backing layer are waterproof but the core board layer is not, and can swell when exposed to moisture. If you’re shopping for a floor that’s not going in a moisture-prone area, laminate might be the perfect option, although many people do install it in kitchens and bathrooms without any difficulty.

Laminate is considered to be the best choice for pet owners who are interested in hardwood but concerned about scratches and damage. Since it’s easy to clean, laminate is also good for families with children. If you’re looking for style, convenience, and strength, laminate flooring may be the perfect choice for you!

Posted in How Is That Flooring Made, Laminate Flooring

How Is Porcelain Flooring Made?





Third in our “How Is That Flooring Made?” series we have…Porcelain and Ceramic Tile!
 

What Is It?

Both porcelain and ceramic start off as natural clay, which is then mixed with a variety of raw materials like feldspar, flint, and silica. The exact proportions will vary depending on the manufacturer’s specifications. Here’s a quick breakdown of these raw materials:

Clay is a naturally occurring rock or soil substance found all over the world. It combines one or more clay minerals with organic matter and trace amounts of metal oxide.

Feldspar is a mineral found in the Earth’s crust. It’s commonly used as filler in paints and rubber materials and is also used in archaeological dating.

Flint is a form of quartz.

Silica is silicon dioxide, one of the main components of sand.
 
raw-materials-porcelain
 

What’s The Difference Between Porcelain And Ceramic?

While it’s important to remember that porcelain is actually a type of ceramic, the differences are worth noting. The most basic differences are in clay density and firing temperature. Porcelain is made from denser clay than ceramic, and is fired at a much higher temperature. The clay used to make porcelain undergoes a more rigorous refining process to remove impurities; combined with the increased firing temperature and pressure, the finished product is dense, hard, and highly durable.

Ceramic is no slouch either. In its traditional unglazed form, certain ceramics feature a stunning rusty rose tone: the prized terra cotta, “baked earth,” in Italian. Terra cotta has been used as an ornamental building material for centuries across the world: the famed Terra Cotta Army of the Qin Dynasty were found in 1974 near Xi’an, China over 2,000 years after being built.
 

A section of the Terra Cotta Army. CC BY-SA 3.0


 

What Types Are Available?

The two main types of porcelain available are glazed tile and unglazed tile. There’s no difference in the manufacturing process, but glazed porcelain tile is coated in a liquid glass finish – the glaze – then fired at very high temperatures.
 

A cross-section illustration of the two tile types.

A cross-section illustration of the two tile types.


 

Glazed Tile

Glaze gives porcelain a sleek, smooth, and stylish finish that’s available in a large range of colors. The glaze layer is nonporous, which helps prevent staining. Hardness also needs to be taken into consideration with glazed tiles: matte and satin finishes are harder than high gloss finishes and therefore less susceptible to scratches. The key to getting a tile floor that matches your beauty wants and your durability needs is balance.
 

Glazed porcelain.

Glazed porcelain.


 

Unglazed Tile

Since unglazed tiles don’t have the smooth finished surface of their glazed counterparts, they’re great for slippery areas like kitchens and laundry rooms where moisture and safety are top priorities. As a rule unglazed tiles are denser and thicker than glazed tiles, but they’re more vulnerable to staining and should be sealed and waxed as preventative measures.

Unglazed tiles can be used outside in milder climates. Always check the manufacturer’s specifications to make sure your tiles are approved for outdoor use prior to installation.
 

Unglazed tile, arranged in a lovely ombre design.


 

How Do I Know If Porcelain Tile Is Right For Me?

Porcelain and ceramic are great for rooms with moisture concerns. It’s been a go-to in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and entryways for centuries, and with good reason! The variety of colors and finishes on the market help make a truly customizable flooring experience.
It’s important to take safety concerns into account; wet porcelain can be very slippery and falls can cause serious injury. These risks can be alleviated with precautions like area rugs and slip-resistant materials.

In terms of installation ease, porcelain is traditionally applied with grout, a notoriously time-consuming process. Can grout be a pain to install? Yes. Does it look great when it’s installed? Also yes! It depends on your preference, timeline, and whether you’re going DIY or hiring a professional. For those in search of a more convenient option, some modern porcelains use click together installation.

If you’re looking for a combination of beauty and durability, porcelain is a great choice!

Posted in Ceramic, How Is That Flooring Made

How Is Engineered Hardwood Flooring Made?




Next up in our “How Is That Flooring Made?” series we have…Engineered Hardwood!
 

What Is It?

Engineered hardwood is a flooring material made from numerous layers of wood, as opposed to coming from one single plank like solid hardwood does. The crisscross layer structure provides extra dimensional stability so that each plank is less prone to weather-based expansion or contraction. The wood species used to make the decorative top layer gives the flooring its name: a top layer of acacia will make an engineered acacia floor, whereas a maple top layer will make an engineered maple floor and so on.

A common misconception holds that engineered hardwood is somehow less ‘genuine’ than solid hardwood. This is highly inaccurate! Both solid and engineered hardwood floors are made of real wood – the only difference is the structural constitution.
 

A cross-section of the two hardwood types.

A cross-section of the two hardwood types.


 

How Is It Made?

The layers composing an engineered hardwood plank are bonded together with adhesive and pressure. The number of layers varies; a 3-ply engineered floor will have three layers, a 5-ply engineered floor will have five layers, etcetera.

While all engineered hardwood follows the same layered concept, there are two separate ways to achieve the final finished look:

Rotary Cut Veneer. The top hardwood layer is removed from a section of wood using large lathes. Since this peels rather than cuts, it lets more dramatic grain patterns show off their beauty.

•Quarter Sawn Veneer. The log is cut into quarters prior to being cut. Since the growth rings are not visible when this method is used, it produces a lovely straight grain pattern.

Slice Cut Veneer. A piece of slice cut veneer is cut from a plank just like a piece of solid hardwood. It highlights finer graining and allows for a thicker wear layer.
 
veneer that shhhh
 

What Types Are Available?

Engineered hardwood is available in as many different species as solid hardwood! Both domestic and exotic woods are popular choices and make beautiful floors. There’s also a range of quality grades available at different price points so you can easily factor cost into your decision-making process. Cabin Grade hardwoods are a great choice for anyone looking for a more rustic characterful look at a low discount price.

As far as installation options, engineered hardwood can feature the traditional tongue & groove design found on solid hardwood.
 
t-&-g-for-blog
 
While solid hardwood needs to be nailed or stapled, engineered tongue & groove floors can be installed in one of four ways:

Nailing

Stapling

Gluing down directly to the subfloor

Floating without adhesive

Some engineered hardwoods click together , making installation easier for both professionals and DIY-ers.
 

How Do I Know If Engineered Hardwood Is Right For Me?

Engineered hardwood is a great choice for anyone who wants the classic wood floor look without having to pay top dollar for solid hardwood. It’s durable, easy to clean, and never goes out of fashion. Of course, just like with any other material, it’s important to factor in your lifestyle, your budget, and where the floor will be installed. It’s critical to look at your subfloor and your room’s moisture content. For more on choosing the perfect engineered hardwood floor, check out this post in our Resource Center.

Posted in Hardwood Flooring, How Is That Flooring Made

Laminate: True Or False?




Laminate flooring is well-known in the interior design world. Of course, with fame comes misconception, so we’re here to clear up some of that pesky misinformation floating around and hopefully answer some of your questions at the same time.
 

TRUE OR FALSE: Laminate Floors are Unsafe.

False. The formaldehyde content of laminate came to national attention in 2015 as a result of a news exposé into a national flooring retailer’s unscrupulous practices. Flooring materials are regulated for safety just like food, cosmetics, medication, automobiles, jobsites, and so much more. Laminate undergoes rigorous testing to ensure it’s safe for long-term use in both family homes and commercial areas. In fact, Floors To Your Home even conducted independent third party lab testing at our own expense to make sure all of the laminate we sell is 100% safe. To learn more about laminate safety, check out our FAQ here.
 
laminates-are-safe
 
TRUE OR FALSE: Laminate is Suitable for Commercial Spaces.

True! In fact, laminate is an ideal choice for offices, retail stores, and even heavy traffic public buildings like government spaces. The key to finding the right laminate for your commercial space is in the AC Rating. AC3 floors can handle light to moderate commercial foot traffic and AC4 floors can handle general commercial foot traffic; AC5 floors, the toughest of them all, are designed to stand up to heavy commercial foot traffic. For a more in-depth look at the AC Ratings, check out this post over in our Resource Center.
 

TRUE OR FALSE: Laminate Floors are Very Durable.

True! Modern laminates are a tough customer. They’re designed to handle busy lifestyles and are a top choice for pet owners and active families. They can even handle big dogs! Laminate floors get their strength from layered construction: the stabilizing backing layer, the high density core (available in a variety of thicknesses to suit your needs), the photographic layer that makes the flooring beautiful, and the transparent topcoat that seals the photo layer and adds plenty of extra protection.
 

TRUE OR FALSE: Laminate Floors Aren’t Stylish.

False, false, and false! Today’s specialty laminates are as stylish as they come. Flooring has come a long way over the past 20 years and now there’s absolutely no reason to compromise between style and substance. Modern laminates include larger planks, random width designs, unique multi-tonal patterns, stunning high gloss finishes, and much more! If you can dream it, laminate flooring can do it.
 

Boring? Not a chance!

Boring? Not a chance!






What misconceptions have you heard about laminate floors? Have you ever had your beliefs about laminates corrected? Any rumors you’d like us to clear up? Let us know in the comments!


Posted in Laminate Flooring

How Is Vinyl Flooring Made?





Welcome to the first in our new blog series, “How Is That Flooring Made?” First up: Vinyl!
 

What Is It?

Vinyl is made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin along with various additives such as plasticizers, stabilizers, pigments, and fillers. According to the EPA, “Vinyl flooring products can be made using different manufacturing processes and material compositions. The density of vinyl flooring will also vary, depending on its intended use.”

Let’s take a closer look at those additives:
 
Plasticizers soften the vinyl and increase flexibility

Stabilizers minimize degradation and fading from heat and sunlight

Pigments give the vinyl flooring its color

Fillers act as resin extenders and can assist pigments in producing a desired color

Some vinyl floors may include antimicrobial additives to prevent mold and bacteria growth.
 

How Is It Made?

The combination of resin and the aforementioned additives creates vinyl compound, commonly formed into pellets or granules that look a bit like the pebbles on the bottom of a fish tank.
 

PVC Pellets


 



Vigorous applications of heat and pressure render those pellets from individual pieces into a batter-like mixture. At this stage, the mixture that will become sheet vinyl is applied to a backing material, while a mixture that will be cut into planks or tiles is squeezed into sheets. Any texture will be applied at this stage, then the sheet will pass through a die cutter and be cut into the desired size.
 

What Types Are Available?

Vinyl flooring comes in several different varieties:
 

Sheet Vinyl

This is the original vinyl flooring. It comes in rolls like carpet does, normally six to twelve feet wide, and can be cut to your desired size.
 

Rolls of Sheet Vinyl






Once the most innovative flooring option on the market, these days sheet vinyl often takes a back seat to plank and tile designs. Sheet vinyl is most often glued down to the subfloor, but some varieties do feature loose lay installation.
 

Vinyl Tile

Vinyl tiles are square-shaped pieces of flooring designed to provide a smooth uniform appearance. They frequently feature patterns that mimic natural stone and marble. Vinyl tile often uses the peel-and-stick installation method.
 

Supreme Click Elite Venetian Slate Vinyl Tile

Vinyl Plank

Vinyl planks are rectangular pieces of flooring designed to emulate genuine hardwood. They’re great in rooms like bathrooms and basements where moisture concerns rule out genuine hardwood. Available in a wide variety of sizes and thicknesses, vinyl planks are a popular choice due to their versatility in both appearance and installation. Some models are loose lay, others are glued down, and others click together like this:
 
click together
 

What About Luxury Vinyl?

Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) and Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) are common terms in the vinyl industry. The key word there? Industry. ‘Luxury’ is an industry term and a marketing buzzword, not a vinyl that meets an agreed-upon set of criteria. Both LVT and LVP are renowned for their abilities to create amazing realistic stone and hardwood looks.
 

How Do I Know Which Vinyl Floor Is Right For Me?

The key things to look at when choosing a vinyl floor are the room it’s going to be installed in, your budget, and your lifestyle. Are you going to be installing the material yourself, or hiring a professional? Do you have children? Do you have pets? Do you have large dogs? These are all good things to consider. This post from our Resource Center goes into more detail about how to find your perfect vinyl floor.

Posted in How Is That Flooring Made, Vinyl Flooring

5 Ways To Keep Your Floors Clean With Kids




(Recently my good friend over at Jorgenson Industrial suggested I write a blog post about floors and kids. The idea took root and…voila! Here we are.)
 
kids-and-the-laminates
 
There are few certainties in life: death, taxes, and the never-ending cycle of trying to keep your floors neat. Throw in complications like pets and children, and whoo boy, your floors can go from clean to chaos in no time flat.
 

 
It’s no secret that kids are messy. That’s not a character flaw or a condemnation, it’s just a reality. Whether it’s throwing food, tracking in mud from outside, finger painting, 52 Pickup, or even a glitter bomb, family life is never dull! Keeping your floors clean around a busy family is a challenge, but it is doable. Let’s look at five techniques you can use to keep your floors clean and sanitary:
 
Do Regular Checkups. Take a lap around your home and perform small tasks as you go. You don’t have to do a deep clean, but you can wipe up that hairball and pick up that hat.

Give Everything A Place. Those socks don’t belong on the floor, they belong in the drawer! Giving things their place and sticking to it will help keep your house clean by cutting down on clutter.

Keep Shoes Out. Shoes track a myriad of dirt and debris throughout your home. By taking your shoes off in the mudroom or entrance way and having your kids do the same, you’ll cut down right away on the weird stuff that gets unintentionally brought in your house.
 

From Trimblecrafts on Etsy.

Make It A Game. Encourage a little bit of healthy competition by making cleaning into a game! Who can pick up the most toys off the floor? Who can make up the best song? Who can do the best dance moves while sweeping? This is easily customizable depending on time, family size, your kids’ personalities, etc.
 

 
Make Designated Eating Areas. This is frequently easier said than done, but try to keep your kids’ meals and snacks limited to your kitchen. That way crumbs, spills, sticky fingers, and food particles are more limited to areas designed to handle them. Besides…do you really want to find the moldy months-old ant magnet Cookie Formerly Known As Oreo behind your couch? I didn’t think so.
 
Folks with kids, what tips do you have to keep your floors clean? Share your advice in the comments!

Posted in Z-Level: Our Odds & Ends

How To Prevent Hardwood Issues This Summer




Ah, summer. Some of us flourish in the heat; some of us huddle up to the closest air conditioning and offer our thanks to the deities of modern convenience. We all have our needs during the season, but did you know your hardwood floors are the same way?

Think of it like this: You’re more likely to be exposed to hot sun and dangerous UV rays in the summertime than you are in winter. Sunburn is painful in the short term and can cause skin damage down the line. In order to avoid this you take a preventative measure, like wearing a hat or applying sunscreen. You’re stopping the damage before it starts.

With hardwood floors in the summertime, your concerns could be due to increased moisture in the air, known as Relative Humidity or simply RH. When wood gains moisture, it expands, and expansion can lead to problems like cupping, buckling, and distortion. It’s important to note that expansion is NOT symptomatic of a poor installation job or shoddy work: hardwood is a natural product and so it’s subject to changing environmental conditions just like we are! There’s even a special word for it:
 
hygroscopic-definition
 
Want to know how to handle your hardwoods this summer? Read on.
 

Prevention

While there’s no one whizz bang solution to prevent all seasonal hardwood concerns from developing into full-blown problems, there are a few ways to reduce the odds of trouble arising down the line.

Acclimation Letting your floor acclimate to its new environment for a sufficient amount of time prior to installation is critical; at least 48 hours is a good starting point but your time may vary. This post in our Resource Center goes into more depth.

Narrower Boards Hardwood boards that are narrower in design expand and contract less than their wider counterparts.

Engineered Construction Did you know engineered hardwood was actually designed as a more stable alternative to traditional solid hardwood? Now you do! It’s better at withstanding environmental changes than solid hardwood material.
 
solid_and_engineered
 

Moisture Removal

There are several common ways to remove moisture from the air in your home. The first option is ventilation, simply throwing the windows open and letting nature do the work, but this method is highly dependent on your local climate and favors cold, arid locations. If the dew point – the temperature at which moisture in the air condenses into dew – is any higher than 60 degrees, opening up your home for ventilation will do more harm than good.

The next options are mechanical in nature. First off, there’s air conditioning. The catch? An air conditioner only wicks moisture away when it’s running. If you’re an energy-conscious person who likes to turn the AC down when you’re away from home, this might not be the best choice.
The next option is a dehumidifier. They’re available in a huge range of sizes, from miniature to massive to those that go to work in your whole house. Dehumidifiers are great for areas that get less attention from a standard air conditioning, like basements and crawl spaces.

With a little care and some forethought, you and your hardwood floors can survive summer in great shape!

Posted in Hardwood Flooring, Z-Level: Our Odds & Ends

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