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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.)
 
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

What Can I Do With Leftover Flooring?




Did you know that flooring isn’t just for floors? Leftover flooring doesn’t have to go in the scrap heap or, as my mom would say, “To the happy hunting grounds.” Instead, it can be used as a great DIY home décor project! Let’s look at a few ways you can re-use that material and revamp your room.
 

Accent Walls

Accent walls are huge in the interior design world. They’re a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to transform your room without overhauling your entire décor plan. While paint is the classic medium used, you have another choice with, you guessed it…flooring!

Wood paneling on walls isn’t a new idea. In addition to bringing warmth to dens and family rooms, it’s long been popular in commercial spaces like restaurants and hotels. Now, we’re not talking about your great-aunt Shirley Jeanne’s wood paneling – we’re talking variety to suit any style! Clean modern lines, cozy rustic aesthetics, whatever says ‘you.’
 
retro-or-not
 
Do you have leftover laminate flooring instead of hardwood? No problem! It can be used in the same way as wood to panel your wall.
 

Art

Leftover hardwood pieces can be trimmed, joined together with wood glue to form a desired size or design, then painted with whatever you want! For example, this dandelion-themed piece found on Pretty Designs.
 

 
Is whimsical nature not your thing? No problem. How about some state pride? Modish & Main opted to show off their love for California with this lovely stenciled piece:
 

 

Utility

Scrap flooring doesn’t just make great art. It also makes great storage space! Do you have only a single plank left? No problem. Go to your local hardware store or search online, pick out some hooks you like, drill them in, and you’ve got a new coat rack. This can be done with laminate as well as hardwood, as this great example from DIY Inspired shows:
 

Shabby chic and very cute.


 
If you’re like me and you’ve got a house full of books and knickknacks, then you know there’s no such thing as too much shelving. Flooring scraps can easily be upcycled into wall shelves. This is another easy DIY project; a free afternoon, a few basic tools, and a trip to the hardware store are all you need to make some unique and inexpensive new shelves, like these from the DIY Network:
 

 
You’ve got options, friends! How have you repurposed and upcylced your leftover flooring?


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

How To Define Your Decor With Hardwood





First of all, let us offer our sincerest congratulations on your new hardwood floor! Whether you chose solid or engineered, you’ve made a great investment in a quality material that never goes out of style. So, how do you help your hardwood stand out and integrate into your home while retaining the room’s unique flair? We’ve got a few tips to remove the intimidation factor and give you some quick and easy tips on how to define your interior design style with hardwood flooring.
 

Switch It Up

There is no edict, no rule, no law of the land that says your woods have to match! Quite the contrary, in fact: modern design dives right in and mixes stains, species, textures, and finishes for a look that reflects a lifetime. You and your style evolve over time. Let your flooring show that.
 

Mixed colors & materials from Vered Rosen Design.


 

Go Natural

Natural light is great for so many reasons. Nothing brings out the beauty in organic materials like natural light, but did you know that long-term exposure to natural light can gradually change your wood’s color? No, not like a fading dye job or washed out posters; rather they age like fine wine. This is a very desirable trait! Different species age in different ways. Some, like oak and maple, tend to show much less color change over time, while American cherry and most imported exotic woods can undergo a very noticeable change. Here’s an example of how your wood might age:
 
hardwood-color-changes
 

Opposites Attract

Embrace the contrast of light and dark in your interior design play for a look that never fails to catch the eye. Both light and dark are valued for their optical abilities and both can have a real effect on your room. It’s a great way to do a lot with a little.

If you’ve got dark floors, you can brighten up your room with a lighter wall color (anything from a pastel to a neutral or even classic white will do the trick here – it’s up to you) and lighter-toned décor pieces like area rugs and furniture pieces.
 
light-n-dark
 

Embrace Neutrality

Think of neutrals like the foundation pieces for your wardrobe, like your favorite black blazer that can go casual with jeans or professional with a collared shirt. Neutral floors are an ideal building block for any color pallet. Bright accents and eye-catching textures get to do their thing without being overshadowed by a bright floor.

Notice how that floor doesn't distract from the bright red wall?

Notice how that floor doesn’t distract from the bright red wall?

How have you decorated to show off your hardwood floors? Let us know!

Posted in Hardwood Flooring

The Spam Chronicles: Part One




Spam is a fact of online life, and our blog comments are no exception. While the endless stream of advertisments touting male enhancement, discount cremation, psychics next door, mail order brides, and everything else under the sun get old fast, they can also provide unrivaled hilarity. Here’s a look at some of the funniest, strangest, and most “HUH?!”-inducing spam comments the FTYH blog has had the pleasure of getting:
 
 

“Make your artwork appear to be junk.”

Hey, Steven Moffat’s made a career out of junk…
 

Yeah, I said it.


 
 
“He explains top secret data on father christmas’s airfare as well has reported on any kind of extra conditions may standing in front of this year. regarding, obviously you can fit stuff on it! the thing that strong become hot cakes without possessions included? Blueberries, chocolate chips, Raisins, Escargot.”
 

 
 

“Skip oxygen conned bad thick mulch of the fact that smells like ammonia or simply bad ova.”

Ew.


 
 
“An admirer says that ‘cosmic cowboy’ Doug Sahm’s problem is that he could ‘never stay in one bag long enough.'”

where my anime nerds at? come thru, fam.


 
 
“Tells the story of Brad and his fiancée Janet, two squeaky clean college kids who meet Dr. Frank’nFurter by chance when their car breaks down outside his house while on their way to visit their former college professor. It is an adventure they’ll never forget, with fun, frolics, frocks, and frivolity, bursting with timeless songs and outrageous outfits…”
 

 
 

What’s the funniest spam message you’ve ever gotten? Sound off in the comments!


Posted in Z-Level: Our Odds & Ends

When Not To Buy Hardwood




We talk a lot about how important it is to understand your lifestyle needs when choosing a new floor. After all, flooring is an investment that’s meant to stand up to a home’s demands with beauty and durability for years to come. You wouldn’t want to be stuck with a lemon car. You don’t want to be stuck with a lemon floor!

Last weekend I went to one of the local malls here in town and went into an electronics store that had light-toned flooring. Now, retail and commercial spaces take a bit of a beating due to high volumes of foot traffic, so I didn’t think anything of seeing scratches and scuffs on the floor. That is, until the sales associate mentioned they’d just had the store’s hardwood floors refinished. For the second time. In less than five years.
 

 
Hardwood is great. It’s beautiful, it lasts a long time, it’s a classic that even interior design novices have a hard time messing up. It’s also a poor choice for heavy traffic areas like, say, a world famous technology magnate’s retail store. As a result, they’re spending a lot of time and money on frequent refinishing. Whoever chose hardwood was not being realistic about their flooring needs.
 

How Can I Be Realistic While Floor Shopping?

Do your research. I might sound like a broken record here, but I can’t stress this enough. Look up the pros, the cons, the good, the bad, the ugly, and everything in between.

Don’t get stubborn. It’s not a character flaw or a symptom of shoddy design if hardwood isn’t the best choice for your room.

Do understand your lifestyle. Look at what factors in your life are likely to impact your floor’s health. For example, big dogs. Excellent cuddle buddies, bad for hardwood. If you have anything larger than, say, a Pomeranian, its claws can do a lot of damage to hardwood.
 

What Are My Alternatives?

Have you checked out enduring laminate? 100% waterproof vinyl? WPC that combines the best of laminate and vinyl? Trendy new wood look porcelain tile? There are plenty of gorgeous alternatives that will mimic hardwood’s beauty while still meeting your needs.

Laminate: Maximum durability, particularly laminates rated AC4 or above

Vinyl: 100% waterproof

WPC: The love child of laminate and vinyl

Wood Look Porcelain: On trend for years to come

Here’s a quick look at all of these beautiful hardwood alternatives:
 
no-wood-
 
Are you on the fence about the best new flooring for you? Call our experts at 1-800-804-5251! They’re standing by to answer all your questions and help you meet your flooring needs at an unbeatable discount price.
 

Posted in Customer Q & A, Hardwood Flooring, Laminate Flooring, Vinyl Flooring

Laminate Safety: What You Need To Know




There’s been a lot of conversation over the past year about the safety of laminate flooring. 60 Minutes ran a feature in March 2015 calling into question the levels of formaldehyde present in a competitor’s Chinese-made laminate flooring; earlier this month the CDC issued a report stating they had miscalculated and underestimated the cancer risks posed by the competitor’s laminate.

Transparency and honesty are two of the core values that have allowed us to stay in business for over 90 years. In that spirit, we put together some fact sheets and FAQ’s for concerned customers. Whether you’ve ever shopped with Floors To Your Home or not, it’s our sincere hope that we can cut through the jargon and offer some peace of mind.
 

The California Air Regulatory Board (CARB) Compliance Standards

 
CARB 1

CARB 2
 

Frequently Asked Questions

 
Laminate Safety Questions
 
As always, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-804-5251 or click on FloorsToYourHome.com. Our flooring experts are standing by.
 
– – – –
Meredith Foster is a content writer at Floors To Your Home. Away from the office she’s a published author, hockey fan, music lover, and mom to a vampire-fanged rescue cat.
 
 
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Posted in Customer Q & A, Laminate Flooring

How To Pick The Right Wood Filler




We’ve talked at length about what you can expect from hardwood floors. A big part of its appeal comes from variations that provide such a unique look. Occasionally, though, you can run across natural characteristics like voids or knotholes that present an uneven surface.

This doesn’t mean the piece of wood is bad! Remember, hardwood is a natural material, and just like no two trees are identical, neither is the wood they produce. Surface characteristics are more prevalent in Cabin Grade hardwoods; they’re part of its rustic charm. So, how to even up your surface and maintain the aesthetic you love? Easy! Fill it in. This is a great project with options for DIY novices and gurus alike. All it takes is a few inexpensive household items and a little bit of elbow grease!

It’s important to note here that your repair procedure will be a little different for prefinished wood rather than an unfinished piece. Part of the appeal of prefinished floors is that they don’t need to be sanded after installation, so why would you break out the electric sander and risk damaging a whole plank after filling in a tiny imperfection? You wouldn’t! Be sure to always do your research and check your manufacturer’s specifications prior to choosing a wood filler.
 

What Types of Fillers Are Available?

 

Epoxy

Available at your local hardware store, epoxy is a nice choice because it’s clear and will retain the knot’s look. Epoxy normally comes in two parts that will need to be mixed prior to use. Since it’s not water-based, epoxy is much less susceptible to temperature fluctuations and moisture changes than other options. It bonds nicely to wood and won’t expand or contract.
 

 

Latex Filler

If you’re looking to cover your knothole rather than just even the surface, latex filler might be a good choice for you. Available in a variety of colors, latex filler can be matched to your floor. It’s important to note that latex filler won’t always accept a stain, so make sure it matches your finished floor color before you apply it!
 
wood filler
 

Burn-In Sticks

Burn?! Yes, you read that right. The words ‘burn’ and ‘hardwood’ are normally kept far, far away from each other, and in this case burn is a little bit of a misnomer. The sticks in question are made of shellac, resin, or lacquer, and are melted- not burned!- with a heated burn-in knife.
 
burn-in
 
Novice DIY-ers may not be as comfortable with this option due to the use of heated tools and the need for more materials to prevent the burn-in knife from damaging the existing hardwood. Burn-in sticks provide more accurate color and sheen matching than latex fillers, but they’re also less durable. If you opt for burn-in sticks, use them for shallow scratches and small holes only, as they’re not suitable for deeper voids.

Do you have questions about the right wood filler for you? Our flooring experts are standing by! Call 1-800-804-5251 or click on FloorsToYourHome.com now to chat with a professional.
 
 
– – – –
Meredith Foster is a content writer at Floors To Your Home. Away from the office she’s a published author, hockey fan, music lover, and mom to a vampire-fanged rescue cat.
 
 
Follow Team Floors To Your Home on Pinterest
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Posted in Customer Q & A, Hardwood Flooring

The 4 W’s of WPC




Gather around, friends. It’s time to talk about innovation!

*gasp*

Innovation? In FLOORING?

It’s here. And it’s spectacular. Let’s get into it!
 
what-is-wpc
What Is It?

“Is there such a thing as waterproof laminate?”

This is by far one of our most frequently asked questions. Laminate floors are a very popular choice for pet owners and families with children because of their extreme durability. However, they are water resistant, not waterproof. The core board that composes the bulk of a laminate flooring plank is absorbent, but it’s made with compounds to increase its moisture resistance and is protected by layers both on the top and on the bottom.

Which brings us to WPC.

WPC stands for Wood Plastic Composite, a hybrid material composed of wood or wood flour and plastic that highlights the best qualities of both materials. It’s a 100% phthalate free virgin material.
 
Where Can It Go?

Most flooring materials require transition pieces and expansion gaps. Not WPC! Eliminating these needs allows for large interrupted areas of flooring, so WPC is a nice choice for bigger spaces like open-plan rooms and commercial areas.

One of WPC’s most sterling advantages comes from its versatility. Unlike laminate’s core board, WPC’s wood plastic core is dimensionally stable when exposed to moisture and temperature fluctuations. It’s 100% waterproof! WPC floors are an excellent way to break out of the ordinary options for kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and other moisture-prone areas.
 
When Can It Be Installed?

We’ve talked about acclimation before. Different materials need different acclimation times, and WPC is no exception. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions and information to see how long you’ll need to let your new WPC floor acclimate.

WPC doesn’t need much in the way of subfloor preparation. Cracks? Divots? No problem! Unlike laminate and vinyl floors, WPC’s rigid core allows it to go over uneven plywood or concrete subfloors without the extra work of leveling or repair. Of course, always read the manufacturer’s specifications about subfloors prior to installation.
 
Why Should I Care?

Do you have children? Pets? A busy household that sees plenty of foot traffic? Then you need a flooring material that roll with the punches, stand up to the hard knocks, and come out swinging. WPC can do all of that and more! It’s highly resistant to impact, stains, scratching, and wear, designed to look beautiful and stay beautiful.

The layered structure of WPC ensures the vinyl layer takes the impact for maximum sound reduction capability. No squeaking or that cold, hollow echo from laminate floors. This is one quiet material!
 
BUTTON - Green Room Green-ish Swath
 
– – – –
Meredith Foster is a content writer at Floors To Your Home. Away from the office she’s a published author, hockey fan, music lover, and mom to a vampire-fanged rescue cat.
 
 
Follow Team Floors To Your Home on Pinterest
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Posted in waterproof, Which Floor for Which Room?

The Anatomy of Cabin Grade





We get a lot of questions about Cabin Grade hardwood. It’s one of our bestsellers and we do our best to offer as much information as possible about what to expect from a Cabin Grade floor. Here’s our President and co-owner Dan Kahn saying a few words on the subject:
 

 

What Will My Finished Cabin Grade Floor Look Like?

This is a tricky one. Part of Cabin Grade’s appeal is the variation present in the flooring. Since we purchase all of our Cabin Grade flooring sight unseen and don’t open the boxes prior to selling them, it’s impossible for us to say exactly what the variations will be on a specific flooring order.

Many of these imperfections come directly from the original source: the tree itself. For those who want a hardwood floor that’s unique and distinctive, this can be a good thing! Here’s a finished Cabin Grade project chock full of variety and character:
 
cabin-grade-1
 
Meanwhile, other finished Cabin Grade projects can look more uniform:
 
cabin-grade-2
 

What Types of Imperfections Might Be Present?

The most common imperfections in Cabin Grade flooring are surface imperfections that present an aesthetic issue instead of a structural one.
 
cabin-grade-actual-pic
 
Exactly what it sounds like, color variation is a difference in color that’s outside the manufacturer’s stipulation for that particular shade of flooring. Color variation in hardwood comes straight from the tree, because no two trees are the same.

Pinholes and wormholes tend are the result of insect activity before the wood is harvested. They tend to be very small, and may or may not be noticeable. Knotholes, by contrast, are more visible. All three of these are natural occurrences and have no effect on a board’s structural integrity.

Some Cabin Grade pieces may have surface splits. The boards themselves shouldn’t be damaged, but a visible crack to the very top layer may be noticeable. If desired, these can easily be repaired with wood filler, available at your local hardware store.
 
crack
 

What About Short Boards?

The most common issue we hear about from customers who purchase Cabin Grade flooring is the amount of shorter length boards. A short board is just that: a flooring board that is shorter than expected. Short boards can still be installed as part of your flooring project! They can also play an integral part in giving your floor that unique and characterful look our customers love.

Designer and blogger Jenna Sue of Jenna Sue Design Co. ordered a cabin grade floor from us in 2014 and had this to say about the short pieces:

“I was pleasantly surprised to discover that everything just blended together and the board length was not a big deal at all.”

Since many Cabin Grade products are random length designs, there’s no way to predict how many shorter pieces will be present per box. Short boards are another trait that adds real personality to Cabin Grade hardwood. They’re great for lending a rustic look.
 

So What’s The Bottom Line?

We cannot estimate exactly how much of the flooring will contain surface imperfections or short boards. We can, however, say with certainty that 95% of our customers who order fifteen to twenty percent overage on Cabin Grade hardwood are able to complete their flooring project. That doesn’t mean that 80% of the flooring is perfect. It means that the material can be installed as a floor and you can finish your project.

Here’s a finished Cabin Grade project from happy customer Jen C. Thanks for the great photos, Jen!
 
jen floor 1
 
jen floor 2
 
Want to talk all things Cabin Grade? Our flooring experts are standing by! Click FloorsToYourHome.com to chat or call 1-800-804-5251 today!
 
BUTTON - Blue Swath Guitar Room
– – – –
Meredith Foster is a content writer at Floors To Your Home. Away from the office she’s a published author, hockey fan, music lover, and mom to a vampire-fanged rescue cat.
 
 
Follow Team Floors To Your Home on Pinterest
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Posted in Customer Q & A, Hardwood Flooring

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