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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

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 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

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

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