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Flooring Options For Pet Owners

Great Flooring Options For Pet Owners

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Pet owners already understand the benefits of sharing their home with non-humans.  Research has even confirmed that pets can decrease an owner’s stress, lower their blood pressure and cholesterol levels.  However pets can be tough on a living space by causing damage to furniture, floors and possessions.  Fortunately there are flooring options that are able to withstand the stresses caused by pets.  In this article we’ll go over some of the best flooring options for pet owners.


Tile flooring works well with pets because it’s strong, durable and resistant to scratches and stains.  There’s little chance that your pet’s claws will be able to mar the surface of a tile floor or that any “accidents” with leave a permanent stain.  The smooth surface of tile floors are easy to sweep and mop while being available in a wide variety of colours and styles.  If there is a drawback to tile is that it can be hard or slippery underfoot, but that can be rectified with area rugs and pet beds.


Vinyl is much softer underfoot than tile while still providing an easily cleaned surface.  Vinyl is water resistant, durable and comes in a wide range of styles to allow matching with the rest of your house.  Vinyl is also less noisy than harder flooring options which might be welcomed by owners of active animals.  A disadvantage of vinyl is that it can be ripped if heavy furniture is dragged over it, but it should still be able to withstand the paws of your pets.


Bamboo is an eco-friendly flooring option that looks similar to hardwood while providing a durable and easily cleaned surface.  Although stain resistant, bamboo may naturally discolour with time but it’s also easily refinished.  On the downside, bamboo is more prone to scratching than tile or vinyl.  And although more water resistant than hardwood, excessive moisture can cause warping.


Laminate flooring is a popular option because it resembles hardwood but is much easier to care for and comes at a much lower price.  Laminate flooring is resistant to fading, staining and scratching because of its durable top layer coating.  Laminate floors work well with pets because they are easy to clean and maintain.  A drawback of laminate floors is they cannot be refinished, so if damage does occur, the offending piece will need to be replaced.

dark hardwood

3 Best Types of Wood for Dark Hardwood Flooring

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One of the biggest trends in hardwood flooring for 2017 is a shift towards darker colours.  Even though dark hardwoods are typically more expensive, reveal dirt quite readily and are more challenging to maintain, the lure of the exotic woods that typically comprise darker floorboards is proving hard to resist.  In this post, we’ll go over some of the best types of wood to use for dark hardwood flooring.


Ebony is probably the most well known dark hardwood.  However, it can be a very expensive choice due to its scarcity.  In many cases what passes as ebony flooring is actually just an ebony stained oak.  Ebony is extremely difficult to work because it’s hard to cut, sand and refinish.  The wood is so dense that it actually sinks in water.  Although there are many different types of ebony, it’s only commercially available from a handful of sources which adds to its exclusivity.  It’s hard to replicate the deep colour of ebony with any other type of wood, but if you plan to use ebony as a floorboard, understand that you will end up paying handsomely for the luxury.

Black Palm

Although not actually a hardwood, black palm is a hard, durable and dark coloured flooring option.  Black palm is much cheaper than ebony, but the fact that only the outer layers of the tree can be used for planks means that it is far from the cheapest wood available.  The grain of black palm is composed of dark brown to almost black fibres interspersed through a lighter shaded body.  Black palm is a very hard and durable wood that is somewhat difficult to machine because of its brittleness.  The fact that black palm is not a threatened species makes it popular choice.


Ipe, or Brazilian walnut, is a hardwood from Brazil that also sinks in water because of its density.  It’s one of the hardest woods to be used for flooring.  Because of its hardness it’s been known to bend nails and typically needs to be pre-drilled to allow pieces to be attached.  Ipe is not as dark as ebony or black palm with a colour closer to reddish, dark brown.  Ipe is scratch resistant and contains high concentrations of tannic acids which ward off bug and fungus attacks.  The fact that ipe was used to build the boardwalk at Coney Island and lasted 25 years before it needed to be replaced is a testament to its durability.


hardwood flooring winter

How to Protect Your Hardwood Flooring For Winter

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Winter can be especially tough on hardwood flooring.  The added moisture, dirt and salt tracked into buildings because of snowy conditions can scratch, buckle and warp hardwood floorboards.  However, with a bit of forethought and preventative maintenance, you can protect your hardwood flooring from the harsh conditions.

Outdoor Doormats

Having a thick, bristled doormat outside your front door will allow people to give their shoes and boots a quick wipe and prevent them from tracking dirt and water into the building and over your hardwood.

Indoor Doormats

Similarly, a second thick and absorptive doormat inside the front door will give visitors another chance to dry their footwear before venturing on.  You might also want to consider a longer floormat leading from the door into the first few feet of the foyer.

Shoe Racks

Having a shoe rack near the front door will encourage people to take off their shoes in the first place. And once they do, any moisture or dirt will end up on the shoe rack rather than on your hardwood floors.

Clean And Maintain

Cleaning your floors regularly will prevent any dirt, salt, or moisture from settling and damaging your floors.  If you end up with any puddles on the floor, make sure to clean them up immediately.  The same goes with any small pebbles as they can lead to scratching.  Patches of salt need to be removed quickly to prevent staining or damage to the varnish.

Educate Your Family And Guests

Letting everyone know the type of shoe policy you have will help prevent floor damage in the first place.  If your family and guests know that you don’t allow shoes in the house, you will have less worry about damaging elements ending up on your hardwood floors.  At the same time, you can train your pets to wait until their paws are wiped before they enter the house.

Provide Indoor Slippers

It’s easy enough to provide slippers or floor socks for your family, but you might also want to consider placing a basket of guest slippers at your front door to allow visitors the same level of comfort when visiting.


unique flooring options

Unique Hardwood Flooring Options

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Hardwood floors can be used in a large variety of locations in both residential and commercial situations.  It’s a highly popular material due to its durability, good looks and sustainability. Hardwood is known to promote indoor air quality by being easy to clean because it has no electromagnetic properties that attract dust. Although there are a plethora of hardwood flooring options available, this list will go over some of the more unique versions that have become popular of late.

Wide Planks

Wide planks are the latest trend in hardwood flooring.  Wide planks show fewer seams than narrower ones and typically come in longer board lengths.  Wide planks have a tendency to make small rooms appear smaller, but this can be counteracted by laying them parallel to the longest wall in the room.  Wide planks work best when trying to achieve a minimalist feel in a room since narrow planks show more seams and create a busier look.

Reclaimed Wood

Using reclaimed wood is an environmentally sensible method of utilizing hardwood as it doesn’t result in cutting down more trees or disposing of wood that’s already been used.  Reclaimed wood also has a distinct look that works well in rustic settings.  Reclaimed wood can come from a wide variety of sources including old farms, industrial areas and even underwater.  There’s also an assertion that reclaimed wood is stronger than its modern day counterpart due to the lower levels of air pollution prior to the 20th century.

Puzzle Pieces

As the name suggests, this hardwood is cut into interlocking units that resemble the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.  The result is a unique conversation starter that works just as well in a kids’ room as it does where adults spend their time.  First introduced as part of the Jamie Beckwith Enigma Collection, the flooring is constructed of white oak and stained a variety of colours.


Named as such because of its unique markings, tigerwood or Goncalo Alves is grown in tropical regions such as Brazil.  It has a broadly contrasting colour scheme of reddish brown with darker brown stripes that resemble tiger markings.  It’s a very durable wood that resists scratches, denting, insects and rot.


Eucalyptus looks similar to the rarer tropical mahogany, but it’s a fast grower therefore resulting in rapid renewability.  Eucalyptus trees can be harvested at 14 years of age, significantly younger than most other hardwoods.  Eucalyptus is known to be harder than red oak allowing it to resist dents and scratches.  And because of the ease of its availability it’s quite a budget friendly hardwood as well.

Brazilian Cherry

Brazilian cherry is one of the more popular exotic hardwoods with a unique grain and photosensitive colourings that will darken over time.  It’s a durable wood that’s resistant to staining and therefore suitable for high traffic areas in both residential and commercial buildings.  Although not actually a cherry tree, it’s marketed as such because of its deep red colourings.


hardwood floors

How To Keep Hardwood Flooring Looking New

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Installing a hardwood floor is a long term investment.  As with any other kind of investment, you want to keep it protected from deterioration, degradation or outright loss.  This article will go over some of the ways that you can keep your hardwood floor looking brand new.

Take Off Your Shoes

Taking off your shoes in the house, especially high heels, heavy work boots or those caked in mud will go a long way to keeping your floors protected.  Heels and work boots are especially hard on floors and can easily cause permanent damage.  Just as harmful are dirt, small rocks and water which can create scratches or cause the hardwood to warp or cup. Simply removing your shoes when you enter the house is an easy method of protection for your hardwood floor.

Protect Heavy Traffic Areas

Entry ways and stair landings typically see more than their fair share of use and abuse.  Protect these areas from dirt and foot traffic with small rugs. Not only will they protect the floor from wear and tear, they will accumulate dust and dirt that can cause scratches and scuffing.

Use Furniture Foot Pads

Moving heavy furniture can leave major scratches on hardwood floors.  This may result from actually rearranging the furniture or just from slight movements caused by sitting down.  Prevent this altogether by fitting your tables and chairs with protective foot pads.

Keep Them Clean

Keeping your floors clean is the first line of defence when it comes to keeping them in good shape.  Employing a simple cleaning routine will help you remember to maintain your floors on a regular basis.  The basis of this routine starts with a daily sweeping. Use a broom or dust mop to clean the surface dirt and debris.  Microfibre mops capture dust more effectively and typically come with washable, reusable heads.  Floors should be deep cleaned every week followed by a monthly polish using the floor cleaner recommended by the manufacturer.  And every three to five years you’ll need to re-apply the protective coating.


Cork Flooring 101

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Although cork has been used as a flooring material for over one hundred years, it’s only recently that it’s become much more popular in North America.  This article gives a quick primer on why cork is a great alternative to wood, tile or vinyl flooring.  


Corks inner structure of honeycomb-like cells gives it natural sound and heat insulating properties.  Each cell houses a pocket of air which gives it elastic and insulating characteristics.  This gives cork flooring a soft feel underfoot while eliminating much of the noise created by shoes striking its surface.  Because of this, cork is quite often used in commercial buildings such as schools, museums and libraries.  That being said, more and more cork is being used in domestic situations such as in kitchens and dining rooms or condominiums and apartments.

Design And Style

Cork flooring has a diverse range of styles that can mimic granite or textured hardwood.  It’s available in a wide variety of colours and can even be stained to suit any colour scheme.  Cork flooring typically comes in planks similar to engineered hardwood and can be laid down in a similar fashion.  Floating floors with patented click and lock systems for ease of installation are widely available as are the traditional adhesive installation varieties.

Environmental Factors

Cork is an environmentally sustainable material which is sourced from the bark of Cork Oak trees in areas such as Portugal, Italy and Spain.  Cork Oaks can live for up to 200 years while the bark stripping process, occurring every nine years, begins after they are 25-30 years old. The cork industry is highly regulated to ensure the protection of the trees.  Cork is naturally resistant to fire, insects and mildew while releasing no toxins, even if burned.

Ease Of Maintenance

Cork flooring is typically comprised of a cork underlay, a middle layer composed of high density fibreboard, a veneer and a thin, protective wear layer.  Similar to hardwood or vinyl floors, this allows cork to be easily cleaned with a damp mop or a broom.  Its natural anti-microbial properties only adds to its ability to remain safe and clean.


laminate floor

Laminate vs. Solid Hardwood Flooring

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Looking to make a change in your flooring but not sure if you should go with solid hardwood or laminate? Many of us grew up thinking laminate was inferior and caused problems when it warped. Laminate flooring technology have improved significantly over the past few years and is a great option for many homeowners looking to renovate.


Laminate floor is made of fiberboard which is then covered with an image of stone, wood, or brick. It’s then covered with a protective top layer to prevent wear. Hardwood floors are 100% solid wood.


The average life expectancy of a laminate floor is about 10 years. Water damage and scratches from furniture legs can shorten its life. Hardwood floors on the other hand can last a lifetime if they’re cared for properly. Things like water damage left for too long can irreparably harm the floor.


Most laminate floors snap together with no glue, making it a great DIY project. Hardwood floors really need to be installed by professionals.

Resale Value

Premium laminated floors have moderate resale value, plus the warranties can be transferred from owner to owner. Hardwood floors in great condition have better resale values than laminate floors.

Pet Endurance

Laminate floors are excellent for pets because the wear layer puts up well with dog claws. Hardwood floors gouge easily, especially if they’re made of softer wood. If you have pets, opt for harder wood and use carpets to lessen the surface area your dog can reach.

Which to Buy?

Go with laminate if you want a lower-cost, easily-maintainable floor that’s easy to install. If you are looking to sell in the next few years, hardwood will add the most value and make a great buying feature.

hardwood floors

How to Clean Hardwood Floors

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Hardwood floors are a beautiful accent to your home. Unlike other flooring options, they need a high level of care to keep them looking great.

Beyond preventative care, there are other weekly and bi-annual cleaning steps you can take to make your hardwoods sparkle.

By preventative care, we just mean try to keep as much dirt out of the house as you can. Place mats outside and inside your doorway, and during the winter months, have a separate boot station to keep the moisture off the floor.

You should also place floor protectors under your furniture to prevent scratching. You can also add carpets to high-traffic areas.

Weekly Cleaning

There are a few options for weekly cleaning. The first is to use a vacuum with a hardwood floor setting to pick up larger bits of dirt.

If you don’t think there are many large particles on your floor, using a dust mop with a soft cleaning pad and a dusting agent will do the trick.

For a regular clean, consider investing in a robot vacuum cleaner which you can program to run daily to pick up any dirt.

Deep Clean

Even if you diligently clean your hardwood floors each week, there are still oils and other bits of grime that work their way into your hardwoods.

About twice a year, clean your floors with a cleaner designed for hardwood floors and use according to the bottle’s instructions. If it’s humid while you’re doing this, turn on a ceiling fan or turn up your AC to fan.

Removing Marks

You’ll need this section more if you have a soft oiled finish, a finish more common in older homes. If you get a stain on your hard-finished floors, use a clean, soft cloth to wipe up the stain and never use abrasive materials.

Water marks: Use No. 000 steel wool and floor wax on the water mark. You might have to sand the floor if the stain goes deeper.

Oil-based stains: Use a gentle dish detergent and a soft cloth to break down the grease and rinse with clear water. You might need to repeat a couple of times. Once the spot is dry, use fine sandpaper to smooth any raised grain.

Heel marks: Rub the mark with a fine steel wool and floor wax.

What Is The Best Type Of Flooring For A Bathroom?

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One of the newest trends for bathrooms is wooden flooring.  However, worries about water and humidity are legitimate and should be taken into account when choosing a bathroom floor.  Here’s a list of some wooden bathroom flooring choices.


Solid Hardwood


Although beautiful and economical, solid hardwood (a non-engineered and non-hollow hardwood) typically works only in bathrooms that see little use or which feature only a toilet.  Solid hardwood readily absorbs moisture, either from high humidity or splashed and dripped water, and is therefore prone to warping, cupping, curling and subsequently shrinking and cracking when drying.   Consider different types of wooden bathroom flooring, except in unique circumstances.




Laminate floors are another option to consider for bathroom use.  Laminates are composites composed of many fused layers.  The bottom layer is typically a resinous layer creating moisture resistance and stability.  The middle core is composed of high density fibreboard (HDF) while the top layer is decorative and shows off the properties of the wood.  The top layer usually has a see-through coating to protect the wood from scratching and moisture.  Installation of laminate flooring is usually quite easy with click-lock systems that allow for a floating floor.  Laminate flooring also has the ability to mimic stones, ceramics and other woods without the associated costs and disadvantages.  The one major drawback to using laminate flooring in the bathroom is that it’s not completely resistant to the effects of high humidity and splashed or dripped water.  Although better able to withstand moisture than solid hardwood, laminates do have a tendency to warp or curl under heavy water stress.


Engineered Hardwood


Engineered hardwood is the middle ground between solid hardwood and laminate flooring. Engineered hardwood also has multiple layers like laminate flooring, but is much more stable and moisture resistant than solid hardwood or laminates.  The top layer of engineered hardwood is composed of solid hardwood, so you’re able to get the same classic look of all the solid hardwood species with a stability that’s able to survive bathroom use.  The pricing of engineered hardwood is comparable with solid hardwoods, therefore your budget won’t change significantly if you were set on a solid hardwood look and feel.


3 Popular Hardwood Flooring Trends

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hardwood floor

Advances in hardwood floor manufacturing technologies have widened the variety of options available to interior designers and homeowners alike.  Three of the most popular and current trends in hardwood flooring include wider planks, textured wood and aged gray tones.  This list elaborates on the household use of these trends.


Wider Planks


Hardwood flooring planks have been getting wider over the years.  What was once considered a wide plank is now considered quite narrow.  A lot of 20th century hardwood flooring used 2 ¼” strips so 5” planks have traditionally been considered quite wide.  However, since 2000, 6 and 7” planks are quite commonplace while widths of 8” or more aren’t unheard of.


Wider planks have several benefits.  Not only will they give a room a larger appearance, but the wider the planks used, the fewer unsightly seams running the length of the room.  Wider planks also give an area a more pastoral feel as they were traditionally used in rustic settings.


There are special considerations to be taken into account when using wider planks.  Installation is not as straightforward as adhesives will be needed when laying the floor.  Also, the prices of wide solid wood planks are higher than narrower ones.    




A popular type of textured wood is known as wire brushed.  Typically done on white or red oak, rotary brushes are used to scour the wood surface revealing different levels of the grain.  The result is a textured, multi-tone appearance.  Wire brushed woods are typically better at withstanding, or at least camouflaging, wear and tear when compared with smooth surfaced woods.


Hand scraping is another popular method of creating a distressed and textured hardwood.  That said, hand scraping can be a bit of a misnomer as many so called hand scraped products are actually done by machine.  This results in uniform, rather than unique, patterns.  Actual hand scraped boards are available, but for a premium.      


Gray Scale


Gray flooring, whether light, dark or blended with brown has become quite fashionable in recent years.  Many people have been opting to refinish existing hardwood floors with stain to convert them to a gray colour. That being said, the process isn’t simple, and when done by an amateur it’s very possible to end up with an unexpected tone.


On the other hand, there are several types of off-the-shelf, prefinished gray hardwoods.  Many of these will be stained to colour, but there have also been innovations in hardwood colouring that doesn’t require the use of stains.  Known as fuming or smoking, this technique involves exposing oak to gaseous ammonia in a sealed environment.  The wood reacts with the ammonia gas resulting in a change of colour.  Fuming wood commonly gives it a more natural colour than that achieved by using stain.