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3 Questions to Ask Before Buying Your Floor

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Of all the parts that come together to make up a home, floors can be the trickiest. We use them every day and between kids, pets, parties, dirt, etc. they take a beating! Which is why making the decision to purchase the best flooring for your home is so important. Many of us may know this, but not know where to begin. Which is why we have created a list with some of the top questions you should as before buying your brand new floor.

What does each type of wood do best?

Part of choosing the right flooring is understanding what different types of flooring can offer to families. For example, Brazilian Walnut or Oak do very well with high traffic areas. Think about the space you will be adding flooring and what it will be used for. Then talk to your local floor specialist about which options fit that situation best.

What flooring will Fido not ruin?

For those of us with pets, we know they can be as destructive as they are lovable. Look for flooring that will be able to stand up to all the challenges that can come with owning a pet. This may be wood that can handle scratches from sharp nails or flooring that is easily affected by wet substances, like potty accidents. Also, consider how easy it is to clean your floors. Some pets require extensive amounts of clean up, make sure your floors are not so delicate they cannot take the stress.

Should I pay for professional installation?

While it may appear installing hardwood floors are as easy as laying down some glue and getting the pieces to fit just right it is actually much more complex. Professional flood installation requires years of training that will help you understand things like how to properly prep a surface and position the planks properly.

Flooring can be expensive but well worth it. When you buy quality floors made for your home then install them properly, you are ensuring you will have beautiful floors for the longest time possible. This is why it is so important to do your due diligence and ask questions when going through this exciting process.

kitchen floors

The Best Flooring Ideas for Your Kitchen

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Vinyl Planks

Vinyl planks give the appearance of hardwood floors without the drawbacks. As opposed to hardwood flooring, vinyl is completely waterproof which makes it ideal for kitchens. Vinyl is also available in a wide range of styles that mimic hardwood planks including designs like herringbone and parquet. Vinyl is typically cheaper than hardwood and can save you a lot of money if your kitchen is large.

Waterproof Laminates

Quite new on the market and maybe not so easy to find, but perfect for the kitchen floor, are waterproof laminates. The planks are coated in a water repellent coating which make moisture problems a thing of the past. Even the grooves are invincible to dampness making these laminates highly sought after for kitchen use. The natural wood look and feel of waterproof laminate planks, along with their ease of installation, have made this new innovation very popular.

Engineered Wood

Engineered wood planks are more durable than laminate or vinyl floorings. The thin veneer of solid wood on their surface also gives them an authentic look and feel, while being less vulnerable to subfloor moisture that so often adversely affects solid hardwood. Engineered wood is available in a wide range of styles and colours that makes it versatile enough for use in almost any home.

Bamboo

Bamboo has become more popular for use in the kitchen due to its reputation for durability. The fact that it’s also eco friendly, due to its fast growth, has made it popular among new homeowners. That said, bamboo is sensitive to moisture, so you may need to place throw rugs in front of the sink and fridge or wherever else splashed water might be a problem.

Cork

Cork is another material that has become popular as a kitchen flooring material in recent years. Part of this has to do with its eco friendliness, but it’s also very comfortable under the foot. Cork has a unique look and is quite resilient although it is prone to denting and scratching.

laminate floor

4 Laminate Flooring Trends

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As laminate flooring technology has gotten better over the years, the low cost alternative to solid hardwood flooring has become more and more popular.  2018 will surely be another banner year for laminate flooring and this year’s trends prove just that.  In this article we forecast the 4 major trends in laminate flooring for 2018.

 Waterproof Laminates

The fact that there are now waterproof laminates available is probably bigger news than the invention of laminates in the first place.  Neither solid hardwoods nor traditional laminates work well in areas where water is a factor, so having a good looking option that can resist water is a major break through.  Although it may be hard to find, sourcing it for use in your kitchen or bathroom will be well worth the effort.

 Reclaimed Wood Look Alikes

Because actual reclaimed wood has become such a popular material for interior designers, decorators and social media mavens, laminate floor makers didn’t take too long before jumping on the trend.  Coming up with laminate planks that replicate the look of reclaimed wood has allowed laminate producers to get in on the reclaimed wood action and give an affordable option to homeowners.

 Handscraped Look Alikes

People are willing to pay large amounts of money for authentic, hand scraped, solid hardwood flooring.  Laminate makers have allowed budget conscious buyers to benefit from the good looks and trendiness of hand scraped boards with embossed planks that actually look handscraped.  These laminates are able to replicate the high quality looks without the high prices.

 Gray Laminates

Gray flooring has been popular for several years now and the trend doesn’t seem to be abating.  Gray wood has been used by many interior designers and homeowners to give a contemporary, sophisticated look.  The color provides a great backdrop for most every other color allowing for maximum flexibility in furnishings and decorations.

engineered hardwood

Why Engineered Hardwood Flooring is a Modern Choice

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Engineered hardwood flooring has become the premier modern choice when it comes to hardwood flooring options. There are a number of reasons that engineered hardwood has become so popular. This list will go over the some of those reasons.

Width

Wider hardwood planks have become more trendy in recent years and engineered boards have a lot to do with that. Extra wide solid hardwood planks require very large trees which are harder to come by which causes wide solid hardwood flooring to be very expensive. On the other hand, wider engineered planks don’t necessarily require the rarer large trees and as a result end up costing less than wide plank solid hardwood flooring.

Stable

Because of its composition, engineered hardwood flooring is much more stable than solid hardwood. Engineered hardwood isn’t as affected by moisture or humidity as solid hardwood and therefore resists warping and cupping caused by expansion and contraction. For this reason it’s possible to use engineered hardwood in places you’d never consider using solid hardwood such as near the kitchen sink or in the bathroom.

Ease Of Installation

Installing engineered hardwood flooring is much easier than installing solid hardwood flooring for a few reasons. Solid hardwood floors cannot be installed as a floating floor and need to nailed or stapled down. Solid hardwood planks also need to be acclimatized to the floor before actual installation. Engineered hardwood flooring, on the other hand, can be installed as a floating floor with an easy click and lock system. There are also more installation methods available with engineered hardwood floors such as stapling and gluing.

Durable

Because engineered hardwood is composed of several layers of bonded plywood topped with a layer of solid wood, the planks are extremely durable. The planks can withstand heavy use and and endure a lot of footfall.

Sustainable

Many more engineered wood planks can be made out of the same amount of wood when compared with solid hardwood planks. Engineered hardwood flooring can also be made out of faster growing tree species such as eucalyptus or birch resulting in a sustainability that can’t be matched by solid hardwoods.

laminate floors

6 Reasons to use Microfibre Mops on Laminate Floors

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When you’re looking to buy a mop for your laminate floor, you should have been told that water will cause the laminate to buckle and warp. And that’s true. For that reason, most string styled and sponge headed mops are inappropriate for laminate floors. Microfibre mops are the proper choice for a laminate floor. There are several reasons why you should be using them rather than any other type of mop head. Here’s 6:

Less Work

Compared to traditional mops, a microfibre mop is is much lighter and needs less elbow grease to make them effective. You won’t need to put your back into scrubbing like you do with a sponge headed mop and you won’t need to make as many passes as you do with a string mop.

Reusable Heads

Microfibre mops come with reusable heads meaning you’re not continually throwing out mop heads as you do with sponge headed mops. Once your microfibre mop head gets too dirty, simply put it into the washing machine and it’ll come out like new.

Attracts Dust

Microfibre mop heads act like a magnet that attracts dust, hair and dirt. Rather than chasing dust bunnies around with a broom, a microfibre mop will have the dust bunnies chasing it. No need for multiple passes like that required by a broom.

Wide Head

Microfibre mops feature a wide head that cuts down on the number of passes you need to make to cover the entire floor surface. The wide head allows you to spend less time working on your floor.

Swivel Head

The swivel heads that are a common feature of microfibre mops make it easier to get into corners, get underneath furniture and navigate chair or table legs.

No Water Bucket

Because microfibre mops barely use any water, you’ll no longer need to drag a bucket around with you when cleaning your floors. It’s easy to rinse the mop head in the sink and you won’t risk accidently knocking over a full water bucket which could spell disaster for your floor.

floor scratch

How to Remove Scratches from Hardwood Flooring

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removing or repairing hardwood floor scratches. Different scratches require different techniques, so assess your situation and act accordingly.

Scratches Affecting Only The Protective Coating

A minor scratch that affects only the protective coating of the floor is the easiest to fix. Simply rub the scratched area with a soft cloth dabbed with hardwood flooring cleaner until the scratch is smoothed out and the area cleaned. Rinse the affected spot with a small amount of fresh water and allow to dry thoroughly. Apply a new layer of coating and allow to dry overnight.

Scratches That Reach The Wood Surface

Clean the affected area well with hardwood flooring cleaner. Use steel wool to rub the scratch with the grain of the wood until the scratch is removed. You may need to blend the edges of the scratch into the surrounding areas. Rub a matching colour wax repair stick over the scratch to fill it in before allowing it to set. Buff and clean the repair with a soft cloth.

Gouges And Deep Scratches

Fixing deep scratches can take some skill, so you may need to consider calling a professional to do the job for you. Heavy gouges call for the floor to be stripped, the wood to be repaired with sanding and wood filler and for the floor to be refinished. If you have experience with this type of work it’s entirely possible to do it yourself, however, if you don’t have the time, expertise or proper tools, it’s probably more efficient to hire a professional.

Scratches In Polyurethane Coated Floors

Polyurethane coated floors require a different process for fixing scratches. It’s important not to use wax repair sticks or wax finishes as they will cause the polyurethane to fade and lose its lustre. To remove a scratch, rub the affected area with a scrubbing pad dabbed with mineral spirits before cleaning with a cloth and allowing to dry. Reapply a coating of polyurethane to restore the finish.

hardwood floor trends

Top 2018 Hardwood Flooring Trends

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As a flooring material, hardwood has found itself becoming more and more popular since the shag rug era or the 70’s and 80’s.  The ease of keeping it clean, its durability, its natural good looks and a myriad of other redeeming qualities has made hardwood the flooring choice for more homeowners today.  Although everyone has their own personal tastes, there are definite trends in the hardwood flooring world.  Here’s a few  predictions for 2018.

Dark Tones

Dark tones seem to have become more popular over the past 10 or 15 years.  The stylish good looks of dark hardwood have made it popular with blends of ebony and jacobean or ebony and walnut creating the deepest hues.  Darker stains have also allowed homeowners to deepen the colour of their existing floors. If there is a drawback to the darkest hardwoods it’s the fact that they show dust quite readily and therefore don’t work as well in homes with children or pets.  In that case, slightly lighter shades can offer the best of both worlds.

Eco Friendly Finishes

Water based, polyurethane finishes may cost more, but have the added advantage of being a fast drying, durable finish that produces less odours due to its lower levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  An even more environmentally friendly option is oiled floors which have no VOCs or polyurethane whatsoever.  Although it’s easier to fix scratches on oiled floors, the downsides are the cost and the lack of protective finish provided by polyurethane which leaves the wood vulnerable to moisture.

Wire Brushed Floors

The texture provided by wire brushing floors exposes the wood’s grain and gives it a vintage, distressed look that helps hide dirt and wear.  Wire brushed flooring is finished by hand and therefore ends up with a bit of texture that may cause the floor to be less slippery than other types of finishes.  If there is a disadvantage to wire brushed floors it becomes apparent if any sanding is needed.  It’s not very easy to get away with sanding only a few boards or a small area as the sanded area will look quite different from the rest of the floor.

 

hardwood floors clean

How to Keep Your Hardwood Floors in Perfect Condition

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Avoid Scratches

Scratches on your hardwood floor can lead to deterioration, early aging and at worst, irreparable damage. The way to prevent this is to avoid them in the first place. Strategic use of area rugs in locations that experience high traffic will reduce damage caused by heavy footfall. Leaving your shoes at the door will lower incidents of small pebbles or gravel being tracked through the house and scratching up your floors. Ensuring your pet’s nails are maintained and kept trim will also cut down on accidental scratches and scrapes. Fit your furnitures’ feet with felt pads to prevent scratches from occurring when you need to move the pieces around.

Clean Regularly

Sticking to a regular cleaning schedule will minimize the abrasive qualities of dust, dirt and tiny stones. Make sure to sweep your floor on a daily basis. Weekly vacuuming will also pick up any dust left between cracks and remove larger bits you may have missed while sweeping. When mopping your floors avoid using a wet mop. Water can affect the floor’s finish, cause stain marks and warp the wood. There are dry mops and pH balanced cleaners made specially for hardwood floors which should be used instead.

Avoid Moisture

Moisture can be incredibly damaging to hardwood floors and should be avoided if at all possible. Again, area rugs placed where moisture tends to accumulate, such as in front of sinks, the refrigerator or entryways are a good defence. Also make sure to clean up any spills immediately to avoid damage to the finish or the wood itself.

Buffing, Waxing And Sanding

Maintaining your hardwood floor with buffing and waxing can prolong its life greatly. It typically only needs to be done once a year. Buffing the floor will smooth out small scratches and scuffs and is done after the current wax coating is stripped. After buffing, the layer of wax can be reapplied to bring back the floor’s shine and lustre. Eventually, your floor will need to be sanded down and restained completely. If you’re careful with your floor’s maintenance, however, this may only need to be done every decade or so.

protect floors

6 Tips to Protect Your Floors This Holiday Season

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The holiday season also brings about holiday season weather.  Snow, slush, cold temperatures and excess moisture can spell disaster for your flooring – nevermind all the extra foot traffic, shedding seasonal decorations and spilled food and drinks.  If you want your floor to survive the holiday season unscathed, you’ll have to be extra vigilant while being sure to employ these tips as well.

Consistent Cleaning

The best prevention against damaged floors is a well kept house.  Keeping a consistent cleaning schedule ensures dirt and moisture doesn’t accumulate and lead to scratches or warping.  During the holiday season you may even need to increase your regular sweeping and vacuuming to keep up with the extra footfall.

Doormats

Having a place for guests to wipe their feet upon entry into your home is the best defense from dirt or moisture coming into contact with your floor in the first place.  Make sure you have doormats at all points of entry and on both sides of the door for maximum protection.

Shoe Removal

Since it’s your house, it shouldn’t be a huge problem to have family and friends remove their shoes at the door.  This will not only prevent dirt and moisture from being tracked throughout your home, it will also keep it contained to your entryway.

Shoe Racks

Of course, if you insist on shoe removal for people entering your house, they will need a place to leave their footwear.  Placing shoe racks at the doorway will also infer that yours is a house where shoes aren’t worn indoors.  Depending on the style of shoe rack and the material your flooring is composed of, you may want to place an absorbent rug or towel beneath the rack.

Slippers

The home dwellers should already have their own slippers left at the doorway to allow for easy use, but you might also want to consider providing guest slippers.  Place a basket next to the shoe rack filled with slippers of varying sizes for guests of all ages to wear.  If you know you’re having company, you might also want to give your guests the option of bringing their own.

Area Rugs

Area rugs are great for protecting high traffic areas in your house.  Also consider laying them at the bottom of staircases.  Runner rugs and plastic mats are great for protecting hallways and staircases.  You may also want to consider rugs in front of sinks, the fridge and other areas where moisture might accumulate.

 

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

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

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

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

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.