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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.  

Insulation

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.

Material

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.

Durability

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.

Installation

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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flooring-for-a-bathroom

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

 

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.    

 

Texturing

 

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.

 

Engineered Hardwood Flooring 101

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engineered hardwood flooring 101

Solid hardwood flooring is a beautiful accent to any home, however, if you need some flexibility in how or where it can be installed, engineered hardwood flooring may be the optimal solution. Although it is a composite product, the top layer is genuine hardwood and still provides a stunning finish to any room. If you are not familiar with what engineered hardwood flooring is, here is what you need to know.

How is it Made?

 

Engineered hardwood flooring is constructed from multiple layers that are pressed and glued crosswise. This is what makes the core of the flooring incredibly durable and more resistant to temperature and moisture compared to traditional solid hardwood flooring. The layered construction also makes it less likely to form gaps, swell or buckle. After the core has been manufactured, a thick layer of hardwood veneer is applied to the top. Since it looks the same as solid hardwood, only homeowners will know the difference.

Durable and Looks Fantastic

 

Another benefit of engineered hardwood is that is less susceptible to dents and scratches compared to solid hardwood and is easier to maintain. There is a huge variety of factory finishes that can be chosen to match the decor and style of your home. As the finish is applied before the flooring is installed, there is no down time and it can be walked on immediately.

Depending on the thickness of the top layer veneer, if a scratch does occur, the floors can usually be sanded similar to solid hardwood floors. It will keep its beauty for years to come provided it is maintained, which simply requires being kept free of dirt and using a wet mop to clean.

Installation Options

 

There are several installation options for engineered hardwood flooring, including being able to use in basements as it can handle higher humidity levels than solid hardwood can. Depending on the condition and circumstances of your home, it may also be able to be installed over dry concrete floors, installed as a floating floor or with the traditional nailed technique.

If you have any more questions about engineered hardwood flooring and how it may be an excellent choice for your home, call one of our experts at Invision today.

Top Hardwood Flooring Myths

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Hardwood Flooring Myths

Hardwood flooring debuted at Versailles in 1683 and has remained popular ever since due to their beauty and durability. In the years since there have been several common myths about hardwood floors that have surfaced, however, they are incorrect. Unfortunately, these myths have caused individuals to spend unnecessary money and have created many headaches along the way.

Let’s debunk some of the common myths surrounding hardwood flooring and help get the facts straight.

Refinishing Hardwood Floors is a Simple DIY Project

 

Although many people have attempted this on their own, the majority have not received the results that they had expected. There are tool shops that will rent floor sanders, however, the equipment quality generally is not the greatest and is no match for professional grade tools. Hardwood floors have what is called a ‘wear layer’ which can continually be sanded away and refinished for the life of the flooring. Someone that is not experienced in refinishing can all too easily take off more wood than necessary, reducing the overall lifespan of their floor or even seriously damaging it.

Hardwood Floors Need to Be Waxed Frequently

 

This myth was the truth many, many years ago when floors were often finished with tung oil which was not very durable or lasting. In the 1930’s, polyurethane finishes were introduced to create the first hardwood floors that did not require waxing. Floors manufactured today are even more durable and their finish does not require wax to be protected. Unnecessarily waxing a floor can be a safety risk, especially when individuals are wearing socks as they can get incredibly slippery and may cause falls or injuries.

High-Quality Finish Will Never Scratch

 

Some types of wood are more resistant to scratches and dents, but there is no type of wood that is 100% scratch or dent proof. The modern finishes on hardwood flooring today are superior for resisting wear, but cannot entirely prevent damage from a sharp object being dragged across the floor.

Hardwood Floors Shouldn’t Be Used in a Kitchen

 

The opposite is true, hardwood floors are an excellent choice for kitchens as they can tolerate heavy traffic, require minimal maintenance and give an elegant and inviting appearance.

If you have any other questions or concerns regarding hardwood flooring in your home, contact one of our flooring experts for assistance.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring Gives Your Home a Timeless Look

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Home owners are constantly on the look for the perfect interior decoration. Some like traditional designs, for instance, and others like modern designs. However, there are so many different types of styles and projects. “Traditional” and “modern” designs are not exactly clear in terms of a common style.

There are many different types of sub-styles that a homeowner may pursue in order to achieve his or her perfect home. This is because it may seem to them that nothing seems to last or remain in fashion long, which can further add to a home owner’s interest in a classic look, regardless of the style he or she eventually chooses.

We all want a classic look, even when we are adventurous with our interior decorating. It does not matter how “new” and “modern” your home’s look is, every style is classic in its own right. This means that the look that you purchase and install in your home needs to last until you either sell your home or renovate.

This is why each style of interior decorating is iconic and unique. At the end of it all, each renovation of your home fulfills a stylistic demand that is unparalleled.

This need to achieve perfection in such a narrow field is partially why engineered hardwood flooring is so popular. You can find such flooring in many different types of homes, even homes that you would not expect, like ones with tile or stone flooring.

Here’s Why Hardwood Flooring Looks Timeless

Not only does the hardwood look timeless, it adds value to any interior decorating look.

It Can Withstand Damage

Hardwood flooring is tough. After all, hardwood flooring is made of wood, which is a vibrant and dense material that is well-suited to a plethora of different uses. Because such flooring is durable, it is less damageable by things that would usually damage floors.

If a heavy object falls on a thin tile or stone floor, the section of flooring that is affected may crack. However, your hardwood flooring would not crack, and would retain its structural integrity.

It Can Last a Long Time

Hardwood flooring is built to last. Even though wood is dead trees, hardwood flooring has been treated and preserved throughout the milling process, resulting in a flooring that will last decades. It may even outlast you! That is how long a well-maintained floor can last.

If you are a homeowner that is interested in remodeling your home only once, you owe it to yourself to consider installing hardwood flooring in your home, especially hardwood flooring that has been engineered to perfection.

It Can Upgrade Your Status

Hardwood flooring is classic, regal, elegant, and so much more. Hardwood flooring just seems to attract these types of traits, even though it fulfills them and more. After all, many historical places have wood floors, it is a material that has been in use for tens of thousands of years, and it truly seems timeless.

As such, being timeless, installing a wood floor, especially engineered hardwood flooring in your home can instantly add value and sophistication to your home. This makes such flooring a great choice for any homeowner or renovator.

Engineered hardwood flooring is a great choice to consider for any interior modeling or decorating job. Homeowners who want a strong, regal form of flooring should consider it at the top of their list in terms of probable renovations. For the best in flooring, contact Invision Hardwood & Decor, which serves the Thornhill, Richmond Hill, Woodbridge, and Vaughan communities. For more information regarding the numerous advantages of hardwood flooring, please visit us in-store or online at our website today.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring Will Increase the Value of Your Home

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Home owners often look for ways to increase the value of their home. Even if you are not a home owner yet, you too may be looking at homes that increase in value. Maybe the kids have left for college and you are thinking of retiring to Florida. Maybe you purchased a home in a good area with a good school and you want to wait 10-20 years before selling it for a huge perceived profit.

Maybe you just moved into a new home and you want to keep your options open, especially if you work in a profession that travels around a lot. Whatever the reason, upgrading your flooring can provide great value to your living conditions, and to the value of your home.

At the point you choose to sell your home, past decisions like installing engineered flooring will only benefit your bottom line, as your home will be more structurally sound, more beautiful, and higher in value as a result.

How Engineered Hardwood is Better

Engineered flooring is a unique form of flooring that is not only radically different than other forms of flooring, but is better as well. You will be amazed at just how good engineered flooring is at tackling tough home owner conditions like water puddles that would harm other forms of flooring. This toughness and ability to last a long time is due to the specific process of creating engineered flooring.

Unlike other forms of flooring, which are mostly solid pieces fitted together, engineered hardwood flooring is made up of multiple pieces, each of which result in a stronger form of flooring that can stand up to a lot. It has a core layer of wood, usually hardwood or plywood. The top layer of engineered hardwood, however, makes it indistinguishable from other forms of flooring, using hardwood veneer.

Hardwood veneer means that you will receive all the benefits of installing engineered hardwood flooring, while still ensuring that your flooring looks great day in and day out. With such superior crafting methods, you can bet that your floor will last, looking beautiful, for years, if not decades.

When you have visitors over, all they will see is the veneer top and they will complement you on your hardwood flooring. Of course, you will know that the true value of your flooring is not what visitors see, but what they do not see. That is the power of engineered flooring.

The Tangible Benefits of Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Engineered flooring is resistant to two things that can harm regular flooring: moisture and heat. This is why so many home owners who like in wet climates, humid areas, and more, purchase and install engineered flooring in their homes.

Adding value to your home, especially if it increases in value compared to your neighbors’s homes, can be the difference between selling your home quickly and for a profit, and not being able to. If you have a home that is resistant to heat and moisture, both of which can necessitate the installing of a new floor, which can be very expensive, you will have a greatly valued home to sell, or keep.

The benefits of engineered hardwood flooring cannot be overstated. If you want flooring that will stand up to heat and moisture, both of which can cause problems with regular flooring, you need an engineered advantage! Invision Hardwood & Decor, which has a track record of helping home owners in and around Thornhill, Richmond Hill, Woodbridge, and Vaughan can help you with all your flooring needs. For more information about the benefits of engineered flooring, please visit us in-store, or online at our website today.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring Deliverers Every Time

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Flooring is a difficult choice to make for any home owner, whether it is his or her first time renovating a home, or a tenth time. Flooring is a crucial decision that must be made, and yet, it can take the longest time to fulfill. There are so many flooring options on the market that it can seem almost impossible to decide.

However, in most flooring choices, one factor is known: the material of the flooring itself. Beyond the choice in color, texture, durability, and more, many home owners know exactly what type of flooring that they want. For many, that choice is engineered hardwood flooring. It is an excellent and popular choice for many home owners.

Some of us like plastic linoleum flooring. Others like metal flooring. However, for the individual who likes a traditional, classic look, engineered hardwood flooring may be the perfect choice. Unlike other forms of flooring, engineered hardwood flooring can be made to look like other aesthetics, making it the perfect flooring for home owners who have a unique “look” in mind for their flooring choice.

No matter what the interior decorating theme of the room, or even the whole home, hardwood flooring will improve it every time.

We all want the perfect flooring solution that not only ties the room together, but looks great, and lasts a long time. Even if we want to redecorate or renovate the floor in a few years, we all want the option not to. With so many synthetic flooring options on the market today, it can be difficult to know which flooring option is best for you.

Now, when most people think of synthetic flooring, they think of flooring that is 100% plastic or 100% metal. However, flooring like engineered hardwood flooring is considered a synthetic flooring solution, even though it is mostly hardwood. Unlike being hard, solid planks of wood like regular hardwood, engineered hardwood flooring is crafted in layers, creating a durable and long-lasting flooring solution that you will love.

Manufacturing Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Engineered hardwood flooring’s unique construction process allows the flooring to minimize the growth and shrinking process that wood flooring undergoes during changes in temperature and humidity. A floor that resists this temptation is a stronger floor that will not creak or become more porous in your home.

Engineered hardwood flooring also draws much of its increased strength from the manufacturing process. Since layers of flooring and sub-flooring are laid on top of each other, the flooring as a whole becomes much more resistant to dents, dings, and more. Your flooring will look better and last longer if it is engineered hardwood.

When it comes to flooring, every decision matters. Even the subtlest of decisions can result in a very different flooring result. Therefore, it is imperative that you know each decision you are making, and follow through.

With engineered hardwood flooring, decisions become easier because, no matter what, you know you will receive a flooring choice that is strong, durable, and beautiful. Regardless of your renovation budgets, and regardless of your taste in wood flooring, you can rest assured that engineered hardwood flooring is for you. Purchase some engineered hardwood flooring today!

For more tips and to learn the benefits of engineered hardwood flooring, you should visit Invision Hardwood & Decor in-store and on our website today. We have served countless customers in and around Thornhill, Richmond Hill, Woodbridge, and Vaughan with all of their flooring needs.