Friday, January 22, 2010

Reclaimed Wood Flooring

Homeowners are discovering that reclaimed wood flooring - antique flooring, often hardwood - harvested from a variety of sources, makes an ideal way to turn a so-so floor into a near work of art. Prized for its beauty, stability, and tight-grained durability, the demand for reclaimed antique flooring runs high.

Sources for this wonderfully salvageable flooring material are:

  • barns
  • railroad trestles
  • old warehouses
  • office buildings soon to be razed
  • older homes scheduled for the wrecking ball

You can track down about-to-be destroyed buildings yourself, or you can find a host of online reclaimed wood flooring dealers with a click of the mouse.

Woods used for reclaimed flooring include soft woods such as Douglas fir, Southern yellow pine, heart pine, and hardwood including oak, chestnut, walnut, cherry, mahogany, and more. Even logs rescued from lakes and rivers gets dried out, sawn, treated, and reclaimed to wind up as elegant antique flooring in some of the finest homes.

Wood flooring has proven itself to be a superior product for covering floors. Properly installed and maintained, wood floors last indefinitely. Studies have also shown that wood floors are more resilient than many other types of flooring and thus less tiring to the feet for people needing to stand on them for long periods of time.

Another benefit to wood flooring is its thermal insulation value - sixteen times superior to concrete and four hundred times better than steel. Yet another positive characteristic of wood flooring is it's ability to be re-sanded and refinished - leaving the homeowner with a new-looking surface for a minimal cost compared to re-flooring a room with some other material. Asthmatics and other people with respiratory problems and allergies find wood floors to be far less dusty, alleviating many lung, nasal, and sinus-congestion miseries.

Reclaimed wood flooring can even be considered better than new wood flooring. After a tree has been felled, the wood immediately begins to lose moisture. As wood ages, or seasons, it becomes lighter, stronger, and harder. Wood that has been seasoned for many years is just that much lighter, stronger, and harder than wood that has just been recently cut.

So check out the listings for reclaimed wood flooring in your favorite online search engine. You'll not only be doing your part for recycling, you'll be getting a better product in the long run, as well!

This article was taken directly from Online Tips (http://www.onlinetips.org/salvaged-hardwood-flooring). Also, please visit my websites at www.americarpetfloors.com and www.stylishrugs.com for all your flooring needs.

Salvaged Hardwood Flooring

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Where do some of the most beautiful floors in the finest homes come from? Remarkably, they're salvaged hardwood flooring. This antique flooring comes from reclaimed wood rescued from any number of places - condemned houses, old buildings about to be torn down, warehouses that have seen better days, even old railroad trestles.

Antique flooring comes in all species of wood: hemlock, Douglas fir, Southern yellow pine, and spruce. You can also purchase reclaimed wood in hardwoods such as oak, cherry, mahogany, chestnut, and walnut.

And many people in the know claim antique flooring from reclaimed wood to be even better than new wood flooring products. This is because as wood ages, the grain becomes tighter due to moisture loss. The old wood not only becomes lighter, it becomes stronger and harder, as well.

Most salvaged hardwood flooring originates from first-generation growth wherein the trees it was harvested from had larger diameters than trees used for wood flooring today. Purchasers can find planks from this type of reclaimed wood in widths of up to twenty-four inches, if they're lucky, and if they're willing to pay a premium price. With planning widths averaging between four and ten inches, this can give a width variety that's beautifully suited to antique flooring projects.

Reclaimed wood for antique flooring generally runs about half to the same price as new wood. Or, you can find it even cheaper by keeping an eye out for any building about to be demolished and salvaging the wood planks yourself. One day with a good helper can reap several hundred dollars worth of savings.

Maintenance

Salvaged hardwood flooring requires the same type of maintenance as new wood floors. The most important thing to remember is to avoid wetness. Never use water to clean wood flooring other than to damp mop it occasionally and even then, you should allow it to dry as quickly as possible using fans and opening all doors and windows to speed up the process.

Antique flooring makes a glorious architectural statement in your home - plus it recycles valuable, beautiful wood that might otherwise be taken to a landfill. So take the time to check out reclaimed wood as an alternative to new wood for your floors. You and the Earth will be happy you did!

This article was taken directly from Online Tips (http://www.onlinetips.org/salvaged-hardwood-flooring). Also, please visit my websites at www.americarpetfloors.com and www.stylishrugs.com for all your flooring needs.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Brick Flooring a Unique & Interesting Alternative

brick flooring in kitchenAre you looking for an exceptional and appealing flooring that will withstand just about anything, doesn't show dirt, and is amazingly easy to clean and maintain?

If you haven't considered brick, then maybe it's time to do so. If you've ever had the fortunate experience of entering an older home that exudes the warm and comfortable feel that comes from a mix of textures and "different" materials, you've discovered - even if unconsciously - the secret of its charm.

Brick offers just such an unexpected, yet appealing, quality that homeowners who have installed it wonder why they didn't do so years earlier. Usually thought of as an exterior building product, these brick-flooring converts have found that, in addition to good looks, it also offers the resilience and permanence ideally suited for the heavy daily traffic of many busy families.

In use as a dependable and attractive building material, bricks have been around since antiquity. As the primary material in roads, walls, floors, and innumerable other manmade projects, bricks have stood the test of time. Even today, in many vintage country homesteads from hundreds of years ago, it's often only the brick floor that still remains.

A Few Facts About Brick Tile

Created by a combination of fine-ground clays, shale, and other raw materials, the hard surface of a block of brick is obtained from high-temperature kiln firings after it has been pressed and cut. These thin brick tiles subsequently feature the beauty and strength of traditional bricks with the convenience and ease of installation offered by other tile products.

Because of their porosity, chemical sealants are commonly added to interior brick flooring tiles to make them easy to clean. Most manufacturers recommend additional sealer to be applied after installation for continued ease of maintenance.

Bricks, like any other type of flooring material, come in varying degrees of quality depending upon how they are made. Low-quality bricks are more porous, crumble easier, and are softer than higher-quality brick, which makes them prone to chipping and cracking. When shopping for good brick tiles that will last a lifetime (or longer), look for those with a hardness rating (MOH: measurement of hardness) of somewhere around five or six.

Grout & Sealer

Like other types of tiles, brick is installed using grout and a sealer. Because of this, although brick is virtually indestructible, it does still need to be periodically re-grouted and re-sealed, again, similar to ceramic or clay tile.

Other than this chore, which only needs to be performed every several years (depending on the amount and type of traffic it has endured), maintaining brick consists of occasional sweeping (or vacuuming) and mopping to keep it looking as rustically beautifully as the day it was installed.

So if you're looking for something different, something that will make your home stand out from the crowd yet retain the tasteful warmth found in quality-built homes of yesteryear, consider brick flooring. It's sure to be a winner with your family, friends, and with the person most important to the decision: you.

This article was taken directly from Online Tips (http://www.onlinetips.org/brick-flooring). Also, please visit my websites at www.americarpetfloors.com and www.stylishrugs.com for all your flooring needs.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Bamboo Flooring FAQ

Bamboo flooring is one of the latest crazes to sweep through the interior design industry in recent months and has been proving popular amongst homeowners. However, many of those homeowners know little about the type of flooring before having it installed in their home. Installation and everyday maintenance are just two of the areas that any individual should research before choosing bamboo flooring rather one of the many alternatives. Consider this your bamboo flooring FAQ!

1: What advantages does bamboo flooring have over other types of flooring?

As far as environmental considerations go, bamboo is the friendliest option for flooring. The growing season for bamboo is shorter than most other woods and thus is easier to replenish. As far as its functionality in the home is concerned, some forms of bamboo flooring are just as durable as hardwood floors, but the finish tends to look a lot more graceful and does not seem to have the same effect on a room. Bamboo tends to make the room appear lighter, whereas a hardwood floor tends to darken the atmosphere.

2: How can I install bamboo flooring in my home?

Installation is easy. You must clear the floor you intend to lay the bamboo on first. Make sure that it is dry and spotless so there are no weaknesses under the flooring, and then simply glue or nail the bamboo down. It comes in plank and tile form so you can choose the type that is best for you. There are no techniques involved. All you have to do is make sure that the tiles/planks are lined up properly and then glue or nail! Don’t go on the flooring for at least three hours afterwards though because you will be disturbing it before the glue has set.

3: What do I need to do to maintain my bamboo flooring?

Most of the maintenance steps are common sense with any wooden flooring. Always take your shoes off before you enter, always mop up spillages as soon as humanly possible and so on. However, there are some steps that you need to follow on a daily basis to maintain the floor. Open the window every day for at least fifteen minutes to keep the floor aerated and make sure that curtains are drawn if you leave the house during the day to avoid direct sunlight shining on it for too long. It only needs to be varnished or treated every couple of years but you should dry mop it at least once a week to maintain the shine.

4: How can I mend scratched bamboo flooring?

Some types of bamboo floor are prone to scratching, but isolated scratches are easy to deal with. If your bamboo flooring should scratch, simply use fine sandpaper to work the scratch out. If this doesn’t work, use an electrical sander on a low setting so you can easily control it. Then just refinish the flooring and it will look as good as new.

5: Won’t damp set into my bamboo flooring?

This is an unlikely possibility. Bamboo floors do have to contain a degree of moisture because of the nature of the wood, but the wood is generally kiln dried and treated before being turned into the flooring we have in our homes. The moisture content is carefully controlled and is generally between 8% and 9%. The flooring would actually be degraded if it did not have this rather than as a result of it.

6: Is there any difference between the bamboo floorings on the market or are they all the same?

Yes, the types on the market vary greatly. Most importantly, there are varying degrees of hardness out there. You should endeavour to find one that boasts resistance to all materials. Some are finished with a chemical called urethane, which ensures that the flooring is scratch-resistant, fireproof, resistant to chemicals and oils, and will generally last for years. However, there are some bamboo floors that are relatively weak and will scratch easily. If you do want your floor to last for years, avoid these types.

This article was taken directly from Online Tips (http://www.onlinetips.org/flooring/bamboo-flooring-faq). Also, please visit my websites at www.americarpetfloors.com and www.stylishrugs.com for all your flooring needs.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Advantages of Vinyl Flooring

With over 40 years of experience as the most popular flooring in North America, it’s hard to deny that there are many advantages of vinyl flooring. Although there are many new flooring options now available to homeowners and decorators, vinyl flooring remains the number one choice, not only due to the cost but also the wide variety and way in which it is easily maintained. If you’re still not convinced, here’s a look at the numerous advantages that come with choosing vinyl flooring.

1) Vinyl Flooring Quality

Like anything you purchase, in terms of home renovation or otherwise, you’re going to get what you pay for. In that sense, there are many low-quality vinyl flooring products on the market, and since it is the least expensive flooring option in general, you have to be careful when looking for the flooring you want to purchase.

With that in mind, low end vinyl is going to be very thin, with a very shallow layer for wear placed over a vinyl or felt backing. The pattern on low quality vinyl is printed on with a rotary printer, while the top is a clear layer of vinyl. These pieces last less than ten years, and can be prone to breakage or tearing in high-traffic areas.

High-quality vinyl has the pattern and color permeating throughout the sheeting, and the wear layer is much thicker – which is why many good vinyl manufacturers will warranty their product for up to 30 years. This kind of vinyl flooring is an excellent dirt repellant, resists scuffing, and is heavier in general.

2) Vinyl Flooring Installation

Another advantage of vinyl flooring is that there are newer varieties of flooring that can be easily installed and replaced: vinyl-backed flooring can be secured onto the floor by only placing glue along the edges, and can be replaced by breaking the edge seals and ripping the floor out. Otherwise, peel and stick vinyl flooring tiles come pre-glued and ready to be placed down.

All you as a homeowner need to do is take the paper backing off, position your tile, and lay it down – no gluey mess, no hassle. The only major work in this process is ensuring that the surface you’re laying the tiles on is impeccably clean to ensure a tight fit. It’s also more manageable than purchasing large pieces of sheet vinyl, although sheets can be relatively hassle-free if using a template to fit the flooring down.

3) Vinyl Flooring Maintenance

The only thing that vinyl flooring typically needs is regular sweeping or mopping. Abrasives are not recommended on vinyl floors, since they’ll destroy the wear layer and leave marks – but otherwise, dirt and messes are easily cleaned with a broom, mop or rag. When sealed, the flooring is almost impervious to water and moisture – avoiding any future issues with mold and mildew under your floor!

4) Other Vinyl Flooring Advantages

With a near-infinite variety of colors and patterns to choose from, vinyl flooring has the advantage of being able to provide a functional, inexpensive floor that can conform to the theme or d├ęcor of whatever room you’re installing it in.

Your best choice is to go with one of the high quality – but fortunately, still low-cost – vinyl flooring options that last for at least 30 years. Since the manufacturing and disposal of vinyl is considered to be rather harmful for the environment, a choosing long-term vinyl is also the most environmentally friendly option.

This article was taken directly from Online Tips (http://www.onlinetips.org/advantages-of-vinyl-flooring). Also, please visit my websites at www.americarpetfloors.com and www.stylishrugs.com for all your flooring needs.

Engineered Wood Floor

An engineered wood floor, often referred to as an engineered hardwood floor, is made of several layers of wood glued together with an upper outside layer of hardwood to keep up appearances. The inner layers can be composed of hardwoods, plywood, or high density fiber (HDF). Different types of engineered wood flooring can have varying numbers of layers depending on the type and brand. The outside showing layer can be about any type of hardwood a consumer could desire.

Advantages

There are several advantages to having engineered wood flooring. The most prominent are that they do not warp and are better suited to adverse conditions. Engineered wood floors overcome common warping, cupping, swelling, and splitting apart problems that plague normal hardwood floors.

With engineered wood flooring materials, you will benefit from all of the natural beauty of a genuine hardwood floor, without all the headaches. Also, engineered wood floors can be installed in moist areas where all natural wood can not survive.

Manufacturing of Engineered Wood Flooring

There are two most common types of manufacturing of engineered wood floors. The main difference is in how the show layer of hardwood is cut from the logs. The typical engineered hardwood floor will have a show layer of natural veneer hardwood that is either a sliced cut or a rotary cut layer of hardwood.

    Sliced cut - Sliced cut veneer is sawn from the log much like regular boards and shows a much truer, finer grain. This is more expensive and allows for a higher quality, thicker hardwood surface that will withstand the most wear. The thickness of the veneer layer can vary.

    Rotary cut - Rotary cut veneer is peeled or cut from the logs using a huge lathe that cuts long, wide pieces of hardwood from the log in a circular motion. This method provides for a much more wild grain pattern that is less natural looking and less desired by home owners. The veneer layer is normally thinner, wears faster and is less expensive than sliced cut veneers.

Installing

Engineered wood flooring is not a difficult DIY project. The boards come in different widths and lengths, so you will need to plan your floor according to the size of the material you choose to use. Typically, the boards are three to five inches wide and up to 48 inches long. The flooring can be easily installed over most ceramic tile, concrete slabs and vinyl flooring.

You should make sure the surface you are installing the floor on is flat, well secured, wax and glaze free and it should be roughened up so the adhesive will work better. Most engineered wood flooring is meant to be glued down, but some may also be stapled. The typical installation involves preparing the surface, cutting the boards to size when necessary and gluing them in place.

Where to use Engineered Wood

Engineered wood floors can be installed in many places that regular hardwood flooring can not survive. It can be safely installed in most basements as long as the moisture content is below 4% when installing on a concrete slab.

Engineered wood floors are also more suitable for installing in tropical regions of the country where moisture and heat conditions do not allow for all natural hardwood floors. Engineered wood flooring can be installed on any grade level.

Refinishing

Most engineered wood floors never need to be refinished. If you do decide that your floor could use a refinishing, use caution. You need to be aware of the thickness of the veneer show hardwood before you consider sanding. A typical professional sanding job will remove about 1/32 of an inch of wood from the surface of the floor.

If you have a veneer that is 2mm thick, you could sand it once or maybe twice. If it is not at least that thick, it is not recommended that you sand it. Typically the sliced cut variety of engineered flooring is more likely to survive a refinishing project than the rotary cut variety.

This article was taken directly from Online Tips (http://www.onlinetips.org/engineered-wood-floor). Also, please visit my websites at www.americarpetfloors.com and www.stylishrugs.com for all your flooring needs.