Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Is Thicker Laminate Better?

A lot of people ask what is the difference between thin laminate and thicker laminate. I mean, laminate is only printed on the plank itself so it shouldn't matter, right?

Well, you'd be wrong, it does matter; and here is why.

"Laminate flooring is not real wood, but it is manufactured to look like and give the feel of real wood as flooring. But unlike real wood, it will not stain, fade, or dent over time. It is virtually scratch proof, which is good for parents of young kids and pet owners. It is also more water resistant than real wood.

Entry level laminate flooring is good for about 15 years in an area of daily light traffic. Experts say that to expect anything more is wrong. Most people think that laminate will last forever. However it will suffer and need to be replaced if used in high traffic areas of the home.

Which Type to Use: Most folks look only at the finish of the flooring and don't pay attention to the core. Cores can range from 6 mm to 12 mm. Thicker is better in this case, albeit more expensive. The thicker the core, the more stable the floor. There will be fewer if any instances of creaking sounds. A good quality core is also treated to make it more water resistant, which will eliminate the swelling that moisture can cause.

Laminate flooring can be used in bathrooms and kitchens, however it is wise to select a flooring that has wax embedded in the joints to give even more protection against moisture. The wax guards against sudden water spills and keeps the water from penetrating to the core of the wood, eventually disrupting stability. Prior to installation, check the warranty because even some laminates are not recommended for bathroom or kitchen use.

Glueless Laminate Flooring: This type of flooring utilizes boards that are grooved to snap together. So long as the instructions are followed, it is a very easy installation. It is probably the most affordable of flooring choices. It comes in a wide variety of design and color schemes and they don't look cheap, even if they are affordable. The laminate is durable, highly resistant to everyday living of people and pets. It is also very easy to maintain.

Drawbacks and Disadvantages: A major drawback to using laminate is that it is not a lifetime proposition. Over the long run, while it may resist dents, moisture and scratches better than real wood, it does tend to wear out faster than the real McCoy. Non-laminate flooring can last for a hundred years in kept in original condition. Laminate is impossible to repair and hard to sand or refinish. 20 years is the maximum life span for most laminate flooring.
While it is more resistant to moisture, glueless laminate flooring is vulnerable to moisture when spilled on the floor. Even if the spill is gotten up immediately, there is a danger of the spillage seeping down into the core and other under parts of the flooring causing damage. And it doesn't add as much value to the home as wood does. Traction can also be an issue.

Caring for Laminate: The smart thing to do is to carefully read the warranty to find out how to care for your new floor. Most will tell you not to mop for 48 hours after initial installation. Never wet mop a laminate floor. That will cause water to seep at the baseboards or under the trim or between the joints in the floor, ruining the core. Vacuum or sweep the floor and then if necessary, damp mop. However, if you must use a damp mop, make absolutely sure it's wrung almost dry.

Never apply wax or acrylic floor finishes over your laminate flooring. It is already finished. Only use stain removal products recommended by the manufacturer. Some products will ruin your finish. Put doormats on both sides of an exterior door. This will cut down on the amount of dirt carried in on the bottoms of shoes. This dirt can scratch the finish of the floor. It would be wise to put those easyglide buttons on the bottom of furniture to guard against scars and scratches, too.

Common Sense Maintenance: Keeping the laminate flooring is basically a matter of common sense and easy cleaning procedures. Guard against using heavy or sharp objects in proximity to the new floor. Use tarps or padding when working on the ceiling or in a position to drop something like paint, onto the floor. These things can obviously cause damage.

Waterproof Laminate: A laminate that is waterproof is best for homes where moisture is a problem, either through spills, or the weather. All laminate is fortified against moisture, but some goes that extra mile. Waterproof laminate has four layers- a decorative layer and three layers that support the decorative structure. One is a melamine layer. In other words a clear resin filled membrane that coats the top layer of the flooring. The core, located in the middle is fiberboard, made of a high density material designed to absorb impact. These two along with the two other layers make the flooring waterproof.

The best way to make the floor waterproof is to install a floating floor that locks tightly over the old flooring. This locking, whether it be wax or glue, keeps moisture out preventing damage.

Locking Laminate: Before buying locking laminate flooring there are some things to consider. The good news is that locking laminate is easy to install. It requires matching up the tongues and grooves to keep the boards in place. In the less expensive versions, the locking can wear out or expand and loosen over time. So, look for thicker grooves and tongues on the type of laminate that you want. Thicker is better in this case.

However, even the best locking mechanism needs a smooth and level under surface upon which to rest. If the foundation is bumpy or lumpy or uneven for whatever reason, then no locking mechanism is going to hold forever. Unevenness can cause the floor to actually break if stepped on in the wrong place at the wrong time. So remove all impediments, old carpeting, old tiling, whatever is there to make sure the sub-flooring is smooth before laying down the new laminate flooring. "
To summarize the reason it is important:
  • The thicker the core, the more stable the floor. There will be fewer if any instances of creaking sounds. A good quality core is also treated to make it more water resistant, which will eliminate the swelling that moisture can cause.
  • It requires matching up the tongues and grooves to keep the boards in place. In the less expensive versions, the locking can wear out or expand and loosen over time.
This article was quoted directly from Professor House. Moreover, Americarpet sells Laminate and Hardwood floors. Come see our website at www.AmericarpetFloors.com. 3a

Saturday, December 11, 2010

How To Remove Stains From Floors

Stain Removal Floor Stains Dents
Despite the number of floor coverings that claim to be stain-resistant, eventual marring by marks and stains is inevitable, whatever type of flooring you choose, whether it is plush carpet or glossy wood, soft vinyl or hard natural stone. Provided that the stain or mark is tackled quickly, most can be removed without professional intervention.

We all know that prevention is better than cure and this is certainly true when it comes to floor stains. By modifying your usage slightly, you can go a long way towards avoiding nasty stains and marks that may be difficult to remove.

Tips for Protecting Your Floor
  • With hard surface floors, even those designed for heavy traffic, such as durable laminate, take care when moving furniture or heavy objects across the floor. Ideally lift rather than slide, even with slick, shiny floors such as vinyl which looks as if sliding would be easier. If the object is really too heavy to be lifted, use a towel or a heavy sock under each leg to reduce damage to the floor.
  • Even durable laminate and vinyl can be gouged, scratched or dented so even if the furniture is immobile, it is a good idea to use felt pads or fabric-covered casters or gliders on any part that comes into contact with the floor.
  • For waxed floors, make sure that you avoid cleaning products that include or require water, always check the label and make sure it is compatible with the kind of wax on your floor surface. Also, never apply wax over a dirty floor.
  • Try to avoid high heels on wood floors, laminate and vinyl if possible and if they have to be worn indoors, make sure that the heels are not worn down to the metal nails as this can seriously scratch the floor surface, particularly hardwood.
  • Entrance mats are always a good idea, not only do they trap dirt and grime and outside moisture, they can also help to prevent unintended scratches from incoming or outgoing traffic, especially in the case of grit being tracked into the house.
  • If you have potted plants, make sure that they are situated in special containers that have ‘legs’ to allow airflow beneath the waterproof saucers, so that water damage and staining are prevented.
Note: entrance mats are a good idea, try to avoid those which have a rubber backing as this may cause yellow discoloration of the floor underneath. Choose instead mats with a natural fiber backing. Similarly, furniture feet made of rubber should be removed or separated from the floor surface by a coaster.

Be especially careful when using spirit-based products such as permanent marker pens, solvents, shoe polish and hair dye. If accidental marking does occur, wipe it off as soon as possible. Similarly for strongly-colored food products, such as mustard and turmeric and also when using any corrosive substances such as acid or alkaline cleaning solutions. These will quickly damage the surface of the floor so clean up any spills immediately.

Never use abrasives on polished surfaces as they can cause serious scratching.

Finally, humidity can play a role in floor damage, especially with hardwood floors - so try to keep humidity in the rooms between 45 and 55%. Excessive moisture in the atmosphere can cause swelling in wood fibers, leading to cracks and buckles in the finish. Conversely, very dry conditions will cause floor boards to separate.

Dealing with Stains
Carpet stains can usually be successfully removed with patient sponging and blotting using just water and absorbent white paper towels, working from the inside of the stain outwards. Avoid using detergents as if these are not thoroughly rinsed out, they will cause the carpet fibres to attract more dirt and grime and thus make staining even more likely in the future. For serious stains, it may be worth hiring a professional carpet cleaner and an annual deep-clean is always recommended in any case. [Ed. Note: That being said, solution dyed nylon is as stain proof as you can get. Moreover, most solution dyed nylon carpets come with stain resistance guarantees that have the owner covered in case it does get stained.]

For scratched or dented laminate and vinyl floors, commercial touch-up kits are easily available which include step-by-step instructions for a simple repair process. If cleaning a stain from laminates or vinyl with a detergent solution, make sure that you rinse the floor thoroughly with clean water afterwards as otherwise, the detergent will leave a sticky film on the surface which will not only cloud the finish but also attract more dirt in the future.

For hardwood floors, the key is wiping up spills immediately. Moisture is the main enemy of timber flooring so never allow a wet area to stand. Use a soft, clean cloth to wipe up the liquid and then another dry cloth to make sure the area is completely dry.

Ceramic tile tends to be water-resistant but it is still a good idea to tackle any stains or spills immediately. Usually, just mopping with hot water and mild household detergent should do the trick as the hot water will loosen the dirt and the detergent helps to lift any oily substances off the floor. If the stain remains stubborn, try to loosen the spot with a soft brush or synthetic scouring pad but avoid steel wool or metal brushes as these can scratch the surface of the tiles.

Mildew is a common problem with ceramic tiles and this can be tackled with a solution of equal parts water and ammonia, together with a soft brush. (Always ensure good ventilation in the area when using ammonia and never mix with chlorine solution/bleach). If the grout itself is stained, diluted bleach (3 parts bleach to 1 part water) applied with a toothbrush will help to lighten the area.

The key to stain prevention is regular cleaning. Dust and lint can turn into hard-to-shift grime if they are not speedily removed, especially if there is moisture in the area. Most flooring suitable for home use is relatively easy maintenance and simply require a weekly sweep, vacuum or wet mop to ensure that they look their best.

This article was taken directly from Floor Ideas (http://www.floorideas.co.uk). Also, visitwww.americarpetfloors.com, www.stylishrugs.com and www.americarpetcommercial.com for all your flooring needs. Americarpet sells all the flooring you read about on the article.  1a 2a 3a