Saturday, August 31, 2013

Facts About Ceramic Tile

Ceramics are an ancient craft that date back some 4,000 years, originating in Ancient Egypt around 4,700 BCE.
The origin of the word “ceramic” comes from the Greek word “keramos,” or pottery.  The word “tile” originates from the Latin “tegula” and its French derivative, “tuile.”
The art of tiling spread west from the Middle East, becoming popular in Europe during the 11th century, when mosaic floorings and panels became prevalent.
Tiles are made from clay, which once shaped and dried, are fired in a kiln at very hot temperatures. This process hardens the tiles, creating “bisque,” which can then be glazed and fired a second time. Tiles can also be used unglazed, although the color range is limited to the natural shades of the clay.
Ceramic tiles have been a popular material for interior and exterior decoration for thousands of years. They come in all shapes and sizes, colors and glazes and can be used plain, decorated or as part of a mosaic.
Ceramic tiles are a popular choice of flooring due to their aesthetic appeal, as well as their durability and easy care. A properly installed ceramic tile floor will outperform and outlast nearly any other floor covering product created for the same application. Glazed ceramic tile resists stains, odors and dirt and can be cleaned with a damp mop or common household cleaners.
Grade III and Grade IV glazed ceramic tiles are extremely scratch resistant. You never have to worry about a cut or tear like you do with other floor coverings.
Modern technologies have added to the range of shades, finishes and shapes available. In addition, there has been a resurgence of more traditional looks with terracotta and other natural unglazed finishes.
Additional benefits of ceramic tile include:
  • Cleanliness: Environmentally friendly, ceramic tile is manufactured using natural materials and does not retain odors, allergens or bacteria.
  • Versatility: Modern ceramic manufacturing technology has created a virtually limitless number of colors, sizes, styles, shapes and textures that can add rich beauty and character to any room in your home.
  • Fire Resistance: Ceramic tile doesn't burn or emit toxic fumes. Even hot kitchen pans or skillets can’t scorch or melt the surface of glazed ceramic tile!
  • Water Resistance: Most glazed ceramic tile has a dense body that permits little or no moisture accumulation.
In short, ceramic tile is a timeless, luxurious and durable flooring choice that offers a unique opportunity for self-expression because of its detail, flexibility and sheer beauty.
From simple terra cotta tiles to highly decorated individual tiles that create intricate mosaics, ceramic tile offers a level of versatility that makes the possibilities truly endless.
You can call us at (305) 945-2973 for individual quotes based on your specific requirements. One of our representatives will be able to assist you in your order. 3a



Contact Americarpet today for more information (305) 945-2973

Monday, August 19, 2013

Hardwood Flooring Types

Hardwood Flooring Types

When we talk about hardwood flooring, we’re usually think about ¾” thick planks that are 2 ¼” wide. Though you may find narrower widths or a thinner gauge, this is what is considered the classic strip wood floor. Most hardwood flooring today is manufactured from the American hardwoods (red oak, white oak, maple, cherry, white ash, hickory or pecan trees) or the newer exotic hardwoods, such as Brazilian Cheery, Tigerwood, Ipe, African Teak, etc. The three most common hardwood flooring types today are Solid hardwood flooring, Engineered wood flooring and Longstrip engineered wood floors.


solid vs engineered wood flooring

SOLID HARDWOOD FLOORING

Traditional solid hardwood floors are comprised of a single piece of wood with tongue and groove sides. Most come unfinished, but there are many pre-finished 3/4" solid hardwood floors.

This type of wood flooring is very sensitive to moisture. As a result, the solid planks are typically nailed down over a wood type sub-floor and not recommended for use directly over a concrete slab or below ground level (such as a floodable basement).

What’s great about solid wood floors is that they can be refinished and recoated multiple times throughout their lifespan — which can be decades or longer. You’ve probably walked on solid hardwood flooring well over a century old that carry that kind of rich patina and character that could tell fascinating tales of the past — if it could talk!

Because it’s an natural product, hardwood flooring expands and contracts in response to seasonal changes in moisture. When it’s cold outside and the heat is on inside, the wood can contract — sometimes creating unsightly gaps between planks.

When summer comes and humidity increases, wood floors can expand — causing those gaps to magically disappear! Too much moisture, however, can cause the planks to buckle or cup — not exactly trends in flooring fashion!

Solid Oak Flooring
Oak is typically used to create solid unfinished wood floors. There are several different qualities to choose from — be aware of what you’re buying.

Like a flawless diamond, Clear Oak has no blemishes or knots and as such, can be very expensive. You can lower the cost by going with Select Oak or Better Oak, both of which have small visible knots and maybe a little dark graining, as well as some character!

#1 Common Oak and #2 Common Oak have more visible knots and more dark graining.

ENGINEERED HARDWOOD FLOORING

Engineered wood flooring has become a extremely popualr hardwood flooring type. Mainly because it can be used in many areas of the home where solid hardwood is not recommended.


Engineered wood floors are constructed of 3 or more thin sheets (called plies) of wood that are laminated together to form a single plank. The plies are usually laid in opposite directions (called cross-ply construction) to each other during the manufacturing process. This “cross-ply” type of construction creates a hardwood floor that is dimensionally stable and not affected by changes in moisture and temperature variations like traditional 3/4" solid wood floors. The advantage of cross-ply construction is that the wood plies counteract each other, thus prohibiting the plank from expanding or shrinking.

Another advantage is versatility.
Engineered hardwood floors can be installed practically anywhere, including over wood sub-floors, concrete slabs and in your basement. They can be nailed down, stapled down, glued down — even floated over some types of existing flooring.

Engineered floors range from ¼” to 9/16” thick and from 2 ¼” to 7” in width. To create a custom look, widths can mixed, such as 3”, 5” and 7” planks installed side-by-side. Lengths are random and range from 12" to 60" in length.

Because engineered wood floors are comprised of several layers of wood, the finish of the top layer can be a completely different wood species than the lower layers. You can find engineered wood floors in many different types of wood species, both domestic and exotic hardwoods.

LONGSTRIP HARDWOOD FLOORING
Longstrip hardwood floors are really engineered floors with the top, finish layer made up of several thinner wood plies glued together to make a single plank. The center core of a longstrip plank is usually a softer wood material and is used to make the tongue and groove.

The top layer can be almost any hardwood species and is comprised of smaller individual pieces that are generally laid in two or three rows. What’s great about this is longstrip planks give the illusion of a board that is 2 or 3 narrow planks wide and several planks long. Each longstrip plank appears to be an entire preassembled section.

Longstrip planks come approximately 86" long and 7 1/2" wide. They typically have between 17 and 35 shorter pieces that make up the top layer of each board. This gives the effect of installing a board that is 3 rows wide and several planks long.

Longstrip planks are designed for floating installation, but most can also be glued or stapled down. They can be installed over a wide variety of subfloors and on any grade level.

You can call us at (305) 945-2973 for individual quotes based on your specific requirements. One of our representatives will be able to assist you in your order.



Contact Americarpet today for more information (305) 945-2973
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Saturday, August 3, 2013

How Area Rugs Are Made

Area rugs have much in common with carpeting. Many are produced on computerized looms using a variety of techniques. But there is a category of area rug that makes it more truly an art form and less a floor covering. These are the handmade, hand-knotted rugs. Some are antiques, but many are being made today. Before you make your decision, you should understand the pros and cons of both types.

Machine made rugs are less expensive and are not considered long term investments. Woven rugs are created on automated weaving looms in which multiple colors of yarn are sewn into a backing material. The rug’s elaborate designs may originate in the mind of a talented individual, but machines execute them. The benefit of machine made rugs is that they have many of the qualities of handmade wool area rugs, for example, but cost significantly less. Also, most machine made rugs are impervious to moisture and mildew. They just don’t wear as well as a handmade area rug.

Handmade (also called hand-knotted) rugs are full of inconsistencies, and that’s what makes them unique. Even if the overall pattern is made many times, each rug will be different. There will be variations in the color of the yarn, for instance, and there will be telltale signs that identify the weaver.

On top of everything else a handsome rug will do for you, handmade rugs are wonderful investments that last many lifetimes and become part of your family legacy. In order to insure that you have a good investment, consult a trained professional.

Handmade

There are some terms that will keep showing up in our discussion of weaving rugs. Two are warp and weft (or woof). These terms come from flat weaving, but still apply to rug weaving. Lengthwise yarns (the ones typically attached to the loom) are called warp and crosswise yarns or horizontal yarns are called weft. Weft are the yarns manipulated by the weaver. Special textures are introduced by changing the color of the yarns used and by passing one or more woof threads over one or more warp threads.

It’s Elemental, My Dear Weaver

All rugs share three fundamentals:

Weave
Knotting
Dyes

The Weaves

There are three major weaving techniques:

Pile weave
Flat weave
Hand-tufted

Pile Weave

Pile weave or knotted weave is the method used to make most rugs. A short piece of yarn is tied around two neighboring warp strands creating a knot on the surface of the rug. All pile rugs are woven with knots, but different weaving groups use different knots.

Every single knot is tied by hand. A single rug has 25 to over 1000 knots per square inch. A skillful weaver is able to tie a knot in about ten seconds, meaning 6 knots per minute or 360 knots per hour. It would take our weaver 6,480 hours to weave a 9x12-foot rug with a density of 150 knots per square inch. That means one weaver needs 810 days (approximately two-and-a-half years) to weave a rug. This is why hand woven rugs are an investment — not just of money, but of time.

Flat Weave

There are no knots in flat weave, hence the name. The weft strands are simply passed in and out through the warp strands. Rugs made in this manor have no pile and are flat. Most cloth is woven in a similar manner. Flat weave rugs have a special look.

Hand Tufted

A hand-tufted rug is also created without tying knots. Instead, tufts or loops of yarn are pushed through a primary backing. The tufts are then held in place with glue while two additional layers of backing are added.

The final step involves cutting the tops of the loops or tufts to create the pile. The height of the pile is determined by how much yarn is cut off and how long the initial loop was.

Hand-tufted rug makers use a “tufting gun” to push the yarn through the backing.

It takes much less time to hand tuft than to hand knot — days instead of months or years. Consequently, hand-tufted rugs are generally less expensive. Still, hand tufting requires a high level of artistry to replicate the intricate patterns.

The Knots

Tying knots on the warp strands makes pile weave rugs. There are a variety of ways to tie knots and normally, the method indicates the region in which a rug was made or the tribe who made it.

Asymmetrical Knot (also known as Persian or Senneh)

Normally considered the finest knot, it is typical of Iran, India, Turkey, Egypt and China. This weave is very fine and tight.

Symmetrical Knot (Turkish or Ghiorde)

You will find this knot used primarily in Turkey, the Caucasus and Iran by Turkish and Kurdish tribes.

Knot Density

Knot density refers to the number of knots per square inch (or square decimeter) in a handmade rug.

Count the number of knots per linear inch along the warp and weft (visible on the backside of the rug) and multiply the two numbers. The total can range from 25 to 1000. In most cases, the higher the number of knots per square inch, the higher the quality of the rug.

The Dyes

The process of changing the color of wool, silk and cotton — even manmade yarns — is called dyeing. There are two types of dyes: natural and synthetic.

Natural Dyes

Until the late nineteenth century, only natural dyes — extracted from plants, animals, or minerals — were used for coloring weaving yarns.

Plants

Roots, flowers, leaves, fruit and the bark of plants have been used to make dyes for thousands of years. Here’s a quick look at the colors and what plants they come from.

Blue or Indigo comes from woad, or dyer’s knotweed.

Yellow comes from saffron, safflower, sumac, turmeric, onionskin, rhubarb, weld and fustic.

Red is from madder, redwood bark and Brazil wood.

Browns and blacks come from the brown resin of the Acacia tree (catechu dye), also from oak bark, oak galls, acorn husks, tea and walnut husks.

Orange comes from henna.

Green comes from over-dyeing any of the blues with any of the yellows.

Animals (Insects And Snails, That Is)

Carmine or red comes from the Cochineal, a scale insect found on plants in Mexico, India and Iran and kermes, found on Oak trees near the Mediterranean. Kermes, the most ancient of all three, have been used since before the 16th century.

Imperial purple comes from fresh mucous secretion from the spiny dye-murex sea snail. In ancient Rome, it was incredibly expensive and therefore, used to denote members of the highest classes.

Minerals

Yellow, brown, and red come from ocher.

White comes from limestone or lime.

Black comes from manganese.

Red comes from cinnabar and lead oxide.

Blue comes from azurite and lapis lazuli.

Green comes from malachite.

Dyers are able to get a variety of colors and shades from the same dye source. Different materials, the mineral content of the water and the mordant (a chemical that fixes a dye by combining with it to form an insoluble compound) can cause variations in color.

Natural dyes are still used today in traditional dye-houses and villages that are close to the source.

Synthetic Dyes

By the mid-nineteenth century, demand for handmade rugs was increasing in the West, thus spurring production in the East. It became important to manufacture rugs more quickly and less expensively. Synthetic dyes were introduced in Germany. Soon they were imported to Persia, Turkey and other Eastern countries.

The first synthetic dyes were aniline dyes. Aniline comes form the German word for indigo. Broadly, it’s a synthetic organic dye. Fuchsine (a brilliant bluish red) was one of the first synthetic dyes developed in Germany in the 1850s and the revolution was on. These dyes made from coal tar were brilliant, inexpensive and easy to use, but they tended to fade when exposed to water or light.

To protect the integrity and reputation of the Persian rug, Nasser-e-Din Shah, the king of Qajar Dynasty in Persia, banned the use of aniline dyes in 1903. He gave orders that if aniline in any form was found, it was to be publicly burned; and if any rugs were found that were made with aniline dyes, they too, were to be burned. Persian weavers discontinued the use of synthetic dyes until the modern synthetic chrome dyes were developed in the years between the First and Second World Wars.

Chrome dyes, like their natural counterparts, are colorfast and come in an infinite variety of colors. They are also much cheaper to produce. The majority of yarns made today are dyed with — you guessed it — chrome dyes.


You can also call us at (305) 945-2973 for individual quotes based on your specific requirements. One of our representatives will be able to assist you in your order.
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Contact Americarpet today for more information (305) 945-2973