Frequently Asked Questions about Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl is an artificial flooring material that’s ideal for high-traffic areas. It is a cost-effective substitute to hardwood floors as it is available in a variety of colours and designs like those of wood. But, due to its synthetic material, some homeowners might have questions regarding its installation.

Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered. Here are the answers to some common questions asked by homeowners about installing vinyl flooring.

1) Where can I install vinyl flooring?

Ans. Vinyl flooring can be installed in any room of a home. It is a versatile and durable flooring material ideal for rooms with high-traffic such as living rooms, kitchens and entryways. You can also install it in rooms that have high moisture such as bathrooms and basements because vinyl is water-resistant. Vinyl flooring can be installed over other floorings (hardwood, plywood or concrete) but make sure that the subfloor is smooth and free from imperfections.

2) Can sunlight affect my vinyl flooring?

Ans. Yes. Vinyl flooring is not resistant to sunlight. UV sun rays can damage the surface causing discolouration. Installation experts recommend covering your windows with curtains or blinds in rooms with vinyl floors that have regular exposure to sun rays, especially on extremely sunny days.

3) Can I install vinyl flooring myself?

Ans. Of course. Vinyl flooring is one of the easiest DIY flooring materials. However, vinyl floor tiles are easier to install compared to vinyl sheet flooring. Just make sure that you prepare your subfloors well. Vinyl flooring is very flexible and subfloor imperfections can be easily visible after installation. Therefore, keep your subfloors smooth and remove debris before installing.

4) What is the average lifespan of a vinyl floor?

Ans. The average lifetime of vinyl flooring depends on the quality of the product. Most will typically last from 10 years to 20 years. If maintained properly, it can last for much longer.

5) How do I replace a damaged vinyl tile?

Ans. To replace a damaged vinyl floor tile, heat the damaged tile by blowing hot air on it with a hair dryer. Keep heating until the tile becomes malleable. Use a sharp knife to dig into the tile and then pry it off from the subfloor by using a putty knife. Scrape the remaining adhesive from the subfloor (moving from the edges towards the centre). Now replace the old tile with a new one.

6) Can I walk on my vinyl floor immediately after installation?

Ans. No. If you walk on your vinyl floor immediately after installation, then you can disturb the adhesive and damage the tiles. It is recommended to wait for 24 hours and allow the adhesive to hold the tiles properly.

Hopefully, these answers addressed some of the questions you may’ve had. Vinyl flooring is an easy to install option that has many benefits to offer. It is strong, stylish, cost-effective and water-resistant. Consider this flooring option to get a perfect combination of comfort and durability.

How Humidity Affects Hardwood Floors

Keeping hardwood floors in good condition requires proper care and maintenance. You’ll need to provide the right temperature and humidity control to prevent cracking, cupping and gapping of hardwood floors.

Hardwood floors are natural products and react to changes in humidity level and moisture. They expand and contract showing noticeable changes on the floors.

Let’s look into this in more detail.

Effects of Humidity on Hardwood

When the humidity level drops below 35%, the moisture content in hardwood dries out, making it weak. It is common in areas with colder climates because cold air can’t hold water vapour. It can cause splinters and damage the finish, resulting in the floor splitting along the grain. Visible gaps between the boards are also a common scene because of low humidity.

If too low a humidity level creates problems, then too high humidity makes it worst. A rise in humidity levels (above 55%) allows moisture to seep into the wood, causing the hardwood boards to swell. This creates pressure on the boards leading to cupping or warping.

The effects of extreme humidity are not limited to floors. It can cause many health problems. Low humidity increases the risk of catching a cold and high humidity provides a breeding ground for rot, mold, and insects such as cockroaches and termites.

What to Do?

Controlling the moisture in the air is the best solution to keep your hardwood floors from expanding and contracting. Here’s how to do it.

  • Install humidity control devices such as whole-house humidifiers, air conditioners and furnaces in your home and get them checked annually. These small investments can save thousands of dollars spent on repairs and replacement of your hardwood floors.
  • During the summer, lower the humidity level by using your air conditioners or dehumidifiers. During the winter, remove excess dryness from the air by keeping your humidifier at proper levels.
  • Check the relative moisture level of indoor air and subfloor before installing hardwood floors.
  • Keep the relative humidity level at 40% to 50% inside your home throughout the year.
  • Avoid installing hardwood floors in rooms with higher humidity levels such as laundry rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms.
  • Install exhaust fans in rooms where humidity is too high.

Installing hardwood floors is not enough. You need to provide the proper environment to keep it in tip-top condition. By maintaining the humidity levels in your home, you can prevent your hardwood floors from shrinking and cupping, ensuring their longevity. Proper moisture control can improve your hardwood’s performance and help you maintain a healthy environment at home.

The Difference between Hardwood and Softwood

Hardwood V/S Softwood Flooring

Wood flooring is broadly divided into two categories, hardwood and softwood. Both varieties are popular flooring options. However, there’s a common misconception that the differences between them is their density or hardness. The truth is that the two species are differentiated by their origin, structure, appearance and use.

Let’s find out more.

Origin

Hardwood originates from angiosperm and deciduous trees. These flowering trees produce enclosed seeds such as acorns and apples. They have broad leaves that drop annually in the fall. Softwood originates from gymnosperm and coniferous trees. These trees have needles and cones instead of leaves and produce uncovered or exposed seeds such as spruce, pine, and cedar. The seeds are blown by the wind and spread over a wide area.

Structure

Hardwood and softwood have different grain patterns due to their pores. Hardwood has vessel elements that transport water from roots to tip to nourish the wood. These vessel elements appear as pores of different shapes and sizes under a microscope, thus forming different grain patterns. Softwood has medullary rays (a system of linear tubes) forming tracheids, not pores, to transport water throughout the wood for producing sap to strengthen the stem. When observed under a microscope, pores are not visible in softwood.

Density

The structure of hardwood (presence of pores) makes it a denser flooring option compared to softwood. It is fire resistant and provides more durability to your floors. Due to the presence of tracheids, softwood has a lower density.

Appearance

Both varieties of wood have a distinct appearance. Hardwoods are available in variations of dark red, white and rich brown, whereas softwoods are available in variations of red and yellow. When looking at grain patterns, they can vary wildly from one wood to another.

Uses

Hardwood is commonly used for decking, flooring, and making sturdy, long-lasting furniture. It is a preferred choice for durable construction projects. Softwood is also a popular flooring option, but it is commonly used for paper, timber, mineral density fibreboards and Christmas trees.

Cost

Softwood is a cost-effective option compared to hardwood because it is easy to harvest, manufacture and distribute in the market. On the other hand, hardwood has a slower growth rate and costs more than softwood as it takes time to harvest.

Both hardwood and softwood have their unique characteristics. However, they have different origins, purposes and vary in prices. It’s up to you what you want, hardwood or softwood.

4 Flooring Options for Stairs Other than Carpets

Carpets make for excellent staircase covering due to their comfort and softness underfoot. There are several drawbacks with this flooring option, however. They wear out easily, trap dirt, get stained and need frequent cleaning.

If you’re disappointed with the performance of the carpet flooring on your stairs, then replace it with one of these 4 alternatives.

1) Hardwood Flooring

One of the most versatile options for staircase floorings is hardwood. It is available in many designs, colors, and types, and can be placed in different angles on the stairs. You can choose from a variety of shades (dark or light) and types of woods (oak, teak, pine, etc.) that suits your home décor. It is easy to clean and extremely durable. But, avoid wearing socks while walking on hardwood covered stairs or else you risk slipping.

2) Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is a cost-effective option if you want a wooden look. It is an ideal choice for staircases as it can be installed easily, is simple to fix to the stairs with a special adhesive and provides comfort underfoot This type of flooring is scratch resistant, so if you have pets, then their claws won’t harm the flooring. You don’t need to worry about cleaning the laminate flooring as simple mopping with a cleaning solution is sufficient.

3) Tile Flooring

Installing tiles on staircases is a great way of creating a modern and decluttered look. Tile flooring is available in many styles, materials, colours and provides a smooth finish to the stairs. Tiles can be used for both outdoor and indoor stairs as they are durable and scratch resistant. But, make sure that your stairs can handle the weight as tiles are heavier than other flooring options. Use slip tape or install textured tiles to prevent slipping.

4) Cork Flooring

Cork is a new inclusion for stair covering options. The best part is that it can be used for both the treads and risers of the steps. Like carpets, cork flooring provides cushion and softness underfoot and prevents slipping. It provides a natural look to the floors by offering a wood-like appearance. In short, it looks like wood but acts like a carpet. The durability and low maintenance features of cork make it a perfect stair covering.

Gone are the days when carpets were the only option available for stair covering. Nowadays, many flooring options have entered the market. Find the one that meets all your expectations without compromising on your budget!

Dos and Don’ts for Maintaining Your Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are a beautiful addition to any home, but they don’t come easy. Merely installing them in your home is not enough. Proper care and maintenance is needed to make your floors continue to like new for years to come. Many homeowners don’t realize what’s needed for good upkeep. In the absence of proper cleanliness and care, the floors will get damaged and become rough.

If you want to maintain the gleaming shine and beauty of your hardwood floors, then follow these dos and don’ts.

DOS

  • Use a microfiber cloth for cleaning the debris from the floor
  • Wipe the spills or moisture as soon as possible with a soft and dry cloth to avoid stains
  • Cover the windows with drapes and blinds to avoid excess exposure to sunlight that causes floor discolouration
  • Cover the legs of your furniture with felt pads to avoid scratches
  • Place rugs or protective mats at areas with heavy traffic to protect the hardwood from damage
  • Sweep the floors regularly with a soft mop or broom
  • Trim your pets’ nails and clean their paws; their nails and paws are a threat to the shine and flawless beauty of your hardwood floors
  • Maintain the room temperature to reduce shrinkage of your hardwood floors by using an air conditioner in the summer and a humidifier in the winter
  • To remove tough materials such as chewing gum or wax, place ice on it to harden the substance and then scrape it off carefully

DON’TS

  • Don’t use any floor cleaners other than the one recommended by the manufacturer
  • Don’t clean your hardwood flooring with water or a wet cloth
  • Don’t steam clean your hardwood floors
  • Never use furniture polishes, waxes or oils soaps, it will only hold dirt and give a dull look to your floors
  • Don’t use vinegar or ammonia-based cleaning products, they can break down or damage the finishing of the planks
  • Don’t walk on the floor while wearing high heeled or spiked shoes, this will create scratches
  • Don’t apply wax to the urethane finished floors
  • Don’t use vacuum cleaners with beater bars, they can cause dent on the surface and damage the finish
  • Don’t leave damp or wet rugs on the floors for a longer period

 

Maintain the beauty and shine of your hardwood floors by following these dos’ and don’ts. Being a bit vigilant and making an effort to maintain your floors will help you in the long run.

For more information on hardwood floors contact Amazon Hardwood.

Prefinished vs Site Finished Hardwood Floors

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There’s a bit of confusion as to which one is a better option, prefinished hardwood floors or site finished hardwood floors. Both have their advantages and provide a great look to the floors. But, each also has differences in regard to installation, finishing, sanding, convenience, etc.

If you’re not able to decide between prefinished and site finished hardwood flooring, then continue reading. The following post will help you decide which one is better by differentiating between them.

Prefinished Hardwood Floors

Prefinished hardwood floors, also known as factory finished hardwood floors, have the finish (a protective top coat) applied during manufacturing of the planks. This flooring has gained popularity recently.

  • Sanding and finishing is completed in a factory controlled environment, thus avoiding all the mess during installation.
  • Installation is much more convenient
  • 7-9 passes of aluminum oxide urethane coatings are applied to the wood that makes it harder, smoother and more durable.
  • Labour cost is saved as no sanding and finishing is required
  • Saves a lot of time because the wood is prefinished and can be installed straight away
  • Requires less skill to install
  • Most of the prefinished floors are covered with a manufacturer’s warranty
  • More expensive than the unfinished hardwood floors.
  • Bevel on edges cause inconsistency in thickness of the wood and breaks continuity, thus making milling discrepancies more noticeable.
  • Cleaning of bevels is a bit difficult
  • Length, width, colour and grain choices are limited

Site Finished Hardwood Floors

Site finished or unfinished hardwood floors, are available in their natural state. The boards are stained, sanded, and finished after their installation on site. They are one of the most conventional types of hardwood floors.

  • The surface is smooth with an even finish and no grooves, unlike the prefinished floors.
  • Cost-effective option compared to the factory finished floors
  • Can sand or refinish the floors several times
  • Offers long-term value
  • Can be customized to incorporate designs, borders, inlays, etc.
  • No bevel edges and grooves, thus no inconsistency on the floor finish
  • Easier to clean, repair and match with your existing flooring
  • Dirt and liquid don’t penetrate to the subfloor
  • Installation takes a lot of time because the boards are sanded, stained and finished on site
  • Installation is messier as a lot of dust is created during the sanding process
  • Requires a lot of skill to install
  • The floors are not ready to be walked on just after the installation as the finishing needs to be dried for a couple of days.

The decision to choose between factory finished and unfinished hardwood floors depends on your choice, preference and project type. Prefinished floors are ideal for existing homes as they’re convenient and you don’t need to deal with dust and fumes created by sanding. Site finished floors are ideal for new homes as you can get them installed and finished on the site without any trouble to you and your family. Know your needs and then decide.

Best Flooring Options for High Traffic Areas

Areas in your home, such as the kitchen, living room and dining room, experience tremendous amounts of foot traffic. These areas need floors that can withstand the wear and tear and look beautiful doing it. Other factors should also be considered before selecting the flooring such as maintenance, cost, durability and aesthetic appeal.

Here are 5 flooring options that are perfect for areas with heavy foot traffic.

1) Laminate Flooring

Laminates with a thick wear layer of melamine resin (moisture resistant) are ideal for heavy traffic areas. Choose the thickness of 12mm or 15mm laminate flooring as it will be durable and add to the aesthetic value of the floors. You won’t need to compromise on the looks as it’s available in many patterns that mimic metal, wood, stone, etc.

2) Concrete Flooring

A popular flooring choice for commercial areas, concrete is highly durable and can withstand wear and tear. Choose acid-stained concrete for the rooms to give it a granite-like look or else it may look like a sidewalk. Easy maintenance, stain resistance, high performance, and durability makes concrete a great flooring option to be installed in areas with too much traffic. Remember to focus on the finish and coat to make it more durable.

3) Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring is famous for its durability, low maintenance, versatility, and cost-effectiveness. It can withstand high traffic while being soft under your feet. The smooth finish of this floor makes it more comfortable and less noisy. Areas with heavy footfall easily catch dirt. With vinyl, floor cleaning becomes simple as only regular sweeping and mopping is enough. Vinyl is also a good choice for homes with kids and pets.

4) Natural Stone Flooring

The beauty and sturdiness of natural stone flooring is hard to match. It’s non-porous, meaning allergens won’t be able to seep into the floors. For areas with heavy footfall, harder varieties of natural stone such as sandstone, granite, and limestone are great options. They are easy to clean, resilient, durable and naturally beautiful. However, these stones are quite expensive.

5) Tile Flooring

Tile flooring with PEI (Porcelain Enamel Institute standard to measure the hardness and durability of a tile) rating 4 or 5 is ideal for floors with very heavy footfall. Available in many designs, colours, and patterns, tile flooring is durable, tough and can withstand high traffic. Another added advantage of ceramic tiles is that it is not harmful to your health.

Choosing a tough and durable flooring for areas with heavy footfall is essential or else the floor can get damaged. Whether it is your pets or your high heels, these tough floors are wear and tear proof. Select the one that is suitable for your home and don’t worry about the heavy traffic.

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The Benefits of Installing Bamboo Flooring

Bamboo is a perfectly green substitute to wood flooring and has captured the imagination of homeowners and architects alike. Hard woods like oak take 120 years to grow but bamboo will grow in 3 years and it even regenerates on its own. No need to replant it. With a minimal need for fertilization, bamboo grows in various parts of the tropical world, and is sourced to different countries. This makes bamboo one of the most environmentally friendly flooring options for your home.

One of the benefits of installing bamboo flooring is that you need fewer chemicals to clean the floor. Even during its growth, it needs fewer pesticides and fertilizers since it is resilient to bugs and insects. A natural anti-bacterial property occurring in bamboo also makes it an excellent raw material for garments and bed sheets. Versatility is definitely one of the greatest traits of bamboo, which makes it an apt substitute for hardwood floors as well.

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Simple ways to take care of Wooden Flooring at home

Wooden floors look simple awesome, lending an air of elegance and sophistication to a home. However, maintaining the rich look of wooden flooring can be quite challenging. At the same time you avoid cleaning the floors because doing so will ruin the look and texture over a period of time. This makes it important to know and master certain basic ways to clean the flooring. Here we share a comprehensive list of Do’s and Don’ts if for this kind of flooring.

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Which is better, Hardwood or Engineered Hardwood?

Engineered hardwood flooring is very hard to differentiate from solid hardwood flooring once installed. Made from multiple layers of hardwood, each of which is bonded by adhesive under tremendous heat and pressure, engineered hardwood can with stand much more than hardwood. There are some advantages that engineered hardwood enjoys over solid wood, and in this blog post we will try to determine which the better option of the two is.

There are certain areas of the house, where we would recommend using engineered hardwood instead of the solid variety and all of it boils down to usage and what moisture conditions the floors are exposed to.

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Keep your hardwood floors looking as good as new

Hardwood is the best treatment you can give to your floors, for they transform the look of the entire house. A house with hardwood flooring has a rich, warm look, lending it a traditional essence no other kind of flooring can bring. It also helps increase the value of your home, and makes it a forerunner in the real estate market when you put your house up for sale. In fact it is the ONLY kind of flooring that contributes to the resale value of your home.

Hardwoods have a natural beauty that easily brings a unique elegance to the entire look of the house. It is also best for people who have allergies. Due to its natural fibres, hardwood does not cause irritation to the human respiratory system.