The Pros and Cons of Bamboo Flooring in a Residential Kitchen

There are several types of bamboo flooring, each with its own properties. Typically referred to as hardwood flooring, bamboo is an environmentally-friendly flooring choice and it’s been getting a lot of attention from homeowners recently. It resembles hardwood and comes with a chic, exotic appearance and a relatively lower price.

If you’re thinking of getting bamboo flooring for your kitchen, then you need to know the downsides and upsides to make an informed decision. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of bamboo flooring for your home kitchen.

Pros of Bamboo Flooring in Kitchen

  • Sustainable: Choosing bamboo flooring makes a part of your kitchen an eco-friendly space. There’s a misconception among people that bamboo is wood. But bamboo is actually a type of grass which means bamboo isn’t manufactured by cutting down trees. Therefore, as a grass that grows to full maturity within 5-7 years, bamboo is a more sustainable flooring option than traditional wood.
  • Durable: Bamboo is highly durable and can last as long as hardwood flooring. Specially treated strand-woven bamboo can be stronger and un-carbonized bamboo can be as strong and hard as red oak. Solid bamboo has a Janka Hardness of 1762 Pound-force and engineered bamboo has a Janka hardness of 1690. It’s ideal for spaces that see heavy traffic and is subjected to extensive usage. It can resist abrasions well that may result from falling objects in the kitchen.
  • Resistant to Moisture: Bamboo is more resistant to water damage than traditional wood. This is great for kitchens where the major concerns are spills and splashes. Pre-sealed bamboo and engineered bamboo have a protective wear layer which makes it almost impervious to spills and stains. 
  • Easy to Clean and Maintain: Regular sweeping or vacuuming and occasional mopping are all you need to keep bamboo flooring in good shape. No special cleaning agents are required to clean it unlike traditional hardwood or other types of floors. 

The other pros of bamboo flooring are its resistance to insects and allergens, the ability for refinishing, and availability in various styles.

Cons of Bamboo Flooring in Kitchen

  • Prone to Scratches: A lower quality of bamboo flooring is susceptible to dents and scratches. Pets, children, high heels, furniture can damage the floor surface over time. 
  • Sensitive to Excessive Water and Humidity: Although more resistant to water damage than hardwood, bamboo can warp, discolour or even grow mold if exposed to excessive wetness. Also, if you’re located in a very humid area, the bamboo planks can expand and get plump, resulting in cracks. 
  • Toxin Emission: Depending on the manufacturing process, bamboo flooring can have off-gassing issues from formaldehyde-based glues and finishes. These may release VOCs over time into your indoor air. However, studies suggest that the percentage of emission isn’t very harmful to you. 

Bamboo flooring is considered a good alternative to hardwood flooring in a kitchen. But understanding the pros and cons of any type of flooring before installing is important to make sure that it suits your needs, budget, and lifestyle. For superior quality bamboo flooring in Toronto and nearby cities in the GTA, contact Amazon Hardwood

Top 3 Senior-Friendly Flooring Options

A lot of seniors suffer from limited mobility, meaning they are prone to falls. Therefore, when it comes to choosing residential flooring for senior citizens, safety and ease of maintenance are two major factors to consider. The flooring material should be soft to reduce the risk of injuries to joints and bones in case of slipping or falling.

In this blog post, we’ll review some popular flooring options that are safe and suitable for senior citizens.

  1. Cork Flooring 

Cork is the #1 flooring option for seniors as it’s both soft and easy to clean and maintain. The soft surface is very comfortable to walk or stand on. It has a naturally anti-slip surface that provides traction underfoot and may prevent the risk of accidental falling. Cork is also a thick material which acts as a good insulator against heat loss and noise.

Cleaning and maintaining a cork floor is also easy. It comes with a strong sealant that protects the surface from staining. A regular sweeping or vacuuming is enough to keep it looking like new.

However, there are certain drawbacks of this floor. It’s highly vulnerable to dents and water damage. Fresh sealants need to be applied once every year to protect the floor from discolouration and stains. If you opt for this flooring option, always choose high-quality products. Avoid below-grade installations at any cost.

  1. Vinyl Flooring 

It’s one of the easiest floors to clean and maintain as it just requires regular sweeping. Vinyl is almost resistant to water damage and stains. It’s a hassle-free choice for seniors living independently. Note that vinyl isn’t as soft as cork flooring and if tripping is a concern, it won’t be as a soft landing. But it can be padded with a layer of cork or felt to make the surface softer.

The only drawback of vinyl flooring is its environmental impact. It’s a non-renewable, petroleum based product. A newly installed vinyl floor can emit small amounts of VOCs (Volatile Organic Chemicals) into the interior space.

  1. Carpet 

Carpeting is a good flooring solution when injuries from tripping and falling are the main concern. It’s comfortable underfoot and acts as an insulator in the room retaining heat efficiently even in winter. It also offers a non-slip surface.

Although carpets come with these benefits, they also have some major drawbacks. First off, it’s harder to clean than the other flooring options. The fibres of carpet are susceptible to dust and dirt accumulation and stains. When someone steps onto the carpet, the fibres send these dust particles and debris back into the air. The indoor air quality of the room, as a result, becomes harmful for seniors who have respiratory illnesses.

 

Also, spills and moisture can promote the growth of mold and mildew. When not properly maintained, carpet flooring can lead to potential sanitation issues.

 

 

Choosing the right flooring for seniors is essential for their safety and convenience. Other safe flooring options for seniors include rubber and linoleum flooring. Remember not to select any hard and unyielding material like brick, natural stone or ceramic. Also, note that glossy finishes can lead to difficulties in safe mobility. Choose instead a matte finish floor to reduce glare.

 

Depending on the needs of the specific senior residents, these flooring options make some great choices. Contact Hardwood Canada for high-quality flooring products and installation services.

 

The Benefits of Sanding and Refinishing Hardwood Flooring

It rarely matters whether your house is old or new, hardwood floors need refinishing otherwise they end up looking bad. Like any other flooring, hardwood also experiences a lot of foot traffic. Replacing them can often be expensive, and carpeting hides their beauty. When people don’t sand their hardwood floors, they miss out on a huge opportunity to refresh the look of their homes and offices. Professional help and a little floor polish for wood can do wonders and bring life to the dull and aged floors.

There are many benefits to refinishing wood flooring. We’re going to discuss a few.

  • Prevention is better than cure

Damage is not always visible. Neither is the source of damage. Sanding hardwood flooring removes damage caused over a time and prevents new damage from occurring. Several issues can ruin wooden flooring. But, making sure things are safe and working properly can save you a lot of trouble which may arise in the future.

  • A clean surface is one which is smooth

Sanding wooden floors makes cleaning a much easier process. When the surface is smooth with no scratches or dents, there’s no place for dust to settle in. And since there is no build up, the cleaning process is also much easier.

  • Say goodbye to allergies

No dust means there’s a decreased chance of allergies act up. This won’t be the case if the floor isn’t maintained properly. Sanding is a huge part of this and helps in better maintaining the floor.

  • Keeping wood floors in good condition pays off

Whether you believe this or not, appearances really do make a difference even if all you want to do is to sell your house and maybe move into a bigger one. Refinishing your hardwood floors can help you sell your property faster. It will be an easier process and is more likely to fetch you more money than tiled or carpeted flooring.

  • Many distinguishable colours help in customizing your home

Customization is a way of personalizing objects. It gives you creative freedom to shape things according to how you want them to be. Flooring isn’t an exception to this rule. White washed, grey or dark, people stain their floors to remain up-to-date on fashion trends. These colours are, however, not permanent. They can be changed at will, only as long as the wood remains thick enough to withstand sanding. You cannot remove an old stain, or apply a new one until the floor is sanded properly.

Refinishing hardwood flooring isn’t cheap. However, it’s better than having to change the flooring completely. Also, it becomes a necessity when the floor becomes distressed and worn. Buying a cheap alternative won’t provide you with the option to sand it meaning you will have to replace it often.

How to Manage Hardwood Floors in Humidity

Summertime in certain regions of the world is extremely hot and humid. It can also be incredibly dry in other areas. In order to maintain your home’s hardwood flooring, you should be aware of the humidity levels necessary to maintain it. This is the foremost thing to know to keep them in the best shape possible. Hardwood flooring is a completely natural product. It responds differently to divergent levels of humidity. It does so by contracting and expanding, which is noticeable in rooms of your house with high humidity. During the colder months the wood contracts and in the warmer months, it expands.

Some hardwood can better stand up to moisture than others. Though there are no sealants available in the market which makes wood completely impenetrable. To maintain the hardwood flooring, the moisture levels must be managed in your house.

  • Controlling the humidity

Hardwood flooring can be protected by installing a dehumidifier in your home and storage areas. It is essential for homes located in regions with relatively high humidity levels.

Sudden bigswings in the humidity levels cause immense damage to your hardwood flooring. It causes the wood to contract and expand. Air conditioners are also effective since they have a cooling effect, which automatically lowers the humidity and moisture levels. This aids help in preventing humidity levels from changing suddenly which as mentioned can cause damage to the floor. Rooms with wooden floorings should always have a controlled temperature.

  • Immediately cleaning up any spills

Hardwood flooring should be cleaned everyday because the debris and dust can scratch the finishing. Spills can easily seep into the wood which can quickly result in mildew and warping. Rooms with sensitive wooden floors should have paper towels handy at all times. To be extremely careful, a fan can be pointed to the spill spot after cleaning to ensure rapid drying.

  • The temperature should be regulated

Extreme temperatures make the wood expand and contract, resulting in wide cracks between the hardwood planks. This is why, if a wood-burning stove or a fire place is in the room, the surrounding areas must be covered with tiles. Also, delicate hardwood mustn’t be installed in any room which receives more of the summer or winter elements. In short, hardwood flooring shouldn’t be installed in any room where there’s no control over the temperature.

Hardwood doesn’t necessarily have to be high maintenance,although it needs quite a bit of care. Keeping it dry will make it last longer. Before purchasing any type of hardwood, you must know how to take good care of the material.

Here are Some Tips to Protect Your Sensitive Hardwood Floors

Hardwood flooring is a valuable feature that adds beauty to a home. It’s a highly desired flooring option for any buyer. Hardwood can last for many years as it can be renewed with light sanding and refinishing. However, it’s impossible to maintain its beauty for years on end without a little help. Hardwood flooring is prone to wear, so care must be taken. Here are a few ways in which your floor may be getting ruined without you realising it.

Protect your sensitive hardwood floors

  1. Never use steam mops on your hardwood floor

Using water in any form on hardwood floor must be avoided as much as possible. In the case of steam, the high heat from it can break down the protective layer over time, causing permanent damage to the flooring.

  1. Never use harsh chemicals to clean hardwood flooring

Chemicals like ammonia, dish washing soap, vinegar, orany type of powdered cleaning material must be avoided at all costs. It will cause permanent damage to the floor which is irreparable. Substances such as oil, soap, wax or any form of silicone based products be cleared off.

  1. If you have pets, regularly trim their nails

Your pet’s nails must be trimmed at regular intervals. If it gets too long, it’s bound to scratch the surface and destroy the finish of the hardwood. Some of this can also be permanent. It’s best to either hire a groomer to do the job or do it yourself.

  1. Pet stains must not remain untreated

Being a pet owner, youknow your pets arebound to have accidents every now and then. However, accidents must be addressed promptly. Leaving the urine sitting on the floor, even for a short while can cause serious damage. It can cause discolouration of the accidentarea, and the smell is almost impossible to get rid of. If the accident happens on a throw or a rug, itmust be cleaned and dried before being placed back on the floor.

  1. Shoes and high heels mustn’t be worn on wood floors

High heels cause the floor to dent inwards. Shoes often accumulate dirt and dust which can remain ingrained even after being cleaned on a rug. The particles can easily scratch the floor. The best thing to do is to leavethe shoes at the door to make sure the floor’s always in good shape.

  1. Never pour any cleaning product directly over the floor

Cleaning products have the same effect on hardwood floors as water does which means it’s equally as bad. It could be tempting to create a puddle of the product and spread it liberally all over the floor, but it’s best to avoid this action.These products can get absorbed into the wood fibre and cause swelling which leaves the wood looking uneven.

Treating hardwood flooring with great care will be worth your time. Along with having something fine-lookingto show for it, it’ll also prevent damage from ruining the look of your home. By addressing the issues right away, permanent damage can be avoided with just a little effort.

Interesting Facts about Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is a must for households that want a comfort surface under their feet without compromising on look. This durable and affordable flooring option is a huge hit among homeowners due to its DIY application. However, there are various other aspects of laminate flooring that are not known to many.

Here are some interesting facts about laminate flooring that you may not know about.

1) It Can Be Installed on Top of Any Floor

Laminate flooring is a versatile choice that can be installed on top of any other flooring, that’s why it is known as a floating floor. You don’t need to take out the existing floor to install laminate flooring. The only prerequisite is that the existing floor be clean and flat.

2) It Is Different from Parquet

Some people get confused between parquet and laminate flooring. But both are different. Laminate flooring is made by fusing together multiple synthetic layers through a lamination process. It is made of high-density fibreboard but mimics the look of wood floors due to a photographic layer. Parquet meanwhile, is made by fixing together pieces of real hardwood in a geometric pattern to create a decorative effect.

3) It Can Be Installed or Removed Easily

Relating to laminate flooring is easy because installing it is similar to assembling LEGO. Laminates have an interlocking system and can be easily locked together during installation. No nails or adhesives are used for installing this flooring. If you’re moving to a new house, you can dismantle the laminate flooring and reinstall it at your new house.

4) It Does Not Hold Mold or Allergens

Laminate flooring is a great option for allergy sufferers and asthma patients. The reason is that this flooring does not hold mold or allergens on its surface and no adhesive is used to install the flooring, thus making the indoor air free from formaldehyde.

5) It’s Top Layer Is Made with a Printer

The top layer (design layer) of laminate flooring can look like genuine hardwood, stone or marble flooring. This layer is a detailed photographic image printed by using advanced printing technology.

Laminate flooring is a scratch-resistant and cost-effective flooring option that has many interesting qualities. Install this flooring in your home and experience a wonderful soft-feel surface under your feet. If you want to know more about laminate flooring, then contact our flooring expert today!

5 Questions to Ask Before Buying Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Engineered hardwood is a composite product that consists of multiple layers pressed and glued together to form a durable material. The top layer is made of real wood whereas the bottom layers are made of hardwood, softwood and plywood.

Engineered hardwood is a popular choice for homeowners who want natural wooden texture on their floors, without compromising on the versatility of where the floor can be installed. However, not all engineered floors available in the market are of high-quality. Some are low-quality flooring materials that are sold at higher rates because homeowners are unable to identify the difference between them at the time of purchase.

Here are 5 questions that you should ask before buying engineered hardwood floor to get the most of your money.

1) Who is the manufacturer?

Manufacturing of engineered hardwood flooring is done by following set industry standards and strict manufacturing rules. However, some manufacturers use questionable means for manufacturing, such as the use of toxic materials. Before buying engineered hardwood floors, make sure that the manufacturer is a member of a professional flooring association and complies with the industry recommendations.

2) Which adhesive is used to glue the layers?

Some manufacturers use cheaper adhesives to glue the layers of engineered hardwood floors. This can produce higher formaldehyde emissions causing health problems. They use questionable quality glues to lower the production cost and make higher profits. When buying engineered hardwood flooring, ask the seller which kind of adhesive is used to glue the layers. Purchase only those products that are free from toxic adhesives for better health and to have improved performance of your floors.

3) What is the thickness of the top layer?

Generally, the top layer thickness of engineered hardwood flooring ranges from 2 mm to 6 mm. The best thickness to ensure maximum durability of your floors is over 4mm. At the time of purchase, inquire what the thickness of the top layer is. If it is below 4mm, then don’t purchase it.

4) What is the top layer made of?

Engineered hardwood flooring is preferred because of its natural wood surface. Buying one whose top layer is not made of real wood is therefore a waste. High-quality engineered hardwood floors’ top layers are made of solid sawn wood, which is the ideal material to provide a natural wooden texture to the floors. Make sure that the top layer of your engineered hardwood is made of real wood by asking it from the retailer before buying.

5) Is there any consumer warranty?

If you purchase engineered hardwood flooring from a reputable manufacturer, then you get a specific consumer warranty on the product. This warranty covers repair and replacement of damaged planks (depends on the manufacturer) or sometimes a refund on defective flooring. Always ask about the warranty on the product before buying to save your floors from potential problems.

These questions are important to ask at the time of purchase to avoid future troubles. If you get satisfactory answers to these questions, then go ahead and purchase the flooring. If you’re not satisfied with the answers, then cancel the purchase immediately to avoid making costly mistakes.

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

collage

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.

iStock_000006465538XLarge

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.