General Flooring Questions
How do I clean and maintain my natural Flooring? Hardwood, Bamboo, Cork Flooring
Our natural flooring options make cleaning and maintenance a very simple process. Cleaning these solid surface flooring options is quick and easy with the correct tools and cleaners. Each flooring manufacturer may have there own recommendation for specific cleaners or flooring polishes, so it is best to always refer to these manufacturer recommendations so you do not void your flooring warranty.
In General, utilizing a non-toxic or neutral cleaner and damp mopping the floor is the best way to clean solid surface flooring. Bona Kemi Cleaner is an excellent non-toxic cleaner. Purchasing a quality floor mop is a good idea as you can typically wash the cleaning pads in the washing machine as opposed to creating a lot of waste as in the Swiffer floor mop concept.
Floors can usually be cleaned with a light mist and the going over to remove the moisture and dirt, allowing you to clean large areas quickly.
What is Engineered Hardwood and Why would I want it over Traditional Hardwood Flooring?
Engineered hardwood flooring materials are much more popular now than in the past due to some distinct advantages. One of the main advantages of engineered flooring is that the flooring is significantly more stable than traditional hardwoods. A cross ply construction meaning the layers run in opposing directions assist with the stability of the material in climates that have high fluctuations of humidity or moisture. Often this will come into play more readily in very dry winter climates as the boards tend to shrink in the traditional format. These seasonal gaps in the flooring can be avoided by using an engineered flooring or a floating floor.
Another distinct advantage of engineered flooring is from the environmental stand point. Engineered floors have a better utilization of the wood material. The majority of the flooring is never seen by the consumer, this bottom layer can be constructed of a more rapidly renewable resource than the old growth trees. The top layer can then be constructed of the more desirable old growth species allowing producing a much larger quantity of flooring out of the same tree.
A common misconception is that engineered floors are inferior to traditional tongue and groove flooring. This is not the case in all materials. Quality engineered hardwood flooring has the same wear layer and ability to be sanded and re-coated as traditional flooring. In traditional hardwood flooring once the floor is sanded to the point of reaching the tongue and groove, the flooring has reached its life and must be disposed of. This is exactly the same for engineered hardwood floors as the top wear layer goes all of the way to the tongue and groove just like traditional hardwood flooring.
Be aware that there are many different levels of quality between laminates, engineered floors, floating floors and traditional hardwoods. We sell only the highest quality versions at the best price points. Other flooring companies might not inform you of the quality they are offering.
If you have questions about a specific flooring material, please email or call us. We are experts in durable, natural hardwood flooring.
Floating Hardwood Flooring vs. Traditional Tongue and Groove Hardwood Flooring
Many of our customers ask us the difference between these two options in hardwood flooring. Both of these types of floors have benefits and drawbacks. Understanding the primary difference between the two will assist you in selecting the proper flooring for your home project.
Floating hardwood flooring does not utilize nails or adhesives during installation. This type of floating floor installation can be much easier to install for the DIY’er compared to the traditional nail or glue installation methods. Furthermore, not utilizing adhesives reduces any possible toxicity in your home.
Floating floors are able to expand and contract with changes in humidity in your home. They are able to slightly expand or contract as a full unit, so you will never see gap between the boards. The only type of gap issue you may experience would be on the outer edge in which the base might not cover the material. For this reason we do recommend acclimating your floor in your home for a minimum of a few weeks, but the longer the better. The closer you can get the floor to your homes humidity level, the less expansion and contraction will occur.
One misconception of floating floors is that they sound hollow like pergo floors. Pergo or laminates are an inexpensive plastic option and that is why they sound that way. In contrast our durable hardwood floors are a solid, natural wood material that sounds just like the traditional wood method.
The amount of wear layer the floor has is another concern from our clients when comparing the options. All of our floors have the same ability to be sanded and re-coated as a traditional hardwood floor. However, be aware that their are flooring options in floating floors that are just a very thin veneer. We do not sell these low quality options as that type of floating floor is inferior to the traditional materials.
Should you have further questions or concerns on this topic please send us an email or give us a call and we will be happy to assist with your specific flooring situation.
Example of a floating floor and the locking mechanism Example of Traditional T&G hardwood flooring
Details on Hiring a Flooring Installer
Many Flooring Installers have different abilities and specialize in installing certain types of flooring materials. A flooring installers experience, skills, and sense of acceptable quality can vary considerably. In order to obtain the desired results at the end of your flooring project, it is essential that you take some time and put in the extra effort to find a Flooring Installer that meets the specific requirements of your job. Before you begin the research process, make sure that you completely understand the specific installation requirements for the type of material you select as well the work you want the Flooring Installer to perform and the job quality you expect.
We have outlined some of the basic concepts in finding a quality flooring installer:
- Ask for referrals from reputable contractors, designers, friends and real estate agents
- Find referrals from reputable material suppliers or local building permit authority
- Do a web search on common rating sites such as yelp and the better business bureau for complaints
- Work portfolio, design plan examples and project management
- Payment, warranty and contract terms
- How are change orders handled?
- Customer references and contact information
- What will be done to assure quality?
- Inspect recently completed work for detail and quality
- Insurance and bond coverage requirements – this is a necessity as it gives you recourse if there are issues
Agreement / Contract Terms for your flooring project
A written agreement is essential when working with a Flooring Installer as it should contain all details and provides you with the necessary documentation should you have a dispute. Do not allow work to begin on your project until you have a complete detailed agreement signed by your Flooring Installer. For small jobs use a written work order will usually work fine. For larger projects, use a detailed contract as these types of projects are dealing with larger sums of money. You should not feel pressured to use the Flooring Installer’s standard contract if it does not meet the specific needs and details of your project.
The following bullet points should be included in the agreement in some form:
- Start and completion dates
- Project timeline with delay penalties and on-time completion bonus, this becomes more important as the scale of your project grows.
- Improper installation voids warranty
- Detailed material placement plan, layout specification
- Responsibility for material selection, purchase, delivery acceptance and storage
- Costs and responsibilities for rental equipment and waste disposal
- Change order rules, responsibilities and contract cost adjustments
- Warranty on workmanship
- Responsibility for protecting structure, furnishings and work in progress from weather and construction related damage
- Insurance and bond coverage requirements – you can validate with your states contractor board