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Wood Floor & Stair Refinishing

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Hardwood flooring creates a warm, welcoming environment for your home.

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Scratched hardwood

 

When you’re in the business of installing and refinishing wood floors, you see a lot of commonly made mistakes among homeowners. Homeowners who, nine out of ten times, just lacked the proper knowledge and education to make a great decision when given the choice. The comfort you see in a customer when you tell him or her that you’ve had experience helping that same mistake before is immediate. We like to stay proactive, however.

 

Here are 4 common hardwood flooring mistakes made by homeowners and how to avoid them:

 

1. Choosing the wrong hardwood or finish

Just like any aspect of homeownership, buying the right material is crucial to making sure your hardwood floor lasts. Different floors are going to respond differently to things like pets (which we did a whole blog on here), mobile furniture (another blog), and even wear and tear from kids.

 

If you have large dogs, for example, a harder wood is going to be more scratch resistant than a softer wood. Likewise, a lighter wood with long graining will be less likely to show any scratches that are picked up.

 

If the floor is in a high-traffic area of the house, and especially if you have kids, a low-traction, glossy finish can be a quick road to owie town. It’s also more likely to show scratches should they occur in the course of play.

 

If you already have a glossy floor in such an area, finding an area rug that complements your room will help minimize the risk of injury to both children and floor alike (we wrote a blog about finding great area rugs here).

 

Area_Rug

 Image credit to Mount Pleasant Granary

 

2. Cutting corners

 

At one point in his or her life, everybody has made the choice to save a few bucks over looking into something long term. It’s like when you’re out of high school and buy the 1987 Oldsmobile Omega with 130,000 miles on it instead of leasing or making payments on a newer, low-mileage Camry.

 

The two words “under budget” are some of the best in the world. What’s better than finishing a huge project and surprising yourself by having money left over, or a shorter financing term? If “under budget” are the best two words related to home projects, then “cutting corners” are their evil twin separated at birth and waiting to destroy your home and your finances.

 

Scratched_Floor_2

Really really evil twin. Image credit to Jerry Thompson

 

Saving money is a great goal, it’s one that should be sought after when taking on home improvement projects. Doing these projects over and over again teaches you that there are ways to save money, and then there are ways to cut corners. Cutting corners with your hardwood floor could take many different shapes. It could mean:

 

1. Hiring a contractor who doesn’t properly certify his or her work
2. Buying cheap materials
3. Attempting to take on too much work yourself

 

Or any other way that prioritizes immediate savings over long term reliability and value

 

With your flooring, cutting corners can cost more than it ever saved. Let’s take a look at the examples above:

 

1. Your contractor didn’t guarantee materials or workmanship and you noticed your floor is beginning to pull up on the ends following a humid summer. You try and call him, but the number he gave you is no longer in service. Searching his business on Google reveals a flimsy LLC and an overall 2 star review. Avoid this by always hiring a flooring specialist who certifies his or her work.
2. Many cheap materials actually give off chemical vapors as they age. These emissions have been at the center of cancer studies and are proven to be triggers to those with allergies and asthma. The floor may have cost a couple hundred dollars less, but it’s literally making everybody in the house sick. Avoid this by researching materials and consulting with your flooring specialist. If a price seems too good to be true – it may be.
3. While the “maple look laminate” floor tiles were billed as “easy installation” on the hardware store tag, you find the Paradise Valley Oak hardwood planks you picked up to be anything but. Installing hardwood floors is an involved process for trained contractors. Although it saves money to avoid finding one, the time your floor is out of commission and risk of damaging materials or flooring makes it a pretty sizable gamble. Avoid this by working with a flooring specialist for hardwood floor installation or refinishing.

 

 

3. Not thinking about the big picture in your room/home

 

Hardwood flooring is a great element that can absolutely define a room. It’s not the only element, however. A fairly common mistake we see made by homeowners is not considering the whole picture of the destination room and connected rooms when installing or refinishing a floor.

 

Matching material, finish, graining, etc choices to the decor and style of the room is important. Just as important, is making sure the flooring will be cohesive to the type present in connected rooms or flooring areas.

 

While the consequences of this mistake are a lot less apparent than the previous two, failure to create a cohesive flooring experience can cause the floor to be taken for granted. When your flooring is coordinated and cohesive, it prompts an emotional reaction that can have just as much impact on a home sale as a committed realtor.

Expressive_Wood_Floor_Interior

You can see what we mean by emotional reaction. Image credit to Boa Franc

 

4. Waxing

 

In the old days, keeping wood floors looking nice and polished meant regularly applying a coat of wax. Thanks to advancements in flooring, modern wood floors are treated either an oil-based or a water-based polyurethane.

 

This means that waxing floors is no longer necessary.

 

How could it be a mistake to double down on the shine, though? Even if they have a fancy coat of polyurethane, surely it can’t harm them to put a coat of wax on during monthly house cleaning and maintenance?

 

Actually it can and it does. Wax degrades the polyurethane coating on modern wood flooring. While the intent for waxing a coated floor is great (keeping up the beautiful look you installed your hardwood floor), it’s actually decreasing the life of the surface protectant and cutting down the time before your floor needs to be refinished.

 

It’s tempting to wax and do something for upkeep, but modern floors are best cleaned with a oil or wax free cleaning solution and nothing more.

 

If you have further questions about avoiding mistakes with keeping up your hardwood floor, be sure to contact us today!

Your new hardwood floor is going to be used by your entire family. As anybody with a pet knows, that definitely extends beyond the human members of the household. You may be thinking that it’s one or the other. Do I get to add my beautiful dream floor to the kitchen, or do I get to make a “practical” choice and go with the marble look tile?

Yes, the beauty of hardwood floors includes a little extra care than linoleum or carpeting would, but it doesn’t mean you have to throw out this striking option in favor of what may seem to be a more pragmatic choice.

Millions of people every year live with great looking hardwood floors while sharing their homes with four-legged friends. Here are some tips to help ensure that your hardwood floors stays in its beautiful natural condition regardless of paw traffic.

 

1. Cats are pretty much harmless – If your companion is of the feline, rather than canine variety, you will likely not need to heed this advice. In most cases, cats are too light to do the kind of damage that a dog can do in the form of scratches.

 

2. Their urine on the other hand…not so much – That’s not to say anything about urine, however. Urine, even when cleaned up within a few minutes of impact, can still permeate your new wood floor – staining it and adding an unpleasant odor.

 

3. The hardness of the wood determines scratch resistance – As opposed to soft wood floors, like pine, fir, black cherry, teak or black walnut,, a strong hardwood is always going to stand up better to any attempted scratching. A wood like a white oak, a Brazilian Cherry or a hard maple is going to give the best guarantee against scratches.

Black Dog

Really worried about scratching? A super hardwood like a fossilized bamboo hits 5000 on the Janka Wood Floor Hardness Rating Scale, meaning you can pretty much ice skate on it (not actually, we’re just saying it’s really really hard).

 

4. Other factors can help too, however… – While harder woods will stand up better to Fido’s claws, there are other factors that can also help minimize the visibility of any scratches that may still persist.

 

5. …like the color of the wood… – It’s no secret lighter colored woods are going to do a better job hiding scratches. It doesn’t have anything to do with the wood itself, but rather a much lower contrast between the color of the plank and the lighter scratched color.

 

Maple

 

6. …the finish of the wood… – When floors with a glossy finish catch the light, they reflect every imperfection about the wood back up at the person seeing it. It’s like a spotlight on any imperfection that your floor may have gained through its natural use. Matte finishes always look better and do a great job to hit the mute button on any scratches they may have picked up. Additionally, matte finish floors look great, provide a natural appearance and work with a variety of decorating styles.

 

7. …pre-finished vs site-finished wood… – Whether your floor was prefinished (that is, it arrived to your home already finished) or finished on-site can also make a difference in its ability to resist wear and tear marks. Prefinished wood flooring is usually finished with aluminum oxide (the sand in sandpaper), meaning it has a better chance of taking the claw from your canine friend and not looking any worse for the wear.

 

8. …and a stronger grain of wood will all hide scratches. – Hardwood floors with more prominent grains also do a better job camouflaging any scratches or other use marks. If your floor is to be in a high traffic area, and especially if that traffic is coming four-legs-at-a-time, you may want to consider looking at a wood with a stronger grain.

 

9. When it doubt, distressed wood flooring is a great option -Buy pre-scratched. Okay, it’s not actually scratched, but distressed and handscraped  floors are really popular right now. They add warmth and provide a shabby look that has become central to many persistent decorating styles. Additionally, any scratches your family, or your pets contribute wont look out of place at all.

Other

 

 

10. Finally, treat Lucy or Julian to a regular canine manicure – Make sure to keep your dog’s nails trimmed neatly to avoid any unnecessary scratching risks. Not only will it keep your beautiful hardwood floors looking nice as new for years, but a day at the spa is a great way to thank your furry friend for always being there for you.

If you have any questions about taking care of your hardwood floor, contact us today.

 

As one of the most important elements of interior design, flooring can completely change the look of an entire room. While premium flooring can objectively increase your home’s value, the right style of flooring could make the difference between a home buyer falling in love, or giving your realtor the classic “We’ll call you when we’re ready…”

As passionate as we are about hardwood’s durability and elegance, we like to take a moment at the beginning of every year to let you know what is going to be popular! Knowing what the market is loving lets you give your home the most updated look possible, and make it more attractive to buyers down the road.

Here are the big trends to look out for as we move into 2016

 

Dark hardwood flooring

Dark wood floors will always be at the top of this list. Especially in our part of the country, dark floors manage to do the difficult task of providing both sophistication and warmth. In addition to being warm and inviting, dark wood floors contrast beautifully with light colored furniture and walls.

Because the grain on a dark floor is hidden, it allows you to create extra texture with your furniture or decorative rugs.

If you want a small space to appear larger, however, a high contrast between walls and floors will provide definite horizontal lines. These lines will harshly outline the room and could highlight it’s size.

Another drawback to dark wood floors is their expository nature. The darker the wood floor, the greater it will show dust, footprints and scratches. This can mean some extra work, but for an inviting and distinguished look, nothing beats a dark brown or black wood floor.

 

Wide hardwood planks

Gone are the days of the 2 ¼” strip flooring. A trend that will continue to grow into 2016 is flooring with wide planks (up to 6”).

Planks of this size make a room look larger, and when finished properly provide a more rustic aesthetic which correlates to other interior design trends.

With their larger size, and smaller number of planks needed, each individual one gets to showcase its grain. When site finished, they create quite the aesthetic.

Picture 2
Narrow strip flooring may come around again, but we wouldn’t put our money on it being soon.

 

Wide planks pair perfectly with the next trend, which has also been on the rise lately and is only expected to get hotter in 2016.

 

Neutral and natural hardwoods

While dark woods will certainly remain the favorite throughout 2016, we have to say grays and muted brown woods are giving them a run for their money. These woods bring a modern clean lens to the seeming unstoppable trend of vintage interior design.

At home among both rustic and industrial aesthetics, you may have seen some wide-planked gray woods recently in a hip coffee shop, or boutique clothing store.

These wood colors communicate the natural and sustainable side of wood flooring, and provide a blank palette to which to match colors warm or cold.

Picture 1

This gray wood floor is the perfect choice for the modern and distinct sitting room pictured.

 

Born in the USA

Living in the United States means that we’re surrounded by a wide range of incredible trees. American producers have been manufacturing wood floors since colonization in the 17th century. The United States produces an amazing variety of hardwoods used in flooring like hickory, pine, birch, red oak, maple, walnut, cherry and other highly desirable materials.

As many people are becoming more and more interested in supporting their friends and neighbors by shopping American-made, wood flooring has given them the option to do so while getting a superior quality product.

With dark hardwoods being the most popular, and top of our trends list for 2016, shoppers can expect to have multiple options to both get the fashionable floor they want, and support American industry while doing so.

 

State of the Floors 2016

In 2016 customers will have even more ways to educate themselves, shop for and buy flooring than ever before. Yet, one trend that only grows every year is the desire to work with great people doing great work.

Hardwood flooring is no exception. Whether it’s tried and true materials like dark oak hardwoods, or the brave new world that is rustic gray wire-brushed finished flooring, buying the best floor for your home is the hottest trend in the market.

And a trend we don’t see going away any time soon.

For a personal consultation on your hardwood flooring options, contact us today.

 

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Posted by Aaron Schaalma on Nov 23, 2018

Now, before we get going, I’m going to admit that I’m a pretty big dog lover, so my point of view may be a little biased. They say that your dog is just an extension of its owners personality, and I can definitely attest to that. However, your furry friend doesn’t mean that you can’t […]

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