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Hardwood Flooring Trends 2017

With the recent real estate market surge (as of this writing December 2017) new wood floors will help boost selling prices opposed to ones that still have carpeting. Today’s trends show brownish to darker stained products selling quite well in northern states, reds and browns in the prarie states (Texas, Oklahoma and others) and mountain regions. The popularity of greys, off whites and beige are seeing good demand along coastal areas or warmer regions that include Florida, Southern California and Arizona.

Natural Finished Hardwoods Making A Comeback

It was only a matter of time before savvy homeowners began turning back to traditional hardwoods without trendy colors and other effects. 2016 saw a renewed interest for reasons of becoming neutral and ‘thinking ahead.’ Better explained from some of our buying customers with comments like; “I don’t want to regret my decision when it comes to selling my home” or “I’m not sure I want to go through the hassle of changing everything when grey goes out of style.”

Distressed?

Heavier hand scraped or contoured products, the rage that started around 2005 has taken a back seat in most areas, while a softer wire brushed ceruse effect seen mostly on White Oak (below) has been remarkably strong showing no effects of becoming “dated” like the others mentioned. Reclaimed hardwoods will always be welcomed but it’s popularity has never taken a front row seat.

See Grey & Beige Hardwoods
Darker stained hand scraped

Most Popular Types of Hardwood?

What hardwoods are people buying? Red oak remains strong in the sand and finish market. White Oak has taken on a renaissance with a large number of character graded prefinished hardwoods. Hickory remains strong, while being used more for distressed type floors or offering the rustic choice. Lighter toned hardwoods in the likes of Maple and Birch have lost favor in their natural finished form, but are still desired for those seeking a cleaner contemporary look.

Exotics have taken a sizable hit as has bamboo. Brazilian Cherry, the rage of 10 and 15 years past, is seen less and now replaced by the trendier character grade hardwoods and a return to less pronounced natural colors without the heavy character.

Factory prefinished wood flooring remains the selection of choice over actual on site installation and finishing. Reasons include faster completion schedules as the flooring is ready to be used immediately instead of waiting for finishes to cure. Additionally, prefinished warranties are very difficult to top traditional on site ones. The majority of manufacturers are now offering 25 and 50 year warranties. Looked at closely, they only cover the actual wear of the finish itself.

Longer Length Hardwoods

Wider plank flooring has seen a dramatic increase in use since the turn of the century. Some prefer their appearance as it can open up rooms that may otherwise feel or look smaller. Along with wider plank hardwoods, longer length material is becoming more the norm. By way of explanation, I’ll offer an example.

In the late 90’s Anderson was king of the hand scraped market; the innovator really. Others followed suit going into the new century, along with a tidal wave of Chinese knockoffs, but nearly all consisted of short length engineered hardwoods that weren’t any longer than 42 or 48 inches. Most didn’t notice it until we took notice thinking…”if we can produce a solid hardwood with longer lengths, why can’t we do the same for engineered?”

Why Longer Lengths?

For one, they’re more traditional. Along with that the desire for wider plank appearances didn’t make sense with short pieces. I like to call it the checkerboard look (shown). An installed 7 inch wide plank for example, looks exceptional with longer boards opposed to shorter ones due to the bevel or micro bevel all prefinished manufacture.

Plank Size?

Plank width size has been increasing since five inch wide planks came on stream with Anderson and other prefinished manufacturers at the turn of the century. Over the most recent five years or going back to 2011 we’re seeing more 7 ½” planks, practically all imported from China. 7 ½” width is a dead giveaway as it is simply not made in the USA. USA made uses a 7 or 7 1/4″ dimension.

Issues With Wide Plank Solid Hardwoods

View the video below.

Unique Prefinished Custom Colors

Visit our custom coloring page

Random or Mixed Width

Random or mixed width is becoming more noticed and used. However, most manufacturers limit the consumer to their own specifications, namely 3 and five inch width. Our own engineered hardwoods offer any combination from 3 ¼ up to 8 ¼” width on Hickory, White & Red Oak, along with Walnut.

Types Of Finishes

Today low matte finishes (10-20%) are the norm with mid to higher end floors, but satin (30-40 % gloss level) remains constant with others.

Natural Oil Finishes? Good or Bad?

On the higher end and those seeking environmentally friendly choices, natural oil finishes have been making significant inroads with manufacturers in the likes of Hallmark, WD Flooring and DuChateau and a seemingly forever list.

Reasons are obvious as these finishes contain little if any VOC’s and are much easier to repair. However, they can be a maintenance headache for some and premature color wear in high traffic areas can be a reality. Ideally, these finishes are suited more for those that have professionals maintain their floors. Or if you have plenty of time to look after them yourself; not always an easy task.

For unfinished flooring or those sanded on site, some of the more established finishing products used by flooring contractors are Basic Coatings, Bona, Rubio Monocoat, Poloplaz, and Synteko.

Durable Appearances

It’s not always about hardness. The video below explains what many do not realize and may never know until it’s too late.

What Areas Of The Home Are Hardwoods Being Installed?

Of the many floors installed today, areas of use have expanded over the years. More common areas used for new flooring today include; foyers, great, and dining rooms, dens, libraries, home offices, and hallways leading to bedrooms. Kitchens and powder rooms fall right behind while bedrooms are often preferred for carpeting.

Kitchens? Yes. Maintained properly, wood flooring in kitchens play a significant role. However, sheet vinyl, ceramic tile, or stone lead by a large margin as the floor covering of choice.

What Hardwood Floor Types Should We Choose?

I will have to leave this one up to you. If you haven’t noticed, there are a myriad of choices and options these days, but solid 3/4″ products are still the leading choice if you have a wood sub floor. Keep in mind, the popularity of wide plank floors limits solid products as they do not perform well in most environments. This is why you’re probably hearing many salespeople today recommending engineered hardwoods.

For those with concrete subfloors, engineered hardwoods should be considered in either a glue down application or floating installation. However, this does not rule out genuine solid wood flooring on concrete, but uses have fallen off dramatically in the last five years with the advent of thick veneer engineered floors including all of our Uptown hardwoods.

When Should They Be Installed?

Any hardwood flooring project should be scheduled very near the end of other work. The only other trades we would expect after the installation would be carpet installers, punch out trim, painting touch up guys, or wall paper hangers. It’s highly suggested to cover all completed areas to protect against damage. For limited trade traffic, gray craft paper available at the big box stores can be used to cover. Tape? 3M quality the painter dudes use are safe on wood floors, but should not be left on for extended periods of time. Nor should they be exposed to direct sunlight. It’s best not to tape to the floor but to the baseboards.

But! Our Remodeler/Builder Says It Has To Go Next Week

Haven’t we heard that before? Builders are notorious for not understanding when floors should be installed. Some reasons for their hurriedness include having the painting and trim subcontractors finish everything at once instead of having to come back. There are other reasons I will never figure out. If your new hardwood floor is installed with other major work not completed, make it clear to them you want the flooring protected.

Far too many times new floors get damaged so badly they need to be refinished before the remodeling work is completed. The best protection, besides having the work done at the proper time, is covering with 1/8″ masonite board, while duct taping the seams or joints. Duct tape should not be affixed to the floor itself. These efforts will be meaningless if the masonite board and finished floor¹ itself is not squeaky clean.

It doesn’t stop there. Depending on how much other work is needed to complete the remodel and the amount of debris created, it may be necessary to remove the masonite every so often making sure nothing has traveled underneath that will damage the finished floor. Common sense dictates the areas should be swept often and debris cleaned up at least once per day.

We’re Near the Beach. Sand?

Living near the beach, or in the desert, sand will always affect the performance of any flooring. Attention to care and maintenance should be given priority. Newer high tech finishes will help handle the everyday wear, but not the inevitable scratching. Lighter grays, beige and off white brushed hardwoods that help camouflage minor issues when it comes to sand are extremely popular in this scenario.

See our Imagination product videos for ideas.

Many Say Not To Use Wide Planks Near Water

Solid wide plank products will be more susceptible to adverse reactions relating to high moisture levels, but some types are less prone than others. Engineered or quarter sawn hardwood will offer a safer alternative if in doubt.

¹ Site finished floors need time to cure. Covering may not be an option. Consult a qualified professional with this one.

Original Post

Bathroom Design : Focus On Flooring

Inspired by the design of serene spas and luxury hotels, the bathroom has beautifully evolved from a purely functional space into a relaxing in-home sanctuary. From the ceiling to the floor, every interior detail combines to create an unforgettable experience. If you’re ready to design the bathroom of your dreams, you’ll find plenty of inspiration in the exquisite work of four top interior designers who’ve created stunning bathrooms (with striking floors) in a range of styles from traditional to contemporary.

Kandrac & Kole Interiors

The Atlanta-based designing duo of Joann Kandrac and Kelly Kole design distinctive interiors like this transitional bath that effortlessly melds contemporary decorative elements with traditional features. Creating a sense of organic luxury starting from the floor up with a sublime, gray-toned basket weave patterned tile.

 

Transitional Bathroom Design via Kandrac & Kole Interior Designs

Feia Construction

Susie Feia of Feia Construction, an award-winning design and build firm, created a warm and welcoming bathroom retreat anchored by neutral-hued tiles on the bathtub surround and on the floor. This space has the feel of a Tuscan country villa with these rustic, earth-toned tiles.

 

Traditional Bathroom Design via Feia Construction

Pulp Design Studios

Posh, luxurious contemporary interiors filled with character and comfort are the hallmark of Carolina V. Gentry and Beth Dotolo, the designing divas behind Pulp Design Studios. This ultra-luxe bath with floor to ceiling stone tiles evokes a timeless sentiment and conveys the meditative tranquility one finds in the best spas.

 

Contemporary, European-Style Bathroom via Pulp Design Studios. Photo via Stephen Karlisch.

Patti Johnson Interiors

Cincinnati interior designer Patti Johnson – principal of her eponymous design firm Patti Johnson Interiors – brings the beautiful look of field stone into the bathroom space. This neutral-toned haven feels grounded and expresses a peaceful allure.

 

Earthy Bathroom Space via Patti Johnson Interiors

Original Article

Contributed By: Carmen M. Natschke

4 Holiday Hazards to Your Hardwood Floors

The holiday season and its accompanying festivities can take a heavy toll on your floors.

Here are some things to watch out for, in order to protect your wood floors.

1. Christmas trees

Water is the enemy of wood, and if left sitting long enough in one spot, can cause a great deal of damage. This is true even if you have real hard wood, soft woods, prefinished board and especially laminates.

Since watering is required to keep your tree fresh throughout its time in your home, it is a good idea to place a sheet of plastic underneath the tree, then a mat, then the tree stand which will hold the water. If water should spill out from the tree holder, it won’t make it to your floor, thanks to the mat and the plastic barrier.

2. Pets

Pet stains are the number one problem found in wood floors. It only takes about 24 hours before bacteria forms in urine left on a floor, and the bacteria will quickly eat away your finish. If left unnoticed, it will continue to eat right through the entire board and turn it dark.

During the holiday season, especially with the smell of a fresh tree in the home, pet activity could become a problem. Keep an eye out for the pet that is sniffing around the tree a bit too much and wipe up problems quickly as they occur.

3. Party-goers

Extra traffic, spilled drinks and ground-in dirt during a party can really age a floor quickly. To protect your floors, be certain to have area mats by hard entry points to your home, especially during bad weather.

Wipe up spills quickly. A damp rag or mop is all that should be used to get up a spill. Never over-wet your floor. After the party, run a dry mop along your floors.

Dry mopping is the number one way to prevent floor damage. It removes the gritty dirt that can quickly dull your finish. Remember to always run your dry mop with the boards, not against the grain.

4. Rock salt

Everyone hopes for that ever-illusive “White Christmas,” but in the event of snow, there is a chemical that can really ruin your wood floor quickly. That would be rock salt or any of the other snow melting products on the market.

If these items are used near your entryways, the material that does not dissolve can easily stick to your shoes and be tracked in to your home. Left on any type of wood floor, they will cause damage to the finish quickly and leave your floor looking filmy and spotty.

Avoid using these products to where you can track them into your home, or if you must use them, remove your shoes upon entering. The homes we see with the best looking floors are the ones where the residents remove their shoes at the doorway.

How long your hardwood floors last will be determined by how they are cared for. Protect your wood floor investment during the holidays so that you can enjoy them for years to come.

Protect Your Hardwood Floors During the Holidays

Holidays force you to think about so many things: what gift to buy Aunt Martha, what side dish to avoid at the office party, how to return the fruit cake, etc. What you don’t need to be worried about are your hardwood floors and what they are going to look like after the holidays are over.  With a few preparations you and your hardwood floors can confidently embrace the crowds. Read our four ways to protect your hardwood floors during the holidays and find out why the holidays are the perfect time to have your hardwood floors refinished!

Four ways to protect your hardwood floors

  1. Rugs: Placing rugs in high traffic areas such as entryways, hallways and social areas will protect your floors from damage caused by high heels or hard soles. Use synthetic rugs because they are breathable.  Do not use rubber or foam-backed rugs, which can trap moisture and ruin your floor.
  2. Shoe zone: Depending on the formality of your gathering, you may want to ask guests to take off their shoes when they enter.  Keep an area by the door for shoes and if possible have a shoe rack.
  3. Chair glides:  Make sure that every chair has clean chair glides on the base of its legs. The constant moving of chairs can scrape floors. Check to see that the chair glides are clean and free of debris. Nothing worse than thinking your floors are being protected to only find out that there is debris in the chair glides scraping your floor!
  4. Mats: The best way to protect your hardwood floor is to keep outside debris outside. Place an outdoor mat in front of each at doorway entrance and dust them out regularly.

Holidays – Perfect time for refinishing!

Looking for the perfect gift for your spouse? Going out of town for the holidays? Safe travels and leave your floors to us! Wouldn’t it be great to come back from visiting friends and family to completely new or refinished hardwood floors?  What a beautiful gift to your spouse and family.  And the process will be done in your absence so there will be absolutely no inconvenience to you!

Lee Huffman

 

The Charleston area's BEST showroom with the finest reputation since 1992

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