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Choosing the Right Hardwood Floors for Your Home

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Generally, there two types of hardwood flooring— solid and engineered. Whether it’s a strip or plank, solid hardwood flooring is a single piece of wood, which can easily be customized and can be re-sanded to change finishes. Engineered hardwood, on the other hand, is made of 3 to 5 layers laminated together with grains running at different angles.

There are different advantages for each type of floor. They will both give you a beautiful, natural look for your floors. In fact, once installed, you may have a hard time telling the difference at all. This can make choosing difficult. Here are the important facts you need to consider before you choose between solid and engineered hardwood floors.


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Location, Location, Location

Where your hardwood floors will be installed is a very important factor in choosing what is right for your home. Solid wood floors are only appropriate for above ground installation, so if you’re looking for flooring for a basement, engineered floors are clearly the appropriate choice. Solid wood floors are also more sensitive to moisture. Even seasonal changes in moisture can affect solid hardwood floors. You may notice that floors contract during drier months and expand when humidity is high. If you manage the humidity levels in your home well, this may not be an issue but it is something to be aware of.  Solid wood floors may also not be appropriate for extremely moist areas of the home like a bathroom or even a kitchen.

While engineered hardwood looks like solid hardwood, it is actually more structurally stable and can be used anywhere, even places like basements where moisture may be an issue.


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The Look (or Looks) You Love

While both engineered and solid hardwoods come in many different species and styles, once you choose your engineered floor, you are committed to the stain color of your floors. Solid floors, however, can be sanded and re-stained many times over the lifetime of the floor. Refinishing floors is not an easy process by any means but it can be a more cost-effective way to change your look then buying new floors.


Find beautiful floors like these from Carpet One Floor & Home.

Although most styles of hardwood floors – both solid and engineered – are timeless and classic, you may find yourself drawn to trendier stains and a desire to change your look more frequently. Remember, hardwood floors are very long-lasting. If this is the case, you may benefit from the versatility that solid wood floors offer.

Enjoying Your Floors

No matter which type of flooring you choose, properly installed and sealed hardwood flooring requires minimal care to maintain its good looks. Simply vacuum regularly and wipe weekly with a damp mop. And, since it’s sealed it can’t absorb spills, so it won’t stain.

Original Article

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.”


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

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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

Pet-Friendly Home Design

Pets are just as much a part of the family as any human in the house so why not think about their comfort too when you build or remodel? Pet-friendly home design makes life convenient for you and plain luxurious for your furry friend. Here’s a few ideas that are purrrrfect!

Cupboard Under the Stairs

The cupboard under the stairs may not have been an ideal living space for Harry Potter, but it’s great for your pet. It’s a secluded place for a quiet nap or to get away from visitors when feeling overwhelmed. Add a door and you have a built-in kennel.

Cupboard under the stairs full of stuff? That’s ok. A spot in the laundry room or mudroom can be comfy too.

Hard, Smooth Surfaces

Anything with a fabric surface is going to collect hair and fur. Hard, smooth surfaces don’t hold on to the hair and fur quite as much so it’s easier to clean. It’s also the best choice for occasional accidents. Tile floors make for simple clean up.

Multi-functional Island

Instead of more cupboards or even wasted space under the kitchen island, make a spot for your pet. You’re doing double duty by taking an already functional space and using the entire thing efficiently for multiple purposes.

Built-in Feeding Station

Instead of bowls that slide around on the floor and attract ants, try building in a spot in the mudroom or the kitchen. Don’t forget to install a bin in a nearby drawer to hold food and treats so it’s all in one place.

Color Match

Consider using your pet as a point of reference when developing your color scheme. A white cat in a black kitchen really makes the shedding visible. Daltile took inspiration from Riley, the cat, to create this great combination that would look great in any room. It features from left to right: Cotto Contempo in Suset Boulevard, Fabrique in Soleil Linen, ONE Quartz Surfaces in Micro Flecks Simply White, and  Coastal Keystones in Coconut Beach.

Sunny Spots

Do your pets seek out the sunniest, coziest spots in the house? Why not plan a favorite spot for your pet? Turn a window seat into a comfy cat paradise. You could also install windows that are near the floor so pets get maximum exposure.

Bath Time

Animals seem to find the smelliest spots to roll in and think of mud as a play toy. Baths are a necessary evil, but why not make it a bit easier on the both of you? A small bath station in the mudroom, or laundry room with a low profile entry and hand-held sprayer is just the ticket to bathing your pet painlessly.

Posted by Daltile Team

Complete your flooring look with reclaimed woods

Boasting rich tones and authentic discoloration, reclaimed wood is a versatile way to bring character to any living space. To give you some inspiration, we’ve pulled together some of our favorite uses of re-purposed timber.

Coastal styling is a timeless trend, bringing the serenity and tranquility of the beach into the home to create a relaxed ambiance. With a combination of saltwater and high winds, the natural tannins and nutrients are drained from wood over time, leaving what is eventually found on the coast as a piece of driftwood – beautifully marked and weathered, and full of unique character. Coastal Driftwood, one of our new Da Vinci wood designs, replicates this look, but in a much more practical format – resulting in a beautiful floor that’s also hard-wearing and easy to look after.

Featured Floor: Da Vinci – Coastal Driftwood (RP100)

By mixing clean, crisp white and neutral tones with rugged natural textures you can easily create a smart and sophisticated space. Incorporate unique reclaimed furniture pieces, such as the dining table shown below, into your space to create a well-balanced, modern rustic feel.

Image source: Pinterest

Create a statement with a deep color scheme, incorporating mixed dark tones. A dark wood effect floor will help you get the look, without the impracticalities of real timber. Salvaged Redwood from our Van Gogh wood collection, inspired by reclaimed railway ties, will help you to bring a natural feel to your space, whilst giving a modern and dramatic impression.

Featured Floor: Van Gogh – Salvaged Redwood (VGW101)

Reclaimed joists are often associated with country inspired spaces, but don’t feel restricted! Try teaming them with a contemporary color palette to give your space an instant update.

Image source: Pinterest


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