How to Choose the Best Finish for Your Wood Flooring
Wood flooring can create a huge visual impact in your home. It can make a space feel warm, open, even luxurious. It can also help reduce allergens in the home. However, choosing a finish for your wood floor is crucial to maintain its appearance and to protect the wood from scratches. There are many different types of finish, so how do you know which one is right for you?
First, you need to know if your wood floor has already been treated. Some finishes cannot be applied on top of certain products, so it's important to know what has already been used on the wood. This is also useful information when you are choosing cleaning products for your floor. If you are purchasing a new floor, the manufacturer should provide information about any treatments or finishes that are added during production. If you have a home with an existing wood floor, ask the previous owner. If that's not an option, there are tests you can perform to tell you what finishes may have been used.
Types of Finishes
- Polyurethane is the most popular finish for wood floors. It is available in both water-based and oil-based formulas. Oil-based polys are best for high-traffic areas, are more affordable, and have an amber glow many people admire. However, their strong fumes and longer drying time may be a concern. Water-based polys dry with a clear finish, have less fumes, and are more environmentally friendly. However, they are nearly twice as expensive, and the faster drying time means you must work quickly.
- Wax was one of the most commonly used finishes before polyurethane became available in the 1970s. It is less durable than a poly and requires regular upkeep. However, if you are looking for an eco-friendly finish for your wood flooring, wax may be your best solution. It is applied by hand in small areas at a time and is available in both a paste and a liquid. Polyurethanes cannot be applied on top of a wax finish.
- Shellac is another finish that used to be very popular. It is also not very durable, but it is easy to work with and inexpensive. However, a floor that has been finished with shellac can not be refinished with poly or other modern products. It can only be redone with another shellac or with wax.
- An acid-cured, or Swedish, finish is extremely durable. It dries in as little as two hours, but it can take up to 60 days to be fully cured. It is an expensive option and requires a professional to apply.
- Oil finishes are easy to apply yourself, but they are not as durable as polys. They are made from tung oil, which is non-toxic. Oil finishes should be reapplied every two or three years.
With this knowledge, you should be able to decide which finish is right for you and your wood flooring. The right finish will give your home a look that you and your family will enjoy for years to come. Visit the Speedwell Design Center showroom to see our huge flooring selection and to talk to our design experts.
Best Carpets for Homes with Kids and Pets
Stain ResistanceDogs happily bound inside after romping through mud puddles in the yard. Cats drag in unwelcome “presents” in the form of rats or mice. Even young children have unavoidable accidents, so it’s important that floors have an element of stain resistance to avoid making those “oh no” moments permanent memories. The best stain resistant carpets are those that contain nylon or polyester, but the real deciding factor lies in the type of animal living in the home.
Kids, Dogs, and Other Large AnimalsIn many cases, dogs are actually heavier than children and contribute more to the wear and tear of flooring than kids do. So when considering types of carpets, it’s best to choose ones that offer extra resilience and other features specially designed for use in homes with kids. Nylon and Smartstrand are two types recommended by many suppliers for their stain resistance and durability.
Cats and Other Small AnimalsThese animals don’t carry as much weight, so the carpet doesn’t need to be as durable. But small animals like cats, puppies, and small dogs still make a mess, so we at Speedwell Design Center recommend using affordable options in rooms frequented by these critters. It’s most cost effective to buy and replace cheaper floors every five to ten years as needed. Polyester and olefin carpets, particularly those with low-to-medium face weight or density, are recommended in homes with cats and other small animals.
PaddingTo keep floors looking bright and clean, install moisture barrier padding beneath them. This helps absorb waste, which can seep through standard pads and into the floor board. In this way, moisture barrier padding can help contribute to a cleaner, neater home no matter what type of carpet is chosen. Whether their children have two legs or four, homeowners can maintain beautiful floors by vacuuming regularly and hiring a professional cleaner once or twice a year to keep carpets looking fresh and new.
Remodeling 101: Focus on the Floor
Starting from the Ground UpWhy concentrate on the flooring first? Because the floor is the most commonly used surface in the home. Think about it. The walls support the home but aren’t generally touched much, and the cabinets are used regularly but not continuously. The floor, on the other hand, is always in use, so it’s important to start the renovation literally from the ground up.
Managing the Dust IssueEven when a meticulous process is used, flooring installation can create a film of dust and debris that can alter the quality and appearance of paint. That’s why many contractors and flooring suppliers prefer to install and sand floors first in order to prevent complications caused by the dust issue. Additionally, if floors need to be stained, this step should also be taken prior to painting the walls to avoid having to repaint baseboards that will inevitably be affected by the stain. Once the floors have been installed, the contractor should carefully cover them with dust sheets and keep them covered until the paint has completely dried.
Considering the Design ElementFor some homeowners, the floor may be the focal point of a room. For others, the focal point may be the wall color, the cabinets, the backsplash, or some other design element. Homeowners who want the focus of their new room to be on intricate flooring that makes a statement should pick out the floors first, then design the rest of the room around them. It’s a lot easier to find paint colors and countertops that play off complementary colors in the flooring than it is to pick out cabinets, countertops, and other features before looking for a floor that ties all those elements together. Every renovation project is different, so it may not be appropriate to begin with the flooring in every situation. But starting a project by first installing that beautiful, intricate floor can pave the way for a smoother, less complicated renovation project for many homeowners. Special thanks to CJ sorg for the image.
The Biggest Tile Flooring Trends of 2016
BricksPiggybacking off last year’s wildly popular hexagon designs, it seems like virtually every manufacturer has created brick-inspired tiles this year. Brick tiles are low maintenance, and they offer that same warm and cozy feel offered by traditional brick walls, but in a slightly different format. Perhaps best of all, brick tiles can completely transform a room whether they’re used on the floor, on the wall, as a backsplash, or as some other creative design element. The most popular brick tile designs for 2016 include aged brick, polished brick, rustic brick, and brick-like marble and wood designs.
WoodWood-like tile flooring has been around for years, but it’s become even more popular this year as manufacturers have incorporated all new styles and patterns, like herringbone, into their designs. Reclaimed wood is another favorite, as more and more homeowners switch to tile to get that rustic, weathered look. Cross grain tiles are also having their moment and painted wood tile flooring is gaining momentum for its unique look and feel. What’s more, designers are even using wood-inspired tiles to dress up the walls.
Mixing and MatchingFragmented patterns in bright, vivid colors create a kaleidoscopic effect on floors. Mixing and matching geometric shapes and patterns creates a unique look that channels stained glass with a more modern, stylish application. More and more homeowners are choosing fragmented floors to give their kitchen or bathroom a real “wow” factor.
Wall TileWhile it’s not actually a type of tile flooring, wall tile has exploded in popularity in 2016, so it’s important to include it as a design trend this year. Wall tile is no longer limited to the backsplash, as more and more interior designers are using it to cover the walls, similar to paint or wallpaper. The most popular styles are large format tiles with metallic, mosaic, and geometric styles and patterns. Textured, three-dimensional designs are also gaining popularity among both designers and homeowners. Check out our gallery for design inspiration, then tell us: What’s your favorite tile flooring trend for 2016 and why? Special thanks to rickjohnson75 for the image.
Top Tips to Keep Hardwood Flooring Scratch-Free
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This adage is commonly used by doctors, but it also applies to the health of hardwood flooring. With a few proactive measures, homeowners can avoid potentially costly damages. Keep hardwood flooring smooth and shiny with these easy scratch prevention tips.
Lay Down an Area RugIn larger rooms, such as a living or family room, lay down an area rug. The rug protects the hardwood flooring, plus as a decorative element, it will add a finished, polished look to the room. Place coffee tables on the area rug so that there is no need to worry about the legs causing any scratches.
Keep It CleanVacuum regularly, and follow up by cleaning with a microfiber pad. Avoid buying cleaning products that contain wax or oily soaps, as these can dull the top coating, causing resurfacing problems. Moisture can cause curling or warping in the boards, so clean up any spills quickly to prevent permanent damage.
PolishThe frequency a homeowner polishes a hardwood floor depends on the wear and traffic of the area, but most homeowners will need to polish their hardwood every two to four months. The process restores the floor’s existing finish by filling in tiny scratches and evening the appearance. Polishes are available in high gloss and low gloss finishes, but make sure to buy a product that has a fast dry time and no waxy build-up.
Take Off ShoesShoes with points, like stilettos, or hard heels can be very dangerous for floors because they do not evenly distribute weight. The best solution is to ask guests to remove shoes, as this also minimizes the amount of dirt tracked into the house.
Install Rubber Chair Legs or Fabric PadsThe simple action of pulling a dining room chair out to sit down for a meal is enough to leave a noticeable mark on the floor. This damage can be avoided by installing rubber chair legs. Fabric pads offer protection as well, and they can be easily cut to create a perfect fit.
Keep Pet Nails TrimmedSome dogs bolt to the door every time the doorbell rings, or jump with excitement when their owner comes home after work. While these joyous greetings are the best thing to come home to, sharp dog and cat nails can leave marks on precious hardwood flooring. A regular trip to the groomers for a nail trimming is the best way to eliminate scratches caused by furry friends.
Always Use Moving DiscsRearranging furniture is an excellent way to liven things up in a home. Unfortunately, pushing and pulling furniture items that are too heavy to pick up often causes trail marks that can be hard to fix. Instead, slide a set of moving discs, commonly referred to as furniture slides, underneath each furniture leg. This will protect both the furniture and hardwood flooring.
Place a Welcome Mat Outside the Front DoorDirt and small stones attach themselves to the bottom of a person's shoes. Neglecting to take a few seconds to wipe the soles off before entering a home could lead to hardwood floor damage. Placing a welcome mat outside the front door is all it takes to prevent this damage. Even after taking precautionary measures, it is possible to end up with a minor scratch or two. If this occurs, pick up a hardwood care kit from a local home improvement store to make repairs.
Hypoallergenic Benefits of Hardwood Flooring
Many people suffer from allergies (dust, mold, mildew, bacteria, dust mites, etc). Allergy sufferers usually take lots of medications to minimize the symptoms, but usually don't address the problem.
The solution could be using products in our daily lives that are hypoallergenic. Start correcting the problem of allergies.
Babies love to crawl around and put things in their mouths. Since babies spend a lot of time on the floor, you should look into flooring options that will minimize exposure to harmful germs, mold, mildew and bacteria. Choosing hypoallergenic options, such as natural hardwood flooring, could diminish the risk of harmful exposure to your little ones.Health Conscious
Designers and architects agree that natural hardwood flooring is a great choice for a health-conscious, beautiful home. Hardwood flooring is being installed in more bedrooms. Wood flooring maintenance products have evolved to make it fast and easy to clean a hardwood floor. Hardwood flooring is the hypoallergenic solution for a bedroom, a room where we spend approximately one third of our time each day.
We also spend a third of our time at work. More and more commercial businesses are installing hardwood flooring. Wood floors in your commercial space or offices will lessen the chance of coming into contact with germs, bacteria and other allergens in the workplace. Changing to wood floors in the business environment can result in a positive and significant impact on productivity, thus lowering the cost of doing business.An Ounce of Prevention
In Sweden and many parts of the world it is part of the culture to remove your shoes before entering a home. They feel it is a way of keeping their floors cleaner, longer-lasing and more hypoallergenic. Today's finishes are considerably more scuff resistant than the hardwood finishes used in the past, but the hypoallergenic issues remain the same.Maintenance Tips
Cleaning your hardwood floors has never been easier. One-step, easy to apply natural floors cleaners are readily available at grocery, box stores and home improvement stores, as well as retail floor covering showrooms, such as Speedwell Design Center on 108 Ridgedale Avenue in Morristown, New Jersey. For those who suffer from allergies, it is best to clean your floors on a regular basis. Another tip is to have wipe-off mats at every entry door to clean off the bottom of your shoes before walking info the room from outdoors. If you're not going to remove your shoes before stepping inside, this practice of cleaning off the bottom of your shoes is the next best preventative measure.
Being aware of how to resolve the problem of allergies makes more sense than just treating the symptoms.
Stop into Speedwell Design Center today and one of our Professional Designers will help you select the best hardwood floors for your home of office! Call 973-538-9090 today.
Click Here to view some samples of wood flooring options at Speedwell Design Center in Morristown, NJ. Of course, there MANY more options in our showroom at 108 Ridgedale Avenue in Morristown.