What About the Hardwood Flooring in the Kitchen?

Homeowners who love hardwood flooring, especially those with open floorplans, want to know if hardwood is OK for the kitchen.

Go for it, with a couple of caveats –

Consider engineered hardwood because its plywood base layers handle moisture better than solid hardwood

Clean up spills promptly, like an NFL lineman diving on a fumble

Seal your floors with the regularity recommended by the manufacturer or installer

Never use a steam mop on hardwood

Hardwood has a place in every fine home, but just not everywhere for everyone. Practicing these tips for the best and worst rooms for hardwood flooring should produce a fulfilling long-term relationship with nature’s most beautiful floors.

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Getting maximum longevity from your flooring.

New flooring is a significant financial investment, so getting the greatest longevity from your existing floors is important, whether they’re new or have a few years of wear on them. The subject of this guide is how to make your floors last longer.
1,TLC for Carpeting
The key to long-lasting carpet is to keep it clean and go as easy as possible on it.Here’s how:

Carpet Care Do’s:

Vacuum the carpet at least weekly and as needed with a unit equipped with a powerful motor and rotating brush to remove deep-down dirt

Shampoo the entire carpet once or twice per year, and treat spot stains as needed

Place pads on furniture feet to prevent deep impressions in the carpet – especially on metal feet because they will rust and stain the carpet

When spills occur, first, learn the proper techniques for cleaning them up; Secondly, clean them up immediately, right now, pronto and post haste

Carpet Care Don’ts:

Don’t let pets within 15 feet of the carpet until they are house trained; The same goes for toddlers – in fact, it’s not a bad idea to keep adolescents and teens off the carpet too

Don’t overdo the steam cleaning because some carpeting shrinks, and the seams pull apart

2,Vital Vinyl Floor Care
Whether you have inexpensive sheet vinyl flooring or upscale luxury vinyl tile (LVT), these tips will keep it looking better longer:

Vinyl Care Do’s:

Sweep or vacuum and damp mop vinyl for general cleaning

Use warm water to loosen stuck-on stains

Remove excess water from LVT to keep it from seeping into seams

Vinyl Care Don’ts:

If you vacuum the vinyl, turn off the rotating brush, aka beater bar, because it will mar the surface

Don’t use harsh chemical cleaners on vinyl unless you’re tired of it and want to ruin it as an excuse to replace it with some gorgeous natural hardwood flooring

3,Lessons for Laminate Flooring
Treat laminate flooring like vinyl flooring, and definitely don’t use a steam cleaner on it. The harsh chemical cleaner trick isn’t as effective, but dropping lit cigars on laminate and removing minor stains with a belt sander will surely do the job.

Hardwood How-to’s and How-not-to’s
Solid and engineered hardwood are gorgeous, elegant and luxurious, which is to say “we like them very much.” Take care of hardwood, and it will go 20+ years before needing to be refinished. Refinish it, and hardwood will look like new at a fraction of the cost! These hardwood floor care tips will help you keep the wow-factor in your hardwood floors.

Hardwood Care Do’s:

Sweep at least weekly and use a damp cloth on dirt spots as needed

Turn the rotating brush off if you use a vacuum to sweep

Keep wet, dirty shoes off hardwood

Switch to slippers or socks indoors

Add protective pads to the feet of all furniture placed on hardwood flooring

Pick up furniture when moving it rather than sliding it over the flooring

Use a humidifier when running a forced-air furnace to maintain adequate moisture content in the wood and keep it from shrinking and causing gaps

Hardwood Care Don’ts:

Don’t use mats with rubber backing because they will trap moisture against the wood

Don’t use wax on wood unless you want a dull, grungy finish that collects dirt and debris

Don’t use a steam mop because the hardwood will absorb the excess moisture, swell, split, buckle or exhibit other nasty reactions

Common Sense Floor Care

They say that common sense is quite uncommon these days, but we don’t buy that, and we doubt you do either. That makes it easy for us to recommend common-sense floor care that begins with carefully following the floor maintenance tips provided by the manufacturer for your flooring. These floor care how-to instructions can be found online if you don’t have them. Beyond those guidelines, if your flooring…

Isn’t visibly dirty or dull

Doesn’t darken white socks or bare feet

Doesn’t smell bad

Isn’t coming apart at the seams

…then you’re probably taking good care of it. Don’t overdo it, keep the motto “as needed” in mind, and you’ll do a great job getting maximum longevity from your flooring.

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6 elements to consider when picking Laminate vs Hardwood Flooring

In order to make the best flooring decision for your home or business, the laminate vs. hardwood flooring debate must incorporate an objective and informed analysis of 6 fairly broad elements.

Lifestyle or Usage – Homeowners and business owners who impartially assess their lifestyle or usage are more likely to make the right decision. For example, households with young children and a number of pets or a business that experiences high traffic, many deliveries or shipments might find the durability of laminate flooring more productive.However, advancements in hardwood manufactured finishes and maintenance allow hardwood flooring to
work in busy offices and in hectic households that take preventive measures, such as trimming pet’s nails and using walk-off matting.
Maintenance Commitment – Regular maintenance is important and no floor can survive without degrees of responsible maintenance. However, if the maintenance budget is tight and if inordinate accumulation of dust, dirt and wear and tear is likely, laminate is easier to maintain. More thorough hardwood floor maintenance cannot be put aside but laminate can survive quite well with regular sweeping and vacuuming.
Climate and Exposure – Homeowners and business owners must again be objective about the exposure of the floor. Where the floor will be installed is a big consideration. For example, if a bathroom tends to accumulate moisture on the surface, laminate is the more prudent choice. Hardwood floors do not thrive in damp climates with significant temperature swings. Solid hardwood floors should never be installed below grade, a popular setting for
laminate flooring.
Aesthetic Appeal – Imaging used for laminate can create an amazing likeness to solid hardwood. But, there really is nothing as authentic, durable and enduring as an authentic, solid hardwood floor. Hardwood flooring can also increase the value and demand for your property, be it residential or commercial. If you feel the authenticity of your flooring is important to attract clients or buyers or for the elegant luxury your home requires, hardwood would have to be the right decision.
Environmental Considerations – Hardwood gets the nod for renewability and sustainability as hardwood today is drawn from carefully managed forests. But, laminate flooring basically eliminates the destruction of any trees. Yet, laminate floors are made from non-renewable sources.In order to assess environmental concerns, remember that hardwood has a much longer life cycle than laminate. Hardwood floors can last hundreds of years, which is a plus
and makes this decision a very tough call.
Budget – The cost of laminate flooring is lower than the cost of solid hardwood flooring or reclaimed antique hardwood flooring or exotic hardwoods. Laminate has a shorter life expectancy but is tough, practical, durable and easy to install. However, the return on investment is usually better with hardwood flooring.How tight is your budget? Can you afford to invest in hardwood and maintain it to achieve your maximum return? For a majority of
buyers, this is the biggest concern, but certainly not an exclusive consideration.
Many hardwood floor owners say that because of its authenticity, the “real feel” and exclusiveness of hardwood flooring, it is more desirable. However, as we can see, there are situations that indicate laminate is the wiser choice. Be sure to consider all the factors and prioritize your needs before deciding.

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Veneer Choices for Engineered Wood Floors

Engineered wood floors are available in tongue and groove strips that can be stapled and/or glued to the subfloor. Due to new technology, “long plank ” veneers are designed for use in “floating” installations below grade or over concrete, where boards are glued to each other and not attached to the subfloor. This type installation allows shifting to protect against moisture and humidity.

Engineered wood floor finishes are plentiful, available in just about every domestic hardwood and softwood as well as in most exotic woods, where fabulous savings can be captured. Unless specially ordered, all engineered wood floors arrive prefinished.

The thickness of the outer layer and the quality of the plies or substrate is usually reflected in the length of the warranty. The specifics of the veneer should be a consideration. Engineered wood floors with veneer thickness of 1/12 inch cannot and should not be sanded and/or refinished. On the other hand, if the top layer is ¼ inch or more, the floor can accommodate three or more sanding and refinishing treatments during the life span.

This means the stain can be changed or preserved and will add years of life to the floor. It is strongly recommended that the engineered floor of choice have at least three layers of cross-stacked substrate. Five plies will be that much more stable, even if the wear layer is not thick.

Remember that the top layer or “wear layer” is all about achieving the look, feel and warmth you desire. The substrate is about stability and preservation.

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How Engineered Wood Floors are Made

Many consumers are put off by the term “engineered’ when, in reality, the effect should be directly opposite. When it comes to wood floors, “engineered” stands for the future. Engineered wood floors are not made from solid hardwood but they are genuine wood floors replete with warmth, beauty and integrity.

The bonded inner plies or layers make engineered wood floors more stable, more durable, more sustainable and more cost-effective than solid wood floors. Engineered wood floors usually consist of at least three plies that are glued together in cross-grain construction. This construction helps explain the superior stability of the surface compared to solid hardwood floors as the plies add protection against buckling, cupping gapping or twisting. The manufacturing process has made engineered floor the most popular choice for below grade flooring for many years.

The outside layer is a hardwood veneer, a thin cut of the wood selected by the consumer to serve as the floor’s surface. Exterior veneer choices range from softwoods to hardwoods and can even include exotic woods.

The top layer gives the engineered floor the look and feel of authentic hardwood. Inner layers or plies can be made from a number of products including plywood, high density fiberboard or hardwood. These core layers promote stability but also help resist the moisture and humidity to which solid wood floors can be susceptible.

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Painting Your Hardwood Stair Risers

Distinctive hardwood stairs say a lot about a property’s quality and painted risers can make a lasting impression and actually emphasize the quality and natural beauty of the stairs better than solid hardwood risers. Homeowners and business owners primarily choose to paint risers for aesthetic reasons but regardless of the type of wood used for the stair, the painting process remains the same.

Respiratory and Other Safety Precautions

Carefully select the type pant to be used on the riser. Look for paints with low or no volatile organic compound (VOC) content. To ensure safety of the worker and family members, insist that workers wear protective respiratory equipment such as a painting respirator.

Sanding

The purpose of sanding the risers is to remove any existing paint or stain and prep the risers to receive the new paint. Painting will roughen the riser. When finished, use a good primer to fill and bind the small but noticeable irregularities in the riser. New paint can make minor flaws more apparent so this is an important step.

After sanding, wipe each riser with a damp cloth to thoroughly remove dust and/or any residue. Because applying the primer to a damp surface may trap moisture that might appear later, be sure the surface is clean and dry before applying the primer.

Protecting the Steps

Many do-it-yourselfers trust old newspaper to cover the step for protection of the hardwood finish. We do not want to drip paint on our hardwood step, the very item our white riser is designed to highlight. Plastic sheeting is another popular protective cover but whatever you use, make sure it extends from the base of the riser to the step’s nose. When working on the steps, tread lightly to ensure the covering does not rip.

Apply the Primer

Now that the steps are covered, prepare to apply the primer by placing a baby gate or similar barrier at the top and bottom of the stairwell. Ideally, these will eliminate children, pets and bystanders from crossing into the work area. When applying the primer, use natural bristle brushes and be sure to deploy your respirator. Each primer stroke should be in the same direction as the wood grain. After meticulously applying the first coat, allow it to completely dry prior to commencing the second coat. Along the way, it is a good idea to inspect your protective covering.

Paint the Riser

Use a foam brush to apply your high quality white paint of choice. Plan your painting so that you end on the stair level where you wish to spend time until coats dry. In most cases, white risers will require a second finished coat, which should not be applied until the first is completely dry. Check your work being careful not to rub against wet paint.

Touchup Details and Cleanup

After your paint has dried, check each riser. Make any necessary repairs. Allow repairs to dry before beginning your cleanup and final detail work. Carefully remove tape and then the protective layer. Use a small detail brush to touch up any surprises after the protective layer is removed. Voila! You have a spectacular, better than new stairwell.

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Pre-finished Hardwood Pros

The durable finishes of pre-finished hardwood allow for easy installation on a broad number of subfloors. This flexibility is not assured with site finished hardwood flooring. Additionally, pre-finished hardwood can be installed in just about any climate because pre-finished hardwood has proven to be more resistant to moisture and humidity than site finished hardwood.

This adaptability explains why pre-finished hardwood floors are the choice for floors that are below grade and where the room is prone to moisture. In these conditions, pre-finished hardwood floors are more versatile than site finished hardwood.

Experts report that when hardwood is pre-finished, it can receive multiple coats of finish that are uniformly applied in the factory. This makes for a finished surface that is difficult to achieve with site finished floors. Perhaps the greatest benefit of pre-finished hardwood floors is that they can be installed on a wide number of subfloors because the finish work need not be completed on site.

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Site Finished Hardwood

Customization Allowed with Site Finished Hardwood

Experts salute site finished hardwood for several specific reasons, foremost of which is the ability to customize the floor to the home and the surroundings. It takes a skilled workforce to install and site finish hardwood floors. But, the buyer who wants to maximize the natural beauty of hardwood will enjoy having experienced installers and hardwood finishers customize the wood to accommodate the environment for years to come.

A disadvantage of pre-finished is that the colors and finishes in the floor could be discontinued by the time hardwood floor needs repair. But, with site finished hardwood floors, the surface, borders, herringbone, inlays and other custom features can be tailor made. In most cases, site finished hardwood ends up looking and feeling warmer than pre-finished floors.

Site Finished for Kitchen Hardwood Floors

There’s more than artistry to consider when installing hardwood kitchen floors. When hardwood is site finished, a seamless, consistent surface is ensured. The gaps between hardwood planks are known as bevels and microbevels, two miniscule gaps that seem to attract liquids, cleaning products and/or food into and beneath the surface.

With site finished hardwood floors, these bevels and micro bevels are eliminated meaning that neither liquid nor food spills slip between the planks and create odors or damage to the wood. If cleanliness counts, site finished hardwood floors for the kitchen is probably the right choice.

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Things to consider when deciding what floor is right for you.

Hardwood floors are timeless and add character to any home. These classic, attractive floors aren’t to be taken lightly, however. There are a number of variables to consider when deciding what floor is right for you.

Every species used in hardwood flooring has unique properties, but the main aspects you’ll need to judge are color and grain. Different species have different colors, naturally, but the colors from specific parts of the tree tend to vary. How your wood is cut and the species determines the pattern of the grain. The finish of your floor is another important consideration: pre-finished floors are already sanded, stained, and coated with a protective finish; “finish in place” floors require these techniques after installation, but allow greater customization for your own personal touch. If you don’t like how prefinished floors have beveled edges, a site finished floor is what you’ll want. Having it sanded on site removes the need for the tiny bevels between planks.

As we’ve discussed at length before, one of hardwood flooring’s worst enemies is moisture. Consider your local climate: Drier locales may need a humidifier to counteract the climate’s lack of moisture in the air. Similarly, UV rays can damage your floors, causing fades and discoloration. Window treatments help reduce this effect. Also remember to move furniture and area rugs intermittently to prevent areas of permanent discoloration. Hardwood floors are a big investment, but they transform any home into something completely different. The classics never go out of style.

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Some basic pieces of advice on the direction that wood flooring is laid

The direction that wood flooring is laid in a home has much to do with personal preference, however there are some basic pieces of advice to follow:

  • To add depth and size to a living room, running the wood perpendicular from one end of the room to the other will allow the room to look longer.
  • It is best to run the wood the length of any hallway, otherwise the hallway will appear cut up.
  • If two rooms open into each other, run the hardwood along the length of both rooms, rather towards each other, to add size, depth and consistency.
  • If your home is built with a “conventional” subfloor, there are supporting floor joists under your floor which usually run perpendicular to the length of the home. To maximize structural stability it’s recommended your wood flooring is installed perpendicular to the joists; which is usually the more visually appealing choice anyway.

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