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6 benefits of Cork flooring as an option for your home or office.

Cork flooring consists of a natural and renewable material that’s harvested from the bark of cork oak trees. Cork Flooring has sustained durability, an increased selection of looks, and eco-friendly appeal. Here are some reasons why you should consider cork flooring as a viable option for your home or office.

Safety
Cork will only melt or ignite at incredibly high temperatures. In the event of a combustion, cork generates less smoke and releases far less toxic material than composite flooring options such as vinyl or laminate.

Comfort
Cork flooring is easier on your feet because it allows for some give when under pressure. It also contains more insulation, which can lead to a warmer home.This is a strong factor to consider, especially for those who live in cold-weather states like Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Durability
Cork resists cracking and abrasions and holds up incredibly well against liquids. Cork also has the ability to retain its pristine form when furniture has been placed on it, so there won’t be any indent marks from furniture. When properly maintained, cork flooring can last a lifetime.

Practicality
The pattern and color of cork are able to penetrate the wear on the material, so your floor will always retain its durability and appearance, and will last far longer than other comfort materials like carpet.

 

Variety
Cork is available in tiles and planks in different styles, colors, and sizes. What was once only available in bulletin board style, cork planks can now create a seamless looking floor, while tile can provide an incredibly unique look by having alternative colors and patterns.

Health
Cork material is naturally resistant to mold, mildew, and is antimicrobial. The air quality in your home will benefit tremendously because cork flooring doesn’t shed any microfibers like other floor covers which also provide the same amount of warmth on your feet.

Cork has a considerably less environmental impact on the ecosystem. The manufacturing process for cork generates almost no waste and the leftover materials are constantly being reused and bound together. Cork Oak Trees do not need to be cut down to harvest the bark which is used for producing cork floors.

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Choosing the right polish that Will Look Amazing on Your Floor

Choosing the right polish is crucial as it will not only determine how much maintenance your floors will need, but can also drastically change the look of them. From the traditional to the uber modern, here are five excellent choices to consider.Whether you are planning to install flooring for the first time or just looking to refinish existing floors, there are some different hardwood finishes to consider.
Hardwood Finish #1: Wax

Wax is essentially the granddaddy of all hardwood finishes as it is the coating that has been used the longest. While it is not as durable as modern poly finishes, it gives your floors a muted, organic feel as opposed to the high-gloss of most modern finishes. Since wax can be reapplied in small areas, it is the most low-maintenance type of finish over the short haul. But, it is more high-maintenance in the long run as it will need to be refinished more often.
Note: If you decide to switch from a wax finish to a polyurethane finish, the wax will need to be entirely removed before the poly finish can be applied.

Hardwood Finish #2: Acid-Cured (Swedish)

Often considered the Lamborghini of floor finishes, acid cured finishes are a professional-only floor polish. While they are supposed to be one of the hardiest floor finishes, they are also the most expensive, running between $3.75 to $5 per square foot. While they tend to dry quickly (in around 2 hours), they can take up to 60 days to fully cure. After about three days it is safe to walk on but can take up to two weeks to cure enough to lay furniture on and up to 60 days to put rugs back down so carpet fibers don’t become stuck in the finish.

 

Hardwood Finish #3: Penetrating Oil Sealer

Oil sealers are another more traditional finish, like wax. Oil is easy to apply but is not as durable as a poly finish. It also has a mellower sheen than poly finishes,so it’s a good alternative for those that like the look of wax, but not the labor of applying it. Since the oil penetrates the wood, it can also deepen the color,giving your floor a rich, beautiful finish.
Hardwood Finish #4: Moisture-Cured Urethane

Moisture-cured urethane is considered one of the hardest finishes available, but also has one of the highest VOC’s. Because it dries so fast, it’s difficult to apply,so it’s not recommended for DIY’ers. Also, because of the high VOC’s – which means fumes can last for weeks – respirators and proper ventilation are must-haves during application; you will also need to plan on vacating your home for at least two weeks following application.

Hardwood Finish #5: Polyurethane

There are two types of polyurethane to choose from: water based and oil based. Water based poly is more expensive but dries much more quickly and is easy to apply.

Water based poly is also low odor and low VOC, while oil based poly has a strong smell and high VOC but also is far more durable. Water-based poly also has an excellent reputation for being far more eco-friendly than oil based and also dries clear, where oil-based poly dries with a slight amber tint. If you want a high-gloss, durable, long-lasting finish, then either oil or water-based poly is probably your best option.

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How to design your perfect outdoor space

Designing an outside kitchen or an entertainment area has its own design challenges; the natural elements, product durability, and your overall design goals all come into play. Fortunately, there are a ton of options available to help you design that perfect outdoor space.

One design trend we absolutely love is the seamless integration of your interior and exterior living areas. Blurring the lines from one to the other maximizes the look of your design while achieving a strong cohesive point of view. Choosing complimentary products or those that work in both interior and exterior applications is the key.

Many porcelain lines have both interior and exterior options. For example, Landstone has tile for inside and the same colors in a grip finish for outside use. Cross Wood and Vesuvius have similar choices with the added benefit of 2CM porcelain paving options.

There are some additional challenges involved when selecting countertops for exterior applications. The Impact of ambient hot and cold temperatures and the influence of UV light are added factors to consider in addition to scratch & heat resistance, absorption ratio and overall durability. For this reason, engineered quarts and many recycled glass countertops are not recommended for exterior installations due to the resin used in the manufacturing process which will yellow in UV light and extreme heat conditions. Natural stone and other manmade products are popular countertop choices.

For flooring, there are a number of natural stone and porcelain options. When choosing natural stone select tiles in the same color tone. For example, a polished or honed corsica cream marble pared with a brushed shells reef coral stone blends together to create a consistent color palate. Another option, it to choose a natural stone available in multiple finishes, such as polished, honed, leathered or brushed. Remember natural stone allows you to customize your order. So if you find that perfect stone, you can always special order it in the finish of your choice.

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