Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Square Edge vs. Beveled Edge: Which Is Best?

We get this question a lot, though sometimes more in the form of, "What kind of edge do your floors have?", or "What's the difference between a square edge and a beveled edge floor?". Well, we thought we'd settle this long-standing debate once and for all. Enjoy!

What Is Square Edge?
As the name suggests, the sides of each plank of a square edge hardwood floorboard meet squarely. A square edge floor looks something like this:

When the flooring is laid absolutely flat and the installation is superb, a square edge floor can feel practically seamless. This creates a very formal, contemporary look and is favored in high-end flooring applications. However, if there are subfloor imperfections, or if the installation isn't done properly, a square edge floor can show gaps more noticeably than a beveled edge floor.

A square edge floor is a tell tale sign that the floors have been sanded and finished on-site. Square edges are found almost exclusively on unfinished hardwood flooring products. Micro-bevels are needed on prefinished boards to give the illusion of a flat floor.

What is Beveled Edge?
A beveled edge floor, also known as a micro-beveled edge, has strips or planks with a 1mm to 2mm 45 degree angle on the top edges of the board. Beveled edge hardwood strips look something like this:

A beveled edge is necessary to help mask any slight imperfections in the subfloor and reduce the obvious highs and lows that are present in all subfloors. Micro-bevels give the optical illusion of a flat floor. Most prefinished floors have a tight micro-beveled edge treated with a high-quality finish, making it easy to sweep or vacuum dirt and debris out of the floor grooves. The downside of a beveled edge floor is that sometimes the grooves can be felt when walking on the floor in bare feet or thin socks.

The Verdict
So, which edge type should you choose? Well, that all depends on your personal preference and your budget. Square edge unfinished flooring material costs less to purchase, but the labor needed to site sand and finish the material can cost you a pretty penny. Prefinished flooring's strong factory finish makes it a pricier material option, but it installation costs far less. When it comes to aesthetics, some people absolutely hate beveled edge floors. Some people don't mind. It's really a matter of personal preference, and there is no wrong answer to the square versus beveled edge debate.

All of the solid prefinished hardwood flooring products available at Fantastic Floor have a slight micro-beveled edge to eliminate those pesky uneven joints that can pop up between boards sometimes. Do you prefer the flat, smooth look of square edge unfinished floors? Good news - we have a extensive selection of those varieties as well! Call us today to learn more about the different square and beveled edge flooring products we carry.

What type of board edge do you prefer? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Fantastic Floor Presents: Cumaru

brazilian teak tree cumaru hardwood
Welcome back to Fantastic Floor Presents, your favorite hardwood spotlight blog series on the web. Our last installment featured a beautiful but somewhat lesser-known hardwood species, Mango Wood. This week we're shining our spotlight on one of our most popular products and one of the best-selling hardwoods in the industry: Cumaru!

Cumaru hardwood flooring from Fantastic Floor is a dense, tough species known as much for its durability as its beauty. Also known as Brazilian Teak or Brazilian Chestnut, Cumaru is sustainably harvest from such regions as Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia and features an irregular, wavy grain pattern with a slightly course texture. The Cumaru heartwood is a medium brown color with complementary tan shades that gives the wood a light, warm appearance. In fact, Cumaru is one of the few exotic imports that has such light tones. The majority of exotic hardwoods tend to come in darker shades of browns, reds, and blacks. Cumaru a great choice for homeowners looking for a lighter, warmer hardwood floor.

In addition to Cumaru's natural beauty, it is also one of the toughest hardwoods on the market. It has a Janka hardness rating of 3,200 lbs., which is nearly three times harder than domestic species such as Red Oak. It is also incredibly dense, which makes it very resistant to water damage, decay, and wood boring insects.

cumaru hardwood flooring

Want to learn more about this one-of-a-kind hardwood flooring species? Visit the Cumaru hardwood flooring page on the Fantastic Floor website, or give us a call at 1-888-448-9663. We can't wait to help you pick your perfect floor!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Area Rugs and Hardwood Floors: What You Need to Know

Even the nicest hardwood floors can use a little embellishment now and then, and for many homeowners that embellishment comes in the form of a large area rug. A big, beautiful area rug can add visual interest and flair to an otherwise boring room and bring out the color and grain pattern of the surrounding hardwood.

But wait! Laying an area rug isn't a set-it-and-forget-it affair. There are certain precautions you must take if you want your rug to complement your floors instead of harming them. The following are three important things to remember if you're planning on putting down an area rug. Enjoy!

Patience is a virtue.

Site-finished hardwood flooring is a bit sensitive for a few weeks after it is installed. If you have newly-installed, site-finished floors you'll want to wait at least 30 days before laying down a large area rug. Talk to your installation contractor to find out if they have any recommendations regarding area rugs.

Don't forget the padding.

Many area rugs have backing that can act as a pretty severe abrasive on your floors finish. Make sure to use appropriate padding to prevent the rug from moving and scratching the floor. We recommend using a type of mesh anti-slip pad that will grip the carpet and still allow the floor to breath.

Rotation is key.

As you may know, hardwood floors change color when exposed to sunlight. Since area rugs block UV rays from reaching your floors the areas underneath the rug often experience color fade much more slowly than the surrounding floor. Rotating the placement of your rugs can help you avoid uneven coloration as your floors experience UV exposure. Don't freak out if you notice color change when you first move your rugs. This is normal and over time the area will catch up and blend in nicely with the rest of the floor.

Have you had any bad experiences with area rugs on your hardwood floors? Leave us a comment and tell us your story!

Friday, February 8, 2013

The 5 Best Things About Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Engineered flooring is one of the most popular types of hardwood flooring products you can find. In fact, consumer interest in engineered has skyrocketed over the past few years, even as consumer interest in plain old solid hardwood seems to be waning. Check out these figures from Google Trends:

And this one:

As you can see, search trends for engineered flooring have been climbing steadily since 2005, while solid hardwood flooring and hardwood flooring searches have remained about constant and sharply declined, respectively. This does not, of course, reflect sales of either product, but when it comes to the initial information-gathering phase of buying new floors it would seem that more and more people are interested in engineered.

So what's so great about engineered hardwood flooring? Why all the buzz? While there are many reasons people choose engineered over solid flooring, we thought we'd list five of our favorite. Enjoy!

(Interested in seeing some of Fantastic Floor's beautiful engineered hardwood flooring products? Visit today!)

1. It will hang out in any room.
Engineered flooring has a very high resistance to moisture-related problems like buckling. This means engineered floors can be installed in any room of the house, whether that's below-grade (in the basement), on-grade (on the first floor), or above-grade (second floor, third floor, etc.). They can also be installed over more types of surfaces than solid floors, including plain concrete slabs and wood subfloors.

2. It doesn't mind a little humidity.
The moisture-resistance of engineered flooring also makes it a perfect fit for places with extreme changes in temperature and humidity. As you may know, solid wood has a tendency to expand and contract with temperature and humidity changes. This expansion and contraction can lead to many problems, like warping and gapping. The construction of engineered boards fight this natural tendency to bend and warp.

3. It looks good in almost anything.
It's important to remember that engineered flooring is not laminate. Engineered flooring is real hardwood flooring. This means you can get engineered products in almost any style or species of hardwood you can imagine. Looking for oak? Not a problem. How about ipe? No sweat. Maybe you want Brazilian Cherry. You get the idea.

4. It cares about the environment. While engineered flooring does contain a solid top layer of hardwood, the rest is made of layers of various other materials, mainly plywood. This means that less of the actual hardwood tree can be used to make more of the product. And engineered flooring weighs less than solid, so it requires less energy to pack and transport.

5. It's just as sexy as solid.
While there are some people that swear by solid hardwood floors, we believe that high-quality, well-made engineered flooring is just as beautiful and distinctive. Here, see for yourself. One of these products is a solid acacia hardwood floor, the other is an engineered acacia hardwood floor. Can you tell which is which?

No, didn't think so.

What do you think of engineered hardwood flooring? We'd love to hear your thoughts, so leave us a comment and let us know! If you want to know more about Fantastic Floor's engineered hardwood products you can give us a call at 1-888-448-9663 or email us at We look forward to hearing from you soon!