Monday, September 24, 2012

Fantastic Floor Presents: Heart Pine

Welcome back to your favorite hardwood flooring blog series, Fantastic Floor Presents. This week we're taking a closer look at a variety of wood that is extremely popular with modern residential and commercial interior designs - Heart Pine. Enjoy!

reclaimed heart pine hardwood flooring

Heart Pine is a very sought-after variety of pine hardwood flooring. It is quite rare; in fact, a lot of the Heart Pine sold today is reclaimed from older sources. Many of the Heart Pine flooring products at Fantastic Floor are reclaimed from sources dating as far back as the Industrial Revolution. While reclaimed heart pine flooring is most often used in rustic design applications, the material can also be used for more formal or professional spaces as well.

One look at our collection of Heart Pine products and you'll see why it is a species in such high demand. The beautiful brown-orange complexion is mixed with soft yellows and tans. It has a tight vertical grain and occasional bluish-black sap stains that add a nice pop of visual intrigue to the floors.

Heart Pine is also a very dense hardwood flooring material and is naturally resistant to wood rot and boring insects. It has a Janka hardness rating of 1,225 pounds, slightly harder than similar species like Red Oak. Its hardness and density are major factors in making it one of the most durable floors you can buy.

Fantastic Floor features many varieties of Heart Pine, including reclaimed Antique Heart Pine, Wide Plank Pine, both Site Finished and Oil Prefinished, Distressed, Handscraped, Engineered, and Solid. View more photos of our amazing Heart Pine products on the Fantastic Floor Pinterest page, or visit our website at

Questions? Give us a call at 888.448.9663 or leave us a comment below. We look forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

4 Ways to Reduce Winter Floor Gaping

Cold, dry winter weather can really take its toll on hardwood flooring, causing most species of wood to dry out and shrink. This shrinking inevitably leads to gaps between boards, and despite the fact that it is naturally occurring, it's still pretty unattractive.

hardwood flooring gaps

While there's no way to prevent hardwood floors from gaping entirely, there are a few precautions you can take to limit the frequency and severity of the gaps. The following are four simple steps you can take before and after installation to reduce the amount of gaping you'll see during those dry winter months:

1. Use the right wood.
Not all hardwood flooring varieties handle fluctuations in temperature and humidity the same. Solid hardwood flooring is generally much more susceptible to these seasonal changes than engineered flooring. Additionally, narrow boards tend to shrink less than wider boards, as does quartersawn flooring. Dimensional stability - the measure of a wood's tendency to expand and shrink - varies from species to species, meaning some hardwoods are going to experience gaping much less than others.
The best way to avoid massive floor gaps in the winter is to pick the right flooring for your climate. If you're really trying to avoid the problem, choose engineered flooring from a dimensionally stable species that has narrow boards. (Visit to view engineered flooring products that fit this description.)

2. Reduce ventilation.
A well-ventilated house may be cool and fresh in the summer, but during the winter it means more chances of flooring gaping. When cold air from the outside is brought into a house and heat it loses quite a bit of moisture, drying out your floor and increasing the likelihood of gaping. By reducing your house's winter ventilation, you reduce the chances of gaping.

3. Increase moisture.
But what if we can't reduce our home's ventilation? Good question. The answer to that, of course, would be to increase the moisture levels in air. This can be done by using humidifiers. There are two common types of humidifiers - stand-alone units and units that are attached to central air systems. Because hardwood flooring is sensitive to overly-humid environments as well as overly-dry, you need to be careful when using a humidifier. Contact a hardwood flooring professional before attempting to regulate your home's humidity levels.

4. Plan for gaping anyway.
Sometimes the best way to avoid disappointment is to accept the inevitable. Yes, your hardwood flooring will gap in the winter. Aside from the above-mentioned steps, there isn't a lot you can do to prevent it. You can, however, plan for the gaping. If you have a room that experiences gaping more than others you can add a rug or move some furniture around to cover the gaps. You can also just learn to live with it, resting in the knowledge that come spring your floor boards will expand again and the gaps will close up.

Have you experienced winter floor gaping before? How did you deal with the problem? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Friday, September 14, 2012

4 Common Molding Types [INFOGRAPHIC]

At Fantastic Floor, we pride ourselves in our beautiful, high-quality hardwood flooring products. From prefinished to solid to engineered, we carry only the best hardwood flooring materials available. We also pride ourselves in our extensive knowledge of the hardwood flooring industry. We can answer questions about installation, maintenance, and, of course, the products themselves.

One of the common questions we get from homeowners - especially DIYers - is which type of hardwood floor moldings are the best. There are many different types of hardwood moldings, and each serves a specific purpose. In fact, there are so many different types of moldings that picking the right one for the job can be a confusing and frustrating endeavor!

Well, never fear. We've put together a beautiful new infographic that explains the four most common types of hardwood floor moldings. We hope you like it!

hardwood molding infographic

Right click and select "Open in new tab" to view full-size.

Monday, September 10, 2012

You Talked, We Listened! The 5 Most Popular Hardwood Flooring Varieties [Summer 2012]

We get a lot of calls and emails asking us what we think are the best styles of hardwood flooring. While we're always very flattered, we know that sometimes our opinions aren't the opinions of everyone on the market for new hardwood floors. That's why we've put together this brief list of the top five flooring varieties most talked about over the past three months. We gathered data from our website, phone call and email inquiries, and Google search volume trends to develop this list, and we hope it helps you in your search for new hardwood flooring material. Enjoy!

engineered hardwood flooring

1. Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Many people call us wanting information on just what engineered flooring really is. Well, here you go! Engineered hardwood floors are made of multiple ply layers or various materials that have been cross-layered, glued, and pressed together. Engineered flooring is often preferred over solid wood flooring because they are more resistant to moisture and less likely to buckle or warp. Engineered flooring is available in almost any hardwood species and is often much easier to install than traditional solid floors.

laminate hardwood flooring

2. Laminate Flooring
Because of its low price point and excellent durability, laminate flooring has become one of the hottest trends in residential flooring. Most laminate products these days do a great job of mimicking real wood floors, providing a touch of natural beauty to homes on a budget. Laminate is also lighter and easier to install than solid hardwood, making it a perfect choice for second story applications.

oak hardwood flooring

3. Oak Hardwood Flooring
Oak hardwood has been a tried-and-true flooring choice for generations, and for good reason. It is attractive, versatile, durable, and less expensive than most exotic hardwood species. Fantastic Floor carries many different varieties of both red and white oak flooring, all at reasonable prices.

tigerwood hardwood flooring

4. Tigerwood Hardwood Flooring
The dynamic and exciting look of Tigerwood hardwood has caused it to rocket in popularity among homeowners looking for a unique and stylish flooring material. Its rich colors and distinctive striping add a bold accent to any room. It is also an incredibly durable hardwood species, meaning one flooring application can last for decades.

brazilian cherry hardwood flooring

5. Brazilian Cherry Hardwood Flooring Brazilian Cherry is back, baby! Also known as Jatoba, this hardwood species saw a surge in popularity a few years ago but sank back into relative obscurity when the country took an economic turn for the worse. Now that the economy is on the mend, this beautiful hardwood species is back in the spotlight. Brazilian Cherry hardwood flooring features stunning reds and browns and dark black striping. It is also one of the most durable flooring options you can find, with a Janka hardness rating nearly twice that of most common domestics.

Questions about any of these flooring varieties? Contact Fantastic Floor today at 888.448.9663.

What are your favorite hardwood flooring varieties? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fantastic Floor Presents: Ipe

Welcome back to Fantastic Floor Presents, the only hardwood spotlight blog series you'll ever need! Last week we highlighted the ever-popular but often overlooked Birch hardwood flooring. This week we're shining our hardwood spotlight on one of the most alluring of all the exotic hardwood flooring materials: Ipe!

ipe hardwood flooring

Ipe is one of the most eye-catching and beautiful exotic hardwood flooring materials on the market today. The dark browns and deep reds of Ipe provide an excellent contrast to its slow, wavy grain pattern. The variety of shades of Ipe make it an incredibly visually interesting species of wood, perfect for foyers, dining rooms, kitchens, offices, or anywhere you'd like your floors to make a great first impression. Ipe is also quite versatile, despite its striking appearance. It works equally well in a sleek, modern design scheme as it does a more quaint, traditional home decor.

Beauty is only one amazing aspect of Ipe hardwood flooring; it is also the most durable hardwood you can find. Its dense cell structure makes it nearly impenetrable to insects, molds, and other forms decay. It also has a Class A fire rating, which is the same class of fire-retardant materials as steel. The Janka hardness rating of Ipe is 3,680 pounds, making it the fourth hardest wood species in the world. All these factors add up to a naturally durable and long-lasting flooring material.

If you're looking for beauty, durability, and style, look no further than Ipe hardwood flooring. Contact Fantastic Floor today at 1-888-448-9663 to learn more about this amazing exotic species. We look forward to hearing from you soon!