Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fantastic Floor Presents: Mango Wood

mango tree

Welcome back to Fantastic Floor Presents! As you may recall, the last installment of the series looked at the French Connection line of white oak flooring. This week we're headed to warmer climates to take a look at an up-and-coming sustainable hardwood species: Mango Wood!

If you've got your finger on the pulse of the hardwood industry, you've probably heard that mango wood is giving bamboo and hemp a run for its money as the poster child for fast-growing, sustainable wood. It only takes seven to 15 years for mango trees to reach a height that makes harvesting their fruit difficult, about 90 - 100 feet. Once they reach this height mango farmers can replace the barren trees for newer ones and sell the wood from these trees for extra income. This model of sustainable mango farming makes sure no part of the tree goes to waste.

Mango hardwood flooring is similar in hardness and density to domestic hardwood varieties such as ash and cherry. Its heartwood and sapwood can contain a true variety of colors, including light and dark browns, yellows, and streaks of pink and black. The grain patterns in mango wood flooring are also very diverse, from jagged to curly. The wood tends to have a fine-to-medium texture.

Mango hardwood isn't only used for flooring. Its color variety and differing grain patterns have also made it a popular choice for furniture and turnery applications. It is even used in Hawaii in the production of high-end ukuleles!

mango wood hardwood flooring

Want to learn more about the vibrant and sustainable mango wood flooring products available at Fantastic Floor? Give us a call at 888-448-9663 or send us an email at We look forward to hearing from you!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Engineered VS. Solid Flooring: What's the Difference?

There is a lot of information online about the technical differences between engineered flooring and solid hardwood flooring. Heck, we've even got some on our own site! But unless you're a hardwood flooring manufacturer or installer, you probably don't care about cross-directional layers and dimensional stability. You care about how your new floors will look and feel, and probably how much they're going to cost.

With that in mind, we've taken the liberty to break down the engineered vs. solid flooring debate into four categories that are important to you: look, cost, longevity, and installation process. We hope this helps clear up some of the confusion surrounding this common question!

engineered vs solid hardwood flooring

The Look
Since engineered flooring is made with a top layer of real wood there is very little difference in appearance between it and solid hardwood flooring. Both solid and engineered flooring can be purchased prefinished or unfinished, and both come in a wide variety of species. Both varieties are available as planks or strips, but only solid hardwood flooring comes in parquets.

The Cost
Engineered flooring usually costs less than solid hardwood flooring, mainly because it contains less of the actual wood than its solid counterpart. Engineered wood also weighs less than solid wood flooring, so transportation costs are. Finally, engineered wood is generally easier to install, meaning it will cost you less in installation costs.

The Longevity
There are two schools of thought on this subject. The first looks at how likely the wood is to experience buckling or warping over time. Engineered flooring is made using a cross-directional lamination process, which helps counteract the wood's natural tendency to expand and contract with changes in temperature and humidity. From this point of view, engineered flooring is the top choice for durability.

On the other hand, because engineered flooring has only a thin layer (about 2mm to 3mm) of natural hardwood, it makes refinishing much more difficult. Solid wood, however, can be refinished many times - as much as one-third of the board in some cases. So from the point of view of repairing scratched or dented floors, solid hardwood is a better choice.

The Installation Process
Solid hardwood flooring can really only be installed one way and in one type of location: stapled (or nailed) down, and at-grade or above-grade. Engineered flooring, on the other hand, is a lot more versatile. It can be installed in almost any part of the house, including the basement and second or third floors. It doesn't need to be stapled or nailed down, either. Engineered flooring can also be glued or, in some cases, "floated" over different subfloors.

The Verdict
By now you're probably thinking, "There's no contest! Engineered flooring is clearly the best!" Well, not exactly. If you have a creative decorating mind and a fairly large budget, solid hardwood flooring should be your first choice. You can combine solid hardwood into beautiful custom floors in a way that can't be done with engineered flooring. Solid flooring tends to raise the value of your home more than engineered flooring as well, mainly because it is a more costly and more permanent addition to the house.

What are your thoughts on the topic of engineered flooring vs. solid hardwood? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

5 Post-Holiday Clean-Up Tips

Now that the holiday season is finally over, you can focus your attention on a part of your house that probably saw a lot of wear and tear during the past few weeks: your hardwood flooring.

There are a few messes specific to the holidays that can wreak major havoc on your floors if not dealt with in a timely manner. The following are five post-holiday clean-up tips you can use to make sure your floors stay looking good well into the new year. Enjoy!

1. Wine Stains
In the case of spilled wine, time is your enemy. Try to blot up as much of the spill as soon as you can, and remember not to rub it in. If the wine has started to set, try pouring undiluted bleach on the stain and letting it set for about 45 minutes. (This can take off the floor finish and leave an even more unsightly stain, so make sure to test a small, inconspicuous area of your floor first.) If the bleach doesn't work, mix a simple soda paste out of baking soda and lemon oil or mineral oil. Gently rub it over the stain, let it sit for about a half hour, and remove it with a dry cloth.

2. Foot/Paw Prints
It may sound counterintuitive, but one of the best ways to clean muddy paw or footprints from your hardwood floors is to let them dry. After they're dry, run a vacuum over the prints. This gets rid of a surprising amount of dried mud and dirt, all without water. Once the loose dirt is up, use a high-quality hardwood floor cleaner like DuraSeal to remove what's left.

3. Tree Needles
Cleaning up old tree needles is pretty straightforward - vacuum! Don't forget to use the vacuum's attachments to get into the nooks and crannies where old needles may be hiding.

4. Candle Wax
Piece o' cake:

5. Sticky Tape
Sticky tape on hardwood floors is one of the most common and irritating consequences of holiday gift-giving. Here's how to get rid of it: Start with a washcloth and a bowl of hot water - the hotter the better. Soak the corner of the washcloth in the water and apply it directly to the tape. Let it soak there for about five minutes, then gently roll your finger over the edge of the tape to get it loose. Once the tape is loose, place a drop of dish soap on the washcloth and rub it over the tape residue. Rinse the washcloth and repeat until the residue is gone.

We hope these helped! What are some post-holiday cleaning tricks you use regularly? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

We had a great 2012, and we hope you did too! Now, bring on the new year!