Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Solid or Engineered: Which Hardwood Type is Right for You?

If you’re shopping for new hardwood floors and you’ve done your hardwood homework, you probably have noticed that hardwood flooring comes in two different varieties: engineered and solid. Solid hardwood is pretty much exactly what it sounds like – a solid plank of hardwood cut into specific board sizes. Engineered hardwood is flooring that is composed of 3 – 12 multiple ply layers that have been cross-layered, glued down, and pressed together. A layer of species-specific hardwood is then layered on top, giving the appearance of a solid board.

On the surface, solid and engineered hardwoods are very difficult to tell apart, but they do have their own individual advantages and disadvantages. Engineered hardwoods are much more versatile. They can be nailed or glued on top of all types of sub-floors, including concrete. Solid hardwood can only be nailed or stapled down to a wood sub-floor. (Don’t try to staple solid hardwood to a concrete sub-floor. It will only end badly.) Engineered hardwood floors are also less prone to expansion and contraction damages due to climate change.

If cost is a factor, consider engineered. Engineered hardwood flooring is typically less expensive because less of the solid tree goes into the board. It is also lighter and easier to transport, which can also cut down on costs. However, one additional cost factor involved in engineered flooring is the pad that is necessary to purchase for under the floor. Pads help to deaden the echo sound and also act as a moisture barrier, helping to reduce mold and mildew issues when installing over concrete.

 Another important factor to assess when purchasing engineered flooring is the thickness of the top ware layer. Some engineered product cannot be sanded and refinished if the ware layer is less than 2mm. If the engineered floor you are looking at is 2mm or over, than the floor can be sanded and refinished a couple of times. Technology in engineered flooring has come a long way in the past few years, and high-end engineered product typically have a ware layer of an 1/8”. This is essentially the same thickness of a solid hardwood floor has above the tongue and groove. These high end engineered products have a life span that will outlast most of us – they can be sanded and finished the same amount of times as a solid floor.

If there are no budget concerns, and you are installing above grade on a ply sub floor, solid hardwood floors might be the better option. Solid hardwood does not need a pad and you will have no issues with the echoing sound typical with engineered material. Solid floor also typically has a longer life span with sanding and refinishing compared to “standard” engineered materials. Solid flooring also adds more resale value to your home.

As you can see, engineered and solid hardwoods both have their advantages and disadvantages. Cost, ease of installation, and longevity are just a few things to consider when deciding between the two. Still unsure as to which hardwood style is right for you? Give us a call at 1-888-448-9663 today, or shoot us an email at customer.service@fantastic-floor.com. We can’t wait to help you pick the perfect floor!

Friday, June 21, 2013

What's So Great About Reclaimed Hardwood Flooring?

The reclaimed hardwood flooring trend is still going strong, and for good reason. Reclaimed flooring is durable, eco-friendly, and has an unmistakable rustic charm. Not sure what reclaimed flooring is, exactly? Don’t worry! We’ve assembled everything you need to know about this popular flooring product below. Enjoy!

What is reclaimed hardwood flooring?
Reclaimed hardwood flooring is hardwood that has been taken from old homes, barns, or from bodies of water such as lakes and rivers, and then repurposed into “new” hardwood flooring. Now, you might be thinking, “This is old
wood? I can’t use that in my flooring project!” Not the case! There are several advantages to using reclaimed hardwood flooring. Here are a few of them:

What are the benefits of reclaimed hardwood flooring?

The single most appealing thing about reclaimed hardwood flooring is that every board has a history. Many of the reclaimed hardwood flooring products we carry have been salvaged from amazing places, such as abandoned whiskey factories and old boats. If you're searching for a hardwood floor that not only looks great but has an incredible story behind it, look no further. 

Not only is reclaimed hardwood often cheaper, it’s also a great benefit to the environment. Fresh hardwood requires harvesting trees and shipping them over long distances. With reclaimed flooring you are essentially recycling the hardwood, cutting down on consumption. Eco-friendly house features like reclaimed flooring are not only great for the environment, but they also up your home’s resale value. Win-win!

More and more people are seeking out a worn and rustic look from their hardwood floors. Reclaimed hardwood floors, especially if they are taken from barns or old homes, offer years of rustic charm and character with which new hardwood just can’t compete.

Reclaimed hardwood is traditionally made from old-growth wood – trees that have grown for hundreds of years before they were cut. These boards are just as strong now as they ever have been, which means you get the same great durability in reclaimed hardwood as you would in new wood flooring.

Still unsure whether reclaimed hardwood flooring is right for you? Contact The Fantastic Floor today at 1-888-448-9663 to talk shop. We can’t wait to help you pick the perfect floor!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hardwood and Allergens: Why Hardwood Flooring Creates a Healthier Indoor Environment

Did you know that one in five Americans suffers from allergies or allergy-related asthma symptoms? That's over 62 million people! If you're one of the many people who suffer from the itchy eyes, runny nose, or skin irritations commonly caused by allergies, and you aren't sure what's causing them, you might want to look in an unexpected place: under your feet!

Carpet Traps Allergens
That's right - the source of your allergy woes may be your carpet flooring. Wall-to-wall carpet can be a haven for pet dander, dirt, pollen, and dust mites, which are all known to be linked to the rising rates of allergies in this country. This is especially true of children. Many researchers believe that the best way to prevent allergies in adults is to limit their exposure to allergens as children. Unfortunately, with carpet flooring it is nearly impossible to prevent allergen exposure, as dust mites and their droppings (ew!) are extremely hard to remove, even with regular vacuuming.

So What's a Homeowner to Do?
For the answer to this question, let's turn to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America:
If you are putting in new floors, consider using hardwood, vinyl, linoleum tile, or slate instead of wall-to-wall carpeting. The carpet is an ideal home for dust mites. These tiny insects are one of the worst enemies of people with allergies. Too small to be seen with the naked eye, they live inside carpeting, cushions and bedding. There they excrete waste products that cause allergic symptoms. Bare floors with small, washable area rugs are much easier to keep free of dust mites than carpeting.
Need Some Cushion? Try a Rug!
Area rugs and floor runners are a great way to add the cushion and decorative flair of carpet while minimizing allergy symptoms. Not only can rugs be vacuumed, but they can also be washed, beaten, and even dry cleaned. And unlike carpets, rugs can be easily swapped out to better match a new wall paint color or room design scheme.

Need help finding a new linoleum or hardwood floor to replace your allergen-laden carpet? Call The Fantastic Floor today at 1-888-448-9663, or send us an email at customer.service@fantastic-floor.com. We can't wait to help you pick the perfect floor!

Friday, June 14, 2013

What's Your Superhero Name?

Here at The Fantastic Floor, we love superheroes. Heck, our entire brand is based on some of the best! And if you're like us, you've spent countless hours daydreaming of your perfect superhero (or supervillain!) persona. But coming up with a name for your new superhero self can be tough ... until now! We've come up with a handy superhero name generating chart to help you find out what fantastic new super person you'll be today. Enjoy!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Types of Hardwood Moldings and How They’re Used

When it comes to hardwood moldings, not all hardwood floors are created equal. Different floor and surface types require different types of moldings, and there are lots of factors to consider: the expansion gap, floor type, floor thickness, transitioning, etc. But fear not, dear reader! For every floor type and application there is a molding that fits the purpose and looks great. Here are some descriptions of the most common prefinished hardwood moldings and the situations in which they are most useful. Enjoy!

Quarter Round
For a more subtle blend between wall base and floor, the quarter round – so-named due to its cut resembling one quarter of a circle – is used to help cover the expansion gap between wall and hardwood floor. The quarter round can also be used on its own to create a transition between a hardwood floor and cabinets.

Base Shoe
Slightly narrower than the quarter round, base shoe molding can also be used to fill in the expansion gap if a narrower look along the wall base is desired. It is also used as a transition between hardwood floor and wall under cabinets.

Cove moldings are used to cover gaps between vertical surfaces, including walls, staircases, and banisters, and between the tread and riser.

Wall Base
Another option for filling in the expansion gap, taller wall bases provide a cleaner juncture where floor meets wall and helps to give the room a more formal and finished appearance.

Square Nose
Square noses are used with floating hardwood floors. They are perfect for filling in the expansion gap between floors and vertical surfaces such as brick or glass, surfaces that cannot be framed by a quarter round or a wall base.

Moving into the molds that connect floor to floor, T-moldings are used to create a smooth transition between floor surfaces in adjoining rooms. They are most useful for joining floors of the same thickness.

Reducers are used to connect floors with differing heights. This molding comes in two varieties: flush and overlap. Flush reducers are used for glue or nail-down flooring installations. With hardwood floors that require space to expand and contract, an overlap reducer is required.

An extremely versatile floor mold, thresholds are also ideal for transitioning between flooring of different heights. Their use goes beyond hardwood floors; they can also be used to adjoin tile and carpet.

Stair Nose
This is another molding that comes in flush or overlap. Stair noses are used to give a finished look to hardwood steps and are an inexpensive alternative to laying down a tread. They are designed to take the brunt of foot traffic while maintaining each step’s beauty. Flush noses are used for glue and nail-down methods, while overlap noses are used on stairs that need space to expand and contract.

Want more information about hardwood flooring moldings? Give us a call today at 1-888-448-9663, or send us an email at customer.service@fantastic-floor.com. We can’t wait to help you pick the perfect floor – molding, that is!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Fantastic Floor Presents: Southern Yellow Pine

Welcome back to Fantastic Floor Presents! Last month we featured the deep red and durability of Bloodwood hardwood flooring. This month we’re taking a look at a highly diverse wood that is classic for flooring, furniture and many types of construction: Southern Yellow Pine.

Native to the southeastern United States, Southern Yellow Pine has been a popular and widely used wood since the nineteenth century. Used for everything from ship masts to residential flooring, Southern Yellow Pine remains a popular choice for construction timber and plywood. Southern Yellow Pine has two varieties: sapwood and heartwood. The sapwood is yellowish white in color, while the heartwood – which only begins to form after the tree is at least 20 years old – can range from yellow to reddish brown. Sometimes it features a clear pattern, and other times sports characteristic darker knots.

Southern Yellow Pine is a coarse wood. With a Janka rating of 690, it is on the softer side, and doesn’t stand up to scratches and scuffs as well as other hardwoods. However, it makes up for this with versatility: It responds well to sawing and nailing, marking it as an ideal wood for resizing and reshaping.

Want to learn more about Southern Yellow Pine? Contact the professionals at The Fantastic Floor at 1-888-448-9663, or give us a call at customer.service@fantastic-floor.com. We can’t wait to help you pick the perfect floor!

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Top 5 Reasons You Should Choose Hardwood Flooring Over Carpet


It’s one of the most common choices a homeowner faces when remodeling and existing home or building a new one: “What type of flooring should I choose?” Hardwood and carpet are the two main types of flooring you have to choose from, but which is best for you? We’re a bit biased, we admit, but we still can’t help but chime in: Hardwood! Hardwood! Hardwood!

Now, we’re not just trying to hawk our wares. We honestly believe hardwood flooring is the superior flooring choice over carpet, and for many good reasons. Which reasons, you ask? Good question. Here are our top five reasons hardwood flooring kicks carpet’s butt. Enjoy!

When it comes to everyday wear-and-tear, hardwood floors will beat out carpeting every time. Carpets require annual steaming to look their best and have to be removed every couple of years. A well cared for hardwood floor can last a lifetime, making it the better long-term investment.

Easier to clean
Spills and stains to carpets are often permanent, and if they’re not, they’re a real pain to remove. With hardwood floors, dust and spills do less damage and are easy to clean up. Sweeping and occasionally mopping with warm water is all you need to keep your hardwood floors looking their best.

Better refinishing
A hardwood floor can be made to look like new by refinishing, sanding, and polishing. Carpets, on the other hand, don’t bounce back quite as well. After a while, in order to make carpeting look good as new, you need … well, a new carpet.

Fewer allergens
Not only do carpets hold onto stains, they also hold onto dirt, germs and allergens, which can really build up and affect your health. This is only made worse if you live with pets. You don’t have to worry about allergen buildup on hardwood floors. Simply sweep or vacuum regularly and you’re good to go.

Prestige and versatility
Hardwood flooring has history on its side. It has been used in homes for hundreds of years, and still maintains its “high end” image and general popularity. It is also extremely versatile and can be matched with several different home d├ęcor styles, which is more than you can say about hardwood.

Still not convinced that hardwood flooring is a better choice for your home than carpet? Call one of the flooring professionals at The Fantastic Floor today and let us try to change your mind. You can reach us at 1-888-448-9663, or send us an email at customer.service@fantastic-floor.com. We can’t wait to help you pick the perfect (hardwood) floor!