Hardwood FlooringNEWS-BLOG

Why Is Bamboo Flooring So Eco-Friendly?

 

–If you have been researching hardwood floor options, no doubt you’ve come across lots of articles that sing the praises of bamboo as a tremendously eco-friendly material. These are generally correct, but not necessarily so.

 

Bamboo is considered an eco-friendly option

Because bamboo flooring is technically a grass. Therefore, it regenerates in three to five years, far faster than typical timber. Horticulturists also believe that the harvesting bamboo can actually help improve growing conditions – much as carefully engineered, selective timber harvesting helps a forest grow. By removing old bamboo, more sunlight is allowed to reach the younger plants, helping stimulate and nurture the shoots.

Bamboo also has indirect environmental benefits.

When you install a hardwood floor, you don’t need to clean your floors as vigorously or as regularly as you might if you install carpeting. You could clean a bamboo floor with just a dry mop or broom; whereas you might need a more dramatic and potentially environmentally costly cleaning regimen if you go for carpeting.

Bamboo can also last a long time – 30 years or longer.

Depending on the construction job and care provided – and thus homeowners do not need to replace or refinish floors as often as they might otherwise. Any time you can avoid doing major construction, you save on environmental costs, including labor, machinery, pollution, debris created, etc.

Are you curious about bamboo floors?

If so, look to the Bay Area hardwood floor experts at Elegant Floors to introduce you to powerful options to beautify, remodel, and clean your home, apartment, or business.We offer new floor installations, dust-free refinishing, no sanding processes, and free inspections and estimates.

Call us at 650-961-1339, or visit us online at www.elegant-floors.com.

The Bamboo vs. Timber Flooring Dilemma: Which is Right for You?

-The Bamboo vs. Timber Flooring Dilemma: Which is Right for You?

Whether you are flooring a new home, apartment, or condominium, you have a big decision to make – whether to opt for bamboo or timber as your material of choice.

Odds are, several weeks or months ago, if someone had asked you about your preferred floor choice, you would have either given them a blank look or said something to the effect of “I could care less.” But now that decision-making time is nearing, you want a down-and-dirty guide to help you make the best choice.

First, let’s take a look at some advantages of both types.

Timber Floors

• Has potential to be beautiful and long-lasting
• Can stand up to significant traffic
• Depending on how procured and harvested, can be “green” or “eco-friendly”
• Aesthetically flexible
• Protects against sun bleaching
• Easy to clean up spills – vacuum, dry mop, etc.
• Floors harden as they age, which makes clean up even easier
• Depending on the wood you get, can vary hardness, price, durability to meet
your budget, traffic needs, and other needs.

Bamboo Floors

Bamboo is also a luxurious, beautiful material. It’s extremely hard, so it’s resistant to nicking and abrasions. Bamboo is also easy to clean and, when properly harvested, is very eco-friendly, since it regenerates within just three to five years.There are many

beautiful finishes available.Bamboo can last three decades or longer, depending on how you care for it.

So both bamboo and timber are going to be excellent choices. Timber may be more expensive than bamboo, depending on your location, needs, and the size and scope of your project. Bamboo is generally considered to be more eco-friendly than timber.Bamboo is generally slightly harder than most timber, so it can stand up a little bit more to the ravages of everyday life.

Need help to figure out the best decision for your needs, home, and budget? Connect today with the experienced and customer-focused professionals at Elegant Floors. We offer free inspections and estimates. Call us now at 650-961-1339, or learn more about our hardwood floor finishing, installation, and cleaning services at www.elegant-floors.com

The Slab Moisture Blues

Ugly Blisters Can Ruin a Floating Floor – What to do?

It’s every home remodeler’s worst nightmare. You pay a small fortune (maybe liquidate the kids’ college fund?) to install a top of the line hardwood floor. Everything looks great. Then, out of nowhere, grotesque grayish blisters pop up all over the floor, as if the hardwood had contracted some ghastly, highly communicable African plague. Walking on these blisters pops them,
releasing the stagnant smell of finish.

What went wrong with my floors?

Likely, vapor emissions – from concrete or from some other source beneath the floor – caused
moisture to migrate into the hardwood to form these blisters.

If you fail to test your floor and subfloor for moisture, you set yourself up for a blister disaster.
Your heating system, for instance, can suck moisture from the slab just as the finish cooks,
causing all of the bubbleishness. Once these blisters occur — unless you want to leave the plague-
like bubbles in place — you have to scrap the project, rip up the floor, and replace it altogether.

To prevent this from happening in your home or rec room:

  • Use a hygrometer to measure humidity of both the wood floor and the subfloor;
  • The NWFA has installation guidelines;
  • Also, check out the manufacturer’s instructions.

When homeowners embark on “do it yourself” adventures, unexpected problems – like this
bubbling problem – often arise, creating havoc, missed deadlines, thousands of dollars of
unexpected costs, and outrage.

To save yourself the hassle and frustration, connect with the team at Elegant Floors at 650-961-
1339. We provide free estimates, and our Diamond-certified professionals can help you figure
out the best solution for your Bay Area hardwood floor refinishing, installation, or cleaning
needs. You can also connect with us at www.elegant-floors.com.

Is Hardwood Flooring A Good Investment?

Let’s face facts. The economy is not exactly in ship shape.

America’s credit rating was recently downgraded by S&P. The stock market is going haywire. So, why would homeowners want to “splurge” on installing hardwood floors? A lot of reasons. Budget conscious (and not so budget conscious) homeowners, landlords, and building owners alike might want to consider the hardwood floor option — even in this economy — for the following reasons: (more…)

Maple Wood Floors, or Something Else?

Maple Wood Floors, or Something Else? Choices, Choices, Choices

Are you doing a remodeling job in your kitchen or rec room? Are you “souping up” a Bay Area condominium to prepare it for eager buyers? Are you redoing your home now that the kids have “left the nest” – and you want to replace those gnarled, natty rugs in their rooms with beautiful, simple, austere hardwood floors?

The Huge Variety of Hardwood Floors

White oak maple wood has a relatively uniform texture. It’s quite hard, but it can bend. And its flexibility generally means less wear and tear.

Red oak maple is probably the most common and popular variety. Red oak is extremely hard and heavy. Its stiffness and bendability are right in the “goldilocks zone,” so many people love the red oak variety.

If you’re flooring a room that doesn’t get a lot of foot traffic, you might want to consider pine wood. It’s softer, yes, which means that it can get dented and scratched and dinged-up easier than the hardwood floors we’ve discussed. But it can also be cheaper, and it is reminiscent of an older, more classical era of American craftsmanship.

Other common wood choices include teak, beach, fir, birch, mahogany, and cherry.

 

Maple wood comes in a surprisingly diverse rainbow of colors – from near pale/white through deep red and brown.

Look, all these choices are great. At least in theory.

But if you spend too much time considering all the various variables, factors, and permutations, you can literally make yourself nuts. Social psychologist Barry Schwartz talks about this kind of “choosing problem” in his remarkable book, The Paradox of Choice. Schwartz argues that when you must choose among, like, 19 different options, you will feel stressed out. Any option you choose will have “something missing” compared with one of the other 18 options you rejected.

The solution is to find an alternative that will satisfy you. In other words, you set the standards before you search. Then you find a hardwood floor alternative that meets all of your standards. Once you’ve done this, just go ahead and make the decision.

If you need help with any aspect of floor care, refinishing, or installation, connect with the team at Elegant Floors at www.elegant-floors.com, or call us at 650-961-1339.

We provide free inspections and estimates, and you can get coupon specials at our website as well as answers to your frequently asked questions about hardwood flooring and remodeling.

When to Use Elegant Floors’ Dust-Free Refinishing Process

The Dust-Free Refinishing Process

Whether you are sprucing up a new home by the Bay that you just closed on; or you want to clean up the much-abused floors in your teen’s old room now that she has moved out to go to college, consider taking advantage of Elegant Floors’ Dust Free Refinishing Program.
We use an advanced technology called the Atomic Dust Containment System (DCS) by Bonakemi. We will walk you through the step-by-step of how and why this process is so useful. But before we do, let’s consider who might need it.

If your floors are bowed, damaged, discolored, deeply gauged, worn down to the wood, or water damaged – in other words, if your problems go beyond a few nicks and scrapes – the BonaAtomic DCS process might be for you. Also, if you or someone in your family is extremely allergic or sensitive to air pollution, the atomic DCS can keep your home air cleaner and healthier – and prevent minute dust particles from settling in your air ducts.

The basic concept is simple:

A powerful vacuum sucks all the dust and debris created during the sanding out of your home and into a trailer outside. In other words, the dust never gets a chance to linger, find its way into your air ducts, and wend its way into your nose and lungs.

Dust Free wood floor refinishing Here is the process, step by step.

Elegant Floor technicians will attach hoses to our equipment and connect the sanding equipment to a sealed dust container outside, in our Atomic trailer. During the first pass, we will remove the old finish and take care of the nicks, gauges, and other impurities. We employ special techniques to sand down the edges.

After these passes, we will go back and use fillers to eliminate any remaining gouges, cracks,holes, etc. Then we do yet another sanding pass. And then we add commercial finish (three coats) to ensure the utility and beauty of your newly resanded floor.

Finally, if you want, we can apply a stain (waterborne or oil-based) that meets your home’s aesthetic needs.

If you would like a free estimate, connect with us today online at www.elegant-floors.com or call us for more information at 650-696-1339.

White Line Syndrome (WLS): A plague on all of our hardwood floors?

White Line Syndrome (WLS): A plague on all of our hardwood floors?

White Line Syndrome, colloquially known as “WLS” in the hardwood flooring industry, refers to white lines that manifests between boards on hardwood floors. Over the past 5 to 10 years or so, the blogosphere has erupted with discussions about WLS, prompting some industry analysts to believe that it’s on the rise.  So what exactly causes WLS? What can be done to prevent it? And what should you do if you suspect that your new or old hardwood floor is beginning to manifest these aesthetically unappealing (maddeningly so) lines?

Author Kim Wahlgren dissected this problem in the June/July 2011 issue of Hardwood Floors (the official magazine of the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA)), in an article called: “What Is Really Causing White Line Syndrome?” Ms. Wahlgren’s fascinating discussion illuminates WLS as multifaceted and not very well understood – as well as a lightning rod for controversy within the industry. She describes several ways that WLS can come about.

1. Peeling of oil modified urethane (OMU) finishes.

Peeling happens because the urethane finish fails to stick well and thus becomes easy to abrade.  She quotes one manufacturer, who summed up the problem nicely: “It’s stuck, but it’s not stuck well enough!” The solution involves complete, thorough, and uniform abrasion before to guarantee better adhesion of the OMU.

2. Solvent-based and stain sealers evaporate to form “WLS.”

When sealers fail to dry – or when you apply too much stain, and it gets between the boards – the evaporation can lead to residue that looks like white line syndrome.

3. Finish gets stretched to create what Ms. Wahlgren refers to as “real” WLS.

She summarizes it thusly: “[Real white line syndrome occurs] when the finish stretches over a gap that develops when wood flooring boards contract. Just like a black garbage bag stretchedtoo far, stretched areas of finish over the gaps turn white.”
Why is it all happening now – and what can you do about it?

As Ms. Wahlgren points out, the blogosphere abounds with theories about why WLS seems to be on everyone’s mind today.  Some theories are eminently plausible– for instance, she suggests that customers’ preferences for darker woods (e.g. walnut, padauk, etc) lead to conditions where WLS will be more visible (The white lines look more prominent than they do on lighter wood, like maple). Other theories are outlandish – for instance, one theory suggests a conspiracy: finishing manufacturers are hiding the fact that WLS-inducing components have been added to resins.

Whether you are currently suffering WLS discoloration on your floors, and you want an expert opinion; or you are considering hardwood floor refinishing, floor installation, remodeling or other construction job, and you want todo it right (avoid WLS from the get go), connect with the professionals at Elegant Floors. Call us at 650-961-1339, or learn more about our Bay Area floor finishing, installation and cleaning business at www.elegant-floors.com

NWFA: What It Means to Be an NWFA Member

NWFA: National Wood Flooring Association

For over 25 years, the National Wood Flooring Association, NWFA, has advanced and promoted wood flooring industry businesses. The NWFA provides members with crucial information,education, and resources.  It currently boasts over 3,500 members all over the world. NWFAmembers share skills and knowledge and exchange ideas. They also must abide by stringent standards of conduct. Members must subscribe “without reservation” to standards such as:

  • “To deal with my customers with honesty and integrity.”
  • “To promote the merits of my products and services without degrading competitors.”
  • “To reveal all the material facts so that the truth about my products and services may be understood fully.”
  • “To abide by all governmental regulations and statutes.”
  • “To, in the performance to my profession, commit no act to discredit my profession or the wood flooring industry.”

Violations of these and the other standards of professional conduct will result in expulsion fromthe NWFA. The trade association strives hard to ensure that consumers can trust its members.  And this is important in today’s day and age. This standardization and “pre-vetting” relieves consumers of the burden of trying to do due-diligence on a subject they might know little about.

The experts at San Francisco Bay AreaElegant Floors, are proud members of NFWA. Elegant Floors is also a member in good standing of theBetter Business Bureau, the Wood Floor Covering Association (WFCA), the Contractor State License Board (CSLB), and The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). Elegant Floors is a Diamond Certified company; we can help solve your hardwood floor finishing, installation, and cleaning needs. We provide free inspections and estimates, and we are happy to answer your questions. Connect withus online at www.elegant-floors.com, or call to make an appointment: 650-961-1339.

 

Solid Flooring vs. Laminate Flooring vs. Engineered Wood Floors

A Closer Look at Three Big Choices:

Homeowners want to choose the right hardwood flooring for their needs, budget, and aesthetic
preferences. This article breaks down three flooring categories and gives you a resource to make
sure that the remodeling process is simple and easy for you.

1. Solid wood floors

Solid wood floors come in a dazzling variety of wood species. They can be prefinished or
unfinished. The wood must be nailed to something called a subfloor – essentially a floor under
the floor. These floors can only be used at or above ground level.

Prefinished flooring is essentially ready to install as is.  But unfinished flooring has to
be “finished” up onsite – sanded, stained, etc.  A potentially big mess! (If not going with a professional) On the other hand, you
can save money  if you opt for the unfinished option. You can find
solid hardwood floors in a vast array of colors, sizes and grades.

2. Engineered hardwood floors

This option is hardwood glued onto a base of plywood. Engineered hardwood floors work for
both above ground or at-ground, but they’re particularly great for basements and for homes that
encounter variable humidity and radiant heating.

Essentially, this kind of flooring is more stable, since it’s glued down to a concrete slab or
subfloor instead of just nailed down.  An alternative scheme involves “floating” the floors
on top of a subfloor or a concrete slab. This means that you underlay a barrier beneath the
flooring.  Some people prefer solid hardwood flooring, for aesthetic reasons; although top quality
engineered hardwood floors are in many ways indistinguishable, and they can be cheaper.

3. Laminate flooring

Laminate flooring is a simulated real wood floor that contains planks that have been laminated to
resemble wood.  Plastic polymer coats the wood to protect it.  If you’re looking for an alternative
to real hardwood that’s durable and simple to install, this might be a good option.  It’s also more
economical, as you are not using real wood.

Thinking through your various hardwood floor options? Whether you’re dealing with a large
scale remodeling project, or you’re simply redoing one room in your Bay Area condominium,
the professionals at the Diamond Certified company, Elegant Floors, (located in Mountain View,
CA) can provide a free and friendly consultation.

We are members of the Better Business Bureau and the National Association of the Remodeling
Industry (NARI) as well as the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA). Connect with us at
650-961-1339 or www.elegant-floors.com.

What are Floating Floors? A Look at the Pros and Cons

Considering Floating Floors?  Or simply would like to know more about them?

Whether you’re considering renovating your rec room; or you’re exploring a bigger remodeling job that may involve redoing the kitchen, bathroom, and most of the rest of the house, you might want to consider the “floating floor” option. Essentially, floating floors are engineered hardwood floors that are easier to install than traditional hardwood floors. These floors are popular with do-it-yourselfers.  Here’s a quick look at some of the pros and cons. (more…)