Hardwood FlooringNEWS-BLOG

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…)

Rx for Wood Floors | The No Sanding Dust-Free Sanding Refinishing Process

Rx for Wood Floors: Just What the Doctor Ordered

You love your hardwood floors dearly. But you’re confused about how to keep them looking beautiful and rejuvenated.  Many home restoration professionals and floor cleaners use a violent sanding process to refinish floors. But sanding has distinct disadvantages:

  1. The color of your floors can be changed by the sanding process.
  2. Sanding produces dust clouds, fine dust and particulate matter, which can linger in your home or apartment for days afterwards.
  3. Sanding creates a mess and can be significantly costly.

An alternative to the traditional sanding approach

RX for Wood Floors is an award winning, revolutionary product that can rejuvenate your hardwood floors through a patented urethane process. Here are a few benefits of the process:

  • No sanding needed!
  • Floors refinished with zero mess or odor.
  • Costs half as much as traditional sand finishing.

Whether your floors have been scuffed, scratched, gouged, or dulled down by years of use, the RX for Wood Floors process can vanquish contaminants, restore the surface and finish, and save you time and money.  Here is a breakdown of the three steps involved. (The professionals at Elegant Floors can perform this refinishing process for you in just one day).

1. “Virtual sanding”

During the first stage, technicians remove the old finish to prep the new top coat using a specialformula that sands the floor without actually “sanding it.”

2. Repairs and touch-up

Before refinishing the floors, technicians will identify and repair damage to the floors, such as scuff marks, scratches (from pets or furniture legs), gouges (often found in heavy traffic areas), and other unsightly marks.

3. Apply the finish

A specialized catalyzed wood finishing process leaves your floors looking attractive, beautiful, and clear – for years to come.

If you’re interested in learning more about the RX for Wood Floors process, connect with the professionals at Elegant Floors for a free estimate. We are a family-owned business; we’ve served the Bay Area Peninsula for years.  Contact our Mountain View, CA offices for more information at 650-961-1339, or explore resources and videos at www.elegant-floors.com.


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Maintenance And Care Tips For Your Hardwood Floors

Regular Care Tips for Your Hardwood Floors

You chose a home or apartment with hardwood floors or have installed or refinished your hardwood floors not just for aesthetic reasons but also for reasons that have to do with cleanliness and “ease of care.” How can you keep your hardwood floors looking their best – without exerting more energy than you absolutely must?

Consider these crucial tips:


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