Information Center on Flooring

   

 Hardwood      |   Carpet       |     Tile & Grout

 


 

                

Your are interested in hardwood floors, but still have few questions that needs to be answered before you make a major investment.

  • The dimensions of your room.
  • What type type of furniture will rest on the wooden floors.
  • Who will you entrust to install your floors.
  • Much more....

 

                        

Knowing all the different types of hardwood floors offered on the market is not everything you need in order to carry out your project. When buying a hardwood floor, it is also important to know your priorities in order to choose the type of flooring that suits you. Now you have to personalize your purchase by considering certain criteria.

What type of residence do you have? You would invest more in a main residence rather than in a secondary one.

Caution! A condominium flooring requires special installation in order to have adequate soundproofing.

How old is your residence? For the most part, the age of your residence and it's decor will determine your choice of wood species, grade, color and it's finish.

Which rooms and their size? Make a sketch of all the rooms which you would like to cover with a hardwood floor. Make note of their size and of the stairs, closets and all obstacles which would require cuts of wood.

Caution! Check the type of sub-folder and the direction of the joists. Also, will you need some accessories like nosing, reducers or wood vents etc...

What kind of furniture and decor is there in the room? Is there already a hardwood species in the room? Is there a lot of furniture or only a few pieces? What shade? Will it be moved around frequently?

How many people live in the residence? The more people there are, the more coming and going there is. A finish which gives more durability should be considered.

Caution! If there are any young children or domestic animals, the use of a low luster finish, such as Satin, can diminish the appearance of wear and marks on the surface of the strips.

Who will you entrust to install your flooring? The installation of a quality pre-finished hardwood floor is relatively simple for a good handy person. You can also entrust the specialists, to install your flooring, who will guarantee their work. The good retailers can guide you in this regard.

Caution! Make sure the specialized retailer provides you with all the necessary information and tools. Ask for the installation guide and video from the manufacturer.

Your hardwood floor can last years and years if it is well chosen, installed and maintained properly!

Deal with a specialized retailer

It is essential that you buy your prefinished hardwood floor from a retailer who is more than a floor salesperson, but a counselor who is able to help you carry out your project according to your priorities and budget.

Take advantage of the showroom: Go beyond publicity. Do they have a clean showroom and a wide product variety? Do they show you some big samples, representative of the product (species, grade, color etc...)? Don't be shy about asking your retailer to compare, open boxes of strips and to demonstrate an installation. Touch the wood to check the uniformity of the strips, their manufacturing and finishing quality. Many prefinished hardwood floors look alike in appearance, but in performance, few can compare.

Find out about services:

- Does the retailer have a large inventory of product and accessories available?

- How will delivery be done? How long of a delay?

- Do they offer an installation service? Do they have the accessories, the installation tools, guides and videos on hand? Do they know how to give practical advise to the do-it-yourself?

- Do they offer maintenance products and the maintenance guide from the manufacturer?

- Do they offer repair services due to damage, or refinishing of the floor or in case of use or aging?

- Do they inform you on their warranty program and the one from the manufacturer?

Find out about the retailer's experience: Inquire about the retailers' reputation. How many years have they been in business? Are they authorized dealers of the selected brand? Did they ever serve someone you know, who can recommend them? Ask for some referrals on their installation works. Ask to see pictures or videos of what have been installed. Will they be able to understand the sketch of your project? Is the estimate detailed and precise? Can they explain the technicalities of installing a prefinished hardwood floor properly?

Beware of low price specialists. The happiness of a low price is quickly forgotten with the discovery of bad quality or no after-sale service.

The buyers' guide Hard facts on hardwood floors gives you all the necessary information so that you can judiciously purchase your prefinished hardwood floor. When buying, always remember these 3 main principles:

- a well prepared project will avoid unwanted and costly surprises;

- by choosing a competent specialized retailer you will get practical advice to succeed on carrying out your project;

- buying a quality product will give you less worries and bring you many years of enjoyment.

By using these principles, your priorities will be met and you will make a long term investment in a product which will offer you the best price/quality ratio. Remember that you will probably buy a prefinished hardwood floor only once in your life.

So, make the right choice!

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Your are interested in new carpets, but still have few questions that needs to be answered.

  • The dimensions of your room.
  • What type type of Fiber is ideal for your home.
  • The pro's and con's of carpet fibers.
  • Much more....

 

  

A. Nylon - a synthetic fiber that accounts for about 65% of all carpets sold in the U.S..
                  Pros - Excellent strength, high abrasion resistance, good resiliency, nylon can be crushed for long periods and
                             still regain its original shape, nylon responds to professional cleaning methods well.
                 Cons - Good dye acceptance; easy staining, nylon is rarely solution dyed, problems with bleaching, fading, and
                              urine reactions.
 
B. Polyester - another man-made fiber, great fiber for clothing, but has limitations when it is used for carpets.
                  Pros - Solution dyed, good resistant to bleaching, fading, soil dye reaction, byproduct of plastic bottle recycling,
                             low absorbency - dries quickly.
                 Cons - Loves oily stains, if not properly cleaned the oil spills can oxidize and even chemically bond with fibers.
                             Loss of crimp, which means after six months of luxurious appearance it could become an owner's nightmare
                             due to loss of twist or crimp.
 
C. Olefin - a very versatile carpet fiber. It is used in carpet backing and even astro-turf.
                 Pros - Inexpensive. Very moisture resistant, absorbs only 1/10th of 1% its weight in water, resistant to harsh chemicals.
                Cons - Like polyester it loves oil and reacts the same way, very heat sensitive, dragging furniture can leave a nasty
                            burn mark. Once fibers are crushed it is impossible to bounce back.
 
D. Wool - Comes from the fleece of sheep or lamb. This is one of the oldest fibers used by man, dating back over two
                  thousand years.
                  Pros - Excellent soil hiding capabilities. Wool is very strong, elastic and resilient. Natural crimp makes wool an
                             excellent insulator and adds to its superior resiliency. Wool is naturally flame retardant.
                 Cons - Wool is a very expensive material. Fiber distortion, make sure the cleaning technician knows what he is 
                             doing.  You can cause streaks on the carpet by high pressure. Stains easily, a spilt glass of wine, or kool-aid
                             can leave a nasty stain.

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Your are interested in new Tiles, but still have few questions that needs to be answered.

  • The Material composition of tile.
  • What type type of Tile is ideal for your home.
  • The deferent type of grout and composition.
  •  Much more....

 

 

 

TILE IDENTIFICATION                 
 
Knowing the type of tile or stone you are working on can be very important, especially when doing restorative cleaning.
 
CERAMIC TILE
Ceramic is a broad category that can include all tile that is made from clay and other non-metallic minerals. In general use, ceramic tile is used to describe tiles that don't fall into one of the other groups. Most ceramic tile goes through a process called "firing" at high temperatures. A key advantage of ceramic flooring is its durability. Ceramic is resistant to alkaline, acids and solvents used in cleaning. Ceramic's abrasion resistance keeps it from being scratched by gritty soil under foot if the grade of tile matches the situation in which it is used. Ceramic flooring is available in a wide variety of styles, colors and patterns.
 
PORCELAIN
 
Porcelain is a high density ceramic tile made from clays fired at high temperatures making it highly resistant to abrasion. One qualification to be called porcelain is that the tile must absorb less then .5% of its weight in water.
 
QUARRY TILE
 
Quarry tile is fired at 2000F or higher. The common dark red color comes from the minerals in the clay body. Other colors can be produced by selection of clay or adding pigments. Normally there is no glazing or pattern added. Brick pavers are another type of clay tile similar to quarry tile. They have a rougher texture and often are cut to size so that the floor looks as if it was paved with bricks.
 
SALTILLO
 
True Saltillo tile is produced from clay that is found only in Saltillo, Mexico. Similar tile that is produced elsewhere will be called "Mexican" or "Saltillo style" tile. This tile is made with a low degree of automation. As a consequence, the tiles may not be exactly square or flat. There will be variation in color. Some tiles may exhibit chipped or uneven edges, craters on the surface or even animal footprints.
 
 
STONE IDENTIFICATION              
 
Sedimentary stone is formed of small bits of weathered stone, marine organisms or minerals dissolved in water that form layers and under pressure become sedimentary stone.
 
Metamorphic stone has been changed from one form into another. The change comes from increased heat and pressure as well as the introduction of new minerals into the mixture. The color may change. The texture may change. Under sufficient pressure the mineral can take on a crystal structure. Diamond is carbon that has taken on a crystalline structure. The presence of other minerals is responsible for variations in color.   
 
Formed by molten material deep in the earth known as magma Igneous Stones are classified in one of two groupings.
 
Extrusive Rock starts as magma that exits from the surface of the earth, comes in contact with cool ground and much cooler air. The stone hardens quickly leaving little time for crystals to form. Extrusive igneous rock exhibits small crystals.
 
Intrusive Rock is formed when the magma is trapped below the surface of the ground. it cools more slowly and forms larger crystals. Most igneous stone used as flooring material is the intrusive variety.
 
FLAGSTONE is a general term that can include several types of stone, usually sedimentary varieties. Flagstone has irregular shapes.
 
SANDSTONE is a sedimentary rock formed by particles of weathered rock and sand
 
LIMESTONE is a sedimentary rock containing calcium carbonate. It is commonly finished to a smooth but dull surface by honing.
 
TRAVERTINE is similar to limestone in that it is sedimentary and largely calcium. However, travertine contains voids in the surface that may be filled by plastic resins or grout. Over time such fillers may come out allowing the voids to be filled with soil.
 
MARBLE is metamorphic stone that contains calcium carbonate. It can often be identified by veins of color running through the stone. Marble will take a high polish resulting in highly reflective shine. Marble may also be finished by honing to a flat dull shine or tumbling to a soft finish with worn and rounded edges.
 
SERPENTINE is sometimes classed as marble because of the high shine it can take on. However, it is actually an igneous stone and does not contain calcium. Serpentine often has a green or bluish green coloration predominating.
 
SLATE is a colorful metamorphic stone showing a fine grained structure containing tiny crystals. It is composed of shales and clays rather than calcium carbonate. Slate has a sheet-like or layered appearance known as foliated.
 
GRANITE is an igneous stone and the hardest commonly used stone for flooring and is also popular for countertops. A wide variety of colors and patterns is possible. Some patterns have prominent veins of colors while other varieties show little or no veining. Differences in porosity and thus ease of staining also exist.
 
 
TYPES OF GROUT         
 
The most common grout used for man-made tiles is SANDED GROUT. This is a blend of Portland cement and sand. The presence of the sand helps identify this type of grout. The width of the grout line also aids in identifying the type of grout. Normally sanded grout is used when grout lines are 3/16" or wider.
 
UNSANDED GROUT is commonly used with natural stone flooring. There are two reasons for this. First as grout wears, particles of sand could scratch and abrade stone surfaces. Second, the unsanded grout is better suited to filling narrow grout lines found in stone installations.
 
EPOXY GROUT, although not common, resists staining and soil. It can be identified by a plastic like appearance that is frequently rounded on top. NOTE: Cementitious grout with epoxy added is not the same as epoxy grout.
 
Grouts may contain additives to provide color, make cleaning easier or extend the life of the grout. Your initial inspection of a job should include examining the grout. Cracks may be present due to movement of the substrate, installation and mixing issues or rarely the quality of the grout itself. Sections of grout that have broken loose due to these cracks can be blasted out by high pressure cleaning and vacuum. Clients should be advised of this possibility.  
 
 
  

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