How-to

tips on how to choose the prfect stain for your hardwood floor
About Floors, Floor Care, How-to, Tips & Tricks

How to choose the right stain for your hardwood floor

Hardwood floors are a beautiful addition to any home. Their timeless and natural look has the power to brighten even the dullest of places. From white oak to Brazilian walnut hardwood floors offer a decent flooring choice for every taste and wallet. However, the species of hardwood isn’t the only thing to determine the appearance of the floor, the stain is just as important.

Not all floors stain the same way

Different wood species come with different natural characteristics. This doesn’t only determine their performance in a certain environment but also dictates how they absorb stain so that using the same stain on two different kinds of hardwood can lead to absolutely non-comparable results. The reason behind this is their contrasting hardness. Some harder woods are denser while others are more porous and soft. This makes it easier for the staining liquid to get into the pores.

To avoid any color inconsistency it’s important to test your stain prior to application. This will give you the advantage of knowing exactly what the stain of your choice will look like on your species of wood. At GC Flooring Pros we test sample spots for our customers to find the perfect match. We only use high-quality wood stains. Some of the colors you may choose from are listed on the DuraSeal website.


Doing a stain sample will help you get the stain color for your specific hardwood species just right without having to play the guessing game.

Stain makes the room

A room is like an organism, it’s an amalgamation of different goods with different purposes that function as one. Ideally, nothing’s out of place and every detail is carefully thought through.
The floor being one of the largest surfaces in a room can greatly affect the dynamics of the space. Wrong stain tone can not only clash with your décor but affect the quality of the time you spend in the room. But the right stain can tie the place together and make your stay more enjoyable. So before making a decision, consider how it will compliment everything else in the room including the wallpaper, furnishings as well as general style and accent colors.

The most popular colors these days are Ebony, Antique Brown, Provincial, Dark Walnut, Medium Brown, Weathered oak and some combinations. If you’re going for a lighter color we suggest using white oak rather than red oak.
To give your hardwood floor an even richer look we use polyurethane varnish.
Keep in mind that the type of polyurethane can affect the color of the stain after application so there is even more reason to do a stain test first. As a general rule, oil based polyurethane tends to darken the wood a bit but it’s slightly better at resisting scratches, moisture and heat when compared with the water-based alternative. Then again, applying a water-based poly won’t lead to any changes in tone and will preserve the wood’s natural tone. You also have to choose a matte, satin, semi-gloss, or gloss polyurethane. Matte and satin are becoming more trendy, we are seeing that wood floor conglomerates do not want as much sheen these days.

Even though choosing the right stain colors can be difficult, there is not much to worry about. With solid or even thicker engineered hardwood floors you can easily refinish them to give the flooring desired tone.
Meanwhile here are some tips to help you find the perfect stain color for your hardwood floors:

Light stain

A lighter stain can help make a dark room appear brighter and more spacious than it really is. If you have dark furniture, installing lighter hardwood with somewhat matching stain will create a beautiful contrast and help your decor stand out. By choosing a lighter stain, you won’t have to clean nearly as often as in the case with dark stained floors since dust is less visible on a lighter surface. However, light stains aren’t as good at hiding hardwood’s natural imperfections as its darker alternatives.
The contrast they create with darker

Medium stain

If you aren’t one for dramatic changes this is the stain for you.
While medium stain won’t really affect the overall colour scheme of the room, it will most certainly compliment many other wooden details in your decor and still help tie the room together. A medium stain is also a reasonable option if you haven’t decided on the look of the space yet and would like to keep as many options for wall & furniture colors open as possible.

Dark stain

Dark stained floors are elegant and will help ground your bright room nicely. The balance between darker bottom and lighter top parts of the room will make the space more inviting and help the accent colors in your interior stand out more. A darker stain is superior for hiding hardwood’s natural flaws but it falls short when dealing with inflicted imperfections like scratches. Pet hair and dust aren’t easy to hide either. In a word, if you have a dog or a small child or expect above average wear because of any other reason it’d be a safer bet to go with lighter stain.

Vinyl tile installation: How it's done
About Floors, How-to

Vinyl tile installation: A comprehensive guide

Vinyl tile is the perfect flooring option for those of us who prefer to do things on their own.
Even though it’s floor installation we are talking here, the simplicity of it all twined with the ready-to-use adhesive backing of vinyl makes it seem more like a game of Tetris or Lego, something DIY buffs can definitely get behind. In addition to upgrading your home, these tiles guarantee that you will have a lot of fun doing it.
Vinyl tile floor has all the same qualities sheet vinyl is praised for. It’s water and dirt resistant, doesn’t stain and offers a pleasantly soft support for your feet.
If vinyl tile is a floor you want in your home, here’s a comprehensive guide to help you get it there.

Do the calculating

First thing on the list is to determine how much vinyl you’ll be needing. To do so, you’ll have to measure your floor. Don’t worry if the room has a complex shape, you can always measure individual areas and add them up.

Once the measuring is over there are two ways to find out how much vinyl you’ll need to cover the entire surface. Either divide the area of your floor by the area of a single vinyl tile to get the needed number of tiles or by the square footage contained in a carton for the number of cartons. Since it’s highly unlikely you’ll be buying the tiles one by one, the second method is more effective and time-saving.

Before you place your order, don’t forget to get some extra. Slip-ups do happen, you might cut some of the tiles too small to fit the borders or lay them down at a wrong angle. It’s always preferable to have some extra vinyl at hand. 10-15% of your estimated amount is usually enough to cover all possible accidents.

Figure out the layout

For a better visual appearance floor tiles are usually centered at a doorway.
When making a layout you want to cover as to fit them in the areas where the tiles meet the walls but try to maximize their size and minimize the number. The goal is to end up with at least half a tile width at those edges. Try to place badly sized tiles as far out of the sight as possible, the trick is to hide them under trims or furniture later. To avoid any surprises and miscalculation on the way, draw a scale plan of your floor on a piece of paper and a scaled grid on tracing paper to correspond the tiles. This way you can place the grid on the plan and move it around to choose the best layout for your room. While you are at it, you might also want to experiment with different patterns by using coloured pencils to color into the boxes.

Arm yourself

It’s always smarter to have all the tools you may require at hand. Vinyl installation is a pretty simple process so chances you already own all the needed tools. To be sure, here’s a list:

  • Carpenter’s square
  • Tape measure
  • Utility knife
  • Safety glasses
  • Respirator
  • Chalk line
  • vinyl roller
  • trowel

Prepare your floor

Before you go ahead with actually laying down your vinyl tiles there are certain things to take into account.
Vinyl expands and contracts depending on the environment it’s in. Before you install it, let the open boxes sit in the room for at least 48 hours for the tiles to get acclimated. Also, make sure you follow any product-specific instructions your vinyl manufacturer might have provided.

Clear your floor from all the trim on the edges. If you plan to reinstall them later, make sure to be extra careful with removing nails so there is as little splitting as possible. The safest bet is to pull the nails out through the trim from the back side.

The surface you are lying down the vinyl tiles on should be as flat and smooth as possible. Any unevenness or bumps will cause it to develop blemishes over time. Clean your floor properly, get rid of any debris, grease or wax beforehand.

Subfloor

Vinyl tiles can be installed on pretty much any floor but there are some differences in the process you should be aware of in advance.

Installing vinyl tiles on concrete or ceramic tile

To install vinyl tiles on concrete or ceramic tiles, the surface should be clean, flat and dry. If there are any cracks or imperfections they should be fixed using a sealer.
High spots can be flattened out using a coarse-grit abrasive on a belt or disc sander.
Cold chisel and a baby hammer can be used to remove any minor bumps from the surface.

Installing vinyl on vinyl subfloor

It is possible to install vinyl tiles over an old vinyl flooring as long as the old floor isn’t in too bad of a shape. Any minor imperfections like small dents and dings can be fixed by applying a coat of embossing leveler. This will smooth the surface and prevent the new vinyl from following the shape of the floor underneath.
However, if there is more damage to your old vinyl floor than just some rough patches you should get rid of it altogether.

Installing vinyl on damaged floor

f the floor is far too damaged for any embossing leveler or sealer to do the trick and getting rid of it is too difficult or expensive you can cover it with a layer of plywood.
Needless to say that the plywood itself should be smooth and cleared of any imperfections before the vinyl tile is laid down.

Underlayment

Underlayment can also be used for extra thickness or better grip. Plywood surface as well as glass, hardboard, lacquer, painted enamel, steel, aluminium, and many kinds of plastic offer the best adhesion. When laying down the underlayment make sure to leave a 32-inch gap between the panels and a 1/8-inch gap along the walls to allow the sheets to expand. It can be stapled onto the old floor with 7/8-in. narrow crown staples. For the best stability place staples 4 inches apart in the center of the sheet and 2 inches apart along the seams. Try to use as many full sheets as possible and trim the edges only when necessary.

Fit the doors openings

To ensure smooth functionality of your doors you’ll need to trim down the door opening so the tiles will fit underneath. To do so place a tile upside down in front of the door frame to serve as a height guide. You can use a saw or utility knife and sharp chisel for cuts that are tight.

Divide your floor

Next step is to transfer your desired layout from paper to the underlayment. Chalk lines are the easiest way to do so. The rule is to starts laying down tiles from the centre. To find the center of the room you’ll have to find the centers of both sets of opposite walls. Use these points to snap a chalk line across the floor in both directions. You’ll end up with two lines crossing in the centre creating four rectangles. Use a carpenter’s square to make sure the lines square.
Trial-fit a row of tiles down both lines following the width and length of the room without removing the peel and exposing the adhesive backing. It will give you a sense of what you are aiming for and show if there are any changes that should be made to your original layout. Use a pencil to darken the lines before you sweep the surface one last time.

Install the tiles

Finally, it is so far. Full tiles are installed first. Start at the intersection, peel off the protective backing and lay down the vinyl tiles along the layout lines. Continue to work in a stair-step fashion to keep the tiles aligned. Use a floor roller every couple of rows to apply pressure and attach them securely to the underlayment.
Once you have covered the area with as many full tiles as you can you’ll need to cut vinyl to fit the borders. Use a heat gun for about a minute to warm the tile and make it flexible, then cut it with a utility knife. Then cut the tile using a utility knife.
Vinyl tiles that require to simply be trimmed to length, can be cut easily using his method
You can cut vinyl tiles that simply need to be trimmed along the length by placing the tile atop the last full tile close to the wall, then situate another one to overlap the loose tile. Use a knife to cut the overlapping section off the top tile. Use the trimmed section to cut tiles for the same row. Irregularly shaped tiles can be easily trimmed using a cardboard template.

Let it sit

Once the entire floor is covered, do a couple more rounds with a vinyl floor roller and then let it sit undisturbed for the recommended period of time. This means no walking for at least a few hours, no moving furniture for 2 days and certainly no cleaning at least for a week. This way the adhesive will have time to settle and develop a stronger bond.

Advice on choosing the right floor for your child's bedroom
How-to, Interior Design

Choosing the right floor for your child’s bedroom

We all want only the best things for our children. Remodelling a room for your kid is a lot of work, especially if you want to get every detail just right for your little one, from choosing the perfect color for the walls to carefully selecting the toys to decorate the space. However, floor is often neglected and chosen without much consideration – a misstep both parents and children could end up paying for.

Choosing the right floor for your kid’s bedroom will not only benefit your child’s development throughout the years but also leave you with more free time and give you peace of mind when leaving your child alone in the room. Striking a balance between your child’s needs and the floor’s maintenance requirements is easily doable as long as you know what elements to take into consideration and where to compromise.


Before even approaching the topic of appearance, here are the main demands to be met by any floor that’s to be installed in a child’s bedroom:

 

Easy Maintenance

You kids may be the one making a mess of their room but it will definitely be you who has to clean it all up (at least for the first couple of years). Food crumbs and occasional paint on the floor is a common occurrence in a household with a child. Choosing a floor that is easy to clean is the best thing you can do for your future self. But refrain yourself from going straight for the most expensive kind. Children are a force of nature. As charming as it might seems to get the very best quality product for your child, it might be smarter to go for something cheaper, so if it’s ruined for once and all you wouldn’t have wasted all that money. Besides, you can always replace it with something fancier when they are older.

 

High Comfort Level

Comfort is a topic with split opinions. Parents care about a lot when children couldn’t care about it any less. Even if kids are ready to roll naked and run barefoot on a cold tile flooring, it doesn’t mean you should let them. And admit it, playing with your kids on the hard floor would be a lot less nice than a warm cushioned surface.

 

Adequate Safety

For children, the whole world is a playground. They learn by doing and they do it all: crawling, walking, running. They also fall a lot. This is why having a soft surface to break a fall is a recommended feature to have in a kid’s bedroom. The perfect floor would be strong enough to endure scratches from scattered toys and spills of drinks while at the same time being cushioned enough to make tumbles less painful. If you don’t want to risk your child being affected by an allergy, choose flooring with anti-bacterial properties.

 

Multi-Functionality

Being a parent is a lot like being a superhero. You have to plan ahead a lot and come up with solutions for problems that don’t even exist yet. Too bad you can’t time travel. But fortunately, you can consider flooring options that are durable and can endure different age groups.

 

Once you have an idea what the requirements are, you can move to selecting the floor itself.

Here’s an overview of different flooring materials that fit the bill.

 

Hardwood floors

Wood is a natural material. Harvested straight from the forest and having undergone only the very minimal amount of treatment before ending up as flooring boards makes it a highly unlike culprit for any kind of allergies.
Both, solid and engineered wood floors have a hard surface and aren’t as bouncy as other flooring materials. Fortunately, it’s not something that can’t be fixed with a carpet.
Using designated area rugs is also a great solution for common spills. Because of their smaller size, it’s easier to wash or completely replace them. The hardwood floor, however, will keep its reach look well into your toddler’s teenage years.

Highlight: A natural durable material that can be well combined with other flooring options

 

Laminate

If you want your kid’s room to have the rich look of a wood floor but a softer touch laminate is a great choice. High-quality laminate floors can realistically mimic any wood texture while it’s foam underlayment ensures a certain softness or bounce that other hard floors don’t have.

Extra protective surface makes your laminate flooring 10 times more resistant to scratches and up to 100% water resistant. The look isn’t the only thing laminate flooring shares with hardwood floors – it’s also pleasantly warm to touch.

Highlight: Looks like real hardwood floor but feels softer.

 

Vinyl

Vinyl has it all. It’s often referred to as resilient flooring and rightfully so. The main material being rubber it’s  softer and makes walking on them more comfortable (and quieter!). Most luxury vinyl floors are 100% waterproof and very resistant to scratches and stains.

Needing no more care than tile floor, they deliver a much more pleasant flooring experience. There is a great variety of patterns and textures available, some of them as good as indistinguishable from the natural materials they mimic.

Some vinyl floors even offer a special coating that hinders the growth of bacteria and fungi by 99.9% making the maintenance process even easier and guaranteeing a healthier and fresher environment for your little one.

Highlight: Top resilient flooring with a natural look and antibacterial coating.

how to choose best floors for your basement
House Renovation, How-to

How to choose the right floor for your basement

Choosing floors is hard. Choosing some floors is harder than choosing others.
Basement floors are famous for being the problematic of the lot. Being well below the ground moisture poses a real problem/danger for them, as do concrete slabs that make it hard for wood floors to be set up properly. In the past, all of the above had a hefty influence and used to narrow down the basement flooring choices to mostly manmade synthetic materials. However, thanks to modern inventions and technological progress today it’s possible to install pretty much every kind of floor in your basement. So how do you pick one? No worries, we’ve got you covered.

Before moving on to the actual to the actual floor selection process, it’s important to determine the purpose of your basement. A simple storage room has a very different aesthetical need than a basement cinema. Deciding early on the function of your basement will make it easier to narrow down and will save you some money.

 

Concrete

Use it, it’s already there! There is a very high chance that the subfloor in your basement is made out of concrete. Concrete, once considered ugly and cold, has been gaining popularity as a mean of decor. The plain concrete surfaces in the room make the more warm materials present in the house stand out beautifully. So instead of paying extra for a new floor, consider turning your concrete subfloor into one. A good cleaning and maybe grinding down some rough spots will do it. If you are looking for a better look, try acid staining. Unlike paint, acid-staining is permanent and just looks better. For an even more sophisticated look, you can have a concrete slab polished and sealed.

 

Vinyl

Vinyl is probably the fittest material to be installed in a basement. It’s water resistant and even though it’s synthetic, it can realistically mimic most natural flooring materials including wood and tile. Most vinyl floors are designed to go right over concrete, they come either in sheets or in tiles for easier installation. Vinyl floors can be laid out in one of the two ways, glued down or “floated”. Floating is a flooring installation method used in especially humid environments.

When using the floating method there is enough space for a moisture barrier to be installed over the concrete slab of the basement for a better protection against any moisture. However, vinyl isn’t the only “floating floor”. The same approach can be used with most engineered floors.

 

Tile

Tile has been the go to floor for kitchen and bathroom forever, so it’s water resistant abilities are no secret. It can endure floods and all kinds of abuse, does not require a subfloor and is easier to clean. You can choose from numerous designs, patterns and makes (glazed for a more budget oriented basement transformation and porcelain for a richer look).
The only setback? It will most likely add to the lack of heat that is common to a basement. So you might want to consider some heating options  if you are planning to spend a lot of time in your basement.

 

Engineered Wood

We know what you are thinking, wood and humidity don’t seem like the best of combinations.
But it’s not just wood we are talking about, it’s engineered wood. Engineered wood is a stronger and bolder take on the traditional solid hardwood floors that is just as beautiful as the original. Thanks to its cross-ply structure an engineered hardwood board is 80% less likely to get affected by moisture, meaning that the chance of warping is an all time low among wooden floors.

Typically, hardwood isn’t seen as a suitable flooring option not only because of its bad water resistance but also because of installation related difficulties. However, this is only true for solid hardwood floors that require a wooden subfloor to be stapled down onto. The backing layer of engineered hardwood board can be glued straight to your concrete subfloor without much difficulty.

 

Laminate

Laminate is probably the material most people wouldn’t even consider when they are thinking about remodelling their basement. And they would be right. Regular laminate flooring wouldn’t have a long life 8 feet under the ground. But we aren’t talking regular laminate, we are talking waterproof laminate. The trick is to fully eradicate any moisture related dangers before the laminate flooring is installed. This is achieved by the same ‘floating’ method we have discussed earlier and involves a waterproof barrier between the concrete subfloor and the laminate floor. For really humid basements we would still advise using melamine infused laminate flooring.

Melamine is a moisture-resistant chemical that is mixed into the high-density fiberboard, making the laminate extra waterproof. If you want to go for a warmer feeling floor that is better at keeping out moisture than a carpet and less pricey than engineered hardwood, this and vinyl are your two best options.

 

Whatever floor you decide for for your basement, please keep in mind that right maintenance is half of the deal. Keep your basement as dry as possible and regularly inspect the premises of your house to avoid any accidental leakages.  

How-to, Tips & Tricks

How to bring your old carpet flooring back to life

Carpet flooring is loved by kids and adults equally. It’s soft and comfortable and in addition to its flooring purposes, it gives you extra space where you can relax. Often it’s the one element of the interior that thighs the room together and makes space feel cozy.

But like any other flooring, it has to endure heavy everyday use including dirt, spills and even pet claws in some cases. All these can make your favourite carpet floor to lose its softness and become unattractive. Fortunately, there is a way to breathe new life into your worn out carpet. Here is how.

 

Trimming

Moving heavy furniture, velcros on your clothing or a curious four legged friend can lead to some threads becoming loose in your carpet making it look shabby. Unlike the popular belief, pulling the dislocated threads all the way won’t solve this problem, quite on the contrary it will only create a carpet run. To effectively get rid of snagging you will need to take a more direct approach … with a pair of sharp scissors. The simple solution to bringing your snagging carpet flooring back to life is to simply trim it.

 

Grooming

You’ll be amazed what a little grooming can do to your trampled carpet flooring.

Carpet rake – basically a rake with small plastic or metal teeth –  is a simple enough tool for everyone to use to make the flattened carpet in high frequented areas look like it was installed just yesterday. Just rake by applying slight pressure in the opposite direction of the pile and watch the magic happen. The results are usually quite impressive: a fluffier feel and fresher look.

 

Fluffing
A little fluffing goes a long way. Over the time, carpet fibres start to sag making your carpet flooring look unattractive and old. Not to worry though, just a sprinkling of warm water will improve your carpet’s beaten look. Spritz a little warm water onto the flattened area. Gently blow dry it while using your fingers or a hairpin to lightly comb the carpet fibres back into place. Don’t walk on the carpet before it’s fully dry.

 

Cleaning

Knowing how to clean your carpet right can save it years in the looks. The safest bet is to use the cleaning products your carpet manufacturer recommends. When dealing with stubborn spots and stains, don’t scrub the stain. For more effective removal lot from the outside of the stain toward the middle. Always use milder cleaners first and test it first on a part of the carpet that’s out of sight. You might think nothing can worsen your carpet’s look in the current state, but a bleached out spot is just as bad as any stain.

Alternatively, you can use baking soda powder to revive your carpet flooring. In addition to having great cleaning properties, baking soda will kill bacteria that nests deep in your carpet and get rid of any odours your soft floor might have. Completely cover your carpet with baking soda powder and use a brush to spread it in all directions. For the best result let it rest overnight. Simply vacuum the powder up the next morning.
Extra stubborn stains can be removed using shaving foam. Shaving foam is famous for being able to handle an array of stains, from grease to lipstick. Apply the shaving cream on the stained area. After 30 minutes wipe it up with a dry cloth. Enjoy your stainless carpet