Tag: engineered hardwood

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.

is it worth the money to install hardwood flooring
About Floors

Is installing hardwood flooring worth the money?

Hardwood is one of the most popular natural materials available for flooring purposes. Solid and engineered hardwood floors both can successfully transform any space into a more warm and welcoming environment. Praised for its beauty and richness it also possessed impressive durability capabilities.
Despite being more expensive than most alternative flooring options, hardwood’s ability to be refinished is a convincing argument for many who are looking to install a new floor.

But really, how far can you stretch your hardwood floor’s life? And is it worth it at all?

How much does new hardwood flooring cost?

There are dozens of different hardwood floors available on the market and the prices vary just as much. As a rule, the grade of the wood is one of the biggest factors to determine the price. Higher the grade more expensive the floor. Hardwood of the highest grade comes in a longer boards has no blemishes and is a uniform color. The cheapest hardwood is the least “tame”, it’s rich with knots and blemishes and shows the raw character through the mixed color. The boards of this grade also tend to be as short as 24”.
The species of the wood, as well as your location, also play a significant role in determining the price for your hardwood floor installation. The rare types of wood like Sakura or Kempas tend to be more expensive than Maple or Oak which are more common in the US.
Typically, flooring suppliers quote the cost for installing a hardwood floor on a square-foot basis. The price for a lower to upper-grade hardwood varies between $4-8. Prefinished floors cost on average $2 more than unfinished.
There are other costs to consider In addition to what you pay for the floor itself. The price for installation varies depending on whether the floor needs to be nailed down, glued to the subfloor, or floated. Laying hardwood in a smaller room can also get more pricey since a lot of complicated trimming needs to be done to ideally fit the boards to your room’s borders and around other tightly located obstacles. There are also expenses that have little to do with the actual flooring, including delivery, moving furniture, and preparing the subfloor.

How durable is Hardwood really?

Both engineered and solid hardwood are durable flooring options. Even though they are built differently – solid wood is made from a single wood board while engineered hardwood is a composite product – the surface layer is in both cases real wood and has similar resistance to wear.
Density plays a big role in hardwood’s durability and is directly proportional to the floor’s hardness. Unlike what the name implies, not all hardwood floors are hard. Some are soft enough to get scratched. According to the Janka hardness test, which is used to measure how well different woods can withstand pressure, most hardwood species used for flooring purposes are of average hardness. Hickory, for example, can take 1820 lbf, most types of maple around 1400 lbf, white oak 1360 lbf and red oak 1290 lbf.

How much does refinishing cost?

The cost of refinishing hardwood floors varies based on floor material, floor condition, used equipment and the length of required labour. Usually, a 100 square feet room can be refinished in about 4-5 hours. The average price to refinish hardwood floors lies between $1.50 – $5.00 per square foot. This excludes the more exotic types of hardwood. They are difficult to work with and require extra care when being sanded. Some exotic floors can easily burnish due to their hardness if not treated carefully. Others leave dust behind that can harm people’s health and should be treated by an experienced flooring professional who will take adequate measures when working on such floor. These demands for extra care makes refinishing exotic wood more expensive.

How often can you refinish your floor?

The thicker the floor the more times can it be refinished. On average, solid hardwood floors can be refinished up to 5 times. Engineered hardwood floors with a wear layer of 2mm or thicker can be sanded and refinished as well.
However, thickness isn’t the only factor to be concerned with when refinishing your floor. Who does the work is just as important. Refinishing a floor means sanding off the top layer full scratches and blemishes to reveal new wood underneath and then re-applying color treatments and seal. More precise sanding will leave you with a thicker board and prolong your hardwood floors life.

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.