When our customers come to us asking about which flooring is best for their home, it can be a difficult question to answer. There are many variables which determine the 'perfect' flooring. For example do you have pets and kids which wreak havoc on a floor? Are you installing the floor in a bathroom where moisture is a problem? Are you going to sell your home soon before you can recoup the investment? What is your existing style and décor?
All things being equal, about the only box that hardwood flooring doesn't check is moisture-resistance which is why it is traditionally our most recommended material type. There are some definite disadvantages to hardwood such as the cost and vulnerability to humidity but for the most part the benefits supersede them. You could complain about hardwood being noisy to walk on with high heels but there isn't a flooring in the industry that doesn't have some disadvantages.
The main reason we recommend hardwood flooring (all things being equal) is because of the incredible return on the investment. Hardwood floors aren't a 2016 F350 pick-up that's going to depreciate 33% the minute you drive it off the lot. Instead hardwood actually appreciates in value as the worn, rustic look is something that many homeowners covet.
Something that adds to that ROI is the fact that hardwood floors can be sanded and refinished for a new look 3-4 times or more over their life span. This is appealing to future home buyers because refinishing is much more affordable than new installation. Plus, if the new buyer doesn't like the color they can simply stain it lighter or darker.
Speaking of not liking a color, it's almost not an option since hardwood floors match almost any décor. Today's trendy lime green dining room walls may not be in style when a remodel comes a few years down the line – but at least the floors can stay intact.
Something else that often gets swept under the rug about hardwood floors is the fact that they are great for allergen sufferers. Basically hardwood is a healthy interior flooring material. The hard surface leaves no room for dust mites and dander to settle as long as the area is easily swept clean regularly. Plus we know hardwood won't harbor hidden mold growth because if wood gets wet it simply rots away which will be quite noticeable.
The long life span of hardwood flooring in a home also contributes to the material being more eco-friendly. Granted many people aren't thrilled with the culling of trees for use in building practices but when a flooring can last 100+ years its environmental impact is lessened. Plus modern logging practices are allowing for more sustainable replacement of trees at a rate higher than ever before with signs of only improving. Another eco-friendly benefit is that hardwood flooring can be recycled at the end of its life.
In a nutshell, if your budget permits and the material isn't going into a room rich with moisture you should definitely think of installing hardwood floors. They are an environmentally friendly material that provides a breathable indoor environment while matching your décor and lasting almost forever. Not many flooring choices can match those offers.
There was once a time when real estate agents would almost gloss over the fact that the home they were showing had vinyl floors installed. It was almost a foregone conclusion that the market price was lowered to reflect the fact that the 'hideous' vinyl floors would need to be replaced before the house was inhabitable. Vinyl floor didn't get bitter however – it got better, and today's luxury vinyl flooring could legitimately be considered a luxury flooring option.
Make no mistake vinyl will probably never match the durability or porcelain / ceramic tile and will struggle forever to match the warmth and luxury of hardwood. That being said, for years vinyl was simply the affordable flooring option and that meant consumers had to sacrifice style. In the past vinyl flooring came in patterns that were better off suited for a bad leisure suit or a 1960s kitchen window curtain. Today's modern printing methods allow for vinyl that is stylish, including patterns that emulate wood, granite, marble, and other luxury flooring materials.
While the improved style is the biggest advantage causing the resurgence in vinyl flooring, it is hardly the only benefit of the material. Vinyl is still the most affordable flooring choice with some prices starting as low as $0.50 per square foot. Of course higher quality patterns and thicker construction will cost more but the material still provides exceptional bang for the buck.
Speaking of thicker material, vinyl flooring is also known as resilient flooring because of its softness and 'bounce-back'. This provides a nice cushion when walking on the floor and makes it a comfortable alternative. Obviously carpet will still provide more softness, but not with the ease of maintenance that vinyl provides.
The 'big 3' of vinyl now includes style, price, and that ease of maintenance / durability. Sure the material will rip if attacked with a cooking knife but most materials will show damage in extreme kitchen circumstances. Although vinyl is now available in planks and tile installation, the one-piece application is still the healthiest option for allergy sufferers and their interior living environment. There are no seams or grout lines to attract dust mites, skin cells, hair, and other debris and sweeping is neat and easy.
Vinyl flooring is very pet-friendly. Not only for the fact that the material will withstand regular affects from claws and muddy feet, but also because pet hair is easily removed from the surface. The homeowner will have more convenience with the pet/vinyl combo while guests won't feel the affects of lingering dander.
Vinyl flooring is surging its way towards becoming a focal point of a room instead of an area that is glossed over by guests. Its benefits (price, durability, and looks) now and down the line are hard to beat in the flooring industry.
The Reasons Why Home Owners in San Antonio TX Should Leave Hardwood Floor Refinishing to The Professionals
It can be very tempting browsing through a hardware stores equipment rental page. Take for example when you cross the page for a floor sander that can be rented by the day or week. You think to yourself, “our floors could really use a rebirth and this would make a great weekend project” and while it's always great to expand your home improvement skills this is one particular project that should 100% be left to the pros.
In fact, there are some professional floor installers that still get a little anxiety over running the large floor sander. It's not that the equipment is especially hard to run, it's just that what happens underneath is so permanent. Sanding in one spot for too long will not only create noticeable dips that absolutely requires replacing boards, it's also one of only many mishaps that can happen with a DIY job. Here's why you should trust professionals like Superior Home Improvements.
There is a Grit Sequence
Sanding the floor involves multiple passes over the surface each time using a different grit of sandpaper. It's important to follow this sequence to the exact letter as to not leave noticeable cuts and scratches in the surface. Failure to follow these exactly not only leaves indentations but makes the area difficult to stain and ultimately just looks tacky.
There Are Multiple Machines
Anybody can run a floor sander right? Well how about an edger, a buffer, a sanding screen, hard plate, and moisture content meter and some of the other tools required to effectively create a great sanding job? These tools need to be used properly and in cohesion with each other as to blend the sanding job perfectly together – something not always easy for DIYers.
There is a Recommended Direction
Sanding is not done according to grain pattern but how the machine operates. Whether you rent a belt machine or a drum sander and the orientation of the room will determine which way leads to the most even sanding.
You Also Need to Trowel Fill
Sanding is easy but doing it efficiently is the part that takes skill. You'll need to trowel fill low spots and most importantly be able to identify these spots.
Safety Is Key
The dust from sanding the floors is highly flammable and can pollute your home for years if proper precautions aren't taken. The process is also hard on the body whether it be the arms, ears, legs, eyes, and respiratory system.
You Could Do 10X the Damage as the Money that is Being Saved
One of the biggest worries with any DIY project is causing more damage then what the return what have been worth. Some areas of the home that isn't a big deal such as in a garden (unless you dig up a septic line) but destroying a floor is going to require replacement which includes material and labor costs on top of any rental fees you may have incurred.
If you want to build a walkway with pavers outside your home, that is a nice weekend project but refinishing floors should be left to the trained professionals.
You've probably heard it over 100 times that hardwood flooring is one of the best investments you can ever make in your house. There's no doubt that few floor types offer the warmth and inviting atmosphere that hardwood flooring brings. Plus the material, whether light like pine or dark like mahogany, looks perfect in anything from a den to a kitchen to bedrooms to living rooms to hallways. The simple answer to why hardwood flooring boosts value is, “because it's good” but there are some specifics behind this reasoning.
Long Life Span
One reason that wood flooring legitimately boosts the resale value of your home is because it is something that doesn't have to be worried about. A potential buyer may have anxiety over an HVAC system approaching 20 years or windows that aren't energy savers but a floor is 'set it and forget it' in a way that they usually last 40-50 years or more. If the floor is showing signs of age it can be sanded and refinished for a relatively minimal cost.
Durability and Appreciation
The San Antonio, TX market is flooded with buyers that have multiple kids and pets. Some flooring types (carpet, laminate) are going to be turnoffs. While a hardwood floor can be scratched and damaged it offers some of the best durability this side of stone. Plus, some of that natural wear and tear actually adds to the allure of an antique wooden floor similar to a worn pair of jeans.
Matches Any Style and Color Can Be Changed
Even the most finicky style coordinators know that hardwood floors are the jeans of the flooring industry – it matches virtually everything. Plus since most hardwood planks can be sanded and restained a new buyer has the option of creating a color that is more cleansing to their style palate.
Easy to Maintain / Improves Air Quality
While it's important to clean up spills in a timely manner for the most part hardwood is maintenance free requiring nothing more than a swiffer mop. This easy maintenance also prevents dust, dander, and allergens from accumulating which makes for better air-quality in homes inhabited by allergy sufferers.
As you can see hardwood flooring is not only a wise investment for the here and now, it's also an installation that increases value and has benefits for years down the line as well.
After a recent 60 Minutes expose on the health risks of formaldehyde hidden in the flooring imported from China for the nation's biggest supplier of discount flooring, there have been some fears that other companies are following the same practices to increase profit margin. We have no reservations about the fact that our supplier CaliBamboo is the best in the business not only in the safety of the product but quality and service as well. Plus the good thing is – the numbers back it up:
The Calibamboo flooring that we supply offers a 50-year warranty which is two decades longer than the main competitor. Offering a guarantee on a product for this long only shows the confidence and belief that the company has in their bamboo flooring. Plus the warranty covers both the top surface and the structural integrity whereas the competitors 30-year offer has limited coverage.
A floorings Janka rating is exceptionally important because it is the hardness of the product. Harder woods are more resistant to scratches and dents and will last longer. While the integrity of wood is hard to deviate from, manufacturing processes can increase those testing results and CaliBamboo proudly supports a 5,500 pound rating compared to the competitors 2,789.
Part of what contributes to a products life and durability is the finish applied to the top. It's easy to skimp on this if a company is trying to save money but CaliBamboo boasts 10 coats of aluminum oxide where the competitor stops at 7.
CaliBamboo uses only 5-7 year harvested bamboo that has fully matured and has completely hardened and has maximum stability against moisture. The competitor speeds up their turnaround by harvesting the bamboo after only 3 years.
most importantly, the Calibamboo is safe. Test results for formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds that can cause illnesses registered at 0.03 PPM which is less than the air we breathe and 50X less than the strictest industry standards. Comparatively the top competitor had a .1PPM reading which fails all U.S and European testing standards. CaliBamboo makes available all their test results online for each of their products and is transparent as can be.
In summation, it's just not worth the risk with any other bamboo flooring than CaliBamboo. They have a strict quality control policy and abide by the most stringent testing procedures in the industry.
We trust them, you should too.
After a recent 60 Minutes expose on dangerous formaldehyde levels in the laminate flooring of the nation's largest supplier of cheap wood flooring, many people have fears that their floors could pose a risk as well. The chance for toxins to be released in your home from flooring such as laminate definitely exists, but luckily there are steps you can take as a consumer to make those risks slim and none. Here is a rundown of those findings and how to make sure your laminate flooring in San Antonio TX is safe for you, your kids, and pets.
Formaldehyde in Laminate Floors
What the 60 Minutes investigation basically did was open the door to deceptive practices allegedly being put in place by the biggest flooring supplier of cheap wood floors in the nation (who shall remain nameless for legal reasons). While most consumers would have no problem with minor fraud such as slab thickness or even lies about surface coating, putting their health at risk is not defendable. The report stated that wood flooring imported from China had formaldehyde levels not just higher than industry regulations, but in some cases up to 20X higher. It's not like it was a small sample size either as all 150 boxes tested from different stores across the country had these potentially dangerous amounts. Laminate flooring was thought to be especially at risk since 1/5th of the entire world's laminate flooring supply comes from China.
Since formaldehyde is a carcinogen, consistent exposure to it can not only cause noticeable irritation of the sinuses but also risks of cancers down the line. The reason the nation's leading cheap wood flooring supplier was exposing their customers to these toxins was strictly to boost their profit margin as using inferior wood and skipping remediation processes saves about 10% on their bottom line.
• Ask for a CARB 2 Compliant Fact Sheet – every distributor should be able to supply this with their San Antonio TX laminate flooring to prove that their flooring does not contain harmful levels of formaldehyde and other toxins.
• Be Aware of Incredible Deals – part of being a responsible consumer is looking for the best prices but some red flags have to be raised when the costs are ridiculously lower than competitors. Some cost-cutting measures could include buying illegally logged wood or not treating the planks to remove toxins.
• Shop With Suppliers Where Customer Health Is Important – Make sure your San Antonio laminate flooring supplier has your health as a priority as formaldehyde presence is not the only threat so are toxins from glues and adhesives as well as other chemicals.
When flooring in San Antonio TX is installed the last thing you expect to think about is if kids or pets could get sick by rolling around on it – luckily you don't have to.
There's a slippery slope when it comes to dogs and laminate flooring. On one hand, the love of your pet is one of the main reasons you went with laminate in the first place – the durability, affordability, and versatility is just something that other flooring types can't match. Carpet and dogs go together like oil and water. Tile can be cold and uncomfortable for pets to lay and walk on and you don't want to spend extensive money on hardwood just in case it does become ruined by the animal. Therefore laminate floors are probably the best option (more stylish than vinyl) so here's how to protect them from Fido.
Remove Paw Tracks
One thing about the protective top coating of laminate flooring is that it really captures a paw print (or barefoot human) noticeably. Look at the flooring at the right angle on a sunny day and you'll see footprints that a crime scene investigator would fawn over. To remove these unsightly tracks use a microfiber dust mop dipped in warm water and sprinkle the area with vinegar from a spray bottle. The vinegar works as both a gloss and an odor eliminator to help restore some luster to the dog race track. Also you can use Bona Laminate Cleaner.
When the Prints are Muddy
One of the main reasons you don't install carpet is for situations like when a dog is playing in the mud outside but sees an open door and makes a mad dash. Black paw prints on a carpet aren't a real booster to market value but luckily they can be washed away from laminate flooring. Time can be of the essence with wet and muddy prints as you don't want the moisture to damage the floor. Wipe up the majority with a soft paper towel and the remainder with the mop solution.
Best Way To Clean Dog Urine From Laminate Floors
When a dog has an accident it can be dually frustrating because not only is there the possibility of damaging the looks of the laminate floors but also a presence of strong odors. Freeing the laminate of dog urine is a two-step process – cleaning and prevention. There are a number of cleaning methods to try:
When out shopping for laminate flooring, at first glance the planks with the pre-attached underlayment seem to be the way to go. After all, the benefits of laminate flooring are all still there – affordable, looks like real wood, durable, and easy to install just without the added step of having to lay down underlayment padding on a subfloor. The attached pads are supposed to make your life easier but in fact they're an added expense that eliminates the benefits of applying an underlayment below.
Here Are The Reason You Shouldn't Get Laminate Flooring With A Pad
The three main reasons to lay an underlayment in the first place:
• Noise Reduction – Laminate floors snap together using a tongue and groove click lock system that floats over subfloors. The benefits of floating floors are far-reaching but unfortunately one of the drawbacks is noise. As you walk across a floating floor it squeaks and clacks and can sound hollow underneath. A good underlayment creates sound absorption that helps minimize the noise that can occur from a floating floor system.
• Helps Hide Subfloor Imperfections – A floating floor helps to hide imperfections in a subfloor with dips and raises. More so when a premium underlayment is installed.
• Moisture Protection – One of the many reasons to go with a premium underlayment is to protect your floor from moisture. Changes in the weather and humidity can cause your floor to expand and contract. An underlayment helps to create a moisture barrier between subfloor moisture and the flooring, specifically when installed on a concrete slab
Why the Attached Pad is Bad
None of the laminate floors we sell come with the attached padding underneath. The main reason is because the supposed selling point – ease of installation – removes too many benefits to make the attached pad justified. Underlayment rolls are anywhere between 3' and 5' wide so a lot of ground can be covered with each swipe. The pad is rolled out and attached to the previous row with adhesive tape to create a consistent barrier. The under padding is easy to cut around corners and vents, yet durable enough so it won't rip while the flooring is installed.
Laminate floors with the padding attached leaves you with insulation gaps between each board because they don't overlap the tongue and groove. On top of that they don't offer any moisture barrier because of the gaps and they're essentially a part of the plank. In essence, attached pads cost you more in terms of heat loss and also moisture absorption which sucks into the flooring and causes it to age earlier.
If you are installing a stair case these pads don't allow for proper installation either because you have to remove the padding and the adhesive in order to properly glue you floor properly to the stair case sub floor.
Get a Good Pad
Spending extra on a quality underlayment will more than recoup itself in terms of saving you money on your utility bills but also with the lifespan of your laminate floor. Properties of a top notch underlayment that should be sought after include:
• High sound rating – creates a sufficient noise barrier to eliminate creaking.
• Vapor barrier – wicks away any moisture that may emanate from below.
• Anti-microbial – small amounts of moisture that sneak through won't create havoc in mold and mildew formation.
• Adequate thickness – for added insulation.
• Versatile – can be installed on either concrete or wood substrates.
• Self adhesive – attaches to the previous row easier.
With a quality underlayment that provides insulation as well as sound and moisture barrier, there really is no reason to go with a laminate floor with pre-attached pads. In essence, saving time on installation with an attached pad will only lead you to doing the process again earlier because of a lower floor life span – thus eliminating any benefit anyway.
Tekno Sound Supreme Underlayment
Material Type:Close-Cell Polymer Foam
Square Feet Per Roll:100.00
Sound Barrier: Best
Cali Complete All-in-One Underlayment 1102002500
MOISTURE BARRIER Complete subfloor moisture and vapor protection for all floor types.
QUIET STEP Complete noise reduction in room and impact sound insulation.
THERMAL COMFORT Complete thermal insulation makes floors warmer and more comfortable.
EASY DIY INSTALL Complete fan fold design and interlocking edges make install simple for the homeowner and pro.
Quiet Queen Black UFS 3 in 1 Underlayment/Padding 3mm
Material Type:Close-Cell Polymer Foam
Square Feet Per Roll:100.00
Roll Specifications:Width 3' 7" X Length
Impact Sound Barrier:Test Results Best
Sound Sound Barrier:Test Results Best
Quiet King Green UFS 3 in 1 Underlayment/Padding 3mm
Material Type:Close-Cell Polymer Foam
Square Feet Per Roll:100.00
Roll Specifications:Width 3' 7" X Length
Impact Sound Barrier:Test Results Best
Sound Sound Barrier:Test Results Best
Resistant to scratches, durable and easy to clean – laminate flooring has a lot of things going for itself which is why it’s one of the best flooring choices for folks in the San Antonio TX area. Laminate floors are almost identical to wood flooring in appearance, but have specific benefits that are important to many people.
A Laminate floor might be the best choice for you if...
You only have time for quick cleaning – Laminate flooring just requires regular dust mopping and occasional extra cleaning with a barely damp mop. You can even use your vacuum’s soft brush attachment. Just don’t ever use the vacuum’s beater bar which could dent your floor. If you’re careful to wipe up spills immediately, laminate floor maintenance is as easy as can be. Unlike wood flooring, there is no need to nor should you wax or refinish laminate floors.
You like a good warranty – Built to last, most laminate flooring comes with a multi-year manufacturer’s warranty. As long as you follow the manufacturer’s care instructions, your flooring will provide years of style and service.
You want high style in a high traffic area – Laminate flooring is attractive and durable. Which is good news because even with a welcome mat outside your front door and a throw rug inside, floors in high traffic entryways have to withstand the gritty dirt and sand that finds its way onto the bottom of human and pet feet.
You have children and/or pets – Because laminate floors are scratch-resistant, it’s a great choice for families with children and pets. Prevention in the form of mandatory footwear removal and keeping pets’ nails trimmed works perfectly in theory. But the reality of most families’ lives is that, at some point, a cleat-wearing child or sharp-clawed pet is going to make his or her way across your floors. Laminate flooring will help keep the peace in your home.
You want a durable version of wood flooring for your kitchen or bathroom – As long as you are careful about standing water, laminate flooring is an option for kitchens and bathrooms. Wood is not always a good kitchen flooring option, but homeowners often seek the heritage look of wood for that room. Laminate floors offer the look of wood along with the durability and easy maintenance needed for a busy kitchen. Bathrooms can be especially humid which isn’t the best condition for laminate flooring. Be sure to discuss your bathroom’s humidity level with your flooring professional to determine if laminate is a good choice for your bathroom.
Laminate flooring offers a wide variety of style options to match the décor of any home in the San Antonio TX area and it is one of the most durable flooring options available. Do you fit the laminate flooring profile detailed above? It might be time to go shopping!
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Laminate flooring is very popular these days among home owners, because of the wide array of advantages it offers. It is durable, easy to install and to maintain, and it can increase your house value, in case you intend to sell it. On top of it all, it is less expensive than hardwood flooring, while presenting most of the benefits. Here are some of the most important reasons why you should get laminate flooring.
A cheap alternative to hardwood flooring
Easy to maintain, easy to clean
This type of flooring works best in areas in your home with a lot of traffic. The hard layer on top ensures durability, and there are even warranties offered with your purchase that can go up to 10 years. In case you have pets, you do not have to worry, since laminate flooring is scratch resistant. It does not stain easily, and a dampened mop is all you need to clean the floor from time to time.
If you like the look and feel of wood in your home, you will surely appreciate the aesthetic value of laminate flooring. Hardwood flooring is considered better, but it is more expensive, and much harder to maintain clean and stain free. Laminate flooring can be made to look like many varieties of wood, so you can complement the look of a room with the type you want. Because of its versatility, laminate flooring is highly appreciated by home owners everywhere.
Increasing your house value
Besides being a very cheap initial investment, laminate flooring adds to the value of your home. In case you want to resell your house, you will be able to ask for a higher price, as your home will have that neat look everyone is after when looking for a property on sale.
If you simply want to update your house looks, there is nothing easier than going for laminate flooring. With a small investment, you can make your house more beautiful, easier to maintain, and easier to resell for a convenient value. When looking for an alternative to hardwood flooring, choose laminate as the cheapest, most convenient option.
Ease of installation
It does not take a professional and not even a DIY expert to install laminate flooring. The interlocking planks are easy to put together with minimum of tools, and if you like to get busy with your hands, laminate flooring is your best bet. An extra benefit is that it can be installed on top of almost any type of floor. In case you want to remove the laminate flooring, or just replace a few planks, you will find the entire process quite easy even for someone without prior experience in this area.
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Maintaining a wood floor is no longer a hassle as it used to be. In fact, it is easier to handle a wood floor than a tiled or a concrete floor these days.
Here is a simple and effective way to clean your wood floor.
Make sure you sweep your wood floor every day. If possible, sweep your floor twice a day. This helps you eliminate the problem of dry particles (especially food) entering the crevices at the corners. Along with eradicating the need of any soaps or detergents that might spoil the floor finish, it also helps keep insects and rodents at bay.
Mop your wood floor just once or twice a week. Use plain water and a soft mop when you mop the floor. Nothing else to be used. Make sure your mop is damp (not wet) when you mop your floor. This will ensure the shine on your wood floor remains for a long time. I would recommend that you use your air condition when you mop your floor to hasten the drying process.
Place mats near your dishwashers and sinks. This will help you maintain a dry area around these wet areas. Make sure the mats near these places are always kept dry .
If you have a tough stain to handle, use a cleaner that the manufacturer has recommended. Do not try experimenting with different products. It will only shorten the longevity of your wood flooring.
Do not use ammonia to clean tough stains. It will remove the shine from the floors
Never ever use a steam cleaner to clean an engineered wood floor. It will only force the moisture into the wood and will damage the floor.
A few tips like these will help you and your engineered wood floor go a long way.
We don't recommend getting laminate floors with pre-attached padding for your home or business. We've installed over 300 floors for one of the largest direct retailers specializing in laminate flooring. We started up their installation program in San Antonio, TX, Selma, TX and Corpus Christi, TX. and what our installers have noticed is that the floors with pre-attached padding don't offer a true sound barrier. They leave gaps in between the boards and they don't offer a moisture barrier. Below is an example of the type of insulation gaps you could get with pre-attached padding. These floors have over a quarter inch gap. Our recommendation is to get your laminate floors without pre-attached padding and a high quality underlayment that has both a moisture barrier and high-rated sound barrier.