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Standard Grade Blackbutt Is a New Favorite for Flooring

There are several domestic hardwoods in the United States that are very popular. Hickory and oak are very popular for many customers for many reasons. Some of them who are looking for an exotic wood often look to Brazil and other parts of South America. However, Australia has begun to export more wood to the United States and has been growing in popularity for many homeowners. The reason is that Australian hardwoods tend to be very unique in the United States. If you’re looking for a very distinctive hardwood floor, you would need to look somewhere other than Brazil and South America. Blackbutt is an example of the kind of wood that has grown in popularity.

What Is Blackbutt Hardwood?

Blackbutt is an Australian hardwood that is named for its appearance after a bush fire. After the fire, the buttress is often blackened. Thus, the tree is known as blackbutt. Blackbutt ranks at 2045 on the Janka hardness scale. That means it is harder than most domestic hardwoods but not as hard as some of the very rare South American hardwoods. It is a very durable and strong wood, but it is easy to work with. That makes it a great choice for use as flooring. The durability and strength are the functional reasons for choosing blackbutt.

There is also the aesthetic reason. Blackbutt is usually very light in color. The heartwood is a medium brown. The sapwood is a pale straw color. Due to its color and its composition, it holds stain very well. You can stain blackbutt practically any color you want. It can be stained anywhere from a very light honey color to a deep black.

The Grades

All blackbutt is popular, but standard grade is the most preferred grade at the moment. Australian wood grades are slightly different than the grades used in the United States. Blackbutt is typically ranked as natural grade, Australiana grade, standard grade, and classic grade. Classic grade is the highest grade of wood. It has very few natural features and very few variations. A classic grade board will likely be free of knots, burrs, tracks, and mineral deposits. Natural grade has the most inclusions. It has mineral streaks, insect marks, burrs, gum pockets, surface checking, and knots. This is what an American company might call rustic grade.

Australiana grade and standard grade are sometimes confused. They’re close to being the same thing. Both grades feature more natural features and inclusions than classic grade but are not as rustic as natural grade. Sometimes, a manufacturer might just mix natural grade and classic grade boards into the same batch to call it Australiana.

Questions about any type of new and exotic hardwood? Colorado Hardwood Floors is your Denver hardwood flooring specialist and is ready to help! Just give us a call!

Categories Hardwood

Choosing a Wood Species for your Home-

White Oak-

White oak is a beautiful flooring species. White oak boasts open grain with natural wood character including knots and checks. The rustic features of the white oak can be showcased with specific cuts. White oak is a great option for homes with pets and high traffic. White oak is a great option for homeowners looking for low maintenance flooring.

White oak can be life sawn, quarter sawn and a few other cuts. Different cuts feature different grain patterns and color variations. These specialty cuts are a great way to get a more custom finished product and an ideal look for your home.

Hickory

Hickory is another very common flooring material. Hickory features a tight grain pattern with rich color variations. The natural beauty of this wood is unsurpassed. The color variation can add a lot of depth to the boards and showcases the beauty of the wood wonderfully. When selection hickory you can choose between different grades to achieve a more rustic or more contemporary look. Some of the grades feature more knots and checks while others keep them to a minimum.

Hickory does stand up well to high traffic and pets. It is very durable and requires no additional maintenance steps. Hickory can also be stained so the look can be changed over time.

Ash-

Ash is beautiful unique wood choice for your home. Ash isn’t as common as hickory or oak but offers a lot of rich character and pronounced grain patterns. Ash can contain knots and checks or higher grades can eliminate these. High traffic spaces and homes with pets can be ideal for Ash flooring. The grain pattern can help to mask imperfections. The pronounced grain pattern in ash can add a lot of visual interest to your space and when stained it can be very sleek.

Maple-

Maple is a great choice for homeowners looking for less grain pattern and color variation. Maple has very little color variance and a minimal grain pattern. Maple is a great neutral wood flooring and can be very modern and sleek. Maple is not a great wood to stain so it is commonly left natural. Depending on the grade of maple chosen there may be some knots.

Walnut-

Walnut is another loved flooring species. Maple boosts a warm brown tone and will continue to warm over time. The grain pattern and color variations add a lot of character to walnut flooring. Walnut is best in moderate traffic areas and may not be a good choice for pet owners. The warm brown town that walnut is known for is timelessly beautiful and inviting.

Red Oak-

Red oak has been a top flooring choice for a century. It has a rich grain pattern with mild color variations making it an ideal choice for many people. Longboards can better display the grain pattern and color variations. Red oak is resilient and depending on the finishing technique it can last for years and years to come. Red oak can be stained but some of the more hip stains like white or gray do not work well with the red tone. Red oak is the ideal neutral flooring choice for a timeless and traditional home.

Categories Hardwood

A Few Cost-Saving Ideas For Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood floors have long been the most desired floors that you could choose from. For centuries, hardwood has been used to create long-lasting floors that have stood the test of time in terms of resilience as well as style. However, there’s one thing that can hold back many people from getting the hardwood floor they really want; that’s the price. Hardwood is not the least expensive of all flooring options, especially in the age of synthetic floors. However, there are several things you can do that will keep the price of your hardwood floor low. When you consider the resilience of a hardwood floor, you might even save money. Also, hardwood floors have been shown to increase the value of a property; thus, they’re an investment. So, here’s how you can save money on your hardwood floor.

Multiple Batches of Wood

Hardwood flooring planks are sold in batches; ideally, the batches of wood are from the same tree. They are batched because they are of the same quality, the grain matches, and the color is similar. However, it can be difficult to find a single batch of wood that covers your entire floor. That means that small batches of wood are oftentimes discounted because they’re less useful. If you want to save money on your hardwood floor, you could choose several discounted batches of wood.

The small batches of wood won’t cover your floor, but you can mix and match them to create a multicolored floor. When you are mixing multiple batches of wood, you should actually try to find batches that don’t match at all. If you try to find batches that are similar, it might look like you made a mistake. If, on the other hand, you choose drastically different batches of wood, it will look like a deliberate stylistic decision.

Burn Pile

At construction sites or hardwood flooring manufacturers, there are often piece of wood that are not fit for production. The pile of these discarded pieces is often called the burn pile because they’re going to be discarded. However, many companies don’t actually burn them anymore. Instead, they sell them as factory seconds or factory rejects. If you choose them, you’ll save a considerable amount of money on your wooden planks.

The factory rejects will be have cosmetic problems that are often thought of as flaws but work great if you’re trying to design a rustic look. Some of them will have structural defects that will require you to discard them, but most of them will be usable.

Categories Hardwood

Why It’s So Important to Take a Hardwood Flooring Sample

When you are shopping for hardwood flooring, you need to avail yourself of the hardwood flooring samples. In many places, the sample will even be free. Typically, the sample is a piece of a hardwood plank; it could even be an entire hardwood plank. You should take the plank home with you and recreate all of the common conditions in your home. That means opening the blinds, turning on the lights, smudging it with a thumbprint, and so on. Here is why.

Light Temperature

Light temperature, also called color temperature, is a scientific term that involves measuring the color of light emitting from a theoretical radiator of heat. Essentially, it means the color of different kinds of light. For example, a typical incandescent light bulb is a warm orange color that is about 2700K. A bulb designed to mimic daylight is usually 5600K. However, the color temperature of daylight actually changes depending on the time of day, the cloud cover, and the amount of pollution in the air. So, sunrise and sunset are usually warm colors near 2700K. High noon is closer to about 5600K but it can even be as much as 7000K. The higher the number, the cooler the color.

A 5600K daylight bulb is generally pretty neutral white light. So, you should bring the wood sample home and place it under several different kinds of light. If you open your blinds or curtains regularly, make sure to do that in the morning, during the day, and at sunset. That will tell you how the wood looks under different daylight conditions. Also, turn on your normal lights to see how it looks.

Light Sources

The source of light matters as well. For example, a 5600K fluorescent bulb might emit what looks like white light. However, the undertones of the light are different. A fluorescent bulb has blue undertones; that can make a tan hardwood look greenish. It can also make a reddish hardwood look purple. That’s a good thing to know before you invest in an entire floor.

Decor

You also need to figure out if the wood you choose complements your decor. A lightly colored white oak might look great in the store and might even work great with your furniture, but it might actually clash with lightly colored walls. The white walls could serve to wash out the light floor, making everything look sort of bland. Similarly, a dark wood might not work well with other dark decor; it could make the house look too dark.

Categories Hardwood

So You Want Black Hardwood Floors

Black has always been a popular color for hardwood floors, furniture, and many other applications. Many people choose to stain or paint their hardwood; however, if you want the most authentic and natural look, you need a black wood. There are woods that have black grain patterns, woods that have black wood, and woods that are so dark brown they’re almost indistinguishable from black. The most common is probably wood that is so dark that it looks black. These are also some of the most visually dynamic types of wood. They tend to change their shades somewhat depending on the amount of light and the temperature of the light. If you want something that is very unique, here are the different types of black hardwoods used for floors.

Ebony

Ebony is actually a species of hardwood that comes from one of several different trees. Most of them are sourced from Africa. The heartwood of ebony is typically completely black with little visible grain or variation in the color. It’s also naturally high in luster and very dense. The sapwood is slightly less dense. It’s usually a little bit lighter in color with dark grains running through the wood. The grain pattern is typically straight.

Ebony is one of the most expensive hardwoods commercially available; that’s because it’s rare, must be imported, and is very popular for anyone searching for a black floor.

Black Walnut

Also known as American walnut, black walnut is a very popular wood for flooring because it is a domestic that often looks more like an imported wood. It is available in a dark brown to almost purplish color. Depending on the wood, it can even look black. It is very workable and durable; it makes a great floor as well as great furniture. The grain is typically pretty straight but some trees have very wavy patterns.

Wenge

Wenge is an imported wood that’s very popular in home design magazines and blogs because of its beautiful color. It is typically available in a deep chocolate color that will darken over time. A well-aged wenge floor can look very close to black depending on the light temperature in your home. The wood tends to be striated with different colors that provide a very dynamic look to the flooring.

These are just a few of the most common types of dark brown or black woods for flooring. You can also choose engineered flooring that is stained black.

Categories Hardwood

Do You Have to Finish a Hardwood Floor?

The short answer is, no. You do not have to finish your hardwood floor. Most hardwood floors are stained some color that enriches and deepens the natural color of the wood. They’re then finished with a polyurethane or a varnish on the surface. Alternately, they might be finished with a penetrating oil that seeps into the wood. You don’t have to do that, though. It’s not as common as it used to be, but you can leave the floor unfinished. These are often called raw floors or bare floors. Stains and finishes keep out dirt and moisture, though. Why would you leave your floor bare?

Why?

The main reason people leave their floors bare is so that they will absorb dirt and moisture. It might seem counterintuitive since you’ll have to clean your bare floors regularly. However, there’s no way to eliminate all dirt, oil, and dust. Oil and moisture from your skin and from your pets will seep into the wood. Dirt tracked in on your shoes will get ground into the pores of the wood. Spilled drinks will stain the floor if they’re not cleaned up immediately. All of these things are prevented by finishing the floor. However, they’re also the exact same things that give antique floors their desirable patina.

Rustic, distressed wood and reclaimed wood typically have watermarks, oil stains, runs in the finish, and other imperfections. If you want these for your hardwood floor, the easiest and most authentic option is to let them happen naturally. Oftentimes, these imperfections happen to reclaimed wood because the wood was not finished when it was installed long ago.

Finish Later

After several years, you might notice that your floor has taken on a lot of character from being unfinished for so long. Fortunately, there’s no reason you can’t finish your floor later. You can seal in all of that natural aging and patina. You can even enhance it with certain types of stain that will deepen and enrich the colors of the wood.

The main concerns with bare wood are being safe and keeping it clean. If you sand your floors smooth with a very fine grit sandpaper, there’s no reason it will give you any splinters. You’ll clean the raw wood floor with dry methods. Sweep and vacuum it. You can even use a mineral oil or a wax to clean it, but you should know that will act like a temporary finish for your floor.

Categories Hardwood

Are There Any Benefits to an Unfinished Wood Floor

You can buy your hardwood floor or one of two ways: you can buy it unfinished or prefinished. Prefinished floors are made from planks that are stained and sealed in a factory. They’re then brought to your house and installed. Typically, they have beveled edges or tongue and groove joints. They’re nailed into place or even allowed to float on a subfloor. They’re quick to install but you have limited options. You also will have a difficult time matching a replacement plank should you need to replace one or more of them.

Installing an Unfinished Floor

An unfinished floor is also known as a site-finished floor. These are pieces of wood that are delivered as bare stock. They have been sanded to be workable but still need a final sanding. Also, they do not have stain or finish on them. So, why would you choose that?

You would choose an unfinished floor if you want to see what the stain might look like in your house. With prefinished wood, it might look different in the store lights than it does under your living room lights. You’ll be able to test the stain on a spare piece to make sure you like it if you choose unfinished flooring. Also, the subfloor is not always completely level. So, an unfinished floor gives you the option of installing the floor and then sanding it so that it’s perfectly level.

Finally, an unfinished floor is more easily repaired since you can replace the damaged plank with an unfinished plank. Then you can sand, stain, and seal it in place to match.

The Options

There are limited options with a prefinished floor. They’re basically stained and sealed in a way that is most likely to sell. So, if you want something outside the box like a blue floor, you’ll need unfinished hardwood and a lot of blue stain. Alternately, if you want to mix and match your flooring, you’ll have that option. Many people are choosing to make their floors look rustic and cabin-grade by mixing and matching different stains and finishes. Mixing gray stained planks with greige planks, for example, can give you the appearance of an antique patina. That’s not as easy to do with prefinished wood.

The major caveat is that finishing your flooring on site is a big job. It is messy and smelly, and you’ll have to stay off the floor for several days.

Categories Hardwood

Why Do Hardwood Floors Warp?

Solid hardwood floors are made of planks of solid wood that are installed on top of a subfloor. Eventually, the floor can become damaged by warping. The warping generally occurs in one of two ways; the planks either cup or bow. Cupping is when the edges of the wood planks bend upwards to form a sort of bowl shape. Bowing is when the middle of the wood plank bends upwards. They are caused by several different factors.

Heat and Moisture Cause Cupping

Generally, heat and moisture will cause your wood planks to cup. Since wood is porous, it absorbs moisture. It can even absorb moisture from the air. Heat also drives moisture into the wood more efficiently; therefore, very humid environments are most prone to create cupping. Furthermore, the wider and longer a plank is, the more likely it is to cup. That’s because the wider planks have less rigidity.

Therefore, experts will often recommend that you not install wide solid hardwood in your basement or other very humid areas.

Excessive Moisture Causes Cupping

Your floors can cup if you are not careful when you wash them. Many people choose to mop their floors. That’s a perfectly fine choice, but you need to be careful. The water used when mopping can warp the wood if you don’t dry it up. The best options are to wring out the m op so that it’s only damp when you mop. Then, make sure that you dry the floor after you are done mopping.

You can dry the floor in a few ways. You can mop it again with a dry mop if the area is pretty small. You can also use towels to dry up the floor. Alternately, you can open the windows and turn on fans to help dry the floor. If you have standing fans, you can aim them at the floor to speed up the drying process.

Sanding Can Cause Bowing

One of the best ways to address cupping that has already occurred is by sanding the wood flat again. However, you need to make sure that the floor and the subfloor are both completely dry before you do that. Otherwise, the floor might dry and then bow.

You should consult a professional if you notice bowing or cupping. Dealing with it can be very complex and time-consuming. A professional will be able to address the cupping, replace planks that can’t be repaired, and advise you on preventing it in the future.

The post Why Do Hardwood Floors Warp? appeared first on hardwood marketing.

Categories Hardwood

What is a Wire Brushed Floor?

There are several ways that you can make your new hardwood floor look aged. Aged floors have become very trendy recently. You can see that with the trend towards live edge floors, hand scraped wood, reclaimed wood and more. One of the ways you might distress the wood is by brushing it. Essentially, the wood is brushed with a wire brush to scrape away some of the wood and create irregular blemishes. When applied to a complete floor, it can look great.

Wire Brushed Floor

Once your floor has been installed, but before it has been finished, you can brush the floor with a stiff-bristled wire brush. It can be brushed by you or it can be brushed at a factory. If it’s brushed by a machine, the brushing will look somewhat uniform. That will slightly negate the authentic feel of the wood. It will make it look more modern and not antique. If you want a great antique feel, you need to brush it by hand. Brush it with different lengths and pressures as you go over the entire floor. That will create the authentic look.

Then you need to choose the right finish for your wire brushed floor.

Choose the Right Finish

A wire brushed floor look antique and distressed because of the scratches that the wire brush creates in the wood. If you choose a high gloss wood finish, it will likely reflect too much light and make the scratches stand out too much. If the scratches stand out like that, they’ll look inauthentic. However, if you choose a matte finish, the scratches will blend and make the floor look somewhat cloudy. You need something that draws attention to the scratches without making them stand out too much. A satin or a semi-gloss are often a great choice for finishes for wire brushed floors.

If you want the wood to grow darker and richer over time, we should consider using oil or wax instead of sealing it with polyurethane. Oil and wax will darken the wood as they age.

Choose the Right Stain

If you’re looking for an authentic, antique feel, you don’t’ want to choose a stain that is too dark. Most antique home hardwood floors were not stained; therefore, anything that is a noticeable stain will look inauthentic. Something warm is a great choice. A warm color such as a deep amber will help your floor look great while also accentuating the wire brushing.

Categories Hardwood

Explaining the Hand-Scraped Wood Trend

If you’ve been looking for a hardwood floor, especially reclaimed or distressed hardwood flooring, you’ve likely noticed that certain floors are billed as “hand scraped” wood. It’s obviously something that has to do with aged wood floors, but what does it mean?

What Does It Mean

Before sandpaper was invented, wood had to be smoothed by hand. This was done with a draw knife. A draw knife is a knife with blade and handles on either side of it. The crafter of the floor grips both hands and pulls the knife across the surface of the wood. This is the scraping. Ideally, it scrapes away the rough surface of the wood, creating a smooth surface. However, it does not create a uniformly smooth surface. There will be scrapes of different depths and lengths. That creates the look of antique hardwood flooring. If you’re looking for new flooring that looks antique, hand scraped is a way to go. It’s a subtle touch that makes the floor look aged.

Authenticity

Hand scraped wood flooring can lend authenticity to your faux aged hardwood floor. However, it needs to be genuinely scraped by hand. There are also floors that are scraped by machines. While they mimic hand scraped wood somewhat, they’re too uniform. The charm of a hand scraped wooden floor is the unpredictability. Each draw of the knife is a different lethn and pressure. That creates irregularity in the wood. That’s not something that can be mimicked by machines. Make sure you buy a hand scraped wooden floor that’s actually scraped by hand.

The floor can be scraped by the person installing the floor, by you, or it can be scraped at the factory. Typically, the only wood that can be hand scraped is solid plank hardwood. Solid plank is the only wood thick enough to withstand the scraping process.

If you choose to scrap the wood yourself, you should make sure you practice in an unnoticeable spot or with extra wood. Also, you should make sure you buy an actual draw knife. The design of the knife is important to getting the right look. If you choose machine scraped wood, it can look great too.

You should make sure you look at the different types of scraping and make sure the matching pieces are installed as far away from each other as possible. That’s the best way to mimic an authentic floor with a machine processed floor.

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