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Categories Hardwood

How to Find an Environmentally-Friendly Hardwood Floor

Hardwood floors are some of the most popular of any kind of flooring. They have been used since the time of antiquity. Wood is a great choice because it can be cut, shaped, and styled to fit just about any home. It is long-lasting, insulating, and attractive. If you want a floor that will last for a long time, you can’t go wrong with hardwood. However, hardwood does have a significant drawback. In some cases, the hardwood can actually harm the environment. Obviously, hardwood is sourced by cutting down hardwood trees. There are ways to mitigate the damage that might do to trees; some companies even improve the environment with every floor they sell.

Diseased Trees

As living entities, trees are susceptible to damage from pests, fungus, and disease. There are ways to limit these problems, but in some cases, trees become hopeless afflicted. For example, emerald ash borers are a pest that infests and eventually kills ash trees. They’re very difficult to guard against. For that reason, ash trees that become infested are cut down and removed from the area. If they’re not, they’ll infect more trees. Some hardwood flooring companies specifically use wood from trees infested with ash borers and other pests. Alternately, the wood might come from trees that have diseases such as citrus greening or other incurable illnesses. If you buy these trees, they’ll actually be improving the environment by removing dangerous trees.

Fallen Trees

For many different reasons, trees will die. Many of them will fall as a result. Some timber companies specifically source fallen trees or dead trees. Removing these trees from the forest can improve the undergrowth and improve sunlight getting to saplings. That will help grow new healthy trees.

Salvaged Wood

Most sustainable companies do what they can to reduce the number of trees they cut down. If they can salvage wood, they won’t have to cut down any trees. Salvaged wood can come from many different sources. The simplest option is to salvage a used hardwood floor and install it in your own home. Alternately, the salvaged wood might come from scrap wood, construction projects, demolition projects, or wood shipments that were damaged.

Some types of salvaged wood are actually more valuable than any kind of new wood. One such example is milled lumber that fell off boats decades ago. It has sat at the bottom of rivers for decades and now has character that cannot be replicated. This wood is sustainable, responsible, and very valuable.

Categories Hardwood

The Ancient Flooring Techniques That Are Trending Again

In the ancient world, the most common type of flooring was dirt. In ancient Rome, all but the wealthiest citizens had floors made of dirt and straw. Some of them had animal hides, leather, or cloth draped over the floor. Some would use shards of pottery, stone, and sand. The shards and stone would be ground into the floor until it formed a hard surface; this was the earliest origin of pavement. The wealthiest Romans had floors made of stone and hardwood. In the New World, forests were so abundant that hardwood floors were fairly common for colonists. Interestingly, the ancient Romans, ancient Egyptians, British imperials, and American colonists all created their hardwood floors in about the same way.

Floors were laid from straight planks of wood. The floors either just sat on the ground level, or they were built onto a subfloor. The ancient Romans, for one, utilized subfloors. Then, they would smooth the floor with hand scraping and literally sanding the floor. The sanding process left tiny scratches all over the floor.

Wire Brushing

Before the invention of sandpaper, the process for sanding a floor was to literally cover it in sand. Crafters would pour a bunch of sand on the floor. They would then rub the sand on the floor until the floor was smooth. It didn’t sand as smoothly as sandpaper and an orbital sander from the modern era. So, that meant there were tiny scratches all over the floor. The floor would then often be left bare. The oils from feet would eventually soak into the wood to create a waterproof finish.

Wire brushed hardwood now replicates the look of that antique sanding process. A wire-brushed floor can be brushed by hand or by a machine. Basically, the floor is brushed with a stiff-bristled brush to create billions of minute scratches. If done by a machine, it won’t add much expense to the cost of your floor. If done by hand, it will better replicate the random scratches of ancient floors.

Hand Scraping

The other way to smooth wood was to use a draw knife to scrape away the top layer of wood. The floor can be brought fairly smooth when you do that.

Both of these different techniques fell out of favor in the 1930s when sandpaper was made available in basically every hardware store. Hardwood flooring fell out of favor after WWII. These techniques have just recently become prominent again.

Categories Hardwood

How to Match a Blue Hardwood Floor

Blue hardwood floors are still very unconventional but they have been growing in popularity steadily over the last few years. They look poised to become popular in coming years. The trend towards blue hardwood floors is influenced by several factors. For one, hardwood floors have become more readily available in recent years. That means that many people have had the opportunity to adapt and change common hardwood floors into something new and innovative. Furthermore, blogs and social media have encouraged many designers to think outside of the normal parameters of flooring. That means that they’ve been experimenting with floors, textures, and with matching those floors. Matching a blue floor is a very difficult task, but it can look great if you do it well.

Matching With Cabinets

If you have other wooden thing in your home such as wooden cabinets, you should consider matching the cabinets with the floor first. Matching different woods is an important step to creating an entire design scheme. There are two basic ways to match something as bold as a blue floor. You can offset it with muted neutral colors that will make the floor stand out; alternately, you can choose another bold color to match the blue and create a very bright room.

Matching a blue with another bright color such as red can create a very bold and exciting look; however, you run the risk of the room looking almost like a panel in a comic book. If you want that, then it works out great. The floor serves as the biggest canvas in the house. For example, that might be a great choice for a child’s room. However, if you want the room to be subtle, you should choose something muted to match the floor. A navy blue floor will match a bright blue floor very well. White or tan will also work very well. Basically, any color that you can match with a blue dress shirt, you could match with a blue floor.

Choosing a Blue

Choosing the right blue for your floor is important as well. There are several options. You could choose a very light blue that subtly hints at blue. That will make a room look brighter but it won’t draw much attention to the floor. A bolder blue stands out better but is more difficult to match. A some blues trend towards green, whereas others trend towards purple. Either is a great choice. If you have a warm interior design, trend towards purple; if your interior is cool, trend towards green.

Categories Hardwood

Explaining the High Variation Wood Flooring Trend

Over the past few years, trends in wood flooring have been heavily influenced by designers and their publications. In the past, ideas were a little stale because the only people capable of influencing designers were magazine publishers. Now everyone with an internet connection can be a designer and influencer. That means that many of the new wood flooring trends are slightly more unorthodox than past decades. One of those trends is high variation wood flooring.

What Is It?

There is also a trend towards lower variations in wood flooring but high variation wood flooring means that your individual planks are very different from one another. For example, a low variation wood floor might involve planks of all white oak with different sources. Alternately, it might be white oak and some other wood of similar color and grain. High variation, on the other hand, involves wood that is different in color and species. So you might have several planks of lightly colored white oak alongside darker red oak and even some planks stained a third color. The high variation is supposed to achieve a few purposes.

Why High Variation?

The first, and most obvious, reason for a high variation wood floor is the look of it. If you like the look of many different kind of wood forming a mosaic on your floor, this is the trend for you. The varied planks of wood serve to create patterns and visual movement without being distracting. They draw the eye without being bright or showy like a bold color or a striking grain pattern.

There are also practical benefits to the high variation trend. If you’re buying your hardwood flooring planks on discount or from a secondhand seller, you might have a limited supply of one kind of wood. That’s not a problem if you’re choosing to go with a high variation look. If you’re looking for the high variation look, you can buy two, three, or even more different kind of wood. Mix and match them as you’re laying down your floor to create the look.

The high variation lok also makes it easier to repair your hardwood floor. If the floor is not made with a pattern but instead has random variations, you can remove a damaged plank without making a big difference. You don’t even have to worry about it matching the surrounding planks.

The high variation trend is popular because it looks great; it’s also popular because it has practical; benefits.

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