Categories Hardwood

Satin and Matte Are the Most Popular Hardwood Floor Sheens

When it comes to finishing a hardwood floor, gloss and semi-gloss have been the reigning champions for years. The choice for many homeowners has been between those two choices. Gloss is shiny and, when polished regularly, can look almost wet. Semi-gloss is shiny but not quite as ostentatious. Glossy is a way of making a statement; semi-gloss is sort of the standard look. However, that has been changing. Satin and matte are some of the most popular choices for new floors. There are reasons for that.

Aesthetic Reasons

For the most part, homeowners are choose satin and matte finishes for aesthetic reasons. Matte finishes look very good with distressed wood or with reclaimed wood. They also look great with a rustic look. A rustic, cabin look doesn’t quite lend itself to the highly polished look of gloss or semi-gloss. Satin finishes are not quite as flat as a matte finish. So, they could be something of a middle ground.

Satin and matte finishes lend themselves very well to dark floors as well. Dark floors are popular in hardwood floor trends. To capitalize on that, you could choose a matte finish for a gray or a whitewashed floor. That will give your floor a very 18th and 19th century look. Oftentimes, those floors were finished with wax or oil that breaks down over time. That’s why they often look unfinished or flat.

Practical Reasons

Homeowners are also choosing satin and matte for practical reasons. When your floor gets dirty, the dirt obscures some of the reflectiveness of the floor. That disruption is partially why your floor looks dusty when it is. Scratches do the same thing. Scratches from chair legs, dog claws, and other sources will mute a glossy finish. That is why a floor that is significantly scratched looks cloudy.

Satin and matte finishes don’t suffer from those conditions to nearly that extent. Matte finishes are already muted in terms of reflectiveness. So, dust and dirt won’t stand out very much. That’s not to say you’ll never need to clean your floor; obviously, you will have to keep it clean, but it won’t be as noticeable in between sweepings.

Scratches don’t show up as prominently either. Homeowners with dogs and cats are choosing satin and matte finishes so that they can go a little bit longer before they feel the need to refinish the floor.  These practical and aesthetic reasons are credited for the surge in flatter hardwood floor polishes.

There are many decisions to be made when installing or refinishing hardwood floors. Now you have another decision…matte or satin?

Categories Hardwood

True Black Is the Hottest Hardwood Flooring Trend

Interior design in general and hardwood flooring in specific are susceptible to going through different trends. Typically, what happens is some designer and/or company begins doing something new. Then, customers see it and start asking for it. Other companies begin imitating the style to please their customers. Soon, you have a full-blown trend. That’s what has happened with true black. For a long time, muted colors were very popular. Grays, tans, and browns grew in popularity for a long time. Greige became the most popular color for a while, as well. Greige is a blend of gray and beige. Finally, the trend has come to its fruition. True black is surging in popularity.

 

What is True Black?

 True black is exactly what it sounds like. True black is black that does not have influences from other colors. Black is thought of as one color, but in reality, it’s more of a spectrum of colors. There are cool blacks that trend towards very dark blues. There are warm blues that trend towards very dark red. True black, however, is completely black. It does not have any influences from other colors. It is the darkest possible color and the purest possible black. This is often achieved by several applications of true black stain.

True black began as a small movement, but it has been growing. Many customers are choosing true black for several reasons.

Why Choose True Black?

The first and most obvious reason to choose true black is because you want your floor to be black. Black goes well with just about any other color. You can offset your true black floor with bright colors on the walls and ceilings as well as bright furniture. You can also complement your true black with muted colors to create a generally muted look.

You can also choose true black for practical purposes. True black is often used when customers have damaged floors or when they have floors made of many different types of hardwood. Hardwoods, even the same species of hardwood from different batches, can be very diverse in their color and grain. If your floor planks don’t match, you can easily make them match by staining them true black. The richness of the stain will hide most differences. Furthermore, you can hide damage. For example, if the hardwood is scratched or stained, true black will cover those imperfections.

 

There are practical as well as aesthetic reasons that true black is the most popular hardwood flooring color for 2020. There are several exciting ways to get on this trend.

Categories Hardwood

Why Is It Called Barnwood If It Doesn’t Come From a Barn?

Reclaimed hardwood is very popular right now and has been for at least a decade. This is hardwood that has been used for one purpose and is then repurposed for use as hardwood flooring in a home. It could be hardwood flooring from a different home that is resold or could be something completely different. Whatever the case may be, the implication is typically that the wood has suffered from some weathering. The weathering is usually scratches, oil stains, milling marks, burns, and holes. Wood from barns is the iconic example of reclaimed hardwood. It has been exposed to the elements for years and years. Oftentimes, it was unfinished and exposed to the elements which amplifies the amount of weathering. So, barnwood is wood from barns. It’s also a classification of wood that simply looks like barnwood.

 

New Barnwood

 Barnwood doesn’t actually have to be from a barn anymore. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be reclaimed hardwood. It could be brand new wood that has been crafted to look as if it has been weathered. If you’re looking for this kind of wood, you can choose barnwood that is handcrafted or worked by a machine. That typically means that the wood is scraped and wire-brushed.

Scraping is a technique by which a draw knife is drawn over the wood. A draw knife is a knife with a handle on either side of it. The knife is then pulled over the surface of the wood to scrape away the layer of the surface. This is an older method for smoothing the wood. It smooths the wood but leaves behind a pattern of scrape marks. It was very common when hardwood floors were still processed by hand.

Wire brushing involves running a stiff-bristled metal brush over the wood. This scratches the wood in unique patterns. When done by hand, it creates unpredictable patterns through the wood. When done by machine, the patterns tend to be a little more uniform.

 

Buying Barnwood

 The easiest way to find barnwood is simply to buy it from a hardwood flooring supplier. Homeowners no longer have to go in search of old barns or antique homes undergoing remodeling. Now, barnwood can be bought brand new.  Many suppliers offer an option for what they call barnwood. Since there is no standard definition, each manufacturer will produce something slightly different. The basic contours will be the same, though.

Categories Hardwood

Satin and Matte Are the Most Popular Hardwood Floor Sheens

When it comes to finishing a hardwood floor, gloss and semi-gloss have been the reigning champions for years. The choice for many homeowners has been between those two choices. Gloss is shiny and, when polished regularly, can look almost wet. Semi-gloss is shiny but not quite as ostentatious. Glossy is a way of making a statement; semi-gloss is sort of the standard look. However, that has been changing. Satin and matte are some of the most popular choices for new floors. There are reasons for that.

 

Aesthetic Reasons

 For the most part, homeowners are choose satin and matte finishes for aesthetic reasons. Matte finishes look very good with distressed wood or with reclaimed wood. They also look great with a rustic look. A rustic, cabin look doesn’t quite lend itself to the highly polished look of gloss or semi-gloss. Satin finishes are not quite as flat as a matte finish. So, they could be something of a middle ground.

Satin and matte finishes lend themselves very well to dark floors as well. Dark floors are trending in popularity. To capitalize on that, you could choose a matte finish for a gray or a whitewashed floor. That will give your floor a very 18th and 19th century look. Oftentimes, those floors were finished with wax or oil that breaks down over time. That’s why they often look unfinished or flat.

 

Practical Reasons

 Homeowners are also choosing satin and matte for practical reasons. When your floor gets dirty, the dirt obscures some of the reflectiveness of the floor. That disruption is partially why your floor looks dusty when it is. Scratches do the same thing. Scratches from chair legs, dog claws, and other sources will mute a glossy finish. That is why a floor that is significantly scratched looks cloudy.

Satin and matte finishes don’t suffer from those conditions to nearly that extent. Matte finishes are already muted in terms of reflectiveness. So, dust and dirt won’t stand out very much. That’s not to say you’ll never need to clean your floor; obviously, you will have to keep it clean, but it won’t be as noticeable in between sweepings.

Scratches don’t show up as prominently either. Homeowners with dogs and cats are choosing satin and matte finishes so that they can go a little bit longer before they feel the need to refinish the floor.  These practical and aesthetic reasons are credited for the surge in flatter hardwood floor polishes.

Categories Hardwood

What is Whitewashing and Why is it Popular for Hardwood Floors?

For a very long time, whitewashing was the most popular and most affordable treatment for woods. Whitewashing forms a significant plot element in the adventures of the fictional character Tom Sawyer. It was how homeowners protected their wood from mold, mildew, and moisture. So, what is whitewashing? Why did it go out of favor, and why is it popular again?

 

What is Whitewashing?

 Whitewashing is similar to painting or finishing wood, but it’s different in a significant way. Whitewash is a mixture of lime and water. Lime is antibacterial, antimicrobial, and resists mold. To that end, homeowners would mix lime and water. They’d then apply that mixture to woods, especially wood that would be exposed to the elements. The mixture is called whitewash because it forms a chalky white liquid. The end result is a chalky white finish on wood. Those who have seen colonial houses from the Atlantic coast are likely familiar with the look of whitewashed hardwood floors. The porches on those classic homes were often whitewashed.

 

Why Did It Go Out of Favor?

 Whitewash fell out of favor for several different reasons. The simplest reason that whitewashing fell out of favor is that new products offered the ability to preserve wood in new ways. If everyone had a whitewashed hardwood floor, it became popular to have one that was finished differently. Also, whitewash has to be reapplied from time to time. Many people chose longer-lasting procedures.

 

Why Is It Popular Again?

 Whitewash is popular again for the reason that everything goes out of style and comes back in style. It was used as a necessity by homeowners for a very long time. When it was no longer a necessity, it fell out of favor. As such, it evokes the look of a certain time period. It is a classic look. Now, many homeowners want to recapture that classic, coastal look. If you want your home to look colonial and coastal, whitewashing the floor is a good way to create that look.

Furthermore, new processes have made whitewashing much easier to deal with. After the floor is whitewashed, you can then polyurethane it. Polyurethane is a liquid plastic that forms a protective shell over the floor. So, you won’t actually have to reapply the whitewash every few years as the homeowners used to. Now, you can whitewash it once and seal it. It will last for years and years with very little maintenance. It’s the look of a classic home with the ease of a modern one.

Categories Hardwood

Which Hardwood Floors Survive Dogs The Best?

If hardwood floors have any natural enemies, it is dogs and cats. Dogs are typically a little harder on floors than cats. They’re more likely to urinate on a hardwood floor, and they tend to be heavier. So, their claws dig a little bit harder into the hardwood floor. Those are the two big dangers from dogs: claws and urine. There are different woods that will hold up better than others; there are also ways to treat the wood to make it more resilient to dogs.

Harder Woods

Woods are ranked on the janka hardness scale. The scale measures the amount of force needed to press a metal ball halfway into the wood. It’s an odd way to measure but all you need to know is where the woods rank relative to others. White oak and red oak are generally around 1300 on the hardness scale. They are the most common woods used for American hardwood floors. For contrast, Brazilian cherry is 2820 on the scale. Brazilian ebony is near the top of the scale. It’s about 3692 on the scale.

For several reasons, imported hardwoods tend to be harder than domestic woods. So, if you’re looking for the wood most likely to stand up to your dog the longest, you should probably consider something imported. Hickory is typically 1820 on the hardness scale; it’s the hardest widely-available flooring wood produced in the United States.

Textured Finishes

Textured woods are a little easier on the dogs because they have something that they can grip as they walk around. Your dogs will be less likely to slide around on the floor trying to gain traction. Your dogs will likely appreciate that, but also, it will reduce the amount of scratching. Textured woods that have knots, burls, holes, and scrapes will also hide scratches better. If the hardwood is already finished in a rustic manner, a few more scratches won’t stand out.

Prefinished or Site-Finished?

Prefinished hardwood is finished in a factory with a heat-cured finish. It is a very thick and hard finish that will last a long time. A site-finished floor is typically finished with polyurethane that will scratch a little bit faster. However, it can be difficult or even impossible to sand and repair prefinished hardwood. Depending on the hardwood, it could be more hassle than it’s worth. A site-finished floor can be screened and refinished fairly easily.

The finish on the floor will also be what protects it from urine. These are a few of the things to consider when choosing a hardwood floor.

Categories Hardwood

Designers Are Installing Multiple Kinds of Hardwood in One Home

The most common method for installing a hardwood floor is to choose a type of hardwood that will cover your entire floor. If you want to have hardwood in your kitchen and your living room, you would likely choose the same type for both rooms. They would be stained and sealed the same as well. However, new trends have emerged of mixing hardwood floors for different rooms. For example, you might have a white oak in the kitchen and red oak in the living room. That trend grew for a while and has naturally evolved into mixing different hardwoods in the same room.

How Did It Start?

The trend of mixing different hardwoods in the same room began the way many trends begin; it began with people attempting to save money while staying stylish. Since wood is cut, shipped, and processed in batches, there will always be little bits of wood left over after each order. For example, if a white oak tree produces 500 square feet of wood planks and a customer orders 450 square feet of white oak, there will be 50 square feet left over. That’s not enough to cover more rooms. So, a supplier might sell that 50 square feet at a steep discount.

Customers would then buy that small amount of hardwood and mix it with odds and ends from other batches of hardwood.The result is an eclectic look of different woods in one room. The style also evokes the look of many older homes and cabins. Early American homeowners didn’t have the money to be picky about their choice of hardwood. So, these early homes often had floors that were patchworks of different hardwoods.

How Does It Work?

There are a couple of basic ways to employ this trend. You could create blocks of different wood on the floor. So, you would have a block of white oak, a block of hickory, a block of ebony, and so on. That is the patchwork look. It can be employed to great effect, especially if you have similar amounts of each kind of wood. The look is similar to a checkerboard.

Alternately, you can install the different types of wood in haphazard ways. Installing the wood on two different planks and attempting to keep two planks of the same wood from touching will create a more rustic look. It looks less intentional and more rustic, which is a trend in and of itself.

Categories Hardwood

The Price of Engineered Hardwood vs Solid Plank

There are more hardwood flooring options than ever. Also, as manufacturing processes become more automated, the price tends to fall somewhat. However, solid plank hardwood remains the standard bearer in the industry. The highest priced and most sought-after hardwood floors are solid plank. They are, as the name implies, planks of solid wood. For example, a white oak hardwood plank would be a single plank of oak cut from an oak tree. Engineered hardwood, on the other hand, is made of several layers. There would be a thin layer on top of your preferred oak. This layer would be stained and sealed like any other hardwood floor. Below that would be layers of plywood, typically of a more affordable wood. They might even have a softwood under the layer of hardwood. Finally, there might be a bottom layer that is waterproof or vaporproof. This new type of construction has many practical benefits. It also might save you some money.

 

The Costs

 Obviously, prices tend to change based on the availability of certain woods. A solid hardwood floor will cost you between $3 and $10 per square foot. A rare, imported wood or a reclaimed wood might cost you more than that. Something common and domestic such as white oak might cost you on the lower half of that spectrum. Alternately, an engineered hardwood floor will cost between $2 and $10 per square foot. If you are looking for something like white oak, it will again be on the lower half of that spectrum.

So, depending on supplier, you could save a dollar or two per square foot in your home. In the United States, the average home square footage is 2,600 square feet. The average living room for those homes is 319 square feet. That means that engineered hardwood could save you $300 to $600 on your living room alone. If you want to do hardwood flooring in every room of your house, you could save $2,600 to $5,200 per square foot on engineered hardwood. These are just generalities, obviously. Every home will be different, and so will every type of wood.

 

Installation Costs

 There are differences in installation as well. Solid plank hardwood flooring has to be affixed to a subfloor. If you have a quality subfloor already, that won’t be an issue. However, if you want to put wood planks in the basement, garage, or attic, there might not be a subfloor there. That will mean you have to have one installed. That will add to your costs as well. An engineered hardwood floor, on the other hand, can be installed directly on top of your existing floor.

Categories Hardwood

Is white oak hardwood flooring pet friendly?

White oak is one of the hottest floor trends right now but you may be wondering if its a good option for your pets. White oak is a great choice for homes with pets because of a few key reasons. It is durable and stronger than a maple or birch but doesn’t test as high on the janka scale as hickory.

The grain pattern in white oak works well for homes with pets. Depending on the cut pattern of your white oak you may see different grain patterns but all white oak has rich open grains. These grains are ideal for masking scratches from your pets nails. The scratches and dents will blend into the wood. Also if you can choose longer boards this will help keep your eye from stopping at the seams which can cause you to notice more of the wear and tear on your floor.

The finish option you use may also affect how the floor holds up to animals. Wire brushing is one option you may want to consider. This gives the floor a lot of texture which can help hide scratching and fur. Matte finishes are also great for masking scratches. Do not get a high gloss floor if you have pets, you will see every scratch.

The character of the wood adds a lot of what we love to white oak but also works great for hiding imperfections. Because the white oak planks are “busy” the scratches and dents are not as noticable. The grade of white oak you choose will affect what character marks are present.

If you want to stain your white oak you will want to keep your pets in mind. Dark floors and white dogs are not a great combination, the fur will stand out in the contrast. If you are interested in staining you may want to do a nice neutral stain, a light brown or one of the trendy grays that are talking the industry by storm.

White oak is a great option for your home and pets. White oak isn’t popular just for its looks, its popular because it is a great wood for creating a lifetime floor.

Categories Hardwood

Radiant Heating & Wood Floors

Radiant heating is an efficient way to heat your home and gives your home a wonderful cozy feel. Space heating is costly and inefficient. Forced air and baseboard heating are good options but there is still room for improvement. Radiant heating may be something you have some questions about but after we go over the common questions, information and other specifics.

How does radiant heating work?

Radiant floors heat the house from the ground up. There are heating coils or water tubes installed in the floor to radiate heat through the room and warm it. This type of heat works similar to how the oven heats the house. Heating coils use electricity while water tubes can be heating with different techniques like gas or wood fire.

Cost of radiant heating

Radiant heating and the forced air cost comparisons are a big concern for homeowners. This is an important are to consider when deciding if radiant heating is right for you. Radiant heat can cut your heating bill by up to 50 percent. Radiant heat cuts out the air ducts which loss a lot of heat. Attics and basements are cold and the heating vents running through these spaces can cool significantly Radiant heat also eliminates the stratification. Stratification is what happens when the cool air falls as the warm air rises. These can create drafts and additional issues.

Base-boarding heat is another heating option that is commonly considered and used. When radiant heat and baseboard heat are compared radiant heat comes out on top again. Baseboard heating again falls short of being as efficient as radiant heating. Baseboard heating has to combat against large windows especially in cold spells. Baseboard heating does have its advantages but is also very costly.

Floor based heating has been studied for efficiency and performance. The Scientific American stated that occupants feel warmer at a lower temperature with radiant heating. This form of heating transmits heat at 15 percent greater efficiency.

Forced air is still the most popular way to heat a home but radiant heat offers a lot of benefits. Radiant heating can be installed under a lot of different flooring types including real hardwood floors, engineered wood and even some laminate flooring choices. Radiant heating can make your home feel cozy and warm all winter long while reducing costs.

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