Buying Tips for Hardwood Flooring
Factory Finish vs. Custom Sand & Finish on Site
You should feel comfortable with either choice. However, factory finishing offers many nice advantages. Factory finished flooring is inspected for defects at the mill so you receive first choice every time. On-site finishing depends on the quality of the workmanship that day.
Factory finished flooring usually installs more quickly and without the dust and odors that are involved with on-site finishing. However, even though factory finished flooring comes in a variety of colors, on-site finishing allows for closer color match with existing woodwork or cabinets.
Both factory finishes and on-site finishes are available in either high gloss or matte. Both types have exciting new finishes developed with space age technology. These finishes are not like Grandma’s old wood floors because they require no waxing.
Engineered products install where no solid hardwood dares to go
Prior to the development of engineered hardwood flooring, hardwood products could not be installed on slab or in your basement without a special subfloor system. Now you can enjoy real hardwood flooring in those areas without all that fuss and expense. A special cross-ply construction eliminates the problem of expansion and contraction usually associated with solid hardwood.
Don’t become overly concerned with thinner or thicker top wood layers associated with engineered products because it’s the finish you are walking on. Generally speaking you won’t need to re-sand and finish these products; just re-coat them unless you need to change the color.
Special considerations when selecting hardwood flooring
Direct sunlight can affect the color of hardwood stains, therefore closing curtains or shades during peak periods will reduce damage. Area rugs left in place for extended periods of time may expose a shading difference once they are removed from the remainder of the floor.
Large pets with sharp toenails can also damage even the best finishes.
ANDERSON / ARMSTRONG / BRUCE / CHESAPEAKE / L & M FLOORING / MANNINGTON
Buying Tips for Carpet & Rugs
Don’t take the quality of your carpet cushion lightly
The performance of many carpets will hinge on the performance of the cushion. Spending a few extra dollars on cushion can mean extra years of performance for your carpet. Some carpet warranties also hinge on the grade of cushion you select. Carpet cushion affects the luxury feel underfoot, quietness, resilience, cleaning, insulation, and, ultimately, the life of your carpet. Crushing or flattening of your carpet fiber causes it to look ugly long before its useful wear life is over. Quality cushion will help resist this condition.
Don’t judge the quality by feel alone
Thick and luxurious carpet can fool you at times. Determine the performance you want and the conditions affecting your carpet. A tighter twisted fiber doesn’t feel as soft but it will generally give you better performance over the life of the carpet. A tightly twisted yarn will resist soiling, matting and crushing. When a yarn is not tightly twisted it may feel more luxurious but it will tend to crush and flatten out more quickly.
Read the labels
Generally speaking you can review the stain resistance, anti-static claims and wear warranties right on the back of the sample. You also will see the type of fiber (nylon, polyester, polypropylene, etc.), the face weight, density, and twist.
There is no substitute for a knowledgeable sales person
As you can see, there are a wide variety of issues to resolve in buying the best carpet for your needs. The performance and quality characteristics of carpet vary more widely than that of other flooring materials, and a knowledgeable sales person will help you match up your performance needs.
MILIKEN – CALLAWAY DESIGN CENTER / MOHAWK SMART STRAND / SHAW ANSO COLOR WALL / SHAW MARK ANYTHING GOES / SHAW BELLA / SHAW FOUNDATIONS & PHILADELPHIA COMMERCIAL
Buying Tips for Ceramic & Porcelain Tile
The correct subfloor structure is critical to performance
Ceramic tile, more than any other form of flooring, requires the proper subfloor system and setting materials. A double subfloor system with the total thickness of 1-1/4″, over floor joists 16″ on center is required. The top subfloor layer should be exterior-grade plywood or an underlayment specifically designed for ceramic tile installation-like cementous backerboard.
Special setting materials are available which will allow ceramic tile installations over existing floors that are solid and already meet the above requirements. Failure to provide a sturdy base can cause grout to crack and release or tile to crack.
Although many ceramic tiles look the same, there are quality differences
The quality of raw materials, the firing process, and the sophistication of glazing applications that create realism will determine the quality of the finished product. These quality differences are often reflected in the price.
Selecting the right surface glaze is an important step when selecting floor tile
Floor tiles are rated for glaze wear and slip resistance, which are important factors to consider. Glaze ratings should exceed 3 for residential applications with the exception of bath areas that can use tiles rated 2. Tiles with a slip resistant rating of 0.5 or better should work well in most indoor residential applications.
Use caution when selecting tile for installations outdoors. Unglazed quarry tiles, tiles with heavily textured surfaces, or porcelain paver tiles, all with slip resistant ratings of 0.6 or greater are possibilities. They must also be frost-resistant.
Request the best in setting materials
New latex modified mortars and grouts provide better strength while also allowing greater flexibility.
Dropping objects on ceramic tile – particularly heavy ones – can chip even the best tiles.
AMERICAN OLEAN / CHESAPEAKE / FLORIA TILE / INTERCERAMIC / MARAZZI
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