The Flooring Girl http://theflooringgirl.com We bring the flooring store to your door Sun, 24 May 2015 00:55:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Does dark hardwood scratch more easily than light hardwood?http://theflooringgirl.com/hardwood-flooring/dark-hardwood-scratch-easily-light-hardwood.html http://theflooringgirl.com/hardwood-flooring/dark-hardwood-scratch-easily-light-hardwood.html#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 02:53:44 +0000 http://theflooringgirl.com/?p=5148 Yes, and no.  Technically, the color of the wood has no impact on how much the floor scratches.  However, darker floors tend to show scratches, dirt, dents, footprints and imperfections more. So what impacts the scratching on wood? Primarily the finish of the wood, and the wood species (i.e. how hard is the wood and […]

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Yes, and no.  Technically, the color of the wood has no impact on how much the floor scratches.  However, darker floors tend to show scratches, dirt, dents, footprints and imperfections more.

Do dark hardwood floors show scratches more

So what impacts the scratching on wood?

Do dark hardwood floors show dirt morePrimarily the finish of the wood, and the wood species (i.e. how hard is the wood and how strong is the graining (stronger graining hides scratches more).  You can read more about the hardness of wood species here.  You can learn more about finishes here.  And, of course, heavier traffic impacts the wood.

 

 

Why do dark hardwoods show scratches more?

are dark hardwoods harder to cleanMost floors in the US are oak (which are naturally light).  If they are dark, that’s because they have a stain on top. The stain is topical, so when you scratch through the stain, the original color of the wood is revealed.  Hence, when you have a dark stain, you notice the color difference more vs. a light stain that is more similar to the underlying wood.  Regardless of species, natural (i.e. no stain) will show scratches less.

 

 

 

Why do dark hardwood floors show dirt and foot prints more?

dark hardwood flooring ebony westchester NYDents and cracks, a natural characteristic of wood, are magnified on dark floors, especially those with a high gloss finished.  In fact, dust, dirt and damage show more on dark flooring due to the contrast in color between the dirt and the stain color.  Also, darker staining hides the graining more (which many prefer) and makes the color of a wood plank look more uniform.  This, in turn creates less camouflage for the dirt and dust bunnies.  (On the other hand, darker stains do cover up knots and natural gaps in wood (from typical expansion/contraction and aging of wood)).

 

What can you do to protect you dark hardwood from scratches?

There are a few solutions to help reduce scratches in dark hardwood floors.  This advice really applies to all types of hardwood – light and dark and will help make all types of wood floors look better for longer.

how to maintain dark hardwood flooring1.  Use oil based polyurethane for longer life

Oil based poly lasts longer than water borne poly.  It will also give you a darker and richer look.  You can learn more about that here.

 

2.  Add an extra coat of poly

Your floors will last much longer if you use 3 coats of polyurethane (rather than 2).  For extremely busy households, you may even consider 4 coats, but generally 3 is perfectly sufficient.

3.  Use a satin finish (or even a matte finish)

Not only is satin finish more stylish, but it’s more practical too. The shinier you go, the more the dents, scratches and dirt will show.  You can read more about hardwood sheen levels here.

 

4.  Periodically screen and recoat floors

dark hardwood flooringThis is one of the best kept secrets in the hardwood industry.  If you screen and recoat (or buff) your floors once every 3-4 years BEFORE your floors get scratches through the color, you can prolong the life of your floors and avoid a full sand and refinish.

 

5.  Add area Rugs and entry mats.

This is especially important for entryways where water, snow and salt may be brought into the house. This is even more important if you have pets as they don’t typically (in my experience) remove their shoes (LOL).  It is also very important for areas that get heavier traffic and chair movement (e.g. your dining room table/areas where you typically eat and move chairs, family rooms).

 

6.  Remove your shoes

Shoes probably do the most damage to our floors (due to the dirt and small rocks that get caught in them, as well as some of the nails that may wear through as your heal wear down.  Removing your shoes and wearing socks or slippers can have a huge impact on keeping your floors in great shape.  I’m amazed at how much better floors look (and how much longer they last) in homes where my customers remove their shoes.

 

7.  Avoid chairs with wheels

dark oak hardwood- espressoYes, chairs with wheels can be deadly for hardwood floors, especially dark hardwood floors.  Dirt and grit gets caught in the wheels and this will wear down the polyurethane on the floors.  If you have rolling chairs consider adding an area rug.

 

8.  Clean dark floors regularly and with a swiffer or soft duster.

Keeping dirt and grit off the floors will not only make the floors cleaner and healthier, but it will prolong the life of your floors.  Use swifters or soft dusters.  Avoid brooms as these can cause scratches in your floors.

 

Are dark hardwoods right for you and your household?

ebony hardwood floors darkOnly you can answer this question.  Dark hardwood are certainly chic and stylish.  Currently, in Westchester County and the NYC Metro area, dark hardwood floors are the most popular.  But, they can be a bit more challenging to maintain. I generally advice customers to get what they love, but they need to make the call on what’s more important – style or practicality. Sometimes, a good solution for those that prefer dark but also want easier to maintain is to go a shade or two lighter.

I think this customer summed it up well from apartmenttherapy.com

I bought my house with light hardwood floors. In three years, my 4 year old and three cats have managed to destroy them! I have another little girl on the way and I’m dreaming of the day when the kids get older and I can have them redone…DARK. So basically I think you should get what you like because they will have to be redone someday anyway.”

Dark hardwoods do show scratches and dirt more than light hardwood floors do.  Importantly, there are ways to help prolong their life and minimize the impact.  Are dark hardwood floor right for you?

Related articles

 

When you’re looking to refinish your hardwood floors in Westchester County, give The Flooring Girl a call at 914-937-2950.  (Out of area callers, please dial 914-407-3899).

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Does dark hardwood scratch more easily than light hardwood?

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10 tips on buying hardwood floors – from an insiderhttp://theflooringgirl.com/blog/10-tips-on-buying-hardwood-floors-from-an-insider.html http://theflooringgirl.com/blog/10-tips-on-buying-hardwood-floors-from-an-insider.html#comments Sun, 19 Apr 2015 01:55:12 +0000 http://theflooringgirl.com/?p=5889 Hardwood flooring buying tips Hardwood flooring can add beauty and warmth to your Westchester home.  It can also be a large and a long term investment.  This choice can impact the style (as well as value) of your home, and you’ll be living with it for years to come.  It’s ideal to thoroughly research the […]

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Hardwood flooring buying tips

10 tips for choosing hardwood floors

Hardwood flooring can add beauty and warmth to your Westchester home.  It can also be a large and a long term investment.  This choice can impact the style (as well as value) of your home, and you’ll be living with it for years to come.  It’s ideal to thoroughly research the type of wood and the hardwood flooring contractor you’ll use.  Sometimes, making the choice can feel overwhelming, especially when one ventures into a hardwood flooring store.  This hardwood flooring guide can help you think through the choices.

 

1.  Understand your sub-floor BEFORE you start

  • tips for selecting hardwood solid vs engineered hardwood flooringDo you have a plywood sub-floor or concrete?  You should know your options and limitations before you start as this can have a big impact on the form of wood you choose/type of construction (e.g. solid hardwood flooring vs engineered) and your budget.

 

  • This can help determine the installation method – nail, glue, float

 

  • Generally, if you have a plywood sub-floor, solid hardwood flooring will be a better option for you, especially longer-term.

 

  • If you have a concrete sub-floor, your options are a bit more limited and/or expensive.  First, if you want to do solid hardwood, you would need to first add a plywood sub-floor. This can add to your cost, as well as your height.  If you have engineered flooring, that can go directly on top of the concrete, but if your sub-floor is uneven and/or unsmooth, you may need to spend some additional money on floor prep.

 

  • should you install cabinets for floors firstHeight constraints – You should investigate if you will have any height restrictions.  Solid hardwood is generally thicker than engineered wood.  Solid is 3/4″ thick and engineered generally ranges from 3/8″ to 1/2″ thick (and if you are adding plywood, that adds an additional 3/4″ on top of that.  Check out your door heights (especially if they are exterior doors which a much more challenging to cut, especially if they are metal; interior wood doors can generally be cut, but they will add to your cost).  Will you have any tripping hazards by adding the wood?  This could happen if you are adding it some areas and not others, but the more commonly the issue comes up if you add height near steps so that it may change the height of 1st or last step.  Also, if the hardwood is going in the kitchen (and you are not remodeling the whole kitchen), check to see how the height will be next to the cabinets and even more importantly next to the appliances.  Is there enough clearance height?  Will any of the appliances get locked in (check the dishwasher…it might be fine now, but what if it needs to be repaired or replaced 5 years down the line?)

 

 

2.  Determine general scope and objectives before you start

  • tips for choosing hardwood flooringWhat area(s) do you want to add hardwood flooring to?   Is it the whole house?  1st floor?  2nd floor?  Living room/dining room?  Bedrooms?  Will the kitchen be part of this work?  What about the steps?  If your current budget won’t allow you to do your dream list, what are your priorities?  (Remember, you can do some now and more later).

 

  • If you have hardwood in other places, it’s generally better to match, especially on species and color.  If you have solid hardwood, recognize that you generally can sand and refinish the wood to be a different stain color, if that’s what you would prefer.  You don’t have to be locked in to the current color.  (And recognize that it is much less expensive to refinish existing hardwood than to replace it).

 

  • ebony hardwood floors darkWhat colors do you generally like? Do you prefer dark hardwoods, light, mid tones, red tones?  Now, this can also be impacted by rooms/rooms of the house you are doing. If it’s a kitchen, consider the color of your cabinets (or what color  they be if you are replacing them) so that you consider the color of the hardwood vs the cabinets (hint: contrasting is better…and white cabinet go with virtually any color hardwood).  How much light do you get in the area?  How large (or small is the space)?

 

3.  Determine your general budget

  • tips on buying hardwood floorsAs a first stab, determine how much you can or are willing to spend.  What is your upper limit?  Be realistic with what you can afford.  How much do you have saved and/or allocated for work in your house?  Are you expecting a bonus (or a refund check for your taxes?  Do you know how much it will be (or have a range).  What portion of that will be dedicated for this project?

 

  • Remember that you don’t need to spend your full budget.  But, also bear in mind that the cost of the project may exceed what you have budgeted, and you may need to make choices.  This may entail only doing some portions now and others later.  Or, it may mean making sacrifices and choices on type of wood you do.  (Personally, I’d prefer to have my customers “do it” right and either wait or do in phases rather than feel they are making sacrifices.).  If hardwood is too expensive, you may consider doing laminate or carpet…or doing hardwood in some areas and carpet in others (e.g. bedrooms).

 

  • cost of refinishing hardwood in westchesterBear in mind that many underestimate the cost of hardwood.   Sometimes, this is because they see a cheap or sale price item in Home Depot (or another lower end store).  Often, it’s because they see in a store (or online) the cost of the hardwood, but they don’t factor in all of the costs such as installation/labor, rip up/haul away of existing flooring, delivery, transition pieces, base molding/shoe molding.  refinishing steps, moving furniture.   In addition, customers will often take a per square foot price, and then measure their room for square feet and do the math. But, they often forget about the closets and/or hallways, as well as the fact that you need to add in an extra 10% for waste.  Sometimes, there is a lot of floor prep needed.  So, many underestimate the costs of installing hardwood until they get an actual full estimate.  And, sometimes, at this point, they need to rethink the scope of their project and/or wait until they have more savings.

 

  • Determine what you would like the professionals do vs. what areas you plan to do.  In general, it’s best to leverage the expertise of the professional contractors, but there are some areas that can be done by homeowners if they want to save money.  For example, who would you like to move the furniture?  Who will rip up the carpet?  Determine whether it’s more important to save money or time.  Know what you’re capable of…some things end up taking a lot longer than what homeowners expect.  Other times, budget is the constraining factor, and doing some of these tasks yourself may enable you to get the floor that you prefer (or do the full area).

 

 

4.  Do some research on local flooring stores/contractors – involve them early in the process

  • design consultation for hardwood flooringAsk your friends, realtor, other contractors who they would recommend.  Some people just call and ask their friends and trusted advisors; others ask questions on their facebook page or better yet in their local facebook groups.  Some of our local moms groups are pretty active on facebook and they will recommend great contractors (as well as ones to stay away from).

 

  • Check out Angie’s list.  You do need to pay a small fee to read the reviews on Angie’s List, but if you are doing a big project, it is generally worth it to spend a little of bit of money (e.g. $15-$40) to make sure you get the best contractors.  This will ultimately save you money.  Bear in mind, that you can buy just a 1 month subscription and sometimes, they run special promotions.  Generally, you will find the better contractors on Angie’s List.  You can read the reviews and many of them are fairly in depth.

 

  • Google local flooring stores, especially reviews.  So you could type in “Town XYZ hardwood flooring stores” or “Reviews for town XYZ flooring stores.” (Or after you find some flooring stores, google “XYZ store reviews.”

 

  • hardwood flooring selection tipsGenerally, you’ll get a higher quality product, better value, better workmanship and stronger communication when working with one place, rather than dividing the job up between materials vs labor.  You will also have someone who can give you more holistic advice on the combination of costs, so that you can choose wisely.  There are plenty of instances where customers may think they are saving money by going to a cheaper material, and then they learn later that this choice costs them more in labor.  So, they really haven’t saved anything and in the process received lower quality materials.  Be sure to look at the WHOLE PROJECT price.  Don’t focus on line items, as some stores charge more some items and less on others.  Focus on the whole price and make sure you are comparing apples to apples. 
    • I will give this example about Home Depot’s carpet pricing structure to illustrate a point.  Home Depot typically advertises a small charge for carpet installation (sometimes $39 or $99 or something like that).  Do you really think a good carpet installer will install carpet for low prices like that?  (Not even a desperate carpet installer would work for that price?)  So, they stuff the costs somewhere else.  Instead, they charge the customer about double for the carpet padding…and that’s how they pay for the installation.  So, asking how much someone charges for installation and then comparing it to Home Depot’s is the wrong approach.  Asking how much someone charges for the combo of carpet/padding/installation is a better approach.  But, even here, there can be differences as some carpets are 12 ft in width and some are 15 ft in width, and so you need different amounts.  Some places may charge more for steps, but less for rip up…or vice versa.  So, it’s best to look at the full prices…because in the end, that is what you will pay, even if their “apparent” labor rate is lower, their full price may be higher.

 

5.  Beware that cheaper is not better…in fact, it’s often worse.

  • Yes, generally, you do get what you pay for.  Cheaper woods are generally cheaper for a reason.  Many are cheaper forms of wood (e.g. engineered vs. solid), have lower grades of wood (e.g. more knots, color variation, more shorts, lower grade species), have inferior milling (i.e. the edges are not straight and hence you will have more gaps which you’ll see during the installation process), and/or inferior finishes (i.e. they will scratch more easily).

 

  • westchester bamboo flooring species westchesterBe very careful with Bamboo.  As a general rule, bamboo does not hold up well to foot traffic nor water.  And, many bamboos, especially those carried by the Big Box stores, are made in China. (Translation: this usually means they have formaldehyde in them.)  They are cheaper than standard woods, and there is a reason for that…they generally don’t last and they can not be refinished.  So, when the bamboo dents and scratches, you will either need to live with it or replace it (and replacing it costs more than initial installation as you will now need to rip it up, and if it’s glues, you will need to smooth out and prep the floor.  Note: strand woven bamboo holds up better, but some of these have issues as well…and these will often cost as much, if not more than oak.  I will reiterate, “you get what you pay for.”  If it’s much cheaper, it is probably inferior.

 

  • Lumber Liquidators…need I say more?  Well, I will just say a bit more, besides the obvious of “you get what you pay for.”  First, in case you missed the 60 minutes episode on Lumber Liquidators, here’s a link.  This is not the first time that there have been allegations against them for dangerous levels of formaldehyde.  Since 2013, there is another ongoing investigation on their engineered hardwood floors.  After the brouhaha from the March 1st, 2015 60 Minutes episode, there is now a federal investigation underway.  But, what about their solid hardwood?  In our experience, I will say that the samples in the store look amazing.  But, the milling has been very poor making installation very challenging and the final work product is not good as the wood is uneven.  (We no longer install their products and haven’t for years).  You can see more in this video put together by some hardwood flooring installation experts on their “top of the line wood.”  I will also say that I participate in some of the online flooring forums, and every week, I see multiple complaints about Lumber Liquidators wood as well as customer service and non-responsiveness to complaints.

 

  • hickory hardwood country naturalBe careful when buying on-line.  Often, you can not see the product in person.  So, the color/tone/graining may look different in person. There may be many more shorts as well as knots.  Often, most of these bargain products are seconds or thirds (meaning they are leftovers that were returned and/or shipped multiple times.  As a result, you will often need to order and extra 10-20% to account for more waste. 
    • Delivery and shipping is often more expensive and inconvenient.  Be careful to view the shipping costs before you decide.   Usually, they will not deliver to your door.  There may be extra charges for a lift gate, and you will need to meet them at the truck and carry this to your house (or apartment).  You may need to stay home from work for the day to do this (as you may get a large delivery window).  You often have little or no recourse if there are issues with the wood, even if that was caused by delivery issues.  Caveat emptor applies here as well.

 

6.  Style considerations – what are your preferences?

advice on picking hardwood flooringThere is no one size fits all.  This really depends on your style and tastes, as well as the style and decor of your home.  You can read more about the 2015 Hardwood flooring trends here, but I would encourage you to choose what you like best, even if it’s not one of the top trends.  It’s your home, and you need to love it.  Here are some things to consider.

  • Color – do you prefer light, dark, or mid tones.  Do you prefer brown tones or red tones (or a mix).  Do you prefer gray or whitish tones?  See above hardwood flooring trends for examples of the hot dark, gray and whitish tones.  See this article for the full breath of stain colors.

 

 

  • picking hardwood floors - tips and advicePlank width – That standard you see in many homes in Westchester is 2 1/4″ (for houses that already have hardwood).  Are you looking to match this or go for a contrast?  Often when installing new hardwood, most customers would prefer to go wider. 3 1/4 inch, 4 inch and 5 inch are very popular.  In general, wider makes your space look larger…unless it is “too wide” for your space.  So look at your floor plans and room dimensions.  If you are installing on a new floor (e.g.  if you already have hardwood on 1st floor and you are now adding it to the 2nd floor), it’s visually simple to change the plank size and go wider. But, if your flooring is going next to existing flooring, you need to consider how a change in width will look.  In some spaces, making a change works great, and sometimes, by altering the direction (e.g. going diagonal or just laying it at a right angle) will work very well.  This is a judgment call.

 

  • Pre-finished vs site-finished woods – see more below.

 

  • Texture – Do you prefer a smooth look?  Or do you like a distressed or handscraped look.  This is a matter of preference and style.  Here in the Westchester area, most customers prefer smooth (and finished on site).  Some like an old world oiled floor look.  In other parts of the country, handscraped (and distressed) is popular.  Some of this will also depend if you buying new hardwood vs refinishing existing hardwood.

 

7.  Family usage and Pets

tips for selecting hardwood - what is best type of hardwood for dogsIf you have a busy household (e.g. pets, kids, lots of foot traffic), you may want to consider the following.

 

8.  Prefinished vs. site finished

Hardwood flooring can either be pre-finished (i.e. finished in the factory) or site finished after it’s installed (sometimes referred to as unfinished). 

 

tips for getting best hardwood floorsThe advantages of pre-finished wood are:

  • Faster installation (as you avoid the sanding and refinishing process).
  • Harder finish as it has aluminum oxide applied at the factory.
  • Less messy/smelly as you avoid the dust and odor created during the sanding  & refinishing process.

 

 

 

The advantages of site finished are:

  • tips for choosing your hardwood floorsSmoother edges/no beveled edges – many prefer this look and feel it looks more real.  Color is more consistent (vs. with prefinished wood, you often see lines between the boards, and this is more noticeable in darker colors.)
  • Can make flooring more consistent with hardwood in other areas of the home
  • More impervious to moisture, and this is especially important in kitchens and entryways
  • Can test and customize the color – either to match to existing hardwood or to match to taste

You can read more about pre-finished vs site-finished hardwood flooring here.

 

9.  Special considerations

  • Radiant heat – If you’re installing radiant heat, there are extra considerations as many woods will not work over radiant heat.  In addition, you should not be using adhesive over radiant heat.  For solid oak, you will need to use rifted and quarter-sawn oak over radiant heat.  Some engineered hardwood floors are also approved for radiant heat.  But, be careful and do your research before making a mistake that may cause you to replace your floors.

 

  • VAT (vinyl asbestos tile), terrazo, terra cotta – If you currently have any of these on your floor, please recognize that removal of these materials may be very costly, may require special licenses to remove (and air quality testing).  They may also entail extra prep work as the floors may not be smooth was these materials are removed.  These can cost a lot extra to remove.

 

  • Sound transmission – If you live in Co-op or condo, and if you have restrictions on hardwood and sound transmission, you may want to consider a sound barrier such as a cork underlayment.  Please note that sound barriers generally require a floating floor.  (If you nail through the cork or other sound barrier, the nails puncture it allowing more sound to travel through, especially over time as the wood expands and contracts).

 

10.  Plan ahead on your timing – many underestimate the time frame

  • Westchester hardwood floors - oak flooringUnderstand how long things will take.  How long will it take to deliver the hardwood?  Allow time for this (it might take 1-2 weeks, but it can vary).  Allow time for acclimation (generally 2-7 days, pending on the species and width of hardwood).  How long will demo and install take?  This can vary based on scope of work.  If you are refinishing hardwood floors, how long will that take – learn more here.  Bear in mind that if you are refinishing the hardwood floors, most likely, you will need to be away during this process.  Many customers don’t realize this until they meet with me, and this may cause them to delay 2-6 months as they need to plan the work around a vacation.  So, plan ahead.  Get input and then figure out when is best for you and your family.

 

Conclusion:

Picking hardwood can be tricky, especially if you try to do it on your own.  It’s best to consult with the experts.  If you live in the Westchester County/Lower Fairfield CT area, I’d be happy to help.  Call The Flooring Girl at 914-937-2950 (Out of area, please call 914-407-3899.

 

When it comes to hardwood flooring, choose wisely.
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10 tips on buying hardwood floors – from an insider

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Hardwood floor refinishing FAQs – Everything you ever wanted to knowhttp://theflooringgirl.com/blog/hardwood-floor-refinishing-faqs-everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know.html http://theflooringgirl.com/blog/hardwood-floor-refinishing-faqs-everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know.html#comments Sun, 12 Apr 2015 12:01:48 +0000 http://theflooringgirl.com/?p=5999 Hardwood floor refinishing FAQs – my most popular articles This gathers my most popular hardwood floor refinishing articles of all time.  These are the frequently asked questions I get from my customers.  If you understand the pros/cons on different types of refinishing as well as the time frame, it will allow you to better choose […]

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Hardwood floor refinishing FAQs – my most popular articles

hardwood floor refinishing FAQsThis gathers my most popular hardwood floor refinishing articles of all time.  These are the frequently asked questions I get from my customers.  If you understand the pros/cons on different types of refinishing as well as the time frame, it will allow you to better choose the best option for you and your floors, as well as allow you to properly plan ahead.

 

This includes articles on the most popular stain colors, video blogs and a very detailed Q&A article (see the post on everything you ever wanted to know about hardwood floor refinishing).

 

Oil vs water based polyurethane - which is better for hardwood floorsOil based vs. water based polyurethane. Which is better for refinishing your hardwood floors?

 

How long does it take to refinish hardwood floors?

 

Can you change the color of your hardwood floors?

 

Hardwood floor stain color trends – What’s hot?

 

Can you refinish pine floorsShould I refinish or replace my hardwood floors?

 

If you have hardwood flooring underneath your carpet, is it better to refinish the hardwood or replace the carpet?

 

Can you refinish pine flooring?

 

What is a screen and recoat?  What does floor buffing mean?

 

Video blogs – Hardwood floor refinishing FAQ’s

 

FAQ’s for hardwood floor refinishing – everything you ever wanted to know

 

I hope this info is helpful for your hardwood refinishing projects.  If you live in Westchester County NY/Lower Fairfield County CT, feel free to call us at 914-937-2950. If you are calling outside of Westchester/Fairfield Counties, please contact us at 914-407-3899.

 

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Hardwood floor refinishing – FAQs – Everything you ever wanted to know

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Most popular hardwood flooring species and pictures.http://theflooringgirl.com/hardwood-flooring/most-popular-hardwood-flooring-species-and-pictures.html http://theflooringgirl.com/hardwood-flooring/most-popular-hardwood-flooring-species-and-pictures.html#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 22:22:24 +0000 http://theflooringgirl.com/?p=5931 What are the most popular choices for hardwood flooring species? There are many species of hardwood flooring, and I thought it would be helpful to help explain and visualize the different types.  There are pros and cons to each, and there is no “one size fits all.”  It depends on what you like and which […]

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What are the most popular choices for hardwood flooring species?

There are many species of hardwood flooring, and I thought it would be helpful to help explain and visualize the different types.  There are pros and cons to each, and there is no “one size fits all.”  It depends on what you like and which elements are most important to you as well as budget.  Understanding the characteristics, as well as the pros and cons, will help you select the ideal species for your home.

 

hardwood flooring species - Red Oak - Westchesterring red oak natural

Oak hardwood flooring

Oak is the most common type of hardwood in the United States, especially in Westchester county. Oak is generally less expensive (since it is more abundant) and it is usually the hardwood that you find in most homes…so if you are looking to match what you already have, chances are, it is oak. There is red oak and there is white oak, and you can learn more about the differences here.

 


dark oak hardwood- espressoOak flooring is very practical for many reasons. First, it is economical. Second, due to the strong graining of oak, it helps hide the scratches and dents better than most other hardwoods.  (Note: if you are not a fan of strong graining, oak is probably not the best choice for you). Third, oak absorbs stain very well, so it is easy to change the color when you are refinishing the floors. Here are some examples of oak flooring with different color stains. You can go from very light all the way to ebony.

 

Red Oak - Shaw Eagle Ridge- Westchester County Red Oak - Shaw Eagle Ridge mid tone - WestchesterRed Oak - Shaw Eagle Ridge mid tone - Westchester

 

 

 

 

 

Oak hides dents and scratches well making it a great option if you have dogs or a busy household.  You can learn more about types of hardwood, colors and finishes that are great for dogs here.

 

most popular species of hardwood flooringOak is a tree in the genus Quercus of the Beech family.  There are actually 600 species with red oak and white oak being the most popular, especially when it comes to flooring.  White Oak is the state tree for Connecticut, Illinois and Maryland; Red Oak is the state tree for New Jersey.  It’s important to note that red oak and white oak are the names of the trees and not the color of the woods.  They are named these due to the bark.  (But red oak tends to have pinkish undertones and white oak (which is a bit darker) more gold and brownish tones).

 

 

Maple natural select - Shaw - Westchester

Maple hardwood

 

Maple is slightly harder than oak is (1450 on Janka hardness scale vs. Red Oak at 1290) and it is light in color than oak. Maple hardwood generally comes from Canada and the northern US. Maple has light graining for a smoother and sleeker look. It’s more modern and contemporary while oak is more classic and traditional. Some customers prefer this light color and smoother look, while others feel it has less character. Maple is more expensive than oak and the difference varies pending on which grade of maple it is.

 

Maple with stain - Shaw Nantucket - WestchesterMaple tends to yellow a bit more over time, especially in rooms that have a lot of light. Maple does not absorb the stain as well as an oak does Because of this, maples with stains tend to have a bit of ‘blotchiness” in them…some people prefer this look; others think it looks fake. Maple just absorbs stains differently…and with some of the darker stains, they turn gray…which is a very stylized look. If you are looking for that hip gray look, maple is your best bet (it just doesn’t look the same on oak).

 

Maple character grade - Shaw With maple flooring, there is a wide variance on the grades of hardwood. Clear grade looks very clear and uniform, and if you are going for the modern look, definitely go for a clear grade (and beware…some samples are misleading). Clear grade costs a lot more…so if you are seeing major differences in prices across brands or companies, this is probably the reason why. Lower grades have a lot of color variation, darker boards and imperfections…which is great if you are going for more character, but won’t work if you want modern/contemporary.

 

Maple is the state tree for New York, Vermont and Wisconsin.  It typically grows to be 130 feet and does better in northern climates.  Sugar maple is tapped for its sucrose-containing sap to make maple syrup. It may take up to 30 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup.  A typical maple produces up to 12 gallons of maple syrup per year. Hard maple is also the standard wood for cutting boards since it imparts no taste to food and holds up well.  Gymnasium floors have maple.

 

Hickory - Shaw Jubilee - Westchester hardwood flooring

Hickory (sometimes called Pecan)

 

Hickory is also native to the US and looks fairly similar to oak in it’s color and graining, but it is significantly harder than oak (hickory is 1820 on the janka scale vs. red oak is 1290). Many hickories have a lot of color variation and some have knotting and differences in color even within a board. Because of hickory’s hardness and it’s ability to hide scratches and dents, it’s often a great choice for busy households and households with pets. Hickory is more expensive than oak.

 

hickory hardwood flooring armstrong country naturalHickory is grown in the Eastern US, principally in the Central and Southern states. Tree heights range from 60 to 120 feet. They typically grow slowly and often it takes 200 years for the trees to mature. The Westward pioneers used hickory for their wagon wheels. Hickory chips and sawdust are used to flavor meet by smoking. Pecan is a species of hickory native to southcentral and southeastern regions US. Pecan was a Native American name given to any nut hard enough to require cracking with a stone. Andrew Jackson was nicknamed “Old Hickory” because of his toughness during disputes. He was “tough as old hickory.”

 

 

Bamboo -  natural horizontal - Westchester NY

Bamboo flooring

 

Technically bamboo is a grass, but it can often have the hardness of a hardwood and has really risen in popularity the last few years given its exotic look, lower prices and it’s eco-friendly story.

 

Bamboo - carmelized - Westchester countyestchester county bambooBamboo is often a bit less expensive than oak, but prices can vary based on the type of bamboo and quality. Bamboo, more than any other species (because it’s imported from China) tends to have the greatest variation on quality and if you are considering bamboo, I suggest you do your homework. If you are looking at a very low priced bamboo, chances are it is low quality and will dent very easily, so tread with caution here.

 

bamboo - strand woven natural - westchester Strand woven bamboo is very strong and durable (and it’s significantly harder than oak). It also costs more and looks different than the bamboo you may be accustomed to but, if you are looking for a more durable bamboo, this is the way to go.

 

One of the nice benefits of bamboo flooring is that the solid version can actually be glued to concrete floors, so if you live in a condo or co-op with concrete floors, this may be a cost effective option for you.

 

While some bamboos are technically harder than oak, many on the market place (especially the carmelized/darker ones) are not. And bamboo tends to show dents and scratches much more than an oak, and it tends to be even more sensitive to water from minor leaks or pet stains. Oak is very easy to sand and refinish, while bamboo isn’t. Further, bamboo does not tend to absorb the stains nor the polyurethane very well, so you are much better off getting prefinished bamboo (vs. for other hardwoods, either type will work).

 

Note: Be very careful about buying bamboo that is made in China. Not only do these products tend to be inferior, but there may be a health risk (w/ formaldehyde) due to the adhesives used. In my opinion, it is not worth the risk to save a few dollars.

 

Westchester hardwood flooring - Brazilian Cherry

Brazilian Cherry

 

As the name implies, Brazilian Cherry comes from Brazil and many fall in love with this beauty due to it deep red color (and it tends to darken and deepen with age) and it’s smooth graining. Brazilian cherry is rather hard (2350 on the janka hardness scale). Brazilian cherry tends to have a lot of color variation across the planks which some customers love and some hate (and the samples are often misleading).

 

Brazilian Cherry is often called Jatoba (the spanish name).

 

Brazilian cherry hardwood darkens with age (actually almost all hardwoods darken with age, but the exotic/South American species darken the most. Be careful if you have area rugs…if you lift them up, you will see the wood here is light than the other areas. But, don’t worry, over time (usually around 6 months), it will catch up. Also, because Brazilian cherry darkens over time, some customers get confused and concerned when they see the hardwood when it’s initially installed as it is often lighter than they imagined/remembered, but it will darken and deepen over time so not to worry.

 

brazilian walnut

Brazilian Walnut

 

Brazilian Walnut is also very rich looking and has similar smooth graining to Brazilian Cherry, but it is brown in tones. Brazilian Walnut is often called Ipe or Lapacho (spanish) and it is extremely hard…one of the hardest hardwoods ~3,600 on the janka scale (almost 3 times as hard as red oak).

 

Brazilian Walnut is typically grown in Central and South America.  Sometimes, it’s challenging to visually distinguish Brazilian Walnut from Brazilian Teak (Cumaru) as they do look similar (and both are very hard and dense woods.  Brazilian Walnut tends to be darker than Brazilian Teak.  It also lacks the subtle vanilla/cinnamon scent that can detected when the wood is cut.  Because of it’s strength and low shrinkage, it’s often used in high end decking.

 

Brazilian Walnut also has large color variation and like Brazilian Cherry, it darkens significantly over time. Brazilian Walnut is generally more expensive than Brazilian Cherry and both are significantly more expensive than oak.

 

Pine Wood Flooring

can you refinish pine flooring - westchester NYPine is on the softer side of the hardness scale. It’s a soft wood, although its hardness varies by species. Most range from 380-870 on the Janka Scale. Notably heart pine (which is the heartwood and hence hardest section ) is much harder (1225). Softer pine tends to dent more easily from furniture and high heals.

 

Pine is a character wood. This gives the wood its authencity and helps hide dents and imperfections. Notably, in our area of Westchester County, many older homes (from the 1920’s and earlier) have pine floors. In Westchester, we also have many homes from the 1800’s and even several from 1700’s and these undoubtedly has some form (and more often forms) of pine. Pine was used in older homes as it is softer and the tools and milling capability wasn’t as strong. Older homes in Westchester tend to have Douglas Fir, Yellow Pine, and Eastern White Pine. Many of the boards were both wider and longer. Older homes tend to also have face nails.

 

I’ve had many customers ask me whether pine or old pine floors can be sanded and refinished. You can read more about that here.

 

douglas fir wood us species

Douglas Fir

This is a beautiful soft wood.  It’s a type of pine, and it’s also known as Oregon Pine or Douglas Spruce.  On the janka hardness scale, Douglas Fir is only 660, so it dents very easily.  Douglas fir beautiful with radiant gold an red undertones, and it’s usually with a vertical grain.  We typically find Douglas fir in older homes in Westchester County, especially on upper levels of homes.  They’ve often been there for 80-100+ years (so they’ve witnessed a lot of history)…many from the turn of the 20th Century and before.

 

 

douglas fir vertical grainDouglas fir is grown in the coast regions of the US, especially the Western US from California to Washington.  They are also grown as far up the coast as British Columbia.  It used to be a very popular wood because it yields more timber than any other North American tree.  In older homes, most of the planks are very long, and longer than what is typically milled today.  The picture on the left shows newly installed Douglas fir without a stain (i.e. natural).  But, typically, in most older homes with Douglas fir, it naturally looks darker as the wood has aged.  It would typically be a bit lighter than the above picture.  (The above picture appears to have a light Colonial Maple stain on it).

 

Douglas fir tends to darken a bit more than oak, and because the wood has often been in place for over 100 years.  When repair is needed, it’s a bit more challenging as fir is cut in different widths nowadays (so it needs to be custom milled down to size) and the new wood is lighter as it hasn’t aged for 100+ years.

 

If you have Douglas Fir or other types of pine flooring in your home, you may find this article helpful:  Can you refinish pine flooring?

 

Generally, Douglas fir is installed unfinished and then refinished on site.  It is rarely sold as a prefinished hardwood.  I generally advise my customers with Douglas Fir to use an oil based poly as it will hold up better.  And, as many of these woods have been in place for a while, there may not be many sandings left.

 

 

Heart pine

heart pine floor Heart pine is the hardest of the pines, and its hardness (1225) approaches that of red oak (1290).  Heart pine has a lot of character and knots, and it tends to come in long and often wide planks for a rustic look. While it is slightly softer than oak, the character nature of the knots and grain helps hide the dents.  This is a very stylized and rustic look. The floor has a lot of beautiful character and patina.  Because of that, it can be the center focal point, and it’s important to make sure the room does not have too many other distractions in it so that it doesn’t look too busy.

 

A heart-pine floor will resist dents and deep scratches better than a pine floor made from sapwood.  These floors naturally have a reddish-golden tone. Those that prefer their character and authenticity prefer to go natural (i.e. no stain).
 

Birch

birch hardwood grown in USBirch is also native to the US.  It looks similar to maple in terms of color and graining. It’s a big softer than oak and maple.  It’s a 1260 on the hardness scale.  Birch is often mistaken for maple and it does stain similar (it has the same challenges that maple does when it comes to staining and closed pores).   Like maple, it takes some of the brown stains and it turns them gray for a very stylish look. Many of the manufacturers use birch for that look, but as a less expensive substitute vs maple.

 

Birch is often used as a filler wood in engineered hardwoods and some plywoods. It is rarely used as an unfinished wood that is sanded on site.

 

us flooring birch hardwoodThere are multiple species of birch. There is paper birch and this is softest – only 910 on the janka hardness scale. Yellow birch is stronger – about the same hardness as red oak. Sweet birch is hardest variety with a 1470 on the hardness (vs. maple which is 1450). There is also “red birch,” but this is just the heartwood of yellow birch. As the name implies, it has more red tones.

 

Also, there is a unique type of birch that has a waviness or shimmer. It almost looks like flames (or waves) in the wood as the cuts are perpendicular to the grain (similar to quartersawn oak). It’s a characteristic of particular birch trees, not for all trees of the species. This is usually advertised as “flame birch” (or sometimes “curly birch” and more often seen in furniture than in flooring.  You can see an example of this on one of my pinterest boards.  (On this board, you can also see more pictures of other hardwood flooring species.

 

Ash

Ash hardwood flooringAsh is pale in color. The color is similar to the lighter pieces of white oak flooring and the graining is reminiscent of red oak, but a bit smoother and a bit more consistent. It is 1320 on the Janka hardness scale, so the hardness is in between these 2 species of oak. Ash absorbs and hold stains well.

 

Ash belongs to the Olive Family.  It’s grown in Eastern US, and generally grows 80 to 120 feet tall, typically 2 to 5 feet in diameter . Ash is used for baseball bats, hockey sticks, garden tool handles and skis as it’s a hard and sturdy wood.  Ash is also used in food containers as it has no taste.  Natural ash is typically lighter than it appears in this picture…think baseball bats.  It has good shock resistance (hence its use in tools and baseball bats).

 

 

American Cherry

American cherry before it has darkenedAmerican cherry is a beautiful wood that reddens with age. While it’s beautiful (and expensive), it’s rather soft and dents rather easily.  It’s only 995 on the Janka hardness scale.  Many get Brazilian Cherry and American Cherry mixed up.  Brazilian cherry is rather hard and is darker/redder and has more color variation than American Cherry.  Both American Cherry and Brazilian Cherry have a lot of color variation and they tend to darken and redden over time.  They are much more photo-sensitive than oak (sensitive to both natural and artificial light).

 

 

 

American cherry hardwood flooring briarcliff NY

American Cherry belongs to the Rose family and is mainly grown in the Northern and Lake states. The average tree is 60 to 70 feet.  The wood has a fine uniform, straight grain, satiny, smooth texture, and may naturally contain brown pith flecks and small gum pockets. American cherry is a bit challenging to stain and can turn out blotchy.

 

 

 

 

American cherry herringbone with borderBe careful with area rugs – it’s ideal to wait 6 months before putting these on top of American Cherry.  Because the wood darken from light, it’s typical to see the areas under the area rug as much lighter. Most of the darkening happens during the 1st 6 months; therefore, waiting 6 months before adding the rugs. Please note that American Cherry gets redder than the sample at the right shows.

 

 

American Walnut (sometimes called Black Walnut)

American Walnut popular hardwood speciesAmerican Walnut is another US hardwood that is beautiful and tends to be more expensive.  Sometimes, it’s called Black walnut, or simply walnut.   The color varies from a lighter pale brown to dark chocolate brown. Colors on some boards can have undertones of purple, gray or even a reddish cast.

 

Like American Cherry, American Walnut is rather soft – only 1010 on the hardness scale and many get this confused with Brazilian Walnut which is one of the hardest hardwoods (around 3600 on the Janka Scale).  American Walnut is also very photosensitive, and often gets lighter over time.

 

walut border with herringboneWalnut is often used as an accent in older, more traditional homes of Westchester that have borders. It contrasts well vs oak and maple.

 

Black Walnut is grown in the Eastern U.S., but principally region in the Central states. The average tree height of 100 to 150 feet. The tree trunk diameter is usually only 2-3 feet wide. The roots of the walnut tree release a toxic material which may kill other plants growing above them. The wood develops a rich patina that grows more lustrous with age. The wood is generally straight-grained, but sometimes with wavy or curly grain for more visual intrigue. This species produces a greater variety of figure types than any other as there a wide variations in both color and graining.

 

Be careful with area rugs – it’s ideal to wait 6 months before putting these on top of American Walnut (just as you would for American Cherry or Brazilian Walnut or Cherry).

 

 

Hardwood flooring species - which are most popularThere are many other species of hardwood flooring, but these are the most popular hardwoods in Westchester County.

 

I will do a follow up blog to show some of the other hardwoods including:

  • Brazilian Teak
  • Santos Mahogany
  • Caribbean Walnut
  • Tigerwood
  • Kempas
  • Brazilian Oak/Amendoim

 

Other useful articles:

When you’re ready for hardwood flooring or refinishing, give The Flooring Girl a call for a free design consultation 914-937-2950. If you’re calling outside of Westchester/Fairfield Counties, please contact us at 914-407-3899.

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Hardwood flooring species – pictures of hardwood species

 

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Stain protection for your carpethttp://theflooringgirl.com/carpet-and-runners/stain-protection-for-your-carpet.html http://theflooringgirl.com/carpet-and-runners/stain-protection-for-your-carpet.html#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 21:44:40 +0000 http://theflooringgirl.com/?p=5934 Does your carpet have good stain protection? When it comes to carpet, stain protection is very important. In fact, staining is usually the primary reason that carpets need to be replaced (along with odor). We know that stain protection is important to our customers, especially those with young kids and pets. That’s why virtually all […]

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Patterned carpets Westchester County NYDoes your carpet have good stain protection?

When it comes to carpet, stain protection is very important. In fact, staining is usually the primary reason that carpets need to be replaced (along with odor). We know that stain protection is important to our customers, especially those with young kids and pets. That’s why virtually all of the carpet we sell comes with stain protection.

 

Recently, Shaw upgraded their stain protection. Shaw is the only one in the industry that now places a warranty on their carpets for pet stains, human stains and even places a warranty on carpet placed on the steps. But, if you don’t believe me, check out these 2 videos.

 

To demonstrate how resistant their carpets are to stains, they created the world’s largest pie throwing contest. Check out how this carpet survives. See how well their carpet stands up to this…it’s AMAZING.

 

First – the world’s largest pie throwing contest…

 

 

 

stain protection for your carpet westchester county NYNext, check out this technical video with demonstrations. While not as dramatic as the pie throwing contest, the visual demonstrations will wow you. Here is link to Shaw’s R2X stain protection video

 

 

It’s quite impressive. Personally, I love Shaw carpets. They have so many soft and pretty ones. And, as you can see from the video, they are very practical, too.

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View Westchester Carpet in a larger map

 

Other useful articles:

Stain protection for your carpet. How well does your carpet stand up?

 

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Solid vs Engineered hardwood – which is better?http://theflooringgirl.com/hardwood-flooring/solid-vs-engineered-hardwood-better.html http://theflooringgirl.com/hardwood-flooring/solid-vs-engineered-hardwood-better.html#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 20:00:26 +0000 http://theflooringgirl.com/?p=4897 What’s the difference between solid hardwood and engineered hardwood flooring?  Which is better? Many of my customer ask whether solid hardwood or engineered hardwood flooring is better, and which is less expensive.  Of course the answer is “it depends.”  It depends on many factors including your subfloor, condition of your sub-floor and what factors are […]

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What’s the difference between solid hardwood and engineered hardwood flooring?  Which is better?

difference between solid and engineered hardwoodMany of my customer ask whether solid hardwood or engineered hardwood flooring is better, and which is less expensive.  Of course the answer is “it depends.”  It depends on many factors including your subfloor, condition of your sub-floor and what factors are important to you (e.g. ability to sand & refinish, height of floor (relative to other surfaces and/or cabinets and doors), cost, type of wood.  There is no “one size fits all” answer.

 

That being said, when you have the option of installing either solid or engineered hardwood flooring, I generally recommend solid hardwood as it will ultimately last longer, often look better and can be sanded & refinished many many times.

 

engineered vs solid hardwood floors westchesterFor the record, this is where it really pays to have hardwood flooring professional come to your house so that they can better advise you and give you a proper recommendation and price for your particular circumstances.  It is also important to look at the TOTAL cost for the project – not just the material.  There are many times when you may find that the cost for the material is lower for one option, but the cost of the labor is much higher (e.g. when you factor in installation method and/or prep work that may be needed).  So be sure to look at the full cost with labor, materials and prep work before making a decision.  I have seen many customers make mistakes here when they try to figure this out on their own.

 

Before I outline the pros and cons between engineered and solid hardwood, it’s important to define these terms.

 

What is solid hardwood?  What is engineered hardwood?

solid vs engineered hardwood flooringAs the name implies, solid hardwood is solid wood, all the way through.  It generally is 3/4″ in thickness.  Engineered hardwood flooring is done in layers.  The top layer is a hardwood veneer and then beneath that, there are layers (or plies) of wood.  Generally, these plies are perpendicular in direction and laminated together (similar to plywood), and generally (but not always), these plies are made of wood (although they are not necessarily the same species as the top layer.  The thickness of the top veneer can vary, and generally higher quality engineered woods have a thicker top layer, and cheaper ones have a thin one.

 

And, one more clarification – this is a discussion about HARDWOOD not LAMINATE.  Laminate is fake hardwood – it looks real, but it’s not.  Engineered hardwood sounds fake, but it’s not. It’s real hardwood through and through just done in layers.

 

Advantages of solid hardwood (3/4″ thick)

advantages of solid hardwood and engineered floors in westchester county1.  Solid hardwood be sanded and refinished MANY times.  So, when you get scratches in the floor, or if you want to change the color later, you can.  This is an especially important consideration if you plan on living in your home for a while, have kids/busy household and/or if you have pets.

 

2. If you have other hardwood in the house, chances are it’s solid and this could be matched up to it from a height perspective and sometimes from a color perspective.

 

3.  Solid hardwood is generally much easier to repair, especially if you have water damage (e.g. from a flood, broken pipe, broken appliance) or pet stains.  When this happens (and it’s only on part of the floor), it’s often easy for a professional to match the wood (especially if it is oak) and then sand and refinish the whole room.  Engineered hardwood flooring is often hard to match as well as repair, and you may need to replace the whole floor, if you have damage.  Also, solid hardwood is easier to work with if you are remodeling and/or expanding your area.  Sometimes, customers remove walls (especially in kitchen area) and they will have small missing sections of hardwood.  With solid hardwood, it’s easy to add more wood and/or weave it into the gap.

 

refinishing solid hardwood in westchester NY4.  Often, solid hardwood is less expensive…this all depends on what you are comparing it to, but sometimes, solid is less expensive than a sandable engineered product.  Sometimes, this is simply because the solids are more popular and sell more and hence are put on special more often.  Yes, it’s possible to find cheap engineered flooring, but if comparing mid to good engineered flooring, often the solid wood will cost a bit less (unless you are looking at very wide widths.  (Many are surprised to learn this).

 

5.  Comes in both pre-finished and unfinished forms.  So, if you have hardwood in other areas and want to match the color exactly (or almost exactly), this can be a great option for you.  You can get smoother edges and test/blend colors when it is site finished, or you have the option of installing pre-finished for a faster/easier installation.  Different customers have different preferences base on style preferences, lifestyle choices and timing.  With solid, you just have more flexibility.  Read here for more about pre-finished vs unfinished hardwood.

 

Hardwood flooring - entryway - Westchester NY6.  If you live in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, most of East Coast, generally solid hardwood is preferred by homeowners, home buyers and builders. Most prefer the looks of the solid hardwood as well as the longevity.  Solid hardwood tends to have better resale value.

 

7. When solid hardwood is sand and refinished on-site, there is the potential for true smooth surfaces (i.e. a square edge vs. a beveled edge) and the stain as well as poly covers the entire surface for a more contemporary look.  This also means that the edges of the wood are better protected (especially important for kitchens) and less dirt between the planks.  Read more about hardwood flooring in kitchens here.

 

Disadvantages of solid hardwood flooring

1. Solid hardwood expands and contracts more, especially in wider widths.  (Note: all hardwood expands/contracts based on humidity).  With wider widths, especially 5 inches or wider, it’s important to both nail and glue the flooring for less movement. 

 

solid or engineered wood flooring2. Standard solid hardwood should not be installed on top of radiant heat.  However, a simple solution is to use rifted and quarter-sawn wood above radiant heat.  This costs more than plain-sawn wood, but provides a great solution (and generally looks better, too).

 

3.  Solid hardwood requires a 3/4″ plywood sub-floor.  Most houses in the mid-Atlantic have this, so it’s generally not an issue. But, some condos, co-ops, townhouses and even some houses built on slabs do not have this.  If you are on top of a concrete sub-floor, you can add plywood, but this adds to the cost and height.

 

4.  Solid hardwood is not approved for below grade applications (e.g. basements that are below the level of the ground).

 

Advantages of engineered hardwood

(thickness varies from 5/16″ to 3/4″ but usu 3/8″ or 1/2″)

advantages of engineered hardwood flooring in westchester1.  Engineered hardwood doesn’t require a plywood sub-floor.  This means if you have concrete, you can install the hardwood directly over the concrete, and you don’t have to worry about installing plywood.

 

2.  If you have a concrete sub-floor, generally, engineered flooring will be less expensive and involve fewer complications when it comes to height.  If you need to install a plywood subfloor (3/4″ thick) and then solid hardwood (3/4″ thick), you have added 1 1/2″ inches in height. This can sometimes create issues with doors (especially exterior doors especially if they are metal) as there may not be enough clearance for the doors.  If there are interior wood doors, these are easier to deal with (if they are solid), but they still may need to be cut and then repainted (which adds to the cost).  If this is going in a kitchen and cabinets are remaining in place, solid hardwood can lock the appliances in and create non-standard height with the cabinets.  So, engineered flooring is often easier to use when heights may be an issue.

 

3.  Engineered flooring can be installed below grade (e.g. in a basement that is below the ground).  Note: if there is a moisture issue in the area, hardwood is probably a poor choice, but assuming moisture is not an issue, engineered hardwood is more flexible as to where it can be installed.

 

engineered hardwood floors - advantages4.  There are multiple ways to install engineered hardwood – nail down (if plywood), staple, glue or float.

 

5.  Engineered hardwood is often (but not always) more stable.  Because of its layers, it’s often stronger than solid hardwood.  And, because the layers are perpendicular to each other, there is usually less expansion and contraction, so it allows for a tighter fit, especially during the winter when it’s more dry.  In addition, because it’s more stable, you can often go wider in the planks (and can do so more cost effectively).

 

6.  Often, engineered products can be less expensive.  This is not always the case, but often the 5/16″ and 3/8″ are less expensive.  But, the thicker ones, especially if they can be sanded & refinished multiple times can sometimes be more expensive.  Of course, everything depends on what you are comparing (e.g. type of wood, width of planks, grade of wood, etc.

 

7.  Some engineered hardwoods can be installed over radiant heat (but not all).  Very few solid hardwoods can – only quarter sawn or rifted – usually this only comes in an unfinished format.

 

Disadvantages of engineered hardwood

engineered hardwood flooring westchester1.  Many engineered hardwoods can not be sanded and refinished.  It all depends on the thickness of the top layer.  Generally, cheap engineered hardwood can not be refinished, and more expensive ones can be.  Also, be aware that floating engineered hardwoods can NOT be sanded & refinished, even if the top wear layer is thick.  If the flooring is not secured tightly to the floor (i.e. nailed are very securely glued), with the weight of the sanding machines, the floors will move and you will never get a clean and smooth finish.  (I’ve seen many customers mislead by this and they learn this lesson too late).

 

2.  Many engineered floors have lower grades or cuts of wood.  You will often find that the very cheap engineered woods are rotary sawn (think about how you peel an apple) and as such, the graining looks different and cheaper than what you are accustomed to on solid hardwood flooring.  Also, some cheaper engineered flooring has a lot of “shorts” (i.e. pieces that are are only 1 ft – 1.5 ft in length.  Some of them will have more knots, too.  This is something that is not apparent in the samples.

 

solid vs engineered hardwood - which is better3.  Some engineered floors look and sound more fake, especially if they are floated.  If you have a floating floor and your floor isn’t even/smooth, the floating floor will move as you walk on it.  It will sound and look more artificial.  If your house is on the market, it may cause some buyers to wonder if the floors are real or in good condition and they may feel this is a lower value.  If you properly level the floor, this can help alleviate this issue (but there is a cost associated with that).

 

Other useful flooring articles:

When you’re ready for hardwood flooring or refinishing, feel free to give The Flooring Girl a call for a free design consultation 914-937-2950. If you are calling outside of Westchester/Fairfield Counties, please contact us at 914-407-3899. .

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7 Carpet trends for 2015http://theflooringgirl.com/carpet-and-runners/7-carpet-trends-2015.html http://theflooringgirl.com/carpet-and-runners/7-carpet-trends-2015.html#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 19:52:43 +0000 http://theflooringgirl.com/?p=5811 2015 Carpet Trends | Westchester County NY   Carpet color and style can help personalize your space as well as add comfort and warmth. Carpet can either provide a neutral palette background, or become a focal point for the room (especially if it’s an area rug).   So, here are the carpet trends I’m seeing for […]

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2015 Carpet Trends | Westchester County NY

2015 carpet trends for wetchester

 

2015 carpet trends in westchester NYCarpet color and style can help personalize your space as well as add comfort and warmth. Carpet can either provide a neutral palette background, or become a focal point for the room (especially if it’s an area rug).   So, here are the carpet trends I’m seeing for 2015.

 

1.  Neutral colors, especially grays and taupes

Grays & Taupes are the new neutrals. One of the things that is so interesting about these colors is that they can stand on their own, or create the canvas for pops of color in the rest of the room (e.g. paint, pillows, window treatments).

Shaw Canaban frosty taupe

cameo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Popular and trending carpet colors:

  • Muted blues and teals are becoming more popular as they often create pop with the neutrals while being tranquil and soothing.  Many of the blues are muted with underlying gray tones.

Shaw see it now2 Shaw design details carpet trends for 2015 blues - westchester

 

  • Earthy greens signify renewal and growth.  Green is the neutral “color” as it’s abundant in nature.

tuftex applause  Carpet runner for stairs Westchester County tone on tone

 

2.  Patterned and textured loop carpets

carpet trends for 2015 Tuftex taza There has been a trend towards texture and patterns.  These are stylish, and they will always be popular as they minimize vacuum marks and reduce appearance of dirt.  There are many patterned style segments, as different customers have different tastes.

 

  • Textured loops that are soft & durable with variable pile heights.  Nylon carpet fibers have gotten softer and softer, so it’s possible to have a durable looped carpet that is also soft.

 

 

 

textured looped carpets for 2015

  • Ribbed carpet and striations – adds textural and color richness.  These carpets look chic and help hide dirt.  Striations have become very popular in tile and it was only a matter of time before they would become very popular in carpet.  These carpets also help hide the seams (if they are needed for larger areas).

 

 

 

 

 

  • tuftex carpetsTwo toned/two colored carpets provide visual intrigue and a multi-dimensional look.  The styles becoming more sophisticated and often bold.  They are often inspired by wool and sisal designs, as well as tile and popular fabrics (e.g. herringbone, chevron, moroccan tile).

 

  • Geometric patterns – Whether it’s diamonds, squares or subtle stripes many love these patterns. Sometimes they are created by parts that are looped and parts that are cut; others by multi-dimensional loops, and some by using 2 colors.

2015 carpet trends - Shaw see it now

Acapella carpet dark brown shaw caress line westchestertone on tone carpet trends 2014 westchester

Tone on tone carpet combo

berber carpet combo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  Pet Resistant carpeting

tuftex cooper-sasha-image pet resistant carpetingWe absolutely love pets, but they can do a number on carpets.  I’m finding that more and more of my customers have dogs and/or cats, and they are asking me what types of carpets will hold up best to their furry friends.  While there are colors and styles that will hold up better (and show dirt less), there is now a new solution to the marketplace, and we are very excited about this carpet introduction.  It’s Stainmaster®’s PetProtect® carpet.  To read more about this, check out this blog post – What type of carpet is best for dogs and cats?

 

4.  Carpet Runners and area rugs

While hardwood is the preferred flooring surface for most of the common areas of the home (e.g. living room, dining room, family room), Carpet runners have been growing in popularity – both for safety and decor.  They are great for pets and noise reduction, and they look classy and sophisticated.  There are many styles – some with patterns, some more subtle.  You can read more about it here: Everything you ever wanted to know about carpet runners

carpet runner moroccan westchester county

Carpet runner scarsdale - Masland Alhambra - Westchester CountyWestchester carpet runner for steps

 

Likewise, area rugs are growing in popularity.  Often when we are doing carpet runners for the front steps, our customers love the option of a matching area rug for the entryway. For living rooms and dining rooms, many will prefer a different style for contrast.

 

5.  Environmentally friendly carpet

wool carpet green flooring trendsGreen is in. No, not the color (although some prefer this color), but eco-friendly carpets.  Whether it’s wool or sisal, or even recyclable nylon, many prefer using natural fibers and those that are more sustainable.  It feels better and more luxurious for their families, especially if they have younger kids that may spend a lot of time on the floors.  These fibers tend to be better for those who are sensitive to allergies and/or have asthma.  These carpets are move expensive, but they last longer, and it’s a small price to pay for better indoor air quality and your family’s health.  These carpets also tend to be naturally more resilient to stains.

 

Wool Carpets                                                                                                 Sisal Carpets

carpet trends for 2014 Wool

Sisal carpet combo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6.  Super soft carpets

flooring poll hardwood vs carpetYes, the technology keeps getting better and better, and so does the demand for softer carpets.  I’ve been seeing more and more soft nylon looped carpets.  Yes, who would have thought that these looped berbers could be made soft.  And, for solid cut pile carpets (which we expect to be soft), have gotten more and more luxurious.  For example, check out Shaw’s Cashmere line.  These are saxony and plush friezes that you just want to cuddle up with.  In Shaw’s words, the line is “inspired by the world’s softest natural fibers.”  They designed it to feel like a wool carpet (without the expense of a plush wool carpet).

 

Acapella carpet dark brown shaw caress line westchesterAnd, I will give a special shout to this carpet as it cushioned my blow when I fell down the steps, saving my hands and knees.  Thank you Shaw.  I owe you one.

 

There are so many softer options out there.  If you’re going to install carpet in the bedrooms, you might as well go soft.

 

 

 

 

7.  Nostalgic, fluffy and vintage carpets – mainly for area rugs

flooring trends - wool carpetThe trends for area rugs are a bit different than wall to wall carpets. Area rugs are often the focal point of the room and/of help centralize and ground the furniture.  As these are usually placed on top of hardwood flooring, they look great when you provide a nice contrast is texture and color vs. the wood floors.  For this reason, we tend to see larger loops, chunky spun yarns, and even fluffy carpets – most reminiscent of wools and other natural fiber (such as sisal and seagrass) and believe it or not, shaggy friezes.  Wall to wall shag is definitely OUT…don’t even think about it.  But, for a central area rug, it can look chic and sophisticated, especially in more upscale homes and rooms.

 

Think about those nice warm wool sweaters you had when you were younger.  These area rugs are reminiscent of that cozy feeling.

2015 area rug trends

 

Other related articles:

Are you ready for new carpeting?

When you’re ready for carpet, call The Flooring Girl at 914-937-2950.  We “bring the store to your door.”  That way, you can see the samples in your own home and lighting.  We serve Westchester County NY and Fairfield County CT.  (out of area callers 914-407-3899)

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What is the best carpet for pets? Stainmaster® PetProtect® | Great for dogs and catshttp://theflooringgirl.com/carpet-and-runners/best-carpet-pets-stainmaster-petprotect.html http://theflooringgirl.com/carpet-and-runners/best-carpet-pets-stainmaster-petprotect.html#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 02:44:05 +0000 http://theflooringgirl.com/?p=5779 When it comes to pets, what is the best type of carpet for our furry friends? We love our pets and we are a very pet friendly company…In fact, each of us has at least one cat or dog. We also understand that they can do a number on carpeting making it a challenge to […]

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When it comes to pets, what is the best type of carpet for our furry friends?

Best carpet for petsWe love our pets and we are a very pet friendly company…In fact, each of us has at least one cat or dog. We also understand that they can do a number on carpeting making it a challenge to keep them clean. Let’s face it, sometimes, pets have accidents – whether it’s a pet stain or just shedding fur, carpets can wear down faster with dogs and cats.

 

Thankfully, there is a new carpet solution in the marketplace that is perfect for pets. It’s invented by Stainmaster®, the leaders in carpet stain protection, and it’s called PetProtect®.

 

Why are the benefits of Stainmaster®’s PetProtect® line?

  • Resists pet stainsStainmaster® Pet Protect® carpet is solution dyed and made with SuperiorSD™ nylon fiber so it’s color safe.  It has built-in stain protection and it locks in the color so it resists fading.  It also can be cleaned with powerful peroxide based cleaning agents for more thorough cleaning of pet accidents (but we would recommend that you contact the manufacturer to double check which cleaning products they recommend).

 

  • what type of carpet is best for pets dogs and catsReduces pet odor – When Stainmaster Pet Protect is installed with a moisture barrier carpet cushion (such as TripleTouch carpet pad) or Stainmaster® Carpet Cushion, it reducers pet odor when it’s cleaned.  That’s because the carpet cushion with breathable moisture barrier prevents the pet accidents from soaking through the cushion and into the sub-floor.  This allows better cleaning as well as odor reduction.  The upgraded carpet cushion also extends the manufacturer warranty.

 

  • Stainmaster PetProtect Carpet best carpet for petsReleases pet hair –  it uses a proprietary technology which is more anti-static making it easier to vacuum pet hair. This means less pet fur left behind and less on your clothes.  It can also reduce your time vacuuming.

Video – Stainmaster® PetProtect®

Other reasons you’ll love Stainmaster®’s PetProtect® line:

  • stainmaster petprotect carpet for cats and dogsDurability – Stainmaster Pet Protect is made with the highly durable SuperiaSD™ nylon fiber, so it provides superior resistance to household traffic from kids and pets.  This fiber helps the carpet retain its texture and original appearance.

 

  • Soft comfort – I was pleasantly surprised at how soft this durable carpet felt.  Soft for your feet and great if you or your kids spend time playing games on the floor.

 

  • Variety of styles – They offer solid texture (or cut pile carpets) as well as several with subtle tone on tone patterns.  And, I expect them to continue to offer more styles and textures over time.

 

  • carpets that are best for cats and petsPet warranties – Stainmaster® PetProtect® carpet offers the best pet limited warranty offered by Stainmaster®.  Believe it or not, the warranty covers urine, feces and vomit.  It also comes with limited warranties on food and beverage stains, soiling, fading, texture loss and static shock.

 

Superior fiber technology – more technical facts

  • Stainmaster® nylon 6,6 carpet fiber is one of the most durable fibers in the industry.  This type of fiber is used in these performance critical applications:
    • Airbags
    • Seatbelts
    • Parachutes
    • Engine components

 

  • What type of carpet is best for pets Color fast – Solution dyed – this means that the color was added BEFORE the fiber was spun so it’s locked-in.  The analogy here is to think about a carrot where the orange color is found throughout the vegetable whereas other fibers are like an apple where the color is only on the outside fiber and not all the way through.  In addition, it resists fading from intense sunlight (UV).  By the way “colorfast” isn’t the same thing as “stain resistant.”  That is something entirely different…see below.

 

 

  • The superior technology comes from INVISTA’s commercial fibers division – where carpet fibers are designed to withstand more punishment than the typical residential household can dish out. Even after repeated foot traffic, soiling as well as cleaning, their carpet stayed newer-looking longer.

 

  • carpets that are good for catsInherently stain resistant – The SuperiaSD™ solution-dyed 6,6 nylon fiber has been modified.  This polymer modification — not the fact that it is solution dyed — is the real reason why this nylon fiber resists stains so well.  Unlike other fibers which have stain protection treatment added to the fiber, this one doesn’t need any!  …So, since the stain protection is built in, it won’t wash off with carpet cleaning.

 

  • LotusFX® Fiber Shield -This is a technology that Stainmaster® created that makes their carpets stay cleaner longer.  It resists most liquids, provides exceptional soil protection, cleans up better than carpets made with Triexta.  With repeated foot traffic, soiling and cleaning, their carpets stayed newer-looking longer and is superior to Triexta carpets (i.e. SmartStrand).

 

carpets with stain protection for cats and petsStainmaster® is the most recognized and most trusted carpet brand in the country.  Their carpets are certified.  Stainmaster® PetProtect® Carpet is unsurpassed in stain protection.  If you have pets (or kids), this is a great carpet option.  It’s stylish, soft and durable.

 

Related articles about pets and flooring:

 

If you live in Westchester County or Stamford CT area and some great carpeting that will hold up well with your pets, feel free to give The Flooring Girl a call at 914-937-2950.  (For out of state customers, please call 914-407-3899.)

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10 Hardwood Flooring Trends for 2015 | Westchester County NYhttp://theflooringgirl.com/hardwood-flooring/8-hardwood-flooring-trends-2015-westchester-county-ny.html http://theflooringgirl.com/hardwood-flooring/8-hardwood-flooring-trends-2015-westchester-county-ny.html#comments Mon, 29 Dec 2014 04:03:14 +0000 http://theflooringgirl.com/?p=5288 2015 Hardwood flooring and Stain Trends – Westchester New York This article summarizes the 10 major hardwood flooring trends for 2015. Hardwood floors are the preferred flooring surface for Westchester County NY as well as Northeast and Mid Atlantic states. Hardwood will never go out of style as it’s authentic, renewable, stylish and hard wearing. […]

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2015 Hardwood flooring and Stain Trends – Westchester New York

Hardwood flooring trends for 2015This article summarizes the 10 major hardwood flooring trends for 2015. Hardwood floors are the preferred flooring surface for Westchester County NY as well as Northeast and Mid Atlantic states. Hardwood will never go out of style as it’s authentic, renewable, stylish and hard wearing. Since it’s the aspirational choice by more home buyers, I thought it would be helpful to look at the long-term and emerging trends for this popular flooring surface.

Please note that different customers have different tastes when it comes to style and color choices, and different woods work in different styles of homes. I generally advise my customers to do what they prefer and works for their home (and budget) unless they are selling their house, in which case it makes sense to go with what the majority of buyers in a neighborhood prefer. But, assuming you are planning to stay and live in your home, choose what works best for you.

This hardwood trend report is divided into 3 sections: 1) Hardwood Color preferences, 2) Hardwood style trends, 3) Where hardwood is emerging as a preferred flooring surface and surpassing tile.

Hardwood Color and Sheen trends for 2015:

1. Dark hardwood floors

ebony hardwood floors darkYes, dark is in! It’s all about da bass brown. Dark floors continue to grow in popularity, especially among higher end homes. They give a contemporary and classic look. The 2 most popular stains are ebony (darkest and coolest) and jacobean (a very dark brown, but a tad warmer than ebony). I have many customer who opt for a 50/50 blend of jacobean and ebony for a deep and rich tone. This color is often called espresso.

Dark floors make a statement, and they are perfect for highlighting white kitchen cabinets (which are currently the most popular selection).

dark hardwood for bedroomDark floors can be a bit more challenging to clean and maintain as they tend to show dirt and scratches a bit more. On the other hand, dark can camouflage older floors’ imperfections (e.g. wood with pet or water stain, gaps in floors, etc.
You can read more about dark hardwoods here:

 

2. Gray Hardwood floors

gray hardwood floor refinishing westchester countyYes, gray is hot…after all, it’s the “new neutral.” Gray has been hip and trending other areas for a while – paint, tile, appliances, carpet, etc, so it was only a matter of time before it hit hardwood. For hardwood, it started with pre-finished hardwood, but now I have many higher end customers asking me to sand & refinish their floors gray.

It’s a sleek and stylish look and creates drama as it’s a little bit different and unexpected. Gray is a great base as it’s not overpowering, so it doesn’t fight with the other colors in your home and allows you accent key elements. Some prefer lighter gray, some darker gray, and if it’s refinished on site, you can test and experiment with the colors by altering the mixture of white and ebony.

Shaw castlewood oak - grayGray hardwood flooring is more expensive to achieve as getting the color balance right is a bit tricky (make sure you select someone experienced in this area), and you need to use a water based poly so that that floors don’t yellow. It’s also better to use a higher grade of polyurethane such as Bona Traffic for the optimal look, highest durability and least yellowing. You can read more about gray hardwood flooring in this article. Gray floors are especially popular among couples moving from NYC.

3. White Wash

white washed hardwood - mapleYes, I know this will be hard for some of you to believe, but white washed floors are making a comeback. I know what you’re thinking…7 or 8 years ago, this was so 80’s. But, now it’s hot again. The trend seems to be driven in part by the gray trend and in part by high end beach resorts in the Hamptons and now the Jersey Shore. NYC often starts the trends and this is becoming bigger there, so it’s naturally migrating to Westchester County NY as we have so many who move here from the City and work in the City. It’s especially popular with wider plank flooring and when home owners are trying to add light as well as well as modernity to the home.

White washed floors are more expensive. Similar to gray floors, you need to use a water based poly, and this costs a bit more. It’s better to add an extra coat for more durability. In addition, using a higher grade water based poly such as Bona Traffic HD will help make your floors last longer (and they will be less susceptible to yellowing).

 

4. Satin finishes

What sheen is most popular for hardwood floorsSatin finishes are by far the most popular, especially among home owners in Westchester County and the New York area. Satin finishes are more stylish and they are very practical as they tend to look better longer, and they show dents, scratches and dirt less than semi-gloss finishes.  The lower luster also shows footprints less.  You can read more about finishes in this article and video clip. What type of sheen level is most popular – satin or shiny?

So those are the most popular color and sheen levels for hardwood. To read more on stain trends check out this article – Hardwood stain color trends

Hardwood styles and types of wood for 2015 – styles and species

5. Wider planks

Hardwood flooring move furnitureWider planks make your space look larger. They also look more contemporary (and very wide planks can look authentic and rustic). Most customers who are installing new hardwood prefer to go wider in the planks, even if it’s just a bit wider then standard (or basic) 2 1/4″ strip. It is amazing how big an impact just switching from a 2 1/4″ to 3 1/4″ or 5″ plank can make. In some settings wider planks such as 5″, 6″ or 7″ can really make a big statement. The trend is clear – wider and wider and wider.

6. Site finished hardwood rather than pre-finished hardwood

2015 hardwood flooring trends - site finished woodIn the Westchester and New York area, site finished wood is strongly preferred over prefinished hardwood in terms of style and maintenance. Most prefer the cleaner, smoother edges and more contemporary look. It also gives your home a more authentic look (vs. prefinished hardwood will often show the edges of the base wood color underneath.
Site finished wood is easier to clean (dirt tends to get stuck in micro-bevel edges) and is more resilient to water (often the edges of prefinished wood are not fully covered with polyurethane while site finished floors are sanded smooth and flat and then coated evenly with the poly). This is especially important in heavier traffic areas and areas with more water/moisture such as kitchens and entryways.

prefinished hardwood brushed suedeAnother benefit of site finished wood is the ability to customize the color to one’s taste. Stains can be tested (and even mixed) on-site before finalizing color decisions. In addition, it’s much easier to match colors from room to room, if you have hardwood in some areas already and are now adding to a new area.

In the picture on the right, you can see the micro-beveled edges a bit (it is much more apparent in person vs the photo) vs. the photo above which is smooth as it is site finished.. In many prefinished woods, you can see the lighter color oak in the grooves (but of course you won’t see that in the professional photos that have been touched up).

You can read more about this here – Pre-finished vs Unfinished hardwood.

7. Vintage hardwood and distressed hardwood (reclaimed look)

distressed cherry bronzeThere’s been a clear trend towards authenticity and an “old world” look. These woods celebrate the natural character of hardwood and its imperfections. One way to achieve this antique look is through reclaimed wood. Reclaimed wood is very in vogue now and it’s eco-friendly. Some is salvaged from old beams and antique flooring, or logs salvaged from rivers and lakes.
Reclaimed wood is in high demand and very short supply, and hence it is very expensive. To achieve a similar effect but lower price, hand-scraped woods and machined distressed provide other options. These floors look old and worn but for a fraction of the price. The trend tends to be towards a “less stressed” look. Distressed woods tends to be more popular in the south and west. Here, in the New York area, where we have some homes with authentic old world wood (as we have many houses from the 1700’s and 1800’s), most go for the real thing or opt for the newer Modern Vintage Hardwood (see below).

 

8. Modern Vintage Hardwood – Old world meets new

castlewood - drawbridge Castlewood - Hearth Castlewood oak - tapestry Castlewood oak - tower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The newest twist on vintage is what I’m terming “modern vintage hardwood.” It’s a blend of old and new. The planks are very wide (typically 7″ or wider). The colors are muted and often highlight the mineral streaks and natural character and flaws of the wood. Often, the finishes are oil rubbed or wire-brushed. The low gloss finish gives these planks a unique and weathered look.

The pictures above are from Shaw’s Castlerock line and leverage the hot gray and white washed colors.  As they say, “What’s old is new again.”

The pictures below are from US Floor’s Navarre line and feature more traditional colors.  Both lines have planks that are at least 7″ wide.

Bergerac navarre rustic hardwood Cantal navarre hardwood Nice navarre hardwood

I have also been seeing this style in furniture as well – dining room tables and coffee tables.  West Elm has a nice selection of these types of woods.

 

9. American hardwoods – Domestic grown and made in the US are the clear preference

Hickory - Shaw Jubilee good for pets and dogsHardwoods that are grown and made in America seem to be most popular. Part of this may be a preference for supporting local companies to help support our economy and a reaction to some of the lower quality imported materials. But, I think a larger part of it is goes back to the desire for authentic styles and colors as well as a desire for uniformity within the house. These woods (oak, hickory, maple) tend to hold up well to foot traffic as they hide the scratches better. This may also be partially driven by more affordable costs as well as a desire to be more eco-friendly by being responsible to the environment and preferring lower shipping cost. This article on domestic american grown hardwoods goes into the species with a bit more detail.

10. Strong preference for solid hardwood over engineered wood

white oak flooring 2015 hardwood flooring trendsHere in the New York area, there is a strong preference for solid hardwood. Solid hardwood ultimately lasts longer as it can be sanded and refinished multiple times. Often, solid hardwood will last for well over 100+ years. For a period, engineered hardwood was starting to make strong in roads, especially when the economy was worse (as there are some less expensive engineered hardwood floors).
While engineered flooring may provide a practical option in areas with concrete sub-floors (e.g. some apartments, basements), many have realized that if they have a plywood sub-floor, solid hardwood flooring is much better long term solution. Solid hardwood generally looks better and will last much longer (vs. engineered hardwood floors that often need to be fully replaced after it gets worn down.) Since solid hardwood can be refinished (and you can change the color), it gives home owners more flexibility, especially if they have kids or pets. You can refinish when the floors get worn down or if you want to change the color. This is even more important for heavy traffic areas such as the 1st floor, kitchens, hallways and entry areas.

 

You can read more about solid vs engineered hardwood flooring here.

 

Where hardwood is surpassing tile for rooms in the house in 2015 and beyond

a. Hardwood flooring for kitchens

should you install cabinets for floors firstI would be remiss in not mentioning that hardwood is now the most popular type of flooring for kitchens, especially here on the East Coast. Evidence of this can be found in all the home decor magazines as popular sites such as houzz.com and Pinterest. Solid hardwood floors have a lot of benefits over tile. First, they are easier on your feet, as well as warmer. Secondly, they make your space look larger (assuming you have hardwood in adjoining rooms). Third, they last longer (often 100+ years) and improve the value of your home (as they are more universally liked vs tile which is very taste specific…hardwood can always be refinished to change the color vs. tile needs to be replaced). Fourth, hardwood generally costs less than tile (while improving your home’s value more). Fifth, they are easier to clean and maintain.
You can read more about both the pros and cons with hardwood and tile in kitchens.

 

what to expect when you are refinishing hardwood floorsb. Hardwood flooring for entryways

For entryways, more and more people prefer hardwood flooring. By converting tile (or even vinyl) in entryways to hardwood, it helps make the space look larger, provided that it is the same color as the rest of the hardwood flooring. It can also be cost effective to do this work if you are refinishing the floors in other areas.

c. Hardwood flooring for powder rooms

As many are converting kitchens and entryways to hardwood, they are also converting powder rooms on the first floor to be hardwood so that they are consistent with the rest of the hardwood. This also helps make the space look larger, and it becomes more practical to combine as one project. While I would never recommend hardwood flooring for a regular bathroom (i.e one that has a shower or bathtub or both), hardwood can be a very practical and stylish option for powder rooms. (Stylish tile can also look nice here, too…it’s just nice to know that both option options can work, pending on your preference).

Hardwood flooring polls:

Hardwood flooring trends for 2015Let us know what you think. Take a minute and vote in the below polls. You can also view the results of the collective audience.
1. What types of stain colors do you prefer for hardwood?

For hardwood floors, do you prefer dark, light or mid-toned?
    2. What type of flooring do you prefer for the kitchen?
    For Kitchen Floors, which type of flooring do you prefer?

      If you live in the Westchester County/Fairfield County area, give The Flooring girl a call at 914-937-2950 and we’d be happy to set up a free flooring consultation. (Out of state, please call 914-407-3899).

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      Hardwood flooring and Stain Trends for 2015 – Westchester New York

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      The Best of 2014: My top 10 Flooring Articleshttp://theflooringgirl.com/hardwood-flooring/best-2014-top-10-flooring-articles.html http://theflooringgirl.com/hardwood-flooring/best-2014-top-10-flooring-articles.html#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 18:45:29 +0000 http://theflooringgirl.com/?p=5705 My Top 10 Hardwood flooring articles – The best of 2014 As the year is coming to a close, I thought it would be helpful to reflect on my top flooring articles for the year.  These are sorted by number of clicks and generally represent the most frequently asked hardwood flooring questions we get.   […]

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      My Top 10 Hardwood flooring articles – The best of 2014

      Top 10 Flooring articles - best of 2014As the year is coming to a close, I thought it would be helpful to reflect on my top flooring articles for the year.  These are sorted by number of clicks and generally represent the most frequently asked hardwood flooring questions we get.

       

      1. How long does it take to refinish hardwood flooring? This is an important one to read if you are just starting the process.  Many don’t realize the length of time it takes for the refinishing and drying process.  As a result, they may not leave enough time before moving into their new house…or they may need to postpone the work to do when they will be away for a long vacation.

       

      2. Water vs Oil based polyurethane – Which is better for hardwood flooring? This explains the pros and cons for each type of poly as well as the instances where you might choose oil over water and vice versa.

       

      which stain colors are most popular for hardwood - Westchester County NY3. Can you change the color of your hardwood floors? If you have solid hardwood, the answer to this is usually yes, but it can vary a bit based on species of wood.

       

      4. How long does it take polyurethane to dry and cure? This is a companion piece to the first article about how long it takes to do the work.  It explains the immediate drying process as well as the full curing time (which is longer).

      5. What’s the difference between red oak and white oak flooring?  This is important to know if you have some hardwood in your house and you are trying to match.  If you are starting fresh, than you can choose whichever look you prefer.

       

      6. Which types of hardwoods are best for dogs? This outlines species, color and finishes that will hold up best with dogs (as well as kids).

       

      dark hardwood flooring Westchester NY7. 2014 Hardwood flooring trends  This outlines the trends in hardwood flooring styles, colors, finishes and looks.  Soon, I’ll be writing a post for 2015, so stay tuned.

       

      8. Hardwood Stain Trends  This has the latest and greatest color trends for hardwood stain colors.

       

      9. Which type of sheen is most popular for hardwood? This shows the preferred sheen level (i.e. how shiny should your floors be?) as well as which is most practical in showing less scratches and dirt.  Thankfully, they are one and the same, so no trade-offs necessary here.

       

      10. Gray hardwood floors. Yes, this is the latest rage here in NYC and Westchester.  It’s a super chic look.  It costs a bit more, but it’s worth it if you want this stylish and trendy look.

       

      So those are my top 10 articles for 2014 – chosen by my readers.  If you live in the Westchester County area, give The Flooring girl a call at 914-937-2950 and we’d be happy to set up a free flooring consultation. (Out of state, please call 914-407-3899).

      schedule free flooring consultation2

      Map of Westchester Flooring

      My Top 10 Hardwood flooring articles – The best of 2014 | Westchester NY

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