Bamboo Floating Floor

bamboo floorInstalling a bamboo floating floor can sometimes be the only installation method that will work with some types of subfloors. A floating installation does not require that the bamboo adhere to the subfloor as it is basically going to float slightly above it.

An example of this would be concrete. Concrete sub-floorings are not uncommon and yet can cause problems with the flooring installation years down the road due to the moisture of the concrete seeping through and damaging the glue that is holding the flooring down or even the flooring itself.

In the case of concrete, a floating bamboo flooring installation would be the best route to go. The bamboo doesn’t come in direct contact with the concrete and moisture damage is avoided. The planks in a floating floor are coated to prevent moisture damage even though they won’t be touching the concrete.

A bamboo floating floor installation is installed much like putting a jigsaw puzzle together. The pieces interlock and are laid end to end with just enough space to allow for expansion over time. Typically there is an underlayment material between the subfloor and the bamboo flooring but it is not a necessity. The underlayment provides a softer cushioning to the flooring than if it were floated without one. A cork type material made from recycled tires is often used underneath the floated floor.

Floating installations have an advantage over solid bamboo flooring in that there is room for the flooring to expand over time due to building in extra space during the installation. With solid flooring there is not room for the expansion and contraction that comes with humidity and temperature changes and so it can buckle if not installed properly. Floating flooring does not buckle and warp as easily as solid flooring because it is engineered to move with the contracting of the wood.

Homeowners are particularly fond of bamboo floating floors because of their ease of installation. Floating floors are click-n-lock type installations where the pieces fit together like jigsaw puzzle pieces. Because nailing is not necessary there is little chance of damaging the wooden planks and homeowners can usually perform the installation on their own.

Some floating bamboo flooring installations do suggest that glue be applied to the interlocking joints as they are pieced together. If this is the case, top quality glue should be used. Skimping and purchasing water based glue will cause the flooring to be ruined in a short period of time. Although the glue will be somewhat expensive, the end result will be a flooring installation that will last for many years to come.

Bamboo floating floor installations allow homeowners the option of installing their bamboo floor without having to hire a professional to perform the install. This saves money while at the same time bringing beauty into the home. Floating bamboo flooring installations can be installed over any subflooring and is perfect for any home wanting bamboo floors.

Vertical Bamboo Flooring

bamboo flooringBamboo flooring is a very strong, durable flooring choice that will beautify any room of the house for many years to come. There are different types of bamboo flooring that can be used when outfitting a home with new floors. Vertical bamboo flooring is one choice that should be considered an option.

Before looking at vertical bamboo flooring and other types of bamboo flooring available, it is helpful to understand a little about bamboo and how it is used in flooring. Although it is considered a hardwood flooring choice, bamboo is actually a grass that can reach height of a hundred feet or more and do so in three to five years. This is much faster than it takes an oak tree to reach maturity and be ready for harvest.

The stalk of the bamboo plant is what is used to make flooring and other strong durable products. The Chinese people have known for hundreds of years that bamboo is an excellent choice not only for flooring but also for walls and other structural components. Today, bamboo is being used as a flooring choice around the world.

Vertical bamboo flooring is the result of the bamboo being laid on edge with the wider side of the bamboo planks being glued together to form a tight bond and create a vertical look. Many decorators use vertical bamboo flooring in smaller areas and horizontal bamboo flooring in larger, more open areas.

Horizontal bamboo flooring is created by laying the bamboo strips in a stacked manner, one on to of the other and using an adhesive to bond them in that position. The bamboo strips are usually wider in horizontal bamboo flooring that they are in vertical bamboo flooring.

Having different options to choose from when looking for bamboo flooring doesn’t stop at vertical or horizontal. There are many color options to choose from in the bamboo flooring family, some created using stains and some created using a natural process.

Natural bamboo is a blond color that is light and beautiful. It is inviting in any room of the house. This same natural bamboo can be altered to have various amber colors using a process called carbonization.

During carbonization, before the bamboo is transformed into vertical or horizontal bamboo flooring, the bamboo is boiled to high temperatures. This high heat causes the fiber of the bamboo to become amber in color. The longer the bamboo is exposed to high heat and the higher the heat, the deeper the amber coloring will be.

If ambers and blonds aren’t enough color choices, homeowners can also choose from many colors that have been made using stains added to the bamboo either during the manufacturing process or after the planks have been made and cut. Colors range from light to deep cherry and everywhere in between.

Vertical bamboo flooring is but one option that consumers have when choosing their new floor. Careful consideration and window shopping should be used before making that final purchase and installing the new floor.

Natural Bamboo Flooring

natural zenBamboo flooring is becoming a popular alternative to oak and other traditional hardwood floors. Natural bamboo flooring has many advantages to offer a home in addition to being a green flooring choice that is good for the environment. Natural bamboo flooring has more than one advantage over traditional hardwoods including those listed herein.

As most people know, bamboo’s biggest advantage over traditional hardwood is that it is environmentally friendly and sustainable. Bamboo is able to regenerate and be ready for harvest in as little as three years, typically three to five years. When compared to the fifty to one hundred years that it takes for hardwood trees regenerate and be ready for harvest it is easy to see that bamboo is the environmentally friendly choice in flooring.

Choosing natural bamboo flooring prevents the atmosphere from being robbed of nitrogen and carbon dioxide and prevents the land from being damaged by uncontrolled drainage due to barren lands after the forest harvested and the land is cleared. This can also cause damage to the soil and change its makeup which is detrimental to the native plants and animals.

In addition to having the environmental factor that natural bamboo offers there is the strength and durability. When compared to traditional hardwoods bamboo is as hard as or harder than many. The type of bamboo flooring chose has an impact on how strong the flooring is as well. Engineered bamboo brings a little more strength and durability due to being bamboo planks with an additional layer of wood underneath them.

Solid bamboo and engineered bamboo are both natural bamboo floorings. The difference being the addition of the wood boarding that supports engineered bamboo. This allows the wood planks to be cut into the pop-and-lock or tongue and groove boards that are necessary for floating installations.

Solid bamboo cannot be installed as a floating installation and thus is harder for homeowners to install without the help of a professional. This is due the bamboo being very hard to nail through without cracking the boards. Some installers prefer to use professional strength staples and a pneumatic stapler to install solid bamboo flooring.

Natural bamboo flooring is the perfect flooring choice for the environment and the bank account as it is not as expensive as other hardwood choices. And, if natural bamboo flooring in its solid state is still out of reach due to price; bamboo laminate flooring can be purchased to achieve the same bamboo appearance with even less cost.

Natural bamboo flooring is the popular choice of the day in hardwood floors that are beautiful and environmentally friendly. This flooring choice ushers in a new generation of flooring that will continue to grow in popularity.

Cork Flooring

Cork Flooring: Endurance for 5,000 Years

Kitchen with Cork Floors

Kitchen with Cork Floors

With growing public wakefulness to the protection of the environment, cork floors have gained in popularity recently due to the ever increasing consciousness and consumption of natural resources readily available, without destruction of endangered forests and wildlife habitats. Cork floors are a by-product of the cork tree, traditionally found in South America, used in the manufacturing of corks supplied to bottle manufacturers for superior sealing qualities. Harvested without damage or destruction of the cork tree, cork floors are the product of the bark of the cork tree, cut to specific lengths with redeeming qualities not found in other floor covering materials regardless of composition.

Comprised of multiple substrate layers depending on the quality of the cork floor selected, cork floors are similar in composition to engineered laminate flooring with superior insulating and sound deadening qualities. Cork flooring is available in interlocking tiles or panels with resemblance to a hardwood floor when correctly installed. Where cork flooring interlocking tiles are either glued or nailed down, cork floor panels typically 12″ wide by 36″ long, are “free floated” for easy installation. Cork floor panels “free floated” over properly prepared sub-floor surfaces, allow for contraction and expansion of the flooring material, with no visible seam or joint separation. Cork floors may be purchased finished or un-finished with many colors to choose from. When finishing a properly installed un-finished cork floor, the application of sealers provides a more uniform finish keeping possible water retention to a bare minimum.

With sound deadening capabilities, cork floors are often used in commercial applications where noise from upper levels is drastically reduced. In residential applications, cork floors lessen sound transfer in townhome communities and apartment complexes resulting in satisfied homeowners and tenants. Known for superior insulating qualities, cork floors reduce energy consumption in the winter and summer months with reduced energy bills providing for a cleaner safer air flow quality.

There are many reasons why cork flooring is the preferred flooring over all conventional methods of floor coverings of which include the following:

  • Eco-friendly floors, using natural resources
  • Durable and resilient with dent retention “memory” restoring floor to original condition when heavy objects are dropped.
  • Family Friendly, with moisture, insect, impact resistance while providing a “warm” floor at all times.
  • DIY Installation. Designed for homeowner easy installation.
  • Low-Maintenance requiring only sweeping with a soft broom and occasional damp moping.
  • Creation of interesting patterns or borders, when using one or more colors, with endless possibilities.
  • Suitable for all rooms, particularly the kitchen or areas of high foot traffic.
  • Soft “cushion” feeling removing less stress on knees and legs.
  • Excellent warranties of 25-35 years or more depending on grade selected.
  • Soft and resilient, cork floors offer value, comfort and dependability with immediate return on investment of proceeds spent on material and installation.

Pricing for cork floors are typically priced by the square foot however price per carton for interlocking floor tiles are available at most major home improvement centers. With average prices ranging from $4.00 for interlocking tiles to $8.00 per square foot for 3’ planks, pricing for cork floors have remained consistent for a number of years. Professional installation charges will add to over- all cost per square foot and must be calculated into the equation for total overall costs. Installation costs vary from $3-$4 per square foot for a large room, with smaller rooms costing more depending on location of residence. Always seek qualified and experienced floor covering installer with references, when selecting a professional.

Where cork floors add value to new or existing homes or commercial office spaces by as much as 35%, cork floors are affordable adding comfort and “eco-friendly” solutions to home or business owners, seeking viable alternatives to flooring choices. Using natural resources maintains environment harmony with lasting endurance for 5,000 years.

 

Bamboo Flooring: Withstanding All Time

bamboo floorConsidered to be one of the fastest growing flooring solutions available today, bamboo flooring has a long tradition and reputation as being one of the hardest woods known to mankind. With “eco-friendly” composition, bamboo flooring is often used in installations critical to air quality for individuals suffering from many forms of air borne illnesses, including a wide variety of allergies. Once considered to be the “premier” flooring of the affluent, bamboo flooring is now available to meet income levels that makes this attractive flooring one of the most sought after flooring materials for both new home construction and remodeling of existing homes today.

Often clouded by ambiguity, bamboo flooring is not stalks of material woven together in a fashion then installed on floors. In reality, bamboo flooring is not a hardwood floor but a grass cultivated in tropical weather conditions suitable for such growth. When harvested, every three to five years, bamboo is then manufactured with increased technology producing strips, planks or tiles allowing for this unique material to be installed in the same fashions as other hardwood flooring material. With high environmentally sound composition, bamboo flooring has become the preferred choice amongst homeowners looking for a viable alternative to compliment the interior of their homes while maintaining harmony with the environment.

The benefit to a natural bamboo floor is the overall property value increase. The remarkable beauty of a bamboo floor cannot be compared to other hardwood floor installations based upon aesthetics, properties of bamboo material in combination with restoration and preservation of forests consumed by mass marketing of other hardwood materials. Bamboo hardwood floors offer numerous features over other traditionally installed hardwood floors which include:

  • Unique attractiveness
  • Stronger with additional resilient qualities
  • Dimensionally stable
  • Naturally resistant to moisture and stains
  • Environmentally friendly with preservation of natural resources

Unlike other hardwood flooring material, bamboo hardwood flooring is enhanced with various installation alternatives including vertical, horizontal solid or strand woven construction which allows for a wide variation of installation patters that is limited only be the imagination and creative ability of the homeowner.

Bamboo flooring material is naturally golden blonde in color which produces very distinctive patterns when manufactured, that only bamboo flooring is noted for. During the latest in state-of-the-art manufacturing process, bamboo flooring receives the strength, durability and unparalleled resistance to insects, mildew and fire retardation associated with only bamboo wood flooring. With little or no maintenance required, caring for a bamboo wood floor requires occasional sweeping and moping maintaining overall brilliance for an unprecedented amount of time.

While selection of any hardwood flooring material has advantages and disadvantages, bamboo hardwood flooring material is not one-hundred percent “fool-proof”. Reports have indicated that bamboo flooring is susceptible to scratching, denting and color fading when installed in high traffic areas exposed to direct ultra-violet sunlight. Bamboo hardwood flooring is not tonally indestructible as is any hardwood flooring surface, requiring normal care and maintenance as is the case with any hardwood floor material. Despite occasional “optimistic” reports, bamboo hardwood floors remain the “easiest to care” for hardwood surface of all available hardwood flooring material products.

With over fifty colors available, bamboo hardwood flooring offers point of interest in selection of a color to compliment the décor of any home interior. Bamboo hardwood floors are noted for deep, rich darker colors which are both eye-catching and attractive, bringing to life even the drabbest appearing rooms. Often used in grand foyers, the exquisite tone and texture of bamboo flooring is alarming and provocative, setting the tone and elegance of the remainder of the home. Compared to black walnut, the darker tones of bamboo flooring high-light and draw attention to main focal points on the interior of the home with warmth, charm and sense of total relaxation. Bamboo flooring is also an excellent way to high-light or border tiled areas with contrasting colors a feature that is often used in new home construction.

Priced up to fifty-percent less than conventional flooring, bamboo hardwood flooring is no longer a product available only to the affluent. From natural bamboo hardwoods to engineered bamboo hardwoods this “mood setting” hardwood continues to set an ambiance to areas of the home once covered by dull, drab carpeting and linoleum, supplying light, life and the creation of an “Eco-Friendly” alternative to flooring surfaces, withstanding all time.

 

Antique Wood Floor

Antique Wood Floor: Reclaiming the Past

Bedroom with Antique Hardwood Floor

Bedroom with Antique Hardwood Floor

When considering a new wood floor for your home or place of business, the endless choices of wood flooring is perplexing and overwhelming. With colors, stains, finishes and styles only a small part of the selection process, selecting a wood floor involves conducting hours of research to formulate conclusions based on the information gathered.

Often overlooked and perhaps the most beautiful of all wood floor materials is antique wood, reclaimed wood from ancient dilapidated, decaying buildings that have withstood time in all weather conditions. From domestic to exotic hardwoods, the selection of antique woods reclaimed from generations of long ago provides endless beauty and charm that has taken over 500 years to produce. With antique plank flooring rated as the finest of all wood flooring materials today, the patina of antique woods, reclaimed and re-introduced, provides warmth with a rich glow that no other product can duplicate or imitate.

Structures constructed over 100 years or more were built with the finest woods available during this time era, woods that cannot be purchased at any home improvement or lumber liquidator outlet anywhere for any price. Of such woods, American Chestnut was primarily used and readily available in yesteryears for durability of which has since become “extinct.” Removed from existence by blight, American Chestnut has been preserved and restored by the reclamation process, used in present wood flooring installations, with impeccable charm and character that was a large part of history surrounding the beginning of an era destined to change and improve as time rapidly advanced.

The majority of the hardwood flooring used today is engineered wood, comprised of multiple layers of substrate plywood with a finishing veneer (thin) layer of wood pre-selected in many colors and styles complimenting the finished product. Reclaimed wood has been introduced into the laminate flooring industry providing a small piece of history combined with modern technology of today. Although somewhat more expensive than regular laminated engineered wood flooring, reclaimed engineered wood flooring has received positive reviews from individuals that have purchased and installed this “span of history” flooring with complete satisfaction and overall strong recommendations.

Environmentally friendly, woods reclaimed and used in the production of antique wood flooring once destined for permanent elimination, saves the environment with reusable, salvageable materials that often was left to decay or placed in already over-flowing landfills. With no trees cut or affected in the reclaiming process, the eco-friendly patina of antique wood floors speaks of times past, times of uncertainty with rebellion and lawlessness, as a nation struggled to advance into the next century.

As expected, antique wood flooring is considerably more expensive than other available wood flooring materials. Depending on the rarity of the wood, antique wood flooring prices range from $4.00 per square foot for cabin-grade pine, to over $30.00 per square foot for antique Chestnut, the most expensive of all antique reclaimed woods. Other selections of antique woods suitable for hardwood flooring include:

  • Antique Heart Pine .. ………..$4.00-$22.00 per square foot
  • Antique Oak ………………… $8.00-$17.00 per square foot
  • Antique Maple……………….$8.00-$13.00 per square foot
  • Douglas Fir………………………$7.00-$20.00 per square foot
  • Tropical Hardwoods (varied).. $9.00-$19.00 per square foot

Whereas prices for antique wood flooring material changes periodically, home r business owners considering the installation of antique wood flooring material should be cognizant of all current price trends, including availability, before proceeding with planning stages of any personal or business development or improvement.

With many grades and cuts of antique wood flooring material available, each grade or cut may inflate the overall cost of the antique wood flooring material by hundreds and in some cases by thousands of dollars. Individuals considering installation of antique wood floors should be aware of such existing conditions which may play a large role in final decisions.

As time passes, advanced technology of today will become antiquated, obsolete and eventually forgotten. Education of the younger generation and those generations yet to come will perhaps reflect on times of their times of yore, with high anticipations and hopes of reclaiming the past.

 

Resilient Flooring

Resilient Flooring: A Reflection of You

Kitchen with Cork Floors

Kitchen with Cork Floors

Resilient flooring is perhaps one of the least expensive flooring materials available today. Sold in tiles, sheets or planks, resilient flooring offers a wide array of installation techniques that has gained in popularity due to the flexibility of design and the never-ending color combinations that can be used. Often used in places with high traffic, such as shopping malls and restaurants, the ability to create a unique floor with the use of resilient flooring is limited to only the creative capabilities of the individual purchaser.

Common types of resilient flooring include, however are not limited to the following groups, seen in normal applications and installations:

  • Vinyl Composition Tile (VCT)
  • Linoleum or Vinyl Sheet flooring
  • Rubber tiles
  • Stair tread “Non-Slip” applications
  • Cork tiles

While all resilient flooring is manufactured for durability and the resistance to stains, the unique composition of resilient flooring with the ability to “bounce back”, provides a cushioned feeling, making resilient flooring an ideal floor for hospitals or any such scenarios where individuals are required to be on their feet for long periods of time.

Primarily introduced and installed in residential applications, resilient flooring continues to be used in commercial applications with superior adaptability to fit flooring requirements that are eco-friendly and cost effective. Used in healthcare facilities from satellite clinics to hospitals worldwide, resilient flooring is easily cleaned on a daily basis, resistant to harsh chemicals used for disinfecting purposes while maintaining brilliance and integrity. Easily replaced if damaged, medical facilities have found that resilient flooring is superior to all other flooring lasting 10-20 years. With non-allergenic composition, resilient flooring maintains air quality standards throughout hospitals and research centers; will not trap dust or dirt particles when combined with moisture which can produce microbial contamination.

In residential applications, resilient flooring is typically found in kitchens, bathrooms, family rooms and particularity in high traffic areas. Available in plank configurations with simulated wood finishes, resilient floor may be installed in a “floating floor” manner, visually appearing to be a wood floor with additional benefits. Resilient flooring is also available in travertine, slate, clay tiles, marble and terrazzo making installation possibilities endless. Other types of resilient flooring simulate jewel stones; mosaic and granite which providing possibilities in flooring patterns that are truly are a work of art.

The many advantages of resilient flooring far out-weighs any negative skepticism that was once associated with resilient flooring. Some of the most common, noted advantages of resilient flooring include:

  • Do-it-yourself friendly. Requires no special skills or prior flooring installation experience.
  • Easy to clean. Virtually maintenance free.
  • Resistant to stain, spill and scratches.
  • Choice of multiple colors with ability to create one-of-a-kind patterns.
  • Eco-friendly with no adverse effects of environment. Resilient flooring material is 100% biodegradable.
  • Highly cost effective when compared to other flooring choices.
  • Life span of 10-20 years under normal care.
  • Bacteria and allergen-resistant

While costs for resilient flooring remain the lowest of all flooring materials, resilient flooring prices per square foot vary from distributor to distributor. Available at all local home improvements stores nationwide, average costs for resilient flooring will vary depending on style or material selected as follows:

  • Simulated concrete tiles- $4-15$ per square foot
  • Asphalt (rubber) tiles- $2-$5 per square foot
  • Linoleum sheets- $3-$8 per square foot
  • Vinyl tiles (VCT) or sheets- $2-$8 per square foot

There are unlimited advantages to resilient flooring not offered by any other flooring material. From flexibility of design, to comfort, to endless color and texture choices, resilient flooring is more than a rugged and durable floor covering, resilient flooring is a reflection of you.

 

Hardwood Stairs

Hardwood Stairs: Rising to New Heights

wood stairsDating back to the early 1800’s staircases found in homes and places of business, during this time period were often constructed of wood, due to the non-existence of other suitable material to cover stair treads and risers. In majestic homes of rich cattle barons, staircases were constructed in many configurations including the grandest or all, the spiral staircase. Constructed with hand tools, these highly crafted and constructed staircases, polished and finished to perfection, were often the central focus point of these grand and luxurious homes and to date still exist, preserved by historians dedicated to the restoration of an era that was plagued by lawlessness and wars.

With the invention of modern day carpet, grand staircases constructed from the finest of hardwood materials available became very expensive affordable to only the affluent. Staircases once constructed with pride, integrity and superior craftsmanship are now constructed with materials that are commonplace, readily acceptable by building officials and homeowners alike. Staircase risers and treads once meticulously finished with numerous coats of sealers and polishes are now adorned with carpeted materials, replacing a long tradition that has at last, been forgotten left in the memories of the past, unaffordable to the majority of today’s homeowners.

In the grander scheme of modern technology, the revitalization of staircases in residential and commercial applications has once again been reborn with new interests and materials allowing for the retro-fitting of existing staircases with new hardwood risers and treads, transforming once ordinary staircases into beautiful focal points within the home or place of business adding new life, meaning and value all at very affordable prices.

While constructing a new staircase of hardwood materials is far beyond normal income levels, costing up to four times more than a traditional carpeted staircase, the removal and replacement of stair risers and treads can easily convert any ordinary staircase into a grand staircase in less than a week. Depending on mechanical ability and the comfort level with tools, precision, accuracy and patience are strong attributes in the conversion of a carpeted staircase into a hardwood staircase. Existing staircases that are intricate in design with numerous turns and landings should be converted by only experienced and highly-crafted individuals. The added costs associated with hiring a professional is well worth the investment producing amazing results.

  • There are basically two ways to retrofit existing staircases with new hardwood features:
  • Replacing risers and treads (the part that is walked on) with hardwood.
  • Replacing risers with hardwood and painting the risers to accent the hardwood treads.

Obviously, painting of the risers, (the vertical part of the staircase that constitutes the height) will reduce the cost of the overall retrofit, however is not for all staircases. Modern décor is dependent on which method of staircase retrofitting would best coincide with present interior styles and preferences.

Hardwood staircase risers and treads cannot be purchased prefinished and must be finished on site, preferably before installation. Purchase hardwood staircase from reputable suppliers who are knowledgeable with hardwood staircase applications and may be of great assistance when making suggestions that have been overlooked. When purchasing hardwood material for retrofitting existing staircases, avoid purchasing six-foot (6’) lengths of hardwood board material since most staircase treads are only 4’ in length. The extra two feet is waste that cannot be used, often discarded, resulting in wasted funds as well.

Through trial and tribulation, existing staircases can be converted into masterpieces with a little thought, ingenuity, preplanning while checking on the availability of the intended hardwood material. Where persistence, patience and desired skills are essential in the retrofitting of existing staircases, the completed work will take all that tread, rising to new heights.

 

Floor Joists

Floor Joists: Eco-friendly Solutions

hardwood floorHome construction practices and procedures had changed drastically over the years. Floor joists once constructed with 2×10’s has been replaced with engineered I-beams and LVL’s (Laminated Veneer Lumber) capable of spanning distances without supporting structural members which were often required to carry the load of additional floors. Affordable and lightweight, engineered I-beam floor joists have subsequently replaced the antiquated double or triple 2×12 floor joists, with proven engineered designs that are far superior to old traditional methods. Engineered I-beams provide superior strength, uniformity and level perfection of all completed subfloors, essential for the installation of all interior flooring finishing material, especially hardwood flooring.

Constructed with visible appearance of an “I”, I-beams consist of a top and bottom rib normally 2×4’s dimensional lumber. Sandwiched between the top and bottom ribs, specially designed OSB, (Oriented Strand Board) completes the simple but extremely load carrying capacity of the I-beam with precision and accuracy. Integrated into the design of the I-beam are pre-designed and placed “knock outs” which allow for the installation of plumbing and electrical artifacts through the I-beams at pre-determined locations, saving time in pre-drilling standard 2×12 floor joists, with reduction in labor costs.

Capable of spanning lengths of up to 24’ or more without supporting basement floor jacks, engineered I-beam floor joists allow full basement completion without loss of floor space and the “boxing in” of supporting columns when using old 2×12 floor joists framing methods. Available in widths from 10″ to 16″, and a variety of top and bottom rib specifications, engineered I-beam floor joists offer versatility in home construction which continues to receive national recognition.

When installing a new hardwood floor, nothing is more important than the precision and accuracy of all substrate material, including the floor joists. Old 2×12 floor joists often have crowns with inconsistent sizes and shapes which produce numerous problems when finishing the interior floors of a newly constructed home or the remodeling of existing structures. New finishing floor materials cannot be installed over old 2×12 floor joists due to imperfections or the “crowning effect”, leaving finished substrate floors unlevel and questionable. I-beam floor joists remain consistent in sizes, with no crowns or imperfections when installed correctly, providing a level surface that is “squeak free”.

When installing a new hardwood floor over newly constructed substrate material, of vital importance is the moisture content of the substrate material. Installing hardwood flooring over substrate material with high moisture content will eventually lead to problems with the finished floor including warping, buckling and seam separation. Professional, experienced floor installers will always check the moisture content of the substrate material as well as moisture content of the hardwood flooring material to be installed, with a specially designed meter which measures moisture content, before installation of the finished flooring.

Typically intermediate floor joists typically have a moisture content of 10-12% while ground floor joists are normally at or near 14% moisture content levels. Floor joists with high moisture content will dissipate moisture at alarming rates under ideal weather conditions and may shrink by 8-15mm resulting in a finished floor with a noticeable “bounce” effect. When possible, floor joists and substrate materials with high moisture content should be allowed to adequately dry by normal means or accelerated with high power ventilation fans, before installation of any or all finished flooring material.

As with any material, hardwood flooring should be brought to the installation site to accumulate to existing conditions for a period not less than one week prior to installation. The accumulation process allows the material to “breathe” becoming accustomed to the environment to which it will be installed. Installing hardwood flooring in high humidity conditions is not recommended and should be postponed until suitable conditions are prevalent.

With increasing concerns about the present environment and the detrimental effects of using products that add to this growing concern, engineered I-beams are manufactured with materials that are eco-friendly; using renewable resources while preserving and maintaining natural wildlife habitats. With the continued use of engineered floor joists for all new home construction and remodeling of existing homes, together we will continue to provide eco-friendly solutions.

 

Unfinished Wood Flooring

Unfinished Wood Flooring: Bare Potential

hardwood floorThe installation of hardwood flooring in any home increases property values beyond the original investment that will double, even triple the return on the initial cost involved. With the selection of hardwood flooring available today from laminates, to engineered, and natural hardwood flooring, selecting a hardwood flooring for your home or place of business requires hindsight into the hardwood flooring industry to arrive at the correct decision that best suits the intended use and of course, the allotted budget.

From manufacturer to manufacturer, the selection of hardwood flooring and specifically the appropriate finishing color is an un-daunting task with sleepless nights and many hours of pre-occupied contemplating a final decision. With connecting rooms, replacement of damaged flooring in one room often leaves no alternative but to re-install un-finished hardwood flooring to maintain a consistent flow from one room to another. Also, not all available finishes coincide with all selections to align with a specific intent or installment hence the final decision, the installation of unfinished hardwood flooring.

Not for the faint of heart, unfinished hardwood flooring is as the name implies, unfinished requiring two to three times the effort over its finished brethren, to finish the newly installed floor to desired levels. Solid hardwood flooring is typically purchased in ¾” thickness, tongue and groove on all four sides, with widths ranging from 2-1/4″ to 5″ planks at random lengths up to 78″. Initial installation of the unfinished hardwood flooring is crucial to the overall look of the finished floor therefore, should be accomplished by an experienced professional hardwood flooring installation expert. Even with best efforts and attempts extended, an unfinished hardwood floor incorrectly installed will virtually and visually appear, unfinished.

Although a long and tedious process, finishing an unfinished solid hardwood floor gives more control over the finished outcome allowing for the selection of specific wood species not previously offered by finished hardwood flooring. More often than not, unfinished hardwood flooring offers a larger selection than prefinished flooring, opening possibilities that were never presented upon viewing possibilities with prefinished flooring.

With associated costs per square foot similar to prefinished flooring, additional cost per square foot will increase two-fold when installing unfinished solid hardwood flooring. Where sanding with specialized machines is applicable, inexperienced homeowners are encouraged to seek experienced professionals for all finishing stages of completion. Specialized sanding machines are cumbersome, expensive to rent, requiring vast knowledge of operation, preventing possible un-even and inadequate sanding of the unfinished floor, producing less than desired results including possible total replacement and annulment of all factory warranties.

Unfinished solid hardwood floors require a systematic procedure to ensure overall desired results. Upon completion of the sanding procedure, often requiring more than one pass, the application of the chosen stain will require drying times that may exceed two-three days in ideal weather conditions with appropriate ventilation. Typically, after the initial stain coat has been applied additional sanding may be required between coats until the desired finishing color is achieved. Fumes associated with finishing and clear coating of the final stain coat can be and often are over-whelming, permeating throughout the residence or place of business with additional ventilation required with the use of specialized fans placed in the appropriate areas.

Perhaps somewhat disconcerting in the beginning, the finished appearance and the visible beauty of solid hardwood unfinished flooring, now finished, will be replaced with fond memories of a floor that once had only shown bare potential.