• Comparing Engineered and Vinyl Plank Wood Flooring

    When it’s time to choose new flooring for your home in Phoenix, there are plenty of options to consider. It’s hard to beat genuine hardwood flooring because of its aesthetic appeal, longevity, and home resale value. But if you’re interested in keeping the cost down, you can still get the look of real wood with either engineered hardwood floors or vinyl plank flooring. Talk to a flooring contractor about your preferences. vinyl - plank

    Materials and Construction

    The first notable differences between engineered hardwood floors and vinyl planks are their composition. Engineered wood is manufactured in layers. High-quality plywood usually comprises the core, with a layer of real wood veneer on top. Because the plank isn’t completely hardwood, it’s less of an investment than 100% real hardwood floors. Vinyl plank floors are manufactured from colored PVC chips. The manufacturer can create planks of varying thicknesses, colors, and patterns. Vinyl floors have come a long way over the years. Luxury vinyl is thicker, looks genuine, and even sports a texture that can mimic the feel of real wood.

    Beauty and Versatility

    Engineered wood and vinyl planks are comparable in terms of aesthetic appeal. Visit a flooring showroom to see which material you prefer. You can find either material in varying shades from light to dark. Their versatility is similar, as well. However, because engineered planks do contain some real hardwood, they are susceptible to the effects of humidity and temperature fluctuations, just like solid hardwood. Vinyl planks, on the other hand, are completely resistant to moisture, and will not expand and contract with temperature changes. This makes them an ideal choice for renovating bathrooms and kitchens, and for finishing basements.

    Softness and Hardness

    Thanks to the top layer of real wood, engineered planks will have a similar hardness and resistance as solid hardwood. Vinyl planks are slightly softer and bouncier. This isn’t a significant difference—you probably wouldn’t notice it if you walk on a vinyl floor for just a few minutes. But if you’re spending all day chasing after your kids, your feet will appreciate the slight “give” of vinyl planks.

  • How Pet Owners Can Protect Their Wood Flooring

    Wood floors are an investment that future generations will enjoy. They’re also incredibly durable, but if you have pets, you’ll need to take some extra precautions to prevent lasting damage from urine stains and scratches. When you talk to a flooring contractor in Phoenix, discuss your concerns. He or she will help you find the best flooring choices for your family. pet - floor

    Clean pet messes as quickly as possible.

    Your hardwood floor is protected by a coat of finish that can resist some exposure to moisture like pet urine. If you can wipe up puddles promptly, you shouldn’t notice any lasting damage to the planks. Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible to catch a pet in the act of urinating inside. If you come across a puddle that might have been there for a while, wipe up what you can and then spray the area with vinegar to neutralize the ammonia and prevent further damage.

    Replace damaged planks.

    If you don’t notice dog or cat urine right away, and it remains on the floor, it will become increasingly corrosive. The urine will corrode the finish and reach the wood itself. This can cause more serious damage that requires professional repair services. In many cases, it’s possible for a flooring contractor to extract individual sections of the floor that have sustained permanent damage. The contractor can then add new planks that match the surrounding floor.

    Trim your pet’s toenails regularly.

    Scratches and deeper gouges in the floor are other common concerns of pet parents with hardwood floors. Perhaps the most effective way to prevent significant damage is to keep your pet’s toenails trimmed. It can be tricky to trim an energetic cat’s nails. Consider taking your kitty to the vet for regular trims. Don’t forget about trimming the nails of small animals like rabbits and guinea pigs, as they need plenty of exercise outside their cages.

    Place area rugs and mats in strategic locations.

    Place some large mats at entrances, and position area rugs in places where your dog or cat regularly runs. If your dog runs to the front door to greet you, place a runner in the hall.

    Refinish and recoat the floors.

    If scratches do accumulate on your floor, you can schedule professional refinishing and recoating. Ask the contractor to use a tough finish that offers some resistance to your pet’s nails.

  • Preventing Scratches on Your Wood Flooring

    Many people choose hardwood flooring near Phoenix because it is beautiful, durable, and should last for many years. If you want to keep your wooden flooring in top shape for as long as possible, think about how you can protect it from scratches. There are a handful of ways you can do this, from using area rugs to keeping pets out of certain rooms. If you’re planning on doing some rearranging, be careful when you move your furniture. Read ahead for more tips on preventing scratches on your wood flooring. hardwood - floors

    Use Area Rugs

    Wood floors are known for their durability and hardness, but not all species of wood are equally tough. No matter how hard your wood floors are, you should do your best to protect them from scratches. Area rugs can come in handy in this case. You can place an area rug by your entranceway or mudroom, lay one across your hallway, or even use one as a centerpiece for your living room. This will break up the wear and tear and give your hardwood flooring a bit of a break, reducing the chance of scratches.

    Consider Your Pets

    Fido might be part of the family, but his nails can be harmful to your wood flooring. If you want to preserve your investment for as long as you can, consider keeping your pets off your hardwood floors. This is easier to do when only 1 or 2 rooms in the house have wood floors, and sometimes it’s not practical. If that’s the case, you should remember to clip your dog’s or cat’s nails on a regular basis to avoid scratching.

    Be Careful with Furniture

    If you’re looking to change the feeling of your living space, you might get the itch to rearrange your furniture. Be extremely careful not to drag the legs of your furniture across your hardwood flooring when you do this. Lift your tables, sofas, and armchairs, and walk them to their new location. It’s also a good idea to put furniture pads on the bottom of the legs so they don’t dig into your floors.

  • Stomp Out These Myths About Engineered Wood Flooring

    You can’t believe everything you hear, which is why you should do some research and separate fact from fiction. Many myths surround engineered hardwood flooring near Phoenix, but myths aren’t necessarily factual. If you’re considering this type of flooring for your home , you should find out what’s true and what isn’t before you decide. You might have heard that it doesn’t look convincing, has minimal applications, or sacrifices durability for affordability. Continue reading and stomp out these myths about engineered wood flooring. wood - flooring

    Myth: Engineered wood flooring looks fake.

    Engineered hardwood floors are not the same as solid hardwood floors, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not made of real wood. The difference between engineered and solid hardwood is that solid hardwood flooring is real natural wood all the way through. Engineered hardwood is a convenient alternative that uses a natural hardwood veneer on top of a different type of wooden core. This means that the uppermost layer of the floor—which is what you will see—will be made of the hardwood of your choice. Since you will see natural hardwood whether the flooring is solid or a veneer, it will not look fake either way.

    Myth: You can’t use it everywhere.

    There are certain spaces that lend themselves to engineered wood, but this type of flooring can be installed anywhere you want. Engineered hardwood may be more appropriate for certain situations than many of its alternatives. This flooring option resists humidity, and it remains stable when the seasons change. This type of flooring is an incredibly versatile choice, and it can be installed either above grade or below.

    Myth: It’s not durable.

    While it’s true that engineered hardwood flooring is the affordable option, that doesn’t mean it sacrifices durability. Wooden floors are designed to last for a substantial amount of time, which is one of the primary reasons people go for this kind of material. You can also finish and refinish your floors, which can help them last for several decades. With the right maintenance, you can enjoy your investment for a generation or more.

  • Moisture Meters for Wood Floor Installation and Sand and Finish – Part 2

    In my first blog, I talked about starting your documentation and moisture testing procedures. In this edition, I will talk about moisture testing and documentation from delivery of product to installation.

    Now I have already delivered my material to a stable job site and it is acclimating, all I have to do is wait. Experience has given me a good idea about how long a particular species will take before it is ready for installation based on its original moisture content and where it needs to be for installation in the environment.

    I will usually check the product one week before installation. This gives me a buffer and helps me accommodate a product that is not acclimating very quickly. When at the job site, again I check the environment with a thermo-hygrometer and document the readings. It is not uncommon for me to use a jobsite monitoring device or data logger (Meter #4). This is a tool that stays on-site and can remotely send job site conditions to my email. This is especially helpful on new construction sites when the general contractor is telling you that the air has been on and in reality, it is 95 °F in the house.

    Once the wood is acclimated, we are ready for demo of the existing flooring. Once this is completed, I will walk the entire project looking for any signs of old water damage or moisture. On a wood subfloor, I will also randomly check the subfloor with a wood moisture meter, or if concrete I will use a concrete moisture meter (Meter #5). This concrete meter only gives me a qualitative number! Meaning that it does not give me any actual values, but it will help me determine whether to install or not. This test does give me the ability to check the moisture content of areas known to be dry because of relative humidity tests, which is a quantitative test, against areas of possible past or present moisture damage. If I have a high reading from the concrete moisture meter, then I need to evaluate whether a relative humidity test needs to be done to confirm the accurate moisture content.

    Now that I am installing, I need to determine if I am going to be installing any wood flooring monitoring devices/data loggers (Meter #6). This is a device that is installed in the floor and will remain in the floor. It will give us accurate moisture content of the floor and in some cases the subfloor. These can be pricy, and some of my customers love them, but honestly, most don’t think it is worth the money. There are some floors where I just don’t give the customer a choice. It is peace of mind for me! After all, these are my floors.

    I will continue to monitor the job site conditions throughout the installation. If the conditions fall out of acceptable ranges, then the homeowner/builder will get an email. In the email, I will document the readings and reiterate the necessity for this floor to remain in its “happy place.”

    Now that the floor is installed, we will let the floor settle for a week or two and come back for our sand and finish and our final part.

  • Creating a Focal Point with Wood for Your Walls

    If you want an ideal interior design, you can’t just focus on a couple of aspects of your space. You will need to look at the space as a whole, which means you shouldn’t just rely on your wood floors in Phoenix to get your point across. Wood walls can add to your look and tie your design together, especially when it comes to traditional or cabin styled homes. Read ahead and pick up a few tips on creating a focal point with wood for your walls.

    Wood is not just for your floors. If you love the look of your wooden flooring, then you might want to consider wooden walls as well. This type of interior design tends to work particularly well in ranches and log cabins, but it is versatile enough to fit well in a range of situations. You don’t need to cover every wall in wood, but wooden walls come with a natural beauty that you might not be able to get by any other means. Wood walls can also serve as a focal point for your guests to admire, and they can be placed in just about any room in the house.

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  • Moisture Meters for Wood Floor Installation and Sand and Finish – Part 1

    This will be a three-part series on how I use moisture meters on every project to ensure successful installations and sand and finishes. It will also show you how to properly document all of the data collected, in case of any floor failures. When I say document, don’t just write it on a loose piece of flooring. Write it down, take photos of it, and build a spread sheet that you can use for future use.

    The first time I set foot on a project, I start gathering data to help me with the process. Not only do I need to document the accurate square footage, linear footages for trim and transition, height of adjacent flooring, and how many vents I will need to order, but I will start taking moisture readings to ensure the success of my project.

    At the time of the first home visit, I take readings of the temperature and relative humidity (RH) using a Thermo-Hygrometer (meter #1). I also ask the homeowners questions like, “Is this about the temperature at which you maintain the home year-round?” This is where I start to separate myself from my competition. This info sometimes confuses the homeowners, and they ask questions about the different moisture meters. You will hear things like, “The other guys didn’t do any testing, is this important?” I explain that I am not the other guys, then I educate my customer on why and how. These are my floors, and I want them to perform in your home. I find that all of this testing and time spent sets their minds at ease and builds their confidence in me and my expertise.

    Now I have all the information I need to provide the homeowner with a quote. I include the environmental conditions on the estimate for the homeowner, but mainly as additional documentation. I also have started to compile my job site data for use with acclimation later in the project.

    When it is time to deliver the material for acclimation, which is always before installation, I have a history to compare the current conditions using the Thermo-Hygrometer. These numbers should be very close to the original readings taken during the estimate. If they are different, then I figure out what changed. Sometimes, it is the seasons or maybe the painters just finished. This is when I take additional readings of the subfloor. In Arizona, it is predominantly concrete subfloors, and so I either set a Calcium Chloride or a Relative Humidity test. I use almost exclusively Relative Humidity Tests (meter #2). This testing method provides the ability to recheck the moisture content in a relatively short time period as many times as are needed throughout the job. This test tells me what moisture mitigation system I need to use.

    If I am working over a joisted wood subfloor I will take readings in the subfloor, and when accessible, I test the joists with a wood moisture meter (meter #3). I also use the wood moisture meter to determine the moisture content of my wood flooring. All of these numbers are documented and kept with the original file. I email homeowners the moisture readings. It sounds difficult, but I find that educating the customer from the very beginning makes for happy customers.

    In the next blog, I will discuss moisture testing and how to confirm the product and the job site are both acclimated and in their “happy place.”

  • What You Need to Know About Reviving Hardwood Floors with Recoating

    Hardwood flooring near Phoenix might be the most beautiful aspect of your interior design. If you want to keep it alive and well for as long as possible, you might want to consider recoating your hardwood. This can be a quick process that improves the value of your home, and it can even make your household healthier and safer for you and your family. Continue to find out what you need to know about reviving hardwood floors with recoating. wood - floors

    The Time It Takes

    As appealing as hardwood floors can be, they won’t last forever. Fortunately, recoating your wood floors doesn’t take long at all. You can even recoat your wood flooring in as little as a day’s time. This can be a great convenience if you need to get your flooring back into shape for an upcoming party or gathering. If you’re wondering how long it will take to revive your hardwood floors, make sure to talk to the experts and let them know about your needs. A 1-day recoat process can be especially convenient if you’re trying to sell your home over a short period of time.

    How It Helps Your Home

    Having beautiful wood flooring is important, but you should also make sure your floors are safe. When you use the right type of finish, you can rest assured that your wood floor will hold onto its color and revitalize the look of your space. Certain types of finishes can even dry in just a couple of days, allowing you to start enjoying your new flooring as soon as possible.

    Protection of Your Health

    Reviving your hardwood floors with recoating can be great for the aesthetics of your house, but it can help to bolster your health as well. You don’t even necessarily need to leave the area when your wood flooring experts come to refinish your floors. This can be extremely helpful, especially if you have young children or pets. Recoating your wood floor doesn’t produce many VOCs, so you shouldn’t have much to worry about when you revitalize your living space.

  • Beating Buildup on Wood Floors

    Wood floors in Phoenix are easy to clean, but they can suffer from buildup if you don’t offer them enough maintenance. It’s not impossible to make your wooden flooring last , however, if you stay consistent with your upkeep. Check out this video clip for tips on beating buildup on wood floors.

    Buildup can take away from the aesthetic appeal of your home, and your wood floors might be at risk. If you want to conquer buildup and maintain your cosmetic appeal, use a mixture of white vinegar and warm water to regularly clean your wooden floors. All you need is a couple of capfuls of white vinegar and a couple of gallons of warm water. Be sure to mop the floor in the right direction—go along with the grain rather than against it. You should also take care of excess moisture so it doesn’t cause a mold problem.

  • Spotlight on Our Repair Services

    When your flooring suffers from scratches, dings, and dents, this can influence the overall look of your home’s interiors, causing them to appear messy or aged no matter how much you clean and organize. Are your wood floors looking well-used or damaged? If so, then you might benefit from calling Blackhawk Floors , a flooring company in Phoenix. Over time, it is not uncommon for hardwood to become scratched and gouged, and everything from high heels to dropped dishware can be to blame.

    Blackhawk Floors offers repair services for wood floors to help keep your home looking its best. Our company boasts the best flooring repair crew in Phoenix, and we can make your floors look like new and as if the damage never occurred. Using professional repair methods, we can buff and sand away damage and replace or refinish damaged flooring. If your floors are in need of repairs, then please visit our website to find out more about our services.

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