When it’s time to choose new flooring for your home, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Are you getting ready to install wood flooring in Phoenix? If so, and if you’re like many people, then you’re probably looking into online options to see what is available. While browsing online is a good way to familiarize yourself with flooring options, there are disadvantages as well. Read on to learn why you should visit a local wood flooring company instead of shopping online.
The way that a flooring material looks under one type of lighting can be incredibly different in another space. Also, the lighting conditions that online retailers use to photograph their floors can vary, proving you with poor comparisons. For these reasons, the samples that you see photographed online may appear quite different in person. Also, how the flooring will look among your furnishings and under the combination of natural and artificial light that is unique to your interiors should play an important part in the selection process. For these reasons, it’s ideal to view wood flooring samples in a showroom and to see how they appear in your home, as well.
Many people look for flooring online because they want to find the best price. However, the cost that you end up paying for shipping may balance out any savings that you manage to find.
When you purchase wood flooring online, you are unlikely to experience the level of customer service that you would at a local retailer. Also, your local flooring provider can provide you with professional insight and tips that you’re unlikely to benefit from when shopping online.
When shopping for wood floors online, many people don’t realize that purchasing their flooring through anyone other than an authorized flooring retailer may leave them without a warranty. Many online wood flooring sellers are not authorized retailers. Because of this, while you may benefit from reading reviews and perusing products online at the beginning of the wood floor purchasing process, it often makes sense to purchase from a local, authorized retailer.
Hardwood flooring, engineered hardwood flooring, and vinyl tile are some of the most common materials installed by flooring companies, but the popularity of cork flooring is on the rise. If you’re interested in installing cork flooring in Phoenix , then you could benefit from learning more about this material’s many advantages. Watch this video to learn why you should consider cork flooring.
Cork flooring is an interesting alternative flooring material that feels soft and warm underfoot when compared to tile, cement, or hardwood flooring. Also, cork flooring is simple to install and offers better sound attenuation qualities than many other flooring options do.
Color is a key factor that you will need to consider when you are shopping for new wood floors in Phoenix. In order to make sure that you have the widest possible selection of hardwood flooring for your home, be sure to visit the Blackhawk Floors showroom in Phoenix. When you visit our flooring showroom , you will be able to view our light and dark hardwood options in person. If you are struggling to decide between a few different colors, we can also provide you with samples to take back to your home.
When you hire Blackhawk Floors to install your wood flooring, you can rest assured that we will assist you with every aspect of your installation. Our team of flooring designers will be happy to suggest which hardwood flooring colors may pair best with your interior design scheme. Once you have decided between light and dark floors, you will be ready to begin the installation process.
While you may know all about the design benefits that come with installing new hardwood flooring in your home, you may be surprised to learn that you can also install hardwood along your walls. A flooring contractor serving Phoenix will be able to help you select hardwood materials that will make the perfect accent for the walls throughout your home. Let’s explore how wood floors and engineered hardwood can be used to provide beautiful accents throughout every area of your home.
Living Room Walls
Wood accent walls are very popular for living room spaces. When you choose to install wood paneling along your living room walls, you will create a cozy and rustic atmosphere that your family and friends are sure to find very inviting. If you already have hardwood floors in your living room, you can accentuate your flooring by choosing wooden wall materials that are crafted from a different type of hardwood. Light wood accent walls, for example, look great when they are paired with dark wood floors.
Your bedroom is a great place to install wood accent walls. Instead of splurging on an expensive bedframe and headboard, you can provide your bedroom with the appearance of a luxurious and large headboard by installing wood accents on the wall behind your bed. To further emphasize the design scheme in your bedroom, you can decorate your wood accent walls with mirrors, artistic lights, or your favorite pieces of artwork.
Wood accent walls also have a place in your kitchen space. You may want to consider using wooden paneling as a backsplash behind your kitchen countertops. A wood accent wall can also help distinguish your eat-in kitchen from the rest of your kitchen space. With its excellent durability, wood is a terrific paneling choice for your kitchen. With services from your wood flooring contractor, you can create the wood accent walls that you have always wanted.