July 2014

31Jul
31Jul

Before taking the dive into homeownership, people shopping for homes consider millions of factors, especially when it comes to interior features. Many people are willing to spend thousands of dollars to achieve the home of their dreams. Below are some of the top 6 features most people are willing to spend extra for:

1. A Fireplace

A fireplace adds a cozy feel to any room. More and more real estate agents are suggesting that fireplaces will become increasingly popular as people turn away from TV and more on tablets.

2. A Home Less Than 5 Years Old

The simple fact here is that people want a newer home. Something to keep in mind is that maintenance costs are considerably lower in new homes compared to older homes.

3. Stainless Steel Appliances

Stainless steel appliances are incredibly trendy right now and more and more people are drawn to their sleek look.

4. Hardwood Floors

Hardwood flooring has a variety of advantages including a traditional beautiful style and low maintenance. More than 28% of homeowners say that hardwood flooring is “very important” when looking for a home.

5. Granite Countertops

In today’s generation, there has been a huge emphasis on having a beautiful kitchen and granite countertops help achieve that look. Not only are they incredibly durable, they add a unique beauty to any kitchen or bathroom.

6. Central Air-Conditioning

In older homes, this may not be an option. In a recent survey, nearly seven out of 10 homeowners said they would be willing to shell out more than $2000 on central air conditioning.

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30Jul
30Jul

While most people find the allure in harder woods, softwood flooring is still a durable and beautiful option for any home. But the question always remains: why would you install a less durable flooring?

The Janka Hardness Scale is one of the most utilized tools in the hardwood flooring industry. The scale, which determines the wood’s durability, measures the force required to embed a .444 inch steel ball to half its diameter into a particular species of wood. The higher the rating on the Janka Scale, the harder the wood.

Truth be told, much of a floor’s durability depends on its finish, not necessarily the species of wood. Enough coats of a finish on any floor will help withstand it from scratches and dents.

This means soft wood floors are a strong contender for your home.

Just because their Janka rating is low doesn’t mean they can’t withstand normal foot traffic. Common types of soft woods are Hevea, Walnut, Birch, and Pine. Not only are these woods beautiful, they’re more inclined to take on an aged, traditional character due to their species type.

One thing to remember with softer woods is that they may not be the best fit for really high traffic areas, like an entryway or a kitchen. While a strong finish protects the surface of your floor, a floor’s finish wears away over time if you do not maintain it. When a finish wears away, it makes your softer woods more susceptible to the wear and tear of daily life. If you choose a softer wood floor, the key to maintaining its look and sheen is to keep up with its finish every few years.

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25Jul
25Jul

Hardwood floors are the best choice for homeowners with pets. Not only are they easy to clean, they don’t provide hiding spots for pet dander and fleas like carpets do. However, as much as we love our furry friends, their long nails, puppy teeth, and ability to track dirt through your house can do a number on your hardwood floors. To keep damage at bay, there are several things to keep in mind with your pooch:

Focus On Housetraining

If your dog goes indoors, immediately clean up the accident, wipe the floor down, and let it dry thoroughly. Accidents happen, but the ammonia in pet urine can discolor your wood floors and leave a funky smell.

Trimming Nails

It’s important to keep your pet’s nails short to prevent deep scratches on your floors. This is especially important with larger breeds as they will exert more pressure on your floors.  

Sweep Often

Sweeping on a frequent basis is key to maintaining the finish on your hardwood floors. Dogs can easily track dirt and hair through the house and it acts as sandpaper, harming your floors finish and dulling its shine.

Install An Extra Hard Floor

While hardwood floors are an excellent choice for homeowners with pets, certain types of species are harder than others. Select a floor like Acacia or Brazilian Cherry that have a higher rating on the Janka Hardness Scale for even further scratch prevention.

Rugs

Lastly, lay down rugs in high traffic areas to prevent any future wears on the finish. Area rugs can not only add a stylish look to any room, they prevent claw marks and scratches from appearing on your hardwood floor’s surface.


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24Jul
24Jul

Regardless of the wood species you choose for your flooring, a finish is required. A finish provides your floor with a protective top coat that seals your wood floors from the everyday damage that comes from traffic, moisture, and stains. A finish also accentuates your floors natural beauty by highlighting the wood’s natural characteristics. When purchasing your floors, you’ll have the option of choose between prefinished or unfinished wood. Here’s a breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages to both:

Advantages to Prefinished Hardwood Floors

Prefinished wood floors are the best if cost and convenience are major players in your decision. Their protective coat is applied at the factory under controlled conditions and in the ideal environment for drying and curing. Prefinished wood floors take less time to install since they come pre-sanded and pre-finished. You won’t have to deal with the toxic fumes in your home, which is always a plus.

Advantages to Unfinished Hardwood Floors

Many people opt to purchase unfinished wood floors because the planks arrive to your home in their natural state, allowing you to sand, stain, and finish the way you want to. With unfinished flooring, it’s much easier to match to your existing hardwood flooring than by purchasing prefinished floors. You have the ability to do custom staining, which is ideal for anyone looking to achieve a unique look in their home.

Both types of flooring have a lot to offer to any home. Prefinished wood floors allow you to enjoy your flooring immediately without dealing with harsh chemical smells and hard work on your end while unfinished floors give you the ability to achieve a very custom and unique look.

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23Jul
23Jul

For most homeowners, making the leap into hardwood flooring is not an easy task. Going through a renovation process can be a difficult one, especially if you don’t know where to begin in the process. Most people know they like the look of hardwood floors, but don’t know what type of flooring is best for their home or how much flooring they should even buy. Below, we’ve rounded up some of the most common frequently asked questions our customers come to us with before buying their floors.

What is the difference between solid wood, laminate, and engineered wood flooring?

In simple terms, solid wood floors are just what they say they are--solid wood. The entire board is made up of a plank from a species of wood. Engineered wood floors, on the other hand, only have a top layer of solid wood. The rest of the board is made of fibers from waste woods that are fused together in a high pressure manufacturing process. Laminate floors are made to look like wood, but are actually made up of synthetic materials

What is the hardest flooring I can buy?

The Janka Scale does a great job of rating floors on how hard they are. We created a breakdown here that helps you determine which floor is best for each room in your home based on their hardness. Of the options we carry, Brazilian Cherry, Strand Woven Bamboo, and Acacia wood floors are some of the hardest and most durable options to choose from.

How much hardwood flooring do I need to buy?

A simple, but efficient calculation you should go buy is this: square footage + 5-10% of your square footage for waste cuts.

What does Handscraped mean?

This popular style of handscraped wood flooring basically means the floors are designed to have the look of an older style flooring, scraped by hand. These floors are made to look like they have a bit of wear, but still have a modern finish to protect the floor.

What types of rooms are best for wood floors?

We generally think just about every room in your home can work well with hardwood floors! However, be sure to speak with a professional if you are thinking about wood floors for rooms with fluctuating humidity like bathrooms and basements. As a general rule, solid wood is more apt to expand than engineered and laminate floors.

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18Jul
18Jul

After spending money on flooring that are supposed to be perfectly flat, nothing is more annoying than stumbling over a bump in your beautiful hardwood flooring. Now what?

The procedure for fixing a warped wood floor really depends on the size of the bump. These tips are intended to help bumps of all sizes; however, a professional flooring contractor may be necessary for larger warps.

1. Fixing A Tiny Warp

If your wood is still rather pliable (like a solid wood), try wetting the area and placing a heavy object, like a cinderblock, on top. Leave it there for a few days and check to see if the warp is gone. If the warp is still there, you may have a bigger problem on your hands.

2. Sanding

If you know that the source of your warping comes from humidity changes or a water spill and not an underlying leak, then sanding the solid wood floor might be a good option. This requires an aggressive sanding technique that may cost a floor up to ¼ inch of its thickness.

3. A Replacement Job

If your warp is on the medium to large scale, you may have to do a replacement job. Carefully remove the warped plank and fix any underlying issues that may have been caused by a water leak. Replace it with a new plank of the same species, color, and size. Nail down and secure the wood boards using the same installation technique.

To avoid warped floors, choosing a laminate or engineered wood floor might be a better option over solid wood. Solid woods expand and contract with humidity changes and water leaks, affecting the shape of your boards. Laminate and engineered woods are manufactured to resist humidity changes, leaving them the same size forever. And of course, be sure to investigate any and all reasons why your floor might be warped. A water leak may lead to mold damage under your floors and you may not realize it.

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16Jul
16Jul

Your bedroom should be your oasis--a place to rest and relax. It’s important to make your bedroom a space you enjoy and seek for comfort, not a boring place to sleep. There are plenty of fun ideas out there for fun bedroom decorations, but some of our favorite are these cool bedroom floors. Some ideas for wooden floors for bedrooms range from painted floors to reclaimed wood. Hardwood flooring in these rooms can make any space unique.

 

Photos Courtesy of Home Decoration Ideas, Blogger, Tapja, Decoist, and Best Home Designs

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15Jul
15Jul

In today’s home renovation world, it’s becoming easier to choose eco-friendly options for flooring. There are many green flooring options, especially hardwood flooring, that reduce the use of renewable materials thereby protecting earth. From sustainable flooring choices like Bamboo or Eucalyptus to the type of finish better suited for the environment, the eco-friendly possibilities are endless.

Sustainable Wood Floor Options

There are a variety of hardwood flooring options when it comes to going green. Floors like Bamboo are made from grass materials, not wood, which grow more rapidly than trees. These materials are bonded together in a high pressure, high heat manufacturing process that actually makes them some of the hardest floors on the market.

Other great green flooring options are engineered wood floors. Engineered hardwood flooring is also manufactured in a high pressure process made of waste woods, with a thin layer of solid wood is added on top. So not only do these floors look great, they are made with renewable materials.

Earth-Friendly Finishes

Finishes are vital to the look and durability of your floors. While no floor finish is 100% environmentally responsible, you have plenty of options to choose from if you are looking for a finish with no petroleum or only natural ingredients. The easiest aspect to focus on in terms of an environmentally finish is the VOC content. A VOC stands for volatile organic compound and emit toxic chemicals in the air.

However, it’s smart to remember that just because a solvent doesn’t emit VOCs, it doesn’t always mean it’s harmless. In general, water-based finishes tend to have the lowest VOC levels. Read labels and ask questions. With so many finishes on the market, it’s important to read labels and ask questions.

Hardwood Bargains’ Commitment

Hardwood Bargains is committed to helping save our environment. We have partnered with the American Forest Foundation, the nation’s oldest non-profit forest conservation organization. We pledge to replant two trees for every tree used in our sold products. We hope to set a standard for consciousness and concern for other companies in how we impact the environment. In addition to this partnership, we offer products that are inherently eco-friendly, like our engineered wood flooring and formaldehyde-free finishes.

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03Jul
03Jul

Carpets Are Home To Dust Mites And Other Triggers

We know it’s gross to think about, but carpet flooring is the ideal environment for dust mites. These little bugs are one of the worst enemies for people with allergies. They’re too small to be seen with the naked eye, but hide in carpets, bedding, and other cushions. In these places, they excrete waste products that trigger your allergies. Carpet also traps dirt, pet dander, and other airborne triggers. Though these allergens can be decreased with frequent vacuuming, they never fully disappear.

How Wood Floors Can Help

Since wood flooring is a sleek surface, dust mites have nowhere to hide. They cannot burrow themselves deep down and release waste products. Bare hardwood flooring is the easiest way to keep free of dust mites, pet dander, and other triggers. However, it is important to note that synthetic flooring like laminate initially releases VOCs that can worsen your allergies, so it is best to stick to a natural, organic product.

That said, hardwood flooring is a logical choice for those who are particularly sensitive to dust allergens. It is still recommended that you clean your wood floors regularly so that dust does not become airborne. And it is always recommended that you keep your air filters clean to reduce dust allergens.

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02Jul
02Jul

More and more homeowners are turning to wood floors for the main flooring option in their homes. In fact, MSN Real Estate reports that carpet is essentially dead. It goes on to say that in a recent survey, hardwood flooring boosted home sales as much as 6%. So whether you have a fixer upper or are just looking to beautify your space, adding hardwood flooring in your living room is a great way to add a unique charm to any room. Below are some of our favorite living room looks:

Photo Courtesy of HGTV

Photo Courtesy of HGTV

Photo Courtesy of Houzz

Photo Courtesy of Houzz

Photo Courtesy of BHG

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01Jul
01Jul

Many homeowners are confused on just how much wood they need for their renovation project. This handy calculator will help you figure out exactly how much it will cost to redo the flooring in any room. Simply add 5%-10% of square footage for waste cuts to the rooms square footage and multiply it by the price of wood per square foot. Don’t forget to add in the costs of installation supplies, baseboards, and door thresholds.

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