Flooring FAQ

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Homes built in a predominately colder climate must make some sacrifices or alterations to ensure their functionality isn't compromised. For instance every single air gap should be filled in, double paned windows are recommended, and even backup heating plans should be explored. One thing that many homeowners might not be aware of is that a home's flooring is affected by extreme cold temperatures as well. If you live in or plan on moving to a colder climate region be prepared to examine these flooring choices.


Carpet is a nice choice for winter flooring as it has minimal expansion and contraction and serves as a nice temperature barrier. The main issue with installing hardwood flooring in a cold climate home is that when temperatures drop the wood contracts which can leave large gaps around the edges of walls. Putting the wood too close to the wall when installing to account for the contraction will cause the wood to buckle in the warm weather as it expands. Carpet on the other hand is tacked into place and stretched when installing. The only real downfall to carpet is the fact that it is more susceptible to damage from snow and mud tracked in.


Vinyl plank flooring in a home

Vinyl Plank Flooring

A material that provides all the benefits of carpet but with increased durability is vinyl plank flooring. It is perhaps the best choice for cold climates because it is durable, waterproof, stylish, and has insulating properties. Vinyl plank flooring is engineered to look like wood but doesn't expand and contract as oak or maple would. The plank design is installed in a floating manner so it can move with temperature changes unlike a vinyl sheet that will become brittle and crack in extreme cold. The foam pad underneath the vinyl plank serves as extra insulation and the surface won't be damaged by snow and mud.




Rubber flooring like that found in gyms is an outside the box approach to colder climate flooring. Rubber is most likely used in a cold garage as a barrier against the concrete slab but can also provide the same benefits in a basement. Rubber doesn't grow or shrink noticeably with the temperature changes and for the most part is weather proof.

Slate / Granite Tiles

Tiles such as ceramic or porcelain aren't very good conductors of heat and are very fragile in extreme cold so wouldn't be a very good option in a cabin that isn't heated year round. Granite and stone on the other hand are often used in outdoor flooring and are more durable when used in the home, especially with an underfloor heater installed underneath. Slate and granite tiles can be manufactured to be frost-free and can have an absorption rate of 0-5% but unfortunately are very costly to install. Homeowners have enough to worry about when the temperatures start to submarine but the preservation of the house's flooring doesn't necessarily have to be one of them.

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For many people there's nothing more relaxing after a stressful day than a calming glass (or three) of red wine. If Calgon can't take you away Merlot sure can. Unfortunately Cabernet Sauvignon on a carpet isn't a very good match but you might also be surprised to learn that red wine spilled on a hardwood floor can also cause damage. Something so enjoyable and calming as a glass of wine doesn't need to induce stress if spilled on a hardwood floor as long as you follow these tips in a timely manner.


red wine spill on a hardwood floor 

Photo Credit: Jason Samson


Blot Up the Wine

When the wine is spilled the damage is done but you now want to do two things – soak up the wine and prevent further damage. The obvious first step is to clean up the wine so it doesn't stain any further but this step requires caution. You'll want to soak up the wine with a wet paper towel but don't wipe it or rub it as this can extend the stain and send it deeper into the wood.


Try and Clean the Area

Once the wine has been soaked up the next step is to try and remove it from the wood. The most available household object that most people will have handy is bleach but there are a few different components that can be tried:

Bleach – diluted bleach will soak the red wine from the wood but may make it lighter while doing so. When pouring the bleach on the wood confine it mostly to the stained area and keep a watchful eye that it doesn't fade the wood too much before wiping it up in 45 minutes to an hour. Bleach is a slightly more risky option and should be a last resort if other cleaning techniques won't budge the stain.

Oil Soap – a trusted oil soap like Murphy's can be mixed with water and scrubbed on the floor surface to hopefully lift the red wine stain.

Baking Soda Paste – baking soda mixed with mineral oil forms a thick paste that can sometimes lift a stain from a hardwood floor. Coat the paste on the stain for about 40 minutes and remove it with a dry cloth.

You can also get more cleaning tips from our blog here. It's important to use proper care when applying these cleaning solutions and if possible spread them to as few adjacent wood floor boards as possible in case they need to be removed.


red wine stain on a hardwood floor
Photo Credit: Phillip Taylor


Sanding and Re-staining

It's possible that none of the cleaning methods will remove the stain so the next approach is up to the homeowner. A red wine stain might not be as noticeable with a darker material like on acacia wood flooring and in other instances a well placed rug or moving a table can cover the mark. Other times it might be necessary to sand off the stain and the surrounding area and trying to bleed the color of the boards together.


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There are a number of factors that add to the allure of installing a hardwood floor in your home. For one they are perhaps the most stylish and luxurious addition to any room, adding versatility to a kitchen, dining room, living room, or bedroom. Hardwood floors are also very neutral meaning they fit in with almost any design décor. Wood floors are easy to maintain and finally are very durable. In regards to durability though, even though the hardwoods will stand up to a number of nicks and scratches, there are times when they do become dented from supporting a heavy bookcase or just everyday damage. Luckily you can restore the return on your investment with these easy ways to repair dents in hardwood floors.


What is a Dent?

 It's important to differentiate between a dent and a scratch when finding your repair solution. A dent is actually an impression into the wood floor that is causing material to be removed usually caused by something heavy like a piano setting on it for a long period of time. A scratch is just an imperfection on the surface of the floor that can usually be removed with a solid buffing or polishing.


Dented Flooring
Photo Credit: Huffington Post


Filling a Gouge with Wood Putty

 Wood putty is a handy material that can be used to fill in gouges in a hardwood floor. The putty should be available from any local hardware store but in a variety of colors for different wood types and stains. Ideally you'll have a scrap piece of flooring that you could bring with you but the final looks will depend on how closely you can match to the existing color.

 Using the wood putty is rather simple once you've found the correct color. Simply use your finger to apply it and pack it into the dent. After this some people choose to let the putty set overnight to pack in or just wipe the excess away with a damp rag. Depending on the size of the indentation the putty can be left as is or sanded, stained over, and covered with protection such as polyurethane.


Removing a Dent With Steam

 In most cases the wood putty will be noticeable if you're looking for it. You can choose to restore the wood to its original glory by pulling the dent out with steam. This is very much a hit or miss process that involves first sanding the surrounding area down to remove the polyurethane coating. Next use clean white cotton pieces about the size of the dent and place them in the gouge. Take an iron on the highest setting and place it on the cotton for about 5 minutes. Check and see if the dent is gone or has improved and then repeat the process until it disappears. What happens when you apply water and then steam is that the fibers of the wood first soak up moisture and then expand to their original shape with the heat. The reason you have to keep continuing the process is because the wood needs to soak up more moisture to have 'fuel' to expand. After the dent is returned to flush it's then best to let the floor dry for awhile before sanding with a fine grit and then applying a protective coat of wax.

 Hopefully the processes will help remove the dent without having to remove any of the floor boards.

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