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January 2018

22Jan
22Jan

Oak 

 

Choosing the right wood flooring for your project can be a stressful exercise that has you constantly second-guessing yourself. We know how tough this can be and would like to help you narrow it down, at least a little. We plan to talk about the difference between Red and White Oak (Hint: it’s more than just color).

Why Choose Oak At All?

For starters, Oak is a beautiful hardwood that has a storied history in American homes. It is also a very tough and durable wood that can easily hold up to the demand of a busy home or business. Because of these reasons, Oak is one of our best sellers.

Oak also happens to be a very plentiful tree in the United States, and a large supply of it is sourced right here. As a result, buying Oak is a greener choice than most other woods, as it uses a lot less energy to move around the country (vs around the world) with the money going to American workers.

Red Oak Vs White Oak

Red Oak and White Oak are the two most common species of Oak that you will find when it comes to flooring. They vary in a few important ways that I will discuss.

First Things First… Looks

So, I know I said there was more to Red vs White than just color, but color is still an important aspect. Red Oak is a classic choice, and it gets its name from the reddish and light golden tones in its grain. White Oak, on the other hand, can be identified by its lighter brown and warmer gold tones

Toughness and Durability

While both species of Oak are tough, White Oak boasts an impressive 1360 Janka rating (The measure of a wood’s resistance to scratches and damage). Red Oak doesn’t lag too far behind at a 1290 rating.

Texture and pattern

The Red Oak has a more elaborate grain pattern when compared to its White counterpart, giving it a deeper and more eye-catching texture. White Oak has a finer grain pattern and is much more subtle in its appearance, giving it a more consistent look.

Characteristics

What gives White Oak the nod over Red for me is how resistant it is to rot and water, which makes it an excellent choice for flooring. This is because White Oak has smaller, closed off pores, whereas Red Oak has larger pores. However, it’s not all bad with Red - the larger pores make it easier to stain deeply and evenly.

Which one is right for me?

In the end, you can’t go wrong with either of these historic Oaks, but in our minds, White Oak is better suited for most daily home needs. Both species are available in a wide range of colors, styles and widths. Colors range from dark to light. For example, our wide-plank Midnight White Oak provides a refined, classic look to any space, whereas our Ivory White Oak flooring is a favorite of designers looking for a chic, modern aesthetic. Browse our 60+ styles here.  

I hope you found this helpful, and feel free to comment below if you have any thoughts or questions on the subject.

08Jan
08Jan

Radiant Floor Heating

Radiant Floor Heating

You may, or may not, be familiar with radiant floor heating, but if you own a house in a colder climate, then it is something that you really should consider. The technology for radiant floor heating has been around for a long time, and breakthroughs in technology and techniques are still regularly occurring. Let me walk you through the different types of radiant floor heating and their pros and cons.

There are three major types of radiant floor heating: hydronic, electric, and air-heated. They all work on the same principle, which is concealing a heat source under your flooring, so that you can more efficiently heat your floor, room, or entire home.

Hydronic Radiant Heating

Hydronic radiant heating is the oldest and first to be widely used. You can find it in all sorts of buildings to this day. Hydronic radiant heating gets its name from its use of circulating hot water through pipes in a building or house in order to cheaply and efficiently distribute heat. Due to the nature of the tubing, this type of radiant heating usually needs to be installed during construction and isn’t really an option if you are simply looking at a remodel.

Furthermore, hydronic radiant heating is the most efficient of the three radiant heating techniques, allowing you to cheaply heat the water using electricity, solar, gas, old school boilers, oil or even geothermal. However, the downside is that hydronic radiant heating has the highest maintenance cost - flooring and walls must be removed to service any leaky pipes. This has gotten better in recent times, as the pipes used are much higher quality than they used to be, resulting in a stronger and more leak-resistant system that is less prone to becoming brittle with age.

Strongly consider hydronic radiant heating if you are in the early stages of home construction or planning, and especially if you plan to use an alternative power source such as solar.

Electric Radiant Heating

Electric radiant heating is the most common type to be found in modern homes and can be installed after construction. It works by using rolled cables attached to mats, film, or mesh constructed of resilient, heat-conductive materials. The mats can then be installed directly into the concrete slab during construction, or installed after construction underneath the subfloor. They can even be placed directly under the flooring, depending on the type of flooring used.

This method works by using independent zone thermostats that can control each room’s floor, meaning that you can heat up just one floor, a single room, or even the entire house. No more climbing out of bed onto an icy floor in the mornings. Electric radiant heating works so well that it is even installed under driveways, sidewalks, and roads as an alternative and efficient way to de-ice without using salts or chemicals.

This is a perfect choice if your house is already built or you don’t want to have to worry about any maintenance down the road.

Air-Heated

Finally, we come to hot air heating, or simply air-heated. This is the least popular type of radiant floor heating as it’s not very efficient. The way it works is that air is heated and then pumped through a system of pipes embedded in the floors. Air is a poor conductor of heat so it usually only serves to heat the floors, but not the rest of the room or house.

We don’t recommend this route as it has to be installed before construction is finished, like the hydronic systems, and you still have to pair it with another heating source. You really are better off by going with one of the other two options.

Conclusion

There you have the three types of radiant floor heating to choose from, but a lot still goes into making a decision. Your house’s location, layout, foundation and flooring all make up a large factor about which (if any) to go with and you should talk it over with your contractor or flooring representative to find out what works the best for you.

As far as flooring goes, an engineered hardwood flooring is your best bet. Radiant heating systems also perform well with stone, ceramic, and porcelain tile floor coverings. Carpet and laminate flooring is not recommended as they can limit the heating capacity of radiant heating systems. As always, consult a professional before undergoing a large decision.

I hope this has been helpful - Let us know if you have any questions, and hopefully, by next winter, your home will be that much more comfortable and cozy!