4 Myths About Waterproof Flooring, Busted

“Waterproof” is the latest buzz word in flooring. Most products that are advertised as waterproof are luxury vinyl planks or tiles. Since we’ve been in business for more than 30 years, we’ve seen many flooring trends come and go. When a new product is marketed as the latest and greatest solution to all flooring problems, we know to be skeptical. All kinds of floor coverings have their pros and cons for different applications, and waterproof flooring is no exception. Here are 4 common myths about waterproof flooring and the facts:

Myth: If my floor is waterproof, I won’t have any problems with leaks or floods.
Fact: The material itself is waterproof, but that only means that the flooring itself won’t get water damage. That doesn’t mean you won’t have any other water damage that involves repairing or replacing your flooring. In the case of a flood, water will go under the product at the perimeter and can cause rot and/or mold to the subfloor. You will still have to rip out the flooring to allow the subfloor to dry. The locking mechanisms on the flooring usually breaks when you rip up the flooring and can’t be reinstalled. Slow leaks can actually cause more damage with a waterproof floor compared to wood. If the leak goes under the flooring, you can’t tell from above that there is water damage happening underneath, so the leak may go on longer and cause more damage.

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Armstrong 3/4″ x 5″ Prime Harvest Oak “Natural” we installed in a kitchen.

Myth: I need a waterproof floor in the kitchen for spills.
Fact: Kitchens will, of course, experience the occasional spill. Routine spills that are cleaned up promptly will not damage your hardwood floors. Limited water damage to hardwood flooring can usually be solved by replacing affected boards. There is no need to have waterproof flooring for normal wear and tear in a kitchen.

Myth: Waterproof floors are cheaper than wood.
Fact: Recent tariffs on China have increased the prices of flooring products made in China, and luxury vinyl and laminates products have been the hardest hit by price increases. Many wood products are less than many luxury vinyl products; prices very by manufacturer and style. Even if the material itself costs less than a wood product, other aspects of the installation affects the overall price of luxury vinyl installation. Since waterproof flooring is floated over the subfloor, the subfloor needs to be almost perfectly level to install the flooring. Otherwise, the locking mechanism will break from the movement. That means many floating floor installations involved additional leveling costs. Floating floors also require a transition piece between each room to hold the flooring into place, rather than just moving seamlessly from room to room with wood. Transition pieces can be $50 to more than $100 each, so each additional piece required affects the cost of the project.

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Luxury vinyl and laminate flooring require transition pieces between each room to hold the flooring in place.

Myth: Waterproof floors are also scratch-proof and will last longer than wood.
Fact: Though they are durable, vinyl plank floors do scratch and the scratches can only be remedied by replacing planks. Scratches can’t be touched up and the flooring can’t be refinished. Repairs on vinyl plank floors can be very difficult and costly. Wood floors can be recoated or even completely refinished to last a lifetime, and replacing damaged boards is a relatively simple repair. Luxury vinyl planks and other wood-look products can only be thrown away and replaced. Once they’re done, they’re done, much like laminates of past and sheet vinyl before it. Eventually you’ll be paying for a new floor. 

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5 Kitchen Wood Flooring Myths, Busted
FAQs: Laminate & Luxury Vinyl

Before & After: Custom Parquet

This customer came to us with a custom request for parquet oak flooring. Our job supervisor Anthony and his crew installed custom made red oak 3/4″ x 2 1/4″ select and better parquet with side bevels unfinished.

Then, our refinishing crew stained and finished the flooring.

Need help with your custom wood flooring project? Contact the experts at Dan Higgins Wood Flooring.

Home Design Inspiration: Natural Border

Last month in Marlton, our job supervisor Anthony and his crew installed this Bruce Dundee 3/4″ x 2 1/4″ Dundee Oak Strip “Cherry” CB218 with a custom Bruce Dundee 3/4″ x 2 1/4″ Dundee Oak Strip “Natural” CB210 border.

They also installed Bruce 3/4″ x 2 1/4″ Dundee Oak Strip “Butterscotch” CB216 in the upper hall with complementary custom stair treads.

Contact Dan Higgins Wood Flooring for your custom flooring installations.

Home Design Inspiration: 19th Century Farmhouse

A customer in Vincentown, NJ, contacted us when she purchased a 19th century farmhouse. She wanted to have hardwood flooring installed in her living room that would complement the original flooring in her historic home. We installed this custom multi-width southern yellow pine flooring, which we then stained and finished along with the existing oak and pine flooring.

Face-nailed flooring is particularly difficult to finish, since each nail needs to be individually plugged.  That’s why we use only high-skilled installers and refinishers to complete our customers’ projects.

Need help with your custom project? Contact Dan Higgins Wood Flooring.

3 Myths about “Green” Wood Flooring, Busted

Now that the weather is finally starting to feel like spring, we can start going outside and enjoying the outdoors. It reminds us of the importance of protecting nature. Many of our customers have questions about how their flooring affects the environment. Here are three common misconceptions we hear about how wood flooring affects the environment:

1. Hardwood flooring is bad for trees.

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Photo of oak tree by Leif Knutsen via Wikimedia Commons

Humans have certainly had a negative impact on forests over time. But in recent history, we’ve been doing a much better job at taking care of trees. In the 19th century, many North American forests were heavily depleted, partly by irresponsible logging. At the start of the 20th century, forest conservation policies came to the forefront. US forestland stopped decreasing in 1920 after two centuries of decline. Since the 1940s, forest growth has been exceeding harvest, so we’re actually growing more trees than we are cutting down. Most lumber comes from US and Canadian forests, and both countries comprehensive forestry management policies. Much of the production has switched from harvesting public lands to privately owned and managed forests. These companies have an interest in growing at least as many trees as they cut–it’s how they can continue their business. US forests have more trees now than they’ve had in 100 years, and responsible forestry will help continue that trend.

2. Floors must be certified to be environmentally friendly.

Several different organizations certify flooring on the environmental impact of flooring production or how the flooring effects indoor air quality.

FloorScore and GREENGUARD are independent organizations that certify products by measures the emission level of specific volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The most common certification to measure VOCs is the California Air Resources Board (CARB) certification. CARB-compliant materials meet tight limites for formaldehyde emissions. Flooring must meet the CARB requirements to be sold in California, so most flooring sold in the US meets these requirements. FloorScore, GREENGUARD, and CARB certificiations do not measure the environmental impact of flooring production.

The Forest Stewardship Council is an international organization that sets criteria for environmental, economic, and social standards. They accredit other groups as certification bodies. There are many different kinds of certification for different parts of production and distribution of products. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, uses a combination of criteria for both environmentally responsible production and air quality control. Many levels of LEED certification are available.

There is no one certification that tells you everything you need to know about a manufacturer’s environmental practices. When purchasing flooring, research the manufacturer’s commitment to sustainability and how they implement that in their production process.

3. Bamboo flooring is more environmentally friendly than other wood floors.

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Bamboo forest. Photo by Bernard Gagnon via Wikimedia Commons

Bamboo is advertised as a “green” floor because bamboo plants grows very quickly, while traditional wood flooring species like oak take longer to mature. However, tree growth is just one step of the process. Bamboo is more like a grass than a tree, so it can’t be made into flooring like a traditional hardwood. It is cut into strips and glued together with formaldehyde-based glue, or made into a pulpy mixture with the glue and formed into planks. This also makes bamboo flooring impossible to sand and refinish, so once the finish wears, the grass-and-glue mixture will end up in a landfill. Traditional hardwood floors can be refinished to last for centuries.

 

Have more questions? Contact Dan Higgins Wood Flooring.

Home Design Inspiration: Custom Parquet with Border

Our job supervisor Anthony and his crew installed this custom parquet style flooring using 3/4″ x 4″ rift sawn white oak with an American walnut border. This customer has a three story foyer, so this custom flooring created a dramatic entrance to their center hall colonial-style home.

The flooring was installed unfinished and site-finished by our refinishing crew.

Check out this slideshow to the progress of the installation and finishing.

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Need help with your custom wood flooring project? Contact the experts at Dan Higgins Wood Flooring.

Before & After: Insert with Border

Last week, our job supervisor Anthony and his crew replaced this carpet insert with Bruce Dundee 3 1/4″ solid oak “gunstock” flooring installed diagonally with a dark Bruce Dundee 3 1/4″ solid oak “mocha” border.

 

 

Thank you to our customer, Cindy Perr, for these great photos “Before and After” photos. Here are some more photos of the finished product.

 

 

Contact Dan Higgins Wood Flooring for a free estimate.

Do’s and Don’ts of Wood Floor Maintenance

Nobody likes cleaning. So it’s no wonder that 58% of consumers consider ease of cleaning as one of the top factors for choosing their flooring, according to a survey by the National Wood Flooring Association. That’s why wood flooring continues to be the favorite flooring among homeowners. With just a few common sense tips, your hardwood flooring will last a lifetime.

DO sweep or vacuum regularly.

By getting rid of debris, you help protect your floor’s finish from wear-and-tear.

DON’T wet mop or steam clean.

Wood is a natural product that reacts to humidity. Water and steam can damage the flooring.

DO use recommended wood flooring cleaner spray.

The only cleaning product you need in cleaner spray designed for wood flooring. We recommend Bona or Squeaky brands, which are available in our showrooms in spray bottles and concentrated refills.

DON’T use “refreshers” products.

While these “refresher” products are sold to consumers, only a wood flooring professional should be applying any finishes to your flooring. Misuse of “refresher” products is our number one customer maintenance issue.

DO use felt protectors on furniture legs.

Felt protector pads on the furniture legs protects your flooring from scratches. We recommend EZ Glide surface protectors.

DON’T slide your furniture.

Even with felt protectors, dragging heavy furniture can scratch the finish or even damage the wood itself. Lift or use a moving blanket.

DON’T walk in cleats or damaged high heels.

Metal cleats and exposed heel nails can scratch or even dent wood flooring. A 125-pound person walking in high heels exerts up to 8,000 pounds per square inch of pressure on the heel.

DO control the temperature and humidity.

Solid wood flooring is a natural product that expands and contracts based on the moisture in the air. If the humidity is too low, the flooring can gap and expose the tongues of the boards. If the humidity is too high, the flooring can expand and cup.

DO read the manufacturer guides.

Most flooring manufacturers have information posted on their website about how to maintain your flooring and keep it covered under their warranty.

DON’T be afraid to ask questions.

If you have questions about maintaining your hardwood flooring, contact the experts at Dan Higgins Wood Flooring.

 

 

FAQs about Stairs and Wood Flooring

Updating your staircase can be a finishing touch to your flooring project. But sometimes, what seems like a cherry on top on your project can be the most confusing. Here are some questions we’re often asked about stairs and wood flooring:

What kind of staircase do I have?

Staircases are categorized as either “closed” or “open”. A closed stairs, or boxed stair case, has either a wall or stringer on each side of the stair treads. Stairs can also be open on one or both sides, where there is no wall or stringer on the side and the stair ends at the tread.

How do spindles affect my stair project?

If the stair spindles are installed directly into the stair tread instead of a stringer, any changes to the stairs become much trickier. They often need to be removed before any work is done on the stairs, or worked around very carefully.

Can I installing flooring on my stairs?

Some installer will install pieces of flooring on the stairs, finished with a stair nosing. Over time, the strain put on the nosing will cause it to break off. Instead, we install a solid wood tread on the steps; we want your installation to last.

Can’t I just get one of those kits from a hardware store?

You can, but the do-it-yourself kits are often made with lower quality, flimsy materials that bend, cup, or split. High quality, solid treads can be installed properly and will last much longer.

What happens if one of my steps is a different shape than the other steps?

In our shop, we custom cut the treads to the shape required. Many of the tread kits sold in stores don’t accommodate rounded treads, only rectangular.

Should I get white or stained risers?

It’s all a matter of taste. Some people like the more uniform look of stained risers so that everything matches. Other people prefer the clean, finished look of white risers. Both options look great.

Does my staircase have to match my flooring?

The most popular look is to have the stair treads complement the flooring on the first floor. However, some people prefer to have the stairs complement the upper floor, and others prefer to have the stairs contrast both. When deciding on color, it’s important to keep in mind that treads that are custom-stained to complement the flooring still won’t match exactly. Wood for flooring and treads are cut differently, and factory-applied stains and finishes are impossible to replicate by hand.

Can I get my stairs refinished?

Solid stair treads can be sanded, stained, and refinished along with the flooring.

What if I have more questions about my stairs as part of my wood flooring project?

Contact the experts at Dan Higgins Wood Flooring.

Inspiration Photos

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When the “Best Price” for Floors is Actually the Worst

You’ve probably seen your share of poor work done by contractors, and wonder why people would hire someone to do that type of work. Unfortunately, those contractors continue to get work every day by selling on price alone. In the home improvement industry, you will get what you pay for. We cringe every time we hear someone say they got a “better” price somewhere else. They always mean “lower price”, and there is a big difference between the two. Here’s the situations when the “best price” is actually the worst price:

It’s not for the whole job.

Some contractors will bait you by showing a ridiculously low price, leaving out many of the costs associated with the job. The price given may be for just the product, while only giving a per-square foot price for installation. Unless the room is bare to the subfloor, the quote should also include the price for removing and disposing of the current flooring. Trim and transition pieces should also be accounted for. If these costs are not factored into the quote, you’ll either have an unfinished job or be surprised by a ballooning budget at the end. You need real numbers based on your costs to have the work done properly, so that you can budget and make an informed decision.

It’s for the wrong product.

The wrong product at the right price is still the wrong product. Big box stores will sell “house brands” or “private label” brands, which are the lower quality “leftovers” of flooring manufacturers. We install flooring from nationally-recognized brands backed by their manufacturers. Some contractors will install the cheapest flooring they can find so they can underbid the competition, not knowing or caring if the flooring is right for your home.

It’s not from a reputable company.

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A job left unfinished by a contractor

Anybody can claim they can install flooring: how do you know the quality of their work? That “great” price won’t be so great when you have to pay another company to fix the work. Do some research before choosing an installation company. Check project photos and reviews on sites like Google, Facebook, and Houzz. Make sure the installer is licensed to work in your state.

Big box companies hire the lowest-bidding contractor, who will work as fast as he can because he gets paid by the square foot. Then when an issue arises with an installation, the store can point the finger as the contractor to avoid responsibility. While writing this article, we received a call from a customer who had a “friend” install their wood flooring for them. When it came time to finish the job at the doorways, he left the job site and never came back. It’s a story we hear time and time again. We offer a lifetime installation warranty, so we stand behind our installations.

Get a free in-home quote from Dan Higgins Wood Flooring.