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 almost 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.

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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.

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.

6 Shopping Tips for Your DIY Wood Flooring Project

Ready to start your DIY wood flooring installation project? Before you start shopping, check out these tips to get your project started off right.

1. Pick the right product.

The type of flooring–solid wood, engineered wood, laminate, or LVT–that can be installed in a room depends on many variables: type of subfloor, grade level, moisture levels, and other factors. Make sure you have all of the information you need before you start shopping.

2. Evaluate installation methods.

Depending on the type of product, your flooring may need to be nailed down, glued, or floated. Floating a lock-and-fold floor is generally considered the easiest of the three methods, since the floor snaps together and does not need to be adhered to the subfloor. Nailing or gluing flooring is more difficult, so consider a professional installation if you’re not an experienced DIYer.

3. Allow for waste.

If your room is 150 square feet, you can’t just buy 150 square feet of wood. Every product is packaged differently, so the amount of square footage per carton varies. Plus, some boards will need to be cut to fit the room. Generally, a do-it-yourself will need to allow for more waste than a professional flooring installer. Factor in a 5-10% waste factor when calculating square footage needed for your project. Then, round up to the nearest carton.

4. Factor in extras.

When calculating your project budget, don’t forget the additional materials and tools that will be required for the job. For a nail-down installation, you’ll need to buy or rent a floor nail gun–we let our customers borrow a nail gun at no charge. You will need some additional supplies: vapor barrier, foam, staples, glue, putty, or others. We offer many of the supplies needed for a flooring installation, so you can order all of your supplies together.

5. Check the manufacturer guide.

Most flooring manufacturers have guidelines that must be followed for installation. If those guidelines are not followed and there’s a problem with the flooring, the manufacturer will not cover the floors under warranty. Before you decide on a product, read the manufacturer guide to make sure you’ll be able to meet the requirements to be covered by the warranty. Most manufacturers have the warranty information available online.

6. Consult the experts.

Need help with your DIY flooring installation? Contact us at Dan Higgins Wood Flooring for all of your do-it-yourself hardwood flooring needs.

 

 

5 Kitchen Wood Flooring Myths, Busted

Too many customers visit our showroom wishing they could put wood flooring in their kitchen but thinking they can’t. The myth that hardwood flooring can’t be used in the kitchen keeps many people from picking a beautiful and practical flooring option. Here are five of the myths we hear about wood flooring in the kitchen.

Myth: Flooring in the kitchen has to be waterproof.

Fact: This myth comes from the confusion between overall moisture levels and occasional spills. Kitchens will, of course, experience the occasional spill. Spills that are cleaned up immediately will not damage your hardwood floors. Limited water damage to hardwood flooring can usually be solved by replacing effected boards. If a tile is damaged, you will likely have to replace a large area, if not all, of the flooring. Some homeowners think they need “waterproof” flooring to protect against a flood. However, most types of flooring–including tile–will not hold up to a kitchen flood.

Myth: Hardwood is too hard to maintain in a kitchen.

IndusParquet .75 x 3 solid brazilian cherry Fact: All that is required for cleaning hardwood flooring is floor cleaner and a dry mop, along with a broom or vacuum. We do not recommend using any “refreshers” or wet mops to clean hardwood floors. Hardwood floors are as easy, if not easier, to maintain as other popular kitchen flooring types.

Myth: You need an extra “hard” flooring in a kitchen.

Fact: While a softer wood species, like walnut, is not recommended for high-traffic areas like the kitchen, all wood flooring will dent when heavy objects like pots and pans are dropped on it. Nearly any type of flooring you put in the kitchen will be damaged when hit with a heavy object. Like with limited water damage, single boards of wood flooring can often be replaced when dented. When tiles crack, replacing the cracked tile is much more involved and usually most costly.

Myth: Hardwood flooring in the kitchen needs to go under the cabinets.

Fact: As a rule, we do not install wood flooring under kitchen cabinets. The most obvious reason is that by installing under the cabinets, you’d be paying for square footage that you’ll never see. Some customers worry that they may change their cabinet layout and not have flooring under it anymore. However, any flooring that was under the cabinets will look very different from the rest of the flooring, since it wasn’t exposed to the same light. Plus, if there is water damage to the flooring, it is very difficult to repair any flooring that’s underneath the cabinets. Some kitchen contractors prefer to have the floors installed wall-to-wall before installing the cabinets to make the cabinet installation easier, but it is not necessary.

Myth: Hardwood is more expensive than tile.

Fact: While the product price is often higher for hardwood flooring than tile, installing tile is much more labor intensive. The total project cost is usually higher for installing tile.

Kitchen Hardwood Flooring Installations

Still not convinced wood floors are a great choice for the kitchen? Take a look at these photos of wood floors we installed in our customers’ kitchens.

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Want see more wood floors in the kitchen? See more on our Idea Board.

Spring Mirage Hardwood Flooring Rebate

Starting April 3rd, 2017, Mirage Floors is offering  a $0.50 per sq. ft. rebate on hardwood flooring purchases. The sale includes all species, colors, and widths of Mirage Classic, Mirage Engineered, and Mirage Lock products.

 

Dan Higgins Wood Flooring is a Mirage Floors Elite Maestro Dealer. As Elite Dealers, we provide the full range of Mirage products and services.

The rebate sale runs through May 27th, but our installation calendar is already filling up with customers who want to start their spring cleaning with new hardwood floors.

See our selection of Mirage Products in our showroom.

For more information, contact us.

For complete rules and information, visit Mirage’s Website.

Before & After: Old Barracks Museum

We’re lucky here in New Jersey that we are surrounded by American history. The Old Barracks Museum in Trenton is one of those historical gems. The Barracks were built in 1758 to house British soldiers during the French and Indian war. During the Revolutionary War, General George Washington and his troops crossed Delaware river to surprise the Hessian troops staying in the Barracks. Now, the Old Barracks Museum serves as an educational museum as well as an event space.

We installed Armstrong Prime Harvest 3/4″ x 5″ oak wood flooring in “Gunstock” in their Founder’s Room event space.

The newly renovated room looks great and will be home to many exciting events in the future.

 

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Photo courtesy of the Old Barracks

Thank you to the Old Barracks for use of their photos.

Renovating your space? Contact Dan Higgins Wood Flooring.