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Categories Hardwood

Textured Hardwoods Are Growing in Popularity

In the past, basically all hardwood flooring was sanded to a completely smooth finish. It was then finished with a semi-gloss or a gloss coat of polyurethane. No matter the type of wood or the application, most hardwood floors looked pretty similar. That is not the case anymore. In the 21st century, many different types of hardwood flooring are trending in popularity. Specifically, different textures of hardwood flooring are trending. A smooth finish is still very popular and still the most prominent, but many others are growing more prevalent.

Open Grain

An open grain hardwood floor is one in which the grain of the floor is allowed to stand out. The type of wood used in an open grain floor is one that specifically has large pores. When the floor is sanded, you can still run your hand over the surface and feel the texture of the grain. Only certain types of wood are appropriate for open grain floors. There are many cases in which the wood simply doesn’t work properly for an open grain concept. The difference lies in the way the wood is processed.

When the wood is sawn, it is sawn across the pores so that the pores are left open. Red oak, white oak, and hickory are three examples of woods that are very porous.

Hand Scraped

Hand scraping is another process for creating texture in a hardwood floor. Originally, the floor was scraped by a draw knife to create different gouges throughout the wood. Now, most hand scraped floors are actually scraped by machines. The machines use gouges or sanding wheels with different depths to create an authentic, rustic look.

Wire Brushed

A wire brushed floor can range from very subtle to extreme. The process used to be done by hand to remove the soft surface of wood and expose the grain. Now, it’s usually done by machine. The size of the bristles used and the amount of pressure used will determine how the brushing pattern appears. A subtle pattern can create a warm and soft appearance for your floor. A more extreme brushing pattern can expose more grain and catch more light, creating even more texture.

These are a few of the ways that a floor can be textured. There are other ways to create texture in your hardwood floor as well. Some people choose distressed hardwoods that are made from old flooring or from wood used for different purposes. There are also rough-hewn woods that have more surface texture. You should ask a flooring expert about different texture options if you want a textured floor.

Categories Hardwood

The Hardwood Flooring Colors On the Rise

Every year, the hottest colors in interior design change. For years, the colors for hardwood floors have been trending towards bold colors. Those bold colors can be as bright as a deep cherry stain or they can be something bold like black. Those are very different colors, but what they have in common is that they’re incredibly bold colors. In the future, bold colors will stay popular, but neutrals are making a serious comeback.

Neutral Colors

Black is still going to be a popular color, but as neutrals grow more popular, the black stains that are very popular will begin to trend towards charcoal. This range of tones works best with hardwoods that have a straight grain pattern because the grayish black will not reflect much light. Since they look best in matte, a grain pattern that isn’t straight might just look like scratches. The same is true of hand-scraped or wire-brushed hardwoods. Avoid using a shadowy charcoal color with textured floors unless you’re okay with them looking scratched up.

Chocolate browns are going to be on the rise as well. While it might seem odd to stain wood brown, the brown that you get from a stain will be much richer and more uniform than the natural color of most woods. Chocolate stains will be very popular with walnuts and other hardwoods that readily accept new stains. This, like the ashy black, will look best in a matte or a satin finish.

Warm off-whites will grow popular as well. White is technically a neutral but it tends to feel very cool. That’s because most whites and off-whites have just a touch of blue in them to make them look bright. The trend in the coming years will be for off-whites that have just a slightest touch of red to warm them up. The color evokes thoughts of natural limestone. It’s a bold color for a floor but still somewhat cool and understated.

French Limestone

The hottest flooring color in the future is almost certain to be French limestone. French limestone is an off-white that has inclusions of some warm colors. Typically, French limestone has no yellow and no pink. It’s just white with a touch of earth tones that make it look great. French limestone goes great with hand-scraped wood, brushed wood, and other types of textured woods. The color of the wood looks almost like stone and thus, it works well with textures.

Categories Hardwood

The Greenest Hardwood Flooring Options

Hardwood flooring is obviously made from a limited natural resource. Trees are a renewable resource but some of them take a very long time to renew. Most hardwood trees grow slower than softwoods such as pine. Softwood pine can grow to maturity in about ten years. An oak tree however, only grows about one foot per year. Even rarer hardwoods take longer to grow. That’s why so many people are hesitant about hardwood options. There are green, sustainable ways to choose a hardwood floor.

Sustainable Hardwood

One of the options is a sustainably sourced hardwood floor. Sustainable sourcing means that the trees are harvested in ways that is replaceable. For example, a sustainable program might involve a company planting a tree for every tree that is harvested for its wood. Those newly planted trees will take a decade or more to grow to maturity but the land won’t become barren after trees are harvested. Furthermore, the company can choose to buy offsets. An offset is basically a credit from one company to another. The company will buy a certain amount of credits that will go towards planting trees elsewhere.

Reclaimed Wood

Reclaimed wood is another green option. Reclaimed wood is wood that has been machined and installed for a different purpose that is then moved to your home or office. Typically, reclaimed wood refers to older wood that has been aged somewhat. You can buy a reclaimed wood floor that was just a floor elsewhere. Alternately, you can buy a floor made from planks of wood that were used for some other purpose.

The wood you choose doesn’t have to be antique barn wood or some other trendy source; it could simply be a floor that was removed in a renovation. Apartment complexes are great sources for reclaimed hardwood. Older apartments often have wooden floors that require more maintenance than the apartment managers would like. Therefore, they remove the old floors and put them up for quick sale.

Fast-Growing Hardwoods

Since the wood used in hardwood floors is often replaced by planting saplings, the speed at which the tree grows will determine how quickly the tree is replaced. Trees sequester carbon in their branches and leaves; therefore, when you cut them down, you release that carbon. A tree needs to grow to the size of the previous tree to sequester the equivalent amount of carbon that was released. Buying hardwood floors in a fast-growing species such as red oak can reduce the carbon footprint.

Categories Hardwood

What Is the Deal With Reclaimed Wood Flooring?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve likely heard of reclaimed wood by now. Over the past few years, it has emerged as the hottest trend in flooring. You’ve probably even seen it used even if you weren’t aware of what to call it. Here’s the basics.

The Basics

Reclaimed wood is technically any wood that has been manufactured and machined for one purpose being taken from its original application and applied elsewhere. While that’s the technical definition, the implication is that the wood is aged in some manner. It is then brought to your house and used as flooring. A floor installed in a neighbor’s house three years ago and then moved to your house would be technically reclaimed wood but that’s not what people mean when they use it.

The holy grail of reclaimed wood, for example, is barn wood. Some barns have wooden floors but most of the wood used for floors comes from the barn walls. Barn wood is highly prized because it has been exposed to the elements for decades. That means it bears a patina of age that’s nearly impossible to replicate. The wood has unique character.

How to Get on Trend

To get on the trend, you need to find a supplier of reclaimed wood. The easiest solution is simply to search for a hardwood flooring retailer that offers reclaimed wood floors. These are often floors from old homes that have been pulled up and resold. They’re a great option because they’re very quick and easy to install. Oftentimes, the wood doesn’t even need to be machined again.

Getting on the reclaimed wood trend is more than just getting the floor, though. If you pick a reclaimed floor, you need the furniture to go with it. You need either reclaimed wood furniture and cabinetry or at least cabinets and furniture that bear a patina of age. The best way to do that is to search for distressed wood furniture. You can also invest in more flooring wood than you need. You can use that to clad your cabinets or countertops to match the floor. The floor is simply the centerpiece of a home that looks and feels like an antique.

There are a lot of ways to get on the trend; oftentimes, your neighbors will simply give away their old wooden floors when they remodel. Keep an eye out online and in your neighborhood for people who are remodeling. Even if the floor is badly damaged, it is likely salvageable.

Categories Hardwood

The Trend Towards Farmhouse-Style Hardwood Floors

Interior design elements go through trends that tend to be somewhat cyclical, much like fashion. Currently, the fashion of the 1990s is making a resurgence; that fashion was a response to a lot of what was happening in the 1960s. The trend moves in cycles like that. Interior design, and specifically hardwood flooring, moves in similar trends. Currently, the hardwood designs of the 1940s are growing in popularity again. Those trends were a response to the economic hard times of the 1930s. So, what are those trends?

The Farmhouse Trends

Many homes are moving away from the aesthetics of linoleum, vinyl, and other processed materials. They’re going back to the natural hardwoods of previous decades. Even more than that, they’re looking to capture the look of aging that has come to signify antique construction. There are several different ways to do that.

The most authentic way to capture the look of antique wood is by using antique wood. Some people source their wood themselves; they visit old barns, sugar mills, railroad depots, and antique homes to find aged hardwood floors. Others buy their hardwood floors from a supplier who has aged hardwood. This is the way to get the most authentic hardwood floor, but it’s also the more expensive option.

Other options include hand-scraped hardwood flooring or brushed hardwood flooring. Hand-scraped hardwood flooring is floors that are made in a much older style. Mass-produced sandpaper was not available until the 1920s, and even then, it was mostly used for automotive finishes. Therefore, to get the wood smooth before the widespread use of sandpaper, a carpenter would use a knife to scrape the surface smooth. The uneven gouges through the wood are iconic of farmhouse styles. Brushed hardwood floor is flooring that has been brushed with a stiff wire brush to create thin gouges all over the wood. The gouged lines hold oil and finish differently, creating a textured finish.

Varied Plank Widths

The final element of the farmhouse trend is the varied-width hardwood plank. Modern hardwood floors are made with planks that are all the same width and length. That’s because wood can be sourced from all over the world and cut with a precise machine. When wood had to be sourced from nearby and cut by hand, the entire tree was used to make planks of varying widths and lengths. It’s a subtle difference but it lends a lot of the charm to a farmhouse or antique home.

Categories Hardwood

How Can You Match Your Gray Floors?

Painting or staining hardwood floors has grown in popularity over the past few years. There are trends in flooring that tend to ebb and flow. In the past, light natural colors were very popular. Now, dark colors that are not as commonly found in nature have taken the spotlight. Gray and greige are two of the most popular colors for those who are remodeling their hardwood floors. You can either stain or paint your floors gray. However, many people have one concern. How will they match a gray floor?

Matching a Gray Floor

A gray floor is somewhat of an unconventional choice, which means that it can be difficult to match a gray floor. For example, if you have gray hardwood in your kitchen, you might not want to match it with something like a cherry or a red oak; the colors might clash somewhat. Matching gray usually involves being bold. Gray and greige are very muted, neutral colors. If you try to pair them with other muted colors, the entire colorscape could simply wash out. To offset that, you need something vibrant.

Crimson, burgundy, and other deep reds pair very well with gray and greige. You could choose a dark red wood for cabinets or furniture. You could also choose to paint your furniture. Alternately, you could paint just the baseboards around the floor to create a prominent border. That will lend your entire room the feeling of being a picture captured in a frame.

Shades of Gray

Pairing a gray floor with other gray wood is possible, but it is tricky. It’s not going to be enough to just stain different pieces of wooden furniture with the same gray stain. Every type of wood holds stain differently. So, if you stain an oak floor and a hickory cabinet with the same stain, they will look different. More importantly, they’ll look only slightly different, which will make it look more like a mistake. If you want to match your gray floor with other muted colors, you need to make sure they’re very different.

For example, you could pair a gray floor with black cabinets. Alternately, you could pair a gray floor with beige furniture. The goal is for all of your choices to look intentional. To do that, they need to be striking contrasts. Contrast is what makes photos look great and rooms look exciting. If you think along those lines, you should match your flooring nicely.

Categories Hardwood

Benefits of Brazilian Hardwood Wood Flooring

Exotic hardwood flooring is a popular flooring choice but you may be curious if it’s worth the additional cost. Brazilian hardwood is a beautiful flooring choice but you may be wondering how it holds up and what makes it different than other hardwoods. Brazilian hardwood comes in a variety of species and each has their own individual look and benefits. These exotic woods have beautiful coloring and grain that you cannot find in domestic wood.

Brazil has one of the largest forests in the world and there are abundant species of hardwood. The density of the wood in brazil is higher which can help make it more durable against dents and scratches. Domestic wood like oak or maple can have similar durability to wood like Ipe or Cumaru. The impact resistance may not be higher but there are other factors to consider when choosing your hardwood flooring.

The environmental impact of an exotic wood is another area to consider. Brazil does have a governing body that helps to control the logging practices in Brazil and help to ensure that your flooring was harvested legally. There are also certifications from the Lacey Act and Forest Stewardship Council that ensure that exotic wood was harvested in compliance with the US legislation rules to help protect the forests.

The cost is another factor you will want to consider. Exotics often run at a higher cost per square foot because they are in demand and have a smaller supply. After being harvested and milled the wood is shipped a long way which adds to the costs as well. Brazilian cherry, brazilian walnut, Ipe and other exotic woods may run at a higher cost but do not need to be stained to add a beautiful depth of grain.

When looking at flooring you may wonder if an engineered brazilian cherry floor is a good option compared to a solid wood floor. Solid hardwood is always the best option. Engineered wood does take less natural wood and is made of a thin veneer and then additional plywood or composite layers. This does lead to a more sustainable option and is often less susceptible to shrinking and gapping.

Brazilian hardwood is a great option and a beautiful choice for your home, There are pros and cons to any flooring type and exotic hardwood is no exception.

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Categories Hardwood

Three Trends in Hardwood Flooring Finishes

The look of your hardwood floor is affected by a few different factors. One of the biggest factors is the wood itself. Furthermore, you can change the color of the wood with wood stain. The stain will penetrate into the wood and alter the color. A stain can be something as simple as a stain that deepens and enriches the natural colors. Alternately, the stain can turn your wood something as dramatic as black. The final factor in the wood’s look is the finish. The finish is a layer of protective sealant that goes over the surface of the wood. The most common hardwood flooring finish is polyurethane; however, new finishes are trending.

1- Oil Finishes

An oiled floor is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of finishing the floor with a protective layer of polyurethane, you will apply a layer of oil. The most common oils are tung oil and linseed oil; however, safflower, soy, hemp, and sunflower are also popular oils. The oil will soak into the wood and bond with the wood on a molecular level. The oil will help create a waterproof barrier in the wood, but it will not be on the surface. The oil will repel water, but the wood will still absorb moisture. It will absorb even more moisture if you are not vigilant about reapplying the oil finish.

2 – Low VOC Polyurethane

A volatile organic compound (VOC) is one that releases gases at room temperature. That means that when you are applying it, or even after it has dried, it will release vapors that could be harmful. They can be harmful to you, your pets, or to the environment. Fortunately, many different finishes have become available that do not utilize as many VOCs. These are low VOC polyurethanes. There are even some no-VOC polyurethanes available.

3 – Wax Finishes

If you want a finish that is no-VOC like oil but a little bit harder than oil, you can choose a wax finish. Carnauba and beeswax will penetrate the surface of the wood and work their way into the wood’s pores. You’ll need to reapply the wax from time to time to make sure that it maintains the protective barrier.

The oil and wax finishes are popular because they’re a little less harsh than traditional polyurethane. They also change colors over time as they age. That natural patina that comes from aging can be very attractive.

The post Three Trends in Hardwood Flooring Finishes appeared first on hardwood marketing.

Categories Hardwood

Does The Hardness of Your Wood Floor Matter?

Wood hardness is measured on the janka scale. The janka scale ranges from about 100 to 4000, with higher numbers indicating wood that is harder. The lowest wood on the scale is generally balsa wood, which is used for many craft projects. It ranks at 100 and would not make a good floor. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a wood that ranks near 4000 would not make a great floor because it would require so much work to saw and to nail. It would be a hassle to sand it and finish it. Typically, a good hardwood floor is about 1000 or higher. For comparison, different strands of oak range from 1260 to 1360. They’re also the most popular kinds of hardwood flooring for several reasons.

When properly maintained, anything over 1000 on the hardness scale can make a great hardwood floor that lasts for a very long time. However, the hardness does matter. Why does it matter?

High Heels and Pet Claws

If you wear high heels often or if you have pets such ads dogs and cats, you can scratch your wood. The heels on the wood will make tiny scratches every time you walk. They’ll begin by scratching at the polyurethane coating but over time, they will start to scratch the wood itself. Teh same is true for pet claws. If you want to prevent this, you can make sure you maintain the polyurethane on your flooring. You can also choose a harder wood.

High Traffic Areas

If you are installing wood floor in a high traffic area, you might benefit from a harder wood. Every time you move furniture or track dirt through the house, you are exposing your hardwood to tiny scratches. Sand and dirt might not seem like they can scratch a wood floor, but they definitely can. To prevent this, you can choose a wood that is higher on the hardness scale. Also, you can take care to clean your floor regularly.

Does Hardness Matter?

Hardness matters but not as much as some people might think. If you choose a softer wood, but you take care to clean it and protect it from danger, it will last longer than a harder wood that you do not maintain. The finish on the wood will also affect how long it lasts without being scratched. In conclusion, hardness matters but maintaining the wood flooring matters even more.

The post Does The Hardness of Your Wood Floor Matter? appeared first on hardwood marketing.

Categories Hardwood

Should You Steam Mop Your Hardwood Floor?

Steam mops have been growing in popularity as a way to clean all kinds of floors recently. In Fact, some steam mop manufacturers have said that their steam mops are safe for use on hardwood floors. However, some hardwood floor manufacturers have disputed that categorization. They say that steam mops are not safe for hardwood floor. So, what’s the truth?

What’s the Truth?

A steam mop is a fairly simple device. The steam mop has a microfiber pad and a jet that heats water until it steams. The steam jets out of the mop and onto the floor. The heat from the steam disinfects the floor and dislodges any dirt of grime. It’s a great way to clean a tile or linoleum floor. However, you should not clean your hardwood floor with it. The heat and the forces of the steam has been known to melt wax coatings on wax floors. It has also been known to liquefy polyurethane.

If you steam mop your hardwood floor, you run the risk of removing the oil, wax, or polyurethane coating. Some steam mops have even stripped wood all the way back to the bare wood. So, if you can’t use a steam mop, how do you deep clean your hardwood floor?

A Mop and Detergent

The best way to clean your hardwood floor is with a mop and a mild detergent. You should get in touch with the person who installed your floor or with a flooring expert to determine the best kind of floor cleaner for you. Certain floor cleaners that are safe for polyurethane might interact poorly with wax. So, you also need to know what kind of finish is on your floor. You shouldn’t use an acidic cleaner like vinegar.

A mild detergent and a soft mop is generally sufficient to keep your floor clean. Look on the back of the floor cleaner you choose to make sure that it’s safe for hardwood floors.

A Dry Cloth

You can clean hardwood floor with a dry cloth as well. A soft cotton cloth such as an old t-shirt or a dry mop is a great way to clean your hardwood floor of any loose dust or dirt.

Avoid a steam mop for several different reasons; the main reason is that it could melt the polyurethane or wax that protects your floor. They’re also expensive without being more effective than a mop and a broom or dry cloth.

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