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So You’ve Decided To Put In A New Wood Floor!

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 You have decided to upgrade your home and would now like a new hardwood floor. There are several things you need to think about as you make your decision.

 There are basically four different kinds of places where you can shop for hardwood flooring.

  • ·         Hardwood specialty store
  • ·         Flooring installer who has hardwood samples
  • ·         Flooring specialty store
  • ·         Box Store or Mass Merchant

 Let me review briefly what each of these specializes in and the pros and cons of each.

 Hardwood Specialty Store. This is a retail store that sells and installs the hardwood. Usually small and off the beaten path. Often the owner is the installer and his wife or children run the store.

Pros: The strength of the hardwood specialty store is hardwood is typically all they do. Sometimes they sell other hard-surface floors like laminates but mostly hardwood.

Cons: The drawback is that they tend to focus on unfinished wood that they sand and finish in your home. Sanding a floor at home often makes a mess—spreading dust throughout the home that you can never fully get cleaned.

Flooring Installer. This is an installer who works from his home and has samples that he will bring to your home.

Pros: The plus to this type operation is that it’s usually a one man operation. This person is typically very knowledgeable.

Cons: On the downside, since this is often a one person operation, there is no other option if something comes up. If they run behind on a job there is no one to start your job. If he’s hurt or someone in his family is sick you have to wait for him.

The other con is similar to the hardwood specialty store. These one-man operations tend to want to sell everyone a sand and finish floor. These floors are site-finished in your home. There is also the issue of the dust from sanding.

Flooring Specialty Store. This is a retail flooring store that has a flooring department.

Pros: This type operation has will typically focus on prefinished wood floors.

Cons: The downside to this type store is that while it will be easy to find help they probably won’t be quite as knowledgeable in wood floors as a hardwood specialty store.

Box Store or Mass Merchant. This is a place like Home Depot or Lowes.

Pros: Big selection

Cons: The drawback is getting help. And if you are lucky enough to find someone they typically have very little specific knowledge about flooring.

Here at Taylor Carpets we fall into the Flooring Specialty Store category. We focus on prefinished wood floors. The primary reason is that prefinished or factory finished floors are far superior to sand and finish or site finished floors. The prefinished floors are often done in layers—like plywood—rather than solid wood. The layers give the wood more stability than solid wood floors. There is less movement with the wood.

But the most important difference between prefinished and site finished floors is the finish itself. A factory finish floor has the finish professionally applied and then run through an oven where it is baked on. Often there are multiple step and coats to the finish. The manufacturer is also able to include the mineral aluminum oxide into the finish which greatly enhances the strength and durability of the finish. There is just no way that these processes can be done at home.

A final story about hardwood finishes. When I built my home in the mid 90’s I put in a prefinished hardwood maple floor. My neighbor two doors away worked for a large interior design company. He also did a maple floor but he did a ‘sand and finish floor’ (or a site-finished floor). After his floor was installed I went and looked at it. It looked amazing!

About three years later he moved and put his home up for sale. I had a chance to go in and take another look at the floor. I couldn’t believe the condition of the floor. Whereas my floor still looked almost brand new, his floor had all kinds of problems. Gaps had developed between many of the boards. The finish was fractured in many places because of the gaps. And in the heavy wear areas the surface was in desperate need of refinishing.

In conclusion, while each type of flooring outlet has its strengths and weaknesses, your best course is to find someone who is knowledgeable and will treat your job as if it’s the most important job there is!

A dirty little secret about polyester carpet

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You have been out shopping for carpet and have run into two carpet fibers: nylon and polyester.

You feel both of the carpets and “poly” carpet just feels better. It is thicker and more luxurious. And you certainly get more carpet for the money. So naturally you are skeptical and you ask the sales person about it. He (or she) assures you that the carpet will wear just fine.

So you ask, “what about staining”. He proudly shows you the back of the sample and the “Lifetime” stain warranty that comes with this carpet. You are sold! There is no way this carpet won’t be perfect for your room. Let’s take care of the paper work and schedule the installation.

There’s just one problem. You haven’t asked the right question and the salesperson isn’t going to volunteer that information—if they even know it.

So here’s the dirty little secret. There is a difference between staining and soiling. In your mind, you asked the correct question—“what about staining”.

What you really want to know by asking that question is “how is my carpet going to look in five years?” Is it going to be clean? Is it going to show dirty wear patterns. And so the question that you thought to ask was the stain question.

But that wasn’t the correct question because there is a difference between staining and soiling. Polyester is very “stain” resistant. They make it from recycled plastics. Have you ever seen the inside of a pop bottle stain?

The real question is soiling and polyester isn’t very good at that. Ask most carpet cleaners. When they try to clean soil patterns out of polyester they can never really make them look new again. You see traffic patterns much quicker in a polyester carpet than you would in a comparable nylon carpet. The soiling combined with matting is more apparent and develops quicker.

There are many good things about polyester carpet. It is soft, luxurious, and stain resistant. But it isn’t resistant to soiling and traffic patterns. So if you have a high traffic area—especially one that comes in from outside—you may want to consider nylon carpet.

8 Tips to prepare for your carpet installation

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I found this article on the Carpet and Rug Institute blog on preparing for your carpet installation. I thought it was really helpful. I hope you enjoy it!

Carpet Question Corner – Carpet Q and A – 18th in a series
“What Preparations Do I Need to Make To Have Carpet Installed?” is the eighteenth in a series of banner ads developed to run on the flooring news website

Make sure that you know what services your installer will provide and what you need to handle yourself. For example, there may be an additional charge to move your furniture. Keep these things in mind before hiring an installer.

Here are things you’ll want to do:

Remove all breakable items from areas being carpeted and detach and store wiring from TVs, stereos, VCR/DVD and computers.
Determine who will remove and dispose of the existing carpet and cushion.
Check recycling options in your area.
Think about carpet placement.
Ask that seams be placed in less visible areas, but don’t expect seams to be invisible.
Before installers arrive, complete other remodeling projects you have planned in the room, such as painting and wallpapering.
Vacuum the old carpet to avoid the possibility of airborne dust and dirt.
And after the carpet and cushion is removed, vacuum the subfloor.