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Categories Hardwood

Is Reclaimed Wood Right for your Home?

When looking for a new look for your home a popular option is going with reclaimed wood. People are going with this look for many different reasons. A few of them are: because it looks good, using reclaimed wood is more sustainable, reclaimed wood can be harder, and the uniqueness of the wood.

You can use reclaimed wood for every part of your home. You can use it for furniture, wall covering, ceilings, flooring and even accent art. How do you know if it will be the right look for you? There are many different places that you can go to get a virtual look at what the reclaimed wood would look like in your home.

What to Look For in Reclaimed Wood

Be careful when looking for reclaimed wood. If you source the wood yourself beware of mold, moisture, and bugs. Certain molds can be extremely dangerous for you and your families health. Especially if you already have a compromised respiratory system. Not all reclaimed wood is going to be dry, if you are truly going out and getting old reclaimed wood from its source then it has usually been exposed to the elements and is likely to have a higher moisture level. You can check this by purchasing a moisture meter at a local wood crafting store or some hardware stores. Also if your re-purposed wood has been in the elements then it has also been exposed to little critters too. The last thing you want to do is bring in little house guests (bugs). You never know what is hiding inside old wood.

Where to Get It

It might not be a bad idea to go to a local hardwood flooring store and see if they have any reclaimed wood that they have checked for all of these common problems. When they source their reclaimed wood they will usually kiln dry it and increase the temperature to make sure all tiny pests are eliminated. They can also check for pieces that are rotting and treat the rest of the wood so you won’t have to worry about future issues. A hardwood covering business also can install these pieces of reclaimed wood in a fraction of the time that you as a homeowner can. They will also know how to ensure that you get the best look, for the place in your home that you want to put your reclaimed wood. They can send out a professional designer and help you match your home with the look you are searching for. 

Work with a Local Hardwood Flooring Company

Using a local hardwood floor company ensures you get the best possible outcome. Ask about their experience with reclaimed wood. Also, ask them about the functionality of using it in your home. Your house may not be a good candidate for reclaimed wood.

Categories Hardwood

You Could Be Hurting Your Hardwood Flooring Without Realizing It

Hardwood floors look great and last for a very long time with minimal upkeep. However, some homeowners are attempting to maintain their hardwood floors in ways that actually might be damaging the floor. Here are a few common mistakes that you might be making with your hardwood floors. 

Not Sweeping Often Enough

Every time you walk in and out of your house, you track in small amounts of dirt. Dirt, sand, and other tiny abrasive materials are oftentimes harder than the wood itself. So, when you walk around on them, you’re dragging them across the surface of the wood. Much like sandpaper scrapes the wood, loose bits of dirt can do the same. Sweeping regularly will keep them from scratching your floor over time. 

Not Using The Hardwood Vacuuming Attachment

Your vacuum might have a bare floor setting, but that’s likely for tile and stone. It’s not designed for hardwood flooring. The beater bar that spins in your vacuum can actually scratch the floor’s finish and eventually, it will scratch the wood itself. If you want to vacuum your floor instead of sweeping it, buy a vacuum that has a hardwood flooring attachment. 

Mopping Too Much

Water is the biggest culprit in lasting damage to a hardwood floor. If you mop your floor as you would a tile or stone floor, you could be leaving way too much water on the floor. If you want to deep clean your floor with a mop, use a slightly damp mop, and then dry it up immediately. You can dry the floor with towels or with strong fans aimed across the surface of the floor. 

Hard Shoes

Hard-soled shoes can scratch your floor because they might be harder than the floor itself. High heels are the worst because they concentrate so much force on a tiny area. The shoe’s heel doesn’t even have to be harder than the wood to dent the wood because of the amount of weight applied across a tiny surface area. It’s best to wait until you’re out of the house to put on heels. 

Harsh Cleaners

Oil-based cleaning solutions can leave a film behind on your floor, which will make the floor look dull before its time. Acidic cleaners such as vinegar often react with the finish on your floors. It can eat away at polyurethane, making it thinner, spotty, and cloudy. Other harsh chemicals can stain the wood and eat away at the finish. Use a mild cleaner, and make sure you dry it completely.

Utilize a Trusted Hardwood Company in Marietta

Even if you do your best to avoid these things or if you’ve been doing these things for years and your floors are past the point of no return, you can trust the team at Ridgeline Floors to use their hardwood expertise to refinish and bring new life to your floors. Contact us today for your free quote.

Categories Hardwood

Do I Need to Wax My Harwood Floor?

Hardwood floors don’t require very much maintenance. With some sweeping or vacuuming, they can look great and perform great for years. However, from time to time, you’ll need to do a little more upkeep. Over time, the floor can start to look dull, cloudy, and dented. Floors look cloudy because of hundreds of tiny scratches. Sliding furniture, pet claws, and hard-soled shoes can scratch the finish. That will eventually make the floor look faded. Floors can look dull if the finish coat on them starts to wear away. Dents arise from heavy furniture, hard shoes, and pet claws as well. 

If you have a hardwood floor, you’ve likely seen hardwood flooring wax and considered if you need it. Hardwood wax is not for all kinds of floors, though. 

Which Floors?

Most floors now are finished with a layer of polyurethane. You should never put hardwood floor wax on a polyurethane floor. That can make the floor slippery, cloudy, and can complicate the process of reapplying the polyurethane. For polyurethane floors, you’ll likely use a floor polish. Obviously, you should pick one that is designed for polyurethaned floors. That’s because wax provides a coat that sits on top of the wood, which is the same thing that polyurethane is. 

You should wax floors that have been treated with penetrating seals such as oil, shellac, lacquer, or varnish. These finishes penetrate the pores of the wood. So, they’ll also need something on top of the wood to keep it protected. Also, you can wax an unfinished floor. 

What Does It Do?

Wax forms a waterproof seal on top of your floor, which will increase its resistance to staining. It will also decrease the likelihood that moisture will seep into the wood, which can cause buckling and cupping. 

Wax will also hide some of the minor scuffs and scratches. These superficial blemishes are noticeable because they don’t reflect light as much as the unblemished wood. A layer of wax will help them blend better with the unblemished wood. 

Wax also protects the stain and the finish on the wood itself. Stains and oils can wear away due to UV light and through daily use. Providing a physical barrier between your feet and the oil will help the oil last longer. 

Contact an Experienced Hardwood Floor Company in Roswell

Lastly, wax can look great. A clear coat of wax will provide a glossy topcoat on your floor. You can also choose a colored wax, most of which are available in colors of natural wood. That will deepen and enhance the look of your floor. Sometimes, however, the wax just won’t do the job and you’ll need the help of a refinishing company, that’s where we come in. Contact us today for a free quote!

Categories Hardwood

Skinny Plank Flooring Is Trending

For the past few years, wide plank hardwood flooring has been trending. It’s been popular with many different homeowners and only growing in popularity. However, it’s now being challenged by its polar opposite: skinny plank. Wide plank flooring is typically defined by planks that are over six inches wide. Four to six inches is about the standard plank width. Now, many homeowners are choosing to go with skinny planks. Skinny planks are usually two to four inches wide. Why would they be choosing this width? 

Durability

Hardwood flooring is susceptible to damage from moisture. When the wood itself absorbs moisture, the edges tend to curl up. That is known as cupping. When the floor bends asymmetrically, it’s known as buckling. Lastly, a floor can also bulge, which is when the center rises higher than the edges. All of these can be caused by moisture. The rigidity of the wood will resist this distortion. Much as longer boards are weakest in the middle, wider boards are also weakest in the middle. So, a wider plank hardwood floor is more susceptible to distortion from moisture. If you want to avoid that, you could choose skinny planks. 

They’re especially popular in basement apartments and attic lofts. Basements and attics experience the widest range of humidity and temperature swings. Skinny planks could be ideal for those applications. 

Aesthetics

Some people just like the way skinny planks look. Paradoxically, they achieve something of a similar effect to wide planks. Wide planks create a more unified look to the floor because they have fewer lines. Skinny planks have so many lines that it creates a unified look. The busy look of the floor sort of blends together into one canvas. 

Installation

Installation of a skinny plank hardwood floor will likely take longer than a standard width or a wide plank floor. Each plank has to be nailed down. So, if you need to cover 120 inches of floor width with planks that are two inches wide, you’ll need 60 planks. You would only need maybe ten planks of a wide floor. That’s six times as much nailing. However, they can be simpler to install in rooms that are not easy rectangles. If the room has several tight corners or an odd shape, it’s easier to cut skinny planks to fit against the wall. Each plank will need to be cut much less to accomodate for odd shapes. 

Categories Hardwood

Hardwood Flooring Planks Are Getting Wider and Wider

For a very long time, hardwood flooring planks were all about the same. They were between three and six inches wide, they were about 12 inches long, and they were finished with a semi-gloss polyurethane. Current trends are changing all of that. If you have been browsing social media or hardwood flooring suppliers, you’ve likely noticed that hardwood flooring planks are trending wider and wider. Most suppliers offer what they called a “wide plank.” The definition of a wide plank differs based on the manufacturer, but typically, anything over six inches is considered wide plank. Ten inches is a pretty common width but 18 inches is not unheard of. The trend has historical roots as well as practical purposes.

 

Historical Roots

 In the second half of the 20th century, most hardwood was sourced from far away. It was transported by ship or by truck and then machined in a factory. That meant that you could pick basically any hardwood from anywhere in the world that you could afford. Before that era, homeowners had to source their hardwood from nearby. Hardwood flooring typically came from no further than a few days on a train. Sometimes, trees within walking distance were felled. That greatly limited the options.

On top of that, the trees had to be felled and milled by hand. Cutting two six-inch wide planks takes about twice as much work as cutting one 12-inch plank. So, crafters would cut the planks about as wide as each individual tree trunk would allow. That reduced the amount of work that had to be done. It also limited the amount of time spent installing them. For those reasons, many old homes have wide hardwood flooring planks.

 

Practical Reasons

 In addition to the historical reasons for wide-plank hardwood flooring, there are practical reasons. Wide hardwood flooring planks will mean that each room has fewer planks. The reduced number of planks reduces the seams in the floor; that means that smaller rooms will look larger. The seams of multiple planks and the changing grain from one plank to the next creates visual noise. That subtly makes a room look more cluttered. A more seamless appearance can reduce that effect.

Wider planks have fewer places where moisture can creep around and under the floor as well. That makes wide planks ideal for bathrooms, entryways, and kitchens. Anywhere that might regularly get wet could be a good candidate for a wide plank floor.

Categories Hardwood

Why Is It Called Barnwood If It Doesn’t Come From a Barn?

Reclaimed hardwood is very popular right now and has been for at least a decade. This is hardwood that has been used for one purpose and is then repurposed for use as hardwood flooring in a home. It could be hardwood flooring from a different home that is resold or could be something completely different. Whatever the case may be, the implication is typically that the wood has suffered from some weathering. The weathering is usually scratches, oil stains, milling marks, burns, and holes. Wood from barns is the iconic example of reclaimed hardwood. It has been exposed to the elements for years and years. Oftentimes, it was unfinished and exposed to the elements which amplifies the amount of weathering. So, barnwood is wood from barns. It’s also a classification of wood that simply looks like barnwood.

 

New Barnwood

 Barnwood doesn’t actually have to be from a barn anymore. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be reclaimed hardwood. It could be brand new wood that has been crafted to look as if it has been weathered. If you’re looking for this kind of wood, you can choose barnwood that is handcrafted or worked by a machine. That typically means that the wood is scraped and wire-brushed.

Scraping is a technique by which a draw knife is drawn over the wood. A draw knife is a knife with a handle on either side of it. The knife is then pulled over the surface of the wood to scrape away the layer of the surface. This is an older method for smoothing the wood. It smooths the wood but leaves behind a pattern of scrape marks. It was very common when hardwood floors were still processed by hand.

Wire brushing involves running a stiff-bristled metal brush over the wood. This scratches the wood in unique patterns. When done by hand, it creates unpredictable patterns through the wood. When done by machine, the patterns tend to be a little more uniform.

 

Buying Barnwood

 The easiest way to find barnwood is simply to buy it from a hardwood flooring supplier. Homeowners no longer have to go in search of old barns or antique homes undergoing remodeling. Now, barnwood can be bought brand new.  Many suppliers offer an option for what they call barnwood. Since there is no standard definition, each manufacturer will produce something slightly different. The basic contours will be the same, though.

Categories Hardwood

UV Curing Hardwood Is The Future of Floor Finishing

It’s no secret that the finishes on prefinished hardwood floors tend to be harder and more resilient than the finishes on site-finished hardwood. Site-finished floors are generally finished with polyurethane, wax, or oil. They’re then allowed to air dry. You’ll need to reapply that finish occasionally depending on the type of finish and the amount of wear on it. Prefinished floors are finished in a factory and then cured with heat. They’re much more resilient and last longer. There is now a middle ground for those who need to install or repair their floors quickly while also getting a finish that is very long-lasting. That middle ground is UV curing.

What Is UV Curing?

A UV cured floor is one that is finished with a proprietary sealant. At the moment, most companies have their own UV curing machines and their own finishes. The finishes are typically water-based. The UV machine uses heat and UV light to evaporate the water and cure the sealant. The cured sealant is generally regarded as more chemically and physically resistant than typical site finishes. It will last longer than polyurethane or oil. Also it will resist scratching more. Finally, UV cured finishes are said to resist chemicals such as vinegar, citric acid, and common household cleaners. If you have a polyurethane finish, there are a series of chemicals you should not use on it if you want the finish to last as long as possible. You’ll have more versatility with a UV finish.

What Are the Downsides?

The biggest downsides to UV finishes are the expense and the limited options. Polyurethane, finishing oil, or wax are available at basically every flooring store, flooring supplier, or hardware store. You can find dozens of different brands, colors, and styles. With the newer UV technology, only certain companies even offer it. If they do, they offer a limited range of their proprietary options. So you’ll be limited to choosing from what that company has available.

Because there is less competition and the process is more involved, it will also likely cost you more money. Since the floors are more resistant to damage, they might end up saving you money in the long run. However, in the interim, you will have to spend more money upfront.

If you need to have your floor finished and useable again in a couple of hours, UV curing could be the option. It’s great for places like hospitals or businesses that have a short turnaround time from closing to opening.

Categories Hardwood

Is Your Hardwood Floor Steamed?

It is not advisable to use a steam cleaner on your hardwood floor without consulting with a professional. That’s not what it means when a hardwood is steamed, though. Steaming hardwood means that the wood has been treated with hot steam after it is cut but before it is installed. This is typically done to change the color of the wood. To understand how it works, you must first understand the two types of wood.

 

Heartwood and Sapwood

 When a tree first forms, the cells of the wood are almost white in color, and they transmit liquids rapidly through the tree. This wood is called sapwood. As the sapwood moves more and more liquid, it will eventually begin to pick up minerals. The minerals will stain the sapwood a darker color and prevent it from moving liquids as readily. As a result, more sapwood grows in rings. So, the darker heartwood at the center is generally considered more attractive than the sapwood. However, sapwood is far more abundant than heartwood. That’s where steaming comes into the picture.

Sapwood develops into heartwood because it moves liquid through its cells and picks up materials. To expedite that process, manufacturers will steam the wood. The heat and pressure of the steaming forces moisture through the cells of the wood. That makes the sapwood look more like the heartwood. It also sometimes results in heartwood begins slightly darker and richer in color than when it started.

 

Processes

 Most companies that steam their hardwood are very secretive about the exact process they use. However, most of them are fairly similar. They use hot steam to enhance the deepness and richness of color throughout the wood.

After the wood is steamed, it will then be dried either by a kiln or by air-drying. Some companies mix both of them. The wood should be as dry as any other type of lumber by the time it is processed. It should also be a deeper color. You will know if wood has been truly steamed when the sapwood is almost the same color as the heartwood, and the heartwood is a uniform color.

 

Steamed Floors

 Steamed hardwood floors are oftentimes popular for people who want to have the look of an older floor without the higher price of some more rare woods. Before mass deforestation, many hardwood floors contained much more heartwood. To recreate that look, you could choose steamed hardwood.

Categories Hardwood

Should You Consider Acacia Flooring?

Acacia is an entire family of trees and shrubs that are native to Australia, Africa, and Hawaii. The wood has been introduced to many different areas and is routinely grown on commercial farms as well. You can find domestic acacia as well as imported acacia for your hardwood floor. Often, it is overlooked because many people assume that the wood is expensive. However, it is as unique and beautiful as many exotic hardwoods while still being moderately priced.

 

The Coloring

 Acacia is unique for many reasons; one of the most prominent reasons is the coloring. Acacia has a very prominent grain that can range from red to honey to dark brown to bronze. These colors can even occur within the same plank of wood, giving the wood a varied appearance. That can sometimes make it difficult to match acacia to your decor. If you have other woods in your home, such as chairs and tables, it can be easier to match acacia since the acacia will incorporate colors of many different woods.

 

Durability

 Acacia rates higher than oak, hickory, and maple on the janka hardness scale. That means that it’s less likely to get scratched up by moving furniture, high heels, and pet claws. One of the most common ways to scratch wood is actually dirt and pebbles that are stuck to your shoes. When you walk around with your shoes on, the dirt and pebbles scratch the hardwood. A harder wood is less likely to get scratched.

A harder wood is also more durable once it is installed. Acacia also tends to be denser than some other domestics. That makes it more resistant to mold and moisture damage. Insects have a harder time boring into the wood as well.

Since it is dense and does not scratch easily, maintenance is simpler. You just need to sweep your hardwood floor occasionally. You need to wet mop it every few weeks. Just be sure that you don’t use too much water when you mop and that you dry up any big spills. Acacia is resistant to moisture, but no wood survives well against standing water.

 

Cost

 Acacia looks like many exotic hardwoods that are much more expensive. Acacia might cost you more money than something more common such as red oak, but it’s still fairly moderately priced. When you consider the expense over time, the added durability of acacia makes it even more affordable for a homeowner.

Categories Hardwood

American Hardwood Is Having a Renaissance

There are two kinds of hardwood in the United States; there is domestic and imported. Domestic hardwood is hardwood sourced from within the United States. For several years, imported hardwood was the most popular and most desirable hardwood for flooring. Those exotic woods are often very attractive. They have unique colors and exciting grain patterns that are sometimes difficult to find in domestic hardwoods. However, the past decade has shown a resurgence in American hardwood. There are several good reasons for this.

 

Sustainability

 Sustainability is one of the main reasons American hardwood is surging in popularity. Many people have become more aware than ever of the impact they have on the world around them. When you buy hardwood for your floor, that wood comes from trees that have been felled. Hardwood, especially some slow-growing varieties, can take decades to grow to its full potential. So, when a company cuts down a tree, they create a debt that could take decades to repay. These concerns have led American companies to begin sustainable foresting.

Sustainable foresting can mean several different things. For one, it means that companies are not indiscriminately clear-cutting forests. They might leave newer trees in the ground so that they can continue to grow. It can also mean planting trees to replace those that have been logged or paying for others to plant trees. When companies do that, they offset the logging they have done.

Finally, sustainability can mean sourcing as much as possible from trees that don’t contribute to the health of a forest. For example, a tree that is diseased might be a danger to other trees if that disease spreads. However, it could still make a great hardwood floor.

 

Affordability

 The other reason American hardwoods are trending is affordability. So much of what is produced in the United States is more expensive than foreign counterparts. That’s not necessarily true for heavy items such as logs. Transporting felled trees is very expensive. Reducing the distance will reduce the cost.

 

Ethics

 Lastly, American hardwood is better regulated than hardwoods from some other countries. In countries with less regulation, the wood might be attained in a way that’s not ethical. For example, clear-cutting an endangered species’ natural habitat is generally considered unethical. American hardwood is regulated to avoid that. Workers are paid wages that are regulated by state and federal regulations as well.

 

All of these factors combine to explain the renewed prominence of domestic hardwood flooring.

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