Author Archives: Oregon Hardwood Floors

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How Does Laminate Flooring Compare to Hardwood Flooring in Portland?

If you’re considering a home remodel or update, you’re probably looking into redoing your floors. Upgrading flooring can make all the difference in the feel of a home, and it adds a significant amount of value. In fact, if you choose hardwood floors, you can increase your home’s value by as much as 10 percent. No other flooring type matches the financial value of hardwood floors. But how does hardwood compare to laminate floors?

Laminate is becoming increasingly popular, but it doesn’t last as long. If you’re looking into flooring options in the Portland area, what is going to be the right fit for you? Is laminate the best choice, or is hardwood flooring in Portland going to ultimately be better?

What Is Laminate Flooring?

Even if you haven’t started your home remodel yet, you’ve seen it everywhere. You may know someone who used laminate or has been in a business with laminate flooring. Even with the prevalence of laminate flooring, however, you may not understand what laminate floors actually are. Laminate flooring is made from a composite material. They have three layers:

  1. Base layer. This is made of plywood or high-density fiberboard to give stability and strength.
  2. Image layer. This layer usually mimics the look of wood, but not always. There are many different options, such as stone, metal, tile, and so forth.
  3. Wear layer. This layer provides protection, makes the board hard, and contributes to durability.

What Is Hardwood Flooring?

It’s in the name so it’s easy to figure out what hardwood flooring is made of: wood. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The best hardwood floors are made from different types of wood, and those that are both readily available and extremely hard are going to be the best options for value and durability.

There are also engineered hardwood floors available. Engineered hardwood is frequently more stable, but this isn’t true for all hardwood choices. Because engineered hardwood has layers that are perpendicular to each other, it’s often stronger than solid hardwood and usually experiences less expansion and contraction, which allows for a tighter fit.

Differences Between Laminate and Hardwood

So the obvious difference is that they’re two different materials, but how do these different materials measure up to wear and tear?

Laminate Features

  • Cannot be refinished
  • Lasts about 10 years
  • Allows for DIY installation
  • More affordable
  • Made of thin fiberboard with an image
  • Best for radiant heating and pets
  • Has come a long way, but the “wood” image still doesn’t compare to the real thing

Hardwood Features

  • Can last a lifetime
  • Can be sanded and refinished many times
  • More expensive
  • Best if installed professional installed
  • 100% wood
  • Better resale value
  • Better appearance

Water- and Heat-Resistance

Although hardwood and laminate are both popular in kitchens because of their aesthetic appeal, neither is recommended for wet areas. Hardwood flooring can be damaged by standing water, and while laminate surfaces are very water- and stain-resistant, if water gets into the joints between the planks, swelling can occur that will damage the planks.

With winter comes dry air and heated homes, leading to wood flooring that loses some of the moisture it maintains otherwise. In these conditions, the hardwood shrinks as a result and ends up showing thin gaps between the wood planks. Thanks to advances in the heated floor industry, it’s still possible to have hardwood flooring installed over radiant heating. Finding a professional hardwood flooring company for this type of install is necessary. And it will give you peace of mind and confidence to know it’s done right.

Laminate experiences the same shrinking with cold weather and dry air. During the warm and humid months, laminate is prone to expand, which can give the floor a crowned look. As long as proper precautions are taken, however, laminate does well if installed over radiant heat.

Hardwood Installation vs. Laminate Installation

When it comes to installing hardwood or laminate, there are many similarities, but the methods are different.

Hardwood Installation

Before you can even start installing, hardwood floor planks should have about three weeks to acclimate. Once the subfloor has been prepped and leveled, it’s time to install.

A vapor barrier must be laid down when working with hardwood flooring. This helps prevent too much moisture from contacting the flooring so there isn’t rapid expansion. Taking this measure will prevent the wood from cupping.

Hardwood planks should be installed alternating seams for aesthetic reasons as well as to maintain the integrity of the floor. The hardwood planks are then stapled with either a flooring staple or a finish staple.

Laminate Installation

As with hardwood flooring, laminate planks also need some time to acclimate, and a subfloor must be prepped before installation can begin. After these steps, the moisture barrier can be added, and then installation of the planks can begin.

The biggest difference between installing hardwood and laminate is the tongue and groove feature for laminate planks. There’s no need to staple the planks into the subfloor. Instead, you slide the tongue part of the plank at an angle into the groove side and snap it in. This makes installation easier and quicker. With laminate planks, you also want to alternate the seams as you go, just as you do with the hardwood.

Choosing between laminate and hardwood flooring in Portland really comes down to what your preferences and priorities are. That’s why Wall 2 Wall Hardwood Floors is the perfect place to help with your home renovation. Our friendly and experienced team is dedicated to giving you the flooring you deserve.

We can help you decide what will best fit your needs, and help you reach your goals of increasing the value of your home. Whether you want to install new flooring or restore or repair your old flooring, we offer services to cover all of your needs. Installing hardwood flooring in Portland is our passion. We love that what we do brings joy to our customers for decades to come. For unparalleled craftsmanship for incredible hardwood flooring, call Wall 2 Wall Hardwood floors today.

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How to Fix a Wood Floor That’s Buckling

Hardwood floors are aesthetically pleasing. A timeless addition to your home, they are relatively easier to maintain compared to carpeted floors. They are also easy to install, last incredibly long, and lend a sophisticated and chic look to your space.

Unfortunately, many homeowners have a tough time due to the buckling of their wood floors. Buckling is the reaction of a hardwood floor to the presence of excess moisture. This results in a slight elevation in the floors and creates an uneven surface.

Finding out the proper wood floor buckling fix can be stressful, but the experts at Wall 2 Wall Hardwood Flooring have you covered. Read on for a quick guide to you get started with the repairs.

Know What Is Causing the Moisture

Unless you identify the root cause of the excess moisture and address it head-on, buckling floors are going to become a recurring problem. Ensure that there is a normal moisture level in your house to prevent any further damage to your floor after repair.

Check if you have any leaking appliances or pipes, any drainage issues, or if groundwater is getting trapped in your floor due to any perforations. You should be careful about any flooding incidents, as prolonged exposure to moisture is always bad news for your wooden floors.

Buckling is also a common issue if you live in an area that experiences heavy rainfalls and high humidity. Consider getting a wood moisture meter to keep track of the seasonal changes that cause the wood floor to buckle. These moisture meters can assess the moisture content below the floor without causing any damage to the flooring.

Remove and Repair the Damaged Wood

Start by removing the wood planks carefully, without damaging the wood or paint. Depending on the extent of the damage caused by moisture, you may need to get rid of the entire plank or a part of it. Use a circular saw for partial removal and make a cut to remove just the damaged portion.

If you need to remove the entire plank, you may need a chisel, hammer, and screwdriver. Use the chisel and hammer for loosening the joints, and carefully use the screwdriver to remove the plank. Be extra careful not to disturb the nails that are holding the grooves in place.

Change the Damaged Planks

Repair the damaged planks you can and reinstall them. Then it’s time to replace the floorboards that are beyond repair. Again, make sure to pick planks with the same color and quality as the rest of your flooring.

Make sure to get the correct measurements so that the new planks fit the space. You may need to move the plank around a bit till it sits on the grooves. Then, use a hammer to gently fix the plank in place. Get rid of any nails that remain to prevent the planks from getting splintered.

When you’re installing new planks, leave some gaps between the boards so that there is enough room for the wood to expand. This will ensure that the flooring doesn’t buckle as soon as there is a change in the moisture levels. However, the spacing shouldn’t be too large, as that can spoil the aesthetics.

Replace the Spacers of Your Floorboards

Spacers are an essential part of hardwood flooring, as they help separate the floorboards from the wall. They also help to create a uniform expansion gap in the floor when there are changes in the temperature and humidity.

However, these may get damaged over time. That’s why once you have replaced the buckling planks, you need to check whether the spacers are damaged or the wrong size—if they are too big, they could be preventing the wooden floor from expanding in a uniform manner. If that’s the case, it’s time to get rid of these spacers and opt for smaller ones.

Make sure that the new spacers flatten out completely during installation so that there is enough space for the flooring to expand appropriately.

Add the Finishing Touches

Grab your sandpaper, preferably a fine grit, to start wet sanding the new plank to match the finish to the rest of the flooring. Don’t skip this step—you don’t want mismatched flooring in the house. Wait for the floor to be completely dry before you place the furniture back. Otherwise, moisture can get trapped and cause the floor to bend upward.

Tips to Prevent Your Wood Floor from Buckling

Use these easy tips to protect the floors from buckling:

  • Ensure that your HVAC system is installed correctly and keep the moisture levels in check. You can also consider getting a humidifier to maintain appropriate humidity indoors. Just don’t make it too dry.
  • Acclimatizing the hardwood floors is a non-negotiable step, especially when you get the floors shipped from a different city. When the floors are in a new environment, you need to give them time to adjust. If there is too much moisture content in the new environment, the floor will immediately start to show signs of buckling.
  • Complete all the wet work in your house before you start to install wood floors. This includes fixing the drywall, plastering, and painting.
  • Avoid putting too much furniture or weight on the floor to stop the moisture from getting trapped in the corners.
  • Fasten the floorboards properly. Use high-quality spacers, nails, and staples.
  • Use minimal water while cleaning the floors. For example, vacuuming is a better bet than using a wet mop, resulting in high humidity levels and causing the floor to absorb more moisture. You should also wipe up spills as soon as they happen.

While you can handle a minor wood floor buckling fix on your own, if it’s a bigger job or you’re unsure of the work, it’s important to hire professionals to make sure that the planks are correctly installed. Remember that improper installation can result in continued buckling and cause other issues.

At Wall 2 Wall, our flooring experts are here to take care of hardwood floor repair, no matter what the problem is. Allow our experienced team to make your floors look brand new once again.

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What Are the Most Durable Hardwood Flooring Options?

When it comes to choosing hardwood for your floor, you want something that will last a long time, look its best, and be able to withstand pressure and wear. This is why it’s important to choose durable hardwood flooring. By doing your research into different hardwood flooring options in advance and choosing the most durable, you’re helping yourself out in the long run. There are many different hardwood flooring options out there, but when it comes down to it, the durability of the floor comes from the species of tree it comes from and its finish, which is the stain and the topcoat used on the flooring.

To help homeowners figure out which woods are the most durable, there is an industry-standard scale that measures wood hardness. This is called the Janka Hardness Scale, and it measures the pounds of force that would be needed to shove a ball made of steel halfway through the piece of wood. The measurements range from 0 to 5,060 pounds-force (lbf). The higher the rating on the Janka scale, the more durable the wood.

Ebony

Ebony is extremely high on the Janka scale, with a rating of 3,220 lbf. This number alone shows you how durable ebony flooring is. However, this isn’t the only aspect of ebony that makes it very sought after. It’s also the only wood that is jet black in color. Because of this, ebony can be difficult to find in the quantities needed for flooring in a home, making it a luxury.

It’s important to note that ebony is currently endangered and/or protected due to the limited quantities. There is a species, Brazilian ebony, that is used for flooring, but this is more of a dark-brown color than a black.

Jatoba (Brazilian Cherry)

Much more easily accessible than ebony is jatoba, sometimes known as Brazilian cherry. This wood has a Janka rating of 2,350 lbf. Part of the appeal of its durability is that this wood is resistant to termites and other pests that can cause serious damage.

Jatoba is a great choice if you’re looking for wood flooring that’s also considered sustainable. Its beautiful reddish-brown grain will complement your home.

Bamboo

You may automatically consider bamboo a grass, which it technically is, however, it’s a common hardwood flooring option. In fact, it’s one of the most durable hardwood flooring options, as it can score over 3,000 lbf on the Janka scale.

There are many different types of bamboo that you can choose from, such as strand-woven, horizontal, vertical, or carbonized. As if this isn’t enough, there are also engineered bamboo flooring options, meaning that if you choose to have bamboo flooring in your home, you can truly make it your own. Plus, bamboo is a great eco-friendly option that has become much more popular and common in the past few years.

Hickory

One of the highest-ranking woods on the Janka scale is hickory, measuring 1,820 lbf. Hickory can withstand high traffic, damage, and moisture much better than many other hardwoods. Because of this, it’s more durable and longer-lasting.

Another perk of hickory is that it’s a light wood and easily stained to any shade you desire. It also has the ability to be waxed, which will not only give it a warm appearance but also improve its moisture resistance.

Maple

Maple doesn’t rank as high as the above options on the Janka scale. However, it does rank higher than many other wood species, coming in at 1,450 lbf. Due to its open grain pattern, gorgeous finish, and light texture, it has become a very popular choice for modern homes. It’s also readily available.

In terms of durability, maple is especially resistant to minor damages such as dents and scrapes you might get from chair legs or other furniture.

Ash

Falling just slightly behind maple on the Janka scale is ash, measuring about 1,320 lbf. One plus of choosing ash for your hardwood flooring is that it’s flexible. This wood can tolerate fluctuations in both temperature and humidity. It also ages well.

Ash is one of the most comfortable woods you can walk on. It doesn’t splinter and it’s shock-absorbing, making it an even safer option for your home.

Oak

When it comes to oak, the hardness varies by the subspecies of the oak that you choose. For instance, a common white oak falls at 1,360 lbf on the Janka scale, but a live oak is much higher on the scale, measuring 2,680 lbf. The color of oak flooring can range from a bleached white to dark red, meaning you can choose whichever color oak will be a match to your décor.

One thing that all oak hardwoods have in common is that they age well. There are also many DIY repair kits out there that are specific to oak floors if you do have minor damage to your floor.

As you can see, there are many great hardwood flooring choices out there for you to choose from. However, if you’re looking for the most durable hardwood flooring options, the above types are a great place to start looking.

If you’re looking for hardwood floor installation or simply for more guidance as to which hardwood flooring option you should choose, Wall 2 Wall can help. When it comes to flooring, we believe that you deserve the best and will ensure that in all the recommendations we provide and in our installation. Please reach out to us today. We would love to hear more about your home and your family’s needs so we can provide you with a personalized recommendation for the most durable hardwood flooring option that will work best in your home.

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What Are the Layers of Hardwood Floor Installation?

Hardwood floors have a long history as one of the most durable and attractive flooring options available. A well-cared-for hardwood floor can last a lifetime, but to get there, there are some things to think about. The durability and life span will depend on several factors, such as the type and quality of the finish, the periodic maintenance, and most importantly, the supporting structures of the hardwood floor.

In terms of the finish and maintenance, the average homeowner can expect to have their hardwood flooring refinished every 10 years or so, depending on the quality and durability of the initial finish itself. Regular maintenance will keep that finish in proper working condition, which, in turn, protects the hardwood flooring beneath. So just what is the flooring beneath? Let’s get back to our original question: what are the layers of hardwood flooring?

Essentially, there are four layers to a hardwood floor installation: joists, subfloor, underlayment, and decorative floor covering. Sounds easy, right? It probably is if you’re a professional that has the knowledge and expertise that can be found at Wall2Wall Hardwood. We have the experience and equipment to handle the job, despite whatever challenges may arise. So let’s take a closer look at the four layers.

1. Joists

Joists are essentially the dimensional lumber used to create the foundation of the floor. The joists are strategically spaced across the desired span and fashioned to create the most supportive framing necessary to hold the weight of the flooring over the duration.

Traditionally, joists were made from wood. Common types include pine, fir, hemlock, spruce, and redwood. Today, additional options include steel or engineered wood. Steel is mostly used for office buildings, apartment complexes, and large spaces that may have to support substantial weight. It’s important to consult with state and local building code administrators to make sure you’re following all the current guidelines and regulations, and a professional installer will have the ability to navigate the legal details.

While solid wood and steel joists may have more specified applications, manufacturers have created a plethora of engineered wood options that can address virtually all of the other hardwood floor installation requirements.

Engineered joists may have some features that are appealing to property owners and, according to the American Plywood Association, should also include ratings for quality, performance, and fire protection. Engineered wood is often light but incredibly strong and durable. Technically, the only flooring installation that may not require joists would be a cement floor, however, even then it might be beneficial to your decorative flooring choice.

It’s a complicated task to calculate the flooring joist framing. You need to determine the right size and composition of the joist, choose the right spacing for the span, and ensure that the potential load is fully supported. The joist support is the bottom-most layer, but it cannot function without the next layer, the subfloor.

2. Subfloor

The subfloor is the floor beneath the “floor.” It’s the layer that is directly above and fastened to the joists, which then becomes the complete foundation for the underlayment and decorative flooring (layers three and four). It is generally plywood, composite wood, or concrete. In the case of plywood or composite wood sheeting, the best practice is to arrange the largest continuous sheets available in a staggered pattern with spacing to allow for natural flex. It’s important to avoid a four-corner meeting to reduce the potential for weakness or buckling. The subfloor bears significant wear and tear over years, moisture being the most damaging. Moisture can swell, warp, degrade, and rot a subfloor in very little time.

Sagging, warping, squeaking, or a funky odor are all good signs that you may have a serious problem underfoot. Subfloors are important, so it’s a good idea to get any issues resolved as soon as you can. The longer it goes unaddressed, the more significant the damage may be to the other layers.

3. Underlayment

The third layer is the underlayment. It’s an exceptional situation for a hardwood floor installation not to include the underlayment. Underlayment for hardwood flooring is usually cork, rubber, or a cork-rubber composite. Be aware that there are additional underlayment options. In fact, underlayment can be any number of materials from felt or foam to concrete, depending on the decorative flooring to be laid above. Your flooring professional can help you decide what underlayment is best for your installation.

Having the appropriate underlayment is important for a few reasons. First, this layer provides extra stability to the decorative flooring above. It also smooths out some of the imperfections of the subfloor below it. For the homeowner, the right underlayment will provide some sound reduction, and it will add moisture protection preventing spillage from becoming seepage. Finally, the appropriate underlayment will protect and extend the life of the entire hardwood floor installation.

4. Decorative Hardwood

This is the layer that represents your entire project: the decorative, durable, and personal aspect of your flooring that you have been anticipating. There are several decisions that you must make when picking your decorative layer, and the choices are numerous.

There are two types of hardwood flooring, solid wood or engineered wood, and the choice is entirely personal because each has benefits and drawbacks. Wall2Wall Hardwoods has experienced professionals who can walk you through the specifics and make sure you have the information to make a confident decision.

To give you an idea of some of the complexity, a solid wood layer is often one of five species: cherry, maple, walnut, hickory, and oak. Solid hardwood installation is usually the traditional plank style, nailed, and finished. Each wood option will have its own ratings and properties.

Engineered wood can be manufactured to an assortment of characteristics, and a variety of installation methods giving you a lot of great options. There are manufactured wood systems that are fabricated with an integrated underlayment material, those made for floating installation, others designed for “click-systems.” The options are robust, so having a guide can help reduce the stress and uncertainty associated with such an important decision. Contact us to get started on your dream floor today. Wall2Wall Hardwoods is here to help get you there.

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3 Hardwood Floor Problems You Can DIY and 3 You Probably Shouldn’t

Many homeowners dream of having hardwood floors. Whether new floors were laid down some years back or original hardwood was discovered under carpeting, these floors will require maintenance or repair at some stage. Depending on their condition, you may or may not be able to tackle some of these hardwood floor problems yourself.

But which ones can you DIY and which ones should you leave to a professional? Before investing a lot of time, money, and hard labor, let’s look at some common problems and the degree of difficulty for these repairs.

Do It Yourself

1. Scratches

Light wear and tear over time is unavoidable. Though hardwood floors are durable for many years, it’s impossible to completely avoid scratching your floorboards. Typically, cosmetic repairs are easy to DIY. These can include light surface-level scratching and even deeper scratching that has gone into the wood.

Scratches are often removed by either filling them in or sanding down the scratched wood. A surface-level scratch will need minimal materials, such as a fine steel wool pad, mineral spirits to apply after standing, and touch-up markers to match the stain and finish on the flooring. If the scratch is deeper than the surface, you will also need to fill it in with wood filler before recoating. Neither process is difficult nor costly, making it a good DIY project.

2. Dents

Dents are not quite the same as scratches and involve a different process. However, if the wood dent is not too deep, you can attempt to repair this problem yourself. If no wood is missing or splintered, it may be possible to raise the wood back up with heat and moisture.

Steam will cause the wood to swell back in place. This can also be achieved by placing a damp towel over the dent, followed by a hot iron. Once the wood has swollen back into place, lightly sand and refinish. If the dent is too deep for this method to work, you can fill it in with either a lacquer inlay or an epoxy.

3. Noticeable Wear

If you have done some minor repair to your floorboards, such as removing scratches or filling in gaps and dents, you may opt to recoat your floors. This may also be necessary if the floors don’t have the luster they used to and are showing discoloration from heavy use.

Recoating a hardwood floor is a much easier process than refinishing it and doesn’t require taking the floors down to unstained wood with a high-quality sander. To recoat, you will need to wash the floors well and then sand them to remove the previous finish. Once you have removed the finish, clean them again to remove sawdust and other debris, then stain and finish. Recoating is time-consuming and does require hard work, but it can be a satisfying do-it-yourself project.

Call the Professionals

1. Squeaking

Squeaking floors typically indicate loose floorboards that are either rubbing against each other or the subfloor. In order to fix squeaking floorboards, you have to be able to access the source. Easier fixes simply require lubricant or replacing loose or missing nails.

However, this may not solve the issue. If there are gaps between the hardwood floor and subfloor, shims can be hammered in to eliminate these gaps; this requires relaying the hardwood floor.

Improperly supported floorboards can also cause squeaking. Additional bridge supports may have to be inserted to increase support. This requires access to the subfloor and exact measurements. This is probably not a project you should attempt yourself. If not done properly, the squeaks won’t be eliminated and new squeaks may be discovered later.

2. Water Damage

If your floors have had severe water damage, creating visible physical damage, floorboards may need to be replaced. If the stains are white, then most likely the damage is mild and mostly cosmetic. However, if the stains are black, then water has absorbed into the wood and this may indicate mold. Severe water damage will also cause floorboards to separate from the subfloor and stick out. This is called buckling and is one of the more severe types of damage. The boards will need to be replaced.

This type of repair requires specialized skills and equipment. If not done properly, it can lead to more damage and costlier repairs. When dealing with water damage, it’s important to properly assess how much of the floor is damaged so that all damaged boards are either repaired or replaced, as well as all mold removed. Hardwood floor problems such as water damage and buckling should be repaired by a professional trained to quickly resolve such issues.

3. Cupping and Crowning

Other visible signs of damage are cupping and crowning. Cupping is when the edges of the floorboards expand and cup upward. The edges of the floorboard become higher than the center, creating an uneven surface. This also happens due to a buildup of moisture, typically from flooring that has been installed over a wet basement or crawl space. The top of the wood and the bottom of the wood experience two different levels of humidity, causing the bottom of the wood to be wetter than the top and expand across the bottom.

It may seem that the simple solution is to sand the floors down flat. However, if you sand the floor too soon, it will lead to crowning. Crowning is the opposite of cupping, in which the center of the board is higher than the edges. Additionally, if the moisture problem isn’t resolved, then the floorboards will suffer the same repeated problem.

If you’re having issues with too much moisture and physical damage such as cupping, buckling, or crowning, it’s time to call in a professional. Wall 2 Wall specializes in hardwood floor installation, repair, and refinishing and can help fix your hardwood floor problem. Whatever the level of repair needed, our experienced crew will resolve any issues and restore your beautiful flooring, making old floors look like new again.

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What Are Floor Refinishing Services?

If you have hardwood floors in your home that have seen better days, you may be interested in refinishing them. Over time, especially in older houses, wooden floors begin to look less lively. The surface becomes uneven due to wear and tear from shoes or moving furniture. It can also lose some of the color it once had. For these reasons, many people choose to have floor refinishing done to their wooden floors.

Construction and restoration companies like Wall 2 Wall are able to bring your wood floors back to life with floor refinishing. With a few floor refinishing services, your wood floors can look just as good, if not better, than the day they were installed. They can also be better protected from damage that may occur in the future. If you’ve been considering whether or not floor refinishing services are the right choice for your home or business, here is a closer look at the process.

Sanding

One of the first services completed when floor refinishing is requested is sanding. Sanding is the process of scratching down layers of wood until they’re smooth to the touch. They also make each plank of wood the same height as the others and get rid of imperfections. Having each of your wood planks be even with the others is the best way to ensure that they look uniform when your services are completed.

Having a professional complete the sanding portion of your refinish comes with many benefits, one being that you don’t have to invest or rent a high-grade sanding machine. For large projects such as floor refinishing, you’ll need a lot more than just a few pieces of sandpaper. Professionals like Wall 2 Wall have a progression of grits to choose from to best meet the needs of your specific wood flooring. They also have machinery that can sand down your floors at an even rate, to prevent any gouging. During this process, professionals will often sand the floor multiple times using different grits to get the desired look and feel.

Dust Removal

One of the most annoying aspects of sanding is the mess it leaves behind. All of that wood being sanded down doesn’t disappear but is usually dispersed into the air of your home, where it settles in all sorts of places. Professionals typically have a dust removal attachment with their sanding equipment to significantly decrease the amount of sanded wood left in your home after this work is completed. This allows them to move on to the next step more quickly.

Still, not all of the dust may be caught in the dust removal attachment, which is why professionals will follow up their sanding with sweeping or vacuuming to ensure all the dust is completely gone before they move on.

Re-Staining

Another reason that sanding is a helpful part of the refinishing process is that it can get rid of any old stain that the wood was previously treated with. This makes it easier for the wood to absorb the new stain, which is the next refinishing service that will be completed. Staining on top of old stain can make the finished product look uneven and discolored in certain areas. A freshly sanded surface is the perfect canvas for re-staining in the color of your choosing.

Professionals are able to stain your wood with almost any colored wood stain you can imagine. The sanding process leaves the floor much lighter than it probably was before, leaving it open to the possibility of re-staining with a lighter option. Though the process is pretty straightforward, there are techniques used by professionals to ensure that the finished product looks uniform. Applying it in the direction of the wood grain and working in small sections are just a few of the techniques often used by professionals during re-staining. With the right people on your team, you should be left with your ideal-colored flooring when this step is completed, but that doesn’t mean the job is done.

Re-Coating

After your hardwood floor is your desired color, the next step is to bring the floor back to life. The re-coating process gives the floor a newness and shine that you’d imagine you’d get from brand new hardwood flooring. When re-coating is done, a new layer of floor finish is applied, which then needs around 24 hours to completely dry. This is best done after sanding and re-staining are done because the floor will already be even and will have a better chance of being able to accept the finish into its surface.

Re-coating is also a popular option for people whose floors are not badly damaged to begin with and aren’t in need of the previous two services. Small imperfections like scratches can be improved with this process, and the floor can still end up looking brand new afterward. It’s a great option for people who just want to liven up their flooring and don’t need or want to change the staining.

Sealing

Once the previous steps are completed, it’s of great importance to make sure that all of that work wasn’t done for nothing. Sealing ensures that the work completed is protected from potential hazards. Having your wood floors sealed can protect your paint finish from things like stains and scratches. A good sealant can also prevent the wood from drying out and looking the way it did when you wanted to have floor refinishing completed initially.

Professional Assistance

When you want your floors to look professionally done, you’ll want to make sure you enlist the help of a company with years of experience and well-trained staff. The staff at Wall 2 Wall can your floor refinishing in the Portland, Oregon, area while working with you along the way to ensure your satisfaction. You can receive a free estimate, along with any advice or suggestions upon request. Contact Wall 2 Wall today to take the next steps to have your floors refinished.

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Hardwood Floor Restoration and 5 More Home Upgrades for 2021

A new year is a time for a fresh start and to leave the past behind us. Out with the old, in with the new, right? As we wrap up 2020, many of us have never been more ready for that new start. If you’re looking for ways to spruce things up in 2021, a home upgrade could be just the thing to kick off the new year the right way.

Perhaps you recently purchased a home and want to renovate it to reflect your personal style. Or maybe you’ve spent much of this year working from home and want to update your new combined living-workspace. Either way, if you’re looking for some home renovation inspiration, you’ve come to the right place. We have a few ideas to help you get started with your 2021 home upgrade.

1. Restore Your Hardwood Floors

So maybe we’re a little biased when it comes to this one. But one of the reasons Wall 2 Wall is so committed to hardwood floor restoration is that we’ve seen firsthand the difference breathing new life into an old floor can make. No other type of flooring provides the same value that hardwood flooring does. It instantly upgrades the look of any home, lasts for decades, and is incredibly easy to maintain.

Not only does hardwood floor restoration have the potential to increase your home’s property value by up to 10 percent, but it also has many health benefits. For instance, hardwood flooring doesn’t trap germs or scents the way carpeting does. Cleaning your hardwood floors is as simple as a sweep of the broom because hardwood flooring doesn’t trap dust the way carpeting does either. Hardwood floor restoration is a quick, efficient way to add to the aesthetic and financial value of almost any home.

2. Add a Touch of Warmth

When you first walk into a home, you naturally want it to feel warm and inviting. But the touch of warmth we’re talking about will quite literally warm you up. If you want to start the new year off on the right foot, radiant floor heating can increase your family’s comfort level while decreasing your monthly energy bills.

With radiant heating, you have the option of installing a whole-home radiant heating system, or if you want to focus your upgrades on a specific area of the home, you can opt to install radiant heating in a single room, such as the bathroom or kitchen. Whatever you decide, it’s a quiet, effective, and efficient way to heat your home.

3. Go Hands-Free

The year 2020 has taught us many lessons. Wash our hands for at least 20 seconds, carry hand sanitizer with us when we’re on the go, and wear a mask when we can’t stay at least 6 feet apart. But we have to do more than just protect ourselves from the germs circulating in the outside world. We have to keep our families safe by cutting down on the germs inside our own homes.

Hardwood flooring is one way to cut back on germs and allergens that we track inside our homes.

Going hands-free is another way to live healthier. Eliminating the need for handles by installing touchless faucets in the kitchen and bathroom can greatly reduce the number of germs transmitted throughout our homes. This upgrade not only lends itself to a more streamlined, contemporary look, it also gives you another layer of protection for safeguarding your family’s overall health and well-being.

4. Implement Smart Technology

Home upgrades don’t have to cost thousands of dollars. It can be as simple as upgrading your home’s technology. From lighting to security cameras to window blinds, so much of your home can be automated.

Smart technology allows you to connect devices or appliances in your home to the internet. Then with the simple touch of a button, you can control these home features from virtually anywhere in your house.

Most of these upgrades are relatively inexpensive and make our everyday lives much more convenient. Imagine being able to disable your home security system from miles away or never having to get up to close the blinds. Take advantage of modern-day technology to save both time and energy. It will allow you more opportunities to focus on what’s really important in the new year.

5. Make Energy-Efficient Improvements

According to the Department of Energy, as much as 20 percent of your annual energy bill could be wasted on things like air leaks, drafts, or an HVAC system that’s past its prime. Essentially, your money is quite literally flying out the window.

But making energy improvements to your home, such as sealing air leaks and ducts, adding insulation, or upgrading household appliances can solve this problem. In fact, even something as simple as installing a programmable thermostat could help you save money on energy bills.

The best part is that these improvements often pay for themselves. If you’re not looking to make any major renovations, energy-efficient upgrades are a quick, easy way to modernize your home. You may even recoup your initial investment over time.

6. Create a Place for Relaxation

Okay, so this one is really up to you. Relaxation means different things to different people. Sometimes it means curling up with a good book. Other times, it means unwinding in a hot bubble bath after a long day. Whatever it means for you, 2020 has shown us is that we need to create a personal space where we can relax and decompress from life’s outside stresses.

So if you do enjoy a long, hot bath, turn your bathtub into a spa. If you enjoy the great outdoors, create a backyard oasis. The possibilities are endless.
The important thing to remember is that you need a space where you can feel calm and centered despite what’s going on in the outside world. You deserve a home that makes you feel relaxed and at ease. So keep that in mind when deciding which home upgrades to make in the new year.

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5 Tips for Caring for Your Wood Floors in Winter

Winter is a welcomed season for many in Oregon because it brings with it a glut of snow sports, a handful of blustery nights spent cozy at home, and plenty of busy days filled with holiday traditions old and new. The change of season is felt distinctly. We are starting to see the coming rain that will wash us in shades of emerald next spring. The crispness in the air indicates it’s time to pull out the winter gear: hats, gloves, scarves, base-layers, and boots. It’s also time to tackle the household winterizing too. Here are five tips for caring for your wood floors in winter.

1. Clean Appropriately

Knowing the type and condition of the finish on your floor is essential to choosing the appropriate cleaning product. Hardwood floor finishes come in a variety of compounds, and each finish has specific cleaning guidelines. For example, if your flooring has a urethane or polyurethane finish, you don’t want to use a wax paste or oil soap because they can leave a slippery residue, which creates a serious slip hazard.

Other cleaning products can discolor and dull a finish in as little as one application, so it’s important to use the right cleaning agent. Even natural cleaning agents such as baking soda, vinegar, and water can cause visible damage to the shine and color of some polyurethane finishes.

In fact, it’s best to avoid water altogether, and never use a steam cleaner. Water damage to hardwood flooring can cause staining and swelling, and if the damage is extensive or prolonged, it can result in cupping, crowning, and other costly repairs. There are a number of high-quality products that are specifically formulated to clean quickly and efficiently while drying thoroughly.

2. Leave the Muck at the Door

Once you have made the effort to clean your floors, keep that shine as long as you can by controlling the amount of the world that makes its way into your home. We have tons of reasons to keep outside elements outside, and fortunately, there are loads of products to help us do that. You can mount thick bristle shoe brushes leading to your entry points and then place deeply grooved mats at both the outside and inside of the door itself. Once inside, you might adopt a Mr. Rogers sneaker habit and slip into some comfortable house shoes.

The health benefits of keeping a clean floor are numerous, and when it comes to wood floors in winter, there are extra factors to consider. Beyond the known culprits of water and mud, the Oregon Department of Transportation uses sand, magnesium chloride salt with an added corrosion inhibitor, and sodium chloride salt as anti-ice/de-ice storm maintenance measures, and any one of these things can inflict significant damage to flooring if tracked across your floor.

3. Protect Vulnerable Areas

Hardwood floor finish wears down disproportionately in high-traffic areas, and other places can become discolored from exposure to sunlight and UV wavelengths. It’s a good idea to put down rugs or floor runners to reduce wear and to use sheer curtains at windows to reduce UV light damage. Additionally, moving rugs and furniture periodically can help to minimize fade. Avoid high-heeled shoes and abrasive boots, and keep pets’ nails trimmed to minimize scratching. Also, consider refreshing your finish in high-traffic areas to extend the life of the flooring.

4. Avoid Water Contact or Moisture Collection

Most experts agree that water is quite problematic for wood floors in winter because of its ability to seep into the tiniest scratch or crack and then to be drawn into the wood fiber, where it naturally creates opportunities for stains, mold, warping, and cupping. It’s best to prevent water damage through diligence. Use mats at areas susceptible to splashing, such as near sinks, water bowls for pets, potted plants, and entryways because it’s there that water is joined with abrasives and caustics like sand and salt.

If you find water on your wood floors, immediately dry it completely. Whenever possible, regulate the moisture in your home with consistent temperature and humidity control. A dehumidifier is a great tool to keep moisture in check.

Even with all the preventative measures, it’s likely you will still be tracking water, mud, and sand onto your floors, and once the damage begins, there can be a rapid deterioration and degradation of the area. At the point that your finish has become damaged, it becomes necessary to evaluate the options. Fortunately, the experts at Wall 2 Wall Hardwood are readily available to help assess your needs.

5. Renew the Finish

Ultimately, there will come a time when your regular four to six deep cleanings each year just can’t deliver the look and performance you’re accustomed to seeing. You have done all the preventative measures and cared for your floors with great attention, but as with all things, there is a life expectancy.

Each type of finish will come with its own rating. Urethane and polyurethane may need refinishing every 6 to 10 years, depending on several aspects, especially the amount of traffic your floor supports. A family of four with two dogs is likely going to need to renew their finish significantly earlier than a retired couple.

Wax finish may need more frequent renewal, whereas some of the engineered finishes are rated to last anywhere from 10 to 30 years. As mentioned earlier, it’s really important to know what kind of finish you have because it will determine what your renewal options are.

Other considerations include the degree of wear, any damaged areas or repairs, stains, and water marks. The type of wood and thickness will need to be evaluated beforehand if your renewal includes significant sanding. Refinishing your hardwood flooring can be a DIY project, but it’s important to understand that it’s not necessarily quick, easy, or even that cheap. In all reality, hiring a professional to do the job is in the average homeowner’s best interests of time and money.

Wall 2 Wall Hardwoods offers a variety of professional services that deliver excellent craftsmanship. We know the job, have the tools, are familiar with the common snafus, and have the expertise to make your floors look amazing.

How Does a Contractor Install Heated Floors with Hardwood?

 

Heated floors have been around since the Romans fanned wood-burning fires under elevated marble floors. Fortunately for us, technology has come a long way, and heated floors are now available to anyone for much less hassle. With a new build, it’s easy to heat an entire house with a radiant heat system.

Certain types of heated floors are better as a supplemental heat source in your home, most commonly used in rooms such as bathrooms, basements, kitchens, and bedrooms—especially when the bedroom is above a garage or other unheated space. Whether using heated floors for the whole house or just certain rooms, they could arguably be one of the most luxurious additions you add and can be installed under many different types of wood floors.

If you have never experienced walking around barefoot in the cold of winter on a cozy, warm floor, you are indeed missing out! Take a look at what exactly heated floors are, how they work, and if adding them to a renovation or to your new build is right for you.

How Do Heated Floors Work?

Heated floors are an incredible heating system for your home, but how do they actually work? It’s a very simple concept, with the heat starting under the floors and rising, it feels warmer than heat being pushed in through the walls or ceiling. In more detail, since hot air rises, when you have heat, the air around the heat expands. When the heated air expands, it becomes less dense than the cooler air around it and then rises. When the heating system starts from under the floors, we get the benefit of feeling all of the heat rising, and there will be no cold drafts.

This can be seen with water as well. When there’s a less dense object, such as a log, the log then floats up to the denser water. When you heat under your floor, the hot air rises, thus helping to create a cozy warm home for you. This page offers a great visual of why heated floors work so well.

Typically, floor temperatures are set between 80 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit but can be set as high as 104 degrees. Radiant floor heating systems often feel similar to the heat from the sun. Even when the air in the room is cooler, the warmth from the floor will help make you feel warmer. It’s similar to standing in the shade versus standing in the sun. It’s the same temperature, but you’re much warmer when you’re standing in the sun versus in the shade on a brisk day.

Pros and Cons of Radiant Heating

Pros

  •       Even heating—radiant floor heating systems heat the entire floor so there will always be an even temperature throughout the room or house, and no more cold drafts.
  •       Quiet—because there’s no air being forced through a duct system and no furnace that kicks on, radiant heating systems are very quiet.
  •       Fewer allergens—without a forced-air system, there are less dust and allergens being blown through the home.
  •       No maintenance—once your heated floors are installed, they don’t require a lot of maintenance.
  •       Energy-efficient—because the heated air from the radiant heat system rises up from under the floors, the heat is felt right away. There’s nowhere for the heat to escape. Even on a very cold day, having the heat right under your feet will keep you from needing to constantly raise the temperature.

Cons

  •       Replace Flooring—if you haven’t installed a radiant heat system during construction, your flooring will need to be replaced. Both hydronic and electric systems will require the current flooring to be removed before installation.
  •       Elevated floor—there are some thin systems available, as thin as ⅛ inch thick, but typically, a radiant heat system will raise your floor about a ½ inch. This can cause some issues when only some rooms of the house are being heated using this method.
  •       Cost—radiant heating systems are an investment up-front, but they do save in the long run, especially if you live in an area where the cost of electricity is high. Taking into consideration the cost of electricity versus the cost of installation will help determine if heated floors will be beneficial in your home and budget.

Electric vs. Hydronic

There are two popular options for radiant floor heating systems—electric, which is typically supplemental, and hydronic, which is usually designed to heat the whole house.

Electric radiant heating systems aren’t meant to be the only heat source in a home and are installed over the subfloor in a bed of thin-set mortar. The cables that are the heat source are often pre-attached to puzzle-like mats to allow for easy installation. If you’re pretty handy, you could do an install yourself, but it’s an easy project for a contractor, and you’ll ensure a quality job. Electric radiant heating systems heat up in 30 to 60 minutes so homeowners can turn them on and off as they need to help keep their heat costs down.

Hydronic radiant heating systems are typically designed to heat the entire house. Plastic tubing that holds water is heated to a temperature between 100 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit and circulated through that tubing under the floors throughout the house.

The most popular way to install the tubing is over subflooring and covered in thin-set mortar or with specially designed panels that hold the tubing or cables in place. These panels are then covered in cement or mortar.

Hydronic radiant heating is ideal for whole-house heating and should be installed during construction, as it can be difficult to add to a renovation that doesn’t already have the proper equipment. Because the hydronic radiant heat system requires pump lines, gas lines, and a broiler, it usually costs more up-front. However, the cost of heating with this system is generally lower when heating the entire house with the hydronic radiant heat system, even though the system takes longer to heat up and is usually kept on around the clock.

How Is It Installed?What Can I Do About My Cold Hardwood Floors

In recent years, the installation of radiant heat flooring systems has been simplified. Some subflooring has become available with pre-fitted tubing channels. There are also pre-made panels with insulation, a vapor barrier, and a holding system for the tubing or cables. Your contractor will start by making sure the floor is level. They can then build up the floor with plywood and sleepers to the height needed.

Once the contractor installs the tubing or cables, a thin-set mortar is poured over the top to encapsulate the cables and help distribute the heat. When that has been leveled and dried, flooring can then be installed after acclimating to the conditions of the house.

Installing heated floors can be very rewarding for your day-to-day comfort. At Wall 2 Wall, we can help with construction or restoration needs. Please reach out to us with any questions you have about your hardwood floors. We are happy to help.

Water on Hardwood Floor

What To Do If You Spill Water on Hardwood Floor?

Hardwood floors are a beautiful addition to any home. Not only are they pleasing to look at, but they can be resurfaced many times, making them capable of lasting a long time. Hardwood is also a great environmental choice. Since wood is a renewable resource, there’s less strain on the environment.

To maintain a healthy and functional hardwood floor, you must manage the moisture levels in your home. Excess moisture can cause wood floors to warp and crack, and mold can grow under the wood panels if excess moisture isn’t removed quickly. A water spill on a hardwood floor could cause problems if not quickly cleaned up. Wall 2 Wall flooring experts will tell you the best methods to clean up a water spill on a hardwood floor.

What Happens When Hardwood Floors Have Excess Moisture?

Excess moisture can be very damaging to hardwood floors. High moisture levels can be caused by moisture captured underneath the floorboards or by excess air moisture above the flooring. High humidity in a home can be a seasonal issue that can resolve on its own as the seasons change. Moisture can also be caused by a spill on a hardwood floor. Whatever the cause, high moisture levels can cause some serious damage to hardwood flooring and need to be dealt with.

Cupping

Hardwood floorboards can start cupping in response to excess moisture absorbed into the boards. Cupping is when the floorboards are raised at the edges and curve inward toward the center, causing a concave shape.

Cupping is due to the uneven moisture levels inside the floorboard. There’s a higher moisture content toward the bottom of the floorboard compared to the surface, which tends to dry faster due to exposure to air.

Crowning

Crowning is another way hardwood floors show damage due to high moisture content. When moisture levels remain high for an extended period of time, the floorboards absorb the moisture to saturation, and that causes the floorboards to rise in the center, causing the center of the board to be higher than the edges. This is the opposite of cupping; crowning has a convex shape.

Buckling

Buckling is a third way hardwood floors show moisture damage, but this is a very uncommon occurrence. Buckling is when the floorboards pull away from the subflooring underneath, leaving a few inches’ gap in-between the hardwood floorboards and the subflooring underneath. Buckling tends to happen when severe flooding has been left standing for an extended period of time. To fix a hardwood floor that has buckled, you’ll need to replace the damaged boards with new hardwood flooring. Contact Wall 2 Wall for help with any buckling issues with your hardwood floors.

What Is the Proper Way to Clean a Water Spill on Hardwood Floors?

Leaving a water spill sitting on a hardwood floor for an extended period of time risks damage to the floorboards. The water could be absorbed into the wood, causing either warping or discoloration or both. The longer the water is in contact with the hardwood flooring, the more it can be absorbed into the wood, causing further damage to your hardwood flooring.

Water can also leak into the cracks between the floorboards, causing moisture to absorb into the subflooring beneath the hardwood floorboards. There’s also a potential for mold growth, which can begin as little as two or three days after a water spill. The more quickly you clean up any water spill on your hardwood flooring the less risk of damage occurring to your floor. Cleaning up the water spill during the first 24 hours gives the flooring the best chance of survival.

Remove Furniture and Carpeting

To clean up the water spill, you first want to remove any furniture that could be in the way or could also be wet. If there’s any carpeting over your hardwood floor where the spill occurred, you should move the carpeting and any padding from the area as well.

Remove Water

Next, you want to remove any water from the hardwood floor. You can soak up the water with absorbent towels, or if there’s an excessive amount of water, you can use a wet vacuum used to suck up water. Even after the water is removed from the surface of the hardwood, there may still be water seeped underneath the floorboards. Keep vacuuming even after the surface water has been removed until you see that water is no longer being sucked up into the wet vacuum.

Disinfect to Prevent Mold Growth

Once all the water has been removed, clean the wood surface with a disinfectant that doesn’t produce suds. Be sure to use a cleaning brush that won’t scratch the wood surface. This will help prevent mold growth from all the moisture that was sitting on the hardwood. Then use the wet vacuum again to make sure all the moisture has been removed after disinfecting the area.

Use Dehumidifiers and Fans

Once the area has been completely wet vacuumed and disinfected, it’s best to leave a dehumidifier in the area to absorb any moisture that may still be lingering between the floorboards or underneath the flooring. You want to leave the dehumidifier running for at least 24 hours or longer for more severe spills.

You can supplement with running fans on the highest setting to help circulate the air. Leave any windows open at least a few inches to help vent any excess moisture from the room. If the air is extremely humid or if it’s raining outside, however, leave the windows closed during this process. You can even turn on your air conditioner to help dry out the air. However, don’t use heat to dry the air out, as this can add moisture to the air and promote mold growth.

Once the area is dry, check for any mold growth. You may also use a moisture testing meter to determine when the moisture has been fully removed from the wood. It may take several weeks to show no more moisture. If you have any water damage that needs an expert’s touch, contact Wall 2 Wall for assistance.