Author Archives: Oregon Hardwood Floors

New construction of room showing studs and subfloor.

What Is a Subfloor?

When it’s time to have a new floor installed in your home, it’s easy to get caught up in the portions that you’ll be seeing. The appearance of a new floor is often the most exciting aspect of having it installed, but there is more to getting a new floor than just what’s on the surface. As you begin this process, you’ll quickly learn that there are often a few crucial layers underneath your new floor top, and one of those layers is a subfloor.

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Laminate flooring color tiles laying on hardwood flooring in Portland.

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?

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Bedroom with durable bamboo hardwood flooring.

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.

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Male contractor performing hardwood floor installation over glue.

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.

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Deep arc-shaped scratches in hardwood floor.

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.

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Hardwood floor refinishing roller putting on sealer coat.

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.

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Hardwood flooring with multicolored confetti.

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.

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Woman wearing slippers dry mopping hardwood flooring in winter.

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.

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Worker installing piping for heated floors.

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.