- All you need to know about choosing laminate floors.
- Carpet Types 101
- Ceramic tile simply defined.
- Everything you need to know about wood floors.
- Flooring terms made easy to understand.
- How do I prepare for installation?
Q. All you need to know about choosing laminate floors.The Ever Popular Laminate
Laminate flooring has become a popular choice for many homeowners due to its ability to closely emulate today’s most popular hard surfaces, especially hardwood planks and ceramic or stone tiles. Besides the great textures and designs, laminate flooring offers improved durability, easier maintenance and affordability compared to other types of hard surface floors. These floors are extremely resistant to wear, stains and sunlight fading. The beautifully rich textured finishes make these floors a great alternative for most areas in the home.
Having arrived from Europe over a decade ago, laminate flooring was inspired by countertop materials, only it's at least 20 times stronger. With a direct pressure laminate surface it is virtually impossible for spills and scuffs to leave a mark. The clear surface layer protects the pattern underneath and is highly resistant to cigarette burns and scratches from pets. Maintenance is quick and easy using a damp cloth or vacuum and most household cleaning chemicals will not harm a laminate floor. The surface is hygienic and is excellent for people suffering from allergies.
Specially engineered with layered construction, laminate flooring can be installed almost anywhere in the home, including over dry concrete slabs, wooden subfloors and many types of existing floor coverings. The low clearance space height means laminates are particularly suited for renovation and restoring old houses where floor thicknesses can be a problem.
Q. Carpet Types 101
• Most decoratively versatile cut-pile carpet
• Textured surface helps hide footprints and vacuum marks
• Adds casual beauty to any room
• Looks great between vacuuming
• Preferred style for busy households
• A great whole-house carpet
• Refined cut-pile surface
• Luxuriously smooth, soft finish
• Beautiful with traditional interiors
• Adds distinctive elegance to any room
• Ideal for living and dining rooms
• Shows subtle highlights and accents
• A wool-like look and rugged surface loop
• Natural, hand-crafted appearance creates a warm, personal atmosphere
• Tight Loop texture helps hide footprints and vacuum marks
• Subtle patterns fit a variety of room styles
• Ideal choice for contemporary to country to cottage furnishings
• A new Berber look with all the wonderful color and interest of traditional loop Berbers
• The great plush feel of thick, cut-pile carpet
• Beautifully crafted and colored yards add personality to any room
• Very versatile decoratively; ideal for casual rooms, kids' rooms...
• Subtle color flecks help hide soil that might appear between cleanings
• Carved definition with cut-and-loop pile
• Accent colors spice up floor surfaces
• Multicolor effects hide soil and stains
• Looks great between vacuuming
Q. Ceramic tile simply defined.Ceramic tile has been used for centuries and offers consumers more options in color, texture, pattern and overall beauty than most other floor covering materials. With new manufacturing techniques today's ceramic tile designs are virtually indistinguishable from natural marbles, travertines, slates and other stone products. Glazed ceramic and porcelain tiles are great choices for bathrooms, kitchens, foyers, sun rooms and great rooms.
Ceramic wall tiles are normally less durable than tile designed specifically for flooring. Most wall tile is glazed with a semi-gloss or matte surface. The glazed surface has a very low slip resistance and becomes slippery when wet. Therefore, glazed wall tile is much more suited for wall or countertop applications rather than floors.
Glazed Ceramic Tile
Glazed Ceramic Tile is comprised of two basic elements, clay and water. Various clays are mined, ground and blended to a fine powder, and pressed together to form the body of the tile. The pressed clay body is then dried to reduce the moisture content. Next, the surface of the tile is coated with a colored glaze (similar to glass). The glaze is then permanently fused to the surface of the tile by firing it in kilns at approximately 2000° Fahrenheit, to form the finished product.
Porcelain tile is made from a blend of fine-grain clays and other minerals to produce a very dense body, which makes it highly resistant to moisture, staining and wear. Because of these features, porcelain tile will withstand years of heavy foot traffic in both interior and exterior applications while maintaining its color and beauty.
To determine the overall performance and durability of the glazed surface of ceramic tile, there are standardized industry tests and classifications which rate tile's specific resistance to scratching, breaking, abrasion, moisture, etc.
Most tiles are rated for hardness or scratch resistance using the MOHS Test and rating system. The MOHS test rates tile from 1 (softest) to 10 (hardest). Ceramic tile with a value of 5 or more is suitable for most residential floor tile applications. Tile with a value of 7 or higher is normally acceptable for most commercial applications or heavy traffic areas.
To help select suitable tiles for specific applications tiles are rated the P.E.I. (Porcelain Enamel Institute) scale. The tiles are evaluated for wear resistance on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest).
• PEI 1: Light Traffic - recommended for residential bathrooms or other areas with light traffic and where shoes are not frequently used.
• PEI 2: Medium Traffic - recommended for residential interiors, except entryways, kitchens, stairs or any area where tiles may come into contact with gravel or sand.
• PEI 3: Medium-heavy Traffic - recommended for all residential interiors and light commercial applications. Not recommended for commercial entryway.
• PEI 4: Heavy Traffic - suitable for all residential interiors and most commercial applications, including shopping malls and public areas.
• PEI 5: Heavy-plus Traffic - all residential and commercial areas where heavy-duty wearability is needed.
Ceramic tile are also classified by their water absorption rate which reflects the density of the body of the tile. There is a direct relationship to the water absorption rate and the suitability of the various types of tile for interior or exterior applications. Tiles suitable for exterior applications must have a very low water absorption rate, especially in climates subject to freezing and thawing cycles. These are typically porcelain body tiles which have a moisture absorption rating of less than .5 %.
Like the natural products themselves tiles will vary in shading. This adds to the beauty and design of the products. When choosing a tile it's best to view 2-3 tiles together to visually determine the overall appearance of the tile.
Q. Everything you need to know about wood floors.With a little basic understanding about the different types of wood floors you can be better prepared and more confident in your selection. Wood floors are produced in both solid and engineered planks and strips and come in a wide variety of wood species. To help determine which type of floor will work best for your situation depends upon the location within your home and the type of subfloor.
Solid Wood Floors
Solid wood floors are one solid piece of wood and are generally 3/4" thick. Because solid hardwood floors are more susceptible to moisture than engineered wood floors they should only be installed above grade over approved wooden subfloors and must be nailed-down. Solid wood floors can generally be recoated and refinished several times.
Engineered Wood Floors
These floors are produced by laminating several hardwood plies together to form the planks. Most engineered floors can be glued-down, stapled-down or floated over a variety of subfloors including wood, dry concrete slabs and some types of existing flooring. Engineered hardwood floors have cross-ply construction which reduces the expansion/contraction of planks caused by variations in humidity and allows these floors to be installed anywhere in the home.
Exotic Wood Species
Today wood flooring is also offered in a variety of hardwood species that are not found in North America.
Prefinished versus Unfinished
Unfinished floors require several days to install, stain and finish the flooring. Prefinished floors are less messy and can often be installed and completed the same day.
Where is the room?
Knowing where the floor will be installed is essential. Before choosing a floor determine if the room is above, on or below ground level. Solid wood floors are recommended for above ground-level installations and must be nailed-down to a wood subfloor. These floors perform better in humidity-controlled environments.
Is your sub floor concrete or a type of wood substrate?
Engineered floors are ideal for concrete slabs. For remodel projects you may want to consider hardwood floors that can be floated directly over the existing floor which eliminates the mess and additional costs of tearing out the old floor.
Q. Flooring terms made easy to understand.Attached Cushion - A cushioning material, such as foam, rubber, urethane, PVC, etc. adhered to the back side of a carpet to provide additional dimensional stability, thickness and padding.
Average Pile Yarn Weight - Mass per unit area of the pile yarn including buried portions of the pile yarn. In the U.S., it is usually expressed as ounces per square yard.
Backing - Fabrics and yarns that make up the back of the carpet as opposed to the carpet pile or face. Tufted carpet has Primary Backing and Secondary Backing. In woven carpet, the backing is the "construction yarns" which are interwoven with the face yarn.
Berber - Loop-pile carpet tufted with thick yarn, such as wool, nylon or olefin. Often having random specks of color in contrast to a base hue, this floor covering has a full, comfortable feel, while maintaining an informal, casual look. Currently, this term has expanded to describe many level or multi-level loop carpet styles.
Binding - A band or strip sewn over a carpet edge to protect, strengthen or decorate the edge.
Broadloom - A term used to denote carpet produced in widths wider than 6 feet. Broadloom is usually 12 feet wide, but may also be 13'6" and 15 feet wide.
Bulked continuous filament (BCF) - Continuous strands of synthetic fiber formed into yarn bundles of a given number of filaments and texturized to increase bulk and cover. Texturizing changes the straight filaments into kinked or curled configurations.
Ceramic tile: Flat shapes made of unglazed or glazed fired clay. Used for floors by setting in mortar or cement in a variety of patterns. Ceramic tile is strong, durable and easy to clean.
Construction - The manufacturing method (i.e. tufted, woven) and the final arrangement of fiber and backing materials as stated in its specification.
Cork flooring - a natural resilient floor covering. Made from the bark of cork oak trees, cork flooring is available in both tiles and sheets. It is available in many different colors, including natural and can also be found reinforced with resins or vinyl.
Cushion - Any kind of material placed under carpet to provide softness and adequate support when it is walked upon. Also referred to as "padding" or "underlay," although "cushion" is the preferred term. Cushion under most residential carpet should be a thickness no greater than 7/16".
Cut Pile - A carpet fabric in which the face is composed of cut ends of pile yarn.
Cut and Loop Pile - A carpet fabric in which the face is composed of a combination of cut ends of pile yarns and loops.
Density - Refers to the amount of pile yarn in the carpet and the closeness of the tufts. In general, the denser the pile, the better the performance.
Dimensional Stability - The ability of the carpet to retain its original size and shape, e.g. a secondary backing adds dimensional stability to carpet.
Direct Glue-Down - An installation method whereby the carpet is adhered to the floor.
Double Glue-Down - An installation method whereby the carpet cushion is first adhered to the floor with an adhesive, and the carpet is then glued to the cushion.
Engineered hardwood floors - constructed from several thin sheets of wood (called plies) that are laminated together to form one plank.
Filament - A single continuous strand of natural or synthetic fiber.
Fluffing - Appearance on carpet surface of loose fiber fragments left during manufacture; not a defect, but a characteristic that disappears after carpet use and vacuuming. Sometimes called "fuzzing" or "shedding."
Frieze - Pronounced "free-zay," this tightly twisted yarn gives carpet a rough, nubby appearance.
Fuzzing - Hairy effect on fabric surface caused by fibers slipping out of the yarn with wear or wet cleaning.
Gauge - The distance between two needle points expressed in fractions of an inch. Applies to both knitting and tufting.
Glazed tile - has a surface coating made from a liquid glass that has been sprayed or poured onto the surface of the tile. It is then fused and hardened by means of tremendous heat.
Heat setting - The process that sets the twist by heat or steam, enabling yarns to hold their twist over time. Important in cut pile carpet. Most nylon, olefin and polyester cut pile carpets are heat-set.
Indoor/Outdoor carpet - Carpet made of super-resilient fibers (example: olefin or polyester) in order to withstand outdoor use.
Laminate flooring - Dense fiberboard core with a paper pattern layer sealed under high pressure with a plastic-like substance. Sold as planks and panels in which the paper layer depicts a natural flooring such as wood or stone.
Level Loop - A carpet construction in which the yarn on the face of the carpet forms a loop with both ends anchored into the carpet back. The pile loops are of substantially the same height and uncut, making a smooth, level surface.
Linoleum - First resilient floor made of linseed oil, gums, cork or wood dust and pigments. Widely used in the 1950's and greatly admired for the variety of patterns and colors, linoleum was replaced with vinyl flooring and has passed into history. It is no longer available in the United States.
Loop Pile - Carpet style having a pile surface consisting of uncut loops. May be woven or tufted. Also called "round wire" in woven carpet terminology.
Luster - Brightness or sheen of fibers, yarns, carpet or fabrics.
Marble - Elegant polished stone flooring usually sold as tiles. Marble is "floated" in a cement underlayment to form a smooth glossy surface.
Multi-level Loop carpet - Carpet with two or three levels forming a random sculptural surface.
Oriental rug - Hand-woven or hand knotted rugs traditionally made in the Middle or Far East. Generally, the more knots per square inch the more precious the carpet.
Parquet floors - Wood flooring, usually in the form of tiles that is laid to create a pattern.
Pickled floors - Rustic looking wood flooring that consists of rubbed white paint over a finished wood floor.
Pile - The visible surface of carpet consisting of yarn tufts in loop and/or cut configuration. Sometimes called "face" or "nap".
Pilling - A condition of the carpet face (which may occur from heavy traffic) in which fibers from different tufts become entangled with one another, forming hard masses of fibers and tangled tufts. Pills may be cut off with scissors.
Plank flooring - Wood flooring made of long boards more than 3-inches wide.
Plush - Luxuriously smooth-textured carpet surface in which individual tufts are only minimally visible and the overall visual effect is that of a single level of yarn ends. This finish is normally achieved only on cut-pile carpet produced from non-heat-set singles spun yarns by brushing and shearing. Sometimes called "velvet-plush."
Ply - 1. A single-end component in a plied yarn. 2. The number that tells how many single ends have been ply-twisted together to form a plied yarn, e.g. two-ply or three-ply.
Primary Backing - A woven or non-woven fabric in which the yarn is inserted by the tufting needles.
Quarry tile - Glazed or unglazed ceramic tile made of natural clay and shale using an extrusion process. Usually quarry tile is in natural terracotta.
Random sheared carpet - Created by lightly cutting high-low loop carpet so that only the higher loops are cut. Random shearing produces a chance cut and loop pattern.
Remnant - A small piece of carpet from the end of a roll of carpet.
Resilience - Ability of carpet pile or cushion to recover original appearance and thickness after being subjected to compressive forces or crushing under traffic.
Resilient floor - Flooring made by combining a plastic material with filler and pigments, then pressed into tiles or sheets. If a backing material is used, the plastic sheet is pressed onto the backing. Types include solid vinyl, backed or cushioned vinyl, rubber, cork, and linoleum.
The Saxony carpet has a refined cut-pile surface, creating a smooth, soft finish. This style definitely carries an element of elegance and goes great with traditional interiors. Decoratively, it also shows subtle highlights and accents.
Sculptured carpet - Any carpet pattern formed from high and low pile areas, such as high-low loop or cut-and-loop.
Seams - In a carpet installation, the line formed by joining the edge of two pieces of carpet by the use of various seaming tapes, hand sewing or other techniques.
Seam Sealing - Procedure of coating the trimmed edges of two carpet breadths to be joined with a continuous bead of adhesive in order to prevent fraying and raveling at the seam.
Secondary Backing - Fabric laminated to the back of the carpet to reinforce and increase dimensional stability.
Serging - A method of finishing edges of area rugs by use of heavy, colored yarn sewn around the edges in a close, overcast stitch.
Shading - A change in the appearance of a carpet due to localized distortions in the orientation of the fibers, tufts or loops. Shading is not a change in color or hue, but a difference in light reflection.
Sisal - Originally made of vegetable fibers, the carpet industry has recently captured the look of natural sisal and jute with the gentler, more comfortable synthetic alternatives. Wool and synthetic alternatives are almost worry-free and offer a variety of interesting textures, patterns and prints.
Slate - A naturally laminated stone pieces or tiles that are set in mortar or cement resulting in a interesting natural pattern.
Soil Retardant - A chemical finish applied to fibers or a carpet surface that inhibits attachment of soil.
Solid wood floors - one solid piece of wood that have tongue and groove sides and come in either prefinished or unfinished styles.
Sprouting - Protrusion of individual tuft or yarn ends about the pile surface. May be clipped with scissors.
Staple - Short lengths of fiber that may be converted into spun yarns by textile yarn spinning processes. These spun yarns are also called "staple" yarns. For carpet yarns spun on the common, modified worsted systems, most staple is six to eight inches long. Staple fiber may also be converted directly into nonwoven fabrics, such as needle punched carpet.
Stitches - Stitches per inch. Number of yarn tufts per running inch of a single tuft row in tufted carpet.
Stretch-In - Installation procedure for installing carpet over separate cushion using a tackless strip; properly performed with a power-stretcher.
Strip flooring - The most popular wood flooring, it is made of long, narrow -- about 3 inches wide -- tongue-and-groove boards that are end-matched. Strip flooring wider than 3 inches is referred to as plank flooring.
Tackless Strip - Wood or metal strips fastened to the floor near the walls of a room containing either two or three rows of pins angled toward the walls on which the carpet backing is stretched and secured in a stretch-in installation.
Terrazzo - A multicolored stone floor made of small pieces of stone embedded in cement. The floor is then polished to a high shine.
Tuft Bind - Force required to pull a tuft from the carpet.
Tufted - Carpet manufactured by the insertion of tufts of yarn through a carpet-backing fabric, creating a pile surface of cut and/or loop ends.
Twist - The winding of the yarn around itself. Should be neat and well-defined. A tighter twist provides enhanced durability.
Underlay - Carpet cushion under rugs.
Vinyl solid flooring - This smooth surfaced plastic floor is a mixture of vinyl resins, fillers, and stabilizers with one color added. Produced in either square tiles or sheet goods.
Woven - Carpet produced on a weaving loom in which the lengthwise yarns and widthwise yarns are interlaced to form the fabric, including the face and the backing.
Yarn Ply - The number of single yarns twisted together to form a plied yarn.
Q. How do I prepare for installation?Removing your Existing Floor Covering
You will need to know how you will dispose of your old flooring before installers arrive. If you are going to remove the old carpet and pad yourself, please leave the existing tack strip down if replacing with carpet. We do offer removal and disposal of you existing flooring for a nominal charge
Warmth & Space, Please
Installers will work in areas other than the room(s) being laid with new flooring in order to prepare and store the new floor covering during installation. Typically, this will be a garage, patio, driveway or carport. Please be sure there is electricity available.
Our installers will remove hinged doors and replace them after your new flooring is installed. If, however, your new flooring is thicker than your old flooring, the doors may need trimming for proper clearance. In this instance the doors will be left off their hinges so they can be trimmed.
Baseboard moldings, in most installations, can be left in place. Our installers will work with the molding, but cannot be responsible for breakage and scratches.
Color Changes & Shading
Many of today's high luster fabrics display a light or dark shade difference in color depending on the direction the carpet is laid in the room.
Due to the nature of the manufacturing process, most print and multi-tone patterns are impossible to match exactly. Many of these styles will require additional yardage to achieve the closest match possible.
If your installation requires sanding, it is a good idea to cover all cupboards and furniture in the adjacent rooms. If sanding is to be done, you may want to seal off the room with plastic.
Every installation has material waste; these leftover pieces are most commonly used in closets, or when stairs and halls are recovered.
In order to properly install your new flooring, cutting and seaming are quite common. Today's heat-bonded seams are as strong as the rest of the carpet; however, the seams themselves are not invisible. Our installers take great pride in making the seams as inconspicuous as possible
Take a look at the room for which your flooring was bought. What is the condition of your ceiling? Do your walls need repainting? We recommend that all painting is completed before your new flooring arrives.
Dining Rooms & Dens
Remove all your breakables (plates, vases, lamps, and collectibles) prior to moving the actual furniture; make sure all electrical components are disconnected before you attempt to move your stereo, computer, VCR or TV. Our installers are not responsible for reconnecting these items.
Beds need to be stripped prior to installation. Installers will dismantle the beds if necessary.