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Wood vs. Wood Look Tile

Added on February 19, 2016 by admin

    My mother-in-law has a lovely home. In the time that I've known her she's been in the process of remodeling, and up to this point things have been coming together nicely. After she had some new carpet put in, a room remodeled, some new furniture, and a little paint, it's easy to see that her home is slowly being transformed into a modern cozy cottage. When talking with her about different ideas she had about the ongoing remodel, I asked her what kind of floors she wanted to have installed, and I was surprised at her answer; while she is leaning toward installing hardwood floors, she was recently exposed to wood looking tile and fell in love. So, as I asked my mother-in-law, I ask you; what kind of flooring do you want?

    When talking about wood or wood looking tile, there are a few differences to note; but as we discuss them, please understand that I'm not trying to persuade any of my readers (not even my mother-in-law [hi ma!]) on which floors to purchase; I simply want to expose facts; but if I tend to lean toward one option, please excuse my bias.  

    First on the list is this; no matter how similar wood looking tile is to read hardwood, it is still tile; so if you're hell bent on wood floors, stop reading here and move on to the next blog (I'm kidding...please keep reading). Hardwood flooring has natural warmth to it that you can't get from tile without adding the additional expense of underfloor heating. Unfortunately, tile tends to be a bit chilly; however, this fact can save you a bit of money on you electric bill in the summer months. Hardwood floors may not burn your feet in the middle of summer, but there's just something about putting your bare feet on cool tile on a hot day. It just tends to cool you down and make the heat vanish.

    Second, no matter how nice the tile is, you will have to have grout lines; whereas with hardwood floors, each plank is pushed up against the other, leaving no gaps. When working with tile, grout lines are an inevitability; however, just because you have grout line doesn't mean it's any easier or more difficult to clean, especially if you have you flooring done with Wall to Wall. When installing any kind of tile, we only use Laticrete Permicolor Stain Free Grout; this is a grout that won't stain; no matter what color juice your grand kids may spill (ma!). We pride the use of this grout because in our opinion, it's the best. 

    Third, tile won't scratch the way hardwood will. A dog's nails can wreak havoc on a wood floor; however, if you're thinking about a wood floor, use a resource called the Janka Hardness Scale. This is simply a scale to rate the hardness of wood. If you have a big dog and want a hardwood floor, this scale will help to lead you to a hardwood surface that won't be destroyed by "Carly's" nails a week after it's been installed. You can find many different versions by simply searching Google. 

    Fourth, while it generally costs the same to install tile products as it does to install hardwood, wood looking tile is a tad more expensive to install than hardwood; but not enough to break the bank. When you go to a family physician, the visit may cost "X," but if you go to a specialists, the cost may equal "Y." If the cost of your "Y" is greater than the cost of your "X," it's because the specialists is a more precisely focused area of healthcare.  This example is mirrored in the installation of wood looking tile verses the installation of regular tile. Wood looking tile is an awkwardly shaped, heavy tile, that takes more time and effort to place properly than it does regular tile; thus the larger expense. 

    Lastly, if you're concerned about price, fear not, for the cost of wood looking tile and actual hardwood isn't too different; but they CAN be. You can find a good ceramic wood looking tile for around $2.00 per square foot. If you're not a fan of ceramic tile, you can find a good porcelain wood looking tile for around $2.50 per square foot. While these prices are less than the average cost of hardwood products, these are best scenario prices, so don't be surprised if the wood looking tile you like costs a more. 

    At the end of the day, it's your decision about what flooring surface is installed in your home. Sometimes, the deciding factor is financial; other times, you just want what you want. If this blog has done nothing but give you insight as to the characteristics of flooring products, then I'm happy. I have my favorites just like anyone else, but I hope I have been as fair in my approach flooring education as possible. I hope that you can find your favorite flooring in the ocean of products that are available today; and to see them, you need only to come into Wall to Wall, "Your one stop flooring center."


Put a cork in it volume 2

Added on February 12, 2016 by admin

    If you've read the title to this blog and said to yourself, "I didn't see part one." that's because the gentleman writing accidentally deleted the first version of this same article.  Therefore, I give you,  "Put a cork in it Volume 2." Voila. 

    Have you ever looked at a bottle of wine and thought to yourself, "Wow. The cork from this would be great as a floor!" If you're like me, then the answer is simply, "No," but somebody brighter than us did, and thankfully so.

    Cork is a remarkable flooring option, from harvesting to floor installation. Hand cut by men with axes, the only part of the cork tree that is harvested is the bark. There is no mechanical method for removing cork bark from the tree that won't damage it's core; and once the bark is harvested from the core, re-harvesting from that same tree can only be done in 9-13 years. This process makes cork one of the most environmentally friendly flooring products on the market.

    If you're looking for a soft flooring option, cork just might be for you. Cork has a sponge-like attribute that makes it softer to walk on than tile, laminate, or hardwood, is a natural shock absorber, and even absorbs heat. This means that the floor will be soft and suitable for playing toddlers, will be inclined to spare falling dishes from breaking; and will be a warm surface to walk on. Also, cork is a natural resistant to mold, and mildew, and is a safe option for people who fight allergies. Cork is just an all around, too often unheard of, unique floor covering.

    While cork flooring does add value to your home, and does have that shock absorbing attribute, there are a few things to be careful of. First, if overexposed to direct sunlight, cork can become discolored; so be careful where it's installed. Second, use furniture pads. The bounce back characteristic that was previously mentioned can become a permanent indentation over time if not. Third, if a knife, a sharp object, or a cat or dog's nails dig in, they can take a chuck out of your cork floor.

    With all the pro's and con's in their place, I think that a cork floor is a winning ticket. It has enough variation in it for those of us that like that sort of thing, and not too much for those who don't. Cork comes in dozens of colors, has a few different styles to choose from, and is a "solid" flooring option. For those of you with a green thumb, it's time to make your toes match; so walk into Wall to Wall, your green, " stop flooring center.


What you need and where you need it.

Added on February 4, 2016 by admin

    Have you ever wanted to swim on the moon or sky drive from a swing set that's 8 feet off the ground? I'm going to assume you answered, "No," to these impossible feats. There are just some things you can't do due to impossibility, and there are things that you just shouldn't do because of good ole fashioned common sense. 

    In my last post I wrote about my father-in-law remodeling his home starting with his bathroom. He decorated according not only to the theme he and his wife wanted to give, but also to accommodate the practical uses of the room he was decorating. He didn't decide to put hardwood floors in the bathroom; he stuck with one of the few products that can actually stay in a bathroom without warping; tile. Still, with all the do's and don'ts in the flooring industry, there are a few things that you can get away with; and the first one that I would like to discuss is undeniably outstanding.

    When I first saw a picture of a kitchen with hardwood floors installed in it, I was floored (every pun intended). It's an admittedly odd pairing, but it works. A few throw rugs here and there by the splash zones to keep the floor from warping over time, and you have a trendy, luxurious, winning combination. If you don't believe me, do some research and take a look for yourself. It's possible to have real hardwood in a kitchen and have it last; there is, however, a way around this modern flooring phenomenon. 

    Wood looking tile is not only a trend that will last, but will give the look of a real hardwood floor; with the feel, comfort, and ease of maintenance that comes with tile flooring.  So, if you're a die hard, "I must have hardwood floors in every single room in my house and there's no stopping me," kind of person, there is hope for you yet. Are you particular about color? Take some time to look around until you find what you like. Do you wonder if you'll get the feel of a real hand scraped hardwood floor? Brush your hands across some of the sample products that you come across; a hand scrape is a popular trait that even wood looking tile can't pass up. This flooring may feel like tile; however, with the hand scrape details engineered into this product, it will also feel, to an extent, like hardwood. This combination of wood and tile has been a stroke of genius, and the sales figures prove it.

    Next on the list of not-so-imaginary flooring design products is vinyl tile and vinyl planks. Way back when, there used to be only vinyl sheets that had to be rolled out and cut to the shape of the room it was being installed in; but not so anymore. These days, vinyl comes in tile, and wood looking plank form, and is installed piece by piece. Installation is a breeze, maintenance is quick, and the vinyl itself is quite comfortable. Vinyl used to be installed only in kitchens or bathrooms, whereas now, vinyl tile and vinyl planks are taking even living rooms and dens by storm. With all the tile and wood designs that can be manufactured on each piece of vinyl, the options and practical applications of this product are vast. 

    In closing, there are some things that shouldn't be because they were never meant to be, and there are things that aren't because we haven't had the imagination to think of them yet. As time passes, the future opens up new possibilities and new idea's; so as crazy an idea of swimming on the moon may sound, get your flippers ready; because one way or another, somebody's going swimming somewhere; so why not at Wall to Wall? "Your one stop flooring center."


Not everything is black and white...

Added on January 27, 2016 by admin

    My father-in-law is beginning to remodel his home.  My wife and I were notified that during this process, we will be able to have some of his current household decorations; and while I'm happy to take some things off his hand as his home is beautiful as it is, I can't help but wonder, "Why?" The answer is simple: modern times call for a modern look.

    Every decade has it's own distinct look; the sixties had Beach Blanket Bingo , hippies, and tie dye clothes. The seventies had bell bottoms, disco balls, and Kiss. The eighties introduced perms, neon fashion and the DeLorean. The nineties had grunge rock, gangster rap, and even more music that you could barely understand the lyrics to. The early millennium seemed to be an extension of the previous decade, and this decade has traveled back to the 1980's, only this time men are wearing tight jeans, and women are wearing cut-off sleeve tops. Still, with this decade's trip back to the neon 80's era, the modern in home fashion is the color grey, accompanied by berber carpet, or a carpet with an interwoven design.

    When I'm at my father-in-law and step-mother-in-law's house, whenever any of us need to use the restroom, we say that we're going to take a trip to New York. The reason is, the over-all theme for the bathroom is everything from New York City. From city paintings, to a miniature Empire State Building that stands on the flat surface of the toilet bowl back, the idea that a part of their lives was spent in New York is clearly spoken in their home decor; and it looks fantastic. The walls are a light grey, and there are yellow highlights throughout with red flecks present the room, from via the city cab colors in the painting hanging from the wall, to the color of the towels laid out, down to the colors of the candles. Even the color of the tile reflects a scene from a New York City block; and now that the bathroom has come out as a sparkling success, their home is about to experience an overhaul. Am I bragging on my father and step-mother-in-law's talents as interior decorators? Absolutely; but my reasoning is for the sake of change. 

    You can live with a couch and love seat set for ten years, but after the cushions have sunken in, and the colors have faded due to over use and under-cleaning, it's time to freshen up your home's look. In the same way, the "fresh" look that I'm describing in seemingly ominous grey tones can only be experience when you add hints of color throughout. One colored accent wall can more than sustain the 3 other pail grey walls that enclose a room, it will make the room come alive. Suddenly there is a theme that is blatant on the wall that will allow you to poke other bright colors through, causing a grey room to suddenly look like a meadow full of wild sunflowers; and the flooring can even relfect that theme as well. Mohawk's Smartstrand Forever Clean Silk collection will make your feet even FEEL like you're walking on soft, fresh Pennsylvania grass on a cool summer day. The combination of visual and even physical stimulants underfoot will grey a boring grey, become a beautiful canvas.

    So the next time you're in the area, you don't have to forsake your bank account to see what you can do about rejuvenate your home. Stop by our showroom and just ask us what we can do to help. Our staff is well equipped to help facilitate your next "New York" experience. So what are you waiting for? Come into, "Your one stop flooring center," today.


A New Year with New Stuff...

Added on January 14, 2016 by admin

    After taking some time off, it's time to get back to the flooring business again. It's a new year with new products, new trends, and new innovations; such as the topic of this blog. The R.A. Siegel Company has just come out with a product that's a softer and warmer alternative to laminate. It's a product that's an unexpected pleasure to walk on, and a pleasure to write about. The funny thing is, it's made of pvc.

    When I think pvc, the first thing that pops into my head is plumbing lines; but as a flooring surface? Well my friends, it's true; and it's a reliable product. Waterproof and flexible, this product is good for in-home use; including for kitchen and bath areas as it is completely water-proof. The even better news is that you don't have to settle for an all white floor with red letters to fill up the space you are remodeling; this product is made to look, and now even FEEL like hardwood; all thanks to a little imagination, and a little wine.

    Most of us are familiar with a wine bottle's cork. It's made of what it's known as, "cork." It's soft, fairly malleable, it keeps moisture contained to it's bottle shaped prison; it's an interesting little product that is now connected to each piece of R.A. Siegel's new Market Place Collection; literally. Each plank of flooring has attached to it's underbelly a cork underlayment, and this has a pretty big effect on the flooring itself once it's laid out.

    Usually, a laminate floor, or even an older pvc floor, would need an underlayment rolled out to keep imperfections from scratching the belly side of the floor covering being installed; as well as serving as a moisture barrier and sound insulator. This new product already has built into it a natural sound insulator, a natural mold and mildew resistant, a natural moisture barrier, and a protective agent from any imperfections from a sub-floor. The cork backing is what makes the difference; yet the fact that this new underlayment is built in may not be enough to sell the product as it costs a little more than your typical laminate. What does make this product sell is the fact that when you walk on it, you won't get the noise that you hear from walking on a laminate floor. It's quieter. It has a better feel when you walk on it due to the cork backing; it seems softer. It's completely waterproof. It's durable and difficult to damage. It has a 30 year residential, and 15 year commercial wear warranty; and the list goes on. There are too many pro's and not many con's. The only issue with purchasing this type of flooring is that, like laminate, the value of your home doesn't increase upon installation, but not to worry. The fact that your flooring won't be a typical laminate makes for potential home buyers more interested in you home when it comes time to sell. 

    At the end of the day, your next flooring project isn't about what I try to sell, it's about what you like, what you want, and what is within your budget. I can try to sell you the moon for a billion dollars, but if you're not a night owl and have only have $500,000, you're going to leave disgruntled. My job is to inform you on what's out there, and in doing so, I have the freedom to discuss what I do and don't care for; while trying to be fair. So whenever you're ready to start your next flooring project, swing into Wall to Wall, "Your one stop flooring center."


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