Long before the Terminator was even a gleam in his father's eye, oak tress were making their way through people's homes as floor coverings; hence the title of this blog. Nicknamed "the Austrian Oak" in his bodybuilding days, Arnold Schwarzenegger has a few commonalities with oak wood flooring. Unfortunately, the "timeless" attribute that comes with the tree is not one that comes with the former body builder.
First, if you are wondering if I am a Schwarzenegger fan, let me ask you this: are you kidding? Who isn't? Now that we're past that we can continue to discuss the topic on hand. Oak flooring, just like the actor, is solid. Rated from 1290-1390 lbs on the Janka Hardness scale depending on the species, oak flooring sets the pace for all other hardwood floors. Other woods might be rated on the Janka scale, but a foundational cornerstone for what the hardness of what a wood flooring should be is marked at oak. It's just a good, tough floor.
Next, in the same way that even in his political career Arnold was unable to stay from the occasional cameo, oak flooring just keeps popping up. Your exotic floors like Brazillian cherry or African teak are becoming more popular, it's true, but oak floors are still the foremost selling hardwood flooring surfaces to date. Modern trends might say, "Acacia is in," but longevity says, "Oak is it."
Lastly, oak floors, like the actor, last longer than you'd expect. As I previously mentioned, modern trends may come and go, but after all is said and done, what lasts is what is considered "classic." Oak floors have been around for decades, and modern trend or not, they will outlast every other "in" product; after all, if something is old, it's not old anymore, it's vintage, retro, or fashionable.
So after the acacia has evaporated, and the Brazillian cherry has been deported, count on your oak flooring surface to be around. It's a good product that you can find at a reasonable price. Mr. Schwarzenegger aside, oak planks truly do make up a timeless classic flooring surface. It has the character and strength to last the life span of your family's home. So when you make the time, swing into Wall to Wall, "Your one stop flooring center," and take a look at some of our oaks.
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."
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, "...one stop flooring center.
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."