Choosing the right Hardwood Flooring
Hardwood flooring has many advantages over other types of flooring. First of all, most flooring made from hardwood that comes from North America can claim to have a positive environmental impact. Most North American wood species come from well managed forests where the trees are harvested in a way to minimize environmental damage, and where replanting occurs after an area has been logged. Furthermore, high quality hardwood flooring that is properly cared for can last for several decades, and even generations. When amortized over many years, a hardwood flooring will prove to be a great investment, even if the initial cost seemed expensive. Perhaps most importantly, however, is the fact that hardwood floors are simply beautiful. No other design element in a home commands the presence of a hardwood floor, and nothing else connects people to the beauty of nature the way that a beautiful, natural hardwood floor can.
Many people are confused by this terminology. Solid wood flooring is, as the name suggests, made from a single piece of hardwood lumber. The main advantage of solid wood flooring is that it is cost effective to make. Solid wood strips may be suitable when the plank width is narrow, however problems arise once the widths get into “wideplank” territory, which is generally considered to be 6” and wider. Once the width surpasses 6”, solid floors become unstable and are subject to problems with shrinkage and cupping. This is where engineered flooring comes in. Engineered flooring gets its name from the fact that there are multiple layers glued together in such a way as to counter the forces of expansion and contraction that inevitably occur as the seasons change and the moisture content of the wood in a floor changes. The “engineering” of an engineered wood floor is an indication that thought and effort have been put into the floor’s structural design to ensure that it will remain stable in all conditions. Finally, laminate flooring is not real wood flooring at all. It is a pattern printed on paper and glued onto a high-density fibreboard backer. Laminate floors are usually cheap when initially purchased, but tend to last nowhere as long as a high-quality wood floor, and certainly are not loved to the same extent either.
When shopping for a hardwood floor, homeowners definitely need to consider the issue of thickness. As a rule of thumb, thinner floors (3/8” - 9/16”) are less expensive, and thicker floors (5/8” – 3/4") are more expensive. Generally speaking, thicker floors have thicker wear layers (the surface layer), which makes them more expensive, but which means that they are more durable and will last longer (and have more potential to be resanded and refinished multiple times). Thinner floors can sometimes feel “tinny” and hollow to walk on, whereas thicker floors tend to feel solid and more grounded.
First and foremost, we feel that a major distinction setting us apart from our competition is our attention to detail. At CRAFT, we truly love and understand wood, and we have a strong commitment to making floors that are an original, beautiful expression of nature. When it comes to wood, some consider us maniacs. But for us, we’re just having fun!
The hardness of the wood used in a particular floor is definitely an important consideration, especially for active families that have children and pets. Households that leave shoes on while inside should also pay attention to the hardness of their wood. While many other characteristics such as grain pattern, wood tone, etc. are also important factors, the hardness of the wood should always be taken into account, especially when the potential for a lot of wear and tear exists.
When a floor is made from planks that are wide and long, it means that there are less seams in the overall floor, and the less seams there are, the more unified, distinctive, and gorgeous the floor looks. In addition, planks just look more dramatic and beautiful when they are wide and long, with their wide grain patterns flowing uninterrupted from end to end.
Installation and Technical Details
The most common feedback we get about the installation of our floors is that installers usually love working with CRAFT floors because there is very little waste and the planks fit together easily. One thing to consider, however, is that a CRAFT floor coming out of the box is not true random length flooring, rather it is made up of various fixed lengths. Thus, we always recommend that installers take the time to chop off a small, randomly determined length from the end of each new run as they are installing, in order to randomize the position of the end matches, and thereby avoid having the butt ends of the flooring planks line up and form a pattern.
Radiant floor heating is fast becoming one of the most common ways to heat a home, and the implications for flooring installed over these systems is significant. When using this type of heating system, care should always be taken to closely follow the instructions of the flooring manufacturer. Failure to do so can result in significant damage being done to a floor, in the form of serious shrinkage, cupping and face checking which result when a radiant floor heating system shocks a hardwood floor with excessive, direct heat.
The reason for so much attention being paid to the formaldehyde levels of engineered flooring is that it has become known that formaldehyde is a carcinogen. Some countries such as the United States and Japan have very strict regulations governing building products that use wood glue. The presence of formaldehyde in our wood glue is something that CRAFT takes very seriously, and we have therefore committed to using the highest quality formaldehyde-free wood glue available.
Care and Maintenance
CRAFT's floors are factory finished with an advanced polyurethane finish that is both durable and easy to care for. Basic cleaning involves two simple procedures. Sweep or vacuum the floor frequently to remove loose dust and grit. This is very important to the long term performance of the floor and its finish. Small particles of loose grit act like sandpaper on the surface, wearing it down over time and dulling the gloss. Regular sweeping or vacuuming will help keep these harmful particles off the floors. (Having mats at entryways is a good way to keep grit off the floor as well.) Day to day wear will ‘dull’ the floor as dirt and oils get deposited onto the surface. To clean these away, use a cleaning solution specially formulated for prefinished hardwood floors. We recommend BONA or similar hardwood floor cleaning products. Please ensure to follow the product instructions outlined by the manufacturer.
The answer to this question is that it depends. The purpose of a humidifier is to keep the relative humidity (RH) inside a home above a certain level (usually around 30%). If the RH falls below this level for an extend period of time, significant damage to a hardwood floor can result. Seasonal fluctuations in RH vary considerably from place to place, so the answer to the question of whether a humidification system is required or not is best answered by a qualified hardwood specialist that is familiar with the local environment.
The following products should never be used to clean a CRAFT floor: detergents, oils, waxes, polishes, bleach, vinegar, scouring agents, ‘all in one floor cleaners’ or oil soaps. These products will either damage the finish or leave residues that will dull the appearance of the floor.
We recommend not using a vinegar and water solution on your CRAFT floor. Vinegar is an acid and if used over an extended period of time may alter the gloss level of the floor.
No! Steam cleaners should never be used on a wood floor. The combination of heat, moisture and pressure could be very damaging to the wood. For similar reasons, never use a completely wet mop or cloth when cleaning the floor, and instead use only a slightly damp mop or cloth.
Unfortunately, there is no real remedy to repair a dent in the wood. The only real solution is to replace the damaged board. A professional hardwood flooring installer will be able to complete a board replacement.
Usually, yes. It depends on the extent and nature of the damage. If the damage is just a few boards, they can probably be replaced. This is a job for a professional installer. (It’s also an excellent reason to keep a few spare boards left over from your installation.)
Yes! Especially compared to most UV cured floor finishes (which are generally difficult to refinish), our DuRa-Finish is highly suitable for screen and re-coat operations. Generally speaking, there are two different approaches to refinishing a hardwood floor: the simpler and easier “screen and recoat” process, and the more time consuming and thorough “sand and refinish” process. The screen and recoat process is ideal to refresh a hardwood floor that has become scuffed and scratched over time. With a screen and recoat, most of the original finish remains and a new topcoat is added. This process is ideal for keeping the original texture of a wirebrushed or hand textured floor. The sand and refinish process is more extensive and involves removing all of the coating, stain and texture before applying an entirely new series of protective coatings. This process is usually done when the homeowner wishes to change the overall look of the floor, or in cases of extensive surface damage.
The good news is that enhancing a floor with LongCRAFT is generally much more affordable than most people think. When the total cost of an installed floor is considered, using LongCRAFT usually results in only a marginally higher total cost. If a project were to use 25% LongCRAFT, we estimate that the final installed price would increase by less than 4%; for a project that used 50% LongCRAFT, the final installed price would only increase by 7-8%. That’s not bad given how much more amazing LongCRAFT 10 -Foot Planks will make a floor look!
The percentage of LongCRAFT that we recommend for most projects is between 25% and 50%, although it is not uncommon to use as little as a few boxes of LongCRAFT to make a hallway more dramatic, or as much as 80% LongCRAFT for large open projects.
Having a significant amount of 10’ boards in a floor will make it stand out as being very unique and exclusive, since 10’ lengths are usually found only in high-end, custom made site-finished floors. But more importantly, using LongCRAFT Ten Foot Planks will allow you to have a rare floor that fully captures the true, intrinsic beauty of real wood. The advantage of incorporating such long lengths into a floor is that each long plank is better at showing off the wood’s naturally stunning grain in a long uninterrupted visual that beautifully reflects the tree from where plank originally came.
A box of LongCRAFT will contain 6 ten-foot planks (for Prestige) or 8 ten-foot planks (for Encore). There are no broken lengths in LongCRAFT boxes; all planks are the full 10’ lengths.
Active households can put the durability of any hardwood floor to the test. Kids and pets (especially when they play together!) can be a real challenge for any floor, and when things get rough, dents and scratches are inevitable. Thankfully, a floor with VintageCRAFT texturing makes it hard, if not impossible to see most of the dents and scratches caused when things get out of hand. VintageCRAFT floors have uniquely textured surfaces that, due to the three-dimensional nature of the texturing, scatters light much more than a traditional non-textured floor and making it harder to notice the small imperfections that come with an active lifestyle.
Floors with VintageCRAFT texturing are suitable for almost any design style. While it might be more common to find a heavily textured floor in rustic or rural themed homes, a floor with VintageCRAFT texturing offers a tactile connection to wood that is naturally authentic, and that increasing numbers of design professionals are being drawn to and are incorporating into modern and contemporary themes.
CRAFT goes to great lengths to make sure that all accessories are a perfect match for every floor. The artisans that make CRAFT’s floors are the same artisans that make all of the accessories, and CRAFT takes pride in guaranteeing that the exact same wood species, stains, glazings, finishings and texturing techniques are used for the accessories as those used to make each of the floors.
In order to achieve the unique and authentic texture of a VintageCRAFT floor, CRAFT’s artisans use a wide variety of hand tools, some powered by electricity, and others powered only by muscle. The multitude of steps that go into a VintageCRAFT texture, and the fact that everything is done by hand by genuine artisans, means that a floor with VintageCRAFT will have a truly random texture and not exhibit any of the unnatural qualities found in much of the machine distressed flooring common from other flooring manufacturers.