Monthly Archives: October 2015

All Your Hardwood Floors Questions Answered

hardwood flooring questionsConsidering hardwood floors for your home? Or are you not sure what to expect from those hardwood floors you’ve inherited? You’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled a few of the most common questions we hear about hardwood floors, and the answers you need to make a decision about whether hardwood floors are right for you, or the right way to take care of them.

Do wood floors darken or change color after they are installed?

They can. Depending on the product, your wood flooring can darken, lighten or change color over time. Because direct sunlight is the cause, furniture and rugs should be rearranged to make sure the color change is the same.

Is it normal for hardwood floors to scratch or dent?

handscraped woodHardwood does not mean ‘too hard to damage.’ Hardwood floors can scratch or dent. If you are worried about the scratches and dents being too noticeable, consider hand scraped hardwood floors which hide the scratches and dents that come with a busy household.

Hardwood floors also expand and contract with the humidity, so it is normal to have some small gaps in the floor when humidity is low, such as during winter. For the same reason, be selective about what rooms you install hardwood floors in. Rooms with high humidity, such as laundry rooms and bathrooms, are not ideal for hardwood floors.

How can I protect my wood floors?

wood floor cleaning tipsPut rugs by all exterior doors. An ounce of prevention goes a long way to keep your wood floors looking their best. Make sure you have rugs by all your exterior doors to keep the dirt, sand, water and other daily grit off your floors. That daily grit can scratch your floors or wear down the finish, making your job of keeping your wood floors (especially the finish) in peak shape.

Protect your wood floors from scratches. As long as we’re talking about preventative steps to keep your wood floors looking great, this is one of the cheapest, and most important, ways to protect your laminate and wood floors: felt pads. Make sure you have felt pads on the bottom of your chairs and furniture. Use caution (and soft padding underneath) when moving anything around to prevent scratches.

Wipe up water and spills immediately. A water spill on a wood floor can make any homeowner’s heart stop, and for good reason. Don’t let water damage or warp your wood or laminate floors. Keep paper towel or a rag handy so you can get that puddle of water cleaned up immediately.

How do I clean my wood floors?

Use regular maintenance to keep your floor clean. Sweep, dust mop or vacuum (most flooring manufacturers recommend using the wand attachment or a gentle vacuum) to clean up the small particles that can scratch and damage your floor.

Be VERY cautious when using a steam cleaner on your wood floors, or don’t use one at all. If you’ve watched TV, you’ve undoubtedly seen ads for steam cleaners. Steam cleaners are a great way to clean hard floors, and some ads suggest that steam is a great way to clean your wood floors. Their claim is contrary to the common knowledge that moisture and wood don’t mix, so we checked three of the most common wood flooring manufacturers and found that Armstrong, Mohawk and Shaw do not recommend that their customers use a steam cleaner of their wood products. Before purchasing a steam cleaner for cleaning your wood flooring, consult your manual to see if your warranty will be void if you use a steam cleaner.

Only use approved cleaners on your wood floors for deep cleaning. Wood floor cleaning is not a time to experiment. Some cleaners—even with common household ingredients—can damage your wood floor finish or the flooring itself. You’ve invested too much into your wood flooring to harm it on a whim. A few minutes of research can save you a lot of time, money and heart ache. If you don’t what kind of wood floor cleaner to use, ask the experts at Y’s Way via email, phone or through their Facebook page.

What kind of flooring can go over underfloor heating?

floors that can go over underfloor heatingAre you adding on to your home? Remodeling? Building a new home? Beyond decisions about the flooring and wall color of a room, there’s also the logistics of the construction to consider, such as heating and cooling the room or spaces. For one of our customers, that came when adding on a bedroom, laundry room and bathroom. Though they had heating and cooling solutions for the other rooms, the bathroom was left out in the cold (literally!); the homeowners didn’t want to deal with a cold bathroom, or a cold floor because the room was built over a concrete slab. The solution they chose was underfloor heating.

Underfloor heating can be done in two ways; through an electric mat installed under the flooring. An electric mat is ideal for homes with forced air heating. For a home with a radiant heating, underfloor heating can be run through pipes under the floor. What kind of flooring can go over underfloor heating? The good news is that there are many flooring options:

  • Carpet. Carpet can add another level of cozy to your space, especially when installed over underfloor heating. When installing carpet over underfloor heating, talk to the experts to make sure that you use the right pad and carpet so you can take full advantage of the heating potential of your radiant heating system.
  • Laminate floors. Wood flooring is not a good product to go over the top of underfloor heating, but you can still have the look of wood. Laminate flooring comes in a variety of styles, and can have the look of stone, tile or even concrete. Whatever the look, laminate flooring is a floating floor, meaning it can be installed over an underfloor heating system.
  • Tile—any kind! If you are installing a tile that can be cold to your toes, such as porcelain tile, radiant flooring is your answer. Tile conducts heat naturally, leaving you with an even heat that is easy-to-clean and mildew resistant. Tile is also one of the easiest floors to install over underfloor heating and can look like wood. That’s right, some tile manufacturers make tiles that look like wood—really looks like wood.
  • Engineered hardwood. With the look of real wood and the floating floor properties of laminate, engineered hardwood is an ideal floor for homeowners that want wood floors and the warmth of underfloor heating.

If you’re considering underfloor heating, make sure you consult experts to make sure you select the right flooring (and pad, if you choose carpet) that amplifies the warmth of your radiant flooring. Then, sit back—or lie down—and enjoy the look of your new floor and the warmth of your underfloor heating.

How to Choose the Right Flooring for Your Home

how to choose flooring for your homeChoosing the right flooring for your home is not a game—it’s too serious of a decision to be taken lightly—but it is a process of narrowing down your options. Choosing the flooring that works for you and your family is also more than just selecting the floor you think looks the best; often that kind of flooring choice leads to a floor that wears down quickly and is full of stains—or worse, gets irreparably damaged soon after installation. That’s why it makes sense to research your options, and to ask yourself and the experts all the necessary questions to make sure you get the right floor for your home:

  • How much traffic comes through this room? Is the room a busy walk-through? An area where your family plays, runs and tromps? Is it a room where your pet spends most of their time? Options: many kinds of carpet are designed specifically to handle high traffic and pets, as well as tile, wood, vinyl plank and laminate floors.
  • tile flooringDo I need to worry about water spills? Is the traffic that comes through full of mud, snow, sand and lord-knows-what-else? An educated decision now can save you the headache of a warped floor later.Option that comes with a warning: Water can be your worst nightmare on laminate and wood floors, so a bit of planning now eliminates the hassle of replacement or repair. If you have a room where water may splash or form puddles, such as a bathroom, mudroom or kitchen, and you still want wood or laminate floors, put rugs in front of doors and be ready to mop up any water spills.Options that handle water: Consider vinyl plank flooring or tile, both of which has products that look like wood but is incredibly durable. Carpet is also another option if you want soft flooring under your feet.
  • What kind of maintenance does the floor require? You don’t want to purchase a floor, have it installed and then end up with damage because you don’t care for, clean or vacuum it properly. Find out what kind of cleaning and maintenance the floor needs, what products you need to purchase to keep it in great shape—and realistically how much of that maintenance you can take on. Options that require maintenance: wood flooring (cleaning, wiping & refinishing every 3-5 years) and some tile floors (if the grout needs to be resealed). Even carpet needs a periodic deep carpet cleaning to keep it looking its best.
  • vinyl floorWhat is under the new floor? Are you installing radiant floor heating under the flooring? Sometimes knowing what is under the floor is just as important as knowing what is going to be on top of it. If you have a “special” situation, such as flooring that is installed over a concrete slab or radiant flooring, make sure you mention that to your sales professional when you discuss your flooring purchase. Options for over radiant floor heating: carpet, laminate, tile, engineered hardwood.Options for basement: carpet, tile. Engineered hardwood or laminate can be installed if the risk of moisture in your basement is low.
  • What is my budget? If you have a small area that needs carpeting—a small office, hallway or bedroom—consider purchasing a carpet remnant. Because there is a limited supply, a carpet remnant is discounted. Know the square footage of the room you need flooring for and the price you can afford per square foot. If you need a large square footage of flooring, visit our Lake Mills location for deals on bulk flooring purchases that you can install yourself. If you want to talk price is a very, very general kind of way, wood and vinyl plank floors tend to cost more than laminate; tile, laminate and carpet tend to cost less per square foot. Remember, these are just generalizations, the true way to find the cost of flooring for your home is to head into a Y’s Way Flooring and select a floor product (or several different floor products) that you’re interested in.