Category Archives: hardwood

5 Ways You Can Protect Your Wood Floors

protecting wood floorsWood floors are many things: beautiful, durable, strong. They’re also a long-term investment, both of money and time. It’s true; your hardwood floors require regular maintenance to make the finish last and keep scratches at bay. How often the finish lasts is up to you; a wood floor in a home with two adults can last longer because there is less traffic than a hardwood floor in a home with kids, adults and pets. So what can you do to get a long(er) life out of your hardwood floors? How can you protect your wood floors from excessive wear and tear?

Rugs by all the 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.

Rugs have another way of protecting your wood floors: they protect against water on your floor from snow and rain. Water can cause your hardwood floors to warp, so wipe up water and spills immediately. Keep paper towel or a rag handy so you can get that puddle of water cleaned up immediately. If you have a dog, clean off the pup’s paws before they enter the house.

Chair & furniture protectors

Felt pads are one of the cheapest, and most important, ways to protect your wood floors. 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. These pads do wear down with time, so expect to have to replace them on the bottom of your furniture biannually, especially on items that get moved frequently (such as dining room chairs).

Wait before you put an area rug down

As eager as you may be to put down that designer area rug, wait. Don’t put that new rug over your new or refinished hardwood floors immediately; the finish on your floors need time to cure. Putting an area rug down too soon can damage the finish. So how soon is too soon to put down an area rug? Contact one of our flooring experts at Y’s Way because the answer depends on how long since your wood floor was installed or refinished.

Sweep your floors

The gravel and sharp small objects that you track in on your shoes are your wood floor’s enemy. 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.

Know how to clean your hardwood

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.

Be VERY cautious when using a steam cleaner on your wood floors, or don’t use one at all. You can void the warranty on your floor; 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.

Why You Don’t Need Luck to Choose the Right Floor

1926662_10152777203739378_7515375266822588355_nThrow your four-leaf clover away. You don’t need the luck of the Irish to choose the right floor, or a rabbit’s foot. What you do need is a bit of research and advice to choose the flooring that works in your home—even with all the foot traffic, water spills, kids or pets. Where should you start your research? By taking these factors about the room that needs the flooring into consideration:

  • Water. An educated decision now can save you the headache of a warped floor later. 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, plan ahead. Consider vinyl plank flooring which has the look of wood, or any kind of tile floor which handles water like a pro. A room with the chance of a spill doesn’t mean you can’t get a wood floor—it just means being mindful of wiping up the water as soon as possible.
  • Traffic. 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? Is the traffic that comes through full of mud, snow, sand and lord-knows-what-else? Use that knowledge to determine what kind of flooring would work in that particular area.
  • Maintenance. 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.
  • 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. Factor that into your purchase decision.
  • Sub flooring & slab. Are you installing radiant floor heating under the flooring? Read our post about what kinds of flooring work over radiant floor heating. Are you installing this flooring over a concrete slab, like in a basement? Here’s information on what floors work in basements. Sometimes knowing what is under the floor is just as important as knowing what is going to be on top of it. Make sure you mention what’s under your floor to your sales professional when you get to step two of your flooring purchase.

Once you’ve decided the types of flooring fit the bill for your new room, visit a Y’s Way Flooring for more information. Describe the room to the salesperson, and what you’ve found in your research. Ask for advice about what they’ve seen in local Wisconsin homes. Once you’re satisfied with the look, feel and functionality of the best flooring, ask for a quote. Then sit back, stand on and enjoy the feel of the perfect flooring you didn’t need luck to find.

5 Questions to Ask BEFORE You Buy Flooring

It’s easy to fall in love with flooring. We understand, we’ve done it (yes, we’ll admit it!). However, when you have to have that particular kind of flooring, or look, without giving a second thought to how well that flooring fits your home and traffic patterns, you’re just setting yourself up for buyer’s remorse. So we’re here to help you avoid that love-at-first-sight-buyers-remorse flooring purchase. The first step is to ask 5 simple questions:

  • Is there a chance of a water spill (or many spills) in this room? An educated decision now can save you the headache of a warped floor later. 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, plan ahead. Consider vinyl plank flooring which has the look of wood, or any kind of tile floor which handles water like a pro. A room with the chance of a spill doesn’t mean you can’t get a wood floor—it just means being mindful of wiping up the water as soon as possible.
  • What kind of traffic does this room get? Is it 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? Is the traffic that comes through full of mud, snow, sand and lord-knows-what-else? Use that knowledge to determine what kind of flooring would work in that particular area.
  • What kind of maintenance does this type of flooring need? You don’t want to purchase a floor, have it installed and then end up with damage because you don’t care or clean 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.
  • 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. Factor that into your purchase decision.
  • What is under the flooring? Are you installing radiant floor heating under the flooring? Read our post about what kinds of flooring work over radiant floor heating. Are you installing this flooring over a concrete slab, like in a basement? Here’s information on what floors work in basements. Sometimes knowing what is under the floor is just as important as knowing what is going to be on top of it. Make sure you mention what’s under your floor to your sales professional when you get to step two of your flooring purchase.

The second step is to ask the professionals. Stop in at Y’s Way Flooring in Watertown, Oconomowoc, or Lake Mills and ask them the hard questions: what would you recommend? What have you seen work in local homes? What is the price? What is the cost of installation? Once you’re confident you have the ideal flooring that looks good and works in your home, ask for a quote and schedule installation. The last step is to enjoy your flooring, free of buyer’s remorse, and know you made a great flooring purchase decision that works and looks great.

The New Hot Trend: Why Vinyl Plank Flooring is the “Right” Wood

Do you worry about water spills on those hard wood floors? Consider vinyl.

Do you worry about water spills on those hard wood floors? Consider vinyl.

Love the look of wood and laminate flooring but hate dealing with water? If you have a solid wood floor or laminate flooring, you know what we’re talking about: it’s that terrified dive for a towel or rag any time you see water near your wood floor. The hot new flooring trend, and answer to homeowners’ fears of water damage on wood, is vinyl plank flooring. With the look of real wood, and immunity to warping from water damage, vinyl boasts many more advantages:

  • No one realizes it’s not wood until they practically lie down on it. We’re serious. We recently installed a new vinyl plank flooring at a customer’s, and unless you physically lie down on it, it looked like wood.
  • It’s indestructible. Vinyl plank flooring is durable and tough, making it ideal for homes with pets, kids and messy cooks.
  • Vinyl plank floors are affordable. With a low price per square foot, vinyl plank flooring is one of the most affordable flooring products in the market.
  • You can install it yourself. Many vinyl plank flooring products snap together, making it suitable for DIYers who want a new, durable flooring they can install themselves.
  • Easy to clean. Have a spill or pet puddle? Wipe up your vinyl plank flooring with a rag, and mop your messes away.

Because you don’t have to worry about water, you can put vinyl plank flooring in the kitchen and entryway without worry while enjoying the look of real wood. But don’t just take our word for it. Stop in at any Y’s Way Flooring to see the new vinyl plank flooring products. We’ll even let you lay on it so you can tell it’s vinyl, and we’ll keep it a secret from all your guests that come in oohing and ahing over your beautiful, new wood floors.

The BEST Floor for Your Kitchen

What's the best floor for your kitchen?

What’s the best floor for your kitchen?

The kitchen is the heart of the home—and better be, if you want to eat. Even if microwave cooking is more your chef style, with today’s open home designs, your kitchen needs to look like the heart of your home.

Start with your flooring. Why? It covers a majority of the surface area, is a major part of your kitchen design and it’s important. Whether you have kids running through, dogs begging at your feet or a spouse sneaking late night snacks, you need a durable, beautiful floor that can withstand continual traffic, food spills and puddles. The good news: you have a lot of options that fit the criteria. The bad news: there are a lot of options.

Wood flooring

Pros: Beautiful, durable, easy-to-clean, long lasting. We’ve all seen century-old hardwood floors that held up through the ages. With a variety of finishes, wood flooring is stunning and easy to clean.

Cons: Water & scratching. If you’re a messy cook or dishwasher, think twice. Any sitting water on hardwood flooring can cause damage and staining. Have a high traffic home with kids or pets (or both)? Consider hand-scraped hardwood flooring, which hides the dings and scratches that come with busy households.

Tile

Pros: Beautiful, durable, easy-to-clean, loves radiant floor heating. Available in almost any color, tile is a beautiful option just begging for radiant floor heating. Easy to clean, tile flooring requires only a daily sweeping and an occasional mopping. You don’t have to worry about standing water with tile flooring, as most tile floors are mildew and water resistant.

Cons: Cold without radiant floor heating, hard to stand on, can be prone to dings. Many kinds of tile can take anything you throw at it—except your dishes. Because of the hardness of tile, any plates or cups dropped on the floor are prone to shattering. The hardness can also be hard to stand on for long periods of time, and tile can feel cold to the feet without radiant floor heating.

Laminate

Pros: Tons of options, durable, easy-to-clean. The days of your grandmother’s boring laminate flooring is gone, replaced by laminate flooring in almost any color that can fool your visitors. While laminate flooring may look like wood, laminate flooring is tougher while still boasting the easy-to-clean quality of a wood floor.

Cons: Water & scratching. Homeowners with laminate floors have to be on the watch for water; any standing water can warp laminate floors. Laminate floors are tough but can scratch, leaving visible damage on the floors.

Vinyl

Pros: Indestructible, beautiful, tolerates water well. Vinyl floors can take standing water without any problem—even if you have a foot of flooding in your kitchen. Today’s vinyl floors have the look of stone, wood, any look you would want.

Cons: Scratching & glue. Vinyl floors can be scratched, leaving your floor with visible damage. Do your research when shopping for vinyl floors; there are many different quality levels of vinyl flooring. Vinyl floors also are glued down, making it a long-term flooring solution that is difficult to change frequently if you tire of your flooring.

So what’s the BEST floor for your kitchen? The answer is different for every home. Do your research, and talk to your local experts for flooring recommendations that have worked in local homes. If your kitchen has an exterior door, take that into account when selecting your flooring, or find a rug that won’t damage the floor.  Looking for the warm benefits of radiant floor heating? Tell your sales associate so they can show you flooring that works with radiant flooring. If you are still undecided about what is the best option for your family, visit your local flooring experts and talk to your friends and family.  Find out what flooring they would (or wouldn’t) recommend for one of the most important rooms in your home.

Give your Wood Floors a Second Chance

wood floor_with inlayIf your wood floor has seen better days (or has been beat up on better days when kids and pets were running about), don’t start playing taps just yet. You don’t have to get a memorial stone or order a dumpster. Give those wood floors new life by repairing and refinishing them.

  • Prep your house for the repairing and refinishing process. Clear the room of all furniture. Cover doorways around the room with a plastic sheeting to confine the dust.
  • Quiet that floor down! Start with repair. If your floors are creaky or have boards missing, contact an expert that can fix the creak and add matching boards to create a seamless, quiet floor. Your expert might tell you it’s time to replace those floors with new wood flooring (and if you have to put in a new floor, consider prefinished floors so you don’t have to deal with the dust!).
  • Sand it down. Rent a sander or hire a floor expert to sand down or screen your floors. If your floors are a candidate for screening, go for it. Screening your floors does not involve the dust, while still giving your floors a new look.
  • Apply the perfect finish. Work with a flooring expert to choose the color that works with the décor of your home. You might also want to consider your lifestyle when choosing the stain as well—dark floors tend to show pet hair more, while light floors show stains. These may be the floors that were in your grandmother’s house, but we guarantee your grandmother did not have the colors and options that come with today’s solid hardwood floors. Solid hardwood floors come in a variety of finishes that allow you to bring out as much of the wood grain as you want.
  • Sit back and enjoy. Enjoy the benefits of a repaired, beautiful wood floor.

If you can’t save your floors, don’t despair. Talking to the experts and a good hardwood flooring installer can give you new flooring with the look you desire—along with all the advantages of a wood floor.

Why wood floors?

Start your wood floor research here, and enjoy the benefits of wood later!

Start your wood floor research here, and enjoy the benefits of wood later!

Hand-scraped. Engineered hardwood. Oak. Bamboo. Cherry. Dark. Light. There are so many beautiful wood flooring options that can enhance your décor, but there are reasons beyond looks that make wood floors an excellent option for any home. It may not be the start of school yet, but let’s put on our glasses and research our wood flooring facts and advantages:

  • Durability. Want long lasting? These floors can take it and make it for a long time. Some wood floors have even celebrated century birthdays. If you have kids and pets, hand-scraped floors can hide the wear and tear that come with an active household, and laminate wood floors are known for their durability. When solid wood floors or engineered hardwood do scratch or fade, they can be refinished and look like new—for a long, long time.
  • Easy to clean. Forget about pulling that heavy vacuum cleaner out. Don’t invest in a carpet cleaner. Wood floors are easy to clean and require few cleaning products. Beware of steam cleaning your wood floors, though, as there are some definite reasons to proceed with caution.
  • Ideal for allergy sufferers. Because they are easy to clean, it’s easy to clear the dust out of your home—a clear advantage for those allergic to dust and dust mites. Carpet can also work well for allergy sufferers, but they need a deep clean on a regular basis.
  • Eco-friendly. Bamboo and cork flooring, for example, are a renewable resource. Unlike other woods, cork is not harvested and the bark grows back in less than a decade. Bamboo is also considered a green product.
  • Warmth. Hardwood floors can not only bring a warm and cozy look to your home, but engineered hardwood and laminate can also be installed over radiant heating. Radiant heating is energy efficient and gives any room an even heat, along with other practical advantages.
  • Increase the value of your home. Because of all the advantages listed above, wood floors are highly sought after by buyers and can increase the value of your home.

Wood flooring is not invincible (watch out when humidity and water are involved!), but they are great option for any home. Choosing the option and price that’s right for your home and lifestyle takes a little homework, but the benefits (and look!) are well worth the research. And just like school, don’t forget to ask for help if you need it!

What kind of floors work with radiant heating?

If you're installing radiant heating, you have many flooring options.

If you’re installing radiant heating, you’ve got lots of flooring options.

Ever felt warm flooring under your feet? In addition to feeling warm and wonderful, radiant heating also is an excellent source of heating for rooms where traditional ducting cannot be run—or where you don’t want to deal with the inconvenience of a duct.

Radiant heating is more energy efficient than baseboard heating, and doesn’t lose energy through heat loss like forced air systems. For people who suffer from allergies, radiant heating is a welcome alternate heating source because it doesn’t circulate allergens like traditional forced air systems.

Whether you’re building or retrofitting a home to take advantage of this even-heating, energy efficient and allergy-friendly form of warmth, you need to choose what kind of flooring to lay over the radiant heating. Fortunately, you have great options that come in a variety of textures and colors, thanks to advances in flooring and subflooring technologies:

  1. Carpet. That soft and cozy flooring not cozy enough? When installing carpet over radiant heating, don’t mess around. Talk to the experts to make sure that you use the right pad and carpeting so you can take full advantage of the heating potential of your radiant heating system.
  2. Laminate. Think beyond laminate wood flooring. 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 a radiant heating system. Laminate is also extremely durable, and can handle any active household’s wear and tear (that means you, kids and pets!).
  3. Tile—any kind! If you are laying 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 radiant flooring.
  4. 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 real wood floors and the warmth of radiant heating.

If you’re considering radiant heating, make sure you consult the experts to make sure you select the right flooring that amplifies the warmth of your radiant flooring. Then, sit back—or lie down—and enjoy the warmth of your cozy, warm, energy efficient floor.

Steam Cleaners and Wood Floors: do they mix?

Trying to decide whether to clean your beautiful hardwoods with steam?

Trying to decide whether to clean your beautiful hardwoods with steam?

With the warm weather, heavy rain and mud being tracked into our houses, everyone’s looking for the best way to clean their wood floors. 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 wood floors.

Their claim is contrary to the common knowledge that moisture and wood don’t mix, so we thought we’d give you resources that help you decide whether steam is the best way to clean your wood floors. 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:

http://www.armstrong.com/flooring-blog/2011/11/22/using-steam-cleaners-on-wood-laminate-floors/

http://www.mohawkflooring.com/flooring-care-maintenance/hardwood-care.aspx

http://shawfloors.com/adx/aspx/adxGetMedia.aspx?DocID=2601

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. If you’re still not sure, don’t be afraid to visit us at one of our three Y’s Way Flooring locations in Watertown, Lake Mills and Oconomowoc. We can help clear up any confusion about your warranty, and make recommendations that keep your floors clean.

What’s all the hype about hand scraped?

hand scraped flooring

Hand scraped flooring is durable, and great for Wisconsin homes where inevitable damage occurs.

handscraped flooring_lightHave you been drooling about hand scraped hardwoods on all the TV home décor shows? Or have you heard the term on a commercial and wondered what they were talking about?

We’ve got the answer! (Of course we do, we’re ‘Y’s’ about flooring!)

The answer actually dates back hundreds of years, when wood flooring was scraped with hand tools to make the boards smooth and even.

Fast forward to 2014, and the term “hand scraped” has taken on a whole new meaning. Instead of scraping floors to even them out, wood flooring manufacturers are scraping the wood to give them texture.

Why?

Two reasons:
1) Looks. Hand-scraped floors have a very worn and rich look that gives more dimension to a room that a traditional polished floor. Don’t get us wrong, we still love that polished look, but hand-scraped floors are different.
2) To blend in with the inevitable. Hand scraped flooring is great for homes with pets and kids, where, inevitably, something hard will be dropped that will dent the floor or a scratch is going to appear (I know—you’re thinking “that would never happen in my house!”).

What do you think about all the hype about hand scraped? Do you like the look?