Category Archives: radiant heating

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.

Feeling cold…inside? Warm up with radiant flooring.

20150108_104624We’re not going to lie to you, or try to tell you that our current Wisconsin wind chills aren’t FREEZING! But when your interior rooms feel as cold as the outside, it’s time for a change. In addition to the usual suspects to warm your home like replacing a furnace, drafty windows and doors, consider radiant floor heating. Why?

  1. It’s warm under your feet.
  2. It can be controlled by a thermostat to increase efficiency.
  3. It’s perfect for a small room that you can’t run ducts to, like a bathroom.
  4. Water spills dry extremely fast in a room with radiant floor heating.
  5. Did we mention it’s warm under your feet?  Because that needs to be mentioned twice!
  6. It can be installed in a new home build or retrofitted for an existing home.
  7. You don’t need hydronic heating to install radiant heating. (An electric mat works too.)
  8. You can lay almost any kind of flooring over the top—-but not every kind of flooring.

Have we sold you? If radiant floor heating sounds like an excellent choice for your home (or you just want to warm up from these freezing cold wind chills!), now move on to the next question. What kind of flooring can I install over radiant floor heating? Good question, and the good news is you have numerous flooring options that can be installed over radiant floor heating:

  1. Carpet. That soft and cozy flooring not cozy enough? When installing carpet over radiant heating, talk to the experts to make sure that you use the right pad and carpet.
  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.
  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 wood floors and the warmth of radiant heating.

For specific products and recommendations, visit our flooring experts at any Y’s Way Flooring in Watertown, Lake Mills or Oconomowoc. We can tell you what flooring we’ve seen work at other Wisconsin homes, and give you tips so you don’t feel left out in the cold in your own home.

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.

5 Perfect Floors for Your Bathroom

Vinyl floors are just one option for your bathroom.

Vinyl floors are just one option for your bathroom.

If you fit into any of three categories: 1) you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to get rid of that old nasty bathroom flooring, 2) you have given up trying to clean the grooves of that old bathroom floor, or 3) your bathroom needs an inexpensive update to bring it into this era; then you’re on the hunt to find the perfect floor that is ideal for the unique challenges that come with bathroom flooring. Because of the moist environment, bathroom floors need to be mildew resistant and tough enough to handle water spills. Here are the top contenders ideal for your bathroom:

  • Tile. Ceramic or porcelain, doesn’t matter. Both kinds of tile are mildew resistant. They are also easy to clean and look beautiful. Ceramic and porcelain comes in virtually any color, and can be installed in a square or diagonal pattern.
  • Slate. Slate is a stone with a variety of colors and strengths. It also comes in large and small square tiles, and as long rectangular tiles for a modern look. Best yet, slate is durable and stain and water resistant, making it ideal for your bathroom.
  • Vinyl plank. Want the look of wood without the fear of a water spill? Vinyl plank flooring is your answer. With the durability, affordability and water resistance of vinyl, and the look of a wood floor (you can’t tell the difference!), vinyl plank flooring has a lot of benefits for any room in your house—including the bathroom.
  • Vinyl sheet. We would recommend vinyl sheet flooring in lieu of stick-on tiles. If water gets under vinyl stick on tiles, mold can form. Vinyl sheet flooring is water resistant, extremely affordable and durable. In addition, vinyl sheet flooring comes in almost any shape and color, and can mimic tile flooring so closely you almost can’t tell (until you touch it).
  • Radiant floor heating. We know radiant floor heating is not technically a type of flooring, but radiant floor heating is ideal for Midwestern homes. Radiant floor heating keeps your feet warm, and can be installed under almost any kind of flooring. If you want tile floors that are warm in summer and through our cold Wisconsin winters, radiant floor heating is right for you.

When you are ready to purchase your bathroom flooring, or if you have any questions, stop in at one of our Y’s Way Flooring locations in Watertown, Oconomowoc or Lake Mills, email us your questions or ask us your questions on our Facebook page. We’ll help get you set up with new flooring that’s perfect for your bathroom and lifestyle.

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.

Start a love affair with…Porcelain tile?

floors_croppedOh Porcelain Tile, let me count the ways I love thee…we’ll spare you the drama. However, if your carpet has one of the fatal signs that signal replacement, or you’re looking for a flooring in an area where puddles of water are common, it’s time to start a love affair with the new look of porcelain tile flooring. Forget your Grandma’s flooring. Today’s porcelain tiles come in any beautiful tone or color, and can look like wood or stone. There are also many other benefits of porcelain tile flooring, including: (cue the drum roll)

  • Looks like real wood, without the “water fear.” You don’t have to worry about water like you do with wood flooring—and you can get porcelain tiles that look just like wood flooring! That’s right you can trick your guests into thinking you have wood flooring in your laundry room, kitchen or entry way, without worrying about water spots on the floor that would warp real wood floors.
  • One word: durable with a capital D. Don’t worry about scratches with this beautiful floor.
  • You can install it on your front steps or patio. Highly durable with a low water absorption rate, porcelain tile looks and works great outdoors. Plus, porcelain comes in a variety of colors and sizes, meaning you can create a unique and beautiful backyard. When shopping for flooring for your patio, balcony or steps, make sure you tell your salesperson that you are looking for tiles to use outside to make sure that you get the best outdoor product. Then, set up an installation date and sit back and admire your fantastic outdoor space.
  • Your feet love it with radiant floor heating under it. If you’re worried about the cold feeling of this tile, you can install radiant heating underneath and enjoy toasty toes even on the coldest Wisconsin days. 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.
  • Porcelain tile can handle water and is EASY TO CLEAN! It’s an ideal candidate for your laundry room, mudroom or entry way. Porcelain tile is water, odor and mildew resistant, and easy to clean. Simply wipe it down on the worst Wisconsin weather days or when your kids or pets track in the mud and snow from outside. If sand and gravel tracked in from outside is your nemesis, grab a broom and sweep it up.

If these reasons have caught your attention, do your research. Find the style of porcelain tile that looks right in your home, and choose a grout color (if needed). You’ll be singing about your love for porcelain tile in no time.

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.