Category Archives: wood floors

5 Myths about Wood Floors Debunked

wood floor mythsWood floors are one of the most beautiful and timeless flooring products on the market. They are also a product plagued by misunderstandings and myths. We’ve heard a few of them from time to time, and have even seen the result of a wood flooring myth gone wrong. That’s why we compiled this list of wood flooring myths so you can install wood floors with your “eyes wide open.”

Engineered wood floors are ‘fake’ wood floors

Not true! Engineered wood floors are layers of real wood, and, depending on the product, can even be sanded down and refinished. Because of the way it is constructed, engineered wood floors can even be installed in a basement or over radiant floor heating.

Steam cleaning is the best way to clean my 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 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.

My wood floors shouldn’t have gaps

Wood floors 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 wood floors in. Rooms with high humidity, such as laundry rooms and bathrooms, are not ideal for hardwood floors.

Wood floors do not scratch or dent

Hardwood 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 wood floors which hide the scratches and dents that come with a busy household.

You can use anything to clean your wood floors

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 or on Facebook.

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.

Wood vs. Vinyl Flooring: Which works best for your home?

wood and vinyl floorFlooring products are continually evolving, and so do our customers’ questions. Most of the recent questions we’ve heard have revolved around one of the newest products on the market: luxury vinyl flooring. Now we know you’re envisioning those cheap-looking vinyl floors your grandma used to have. You know, the ugly patterned flooring that just looked, well, cheap.

Get rid of those pictures. Vinyl flooring has come a long way, with new luxury vinyl floors challenging the traditional flooring favorite: wood flooring. Part of that challenge comes from the similar look; you’ll do a double take when trying to distinguish between wood and luxury vinyl flooring. There are advantages to both floorings, as well as a few disadvantages of wood and vinyl. With the looks (and the pros and cons) being equal, how do you decide between wood and vinyl flooring for your home?

Wood Flooring Pros

  • wood floorDurability. 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. 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.
  • Warmth. Engineered hardwood 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 Cons

  • Water. Water is a nightmare for wood flooring, and can cause warping and water stains. Damaged wood floors need to be repaired, boards replaced or the worst case scenario: sanded down and refinished. Because wood and water don’t mix, hardwood floors are not recommended for bathrooms and basements. Homeowners with wood floors in the kitchen need to be careful to clean up water spills as soon as it hits the floor.
  • Professional installation. Most wood floors need to be installed by a professional.

Vinyl Flooring Pros

  • Indestructible. Vinyl plank flooring is durable and tough, making it ideal for homes with pets and kids. Because it’s so tough, vinyl plank flooring can be installed in high traffic rooms such as living rooms, family rooms, kitchens, mud rooms, foyers…the sky is the limit with vinyl floors.
  • Affordable. With a low price per square foot, vinyl plank flooring is one of the most affordable flooring products in the market. Make sure you do your research when selecting the vinyl product right for your home; there are many different levels of vinyl flooring, or ask the experts.
  • DIY Installation option. Many vinyl plank flooring products snap together, making it suitable for DIYers who want new, durable flooring they can install themselves. Vinyl flooring can also be glued or even installed with grout.
  • Easy to clean. Have a spill or pet puddle? Wipe up your vinyl plank flooring with a rag, and mop your messes away. These floors require literally no maintenance. As a bonus, vinyl plank flooring can handle any kind of water spills, and has even been known to withstand some minor flooding.

Vinyl Flooring Cons

  • No refinishing. Vinyl floors cannot be sanded down and refinished like wood and engineered hardwood products.
  • No impact on home value. Sorry homeowners, vinyl floors are not going to translate into a higher resale price.

If you have any questions about vinyl and wood floors, ask us via email or on Facebook. Or experience the difference between wood and vinyl for yourself at any Y’s Way Flooring in Watertown, Oconomowoc and Lake Mills. The good news is that no matter what flooring you choose, wood or vinyl, your flooring is going to perform well, and look even better.

Beginner’s Guide to Choosing the Perfect Floor

wood floorsJust bought a new house? Is the flooring you picked out when you built your house finally ready to go? Or have you finally saved up enough to replace the last homeowner’s flooring mistake? If you’re a rookie to choosing the perfect floor, it’s wise to do your research. Choosing the perfect floor is not a small purchase, or something you want to screw up. On the flip side, choosing the perfect floor isn’t complicated—and it’s not something you have to do alone. Even a beginner (like yourself) can choose the perfect floor by asking a few simple questions:

  • Do I need to worry about water spills? 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.
  • 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? 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 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.
  • 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 new floor? 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.

If, even after asking all the questions, you still don’t have a clue about choosing the right flooring, or you’re trying to choose between two options, come into Y’s Way Flooring or ask us on our Facebook page. We can tell you what has worked for other Wisconsin homeowners and help you narrow the options in your budget. Best yet, we can help you choose the perfect flooring—and you don’t even have to tell anyone we helped.

Are you (and your floors) ready for the spring mud?

After days of sub-zero temperatures and biting Wisconsin cold, we’re ready for spring. (For Wisconsinites that’s any time the temperature hits above freezing.) What we’re not ready for is the mud. The mud that our kids, dog, pets and guests track all over our carpets, laminate, vinyl, tile and wood floors. The muddy footprints and puddles that cause us to leap into action, just short of a panic attack, and scramble to find a towel to clean our very loved floors—or at least floors that we want to stay looking loved for a long, long time (even if we really don’t love that carpet, laminate, vinyl, tile or wood floor). So how do you stay ahead of the mud in your home?

  • For wood and laminate floors, clean up any mud as soon as you can with a towel, and keep your wood floor clear of any puddles that might damage your wood floors. If you need to use any liquid to clean up a particularly dirty spot, dry the floor as soon as you are done. Sweep up the pebbles and stones often to avoid scratches on your wood and laminate floors.
  • For carpet, test an area of the carpet with your carpet cleaner for color fastness first. If your carpet cleaner has tested safe, apply the carpet cleaner to the mud and blot gently with a soft cloth working from the outside in. Avoid scrubbing as that might damage the carpet. When done, apply a small amount of water to your cloth and blot again. When the mud is out and the carpet is drying, vacuum the area. Make sure your carpets are professionally carpet cleaned every 12-18 months to keep them looking their best. Check our Facebook page for carpet cleaning discounts.
  • For vinyl and tile floors, a wet cloth or mop works best. Make sure you get the dirt out of the grout so it doesn’t stain.

Have any questions? Stop in at a Y’s Way Flooring in Watertown, Lake Mills, or Oconomowoc and ask one of our experts how to get that mud out of your carpet, laminate, vinyl, tile or wood floor or contact us with your floor cleaning questions. You’ve waited for our Wisconsin spring for a long time—don’t let a little mud on your floor ruin your spring.