What You Need to Know About Carpet Tiles for Basements

Having a basement as part of your property can mean one of two things. Either it’s a storage area for the junk you’ve accumulated over the years, or it’s an opportunity to take advantage of a potential extra room. Whether you’re building a man cave or making a serviceable utility area, it’s important to make sure you choose the right flooring.   

Carpet tiles for basement flooring are increasingly popular. They’re versatile, cost effective, and have insulating properties. In the current market, there is also a growing range of styles and materials available.

So what do you need to consider when deciding whether carpet tiles are the right choice for your basement project? We’re going to give you an overview of the key areas for focus, along with some practical guidance on their effective use. 

What Are the Different Types of Carpet Tile?

When it comes to aesthetics, your design options can stretch beyond monochromatic or checkerboard patterns that were popular in the past. These modular panels come in triangular, diamond, rhomboid, and even herringbone shapes, among others — allowing you to be more creative in the patterns you can arrange them in.  

One of the key choices you’ll also need to make is about the backing. While this is not the visible part of the carpet tiles that you’ll see every day, it certainly makes a difference to their feel and performance. In most instances, you’ll need to decide between three options:

Hard Backed Tile

In this instance, the carpet fibers are attached directly to a thin base of PVC. One one hand, this can make for a sensation of stability and security underfoot, and tends to be the lower-priced option. However, these are not always the most suitable choice for basements as there is no insulating layer to protect against the cold, or against rising moisture.

Closed Cell Cushion Tile

This option has a similar PVC backing to the hard backed variety, but is separated from the carpet fibers by a layer of compressed foam. This adds some insulating properties to the carpet tile, and the potential for shock-absorption extends the lifespan of the carpet. 

Open Cell Cushion Tile

Like the closed version, this type also has a foam layer sandwiched between the carpet fibers and the PVC backing. The key difference in this case is that the cells in the foam cushioning are not as densely packed. The core’s ability to inflate after being compressed underfoot means that it is a more comfortable, durable, and insulating carpet tile for basement floors. 

How Much do Carpet Tiles Cost? 

The cost of carpet tiles for basement floors generally comes down to these factors:

Cushioning

The more comfortable and insulated the tiles are, the higher the price tends to be. Hardback tiles can cost as low as $0.94 per square foot, while the open cell variety averages at around $3.20 per square foot.    

Locking

For additional stability, there is also the option for tiles that interlock. Some of these have a visible “jigsaw” appearance, others lock beneath the surface. These come in at around $2.80 per square foot

Sealant

When installing carpet tiles for basement refurbishment projects, it’s important to bear in mind that these rooms can be subject to greater degrees of cold and damp than other areas of your home. As such, it’s advisable to seal the floor with an epoxy concrete sealant before laying the tiles. A gallon of this can add around $26 to your budget. 

Adhesive

Many carpet tiles come with peel-and-stick adhesives already applied to the back, but this isn’t always the case. In fact, if your basement is particularly susceptible to damp climate or moisture, it’s important to apply your tiles using a moisture resistant adhesive. A gallon comes in at around $17.

Assuming that you have various accessories such as carpet knives, tape measures, trowels, and paint rollers already to hand, the average cost of carpet tiles for basement projects measuring 100 square feet is around $300. 

How to Install Carpet Tiles 

Basements can be notoriously tricky to remodel, but the good news is that carpet tiles are one of the more simple options when it comes to installation. Depending on the condition and shape of your basement, there can be some preparation involved, and if you have ambitious pattern plans it is essential to plan ahead.

For the most part, though, you’ll find installing carpet tiles for basement floors runs as follows: 

  • Remove Old Flooring — if you previously had full carpets, ceramic tiles, or vinyl you’ll need to remove this first. Use a scraper or pry bar to pull up all pieces of glued down materials. 
  • Make Repairs — assess the state of your basement floor; are there any cracks, holes, or dips? If so this could affect both the finish and safety of your carpet tiles. Use concrete filler or floor leveller to create a smooth, stable surface. 
  • Sweep and Clean — make sure that the area is free of dirt and dust that could interfere with the solid bonding or curing of your sealants and adhesives. Make sure the cleaning surfaces are entirely dry before beginning your installation. 
  • Apply Sealant — follow the manufacturer’s instructions, but this is usually applied by using a paint roller to spread evenly about the surface. Avoid walking on the wet sealant, and make certain the room is well ventilated while you’re occupying the space. 
  • Test Your Placement — if you’re using a complex pattern, it’s helpful to place the tiles as intended before committing to gluing them down. This way you can assess where adjustments need to be made. 
  • Install the Tiles — it’s advisable to start from the center point of the room and work your way out toward the edges. Work patiently, applying adhesive to one tile at a time, and press the tile firmly in place on the floor. Remember that until the adhesive has cured, the tile can still be subject to shifting, so be careful as you place the other tiles that you’re not inadvertently nudging others out of position.

Conclusion – Why Carpet Tiles?

The reason to choose carpet tiles for basement flooring is more than a simple budget-friendly consideration. Today, cushioned cores can help create a cosy underfoot feel, as well as insulate from cold and damp conditions. They’re easy to install, which makes them not only ideal for DIY enthusiasts, but also cuts down on labor costs. The variety of designs available means that you don’t just have to settle for drab squares, you can make your floor a key feature in your creative remodeling plans.   

How to Clean an Area Rug on Hardwood Floor

Coupling hardwood flooring with an area rug can be both aesthetically pleasing and convenient. After all, wood floors, once installed, are relatively low-maintenance, and area rugs provide you with that extra pop of style to compliment the room. However, the fact of the matter is accidents are occasionally going to happen, and it’s not always going to be practical for you to take a large area rug outside, or to a dry cleaner. 

This means that you’re left with the necessity of taking care of it in situ. But knowing how to clean an area rug on hardwood floor is not always immediately obvious. You don’t want to use the wrong product for the job, risking ruining an expensive piece of carpeting. Not to mention the potential for wood flooring underneath to take collateral damage. 

The good news is, with a little care and preparation, you can take care of most area rug mishaps simply. We’ll guide you through a few areas of focus, along with some tips to help you get the best possible result. 

Preparations

When spillages occur, it can be easy to fall victim to panic, which can in turn lead to further mistakes being made. One of the most important steps in how to clean an area rug on a hardwood floor is taking a moment to step back, assess the situation, and make appropriate preparations. 

 

  • Mitigation — In the event of a liquid spillage, this involves gently soaking up any excess fluid. Use a paper towel or rag to carefully blot the area. If the spill is something more substantial such as food, or the fluid has dried, scrape at the area using a windshield scraper or bread knife, pulling up and disposing of excess dirt. Don’t scrub or rub the spillage at this stage, as this can exacerbate the issue. 
  • Remove Debris — Whether it’s an unexpected spillage, or long-term grime, you don’t want to make the situation more difficult by mixing loose dirt up in your cleaning solution. Take a vacuum, and run it along the full upper surface of the area rug. You can use a broom or lightly beat the rug to ensure that no clouds of dirt or dust are rising before proceeding.
  • Protect the Hardwood — A significant spillage can result in fluids leaking through to the hardwood underneath. Lift the rug, mop up any excess liquid, and lay a ground sheet. This also helps to protect your hardwood floor from any damage that could be caused by stain removers or cleaning products you’ll be using. 
  • Spot Testing — There are various methods for stain and grime removal, which we’ll go into shortly. However, if you haven’t used a cleaner or solution on your rug before, it’s important to perform a spot test. Apply a small amount of the solution to a corner of the rug, along with a little water, and leave it for a few hours. This will reveal whether it is likely to affect the color of the rug.  

Carpet Shampoo   

Particularly if your rug is made from synthetic materials, an off-the-shelf carpet shampoo can be an effective option. As you’ll be applying this while it’s still on the hardwood floor, be mindful of how much warm water you’re applying to the area.

  • Use a moist brush to gently work the shampoo into the stained area. 
  • Work from the outside of the stain and move toward its center, to mitigate the potential for the stain to spread. 
  • Prepare a 1:1 solution of water and white vinegar, and lightly brush it into the cleaned area to help remove excess detergent. 
  • Dry the area by first using rags to soak up excess moisture. Then use a fluffy towel, making sure to carefully push any plush rug fibers back into an upright position.

Baking Soda and Hot Water

When considering how to clean an area rug on hardwood floor, one of the simple and versatile options is a sodium bicarbonate paste. It’s effective on a wide variety of stains and spillages, including wine, juice, coffee, grime, and even sticky substances. 

  • Sprinkle the dry baking soda over the affected area. If you’re cleaning the entire rug, be sure to spread this evenly throughout, in order to keep the effect consistent. If you are applying it to a fresh spillage, you should be able to see the chemical reaction fizzing. 
  • Using a damp brush or cloth, gently work the baking soda into the fibres of the fabric. You’re not looking to use enough water to dilute the sodium bicarbonate, just enough that it turns the powder into a thick, pale paste. 
  • Leave it to dry for a couple of hours. 
  • Vacuum the rug when dry to remove the remains of the baking soda and stain. 

Steam Cleaning

A rug can be a great addition to your home, but it’s essential that you keep it looking fresh. While there are creative and cost effective options for how to clean an area rug on hardwood floor, sometimes it’s worth the time and investment to rent a steam cleaner. 

While this can inject life back into your rug, and take care of most persistent stains, it’s important to be wary of how this could affect your hardwood flooring. By their nature, steam cleaners emit a significant amount of water vapor, and as such you must make sure that your floors are adequately water sealed, you keep windows open where possible to aid natural drying, and that you place a sufficient barrier layer between your rug and the floor.  

Conclusion — Keep it Fresh

The reality of life is that you’re unlikely to be able to keep your soft furnishings in pristine condition. However, by taking the time to understand how to clean an area rug on hardwood floor, you have a toolkit that can help you keep it fresh for years to come. 

Remember to: 

  • Prepare for cleaning by both vacuuming the rug and protecting the flooring beneath
  • Use a baking soda and warm water paste to remove stubborn stains
  • If using carpet shampoo, brush the stain from the outside to the inside to prevent spreading
  • Invest in occasional all-over steam cleaning to keep your rug in peak condition for longer

 

How Much Does Bamboo Flooring Cost?

Bamboo flooring is one of the most popular, resilient, and beautiful options available to those looking to upgrade their homes. Which is all very well, but unless you’re independently wealthy, budget is also going to be a consideration in your flooring decision making. By taking some time to understand what elements factor into the cost of bamboo flooring, you can take a more agile approach to your renovation plans, make confident decisions, and — most importantly — keep those budgets down.

 

Answering the question of how much bamboo flooring costs is not as simple as looking at the online averages — which, depending on where you look, is estimated between $750 and $1300 per room — and getting to work. We’re not going to be of any help to you if we just pluck a price out of the air and expect you to muddle through as best you can. The honest answer is, the cost of bamboo flooring really depends on your approach. Perhaps you’re an avid DIYer with a bit of know-how and some useful equipment in the garage. On the other hand, you may be one of those myriad of us who knows your limitations, and are quite happy to let the experts ply their trade. Either way there’ll be a selection of budgetary issues that will contribute to your final cost. 

 

The final cost of bamboo flooring will come down to a few key aspects. Your choice of materials, where you’re sourcing them from, the labor or equipment costs of installation, and — an aspect many overlook — essential maintenance to keep it safe and beautiful for years to come. It’s worth remembering that bamboo is a premium quality product, and with that comes cost. But it’s also an investment. Like all investments, it’s essential you do some research, and seek out guidance.

We can certainly help you along the way. 

 

Materials

 

Whether you’re setting off on your own DIY flooring adventure, or engaging a professional, material costs will be among your first considerations. If you are new to the area, it can be a little bit overwhelming, but at the most basic level, your choice of bamboo flooring options will likely revolve around what you’re hoping to get out of your hoping to achieve in the target room. Are you leaning toward aesthetic considerations? Longevity? An easy to clean surface that suits your lifestyle? There are material options that cover each of these goals, and some which give a basic coverage of all three. It’s worth bearing in mind that your expectations of your material will certainly factor into the bamboo flooring cost.

However, before making any solid decisions, you should take some time to understand some of the finer points of bamboo flooring, in order to help guide your search and budget considerations. 

 

First off, bamboo is not a tree, unlike those used in other wood flooring options. It’s a grass that  grows abundantly in warmer areas of the globe. It’s been used for over 4,000 years, mostly in early civilizations in the Far East and South America. Bamboo’s uses range from the kitchen, the battlefield, libraries, hospitals and the buildings themselves largely due to the fact that it ranks high in the Janka Hardness Scale. With a tensile strength of 52,000, this fragile looking tall grass swaying in the direction of the wind is actually harder than most commercial soft and hardwoods used for flooring.

Why is this important to know? Well, by understanding bamboo’s qualities, you gain a better insight into why the flooring materials are constructed in certain ways. This helps you make better informed decisions that help balance the budgetary aspect. The first thing you’ll notice when selecting your materials is the manufacturing process that has been used. This will generally fall within 3 categories: 

 

  • Strand Wovengenerally considered to be the hardest wearing of the bamboo flooring materials. It is manufactured by stripping the bamboo down to its fibers, combined with resins, and then compressed under significant heat and pressure. Once these have been molded into solid blocks, they are trimmed and laminated into boards fit for flooring. This process, and its relative longevity, contributes to making strand woven among the higher bamboo flooring cost options. Depending upon the manufacturer, current averages for strand woven run at about $3-$5 per square foot. 

 

  • Horizontal and Vertical bamboo flooring – this method is relatively simple, involving stripping the bamboo into thin strips and then gluing these together in order to form flat planks. While less well wearing than other types, this process has an aesthetic appeal due to the retention of grain. Currently, horizontal and vertical bamboo flooring cost is usually found between the $2 – $5 per square foot mark. 

 

  • Engineered Bamboo – For those on the lower end of the budget, pure bamboo materials may not be a practical consideration. The manufacturing process for this type involves applying a core of MDF underneath thin layers of bamboo. This option is neither particularly hard wearing, nor refinishable, however that does tend to result in a lower price tag, coming in on average at $2 per square foot.

 

Aside from the core manufacturing process, another material factor to consider is carbonization. This is a largely aesthetic aspect, which results in the bamboo flooring having a richer color pallet. The costs aren’t prohibitive, usually falling in line with strand woven options. However, since the process entails use of chemicals and tremendous amount of energy to carry out, more and more people now opt for natural hues.

 

 

DIY Installation

 

Taking the reins on your flooring project can be a rewarding experience. Not to mention that you tend to save money, particularly if you have some of the equipment already to hand. However, it’s important at this point to really consider whether it’s realistic for you to sacrifice the benefit of expertise in order to save some money. However, if you are intent upon installation yourself, there are a few budgetary considerations to bear in mind. 

Materials

Aside from the type of material you’ll be using (as detailed above), when undertaking home installation it’s imperative that you consider the possibility you’ll make some mistakes. When you go out to buy bamboo flooring, be sure to add about 5-10 percent of the material to allow room for errors as well as spares should there be a need to replace some planks or boards in the future.

 

You’ll also need to take into account that the condition of your subfloor will affect not only the appearance of the bamboo flooring but also its durability. It’s important to have a structurally sound subfloor to support the bamboo flooring. If you need to replace, repair, or adjust your current subfloor before starting work, this could add to the price tag. 

 

Equipment

 

The cost of bamboo flooring self installation can be exacerbated by the need to purchase new tools. Therefore it’s worth reviewing which of the following you have at home, and factoring the price of any missing items into your budget:

  • measuring tape
  • hand saw or power saw
  • tapping block
  • wood or plastic spacers
  • pry bar
  • hammer
  • chalk line
  • pencil

 

There are several ways to install bamboo flooring and these types of installations will also require different tools.

 

Nailed-down Installation – for this type, we need:

  • the appropriate nailer/nail gun
  • nail application chart

 

Glued-down Installation – for this type, we need:

  • recommended flooring adhesive
  • trowel
  • pail, optional for mixing adhesive

 

Floating Installation – for this type, we need:

  • poly film foam or other manufacturer recommended product
  • PVAC glue
  • poly or duct tape

 

 

While most of us certainly go by the adage “measure twice, cut once” to avoid mistakes, it’s best to err on the side of caution and assume that you’ll need a little more of these items than strictly required. Don’t budget to get it right the first time unless you are confident in your expertise in the area. 

 

Professional Installation

 

There are various reasons why professional installation may be the best option for you. Convenience or lack of know-how might mean that it’s a more prudent step to take, alongside the reassurance that your floor has been fitted by an expert that understands how to operate in a way that supports longevity. 

 

Unfortunately, convenience and expertise tend to come at a premium price, so here’s some things to bear in mind when assessing the cost of bamboo flooring pro installation. 

 

Research by Homeguide suggests that the current average labor cost on top of materials runs at approximately $3 – $5 per square foot. This means that the cost of installation is about as much as the average for materials at the upper end of the market.

Remember, though, that this is just the cost of the labor itself, and likely won’t also take into account sundry requirements such as any required underlay, removal and disposal of pre-existing floor, or preparation and protection of baseboards and static features such as cupboards and fireplaces. Consideration too must be paid to underlying problems that may hamper the installation process, such as weak or damaged floorboard and joists — it could be the case that your pro installer will need to repair these, raising the budget requirements overall. 

 

One of the bamboo flooring costs involved with installation that is easy to overlook is the potential for accommodation for your professional. In most cases, your contractor will be able to advise you in advance whether this will be a necessity; considering the length of time the installation will take and how far away from their home base the work site is. This could still be a factor with a relatively small room if there is a need for stains to be applied as these can take upwards of 24 hours to dry.   

 

This is where some intelligent research can really help you to keep costs down. In making your cost comparisons, consider:

 

  • Can you save some money by removing and disposing of the existing flooring yourself?
  • Engaging in a meaningful dialogue with your professional bamboo flooring installer. It may be the case that they’re happy to use lower-priced materials you’ve sourced yourself, or they may be able to secure better deals through the wholesale relationships they’ve built over time and experience.
  • Investigating signs of structural damage on your floorboards and joists. Are they squeaky? Do the floors shift when you walk on them? Do parts of the floor appear sunken? It’s worth getting separate quotes from your floorboard installer and a professional in these types of repairs — it may be the case that you can save some money here, or plan to space out the costs.
  • Negotiating the cost of accommodation if it is required. If you have contacts with hotel or Air BnB spaces available, perhaps you can obtain a discounted price.   

 

 

On the plus side, the costs of installation equipment, required adhesives, protective sealants, and fasteners are all generally included in the installation fee. However, contractor standards often vary; don’t be afraid to really dig in to understand what is included in their pricing, bring up potentially costly scenarios, and what your options would be. Remember, you’re engaging an expert in their field — use their knowledge to your advantage. 

 

Maintenance 

 

How much bamboo flooring costs does not end at materials and installation. When making a decision about whether this is the correct material for you and your family, it’s worth bearing in mind the cost of essential upkeep in the future. Certainly, the higher end range of the floorboards themselves — strand woven — are relatively hard wearing; but do you need to take additional measures against heavy traffic, fluctuating moisture levels, or the inherent risks of rambunctious, messy children? 

 

If you’ve elected to buy a bamboo flooring option that has been pre-treated, you won’t need to apply any additional sealant. However, if for aesthetic or budgetary reasons you’ve opted for an unfinished product, you’ll need to budget for sealant.  

 

One of the enduring misconceptions about bamboo flooring is that it naturally has sufficient protection from the elements. While there is an element of truth in this — bamboo has a natural layer of biogenic silica, that protects the base material from harsh elements — this is usually significantly deteriorated by the manufacturing process. We can’t assume that our finished floorboards have retained their natural protective properties; particularly in the low cost bamboo flooring. 

 

If you’re undertaking this process personally, attention needs to be paid to preparation. Depending on the manufacturing process, elements of the silica layer may still be present, which means that any sealant you apply on top of this runs the risk of failing to adhere, or flaking off — resulting in more of your budget going down the pan. You’ll need to strip the top layer of your floorboards following installation,and sand it until it is smooth. Which means the cost of a power sander with 60 and 100 grit sandpaper may need to be added to your overall flooring budget.

 

The sealant itself is not prohibitively expensive; a gallon of good quality polyurethane sealant  doesn’t usually run much over $40, but this can obviously vary depending upon the brand you choose. You’ll also need to incorporate the cost of some good quality mop applicators into your budget — though these are usually only around $20, all of these little expenses have a tendency to add up. It’s also prudent to bear in mind that this is unlikely to be a one-off expense; in order to keep your bamboo flooring looking fresh, it’s usually recommended that this process is undertaken once every 6 months or so. 

 

Don’t skimp on the little extras that keep your flooring from becoming scratched, either. Apply felt pads to the bottom of furniture. Buy some doormats to discourage the tracking and staining of dirt into the grain of the floorboards. If you’ve installed bamboo in a bathroom or kitchen, invest in good quality rugs to surround sink, shower, and bath areas as water spillages over time can lead to warping. These small expenses following installation can prevent the more significant ones in future.

 

How Much Does Bamboo Flooring Cost? 

 

Ultimately, the final cost of bamboo flooring will depend upon a variety of factors. The base material options range from the lower quality engineered floorboards (approximately $2 per square foot) to the well produced and hard wearing strip woven variety (around $4 per square foot). Professional installation could add another $5 per square foot, and means you can be confident that you’ve received a quality product and fitting. On the other hand, DIY enthusiasts could save money in labor, but this needs to be weighed against additional equipment and material expenditure. Each installation option also has the potential to result in ancillary costs which need to be taken into account. 

 

Keeping costs low is essentially a matter of quality research. Don’t rush into a project, or signing a contractor.  Survey the target rooms, consider whether the materials are appropriate to the traffic it sees. Take a measured approach, explore all the options, and seek expert help where needed. This not only helps to ensure you’re minimizing the cost of bamboo flooring, but can rest assured that you have taken steps to ensure you’ve made decisions which result in quality and longevity. 

Vintage Wood Flooring

Vintage flooring continues to be popular and people, most of the time are willing to shell out  great amounts for it. This is for the simple reason that a classic never goes out of style.

Vintage flooring, pretty much like vintage clothes are those that are either really old flooring that genuinely looks worn and tattered or maybe made up of new materials made to look as if they were really old.

Vintage Wood & Vintaged Wood Flooring

One of the most sought after type of vintage flooring is reclaimed wood. The popularity of this flooring solution is largely due to the fact that reclaimed wood flooring poses to be more environmentally sound because it is salvaged from an old flooring or was previously used as something else. Hence, no new trees were harmed to create the product. Another plus factor is that since the material is sort of aged, there would be cases when minimal treatment is required to make it look older.

However, there is limited supply of reclaimed wood some people are willing to use wood flooring materials that have been mechanically aged – colored or stained, scraped and distressed to give it that vintage look and feel.

There are a number of ways to make wood flooring appear aged and new techniques are continuously being added. One way of artificially aging wood is through distressing. This process can be done mechanically or mechanically. Manual distressing can be done by hard or by using chains, hammers, scrapers or other objects that can cause damage to give it that look of years worth of wear and tear. This effect makes it look like the floor has a certain history that works well with both traditional and modern setting.

Another technique for aging wood is through a process called tumbling. This is done  by rotating floorboards on drums, causing damage to both surfaces. Compared to distressed wood flooring however, marks here are more random and with the edges of the board damages, it gives a more credible aged look.

Types of Carpets and Rugs

We listed some classifications of carpets and area rugs last time.Today we will look into the rest of those classifications and more samples starting with synthetic fibers.

Synthetic Fibers

  1. Nylon.Nylon has a soft and luxurious feel and comes in a variety of colors that has great resiliency and abrasion-resistance making it an ideal choice in high-traffic areas. Its flexible and easy to maintain.
  2. Polyester.This synthetic material is another great alternative since it has great stain-resistance not to mention the variety of colors they come in. It is easy to clean and won’t fade off that easily.
  3. Polypropylene.Also known as olefin, this material resists water-based stains and static electricity. This is a popular choice for outdoor carpeting.

Classified according to manufacture

Depending on what particular region they originated, the manner wherein carpets and rugs are made as well as the materials they are made from will vary greatly.

Before we proceed, in order to better understand these constructs, its best we go back to the piles mentioned in the previous post: the cut and the loop. As mentioned earlier, the cut loop is still popular today because it is durable and well-suited for high traffic areas.

Cut loop can be further classified into:

  • Textured Plush — the texture adds to aesthetics as it covers up footprints and marks which makes it an ideal whole-house carpeting choice. Its decorative, casual and versatile that it can be put just about anywhere.
  • Saxony — reflects traditional elegance and refinement, this is best suited for interiors with moderate traffic and ideal for places for entertaining guests like the kitchen or dining area and the living room.
  • Friezé — this is a curly and richly  textured surface because yarns are extremely twisted and while it may appear informal, this is great in concealing unwanted marks like vacuum lines and footprints.
  • Plush — is best for low traffic areas and formal rooms since its velvety texture easily shows footprints and vacuum marks though it comes with a luxurious feel.

Loop piles can be either of the three:

  • Level loop pile — generally suited for high traffic areas. Loops are of the same height and its informal appearance makes it ideal for contemporary and cottage furnishing.
  • Multi-level loop pile —  with its two to three different loop heights to create pattern effects, this type offers durability and a casual flare.
  • Cut-loop pile —  a mix of cuts and loops, this one brings in variety and a more sculpted appearance that’s equally unique and stylish.

Now that we have a basic description of the different piles, we can now look further into the different constructs of carpets and rugs.

  1. Woven– these piles can be berber or plush and are produced in big looms that usually involves colorful and intricate patterns. Due to its ornate details the requires a lot of labor, it is generally the most expensive kind of carpets and rugs.
  2. Needle Felt– this is a stylish and modern technique that uses electrostatic attraction of fiber strands to create a more durable sheet for area rugs or carpeting. The compression of fibers use needles and this type is generally employed for high traffic, commercial grade use.
  3. Tufted– for this type, piles injected into the backing material and then bonded to a second backing to make the area rug or carpet more stable durable. Tufted rugs are arguable the most popular type of floor covering used around the world.
  4. Embroidered– produced by application of stitches on a base cloth. Tedious and time-consuming, the process requires some degree of skill and craftsmanship in order to produce a detailed and richly designed product.
  5. Braidedthis type features a distinct weaving texture.Braids are arranged in such a manner that braids of yarns appear as if they have been woven together. Depending on the material used, these types of area rugs and carpets can work best both indoor and outdoors.

Types of Carpets and Rugs

In our last post, we talked about carpeting essentials or the things you need to know before buying carpets. Today we will talk about the different types of carpets and area rugs so you can choose one that will specifically suit your need.

Before we go any further, we shall distinguish between wall-to-wall carpeting, carpet tiles and area rugs.

As the name implies, wall-to-wall carpeting refers to traditional sheet carpeting that literally covers a room from one end to another.

Carpet tiles are cut into squares or other specific sizes and are either made with tongues and grooves on the edges, has suction backing or are pre-applied with adhesives to hold them into place. Each carpet tile can have one or all of these features for better installation.

Area rugs on the other hand were initially intended to protect certain areas where there is high traffic that poses threat to the flooring. These days however, area rugs are used more to create little secured spaces that offers not just protection to the flooring but warm, comfort and aesthetics as well. Imagine a warm-looking sitting area accentuated an area rug in a living room that is laid with rustic wide plank hardwood flooring? Or one on an elegant dark granite?

Now that we have that cleared up, its important to understand that in general there are only 2 types of carpets: the loop pile and the cut pile. While loop pile carpets are the more longer-lasting one between the two, cut piles are equally popular because they offer more comfort being softer and fluffier that loop pile ones.

Carpets and area rugs can be further classified according to fiber

Area rugs, carpets and carpet tiles come in various forms and are made up of different fibers – some even from recycled materials and synthetics fibers. Below are the common types of fibers used for area rugs:

Organic Fibers:

1. Wool. Known for its durability and elegance, wool carpets are ideal for high moisture areas since it can be easily dyed and has excellent piling quality. Generally suited for tough areas, this natural fiber not only has great wear resistance, being a natural fiber also makes it more less prone to allergens.

2. Silk. Another natural fiber, silk is known for it high tensile strength that has been used since the olden times in oriental cultures. Compared to wool carpets, silk are high maintenance and are recommended for use only in even and dry areas owing to the delicateness of the fiber.

3. Jute. Commonly used in weaving area or accent rugs, jute is very economical and comes in various patterns. It is highly flexible and can either be woven, knitted, sewn and braided though it does not go well in high moisture areas.

4. Bamboo. As an abundant evergreen and being highly sustainable, bamboo fibers are now also being used in making area and accent rugs. Having a gorgeous natural shade, bamboo’s honey-tones and light browns are really a favorite choice for interiors. Its hypoallergenic, resistant to molds and water.

5. Coir. This loose and leathery fiber is extracted from coconut shells making it an environmentally-conscious choice for an area rug or carpeting material. Initially smooth and fine strands these brown and white fiber becomes strong and durable after weaving. Its cheap, hypoallergenic and cleverly traps dirt and dust making rooms tidier and neater.

We will look into the synthetic fibers and other classification of carpets and area rugs in our next post.

The VOC Connection

VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds have caught the attention concerned individuals and organizations alike. These are carbon-based compounds which are generally invisible – neither seen nor smelled but is a widely-recognized pollutant associated with a variety of health risks.

Studies have shown that these compounds are related to allergies and several illnesses in infants, small children and adults alike. Headaches, respiratory problems and skin diseases have all been linked to VOCs.

These chemical compounds are used in the manufacture of flooring products, underlays or carpet tiles’ backing, flooring adhesives, finishes and cleaning materials.

Since they seem to be present in almost every stage and aspect of flooring, it will be very difficult to make our homes or establishments VOC-free. What’s important is to be mindful of the products you’re going to use and make sure it has the minimum amount of VOC on it.

A commonly used example of VOC is formaldehyde which is commonly used in sealants, finishes and adhesives not just in flooring products but also in furniture. Some also use formaldehyde to cure flooring materials like bamboo.

Here are some points to keep in mind when shopping for flooring products:

  • Bamboo. In general, bamboo flooring is an environmentally-sound flooring material. However, the process of manufacturing bamboo flooring makes it sometimes a health hazard to consumers. Be sure to choose bamboo flooring that is formaldehyde free and has acceptable levels of VOC – it should have low-to no-VOC content in them.
  • Carpet. Earlier carpets used to have a high volume of VOCs in them. Nowadays, The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have worked on lowering levels of harmful compounds on carpets as well as their backing materials. When you have low-levels of VOCs on your carpets, be sure to keep the room well-ventilated and open by opening up windows.
  • Cork. Cork flooring uses highly toxic materials like phenol and melamine though these become non-harmful once the product has been processed. This is a truly green product. What you should keep in mind however specially when installing cork flooring glued down is to check the adhesive and finishing materials.
  • Hardwood and Engineered Hardwood. While no VOCs are used in making both solid and engineered hardwood flooring, sometimes the finishing and cleaning materials are the ones that contain the harmful compounds.
  • Linoleum. Made almost entirely from natural materials, linoleum is an excellent alternative if you want to make your floor VOC-free.
  • Vinyl. While most people confuse between vinyl and linoleum flooring, vinyl is made up of chemical compounds. The main component is: PVC which is believed to contain certain chemicals that can cause serious illnesses.

If you believe that you’re flooring has high VOC content and would want to lower if not remove the compound’s presence in your room, here are a few tips you might find useful:

  1. Look around and check existing high-VOC materials in the room. After checking, its best to have them removed – flooring, subfloor or underlayment and even furniture to make sure all possible sources of VOCs are eliminated.
  2. Choose products which are no- to low- VOC levels. That involves the flooring solution itself, the underlayment and adhesives that would be used.
  3. Finish it off with a non-VOC sealant or finish and be sure you are using maintenance and cleaning materials that are entirely VOC free.

Some Useful Hints on Hardwood Flooring Repair

Hardwood floors are an asset in any property and should be well taken care. While they are very resilient, day-to-day wear and tear leaves even the hardest floors prone to damage. Repairing damaged hardwood isn’t easy and is better left to flooring professionals.

However, should you feel a little bold and daring and decide that this is something you can do, ask professional advise and also consider some tips below:

  1. Cut with caution. In repairing hardwood floors, the first and most difficult step is getting the damaged board or boards off. Be very careful when you do this because there is the risk of splitting or damaging surrounding boards which could mean more work and expense. Make sure you have all the appropriate tools and that they are in the best condition before doing the repair.

  1. Keep it clean. After the damaged part has been removed, make sure to clean the place it was taken from and the surrounding areas. It must be free from debris and dirt. You can either sweep or vacuum the spot to make sure that replacement will smoothly go in and fit perfectly.

  1. Pay attention to details. Be mindful of aesthetics when replacing a damaged boards. It is very important that the replacement piece should be of the same hardwood specie, same color with matching grain patterns and directionality. If you have leftover from the original installation, its better to use that or you can always call the store where you bought it from and ask if you can get a plank or two.

  1. Time is always of the essence. Be sure that the piece of hardwood you’ll replace the damaged one with fits perfectly because once the adhesive (commonly used is Epoxy) has peen applied it will immediately settle and dry down so you have to be very quick and if the piece doesn’t fit or ends up uneven then you might end up with another problem.

  1. Finish to perfection. After the hardboard flooring piece has set and dried, its time to finish the repair job. Keep in mind not to overdo it. Sanding is done to make sure the replacement is leveled with the original flooring. As for the finish, use the same material applied in the original installation to avoid any unsightly discolorations. If you’re not familiar with it, it wont hurt to ask the company who handled the project and originally installed your hardwood floors. They should have information on record.

 

Some Things You Need to Know About Bamboo Flooring

In one of our previous posts, we looked at some of the possible disadvantages of buying so-labeled green flooring products. Here, we take on some things we think you should know before deciding if you want and need bamboo on your living or working space and if it is indeed the appropriate material.

Bamboo Flooring in the Making

Two things everyone should consider before buying bamboo flooring because they are thinking green are these: producing bamboo flooring takes major chemical and energy inputs.

What chemical and energy inputs?

From its natural state, it takes a series of energy-consuming processes to convert bamboo into flooring boards:

  • shoots are sliced into strips;
  • strips are boiled with a solution of water and Boric acid to remove starch and sugars;
  • to add some color to bamboo flooring, it undergoes a carbonizing process through steaming under controlled heat and pressure;
  • bamboo flooring products will then undergo a laminating process to create solid boards and added with chemical adhesives like urea-formaldehyde (a reported carcinogen);
  • these bamboo boards are then cut into standard flooring planks w/ their tongues and grooves and finished with chemicals to protect the top layers;
  • before it is shipped or transported for distribution to local markets.

If you think of all that, you say to yourself: then its not really “green” after all. However, we are not saying that all bamboo flooring manufacturers are irresponsible and is not concerned with the welfare of the environment, we are advocating that we check out who are we buying from and how the products we’re buying from them are made. Buying from people engaged in unsound practices means we are supporting the ways they might be damaging the environment and risking our families or friends in the process.

5 Important Bamboo Facts Every Consumer Should Know:

  1. Bamboo expands…in length.

Hardwood which normally expands in width, hence flooring installers normally leave spaces on the side of each board to make room for expansion. Sometimes however, bamboo expands in length. Consumers should be advised to be mindful of this to prevent the ends of their bamboo flooring from buckling or warping.

  1. Hardness matters.

While bamboo ranks relatively high in the Janka Hardness scale, keep in mind that the flooring material is made for different bamboos pressed together so how it ranks in the scale may vary or may even be inaccurate. Another think to keep in mind is that carbonizing leaves bamboo flooring products softer than untreated ones.

  1. Reactions to humidity.

Moisture changes causes bamboo to react differently: fibers on each strip will naturally expand or shrink away from each other unlike in engineered hardwood where fibers are held together by plywood as its stabilizing layer. This behaviour of fibers in bamboo flooring can cause the wear layer to crack.

  1. It doesn’t automatically add up in LEED.

Just because you chose bamboo, it doesn’t mean that you automatically earn multiple points in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification system. The type of bamboo flooring you use will determine how and where you can earn the credits you get.

  1. Acclimation is still important.

Most consumers assume that bamboo flooring doesn’t need to acclimate since it is made up of many joined fibers. Contrary to this is the fact that since bamboo is made up of different bamboo fibers, it required varying acclimation times.

Bamboo has many great benefits however not all bamboo flooring are created equal. If sellers don’t give you the complete score on the bamboo flooring product you are interested in, go the extra mile and do some research. Green bamboo flooring created in an unsustainable or environmentally degrading process isn’t exactly green flooring at all.

Solid Hardwood or Engineered Hardwood Which is Best to Use

While both are made of genuine hardwood, solid hardwood and engineered hardwood  been so closely
compared that there is now some sort of rivalry between these two excellent flooring choices. Homeowners and homebuyers, especially those first time ones are often baffled between the similarities and differences of the tow and can hardly tell which one would be more appropriate for their needs and best suits their requirements.

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To help you with all your woes and questions, below are some basic things worth knowing about solid and engineered hardwood flooring and the advantages of one over the other:

What is solid hardwood?

Solid hardwood are famous to use until the earlier part of 1900 when there are plentiful hardwood trees and the world population is not so lush. Solid wood is ¾ inches thick. It is made from a single trunk of a good and matured solid trunk. It is seasoned well to avoid it from expanding when installed on your floor. Sometimes, contractors leave a little gap between the wood planks if ever it expands.

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What is engineered hardwood?

It is a solid wood plank made by 100% wood. However, it is composed of three to five layers of wood which are glued together. Each layer is arranged criss-crossed over the other so that it can support the other layer. The criss-cross arrangement makes the engineered hardwood stronger and less prone to expansion even when humidity is high.

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Which is better to use?

There is a thin line between solid hardwood flooring and engineered hardwood flooring. It is difficult to tell which one is better in performance. To know how each one works, here is a close comparison for you to reflect upon:

  1. What are they made of?

    • Solid hardwood: Pure wood and no cuts from top to bottom, side to side.
    • Engineered hardwood: Three to five layers of 1/6” thick wood arranged in layers. The topmost layer is finished while the underlying layers are high density fibreboards which make the floor stronger.
  1. How thick is each type?

    • Solid hardwood: It is between 3/8” or ¾ “.
    • Engineered hardwood: You can pick sizes from 3/8” to ½” only.
  1. How wide is each type?

    • Solid hardwood: It comes in a minimal width of 3.25 inches to 11 inches. You can also get 5 inches from the store.
    • Engineered hardwood: Same as the solid hardwood, it is also 3.25” to 5” wide. You can request for wider size such as 11 inches in the floor store.

  1. What types of wood are available?

    • Solid hardwood: There are many varieties of solid hardwood. But, the most preferred species are Cherry, Pine, Oak and Mahogany.
    • Engineered hardwood: Almost all of the species of solid hardwood are available.
  1. Is it ready to use?

    • Solid hardwood: There are some stores that sell pre-finished. Most of the time, they are not yet finished that makes the installation difficult.
    • Engineered hardwood: They are always pre-finished. You can install and walk on then readily.
  1. Can you resell it?

    • Solid hardwood: Yes. The value can be higher than how much you bought it if you sell it a decade from now.
    • Engineered hardwood: Excellent. It has the same value as the solid hardwood.
  1. Can you sand it anew?

    • Solid hardwood: Yes, several times.
    • Engineered hardwood: You can sand it only once.

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Choose well. Pick the floor that suits your lifestyle and will be with you for almost all of your lifetime.