10 Reasons to Choose Hardwood Flooring Over Laminate Flooring

/ October 1, 2015

hardwood floors over laminateNothing quite adds beauty and natural warmth to a room like wood flooring. From its magnificent natural appearance to the warmth underfoot, wood is beautiful and timeless. Part of the appeal of older traditional homes is the fact that they come with original hardwood floors. Modern homes looking to achieve the same natural look of wood but at a lower price point use laminate flooring to lure homebuyers.

hardwood flooring over lamiante Both solid hardwood and engineered hardwood flooring are manufactured from actual wood, which means that it preserves the distinct appearance and textured grain of natural wood. Laminate, on the other hand, is only an imitation that looks very similar to real wood. While the two may appear the same, they are actually very different.

10 Reasons to Choose Hardwood Flooring Over Laminate

1. Hardwood floor adds value to your home

Hardwood floors, both solid & engineered, are designed to last a lifetime – making them a great investment for homebuyers. Hardwood floors often never have to be replaced, only refinished, unlike laminate that needs full replacement every 15-25 years. Some hardwood floors in old buildings are decades old, such as the floors in Washington’s Mount Vernon for example.

2. Easier to clean

Even when compared to tiles or carpets, hardwoods are still easier to clean. Routine care may comprise vacuuming, sweeping, and cleaning up spills with a mop and non-aerosol spray. Additionally, hardwoods don’t trap dust particles in concealed places, hide bacteria in its fibers, or grow mold within its grout.

3. A natural product available in a wide range of grain patterns, colors, and styles

The warmth, beauty, and design appeal of hardwood floors is unmatched. While laminated floors over a wide array, there is now more diversity in hardwood floors than even before.

4. Eco-friendly

Compared to the manufacture of other building products, like steel, bricks, or concrete, wood is a much cleaner material.

5. Recyclable

Hardwoods can be recycled 100 percent.

6. Ideal for homes with allergic members

Since hardwood does not trap dust or fumes, it will not harbor mold or dust mites, improving the air quality in your home great for those who suffer from bothersome allergies related to pollen, dander, dust, etc.

7. Easy to redecorate

To change the entire look of your hardwood floor, all you have to do is paint, stain, dye, or apply inlays, without having to replace the materials.

8. Easy to repair or re-apply finishes

Hardwood floors can be easily recoated or touched up. If well maintained, you may never have to completely re-sand. We recommend a licensed professional before attempting to re-sand or refinish any of your hardwood floors.

9. Better for your joints

Hardwood floors tend to give a little, which makes them good for your spine and joints. This is why standing on tile, stone, or laminate can make you get tired faster than on hardwood.

10. Finally, hardwood is the greatest renewable resource in North America, considering that the continent has maintained the forest cover that was there centuries ago (in the 1600s).

Read more about Eco-Friendly Hardwood Floors.

What Hardwood Flooring Color Hides “Wear and Tear” Best?

/ September 22, 2015

light colored hardwood floorsAll hardwood floors are VERY beautiful except certain hardwood floor colors and species have an ability to hide normal wear and tear much better than others. Today we’d like to let you in on the hardwood flooring color that hides wear and tear the best.

Best Hardwood Floor Color for Hiding Wear and Tear

When it comes to hiding scratches and other minor issues with hardwood floors that inevitably arise from normal wear and tear, no color hides it better than…

Light-colored hardwood floors.

This is probably no surprise either. Because scratches and other minor nicks are often light colored, they blend in well with light-colored hardwood floors.

To add, hardwood floors that have little to no glossy sheen (i.e. matte hardwood floors) also aid in hiding wear and tear.

The higher the gloss your hardwood flooring has, the more likely it will reveal scratches. However, on the plus side glossy floors are often prized for their beautiful presence and elegant appeal they bring to any room.

View our simple guide on removing minor scratches and nicks from wood floors.

If you’re the type who is eager to replace your carpet with hardwood flooring but are unsure of exactly what type of hardwood floors to consider, then you’re in luck. We’ve compiled a list of our very own personal recommendations for those wondering.

1. Maple Natural
2. Hickory Natural
3. Monarch
4. Romagna
5. Birch Oatmeal
6. Roosevelt Hickory

Birch Oatmeal by Urban Floor.

Oil Finish vs. Non-Oil Finish for Hardwood Floors

/ September 14, 2015

The finish of any hardwood flooring is very important for both giving your floors that luscious, beautiful sight as well as for properly preserving them for many years. However, no matter what type of floor finish you or a professional performs, it will have to be re-finished at some point in order to keep them looking pretty.

The question inevitably becomes… what hardwood flooring finish do I select?

Well, in the hardwood flooring world there are many finishes out there. They all come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. However, we just want to educate you on the difference between oil finishes and non-oil finishes.

Non-Oil Finishes

non oil finish hardwood floor advantages

The most common types of non-oil finishes are varnish & polyurethane. Other choices include lacquer, shellac, and water-based finishes. Non-oil finishes are often known as “surface sealants” because they sit atop the hardwood floor, providing both an extra layer of protection and the glossy shine to your hardwood floors.

Main advantages of non-oil finishes:

  • Once you apply it, they will typically last several years of up to 35 years or more before having to be refinished.
  • Will resist most minor impacts and spills, preventing damage to your floors.
  • Varnish finishes have the ability to prevent wood floors from collecting dust.

Oil Finishes

oil finish hardwood floor benefits

A popular choice for oil finishes are hardwax or tung oil. However, other options exist such as linseed oil and Danish oil. All oil finishes actually penetrate the hardwood floors, harden, and provide added protection from within. They do not provide as much gloss as non-oil finishes, but offer a great alternative for classic or exotic flooring options such as our Oak Strauss. They must be re-coated more frequently than non-oil finishes – roughly every couple of years or so for best results.

Main advantages of oil finishes:

  • Wood can be re-coted without having to sand the floor.
  • Damage to hardwood floors is generally easier to repair.
  • They do not crack or peel as some non-oil finishes are known for.

Trust a Professional!
You should never attempt to apply a hardwood floor finish, oil or not, unless you have a full understanding of what you’re doing. Plenty of DIY guides may be found online, but without a full understanding you put your hardwood floors at risk. We always recommend a professional in these circumstances.

View our detailed guide on hardwood flooring finishes.

What Type of Hardwood Flooring is Best for Children and Pets?

/ September 4, 2015

pet friendly hardwood floors
A lot of us have children and pets – they bring joy to our lives in many ways. However, they both have a tendency for unpredictable, often times rambunctious behavior. For those with hardwood floors, this could be slightly problematic. Fortunately, there are plenty of hardwood floor options that are tough enough to support families who have children and pets.

Best Types/Features of Hardwood Floors for Children & Pets


Pre-finished engineered wood floors are the absolute best for managing households with children and pets. Pre-finished engineered hardwood usually comes with aluminum oxide layers that give the wood a harder, more durable finish as opposed to site finished. The strong coating works very well for children and pets.


Handscraped floors are widely popular nowadays for a variety of reasons, but they also happen to be a great choice for the accidental damage that results from children and pets. The reason being because the imperfect beauty of handscraped floors leave a distressed look that makes it appear as if the floor has been used for a while. This helps hide scratches and dents very well. Even from large dogs that dig their nails into the floors.

If you’re not a fan of handscraped flooring, then an alternative surface texture to consider would be chiseled edge hardwood floors due to having similar features.

Light Colors

Light colors aid in hiding scratches that result from your pet’s paws or dents caused by children who drop toys on the flooring, etc. We offer a lot of different light hardwood flooring options.

Matte Finishes

Matte finishes, as opposed to glossy finishes, do not feature much shine to them. The shine of a floor has a tendency to reveal any abnormalities if present. But because matte floors do not feature that glossy shine to them, they work well for masking scratches and dents.

Janka Hardness

Floors that have a higher rating on the Janka Hardness Test will be better suited for homeowners with pets & children. The Janka Rating measures how drastic a dent is on specific types of floor, which translates into a numerical rating. Brazilian options are generally the strongest, but they not light-colored. Maple is both reasonably strong and can be offered in many lighter colors.

Urban Floor’s Best Flooring Choice for Pets & Children
urban floor best choice pets children
*Bach featured in the Composer Collection by Urban Floor.

View our guide on How to Manage Pets with Hardwood Floors!

Featured Floor of the Month – Brazilian Cherry Rio!

/ August 18, 2015

summer hardwood flooring
Brazilian Cherry Rio by Urban Floor.

What are a few things you think of when you hear the word “Brazil”? Soccer? Beautiful beaches? Even though Brazil celebrates its summer when we (U.S.) celebrate our winter, we’re still enjoying our summer currently and the Brazilian Cherry Rio fits the vibe quite perfectly! That is why it is our featured floor of the month this August.

The Perfect Choice for Summertime

With reddish, brown undertones and slight hints of yellow and orange – we believe there’s no better engineered hardwood floor option that fits this well for summertime. In reality however, it’s not just summertime that this floor shines… It shines all year round.

Why? Because it’s made from top quality Brazilian Cherry wood (hence the name)!

A Little Background Information

Brazilian Cherry, also known as Jatoba, has a natural golden luster to it – allowing for a lot of color character when exposed to sunlight. It would make a great floor for beach houses that are exposed to sunlight quite often!

Brazilian Cherry trees can be found in southern Mexico, the West Indies, and throughout Central America including northern Brazil with trees reaching heights up to 130 feet tall. To put that into perspective imagine around twenty 5’5” (which happens to be around the average height for people in the U.S.) people stacked on top of each other. In other words, a really tall tree!

urban floor brazilian cherry

The Real Shine

We associate Brazil mainly with soccer, beaches, and beautiful women, but in the hardwood flooring world Brazilian wood is cream of the crop when it comes to hardness and density.

On the Janka scale (the source of measurement for testing hardness of floors), Brazilian Cherry ranks in very high with a rating of 2,820 – making it the hardest product that we offer @ Urban Floor.

What does this mean? This means don’t be afraid to party! While Brazilian Cherry is a tough wood, it can still be damaged like any other hardwood floor so don’t go too crazy!

We offer a convenient guide on cleaning & care for hardwood floors.

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