How To Series – Dealing With Seasonal Gapping

/ May 18, 2015

seasonal gapping how to hardwood floor

With summer approaching quickly, we wanted to cover an aspect of flooring that is perfectly natural – often referred to as “seasonal gapping”. Seasonal gapping involves both wintertime and summertime, where hardwood floors undergo changes that often tend to cause worry in consumers. Have no fear, Urban Floor is here.

Today we will teach you how to deal and prepare with year round seasonal gapping. But first, we’ll explain exactly what occurs during this process.

What Occurs During “Seasonal Gapping”?

To help you better understand this phenomenon, we’re going to use our skin as an example. When our own skin loses moisture, we become dried out. When we’re dried out, we’re more susceptible to cracked skin, etc. Hardwood floors are similar in this regard – however, a cracked floor due to severe lack of moisture is very rare.

What’s likely to happen in this scenario is your floors will lose moisture and then shrink in size – causing gaps. This typically occurs during winter when the weather is dry. These gaps tend to close up on their own during summertime when moisture is restored to the boards.

Wider boards will gap more than narrow boards, and some species will shrink less than others (e.g. a 5” Hickory will shrink more than a 5” oak plank). Also, Square edges will show more gaps than a beveled edge.

How To Deal With Seasonal Gapping

Now that we’ve briefly described this natural process, we’ll educate you on how to handle the situation.

In-Home HumidifiersHumidifiers keep the relative humidity (RH) levels in your home at an acceptable range enough to minimize seasonal gapping – 30-50%. The alternative is to accept the gaps and wait until summer for them to close up. We highly recommend investing in a humidifier for your hardwood floors.

Touch-up Pens – you may spot small patches of bare wood showing as a result of the contractions taking place. A color coordinated touch up pen can fill in the color while you wait for summer. See MinWax Touch Up Pens

Fillers – if the gaps are absolutely unacceptable, then filling them with an Adhesive Caulking (i.e. COLOR-RITE) could do the trick. They’re available in many colors and will fill the gaps up to ¼”. If you do not understand what to do, then let a professional take care of this for you.

Pro Tip: If your hardwood floors are in an environment with “humid summers” and “dry winters” with lots of foot traffic/movement, then it is BEST to leave the gaps alone and let the process carry its course.

Urban Floor’s Handpicked Personal Favorites!

/ May 5, 2015

Valentine’s Day may have come and go, but that shouldn’t stop the love from being spread. That is why Urban Floor went through every floor of every collection we offer and handpicked some of our personal favorites. Believe us, this task was NOT easy, as we don’t like playing favorites. However, if we absolutely had to choose 3 floors we love then here’s what we came up with.

Chianti – Featured in the Chéne Collection

oak hardwood floors

As we sifted through the collections, there was something about the Chianti floors that dazzled us. It stuck out. We’re guessing it’s because of its midnight dark color – something that demands your attention. But it could also be due to the fact that these floors contrast very, very well with the décor and furniture placed on top of it. Either way, it was the first one that got our attention – just look at it!

Honorable mentions on the eye-catching factor: Cello featured in the Driftwood Inspired Composer Orchestra Collection + Birch Coffee featured in the Welcome Home Collection.

Abruzzo – Featured in the Villa Caprisi Collection

white oak hardwood floor

We decided that WOW, we really love our Abruzzo hardwood floors. Something about it just sends us a powerful feeling of modern elegance. It’s the white oak that seals the deal – specifically the white over the oak (we do love oak ,though!). As humans, we’ve come to understand white is associated with purity or perfection. A few examples: a bride will wear white during her wedding or the clouds we see above us, or even The White House.

With that said, we do believe the Abruzzo floor to be a perfect choice!

Honorable mention: Grigio feature in our Chéne Collection – for the same reason, modern elegance.

Taft Maple – Featured in the Presidential Collection

solid hardwood floor

We may be all about engineered floors here at Urban Floor, but the truth is: we’re really just all about hardwood floors (maybe with the exception of laminate or vinyl, booo). But the Taft Maple is seriously a solid choice – no pun intended. It really gives off this wholesome, natural earthy feeling most likely because of its natural knots. The character of this floor resonates with us. If we really had to describe it, we’d say “down to Earth”.

Honorable mention: Hickory Natural featured in the Chiseled Edge series as part of our Urban Lifestyle Collection.

What Is An “Eco-Friendly” Hardwood Floor?

/ April 27, 2015

what is an eco-friendly hardwood floorBefore we dive into things, we must first establish a definition of the term “eco-friendly”. Eco-friendly could be broken down into two words: ecosystem and friendly. Our ecosystem is made up of humans, animals, plants, and living organisms that combine with the nonliving components such as air, water, fire, and soil.

A quick search on the Internet’s dictionaries will list this term as “not harmful to the environment” or a similar definition. In other words, being friendly to our ecosystem: “eco-friendly”.

Common Elements of “Eco-Friendly”

Every company will differ on this matter. But generally steps should be taken with our ecosystem in mind:

  • Conserving resources by using practices that do not exhaust an ecosystem’s resources.
  • Using chemicals that are known to be safe for living organisms.
  • Recycling materials (which helps conserve resources).
  • Biodegradability – meaning a product can be broken down naturally on its own without using a landfill (again, conserving space).

Well-Managed Forests

Urban Floor sources its raw materials – which in our case are wood that we use for the base of all of our floors – from ecologically well-managed forests. That sounds nice, who cares?

Well, let us explain. An ecologically well-managed forest is a forest that is very carefully planned out so that a forest’s trees are not exhausted without the possibility of having them regrow.

For example, a person or company could simply take over a forest, cut all of the trees down, and you would have a flat landscape when all said and done. That’s not ecological.

For a well-managed forest, there are strict selective cutting practices that allow enough time (several years – up to 30 or more) for trees to regrow. This is because after a tree is cut down, a new one is planted. We’re making it seem basic, but it’s a lot more complex than this – it takes a lot of careful management to make this happen efficiently and most importantly, ecologically.

Safe for Living Organisms?

In addition to being committed to ecosystem conservation, we’re equally as committed to the health of homeowners that use our product, as well as our own employees that engineer the products.

Urban Floor uses environmentally safe adhesives – and by that mean we mean safe to be around or live with. We meet the standards of California’s Air Resources Board’s formaldehyde emissions.

Backed by Facts

A 3rd party testing laboratory tested a variety of products and determined that less than .01 micrograms of emissions were present in our hardwood floors.

Also, all of our products are Phase 2 certified compliant. In layman’s terms, our products have met strict standards to ensure everyone around our products is happy and SAFE!

So yes, you could say Urban Floor does in fact provide “eco-friendly” hardwood floors. ☺

What Fun Activities Can I Do With My Children for Easter?

/ April 1, 2015

fun activities children easterWe love fun activities here at Urban Floor! Fun is what brings smiles to our faces, especially the little ones. That is why we are composing a small list of fun ideas that you can do with your children for Easter!

The Time-tested Traditional

It’s been around forever but painting Easter Eggs is an activity that has stood the test of time. Kits are commonly sold in the local grocery store and directions can be easily followed. We suggest setting up a small area outside to prevent the food coloring from hitting your floors during the process.

To add a little pizzazz, you can even buy a small sticker pack and stick your designs on the Eggs. Children always get a kick out of these. Or you can even buy a small paintbrush and some paint and let their creative side shine. Be sure to compliment them on their designs!

A Different Approach to Easter Egg Hunts

Easter Egg hunts are undoubtedly fun – especially since most families typically use the same eggs that they decorated on their own. However, we want to spice things up.

Glow in the dark.

That’s right! A glow in the dark Easter egg hunt to be performed outside during the night. Here’s what you need: plastic eggs and glow sticks. All you do is break the glow stick, place it into the plastic egg (you may need to tape it shut if it doesn’t budge) and that’s it!

Fancy A Little Gardening?

Here’s an idea we doubt you’ve heard of: your child’s own Easter garden. It’s very simple, too. All you need are one type of candy, some lollipops of your choice, and a patch of dirt in your backyard. Jellybeans are perfect.

Have your children plant some jellybeans in the backyard, have them water the patch, and then explain to them how overnight the jellybean will grow into something special. As they are sleeping, place the lollipop of your choice over their planted patches. When morning arrives, let them see the fruits (or candy) of their labor! They’ll be shocked and excited at the same time. Works like a charm.

We hope you enjoy our simple ideas – but most importantly, have a wonderful Easter with your friends and family. If you have an idea of your own, we’d love to hear it!

Urban Floor’s Position on the “60 Minutes” CBS Report – Safety First

/ March 17, 2015

urban floor safety first

Many worried hardwood floor owners are quickly beginning to rip up their floors without question due to an incident on “60 minutes” on CBS that exposed the truth behind hardwood floor giant Lumber Liquidators.

According to the report, the Laminate floors they offer did not comply with strict safety standards. The incident has gained so much attention – for good reason – it has affected many other hardwood floor distributors, including us, Urban Floor.

Urban Floor has always kept safety in mind from the very first day we opened our doors – simply put, it’s our top priority. We stand behind our products and those of us within the company that do have engineered or solid hardwood floors in our homes, of course, use Urban Floor.

The Culprit = Formaldehyde

The chemical that is culprit is known as formaldehyde and is used in glues that bind the boards together. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and studies have shown they can cause a host of problems including chronic respiratory illnesses and cancer when exposed in high doses and for long periods of time. This is why testing is performed – to make sure this carcinogen does not put consumers at risk.

We Don’t Offer Laminate

At Urban Floor, we’re 90% about engineered hardwood floors, with the other 10% focusing on our wonderful solid wood flooring collection – the Presidential Collection.

In the report that targeted Lumber Liquidators – laminate flooring was the focus. Laminate floors are made differently than both engineered and solid wood flooring. We do not sell laminate floors here at Urban Floor.

Urban Floor’s Products – The Facts

Yes, some of Urban Floor’s products are made in China as well as tested there; however, when they are shipped back to the United States we double check their safety using our own independent lab tests from third parties based here in America. The results must meet strict CARB II compliant standards. The test results for Urban Floor’s products may be viewed below.

View the results from several different floors across all of our Collections.

Safety is Always #1

We hope this information helps clear up any confusion – just in case you are questioning why you chose Urban Floor for your hardwood flooring needs. We love hardwood floors and we would not settle for anything less than a quality, thoroughly safety-tested product.

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