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Tis the season to be stressed out? Not!

0 comments / Nov 29, 2016

Well, the holiday season is upon us once again, time for families to get together and over eat. Watch football, exchange gifts and realize you can’t put off that purchase of new flooring any longer. Your family that you haven’t seen in years is coming town and you’re entering freak out mode. That old nasty carpet you should have changed out during the Bush administration just cannot be tolerated another day. Now with your mother in law and aunt Betty coming to town your going into nesting overdrive. OMG what to do first?!

Image result for happy holidays

The first thing to do is not wait until the last minute. If you’re thinking you can get a good quality product and installation by Thanksgiving you’re probably smoking your turkey (pun intended). This is the busiest time of year for your local flooring dealer as everyone has family coming to town. Everyone is trying to make a good impression with their in laws and put their best foot forward. You’re most likely too late for Thanksgiving but there is still time for the end of the year festivities.

Start looking now! If you’re reading this you’re on the right track. Check out all the selections here at urbanfloor.com and have an idea what you’re looking for before you visit your local dealer. This time of year some dealers have their installation crews booked out 3-4 weeks in advance. So if you start now and do as much preparation before you go shopping you can squeeze that project in on time. Here is a list of a few things to think about before you shop.

  1. What is my budget (how much can I afford to spend)?
  2. What areas of my home are priorities?
  3. Time off work, you will most likely need to take some days off work while the project is being done. New flooring can take from one day to three weeks depending on the scope of work.
  4. Think about preparation to save on cost. Can you move your own furniture? Can you remove and dispose of your old flooring? Doing these will save time and money.
  5. What will I do with my five dogs and six cats?
  6. Expect the unexpected. No matter how good or experienced your dealer representative is when he comes out to measure and evaluate your home. There is a very good chance that some hidden condition may exist under that old carpet that cannot be seen until the day the project starts. Damaged sub floor, uneven dips and humps that carpet and pad will hide from view until removed. Often repair of these conditions must be done before the new floor is installed and this will require extra cost.

Ok so what’s next? Get going the clock is ticking you still have time but time is getting short. This is the best time of year, time for family and friends. Don’t let the enormity of it all stress you out. You have help out there; visit your local Urban Floor Dealer. Let them walk you through the process, it’s not too late to make a great first impression! Hurry the clock is ticking….

Ron Call

Hello Autumn

Out Goes Summer, In Comes Fall

0 comments / Sep 28, 2016

Summer is officially over and we’ve had our fun in the sun. Beach trips, camping, barbecues, all that jazz. It all went by like a blink of an eye and Summer never seems to last long enough nowadays. Back in grade school, summer vacation seemed to last forever and the days never seemed to end. Now it seems like the years are becoming shorter and shorter but maybe that’s just growing up.
Hello Autumn

 

With the end of September Autumn comes into play (or Fall, whichever you prefer) and the weather begins to cool down, school is back in session, and colors change from bright greens to warm oranges. I wholeheartedly believe that the commencement of Fall is the kickoff of our Holiday season, so I have an inclination to become incredibly festive no later than October first. Is that a bit premature? I like to think not. So we’re going to talk about small interior design touches for your entry way to set the mood utilizing the color of your hardwood floor as a staple to create a big impact on your Autumn aesthetic.

 

I like to welcome the seasonal change and embrace the vibe right off the bat by hanging a beautiful wreath and a themed welcome mat outside the front door. As soon as someone approaches the home, they are well aware that this fall inspo isn’t to be taken lightly. These are serious matters and this isn’t a game. Nothing says Autumn celebration décor like foliage and of course welcome mats are always fun. So we’re creating a story before the door is even opened.

 

Now, once you walk in the home, the entry way smells of cinnamon apple cider with the help of a seasonal inspired candle or two. This is where we get a little scientific with our interior design, we want a full sensory experience of fall in the home. If it was at all possible, I’d have small gusts of chilly wind brush the faces of company when entering, followed by the heat of a fireplace, warming and comforting my visitors. That may a bit extreme, but that fantasy-land experience would never be forgotten. I digress.

 

Finally, we can talk about décor. Sure, you can add a pumpkin here or there like everyone else if you want to go the obvious and expected route, however we’re attempting to conceptualize with a higher taste design mindset to capture the aesthetic of Autumn, while at the same time elevating the style component throughout. A printed throw rug or a runner over a color wood floor like our Bach from the Composer collection could be an ideal element to add. The rug wouldn’t necessarily have to be burnt orange in color, you could have a deep forest green, or even a dark shade of purple to contrast the actual “Autumn colors” people associate the season with. Of course if you have a wood floor like our Grant from the Presidential collection, you’d want to stray from darker colors and go with a tan rug or soft light hue of red. You could build around the hardwood/rug combo with a vase filled with a bundle of sticks and a few more pops of color, perhaps a teal or lime green picture frame for a bit more contrast and there you have it. A small base and introduction of Fall themed interior design for your entry way that can continue onto the rest of your home. Even if you aren’t one to redecorate often, these little additions can go a long way in bringing a festive atmosphere to your home. Happy Autumn, friends!

Mood Board

The Three Phases of Flooring Installation by Ron Call

Aug 20, 2016

three phases flooring installationHello there, my name is Ron Call from Urban Floor and today I want to talk about the three phases of flooring installation.

As a flooring professional, when I walk into someone’s home for the first time, just as a guest and not even as a professional, the first place my eyes go are straight to the floor. I can’t help myself; it’s what I do. I assume my dentist looks at people’s teeth when he meets them for the first time. It’s human nature, I guess. Whether the floor is carpet, wood, laminate or tile, I can in tell in seconds whether the installation was done by a professional or a weekend warrior. If it looks like it was done by a weekend warrior, I usually ask, “Who did your floors?” It is so obvious to me when a floor is installed by an amateur homeowner, because the devil is in the details. Most people will not tackle a carpet job on their own unless it’s a drop room or two. Seams are not easy to do if you don’t have the experience. A loose, wavy install that has not been power-stretched can be seen from miles away. Likewise on hard surface installations like wood, laminate, tile and vinyl, properly installed baseboards, moldings and undercut door jambs are the difference between a million-dollar install and the headache of callbacks, repairs and an unhappy customer.

The Three Phases of Flooring Installation

Phase 1
There are basically three phases to a flooring installation (phase one, floor prep, and phase three, the finishing details, are the most important). Phase one, floor prep, means making sure your substrate is clean, flat and dry. This is critical to any installation. For soft surfaces, making sure you have backed up or replaced any loose tack strip or old metals will make your carpet job smooth and relatively stress-free. There is nothing more frustrating when you are power-stretching carpet than to have popping tack strip.

For hard surface installations, not properly flattening, sealing and prepping your floor is usually the difference between being a pro anda weekend warrior. If while working on a floating install, you feel like you’re walking on a trampoline, then you probably left your 10’ straight edge at home. At this point you better stop what you’re doing, go home and get it. Pull up what you have done and fix it now, as fixing it later will take much more time and cost much more money.

Phase 2

Phase two is the actual installation of the floor. Sure, it looks pretty easy when you watch them do it on the DIY channel, which is why so many homeowner’s attempt to do it themselves. How hard can it be, right? Well, what they don’t realize is when you are paying for a quality installation, you are really paying for an excellent job not just in phase two, the install, but phases one (floor prep) and phase three (finishing details).

Phase 3
Properly installed base boards, quarter round, base shoe, T-moldings, baby thresholds, scribe moldings and other trims (all part of phase three) will make the difference between a happy customer and a callback, and set you apart from the DIYers. If you really want to set yourself apart from other installers, learn to stain and finish your own trims. To really wow them, learn how to cut hard returns on baseboard and shoe moldings.

Just because the manufacturer and retailer sold a 3” wide baby threshold as a transition at the sliding glass door does not mean it will look as good as a small scribe molding that you stained to match. If you’re not comfortable staining your own scribe molding, you might be able to take the prefinished baby threshold provided and rip it on a table saw to create your own prefinished scribe molding. I installed a baby threshold at a sliding glass door once and my customer told me it looked like an aircraft carrier on his hardwood floor. Compared to a small scribe molding I could hardly disagree.

Dealing With Transitions

floor transitions 101
Transitions like T-moldings and reducers can be tricky, especially when working with a concrete subfloor where pin nailing them down is not an option. Most installers will use a good construction adhesive and blue painter’s tape to secure them in place while the adhesive cures. However, when installing multiple pieces (for example at a tile, carpet or stone transition where there are angles such as a fireplace or tile entryway) the installer often finds the next day, after the adhesive has cured, that the pieces have shifted and become misaligned. Or maybe there are gaps.

This often necessitates buying new moldings and starting over, as removal at this point almost always results in breakage. This is often caused by someone stepping on the moldings before the adhesive has had time to fully cure, or the trim piece was slightly bowed and lifted up off the floor and the tape could not hold it.

The Trick to Floor Transitions

A simple method to prevent this is to purchase a $20 hot-melt glue gun from your local hardware store. When applying your construction adhesive, leave a small area on both ends of each piece and a small spot in the middle of the channel where the glue is to be applied. This is where you will place dollops of thermal-plastic glue.

Apply the construction adhesive first; making sure your molding is cut properly. (Dry fit first.) Then quickly place the hot-melt glue in the three spots where there is no construction adhesive. Quickly place the molding in place and hold in securely for about three minutes while the thermalplastic glue sets up (cools).The thermalplastic glue will hold the molding in place until the construction adhesive has had time to cure. No need for blue tape on transitions any more. This method will also save a trip back the next day to do a carpet re-tack after the construction adhesive cures.

The hot-melt glue once cooled will hold the carpet reducer in place, allowing for a carpet re-tack before the construction adhesive fully cures. Using the hot-melt glue gun will save you hundreds of dollars a year on callbacks, blue tape, replacing shifted moldings and trip charges for re-tacks.

Be sure and carry plenty of colors of wood putty and caulking. Putty any gaps and nail holes, and caulk the tops of your baseboards and around toilets and at bathtubs. Undercut your door jambs and keep your blades sharp. Doing all this leads to happy customers, which leads to more customers.

The Devil is in the Details – Don’t Cut Corners

Remember – the devils in the details so don’t cut corners. Make yourself a master of phase one and phase three; most anyone can do phase two in a pinch. You are not getting paid just for mastering one of the phases. You are getting paid to be a master of all three.

Interesting Hardwood Flooring Statistics – 2016

Jul 29, 2016

hardwood flooring industry news 2016We’re now a little over halfway through the year, and since January there have been a few reports released revealing various stats in the hardwood flooring industry that provide some great insight into what homeowners prefer and where the trends are headed.

What’s the Industry Show?

According to a report* published by Hardwood Floors Mag, the Magazine of the National Wood Flooring Association, there are many stats that’d we like to cover specifically.

1. Hardwood Floor Sales Are Up!

Distributors mentioned that a whopping 66% increase in the dollar value of sales occurred in 2015. Prior to that, an 84% increase had occurred in 2014. In short, hardwood floor sales are on a steady climb & we’re eager to see where the results will land from surveys distributed this year.

2. Highest Purchased Wood Flooring Species

From the report, distributors mentioned that 33% of their hardwood floor sales came from white oak species (a great example of this is our Chene collection), and 32% came from red oak species. Oak continues to stay a dominant choice for many hardwood floor owners. Homeowners should keep this in mind!

3. Highest Purchased Finish Sold

Hardwood floors come packed with a few different types of finishes to give them the beautiful, captivating look people desire. In this year’s report, hardwood floor sales consisted of 35% oil-modified finishes, and 49% were water-based finishes.

See: Oil-Based Finishes for Hardwood Floors.

Types of Hardwood Flooring Sold

While we’re huge advocates of engineered wood flooring for a variety of reasons, sales from hardwood floors consisted of 62% solid hardwood floors, and 38% engineered hardwood floors. This number will continue to grow as more contractors, homeowners, and distributors see the value and benefits gained from using engineered hardwood floors.

There’s a lot of other great information to check out in the report, we only merely covered the surface. The entire report may be found here.

*Please note that the statistics covered in this article were published in 2016, but taken from surveys completed in 2015.

“Why Can’t I Just Install Hardwood Floors Myself?”

Jul 29, 2016

diy hardwood floor installationUnfortunately, installing hardwood floors is not as easy as taking a staple gun and connecting boards together. The process is much more complicated. And in certain conditions and climates, it can add an extra layer of difficulty.

So, before you decide to Youtube a bunch of videos that lay out exactly how to install your new hardwood floors, here are a few things to consider first and foremost.

Why We Recommend Against Installing Hardwood Floors Yourself

1. The raw materials are not as easy to replace in case you make a mistake.

Unlike painting a wall, or replacing your kitchen cabinets, the raw materials of hardwood floors are expensive. This means that if you decide to take the task upon yourself and run into a mistake along the way requiring you to use another board, you’ll be making costly mistakes.

2. Special tools are required.

You’re going to need a lot more than just a hammer and nail to get the job done. Many power and hand tools are required for a successful installation of hardwood floors. Just to give you an idea, here’s a list of tools required on the job:

• Saws of all types (i.e. Circular, Table, Jig, Miter, etc) for getting the right dimensions of boards and planks
• Hygrometers for testing moisture levels – very important
• Glue adhesives
• Floor leveling tools
• Air compressors
• Nail guns
• Staplers
• Sanders
• Buffers
• Adhesive removers & glue adhesives
• Knee pads to prevent wear and tear on your knees

Many other tools are required; this is just a basic list of what’s needed. Chances are, you won’t really be saving much money in the long run if you decide to install hardwood floors yourself, but lack all of the necessary tools.

3. Extra working knowledge is required.

If you’re literally working from scratch without having any prior knowledge of either hardwood floors or installation projects in general, then the likelihood of making a costly mistake along the way will be very high. We don’t recommend this be a project you decide to challenge yourself on, unless you truly know what you are doing.

You’ll need to know information such as how to center rooms, how much space should be left for gaps, how do I work around closets, fireplaces, staircases, etc.

The Safest Bet is to Hire a Professional & May Save You Money As Well

By leaving the entire job to a professional, you’ll be certain to have the job done well & correctly from the start. If any mistakes happen, it’s on the professional to correct them on their own dime.

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