Find answers to the most commonly-asked questions about LA carpet, laminate, vinyl, tile, stone and hardwood flooring selections.
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WHAT IS ENGINEERED WOOD?
Engineered wood floors are real wood floors that are manufactured using multiple layers of wood veneers. The layers that you can’t see can be of the same species, or of different species. The grain of each layer runs in perpendicular directions, which makes it very dimensionally stable. This means that the wood will expand and contract less than solid wood flooring during fluctuations in humidity and temperature. Engineered floors can be nailed or stapled to a wood subfloor or glued down to a wood or concrete subfloor. This makes engineered wood floors ideal for slab and basement installations, but they can be used in any room above, on or below grade. While this type of flooring can be sanded and refinished, it cannot be done as many times as solid wood flooring.
WHAT IS THE JANKA SCALE?
Wood floors are extremely durable. They can stand up to the busy lifestyles of today’s modern family and continue to look beautiful for decades. Wood species are rated for hardness and durability. The Janka Scale gives a good indication of how a wood species can be expected to perform based on your lifestyle because it rates the relative hardness of the wood. The higher the number, the harder the wood therefore the longer lifespan of the wood. The Janka Hardness Test measures the force required to drive a .444-inch steel ball into the wood until half the diameter of the ball is embedded in the wood. This should only be used as a general guide when comparing various species of wood flooring. Depending on where the wood is harvested, results may vary.
WILL MY WOOD FLOORS CHANGE COLOR WITH TIME?
Wood floors are one of the few flooring options that become more beautiful with age. Like all-natural things that experience change over time, wood floors will experience subtle color changes as they age. This is a natural process that will add to the beauty and character of the floor. Different species of wood flooring will experience color changes at different rates. In general, more-common species such as oak and hickory will experience minimal color change over time, while less-common species, like American cherry and Brazilian cherry will show more color change over time. These changes are natural but can be minimized with a little prevention. Two factors influence color changes in wood floors: sun exposure and the finish that is applied to the floor. Over time, prolonged sun exposure will cause wood floors to change color. Think about how skin reacts when exposed to sunlight. Wood reacts in much the same way, and you can minimize this effect by periodically moving rugs and furniture to limit that exposure. The second factor that can cause wood floors to change color over time is the finish used. Oil-modified finishes will amber over time, giving the floor a slightly yellow appearance. In contrast, water-based finishes generally will remain clear over time, minimizing long-term color changes.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT PEI PORCELAIN TILE RATINGS AND WHAT DO THEY MEAN?
As with any product decision for your home, it’s important to select the right tile for the use you have in mind. Although you can easily use a floor tile on the walls, not all wall tiles are suitable for floors and able to withstand the impact of foot traffic, high heel shoes and other floor-intense action. The PEI Rating, though, will help you evaluate your ceramic and porcelain tile choices. This system was developed by the Porcelain Enamel Institute and indicates a tile’s resistance to abrasion and likelihood to wear under use. It is the most effective way to determine how suitable a particular ceramic or porcelain tile is for its intended use. PEI I – tile has lowest wear resistance and is suitable for wall use only PEI II – tile has low wear resistance and is suitable for wall use and for floor areas with light traffic such as residential bathrooms PEI III – tile has moderate wear resistance and is suitable for all residential uses and in commercial areas where light to moderate foot traffic is anticipated PEI IV – tile has high wear resistance and is suitable for all residential uses and all medium commercial and light industrial uses PEI V – tile has highest wear resistance and is suitable for all residential, commercial and industrial uses
WHAT IS VINYL PLANK FLOOR OR WPC?
WPC Vinyl Flooring, which stands for Wood Plastic Composite, is an engineered, luxury vinyl plank flooring option that has been newly introduced into the market. The main difference with this flooring is the technologically advanced construction. A WPC vinyl product is manufactured with a wood-plastic composite backing instead of a solid PVC backing. The engineered backing combines recycled wood pulp and plastic composites to form a bond of strength and stability. This is then topped with a standard vinyl top layer. A WPC vinyl is thicker than your traditional vinyl, so you’ll have a similar feel to a laminate. Just like a standard vinyl floor, WPC vinyl flooring is water-proof and will not be damaged in the event of a spill or moisture. WPC flooring is a plank system with a glue-less locking system like a laminate installation. Another perk is not needing an underlayment for installation! Benefits of WPC Vinyl Flooring, or engineered luxury vinyl, includes: • WPC’s core is constructed of recycled wood, virgin vinyl, and limestone for ultimate stability • 100% waterproof, environmentally sustainable construction with extruded waterproof core • No swelling when exposed to water • Angle-Angle (Tap Lock) glue-less locking system • Underlayment is not required for installation • Ability to install over another floor • Easy to install and maintain • Limited expansion and contraction with temperature changes
HOW WILL COLOR AFFECT THE OVERALL LOOK OF MY SPACE?
Selecting tile color is ultimately a personal choice. However, here are some guidelines: • Light tile colors can make spaces – especially small ones – look bigger and airier. • Dark tile colors can make spaces look smaller and warmer. They also hide dirt. • Warm colors such as ones with yellows, oranges and even reds can add a feeling of warmth to a space. • Cool colors such as blues and greens can make a space feel cool. • Neutral colors can create a backdrop for bold accessories that you change or update regularly. Generally, using the same color and style of floor tile on the walls also contributes to a sense of spaciousness which you can enhance using a similarly colored grout. When considering tile color, you’ll want to think about shade variation and how much you are comfortable with. Both natural stone and manmade tiles are subject to manufacturing and quarrying variations. In other words, color and shade may vary from production lot to production lot and even in the same run. The actual design style of the tile may also include considerable variation. For that reason, the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association developed the tile shade variation rating system as follows: V1 = UNIFORM APPEARANCE – Differences among pieces from the same production run are minimal. V2 = SLIGHT VARIATION – Clearly distinguishable differences in texture and/or pattern with similar colors. V3 = MODERATE VARIATION – While the colors present on a single piece of tile will be indicative of the colors to be expected on the other tiles, the amount of colors on each piece will vary significantly. V4 = SUBSTANTIAL VARIATION – Random color differences from tile to tile, so that one tile may have totally different colors from that on other tiles. Thus, the final installation will be unique.
HOW WILL THE SHAPE AND SIZE OF TILE AFFECT THE FINAL APPEARANCE?
As with tile color, the tile size you choose is ultimately your personal preference. However, here are some guidelines: • Smaller tile makes a space look smaller and busier. • With small tiles, you’ll have more grout lines. • Larger tiles make a space look bigger. • With large tiles, you’ll have fewer grout lines. As you evaluate the space you are tiling, consider whether the floor or wall will require much cutting to accommodate fixtures. Smaller tiles can be more flexible from that perspective. However, the larger format tiles can be cut to smaller sizes. A large floor space allows you to work with patterns and different formats of a same tile.
HOW DO I MAINTAIN MY WPC FLOORING?
Use doormats outside each entrance to your home to prevent dirt, sand, grit and other substances such as oil, asphalt and driveway sealer from being tracked onto your floor. Use non-staining mats on your floor. Do not put rubber-backed, latex-backed or coco fiber mats on your floor because they will stain or damage the surface. To minimize potential staining from asphalt tracking, we suggest you use a latex-based driveway sealer on your driveway. Close your curtains or blinds where extreme sunlight hits the floor. A combination of heat and sunlight causes most home furnishings to fade or discolor. Support furniture with wide-bearing, non-staining floor protectors. Ideally, the protectors should be at least one inch in diameter, made of non-pigmented hard plastic, and rest flat on the floor. Non-staining felt protectors are also acceptable. Casters with a minimum 3/4″ flat surface width or floor protectors are recommended for all moveable furniture. Make sure any metal protectors are rust-proof. Replace your narrow dome furniture rests with wide-bearing ones. If you need to move heavy furniture and/or appliances across the floor, always use strips of wood or hardboard runways to protect the floor. Always use runways even if you have an appliance dolly, or even if the heavy objects are equipped with wheels or rollers. • Sweep your floor regularly (at least once per week). • Prevent stains by wiping up spills promptly. Occasional mopping is recommended when dirt builds up and sweeping alone is not sufficient. Use a solution of 25% white vinegar in warm water. Do not use soap or detergent products as they will leave a dulling film. Most floors are low-gloss floors; use polish or “mop and shine” products only if you wish to make the floor shiny. After several applications of polish for a high-shine floor, an occasional stripping and reapplication of polish may be necessary.
HOW LONG BEFORE NEW GROUT CURES AND IS READY TO BE WET CLEANED BY THE HOME OWNER?
Even though your grout looks dry, wet cleaning it to early or sealing it before it’s ready may damage it, leading to premature failure and discoloration. Most cement-based grouts require a cure time of 48 to 72 hours before wet cleaning it.
HOW DO I MAINTAIN MY WOOD FLOORS?
All hardwood floors should be cleaned regularly. To accomplish that, simply sweep, dust mop or vacuum the floors with the beater bar turned off to remove dirt and grit from between the floor boards. Avoid using a wet mop or steam mop on hardwood floors as water and steam can dull the finish, or even damage the wood over long periods of time. Place throw rugs at all entrances, avoiding those with rubber backs, which can discolor wood floors. Special rug mats can be purchased from a wood flooring retailer that will protect the floors from discoloration. Throw rugs will help keep outside dirt and other debris from scratching the floors. Scratches also can be prevented by placing floor protector pads on the bottoms of the legs of any furniture that comes into direct contact with the floors. When spills occur, be sure to clean them immediately with a dry or slightly damp cloth. Allowing spills to remain on the wood floors could damage the finish, and possibly the wood. Avoid walking on the floors with sports cleats or high heel shoes that are in disrepair. These can scratch the finish, or even dent the floor. Finally, when the floor begins to look a little dull, use a wood flooring cleaner recommended by your installer to renew the luster. Be sure to use the product as directed and use only products that are compatible with your wood floor as using the wrong type of cleaning product could damage the finish, and possibly damage the wood as well.
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What Others Are Saying About LA
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I love my new floors! The installers are true craftsmen – skilled in their profession, focused, thorough, and very considerate of being in a customer’s home. The office people are equally excellent. So glad I chose LA Flooring!
We have had LA Flooring install both carpet and vinyl flooring in our condo. They were very knowledgeable and helpful in helping us select the product for the surface that we had. We would definitely recommend LA Flooring after our very positive experience.
We had luxury vinyl plank and carpeting done in several rooms of our home. The process was smooth, the staff was always knowledgeable and helpful. They gave excellent suggestions of things to consider when choosing colors and types of flooring.