FAQ at Weston Floors
What you should know about Engineered Wood Floors?
Oftentimes consumers can confuse engineered wood floors with different kinds of floors like laminate or veneer. However, engineered wood floors are actually just like wood floors, with added strength and sturdiness thanks to the multiple layering method that is used to make them. The National Wood Flooring Association describes engineered wood floors as “real wood floors that are manufactured using three to nine layers of different wood veneers.” The top layer is what you see like Oak, Maple, or Walnut.
The middle layers and back layers consist of various species of wood carefully selected for dimensional stability. Because the grain of each layer runs in different directions (unlike solid hardwood which is a continuous chunk of wood), engineered wood flooring is very durable and sturdy, and is also less susceptible to shrinking and expanding with changes in temperature and humidity.
Engineered wood flooring also works well in kitchens, basements, and bathrooms where light moisture might be present. When installed by a professional, engineered wood can be re-finished two to three times in its lifetime depending on its wear layer. This is better for the environment and uses four times less of each log than solid hardwood floors. Based on the most popular questions designers hear most, here are five essentials of engineered wood floors you need to know to help consumers make the best selection for their home:
- Quality: Most people are overly concerned about the quality of finish; however, always start with what the construction of the product itself. Look for an engineered flooring that is made from high-quality plywood over soft. The lower-grade kinds are more likely to delaminate.
- Durability: While engineered wood floors due hold up more against moisture than real hardwood, it’s still critical to read the manufacturer’s instructions and warranties regarding humidity level as well as installations over radiant heat.
- Safety: For those who are very conscious of indoor quality and worried about emissions, know that, overall, the engineered flooring sold in the United States is extremely safe. Two things you can look for are for statements from: CARB (California Air Resource Board) or programs based on California Section 03150.
- Veneers: There are three basic types of wear layers: sawn, sliced and peeled. The construction may be different, but to the consumer, what they often ask is “does it look the same as hardwood?” A sawn face has more the look of a solid floor but with the stability of an engineered floor. Sliced faces combine the appearance of solid wood with the technical improvements of a veneer. Rotary peeled faces appear somewhat different from a solid wood floor to the trained eye, but the average eye wouldn’t be able to tell.
- Warranties: Most warranties have two main parts: structural and finish. Always be sure to review these carefully to ensure that your homeowners choose the best floor for their home and are happy with the results.
How do I clean my hardwood floor?
One of customers top questions is always “How do I clean my hardwood floors?” Here are our must-known tricks for keeping hardwood floors looking good with smart cleaning methods that will make caring and maintaining them easy.
One simple way to speed up the cleaning process is to first dust the floor with a mop that has been treated with a dusting agent to pick up dust, dirt, and pet hair that scratch the floor surface overtime. For basic weekly care, we suggest using a vacuum with a floor-brush attachment or an electric broom. In a pinch, disposable electrostatic cloths can also be used.
Overtime, dirt, oil, and grime can build up, which is when a deeper cleaning method than dust mopping will be needed. Years ago, vinegar and water was basically all we had for cleaning wood floors with a non-wax finish, which can actually make a finish look dull or even damage it. Thankfully, in today’s world of wood flooring we have plenty of specialized wood-cleaning products available. To keep floors looking as good as possible for the long term, it’s best to use a professional cleaner for the occasional heavy duty cleaning.
A bit of baking soda on a damp sponge should do the trick to remove any unsightly scuff marks. For surface stains on hardwood floors with a hard finish such as urethane, a soft, clean cloth can be used to wipe them away. (Sandpaper, steel wool, or harsh chemical on such a surface can damage the finish). If hardwood floors have a soft-oiled finish, steel wool with floor wax can lift dark spots, pet stains, and water marks, but for oil-based stains, try a dab of dishwashing detergent to help break down the grease and rinse with clean water. If needed, follow up with waxing and buffing the spot to match the rest of the floor.
How to prevent Wood Floor Problems:
When shopping for hardwood flooring, seasonal changes in weather is one of the most important factors customers need to consider. During warm, humid weather, wood expand; and when the weather is dry, wood contracts. This is normal, regardless of the wood’s age. One of the best ways to ensure wood floors remain at their peak performance and trouble-free is to install humidity controls. Here, what to look for and what to do to keep wood floors in tip-top shape.
Cracks and Separations Between Boards
Separation between boards occurs with nearly every wood floor. In winter, when the air is dry and homes are heated, wood flooring loses some of its moisture and therefore contracts, which causes thin cracks to appear. Come spring, when the weather warms up and humidity sets in, the cracks close up. Prevent It: An easy way to help keep cracks from occurring during dry periods is to open up the dishwasher after a rinse cycle or switch off the bathroom fan. In homes with a furnace, hanging laundry to dry nearby can also help restore moisture in the air, and even better is installing a humidifier or an exterior vent by it.
Cupping and Crowning
Both cupping (when the edges of a board are high and its center is lower) and crowning (when the bottoms of the boards eventually dry and flatten and the board’s center is higher than the edges) occur across the width of the flooring material, especially with high humidity. Prevent It: The first step to fix cupping is to identify and eliminate the moisture source. Sometimes, homeowners may choose to recoat or sand and refinish the floor; however, if floors aren’t thoroughly tried, then crowning can occur. This is why it’s important to always remind homeowners the fact that these slight changes are normal and to always wait for floors to be dried before doing any refinishing.
Buckling happens most often after a floor is flooded for a time. On nailed floors, insufficient nailing, incorrect nails or incorrect subfloor construction can also cause it. One glue-down floors, the use of incorrect or insufficient mastics or inadequate mastics transfer, or a subfloor separation or contamination can also create buckling. Prevent It: The best way to keep buckling from happening is to remove standing water immediately. Once this is done, then several boards may be taken to circulate air across and below the floor more effectively. When floor is thoroughly dried, any necessary repairs or board replacements can usually be made.
How does the subfloor need to be constructed for laminate installation?
The subfloor should be constructed so that the laminate floor can be installed according to the installation guide from the manufacturer. For a laminate installation, mineral subfloors (such as stone screed, concrete, or asphalt) wood composite constructions and wooden floorboards are best.
Can I install a laminate floor in the bathroom?
No, a laminate floor is not suitable for damp rooms such as a bathroom or sauna.
What kind of laminate cleaner should I use?
When choosing a laminate cleaner, we recommend that you choose one that does not contain any waxes or oil. Oil and wax cannot penetrate the bonded laminate surface and thus they tend to lie on top of the laminate surface in a greasy film. This film causes smears during cleaning and leaves foot marks when walking across the laminate floor.
What's the difference between Porcelain and Ceramic Tile?
A common dilemma when it comes to choosing tiles is whether to pick ceramic or porcelain. What is the difference? Which do I need? Is one better than the other? These are questions we get asked regularly so let us take away any doubts and answer them for you.
The quick, we need to buy tiles now answer
Although they look the same, the main difference between ceramic and porcelain tiles is that a porcelain tile is denser and less porous than a ceramic tile. In simple terms this means a porcelain tile is much more hard wearing and suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, the extra density is a result of a slightly different manufacturing process.
Whilst ceramic tiles are only recommended for interior walls and floors, porcelain tiles are a more popular choice for floors that anticipate heavier traffic; we’re talking kitchen floors, hallways and commercial applications as they are increasingly resistant to scratching and chipping.
There are two types of porcelain tiles – through-body porcelain and glazed porcelain. Through-body porcelain is where the tile has no glaze so the colour/design is the same all the way through so if there was any wear or chips to the tile it’d be very difficult to see.
Glazed porcelain is where the tile has been manufactured with a glaze applied to the tile face. In this case the body of the tile is just as hard wearing as a through body porcelain however the glaze has the same characteristics as the glaze on a ceramic tile.
The full and frank answer: It’s all in the manufacturing…
Ceramic tiles are made from natural clay with a durable glaze; the biscuit of the tile is baked to reduce water content. Next the design is added to the same biscuit before it’s baked again in a kiln at a high temperature.
Porcelain tiles are also made from natural clay but of a denser nature, finely ground sand is also added into the manufacturing mix. This mixture is then pressed and fired at a much higher temperature than ceramic tiles, and also for longer to remove almost all of the water content.
Let’s talk PEI ratings
The Porcelain Enamel Institute rating (PEI rating) is a great tool to help you determine the recommended application for a tile. All tiles are classified with a PEI rating and the scale is as follows:
PEI 0 – No foot traffic (wall tile only)
PEI 1 – Very light traffic (e.g. bathroom)
PEI 2 – Light traffic (e.g. bathroom and bedroom)
PEI 3 – Light to moderate traffic (e.g. most domestic floors)
PEI 4 – Moderate to heavy traffic (e.g. entrance, hallway, kitchen, balcony and some commercial applications)
PEI 5 – Heavy traffic (all domestic/commercial uses with heavy abrasion/footfall)
Most ceramic floor tiles will carry a PEI rating from 3 to 4 with porcelain tiles ranging from PEI 3 to 5. Still unsure which tile you should be using where? Make full use of our expertise and get in touch with a member of our customer service team who’ll be able to help you.
Choose a tile that’s in keeping with your home, style and lifestyle. You want to choose a tile that’ll stand the test of time, not just in the fashion department but in terms of practicality too. If you’re tiling a conservatory or kitchen, have dogs and children then you’ll want to pick a porcelain tile for extra durability. Renovating a tired bathroom? Pick any tile you love the design of, whether it’s porcelain or ceramic.
How to take Care and Maintenance of Tile Floors?
Tile is known for its water resistance and easy cleaning. With the right maintenance routine, your tile floors, walls, and countertops will look great and last for years.
Sweep or vacuum floors to remove any dust or debris before using any cleaning products. Damp-mop your tile floor at least once each week (more frequently for heavy traffic areas) to decrease wear and abrasion from grit and soil.
Clean regularly with an all-purpose, non-oil-based household cleaner that’s compatible with cleaning grout joints. Use an everyday multipurpose spray cleaner to remove soap scum, hard water deposits, and mildew on wall tiles in your bath or shower.
Use concentrated tile cleaners that have a neutral pH for regular cleaning. These will safely remove grease, oils, and normal spills—just check to be sure the cleaner is intended for the application, use, and traffic level. Clean glass tile with any nonabrasive cleaner recommended for either glass or tile.
Tips for Preventing Damage
Test scouring powders and sealants on a small area before cleaning the full area.
Use a sealer on grout joints shortly after installation and use products compatible with cleaning grout joints.
After cleaning, rinse the entire area with clear water to remove any cleaning solution residue.
Have any damaged or broken tile removed and replaced only by a qualified tile contractor.
Invest in high-quality floor mats and protective pads under heavy furniture for an extra layer of protection to your tile floors. Place floor mats at entrances and exits—they collect and trap corrosive substances that can be tracked in, like dirt, sand, oil, grit, asphalt, or even driveway sealer. Placing mats in high-traffic areas—in front of vanities, kitchen sinks, and stoves—is an effective way to reduce tile wear.
What to Avoid
Any cleaners containing acid or bleach shouldn’t be used for routine maintenance.
Avoid wax-based cleaners and oil-based detergents, and use sealants on grout joints only.
Harsh cleaning aids like steel wool pads or any scouring pads containing metal shouldn’t be used on tile.
Unglazed tile should not be cleaned with an agent that contains color.