Products to Avoid Using on Hardwood Floors

Products to Avoid Using on Hardwood Floors

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Hardwood floors are a beautiful choice for flooring. Their durability and value retention are just a couple of the many reasons to use them. It’s good practice to clean once or twice a week to keep things nice and tidy. That said, care must be taken to not damage them when trying to do so. The use of the wrong product can  stain, scratch, weaken, or even destroy the boards over time. In this article, we will go over all the products you should avoid using, as well as talk about what you should be using instead.

Avoid Wet Mops

One of the worst things you can use on your floor is something you may be completely unaware of being a problem. Wood naturally absorbs water, especially when not given a good enough finish. By using a wet mop and bucket, much of the water you’re using on the surface to remove grime is going to get soaked up into the boards. This will cause the boards to swell, bend, and eventually even pop out of alignment altogether.

What to do instead

Start by vacuuming up the floor. Ditch the water entirely. Instead, use a dry microfiber mop head to sweep up the dirt, then follow it up with either a specially wetted microfiber mop head that uses proper wood floor cleaning solution. We recommend using the MacWoods hardwood floor cleaner as the cleaning solution for this case. If you don’t have the special mop or cleaning solution, the next best thing would be to lightly dampen a cloth with warm water before wiping down the floor. Excessive water can cause damage.

Don’t Use Steam to Clean

You should never use a steamer on your hardwood. This is a recipe for destruction, as just like with a wet mop, will eventually cause water damage and warp the boards. It’s actually even worse than a mop, as the water isn’t just passively sitting on top of the boards, but actively superheated and injected right between them. This will cause the wood to peel, flake, discolor, not to mention all the problems caused by just a wet mop alone.

What to use instead

As before, use a wood floor cleaning solution instead. If you’re steaming because you’re trying to clean a certain spot, just get down and use a rag with the solution. A little elbow grease often does the best job.

Vacuums Can Be Bad, Too

Vacuums are great for getting up all kinds of different dirt and debris. The problem isn’t the suction itself, but rather the beater bars as well as the hard plastic wheels on the back of the unit. Just like how you wouldn’t want to use a rolling office chair on hardwood without a rug, so too would you want to avoid using a vacuum without proper padding. 

What to use instead

A dustpan and broom will often work best here. You also can use a vacuum if you really want to, but If you’re going to use one, make sure that it has soft rubber wheels and that you turn off the beater bar before going over the wood. Use caution and you should be fine.

Using the Wrong Cleaning Solution

This is a situation where it may not even necessarily be your fault. There are a dearth of cleaning solutions that market themselves as safe to use on wood when they aren’t safe for that at all. Knowing what to use and what to avoid is vital for the longevity of the wood. The following is a list of the solutions that we don’t recommend you use.

Polishes

While this won’t necessarily damage your wood, it’s usually a bad idea to use it. While it will initially make the boards look brand new, it won’t last long. Eventually, it will lose the shine and leave an ugly and waxy floor. This now useless coating will need to be entirely sanded off before you can put any new coat on. Just steer clear if you can help it.

Ammonia

This is a solid NEVER for wood. Ammonia has tons of different uses all throughout the house, but hardwood floors are not one of them. The chemical will outright damage the wood by dissolving the very fibers in it, keeping it intact. 

Bleach

Speaking of bleach, this is another one for the “AVOID AT ALL COSTS” list. It can discolor the boards permanently, even when used in small amounts. There is no good use-case for this product on hardwood floors, you’re only setting yourself up for failure.

[Source: Unsplash]

Vinegar

Using vinegar and water as a homemade hardwood floor cleaning solution can have a negative effect on your hardwood floor. It’s important to remember that when you clean your hardwood floors, you aren’t actually cleaning the wood—you are cleaning the chemical finish on the wood. The finish is the protective layer of your hardwood floors.

Windex (And the Like)

It’s more useless than anything. Not only does this usually contain abrasive ingredients just like in ammonia that damage the floor, but it also won’t do much of anything beyond that. The cleaner simply isn’t designed to get anything off wood. If you want to use a spray, use the MacDonald Hardwoods Floor Cleaner. Take some of it and pour it into a spray bottle, then spray away. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe it off when done. This is much more effective, lets you tackle the problem the same way, and comes with none of the risks.

What Should I Use Instead?

MacDonald Hardwood Floor Cleaner, which you can pick up in our store, is a great option for cleaning hardwood floors. If you can’t get a hold of that, you can use a damp cloth (ideally, a microfiber cloth) with warm water to clean. 

Conclusion

Your wood floor is precious. It has a value that, when properly taken care of, can last full generations. As much as wood floors are usually known for being durable, there are still plenty of ways to successfully damage them, as outlined in this article. By avoiding the products listed here, you will be saving the value of your home, not to mention avoiding unnecessary repair costs.

Protecting Hardwood Floors From Furniture

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In the world of floor care, importance is often emphasized on protecting your hardwood floor from getting scratched and damaged by your furniture. All it takes is one careless drag of the chair across the floor to potentially leave a permanent mark on the wood. 

In this article, we will go over everything you need to know about good floor-friendly habits that will keep your hardwood looking as spotless as the day they were installed. Let’s get started. 

Take Off Your Shoes

This is already fairly common in many eastern countries. By taking off your shoes before stepping into a room in general, you’re preventing yourself from tracking in dirt and grime from outside. For hardwood floors specifically, the tracked-in moisture can seep into the floorboards and further damage them. Consider installing a shoe organizer of some kind so that you aren’t just leaving your shoes in a random corner.

Pick It Up

The simplest tip you can follow for keeping your floors unmarred involves simply being extra careful. Rather than dragging your couch across the floor when it comes time to redecorate, instead enlist somebody to help you carry the other end of it so that no part of the couch is touching the floor. You can’t leave marks if it never meets the floor in the first place!

Don’t Use Wheeled Furniture

The hard plastic wheels on your office chair, bench, or any such furnishing will quickly cause scratches if you’re just rolling around on it without protection. It’s just a terrible idea that you will regret as soon as you start doing it.

Buy an Area Rug

Area rugs are a good option if used strategically. By keeping your furniture on an area rug, you create a gap between the floor and legs of the furniture. In addition to protecting from scratches, it will also help keep dirt and other junk from getting spread all over the floor. Not to mention that a rug on top of a hardwood floor is always a pleasing visual. Don’t cover the entirety of your beautiful hardwood floor, only the places that have furniture on them. 

Redo the Finish Periodically

Over time, there is a small possibility that the finish can start to have small imperfections. When this happens, the floor in those spots becomes a little more susceptible to damage than it already was. When you start to see light scratches appear, that’s your cue that it’s time to get the finish redone. This will not only restore protection, but depending on the finish, it may even buff out many of the lighter scratches completely.

[Source: Unsplash]

Furniture Pads

Now the big one. If you’re not going to use a carpet, and often even if you do, you should also consider putting protectors on the bottom of the furniture legs to keep them from scratching the wood. If you’re really cheap, there’s always the old tennis ball trick when you put holes in them and then stick them on the ends of the legs, but there are much more elegant ways to do this than that.

Tap-On

A Tap-On protector is held on by a small tack or a hollowed-out nail. These are the most secure method of attaching pads. You will still need to be wary about breaking the pads however, as if the nail gets exposed, you will definitely get scratches in the floor.

Self-Adhesive

Self-Adhesive pads are the cheapest and easiest to find. All you need to do to attach them is peel off the paper or plastic cover and adhere it to the bottom of the legs. The downside to this convenience is that it won’t last nearly as long. Check on them periodically to ensure they’re still attached propyl and aren’t getting dirty.

Slip-On

These protectors work exactly like they sound. You just slide them right over the legs, like socks. Assuming they fit, they strike a good balance between durability and secureness.

There are also material types for the pads to consider.

Plastic

Plastic covers should generally be avoided if at all possible. They will wear down the finish on the hardwood over time and even create scratches – the very thing you’re trying to prevent.

Rubber

Rubber is a much better option, though not perfect. It’s best used on furniture like couches, anything that isn’t going to be moved too often. If you do use it on things like chairs, move them carefully, as you may leave scuff marks in the wood. On the up side, you will find it very difficult for it to slide around thanks to the rubber.

Felt

Felt pads are usually the best choice for hardwood. Their softness will prevent the finish on the wood from wearing out and there’s no real chance of any gouges being made. Just make sure you get pads that are decently thick, as ones that are too thin can wear down quickly and expose the legs back to the wood again.

Consider “Furniture Traffic”

 How often you’re moving your furniture around is a major factor in choosing what type of padding will be best for your situation. As you see, there is a wide array of different options for different use cases to consider. There are a few areas in particular where furniture traffic becomes the most important.

The dining room and kitchen space is one such location. Failing to choose the right pad for this will be the most disastrous as it’s typically where the most furniture movement is taking place. Self-Adhesive and Slip-On pads are going to wear down faster, so make sure you’re replacing them as needed.

The family room is another important place. Kids may be jumping about on the couch, as well as people simply throwing themselves onto it after a long day. These actions will shove around the furniture rather violently depending on their weight, so choosing a rubber pad may be the best option here. 

Conclusion

As you now understand, there are plenty of great ways to keep your hardwood floors safe no matter the occasion or situation. Homeowners have long since dealt with the frustration that comes from the interaction of floors and furniture, including scratches, dings, and everything in between. Most just deal with the problems as they come and don’t take steps to avoid them from happening again. A major bonus to take into consideration is that your property value can be lowered if damage can be detected. By following these tips, your floors will have no trouble lasting the test of time.

Hardwood Flooring In Kitchens – Our Suggestions

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Hardwood is one of the most attractive flooring materials you can get. No matter how you look at it, it will almost always add value to your house. In an ideal space, hardwood flooring can last anywhere from fifteen to thirty-five years, depending on how you maintain it. It is easily possible to do even better than that, as long as you invest some time and effort into periodic maintenance. 

There are many misconceptions that have formed over the years about the practicality of using hardwood flooring in a kitchen. In this article, we will be dispelling several of them and then go over our suggestions for what kinds of hardwood you may want to choose from.

Misconceptions

Many people feel that they are not allowed to install hardwood in their kitchen. It may seem as if this is a valid sentiment, but these fears are mostly unfounded. Let’s go over the misconceptions one by one.

They Can’t Handle Spills

While it’s true that wood isn’t great for constant spills, it is not anywhere near as bad as many believe. It’s one thing to have a spot that has dried out, that will definitely take more work, but generally speaking, you just need a broom or mop to get everything up. Even a large spill of something super sticky won’t require much more than standard cleaning supplies.

The bottom line is that unless you have a situation like a burst pipe, you won’t need to worry about it. Realistically, the worst-case scenario you’re likely to experience is needing a deep cleansing agent for something that permeated the wood.

They Can’t Handle Lots of Traffic

This myth is particularly ridiculous. It only makes sense in the mind of somebody who believes that there is exactly one type of wood in the whole world. If you use balsa wood as your flooring, it’s probably not going to last very long. The reality is that there are countless types of flooring geared for every situation you can think of, plus many different types of finishes to choose from that will further increase its durability. 

If the kitchen is one that is constantly in use, then all you need to do is choose wood that will stand up to that. There is no kitchen scenario, not even that of a restaurant kitchen, where foot traffic makes it impossible for any type of wood to be good for it.

They Stain Easily

Hardwood flooring isn’t much more stain-resistant than most other types of flooring. Very few materials can boast that they’re practically immune to stains, and just about none can say that they are fully protected. Just as is the case with spills, the best solution is to simply clean as soon as it happens. It holds up just fine as long as you aren’t purposefully leaving the mess around for extended periods of time. Use common sense and you won’t have any problems.

[Image source: Unsplash]

Our Suggestions

Solid Hardwood

Regular solid wood floors are a popular choice for kitchens. Like any wood, they trap in heat more, making it much more comfortable to walk barefoot on them. Not to mention that they give a sense of natural beauty to any kitchen, regardless of whether it’s a contemporary or traditional style. The soft sheen to a properly finished flooring will contrast wonderfully with the shiny surfaces and hard materials throughout the rest of the kitchen. 

Engineered Hardwood

Engineered wood resembles regular solid wood, and in fact, is mostly still made of it. However, it’s put together in such a way, with softwood bound together and the grain of each layer running in different directions, that the strength and resilience of the wood are greatly enhanced. The quality level of the wood can be determined by simply looking at the depth of the top layer. The thicker this layer is, the better it will be in every way.

This wood is perfect for a kitchen environment that expects to have frequent and large spills. The wood is designed to resist solid wood’s natural tendency to expand, contract, and even bend as moisture seeps into it, keeping its shape and saving you potentially thousands on potential repairs and replacements. We have a full article on all the great benefits of engineered wood here.

Reclaimed Hardwood

Reclaimed wood is another option. It can come from either pure solid wood or used engineered wood. In many cases, the wood that is used is salvaged from old torn-down buildings such as abandoned barns and farmhouses. For a kitchen environment, reclaimed engineered wood will be the best choice. 

With the proper finish applied to it, reclaimed engineered wood will give you both a strong flooring that’s highly resistant to wear and tear as well as giving a unique vintage look that is difficult to fake. It’s also good for the environment, as it means that you’re giving the wood a new lease on life as well as reducing by just a bit how many trees need to be cut down.

Laminate

If you’re desperate and in need of cheap flooring, laminate is an option. It is usually not recommended though for a good number of reasons. The first one being that it just doesn’t look or feel as good as real wood. All it really is are artificial materials compressed tightly together. There’s typically no real wood in it and is usually completely flat with a design printed on it. Naturally, it is the least durable of any flooring. 

Within just a few years of use, the design on it will wear down and start to come off. It’s pretty much impossible to repair cleanly due to the fact that you can’t replace the design on it once it’s gone. Laminate wood also cannot be reused easily due to it, again, being entirely artificial. Once it wears out, there’s not much to do with it besides throwing it all out.

All that bashing aside, there are still a few upsides. For one, you can have any design you want on it. It doesn’t have to look like real wood at all. You could have zebra stripes or a brick pattern on it if you wanted to. You may also find it the easiest to clean due to it usually being completely flat. It’s also very easy to install thanks to the way they’re designed, with many of them having grooves to easily lock together with others. If you’re looking for something that you can install yourself, it could be the easiest option.

If you want to know more, we wrote a full article on laminate flooring here.

Conclusion

As long as you keep a few things in mind like understanding the risks and limitations, hardwood flooring can be a solid option for your kitchen. There is no need to give up on using wood just because of some unfounded worries.

Hardwood Stairs – A “Rising” Option

hardwood stairs

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It doesn’t matter if you’re looking at installing a brand new set of hardwood stairs or just renovating stairs that already exist, there’s a lot of information out there to help you make the right decisions on what you need. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know on wooden stairs and everything that goes into it.

What Are Stair Treads?

In short, a tread is simply a long plank of some material with a rounded edge for a front. It is most commonly made from wood, but it could also be composed of metal, plastic, or other materials. Your treads don’t have to be made of the same materials as the risers. In fact, some believe there are stylistic reasons to purposefully mismatch materials to create a particular look. 

There are many different factors to take into consideration when deciding on what style and type of tread you want. For example, not all stair treads are meant to be installed after the initial construction of the staircase, with some only best used during the construction of the house itself. You will want to choose a style that matches the type of house it’s going into. You will quickly learn if you were too hasty in deciding.

For wood treads specifically, there are a few particular choices that are most popular. 

  • Red Oak is the easiest to get ahold of. It has a reddish-brown color to it and is considered strong and heavy. When you think of wood flooring, you’re probably thinking of this type.
  • Knotty Pine is another type of wood that is commonly seen in businesses and some homes. While aesthetically very pleasing, pine is not the strongest material and will require more maintenance over time to maintain good looks.
  • White Oak is one that has become popular in the past few decades. It has a similar strength to its red counterpart but boasts a more modern look with more straight and linear grain to it.

There are, naturally, many more types, but these should be enough to get you started. 

What Are Risers?

Stair risers are the vertical back piece of the steps. They’re the part where you’re stepping onto and putting most of your weight on. In most cases, a staircase in a home will have a riser for each step, but that’s not always true. Some staircases will have an open back and not use risers at all. The size of the stair riser matters a great deal in how safe the stairs are to climb. Risers that are too high can be very dangerous for the inattentive, like children and the elderly, not to mention people simply not looking. 

What Makes Hardwood Stairs Better Than Carpeting?

hardwood staircase

[Image source: Unsplash]

While it’s impossible to claim that hardwood is simply better in every situation, it is typically the better choice. This is because of several reasons. 

First, and most obvious, they tend to look better. They’ll stay that way too for far longer than the lifetime of carpeting. Over time, regardless of how careful you are, after about ten years it will begin to show signs of wear. Eventually, it will need to be torn up and replaced entirely, costing you thousands of dollars and nullifying any savings you would have made over the hardwood.

Speaking of savings, that’s another area that hardwood is better for. The upfront cost will almost always be more expensive than carpeting, but due to the resilience of wood, there’s a good chance that you will never need to replace it entirely within your lifetime. Instead, you may just need to sand it down and revarnish it or some other sort of maintenance. Your wallet will thank you for it.

If you do need to pull up the wood, it probably isn’t because the wood has gone bad. Often, it’s just because you want something different for a change. You can then sell the wood as used and get a good return on your investment. For more on the problems with carpeting over hardwood in general, we have a full article on the subject.

Common Mistakes

You’ve decided that you do want to have hardwood flooring (You won’t regret it!), but you might not be fully aware of a lot of the pitfalls people make when it comes to flooring.

It Will Take More Than One Day

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the work can be done in a single afternoon. Just because you have all the materials does not mean you have all the experience. Budget out at minimum a weekend to ensure that things not only get done on time but get done right the first time. As the old saying goes, “Measure twice, cut once.” The last thing you want to have happened is the need for redoing everything from scratch due to an avoidable mistake.

It Will Be More Expensive Up-Front, But Worth It

This was mentioned earlier, but it bears repeating. On paper, getting carpeting sounds like the better deal when it comes to price. The reality is that if it isn’t lasting as long, then it’s probably not holding up its value. We have a whole article on the subject here.

Getting the Finish Right Is Easy

With the ability to use MacDonald Hardwoods’ prefinished hardwood flooring, the job is easy. Normally, it can be a little difficult due to extra installation work. But with prefinished hardwood flooring, sanding and staining are done on the wood before it’s in your home. The materials you get are ready to go!

Consider NOT DIYing It

There is a temptation for many of us to try and save the cost of labor and do things ourselves. It’s admirable, but there are a lot of ways things can go wrong. If you are not completely sure of your abilities, you may end up in a situation where you spend more money fixing your mistakes than you would have spent just hiring an expert to do it right the first time.

Conclusion

In the end, you have to decide what will look best for your environment. When treated right, your flooring may even outlast you.  No matter what sort of wood you choose or what style you end up going with though, make sure that you won’t regret it a few years down the line. We at MacDonald Hardwoods are experts at helping YOU determine the perfect wood for your unique home. Reach out through email or give us a call and we will help you make the right decisions.

Herringbone Flooring Inspiration With @house_of_holcroft 

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These days one of the first places we go for inspiration is Instagram and have a look at what others are doing. Our collaboration with @house_of_holcroft is a perfect example of why Instagram is a great place for home inspiration. 

 

If you’re one for stopping scrolling when you see a beautiful herringbone flooring with a stunning surrounding then you will love this one. 

 

Let’s take a look at why @house_of_holcroft chose the flooring she chose and why…

 

Which Product Did You Choose and Why? 

 

“Vintage Chateau Herringbone White Chestnut for its contemporary look”

This flooring has been a popular contender making it a customer favourite, so it is no surprise that @house_of_holcroft chose this beautiful laminate.

 

Which room of the home did you transform and how did your flooring impact this?

 

“We transformed the downstairs of my home. It has brightened up the area hugely and the flooring is easy to maintain and hard wearing. It gives the downstairs a lovely modern look and the colour works perfectly with our theme.”

 

What Interior Styling Were You Wanting to Achieve? 

 

“A modern, contemporary look that won’t date”

 

That is certainly what she achieved with this stunning white, light and bright modern space.

 

How Would You Describe the Quality of the Product and Service? 

 

“Excellent quality and endless choices. Fabulous customer service from start to finish – even helping calculate square footage and wastage.”

 

Would You Recommend Direct Wood Flooring?

 

100% I have already purchased additional flooring and have been very happy with the cost, delivery and quality. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend DWF to anyone.

 

If you have any questions on flooring, get in touch with one of our experts today! 

 

The post Herringbone Flooring Inspiration With @house_of_holcroft  appeared first on Direct Wood Flooring Blog.

Autumnal Interior and Flooring Trends 2021

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Looking to update your home this autumn? Before you do, let’s take a look at what is actually trending in the interiors and flooring department this autumn so you can update in style. 

We’ll look at some of this seasons favourites that are here to stay: 

 

  • Rich Colours Paired With Dark Woods
  • Warm neutrals
  • Rusty orange

 

Rich Colours Paired With Dark Woods

 

This first trend is one that will add a luxurious depth to any room in your home. Using a rich colour palette, paired with darker wood floors, furnishings and accessories is the perfect way to create a sumptuous space. 

 

Painting your walls shades that have darker undertones: burgundy, deep greens and blues is the perfect way to provide the foundation of this interior trend. 

 

Now for the dark woods. Incorporating dark woods into your design is the perfect way to offset your interiors. 

 

These can be introduced through furnishing such as coffee tables, sideboards, the legs of your sofas, and your flooring!

 

Dark Wood Flooring 

 

When it comes to dark wood flooring, there is a wide range of options you can choose from to complement your rich coloured walls. 

 

As dark wood is in relation to a colour as opposed to a flooring type you’re not limited to just one type of flooring. Laminate, solid wood, engineered wood, LVT and EvoCore are all great options that will have a wide range of darker shades available to suit your design. 

 

evocore villa laminate
EvoCore Nature Forest Oak Villa Harbour Oak Studio Coffee Oak Engineered Wood

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So you’re not limited to styles or flooring types to suit your needs and lifestyle. 

 

Warm Neutrals 

 

You may have been familiar with the grey trend that has entered the homes of millions over the last few years. Well, this neutral trend has evolved even further from your typical grey, to greige. 

 

Greige blends the popular interior colours of grey and beige, creating the perfect balance of cool chic tones, and warm inviting tones. Due to the neutral qualities of this trend, it is easy to introduce brighter colours or metals and woods to accentuate and accessorise with. 

 

This level of versatility is what has seen this trend become widely adopted by homes across the globe.

Flooring To Match This Trend

 

Lighter wood shades perfectly complement these neutral tones creating a beautiful warming space. 

 

evocore loft natural oak wood flooring

EvoCore Design Floor Golden Fudge Oak LVT

Loft Natural Oak Laminate  Carpenters Choice Oak Engineered Wood 
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You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to finding flooring options to match this interior trend.

 

Rusty Orange

 

This final trend is picked straight from the autumnal palette. Rusty orange. 

 

This beautiful colour has become a favourable tone to bring a splash of autumn. The warm orange tone, forces a cosy, warm and welcoming space. 

 

Just picture it. Shades of dark orange, the candles are on, the blankets are out. Simply stunning. 

 

This interior trend is achieved with using rusty orange walls and furnishings, coupled with natural wood accessories and flooring. 

 

Flooring To Match This Trend

 

Loft Golden Oak Laminate Manor Natural Oak Engineered Wood Hacienda Herringbone Engineered Wood

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And there we have a round up of some of our favourite Autumn trends to jump on if you are renovating this year. 

 

If you need any assistance with your flooring, get in touch with one of our experts today. 

The post Autumnal Interior and Flooring Trends 2021 appeared first on Direct Wood Flooring Blog.

American elm: Bold looking, tough acting

American elm (Ulmus americana) and slippery elm (U. rubra), two of six species of elms found in North America, are known together as soft elms. Rock, winged, cedar and September elm are known as hard elms. Hard elms are 25 percent heavier, and stronger and stiffer, than the soft elms.

American elm is certainly known for the wonderful shade trees of years past. It would not be unusual to have these trees rapidly grow to 100 feet tall and spread out to shade a 60-foot radius in the cities. I can remember elm streets that appeared like a dark tunnel when the elms on both sides of the street touched. In the spring, the little propeller-like seeds would spin down. I remember the neighborhood kids splitting the seed open lengthwise about ½ inch and then sticking the propeller on our noses, so we had a nose longer than Pinnochio! I also remember parking under an elm tree and sappy drips all over the car. What a mess!

Then came the Dutch elm disease, actually a fungus, that essentially destroyed all these beautiful city elms, as well as the forested American elms as well. The good news is that some fungal-resistant trees seem to be located and could be used for breeding. Time will tell.

To hockey fans, elm is their favorite wood, as most hockey sticks are made of elm. Why use elm for these sticks? The wood is very tough and has extensive interlocked grain. Interlocked grain means that the lengthwise grain from year to year goes in different directions instead of being perfectly vertical in the tree, basically intertwining. As a result, it is very difficult to split the wood; a characteristic obviously desired for hockey sticks — the wood has high shock resistance. Likewise, interlocked grain means splitting elm for firewood can be nearly impossible.

When used above ground, the wood is resistant to decay even when permanently wet. In fact, hollowed trunks were widely used as water pipes during the medieval period in Europe.

The heavy ring pattern (ring porous grain like oak) combined with interlocked grain results in a very bold appearance or character to the wood, which is why it finds widespread use in paneling. I am surprised that more furniture and cabinetry makers don’t use elm; it certainly has a nice appearance. The elms are also excellent bending species as they are quite easy to bend, due to the interlocked grain, without breaking or cracking. However, this interlocked grain also means that warp is likely when drying if drying isn’t perfect, and machining requires special care.

Processing suggestions and characteristics

Density
Soft elms weigh about 34 pounds per cubic foot, which is roughly 3 pounds per board foot, 1 inch thick.

Drying
Soft elms are moderately hard to dry. Mild drying schedules result in slightly more warp, so stacking must be perfect. Weights on the tops of piles are strongly encouraged for flat lumber.

Gluing and Machining
Elms glue without much difficulty. Interlocked grain results in machining defects if the feed is too rapid, knives are dull, or angles are poor.

Stability
Soft elms change size by 1 percent if the moisture changes approximately 3 percent MC.

Strength
American elm has a strength (MOR) of 11,800 psi. The bendability (MOE) is 1.4 million psi. Hardness is 830 pounds.

This post appeared first on http://www.woodworkingnetwork.com

Hard maple: Highly versatile wood

Hard maple is a wonderful, expensive, nearly white wood used for almost every application imaginable both today and even prior to the colonization of the U.S. Uses include cabinets, furniture, bowls, bowling alleys, bowling pins, flooring, piano frames, dulcimers, spinning wheels, cutting boards, tool handles, veneer, pallets, particleboard, paper, firewood, and even railroad ties. What is this ubiquitous wood that we call maple?

Hard maple lumber, which is also called sugar maple, sweet maple, black maple and rock maple, comes from two species. Most lumber comes from sugar maple (Acer saccharum) and a small amount from black maple (Acer nigrum). Once hard maple lumber is manufactured, it is impossible, even under magnification, to separate the lumber into the two individual species. The name “hard” actually means that the lumber is substantially harder than the other maples, including the grouping called soft maple.

What person hasn’t had pancakes topped with wonderful, sweet maple syrup? Sugar maple is the tree that produces maple syrup. A grove of producing sugar maple trees is called the sugar bush. Also, did you know that it takes about 40 gallons of sap to make a gallon of syrup?

Processing suggestions and characteristics

Density
After drying to 7 percent MC and planing to 13/16 inch, maple weighs 3-1/3 pounds per board foot.

Drying
Maple is subject to blue staining and also chemical staining if not dried promptly and aggressively. Chemical staining occurs when the starches and sugars oxidize to pink or gray colors. For whitest color, maple must be stacked promptly after sawing using dry stickers. Maple is not exceptionally stable. Moisture content when the lumber leaves the kiln must be very close to the in-use moisture content. For most uses, 6.5 percent MC is the ideal final target, with almost all pieces being within + or – 1 percent MC.

Gluing and Machining
Maple requires surfaces to be glued to be freshly prepared and perfectly flat. Small errors will result in low strength joints. Because the grain in maple swirls quite a bit, planing and other machining operations will frequently be planing against the grain. To avoid chip out and torn grain, knives must be very sharp. Avoid over-drying the lumber (under 5.5 percent MC is over-dried), as brittleness and poor machining will be increased.

Stability
Hard maple changes width and thickness when the RH changes…about 1 percent size change running parallel with the rings (tangentially) when there is a 3 percent MC change, and 1 percent change across the rings (radially) when there is a 6 percent MC change.

Strength
Sugar maple is a little (10 percent) stronger, stiffer and harder than black maple. The bending strength is 15,800 psi, stiffness 1.83 million psi and hardness is 1450 pounds.

Color and Grain
Maple is a wonderful, nearly white wood. Unfortunately, there is no definition of “how white is white” so different suppliers will have different whiteness. In addition to the standard grades, some markets will also ask for “No.1 white”, which means that both edges and faces must be all sapwood (no brown heart). “No.2 white” means that one face and both edges will be sapwood. Hard maples frequently develop small little burls or curls in the wood, which we call bird’s eye. Bird’s eye maple is attractive and valuable.

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Freddy My Love X Direct Wood Flooring 

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We’re excited to share our collaboration with YouTube star Freddy Cousin Brown. Freddy is in the process of renovating her London flat, and we are happy to have helped with the process of transforming her home. 

Let’s look at what flooring Freddy My Love loved and opted for in her kitchen and living room, and how you can get the ‘Freddy look’ in your home too. 

 

Farmhouse Chic With Freddy My Love

 

Where kitchen designs are concerned, Freddy My Love has a modern yet homely feel – Let’s go with farmhouse chic for this humbling interior. 

 

Initially she was looking to install solid wood due to the beauty of the organic features and authenticity of natural wood. However, because solid wood can expand and warp with the temperature and moisture fluctuations, we advise not installing this in a kitchen. 

 

“I got advised against solid wood in a kitchen, so I had to find another nice option”

 

And that she did! After browsing our fantastic range of laminates, she opted for one from our hyper realistic wood Vintage Narrow range

Vintage Narrow Range

“It’s literally like wood, I can’t believe it. It’s not like laminate at all. It’s got a realistic grain and texture with knots in it like real wood has. I never thought laminate would be this nice.”

 

This range beautifully replicates real wood thanks to a high quality bevel and has a host of other amazing benefits to offer too:

 

  • Highly durable
  • Low maintenance 
  • Scratch guard
  • Stain-guard
  • Slip resistance
  • Impact resistance
  • Underfloor heating 

 

The result is simply charming, and fits perfectly with her kitchen décor. 

 

“I’m beside myself, it looks so beautiful! I can’t believe how affordable it was either.”

 

Not only is this range stunning and excellently replicates wood flooring, but it is also a cheaper alternative to your typical real wood flooring options. So you can achieve that luxury feel without breaking the bank. 

 

Traditional meets Contemporary

 

Along with collaborating on her kitchen floor, we also helped Freddy My Love create her dream living room too. 

 

Choosing an elegant traditional style engineered wood flooring, she has completely transformed her living room into a perfectly balanced contemporary yet traditional space.

 

Our Avignon Natural Oak Versailles Tile Engineered Wood flooring, adds a magnificent statement piece to her large living room, creating a grand luxurious and inviting space. 

 

Just ask Freddy herself:

 

“It looks so elegant and so unique. I am just speechless. I can’t believe it. I think it looks absolutely incredible!”

 

This distinguished flooring not only provides a lavish conversation piece but offers a wide range of benefits for the space you lay it in. 

 

  • Highly durable
  • Easy to fit
  • Can be refinished
  • Looks just like solid wood 
  • Great temperature resistance 
  • Amazing warranties 

 

So if you’re looking to revamp your home and add a touch of luxury and elegance. This may be the flooring for you. 

 

If you like any of the flooring ranges from Freddy My Love and her collaboration, then you can order Free Samples today from our site

 

The post Freddy My Love X Direct Wood Flooring  appeared first on Direct Wood Flooring Blog.

In Collaboration With I Love Wallpaper

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Are you one for bringing out your personality through your interiors? Then our Sister brand, Flooring Superstores’ collaboration with I Love Wallpaper might peak your interest. With quirky and stylish designs offering a wide range of aesthetics, you’ll be able to easily take inspiration and replicate these in your homes. 

Bold and Beautiful Interiors

 

If making a statement is something you want to achieve with your home décor, then you might want to take out your notepad and take down some tips on this bold and beautiful interior design. 

 

I love wallpaper - bold and beautiful interiors
Studio White Laminate

 

Using eccentric wallpaper as a feature piece, such as I Love Wallpapers Paradise Floral Wallpaper, can help to create a statement in your space, and tell your guests you have bold style, and you’re not afraid to use it!

 

Additionally, using eye-catching designs delivered through your wallpaper, can offset the rest of your room, where you can opt for more subtle pieces to tie together the design as a whole. 

 

Neutral furnishings and flooring is perfect for pairing with distinctive wallpapers. Flooring Superstore’s Studio White Laminate Flooring is the perfect companion for eccentric designs such as this. 

 

This helps to balance out the beautiful and striking patterns on the wallpaper. It also ensures that the design resonates with style and rather than chaos. 

 

The Modern Minimalist Interiors

 

This next interior style is one that is making a rise in the interiors industry. The modern minimalist. 

I love wallpaper - modern minimalist interiors
Studio Vanilla Oak Engineered Wood

The modern minimalist design sees the cutting down of furnishings and accessories to a minimum, allowing you to focus on bringing out style and beauty, without having to overdo it. 

 

One way to execute this design is to stay in touch with nature. Extract all of the natural beauty of elements such as real woods and plant life. 

 

Flooring Superstore’s Studio Vanilla Engineered Wood Flooring exquisitely demonstrates the beauty of nature, showing off natural grains and knots. 

 

This provides a more organic style. These elements are what help to bring the aesthetic to life when having minimal furnishing and accessories. 

 

Using a wallpaper that also encompasses the natural and organic aesthetic is a great way to complete this design. 

 

I Love Wallpapers Banana Leaf Wallpaper does this flawlessly, offering a black and white leaf design to further match the ongoing nature theme.

 

Sleek and Sophisticated

 

Looking to show off a sleek and sophisticated style when welcoming guests into your home?

I Love Wallpaper - Interiors
Loft Midnight Grey Laminate

Then this versatile design might be to your taste. 

 

Thanks to a neutral grey palette, the main components of this design are reflected in the Milan Metallic Wallpaper from I Love Wallpaper and Loft Midnight Grey Laminate from Flooring Superstore, you can easily alternate furnishings around this design. 

 

Not only that, the grey tones throughout this design add a chic modern tone to any space in your home. 

 

So when attempting a contemporary yet sophisticated decor, grey is certainly the way! 

 

If you liked what you saw in this fantastic collaboration between I Love Wallpaper and our Sister brand, Flooring Superstore, head over to their sites.

 

The post In Collaboration With I Love Wallpaper appeared first on Direct Wood Flooring Blog.

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