Wood Floor Joint Guard

Wood Floor Joint Guard . The type of floor you have can affect how warm or cold you feel, your overall health, and even your ability to think on your feet. What’s more, owners can instantly change the mood in certain rooms of their homes with different flooring. Here’s a rundown of the most popular residential floor tiles and the best surface protection products to protect them during construction and remodeling.

1. Bamboo: Key feature: Made from the world’s fastest-growing tree.

Pro: Durable; ideal for condos. “Green” material. Has antimicrobial properties. Generally good for home owners with allergies to man-made materials. Available in planks, strips, and tiles.

Con: Cannot be re-finished. Everything from tiny dust particles to high-heeled shoes can damage the surface.

Upkeep: Sweep regularly with soft broom. Entryway rugs can keep dust at bay. Protective pads on furniture limit dents. Clean up spills immediately to prevent stains. Install window shades to limit sun damage.

Surface protection: Protection made from breathable, natural textiles such as Surface Pro.

2. Linoleum: Key feature: Most popular is Marmoleum, a marbled pattern.

Pro: Naturally repels dust and dirt, ideal for home owners with respiratory disorders; durable, long-lasting, and low maintenance. Sheet goods, not tiles, are recommended.

Con: Difficult to install. Has to be heat-welded using equipment not readily available. Pricier than vinyl.

Upkeep: Wax once or twice for a superficial surface. Linseed oil in the linoleum oxidizes when installed, and the floor becomes more durable and lustrous. Wash with mildly soapy water.

Surface protection: Various surface protection products will work including floor protection films, textiles and paper based products such as Ram Board.

3. Cork: Key feature: Renewable, eco-friendly choice.

Pro: This durable flooring has become trendy for residences. Glue-down cork tiles are ideal since they maximize this flooring’s ability to reduce sound and heat loss and retain softness. Naturally keeps mold and insects away; great for home owners with allergies or arthritis. Cost comparable to bamboo.

Con: Does not conduct heat well, and could expand in radiant heating.

Upkeep: Dust mop regularly.

Surface protection: Avoid floor films and choose textile based products such as Surface Liner Pro that will gently adhere to the cork and not leave a mark.

4. Wood: Key feature: Great dance floor.

Pro: Easier on your back than tile or stone. 3/4″ allows for multiple refinishes. How a tree is cut determines the look of the grain.

Con: Not good for radiant heating systems. Maple is hard to stain; white oak is the most versatile. Cherry and walnut are among most popular. Elm, while hardy and long-lasting, is rare. Wider planks, which require fewer nails, are more susceptible to humidity.

Upkeep: Area rugs limit gouges and scratches. Buff before reapplying coats of polyurethane. Dust mop regularly.

Surface protection: Choose padded floor protections if the budget allows. Glue down floors must be breathable so Surface Liner Vapor or Surface Pro are recommended for padded protection or Ram Board for non-padded. Non glue-down wood floors can be protected by leak resistant floor protection such as Clean & Safe.

5. Carpet: Key feature: Classic, comfortable.

Pro: Wool variety is great for homes and feels wonderful underfoot. It also absorbs sounds, is easy to clean, and generally durable, as long as you buy quality good carpet and yarns.

Con: Avoid nylon varieties, which usually have a latex backing, which crumbles easily. Choice may not be environmentally friendly. Natural trap for dander, dirt, and dust particles. Tends to retain moisture, breeding ground for mold.

Upkeep: Steam-clean annually. Vacuum twice a week.

Surface protection: Short term adhesive carpet film is available for up to 45 days.

6. Ceramic Tiles: Key feature: Long-lasting.

Pro: Low-maintenance; ceramic holds up well in high-traffic areas. Great investment, lots of design options available. Most common, effective flooring for radiant heat systems.

Con: Not an ideal surface for home owners with arthritis. Hard to install. Can crack and chip easily. Sometimes feels cool to the touch.

Upkeep: While expensive, professional installation is highly recommended. Use mild cleanser to clean grout to retain mold-resistant sealant.

Surface protection: Various surface protection products will work including floor protection films, textiles and paper based products such as Ram Board.

7. Decorative Concrete: Key feature: Trendy, popular in condos.

Pro: Inexpensive, easy maintenance. Absorbs warmth of the sun in winter, reducing the need for heating, and keeps interiors cool in summer. Doesn’t harbor dust mites; ideal for home owners with allergies or asthma. Long-lasting; never needs to be replaced.

Con: Hard on joints. Magnifies sound. Installation requires professional expertise, which can be costly.

Upkeep: Re-seal every two years. Clean with vinegar and water mix or a mild floor cleaner.

Surface protection: New concrete protection products include EZ Cover or Tuf-guard which provide impact protection and allow the concrete to cure.

8. Natural Stone: Key feature: Gorgeous.

Pro: Encompasses granite, marble, travertine, limestone, soapstone, and slate. Lasts for centuries. Great value and eco-friendly too. Stain-resistant. Expensive installation. Options include matte, shiny, and textured finishes.

Con: Tough on your joints. May need substantial subfloor. Marble absorbs dirt; slate and limestone collect it. Feels cool underfoot, which can make it an excellent choice in hot climates, but less so in cold weather.

Upkeep: Needs stain-resistant sealer. Avoid chlorine on marble.

Surface protection: Various surface protection products will work including floor protection films, textiles and paper based products such as Ram Board. Protects grout from stains as well.

9. Leather: Key feature: Luxurious look.

Pro: A home owner can install leather tiles; they go in just like linoleum. Smells wonderful, feels great, gains patina with age and wear. Great for sound insulation; doesn’t conduct heat or cold.

Con: Don’t install in a high foot traffic spot; they’re best in extremely dry rooms such as bedrooms, dens, libraries, and even rec rooms with lots of sunlight. Expensive.

Upkeep: Some leather tiles are treated with wax and a water-resistant solution. However, any mistake is costly, so a professional may be ultimately cheaper.

Surface protection: Choose padded textile floor protection such as Surface Pro or Surface Liner vapor to allow the leather to breathe.

Wood floor installation

Wood is a superior floor covering in all but wet locations. Wood flooring is available in strips, planks and tiles, either solid or laminated. Made of hardwood, generally maple, cherry or oak; the strips and tiles have tongue-and-groove joints for secure laying. Most types are available finished or unfinished, and rough planking can be up to one foot wide, although rarely used because wide boards are more susceptible to curling and cupping.

Laminated wood flooring

Laminated wood floorings are normally comprised of a hardwood veneer over a solid pine core, or several layers of hardwood glued together under pressure, much like plywood. They are available in a variety of sizes and designs, and sometimes parquet tiles will be attached to a fabric backing, to facilitate faster, easier alignment. Laminated wood flooring is usually glued in place, and can be laid over any clean, dry sub-floor. Special methods and precautions must be observed when installing hardwood flooring on concrete, especially in basements where potential humidity levels may be sufficient to cause the wood to swell and buckle upwards.

If your sub-floor is rough or uneven, an underlay of 1/4″ plywood properly installed, will aid in the installation, appearance and longevity of your hardwood floor. It will also help reduce squeaks and the potential for cracking. If the new floor is higher than any adjacent floors, the edges (especially in doorways) should be finished with rounded or tapered hardwood mouldings.

The underlay can be covered with 15 lb. felt (sometimes known as tar paper, roofing felt, or building paper) which will further reduce squeaking and add to the life of the floor. Handling and storage is extremely important, and wood flooring materials should be allowed to rest for a minimum of one week in the area in which they are to be installed. This will allow the moisture content of the wood to reach some equilibrium with it’s surroundings; otherwise the floor boards may shrink or swell, sometimes quite drastically. The flooring should parallel the room’s long dimension, scattering the end-to-end joints, and leaving a perimeter gap equal to the thickness of the boards. Experienced flooring people will know just how tight to lay the boards, depending on the moisture content of the wood, and the relative humidity level in the room(s) on the day of installation.

Nailing hardwood

The choice of nails, or other fasteners, is also critical to the successful installation of your floor. With unfinished flooring, the fasteners must be properly set, to facilitate sanding prior to finishing.

FLOATING FLOORS are made of laminated floor panels, laid over 1/8″ high-density foam Floating wood floor system, over concrete slab.underlay, and glued at the joints. For basement floors, 6-mil polyethylene vapour barrier can be laid under the foam. Consult with your materials supplier and/or other experienced people before attempting to install a hardwood floor in a basement.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Selecting, installing and finishing a hardwood floor can be a rewarding experience, but do your homework first! If you have minimal experience working with wood, or you’re unsure about the particular installation, you should consider hiring a professional. The cost of the materials is quite high as compared to other floor coverings, and a professional installation will guard against damage, and guarantee satisfaction with your new hardwood fl

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