Flooring in Dalton – High Quality is not an accident.

Here is another view of my day in Dalton that I spent at the lab.

Lots of cool things about how products are tested and validated for quality.

Take a peek at this video. I will try to add more notes later.

There were a couple stand out things that I took away from the visit beyond my continued respect for this very fine laboratory:

1. The CRI carpet certification program finally means something! That’s good news for consumers long term. What does it mean? You can goto CRI’s website to learn more but a couple quick facts:

a. Spot Cleaners are tested to see if they can earn the seal. Since in the past more than 50% of spot cleaners were no better than plain water cleaning up common spills, they are now held to a standard. This is good for you and your carpet.

b. Vacuums are now tested as well. You hear all kinds of claims made by companies about this or that, but now with testing the vacuums have advanced in a HUGE way over the past 5 years. Incredibly good for your carpet investment, your health and your family.

c. You must have your carpets cleaned by an accredited cleaner to hold onto your warranty. I have always preached that maintenance is probably the single largest factor to the long term durability of carpet and flooring in general and the RIGHT maintenance is even more to the point.

2. The Equipment these labs use is incredible. (In terms of costs) They really do invest a ton of $$ for a soiling machine, or a gauge, or an oven, or a piece of sandpaper. They invest to make sure their results are “LAB QUALITY”.

3. Also I shot some pictures of the carpet walking simulator there are also locations that just employ full time carpet walkers. They just walk around all day on carpet in a supervised environment to make test durability. I salute the mills and fiber companies for pushing their testing to the highest levels.

4. You can tell alot about a floor after running it through the gauntlet of tests. The fact that the tests are independent of a particular manufacturer adds to their credibility. I have seen manufacturer tests which are subject to their own disciplines that are vastly different than independent tests.

Anyway – why do I care about all this? To me it is very simple: If I am going to put my name on something I want to know in an unbiased way how it will perform. Tests are not the end all, be all. There are other aspects to performance, but testing is a way to uniformly bring comparisons to the end user.

Flaking/Bubbling Finish

Q: My wife and I just bought an apartment in March. The poly on the wood floor is bubbling, peeling and flaking off. The builder says he’ll only pay for screening and 2 coats of poly which is $200.But the flooring guy says it needs sanding, sealing and 3 coats of poly which costs $749. How can I tell what I need?
Thanks for your help!

A: When a finish is flaking off, it means somewhere in the application process an issue occurred. Usually this means the finish dried too quickly or that the chemicals in the finish did not set properly, although there is a myriad of other reasons that can cause this issue.
The screen process will buff the top layer of finish (rough it up/scuff it lightly) in order to apply a new layer of finish. If your having flaking issues, screening the floor will not resolve this. Your floor will need to be sanded down to remove all of the finish, then sealed and refinished. Normally 3 coats is a safe bet when doing a fresh finish, which is a good suggestion from the flooring guy you spoke to.

12mm Handscraped Laminate – Yeah Baby!

Too often I think as an industry we find ourselves rushing to develop new product and get them to market quick. Sometimes that is not the right approach.

In the case of handscraped laminate we started carrying Wilsonart, Quickstep and other brands of handscraped laminate almost immediately, but with some mixed results. We talked with Alloc, Pergo, Armstrong, Westhollow and others asking when they would have something to add to this newer category and over time all of them came up to bat except Westhollow floors. The development leader there basically said – we’re going to get it right first. Right colors, right pattern, right click system and right durability. (historically they have lead design and innovation so this was particularly weird to see a slower approach to the market!)

Along the way we saw cheap simpletons trying to make knock offs that basically trick the customer into thinking they are higher value than they are. That is just not right. One of those I tested that claimed to be AC4 – didn’t even make AC1 for durability! That is dirty.

Finally we see that a licensed click floor with the right stuff has landed! In addition to the right colors, patterns, click system, press plate, engineering, core board and durability parameters that the developers were so concerned about iFLOOR has added one more RIGHT thing: the RIGHT PRICE!

The 12mm Handscraped Collection while sparse today with only 5 colors is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Westhollow 12mm Handscraped

Westhollow 12mm Handscraped

antique flooringAntique Whiskey Pecan

Barn Milled Hickory flooring Barn Milled Hickory

Chilean Mahogany flooring Chilean Mahogany

 Exotic Walnut flooringExotic Walnut

I am excited to see how my favorite color EXOTIC WALNUT in a big area! This one is going to sell faster than we can buy it!

Exotic Walnut flooring2

I know it is harder to see the sculpting effect in a head on product shot, but I am sure that the studio will be adding soon to show additional views.

Anyway this is a great product. I know that samples will be available soon online and then in stores, but man it is hot stuff! (I fear how often we will be out of stock. yikes!) I salute the patience of Westhollow for committing to deliver something better. As I always say, “I want more for less – because that’s what my customer wants!”

Hardwood Floor Removal and Installation

Q: After pulling up the carpeting in my living room, I found red oak hardwood floors. However, they’re 40 years old, and in poor condition due to water and pet stains. I was considering having them refinished, but due to logistics problems (where to put the furniture, where to live while the work is being done, etc) I think a prefinished hardwood floor would be an excellent alternative. Aesthetically, I would need to run the strips in the same direction as the current floor. I was told that it’s not a good idea to nail the new flooring to flooring running in the same direction. Would it be a better idea to rip up the current floor and nail the new floor to the subfloor? How difficult would that be? Would the bumps left from the nail holes be a problem?
Mike P.

A: Nailing a new hardwood floor in the same direction of a pre-existing hardwood floor is a bad idea. The major reason behind this is a matter of stability. In this case, if you are unwilling to take the time to repair and refinish the original floor (which I would not suggest based on your mentioning of water damage) you will want to remove the existing hardwood floor and replace it with a new floor.
The pre-existing nails should be no issue after removal, although I would heavily suggest hiring a professional for this project as removing a pre-existing nailed down floor can be tedious and will take a few days. Once the old floor is removed, you will need to examine the subfloor below, check for areas where you may need to screw down areas to reduce squeaking. Afterward you can then install your new floor.
As I said before, I would suggest consulting a professional for this project, but if you take plenty of time this can be a good DIY project (although it might be a bit strenuous).

Cork Flooring Sheets in a Sail Boat

As a special treat after coming back from his vacation, iFLOOR.com’s CEO, Steve Simonson, forwarded this great email to me to post in our blog as a post Memorial Day extra.
Q: Good morning, Steve,
For years (it seems) I have been researching sources for replacement cork flooring material for my Tartan-34 sailboat.
This boat, built by a quality builder, Tartan Marine in 1974, has a 1/8th inch (or maybe slightly more) cork material on the cabin sole (floor). The original material was in sheet about 18″ x 36″ that were glued to a 1/2″ marine plywood floor. The environment being a sailboat that is both raced and cruised, does get wet, esp. when we hose down the interior in the spring before launching, or after an “unfortunate” spillage inside. There were chips at high wear areas but very few serious stains, even after 33 years but the good old cork has suffered and is ready for replacement. It has withstood some horrendous treatment over the years but has held up beautifully and I would like very much to redo the floor in cork once again (a great testimonial for cork’s amazing durability). One of its most gratifying features is its non-skid characteristic even when very wet (water).
I’d like to know what the current options are for replacement cork material. One of my concerns is finding large enough ‘sheets’ to be able to minimize the number of butt joints. The floor is flat for the most part but does angle up at the left & right edges to seats/bunks that have teak “kick moldings”/trim. I am concerned about using small 12″ x 12” tiles — too many joints which create an interrupted pattern, too. Attached is a photo of the interior (decades ago) that shows some of the floor’s shape and contour characteristics.
What do you suggest?

A: Mmm…
This is a tough one.
First from the photo I couldn’t really tell what the floor was made of. (it almost seemed like linoleum from the view I saw.)
If you are going to do cork in a boat – you should use the 12×12 glue down style and put a ton of finish on the top of it. It will work well. (like the last stuff you had)
I hope this is helpful to you.

As promised here is the photo for this boat