Square Footage Question

Q: How do you figure out how much square footage of flooring you need to cover a room? My room measures 15.4 x 11. Which I was told was a little over 165 sq ft. How much flooring will I need to order? I’m using Pergo Acculade tiles 16″.
I’ve already ordered 9 cartons and want to be sure that that will be enough.
Thank you

A: For flooring you will multiply the length and width of the room, then add 10%. So you should need roughly 186sf or as close as you can get to this number by cartons. 9 cartons should put you just over 180 sf, which should be enough, but let me explain why you add the 10%.
When you are installing flooring, you will have to do some cutting and you will have some waste. Typically when you add 10% to the exact square footage of your room (which is about 169sf in this case), you should have enough to ensure that you can cover all of your cuts and waste. Typically flooring manufacturers will have up to 5% of their product as unusable, which is the accepted standard in flooring. The extra 5% of our 10% account for cuts assuming you have maximum unusable product, but rarely is this the case.
Take your time, measure twice before you cut once and you should be fine.


Hairspray on Laminate Flooring

Q: I’m looking for a way to remove hairspray from a laminate floor. Can you assist me?
A: A paste of baking soda and water is effective for removing hairspray buildup. Most hairsprays contain lacquer which tends to be difficult to remove and the usual suggestion is to try rubbing alcohol, but it does not always do the trick. Follow up with a bit of normal cleaner to ensure all residue is removed and you should be all set. Just remember, try your best to prevent water from getting into the seams of your floor while cleaning.

How can you tell the difference in laminate flooring?

When you look at a laminate floor it is very tough with your eyes to detect the differences between a awesome laminate and a crappy laminate. (Sorry to use such strong language, but I wanted to drive the point home.) And by the way don’t feel bad, even flooring experts have a tough time telling the core differences visually although we can pick up a few more clues than the average consumer.

The average consumer and even flooring experts are unable to compare some of the core attributes of a laminate floor without labs, tests and other methods. That is a fact.

The reason I bring this up is that I have been watching a TON of crappy laminate show up on the shores of the US from China. What is crappy – well it wouldn’t base the base E1 formaldehyde and the wear rating wouldn’t pass AC1! Now let me be clear: I have also watched a TON of incredibly well laminate show up from China in the same time period. The issue is that YOU don’t know the good from the bad.

I see alot of 12mm laminate which is thicker than the average of 8mm – BUT DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY mean that it is tougher. It only means that it is thicker. In fact the crappy stuff I have seen has a terrible wear rating due to the very low amount of Aluminum oxide on the surface and generally low manufacturing techniques. Additionally I suspect based on the low water penetration that the core board is LOADED with formaldehyde which is a known carcinogen. But you won’t find that in their brochure!

Why isn’t this on 60 minutes? After all your Thomas the Tank with lead based paint will be thrown away after a year or two as all toys typically have a short life span, but how long will that formaldehyde floor be played on by your kids and acting as a potential carcinogen in your home? 10 years, 20 years maybe more? The reason is they don’t understand the risk.

So a logical question is: Well Steve, where is the laminate that iFLOOR carries made?

Good question. I am glad you asked. 😉

iFLOOR carries laminate flooring made in the United States, Canada, the EU and China. There are probably a couple other countries in there, but certainly these are the top countries.

Next logical question is: Well Steve, if you are saying China makes bad stuff, why are you carrying it?

Superlative question. You are so smart!

iFLOOR carries only the highest quality manufacturers from any country. And as I have said earlier the country is not purely the issue, the factory care is the issue. We deal with factories that have agreed to meet our high standards AND (and this is a big AND) THEY and WE measure them to insure consistency in quality.

As noted in this article BRAND WARS http://www.ifloor.com/articles/lam/lamwars2.html we have random testing performed on dozens of brands of flooring at a great expense. I should note that we didn’t start doing this in the wake of bad PR regarding China – we have done this type of comparison dating back to 1998!

Furthermore we really have quality conscious partners that demonstrate their commitment to quality regularly. How? Well for starters we go the factory and make sure they are doing what they say they are doing.

That is itself is unique. I know a number of guys who import containers of floors and have NEVER been to the factory. In fact a number of them buy through agents who switch factories whenever they can get a cheaper price(i wonder how the price goes down – do you think they skimp on quality and safety?), this creates chaos from a product quality perspective.

Anyway that is enough of my rant for today. How can you tell the difference in laminate flooring? The best way to tell if you are buying questionable product is the price that seems to good to be true. This is weird coming from me because so many of our prices DEFY retail logic, but there is a difference. We are wholesales that sell at tiny margins to folks directly. Guys who have a 12mm unbranded (or fake branded) laminate listed at $1.39 or $1.79 or whatever and don’t have an infrastructure(we have nearly 40 locations and around 300 staff members) to protect customers are likely the guys who are not tied to long term customer relationships. At the end of the day you can’t tell. You’ll have to find someone you trust and use them as your resource.

Here are some photos of quality check points on a recent China trip performed by our product team:


3/4″ Bruce Hardwood Installation Question – Door Transitions

Q: I’ve bought the material to install 3/4″ Bruce pre-finished hardwood. I’ll install it against the front door, looks like the door threshold will be level with the hardwood How can I install the hardwood floor at this location? Also the hardwood will be in the hallways, what is the best way to transition into the bedrooms since I need to cut the door casing and jambs and the bedrooms for they now will have carpet?
Thank you,

A: We’ll start with your threshold question. What you will most likely have to do here is raise the threshold up some. If the floor sits too level with the threshold, the door opening and closing will wear on your floor’s finish. As you get closer to the door, you will want to have a header of some form (a board running parallel to the threshold) which is primarily under the threshold. Remove the current threshold and block up a new one if you can’t reuse the current one. You will need to then undercut your door (this cut should be done at a 12 degree angle). You will want to raise the threshold up so you have a small gap between it and the floor (most likely you will need to raise it about 1/4″ depending on how flush it sits with the current threshold). Just shim the area of the door up and then install the threshold and install your floor. Remember, measure twice, cut once.
For your hallways, typically you will use an end cap or threshold when transitioning to carpet (unless you are transitioning to the really flat commercial carpet found in most office buildings, then you would use a reducer). You will still need to undercut the jambs of the door to ensure the wood floor has a proper expansion gap. Typically you will have the end of the transition roughly at the center of the door, though adjust it to fit your personal preference. Again, measure twice, cut once and you should have a project to be proud of.


True Luxury –

If you ever wondered what a truly luxurious American floor looks like let me show you:


This is a WIDE plank Hickory flooring with a hand scraped treatment. It is always going to represent a unique floor. No two floors of this custom flooring will ever be the same.

The 7″ WIDE planking is really something special too. It projects a very distinct sense of luxury in any application that this is used.

Does $16 dollars per square foot scare you? It shouldn’t – you can compare this type of flooring in the 20’s and 30’s per foot range elsewhere.

So if you are looking for the perfect American flooring – think about Solid Hickory, WIDE planked, handscraped hardwood flooring from Somerset!



Best Floor for Pets

Q: I am looking for some advice as to what type of floor would function best for pets. My husband and I live in Tampa FL and we do dog and cat rescue. Therefore, we have high traffic with big dogs. We would like to find a floor resistant to scratching from dog nails. Also we often have to house break puppies and they can have accidents – is there any kind of waterproof scratch resistant floor – we like the look of wood but are open to any suggestions. Our primary concern is a floor that works with our lifestyle. Also, what kind of underfloor would you recommend – is there anything that can reduce noise? Thanks so much for any advice you can give us. It is much appreciated.
Thanks, Sue and Steve

A: To account for traffic and keep a wood look you could go with a laminate. Higher grade laminate is super tough and can take the traffic from larger dogs rather well. My concern here is training the younger pups. With any wood floor, if moisture gets into the unprotected areas of the floor then all sorts of trouble will occur.
Honestly your best bet here is going to be tile or something like vinyl and linoleum. These floors perform much better when it comes to moisture concerns (hence why they are so popular for kitchens and bathrooms). Vinyl composition tile is another route to go, but this is typically only found for commercial jobs. This is the same product you will find in hospitals and grocery stores, once it is installed it can take a serious amount of punishment.
If you are really looking for a wood look you can go one of two routes. If you install laminate, find one that performs better in moisture resistance tests. Top this off by adding a small bead of tongue and groove glue to add a small measure of additional moisture protection. Keep in mind, this will not make your floor impervious to moisture, so don’t expect it to be water proof. In this case, a good underlay would be either 6mm cork or Sound 6 Barrier Acoustical Underlayment. Both of these underlayments provide superior sound deadening and are on the top tier of underlayments for wood floors.
The other route to go here would be to use the wood looking vinyl made by Congoleum. The Regal and Forum plank collections both look great and they are super easy to install. The only problem you will run into here is that these adhere directly to the subfloor and are somewhat thin, so you won’t get the same sound as you would from a good wood floor.


Bubinga Deep Cognac from Westhollow – Will Adding More Finish Help?

Q: I have installed the 3″ Bubinga Deep Cognac Westhollow® Wood 3/8″ Engineered. I wanted to know if I could put a coat of wood floor polyurethane on them? I like for them to be real shiny and not to get damaged. I feel if I put the polyurethane on them they will be less likely to damage if something is dropped on them.
Thank you
Mona Clark

A: Adding additional Polyurethane finish (which is your common finish on most wood floors) can add some additional protection and if you use a higher gloss finish, a bit more shine, but keep in mind that with pre-finished floors, once you add more finish, the initial warranty on the floor is usually voided.
Let’s do a bit of background here about floor finish and the pros and cons of refinishing or adding more finish to a floor.
The level of gloss or matte to a floors finish is a key indicator to one thing. Typically, floors which are matter or low gloss carry more aluminum oxide (or similar protective agents) which help prevent scratching and abrasion on your floor. High gloss floors (which have a great shine) have less of these particulates in them, meaning that they are more susceptible to to damage from abrasion (scratches typically). The key lesson to learn here is that by adding higher gloss finish to a floor, you gain minimal protection when compared to the matte finishes which contain higher amounts of aluminum oxide and similar protective additives.
So this might leave you with the question “What is Aluminum Oxide?” Good question! Aluminum oxide is one of the toughest substances on Earth, and it has been added to flooring finishes to give additional protection. If you were to look at a wood floor through a high powered microscope, you would see a jagged surface where the finish containing aluminum oxide is. The jagged portion is the aluminum oxide particulates, which act as a barrier, causing items which run over the floor (such as grit, pet nails, etc) to hit the aluminum oxide and not touch the actual flooring itself. Pretty handy for keeping a floor looking tip-top.
Finish typically protects against abrasion and is not as pivotal in preventing denting (such as dropping a soup can on your floor would cause). A floor will get damaged in this manner over time, no floor is bullet proof so to speak, but certain floors are less likely to dent. Floors which feature a species with a higher Janka hardness rating are less likely to dent. Also, for engineered floors, the more plies and the higher quality the plies are, the more dent resistance you gain from the floor.
Now, with that information about floor finishes in mind, let’s talk pros and cons with adding finish or refinishing a pre-finished floor. The biggest con is that as soon as you alter the finish on a pre-finished floor, its warranty is normally voided. The benefit here is that you can add further layers of protection against scratching based abrasion or add a bit of gloss to your floor.
If you decide you want a higher gloss level on your floor or additional protection, you will have to go through a process. First of all, you will need to lightly rough up (or buff) the current top layer of finish. This will allow the next layer of finish to properly adhere to the previous layer. You will then apply a thin, even coat of finish and allow it to cure. Repeat this process as many times as desired, then give the new finish plenty of time to fully cure before having much traffic over the floor or moving furniture back into the room. Typically it is best to have a professional do this process as it can be painstaking, and small mistakes can cause problems in the finish, which will require removing all of the new finish and re-applying it.
If your primary concern is damage from dropped items or getting dents of some form, adding more finish won’t give you much protection in this area. It will give you some, but not very much; however, you can add some shine if you want a floor with a bit more gloss. One tip I have to prevent denting in your floor, beyond being careful when carrying things, would be to not wear high healed shoes on your floor. An average person weighing 125lbs. wearing stiletto high heels exerts about 2,000lbs. or pressure per square inch which can put a dent in the toughest floors.