Flooring for an Outdoor Porch

Q: What do you suggest as flooring for a screened in porch? It does get wetness from rain and wind.
A: Any time you plan to put some form of flooring outdoors where mother nature can send its full fury at the surface, you must look into something built for the temperature changes, moisture shifts, etc.
If you want the appearance of wood, look into decking, such as the deck tile made by Vifah. Now if you are not quite as concerned with a wood look, this does open your options a bit more, but you still need to find a product which is approved for outdoor use or is, at the very least, 100% moisture resistant. This means look into something like a composite floor or a vinyl which is suited for outdoor use.
A final alternative here would be to use tile or stone flooring. Patterned concrete is another good option in this sense as it is generally cheaper than stone or tile and can get some very nice looks.
In the end here, personal taste will have to be suited with products which are actually able to be installed in an outdoor setting. The easiest choice would likely be something like the Vifah outdoor deck tiles or similar decking, but you can do quite a bit with stone, tile and vinyl as well.

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Kudos to Stanton California – Flooring is fun

Dear iFLOOR,

Orville and I want to tell you how wonderful our floors turned out. Lou was the BEST in assisting us with picking the right type and color. He went out of his way to accommodate us and that is not an easy task. He was always available to us and worked out our changes in flooring very professionally. He is a definite keeper. Also, the installation with Taylor and Kenny went great, they too were very efficient, timely, and professional. You will get all our work in the future and we will recommend you to our friends and family.
Thank you very much, and again, Thanks to Lou, Taylor and Kenny.

Carolyn

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Thanks Carolyn – The installation professionals and Lou the flooring machine thank you as well. They are a great team and the results speak for themselves. Spread the good word. Oh wait, you already are. :0

Thanks

Bamboo Installation Questions

Q: I have chosen solid vertical natural bamboo for a remodel and have some questions, if you would be so kind to answer.
1. Since the bamboo I want comes in two lengths, when an order is placed, is it necessary to specify how many square ft. or cartons of each length, or is that automatically determined by the total sq footage. For example I need about 1000 square ft. What is the proper way to specify how many square ft of the 75″ length or 37″ length boards that would be needed.
2. My understanding is that the preferred installation is to run the bamboo boards perpendicular to the floor joists. Would it pose a problem to run the boards parallel to the joists in a 40″ wide x 15′
long hallway?
3. If the direction of the bamboo changes what is the preferred installation method for the transition?

A: When ordering your bamboo floor, typically differing lengths are in different collections, which I would not suggest mixing collections. Off-hand I can’t think of any bamboo flooring collections which have multiple lengths in the same collection, but the reason why I say not to mix them is because you will typically find that each finish has a slightly different sheen from collection to collection, even when made by the same manufacturer. In your case here, you’re best bet is to to order all the same length of flooring.
Your understanding about installation is correct, with nail-down floors you should install perpendicular to the flooring joists. In a hallway you could install parallel, but keep in mind that the strength of the floor is reduced by roughly 50% when installed parallel to the joists, which can hamper the lifetime of the floor. So the suggestion here is to run perpendicular to ensure floor strength, but if this hall sees lower levels of traffic and will not have items in it which require the floor to support a bit of weight, you can get away with running parallel, just ensure that you have proper expansion gaps around the edge of the flooring – undercutting some of the drywall to give a bit more expansion room is a nifty trick to use in hallways, especially in the doorways.
For the transition as your hallway changes direction, there are a few methods for accomplishing this. You can either directly transition, where the floor just changes directions as the hall does, or try a herringbone transition where the rows of flooring slowly change direction one row at a time, forming a woven appearance. Another option here is to cut the flooring at an angle, mixing the direct and herringbone concepts or build a small area in the center of the transition to break up the appearance and run the flooring directly up to this area – think of this like a small landing.
In the end, the transition you choose to do will be a matter of personal choice and installer skill. Herringbone is relatively easy to do with proper planning, as it the direct transition. Angular and landing style set-ups require a bit more work and skill to ensure they look proper.
Here is a quick sketch which details out each of the transitions I discussed briefly to help give a better idea of how they are accomplished.
hallway-transition-sketch

Pergo Over Tile

Q: I have an older home and when we first moved in back in 1991 we put a 6 x 6 ceramic tile in our kitchen for flooring. After removing all the carpeting from the rest of our home, we found we had oak flooring. We have sanded and refinished all the other floors. I want to put pergo flooring in the kitchen now and was wondering if this could be installed over the current tile floor. We have a couple of older dogs who are not very active . I don’t relish the thought of having to remove the existing tile floor in order to put in the pergo. Is this possible or is there another type of floor that could be installed. I really want the look of wood as I have recently completed interior decorating in the English country look. Thanks for help.
Millie C.

A: Installing a floating floor, such as Pergo, over tile is possible, but it is heavily dependent on the condition of the tile. If you have any severely cracked or loose tiles, you will want to remove those tiles and fill the with an appropriate leveling compound. It is also suggested to level out the grout lines with the tile as much as possible, this typically involves roughing up the surface of the tile to allow a compound to properly adhere, then pouring self-leveling compound over the tiles and troweling it to make it as even as possible.
Now if all of the tile is in good condition and the difference in height from the grout to the top of the tile is 1/16″ or less, than you can simply install right over the top. The key to making this successful would be to use a very good underlayment. Cheaper foam underlayments, such as combination underlayments or a majority of the manufacturer’s suggested underlayent will cause a bit more noise from the floor and will feel less solid.
When installing over tile I suggest using 3mm cork at a minimum. Cork’s density will make the floor walk far better and provide better support in accounting for the grout lines. Another alternative would be to use a dense, modified underlayment like Sound 6. Regardless of your underlayment choice, I would suggest using a vapor barrier as a safety net. If the subfloor under the tile is concrete, you must use a vapor barrier.
The key to making this project work is taking time to ensure your tile is not loose, and is in good shape, then ensuring any leveling work is done to make your subfloor as flat as possible before installing the floor.

Waxing Engineered Floors

Q: We have just installed an engineered floor in our small basement bathroom.
We love the lush and exotic look, and our GC advised us to investigate waxing it to help prevent water from seeping in between the cracks between the boards. The floor is installed over a radiant heat system.
What wax do you recommend (I’ll guess a paste wax) and where can we find it?
Ronald H.

A: Unless this particular floor has a wax finish i would highly suggest not waxing the floor. Over pre-finished floors or floors featuring any non-wax finish, when you apply wax to the floor you are likely to get a dull or cloudy appearance over your floor. The reason for this is that the wax does not truly get into the floor, like it would with a wax finish, so it sits over the top and distorts the appearance of the actual finish, rather than adding a gloss level.
As a general rule, do not use any cleaner which has wax or is oil-based over pre-finished wood floors or wood floors without a similar finish to the cleaner (wax finish for wax, oil finish for oil-based cleaners). This includes cleaners like Minwax, Murphy’s Oil Soap and similar products.
As far as a cleaner is concerned, I would suggest looking into the hardwood cleaner made by BonaKemi or ask your floor’s manufacturer for what they suggest. When it comes to sealing in order to be safe there are two things you can do here. For best effect (though it takes time and a bit of cash), you could screen the floor and apply 2-3 coats of fresh finish over the top of the floor. This type of site finish work helps to get an even layer of finish and sheen over the entire floor after its installation is complete. The alternative here would be to get a color-matched sealant, preferably one which is semi-elastic, and put a small amount of the sealant in the seams.
Now most of this work is not necessary as long as some basic precautions are taken. First thing is to ensure a proper mat is near any showers or bath tubs, this will help to prevent excess water from getting on the floor. Clean up any spills asap and prevent standing water or wet clothing from sitting on the floor. With a few precautions, you should massively limit any chance of water damage to your floor.

Kudos to Rita & the team in Tinley Park

I just wanted to send a quick note to let you know how pleased my wife and myself were with the customer service that we received from Rita.

We are in the process of remodeling and flooring has always been on the list “to do.” When we were referred to iFloor by our contractor, we immediately visited the Tinley Park store. Choosing flooring is about as difficult as choosing our children’s names!

When we walked in, Rita was ready to help us in any way. Rita treated us like people rather than a “sale”. She walked us through the different types of flooring, found out what type of subfloor we had, asked other questions and then gave us her recommendations on what style, type, thickness to look for in a floor. When we left, we knew that we would be purchasing from iFloor because of the experience that we had at the show room!

Like I said, I just wanted to pass a note to you guys to let you know that you’ve got a great employee!

Sincerely,

Sean & Tarne
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Thanks Sean – we surely know that Rita is awesome. And I understand how tough buying a floor can be. Although you are the first that I have heard compare it to the task of naming your children I do agree that it is reflective of a largely annoying process. The good news is that people like Rita can make all the difference in the world. Thanks for sharing.

Stair Nose Question

Q: What is the difference between flush stair nose and overlapping stair nose? What are the advantages/disadvantages of each?
Berta R.
Tucson, AZ

A: Based on the type of nosing you choose will determine the look and utility of your installation for your stairs. Flush nosing will tend to have a more professional or custom look, as the molding and planks of flooring sit evenly. Although this tends to look better, the downside is that you have a bit less expansion gap potential, so you should leave a bit more room underneath the riser for expansion.
Overlap nosing will have the visible appearance of the overlap, but you get a bit more leniency with your expansion gap, as you can lean a small gap under the overlap and the remainder of your gap under the riser. Also, unlike a flush nosing, you can typically match an overlap nosing of proper height up to any floor, regardless of joint, whereas the flush nosing requires the same joint; for laminate you would want a flush nosing with the exact same locking mechanism, typically from the same line of flooring matched to the floor.