Luxury Vinyl Tiles (stone styles) and Luxury Vinyl Planks (Wood styles) are taking over the Flooring industry because of their durability, price point, and realism. They have taken a huge share of the carpet market because for a little more you can a longer-term solution. They have rendered laminate obsolete. Laminate is a picture of wood on a high-density fiber board (can be damaged by very little water). LVP is a picture of wood on a waterproof core. Between pets, pools, cleaning, and leaks- most floors meet their demise by way of moisture. Not anymore. New graphic printing technology has made the photos clear and more realistic than ever.

But what is the difference between WPC and SPC? “water proof core” or “Wood composite” core was originally a proprietary blend of water proof particles designed by Core-Tec (US Floors). And many companies still lease the core from them; Fusion for example. But many more companies went off on their own to simulate the WPC with their own blend of materials. Some are more rigid than others, which makes installation difficult because the locking system tends to break off. They have different densities and perform (dent resistance and scratching) differently. Stone Particle Core SPC is also known as Rigid Core. They are denser and therefore dent resistant. The might have less comfort value because of the added hardness. This is a new product and the direction the industry is going, so there will be sure to be many new options soon. These typically have pad (or cork) attached or installed under them separately.

All natural Wool Stains

Wool is a durable, NO VOC, easy-to-wash carpet option. Most commonly they sort the sheep and sell all natural colors, hence, no powder blue:

Even though synthetic dyes are safe, non-toxic, and have virtually no negative impact on the environment, there are people who want to be as environmentally benign as possible. Natural dyes are not used because they tend to rub off on other fabrics and have poor light-fastness properties that require heavy metal mordants (to help natural dyes affix to the fiber) so they aren’t necessarily an environmental improvement.

Here are some styles and color options from Unique Carpets:

Wood floors change colors for two reasons: breaking down in the sun or natural “patina” color change. There is no UV protectant in the finish that will truly protect your floor from the sun over time- though some companies try. Inevitably stains will fade, boards will warp, and finish will dry up. There is no match for that big ball of fire. If the sun is setting into your back slider directly onto your floor consider tinting the windows and installing shutters.

But there is a natural process of oxidation that also changes hardwood’s color that is a GREAT thing! It makes those natural Brazilian cherries and exotic woods grow rich and color variant and unique. Most woods get darker over time and a select few- like Santos Mahogany- actually get lighter. This natural process of oxidation is sped up by exposure to oxygen and light, so it is dormant after manufacturing and in storage until it is installed. Do not be afraid if your naturally colored floor does not look like the sample when it is installed! Most of the color changing will take place over the first few months, so try to not put down your rugs right away. However, you have not made any permanent damage if you have heavy pieces of furniture in one place for years, then move them. The light spot under the furniture will catch up in coloring in a few months time. This is something to consider before putting your house on the market! New homeowners do not want to be buying into a flooring project. Take up the rugs and move the furniture around to avoid any misunderstandings. Darker color woods typically do more changing in color. Clarification: this happens to natural hardwood colors only! Stained woods will not do the same amount of color changing, so if this freaks you out: buy stained.

This is a Brazilian Cherry floor fresh after install compared to it’s sample that has already gotten a “tan”. The floor will catch up in a few month’s time.

Hickory Flooring

Hickory is a beautiful American Species. The price range is $4sf to $10sf and is offered by many different manufacturers. You can get it smooth, hand-scraped or wire-bushed (to accentuate the grain). The grain looks a lot like oak. It is naturally a blond floor with brown grain and can have a large color variation because of the brown mineral streaks. There also can be knots in the wood, or they can be selected out and sold at a premium grade.

This is Hickory Natural

Here is an example of a hand scraped, stained hickory floor we did in October 2017
Hallmark Chaparral Tackroom

“Hardness” of wood is referring to density, and we measure that in hardwood flooring on the JANKA Hardness scale. This is PSI (pounds per square inch) pressure. We use Red Oak (1290 PSI) as a baseline standard of “hard enough”. Hard enough to be functional and to not easily dent in normal household use. If you drop a pan, you are going to get a dent whether it is Brazilian Cherry (2820 PSI) or Yellow Birch (1260 PSI). But functional differences come under the red oak baseline in popular wood such as American Walnut (1010 PSI) Teak (1155 PSI) and American Cherry (950 PSI). These “softer” floors can leave dents from high heel shoes or debris stuck to the bottom of your shoe. A Christmas party could destroy your floor! These are beautiful grains and natural colors, so some people opt to forego their shoes in the house and take special care of their floors so they can enjoy the unique looks they provide.

Color and grain are equally as important as function and wear in your home. It is just about knowing your expectations for your floor and getting what fits your home and lifestyle.

We find most people who are looking at the “Hardness” of the wood and making that a key decision element can be somewhat confused. We can with our (number of years and three generations of hardwood flooring experience) we will help you understand so you can feel confident you have made the right choice for both your home and your family.

Harder Versus Softer Wood

Does wood hardness really matter?

“Hardness” of wood is referring to density, and we measure that in hardwood flooring on the JANKA Hardness scale. This is PSI (pounds per square inch) pressure. We use Red Oak (1290 PSI) as a baseline standard of “hard enough”. Hard enough to be functional and to not easily dent in normal household use. If you drop a pan, you are going to get a dent whether it is Brazilian Cherry (2820 PSI) or Yellow Birch (1260 PSI). But functional differences come under the red oak baseline in popular wood such as American Walnut (1010 PSI) Teak (1155 PSI) and American Cherry (950 PSI). These “softer” floors can leave dents from high heel shoes or debris stuck to the bottom of your shoe. A Christmas party could destroy your floor! These are beautiful grains and natural colors, so some people opt to forego their shoes in the house and take special care of their floors so they can enjoy the unique looks they provide.

Color and grain are equally as important as function and wear in your home. It is just about knowing your expectations for your floor and getting what fits your home and lifestyle.