Tips For Removing Scratches in Hardwood

Do you have ugly scratches on your hardwood floors? Does the sun hit them just right so accentuate them? In many cases you can make those surface level scratches go away – or at least make them less visible. Here are our best tips for hardwood floor scratch repairs that you can do yourself. 

With all of the different types of flooring finishes, it is important to know which one was used on your floors so you can match them. Is your finish oil or water based? Does it have a wax coating? Is the wood varnished or stained? Is there an aluminum oxide coating? Knowing what the surface is made of is important so that you know how to start your scratch repairs. If you didn’t install the floors and aren’t sure what type of finish it has, you can check here for more details. 

Before you start, make sure you clean the entire area around the scratch on your floors. You will want to remove all traces of dust, dirt and grime on the floor before you go any further in the process. Make sure you pay attention to the inside of the crack itself, which should be free of any small particles. If you have a wax layer, use a wax remover solution to clear away the way before you do the repair. scratches - Tips For Removing Scratches in Hardwood

With just a little elbow grease, you can bring life back into your wood floors. A fine-grained sandpaper will buff out minor damage. First, sand the floor in the direction of the grain. You’ll need to reapply the stain that you buffed away in the process, so choose a hidden area (under a bed, in a corner or closet) to patch-test first to make sure it matches. After finding the right stain, patch test a urethane finish. 

A water-based polyurethane dries quickly, with a clear and shiny finish, which is ideal for newer floors. But this could create too much contrast if floors have darkened with age. Oil-based urethanes are strong-smelling and they dry with a yellow tinge that will continue to darken over time. This may better suit the color of older floors. Just make sure your sanded area is smooth and thoroughly clean before you apply stain and then the finish. 

If you have a small, single scratch that is only noticeable when you get close (like scratches from pets nails) and your floor has a relatively new finish, try a DIY home solution first. Mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and olive oil in a small cup. Slowly rub the mixture into the scratch with a soft rag. Leave it for the remainder of the day and then rub clean. This will usually take care of small, minor scratches. 

Walnuts contain natural emollients and brown dyes that can repair and enhance the look of worn, scratched wood. Warm up the nut in your fingers, warming the natural oils, then rub the walnut into the floor into the worn areas using circular motions. Let the oil sit for a few minutes, then buff out with a soft cloth. walnut - Tips For Removing Scratches in HardwoodCoconut oil can also help scratch marks on unfinished or freshly sanded floors. Just apply a thin layer of coconut oil on a brush or sponge and rub into the wood. Let sit for 10 minutes and then buff out with a soft cloth for rich looking wood. 

A combination of olive oil and baking soda can help reduce and remove scratches from wood. First step is to vacuum your floors well and then apply baking soda with several drops of olive oil. Wait a few minutes and then gently rub with a soft sponge with the grain of the wood. Rub with a damp cloth and then dry with a towel. 

For your deepest gouges in the wood, try a wood filler that can be sanded and stained, even painted. You could also use a pre-colored latex wood filler that can blend directly into your floor. This is the best option for small, deep holes that can then be filled, sanded, stained and finished. This leaves your floors looking new. 

 

Benefits of a Curbless Shower

The open concept of kitchen and living rooms can make a space feel much bigger. But how do you get the same effect in a bathroom without sacrificing privacy? Start with your shower! By removing the barriers that block in a shower, you can create a seamless feel that makes your bathroom look and feel larger. 

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If you don’t think twice about stepping over a walk-in showers huge lip, count yourself lucky. A curbless shower allows anyone who may have trouble with balance or coordination to feel confident about entering the shower. Those using a wheelchair or other mobility aids do not have a threshold to step over a large curb and may find a curbless shower easier to enter so they can bathe more independently. The shower will grow with you, which means that as you age in your home, the shower is already outfitted to accommodate mobility aids. This means that you can potentially stay in your home longer because it is designed to meet your needs as you grow older. 

 

One of the most significant benefits of a curbless shower is the fact that they are fully customizable. Curbless showers are installed in big or small spaces because they are designed to fit your unique area. Even if you have a small space, a curbless shower can be put in the corner so you have more room in the other areas of your bathroom. In fact, they must be customized to your space to ensure proper drainage and a sufficient splash zone. Do you like clean, modern designs, a more spa-like vibe, or customized tile work? The options are endless. 

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Are you annoyed with the mildew and mold growth on your shower curtain? Does it get in your way while you shower or do you forget to put it on the inside of your shower before you start the water? You not only don’t have to worry about a shower curtain or liners with a curbless shower. Not only will this help keep your shower cleaner, but it will help reduce the amount of mold and mildew buildup. This also means that you don’t have to spend your shower fighting with the curtain and liner. No shower curtain also means that  your style will be on display. There is no extra barrier to block your view of the beautiful tile designs or your personal style accents. 

Hardwood Is Good For Your Health

If you are among the 35 million people that are allergic to dust mites and pet dander, you might be surprised to find that replacing your carpet with hardwood is a great way to limit your exposure to them. A home with wooden floors and rugs will contain only a tenth of the dust that a carpeted house contains. 

images 1 8 - Hardwood Is Good For Your HealthCarpets can trap the types of fine particle matter that worsen allergies. Pollen, pet dander and other particles can find a home there and become very difficult, if near impossible to extract completely. Dusting and vacuuming can help minimize many indoor allergies, but they can also stir them up. A good way to prevent these allergens in the first place is to eliminate common breeding grounds. And flooring is one area of the home where the indoor allergies can be controlled. 

Hard surfaces like hardwood, help to minimize the buildup of allergens because there are no fibers to hold on to those particles. By minimizing allergens, your quality of air indoors is already improved. Hardwood is also easier to disinfect than carpet. Using an anti-bacterial cleaner and a mop is all it takes. This just simply cannot be done with carpet. images 19 - Hardwood Is Good For Your Health

Infants and small children are especially susceptible to the allergens that are trapped in carpet and since they spend more time crawling and playing on the floor. Hardwood floors might not be as comfortable for them when they crawl or play but ultimately better for their respiratory health. This can also be a concern if you have pets since hardwood is easier to clean and doesn’t trap the pet hair. 

 

 

 

Parquet Floors 101

Parquet originally comes from the French term “parquetry,” meaning “small compartment.” It originated in France in the 17th Century, when artisans created elaborate designs by cutting and fitting small geometric pieces of wood together, one at a time, and then gluing them to the floor. Because of the skill and time required, parquet floors were initially the province of wealthy households and public buildings. images 18 - Parquet Floors 101

While artisans can still piece together a custom parquet floor, the vast majority of modern parquet flooring comes in square tiles, featuring strips of hardwood bonded to a mesh or thin plywood base.

Custom parquet is rarely found in residential homes today because it still requires individually cutting wood pieces and assembling them in puzzle-like fashion to form mosaics, mandalas, and other intricate designs. The few companies that specialize in custom parquet charge $20 to $45 per square foot or more, depending on the level of complexity.

Parquet flooring tiles are the product of choice for homes today—and they’re do-it-yourself-friendly. An assortment of hardwoods, including oak, chestnut, ash, and walnut are popular in these tiles, and you can also find some exotic wood species and bamboo. Parquet flooring tiles sell by the carton, in 9-inch, 12-inch, and 18-inch squares. When installed by a homeowner, parquet flooring runs $3 to $5 per square foot. Professional installation of parquet tiles will raise the cost to around $7 to $10 per square foot.download 23 - Parquet Floors 101

Parquet is thought to be one of the best types of hardwood floors currently on the market. Most often, parquet floors contain a mixture of at least one or more species of wood, including oak, walnut, maple, pine, and even bamboo. These pieces are glued together using strong adhesives and then placed directly onto a paper or plastic backing. Keep in mind that vinyl parquet patterns are not made of hardwood.

While there are a variety of patterns with real wood and pretty easy installation, there are also a few challenges with parquet flooring. It can be very challenging to refinish and shouldn’t be installed in basements due to moisture issues. Along the lines of moisture, parquet flooring is not suitable for humid areas either, including bathrooms and laundry rooms. You will need to consult a flooring expert before adding this type of flooring in your home. 

images 3 3 - Parquet Floors 101Refinishing a parquet floor can be difficult because removing the old finish involves sanding, and wood should always be sanded with the direction of its grain to prevent cross-grain marks. Because a parquet floor features pieces of wood grain running in different directions, removing the old finish without damaging the surface of the wood beneath requires painstaking care. This should definitely be done by a professional to ensure your refinish is done correctly. 

Janka Hardness Scale

If you are in the market for hardwood flooring that will last for decades, the obvious choice will be for wood in its natural form. It’s not enough to simply just pick any hardwood species, because hardwoods can vary quite a bit in their hardness and some are actually much softer than some softwood species. images 17 - Janka Hardness Scale

To give quantification to this issue of wood species hardness, the lumber industry created the Janka hardness scale. This standard is now widely accepted as the best means of ranking the hardness of wood. The Janka test measures the amount of force needed to drive a 0.444 inch steel ball into wood to a depth equal to half its diameter. The higher the rating, the harder the wood. There are other elements that go into how a wood species performs as a flooring material but the Janka scale will give you a good idea as to whether your wood floor will last for decades or will quickly surrender to the onslaught of dog nails and basic foot traffic. lauzon hardwood flooring blog hardness janka scale 300x169 - Janka Hardness Scale

So how do we use the Janka Scale? It runs from zero (softest) to 4,000 lbs (hardest). Woods with a low rating on the wood hardness scale are those that will dent and scratch easily. Balsa wood, for example, is extremely lightweight and used for crafts. It has one of the lowest on the scale at 100 lbs. It definitely wouldn’t be a good idea to use it for wood floors! But on the other hand, a higher score indicates that more effort is required to nail or saw the wood since it’s so hard. With a score of 3,684 lbs, one of the hardest woods is Ipe (also known as Brazilian Walnut or Lapacho). This wood is often used for decks, flooring and even furniture, especially when high shock resistance is needed. And because it is so hard, Ipe is often pre drilled for screws. 

Solid Hardwood vs. Engineered

There might not be a more difficult decision in the design world than selecting the right flooring for your home. Unfortunately, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution. With that said, if you are looking for durability, longevity and style, most often, you can’t beat hardwood floors. The wide options of hardwood flooring available means that you are sure to find something to perfect your space. download 22 - Solid Hardwood vs. Engineered

While hardwood floors are elegant and timeless, they are not all created equally. When it comes to hardwood flooring, there are two main types – solid and engineered. Solid hardwood planks are created from a single thick piece of wood. Engineered hardwood has a core of plywood with a layer of hardwood veneer applied to the surface. While there is a lot to love about both of these options, each is made from 100% real wood. Unlike laminate or vinyl plank alternatives, no two pieces are ever exactly alike. 

Traditional solid hardwood has been in demand for many years but recently, engineered wood floors have been hugely popular. Both options provide a beautiful finish so it can sometimes be hard to compare the two. But here are 5 key differences between solid and engineered hardwood.  

Cost
Your budget usually drives your home project. It will help you determine which option is best for you. Generally, engineered hardwood is less expensive than solid hardwood but ultimately, the quality and species of the wood will be the largest price factor. Exotic varieties of solid hardwood are more expensive than engineered. 

While the price range varies greatly, the cost of engineered hardwood is usually around $3-14 per square foot (but this will depend on the plank thickness and species of wood). The hardness and durability of the wood ultimately determines the final price but most solid hardwood floors cost between $8-15 per square foot. 

Installation
Engineered hardwood is less likely to buckle or react to heat so there are a variety of installation options available. The fact that engineered wood does not react to changing temperatures, means that this alternative can be installed above or below ground level. Since the solid hardwood will expand and contract over time, this wood can only be installed on or above ground level. images 16 - Solid Hardwood vs. Engineered

Engineered hardwood can be installed quickly and in a variety of spaces This is your best option if you’re looking for a DIY project. Most styles of engineered wood can be glued or nailed down and in some cases is similar to laminate flooring, in that you can opt for a type that locks planks together without a fastener.

Solid hardwood will generally have a longer installation process. The flooring is attached with a specific flooring nailer then sanded and finished. The sanding process can be tough to navigate if you don’t have experience. Although in theory, you could do it yourself, hiring a professional will ensure that the job will get done quicker, neater and will last longer. 

Durability
Both forms of hardwood offer durability and toughness – but solid wood still comes out on top as it is inherently sturdier as they must be permanently nailed or glued into your subfloor. In extreme temperatures, engineered woods have much greater structural stability, which delivers better resistance against buckling. While this can be a benefit, the durability of engineered wood is not comparable to solid forms because the surfaces on this engineered wood are quite thin and are more prone to chip over time.

Moisture Resistance
Engineered floors are the better choice when it comes to moisture. Engineered wood is constructed with a plywood base so moisture is less likely to flex or warp the boards. The fibers in plywood run in a crosswise layer helping make it resistant to moisture build-up. images 2 4 - Solid Hardwood vs. Engineered

Solid hardwood floors are not usually recommended in areas where moisture is prevalent. So you probably want to avoid solid wood for your bathroom, laundry room or any areas that require regular mopping or have water around. Even still, solid hardwood can still resist moisture to some extent (especially if you can clean it up quickly) but this will depend on if the wood is prefinished or site-finished. Site-finished wood has a top layer that is sealed which can help absorb some of the moisture. 

Environmental Considerations
Most people are looking to support products that sustain a positive environment approach. In many cases, engineered hardwood is more eco-friendly than solid wood. The manufacturing process for engineered wood is less wasteful and requires less energy than most of the other flooring types. However, it isn’t to say that selected solid hardwood isn’t a sustainable option. You can still buy environmentally friendly solid wood, provided that it is purchased from a responsible supplier and certified by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).