What is the best type of flooring for a kitchen?
Wood? Tile? Laminate?
For the kitchen area, it's best to figure out the subfloor before deciding on the surface. If the subfloor is concrete, then chances are it's best to install tile. Tile is easy to clean, very durable, extremely scratch resistant, will not buckle from moisture and the finish does not wear. There are tiles that look like hardwood which is a great solution if you need tile but want the hardwood look. We do not recommend installing tile over a plywood subfloor no matter the thickness. Tile can be a bit cold and hard on the feet. However, this is a relatively easy fix with a soft mat where you do most of your standing.
Hardwood flooring has become increasing popular in kitchens. While it does look beautiful, warm and is soft on the feet- there are some things to consider. Definitely install a hardwood (i.e. oak) and not a soft wood(i.e. pine). Kitchens are usually a high traffic area so it's best to pick a floor that can withstand this. Oak flooring is a great choice as it's durable. Check out our blog- it elaborates on this. (Red Oak vs. White Oak Hardwood Blog).You should consider, however, that hardwood does not do well in areas that have moisture. There have been cases where the hardwood has buckled by the sink, stove and dishwasher- the areas with the most moisture in the kitchen. Also, the finish tends to wear off hardwood fast where you stand or keep a mat on a regular basis (i.e. by the sink doing dishes or in front of the stove cooking.) To fix this, you can always screen and re-coat or sand and refinish. Click on this link for more info on sanding and refinishing: (Sanding and Refinishing in Westchester)
We do not recommend a laminate flooring in any kitchen.
If you did want/need to install a floating/clickable floor- CoreTec is the absolute best option for the kitchen. It's technically a luxury vinyl with an attached cork underlayment. Not only can this floor be installed over plywood or concrete, but it's completely water and mold resistant. CoreTec comes in beautiful colors and styles. It's quite durable and holds up well to high-traffic. It also comes in a variety of widths (i.e. 5 or 7 inch planks.)
How do I refinish my hardwood floor?
Sanding and refinishing hardwood flooring is a multi-step process with specific machinery, tools, and sand paper. You’re going to need a belt sanding machine, a buffer, an edger, sand paper of different grits, screens, stain(if choosing to apply), polyurethane, a lambs wool applicator, microfiber rollers, rolling sticks, plastic and tape to seal off rooms not being done- and we can not forget the vacuums and hoses. The machines are usually available to rent at Home Depot or Lowes in the States. Though, the machines need to be adjusted to the right settings and more often than not, the rented machines aren't adjusted correctly. Sanding and refinishing isn't an easy DIY project and does require a certain level of skill and knowledge to know what to look for(i.e. sanding marks, swirls, stain applied unevenly.) We have some more information on our website. Feel free to check us out.
What is the best way to clean a hardwood floor?
We get asked this question all the time. There are many things you can do to expand the life of your floors and ensure their integrity. It's best to minimize walking on the floors with shoes. Shoes can bring in all types of dirt that can lead to scratching. Use entry mats and if these mats happen to get wet be sure to remove them from the floor and clean and also be sure to clean and dry the floor before causing damage or buckling issues. We recommend dry mopping and spot cleaning; never use a wet mop on the floor, it's best to sweep floors with a soft broom or microfiber pad.
Make sure anything spilled on the floors is cleaned up immediately.
For cleaners, stay away from ammonia based cleaners or wax cleaners such as Murphy's Oil. Bona Cleaning Products work well. To clean the floor, lightly mist a soft cloth or spot on the floor and wipe up immediately. We also find that the AMMONIA FREE Windex works great without leaving any streaks or residue.
Be careful when using a vacuum or other type of device on the floor. Make sure the wheels are kept clean as this can cause scratching.
What comes first: Painting or Installing the Floor?
We can't tell you how often we get asked this question and it's a very important question to ask when scheduling work. We always say to paint the walls and ceilings first with some risk of needing touch ups. It's much easier to touch up a painted wall than a new floor- whether the floor is prefinished, sanded and refinished hardwood or another type of floor covering. However, the one thing that's best to paint AFTER the flooring is installed, is the base molding and shoe molding- and for good reason. First, the base and shoe moldings need to be installed once the flooring has been completed so it wouldn't even be there while the painters are painting before the floor work. Second, base and shoe molding require prep- nail holes filled and seams caulked. So it's best to do the moldings AFTER the flooring. When installing after a home or room was just painted, we are sure to be extra careful with the walls. Some touchups might be needed and painters usually expect and are OK with it.
Somerset solid hardwood character collection?
Does anyone have experience with Somerset solid hardwood character collection or somerset hardwood other collections?
Also what are your opinions on 5inch wide planks? Can they be more likely to have issues with expanding compared to the more narrow strips?
We have installed many lines in the Somerset collections- Value, Color and Character. We personally like Somerset hardwood and have not had issues with it and certainly no call backs from our customers about the finish and what not.
We love a good wide plank hardwood. Anything over 5" hardwood NEEDS to be glued and stapled. And to be honest, depending on the condition of the home, we glue down and staple 4" hardwood too. It is important to allow proper acclimation of 5" hardwood. The wider the plank, the longer the acclimation. A general rule of thumb is about a week to acclimate 5" but the longer the better.
Is it normal for prefinished hardwood material to have splits and cracking? What do you do with these pieces?
This is actually pretty common and we have seen this on just about every job site with both prefinished and unfinished installs. This, however, is not to say we install these boards. Sometimes with solid hardwood, the boards, due to the graining, have natural fault lines that aren't necessarily noticeable at visual inspection some, however, are very noticeable. Sometimes when it gets stapled into the floor, the splitting will happen. Sometimes, during the milling and prefinishing process, this happens. Hardwood is naturally occurring and it has its own set of imperfections.
When we install hardwood, we literally inspect every single piece of flooring that goes down- ESPECIALLY prefinished. I know that might sound unrealistic but trust me, we do. We've seen all too often that the milling process of the hardwood wasn't perfect on certain pieces. When we see this, these boards get tossed aside in hopes that they can be used for something other than waste(whether it be a rip or a cut off piece from the opposite side where the imperfection lies) Sometimes what happens is when the floor gets stapled, it will split due to no fault of the installer but rather the hardwood wasn't sufficient enough to withstand the staple. In that case, this board gets pulled out and in its place a new board goes down. Now, with that being said, the only way to truly fault the installer is by them failing to remove the damaged board and just continuing the installation. After each row is down, we like to check and make sure all pieces have held up and that the boards are in tact.
Hardwood tends to split when the humidity is VERY low for a very long time drying out the hardwood so much that they end up splitting.