1. Come see us at the 2019 Home & Garden Show, May 17, 18 & 19, in Prescott Valley!

    This year, as every spring will be another fabulous Home & Garden Show, sponsored by the YCCA (Yavapai County Contractors Association). The dates are May 17, 18 & 19, 9am – 5pm. Come down and see our booth – booth #128 (somewhere in the middle of the floor aisles). We will have several display racks of samples and can show you some ideas for hardwood, laminate and vinyl plank flooring, answer questions about installation, etc., and even schedule an appointment to come and measure your home for a free estimate. Plus you get to meet me – owner and head installer of Desert Hardwood Flooring.

    It’s a great show with lots of vendors from all across the spectrum of home & property needs, all licensed, bonded and insured of course – or they wouldn’t be allowed in the show. You’ll soon see banners all over the tri-city areas if you live locally, so there will be pleny of reminders. However if you are coming in from out of town, and will be needing flooring services (as well as a host of others) this would be an ideal time to visit! Can’t wait to see you there!

    The show is held in the Prescott Valley Event Center, and is free and open to the public. Don’t miss it!

  2. The Importance Of Floor Prep

    The importance of floor prep cannot be understated. This is something that many flooring stores prefer to gloss over because it adds cost to a job. However this is a cost that must be calculated into your flooring project. I have never had a subfloor that did not need some kind of prep. At a minimum this means cleaning, scraping, removing old drywall mud, paint, staples, etc. A meticulous attitude in regards to preparing that subfloor is essential, or the finished floor will be compromised. But there are more critical things to look for in a subfloor.

    The most important element is making sure high and low spots are addressed and remedied. On a concrete slab, gentle highs or lows may not be noticeable. However more prominent bumps or ridges in the concrete are not uncommon. If we are installing a vinyl plank floor – a product with some flexibility that will conform to the subfloor, those ridges will show right through the floor. Furthermore they will put stress on the joints of planks which over time may break or separate. High spots in concrete can ground down with a diamond blade grinder – this is something we are always prepared to do. Low spots in concrete can be filled with a floor leveler. Typically expansion cuts or joints in concrete slabs allow the slab to lift or peak, causing the worst highs, so we will always look for this.

    In wood subfloors the same “peaking” or ridges occur between 4 x 8 panels of OSB or plywood. The proper way to install subfloor panels is with 1/8 inch expansion space between them. However this is rarely done. When the panels are butted together there is nowhere for the material to go when it expands, so it tends to push up at the seams. It is also common for subfloors to get wet from rains when a house is being built, before the roof is on and the house dryed in. Rarely are wood subfloors perfectly smooth or flat, and most are built with carpet in mind, which hides almost all imperfections. However for wood or hard surface floors those issues must be addressed. Typically this means going over the subfloor with a level and then sanding down the ridges and peaks in the panels.

    The most important element is making sure high and low spots are addressed and remedied. On a concrete slab, gentle highs or lows may not be noticeable. However more prominent bumps or ridges in the concrete are not uncommon. If we are installing a vinyl plank floor – a product with some flexibility that will conform to the subfloor, those ridges will show right through the floor. Furthermore they will put stress on the joints of planks which over time may break or separate. High spots in concrete can ground down with a diamond blade grinder – this is something we are always prepared to do. Low spots in concrete can be filled with a floor leveler. Typically expansion cuts or joints in concrete slabs allow the slab to lift or peak, causing the worst highs, so we will always look for this.

    The importance of floor prep cannot be understated. This is something that many flooring stores prefer to gloss over because it adds cost to a job. However this is a cost that must be calculated into your flooring project. I have never had a subfloor that did not need some kind of prep. At a minimum this means cleaning, scraping, removing old drywall mud, paint, staples, etc. A meticulous attitude in regards to preparing that subfloor is essential, or the finished floor will be compromised. But there are more critical things to look for in a subfloor.

  3. Vinyl Plank Flooring: What it is and Why it is so popular

    You may have heard of vinyl plank flooring or luxury vinyl plank flooring lately. Vinyl floors have come a long way since the “linoleum” floors of the 50’s and 60’s. The original linoleum flooring was made of linseed oil and other natural ingredients, and is actually still made today. However it was replaced with sheet vinyl and the flooring of choice for kitchens and baths, but still generally referred to as “linoleum” by the public. This sheet vinyl flooring, still quite available, is durable and inexpensive, but lacks a little class. It’s generally softer and can be cut or dented easier by dropping things, and has a very repetitive manufactured pattern. It also tends to have a glossy finish and looks very much like, well… vinyl.

    Vinyl plank first showed up as a denser, tougher kind of vinyl flooring than sheet vinyl, but in the form of thin (2mm) gluedown planks. Gluedown vinyl tiles called VCT (Vinyl Composition Tile) had already been used for decades in commercial settings, and still are. Gluedown vinyl planks are generally meant for commercial environments, but can be put in residences as well. Thicker vinyl planks that are installed as a floating floor have been around for years now, but they have been greatly improved upon lately. That brings us to today’s vinyl planks.

    Vinyl planks have a rigid core and a layer of vinyl on the surface. The planks are typically between 4-8mm in thickness, with wear layers varying from 2mil to 28mil. 20 mil is rated or commercial. However there have been plenty of issues with vinyl planks in the past, due to inferior locking systems, unstable cores and poorly made wear layers. The most notable issue was that vinyl plank floors expanded and contracted with changes in temperature – particularly direct sunlight, to a great degree. This meant that whole floors would expand and bubble up when sunlight came through a window. The reason for this was that even though the core was rigid, the wear layer of vinyl would expand under the heat and light of the sun, pulling the whole floor with it. These cores were (and many still are) made of PVC and other plastic composites, and are not stable enough.

    The latest generation of vinyl plank flooring has gone to what is called SPC or a Stone Composite Core. The core literally has ground up stone elements within it, that resist expansion and contraction and hold the vinyl layer steady even under extreme conditions. Another version is WPC – Wood Composite Core. These planks are waterproof, extremely durable, and very realistic in appearance, feel and texture. They lock together like laminate flooring, installed over a thin pad. So a vinyl plank is like a laminate plank in many ways, except that it is 100% waterproof. As the core material is also denser and heavier, vinyl planks are also quieter under foot. Vinyl planks are so tough they are typically warranteed for commercial settings 10-20 years and for a lifetime for residences. They are also more expensive than laminate, as could be expected.

    So vinyl planks are a great option for homes and businesses today. Although they do not add the same value to a home as a hardwood floor, the embossed grain wood-look surfaces are more realistic and beautiful than ever, and the durability is unmatched, especially for homes with pets or in wet areas. Ask us more about vinyl plank flooring. Call Desert Hardwood Flooring at (928) 925-3084.

  4. Understanding engineered wood flooring

    What is engineered hardwood flooring? Is it still real wood? Is it “laminated?”

    There is a lot of confusion about the different categories of plank flooring, so let me back up a bit. It used to be that “wood flooring” or “hardwood flooring” meant a plank that was made of one kind of wood, solid all the way through, and typically 3/4 of an inch thick. If you’re visuallizing those narrow strip red oak floors, you are on the right track. This kind of floor was typically installed raw or unfinished and sanded and finished onsite with several coats of eurethane. This is a laborious process that requires everything to be removed from a room or house while the floor is finished. But solid wood flooring has many limitations. For one it is typically more expensive as it used more of the original hardwood. Planks are narrower and the range of choices is much smaller. In addition solid wood flooring cannot be installed over concrete slabs – unless you want to build a plywood subdeck on top of your slab first. This is because solid wood reacts to humidity, temperature and weather changes more dramatically and cannot be safely adhered to concrete. So this eliminates solid wood flooring as a choice for many Arizona homes, which are build on slab.

    Enter engineered wood flooring (already since the 1960’s).

    An engineered wood plank is essentially a ply – that is a plank composed of several different types of wood set at cross directions, with the final top layer of hardwood that is pre-finished and all that you see when the floor is down. The advantage of the layers of different woods is that each wood reacts to humidity/dryness, temperature and weather changes differently and so actually end up holding each other in place. Setting them at cross directions has the same effect. The final top layer of hardwood is bonded to all the other layers so well that all wood flooring manufactures give engineered wood flooring lifetime structural guarantees. Engineered flooring is also pre-finished. Typically five to seven layers of aluminium oxide or ceramic oxide eurethane are hardened onto each plank in a way that can never be duplicated onsite. For this reason finish warrantees are typically 25-50 years. In the end you have a plank that is more durable than anything you can finish onsite, and more versatile and hardy – meaning it will move or gap (expand and contract) a LOT less than a solid floor. For this reason engineered wood flooring can be glued directly to concrete slabs, or floated over concrete slabs (glueing the tongue and grooves together), and even be installed below grade. It can be used in super moist areas of the country like the Pacific Northwest, and most importantly it can be used in super dry areas like Arizona. Although solid hardwood flooring is still installed a little bit here and there, engineered wood floors now dominate about 95% of the wood flooring market, and is most of what we sell and install. Because engineered wood flooring is more affordable, more versatile, durable and has a range of almost limitless wood choices, styles, widths and lengths, it is the best choice for most homes today.

    What about thickness and wear-layer?

    The thickness of most engineered planks is 1/2 inch, although you can find a few at 3/8, 7/16, and some thicker at 9/16 or 5/8. The wear layer varies from 1mm to 4mm typically. 2mm is most common. Often people ask about refinishing engineered wood floors. The first thing to understand is that because of the toughness of the finish and the 25+ year warrantees, most people will never have to refinish their floors. Another thing to remember is that if you have a rustic wood with lots of handscraping, beveled edges and character once you refinish it you will lose all that surface character and have a smooth finish. However if refinishing is a consideration, you want to choose a wood with at least a 2mm wear layer. The thicker the better, of course. And the thicker the plank and wear layer the more expensive the wood will be. For more questions about engeered wood flooring, please contact us at (928) 925-3084.

  5. Custom wood medallions for that “WOW” factor!

    Adding custom wood medallions to your hardwood floor installation can be a stunning highlight to any room, but especially prominent places like entry ways, fouriers and lobbys. Wood medallions come in countless varieties of shapes, desgins and colors, often composed of many different varieties of woods. Many features of a design can be customized to match your specific floor more closely. For example, if once a desgin has been chosen, different parts of the design can be made from specific woods to match and tie into your new floor. If you are putting a dark walnut floor in your house, a medallion can be made with features out of dark walnut as well. Although there are many fabulous choices, even completely custom designs can be made into a wood medallion and inserted into your floor. We do not make the medallion designs ourselves, but we do install them. Our favorite place to go for wood medallions is Oshkosh Desgins (oshkoshdesigns.com) although there are other companies to choose from as well. You can order a wood medallion directly from Oshkosh, or we can order it for you.

    The medallion gets installed after your floor is installed – we router the exact shape of the medallion into your existing floor and set it in. Medallion thikness must therefore match the thickness of your flooring. For best matches to style, thickness and nature of your wood floor we advise you send a piece/board to Oshkosh prior to them makng your design, so they know what to match it to. Wood medallions can also be installed into existing older wood floors even years later, so it’s never to late to add that “pop” to your entry floor. Also, decorative borders can be made to accent your flooring installation, and even match your medallion in style and desgin. For more information on wood medallions, borders and decorative insert designs, please ask Desert Hardwood Flooring at 928-925-3084.