Frequently
Asked Questions

Hardwood FAQs

Yes, engineered wood is real wood. It is made in layers called plies. The top layer (wear layer) is the layer you see when the floor is installed. This is the featured wood species, and is fused to the core which is made up of fused cross layers of wood.
No. Engineered wood is real wood while laminate is not. The two are sometimes confused because they are both made in layers unlike a solid hardwood.
No. Engineered woods are able to be sanded as well, but the extent to which is dependant upon the thickness of the top wear layer. If the wear layer of engineered wood is less than 1/16” then sanding may expose the core layers underneath. The thicker the wear layer the more times it can be sanded. However, because of the quality of the original finish of modern hardwood floors, most never need to be refinished anyway. If there is a damaged area it will most likely be easier and more economical to simply replace the affected planks.
Yes, hardwood floors are widely desirable and are known to increase home values. The better you maintain your wood floors the more of a selling point they will be if and when you do put your home on the market.

The following steps are a general guide:

  • Step 1: Protect – Use floor mats at all exterior entryways. Dirt particles can scratch into your wood’s finish. When entering from outside wipe your feet on entry mats and shake the mats out frequently. Use mats in front of sinks or other potential wet areas to absorb spills. Beware of non-ventilated rubber-backed rugs – they can damage wood floors over time. Use window treatments to guard against the fading effects of sunlight. Use protective pads under furniture legs. Keep pet’s nails trimmed.
  • Step 2: Clean – Sweep the floor regularly with a high quality broom and/or a vacuum without a beater bar. Mop with a no-wax floor cleaner, but don’t wet-mop! Clean sticky spots with a damp towel or sponge, and dry up spills immediately.
  • Step 3: Screen and recoat – If your wood’s finish gets worn over time you may want to consider having the floor screened and recoated. Screening grinds down a wood’s polyurethane finish. Recoating with new urethane can make your floor look like new again.
  • Step 4: Sand and refinish – If damage is too widespread to replace certain boards or too severe for screening and recoating, sanding and refinishing may be your only option. If you maintain your floors regularly it should be 20 years or more before this becomes necessary, if ever.
Brazilian Cherry is the hardest wood on the market today. This is demonstrated with the “Janka Hardness Test” which results in a numerical rating where the higher the number the harder the wood. Brazilian Cherry has a Janka Hardness Rating of 2350. By contrast one of the softest woods, Douglas Fir, has a Janka Hardness Rating of 660.
No, not at all. You wouldn’t want a hardwood floor to be exposed to the elements, but in a climate-controlled environment like a home or business there should be no worry. Wood will inherently absorb or release moisture until it has the same relative humidity of whatever air it is exposed to. If the indoor humidity level is very low and the air is dry your wood will tend to shrink. This could cause planks to separate slightly. If the humidity level gets too high then the wood could expand. Solid hardwoods are more susceptible to this expansion and contraction than are engineered woods. For this reason engineered woods are much more popular than solid woods in climates such as Florida. To allow for small fluctuations in humidity our installers will carefully provide the necessary expansion gaps at walls and transitions.
Solid hardwood floors may be nailed, stapled or glued depending on the product and the existing surface. Engineered hardwood floors may be glued, stapled or floated depending on the product and the existing surface.
Properly maintained, a high quality hardwood floor may last a lifetime.

Laminate FAQs

No. Engineered wood is real wood while laminate is not. The two are sometimes confused because they are both made in layers, and the look of modern laminates is deceivingly realistic.
Laminates are made in four layers; a backing layer, an inner core layer, a design layer and a wear layer. The backing layer is basically a protective moisture barrier. The inner core is a layer of resin that gives the laminate its strength. The design layer is a literal photographic image of the wood, tile or stone that the laminate is made to represent. The top wear layer protects the floor from staining and fading.
Almost anywhere! Laminate has very few installation restrictions. Because it snaps together as a floating floor it can be installed over a wood subfloor, concrete or tile.
Without a sound-absorbing underlayment laminate floors will click more than natural woods when tapped or walked on with hard-soled shoes. We standardly use a sound-absorbing underlayment with our laminate installations.
As a general rule, yes. There are, however, high quality laminate products that are more expensive than lower quality hardwoods.
No, laminates cannot be sanded and refinished. However, individual planks can be replaced if they get damaged.
Properly maintained, a high quality laminate floor may last a lifetime.
Laminate floors are very easy to maintain. Regularly sweep, vacuum or mop with a no-wax floor cleaner.
Not necessarily. Some buyers may value a quality laminate floor more than others, but there is no evidence that the floor will increase the home value in general.

Carpet FAQs

In general, a carpet that is short and tight, whether it’s a cut-pile or a loop, will wear better than a soft, fluffy carpet because it better resists being crushed. Also, a nylon or a triexta yarn resists crushing better than an olefin.
Carpet referred to as a saxony or a velvet is a cut pile carpet that is characterized by a velvety surface that shows footprints and vacuum marks. Other styles do not show these marks; twists, friezes, shags, berbers, etc. Velvet finishes are generally considered to have a more formal look than loops or textured carpets.
We use a high quality pad as standard with our wall-to-wall installations. A cheap pad will cause your carpet to wear faster than a high quality pad, and it doesn’t feel as nice under foot. The little money that you could save by using a cheap pad is just not worth the trade-off in wear and comfort.
Each type of flooring can be found in a wide range of price points. Some of the lower end carpets are less expensive than most hard surface floors, but the reverse is true as well.
Broadloom carpets are manufactured in rolls of specific widths, most commonly 12’, but sometimes 13’-6” to 15’. If the carpet you choose comes 12’ wide and your room is wider than 12’ in each direction then your carpet must be seamed. Some carpets are able to be installed with basically invisible seams while others are not. We will help you determine what the best carpet is for your installation.
The life of a carpet depends greatly on the amount of traffic and abuse, and the diligence of proper maintenance. It also varies from product to product, depending on such things as the type and density of fiber.
(This answer is the same as that for area rugs). Regular vacuuming is crucial to extending the life of your carpeting. If dirt particles are permitted to remain on and in carpeting they will get ground in with traffic. This not only causes discoloration, but damages the fibers causing it to wear quickly.

Wool carpets are naturally stain resistant, and stain protection on today’s synthetic carpets is quite effective, but the longer spills remain the better chance they have of leaving a stain. Clean any spills immediately by first removing as much of the substance as possible. Often cleaning with a little water or a white vinegar and water solution will remove the remaining substance. Spot clean with a carpet cleaning product as needed. Use cleaners on a white towel or paper towel and blot instead of rub.

Also, annual professional cleaning is recommended. Having your carpets dry cleaned regularly is a great way to keep them looking great. Steam cleaning will penetrate deeper, but leaves carpets damp for up to three days. If you have them steam cleaned try to schedule it to be done just before you go out of town for the weekend.

Tile FAQs

Porcelain tile is a form of ceramic tile that is harder, denser and less porous than typical ceramic tile. Because of this it is less likely to absorb moisture and become stained. Porcelain is also less susceptible to shrinkage and warpage during the drying process which means the overall size of the tiles is more consistent than typical ceramic. This means that thinner grout lines may be used during installation. Some porcelain tiles are what’s known as “through-body” porcelain which has color that runs throughout the body of the tile, so if a tile gets scratched or chipped it is less noticeable. The bottom line is if these differences are advantageous for your application and your needs then porcelain is better for you.
Generally tiles made and sold as floor tiles are thicker and heavier than those made for walls. If you are only tiling a small portion of the wall then this may not be an issue, but if you are tiling a large part of the wall then floor tiles may be too heavy for the wall to support. In the same way wall tiles are not made to take the abuse of being walked on and will not wear as well as floor tiles.
Yes, you can. Some people feel that using larger tiles makes a small room appear larger, especially with small grout lines. Small tiles can look busy due to the number of resulting grout lines. Keep in mind that if larger tiles are used a level floor is more critical.
Not necessarily, but it’s up to you. Slip resistant tiles do provide more traction and reduce the risk of slipping when the floor gets wet, so if reducing that risk is your primary objective then slip resistant tiles may be the right choice for you. However, slip resistant tiles are much harder to clean. The fact is that most people place mats outside the shower and in front of the sink anyway. You need to decide which benefit is more important to you.
Yes, a good quality modern tile will add to the value of your home. Of course, this can depend on the potential buyer. If the tile you choose does not suit your buyer’s taste then the value is relative. So, if you are remodeling with the intention of selling then choose a tile that is currently popular as apposed to a tile that you particularly fancy.

Area Rugs FAQs

The size of area rug you use is ultimately personal taste, but here are some thoughts to keep in mind while deciding. Occasionally after a customer has taken a rug home they return to say they need a larger size than they thought, not the other way around.

For a living room sometimes a customer will say they want a rug that just fits under the cocktail table. Invariably after we convince them to go a little bigger they are very thankful. A rug should at least fill up the seating area. Sometimes rugs will be placed right up to the sofa, sometimes they will go under the sofa a little, and sometimes they will go all the way around the sofa. One reason to consider having sofas, chairs, etc. sitting all the way on a rug is if the arrangement is “floating” in the room (placed away from walls). Most of the professional designers we work with make rugs much larger than customers we work with directly. Take a look through design magazines to get some ideas.

In a dining room we recommend having a rug that is large enough so that when you pull out a chair to sit down the legs don’t go off the edge of the rug. If they do go onto the floor then after you sit down and scoot yourself up to the table you will have to hop the chair up over the edge of the rug. With repetition of this there is a good chance of doing damage to the edge of the rug. To get an idea of size based on this requirement pull a chair out to get into it comfortably then measure from the back legs to the edge of the table, or pull out a chair on either side and measure from back legs to back legs. Typically the rug will need to be between 2-1/2 to 3 feet past the table on each side. Again, check out some of the pictures in design magazines for inspiration.
There are different types of hand-made rugs. Hand-knotted rugs are more costly due to the time and labor it takes to make them, but they hold their value well and if properly taken care of can last for generations. Many imported rugs are hand-tufted which are made with the aid of a tufting gun but are still considered hand-made. Hand-tufted rugs can be made much quicker and are therefore less expensive than hand-knotted rugs. Machine-made rugs as well as hand-tufted rugs make use of adhesives in the backing which can eventually break down over time. For that reason these rugs will probably not survive as long as hand-knotted rugs.
Not necessarily. Properly maintained, synthetic rugs and wool rugs of the same construction may have a similar life expectancy. There are a number of variables including pile density and amount of traffic. We occasionally have customers return to have new custom rugs made fifteen to twenty years after the first ones only because they are using new colors – the rugs still look great!
It is normal for wool rugs to shed. Some of them shed quite a bit initially, but the shedding should diminish over time with each vacuuming.
Some of the rugs that we make have a traditional flavor, but the designs are largely contemporary. This is mostly due to the process we use to manufacture our rugs (see below). Traditional rugs are typically extremely intricate. With our process the more involved the design the more it costs to produce. Therefore there comes a point where the complexity of design would make the rug just too cost prohibitive.
They are pieced together, but not just pieced together. The process is actually quite labor intensive. We design our rugs on computer then pull apart each different colored piece like taking apart a puzzle. We use a giant computerized cutting table with an ultrasonic titanium blade to cut each separate piece out of rolls of broadloom carpeting. Then the individual pieces are all assembled and heat seamed together the same way your wall-to-wall carpets are seamed. Next the assembled rug is hand-carved to give it depth wherever two different colors or textures meet, or sometimes varying textured materials like shags are permitted to lay over lower-profile materials. Finally the rug is finished off with binding on the edges that matches the colors of the rug. The result is an exact replica of the computer design that is made in our shop right here in the USA!
The time required to make each rug depends on the size and complexity of the rug as well as how many custom orders we have at the time. Be sure to ask us when you’re ready to have one made, but as a range it can run anywhere from two to six weeks.
(This answer is the same as that for carpeting). Regular vacuuming is crucial to extending the life of your rugs. If dirt particles are permitted to remain on your rugs they will get ground in with traffic. This not only causes discoloration, but damages the fibers causing it to wear quickly.

Wool rugs are naturally stain resistant, and stain protection on today’s synthetic rugs is quite effective, but the longer spills remain the better chance they have of leaving a stain. Clean any spills immediately by first removing as much of the substance as possible. Often cleaning with a little water or a white vinegar and water solution will remove the remaining substance. Spot clean with a carpet cleaning product as needed. Use cleaners on a white towel or paper towel and blot instead of rub.

Also, annual professional cleaning is recommended. Having your rugs dry cleaned regularly is a great way to keep them looking great. Steam cleaning will penetrate deeper, but leaves rugs damp for up to three days. If you have them steam cleaned try to schedule it to be done just before you go out of town for the weekend.