Ceramic & Stone Q&A

Can my ceramic tile stain?

A: Not easily. A glazed ceramic tile will typically not stain. It is the grout that absorbs stains and becomes unsightly. Routine cleaning is required and sealing the grout will help the grout stay clean.

I like the look of ceramic tile on bath floors, but isn’t it cold in the winter?

Tile floors can be cold in some applications. The addition of an electric floor warming system under the tile can add to the comfort level of the tile floor as well as the room.

How is a tile floor heated?

An electrical radiant floor warming system is installed with thinset followed by another layer of thinset and tile. The thermostat to control the heat mat or wiring must be connected by a licensed electrician.

What is the difference between quarry tile and ceramic tile?

Quarry tile does not have a glaze or factory applied coating. It is a solid color primarily red or terra cotta and is used in commercial wet areas.

Is there a stain free grout?

No, but Opticolor grout from Mapei is the most stain resistant grout on the market. It is an improved, water-cleanable, resin reactive grout with chemical and stain resistance.

Can porcelain tile be used in an exterior application?

Not all porcelain can be installed outside, you will need to look for a tile that is rated frost-proof.

How soon should I seal my grout?

Many sealers recommend waiting 30 days for the grout to fully cure. We offer a product called grout shield that can be applied right away and has an easy to use nozzle for application.

The sealer can and will wear off with time. To test to see when sealer should be reapplied, put a drop of water on the grout and if it beads up the sealer is still there. If the water dropped on the sealer does not bead up it is time to re-seal.

What is the benefit of porcelain tile?

The color consistency is thru the body not just on the tile surface. It is fade, stain and scratch resistant. Porcelain tile is a valuable choice for counter tops and fireplaces because it can withstand high levels of heat. Maintenance is simple with mild detergent and clean water.

In ceramic tile what is shade variation?

Any variation in color or texture from one tile to another.

Should a sealer be used on ceramic tile?

A glazed tile is already stain proof, so there is no purpose to putting on a sealer. You may put a penetrating sealer on your unglazed tile or your grout joints. A penetrating sealer is an invisible, stain resistant shield that is absorbed into the surface.

What is the difference between glazed and full-body tiles?

Glazed tiles are coated with a liquid glass, which is then baked into the surface of the clay. Full-body porcelain tiles do not show wear because its color extends throughout the tile, making them ideal for commercial applications.

What is the best way to clean my tile regularly?

Wipe glazed wall tiles periodically using a cloth or sponge dampened with a non oil-based household cleaner. Vacuum glazed floor tiles regularly to remove dirt and other gritty particles, then damp mop or sponge with an all-purpose, non oil-based cleaner.

Remember not to use ammonia, as it will discolor grout. Clean unglazed wall and floor tiles in a similar manner using a solution of water and soap-less detergent instead of an all-purpose cleaner.

What is color-body porcelain?

Color-body porcelain is a tile that the color goes throughout the entire piece. For example, if the tile were to chip you would not see red or gray come through. It would have the same color as the surface of the tile.

Can I install tile on a wood sub floor?

Yes. A concrete board underlayment will need to be installed over your wood sub floor prior to the tile installation. This provides the rigidity needed to minimize floor movement so your tile installation won’t fail due to cracking tile or grout.

Does using a larger tile make a room appear smaller than using a smaller tile?

Just the opposite. Using larger tiles gives any size room a larger feel.

Should my grout be sealed?

It never hurts to have your grout sealed. Some of your better brands of grout come with an additive already in the mix. Sealing the grout will guard against stains.

What’s the difference between ceramic and porcelain tiles?

Porcelain tiles are made from porcelain clay and fired at a very high temperature, which makes the tile stronger and more chip resistant.

Ceramic tiles are usually made from a red or terra cotta colored clay and they are fired at a slightly lower temperature. Ceramic tiles are easier to cut, which makes them a great choice for areas such as bathroom walls or kitchen backsplashes.

What is a porcelain tile?

A ceramic tile that has a water absorption rate of less than 0.5%. The clay content is usually of denser clay and is fired at a higher temperature than regular ceramic tile. Clay is like steel, the hotter it becomes the stronger the material. This hardness gives porcelain a stronger wear surface.

Like fabric, tile is run in color lots and no two lots will match exactly. Also, tile styles are dropped and often aren’t available. Depending on the size of the tiled area, it is recommended that you have at least an extra case left over. A case is typically 12 square feet.

What is the best tile for exterior applications?

A through-body porcelain tile is best for outdoor applications. Porcelain is pressed under higher pressure and fired at higher temperatures than ceramic. This gives it an absorption rate of 0.5% or less, making porcelain suitable for interior and exterior applications in all climates. Ceramic tile can have an absorption rate of 3% or more.

If I drop something on my ceramic tile floor is it going to break the tile?

Ceramic tile is a very durable flooring product when installed correctly. What will most likely happen is the item you drop, a plate or glass, will break while the tile may just suffer a chip or crack.

Is porcelain tile more expensive than ceramic tile?

Yes, porcelain tile is more expensive because it is a higher quality product. Porcelain is an extremely hard and non porous product. It has a water absorption rate of less than 0.5 percent making it very stain resistant.

Can I use a semi or high gloss ceramic tile on my kitchen countertop?

Yes, you can use a semi or high gloss ceramic tile on your countertop but be aware that scratches will be more visible with a semi or high gloss finish.

Can ceramic tiles be used outdoors?

Yes, but be sure to select a tile that is unglazed, frost proof and has an absorption rate of less than 0.5 percent. Unglazed tiles offer greater resistance to slippage.

Should I seal my natural stone?

I strongly recommend that you seal all of your natural stone to provide maximum stain protection. Select a high quality penetrating/impregnating sealer. These sealers will provide a natural, no-sheen look and are good for interior and exterior use.

What does “COF” mean?

“COF” stands for “Coefficient of Friction”. COF is a test used to measure the friction or slippage of a tile. The measurements are important factors to consider when evaluating a tile’s slip resistance. However, other factors can also affect slip resistance such as a person’s type of shoe, the degree of wear on that shoe and the presence of water or dirt on the tile’s surface.

Can ceramic tiles be used outdoors?

Yes, but be sure to select a tile that is unglazed, frost proof and has an absorption rate of less than 0.5 percent. Unglazed tiles offer greater resistance to slippage.

Should I seal my grout?

Sealing your grout with a penetrating/impregnating grout sealer will help prevent moisture absorption that can cause stains. Sealing your grout will also make your regular cleanings easier. Grout sealer will need to be reapplied so check the manufacturer’s specific directions.

Vinyl Q&A

When selecting vinyl flooring, what patterns should I avoid?

A: Vinyl flooring has come a long way…there are patterns which look very much like natural stone and even hardwood flooring. Rather than making a quick selection by thinking your options are limited, take your time and sit with your flooring specialist to choose one of the latest “designer” styles to complement your space.

What type of rug can I use on my vinyl floor?

Use a non-staining vinyl backed mat or woven rug that is color fast. Manufacturer’s labels will usually note if a rug is color fast. Rubber or latex backed mats are not recommended because they can permanently stain your floor.

Why are many vinyl floors categorized as Good, Better and Best?

Good, Better and Best refers to the overall performance of the floor. The wear layer and its thickness play a major part in performance. The warranties are different in each category. This makes it easy for the consumer to choose the correct vinyl flooring for an area.

What does the term “Nature Form” refer to in a vinyl floor?

It refers to an embossing technology that recreates the most realistic ceramic, stone and wood visuals in resilient flooring.

Isn’t vinyl flooring out of style?

Vinyl flooring is still a very good value for hard surface flooring. It offers a wide variety of colors and patterns that can blend with any décor and is very durable for the cost.

What’s the difference between linoleum and vinyl?

Linoleum was first available in the 19th century. It is made of linseed oil, wood flour, cork, and sometimes ground limestone or other stone additives. Bonded together with dehydrated linseed oil. A pattern could be pressed into the surface and color variations made from natural additives.

Vinyl came into being shortly after World War II as a more economical alternative to linoleum. Since it is basically a plastic product, it is made primarily of processed petroleum. The housing boom of the late 40’s and 50’s established vinyl flooring as a standard.

With the recent consciousness of green products, linoleum is seeing a revived popularity.

What floor is the original “green” certified product?

Linoleum. It is made from linseed oil, wood flour and cork, all renewable resources.

What coating on the surface allows a vinyl floor to be called “no wax”?

Urethane, because it takes the place of wax based product that protects the floor and it creates a nice shine without buffing.

I am interested in a vinyl flooring for my kitchen. What would you recommend?

We have a wide range of styles in vinyl flooring. One of the newest trends in vinyl flooring is Luxury Vinyl Tiles. Luxury vinyl tiles provide exceptional durability for a busy household. This is a great transitional product for consumers that like the look of ceramic tile but without the cost of ceramic tile. LVT also provides a beautiful wood look without the maintenance.

Are there vinyl floors available that do not have to be glued to the floor?

Yes. Several manufacturers offer loose lay vinyl flooring options.

The vinyl floor in my bathroom is turning gray. Why?

The gray color is the result of excess moisture possibly from a leaking toilet.

What is Linoleum?

Linoleum was invented 150 years ago. It is made from natural raw materials such as linseed oil and wood products. It is very durable but requires special maintenance.

What is the difference between resilient and vinyl flooring?

Resilient and vinyl flooring are the same, they are different terms used to describe the same type of flooring.

Is resilient flooring durable?

Yes. Resilient flooring is very durable and an excellent choice for high traffic areas containing moisture such as bathrooms and laundry rooms.

Why is there such a difference in pricing in vinyl flooring?

The more expensive vinyl floors and tiles have better resistance to staining, scratches, gouges and tearing. Not only is the performance better, so is the warranty on the high-end vinyl floors. Also, as you go up in quality you will also notice improved styling and more textural realism in these floors.

Would I want to put vinyl flooring in my house?

Many homeowners today choose vinyl flooring for a variety of reasons but mainly because of its durability and versatility. Unlike the flooring of yesteryear, today’s vinyl comes in a wide variety of stylish colors, adding beauty and durability to any room.

Can I install vinyl in my basement?

Vinyl can be installed anywhere in your home. It can be installed below grade making it a good choice for basements.

Why is it necessary to use underlayment under vinyl?

Typically the sub-floor is not smooth enough, containing rough marks, nail heads and other imperfections that could be easily transferred through the vinyl. The underlayment provides a smoother platform for a more appealing appearance.

Why is loose lay vinyl a good option?

Loose lay vinyl can be laid over existing vinyl flooring without the added expense of underlayment or the removal of the existing floor.

What is a fiberglass core vinyl?

A fiberglass core vinyl is different than a typical sheet vinyl product. It is constructed with a flexible fiberglass core. It provides a cushion of support under foot, which feels much softer than traditional vinyl. It is not only easier to install but can usually be installed with fewer seams because of its ability to be “folded” up walls and around corners where traditional vinyl cannot.

How do I keep my new vinyl clean?

There are many over the counter cleaners you can use when cleaning your new flooring. All of them work well. Our suggestion would be to follow the manufacturers guidelines for the best possible results.

Why would I choose a urethane wear layer over a vinyl wear layer?

It depends on what room you’re planning to install the vinyl in. The urethane is a layer applied to the top surface of the vinyl that helps to resist scuff marks and gouging, which is great for heavy traffic areas such as kitchens and entryways. For a small water closet that only contains a toilet, the standard vinyl wear layer would certainly be appropriate.

What areas can sheet vinyl be installed?

Sheet vinyl can be installed anywhere in your home, including below grade levels (basement). Although vinyl is waterproof, the installation adhesive is water-soluble so you need to make sure you don’t over expose the perimeter of the room and seams to water.

Why is the vinyl curling up in front of the bath vanity and tub?

Moisture is the likely culprit. Installation of quarter round in front of the cabinet and caulk along the tub will most likely prevent this.

Carpet Q&A

What’s the best carpet style that won’t show footprints?

All carpet will show some indentions but to minimize this it’s ideal to choose a very dense low pile carpet.

Many carpets are labeled as BCF Nylon. What does BCF stand for?

Bulked Continuous Filament (BCF) refers to the construction and content of the yarn. The carpet yarn is made up of continuous fibers as opposed to random lengths twisted together (which is referred to as a staple yarn).

I have allergies and asthma. I probably shouldn’t have carpet in my house, should I?

Studies have determined that a well cared for carpet does not contribute to allergies or asthma. Allergens actually settle on top of the carpet in the fibers (not blowing around the room).

A good vacuum machine utilizing a hepa filter can extract the allergens from the carpet. They can then be removed from your house.

What is a frieze carpet?

Frieze is a carpet consisting of tightly twisted yarns.

Frieze is typically the best performing style in cut pile construction stromectol online. Considered casual or informal, it is a great choice for high-traffic areas of the home.

Is my frieze carpet going to mat or pack down?

This style will perform very well in high traffic areas. With proper and periodic professional cleaning this carpet will look good for many years. The twists actually reset themselves when the dust and dirt is heat extracted or steam cleaned when recommended.

What carpet is the original “green” certified product?

Wool, it’s produced by shearing a sheep annually and the collecting of the product does not harm the host.

How often should carpet be vacuumed?

Areas with light traffic should be vacuumed once a week. Areas with high traffic patterns should be vacuumed twice a week. Up to 3 passes are recommended for light soil with 5 to 7 passes necessary for heavily soiled areas.

Changing the direction of the vacuum occasionally will help the pile stand upright and reduce matting.

What type of vacuum cleaner is best for maintaining my carpet?

Use a vacuum with a rotating brush or combination beater/brush bar that agitates the carpet pile and mechanically loosens the soil for removal. Carpets with thick loop pile construction, particularly wool and wool blend styles may be sensitive to brushing and rubbing the pile surface and may fuzz. For these types of carpets, a suction-only vacuum is recommended or an adjustable brush type. Replacing vacuum cleaner bags often is also very important.

What is the best method for cleaning carpet?

Steam cleaning or hot water extraction is the best method for cleaning carpet. It removes soil and most stains and also resets the twist in the carpet fiber.

Why is it important to reset the twist in the carpet fiber?

Nylon carpet does not wear out. It changes in appearance or “uglies” out because the carpet fiber loses its twist.

What are the three most important factors when determining the durability of carpet?

The fiber content, twist level, and the density are the three most important factors in determining the long-term durability of your carpet.

What is carpet twist?

The twist of the fiber is the way the fiber filaments are spun into yarn and how the yarn is in turn twisted upon itself. Twist is usually locked into the fiber with a steam or heat setting. The tighter the twist, the more the carpet will resist changes in appearance and texture.

What are the four major types of carpet fiber used to produce carpet?

During carpet manufacturing, natural and synthetic fiber are converted to yarn and tufted or locked into a backing to form the pile or surface that you walk on. There are four major types of carpet fiber – nylon, polypropylene (olefin), polyester and wool.

How important is carpet pad?

Carpet pad protects your investment. It acts as a shock absorber by absorbing the pounding of foot traffic. Your carpet will feel better, look better and last longer. Pad also helps your carpet maintain its appearance. The right carpet pad will help the carpet resist matting and crushing.

Can I save money buying a less expensive carpet and putting the best cushion (pad) under it?

There is no question that a good cushion is critical to carpet performance, but remember that you walk directly on the carpet so you want carpet constructed to meet your needs and lifestyle. If you buy a cheaper carpet that doesn’t meet your needs, you’ll have a cushion that feels great, but you may not be satisfied with the look of your carpet.

What is carpet padding for?

Most consumers purchasing carpet think that carpet padding is simply to make the carpet feel softer underfoot. While this is one of the benefits, the main reason is to protect the carpet from premature wear.

What is meant by the different weights of pad?

The weight associated with carpet pad refers to how much that pad would weigh per cubic foot. Typically, the denser the pad, the longer wear life you can expect from both the pad and your carpet.

What type of carpet should I purchase if I want to be environmentally friendly?

N6 Nylon, PET Polyester and DuPont Sorona would be great selections. N6 Nylon products are 100% recyclable and can be recycled into carpet over and over again. PET Polyester is another product that is made by weaving recycled plastic into the carpet fibers. DuPont Sorona has an ingredient in its polymer made from corn, which is a renewable resource.

Is the smell of my new carpet dangerous?

No. Carpet has become the lowest VOC-emitting floor covering and one of the lowest-emitting products used in new construction and renovation

A dense, low, closed loop pile with a pattern or fleck in medium shades. Dark solid color colors show lint and pet hair.

I want a carpet that won’t mat down. Is Berber my only choice?

No. Matting is usually a fiber related issue. Wool and nylon fibers have better texture retention than olefin. Shop for carpets with good texture retention warranties.

What are the benefits of wool?

Wool is naturally resilient to dirt and soil. It is easy to clean. Wool is a non-allergenic fiber; therefore it does not promote the growth of bacteria or dust mites. Wool is durable, long lasting and flame resistant.

What is the difference between nylon and polyester carpets?

Nylon is the most popular carpet fiber because it resists wear and is quite resilient. Nylon fibers hold up well to the weight and movement of furniture and nylon is particularly good for heavy traffic areas. Polyester is easy to clean and is inherently stain resistant although it is not as resilient as nylon.

Laminate Q&A

Can a laminate floor be refinished?


Can a laminate floor be installed over an existing floor?

A: Yes. With the exception of stretched carpet, laminate can be installed directly over an existing floor as long as the floor is secure and not wet.

What purpose does the foam pad serve under a laminate floor?

Polyethylene closed cell foam acts as a moisture barrier when taped together according to specifications. The pad provides cushion as well as a thermal barrier.

How durable is laminate flooring? Isn’t it just countertop material?

A good quality laminate is about 20 times stronger than laminate used for countertop material and in most cases more dent resistant than wood.

Are laminate floors durable?

Yes. The surface is typically made of an extremely tough wearing aluminum oxide with a printed photograph adhered to a melamine laminate layer. They are both scratch and scuff resistant.

Laminate flooring’s principle component is what? How does it qualify for Green/Build?

90% of it is high-density fiberboard, which comes from reconstituted cardboard making it a Green certified product.

What is the finish on all laminate flooring?

Aluminum oxide (industrial strength urethane), the fifth hardest material in the world.

Are the less expensive laminates just as good as the higher prices ones?

There is a difference in the construction of the lower end products being direct pressure versus a high-pressure laminate product. With a high-pressure laminate the advantage is a better wear resistance, fewer scuffs and scratches, better impact resistance, no denting, better design clarity and a more realistic look. However, if a certain price point is desired, remember all laminates can be repaired or replaced by a professional installer.

What is a floating laminate floor?

A floating floor means the floor tiles or planks attach to each other rather than to the sub floor.

Can a laminate floor be refinished?

No. Unlike hardwood floors laminate cannot be refinished.

How does laminate compare to other flooring surfaces?

Laminate flooring is typically more durable, less prone to indent, has better stain resistance, resists shrinkage and swelling due to seasonal changes and is easier to install than many other flooring surfaces.

What does a laminate floor consist of?

While each brand carries its own unique characteristics, most laminate consists of four layers. The first (top) layer is a clear overlay that protects against stains, fading and wear. The second (image) layer consists of the pattern or visual design. The third (core) layer contains the core strength. The fourth layer provides a moisture resistant backing from the sub floor.

Can I install laminate over glue-down carpet?

Yes, as long as the glued down carpet is secure to the floor. The laminate can be free floated over the carpet.

What is laminate underlayment?

The term “underlayment” refers to any roll or sheet product designed to be installed over the sub-floor and under the laminate flooring.

Why is a moisture barrier used on concrete before laminate flooring is installed?

Concrete floors below ground are capable of storing a vast amount of water. It is crucial to avoid all direct contact between the laminate flooring and the concrete floor because the soil beneath the concrete can transmit humidity into the floor. Installing a moisture barrier over all concrete surfaces is mandatory for successful installation and for the ongoing health of a laminate floor.

How can I increase the shine of my laminate floor?

The shine cannot be modified, as it is a manufactured characteristic. Therefore, you must never wax or polish a laminate floor.

Will putting laminate flooring in my home be too much of a hassle?

No. Laminate is a floating floor and requires no glue. It can be installed over the top of most existing floors. The best part is there is no down time with laminate so you can live in your room the moment the floor is installed.

Can a laminate floor that becomes damaged be repaired?

Yes. With the newer glueless laminate on the market, repairs have become much less of a chore. Most customers with laminate will have a few extra boards on hand after an installation. Using these boards, a mechanic can take out the floor back to the point of the problem, insert the new board or boards and re-install your floor.

Hardwood Q&A

Can I put hardwood floors in my bathroom?

Hardwood floors are not recommended for high moisture areas such as a bathroom with a shower or tub.

Is it necessary to use a pad of some type under my area rug on my hardwood floor?

I would recommend using a breathable rug underlay that is specifically designed for use on hardwood floors. Typically, these come in mesh or grid patterns and will help “grip” your floor and hold the rug in place.

What is the best way to clean my floors?

A: The best way to maintain your floor is to sweep, dust mop and/or vacuum the floors regularly. Hardwood floors also clean easily with a Swiffer or similar type dry mop. Warm water is all you need to clean your floor. You should avoid excessive moisture. A slightly damp mop may be used to mop up a spill.

Can I apply a wax finish to my Sand and Finish floors?

No. You should never apply wax finish to your urethane finish floors.

Can I apply a wax finish to my pre-finished floors?

No. You should never apply wax finish to any urethane surface floors.

How do I maintain my hardwood floors?

In order to maximize the durability and beauty of your hardwood flooring, we recommend the following practices as part of your floor’s normal care and maintenance:

Place doormats or rugs at entrances to collect moisture, sand, grit and other potentially damaging substances from being tracked on your floor.
Dust mop or vacuum with a soft accessory to keep your hardwood floor clean from dust, grit or dirt.
For sticky spots, use a soft damp cloth to gently scrub the floor. If necessary, use a generic hardwood floor cleaner. Do not use steel wool or other abrasive scouring pads.
Do not use harsh detergents, abrasive cleaners or corrosive chemicals to clean your floor.
Avoid excessive water. Use mats in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room to protect against spills. If a spill occurs, blot it up immediately with a dry cloth.
Use only colorfast and non-scratch carpeting or pads on your hardwood floor.
Protect the floor from furniture legs and do not walk on the floor with high-heeled shoes.

What are the benefits of hardwood flooring?

Hardwood flooring is one of the most popular types of residential flooring. Here are a few reasons why you should choose hardwood flooring:

Solid hardwood offers a variety of grain patterns, natural color variations and the beauty of a natural material.
Hardwood floors are easy to clean.
Hardwood floors are ideal for allergy sufferers as they do not promote dust or harbor dust mites.
Hardwood flooring is the longest-lasting floor. Although there is a 25-year structural warranty on our hardwood floors, many hardwood floors last for decades longer.

Can I expect my floor to have color variations?

Yes. Hardwood flooring is a natural product. Therefore, you should expect there will be natural color variations in the wood. Although lower grades of flooring will have larger number or character blemishes, you can expect color variations in all.

Can I use throw rugs on my hardwood floors?

Before using any throw rugs on your floor you should know the type of finish you have on your floor.

All rugs should be non-staining, meaning the colored dyes will not bleed thru. Generally in the presence of moisture, some dyes used in rugs may bleed through onto your floor and discolor the wood floors surface. Also, be sure the rug does not have a rough backing material that may scratch the surface of the floor. Clean dirt and debris from under the rug regularly. To prevent possible shading of the wood underneath the rug, move the rug occasionally.

What should I use under furniture legs?

Most flooring stores carry the recommended felt pads for using under chair legs and other furniture. The felt pads come in various sizes. Some pads just stick to the bottom of the legs and others need to be nailed on.

Never hit the pads directly with a hammer. Follow the directions provided with the pads. Check and clean the pads often for debris, dirt and small particles from being trapped in the pad.

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