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Sitting down with Designer Renae Keller | 2018 Hardwood & Design Trends |

Reaching out and connecting with Designers is such a fun part of this industry! You get to meet such fun, inspiring people who make you want to fall in love with everyone's home over and over again! I had a chance to meet and chat with an awesome woman in Minneapolis, Renae Keller. We chatted about some different trends for 2018, her favorites, and things to keep your eye out for! How could we not share this with you? 

Hardwood Stain Colors 

Opting for a stain color that ranges from light to medium tones will allow the wood highlight the natural beauty of the wood floor. Let the wood speak for itself in your floor. This can be achieved through using a hardwood flooring with knots, grain, color variation, and by using different cuts of wood. [Plain Sawn, Livesawn, and Quartersawn cuts will generate completely different looks in your hardwood floor]. She also loved that these tones help keep maintenance to a minimum!

Textured Hardwood Flooring 

Renae mentioned that she has been playing with edge details lately, and has been loving this! Refined wire brushed finishes gives the floor some detail. This helps to add texture without drastically changing the look or tone of the wood. Her Clients (and ours too!) are looking for a durable finish the helps to reduce maintenance. [After all, who really wants to spend endless amounts of time cleaning their home?]. Naturally, this textured finish depends on the style of the home. An extremely rustic flooring with a great deal of texture, might not be appropriate for each home. 

Hardwood Flooring Board Widths

It's important to remember that not all projects or homes fit into the same style. Sometimes, you have the opportunity to switch up styles in the home and sometimes it not feasible. Sticking with a consistent width on the main and upper level helps to achieve a more refined look. If your project is a casual area then you have the opportunity to switch things up. Mixing different hardwood widths can look stunning in a rustic area, boat house, or in lower levels of your home. 

Patterns - Are they in or out?

Hands down - LOVE patterns! (Me too!) Patterns such as herringbone, chevron, and parquet style will still be used throughout 2018. Patterns are wonderful because they help to create interest in your space. They can draw your attention to a specific architectural detail, highlighting a wow factor. They also work great to transition from one room to another. Renae loves the creative use of materials to help enhance beauty and create character throughout the home. 

 Personal Favorites - Your Design Go-To's

Renae let us in on her favorite design trends for this upcoming year. So make notes: 

  1. Mixing Clean Lines with organic feeling pieces
  2. Add Pattern to your home! Use pattern in your drapes, layered with wallpaper or perhaps a patterned carpet. Keep your chairs, sofa, and furniture simple. Add fun pops through patterned throw pillows (I'm obsessed with these...anyone else?) to your sofa or chair! [This is also a great way to change things up season to season without breaking the bank!]
  3. It's important to focus on classic materials and classic details. This may seem simple, but these never go out of style! 


We love hearing the different perspectives and getting some pro-tips, and know you will too! What trends are you loving these days?

Be sure to check out some of her STUNNING work.

Designer Spotlight:

Fall in love with her work, check out her website
Follow on Instagram: @rkid_inc_ 

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The age old questions -- how much does hardwood flooring cost? At first it appears easy, just look at the price per square foot and times it by the amount of square feet you need. It actually almost seems too easy. 

Well, I'm here to give you the inside scoop and all the pieces that go into understanding the price of hardwood flooring. Factors like waste, quality, finish, manufacturing company, and so on. 

The Range of Hardwood Flooring Prices 

Pricing for hardwood flooring can range from as low as $3.99 per square foot to as high as $25.99 per square foot. This is a wide range, but it makes sense once you get into the details. 

Key reasons 

  • Quality (Milling, Finishing & Type of Finish) 
  • Type of Wood 
  • Width of Board 
  • Lengths of Planks 
  • Environmental Impact / Ethical Manufacturing 
  • Amount of waste required (some places require up to 20% WASTE) 
What's a bad floor for $3.99? 

It's common to see hardwood flooring priced around the $3 - $6 mark. This is fine, but there are some important things you need to look out for. 

Trap #1 - Poor Quality / Made in China / Environmental Impacts / A Lot Of Waste 

Watch this video to understand the poor quality of hardwood flooring made in China. Did you know? -- 70% of flooring is made in China. Be aware! 

In addition, if you buy a floor that's of poor quality you likely need to buy additional product since the amount of waste needed will be very high. Consider this -- you'll buy a hardwood floor that will require 20% wasted flooring, that's crazy. 

Sad Truths About The Hardwood Flooring Industry - Made in China - YouTube

 

Trap #2: Short Boards & A Bad Finish 

It's common for a sample to look beautiful, but installing a floor with short boards will make it look choppy and cheap -- No one wants this! In addition to this, you need to be really careful about the finish quality. It's easy for someone to say "10 coats of...", but in reality, you need to understand what's in each coat and how thick it is. 

What's a good floor for $3.99? 

Believe me, it's actually hard to find good quality -- North American made hardwood floor for only $3.99. You'll want to look for quality Canadian or USA manufactures that have overrun sales. Since we manufacture all of our hardwood flooring in the USA and Canada we've create a discount outlet site www.gaylordflooringonline.com. Since we manufacture we will get our additional unfinished planks and make a large batch, giving you as the consumer a great deal. 

Here's a beautiful $3.99 floor: 

Flooring between $4.99 & $8.99 

This is a common range for prefinished hardwood flooring prices. You'll really have to do your due diligence to find out what the product is really like, though. Consider this -- there are some flooring companies with "Canadian" or "USA" in their brand names, but all of their floors are actually shipped and manufactured in China. Ask the flooring sales person a few questions 1) Where is the wood milled? 2) Where is the wood prefinished and 3) Are you sure? 

Length & Quality at $4.99 + 

Make sure you understand the quality of the products before going ahead. Length of board is a very easy to miss question. At the $4.99 + range you should be able to get flooring that has lengths that don't average 2 feet. You want long boards -- ask what length of box the floor comes in is. If it's a 6 foot box, you know the longest piece is max 6 feet, that's not great. 

Here's a beautiful floor starting at $7.50: 

Wood Flooring $10 + 

It's not uncommon to find hardwood flooring that's $10 to $25 per square foot. This may seem like a lot, but you really do get what you pay for. 

Range of Selection (Width, Lengths, Finish, etc) 

At this price point you will be looking at many more flooring options. Below $10 per square foot you will have a limited selection of wider boards, as this brings the cost of production up. Additionally, flooring in a higher price category should have longer lengths. Consider this, at Gaylord Hardwood Flooring we manufacture a beautiful wide plank white oak flooring in lengths up to 10 feet and widths up to 10 inches -- It's incredible stuff. 

A Beautiful Wide Plank White Oak Floor: 

Speciality Cuts of Flooring 

At a higher price point you are able to get more speciality cuts of hardwood flooring. There are few important cuts 1) Livesawn and 2) Quartersawn. 

Livesawn Cut - This is where they slice directly through the log. In the center of the wood you get a linear quartersawn look, but on the ends you get the plainsawn look. It's incredibly rustic, but also the speciality cut gives you a stable board. This allows you to have a wide wide plank, without worrying about it cupping. In addition, livesawn is one of the most desirable looks of flooring. 

Quartersawn Cut - This is where they cut the wood in quarters and cut through vs. the plain sawn method. Quartersawn is by far the most stable cut of wood, so you don't have to worry about cupping. It's also a unique look that's very sought after. Consider this -- quartersawn flooring is typically the choice in high end museums.  

See Lewis Gaylord and the various cuts below: 

 

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Site Finished vs. Prefinished Hardwood Flooring - YouTube

 

Clients often ask us whether prefinished or unfinished flooring is better. I would typically only recommend site finished flooring if you are trying to match an existing site finished floor and are refinishing the entire area. We do not recommend it for boards over 2-1/4” wide.

There is a misconception that site finished flooring is completely sealed and will not move. The fact is, wood will shrink and expand with changes in humidity, and gaps in a site finished floor are far more noticeable than prefinished. When site finished flooring shrinks in the winter, the gaps that develop will crack the finish, which is especially the case in wider boards.

Also, since the boards in a site finished floor are stuck together by the finish the gaps will develop at the weakest point in the finish which may be every 3- 4 boards. This is called “side bonding” and doesn’t occur in prefinished floors. In a prefinished floor the boards are free to shrink individually so you have small gaps between each board, rather than large gaps randomly throughout your floor.

 CLICK HERE to download full information packet. 

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We often encounter potential clients asking us about oil finishes vs polyurethane finishes and how they compare. There are so many different details that go into picking out the perfect hardwood floor for your home, it is important to understand the differences between the two different finishes!

Polyurethane Finishes on Hardwood Flooring

Polyurethane finishes can look beautiful on hardwood flooring, and there are an array of different sheen levels available when opting for a polyurethane finish. The sheen level can range from semi-gloss to a very matte finish. Often when comparing oil finishes and polyurethane finishes, you are looking for a very matte looking floor. When the matte finish is combined with our wire-brushed technique, it creates a very natural ultra matte floor. (Same look with less maintenance....win/win!)

Why Polyurethane Finishes are Lower Maintenance

As you know, not all finishes are created equal on hardwood floors so it is important to understand the differences when you begin shopping around for hardwood flooring. All Gaylord Hardwood Flooring comes with 10 coats of titanium oxide finish that is UV dried in between each layer. It does not require continued maintenance or additional finishes to be applied to validate the warranty (...which is a 40 year finish warranty!) When you opt for a wire brushed, matte finish this makes touching up any marks very easy with a small amount of stain and a rag or paper towel. 

Oil Finishes on Hardwood Flooring

Oil finishes can look absolutely stunning on hardwood flooring. Typically, the oil finishes have a super low sheen and are ultra matte looking. This matte finish provides a very natural looking wood floor, adding to their popularity. Often oil finished floors have beautiful colors and samples, although they may not always look this way.  Typically, oil finished floors are marketed as a very forgiving, durable, low maintenance option for your home. This can be misleading as oil finishes on a hardwood floor are actually quite high maintenance for a home owner. 

Why Oil Finishes are High Maintenance

It is important to review the warranty that is included with your hardwood flooring. Sometimes oil finished floors have a lifetime warranty included with the product which seems fabulous right? It's important to dive further into this, and realize that this warranty is valid with the periodic re-oiling of your hardwood flooring. What is periodic? How often will you have to do this? How long will this take and will I have to move my entire home around? These are important things to consider when looking at an oil finished hardwood floor. 

How do Polyurethane Finishes vs Oil Finishes Handle Scratches & Marking? 

Both polyurethane and oil finishes over time will develop small scratches or marking in them, it is wood after all! Polyurethane finishes can be easily touched up with a small amount of stain or with a stain pen to hide the scratch. This is especially easy with a wire brushed finish as it blends in seamlessly. An oil finished floor can have the scratches repaired by using a small amount of oil and working it back into the hardwood. 

 Do Polyurethane or Oil Finishes handle traffic better? 

This really depends on the type of finish and sheen level that is applied to your hardwood flooring. A matte or wire brushed finish on a polyurethane floor will handle high traffic extremely well. The stain color will look the same in the high traffic areas as it does in the lower traffic areas of your home. The low sheen reduces visibility of heavy traffic and dirt and dust. Oil finishes tend to fade over time and loose the beautiful color that you fell in love with, you will notice this in your heavy traffic areas. It can create a very patchy looking floor, as the low traffic areas will still look beautiful where the high traffic areas will look run down and abused. 

Can you recreate a Oil Finish look with a Polyurethane finish?

Sometimes a client has fallen in love with the stain on an oil finish floor (and usually we love it too), but they don't want the maintenance level of re-oiling or the color fading with the product. We offer a custom color program and can match to these samples, we can come very close to the oil finished floor. Clients love this because the floor will remain true to the color that they fell in love with over time, and they have a very durable finish over time. It often is very important that there flooring has an outstanding warranty, without the upkeep of an oil finished floor. 

Of course, it will always be the age old question which one really is better? It's important to think of your maintenance level, and your flooring in 5, 10, and even over 30 years. This will help in deciding which option is right for you. Do you have any pros and cons of either finish? Which finish option would you choose? 

 

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