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Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases, and investments, one will make in their life. That’s why every step of the process— like choosing flooring—can feel so taxing. You find yourself bombarded with questions and doubts: How much should I spend on flooring? Will this type of flooring still be trendy when I sell the house? Will it still even be intact by the time I’m ready to sell the house?

To make the process easier, we’ve included a list of pros and cons about one common type of flooring: laminate flooring. First off, let’s define what laminate flooring actually is.

What is laminate flooring?

As we’ve noted in a previous blog post, laminate flooring is a synthetic product that is made to imitate the feel and texture of natural, hardwood flooring or other materials, like stone, metal, or concrete. The composite core of laminate flooring is made of melamine resin and fiberboard with the outer layer displaying authentic, wood-like patterns and textures.

Laminate flooring has come a long way in terms of design since it was initially introduced. While in the past it may have been labeled “cheap” or “ugly,” today’s laminate is a durable, attractive alternate for the more cost-conscious buyer. Unlike solid or engineered hardwood flooring, laminate flooring is made up of layers of composite pressed (laminated) together, with a wood-grain design applique under a clear protective veneer.

Here are the pros and cons of choosing laminate flooring:

Pros:

  • Durable: It’s engineered for durability, longevity, and resistance to damage. “Durable laminate is a great choice for busy playrooms,” HGTV notes.
  • Low maintenance: Laminate flooring is easy to clean with minimal ongoing maintenance required. As DIY Network notes, “The wear layer of laminate floor is extremely tough, which makes cleanup and maintenance easy. Occasional sweeping keeps the surface free from abrasive grit.”
  • Easy and quick to install: Much more versatile than many hardwood flooring options, laminate can be installed in almost any room of your home. Not only that, but it can be installed over existing flooring. “Lightweight, snap-together laminate flooring is installed over a thin foam cushion underlayment. That makes it a good candidate for installations over most existing flooring — with the exception of carpet — eliminating the need for tear-out,” DIY Network states. Laminate flooring can also be installed above or below grade and in other temperature-sensitive environments.
  • Inexpensive: Laminate flooring has a lower cost compared to hardwood flooring styles. As Freshome states, “Not only are the materials themselves cheaper, but laminate wood installation cost is, on average, 50 percent less than hardwood installation.”
  • Water and moisture-resistant: According to HomeAdvisor, modern laminate is resistant to water, spills, and heavy foot traffic, and scratches are less of an issue.
  • Looks like hardwood or tile: Today, there are extensive patterns and texture options for laminate flooring. “Laminate flooring comes in a huge variety of styles, ranging from hardwood to ceramic to natural stone and tile. Modern laminate flooring is also available in a range of textures and glosses. These additional options add to laminate’s diverse aesthetics,” HomeAdvisor states.

Cons:

  • Hard to repair: Laminate flooring can be hard to repair. If you buy individual pieces that snap together, you could replace individual boards, but that might be an issue too. It might not match the other boards well because of sunlight and age.
  • Needs to be replaced: Laminate flooring can’t be refinished the way real wood can—once it’s worn out, it’ll have to be replaced. Check the warranty of the flooring you’re considering buying; products with higher warranties may mean better quality and longer life. Avoid cheap laminate flooring.
  • Cannot sand or refinish damaged planks: Since laminate flooring is not made out of wood, you can’t sand damaged planks.
    Sometimes slippery: Laminate flooring can be slippery, and so you should make sure you choose a finish that provides friction or grip. SF Gate suggests many solutions, such as applying an anti-skid product, placing carpet runners and rugs in areas of heavy traffic, or cleaning the floors with non-polishing floor cleaner.
  • Does not improve resale value: According to TIME, laminate won’t do much for your home’s resale value because of its lower price point. A study of homebuyer preferences by USA Today found that 54 percent of homebuyers were willing to pay more for a home with hardwood flooring.
Why Choose M Craft to Install Laminate Flooring In Your Home

If you’re considering installing laminate flooring, call M Craft today at 847-460-8477. M Craft is a family-owned business of floor installers and hardwood floor refurbishers that has served Naperville and Chicagoland for twenty years. Our flooring services include all the options to help you find the perfect combination of wood, color, and stain for your lifestyle. Call today for a laminate flooring installation estimate.

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M Craft by Epcadmin - 6M ago

When people hear the word “rustic,” they might associate it with old, cheap, and unstylish. But the designation of “rustic” doesn’t mean that it’s low quality; “rustic” is a design element that differs from a traditional, formal hardwood flooring design. Rustic hardwood flooring is meant to recreate the beautiful floors of the past that were crafted by hand. Rustic flooring uses random widths of strip and/or plank wood flooring.

While rustic hardwood flooring obviously goes well with Country, Southwestern, and Cabin-style décor, it can go well with any décor or personal taste. In fact, rustic hardwood flooring accentuates more types of designs than traditional, formal hardwood flooring.

So, if you’re interested in choosing rustic hardwood flooring, keep reading on. Here are some common questions people have about rustic hardwood flooring.

What is rustic wood flooring? What is rustic grade hardwood flooring?

Anything— like fake distressed plank laminate—can look “rustic.” But “rustic grade” is a flooring industry term. It means that the hardwood falls between the better natural grade and tavern or cabin grade flooring. Rustic is the opposite of a formal hardwood floor: While formal hardwood floors are smooth, uniform, and polished to a high shine, rustic hardwood floors are rough, come in various colors, and feature any kind of finish, from matte to high shine.

Rustic grade (also known as utility grade, cabin grade, and #2 common) comes in one of the lowest grades. Rustic grade accepts a range of defects, such as medium to small knots, missing tongues, sander burns, short pieces, and splits. While it lacks first grade standards, rustic grade hardwood flooring is still a great option.

“Rustic” can refer to a variety of options, such as hand scraped hardwood floors (boards that are scraped with a knife by hand to make a new floor look old) or distressed hardwood floors (which are also meant to make a new floor look like it has been in a house for years). Distressing is generally done by machine rather than by hand. Rustic hardwood flooring can come in a wide variety of color tones and species, such as antique oak or darker tone rustic walnut.

Why choose rustic hardwood floors?

Rustic hardwood flooring has built-in character. While it will have some natural imperfections—like knots, wormholes, saw teeth marks, and cracks—this is what gives it character. Rustic hardwood flooring adds warmth, charm, style, and personality to your home, and it has an authentic, lived-in look.
How much does rustic hardwood flooring cost?

Rustic hardwood flooring can save you a lot of money while still providing character to your house. The pre-finished solid hardwood can save you half of what it would cost to buy unfinished wood flooring.

There is a wide range of pricing when it comes to rustic hardwood floors: it depends on what process gave it the designation of “rustic. For example, if it’s considered rustic because it was hand scraped for hours by local artisans, then it will expensive. But if it’s “rustic” because the boards are reclaimed or a lower grade, then it will be more economical.

Where should I install rustic hardwood flooring?

Rustic hardwood floors can look great in any room, with any decorating style, because so many different types of rustic hardwood flooring exist. Rustic hardwood floors are not just for the den, study, or mudroom, or study—they can look just as great in kitchens and bathrooms.

How to make rustic hardwood floors

You can create rustic hardwood flooring using eco-friendly, reclaimed materials or synthetic vinyl flooring that’s engineered to look rustic. Vinyl options are a great option for high-traffic areas or for rooms that are below ground level.

How to clean and maintain rustic hardwood floors

To keep its look and sound structure, rustic hardwood flooring needs to be cleaned and maintained. Keep water off of it as much as possible and quickly clean up spills.

You should also use rugs and mats at doors, under sinks, and at high-traffic areas. This will catch dirt, debris, and water. Don’t use rubber-backed mats that seal in moisture. You should also broom sweep or vacuum on the bare floor setting.

Interested in installing rustic hardwood flooring in your home? Call M Craft today!

M Craft is a family-owned business of floor installers and refurbishers that has served Naperville and Chicagoland for twenty years. We’ve built our company with a simple mission: deliver an outstanding product with superb service while respecting customers and demonstrating a hardworking, professional attitude at all times.

When we come in to do a free estimate, we’ll look at what you have and talk about what you want. Then, we’ll discuss options at varying price points to accomplish the job within your desired timeline. Above all, we’ll endeavor to turn your suburban Chicago home into something that fills you with pride and joy.

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M Craft by Epcadmin - 6M ago

Having high-quality hardwood floors increases your home’s value, and so it’s important to keep them in good condition. However, it can be difficult determining if you need to get your floors refinished. Do a few scratches from moving furniture or your pets running around the house warrant redoing your floors? Keep reading to learn more about when to redo your floors, how much it will cost, how long the project will take, and more.

When to redo hardwood floors

Most hardwood floors start showing their age after twenty years. You should consider refinishing your floors when you notice scratches, dullness, and discoloring. Thankfully, most ¾-inch-thick hardwood floors can be sanded six to eight times in its lifetime. If only a certain part of the floor looks dull and scratched, just do a light sanding and sealing in that area. You don’t have to refinish the whole floor.

If your floor doesn’t have any deep gouges and the finish hasn’t completely worn through, you might not need to get them refinished. Instead, you can get them rescreened. With rescreening, a machine lightly sands the existing finish, the floor is buffed, and then a new coat of polyurethane is applied. This is sometimes called a “screen and poly” job or “maintenance coat,” and it can save you about 50 percent off the cost of full refinishing. Since it doesn’t remove any wood, there is no limit to how many times it can be done. (Note: This isn’t the same thing as “sandless” hardwood floor refinishing.)

Also, if the floor shows signs of damage, such as warped or bent floorboards, extensive stains, or squeaky spots, hiring a contractor to repair it is recommended before you refinish it.

Why redo hardwood floors?

You should redo your hardwood floors to restore the hardwood floor’s original appearance and shine, blend it with newly added wood, or change its color or finish.

How to redo hardwood floors

You need at least 1/32 of an inch of wood on the top of your floors to sand them. You can’t refinish laminated wood floors. You might be able to refinish an engineered wood floor, depending on the finish and the thickness of the top layer.

Refinishing hardwood floors is complicated—and sanding incorrectly can cause permanent damage—and so we recommend hiring a professional.

How to redo hardwood floors at a low cost

While it may seem cheaper to redo floors yourself, it can end up costing you more, in time and money, and so you should hire a professional.

Most floor refinishers charge by the square foot. Prices vary based on region, your home’s accessibility (e.g. if you live somewhere where parking is a challenge, if you live in an apartment building with an elevator), the size of the project, and the work you want done. You might spend anywhere between $2.50 and $5.25 per square foot for sanding, staining, and three coats of finish.

Can you live in your house while having your hardwood floors redone?

Because of the dust, odor and general disruption, we recommend moving out of the house for several days while the work is being done.

However, if do you choose to stay in your home, here’s what you should take into consideration: the rooms will have to be fully cleared; your living space will be reduced to an untreated area; the equipment will be noisy; stain is usually applied in two coats, creating a strong odor; after the stain is dry, three or more layers of polyurethane coating will be applied, and that also will have a strong odor; you’ll have to be strategic about moving rooms until the project is complete.

How long does it take to redo hardwood floors?

Allow three to seven days for the project. Specific length depends on several factors, such as how much flooring is involved; the extent of damage to the original floor; your specifications; and the contractor’s requirements.

When should you do this project?

You can refinish floors anytime, but if you’re planning on storing furniture outside, be sure to avoid rainy weather.

How to choose a hardwood floor refinishing company

Get referrals from trusted friends and professionals, check references, and go see the company’s previous work. You can also look for a contractor with the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) Certified Sand and Finisher designation.

When calling companies, be sure to ask them:

  • How long they’ve been in business
  • If they use a dust control system
  • What kind of polyurethane they prefer.

Interview at least three contractors, and get three competitive bids. Make sure that anyone you hire is properly insured and licensed, and that every detail is written into the contract. Get a quote instead of an estimate, and ask about what kinds of unexpected costs can come up.

Hire M Craft for your refinishing project

At M Craft, we are committed to outstanding customer service and the highest quality of work. Our Chicago and suburban Chicago team is made up of experienced and skilled individuals in the areas of interior design and home construction, with specialists in the areas of hardwood flooring installation, hardwood sanding, hardwood staircase installation and refinishing, wood handrails, quality assurance, and more. We work hard to differentiate ourselves from the competition through our dedicated business practices. Read what clients have said about working with us.

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M Craft by Epcadmin - 8M ago

Over time, your beautiful hardwood flooring can end up looking drab and dull. After years of your kids running around the house in sneakers or soccer cleats, pets chasing after chew toys in the house, and pieces of furniture being moved from room to room, your floors can end up looking old and worn out. And if you’re thinking of selling your house, your scratched-up floors could decrease the value of your house.

So, what should you do? Thankfully, with most wood floors, you can bring them back to their original condition by refinishing them. The first step in the refinishing process involves sanding. (In this blog post, we’ll be covering sanding and not the other steps, such as staining the floor and adding coats of finish.)

How long does it take to sand hardwood floors?

On average, sanding usually takes around 2-3 hours.

DIY or hire someone?

The first question to ask yourself is if you want to take a DIY approach or hire a professional to refinish your floors. You should consider your skill level, how much time you have to dedicate to the project, and how much it will cost. If you refinish your floors by yourself, it might not come out as well as you hoped, especially since the equipment you rent or buy usually won’t be as high quality as a professional’s.

If you’re going to do it yourself, you should also make sure you have all the proper safety equipment, such as goggles, gloves, kneepads, protective rubber shoes, hearing protection, and a respirator or dust mask.

If you DIY and the sanding is done poorly, the finish won’t last as long and you’ll have to redo the process again sooner. Ultimately, doing it yourself can end up costing more than hiring a professional.

What tools and materials are needed to sand floors?

Here are some of the tools needed to sand hardwood floors:

  • dust mask
  • hammer
  • nail set
  • paint scraper
  • tape measure
  • wood chisel
  • pry bar
  • pliers
  • stiff, wide-blade putty knife
  • utility knife
  • flat-head screwdriver
  • power floor sander
  • edge sander
  • power floor buffer
  • industrial-grade vacuum cleaner
  • box fan
  • plastic sheeting
  • painter’s tape
  • safety glasses
  • work gloves
  • breathing protection
  • hearing protection

The type of sander you should use depends on the type of floor you have. If you have flat floors, you should use a random orbital sander. For cupped or wavy floors, use a drum sander.

What’s involved in the sanding process?
  • First, you should prep the sanding area.
    • Clear the room of all furniture, doors, drapes, and other décor.
    • Clean the floor with a hardwood flooring cleaner
    • Tape plastic over air ducts to keep sanding dust out.
    • Nail down loose boards with finish nails.
    • Prep the perimeter of the room and any nooks that the buffer won’t reach.
  • After preparing the room, it’s time to sand. Sanding takes three sessions with progressively lighter grit sandpaper.
    • First pass: a coarse 30-40 grit
    • Second pass: a medium 50-60 grit
    • Third pass: a fine 80-100 grit
Here are the steps for each session:

Session 1:

  • Attach the 30-40 grit sandpaper to your sander.
  • Start in the farthest corner from the door.
  • Start sanding, and work in in 2″ x 4″ sections.
  • Move in a straight path along the same direction as the boards.
  • When you’re ready to begin sanding another row, overlap the previous row by one plank.
  • Get as close to the edges as possible.
  • By keeping the sander in motion at all times, you’ll avoid wearing dents or grooves in the wood.
  • After sanding the room’s center, bring out the edge sander (loaded with 30-40 grit sandpaper) to sand the corners. Use a semicircular motion to avoid gouging the wood. The edge sander should overlap the area you just sanded to make it blend in well.
  • Vacuum thoroughly with a brush attachment, examine the floor, and fill any gouges or holes with matching wood filler.

Session 2:

  • For this second pass, make light pencil marks along the edges of the room to keep track where you sand. (You’ll see where you’ve sanded as you sand away the marks.)
  • Load your random orbital and hand sanders with medium, 50-60 grit sandpaper.
  • Repeat the sanding procedure to remove blemishes and scratches. Start at the opposite side of the room from where you started sanding the first time.
  • Vacuum the room with a brush attachment.

Session 3:

  • Load the sanders with a fine 80-100 grit sandpaper. This will create a smooth surface.
  • Follow the same process as the first and second pass.

Screen the floor:

After the final sanding, run a buffer equipped with 120- or 150-grit sanding screen to smooth out fine scratches. Work along the grain and get as close to the wall as possible. For the room’s edges and corners, use a sanding screen on an extension pole.

Cleaning:

Use an industrial-grade vacuum to remove fine dust particles from the floor. Use a damp rag to wipe away excess dust from walls, windowsills, and fans. Dust could cause rough spots if it gets into your sealant, so be as thorough as you can.

Why M Craft is the best floor sanding company to hire

M Craft hardwood flooring services range from refinishing and sanding to new installations in and around Chicago. Our team of skilled craftsmen can also help create unique and custom accents to fit the personality of your home.

M Craft isn’t interested in simply completing a job and moving on to the next. We work hard to build trusting relationships with our clients and execute every job with the hopes of working together again in the future. We’ve built our company with a simple mission: deliver an outstanding product with superb service while respecting customers and demonstrating a hardworking, professional attitude at all times.

When we come in to do a free estimate, we’ll look at what you have and talk about what you want. Then, we’ll discuss options at varying price points to accomplish the job within your desired timeline.

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Flooring—such as carpeting, tile, or terrazzo—can drastically change the look and feel of a home. Hardwood flooring is a popular choice: it warms up a room, goes with any home décor, is durable, and can be used for any room. There are several types of hardwood flooring to choose from, such as oak, maple, cherry, bamboo, or reclaimed wood flooring. Here’s an overview of the different types of flooring available.

Solid vs. engineered hardwood flooring

Solid hardwood flooring is all wood; it comes 5/8 to 3/4 inches thick. It can be sanded and refinished many times since it’s solid wood. Solid wood is susceptible to changes in humidity, so it’s not recommended for below-grade basements.

That’s where engineered hardwood comes in. Engineered hardwood flooring is a veneer of real wood bonded to several layers of wood underneath, like plywood. This prevents the floor from shifting during expansion and contraction cycles. Engineered wood flooring a good choice for below-grade basements and any area of your home.

Engineered hardwood flooring can only be sanded and refinished once or twice during its lifetime, depending on the hardwood veneer’s thickness.

Prefinished vs. site-finished hardwood flooring

Prefinished hardwood flooring comes from the factory already sanded and sealed. This means the whole installation job goes quickly because there’s no need to apply color or sealant. The floor is ready to walk on immediately, and there are no odors and VOCs from finishing on-site.

With site-finished hardwood flooring (unfinished hardwood flooring), you have more control over the stain and sheen. It’s a good option if you want to have a custom stain applied before the final finish, or if you want to match the color of existing flooring. Plus, the final product will be smoother since unfinished flooring is typically sanded after it’s nailed down and then finished as a single continuous plane.

Floor styles, types, and species

Flooring comes in a variety of colors, grain patterns, and hardnesses. For rooms that get heavy foot traffic (kitchens, entryways), you should choose a hard wood (such as oak or hickory) instead of a soft pine. Rooms without as much foot traffic, like the bedroom or home office, can handle softer woods like black cherry or walnut.

The best hardwood floors are made with wood species that are readily available and very hard, such as oak, maple, and cherry. Exotic species like teak, jarrah, and mesquite are more expensive, and you should check to ensure that the hardwood flooring comes from sustainably harvested forests.

Oak

Oak is the most common wood floor used in North America, and it’s widely available across the region, leading to reasonable prices. Oak flooring is durable, takes stain very well, highly resistant to dents and deep scratches, and has an appealing natural grain. White oak is especially popular because it doesn’t have the pinkish tones of red oak.

Walnut

Walnut hardwood flooring is a natural choice when you want a richer, warmer tone. It’s softer than oak, but its deep color makes it a perfect fit for rooms that need a darker finish. European walnut is lighter in color and slightly finer in texture than American black walnut.

Bamboo

While bamboo isn’t hardwood (it’s a form of grass), many associate it with hardwood flooring. Bamboo is harder than most hardwoods. Bamboo comes in two shades—its natural light-colored tint or a darker look (from being boiled, or carbonized).

Pine

Pine also isn’t hardwood; it’s a character wood. Pine is the softwood most frequently used in flooring. You can typically get pine for half the cost of oak, and in many cases, pine costs even less than vinyl flooring.

Cork

Cork comes from the bark of cork oak trees found in the Mediterranean. Cork comes from seven countries including Portugal, Spain, Algeria, Tunisia, Italy, Morocco, and France. Cork is soft underfoot, a natural insulator, and a good sound absorber.

Maple

Maple hardwood is an elegant pale, creamy color with minor variations in color and grain from board to board. Maple’s grain pattern is more subtle than others and can’t absorb dark stains very well. Maple is often used in bowling alleys because of the curly grain’s hardness.

Cherry

Cherry flooring is one of the most common hardwoods in America. Cherry hardwood is very hard to work with, but it looks as good as any other type after it’s sanded, and it darkens as it ages. It produces a great finish and is easy to maintain, but it can be easily scratched.

Brazilian Cherry

Brazilian Cherry, also known as Jatoba, is one of the most popular of exotic wood species used for flooring. The color variations from red to blond to deep red add a unique statement to your home. Its sturdy nature and affordable price make it a popular choice among exotic hardwoods.

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus hardwood flooring is stylish and elegant. Plus, its fast growth and high availability makes it eco-friendly and budget-friendly.

Mahogany

Mahogany is a highly durable, water-resistant hardwood. It has a classic and timeless look. Mahogany’s rich, lavish reddish brown tones, paired with its exceptional strength make it an elegant selection that is very popular for busy homes and businesses alike.

Lyptus

Lyptus is harder than oak and is easy to mill and finish. Lyptus looks like mahogany, but it’s less expensive.

Ash

Ash is very similar to oak, but adds a bit of excitement with its more unique grain patterns. Ash can be differentiated from hickory by white dots in the darker summerwood. It’s often less expensive than comparable hardwoods.

Hickory

Hickory is more common in rustic or log homes because it has one of the hardest exteriors. It’s perfect for homeowners who expect a lot of foot traffic over the years. Hickory flooring goes well with all designs.

Rosewood

Rosewood has unique grain patterns, and its colors range from light yellow to purple.

Distressed Wide Planks

Wide-plank flooring is popular because of its beauty and fewer seams. You can choose a distressed wood if you want a rustic, aged look.

Reclaimed Wood

Reclaimed wood brings a luxurious look to your home and can be incorporated in traditional and contemporary spaces. Salvage flooring is also a good choice if you’re renovating an older home.

Chicagloand Hardwood Flooring Expertise

Each wood species, type, and style comes with its own characteristics. If you’re looking to get your floors renovated and want to discuss the different flooring options, call M Craft today at 847-460-8477.

M Craft, a family-owned business of wood floor installers and hardwood floor refurbishers, has served Naperville and Chicagoland for twenty years. We’ve built our company with a simple mission: deliver an outstanding product with superb service while respecting customers and demonstrating a hardworking, professional attitude at all times.

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