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SPARKS HARDWOOD FLOORING

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Why Brazilian Cherry?

Posted on March 26, 2014 at 2:36 AM Comments comments (129)
General Characteristics
The species Brazilian Cherry (Jatoba) is the most popular hardwood flooring import from Brazil to the USA. Brazilian Cherry, known for its hardness and durability, this exotic hardwood is a great choice in both residential and commercial installations. We offer only one superior quality grade (clear grade), in both prefinished and unfinished formats and several sizes.

Brazilian Cherry from South America has a brownish-red color. It darkens from a tan/salmon color to a deep, reddish brown and is 182% as hard as domestic Red Oak. On the Janka Hardness scale, Brazilian Cherry ranks 2350 vs. 1290 for Red Oak.

Brazilian Cherry is an extremely heavy wood; hard to cut, variable heartwood regarding color, from light brown to pink, to reddish brown, with some intense shadowing. Thick sapwood, notably differentiated, white slightly yellowed, uniform medium texture, regular to irregular grain of wood, rough and of poor shine surface; imperceptible scent and taste.


Questions to ask before making a decision

Posted on June 8, 2013 at 2:23 AM Comments comments (258)
Question to ask before making a decision
 
Is this a high traffic area?
The finish and color will be affected by this. Darker colors tend to show traffic quicker, where as natural wood colors of oak and maple do not. High traffic areas need special attention when it come to recoating. Screening (light sanding) should be a part of the preventative maintenance program for your wood floors in these areas. Application of 1 or 2 coats as needed (every 6-18 months) is a good sound way to protect your investment. Make sure the finish being applied is compatible with what is there and is of the shine that will work well in that area. Satin or low shine urethanes tend to show less traffic patterns than do the higher gloss finishes. Walk-off mats are strongly suggested for these areas, ie- working areas of a kitchens, entry ways, entries/doorways from the outside.

What type of wood do you like or will fit the area?
Some types are more traffic friendly than others; Is this species to "grainy" or busy looking ? Some species are harder than others. Maple is harder than oak; has less grain, yet maple can not be stained. Remember, the type of finish and number of coats can also determine how well your floor will fair in high traffic areas. 
 
What color will work with the decor?
Some darker colors make rooms look smaller, show traffic patterns quicker. Lighter, or natural color  ( oak & maple being the most popular ) of wood floor species can give an open, airy feeling, making the room appear larger. With today's color trends this is of the most popular selections now being made by the consumer, in home and office alike. Your floor should complement the fabrics, furnishings and accessories already present in the space, as well as enhancing the unique personality of the room as a whole. The most popular color : red oak natural, maple natural running second, but with today's eclectic decoration styles, anything goes.
Darker colors - Formal or traditional interiors, Lighter colors - country, casual and contemporary settings. There are many choices when selecting  the right floor for the rooms in your home, as there are many species, colors and grain variations for you to consider.
 
Who is helping you make these choices?
Builders tend to stay with they same product that has worked for them before; decorators tend to use color as the number one reason for choosing a particular product, which may not be suited for the area. Whether a prefinished or job finished product, have a sample of the wood floor material to make comparisons with other products and materials, such as the fabrics, paint colors and furniture being used in the room.
 
Who will maintain these floors?
That person needs to know the product as does the purchaser, most of time that is the same person, but not always. Knowing TheDo's & Don'tsand Maintenance Procedures is very important. Make sure that information is provided to you and is a part of your contract. After the floor is installed, and this material is provided to you, this is a good time to purchase a wood floor cleaning kit, right from the get go !
All these question, as well as many others, are very important parts of the process in choosing the right hardwood floor for you. Not knowing all the answers could cause you concerns down the road.
 
Trying to determine what wood floor product is right for the conditions they will be installed; what conditions they will subjected to; and last but not least, is this the right floor for you?
Some floors are more pleasing than others, but may not work in your conditions, or may not work well with the traffic they will receive. The color you like may be OK with the decor, but bad for wear patterns. The type of wood, say pine for example, (not a hardwood), does not stain well and is softer than oak causing it to "dent" more. Many factors should play a part in your decision about the choices you make when it comes to wood floor products

Solid Wood vs. Laminate

Posted on January 11, 2013 at 8:27 PM Comments comments (126)
This is a very general comparison between engineered hardwood flooring and laminate flooing to help you to better understand these floor groups. Please note, hardwood flooring comes in some many different species, finishes and construction types and that it is very difficult to place them all in one general category, so pre-finished engineered hardwood flooring is used for this comparison.
 
Hardwood Flooring
  • Wood floors are a natural, non-allergenic product
  • Hardwood floors can add real value to a home
  • 2 Basic types of hardwood floor construction:
    • Solid Wood Floors (prefinished & unfinished)
      • cut from tree as a solid piece of wood
      • plank widths vary from 2-1/4" to about 12"
      • plank thicknesses vary from 7/16" to about 3/4"
      • will react to changes in humidity
      • recommended for above grade installations
      • nail-down installation to a wood type sub floor
      • solid wood needs proper expansion allowances along vertical walls
    • Engineered Wood Floors (prefinished & some unfinished)
      • 3 to 9 wood plies glued &laminated together
      • plank thicknesses vary from 3/8" to about 9/16"
      • top finish veneer may be domestic or exotic wood specie
      • plank widths vary from 2-1/4" to about 7"
      • glue, float, staple, or nail-down on all grade levels
      • wood subfloors or dry concrete slabs
      • glueless engineered wood floors install similar to laminate floors
      • dimensionally stable, most may be net fitted to vertical walls.
      • less effected by humidity changes than solid wood floors
  • Unfinished hardwood floors (also called job-site finished).
    • with a job-site finish they sand the floor smooth, less chance for overwood
    • custom stained colors, generally 2-3 coats added of finish
    • this can be fairly messy, takes several days
  • Pre-finished hardwood floors (also called factory finished).
    • usually installs in less than a day
    • less messy than job-site finish
    • limited to manufacturer's colors
    • manufacturers can apply 7-10 coats of finish
    • factory finishes are extremely wear resistant
    • some manufacturers add aluminum oxide for additional durability
    • today's factory finishes are much easier to care for than the old waxed finishes.
    • prefinished trims are not an exact match to the floor.
  • Wood accents available to create unique looks and patterned designs.
  • Never clean or wet mop a hardwood floor with water. Water can dull the finish and permanently damage the wood floor.
  • All hardwood floors can be scratched. Scratches in the finish layer are fairly easy to repair.
  • Areas with lots of direct sunlight may effect the wood color over time
  • Most hardwood floors can be used over radiant heat with some limitations
  • Wood floor finishes can be used to restore the floors original beauty
  • Mostly used for: living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, dens, and great rooms.
  •  
    Laminate Flooring
  • Laminate floors are NOT real wood floors
  • Laminate floors are extremely impact, scratch, sunlight fade and stain resistant
  • Although laminate floors are extremely tough, they can be scratched by big dogs or dragging heavy objects across the floor.
  • Laminate flooring come in 3 types:
    • Installer has to apply special glue
      • Special glue is applied manually to the tongue & grooves of each plank.
      • floating floor installation
      • Not very common anymore
    • Glueless floating laminate floors
      • No glue, just click, or snap-fit lock planks together
      • Most laminate floors are of this type
    • Factory pre-glued, floating laminate floors
      • The glue is applied at the factory. Just moisten the plank tongue and insert into adjacent plank.
      • Some laminates use this method, not many
  • Trims and moldings are available for laminate floors. Moldings are laminated over a fiber core so they match the floor, or the moldings can also be made from real wood and color coordinate with the flooring.
  • Laminate flooring uses the floating installation method, which means:
    • Laminate floors just rest on top of the subfloor. They are never secured or fastened to the substrate below. Instead they just lay on top of the substrate. Specially designed tongue-and-groove interlocking systems to secure planks together.
    • Float entire floor over a variety of sub floor materials, such as plywood, OSB, existing vinyl flooring, concrete slabs, etc...
    • You never have to glue-down, staple down, or nail-down laminate flooring.
    • Even though these floors are floated the sub floor still must be level for locking planks together.
  • Most laminate floors can be used anywhere within the home, including wet area (but may not be warrantied).
  • Laminate floors do not need a wax or polish.
  • Excessive moisture may affect a laminate floor's inner core and overall performance
  • Laminate planks are not easily repaired. There are touch-up kits and chip repair kits, but difficult to find.
  • Laminate floors require a thin, special padding underneath the planks so they can move freely.
  • Laminate floors can be fairly noisy when walked on. Special underlayment paddings are made to help reduce the noise level.
  • Glueless laminate floors are a very good do-it-yourself product
  • Highly resistant to the effects of sunlight
  • Most laminate floors can be used over radiant heated concrete slabs
  • Mostly used for: family rooms, living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms and dens.
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