Tag Archives: hardwood flooring

Central and South American Hardwood: Preserving Your Wallet and Your Planet

In the clutches of winter, most of us count down the days to the first spring thaw and undertaking exciting new home projects. Whether it’s building a new deck, working on the bathroom or putting in new hardwood floors, something always needs doing.

If you’re thinking of doing anything with hardwood when planning for this year’s home improvement season, it would behoove your wallet, your planet and your sanity to install wood with a longer shelf life. “Of course,” you say to yourself. “That’s why I prefer cedar.”

But what if there was another type of wood that lasted twice as long as the toughest wood grown in North America? What if there was a type of wood that withstood the elements better, was more resistant to bugs and termites, and was more reluctant to bend and warp over time?

We may have to get our passports for this one.

Key Benefits of Central and South American Hardwood

Ipe. Cumaru. Garapa. Jatoba. Tigerwood.

These are just a few of the more well-known varieties of natural hardwood grown in Central and South America that have the potential to save you money and time in your next home improvement project.

 Here are the top 6 reasons these types of wood are better for you than their North American counterparts:

1. More Resilient

Central and South American hardwoods are more resilient in the face of adverse conditions and less prone to rot and decay – Central and South America are much harsher climates where the trees have to endure standing water for months at a time in addition to ravenous attacks by insects that put termites to shame. Let this hardwood turn the laws of Darwin in your favor.

2. No Annual Maintenance Required

Conventional hardwood requires annual pressure treatments with toxic chemicals to ensure long-lasting effectiveness. Central and South American hardwoods are much more durable and naturally last twice as long as North American hardwood without chemicals.

3. Better for the Environment

In the same vein, they are better for the environment due to this lack of chemicals. These toxic chemicals are harmful to the health of your family as well as the environment in the form of run-off – when it rains, the chemicals get into the groundwater and, ultimately, into rivers and lakes, poisoning natural wildlife in addition to our own water supply.

4. Last More Than Twice as Long as Conventional Hardwood

They are also better for the environment because they last more than twice as long – some for 40-75 years. The use of natural, longer-lasting materials helps to reduce waste accumulation, easily trumping woods like pine, cedar and redwood.

5. Fire Resistant

Some types of Central and South American hardwood, like Ipe, have a “Class A” fire rating – the same fire rating as concrete.

6. More Custom Color Options

A larger variety of shades and colors, like those offered by Brazilian hardwood, allow homeowners more choices to get the most custom look possible. Hardwoods like tiger wood have a unique texture with striking black and brown streaks – hence the name.

Composite wood substitutes, and what marketers have for years tried to pass off as the equivalent of natural wood, have largely been successful because they have only been compared to North American hardwood, so they tended to last longer and were less expensive.

But now it’s time to up the ante on your home improvement and go green with a more durable, longer-lasting and more attractive look. This can only be achieved via the preferential use of  Central and South American hardwood.

Jeff Hirz is a guest contributor to Handyman Matters and part-time DIYer. He contributed this article on behalf of www.bwdepot.com to promote healthy wallets and a healthy planet.

Flooring, Carpeting and Rugs You Need

hardwood-floorWhether you live in the most basic apartment or the most luxurious mansion, you can find the specific types of flooring, carpets and rugs appropriate for every room in your home. They come in such a wide range of looks that you can even make over any room by just changing the flooring, carpets and rugs even if the paint and furnishings remain the same.

Types of flooring currently in high demand are hardwood, tile, vinyl and laminate.

Hardwood

With hardwood flooring, there is almost equal preference for solid hardwood flooring and engineered hardwood flooring. Solid hardwood flooring is bought in strips or planks that still have to be sanded and stained. You can customize solid hardwood flooring with the preferred shade of stain. Engineered hardwood flooring is made of layers of real wood fused and laminated together. Solid hardwood flooring and engineered hardwood flooring have to be properly sealed after installation. This provides protection against stains. Hardwood flooring maintenance consists only of mopping and vacuuming.

Tile

The most popular forms are natural stone, ceramic mosaic, glass and metal tiles.

With natural stone tile flooring, the most common choices are granite, slate, marble and limestone. For kitchens and high traffic areas, granite tile is best because it is the strongest and densest while being moisture resistant and antibacterial. For bathrooms and pool sides, slate tile is best because it is strong and slip-resistant even while wet. Areas with high traffic should not have marble tiles because this is slippery. Limestone tile, on the other hand, is soft and is more suitable as a decorative accent.

Vinyl

The options are no-wax vinyl, urethane vinyl and enhanced urethane vinyl. The newest variant, enhanced urethane vinyl flooring is resistant to moisture and harsh household chemicals. It can be used in bathrooms and requires little more than sweeping and mopping for maintenance. There are many designs and colors of vinyl flooring. It can even look like natural stone or hardwood flooring.

Laminate

Laminate flooring comes in various designs and colors. It can also look like natural stone flooring or hardwood flooring, but while being much more affordable, it is even more durable since laminate is resistant to moisture, warping, staining, scratching and fading.

Carpeting

Carpeting can be used to completely replace your flooring or it can be layered over flooring, depending on the effect you want to achieve. Among the most popular options are broadloom carpets and wool berbers.

Rugs are often layered on top of flooring or carpeting. There are runner rugs, area rugs and round rugs. Stylish Oriental rugs, for example, are currently in high demand.

Depending on the effect you want to achieve and the sort of traffic and use a room demands, you can make an informed decision that will enhance your home and increase its appeal and comfort.

By Chris Lontok

Courtesy of ArticleCity.com

DIY Hardwood Flooring

hardwood-flooringProperly-fitted wooden flooring can look fantastic in your home and with a small amount of DIY knowledge, it’s fairly easy to do the job yourself. The following tips, along with a bit of graft and the right tools, should deliver excellent results.

Make sure that the surface on which you will be placing the flooring is as flat as possible in order to ensure a quality fit. You may want to put down plywood sheets fitted with small screws between the old floor and your new surface.

Additionally, before laying the new flooring, you will need to put down a membrane of foam or rubber, similar to the type found underneath carpeting. This acts as both insulation and a noise dampener. A consultant at your local hardware or home improvement store can steer you to the correct material for the job.

Whether using real wood or laminate, the best procedure is to begin from the wall furthest away from the room’s main entrance. Remove all skirting boards and wainscoting so that the flooring can extend all the way to the wall. After this has been placed, you can replace the skirting.

Stagger the wooden panels as you place them. Not only does this create a pleasing appearance, it adds strength to the surface. Make sure than all of the flooring pieces are securely joined together. You can do this by using a rubber or plastic mallet to knock the wooden flooring into place without damaging joints or edges.

Leave a gap of a few millimeters between the floor and wood, as per the flooring manufacturer’s instructions. This is because flooring and shrink and grow, depending upon the room temperature. For this reason, you should never fit finish beading to the wooden flooring, but instead to the skirting board above it.

With a bit of careful planning, some consultation with reps at your local home improvement store, and good-quality flooring material, you can transform that old floor in your home into something stylish, comfortable and long-lasting.