Archive for April, 2014

Before You Buy Tile — Read This

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Tile and Natural Stone

Smart shoppers take their time and collect all the facts before making a decision. Especially when it comes to the finishes you put in your home. Choosing the best ceramic tile for your home is really about knowing the right combination of characteristics, aesthetics, performance and budget to best meet the needs of your lifestyle.

The beauty of ceramic tile is the flexibility you have with design options, especially through the use of the accent pieces: trim work and decorative tiles.

Steps for trim work and decorative tile use

  • identify the room and its application
  • select the type of tile
  • then its color and shade
  • then its texture and size
  • finally, a layout pattern is designed
  • the trim and decorative patterns are determined
  • grout color and type are chosen

Floor Tile Trims


  • one rounded finished edge on the tile for a finishing
  • sometimes it is also used as a substitute for cove base

Corner Bullnose

  • two rounded finished edges on the tile to be used to complete a corner

Sanitary Cove Base

  • rounded finished top like a bullnose to cover up the body of the tile

Color, texture and shading

  • tiles are intended to show color and texture variations
  • glaze also varies, different tile styles will also exhibit different gloss levels
  • solid color tiles provide a consistent look
  • shade variation is inherent in all fired ceramic products
  • certain tiles will show greater variation within their dye lots
  • shade variation is usually listed on the back label of each sample
  • low, moderate, high or random rating
  • color of the body of the tile is determined by the color of the clay
  • quality of the tile is more related to the quality of the manufacturer, not the color of the body
  • color variations will also be present between manufacturers’ samples

Low (V1). Consistent shade and texture

Moderate (V2)

  • moderate shade and texture variation

High (V3)

  • high shade and texture variation

Random (V4)

  • high shade and texture variation

Moisture absorption and tile density

As the composition of glaze varies, different styles of tile will exhibit different gloss levels and surface textures. This is important to note when choosing your ceramic tile flooring. For example, in areas that are used while wet, such as your shower or bathroom floor, they should have low moisture absorption and good slip resistance.

Moisture Absorption

  • as the density of the tile increases, the amount of moisture that tile can absorb becomes less

Tile Density

  • as the weight or the density of the tile increases, it becomes a stronger tile
  • density of the tile increases the moisture absorption rate becomes less

Non-Vitreous Tiles

  • tiles that absorb 7% or more moisture
  • suited for indoor use only

Semi-Vitreous Tiles

  • tiles that absorb from 3% to 7% moisture
  • applicable for indoor use only

Vitreous Tiles

  • tiles that absorb less that 3% moisture
  • referred to as frost resistant tiles
  • cannot be used in exterior areas where freeze
  • thaw conditions could cause tile cracking

Impervious Tiles

  • tiles that have less than .5% moisture absorption
  • frost proof
  • can be used in exterior areas or on the outside of building facades


  • typically mixed on site
  • slight color variations can occur within different areas of the same installation with the same grout color
  • can vary from the manufacturer’s sample
  • attributed to variations in temperature and humidity at the time of grouting
  • common to see grout variations when comparing the grout color in a tile floor and the same grout color on the tile countertop or wall
  • select a color that blends in with the overall color of the tile to minimize the appearance of the grout
  • select a grout color that is lighter or darker than the tile
  • in high traffic areas, you may want to select a darker grout
  • exact layouts, type of grout and grout joints widths are determined by the tile setter at the time of installation and are governed by the actual size and shape of the tile, and the exact dimensions of the areas to be covered
  • your responsibility to maintain all caulked areas
  • may also darken over time in areas with heavy water use
  • changes of season can cause cracking and separation


  • no subfloors are perfectly level
  • may hear hollow sounds where your subfloor’s surface dips and ridges
  • that this does not affect the integrity or installation
  • hollow sounds are normal and are not considered defect

Cost of ownership – Potential additional expenses

  1. Furniture removal/replacement
  2. Demolition/disposal of old floor covering
  3. Subfloor preparation
  4. Product delivery
  5. Ceramic tile installation
  6. Materials required to complete the installation


Carpet Styles

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Carpet

Choosing the ideal carpet style is all about knowing the right combination of aesthetics, performance and budget that meets the needs of your lifestyle.

Six basic styles of carpet

  • Textured, saxony or plush, frieze, cable, looped, and cut & loop.
  • Each style has its own characteristics and performance capabilities.
  • Carefully consider all of each style’s features, qualities and conditions in making your buying decision.


  • textured carpet if you want casual
  • very popular cut pile carpet
  • alternating twists of yarn
  • two-tone appearance.
  • hides footprints and vacuum marks
  • great for all areas in the home, especially for active families
  • available in a broad range of prices


  • formal, traditional and elegant look
  • smooth, soft, velvet plush look
  • luxurious feel
  • yarn has uniform twist and finish
  • good for master bedrooms, dining room or a formal living room
  • not a good choice for high traffic areas or active kids
  • shows footprints and vacuum marks


  • cut pile style with a high twist level
  • each strand of yarn is twisted so tightly that it curls over at the end
  • for active areas
  • has a textured surface with a knobby appearance
  • durable and wears well
  • performers well in high-traffic areas
  • can go anywhere in your home
  • hides footprints
  • available in various pile heights for different looks


  • constructed of thicker, typically longer yarn
  • very comfortable underfoot
  • beautiful in a bedroom or living room
  • better suited for rooms without a lot of activity
  • can matte and crush with heavy foot traffic
  • not recommended for stairs, hallways


  • referred to as a berber
  • big bulky yarns produced in a level loop or multi-level loop
  • made out of olefin fiber
  • some made with nylon, or a blend of various fibers
  • very durable because of not cutting the yarn tips
  • you can see each individual loop
  • ideal for casual, active family rooms
  • come in solid colors, berber fleck, patterns with varying levels of loops
  • hides traffic patterns well
  • may make seams more apparent
  • backing is more visible on stairs

Cut & Loop

  • combination of cut and looped yarns that crate pattern effects by the variation in surface textures
  • also referred to as patterned carpet
  • low profile and thus perform well
  • sometimes seams are visible
  • very fashionable
  • used in casual and traditional rooms
  • available in many patterns like fun geometrics and formal botanicals
  • distinctive carved appearance and multiple colors
  • hides stains
  • stands up to traffic


Laminate Installation

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Floors

Understanding the basics of installation will increase your knowledge of the process, and enhance your confidence in the installers.

  • use a professional
  • installed using a “floating floor system”
  • padded underlayment sits between the subfloor and the planks or tiles
  • planks or tiles sit on the underlayment, not anchored to the subfloor, and are connected to form a “one-piece” floating floor
  • installation can produce a hollow sound, reduced with a quality underlayment
  • floor will have a slight give underfoot, for more comfort
  • slight ridging or peaking where planks or tiles are joined can occur
  • glueless installations lock together without adhesive
  • consult the manufacturer’s warranty and care guide to see how often to clean the floor and the cost

 Potential additional expenses:

  1. Furniture removal/replacement
  2. Demolition/disposal of old floor covering
  3. Sub-floor preparation
  4. Product delivery
  5. Laminate installation, cost per square foot
  6. Materials required to complete


  • installer inspects the  subfloor for imperfections
  • floor is then cleaned
  • underlayment placed over the subfloor
  • planks are laid
  • installers begin in the left corner leaving a minimum ¼” space between the flooring and perimeter walls
  • spacers are used to ensure the accuracy of this perimeter
  • after the floor is installed, spacers are removed and cover the perimeter gap with quarter round trim or a wall base
  • planks are laid in the desired pattern
  • planks are measured and cut to fit
  • floors that require glue on the sides begin by gluing the first two planks in the first row together
  • clamps or straps to hold pieces together

Before installation day

  • relocate furniture
  • empty china cabinets and closets
  • consider removal and disposal of old floorcovering
  • remove it yourself and leave 1 day before install
  • for carpet, leave tack strips and pull out staples


  • moldings and baseboards removed for additional costs
  • installers not responsible for breakage
  • painted baseboards, woodwork and paint may need retouching (your responsibility)

Sub flooring

  • may need to be prepared
  • new sub floor may be required
  • a job best left to the professionals

Door plan

  • possibility that doors may not clear the new floor and swing free
  • installers may remove doors and re-hang for an additional cost.
  • for clearance issues, arrange for a qualified carpenter to shave or cut down


  • waste will be produced
  • waste collected and disposed of by installers at an additional cost

Installation day

  • be home and available
  • be prepared for questions
  • presence insures the right wood is installed in the right areas
  • exact time of arrival cannot be guaranteed, only a time frame


  • installers use tools and techniques that can be hazardous
  • make sure that children and pets are out of the work area
  • follow through with a walk-thru
  • prior to completion-walk thru to ask questions and be clear on any final details

After installation day

  • established good ventilation for 48 to 72 hours
  • be prepared


Hardwood Styles Part 2

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hardwood

Board widths

  • boards come in various sizes
  • narrower board widths called “strips”
  • wider boards called  “planks”
  • board width visually impacts a room
  • narrow boards expand a room
  • wider boards work well in a larger room

Edge knowledge

  • floors come in either a beveled edge, or a square edge
  • Each edge creates a specific look and feel

Edge types:

  • square edge: edges all meet squarely for a uniform, smooth surface (contemporary and formal)
  • eased edge: boards slightly beveled to length and/or the end joints, hides irregularities, plank heights, also called micro-beveled edge
  • beveled edge: distinctive groove, informal and country décor, beveled edges sealed completely, dirt easy to sweep or vacuum out of the grooves

Hardness – Janka hardness test

  • measures the force needed to embed a .444 inch steel ball to half its diameter in a piece of wood
  • higher the number the harder the wood
  • one of the best methods to measure the ability of wood species to withstand indentations
  • general guide when comparing various species
  • construction and finish also important in the durability and ease of maintenance


  • Douglas Fir 660
  • Southern Yellow Pine (shortleaf) 690
  • Southern Yellow Pine (longleaf) 870
  • Black Cherry 950
  • Teak 1000
  • Black Walnut 1010
  • Heart Pine 1225
  • Yellow Birch 1260
  • Red Oak(Northern) 1290
  • American Beech 1300
  • Ash 1320
  • White Oak 1360
  • Australian Cypress 1375
  • Hard maple1450
  • Wenge 1620
  • African Pedauk 1725
  • Hickory 1820
  • Pecan  1820
  • Purpleheart 1860
  • Jarrah 1910
  • Merbau 1925
  • Santos Mahogany 2200
  • Mesquite 2345
  • Brazilian Cherry 2350


Hardwood Styles Part 1

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hardwood

The number of hardwood choices, patterns, colors, textures and price points can intimidate even the most experienced shopper. Knowing the basic styles can provide you with a firm foundation upon which to begin your hardwood-shopping journey. Choosing your ideal hardwood style is all about knowing the right combination of aesthetics, performance and budget that meets the needs of your lifestyle.

Personal Style

  • designs: medallions, running on the diagonal, or creating borders


  1. Pre-finished:
    • ready for installation
    • boards already sanded, stained and finished
    • harder, better- protected surface
    • wider variety of wood species
    • save hours of labor and cleanup
    • extended finish warranty
  2. Unfinished:
    • allow you to have a custom job
    • you choose the wood species
    • it’s sanded and stained on site
    • can level the surface after installation
    • no extended finish warranty


  • look at installation site for location limitations
  • solid floors -susceptible to moisture, not recommended for basements, or concrete slabs

Grain and cut

  • styles are result of the species available
  • species: red oak, white oak, maple, cherry, white ash, hickory or pecan
  • Each species has unique graining and texture
  • graining on the boards determined by the way it has been cut
  • two cutting processes. “Sliced Cut” -more uniform pattern and “Rotary Cut”- displays a larger and bolder graining pattern


  • each species gives choices of color and finishes
  • choose coordinating or contrasting with cabinetry and furniture
  • darker woods- more formal
  • natural colors- more casual


  • different types for pre-finished or job site finished
  • lower gloss levels- better for active rooms
  • lower gloss or matte finishes minimize dirt and scratches
  • high gloss finish for formal décor


  • no more waxing and scrubing
  • pre-finished- hard, durable, urethane-based finishes
  • chips of Aluminum Oxide added to increases the urethane finish’s life

Floor protection 

  • factory finished: several coats applied to the surface
  • many companies apply 6-10 coats of a ultra-violet (UV) cured urethane
  • UV cured urethane: difficult to duplicate on a job site finish
  • factory finishes – more consistent and durable
  • do not wash your floor with a mop
  • water is not a friend of hardwood
  • floors won’t watermark like old waxed floors
  • UV cured finishes do make floors easier to maintain than waxed floors

Pre-finished choices:

  • uv-cured – factory finishes cured with Ultra Violet lights versus heat
  • polyurethane – clear, tough and durable applied as a wear layer
  • acrylic-urethane – different make up than Polyurethane, same benefits
  • ceramic – advanced technology allowing ceramics to increase wear layer resistance
  • aluminum Oxide – Added to urethane finish for increased abrasion resistance
  • acrylic Impregnated – Acrylic monomers injected into cell structure for hardness, then finished with a wear layer

Job-site hardwood flooring

  • start with a bare (unfinished) floor, than sand, stain, and finish
  • if subfloor is acceptable you can have a custom stained
  • can have a floor to match existing trim
  • advantage: smoother floor between planks
  • process is messy and takes several days


Water Based Urethane – water used as part of the make up of the finish
Solvent Based Urethane – oil used as part of the make up of the finish
Moisture Cured Urethane – similar make up as solvent based urethanes, finish needs moisture to cure


How Carpet is Made Part 2

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Carpet

Carpet is made in a 3-part process.

#1 Tufting

  • begins with weaving the synthetic or staple fiber into a primary backing material
  • usually made of woven polypropylene
  • main value is to provide a base cloth to hold the yarn while tufting happens
  • tufting machine has 800 to 2000 needles like a sewing machine to pull the yarn through the primary backing material
  • tufting machine is 12 feet wide, its needles penetrate the backing and a small hook (looper) grabs the yarn and holds it in place

Loop pile construction

  • holds appearance well
  • no exposed yarn tips
  • only sides of the yarn are exposed to wear and stress
  • known to hold up the best

Alternative step

  • sometimes the looper cuts small loops creating a cut pile
  • length of these pieces called pile height, or distance between the looper and primary backing
  • cuts are controlled by a computer, and can be programmed to cut only some of the loops
  • this cutting is called cut and loop construction and creates pattern on the surface

#2 Application of dye

Two dyeing processes

  • yarn dyeing/ pre-dyeing -color is applied to the yarn prior to tufting
  • advantages are good side-by-side color consistency, large lot sizes, uniformity
  • carpet dying – applying color to the yarn after tufting
  • benefits -greater color flexibility, lower co

Carpet dyeing methods

  • Beck/ batch dyeing- stitching the ends together, then running the tufted carpet loop through large vats of dye and water for several hours.
  • Beck process ideal for small runs, heavier face weight products
  • continuous dyeing -similar to Beck dyeing – carpet is also run through processes other than dying
  • continuous dyeing – applies color to the face by spraying or printing, also to create multicolor or patterned effects
  • screen printing – color is applied through anywhere from 1-8 silk-screens.

#3 Manufacturing the carpet

  • finishing process- single production line that completes the final construction stages
    • coating of latex applied to dyed carpet’s primary and secondary backing
    • secondary backing – made of woven synthetic polypropylene
    • two parts are squeezed together in a large heated press and held firmly to preserve shape
  • shearing- removing loose ends and projecting fibers created during the tufting process
  • also helps the yarn’s tip definition
  • inspection – for color uniformity and defects before it rolled, wrapped, and shipped

Terms and construction variables

Pile height, or nap

  • length of the tuft measured from the primary backing to the yarn tips
  • shown as a fraction, or decimal equivalent
  • shorter pile is more durable than longer pile
  • stitch rate – measure of how close the yarns are together
  • stitch rate is measured in penetrations, or tufts, in a given length of carpet, usually an inch.
  • stitch rate is controlled by the speed the carpet is moved through the tufting machine
  • good number is seven to eight tufts per inch
  • face weight-actual amount of fiber per square yard, measured in ounces
  • typical carpet may have a face weight of 35 to 45 oz
  • density- how tightly the yarn is stitched into the primary backing
  • higher density will wear better than low density