Floor Care and Cleaning
Electric-heated floor systems are typically used in areas of the home where a traditional heating system, like an HVAC unit, can’t reach or on a surface that is normally cool to the touch. These work off of radiant heating, similar to how you can feel when the stovetop is turned on even when you’re across the room. The idea is simple: rather than having a forced-air vent in a room that will determine which part of the room is the warmest, you can warm the whole room evenly through radiant heat on the floor.
Typically, you’ll find electric-heated floor systems in bathrooms since you’re barefoot most of the time you’re in there. And who wants to step out of a nice warm shower onto a freezing cold floor anyway? It’s nearly impossible to retroactively install an electric-heated floor system into an existing floor, so almost always, a new floor must be installed over the top of the heating system.
Radiant floor heating isn’t a new idea. It actually dates all the way back to ancient Rome, where beneath the elevated marble floors of certain buildings was a system of tunnels that circulated air heated by fires. But it has certainly come a long way since then.
Nowadays, to heat a floor electrically, thin cables are installed under the surface of the floor. In some systems, these wires are grouped in mats that roll out easily across the subfloor. In others, individual wires are spaced and adhered directly to the subfloor. If your flooring includes an underlayment, the heating elements will be installed on top of that as well. In both cases, heat is produced as an electrical charge that moves through these wires. These systems are most often controlled by their own thermostat.
While any type of flooring material can cover an electric-heated floor, some are more effective than others. Because they conduct heat and it won’t warp or damage them, ceramic, stone, and porcelain tiles are the most common types of heated floors you’ll find. Alternatively, installing a heating system under wood floors can be trickier as it can affect the moisture content of the wood, leading to cracks and gaps. If you are looking to install a heating element under your hardwood floors, be sure to talk to a flooring expert at your local Flooring Canada.
Laminate flooring already has the benefit of feeling warm underfoot because of the wood content of the base layer and typically an underlayment. So, installing a heating system under a laminate floor should really only be reserved for rooms that are very cold. Like laminate, vinyl flooring can easily conduct warmth from a floor heating system because it tends to be thinner, but there are some things to look out for.
Whenever installing an electric-heated floor system, be sure to check your flooring warranty to verify the max temperature limit. Not only will going over the temperature limit void your warranty, but it could also damage floors made from wood, vinyl, or laminate. Most of the time, electric-heated floor systems are not paired with carpets since the carpet is already such a good insulator, and it reduces the amount of heat that is able to travel through it to your feet and the rest of the room. Remember, the more insulators (i.e., rugs and furniture) you place on top of the heating elements; the less heat will transfer easily into the room.
There are even a few less common flooring materials that should never have an electric-heated floor system installed, like rubber flooring, concrete flooring, and any flooring that is joined by adhesive, as the shifts in temperature may cause the adhesive to corrode faster.
Overall, electric-heated floor systems are a great way to provide most rooms with rich heat in a quiet, sometimes more energy-efficient way. While electric heat is expensive, the thermostat allows you to control the temperature, so you’re not wasting as much energy as some traditional heating methods. If you need help answering any other questions about radiant floor heating, talk to your local flooring expert at your nearest Flooring America. Check to make sure your flooring choice is radiant-heat approved.
Tips for Soundproof Floors
Soundproofing is a way to stop noise from leaving or entering a space and it can be useful in many situations, other than just having an aspiring drummer as your neighbor. When considering soundproofing your floors, it is important to consider what type of noise you’re trying to stop: impact noise, airborne noise, or both. Impact noise is just what it sounds like—anything contacting your floor like the sound of footsteps, furniture moving or dropping or that really heavy cast-iron pan that’s been passed down for generations. A flooring material’s effectiveness against impact noise is measured by its Impact Insulation Class (IIC). Airborne or transmission noise covers pretty much all the other sounds that occur that aren’t something hitting a floor, like music, traffic, people talking or that corgi in desperate need of a bark collar. Different flooring material’s ability to absorb this type of sound is rated using the Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC). Now that you know more about what soundproof floors are trying to limit, it’s time to think about where they are needed.
When planning which floors require the most soundproofing, you need to map out your home to see what is next to, above and below each room. In most homes, the answer to which room needs soundproof floors is obvious: kids’ bedrooms. The pitter-patter of little feet sounds nice in a poem, but not so much when you have to get up for work in the morning. In addition, if you look forward to that little bit of time you get each night between their bedtime and your own, you won’t want any noises waking them up.
But beyond the bedrooms, consider which rooms in your home produce the most noise. Are you an avid chef with pots and pans clanging constantly? Are you a cinephile watching in your very own home theater with surround sound? Do you have your own recording studio where you like to lay tracks down? After you’re done reviewing the noise that you produce, then you can also consider the noise that your neighbors produce. Once you have identified the rooms that need the most soundproofing, then it’s time to look into solutions.
Overall, additional surfaces are the best way to block noise because continuous flooring materials, like tile and hardwood, will always vibrate and transmit sound from one space to the next. But there are some flooring materials that stop sound better than others. The most well-known soundproof floors are made of cork. Cork combines beauty and durability with a noise-absorbency that can’t be matched by other everyday flooring materials. Porous cork floors are so good at absorbing sounds that they are widely used in recording studios.
Carpet is naturally one of the most soundproof flooring options on its own because the fibers can soften most noise. It’s also one of the least expensive options for effective soundproofing. But if you’re looking to buy new carpet, you can also add carpet padding to increase the effectiveness of the soundproofing. Carpet padding is placed underneath new carpeting and comes in a variety of sizes–the thicker the carpet cushion, the more soundproof it is.
If you already know you’ll be replacing the floors you’re looking into soundproofing, then a soundproof layer of underlayment is a great option. Underlayment is normally used to level out subfloors, but many types of underlayment can also help protect against moisture, provide cushioning and absorb noise. Just like carpet pads, underlayment’s soundproofing ability depends on the thickness, and it comes in thicknesses as thin as 2 mm.
Underlayments are available in many different materials and their effectiveness in stopping sound varies depending on their composition. Often you will find a version of underlayment designed specifically for soundproofing. It is called acoustic foam and comes in thicker sizes than normal underlayment to assist with soundproofing. If you’re looking for an eco-friendlier option, you can opt for felt underlayment. It’s made from recycled felt and is about four times heavier than the foam version, but with that weight comes better soundproofing and a higher price tag. They also make plywood underlayment, an acoustic underlayment made from recycled wood and even cement boards that can provide some soundproofing due to their weight.
The biggest catch with underlayment is that it can only be applied directly to a subfloor, which is most easily accessed when installing a new floor. Once the underlayment is adhered to the subfloor, your new flooring, whether it be luxury vinyl tile, laminate or hardwood can be installed on top.
The most effective ways to soundproof your floors often require professional help. That’s where your local Flooring America experts come in. They can review your needs and recommend everything you’ll need to get your project underway.
If you’re looking for a quick solution, interlocking floor mats are an easy way to soundproof your rooms without completely redoing your floors. They come in various styles and textures, easily lock together and fit right over the top of your existing floor. If you still like the look of your existing floor and don’t want to cover it completely, consider a throw rug or an area rug. Not only will area rugs help dampen noise, but they can also bring a pop of color and texture to your space. And just like with carpets, you can add rug pads underneath your rug for a boost in soundproofing.
What Are the Best Flooring Types for Kids?
Whether you have your first baby on the way, or your family already has a few little ones underfoot, choosing the right flooring is an important decision. It’s likely your priority is having a home that’s as safe as it is durable. Thankfully, there are many flooring options that can address it all.
Luxury vinyl and laminate are two great flooring selections for kitchens and other areas in your home that are bound to receive a lot of tiny foot traffic. Not only are both of these choices durable, scratch-resistant, and waterproof (hello, wipe-able surfaces!), luxury vinyl floors and laminate floors are also very affordable, which makes them an ideal option for a young family on a budget. Brands like Downs® H2O™ are the perfect choice for those looking for kid-proof, waterproof vinyl. Even better? Both vinyl and laminate styles have come a long way since their introduction in the ’70s and ’80s. Now you can find countless choices for stylish luxury vinyl and laminate floors at stores like your local Flooring America that mimic the look of hardwood, stone, and concrete—and not the look of your grandmother’s kitchen.
Hardwood Floors: Elegant and Family-Friendly
However, if you have your heart set on real hardwood floors, they can still be a great choice for a young family. Though there can be some risk of scratching with all those soccer cleats and scooters running amok, many hardwood floors on the market today, like Aquadura H2O™, are now both scratch-resistant and waterproof. And, again, luxury vinyl is also something to keep in mind if you love that hardwood look. There are beautiful luxury vinyl floor options, such as Galvanite®, that do an unbelievable job of matching the look of real hardwood floors, down to recreating the appearance (and variety) of grain. But if real hardwood flooring remains your dream, it’s always a beautiful choice.
Don’t Count Out Tiles
Tile can seem like a less than ideal option for kids because it is hard and slippery, but ceramic or porcelain tiles are durable, water-resistant, and easy to maintain. Although you might not want to use ceramic or porcelain tile in a playroom, they are an excellent option for children’s bathrooms since they come in a variety of fun colors and patterns and will stand up to the toughest bath-time routine.
Okay, let’s be honest—little ones tend to fall over. A lot. And even if the kids themselves are not the ones always taking a spill, children are still famous for frequently dropping things: toys, pets, glasses of juice, you name it. In addition, carpet is much more affordable than hardwood flooring or tile. This makes carpet an excellent and safe choice for your young family, as a wipeout in a carpeted living room is often no big deal. Plus, so many carpet options today come in both stain-resistant and fade-resistant styles, like Innovia Xtreme Clean™ carpet or Tigressá® Cherish carpet flooring, so choosing carpet for your kids’ playroom, nursery, or bedrooms is even more of a no-brainer. The peace of mind of safety for your little ones—plus, now with the ease of cleaning—makes carpet hard to beat.
Quick Solutions for Fast-Growing Kids
The truth is kids grow up pretty fast, and sometimes you need a flooring solution that’s quick and easy. If your kid starts crawling and your current tile seems like a danger zone, laying down rubber mats or play carpet might be a great solution. Foam tiles or activity rugs are also a nice way to customize kids’ playrooms because they are removable, easy to clean, and easy to change as your child gets older, so the room is ready for a more grown-up theme. Plus, floor mattresses can double as cushioning for playtime and comfort for nap time.
Need Help With Kid-Friendly Flooring?
Creating a home where all your family members feel safe and happy is something we all want. So whether you’re designing a new nursery, renovating a den or playroom for your kids, or re-doing your kitchen, remember, the experts at your local Flooring America are here to help. Let them guide you through all their amazing options for kid-friendly flooring, so you can focus on building memories.
Make Protecting Your Floor a Priority
Many things can damage your floors, like big parties, roughhousing kids, and loveable but troublesome pets. Whether it’s a planned event or a daily occurrence, there are steps you can take to protect the floors in your home and keep them looking beautiful.
Perfect Your Floor Care Routine
There are some things you can do regularly to keep your floors protected and looking good. Cleaning might be obvious but that doesn’t make it any less essential. Vacuuming, mopping, dusting, and sweeping should be part of your weekly cleaning to keep your floors in tip-top shape. Stop dirt and dander at the front door by placing a doormat at the entryway and maybe even a little sign that says, “No shoes beyond this point.” to keep the outdoors out. Setting floor sliders underneath furniture is another way to keep floors from getting damaged.
Your Cleaning Products Matter
It’s easy to pick out cleaning supplies blindly, whether it’s on sale, you saw a commercial for it, or it’s what your mother always used. Regardless, it is crucial to be aware of the cleaning supplies you use. If the cleaning product you are using isn’t recommended for the floors, it might do more than good. It is also essential to read the ingredients to ensure you aren’t using a product that could break your warranty.
Make Your Next Move Smooth for You and Your Floors
Moving is stressful. Sure, looking for a new home is exciting, and once you arrive and settle into your new place, it’s excellent, but the actual process of moving isn’t all that fun. Plus, moving can be tough on floors, mainly hardwood. Fortunately, some products on the market can help reduce potential damage to your floors. Shock-absorbing plastic mats are a great option. They often come in rolls and can be cut to size. Other materials you can use to protect your floors include cardboard and red rosin paper. Additionally, it is best practice to never drag furniture or heavy items across the floor.
Bring In the Professionals
Sometimes you might need to call in a pro to keep your floors protected, and as previously mentioned, part of protecting your floors is keeping them clean. Professionally steaming your carpet or even re-sealing hardwood, laminate, LVP, and tile once a year can be a great way to deep-clean your floors and make them last. Getting your floors professionally waxed can be another way to keep hard flooring surfaces protected from scratches, nicks, and stains from spills. In some cases, you might even consider having a professional refinish hardwood floors or laminate floors, but this is only necessary, maybe once every five years, if the floors are not well maintained. Of course, keep in mind when sealing and finishing floors to consult your flooring guarantee first so as not to put it out of warranty.
When in Doubt, Ask an Expert
It is important to remember that the floors you purchase from Flooring America have one of the industry’s best warranties, and you never want to treat them with solutions or products that could break the warranty. If you have any questions about your warranty or what products to use, stop by your local Flooring America or give us a call to talk to an expert.
How to Love Your Dog and Your Floors
Before we dive into the best floors for your dog, we need to set a few things straight. Of course, your pup will probably spend a lot of time on the floor, but it’s a stretch to say that dogs and floors are best friends. That’s because dogs are tough on floors. Between the drool, muddy paws, and tail-wagging-red-wine tragedies, floors take a beating from these furry friends.
Your Dog Doesn’t Have to Crush Your Flooring Dreams
The floors of your dreams are always possible. As they say, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” If plush white carpet is your dream, having a dog doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t have it. It does mean is that you will have to spend extra time caring for and cleaning those types of floors because there are bound to be I-couldn’t-make-it-outside puppy accidents.
Our line of Rival by Resista carpets features high-performance fibers that resist crushing, stains and soil from muddy paws. Plus, this carpet is available in 20 striking hues with a 10-year no exclusion stain warranty. With its waterproof backing, you can rest assured knowing that spills from the dog bowl or pet messes won’t soak through.
As mentioned, if the floors of your dreams don’t seem to vibe with your dog, we can’t stop you from getting them. But we also can’t stop your dog from dragging themselves, their toys, or other dogs across your brand-new carpet. That being said, we have options that are lower maintenance for you that are still stylish and beautiful, whether your dog is behaving or not.
Luxury Vinyl Takes the Cake
If you are looking for the best floors for dogs, luxury vinyl flooring is your best bet, as this style of flooring checks all the boxes. It is waterproof, scratch-proof, dent-proof, and, if the correct backing is used, it can also be sound-dampening. The embossed surface of luxury vinyl floors not only allows it to mimic other flooring types like wood or tile, but it also gives your dog’s paws some traction when they are playing a fierce game of tug of war.
Stone Is a Great Runner-Up
Stone flooring is another nice option for “doggos.” It is easy to clean, scratch-resistant, and waterproof. If your dog is up to no good, the mess will be less obvious on stone flooring.
Don’t Rule Out Wood Floors
Hardwood floors are beautiful and easy to clean. Plus, some species of hardwood are harder than others, making them great options for resisting scratches and dents when your dog decides to drop his bone down a flight of stairs. The Janka scale is an excellent way to determine the hardness of wood species. The higher the rating on the Janka scale, the more likely the species is to hold up to pet scratches. Of course, you can always stop into your local Flooring America, and one of our experts can help you choose the right species of wood to protect against your pup.
The Final Touches for Dog-Proof Floors
To help protect your floors even further, sealants and finishes can be applied to your floors during the installation process to help protect against any mess your dog could make. There can be a lot of questions when it comes to pairing your pets and floors, but there’s only one place you can go to get all the answers: visit or call your local Flooring America today and speak with one of our flooring experts.
Floor Tips and Tricks for Plant Parents
Plants are basically low-maintenance pets. They don’t quite have the same attitude as cats, and they might not like belly rubs as much as your dog, but they can still be messy! And when it comes to plant-related messes, your floors will often take the brunt of it.
Make Your Plants and Floors Happy
When searching for the right pot for your plants, leafy friends thrive in un-glazed terracotta clay pots that are well-drained, which means the pots have a hole in the bottom. Next, you need to make sure your plant pot also has a saucer, so when you water your plant, any excess water gets caught by your saucer, not by your floor.
Despite best intentions, saucers often are still not enough. The same reason that plants like terracotta clay pots are the same reason they’re hazardous—these pots are porous. When water is poured into your plant pot and drained into the saucer, this porous material becomes wet and can leave water rings, which can potentially cause the rotting of wood floors. Plastic trays, small cork coasters, hanging plants, or lifted metal stands are great solutions to keep your floors dry and your plants happy in their preferred type of pot.
Moving Plants Is a Drag
Whether your floors are hardwood, tile, laminate, or carpet, you will want to avoid dragging your plants across your floors. This will help reduce scratches, scuffs, and stains. If you are looking to move a heavy plant, find a friend to help you lift it or a small wooden plant dolly, which are great solutions and a nice design element.
Overwatering Can Kill Plants and Floors
Despite best intentions, overwatering plants is easy to do and can result in water overflowing out of your saucer and onto the floor. Cleaning up the water right away is a solution to this problem, but so are waterproof floors. Sometimes even when you do your best to clean up plant messes, water can get stuck underneath cork coasters or plastic trays, creating those damaging watermarks. Waterproof flooring can handle excess plant water damage-free.
Plants Have Benefits Other Than Looking Cute
Although plants can be messy, they provide lots of benefits. They are great décor pieces that also bring natural life and happiness into your space. They can also help reduce stress, increase concentration, and improve the air quality in your home. When considering a pet, a pet plant is a great option.
You’re the Plant Expert, We’re the Flooring Experts
Whether you are looking for floors that go with your plant-loving décor or waterproof flooring that will help protect against your plant messes, Flooring America experts are here to help. Come into your local Flooring America today, and let the experts assist you in creating a space full of light and life for all your new plant friends.