Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The Basement Dilemma

By Crystal Hosking, Hosking Hardwood Flooring

The finished basement seems a staple in homes today, offering more living space without a costly house expansion. But what are the design options in flooring for turning a basement into a livable area for your family?

basement_optionsReal Hardwood Flooring

A surprise to some, real hardwood flooring is a great option for applications in finished basements. Most homeowners think of real hardwood flooring as nailed down 3/4 IN. thick solid hardwood planks. Unfortunately, these solid hardwood floors can’t be installed over concrete and no manufacturer is going to uphold a warranty for solid wood installed below grade (anything below the 1st floor of the home). So, what real wood flooring CAN be put in a basement?

This is where engineered flooring comes in. Most consumers think of engineered flooring as being fake flooring. All too often, engineered flooring is mistaken for laminate flooring — when, in reality, they couldn’t be more different. Engineered flooring is simply modified real wood flooring, and it was created specifically to be put in situations where solid hardwood flooring could never go. Additionally, engineered flooring will add the same amount of value to your home as its solid counterpart.

Engineered wood flooring is made completely of real wood. The top layer (wear layer) is made of the featured wood species and is fused to a core of cross layered plywood. These cross layers take on more of the stress when real wood takes in moisture and expels moisture (expansion and contraction). In basements, expansion and contraction is magnified because of the higher moisture levels and engineered flooring is the only real wood flooring that is stable enough to survive these conditions. You can find more technical specifics on the construction of engineered flooring here.

Engineered flooring ranges in thicknesses from 1/4 IN. to 3/4 IN. (the same thickness as typical solid planks). The thicker the wear layer (top layer) of engineered flooring, the more times you can sand and refinish the flooring in the future, if ever needed.

Engineered flooring ranges in thicknesses from 1/4 IN. to 3/4 IN. (the same thickness as typical solid planks). The thicker the wear layer (top layer) of engineered flooring, the more times you can sand and refinish the flooring in the future, if ever needed.

Engineered flooring can be confusing to homeowners, when they are first introduced to it, because there are a few different types. There are your typical engineered floors with standard tongue and grooves (as shown to the right) and then there are also click lock floating engineered floors, featuring click locking edges and ends which snap together for a glueless floating installation. Standard tongue and groove engineered floors usually can be floated, but you would need to glue the seams of the planks together. Find more information on floating engineered flooring here.

In addition to floating, engineered flooring can also be directly glued to concrete floors in basements. Direct glue down installations are a little more tedious and messy, whereas floating (especially click lock floating) is a lot quicker. One of the most sought after benefits of click lock floating engineered flooring is that the planks are incredibly easy to replace. This is especially helpful in basements, where a surprise water leak from outside or from washing machines can seep onto hardwood flooring and cause damage. With click locking engineered planks, it’s very simple to take up the damaged planks and replace with new ones, without disturbing the rest of the floor.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring in basements is a great option if you’re looking for a hard surface flooring option at a cheap cost. Significantly less expensive than real hardwood flooring and, with all the technological advances in the industry, laminate flooring is looking better and more realistic than ever.

Most all of the laminate options on the market today feature amazing click locking systems, allowing for glueless floating installations which are quite literally a snap! Simply roll out an approved underlayment, click the laminate planks together and then get to enjoying your new basement floor. Standard size rooms can be installed in a few hours and homeowners can save lots of money by simply doing the install themselves — it really is that easy.

Laminate flooring is perfect for basements because it has all the beauty of real hardwood flooring, but holds up to moisture exposure and water leakage significantly better than hardwood flooring. Laminate planks can also be replaced very easily if any of the boards end up getting damaged.

Vinyl comes in a variety of styles, including wood patterns and tile patterns.

Vinyl comes in a variety of styles, including wood patterns and tile patterns.

Vinyl Tiles & Cork Flooring

Other viable flooring options for a finished basement are: Vinyl Tiles and Cork.These flooring options are perfect if you’re turning your basement into a playroom for children or a home gym. Both vinyl tiles and cork floors offer a more slip resistant surface, more cushion underfoot and both stand up to moisture well. Vinyl tiles and cork planks are typically installed via glue down applications. Additionally, cork flooring is naturally hypoallergenic and resists mold, mildew and bacteria growth — especially beneficial in basement settings.

Ultimately, basement flooring doesn’t need to be boring and you’re not stuck with just carpet or painted concrete options. The only limit for the design of your finished basement is your own imagination.


Q: What’s Black and White and Trendy All Over?

By Crystal Hosking, Hosking Hardwood Flooring

Black&WhiteA: Hardwood Flooring

One trend that keeps coming up again and again is the desire for dramatic flooring. Whether it’s for a contemporary residential setting or a chic commercial establishment, we are constantly being challenged to find the best black floors and, in high contrast, the best white floors on the market today. We’ve taken a look through the 1,000’s of hardwood flooring choices on our website catalog and have come up with the blackest of the black flooring and the whitest of the white flooring for anyone searching for these atypical, yet astonishing, options in hardwood flooring.

Black Hardwood Floors

When thinking of dark flooring, dark chocolate brown tones or deep mahoganies might come to mind, but to get supremely dramatic, start thinking of pure black stained hardwood as an option. Black hardwood flooring is great for bringing out motivation in a room, as an unexpected substitute for traditional natural flooring colors. When paired with brighter colors, black flooring really makes these colors pop and definitely adds a sense of expressivity to your room.

Armstrong Hardwood Premier Performance Maple Black

Armstrong Hardwood Premier Performance Maple Black

In this Premier Performance Maple Black floor from Armstrong Hardwood, the bright walls of the kitchen really stand out when juxtaposed to the darkness of the floors. From elegant to fun and creative, you can use black floors in the home to create any ambiance and fit your own personal style.

Other excellent black hardwood options include:

Kahrs Living Collection Oak Coal City

Kahrs Vineyard Collection Oak Estacado

Max Windsor Egyptian Onyx

Bruce Turlington American Exotics Hickory Peppercorn

Bruce Turlington American Exotics Birch Peppercorn

Plantation White Oak Wenge Black Wire Brushed

Lauzon Red Oak Northern Classics Onyx.

Teragren Bamboo Portfolio Series Midnight Black

Teragren Bamboo Portfolio Series Midnight Black

In addition to finding pure black stains in hardwood flooring constructions, bamboo flooring manufacturers are also satisfying this dark trend. Bamboo products are popular, in their own right, because of their environmentally friendly properties and, now, with all the color possibilities available, design potential is limitless.

Teragren Bamboo has created their Portfolio Series, featuring an array of popular flooring colors and, in particular, their awe-inspiring Midnight Black, as seen here to the left. Again, notice how the contrast of black against red makes the color really stand out.

It is important to note that black floors do have a tendency to make small spaces look smaller, so if you do want this dramatic look in your home without coming off as constrictive, you might want to stick to using it in larger rooms or make sure smaller rooms have lots of windows and/or mirrors. Pops of color help make furniture and artwork stand out beautifully against the backdrop of black flooring.

White Hardwood Floors

As a stark contrast to drama infused black hardwood floors, white hardwood flooring is also becoming highly sought after in residential and commercial settings. White opens up a room and the design possibilities are really endless. Most homeowners searching for pure white floors are going for a very casual look. White flooring is most popular in beach inspired homes or in rooms with lots of windows, allowing sunlight to shine in and illuminate the exquisite white hardwood flooring.

Lauzon Designer Elements Maple Bianco

Lauzon Designer Elements Maple Bianco

The flooring shown here to the right is from Lauzon’s Designer Elements Collection of solid and engineered flooring. Hard Maple Bianco is a perfect white stained flooring selection, opening up the room and allowing décor elements like furniture and artwork stand out while at the same time becoming a focal point itself for being an unusual design option. A white floor will stand out in any guest’s mind.

Other snow white options for your home include:

Kahrs Linnea Living Collection Oak Cloud

Kahrs Bayside Collection Oak Hilo

Anderson Virginia Vintage Oyster Hand Scraped

Baltic Ash Cream 3-strip

For commercial applications and other high traffic areas where you might want to consider a more durable construction, but still want a trendy white look, there are many laminate options available. For example, QuickStep Laminate offers White Brushed Pine (shown below) in their Eligna Collection of laminate flooring which will stand up to the most testing situations.

QuickStep Eligna White Brushed Pine

QuickStep Eligna White Brushed Pine

Additional laminate flooring options for pure white coloring include Nantucket Pine from the Pergo Laminate Elegant Expressions Planks Collection and Bleached Pine from the Pergo Laminate Accolade Collection.

Ultimately, both black flooring and white flooring can be found in a variety of constructions and used in the home or in commercial settings for a strikingly beautiful space that’s sure to be a conversation piece. These might not be what comes to mind when you think about typical hardwood flooring options for the home, but for a creative twist away from traditional, black and white are some fun flooring options.


Formaldehyde Free Flooring?

By Crystal Hosking, Hosking Hardwood Flooring

You’ve exchanged your gas guzzler for a more environmentally friendly smart car. You’ve taken the steps to quit smoking in order to reduce the over 4000 chemicals ingested with each puff. You’ve reduced your carbon footprint and pesticide intake by shopping the local farmer markets. These are all simple steps for a healthier home for you and your family! But could your own house be poisoning you?

How safe are the materials in your home?

How safe are the building materials in your home?

The hardwood flooring industry has always been pretty candid regarding formaldehyde levels of certain engineered flooring products. It was never a secret that formaldehyde was a major part of physically keeping some subfloors and engineered flooring together. Engineered flooring is a layer of real wood fused to either cross layers of plywood or a birch or pine core. You can read more about engineered flooring construction here. Formaldehyde is significant in this process. Or, at least, it was.

So, what IS formaldehyde anyways?

Composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, formaldehyde is a chemical that occurs naturally in our atmosphere. We are constantly exposed to this organic compound in small doses. These small amounts of formaldehyde floating around in our atmosphere are naturally disposed of, breaking down in sunlight and in water and therefore not causing any harm to you.

If formaldehyde is a natural gas of the Earth, then what’s the problem?

Well, problems with formaldehyde arise when levels of the gas form are increased, especially in enclosed areas with low ventilation. Typically, when one thinks of toxic gases, automobile exhaust and cigarette smoke come to mind. However, there is a wide array of products that consumers come in contact with on a daily basis which contain formaldehyde, including:

Car Parts

Copiers and Printers

Facial Tissue, Napkins and Paper Towels

Fungicides, Germicides and Disinfectants


Glues and Adhesives

Insulation Materials

Laminates, Compressed Hardwoods and Carpet


Particleboard, Plywood and Fiberboard (popular subfloors)

Shampoos and Cosmetics

Perhaps the biggest shocker is the realization that formaldehyde is one of the main chemicals used for the embalming process in mortuaries. It’s used for temporarily preserving dead bodies. And manufacturers are putting these chemicals in your lipsticks and shampoos?!!

What makes formaldehyde dangerous to the living is that it is classified as a VOC, which stands for Volatile Organic Compound. When VOCs reach room temperature, they convert to a gas form and “off gas” into the air. If a high enough concentration of these formaldehyde gases are ingested, it can cause significant damage and, in some cases, death.

Severity of the side effect of formaldehyde exposure can vary from person to person and obviously is dependent on formaldehyde levels in the air. As mentioned earlier, formaldehyde is constantly present as a naturally occurring gas in our atmosphere; it’s really just high concentrations that should be avoided. Symptoms of high formaldehyde intake are: irritation of the eyes, ears and throat, coughing, wheezing, skin irritation, headaches, dizzy spells and nausea. Long term exposure is thought to cause nose and throat cancer.

No wonder the “green” movement is making strides. As “green” living has become more widespread, consumers are beginning to take more interest in what they are actually putting into their homes – everything from food products to personal hygiene products to the construction materials used to build homes and renovate. In fact, in recent years (when formaldehyde was labeled a human carcinogen) major engineered flooring manufacturers have started taking a more in depth approach to lessening the amount of formaldehyde present in their final consumer products.

Obviously, nobody wants to experience the short term or long term symptoms of high formaldehyde exposure. So, how does a consumer guard their home and family against this dangerous chemical when it seems to be present in everything?

As government and environmental agencies started discovering just how dangerous formaldehyde really is, regulations on the chemical became more stringent and all encompassing. Perhaps one of the first huge steps in regulating formaldehyde came from the California Air Resources Board, commonly referred to as CARB (also as ARB). The CARB was established in the late 1960’s and their mission statement is: “To promote and protect public health, welfare and ecological resources through the effective and efficient reduction of air pollutants, while recognizing and considering the effects on the state’s economy.” (You can find this and more information about CARB at www.arb.ca.gov) The CARB basically regulates the amount of formaldehyde found in products marketed to the U.S. consumer and many states have absorbed the CARB standards into their own state policies. Most of the top hardwood flooring manufacturers are now CARB compliant; meaning the formaldehyde off gassing from their engineered products is below the limit allowed by CARB and recognized a safe level. Along with the CARB, the U.S. government has taken a stance against unhealthy off gassing with The Clean Air Act and, most recently, President Obama signed the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act, establishing specific limits for formaldehyde emissions, specifically from composite wood products.

With all of the actions taken by government agencies and private environmental groups, alternatives to products with high formaldehyde levels are becoming increasingly available. The hardwood flooring industry has taken many steps since the first CARB VOC policies were introduced, and now makes cleaner, greener flooring products with lower formaldehyde emissions.

Specifically, engineered flooring manufacturers originally used Urea Formaldehyde adhesives during the pressing process, offering the lowest cost but, at the same time, the highest levels of formaldehyde off gassing. An example of the industry’s changing standards is the introduction of Phenol Formaldehyde Adhesive (PF), as well as No Added Formaldehyde Adhesives (NAF). Some of the major brands of engineered flooring that boast of their little to no formaldehyde emissions are Harris Wood, Mannington, Kahrs and Teragren Bamboo. You can learn more about specific manufacturers by visiting their own website, as virtually every brand of hardwood flooring these days has their own site listing the company’s history, technical specifications, environmental stance, product lines and more.

So, if low-to-no formaldehyde processes are readily available, then why are some manufacturers still not complying with the CARB standards?? The answer is simple: low cost processes are high in toxins = cheaper products. If you search for the least expensive engineered flooring, you’ll probably find that the cheapest products are made outside of the U.S. by foreign owned flooring companies. These cheap engineered products, usually coming straight from China, may seem like a great and affordable way to put hardwood flooring in your home, but they also contain the high toxin levels and formaldehyde emissions. Most hardwood flooring manufacturers in North America and Europe are fully compliant with the CARB emission rate policies.

Ultimately, you’re never going to be completely rid of formaldehyde emissions. However, there are steps that you can take to greatly reduce the level of off gassing happening in your own home:

  1. Recognize older building materials already in use in your home which may be out of code in terms of formaldehyde emissions and make a plan to replace these materials in the future.
  2. Prior to deciding on building materials for your home, do your research and find out the specifics on the particular products you’d like to use.
  3. Make smarter choices when it comes to remodeling your home by using low-to-no formaldehyde products.

Home Depot Relies on Hosking Hardwood Flooring for Answers

Is Home Depot really the experts in Home Improvement?? Something we found interesting in our website Google Analytic statistics is that Home Depot Inc. has visited our website 584 times since the beginning of this year. It seems they are searching for answers about selling and installing hardwood flooring. We find this amazing since so many consumers think Home Depot is the place to buy flooring and yet it appears they often at times don’t know the answers to many basic hardwood flooring questions so they end up conducting a Google search.

We have attached a copy of our findings below so that you can see the search terms they used.

Here are just a few of the word searches they made that we see in our Google Analytics

  • can 3 1/4″ solid hardwood be glue
  • can 3/4 wood floor be glued down on
  • can click lock flooring be refinished
  • can you put engineered hardwood over hardwood
  • can you put a click and lock hardwood over radiant heating
  • can you sand down engineered wood floors
  • can you refinish a click lock floor?
  • can you refinish click lock flooring
  • can you use 1/2 osb for a floor
  • can you use floating wood floor in a large room
  • choosing grade for hardwood
  • click lock hardwood flooring installation infloor heating

Complete search results are here: Home Depot in Google Analytics Results for HoskingHardwood.com (PDF)

And Lowes Companies Inc. appears to be using HoskingHardwood.com for hardwood flooring answers as well. They have visited 217 times thus far this year per Google Analytics. Here are some of the search queries they used on Google searches that landed on our website:

  • what size nails do you use for 3/4 hardwood
  • what nail do i need for a half inch hardwood
  • what kind of subfloor would you use for nail down solid wood
  • why do you have to nail down 3/4 inch hardwood
  • what is engineered hardwood flooring made of
  • can solid hardwood floor be sanded
  • difference between glue down and naildown

Click here to view the entire search queries used by Lowes Companies Inc. that show up in HoskingHardwood.com’s Google Analytics report for 2011.


Hardwood Flooring is Economical and Green!

Senate Recognizes Hardwood as Green

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

St Louis, MO, November 16, 2010–The United States Senate has passed a resolution supporting hardwood by recognizing it as an environmentally preferable building material.

Resolution S. Res. 411 recognizes United States hardwoods as an abundant, sustainable, and legal resource.  The Senate also mandates that United States hardwoods and products derived from these hardwoods be given full consideration in any program that promotes the construction of environmentally preferable commercial, public, or private buildings.

The Resolution specifically identifies United States hardwoods as an abundant, sustainable, and legal resource as documented annually by the Forest Inventory and Analysis Program of the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.  The USDA analysis shows that the hardwood inventory in the United States has more than doubled during the past 50 years, and that annual hardwood growth currently exceeds annual hardwood removals by a margin of 1.9 to 1, meaning that for every tree harvested in the United States, nearly two are planted in its place.  The study further shows that annual growth of United States hardwoods has exceeded annual removals every year since 1952.

The legislation was supported by the Hardwood Federation, a coalition of more than 30 associations, including the National Wood Flooring Association, representing the interests of the United States hardwood industry.  The United States hardwood industry employs millions of families throughout the country, representing thousands of jobs in nearly every state and hundreds of Congressional districts.

The National Wood Flooring Association is a non-profit trade organization, with more than 3,300 members world-wide, dedicated to educating consumers, architects, designers, specifiers and builders in the uses and benefits of wood flooring.  NWFA members receive the best in educational training, benefits, technical resources and networking, to advance their professionalism and success.


NEWS! Hardwood Flooring in “Cash for Caulkers” Program

St. Louis, MO, May 14, 2010–President Obama’s Home Star program, commonly called “Cash for Caulkers,” has been amended to recognize wood products, including wood flooring.

The program is aimed at kick-starting the construction industry and creating green jobs through rebates for energy-saving home improvements.

The amended legislation is receiving support in both the House and the Senate.  In the House version, Representative Stupak (D-MI) introduced the legislation and has won the support of the House Energy Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA).

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) supported the legislation in the Senate.  Final passage is expected to take some time, but having the wood provision in both bills is a positive move for home owners and businesses looking to add wood flooring to their homes and businesses.  Wood is recognized by many environmental groups as the only renewable flooring option available, making it a green building material.

The legislation was supported by the Hardwood Federation, a coalition of more than 30 associations, including the National Wood Flooring Association, representing the interests of the U.S. hardwood industry.  The industry employs millions of families throughout the country, representing thousands of jobs in nearly every state and hundreds of Congressional districts.


Armstrong Increases Wood Flooring Prices

Armstrong Increases Wood Flooring Prices

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lancaster, Pa., February 17, 2010 – Armstrong Hardwood Flooring clarified today that it will initiate a five to seven percent price increase in the United States and Canada on solid hardwood flooring products effective with shipments on April 1st, 2010.  This increase is an adjustment to the previously announced increase, originally planned to take effect March 15th, 2010.  Engineered hardwood flooring products will receive an increase in the 1-4% range.

“As we communicated in January, lumber and energy prices are rising.  Significant  saw mill capacity was taken off-line during the recession and the impact on lumber costs in the second half of 2009 have been significant.  Since our announcement in January, weather conditions in logging regions have worsened and log shortages have become severe.  This has been compounded by an increase in demand from flooring mills that have previously reduced their yard inventory levels.  We believe further raw material inflation is likely in the coming months,” commented Daniel Call, vice president, Wood Product Management.


Hardwood Flooring Prices are on the Rise!

Hardwood Flooring Shortages are Here! and Prices On the Rise!

It is hard to believe that in this economy that any sector of business would dare to increase the cost of their goods to the consumer. But it is true and it is real.

White Oak Natural3Let’s face it the economy has been terrible for the last 3 years, in particular the housing and home improvement industry which has really been hit hard.  Because consumers are not buying new homes or remodeling existing ones it creates a chain reaction where the manufacturers slow down, lay off employees and order much less of their raw wood.  If manufacturers slow down then the Loggers do not go into the forest to harvest the trees.

Producing lumber for hardwood flooring does not just happen over night, flooring manufacturers have to try and guess what they expect their orders of hardwood flooring will be at least 9 months ahead,  then they have to have independent loggers go into the forest to harvest selected areas. That lumber then has to be transported to the mill where its air dried for several months and then kiln dried and processed into whatever the wood is being made into. This process takes months and with the troubled economy no one wants to have millions of dollars of raw wood stock piled sitting around.  So what this means is whatever material is on hand goes up in price and whatever comes in to be milled costs more.

So either buy your flooring now or be prepared for higher costs for hardwood flooring in the very near future. One advantage we have here at Hosking Hardwood Flooring is that we purchase our flooring by the truck load and as of right now we have a lot of quality hardwood flooring in stock in our warehouses where we plan on keeping our prices down for as long as we can, Check out our IN-STOCK specials website at www.floorspecials.com for quality flooring at below wholesale prices. While our supplies last!


Mannington Adura Luxury Vinyl Tile

Mannington Adura Luxury Vinyl Tile (Vinyl Tile | Vinyl Planks)

ManningtonAduraLuxury Vinyl Tile from Mannington (Adura) is not your typical LVT — it’s easy to install for DIY, stylish and durable. Mannington Adura LVT stands out in a crowd with their new LOC n GO innovations. The LOC n GO products from Mannington feature pre-glued tabs which interlock for a durable and secure floating installation. This LOC n GO attribute on Mannington Adura Luxury Vinyl Tiles gets rid of the need for messy adhesives and cuts the installation time in half — saving you both time and money.  Mannington manufacturers a Distinctive Plank Collection and  Luxury Wood Plank look

Homeowners have fallen in love with the option of using a grout for installation with the Mannington Adura LVT tile collections. During installation, a gap would be left between the vinyl tiles which can be filled in with grout specially designed by Mannington for use with their LVT tile collections (more flexible than grout for ceramic/porcelain tile). This grout feature creates a more realistic appearance of a tiled floor. The tiles can also just be butted edge to edge .

For more information on Mannington Adura Luxury Vinyl Tile


Armstrong Luxury Vinyl Tile

Armstrong Luxury Vinyl Tile ( Vinyl Tile | Vinyl Planks)

ArmstrongLuxVinylArmstrong created the perfect solution to hard to install, boring sheet vinyl — Luxury Vinyl Tiles. From wood patterns to tile patterns, to solids, cork and retro — homeowners can find exactly what they’re looking for in a vinyl flooring from Armstrong Luxury Vinyl Tile. These vinyl tiles are easy to install yourself, they are stylish and durable, and if anything does happen to damage a portion of your floor, a single tile can be lifted out of the floor and replaced.

For more information on Armstrong Vinyl Tile

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