What is Luxury Vinyl?
Vinyl plank flooring, popularly known as luxury vinyl (or LVP), is a cost-effective flooring choice with some amazing benefits. These floors are highly durable, give realistic visuals of hardwood and stone floors, and most importantly, are waterproof.
While LVP is a great option for flooring, and can be installed practically anywhere in your home, there are a few things to keep in mind when considering to purchase it.
Disadvantages of LVP
Over the past few months I’ve written about carpet several times. Colors, patterns, styles, twists, we’ve even discussed carpet off-gassing. With all of those subjects covered, what comes next?
I thought it’d be nice to dive into the types of carpet fibers so you can learn more about what your carpet is and what it can do.
There are two categories of carpet fibers: synthetic and natural. Today we’ll be discussing the five most common fibers and what they have to offer.
If you’ve ever had carpet installed in your home, you may be familiar with that “new carpet smell”, but where does it come from?
Off-gassing is the process by which chemicals known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released into the air. This may sound intimidating at first, but VOCs are released from many common household products.
Potential Health Risks
Off-gassing affects everyone differently. Most people won’t notice anything, while others may be bothered by the smell for a few days. Unfortunately, others may develop mild to severe health problems from VOCs.
VOCs carry the potential to irritate your eyes, cause headaches, nausea, or dizziness. More severely, your respiratory or central nervous system could be affected. In extreme cases, the chemicals could lead to cancer.
How Long do VOCs Last?
Once your carpet has been unrolled and installed, the odor from off-gassing should subside within a few days or a week. The odor is a byproduct of latex backed carpets, which account for the vast majority of carpet backings. Carpets can emit VOCs for months or even years after they have been laid unless you take some preventative measures.
While VOCs will eventually leave on their own, there are a few ways to remove or get rid of most of the VOCs from your new carpeting. Practicing proper ventilation the first few days after install will help kickstart the process. You could also vacuum and follow up with hot water extraction (steam cleaning) to remove a good portion of those VOCs.
An effective way to limit exposure to VOCs is to get a carpet that does not use a latex backing. Dream Weaver has made sure their carpet is safe for everyone by using no latex, keeping the VOCs emitted to a minimum.
Every carpet begins with loose fibers. Those fibers are twisted together to create bundles, and finally, those bundles are twisted together.
Typically, there are 8-10 fibers in a bundle, with two bundles being twisted together to create your cut pile carpet. The twist number is determined by the number of turns in a one-inch length of carpet; this can also be known as TPI (turns per inch).
Why Does Twist Matter?
The higher the twist, the tighter the twist. The tighter the twist, the more durable the carpet, it's that simple. When you combine tight twists and higher density, you’ll get a carpet that’ll last and maintain its appearance for years to come.
How to Determine Twist
Twist can be determined by isolating a strand of the fibers. You will want to measure a one-inch length and count the number of twists. If the strand is less than one-inch, measure half an inch and double the twist count.
New Advances: Dream Weaver
Dream Weaver, a brand of Engineered Floors, has recently released a line of carpeting called DW Select. This new line utilizes a 3-ply yarn system known as twistX, as opposed to the traditional 2-ply system mentioned earlier.
The addition of a third ply increases the security of the twist and makes the bundle sizes 33% higher, significantly increasing the density of the carpet. This floor comes in a variety of patterns and colors, and is also stain and soil resistant.
There are so many different types of hardwood. Engineered vs Solid, Textured vs Smooth. Then you have the different types of wood, including but not limited to: oak, walnut, hickory, and maple, some of which have more specific subspecies, and all of which have different grains and color variants. With all of these options to choose from, it can be easy to overlook the sheen, the amount of shine or gloss your floor shows.
Here are the different types, and what you can expect from each.
As a general rule of thumb, your hardwood should be cleaned at least once a week in active areas, or monthly in lower traffic areas, depending on the amount of residents, pets, and overall movement in your space. A dust mop should be sufficient for daily living, but alternate methods of cleaning may be necessary for spills or other less common incidents.
As for gloss floors, a typical active family will need to re-coat their floors every 2-5 years, but as soon as you see the gloss starting to dull, you should look into re-coating. You have the option to either coat the entire floor, or just the high traffic areas, just be aware that the overall appearance of the floor will differ if not fully re-coated.
Backsplashes are commonly found behind sinks and counters in kitchens and bathrooms.
We will be focusing on some different design options for backsplashes today, but before that, I wanted to point out that they have practical uses as well:
Now that you know the practical uses for backsplashes, let’s look into some examples of designs ranging from some of the most simple to some truly unique options.
When you think of backsplash you probably think of subway tiles. These tiles are smooth, and mostly square in shape. We’ve all seen them, so I omitted them from this article.
Pictured here we have some rectangular pieces varying from stone or tile to a mixture with glass and metal. Still a very simplistic design, but with more character, definitely a popular choice for many homeowners.
Here is another pretty simple design. Some basic squares with a nice square/rectangle border. More going on with this design, but still simple enough to draw a nice crowd.
Middle Ground Designs:
Now we get into some more interesting designs. This sample is actually my favorite backsplash that we have in our store. I think that the colors in the tile are easy enough on the eyes to not make the flower pattern too extreme, and I think there is a welcome amount of contrast.
The design of this backsplash isn’t too out of the ordinary, but the variance of colors make it stand out much more than solid tiles which is why I included it in this section.
So for this section I wanted to focus on our busiest backsplash design. There's a lot of movement in this design and chances are you’ll never get bored looking at it. If you’re a fan of steampunk, chances are this design was made for you.
Obviously this article only touched on five specific examples of backsplashes, but within each range of complexity there are thousands of designs to choose from, you just have to figure out what you like and what you can see yourself enjoying for a while.
There are two main styles of carpet: cut pile and loop pile. Within these two broad categories are several specific styles that have been created and expanded upon as technology has advanced over the past couple decades.
This carpet is sheared, exposing the ends of the fibers. Cut pile carpet is known for the twist of its fibers, which help resist matting. The tighter the twists, the more durable your carpet will be.
There are four popular styles of cut pile to choose from: cable, frieze, Saxony, and textured plush.
This carpet is not sheared, making the looped fibers visible.
There are three popular styles of loop pile to choose from: all loop, patterned multi-level loop, and cut and loop.
A Third Option
As you can see there are styles for everyone, each with their own set of benefits. There is no wrong answer when it comes to carpet, you just have to find the right answer for you based on your personal style and needs.
Tiles are a popular flooring choice for many people. They can be used anywhere, but are mostly popular in kitchens and bathrooms. With so many colors and styles to choose from, there is the additional choice of tile finish. You may already have an idea of what you like, but what are all the differences between a matte and gloss-finish?
Gloss tiles are finished with a coating of liquid glass, making them shiny and smooth to the touch. Matte tiles do not receive this treatment, so they lack that shine and feel.
Here is a breakdown of some pros and cons for these types of finishes.
Now that you’ve seen some of the differences between the two, maybe your mind has changed or has been made up. Both floors are great for different reasons, but depending on your space or lifestyle, one may be more suitable than the other.
If you still can’t choose, no worries! You could pair a matte floor with a gloss wall, or you could even select a semi-matte finish. This finish gives you a shiny surface, which while not as reflective as pure gloss, is not as slippery.
We have a large collection of carpets with several styles and shades. Mixed in with our more neutral options are some very bright and bold colors. While eye-catching, are these carpets really something that should be used as the main floor in a room?
While I have seen my fair share of dark green living rooms, more often than not, colored carpets are used in children’s rooms. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great for parents to let their kids express themselves in any way they want. I’ve seen rooms painted to show favorite characters and scenes from movies, I love it. When I was a kid my dad let me draw on my wall, and that experience led me to paint a mural in my university’s media center.
Letting your child pick out a carpet or paint for their room is a very exciting experience. They get to feel all grown up as they choose their neon green walls and bright pink carpet. You may question these decisions, but maybe you go for it anyways. All is well and now the room is painted and floors are down. Your child is happier than they’ve ever been, but as the months go by you run into a problem.
What's the Problem?
They’re growing up. It could be months or years, it could even be a few weeks. Your kids are constantly changing, and so are their senses of style and favorite colors. Your child who once loved the neon green, bright pink, and zebra pattern combo is now into deep purples and greys. Your kids are changing, it can’t be helped, and it’s great to see them grow, but what will you do about the current state of their bedroom?
Let me tell you, it’s way easier to paint a room than it is to install a floor. You can easily pick up some paint and cover up that neon green eyesore, but to change that bright pink carpet? That’ll take some time and money.
A good carpet will last you a long time, do you really want to replace your perfectly good pink carpet? Probably not, but your kid is now begging you for a neutral gray floor. What do you do? What could you have done in the past?
Neutral base. Accent colors.
You are likely going to get the most bang for your buck by going neutral for your carpeting and personalizing your space with colored walls and a nice area rug, amongst other decorations.
Say you decided to get a bright pink area rug as opposed to an entire floor, you’ve got more options here. For high traffic areas, we suggest having a shorter, denser carpet, because it won’t show traffic patterns and will look nicer, longer. Now for that beautiful area rug however, you could add a little length and make it softer; sure it will be matted down eventually, but it could last as long as your child’s pink phase, and be easily replaced when the time comes.
Dust, mold and pollen are bad news for allergy and asthma sufferers. So you certainly wouldn’t want to invite those things to stay in your home by settling in your carpet. But that’s exactly what carpet does – traps those pesky, invisible allergens without you knowing. And with every step, they are released into the air for you to inhale.
The good news is allergies don’t have to mean hard surface flooring. There are carpeting options that don’t trap as many allergens. Read on to find out what you should look for when purchasing new carpet for your home.
What to Look For
Carpeting made of synthetic materials is better at repelling pollen, dust and allergens. This is because the fibers are not organic and provide an inhospitable climate for things like mold. In addition, you should ask for carpeting that’s labeled as hypoallergenic. Nylon and olefin carpets resist moisture, dirt and mildew, making them good options. Also ask about polyester, Triexta and Air.o.
Look for carpeting that has short, tightly woven strands – which have less space to trap allergens.
People with sensitivity to chemicals will want to avoid volatile organic compounds (VOC), which are carbon-based chemicals that quickly evaporate at room temperature. They may trigger allergies, respiratory irritations and headaches. Look for Green Label or Green Label Plus products to make sure you’re purchasing the lowest possible VOC-emitting carpet.
Lastly, don’t forget about the carpet padding – make sure it’s also synthetic and free of allergy-triggering vapors and chemicals.
Be Careful During Installation
Especially during the dust particles being stirred up during the removal of your old existing floors.
It would be best to vacate the areas where the air is being polluted with unknown smells and all manner of Air bourn pollutants.
Avoid triggering an allergy flare up while your hypoallergenic carpet is being installed. Take these precautionary measures to cut down on allergens flying through the air:
The very best way to eliminate allergens from your home is to install hardwood, vinyl or laminate flooring. Because there is nowhere for dirt, dust and pollen to hide, these flooring options are great for allergy and asthma sufferers. Allergens “sit” on the surface of hard flooring and are easier to remove with a quick mopping.
If you’re ready to get relief from your allergies or asthma by switching up your flooring, contact one of our sales team members at Floors of Saint Louis. We can walk you through the various options available and help you kick allergens to the curb.