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Choosing the right Hardwood Flooring Grade for You

Getting the right Hardwood Flooring Grade

When deciding which look one would like to achieve, the grade of the hardwood flooring selected will have a major effect on the overall look of the space. It’s often overlooked, but is a critical component of pulling together the vision you have for your space. Typically hardwood comes in 3 different grades, every supplier has a name to identify these grades that varies but the premise is still the same; authentic, distinctions, and select and better.  Mercier uses this exact terminology to identify the different grades they offer, Lauzon uses a system that is similar, they’ve both made it easy to identify and  understand which grade will be most appropriate for your space.

Authentic Grade

Hardwood flooring grade, Lauzon, Ambiance Collection, Hickory, Natural

Lauzon, Ambiance Collection, Hickory, Country,Natural

 

Hardwood grades that look as close to cutting down a tree and creating logs as it gets, is a quick way to describe an authentic graded piece of hardwood. There is no major selection process that occurs, the boards will typically contain all the natural occurrences that is associated with hardwood; filled knots, mineral streaks, checks, and more pronounced variation in appearance, from board to board. Authentic is great for spaces that are centered on created a worn look or rustic quality, like cabin or cottage styled interiors. The above image is a photo of Lauzon’s grade entitled country, which I would please somewhere between Authentic and Distinctions.

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By |November 21st, 2016|engineered floors, Finishes, hardwood flooring|

Exotic Hardwood Flooring

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Lauzon Hardwood Flooring, Designer Collection, Brazilian Cherry

 

Exotic hardwood, although not as popular as it once was, is still a strong force to be reckoned with on the hardwood flooring market. Known and sought after for their high level of variation and rich contrasting color, exotic hardwood in the right space is another beautiful option for flooring decor.

 

Brazilian Cherry

2820 is the official hardness rating of Brazilian Cherry is one of the more well known and popular exotic hardwoods on the market. It is also commonly referred to as Jatoba, and typically will have reddish brown or yellow coloring.  Homeowners love the unique mosaics created by Brazilian Cherry flooring. As most exotic hardwoods, this color will darken and get richer over time.

Santos Mahogany

Like cherry, Santos Mahogany also offers variation in colors. Color variation ranges from medium brownish/orange to dark brown. Santos Mahoghany is ranked at 2200.

Tigerwood

As the name suggests, Tigerwood is recognized for its striped grain, and gold coloring. Ranging in color from dark to light brown, Tigerwood makes a very striking impact on any given space due to the high level of variation common to this species. Unlike many natural lighter color woods, that amber over time, Tigerwood will get darker. Tigerwood is rated 2160 on the Janka hardness scale.

Brazilian Walnut

Beautiful in texture and color Brazilian Walnut is a warm brown to yellow hued species that is rated 3680 on the Janka Hardness Scale. Also known as Ipe, Brazilian Walnut is praised for its soft and wavy grain, making it a great alternative to Red Oak in terms of it’s visual appeal for those who want more grain than Maple, but less texture than Oak

 

By |November 11th, 2016|Exotic Hardwood Flooring|

Vinyl and Laminate Flooring: A Pros & Cons Break Down

When deciding what application is best for your home, one should consider a number of factors; price, location, function, atheistic and level of durability. When you’ve narrowed it down, sometimes it seems as though you’ve only narrowed down your search to a broad category, if that broad category is vinyl and laminate flooring, than this is the blog post for you! When hardwood flooring doesn’t seem to fit the bill, alternatives like vinyl and laminate flooring crop up as solutions. This post is to help you understand some of the features of both vinyls and laminates, to make the best decision for your space, based on your needs.

Laminate Flooring

 

Torlys Hampton Laminate Flooring

Torlys Hampton Laminate Flooring, Hot Chocolate Hickory

 

Laminate flooring has been a mainstay in the market of flooring as a popular alternative to natural products like hardwood and tiles. Composed of several layers, laminated flooring is essentially a laminated MDF or HDF board. The top layer is the wear layer, which protects and laminates the high resolution image of any given natural stone, or wood that then becomes your floor. The difference between MDF and HDF is how tightly packed the wood particles are compressed; a high density core being more durable than an medium density core.

Laminate flooring has some advantages durability and price being the most significant. Laminate flooring is typically better able to stand up to  wear and tear than traditional natural flooring solutions. Installation of laminates is literally a snap, built in click together constructions, laying down a laminate floor is a challenge many can take and conquer. Installing a laminate floor will require first laying down your choice of underlay, which acts as a moisture barrier is very important to prolong the life of your laminate floor,  and then the flooring itself can be clicked together over top. There are a few drawbacks when considering Laminate flooring, one being the sounds and feel of the product underfoot, being a dead giveaway that it is not actually hardwood. This is a minor drawback to some, but very significant to others. Like many hardwood floors, that do not use alternative types of finishes, the is the concern of the potential for laminate flooring to be a store house for formaldehyde commonly used in the glues, resins and binders that hold it all together.

 

Pros

  • Durable
  • Affordable
  • Easy to clean
  • Resists fading due to UV exposure
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Not water resistant
  • Cannot be refinished
  • Sound/Feel
  • Health concerns

 

 

WPC & Vinyl Flooring

Beaulieu Engineered Vinyl Flooring

Beaulieu Engineered Vinyl Flooring, Adventure,Pyrenees

Vinyl flooring is a sector of the flooring market that over the past year, seems to be gaining in popularity as an alternative to natural hardwood flooring or laminates. Vinyl is a “plastic” flooring solution that with technology very closely resembles the look of hardwood or natural stone. Many of us are familiar with the traditional vinyl flooring, but now there is also something called WPC on the market. but what exactly is a WPC floor?

The acronym stands for Wood Plastic Composite, which essentially boils down to each plank being composed of a mixture of blended wood flour, and plastic resins. In terms of construction, like an engineered hardwood floor, WPC’s are composed primary of 3 layers. On top you have a wear layer that gives your flooring the look of either hardwood or tile. Beneath that is the vinyl itself, which is then affixed to the final layer, the wood plastic core. This core is what gives the floor its rigidity, like hardwood, but flexibility like traditional vinyl, WPCs are typically made in a click construction for installation, no underlay is required. Alternatively, loose lay vinyl, can be completed in an afternoon, onlu require one the lay each plank one beside another, no glue require. The construction of a WPC however mitigates the need for sub floor prep that is typically required for traditional luxury vinyl flooring, due to its rigidity, due to a loose lay vinyls flexibility, it requires an almost perfectly flat surface. The most significant benefit of WPC flooring over laminate flooring however is its resistance to water. This makes it the ideal flooring solution to areas that are prone to water leakages like basements, or moisture rich environments like kitchens and baths.  Another benefit of vinyl which lends itself simply to the material it is made of, is the fact that unlike natural stone, vinyl flooring is warm to the touch. Making them much more comfortable, in areas where we may tend to walk barefoot, like a bathroom especially in the colder months.

 

Pros

  • water resistant
  • durable
  • easy installation
  • warm

 

Cons

  • VOCs
  • subfloor preperation
  • toxic fire hazard

 

 

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By |October 31st, 2016|laminate flooring, Vinyl Flooring|

David Lauzon of Lauzon Flooring Visits!

David Lauzon

The M’s behind M Squared, David Lauzon, and Carol Lees

 

M Squared Flooring & Design Center prides itself on being the curator of quality and vision in the hardwood flooring industry.  This is why partnering up with a company like Lauzon Distinctive Hardwood Flooring was such a great natural union.  David Lauzon’s vision and dedication to quality, his persistence to be innovative, and putting customers first, is in sync with our own vision, and that is why we stand behind this brand with complete confidence in its ability to perform. Today Mr. Lauzon did us the great honor of spending the day with us at our showroom, hearing our story, and sharing his own. The lovely Miss Carol Lees,  whom we love dearly was also in attendance, and we thank her for her efforts to consistently give us the tools on behalf of the @Lauzonflooring corporation, to continually bring our clients what they can expect in a premium line of hardwood floors, well renowned in North America and abroad. Lauzon Distinctive Hardwood Floors should also be recognized, as it is by numerous awards, for not only creating a fabulous product, but also doing with with sustaining the environment and all of our health in mind. Allowing us and future generations to appreciate the beauty that is hardwood, for years to come.

We look forward to the next time we have the chance to sit down with Mr. Lauzon, and wish him well!

Thanks for coming by Mr. Lauzon!

 

The M Squared Team

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Getting to Know Your Hardwood Floors

Janka Hardness Scale

Janka Hardness Scale

 

Sometimes it helps to know a little about hardwood in general to get a better understanding of what species of wood will best suit the lifestyle you lead., especially when it comes to rank on the Janka Hardness Scale. The Janka Hardness Scale is a tool used to gauge the relative hardness and strength of various different species of hardwood. This is achieved by  trying to forcibly insert a .444 inch steel ball into the hardwood stopping by about half its diameter.  This test is one of the best measures of the ability of a wood species to withstand denting and wear. It is also a good indicator of how hard a specie is to saw, mill and nail.The species and hardness of any potential flooring, may dictate which hardwoods should be considered viable options to install in your home. With that in mind, generally speaking however, if you stick with a North American species of wood, you can expect a similar level of performance across the board. Hard Maples, Red Oaks, Birches Hickory and Beech’s are the most common and widely used hardwood floors in the North American market, and more than likely what you will see most widely available in your local hardwood flooring store i.e, M Squared Flooring 🙂

So let’s take a closer look at each of these species to get a better understanding of why they may be the best option for your next home renovation project.

 

Red Oak

 

Is one of the most popular hardwoods used in North America for a number of purposes, from Hardwood, to furniture and cabinetry.  Found widely in Canada and the US, red oak has a pinkish tinge to its heartwood, which is the origin of the name red oak, . Also plentiful is white oak, although not in as high numbers as red oak, making it on average a little pricier than red oak.  In terms of color, white oak has a greener tinge than Red Oak does making it a rather cooler version to red oaks warm undertone. Ranked at 1290 red oak is durable, and is used as the benchmark to which all other hardwoods on the Janka hardness scale are compared to here in North America because it is so widely used and readily available.

The difference between northern and southern red oak, are the duration of time it takes for them to grow; southern types growing much faster than their northern counterparts. Longer grow times in turn end up producing a more dense quality hardwood, where the consumer is concerned this is a positive because it means a more durable wood. The grain of Red Oak is pronounced and often sought after specifically for this quality, as it takes stain very well, a wide variety of colors can be easily achieved.

 

Maple

 

Very common to Canada, 13 species of over 100 maples grow in abundance in North American regions. There are two major groups of maples; hard and soft  hard maples being the most sought after when it comes to hardwood flooring as it’s name indicates, ranks higher on the Janka scale at 1450, where as soft maple, or silver maple is comparable to species such as Elm. The best selection of maple trees for hardwood floors can be found in the Northern US and along the southern Canadian border. Both have a sap wood that is a light to white color making maple a good choice for anyone trying to achieve a Scandinavian type look when applies to spaced with a natural finish.

 

Yellow Birch

The coloring of birch ranges from white to golden yellow, it has a subtle grain, similar to that of hard maple. At 1260 on the Janka hardness scale just under red oak, yellow birch makes a great choice for North American Hardwood. Red birch and yellow birch are actually the same species of tree, the only difference being the Red birch has less yellow sapwood then yellow. There are also two other groups of Birch; paper, which is the softest of the bunch and sweet birch which is the hardest among all three.  The price point of birch is comparable to that of red oak and maple, making it also a good option for anyone on the market for any of the three.

 

Beech

Found in eastern portions of the US and Canada, Beech has a very light to light yellow colored sapwood and a dark reddish brown heart wood. However, beech has a very fine grain, and closed cell structure making it a little harder to stain then most other domestic hardwoods, if one were to take on the task of staining their floors on their own. Again, with technology available, prefinished hardwood flooring can eliminate this concern.  If you refer to the Janka Hardness scale American Beech is ranked just above red oak in hardness at 1300, making it again an excellent choice for hardwood flooring. The main difference between American and European beech is the coloring,  European beech being a light tan orange color, and American a tan to brownish red. The European beech being softer is more ideal for furniture, as opposed to hardwood floors.

 

Hickory

Known for it’s strength and shock resistance, hickory is r you can find hickory trees growing in the southern and northern regions of Canada and the US. Growing up to 140′ in height, hickory is typically known for its great variation in color, with boards ranging from brownish red heartwood to pale yellow/white sapwood. Hickory has a straight grain and stains exceptionally well.

 

There are other hardwoods that rate very high on the Janka Hardness Scale, but the harder does not always mean the better. Exotic woods like Brazilian Cherry, for instance come from a completely different environment, and requiring them to perform in North America where is is more often cold and dry, as oppose to their hot and moist environment often will require a little more care and attention than domestic breeds.

 

 

 

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By |October 8th, 2016|hardwood flooring|

Understanding Hardwood Finishes

The finish on a hardwood floor is an important aspect of hardwood floors that will impact many features, understanding hardwood finishes will help you understand what you can expect from the life and durability that your hardwood will have over the years after it is installed in your home. There is a wide range of approaches to protecting your hardwood that the market offers, we’re going to help you learn the basics of a few of the options on the market, to make the selection process very easy.

graphite

Satin Flooring Generations Home, Maple Graphite, EcoLast Aluminum Oxide Enhanced Urethane

Polyurethanes

The most widely used and common finish on the market today is the polyurethane. Polyurethane’s are clear finishes that are available in water or oil based formats, and a variety of sheen levels. If you intend to site finish your hardwood floors, Depending on the surface it will be applied to, one may be better for your particular project than the other. Where application is concerned, polyurethanes can be part of the factory finished or an onsite finished floor product or installation. Here are a few pros and cons of both water and oil based polyurethanes for site finished flooring:

  • Water based: will dry faster, will have little to no odour, will not yellow over time and sun exposure, and will have little to no VOC’s but are a little more money on average than oil based polyurethanes.
  • Oil based: On advantage is they cost less money, are known to be more durable, but come with higher VOC levels, odour and will yellow hardwood over time.

So when do you use an oil based finish, and when do you opt for a water based one? If you will be finishing your own floors, and have a lighter colored, or natural wood, whose grain you want to enhance and color you want to protect,  water-based may be best. As this will allow the natural color to shine through for much longer than an oil based finish, which will amber your hardwood faster.  If your going to go with darker stain for hardwood, your safe to go with an oil based finish which will have less of an effect since the amber will not be visible on a dark stain.

 

Mercier-Hardwood-Expressions-oil

Mercier Expressions Emotion Series Oil Finished Hardwood.

 

In a factory finish specifications should be sourced from the given supplier directly, as they all provide varying versions of their own polyurethanes. Mercier for example carries a finish which they call their Generations Finish, which is a green guard gold certified soy based finish that comes with a 35 year residential warranty, antimicrobial, and anti yellowing. Pure Expressions is their oil based finish, used for selected hardwoods within their product range which is unique in that it offers the client that requires no refinishing or reapplication which is typical of most oil finishes.

 

Titanium Oxide

The main purpose of a titanium oxide, which is added to the polyurethane during the production process of factory finished floors, is to achieve the most durable finish possible. This enables your floors to combat the likelihood of scratches, and dents. Adding titanium oxide will not change the color of your finish, or effect the clarity of any grain. It is ideal to have a hardwood floor finished with titanium oxide because it will also fight against the effect of sunlight, which will threaten to either fade or amber particular species of hardwood. You can expect a floor finished with titanium oxide to have a warranty of 25-35 years depending on the manufacturer, which is a welcome comfort for a life long investment. The benefit of a Titanium oxide finish over an aluminum oxide on, is a smoother finish.

 

Aluminum Oxide (UV Cured)

Such like the titanium oxide finish, the aluminum oxide or UV cured hardwood, is only achievable through a factory finish.  A fine power, added to polyurethane, making floors less prone to sun damage, and scratches resistant, UV cured aluminum oxide finishes will harden with exposure to sunlight; creating the hard surface you want in a long wearing durable surface. Aluminum oxide finishes are also known to be lower in VOC or have no VOC levels in the finished surface, so off gassing of toxic chemicals is not an area of concern, for homeowners with allergies or children who will be exposed.

Engineered_beaulieu_champagne

Beaulieu, European White Oak, Regale, Champagne, UV cured Urethane finish

Natural Oil Finish

An oil finish is typically a matte finish used to enhance the natural characteristics of hardwood, presenting a finished product that looks closest to it’s natural state. It will penetrate the wood and strengthen your hardwood from the inside out, appearing to have a low, or no finish at all. Natural oil finished floors should be cleaned with special wood cleaning soaps a few times a year, one of the more popular wood floor soaps on the market right now is WOCA. Manufactured in Denmark, where oil finished floors in Europe at large is very popular, WOCA is a company who takes a green approach to their products by using natural vegetable fatty acids, that protect by leaving behind a film on top of the wood.

 

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By |September 24th, 2016|Uncategorized|

Inspiration: Natural Oak Hardwood + Pantone 2016 Rose Quartz

pantone-rose-quartz

With 2016 closing in on the last 3 months of the year, there is still plenty of time to incorporate Pantone’s color of the year, Rose Quartz with your next home flooring renovation project. You may be wondering how exactly to incorporate such a color into a mature decor scheme, or how to coordinate it with the right hardwood floor, but it’s much easier than one might think, remember to keep a few things in mind, and you should be able to achieve anyone of the looks we’ve included here.

1. Choose a light colored hardwood floor

A distinct air of sophistication can be achieved especially when combined with blond, or natural hardwood, allowing both to come together in complimentary form without competing for the spot light.  It’s my contention that nothing should overpower this color, including your hardwood. Natural Oaks, maples, and birches, are excellent choices to combine with rose quartz hardwood flooring. They have a  soft appearance which will make the space airy and bright, as well as acting as a primary neutral color from which the rose quartz colored accessories can do their job as punches of interest throughout the space.

2. Keep all other colors muted

Given that rose quartz is sort of a new and improved take on dusty rose, you want to use it in calculated punches in certain areas; throw pillows, accent pieces, rugs, etc.  The best way to avoid ending up with a space that looks like a failed attempt at a retro throw back is to keep your color palette muted and sophisticated. After you’ve determined what hardwood floor you want to incorporate in the space, let the rose quartz be the only other major focal color, against greys, beige’s, navies, blacks and whites. Again, keep the strength of colors like black and navy to a minimum, using them as accents in small doses as oppose to dramatic backdrops, or large items like area rugs. Like the flooring, light colored walls, and crown molding, will give the hardwood floor, and this color in combined look of sophisticated grandeur.

3. Keep the overall theme minimalist add personality to your floors

Rose Quarts is the perfect backdrop for a mid century twist on decor, giving us a throw back from the past, while allowing modern additions like this chevron herringbone natural oak an opportunity to create visual interest in a space that allows it to stand uncontested in the foreground, while standing behind in the background as a staple anchor for the focal pink accents.

The look does not have to be modern, in fact incorporating a twist of the past, with a dash of modernism, will really set this look off. A contemporary approach is actually sound justification, for the use of a color which was in vogue when many of our mothers were sending us off to school with metal lunch boxes and leave it to beaver was America’s favorite child star. But don’t over do it. What you can do to ensure your look is united from floor to ceiling is to choose a  hardwood floor that straddles the line between old and new, but has an interesting feature. Something like this Natural Oak chevron herringbone by Metropolitan floors is perfect. It incorporates a style, herringbone, that was also very popular in the recent past, in a modern and fresh capacity. Another way to add interest to hardwood part of a minimalist theme, is to go with a matte wire brushed finish. It’s textured appearance will contrast well with the delicate pink, giving both strength and an interesting cohesion throughout the space.

 

Here’s a couple other great options for light colored hardwood floors:

 

kent-ccchevronoak3 fuji-engineered-hickory-mercier

ivoor-solid-red-oak-mercier natural-solid-birch-lauzon

natural-solid-red-oak-mercier-large-sample

From left to right, top to bottom: Chevron Red Oak, Fuji Engineered Hickory, Ivoor Solid Red Oak, Natural Solid Birch, Natural wire brushed Red Oak

rose-quartz-decor-6-700x934

 

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By |September 21st, 2016|Design, hardwood flooring|

Big Changes, New Additions, and lots of Hardwood!

Big Changes

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There has been a lot of work behind the scenes at M Squared in preparation for the Pre Grand Opening sale that occurred September 9-12, at our newest location at the Improve Canada Mall the past weekend.Our showroom, has undergone an amazing transformation, with the design concept of the M Squared team brought to life in the 3 dimensional world with seamless precision. We’re still brainstorming and developing our showroom as the Improve Mall moves into a new schedule, now open to the public for 3 days a week; Friday, Saturday from 10-6PM and Sunday 11 to 5.

The sales event was a huge success, many a client came by and enjoyed the benefits of great savings on solid engineered and vinyl flooring, as well as the pleasant company of our team, with Mary leading the way for the brunt of the 4 day weekend.

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New Additions

urban-echo-room

We’ve been waiting for the addition of this product to our line up of products for sometime now, and are excited with the completion of its installation in our showroom to announce that M Squared Flooring & Design Center is now your local source for decorative wall paneling from Friendly Wall by Finium.

brisbane-oile-room

By |September 17th, 2016|Uncategorized|

Getting Hardwood in the Bathroom

Hardwood in the Bathroom

lauzon-designer-whiteoak-bathroom

Lauzon Hardwood Flooring – Designer Collection, Hampton Series, Natural White Oak – How can we achieve this look?

 

Visually, classical elegance, and timeless sophistication are achieved maximally when we assess the end result of a hardwood installation in a bathroom setting. However, in terms of functionality, this application is an endeavor that is not without it’s pitfalls, and should be thoroughly researched before beginning. In this weeks post we want to share with our readers just how this look can be accomplished without the agony and heartache which can result from a home reno project gone bad.

 

The properties of hardwood is such that being a natural, and porous material, the environment in which is used must match the ability for this product to perform at its peak. To put it more simply, your hardwood should be happy where ever it lives. If you want hardwood to live in an environment that is moist, you are going against it’s natural inclination to maintain a certain humidity level (about 35-50% relative humidity), and this can result in warping, cupping of your floors. So how can we accomplish our vision for a space where hardwood in the bathroom is the ultimate goal? Here’s a few alternatives to hardwood flooring for those who have their hearts set on achieving this look.

 

Torlys EverTile

Torlys EverTile

 

Opt for Vinyl Tile

 

We can cheat and create the illusion of hardwood without actually using hardwood. Vinyl tiles are being produced much better then they were in previous years, their imitation of wood grain and durability are superior to any other flooring application. Unlike porcelain tile, they are warm to the touch, water resistant, quiet and extremely durable. One product that is a perfect embodiment of what can be expected from vinyl is Torlys Everwood or Evertile, Vinyl Floors. These tiles are made with a cork backing that is finished with a Microban antimicrobial finish, which actually inhibits the growth of mould and mildew, making them great for bathrooms. Installation of this product is literally a snap. Each plank clicks together with their Uniclic joint mechanism taking away the guess work related to installation for homeowners who want to install it themselves. The added benefit of using Torly specifically in the bathroom, is if you have Torly’s Ever wood or Ever Tile in the remaining space, leading up to the bathroom, you can continue from one room to the next without the need for transition pieces, making the overall look from room to room, seamless.

 

Powder Rooms

 

Powder rooms are usually located in more frequently accessible locations then most bathrooms, making the need for continuity a justified. The biggest reason for adding hardwood to a powder room as oppose to a bathroom is the fact there there is much less water and humidity associated with this space, compared to a bathroom. Powder rooms will not be exposed to prolonged showers or have the high likelihood of as much water touching its surface that would be typical of a person entering and exiting a tub in a traditional bathroom. The duration of activity in a powder room is also typically shorter. Activities one would spend time completing during morning rituals would also traditionally occur in a bathroom rather than a powder room making the likelihood of drastic temperature changes low.

So, don’t lose hope! If hardwood is the look your after, you can have it, with a little creativity and forethought.  For more information on Torlys Everwood/Evertiles, you can see product details here. Or give us a call in the showroom, we would be more than happy to assist you in bringing your vision to life.

 

Peace love and hardwood!

 

-The M Squared Team

By |August 27th, 2016|Design, Vinyl Flooring|

Matte Satin & Semi Gloss, Choosing the Right Sheen For Hardwood Floors

What Sheen Should I Use??

Usually, a lot of thought goes into the selection of a hardwood floor for a living space, with special attention typically paid to the colour, the feel and even the texture of the flooring. Yet somehow the sheen level of hardwood flooring is left as an after thought in the selection process. The overall impact hardwood flooring will create in a space depends on a number of variables, of which colour is the most obvious, but the level of shine on the floors do make a big impact as well. Therefore, not considering the sheen level can lead to a difference between the vision for the renovations and the actual final outcome. Many homeowners do not truly understand what sheen is or the effect it will have on the overall look and the daily use of the hardwood floors. So we are going to make it simple and break it all down.

What sheen actually does is reflect light. Like a mirror it will bounce more or less light off of its surface depending on the intensity of the sheen level selected. Typically, hardwood flooring sheens come in three levels; Semi-Gloss, Satin, and Matte. We’ll go through each one individually momentarily. A good rule to keep in mind is that the sheen level will either allow for reflection from or absorption of light rays hitting the floor surface. In general a Semi Gloss finish will reflect more light back to the eye, making the floor look shinier and more glass-like. Where as a low gloss or a matte finish will absorb more light, which will make the floors look duller and less smooth. These different effects also play a role in the way the color looks, making it appear either lighter or darker.

The easiest way to think of flooring sheen levels, is the same was we think about paint; they come in many of the same categories with varying percentages representing the gloss strength, and behave in much of the same way, (although keeping in mind that with wood there is texture from the grain) The percentages designated to each sheen are defined most typically into, matte, satin and semi gloss. Let`s take a look at each sheen level`s qualities, pros and cons. The gloss level could come into play in a number of factors; durability, maintenance, or the mood of a room.

Lauzon Red Oak Designer Cigarillo

Lauzon Red Oak Designer Cigarillo

Semi Gloss

At the top of the sheen scale is Semi Gloss, which is usually between 45-55% shine. There are higher gloss levels (Gloss) which is even more reflective, but Gloss has become less and less popular. It is generally believed that a higher gloss is equal to higher durability, this is not necessarily true. In fact, higher sheen levels wear a lot worse, specially in high traffic areas.  The constant use of a floor in a high traffic area could mean that your finish will wear out faster in some areas than in others, and this is especially problematic when you have a high shine floor, since the difference in the gloss levels are easily perceptible between a worn down and more intact portion of the flooring not exposed to as much use.   In addition, the higher the gloss, the easier it will be to notice dirt and debris, or even scratches or dents, especially on a darker colored stain. Therefore, if Semi Gloss appeals to you, you may want to have a regulated cleaning schedule to ensure your floors are spotless! A Semi Gloss finish on a floor tends to air on the ultra modern side of design, and works well in clean, sleek styled spaces or places where there may be water near by, like kitchens or formal dining areas. For this reason, Semi Gloss does not work well with wire brushed or hand scrapped hardwood surface, which is meant to show off the exposed grain, not cover it.

living-room-yellow-birch-hardwood-flooring-natural-red-natural-ambiance-lauzon

Lauzon Ambiance Yellow Birch Natural Red

Satin

Satin seems to be the most popular sheen, at approximately 35-40% as it is a happy medium between having a sheen, which is more in line with a classic or formal setting, and the ease of care that a matte floor will offer. The surface is easy to clean. This finish tends to give the look of hardwood a “new” look longer then any other finish since it does not reflect the light directly but rather disperses it evenly. Therefore, it does not show every scratch and imperfection the way that Semi Gloss does.  This sheen level has an overall neutral effect on the space in which it is put. It won’t reflect too much light, making it easy to stand in the background of any interior decor that will be in the space. A satin finish is most often used with classic colours,  and a smooth texture. The only stipulation with a satin finish is that it cannot be used on a wire brushed floor, but is sometimes used with a hand-scrapped finish, specially on maple flooring.

absolut_ambiance_collection_authentik_series_red_oak

Lauzon Ambiance Collection Authentik Series Red Oak

Matte

A Matte finish is typically in the vicinity of 10-25% gloss. Perfect for children’s rooms or high traffic areas, a matte finished floor will be better able to hide scruffs, scratches dirt and debris. This quality makes maintenance for matte floors very low. A matte finish has become very popular and works
well in spaces that are more casual, or country themed in style. 7” wide barn styled planks with a matte finish is a perfect example of an application that works seamlessly with this type of hardwood floor finish. A matte finish is also a very good way of achieving the casual sophistication of Scandinavian styled flooring, a very popular look in Europe, which is being replicated here in North America on a wide scale. This finish is almost always used when a floor is wire-brushed or hand scrapped. It reflects minimal amount of light and therefore will have no shine even after being cleaned. It is also the most “modern” of the finishes and is best suited for high traffic residential or commercial spaces. Subsequently if you want a floor that will stay new looking longer, is easy to clean, and also easy to maintain, then consider a matte finish for your floors.

 

 

All the photos for this post were sourced and inspired here are from a Canadian Flooring manufacturer called Lauzon, which we have in store. Check back soon for our next post, in it I will go over the different types of finishes available on the market; polyurethanes, versus new “green” alternatives on the, as well as oil finishes, their benefits, and draw backs and how to maintain them once they’ve been laid down.

 

Peace, love and hardwood

 

-The M Squared Team

 

 

By |August 22nd, 2016|Design, Finishes, hardwood flooring|