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Fashionable Hardwood Flooring

These days when it comes to choosing your hardwood floors, you are not just considering colour and species anymore. You also have a choice of technologies as well as fashion to choose from. Let me break it down a little bit better for you.

 

In term of technology hardwood flooring is available both as solid planks and engineered hardwood floors. Since the introduction of engineered hardwood flooring into the market, which allows for wider and longer planks, more and more companies are also experimenting with the surface texture of the floors. In the past, the finishes were all smooth with varying degrees of shine. The issue with these floors is that once you create a nick, scratch, or dent the smooth finish will show these imperfections a lot more. The reason behind that is the rest of the adjoining surface is perfectly smooth and therefore the one area that is not so smooth becomes the irregularity and therefore, making it more visible. Since both solid hardwood and engineered hardwood floors are built to last a lot longer these years (manufacturers often provide warrantees as long as 35 years) manufacturers are trying to find ways to make their floors look new for longer. Hence the introduction of low sheen finishes and fashion on hardwood surfaces.

 

Fashion on hardwood refers to the surface treatments applied to the surface of the wood before it is stained and finished by a manufacturer. These treatments include: wire-brushing, hand-scraping, band-sawn effect, and distressing.  Let us look at each fashion in detail.

 

 

Wire-brushed hardwood floors are usually from the oak family, because the grain in these species is softer than the flesh of the wood and it is usually this softer grain that is susceptible to being scratched and dented in use. Wire-brushing is the process of running a coarse wire over the surface of the unfinished plank in order to scratch off the soft layer of the wood from the top layer. This process makes the raw wood harder to scratch. And since the finished surface will have imperfections built-in, and a matte finish as well, it will make imperfections created later on much less visible and part of the character of the floor. Wire-brushed naturals and white-washed wire-brushed naturals are becoming trendier and more desirable over the oil-finished or hand-scarped finishes. This finish also has the added benefit of showing off the grain pattern on the floor without the grain being a different colour from the rest of the flooring when the wirebrushing is done in the direction of the grain. However is it also possible to do the wirebrushing against the grain (in the direction of the width of the plank instead of the length), which produces a more velvet like texture on the hardwood and makes the imperfections less subtle.  Wirebrushed hardwood flooring gives a more subtle and organic look to the floors. It is as close as you can come to a set-it-and-forget-it hardwood flooring option.

 

Hand-scraped hardwood flooring is the product of unevenly planed planks.  This texture gives the appearance of waves on the floor. It is essentially paying homage to the first pioneers that were using wooden planks for their floors. Since they did not have machine planers, they would hand-plane the planks and they wouldn’t come out perfectly even. It gives the floors an age-worn aesthetic without the floors actually being old. This surface treatment is especially useful on the species of hardwood that don’t lend themselves well to being wirebrushed, such as Hard Maple, Hickory, and Walnut. This is an especially popular treatment on hard maple hardwood flooring because the grain disappears when you stain Hard Maple which gives rise to a very uniform floor, especially if the Hard Maple is in Select & Better grade. In this case, any imperfections created on this surface will become very obvious and visible. In order to minimize this uniformity, a handscraped texture is used on Hard Maple hardwood flooring, as well as on other species such as Hickory, Red Oak, White Oak, Ash, and Walnut.

 

The bandsawn texture is a by-product of manufacturing. When the logs are cut, they are cut using massive saws with massive teeth. Overtime, these teeth can bend inwards and when this happens, they leave small saw marks on the sides of the plank that they cut. Manufacturers used to discard these pieces are defective and unsellable. With the introduction of textured hardwood floors however, these pieces were given a new lease on life. In fact, there are now saws that come pre-bent in order to create this texture on the hardwood flooring planks. It is a subtle, almost brushed look on the hardwood floors. Bandsawn fashion is more meant for aesthetics and does not necessarily affect the longevity of the hardwood floors the way that wirebrushing does. However, it does create imperfections on the hardwood surface which would make it less likely to ugly out over time.

 

The last fashion is called distressed. Distressed hardwood flooring is one that includes more than one type of surface treatment. These floors usually include a combination of wirebrushing, handscraping, resin-filled knots and cracks, saw marks, hammer marks, and more. These floors are meant to be highly texturized. Distressed hardwood floors are pre-beat up. They will include a lot of “imperfections” so that as you create more with use, you are just adding to the character of these floors. These floors have personality and are not a great choice for those with a more conservative and traditional tastes towards interior design. However, these are great options for high traffic areas such as commercial spaces, design studios, restaurants, or cottages. These floors also have a more rustic appearance and can be used in high end contemporary designs as well as in eclectic and cottagey design plans.

 

So the next time you are looking at your flooring options, you will know more about the textures you find in the market. Our goal is always to provide you with all the necessary tools and information so that you can make the most informed decision about the floors you will see in your home for at least the next decade or two. For more advice, and design options please do not hesitate to visit our showroom.

 

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Written By: Mary Amini, M Squared Flooring & Design Centre In-house Design Consultant

By |September 1st, 2018|Uncategorized|

What are the Benefits of Engineered Hardwood vs Solid Hardwood?

So, what are benefits of engineered hardwood flooring? There are two main areas in which to consider when it comes to engineered flooring…

Construction

Solid hardwood flooring is as the name suggests, one solid piece of wood that is ¾” thick and varies in width from 2 ¼” to 5”. All the grain runs in the same direction in solid hardwood which is usually in the direction of the length of the plank. This means that as the solid hardwood is exposed to heat and humidity in the summer months, the whole plank is going to expand width-wise as the fibers in the wood expand. This expansion usually happens along the width of the planks more than the length of them. The wider the width of the board the more susceptible it becomes to changing shape, gapping, and cupping. Solid Hardwood is structurally stable in widths up to 4 ¼”. Any wider planks will perform better in an engineered format than solid.

Engineered hardwood floors on the other hand, are made up in layers. The top layer, which is the species you see and use, is called the “wear layer”. Then there is a core that can either be made of solid wood fillets (called solid core), or plywood in multiple layers (called a ply-core), or an HDF core similar to that of laminate flooring. In this case the flooring is a floating floor with a click installation. This type of flooring comes in a variety of thicknesses which makes this category more versatile to install on a variety of subfloors.

The advantage of an engineered hardwood floor is in its structural stability. Since every layer of the engineered hardwood has its grain perpendicular to the layer above and below, they stabilize each other’s movements with expansion and contraction. Therefore, in simplest terms, engineered hardwood offers longer lengths, wider widths, and structural stability superior to that of its solid counterpart.

Not all engineered hardwood is made the same however. The quality of any engineered hardwood flooring option, and therefore its price, is dependent upon the thickness of this wear layer, the construction of the core, and the species of both the wear layer and the core. The wear layer can either be solid sliced (2mm and thicker wear layers), or rotary peeled. A solid sliced wear layer will wear more like solid hardwood as the integrity and the strength of the grain is sustained. A rotary peeled wear layer is usually thinner, about 1-2mm thick and it is more susceptible to checking and shows other signs of wear.

 

Benefits of Engineered Hardwood Flooring & Types

 

Installation

Solid hardwood flooring is always installed on a wooden subfloor, and it must be nailed to the subfloor. Solid hardwood floors cannot be glued or floated. Therefore, solid hardwood floors are not suitable for installations below grade, or in condos and for commercial spaces that have a concrete subfloor.

Engineered hardwood floors by contrast can be installed just as the solid counterpart can be, but they can also be installed as floating floors and glued down on concrete surfaces, making them suitable for installations below, at, and above grade, and also in basements and commercial offices with concrete subfloors. Installation instructions are readily available from each manufacturer.

 

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Written by: Mary Amini, M Squared Flooring & Design Centre In-house Design Consultant

By |August 24th, 2018|Uncategorized|

 

Many of us adopt the “New Year, New Me” train of thought that comes along with the arrival of a new year.

 

Your home is a representation of you and you want to live with what you love. While everyone has different needs and preferences, it’s worth taking a look at what trends have stuck around from 2017 and what we can expect to see more of this year. There is an incredible selection of hardwood flooring available and a variety of options – some of which you may not even know exist yet – that are gaining attention in the design community.

Here’s a preview of what’s in store for the year ahead in flooring trends.

TEXTURE – Hand Scraped and Wire-Brushed

M2 Favourite: Preverco, Ash Brushed, Komodo (Pictured)

 

Beautifully textured hardwood flooring can infuse style and character a home. Hand-Scraped hardwood floors have a high variation among the planks which are crafted with long, impressed scrapes. Hand-Scraped Hardwood flooring has the effect of making your floors look old when they are in fact brand new. This textured finish is paying homage to the very first pioneers who settled in North America and were using wooden planks for their floors. Since they did not have machine planers, the wooden planks they would plane for the use as flooring would never come out perfectly even and smooth. The point of a Hand-Scraped hardwood floor is to give the illusion of age, while keeping the costs friendly for every budget. Hand- Scraping is only one of the two major processes used to texturize flooring finishes and is not to be confused with Wire-Brushing which gives you a smoother weathered look. Wire-Brushed hardwood flooring exposes the grain of the wood and is more consistent than Hand-Scraped. Bonus points if you have kids or pets – because of the texture, it actually hides dirt, dust, and imperfections.

50 SHADES OF GREY – Light Greys

M2 Favourite: Fuzion, Classical Elegance, Prelude (Pictured)

 

Grey hardwood flooring has been a trend for the past 5-6 years. At first the greys were on the cool end of the colour spectrum and more true greys. In the recent years, designers have found that the true blue greys are too cold and limit the colour options in a given space. The new trend in the grey flooring colours is to have a natural floor with a grey or white washed effect. This way   the natural warm colour of the hardwood flooring shines through and the subtle grey or greige colour on the floor becomes a more neutral backdrop for everything else that you choose to place on top of your hardwood floors. Certain species of hardwood such as White Oak hardwood floors and Hard Maple hardwood floors will lend themselves better to this process since the natural colour of the wood does not really tend towards red and are blonder in nature.  Therefore, when you white wash or grey wash these species, you get a cleaner and cooler look than white washing red oak hardwood floors for example. Red Oak hardwood flooring tends to look pink, orange or purple with grey washing and it is not always the colour designers have in mind when choosing a grey floors. So choosing a blonder flooring will give you a cooler tone of colour on the floors, while keeping your colour options open for the rest of the space.

 

IN THE DARK – Dark Floors

M2 Favourite: Preverco, Yellow Birch, Cappucino (Pictured)

 

Although dark hardwood floors are not nearly as popular as they once were, dark floors are a great selection if your home has a variety of species and colours throughout. It helps bring balance and neutralize the space. This type of flooring option does come with its challenges however. First and foremost, the dark and high shine floors do tend to give a more traditional feel to your floors. If you want a more modern aesthetic in mind, the really saturated dark floors may not be your best option. However, if you have a traditional or transitional aesthetic in mind, dark brown or grey floors would fit perfectly. The second challenge comes in terms of maintenance. Darker and saturated floors will act like a mirror on your floors (especially when the shine level is high). Light or natural coloured floors hide imperfections, dirt and dust much better.  If you’re looking for a dark floor but want to avoid the hassle that comes along with constant cleaning you may want to look into something slightly lighter and a lower sheen level (matte finish).

NEUTRALS

M2 Favourite: Torlys, SuperSolid 5 Hardwood, Cove Springs Oak (Pictured)

It’s no secret that neutral tones are the easiest to maintain so it’s not surprising to see that this trend hasn’t gone away. Natural floors are timelessly elegant and the easiest to maintain since the entire floor is the same colour. So if you scratch the finish the wood colour underneath is the same colour which makes imperfections on your hardwood floors much less visible. Neutral floors provide a great opportunity to add splashes of colour through paint or fun accents and accessories. Think of it as your blank canvas!

 

LENGTH x WIDTH – Wide Plank Floors

M2 Favourite: Mercier, Hard Maple – Elegancia Collection, Element Series, Terrain (Pictured)

Wider plank flooring has become increasingly popular over the last couple of years. Today there are a variety of wide plank engineered hardwood floors available in the market. The introduction of engineered hardwood technology means wider widths and longer lengths with structural stability. For example Mercier – the Canadian leader in hardwood flooring production – is introducing a wide variety of engineered hardwood floors in 8 1/8” width with lengths up to 6’. Craft floors on the other hand, boasts widths of 7” or 8” widths with some species come in lengths up to 10’. This is the perfect solution if you’re shopping for a smaller space. Because there are less seams in the floor, the space instantly opens up and appears larger and more welcoming.

 

NO BONES ABOUT IT – Herringbone

M2 Favourite: Mercier, Hard Maple Herrinbone, Madera (Pictured)

 

We are seeing a resurgence of strong geometric lines and shapes in design and herringbone flooring makes for a beautiful application of this design trend. Apart from adding beautiful detail, Herringbone floors are timeless and suitable for anything from open concept spaces to apartments. They are great for making a smaller, narrow space look wider. The change is texture is also an easy way to separate two spaces without walls or physical separations. Think of having the herringbone hardwood installed in the dining room area with a matching plank installed in the connected living room. The change in patterns on the floors signals a separation in space without actual separation in the physical space. Colour trends may change with time, but this bold pattern is certain to stay.

 

 

By |February 7th, 2018|Uncategorized|

Holiday Shopping for Hardwood Flooring

With the arrival of the holiday season, the shopping season is officially upon us. Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a shopping guide telling you the dos and don’ts of hardwood flooring shopping? Well we are going to try to do just that. The natural place is to start is where to shop.

 

There are many different types of home renovation resource stores out there but they all fall in one of two categories.  There are the big box stores, and the specialized retailers. The big box stores carry a little bit of everything from lumber to plumbing, and lighting to flooring. They don’t however carry any customer service, product knowledge, or really good quality hardwood flooring selections. They do have product in stock at the ready, no-questions-asked return policies, and lower prices. The specialized retailers are just that. They are specialized. They carry only one category of home improvement products but they have a much more varied range of options. They will also educate you about the product, installation and care instructions in order to make sure you get the best out of your project. Information is power and specialized retailers are your master keys.

At M Squared Flooring & Design Centre we take the time to understand your needs, your expectations of your floors, your preferred aesthetic and based on that we show you a range of durable, fashionable and quality flooring products. We show you the difference between hardwood and engineered flooring, the benefits and drawbacks of them, the differences between species, wear over time, and so much more. We understand that walking into a room with so many samples on display may be overwhelming at first, but if you take the time to speak to one of our experts you will find that we can show you some very specific options that will best suit your specific needs.

To kick off the holidays and to show you a sample of this journey with M Squared, we are having special sale on Mercier products. Mercier is one of the best Canadian manufacturers of hardwood flooring worldwide. They sell their product far and wide and their dedication to quality is well evident in the final product. Let us show you what they have to offer your home this holiday season.

By |November 30th, 2017|Uncategorized|

Choosing the right Hardwood Flooring Grade for You

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. (more…)

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

Exotic Hardwood Flooring

office-brazilian-cherry-hardwood-flooring-brown-natural-designer-lauzon1

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.
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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.
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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


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Getting to Know Your Hardwood Floors

Janka Hardness Scale

Janka Hardness Scale
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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.
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By |September 24th, 2016|Uncategorized|