Archive for August, 2012

Preparing Your Wooden Deck for the Coming Winter

Winter is only a few months away, and now that the heat has broken and it’s more feasible to spend time outside, it is the perfect opportunity to prepare your wood desk, so it is more protected against the winter weather when it arrives.  Outdoor decks are vulnerable to water and moisture, and preparing it to withstand rain, snow, and ice will help to increase its longevity.

So, how do you properly prepare your wooden deck for the winter? First of all, you need to clean it thoroughly. Remove debris that can be covered by snow and ice and cause rotting. Dirt, mildew, and rust are especially harmful to your wood, so it is important to avoid them in any way possible.

Also, as the air becomes more chilly, store away gardening pots and outdoor furniture. They are no longer necessary once you begin spending all of your time indoors, and keeping them outside will put them at risk to be damaged. If you want to retain some of the heavy furniture outside, be sure to cover them properly.  Furthermore, they offer just one more way to trap moisture in the wood of your deck.

Apply a new finish and stain to your wooden deck. Staining and refinishing it will add an extra layer of protection that will ensure it will still be beautiful come Spring.

Lastly, make sure to apply water proofer to your wooden deck. Since water and moisture are more prevalent in winter, adding another layer of protection specifically against water is important.

Superior Hardwood offers an excellent water repellant product that can guarantee proper water proofing for your deck. Seal Once is a water proofer that prevents snow and ice from seeping into your wood, and applying it to your deck in the fall will give you a peace of mind, knowing that your deck is safe and well-protected during the winter months. It should also be noted that Seal Once is “Green” and has 0 VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) making it harmless to people, pets and plants!

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Advocating Green Building

Building a house is much easier when you have wide access to different kinds of building resources. If you choose to go green when you build your house, using reclaimed wood is a great way to have access to a large range of unique colors and wood grain patterns. Plus, with its eco-friendly features, you can be assured that your property will be Mother Nature approved.

Reclaimed wood is salvaged wood that comes from old barns, boats, and other damaged structures. Since reclaimed wood is recycled wood – which does have previous metal pieces in it that need to be removed – the cost of the wood is a little higher than new lumber – but the additional benefits you reap with reclaimed wood far outweigh the price difference.

Reclaimed wood can be used when building and therefore it also reduces the need to cut down young trees and  contribute to logging because there is less of a demand for it.   In addition, reclaimed wood is salvaged wood, so you help to reduce the filling of landfills and clogging of rivers that would occur if the wood was simply discarded.  Clogging rivers can contribute to flooding because there is less space for the water to drain properly during heavy rains.  So, by using reclaimed wood, you are helping the environment from both the conservation side and the waste reduction side.

Superior Hardwood offers high quality and durable reclaimed wood for your building and decorating needs. You can be assured that 100% of the reclaimed wood that it offers meets high standards and offers a wider variety of wood species, types of finishes, and wood grain designs.  Nail holes, grain variations, and other character marks will always be present to add more character and history to your wood flooring.  Custom milling is also available to give you more options for how your reclaimed wood will look when completed.

If you want more information on reclaimed wood, Superior Hardwood can answer your questions and provide you with knowledgeable expertise.  Not only will you be helping the environment, but with Superior Hardwood’s reclaimed flooring options, you will have something that is uniquely you.

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Know the Different Types of Hardwood Floor Finishes

Applying a finish to your hardwood floors will keep them well protected against heavy traffic, dirt, and dust. Finishes add another layer to your raw wood, thereby sealing it so dirt and other external elements that are detrimental to your wood cannot easily penetrate it.

If you have hardwood floors at home or are planning to install them, there is a wide variety of finishes you can choose from to help protect them. The key is, not all finishes go well with all kinds of wood species, so it is important to know which type of finishes are viable options and which ones should be avoided. You can consult a professional if you prefer, but you can also research them on your own.

Generally, there are two kinds of finishes: surface finishes and penetrating finishes. Surface finishes are the kind that only add protection on the surface of your wood and simply create a thin sealant.

Penetrating finishes, on the other hand, permeate your wood, so not only the surface is well protected, but also the grain. Penetrating finishes are normally applied in thicker coats, so it’s best to understand the proper application of these finishes before you begin if you choose to apply them yourself. In addition, there are products that are not advised for your floors once they are covered with a penetrating finish, so it is important to familiarize yourself with those as well.

Here is a brief summary of some of the different finishes that are available for hardwood floors:

  • Water-based urethane. This type of finish is a surface finish since it does not penetrate into the grain of the wood. However, unlike other types of finishes, water-based urethane is easier to apply and has a faster drying time.  The main con is that it is considered to be one of the most expensive types of finishes.
  • Oil-modified urethane. This is the most commonly used finish for hardwood floor. It is petroleum-based with durable features and is moisture resistant. Many choose this type of finish because it is easier to apply.
  • Moisture-cured urethane.  This is a solvent-based solution that is known for its non-yellowing feature, meaning you can be assured of long-lasting color on your hardwood floors. It is also more moisture resistant than other finishes and is stronger overall. The downfalls are that it leaves a strong odor and is difficult to apply.
  • Wax. This type of finish has been around the longest, is the easiest type to apply, and is quick to dry.  It is used for added protection to your hardwood floors and is also the least expensive option available.

At Superior Hardwoods & Millwork, we actually offer several finishes for your reclaimed hardwood and hardwood flooring.

We offer two waterbased products made by Bona-Kemi: Traffic– which is a commercial grade finish and is our most durable. Mega– is a residential finish and what we find to be the one most people go with. We also provide a polyurethane finish made by Bona-Kemi as well! As well as a penetrating finish we offer from Rubio Monocoat.

Contact us today and we will get you set up with the finishes you need to maintain your hardwood flooring for years to come!

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How to Find Sustainable Exotic Hardwood for Your Floor

Replacing your old floors at home can open up a number of options. First, there are quite a few materials to choose from. Next, you must choose the color and texture or pattern that you want.

If you choose to go with hardwood floors, there are many different wood species, colors, and patterns that are available. If you want something unique and eco-friendly, a sustainable exotic hardwood floor could be the perfect option for you.

Choosing a sustainable hardwood floor offers a lot of benefits. Not only do they provide unique, one-of-a-kind tones and patterns for your floor, but they are also eco-friendly and cost-efficient. Many hardwood floors are quite expensive do to the demand, but sustainable hardwood floors are much less expensive.

A perfect example is reclaimed wood. As you can guess from the name itself, reclaimed wood comes from old buildings, boats, barns, and other damaged structures.  Despite its source, it is incredibly durable and offers long-lasting beauty and functionality. In addition, because the wood is being repurposed, new trees do not have to be cut down, which means it is an environmentally friendly way to add beauty to your home.

If you are looking for sustainable exotic hardwood floors, the first place you may want to search is the Internet. There are many reclaimed wood stores that offer a variety of wood species, tones, and designs. Keep in mind that it is important to research the company to be sure it’s reputable and not using illegal practices. Customer feedback on social media sites usually offers great inight.

In addition, choose a store that offers shipping to your area. You may want to filter your search to stores that are near where you live. That way, in case you need to return the materials, it is easier for you, and the shipping cost will be less expensive.

Another great way to fins sustainable exotic hardwood is to seek recommendations from friends. If you have a friend who installed a reclaimed wood floor before, ask them which stores and contractors they would recommend and if there are any tips or insight they picked up during the process.  This is also a way to help verify the legality of a company’s practices.

You may also want to search for old barns and damaged structures near your area and negotiate with the owner directly.

Sustainable exotic hardwood floors are a beauty to behold and make an excellent addition to any home interior.

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Green Cleaning Tips for Your Hardwood Floor

Having hardwood floors is a great way to add lasting beauty and elegance to your home. If not properly cared for and maintained, however, they can lose their luster. The wood finish may start to look dull and sections may begin to get worn.

One of the best things you can do when it comes to caring for your wood floors is to clean them regularly.  Practicing green cleaning on top of that will not only keep your hardwood floors looking great, but it will also help preserve our environment.

To help you keep your floor clean while still making our environment safe, here are a few green cleaning tips:

  • Use very little water when cleaning your hardwood floor. Water is one of the worst enemies of hardwood floors, so by using less of it, not only will you be protecting the wood, but you will also be helping the environment by conserving water.
  • Make sure that the cleaners you use are well-suited to the type of wood and finish of your floors. By cleaning the properly the first time, you don’t have to go back and re-clean or repair them, which reduces the amount of product and packaging you use.
  • Avoid using cleaners with harsh chemicals. Not only are these detrimental to your wood, but they can also cause harm to the environment and your family.
  • Mix your own natural cleaners. There are a number of effective concoctions for hardwood cleaners that aren’t harmful to the environment, and you will save money by not having to purchase commercial products.
  • Avoid using ammonia cleaners. Similar to other chemical-based cleaners, ammonia can cause harm to your health as well as to the environment.
    • Regularly sweep the floor to prevent dirt build up.  Maintaining the cleanliness of your hardwood floors will prevent damage over time that would otherwise result from residue.

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Maintenance Tips for Different Reclaimed Wood Finishes

Adding finishes to your reclaimed wood not only enhances it aesthetic appeal, but it also protects it.  Dust and dirt inevitably collect on wood floors, especially if they are outside exposed to the natural elements, and a finish helps protect against permanent buildup and damage.

There are several different finishing options from which you can choose.  Finishes range from wax and varnishes to lacquers and urethane. The type of wood finish you need depends on the specie of your wood, as well as your lifestyle and where your wood floor is located.

To best maintain the functionality of your wood finish, you need to care for it from time to time. The first thing to keep in mind is that different wood finishes require different kinds of care and maintenance. Even though a particular cleaner or cleaning technique may apply to one type of wood finish, it may not be appropriate or strong enough for another type of finish.

Below are some useful tips for properly maintaining different types of wood finishes:

  • General rule: water is the primary enemy of wood regardless of the type of finish it has. Although some types of wood are more penetrable than others, water is never good for it.
  • Know more about your wood finish. Educate yourself on the factors that can contribute to the fast damage to your finish and what you need to do regularly to protect it against those things.  There are some wood finishes that require regular cleaning and upkeep, while other finishes do better with only occasional cleaning.
  • Water-based cleaners and wet mops are fine for some finishes, but not others. This means that you must find out which type of floor yours is because if you use water-based cleaners on floors that shouldn’t have them, they will easily crack or change in color. For instance, wood floors with wax should not be cleaned with water-based cleaners, but urethane can.
  • Know the ingredients of your cleaners, even if they’re natural. Green cleaning has become a popular way to help protect the environment. However, even if you use natural cleaners, it’s still important to know which ingredients they contain to be sure they are safe for your wood floors. Vinegar, for example, is a good cleaning ingredient, but not all wood finishes can tolerate its high level of acidity.

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Knowing More About Environmental Benefits of Reclaimed Wood

Reclaimed wood is wood that is taken from old buildings, boats, and barns and repurposed as building or interior design material. Despite the fact that the structures where reclaimed wood is obtained are damaged, the individual boards are still of great use in construction, furniture design, and interior trimming.

Many homeowners and builders are now choosing reclaimed wood over composite wood because, as a recycled material, it provide more benefits in terms of durability, style, and cost. People who are advocates of protecting the environment also favor reclaimed wood because it reduces the demand for new wood and, thus, the need for logging and deforestation.

In fact, there are many ways in which reclaimed wood is environmentally beneficial:

  • Energy efficient. Compared to composite lumbers, reclaimed wood requires less energy during production and transportation because it is usually obtained locally. Producing, composite woods oftentimes requires materials that are imported from other locations thus creating a larger carbon footprint along the way. In addition, manufacturing composite woods is an extensive process that uses a lot of energy.
  • Less hazardous to the environment. The manufacturing process of composite woods contributes to pollution in the environment, given that artificial, and sometimes hazardous, chemicals are mixed with wood materials to create the final product. Reclaimed wood, on the other hand, does not require any unsafe materials to produce because it is usually used as-is.
  • Fewer trees harvested in the forest. Considering that reclaimed wood is obtained from old barns and existing structures, using it helps to decrease the need for logging and deforestation. Composite wood is manufactured using young trees in the forest and, thus, increases that demand.
  • Frees up landfills. Most materials from old and damaged barns are usually thrown away into landfills, which often clogs rivers and lakes. By recycling the wood, you decrease your waste.
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions. When old wood is burned, it releases emissions into the air that contribute to greenhouse gases. By using reclaimed wood for your floors, furniture, and home construction, however, you prevent that from happening.

 

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