Frequently Asked Questions
How can I tell the quality of a carpet?
Durability depends on several important factors: type of fiber, face weight, and yarn twist. Choosing a carpet based on any single one of these factors can be misleading; it is important to select the right balance of all three.
Nylon is traditionally the most commonly used fiber in carpeting. It is a strong, resilient fiber, and has outstanding resistance to abrasion. However, nylon is an open-cell fiber, meaning it easily absorbs spills, and so it must be treated for stain protection. Today’s stain treatments offer excellent protection against staining and soiling. Nylon is generally a good choice for high-traffic areas.
Triexta is the newest classification of fiber, although it has been in use for several years. Despite not having the long-standing reputation of the other fibers, triexta is proving itself to be incredibly durable, extremely stain resistant, and super soft. Currently, all triextas are made using sugars from corn, making the carpet friendly to the Earth and to the environment in your home, with lower chemical emissions (VOCs). Triexta is recommended for high-traffic areas.
Polyester is a closed-cell fiber, so it is naturally and permanently stain resistant. Many of today’s polyesters are made from recycled materials, and offer a cost-efficient alternative to nylon. Generally, polyester is best suited for medium-traffic areas, although there are some newer polyesters that would be durable in higher-traffic settings.
Olefin (polypropylene), like polyester, is naturally and permanently stain resistant. It offers a wool-like appearance, which is often used for berber carpets. It is best for low- to medium-traffic areas.
Face weight is the number of ounces of fiber per square yard of carpeting. Be cautious when selecting a carpet based on its weight alone. Heavier does not necessarily mean better. The style of carpet influences the face weight, so this component serves as an accurate indicator only when comparing carpets of the same style. All other things being equal, the higher the face weight, the higher the quality.
Yarn twist — All carpet fibers are twisted together to increase the strength of the fibers. Most residential carpets have between four and eight turns per inch. The higher the number of turns, the stronger the carpet will be. Longer piles with high twist tend to perform better over time.
Do I really need underpad?
The cushion under your carpet is one of the most important components of floorcovering. It is the base that helps the carpet retain its texture and appearance. An underpad acts as a shock absorber to protect your carpet, much like the cushioned heel of a good running shoe. Not only will it make for a softer step, but it will extend the life of your investment.
Underpad is sold by thickness and density. A pad that is too soft will adversely affect the performance of the carpet. We recommend using an 8 lb, 10 mm pad for most residential applications.
What is the difference between solid hardwood and engineered hardwood?
As the name suggests, solid hardwood is made from a solid piece of lumber. It is available in several thicknesses, with 3/4″ being the most common. Solid wood is hygroscopic, meaning that it expands by absorbing moisture, and contracts by evaporation. Due to this, solid wood cannot be installed over concrete or radiant heat. It must be in an environment in which the humidity level and the temperature are steadily maintained.
Engineered wood uses the same wood as solid hardwood, however there is one key difference: the wood is “sliced” into layers, and then bonded back together. The top layer is the “show wood”, and the middle layers are “support wood”. When glued together, the layers are alternated at 90 degrees, so that the grain direction changes with each layer. The purpose of this is the resulting dimensional stability. Engineered wood is up to 8 times more stable than solid wood. Thus, it can be installed below grade, over concrete, and over radiant heating. Engineered woods virtually eliminate the problem of expanding and contracting, thus eliminating the problems of warping, cupping, and buckling.
Another major advantage of engineered wood is that it is more environmentally economical. Because the cutting process is different for engineered wood than it is for solid wood, more of the tree is used. Therefore there is less waste from the production of engineered wood. Solid wood flooring requires more than twice the number of trees to produce the same square footage of engineered floors. So fewer trees are used in the production of engineered wood, leaving more of our forest areas intact.
Can engineered floors be refinished?
Yes! There are two processes through which hardwood floors are resurfaced:
Screen & Re-coat — This is the most common of the two. This is when the factory finish on the wood is “roughed up”, and a urethane finish is reapplied. This is done when there are minor scratches on the surface of the floor. On both solid and engineered floors, this can be done an infinite number of times, because the sanding is not penetrating the wood.
Sand & Refinish — This is when the sanding actually penetrates the wood, requiring that the wood be re-stained and then refinished. This is done when changing the colour of the floor, when there are deep scratches or gouges that penetrate the wood, or when the floor has crowned or cupped due to moisture. A solid hardwood can be sanded and refinished 3 or 4 times, while an engineered hardwood can be done 2 or 3 times.
What is luxury tile?
A luxury tile is a high-performance tile that is not ceramic or porcelain. DuraCeramic and UltraCeramic are limestone composites, providing incredible durability with enhanced flexibility for more comfort and ease of installation. Other tiles, such as Adura, are luxury vinyl tiles, commonly referred to as LVT flooring. These are not lower-end ‘self-stick’ tiles; they are very durable and feature warranties of 15 to 30 years.
Luxury tiles are ideal alternatives to ceramic and porcelain because they are much easier to install, much more comfortable to live on, and are just as durable, if not more so. These tiles are glued directly to the sub-floor, without the need for any cement board or mesh underlay. Most have the option of being grouted, providing a true ceramic look.
What are some options for eco-friendly floors?
There are many choices in eco-friendly flooring these days. Whether you prefer hard surfaces or soft surfaces, there are more “green” choices than ever before.
Of course, there are the options you’ve probably already heard about: bamboo and cork. These are rapidly renewable resources, so they make excellent choices for earth-friendly floors. Another ideal option is domestic engineered hardwood. As mentioned above, engineered hardwood requires less than half the amount of trees to produce the same square footage as solid hardwood. And domestic (North American) is a great choice because it ensures tighter controls on deforestation, as well as reducing the distance of transportation. Another advantage to engineered hardwood is that it can be sanded and refinished if it is scratched or if the colour is no longer desired; thus eliminating the need for floor replacement and thereby eliminating waste.
In carpeting, you’ll find a wide array of designs, colours, and textures that are environmentally conscientious. Manufacturers have been developing recycling programs, which are able to convert used carpet back into new carpet. In addition, many carpet fibers are now being made from recycled materials, or rapidly renewable resources (such as corn!). Drop by our showroom for a full selection of eco-friendly products.