Brilliance Flooring Resources

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Top 3 Flooring Trends of 2017

Hardwood Color and Sheen trends for 2017:


1. Dark hardwood floors

Yes, dark is in! Dark floors continue to grow in popularity, especially among higher end homes. They give a contemporary and classic look. The 2 most popular stains are Antique Brown (darkest and most true brown) and jacobean (a very dark brown, but a tad warmer with a hint of golden tone). Graphite, a black tone stain, has seen a major rise over the past year.

Dark floors make a statement, and they are perfect for highlighting white kitchen cabinets (which are currently the most popular selection), white base trim, or lighter walls.

Dark floors can be a bit more challenging to clean and maintain as they tend to show dirt and scratches a bit more. On the other hand, dark can camouflage older floors’ imperfections (e.g. wood with pet or water stain, gaps in floors, etc.

2. Satin Sheen

About 95% of our customers end up deciding to go with a satin sheen for their floors. The best way to describe a satin sheen is that it still has a luster, shine, and beauty to it, but is not SHINY. The floor will look brand new still but will not look "wet".

One thing to think about with the sheen choice is the shinier the floor, the more imperfections you will see. Satin is a great balance of beauty and luster while not being too shiny for most

3. UV (Ultra-Violet) Finish

Years ago, oil modified polyurethane was the Cadillac of floor finish. It dried relatively quickly (24 hours), left a thick base to the protection of your floor, and gave an almost syrupy look. The question is: who still drives a Cadillac? 

Water-Based Polyurethane: Bona, the leader in the floor finish industry, has developed a product called Bona High Traffic HD. It is a two component mixture where if left for 24 hours after mixing, will be rock hard and unusable. It is water-based which means it has low VOCs (toxic fumes), little to no smell, and is walkable with light foot traffic in 3 hours! It has revolutionized the flooring industry.

UV Polyurethane: UV is widely used now throughout Europe and has begun to spread out West. While application of UV polyurethane is applied like other polyurethane, there is one striking difference; it is baked onto the floor with a high powered UV light machine, curing it INSTANTLY. You've seen pre-finished flooring at Home Depot and Lowes, those are UV baked on in a factory. Technology now allows for you to have that same incredibly durable finish product without the "plasticy" look of pre-finished floors.

What Type of Floor Do I Have?

wood flooring

Many times, we have arrived to an estimate only to discover the customer had either a laminate or engineered hardwood floor; both of which cannot be refinished. Here is a quick guide to discover what type of floor you have.

Laminate: The best way to describe laminate is that it is a high definition picture of hardwood floor and printed onto particle board. While some laminate looks beautiful, it is not real wood and cannot be refinished.

Engineered: Widely used in late 90's early 2000's construction, engineered hardwood floors are one of the greatest tricks to new home buyers. When you bought your house, you were told you have hardwoods throughout. And this is true with engineered floors, but not what you are thinking. Looking at the top picture, the upper layer of the flooring is actual hardwood but can be as thin as a 1/8". The problems that occur when trying to refinish engineered is that it is too thin and boards can be ruined instantly. Most professional flooring companies do not refinish engineered hardwoods due to this liability.

Solid Hardwood:  Solid hardwood can be resanded and stained anywhere from 2-6 times throughout its life. Floors from the late 1800's are still be resanded to this day. They are more durable, timeless, and easier to maintain. 


hardwood flooring

Go to an air vent in the floor and pull off the cover. Inspect the side of the wood. Is it solid all the way through? Do you see layers of wood (engineered). Or is it really thinand plastic-ey feeling (laminate).

A little prep work can save you a lot of time with future estimates and take away the surprise when you hear "we can't refinish these floors".

Choosing Your Floor: Engineered or Solid?

If you are considering having hardwood floors installed in your home, you’re going to have to decide whether you want solid wood planks or engineered wood planks.

Both qualify as hardwood flooring, but they’re surprisingly different from each other.

Solid Hardwood Planks

Solid wood planks are milled from a single piece of hardwood and covered with a thin, clear protective layer that often consists of aluminum oxide, ceramic or an acrylic substance.

Typically three quarters of an inch, the thickness of solid wood planking enables it to be sanded and refinished many times throughout the life of the floor.

Because the plank is a solid piece of wood, it will expand and contract in accordance with the home’s relative humidity. To prevent warping, the home’s interior relative humidity needs to remain between 45% and 65% all year round.

Solid wood flooring is available in a wide array of wood species—including oak, maple, and black walnut as well as regional-specific choices like pecan, mesquite and others. The market also sometimes offers exotic species of hardwood from Brazil, Africa and elsewhere.

Solid wood flooring is permanently nailed to the subfloor. Because of the expansion and contraction issues, installers will normally leave a gap between the wall and the floor to accommodate swelling.

This type of flooring should only be installed in parts of the home above grade and only over plywood, wood or oriented strand board (OSB) subfloors.

Engineered Hardwood Planks

Hardwood planks classified as “engineered” feature multiple layers (typically three to five) bonded together under extreme heat and pressure.

The layers typically include a top veneer of hardwood backed by less expensive layers of plywood—although some manufacturers use substrates made from recycled wood fibers mixed with stone dust for improved durability and stability.

Because of the way engineered hardwood is processed, it is not as affected by humidity as solid wood planks are. Therefore, the product is often the preferred choice for kitchens and bathrooms or in areas where the humidity level can vary—like in a basement or a part of the house below grade, as long as a moisture barrier is placed between the subfloor and the hardwood planks.

They are also better suited for installing over in-floor heating systems.

Engineered wood planks now are being created with a tongue and groove installation method, much like laminate flooring. This enables them to be installed in a floating floor format without nails or glue.

Engineered hardwood floors are suitable for installation on all levels of the home and over plywood, wood, OSB and concrete subfloors.

Which Wood Flooring Should I Choose?

Ultimately, your hardwood choice is going to be determined by where you are planning to install the product and what you’re looking for in terms of design aesthetic.

If you’re installing hardwood flooring in a lower level of your home or in an area where moisture or high (or low) humidity might be an issue, then you’re going to want to stick with engineered hardwood.

On the other hand, if you are installing the new floor on an above-grade level and you want a traditional hardwood floor, then you can go ahead with solid hardwood.

Both types offer a beautiful finish and will increase the value of your home—as long as they are installed correctly and maintained properly over the duration of your ownership.

Having Your Stairs Refinshed?

Hardwood Stairs

One of the most labor-intensive, detailed parts of having your hardwood floors refinished is the process of having your stairs refinished. 

They seem pretty easy...but they're not.

The skilled refinisher has to balance a 40lb machine spinning at high speeds while trying not to damage the surrounding walls. After going through three grits, hand scraping corners, and finally palm sanded with a fine grit sandpaper, they are now ready for the stain process.

With all this process in mind, here are some things to keep in mind when you are getting your stairs refinished.

1.) Nicks and Bumps Happen: Whisking a 40lb, high powered machine that doesn't fit fully on a stair tread isn't easy to do. Even the most trained professional refinisher has a difficult time prevented bumps and nicks. Plan on having the risers and/or the side walls touched up with paint

2.) Risers are near impossible to refinish: The part you walk on is called "treads" while the vertical part you tend to kick with your toes while walking up the stairs are called "risers". While refinishing stair treads is very common, most flooring companies do not offer to refinish the stair risers. The reason is that everything is vertical. Drips in the finish occur more (due to gravity) and the actual sanding is extremely difficult. Painting risers is very common due the brilliant contrast it creates with easy maintenance. 

3.) Consider High Traffic Polyurethane: Stairs are one of the most walked on parts of any house. Consider spending a little more to get high traffic finish to protect from wear and tear.