floor covering and design...with a fuzzy side

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

7 easy steps to prevent a flooring installation nightmare


It may seem like a no-brainer but it happens more often than you think. The wrong flooring is installed in your home.  It could be the wrong color.  It could be the wrong style.  It could be the wrong product. (you ordered carpet and they installed hardwood) Perhaps you have flooring installed (most often the installation is supervised by someone other than the person who selected the floor) while you are out and when you get home you realize the flooring is not what you selected.


How could this happen?

For clarity's sake we are going to say the product selected was carpet (but it could happen with any product)

Real quickly; all flooring products have a style name and style number, a color name and color number.  Example: Woodside II (style name) 52Y17 (style number) Cadet (color name) 00402 (color number)

Let's say you want Woodside II, color Uniform #404 and they installed something else

What could go wrong:

1. The sample board was labeled wrong (The color Uniform was labeled with the color #402 which is Cadet)
2. The salesperson wrote down the wrong color/SKU #
  • They wrote Uniform, #402 (wrong #)
  • Cadet, #404 (wrong name)
  • or even Cadet, #402 (both wrong)
3. The mill sent the wrong color (Cadet #402) , yet labeled it with the correct information (Uniform #404)
4. The mill sent the wrong color (Cadet #402), labeled it correctly yet the receiving warehouse did not catch the wrong color and it was given to the installer.
5. The warehouse gave a completely different carpet (both style and color) to the installer.
6. The installer removed carpet for another job from their van and installed it in your house.
7. Your husband/wife told the installer to put the carpet in the wrong room.

Below is what a sample board usually looks like.  The style name is at the top (Woodside II) and the color information is typically written above, beneath or behind (if the sample is removable) each color.  Easy to confuse with color information all over the place, right?


I've put two examples of the same style but different colors below.  The colors are positioned one on top of the other on the board.  If the colors are labeled just above or just below, this mistake can happen quite easily.



Prevention tactics:

1. If the board you selected from was labeled incorrectly, there isn't anything you can do.  The carpet manufacturer should, without hesitation, replace your carpet.  Sometimes they will offer a financial incentive to keep the carpet but don't let them pressure you into accepting something you didn't want.

2. If the salesperson wrote down the wrong color or style#, there IS something you can do.  Confirm before you sign.  Any reputable flooring retailer will 'write up' your order and ask you to sign off on it.  This is the copy that goes to the purchasing department.  In other words, this the information they use to place your order.  Before you sign, make sure the information is correct.  Not only correct, make sure it is neat.  You can always blame it on your eyesight if you don't want to tell your salesperson your first-grader has better handwriting.  Sometimes a sloppily written order can result in the wrong product being purchased from the manufacturer. DO NOT SIGN until you confirm ALL the SKU/style/color numbers and names match the sample from which you selected.  If the sample is wrong, it's on the manufacturer.  If the order is wrong, it's on...you?  Maybe -especially if you signed off on it.

3. Number three seems like something you couldn't avoid because it is the manufacturer's fault.  There is, however, a way to keep this incorrect product from being installed.  Ask your salesperson for a sample of your product.  Keep it until the installation date.  When the installers arrive, check your sample against the material they are about to install.  If they don't match, stop the installation. It is ALWAYS easier to handle an issue BEFORE it is installed.

4. As a customer, you can't control what happens in the warehouse before the install.  Prevention tactic #3 will keep the product from being installed and enable the problem to be quickly solved.

5. See prevention tactic #4

6. Make sure you match up your sample to the product the installer is bringing into your home as soon as possible.  If possible, don't let them take it out of their van.  Walk your sample out and confirm it in your driveway if you can.  If it is a simple matter of grabbing the wrong product, this will be quickly remedied.

7. Give the sample you've gotten from your salesperson to whoever is overseeing the project and make sure they compare it to the product the installers bring into your home.  If they don't do this, shame on them.  This entitles you to at least six months of 'I told you sos', a shopping spree or even a vacation. 

  • Confirm what your salesperson has written on your order matches the sample.
  • Make sure it is neat.
  • Always get a sample of the product you've ordered to keep on hand for the installation.  If the salesperson says you can't have one, go somewhere else.  A reputable flooring retailer will be able to get you a sample if they don't want to part with the sample on their showroom floor.  It may take a few days but the mill will send samples of products for free if an order is on the line. 
Want more like this?

What's wrong with my carpet?  A little knowledge can avoid a lot of aggravation.

The secret to preventing your wood floors from failing.

7 ways to make your carpet last longer.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What's wrong with my carpet? A little knowledge can avoid a lot of aggravation.

bad seam, good seam

 Have you recently had carpet installed and the seam stands out?  Perhaps there is even a color difference at the seam?  If you can't locate your seams, it probably means you've had a great installation. 
where is the seam?

Fact: the majority of seam related issues are installation related -meaning the installer made a mistake.  Today I'm going to discuss just one reason why your carpet may may not look quite right.  It may look like it is two completely different colors or the seam may be very obvious and you're not sure why.  Oftentimes it is a result of the carpet direction.  Specifically, the direction of the fibers (known as pile direction in the industry).

Carpet fibers naturally lay in one direction. When you brush your foot across the fibers they look like they darken but it is simply the fibers laying another direction and refracting light differently. When you vacuum, you can make your carpet look striped by letting the beater bar turn up the fibers every-other pass.
Vacuum lines

It is because the fibers lay in the same direction that an installer must pay attention to this direction when putting in your carpet. When there are two adjoining rooms or rooms that require seams (the room size is wider than the width of the carpet, the direction of the carpet is paramount.

When carpet is cut to room size and the balance is being used to complete the room or cover an adjoining room or space, noting direction is essential.

If the direction is reversed, the color of the adjoining carpets may look completely different (because of that light refracting thing) and the seam will stand out like a sore thumb.

If the direction is turned 45 degrees, not only do you have the fiber direction issue but you also now need to fill on both sides adding two seams that don't need to be there.  When it comes to carpet, the fewer seams, the better.

Below is an example of a proper installation.  The direction is the same, the seam is not visible.

There are times when the carpet is installed correctly and there is a color difference from one side of the seam to the other.  This is a manufacturing defect that I will touch on later.  Now that you know about fiber direction, keep an eye on your carpet install and make sure it lays correctly.

Monday, May 5, 2014

The best online remodeling and design resource you've never heard of

If you're doing a home renovation project and need advice, ideas, inspiration, guidance, local professionals you may think you'd have to visit numerous websites...you'd be wrong.

 A blurb from their website:

Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish - online or from a mobile device. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community powered by social tools, Houzz is the easiest way for people to get the design inspiration, project advice, product information and professional reviews they need to help turn ideas into reality.

Using Houzz

First, visit http://www.houzz.com/ 

From the home page you can go one of two routes.  Create an account or not. We are going to explore without creating an account.

Click on the 'Browse more than 3,000,000...' under Get Started

From hear you have loads of options.

You can browse around or narrow your search.  For today, lets say we are looking for kitchen remodel ideas.  On the left panel under the room drop-down, click Kitchen.

Rather than 3 million images, you've narrowed it down to under 600,000.  Fortunately, you can narrow it even more.  Again on the left panel, you can select your style -if you're looking for something specific, you can filter by style but if you're searching for ideas and don't want to limit the search based upon what someone else thinks fits a style category, I would not use this filter.

Location: You can filter by projects done in just your local area here, which is great if your intent is to find local professionals. 

I'm going to filter by location: Philadelphia.

Now we are down to 16K images. 

I'm going to skip the size and layout filter and filter by Type: Kitchen/Dining

If you look at the top left of the screen, you'll notice our filters are listed.

I also want an island in my remodeled kitchen so I will Chose 1 island under Number of Islands

List of filters

There are loads of other filters to narrow the search even further.  Below is a screen-shot of options. 

We are going to stick with the filters we have and check out the images. At the top right of the screen you'll see an image size selector and beside the XL, there is a play Icon.  To view all the images you've filtered, click that.

Now you're in the slide-show view.  If you hover your mouse over the image, options to go to the next image, (to the right of the image), share, add to idea book etc. (at the bottom of the image)

Another cool thing you'll see as you scroll through the images is information about where the image came from.  This image, for example came from Adelphi Kitchens and Cabinetry.  If you like the cabinet style, you can click on the company name to find out more about them.

 You'll find all of their project photos as well as information on the business.

To exit the slide-show, hover your mouse over the image and you'll see an X at the top right of the image appear.  Click it.

Now you're back at the main search screen with all your filters still in tact.  If you want to remove any filters, simply click the X beside the filter name.

Houzz is also great for specific product searches.  Lets say we are looking for pendant lights to go over our kitchen island. 

There are three ways to search.

First, simply type pendant lights in the search field at the top of the screen.

 The drop-down will give you several options to choose from.

 I chose, pendant lights in kitchen and got 125,787 images.  I can view them just like I did for the kitchen designs.

As you are browsing you may find something you like and want more information. 

Some images have green tags hanging from various items in the photo. 

If you click on these, a little pop-up with a description of the item appears.  Occasionally, on the right menu bar, you will see even more information about the product and sometimes a link to where you can purchase it...very cool!

 If these aren't there and you'd still like information on a product in a photo, you can ask a question -just hover your mouse over the image and the 'ask a question' link will appear at the bottom of the image.  "Can you tell me which type of faucet that is?"

Most business are quick to respond to questions about their images.

Q&A between user and business

Second search

If your filters are still on, you should be able to scroll down to the related products filter.  There you can select Kitchen Lighting.  This will take you to a page that has noting but kitchen lighting, all of which you can purchase. 

You'll need to leave the products area, which you can do by clicking on the photos button at the top of the screen.

Now, filter for kitchen and 1 island.  If you scroll through these you will see all the kitchen islands, including the lighting. This method isn't as precise as the first method, which I recommend.

As a Houzz user, you can create your own idea books and add images you like to it. So if you're planning a kitchen remodel, create a 'My new kitchen' idea book and add images you like.  You can add everything you think you'd need.  Flooring, backsplash, appliances, sinks, faucets, even cabinet pulls.  This is a great way to share your ideas with your significant other and limit the conflict that comes when one is visualizing something completely different than the other. You can even ask questions of the Houzz community about a space from a photo you uploaded yourself and get a ton of great feedback.  (just click on advice at the top by the search field)

Check it out and have fun!

Friday, May 2, 2014

The secret to choosing a wood floor that's right for you

Are you considering purchasing a wood floor?
Do you have a wood floor and wonder why it scratches so easily?
Did you know there is a universal hardness rating scale for wood floors?

It’s called the Janka rating. (See below for a Janka rating scale) The Janka rating assigns a numeric value to wood species based on the Janka Hardness Test.
The test measures the force required to embed a .444” steel ball into a sample of wood half of its diameter.

The industry benchmark is Red Oak, which has a rating of 1290. The relative hardness of all other wood species are compared to this benchmark.

Red Oak -1290

Okay, what does that mean?

We all know the harder the wood, the more durable, more resistant to scratches, longer life, etc. So the question is, how hard is your floor? To know that you first have to determine the species.

Red oak makes up roughly 37% of all wood floors installed in the United States. Why? Red oak is a domestic product and, compared to nearly every other domestic, it is more common (cheaper) and has a higher Janka rating (1290).

A few examples of other domestic species with higher Janka ratings are:

White Oak -1360

Maple -1450

Hickory -1820

Each of these has a different look than Red Oak, which factors into its popularity along with, obviously, cost (all are less common compared to Red Oak).

A very common domestic hardwood seen in many older homes is Yellow Pine -690-870 (depending on what part of the tree the wood was taken from). Yellow pine is extremely soft. A dog’s nails will scratch grooves into Yellow Pine very easily.

Yellow Pine -690-870

An increasingly popular choice for wood flooring is bamboo, which is a grass, not a wood. Bamboo is very hard -1650 because of how it is manufactured. We have an entire blog post about bamboo manufacturing. I’ll put the link at the bottom. I’ve seen staples bend during the installation of strand woven bamboo flooring.

Bamboo -1650

Other popular imported high Janka rating species are:

Santos Mahogany -2200

Brazilian Cherry -2820

Brazilian Teak -3450

Hardness should play a large part when considering what type of wood floor you are going to purchase. Questions you should ask yourself:

  • What kind of traffic will my floor get? (Kids, dogs, commercial etc.)
  • Am I willing to live with scratches in the floor (sometimes they can add to the character)
  • What can I afford?
  • How long do I want my new floor to last?

Finally, the beauty of wood floors (and even bamboo in some instances) is they can be sanded and refinished giving your floor a completely new or different look. A quality wood floor should last as long as the house around it.

A very cool time-lapse video of a floor sanding and refinishing:

The Janka Rating scale

Learn more about how bamboo floors are made.