We wrote the book
"HARDWOOD FLOORS" and the two accompanying video
tapes/DVDs (“Laying Hardwood Floors”) & (“Sanding
and Finishing Hardwood Floors”) published by "Taunton
Press and Fine Homebuilding Magazine" perceived by many
throughout the wood flooring industry as the definitive text
for the last 20 years on the installation, sanding and
finishing of wood flooring. The book HARDWOOD FLOORS can be
found in nearly all public libraries throughout North
America. It can be purchased directly from us, or through
the publisher, Taunton Press/Fine Homebuilding Magazine, or
from any of the various wood flooring associations, or at
book resellers including those online such as
BUY IT NOW on www.amazon.com.
and Associated Products Wholesale Supplier to the Trade/Retail to Do-It-Yourselfers.
READ MY LATEST
We're a manufacturer/distributor for all manner of wood flooring types and sizes
including Custom Designs and Custom Milled Products.
All products associated with wood flooring trade from stair parts to trim, inlays,
medallions to floor and wall vents, fillers, finishes, abrasives,.
Complete installation tools and supplies as well as everything to sand, scrape,
stain, seal, fill, finish or refinish including abrasives, masking tools and
supplies, safety tools, supplies, equipment and maintenance tools, supplies
opinion and topical commentary
from an industry expert
Wood Flooring in Kitchens, Bathrooms and Entrances
January 17, 2008
Thirty years are more ago the only way you could get us to install a wood floor in a kitchen, bathroom or entryway was for you to provide us with a signed statement that you had been advised about the common characteristics of wood flooring in habitually moist areas and cautioned about the probability of excessive wear to the finish or even to the wood itself.
Moisture exacerbates the effects of wear to virtually any substance. Water has been called the universal solvent by many scientists. Since kitchens and entryways get the most abusive wear (and especially wet wear) of any area(s) inside a home or other structure they are where you will see the most damage to any type of floor covering. When these damp heavy wear and spill prone areas are compared to adjacent rooms with light wear like dining rooms and living rooms, the contrast is so obvious it can astonish some folks.
So why do so many people put wood flooring in their kitchens, entries and baths? That’s a good question. What I hear from our clients over and over again is because it’s so easy to keep clean. A whole lot of folks (including my wife) find that wood flooring strikes a nice balance between warmth and ease of cleaning.
Many years ago when we were installing lots of stone and tile floors in kitchens around the Northwest we were constantly answering clients concerns about cleaning. How can I keep the grout lines clean? The irregular face of the stone makes it so difficult to sweep or mop. What can I use to keep my stone or tile floor clean?
I’m little ashamed to admit it, but I think a lot of our concerns today are still rooted in the days when waxes were the primary top coat(s) or wear layers for wood flooring. Water droplets on a waxed floor can make it extremely slick, especially if you were leather soled shoes. In the past, wax was not used on wood flooring in frequently moist areas such as cooking or food preparation areas, entries, or anywhere that water might be present to reduce this hazard. Usually food prep areas, entries and baths would get finished with penetrating oils such linseed and left at that.
Now days, most footwear, even leather soled shoes, have some type of rubber or slip resistant bottom that helps prevent falls on all but the slickest surfaces.
I find it particularly interesting that today, plastic laminates, vinyl, rubber and lots of other commercial flooring products are routinely treated with compounds containing waxes. They’re just as slick as the wood floors of yesteryear hence the yellow or red caution signs you see everywhere when a maintenance crew just finishes cleaning or mopping up a spill: CAUTON: WET FLOOR
If you read the warranty information carefully you’ll find most legitimate manufacturers of plastic laminates tell you NOT to install their products in kitchens, entries, baths or other areas likely to have moisture issues. The reason for that is their high susceptibility to moisture damage.
The advent of modern no wax floor finishes in the late 1970s (many of which were non yellowing) didn’t require waxing to keep their shine. We began putting wood floors in kitchens again with some strong caveats about wear and the effects of water and wood. Still, we got complaints. The excessive wear from heavy foot traffic and moisture in kitchens and entryways when compared to formal low traffic areas like living rooms and dining rooms raised our client’s level of expectation for wood flooring. Since those rooms immediately adjacent to the kitchens and entries, saw comparatively limited use, an easy evaluation could and often was made as to the durability of the floor finishes we were using.
Over the past several decades, most folks have finally realized that the kitchen and entry gets the most wear of virtually anyplace in the home. Unlike stone, tile, carpet and vinyl, wood is extremely easy to maintain and spills are a snap to clean up. The moderately hard and still moderately soft face of the wood makes it durable, easy to clean, yet easy on the feet when standing on it for long periods of time.
Today’s top-of-the-line factory-finished flooring is even tougher than all but a precious few products that we can apply over site finished flooring in the home. These products allow us to provide our clients with an extremely durable yet beautiful floor covering for areas such as kitchens and entries or even guest powder rooms that can kept clean without a lot of work. We put wood flooring in all our bathrooms in our home, but I wouldn’t advise it for everyone. It requires special care and foresight to keep it looking nice and wearing well over the long haul.
OIL & WAX ARE STILL GOOD OPTIONS
There is no floor finish panacea. I’m asked this all the time. What is the hardest floor finish? What is the best floor finish? What is the most durable floor finish? Our company still does penetrating oil finishes on wood flooring. We still do oil and wax finishes on wood flooring. Each client and each floor has different characteristics. We attempt to evaluate each circumstance and make recommendations to each client independent of other circumstances. We treat every single client as a special case. At the end, it is a decision that our client makes – not us. We give them as much information about each possible product, finish and maintenance regimen as we can and they make an educated decision which is best for them, their budget and their particular circumstances. That’s the way it should be. We prefer serving our clients as expert advisors offering them lots of options instead of dictating their choices to them.
EDUCATION IS POWER
To this day, we make every reasonable effort toward informing our clients about the benefits and potential problems with products they may select or choices they may make when working with us. In addition, we make every effort to educate our customers about wood flooring and its reaction to its environment and especially about its proper care and maintenance. We believe the more knowledgeable our clients are about wood flooring the more likely they are to choose our products, our services and us again and again.
The lack of accuracy and incompleteness of much of the information available on The World Wide Web and in some of the aggressive advertising campaigns, alarms us greatly. There are enormous numbers of new people entering our field daily. The popularity of wood flooring has grown exponentially the past several decades and recently caught the attention of a number of corporate giants who are spending huge sums of money promoting products and dealers with precious little experience and very little knowledge about wood flooring.
These folks and countless others are jamming the internet and other media outlets with information (much of it, inaccurate or incomplete). This has already caused a good deal of confusion and will likely cause a great deal more as this misinformation is copied and repeated over and over again. When folks see things repeated on numerous sites, or advertisers strive to go “one better” than their competition, it’s human nature to believe and repeat what you see and hear. Unfortunately, this does not make the information accurate or complete. It just makes it widely disseminated and largely believed by an unwitting public.
Then, if and when problems occur, these seem to go largely unanswered until a true expert in the field steps forward to set the story straight and explain things honestly and more precisely.
The more accurate and unbiased the information that’s broadly disseminated the better, for both consumers and for ethical businesses. Repeat customers are the mainstay of any business, ours included, and the better informed they are the happier they are likely to be with our services.
For more than 30 years our company has helped establish and build industry trade organizations and educational groups in wood flooring. We’ve design, written, produced and developed instructional media, texts, videos, instructional manuals, technical specifications, product installation guidelines and schools within and separate from our trade associations to help combat a growing level of ignorance and misinformation on wood flooring.
The spending power of big advertisers to bombard an unwitting public with biased advertising and promotion or to repeat misleading information to neophytes or experienced trades folk should not be underestimated.
Whenever and wherever there is exponential growth in a field (as in the case of wood flooring over the past several decades and longer), huge chasms often open up between sound practices and careless or even substandard practices due to conspicuous consumption, fed by exorbitant demand. It’s often referred to as instant gratification consumption and is one of the primary causes for dissatisfaction in a rapidly growing product and service field.
We urge you to check your sources and double check your information before you buy. Then buy carefully only from known and reliable sources that have proven track records with substantiated references.
Here are just a few sources within the US we feel are reasonably accurate and relatively unbiased regarding sourcing, cutting, grading, drying, milling, manufacturing, handling, transporting, re-selling, installation, sanding and finishing of wood flooring. If you are visiting this site from somewhere outside the US, you are welcome to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will gladly direct you to whom we feel is the nearest authoritative resource on wood flooring in your area. We hope the information you find here is of value in your search.
US Forest Products Laboratory’s office website
The Wood Flooring Manufacturers Association’s official website
(formerly The National Oak Flooring Manufacturer’s
The National Wood Flooring Association’s official website
The Maple Flooring
Manufacturers Association’s office website
Wood Floor Products, Inc.
If you want more information on these products, please contact me
directly or Wood Floor Products, Inc. (206) 622-6996 (7-4:30 PST)
(Monday – Friday)
© The above material is intended for the exclusive
use of visitors to http://www.woodfloorco.com and http://wwwtheoakfloors.com
and clients of Don Bollinger, Wood Floor Products, Inc. and The
Oak Floors of Greenbank, Inc. The copying, transmission,
distribution, use, retransmission, redistribution or reuse of all
or a portion of the above material without the expressed written
permission of Don Bollinger, Wood Floor Products, Inc. and The Oak
Floors of Greenbank, Inc., is expressly prohibited.