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Tag Archives: wood floors

  • Best Products for Cleaning Hardwood Floors

    Posted on May 7, 2013 by Jennifer

    If you’ve got hardwood floors, you know how beautiful they look when they’re clean and shiny--and how disappointing it is when they get dull and dirty. Here are a few tips that AltruFir has picked up on how to keep wood floors looking fantastic day and in day out. Continue Reading

    This post was posted in Care & Maintenance and was tagged with Douglas-fir, Douglas fir flooring, douglas fir floors, flooring stains, stains, maintaining wood floors, maintaining fir floors, pet stains, removing pet stains, hardwood pet stains, wood flooring, hardwood flooring, hardwood floors, wood floors

  • How to Lay Wood Flooring

    Posted on February 12, 2013 by Jennifer

    Maybe you’ve been longing for a floor that will make your heart skip a beat every time you walk in the door, but you’re worried about taking a big step like laying wood flooring. Well, wait no longer. Laying wood flooring is a great way to add beauty, value, and style to your home--and when you invest in wood flooring, you’re investing in a love that will last a lifetime.

    Decor Decisions

    First, consider what variety of wood you’d like. Of course, here at AltruFir we’re partial to the warm, rich hue and time-tested durability of clear, vertical-grain Douglas fir flooring. But even if you’ve decided on Douglas fir, you have some options. Would you like to go with brand-new floor, or do you prefer the aged look of reclaimed lumber? Is it important to you that your flooring be FSC-certified? Do you want the old-fashioned feel that comes from wide-plank Douglas fir?

    Once you’ve decided on the perfect style for your home, measure the room where you plan to lay the flooring, add 10-15 percent to ensure you have enough, and then place an order with a knowledgeable lumber company.

    Project Prep

    As with many home improvement projects, a lot of the work involved in laying wood flooring happens before you ever lay a single board. First determine which way the joists—the supporting members underneath the floor—are running. You want to lay your flooring perpendicular to these joists. Walk around the room, listening for squeaks and looking for dips and bumps in the subfloor. Nail down loose boards and sand down any ridges. You’ll also want to use a moisture meter to test the moisture level of the subfloor. Then, make sure to install a vapor barrier on top of the subfloor. Roofing felt or kraft paper are two popular options. Either material will protect your wood flooring from the possibility of any dampness seeping in that might cause warping or buckling.

    When your flooring is delivered, open up the boxes and spread your flooring planks around the room. You’re probably eager to start laying your wood flooring, but instead, the best thing you can do at this point is walk away. That’s right—don’t touch your flooring yet. Let it sit at room temperature for several days in the room where you plan to install it in. This gives your flooring time to acclimate to the temperature and humidity level—once again, this extra time up front prevents problems like warping or buckling down the road.

    While you’re waiting to start the actual installation, you can begin visualizing what your floor will look like. Sort through the boards and pay attention to variations in color and length. You want each row of flooring you put in place to include a nice mix of wood tones.

    Board Beginnings

    When you’re finally ready to start laying wood flooring, take extra care with the first row (professionals call each row of boards a “course”). If it’s not straight, the subsequent courses will be that much harder to get right. Start on the longest and straightest wall in the room; this is often an outside wall. Measure a line 3/8 of an inch away from the wall and mark this line on the floor; it’s crucial that you lay down the first course along this line, rather than flush up against the wall. You need to allow space for the natural expansion and contraction of wood to occur. You can use shims to help keep that first course at the 3/8 mark once you’ve got it lined up.

    You won’t be able to use a pneumatic nail gun at this point in the installation because you’re working too close to the wall. Instead, nail the first course of boards in place, either nailing at an angle through the side of the board into the subfloor, or nailing through the top. If you top-nail, sink the nails down into the board with a tool called a nailset.

    Once you’ve got the first row nailed down, check to make sure it’s still in line with the 3/8 mark. If it is, proceed to the next course. After a few courses, you’ll be far enough away from the wall to switch to a nail gun, which will make things go more quickly. Plan to put at least two nails in every board and aim for one nail every 10-12 inches.

    Course Continuity

    As you go along, remember to continue varying the tones you include in each course. You also want to keep board lengths random, staggering them so that two adjacent courses don’t contain boards that start and stop at the same point.

    Partway across the room, check to make sure that your courses are still running straight and true. If needed, you can use a rubber mallet to nudge the courses together more snugly as you continue.

    Don’t worry if you get to the far side of the room and there isn’t enough width to lay down a full course; you can cut your final row of boards lengthwise with a table saw so that they fit. Remember to leave a 3/8-inch gap at the far wall as well.

    Flooring Finishes

    Once you’re done laying your flooring, it’s time to fill in any nail holes with wood putty. Then let it rest for a few days so that the wood settles firmly into place before you complete it with proper sanding and finishing methods. Make sure that you allow time for your finish to cure before you begin moving your furniture in and walking on it.

    Laying wood flooring can be time-consuming, but when the result is a beautiful, timeless addition to your home, it becomes a labor of love—and it’s all the more reason you’ll be glad you followed your heart’s desire.

    This post was posted in Douglas Fir Flooring, Care & Maintenance and was tagged with wood flooring, hardwood flooring, wood floors, how to install wood floors, how to install wood flooring, how to install hardwood

  • How Hardwood Flooring is Made

    Posted on January 29, 2013 by Jennifer

    It all starts with a tree. Whether it’s a towering Douglas fir or a massive white oak, every piece of hardwood flooring once started out as part of a living, breathing forest.

    But how do you get from giant, bark-covered tree to smooth, beautiful floorboard?

    It’s an interesting process. Altrufir shows you how it works:

    1. Trees are cut into logs. Whether those are sustainably harvested using modern forestry practices, or salvaged from dead standing timber, foresters fell the trees and transport the resulting logs to a mill.
    2. At the mill, logs are de-barked and sawn into planks. Even at this early stage, there is some variation in the manufacturing process. The simplest way of sawing a board is flat-sawn, also sometimes called plain-sawn; the logs are simply run through the saw and cut into flat planks. Quarter-sawing is a bit more work. The log is first cut into four quarters, and then each quarter is sawn at a right-angle to the tree’s annual growth rings. This reveals what’s known as vertical grain. You’ll see long, vertical lines running up and down the face of each board.
    3. We at Altrufir tend to favor clear vertical grain flooring; not only is it attractive, it also produces a more stable final product. When the flooring expands and contracts in response to temperature and humidity in the environment, as all wood naturally does, vertical-grain flooring expands and contracts evenly all along the length of the board. It’s much less prone to buckling and warping than other varieties.
    4. After sawing, expert graders examine the boards, looking for the number of knots, streaks, or other variations in the wood. Boards are sorted into a number of different grades based on their quality.
    5. Once the logs have been transformed into boards and graded, the surface of the board can be treated in a variety of ways. Sometimes, they’re left rough-sawn; that means that the texture from the saw blades will still be visible on the surface of the boards. More often, they’re “surfaced,” which means they’re run through a machine called a planer that gives them a smooth surface.
    6. Next, profile options are added. The profile of a board is what you see when you look at it sideways. Are the edges perfectly square, or does it have a slight diagonal cut from the corners? That’s a beveled profile. Do the sides have tongue-and-groove options cut into them to allow for a snug fit during installation? Back relief is a common feature of hardwood flooring—that’s when small grooves are cut in the back side of the board, making the flooring more flexible, less prone to warping, and easier to install. Altrufir sells flooring in several types of standard profiles, and also allows customers to specify custom profile options.
    7. You might think that flooring would be all done once it’s been cut to the right size and shape. Altrufir’s flooring goes through a final process of kiln-drying, in which the wood is heated to decrease its moisture content. That’s important, because wood that’s not pre-dried could warp or buckle as it dries out after installation.

    In the end, you’re left with a smooth, beautiful, durable product. It’s the result of many hours of labor from foresters, truck-drivers, sawyers and lumber graders. And it’s all ready to install in your home–your own personal, daily reminder of the transformation from forest to floorboard.

    This post was posted in Douglas Fir Flooring, History and Interest and was tagged with wood flooring, hardwood flooring, hardwood floors, wood floors, how hardwood floors are made, creation of hardwood flooring, creation of wood flooring, creation of wood floors, creation of floors

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