Monday, June 04, 2012

We’re None of Us Perfect: How to Handle Width-Variation Complaints

In many ways, the rise in popularity of prefinished hardwood flooring has been a godsend for the wholesale hardwood flooring industry — the ease of installation and reduced labor costs associated with prefinished products have allowed thousands, if not millions, of cost-conscious homeowners to enjoy the great look and durability of solid hardwood flooring without breaking the bank.

prefinished hardwood flooring

That said, there are a few downsides that are unique to prefinished hardwood flooring, and width complaints are near the top of the list. Customers used to seeing hardwood floors that were finished on site — where the natural gaps between the planks can be filled in the finishing process — may flip when they see the unavoidable small gaps in a prefinished installation: “Surely these planks are defective! They must be all different widths!”

As with most customer-service challenges, managing the customer’s expectations is key. Make sure the client is educated about the special characteristics of prefinished hardwood flooring before the job starts. Explain that that natural expansion and contraction of the wood will make some small gaps unavoidable. If this is a problem, recommend a solid hardwood flooring product with a beveled edge, which will make the gaps less noticeable.

Finally, if the presence of small gaps (typically no more than 1/16”) is really a deal breaker, gently suggest that the customer might be happier with an unfinished wholesale hardwood flooring product that can be finished on site to whatever level of glassy smoothness the customer might desire.

Contact Wood Monsters today to learn more about solid hardwood flooring’s expansion and contraction abd further ways to minimize it.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Purchasing Hardwood Floors: 5 Tips for Choosing the Right Floor

Purchasing hardwood flooring can be the first step toward bringing a whole new look and feel to your home. That said, you’ll want to choose hardwood flooring that meets your needs — there’s a bit more to the process than just calling up a wholesale hardwood flooring company and saying, “One, please!” Here are a few tips to help you make the right choice:

wholesale hardwood flooring

1. Understanding texture.
You can choose hardwood flooring with a glassy-smooth finish, a more textured brushed look, or a deeply grooved hand-scraped look. The smooth finish gives an elegant, formal look, while the more textured varieties give a rustic feel that also helps hide day-to-day dings and scrapes.

2. Master the cut.
Not only are there different species of hardwoods you can choose, within each species there are different ways of cutting the planks relative to the wood’s grain. Flatsawn, riftsawn, and quartersawn planks will all reveal the wood’s grain in different ways, so be sure to see all available products within a species before making a final decision.

3. The subtleties of plank width.
You might think that the width of each individual plank wouldn’t make a difference, but there’s a reason wholesale hardwood flooring distributors stock their planks in differing widths. Most designers agree that narrower planks convey a more formal feel, while wide ones give a more down-home effect.

4. Thickness matters.
The thickness of your hardwood flooring boards might seem like it shouldn’t matter much at all — after all, you can only see the top surface once it’s installed! However, thickness makes a difference when it comes time to refinish your floor — thicker planks can take more sandings. If you ever sell, potential buyers will want to know how much hardwood flooring they’ve got left to work with.

5. The ranging of color.
You can’t reach a reliable understanding of what the installed floor will look like based on a one-board sample. All species vary in color from plank to plank, and some vary quite considerably! When purchasing hardwood flooring, make sure you understand the full color range for whatever product you choose.

Contact Wood Monsters today to talk with our hardwood flooring professionals about choosing the perfect flooring for your specific needs. We look forward to hearing from you!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Water and Wood Flooring: Understanding Moisture-Related Problems

Wholesale hardwood flooring, because it is a natural product, interacts with whatever environment it’s placed in. If the environment is moist, the flooring will absorb some of that moisture. If the environment is dry, the hardwood flooring will become drier, too. These moisture-related variations are responsible for many hardwood flooring problems. Here are a few principles that will help you understand these issues.

The first thing you need to know is that the drying of wood is an equilibrium process that is ongoing for the life of the wood. Many people assume that once the wood is harvested and dried, it stays that dry for the rest of its life, but this isn’t so.

hardwood flooring moisture problems

As the drying process unfolds, the wood will eventually reach what is called equilibrium moisture content (EMC), which simply means that it’s reached a point where its moisture content is in sync with the surrounding air — it’s neither drying out further nor absorbing moisture from the environment.

The reason this is important is because wood changes shape when its moisture content changes. Thus, if the wood is not at EMC when it’s installed, it will deform as it reaches its equilibrium point, which can lead to cupping, checking, or both.

Cupping occurs when the surface layer of the wood dries faster than the underlying strata. The surface layer shrinks and drags the whole piece into a bowed or cupped shape. Checking occurs when the mismatch between the shrinking surface and the lower layers is so extreme that the surface wood actually cracks.

Your Wood Monsters wholesale hardwood flooring representative can tell you more about how to avoid these problems in your installation. Contact your Wood Monsters representative today to get your project off on the right foot so these moisture-related problems don’t affect you!

Monday, May 21, 2012

America's Favorite Hardwood Varieties

Google Insights is a wonderful search analysis tool that allows anyone with a Google account to see the popularity of a certain search term. For instance, by looking up "puppies for sale", you can find that the puppy breeds being searched for most in the US this past week have been bulldogs, pitbulls, huskies, and German sheperds. As purveyors of high-quality wholesale hardwood flooring, we pride ourselves in staying on top of consumer trends and finding out what end-customers are looking for. This allows us to provide our resellers, contractors, and hardwood flooring installation experts the information they need to help their customers.

That being said, we thought it would be fun to find out what have been the most sought-after hardwood flooring varieties in America for the past three months. Using Google Insights, we examined the phrases "hardwood flooring", "hardwood", and "hardwood flooring for sale" to see what searches were trending and what searches were waning. Here are the top five hardwood flooring varieties most searched by Google users since March. Hopefully you can use this information to address your customers' concerns or make suggestions to them. Enjoy!

Bamboo Hardwood Flooring

bamboo hardwood flooring
It's not surprising that bamboo flooring is the most sought-after hardwood flooring material in the country right now. With many Americans looking for eco-friendly, sustainable building materials, bamboo is being used more and more. Being a type of grass, bamboo grows much faster than traditional hardwood species, making it a much faster renewable resource. Bamboo is also very versatile in appearance, coming in colors ranging from dark brown to an almost off-white yellow. It even as a spiritual aspect to it: some cultures believe possessing bamboo allows one to fuse strength and renewability into one's home.

White Oak Hardwood Flooring

white oak hardwood flooring
White oak flooring has been a favorite in American homes for years, and for good reason. It is bright, versatile, durable, and is naturally resistant to water and rot. Typically light brown in color, white oak hardwood flooring takes well to different color stains and finishes, making it decoratively versatile and complementary to nearly any design scheme.

Brazilian Cherry Hardwood Flooring

brazilian cherry hardwood flooring
One of the toughest exotic hardwoods on the market, Brazilian Cherry flooring is as durable as it is attractive. Ranging in color from light tan to deep red and featuring wavy, often unexpected grain patterns, this species is an eye-catching addition to any room.

Laminate Flooring
While not technically a hardwood product, laminate flooring is still a popular choice among homeowners that want the look and feel of traditional hardwood without the higher up-front costs. While there are many different styles of laminate flooring to choose from, it's important to stress to your customers that laminate does not have the same durability and lifespan as genuine hardwood flooring. While they may save money at the beginning, the cost of replacing laminate flooring can cost a whole lot more than the basic maintenance required to keep hardwood looking new.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

engineered hardwood flooring
Not a specific species of hardwood flooring but still quite popular, engineered flooring provides a solid hardwood material that is relatively easy to install and can be installed in any room of the house, including the basement and second stories. Engineered hardwood flooring is also less susceptible to moisture-related problems, making it perfect for bathroom and kitchen applications.

We hope these insights help you serve your customers better. If you have any questions regarding these flooring varieties, contact Wood Monsters today. We look forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How to Stain Hardwood Flooring and Avoid a Mess

Once you’ve made the decision that you want the great look and durability of hardwood flooring in your home, the most common solution is probably to find a hardwood flooring contractor and let that firm handle all the details. But if you’ve got a moderate amount of skill working with wood, you may elect to go the DIY route — finding a good price on some wholesale hardwood flooring and doing the work yourself.

Once the floor is installed, it’s time to stain and seal the floor. Here are three tips from the pros to make that process neat and trouble-free.

how to stain hardwood flooring

Keep it clean.
Probably the single most common rookie mistake in floor finishing is staining and sealing hardwood flooring that’s not perfectly clean. More than likely, the floor will have just been sanded, and any fine particles of dust that get trapped under the finish will be there for good! Vacuum, vacuum again, and then use a tack cloth to pick up the last of the grit.

Stain carefully.
You’ll want to use a rag or roller to apply the stain, but before you do, map out the job in your mind. Don’t stain yourself into a corner! Always work with the grain, using long, even strokes. Finally, make sure you’re not using a stain product that will raise the grain, or you’ll need to sand again.

Seal, sand, seal.
Once your stain has dried thoroughly, apply a polyurethane sealant. Again, work with the grain of the wood. Once the poly is thoroughly dry, you’ll want to sand it lightly, but don’t rush the job — sanding when the sealer is still wet will turn your wholesale hardwood flooring into a scene of wholesale destruction! After sanding, apply the final coat of polyurethane for a glass-smooth finish.

Contact your Wood Monsters sales representative today to learn more about applying a stain to hardwood flooring.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Wood Monsters Featured Product: Cypress

Welcome back to our regular blog series, Wood Monsters Featured Product. This week we're shining our spotlight on one of our favorite prefinished hardwood flooring products: Cypress.

cypress hardwood flooring

Cypress hardwood flooring features a wide range of colors: white, cream, yellow, brown, red, olive, tan, copper, and many more. The combinations of colors in Cypress flooring make it visually engaging but also quite versatile - you'd be hard-pressed to find a color scheme or home decor that wouldn't look great paired with a Cypress hardwood floor. Cypress flooring also has unique and interesting grain patterns and tree markings. Though quite random, the markings fit together nicely once installed.

Cypress hardwood from Wood Monsters is also one of the more durable flooring materials you can buy. Cypress already has high Janka hardness and density ratings, and our prefinished materials are engineered with high-density fiber technology. This combination of strength and density means your flooring will experience little buckling, warping, or cupping, and will be more resistant to dents, scratches, and wood-boring insects.

Contact your Wood Monsters representative to learn more about our prefinished Cypress hardwood flooring, or visit

Monday, May 07, 2012

Wood Monsters Design Tips: Aniline Dyes

Until recently, hardwood flooring professionals have had only one choice when it comes to adding color to their floor: staining it. Indeed, most hardwood installation contractors only use common brown and red stains when finishing hardwood floors. Hardwood flooring doesn't need to be restricted to traditional colors, though. There is another option for the more adventurous homeowner: aniline dyes.

Unlike traditional hardwood stains and finishes, aniline dyes are available in any color you can imagine: jade, ruby, gold, teal, etc. Using aniline dyes on hardwood floors gives homeowners and installers the ability to match the floor to virtually any color scheme and decor. It is also a great way to add drama and energy to an otherwise drab room.

Dyes are also absolutely transparent. They soak directly into the finished wood surface, adding color without sacrificing the wood's natural grain and texture. You can even dye different boards different colors, creating dramatic color combinations that are sure to impress your friends and family.

Aniline dyes do come with a few drawbacks, of course. They can be much more difficult to apply than conventional stains, and if they’re not applied with great care, the finish can have an uneven appearance. Some hardwood flooring installation companies or contractors are unfamiliar with the use of aniline dyes, which is unfortunate; even though they can be difficult to work with, the design benefits of aniline dyes are well worth the effort. And because they are more difficult to work with, flooring installers can often charge a bit more than they would for a traditional stain.

At Wood Monsters, we pride ourselves in helping contractors and hardwood flooring professionals with the home design process. Contact us today to discuss your customer's specific design needs and how our high-quality flooring products can play a part.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Translating Industry Jargon: Why Clear Communication is Important in the Hardwood Flooring Industry

Like any specialized trade, the wholesale hardwood flooring industry has its share of trade-specific terms that may be unfamiliar to the layman. Whether it’s a base shoe or a trowel fill, if you don’t take the time to familiarize yourself with basic hardwood flooring terms, you’ll be at a disadvantage when communicating with your hardwood flooring professionals.

wholesale hardwood flooring

By contrast, if you do know your stuff, it’ll be that much easier to communicate with hardwood flooring installers, designers, and other tradespeople. Not only will you save time when conversing with these folks, you’ll go a long way toward avoiding the kind of costly misunderstandings that mar too many jobs. Luckily, it’s not too hard to get yourself up to speed.

If you’re looking at a hardwood flooring installation in your future, chances are you’re already perusing home-improvement and design magazines, both for ideas and for pleasure. Try broadening the scope of your reading to include do-it-yourself-focused publications — even if you have no intention of doing the work yourself. Not only will you quickly master the vocabulary, you’ll gain valuable insights into what various home improvement jobs entail — information that will only help you as you communicate with home improvement pros, from general laborers to wholesale hardwood flooring suppliers.

Another great way to learn the vocabulary of hardwood flooring terms is to take advantage of the many valuable resources online. At Wood Monsters, we particularly recommend the glossary featured in the industry-standard National Wood Flooring Association Installation Guidelines. Follow the link and search for “glossary” — 15 minutes glancing over these few pages and you’ll be talking like an wholesale hardwood flooring expert!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Wood Monsters Featured Item: African Walnut

Welcome once again to our continuing blog series, Wood Monsters Featured Items. Last time, we told you about a great engineered hardwood flooring product, Hand-scraped Pacific Walnut. This time we’ve got a solid walnut product to share with you; African Walnut Hardwood Flooring.

african walnut hardwood flooring

Like all hardwood flooring, African walnut has a warmth and feel that carpet and tile can’t match. African Walnut hardwood flooring has an additional advantage: its remarkable, dark heartwood.

African Walnut hardwood flooring has a natural deep brown, almost black color coupled with an extraordinarily even and subtle grain pattern. This gives it a luxuriant, but very neutral appearance that will fit well with almost any design scheme or color palette.

African Walnut’s darkness, density and uniform texture mean that it’s able to take a high luster, for an elegant, piano-like finish that will complement any library, study, formal dining room or any room where a smooth, even shine is desired. And its durability and resistance to decay mean that it will continue to impress for a lifetime if properly maintained.

African Walnut hardwood flooring from Wood Monsters is one of the highest-quality flooring products you can find. Contact Wood Monsters today to learn more.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Click Flooring: What Are the Benefits?

If you’re currently going through the process of making a decision about what type of hardwood flooring product to use in your upcoming project, you can be forgiven for feeling a little overwhelmed. Engineered or solid? Flat or hand-scraped? Float, glue or staple?

We understand, and that’s why this blog will always be here to guide you through the bewildering array of wholesale hardwood flooring options out there. In that spirit, we’d like to tell you a little bit about HDF click hardwood flooring.

HDF click hardwood flooring is an engineered hardwood flooring product that offers significant advantages. The most prominent is that click flooring is designed to “click” into place as it’s installed. This is a particular plus for the do-it-yourselfer who may not be a hardwood flooring installation expert: the planks align automatically, making errors nearly impossible.

Another advantage of click hardwood flooring: many homeowners see it as a more sustainable option. The product is engineered in such a way that more of the tree is used, meaning it takes fewer trees to make a floor. Many of our wholesale hardwood flooring customers cite this as a factor in their decision to use click flooring.

Additionally, click flooring is suitable for damp, “below grade” installations such as basements, where a solid hardwood flooring product wouldn’t be appropriate.

Finally, the engineered product can be easier on the home improvement budget than a comparable solid-wood installation. That doesn’t mean it’s not remarkably handsome, however. Click flooring is available in most species and finishes, to fit any design concept. Contact Wood Monsters today to learn more about this marvel of hardwood flooring technology!

Monday, April 09, 2012

Installers and Designers: How to See Eye-to-Eye

In the construction business — especially in residential new home construction and remodeling — it’s well-known that there’s a tension between the designers who create the vision for a home or room and the contractors whose job it is to make that vision a reality. The hardwood flooring business is no exception to this rule.

Whether you’re an installer or the homeowner caught in the middle, it’s helpful to understand some of the most common ways in which communication between designers and hardwood flooring contractors can break down. Here are a few tips for working with designers.

Learn the vocabulary.
Designers tend to discuss things in terms that sound vague to folks with a construction background — “classical,” “modern,” “busy.” Spend some time with some design magazines to learn how these terms have specific meanings in the design vocabulary. When a term doesn’t mean much to you, ask! Most designers are happy to bend your ear about their trade.

Be clear and firm.
It’s a designer’s job to dream up things that no one’s seen before. It’s not necessarily their job to know whether such things can be built within the budget — or even if they exist! If you’re the wholesale hardwood flooring supplier, don’t be shy about appointing yourself as project expert: “This is what’s available, this is what can be done — and this is what can’t.”

Go with the flow—up to a point.
Hardwood flooring contractors need to understand that interior designers aren’t architects; they work in a more seat-of-the-pants fashion, building their vision as they go. The hardwood flooring people should be prepared to execute a vision that continues to develop as the project unfolds — but one that changes completely every few days may be the sign of an inexperienced designer, and could be one of those rare projects it’s best to walk away from.

hardwood flooring contractors

If you are a hardwood flooring contractor and are having communication problems with another member of a construction project, contact WoodMonsters today to speak with your representative about the best way to work with designers so everyone ends up satisfied.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Floor Grades: What Are They, and Why Are They Important?

Whether you’re in the market for wholesale hardwood flooring to redo the floors in an entire house, or just looking to patch an existing installation, it helps to have a good command of the terminology of the hardwood flooring industry. Knowing the basic concepts will make your experience go more smoothly, and understanding your own hardwood flooring needs will avoid mistakes and misunderstandings that could necessitate costly repairs later.

One of the terms you’re likely to hear your wholesale hardwood flooring representative use is “grade.” Some folks may be confused by this, since in other contexts, “grade” can refer to the angle of a slope—and you’re probably hoping your floor will be flat! But in the hardwood flooring industry, “grade” refers to the level of the floor relative to the level of the ground outside.

There are three types of grade. The first is “on grade.” This means simply that the floor is at ground level—typically the main floor of a residence. On grade hardwood flooring installations can be solid hardwood, engineered flooring, or floating hardwood floors.

The second usage is “above grade,” which means, as you might imagine, installations on the upper floors of the residence. Here also, one can employ solid, engineered or floating hardwood flooring.

Finally, some installations are “below grade,” meaning they’re below ground level — basements or sunken room levels. This is important, since most wholesale hardwood flooring suppliers recommend that you avoid solid hardwood flooring in below-grade situations, due the danger of moisture- related damage to hardwood floors installed below ground level.

On grade installations support most all types of hardwood flooring materials.

We hope this makes things a bit clearer. Of course, there’s no substitute for a conversation with a real expert. Contact Wood Monsters today to learn more about the best choices for hardwood flooring on any level of the house.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hardwood Flooring and Radiant Heat Systems: Which Material Is Best?

When it comes to efficiency and effectiveness, radiant heat systems are great. But when it comes to hardwood flooring, they can do some pretty serious damage. Hardwood flooring is more likely to dry out faster when installed over a radiant heat system, and overly dry flooring is just as prone to damage as flooring that has too much moisture. There are, however, certain types of hardwood flooring materials that work better with radiant heat systems and are less likely to experience the same kind of damage. Here are the best hardwood flooring materials to install over radiant heat systems.

Narrow Boards
Narrow boards are generally more dimensionally stable than wider boards, meaning they will bend, buckle, and warp less when installed over a radiant heat system. As a general rule of thumb, using any width under 3” works well. The preferred width is 2 1/4”, especially in solid flooring.

Quartersawn Flooring
Again, the important factor with this type of flooring is dimensional stability. Quartersawn floors and rift-sawn floors are more stable than their plain sawn counterparts.

Engineered Flooring
There are many reasons engineered hardwood flooring is preferred over solid hardwood flooring: it's versatile, it's relatively easy to install, and it can be installed in almost any room in the house. Engineered flooring is also the preferred choice when it comes to radiant heat systems. The dimensional stability of engineered flooring makes it a perfect pairing with radiant heat.

Engineered hardwood flooring is a great material to use over a radiant heat system.

For more information on installing hardwood flooring over radiant heat systems, contact Wood Monsters today!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Hardwood Flooring and Bathrooms: Which Species is Best?

The beauty and durability of hardwood flooring has made it an enduring favorite of builders and homeowners for just about as long as there have been floors. But there’s one room where, historically, hardwood has been afraid to go. We’re talking, of course, about the bathroom.

Mention your dream of having hardwood flooring in your bathroom and the old-timers will give you a skeptical look: moisture and wood don’t mix! You’re asking for trouble.

It’s true that damp conditions can be bad for an inferior, poorly-sealed hardwood flooring installation. However, a properly-installed hardwood floor can work just fine in the bathroom, particularly if you use the right kind of wood. Enter cumaru hardwood flooring. This exotic South American hardwood has an exceptionally dense cell structure that helps it resist moisture and the bacteria that can break down more porous woods over time.

Initially popular in the US for use in outdoor decks, cumaru hardwood flooring is now finding a receptive audience among folks who’ve longed for the warmth and good looks of hardwood in the bathroom, but thought it couldn’t be done.

Now, though, it can! Contact your Wood Monsters rep to learn more about how cumaru hardwood flooring can put the crowning touch on your home’s baths.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Hardwood Floors and Flooding: 5 Tips for Minimizing Damage

A flood is one of the most traumatic experiences a homeowner can experience. Flood water can damage many important parts of a home, and hardwood flooring is no exception. Water damage can cause staining, cupping, buckling, and other flooring problems. There are, however, a few things you can do after a flood to help speed the drying process and save as much of your hardwood flooring as possible. They are:

1. Increase the airflow.
Opening all the windows and doors will increase the airflow in your house and help speed the drying process. Make sure to do this only after the flooding has stopped - you don't want to make matters worse by letting more water in.

2. Clean the floor.
Get rid of any remaining dirt, mud, water, or debris that may have come in during the flood. Letting this dirt and debris sit on your floor will encourage staining and mold growth, so get rid of it as soon as you can. Make sure to wear protective gear, like heavy gloves and boots; you never know what might have floated in during the flood.

3. Clean the floor some more.
After you've cleaned up the mud and debris, it's time to get into the nooks and crannies. Using a non-abrasive brush and a non-sudsing detergent, clean the floors' cracks, grain, and any other surface area that still has dirt and debris in it. This will help reduce staining and mold growth. Use clean, clear water to rinse the floor once you're done.

4. Safely dry the floor.
Wait for the power company or governmental officials to give you the "OK" to turn your power back on. When it's safe to do so, turn on your furnace and space heaters to get the house temperature between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Heating from the basement up is the preferred method, especially if you have hardwood flooring on multiple floors of your home. If you're working with a professional flood restoration company, they should provide special fans, heaters, and dehumidifiers to help speed this process.

5. Assess the damage.
Don't kid yourself - there will most likely be damage to your floor. The best you can hope for is that the damage is minimal enough that you can refinish the floor boards and not have to replace the whole floor. The most important things to look for are cupping, crowning, warping, buckling, finish damage, and mold growth. If you notice any of these - and again, you probably will - it's best to call a hardwood flooring professional. They will be able to determine the exact extent of the damage and handle the refinishing or repairs.

Unfortunately, the drying and repair project can take weeks or months to finish. No repairs should be attempted until your floors have reached normal moisture levels. A hardwood flooring professional will be able to tell you when your flooring is reading for repairs. To learn more, visit Flooding and Hardwood Flooring on the Wood Monsters website.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Wood Monsters Featured Item: Hand Scraped Pacific Walnut

It’s time once again for our regular series on the Wood Monsters blog, Wood Monsters Featured Items. You may recall our last installment was about Engineered Brazilian Cherry. Today we’ll be talking about another engineered flooring product: Hand Scraped Pacific Walnut.

Engineered Hand Scraped Pacific Walnut Hardwood Flooring

Like all handscraped hardwood flooring, Wood Monsters’ Pacific Walnut hardwood flooring is sculpted by hand to give the look of a reclaimed, vintage hardwood floor. But since it’s an engineered product, it’s more resistant to humidity and easier to install on any floor of the house.

As you’ll recall from our recent rundown on engineered flooring in general, just because the product is engineered doesn’t mean it’s not real wood! Engineered flooring is formed in layers, and the top layer that you see and walk on is real Pacific Walnut, with that hardwood’s characteristic coarse grain and straight or wavy tree markings on the individual boards.

Because it’s hand scraped hardwood flooring, it has the dimensional stability and sculptured quality you’d associate with a lovingly maintained, century-old house. And because it’s Pacific Walnut hardwood flooring from Wood Monsters, you know it’s backed by our top-notch expertise and customer service.

Don’t confuse this handscraped product with distressed products, which get their worn look from an automated wire brush. Because these boards are finished by hand, they have a warmth and character all their own. Visit our site to learn more about our wide selection of hand scraped Pacific Walnut hardwood flooring.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

DIY Hardwood Flooring Installation: 5 Helpful Tips

It's difficult to properly install hardwood flooring without professional assistance - but not impossible. It is certainly not a project for beginners, but if you have experience with other DIY home improvement projects, you might be up to the task. We strongly recommend you follow the National Wood Flooring Association Installation Guidelines for hardwood flooring, and don't hesitate to call a professional if you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with any part of the installation process.

That being said, we have five helpful tips you should definitely know before beginning any hardwood flooring installation project. This is by no means a complete installation plan, but a few things to keep in mind during the process. Enjoy, and good luck!

1. Adjust your home's humidity.
Hardwood flooring reacts negatively to poorly regulated indoor climates. This is especially true for solid hardwood flooring materials. It's important to make sure the humidity levels in your home are at an appropriate level and are regulated year round. Drastic changes in temperature and humidity can cause your wood floors to bend, buckle, and warp.

2. Acclimate, acclimate, acclimate!
Properly acclimating your hardwood flooring materials to their environment is one of the most important parts of the installation process. You should use moisture testing equipment to determine when your boards have reached acceptable ranges of moisture content. These levels vary depending on your geographical region and your subflooring. Acclimation times vary, but plan on waiting 2 - 3 weeks before you can start installation.

3. Inspect your subfloor.
Installing hardwood over shoddy subfloor can ruin your floors almost immediately. Make sure your floor is flat, smooth, structurally sound, and has the right moisture levels. Not sure how to determine this? Call a professional.

4. Inspect your wood.
Many manufacturers have very strict parameters when it comes to warranty claims. The best way to save yourself the headache of having to make a claim is to inspect every board before installing it. Returning a product because you don't like the look or because it has some sort of manufacturer defect is a lot easier if the material has not been installed yet.

5. Be gentle!
Many homeowners equate DIY projects with brute strength, when in reality this is rarely true. When it comes to installing hardwood floors, it's better to have a softer touch. You don't want to force planks together or pound a board with a hammer -- this type of behavior can lead to dents, scrapes, and otherwise damaged boards.

Remember, DIY hardwood flooring installation isn't for everyone. To learn more, talk with one of our hardwood flooring specialists.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Engineered Flooring: The Pros and Cons

Despite being around for a long time now, engineered hardwood flooring is still quite misunderstood. Some people think it is the same as solid hardwood flooring, while others liken it to laminate flooring. In fact, the truth is somewhere between the two comparisons. Engineered flooring is made up entirely of wood - there are no synthetic elements to the material. However, engineered flooring is made up of many layers of different types of wood. The top layer gives the specific variety its namesake - for instance, African Walnut engineered flooring may have layers of different wood throughout the board, but the top layer is solid African Walnut.

So how do you know if engineered flooring is right for your specific flooring needs? The best way to decide is to compare the material's pros and cons. The following are a few of the best and worst features of engineered hardwood flooring:


Greater Resistance to Environmental Conditions
Because engineered flooring is made of many layers and not one solid board, it is more resistant to weather and environmental conditions. It is specifically designed to reduce moisture problems common with solid hardwood flooring. This design reduces bending, buckling, warping, and other moisture-related problems.

Greater Installation Versatility
Unlike solid hardwood, engineered flooring can be installed in nearly any room or floor of your house. It is appropriate for first floor, second floor, or even basement applications. It also is easier to install than solid hardwood. Many varieties don't require stapling - you can either glue the boards down or lock them into place and float the floor over an existing one.

Less Expensive than Solid Hardwood
As you might imagine, engineered hardwood flooring is less expensive than many varieties of solid hardwood. This allows homeowners to get the look and feel of traditional solid wood floors at a fraction of the cost.


Difficult to Refinish
When you scratch or dent a solid hardwood board, in most cases it is relatively easy to sand out the blemish and refinish the board. This isn't true with engineered flooring. Because the top layer is only so thick, if you sand it away you will be left with the exposed layers beneath it. Most bad dents or scrapes require the board to be replaced. This isn't always a difficult project, but it can take longer and cost more money than refinishing.

Inferior Products Do Exist!
The benefits of engineered flooring really only apply to high-quality products. Like any manufactured product, if the product is shoddily made it won't last long. Some inferior engineered flooring products have very poor veneers or finishes that can contribute to the boards' warping or fading. Likewise, if the interior layer isn't made of high-quality wood the boards can lose dimensional stability.

If you choose engineered hardwood flooring made with high-quality materials, the pros will far outweigh the cons. Visit the Wood Monsters website to learn more about engineered flooring and view our selection of products.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Wood Monsters Featured Item: Engineered Brazilian Cherry

Welcome back to our new blog series, Wood Monsters Featured Items! As we're sure you well remember, the last installment of the series took a look at solid prefinished African Walnut. This week we're going in a complete different direction and shining our spotlight on Brazil: Smooth Engineered Brazilian Cherry, that is!

The Brazilian Cherry hardwood flooring from Wood Monsters has a nearly uniform reddish color, a medium to coarse texture, and subtle tree growth markings nicely blended into the wood. Also known as Jatoba, Brazilian Cherry is one of the most popular hardwood flooring materials imported into the US every year. The light black striping and subtle tonal differences give Brazilian Cherry flooring a lot of depth and contrast. Our Brazilian Cherry has a classic, sophisticated look perfect for dining rooms, entrance ways, and any other room you'd like to make an impression.

In addition to its beauty, Brazilian Cherry is a very durable hardwood. Like most exotic hardwood flooring materials, Brazilian Cherry has high Janka hardness and density ratings. Its density and hardness make it a great choice for high-traffic areas of your home or office. It is also naturally resistant to wood rot and boring insects. If you're looking for an attractive, versatile building material that will last for generations, look no further than Brazilian Cherry hardwood flooring.

Brazilian Cherry Hardwood Flooring

Wood Monsters has an assortment of different sizes of Brazilian Cherry flooring. Chat with our live flooring specialist to learn more about the features and price of this great exotic flooring species.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Photosensitive Hardwood Floors: How to Minimize Exposure and Reduce Fade

Everyone knows that hardwood flooring is susceptible to water, but many homeowners are unaware of another common threat: light. That's right! Every type of hardwood flooring is photosensitive to some degree, and without the proper preparation and maintenance your floors can lose their luster over time. Luckily for you, we have four helpful hardwood flooring maintenance tips for protecting your floors from damaging UV exposure. You're welcome!

1. Understand Photosensitivity
The best defense against UV exposure is understanding exactly what it is. Hardwood photosensitivity is the reaction that hardwood flooring has to UV radiation. Exposure to UV can cause wood colors to fade, and in some cases can dramatically change the appearance of your flooring. By understanding what light can do to your floors, you're well on your way to protecting them from harmful rays.

2. Minimize Light Exposure
Unfortunately, there is no surefire way of protecting your floors from UV exposure. There are, however, many ways you can minimize their exposure to it. One way is to control light exposure using heavy curtains or blinds. These block out harmful UV rays during peak daytime hours. Since many people are out of their homes during the day, drawing the blinds is a perfectly acceptable way of preventing UV damage. Keep in mind that while minimizing light exposure can slow color fading, it won't stop it entirely.

3. Move Furniture Often
Another way of minimizing UV exposure is rearranging your furnishings often. Hardwood floors will often show phantom furniture "shadows" - outlines on the floor where an armoire or couch has sat for years. Simply moving your furniture every so often will equalize the UV exposure and slow the fading process.

4. Accept the Inevitable
Some homeowners know about the effects UV exposure can have on their new hardwood floors and plan for it in advance. If you choose this route, talk with a hardwood professional about what kind of color change you should expect. Armed with this information, you can periodically change your room's decor to match the new floor color. You can even make design choices that not only fit the current floor color, but the color you know the floor will become.

Unless you have installed the flooring in a windowless room, there is no way to avoid UV exposure. You can, however, minimize the amount of light your new floors receive, balance the amount of light each part of your floor gets, and make design choices based on your floor's new faded color. Remember, color change is a natural occurrence; you can delay the process, but you can't stop it entirely.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hardwood Flooring: A Healthy Flooring Option

Of all the flooring materials on the market, hardwood is widely acknowledged as the healthiest option for you and your family. Carpet can trap allergens and parasites, vinyl can attract mold, and tile can encourage water pooling. Hardwood flooring, on the other hand, is naturally resistant to mold and decay and has no fibers to trap dirt and common allergens. The following are the four main reasons why hardwood flooring is a healthier choice for your home flooring needs.

Carpets and rugs are made of thousands of individual fibers that can attract and trap dust mites, dirt, and dander. If you suffer from allergies you may notice your symptoms worsen after installing carpet. You can lessen this by steam cleaning and vacuuming, of course, but many allergy-stricken homeowners simply don't have the time or energy to perform the carpet maintenance necessary to keep an allergy-free home. Hardwood flooring is a simple, beautiful solution to common household allergy problems. Dirt and dander is actually visible, meaning you know exactly what may be causing your allergy attacks and what you need to do to alleviate them.

Less Chemical Build-Up
We all know the dangers of chemicals and toxins in our air, water, and food supplies, but how many of us think about all the toxic materials we track into our homes everyday? Oil, animal waste, garbage - these are just a few of the nasty things that can get on our shoes and brought into our homes. Carpet flooring can trap and soak up these toxins and, over time, become a serious health risk to you and your family. Hardwood flooring doesn't do this.

Fewer Parasites and Insects
Carpet fibers can also be home to fleas, ticks, bed bugs, mites, and other parasites and insects. These pests aren't only a nuisance to your pets - they can also bite you, your family members, and your house guests. Once you get an infestation of carpet parasites, getting rid of them can be a major hassle and can sometimes require calling a professional exterminator. Hardwood flooring gives parasites and pests no place to hide or thrive.

Less Mold
Unlike vinyl, dense hardwood flooring is naturally resistant to mold and other water-related decay. Certain types of synthetic flooring material can be very susceptible to mold growth. Exposure to mold can cause many health problems, including asthma, eye or skin irritation, and even lung infections. Hardwood flooring carries very low risk of mold growth and is a much healthier floor covering option.

hardwood flooring

To learn more about hardwood flooring and its health benefits, visit and chat with one of our online flooring professionals.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Wood Monsters Featured Item: Solid Prefinished African Walnut

Wood Monsters is proud to feature dozens of high-quality hardwood flooring products, but with so many options, picking the right species and style for your flooring project can be overwhelming. That's why we've started this blog series - to showcase some of the most popular and highest-quality hardwood flooring products we carry and offer enough information to allow you to make an informed decision. This week we're featuring one of our most popular exotic hardwood flooring lines: solid prefinished African Walnut. Enjoy!

Wood Monsters carries the Elegance line of solid prefinished African Walnut hardwood flooring. This narrow, solid smooth flooring line has a distinguished look perfect for dining rooms, living rooms, libraries, halls, and studies. The wood's color is a dark brown and it is nearly uniform in texture, which adds to its versatility. The dark tones, high luster, and uniform look make it compatible with nearly any design scheme.

African Walnut is not just a pretty face - it's also one of the most durable species of hardwood flooring you can find. It is naturally resistant to decay, has high hardness and density ratings, and has good dimensional stability. If you're looking for an attractive hardwood flooring option that will last for decades, look no further than solid prefinished African Walnut.

Questions about this species? Contact Wood Monsters today to find out more about solid prefinished African Walnut hardwood flooring.

African Walnut hardwood flooring

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hardwood Flooring Mechanical Properties - What Do They Mean?

There are a number of mechanical properties industry insiders use to describe and qualify different species of hardwood flooring. This vocabulary is used to talk about a wood's strength, density, its tendency to shrink or swell, and other hardwood features. But if you are just starting your search for new hardwood floors you probably aren't familiar with these terms, and you probably don't know why they're so important. The following are the six most commonly used hardwood flooring properties, what they refer to, and why knowing what they mean can help you pick the perfect flooring material for your home or office.

Officially called Janka hardness, this property measures how resistant a specific species is to indentation. It is determined by measuring the pounds of force required to embed a small ball (about .444" in diameter) into the wood a distance of half its diameter (.222"). The larger the number, the harder the wood. Most exotic hardwoods have higher Janka hardness ratings and are very great for high-traffic areas or in rooms that hold heavy furnishings, such as pianos and entertainment centers.

Modulus of Rupture (MOR)
Also called strength, a wood's MOR refers to the wood's load-bearing capacity - or, the amount of force that is required to break the wood. It is measured in pounds-per-square-inch (psi), and, like Janka hardness, the higher the number the stronger the wood. It is another property that is important to know if you plan on using the flooring in a high-traffic area or a room with heavy furnishings.

Modulus of Expansion (MOE)
MOE is also called stiffness and is a measurement of the wood's resistance to bending. It is measured in pounds-per-square-inch and is expressed in exponential terms - for instance, the MOE of Douglas Fir is 1,950,000 psi, or, 1,950 1000 psi. This property is a good indicator of how likely your floors will be to buckle. The higher the MOE, the less likely they'll warp or buckle.

Density is measured in KG per cubic meter (KG/m3) and essentially is the measurement of you much wood is actually packed into a cubic meter. Hardwood species with higher densities are heavier and harder, which can be great for high traffic areas or exterior projects. Hardwood flooring with high density is also more resistant to water and boring insects, making it a great choice for kitchens, bathrooms, and other high moisture rooms of the house.

Tangential Shrinkage
This mechanical property measures how likely the species will be to shrink during the drying process. It applies to the width of the board and is expressed as a percentage. The lower the percentage, the less likely the wood will shrink, reducing the amount of warping and buckling you'll experience.

Radial Shrinkage
Like tangential shrinkage, radial shrinkage measures how likely the wood will shrink though the thickness of the board. It is also expressed as a percentage and, when considered with the wood's tangential shrinkage, tells you how dimensionally stable a floor will be. If the two numbers are close together, the wood is more stable and is less likely to warp or buckle.

The hardwood flooring professionals at Wood Monsters are experts in hardwood flooring mechanical properties. Contact us today to learn more.

hardwood flooring
The mechanical properties of hardwood flooring are important to know before buying.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Hardwood Flooring: 5 Important Considerations Before You Buy

Hardwood flooring has been the most popular floor covering material in American homes for hundreds of years, and for good reasons. It is durable, versatile, attractive, and a renewable resource. But there are a few important things you should consider before buying hardwood flooring: your budget, your style, the room use, and the importance of proper installation. The following is more detailed information about each of these four considerations. Enjoy!

In today's down economy, people are more focused on their budget than ever before. We all want to get the best quality products for the best prices. We also want to have a number of choices to choose from. Luckily, hardwood flooring comes in a number of different price ranges. There are certainly specific species of wood that tend to be more expensive, but hardwood flooring prices can also vary between different retail stores based on selection and availability.

Hardwood flooring is one of the most versatile home decorating materials you can buy. Its main features - color, texture, shape, grain pattern, and stain - can be combined into hundreds of different styles that fit almost any home decor imaginable. It's important to pick a style of hardwood flooring that matches your current design scheme, but also one versatile enough to fit a different decor should you remodel in the future.

Room Use
It's very important to consider the use of the room in which you'll be installing hardwood flooring. Rooms that are below ground level are only suitable for floating or engineered hardwood flooring products due to the increased risk of moisture issues. This is the same for bathrooms and laundry rooms. For high-traffic rooms such as hallways or rec rooms, it's a good idea to use a species with a neutral color - a lot of use can show in the finish of darker or lighter colors.

Installation Standards
Without proper acclimation and installation, even the highest quality hardwood flooring products can warp, bend, and buckle over time. The National Wood Flooring Association's Installation Guidelines are the standards for hardwood flooring installation in the U.S. Make sure you choose an installer that closely adheres to these guidelines.

walnut hardwood flooring