How to Find the Right Vacuum Cleaner for a Hardwood Floor

Hardwood flooring is a beautiful addition to your home or office. It provides an aesthetic charm and increases the property value. Although hardwood floors are easier to clean than carpets, it’s difficult to clean without damaging its surface.

Sweeping with a soft-bristled broom and dampened mop are effective but are not a favourite option for most homeowners as these processes are time-consuming. Vacuum cleaners have more power than a broom and are a good solution for cleaning hardwood quickly. But most of them are designed for cleaning carpet floors. You need to buy a vacuum cleaner that’s specifically designed to clean hardwood floors without damaging them.

In this blog, we’ll discuss the different types and features of vacuum cleaners that are ideal for cleaning dust, dirt and pet hair from your hardwood floors.

Types of Vacuum Cleaners for Hardwood Flooring 

  1. Canister Vacuum: It’s one of the best types of vacuum cleaners for hardwood floors. The sucking head of the vacuum is connected to the filter and the mobile engine with a hose. Canister vacuums are easy to move around as they can be pulled along while you clean your hardwood floors. They come with good suction power that’s ideal to clean pet fur and dust from the floor. Another advantage of these vacuums is that they come with different types of interchangeable attachment heads that make them multi-purpose.
  1. Upright Vacuum: Built into one solid piece, upright vacuums are taller and heavier than other types of vacuums. Although they’ve got very powerful suction power, great filtration, different attachments, and several other features, their long body is difficult to move around the house. However, not all upright vacuums are suitable for hardwood floors, especially those that come with beater brushes on the main vacuum head. Beater brushes can scratch the hardwood floor surface.
  1. Stick Vacuum: These vacuums are a good choice if you have a small space and need to clean frequent messes. It’s a lightweight version of the upright vacuum. There are no extra attachments provided for multitasking. They’re not ideal vacuums for heavy-duty cleaning or for large homes.
  1. Handheld Vacuum: As the name suggests, they’re small enough to be carried around in the home. They’re battery powered which makes them even more portable. However, they lack strong suction power and there are no extra attachments or extendable hose. They’re perfect for spot cleaning, long staircases and small messes.

Features to Look Out For

Now that you know the different types of vacuum cleaners, here are the must-have features to search for when considering a vacuum for your hardwood floor.

  • Cleaning Head: A vast majority of vacuum cleaners come with a revolving brush. Make sure that the vacuum you choose has a feature to turn off the revolving brush otherwise it won’t be good for your hardwood floors. Also, check if your brush attachments come with soft bristles because very stiff and dense brushes will scratch the floor surface. Parquet brushes are the most suitable for hardwood. They’re a felt-like brush with very soft bristles. Some vacuum cleaners also come with attachable microfiber pads which enable you to eliminate the need of mopping.
  • Suction: Opt for a vacuum with powerful suction power so that you can clean the dirt and dust from the gaps between the boards as well.
  • Weight: Select a vacuum cleaner that’s light-weight or at least easy to move around in the house. A very heavy unit also increases the chances of damaging the surface of your floor as you drag it or pull it behind you when cleaning the floors.
  • Wheels: Check out the material of the wheels of the machine before buying. Rubber wheels or rubber bumpers are ideal to prevent scratches and dents on the floor. Avoid hard plastic wheels.
  • Power: Consider if you need a battery powered or corded unit. Battery powered vacuums are suitable for small rooms. With corded models, you’ll not have to worry about recharging the battery.

Your hardwood floors are a long term investment. You can extend the life of your prized hardwood flooring by using the right cleaning tools to clean and maintain it. Choose an appropriate vacuum cleaner and use it properly to keep your hardwood floor looking new for years to come.

Refinishing Jatoba Hardwood Flooring: A DIY Guide

Jatoba hardwood is popular for its exotic appearance and extreme durability. However, the number of years your hardwood floor continues to look like new, depends on the quality of the floor and how well you keep it maintained. Usually, Jatoba hardwood requires a refinishing every 10 years, like most other hardwood floors.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to refinishing your Jatoba hardwood flooring.

  1. Preparation

First off, you must prepare the room where you want to refinish your Jatoba hardwood floor.

Remove everything from the room – furniture, draperies, rugs, decor items, personal belongings, etc. to another room. Take some plastic sheets and masking tape to cover the doors and electrical outlets of the room.

Refinishing your floors will involve sanding, so be prepared for a lot of dust. Use dust containment systems to minimize debris. Also, cover your furniture, electronics and other items in the adjacent rooms to keep them dust-free.

Check for any protruding nails or staples on the floor as they can damage the sandpaper you’ll use during the sanding process. Set these nails or staples down with a hammer or nail setter. Open the windows to keep the room well ventilated. Before proceeding to the next step, make sure to sweep and mop the floor clean.

  1. Sand the Floor

This step requires you to remove the old finish of your Jatoba hardwood floor. For this, you’ll need a sander. You can opt for an upright electric sander meant for hardwood floors instead of an old-fashioned palm sander. Sanders remove the old finish and smoothens the floor surface, preparing it for refinishing. However, before you start sanding the floor with the rented upright electric sander, ask for a demonstration to know the right way of doing it on your hardwood floor.

There are two types of sanders – Orbital and Drum sanders. Orbital sanders are more user-friendly. When you’re sanding with any of these electric sanders, ensure to keep it in motion or you may end up sanding too deeply, causing grooves on the floor surface that are irreparable.

Attach a high-grit sandpaper sheet to the sander and start sanding following the wood grain. Starting from the middle of the room, gradually work your way up the floor. You can overlap each pass by a few inches. Every part of your floor surface should be sanded thoroughly. Be careful that you don’t leave out the corners or other parts.

Additional Tips

  • Sanding will result in a lot of dust. Wear protective gear like dust mask, safety glasses, and ear plugs.
  • Before you start sanding, do a patch test of how the sander works in areas where you had your furniture placed.
  • After you’ve finished sanding the floor, use a vacuum cleaner to thoroughly remove all the dust from the room. It’s very important to remove dust or else it can get stuck with the new finish coating.
  1. Stain the Floor (Optional)

If you want to apply a stain to your Jatoba hardwood floor, apply it with a brush or a clean microfibre rug. Allow the first coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next coat. Make sure that all your stain coats are dried well before applying the finish. However, if you haven’t applied stain before, it’s better to speak to a professional first. If you don’t want to use stains, you can skip this step and move on to finishing directly.

  1. Apply Finishing

Buy polyurethane finish available in commercial containers and apply it on your prepared Jatoba hardwood floor in the same way you apply the stain. You can either use a brush, a rug or a roller applicator. Start applying the finish from the corners of the floor and work your way towards the door. Check that you apply it on every part of your floor. Make sure that before you start, that you read the instructions on the container carefully.

Allow the first coat to dry completely before applying the next coating. Depending on the brand of the finish, the drying duration can vary from 3-8 hours. Apply a second coat and allow it to dry again. If you feel it necessary, apply a third coat. Once you complete the application of all the coats, let your floor dry overnight.

Be careful not to move or place your furniture on the refinished floor the next morning. Wait for at least 2 days before decorating your room as before. If you’re not into DIY tasks, contact flooring professionals to take care of your Jatoba hardwood floor.

How to Clean and Maintain Your Exotic Jatoba Hardwood Floor

Jatoba hardwood, also known as the Brazilian Cherry, is one of the most beautiful and popular exotic hardwood flooring options. With its dramatic dark red or blood-orange colour, Jatoba is the ultimate luxurious flooring with Janka hardness of 2350 Pound-Force. It’s twice as hard, strong and resilient than red oak.

Its hardness makes Jatoba extremely durable hardwood flooring that’s resistant to dents, scratches, tear and wear from high traffic. However, you should clean and maintain your exotic Jatoba flooring properly to keep it shining and looking like new. Below are some useful tips.

  1. Dust or Vacuum Regularly

Jatoba hardwood floors accumulate dust particles quickly. Vacuum every 2-3 days to avoid dust, dirt, grime, and pet hair accumulation using the right type of vacuum cleaner. Usually, a light-weight vacuum cleaner with a powerful suction power without a beater brush that can scratch the hardwood floor is considered ideal. If you move around with dust and grime on your Jatoba floor, the macro gravels and particles can grind against the finish of your hardwood floor creating permanent damage. If you’re not fond of vacuuming or don’t have the right vacuum cleaner, you can dust your floor with a soft bristle broom or a dry microfiber dust mop.

  1. Use a Cleaning Solution

After vacuuming, you can clean your Jatoba floors with a simple home-made cleaning solution. It’s safe for your hardwood. Here are a few ways you can make your DIY cleaners –

  • Water and Dishwashing Liquid Mix: It’s one of the simplest ways to make a DIY cleaning solution for your Jatoba floors. Take a bucket of warm water and mix a few drops of dishwashing liquid into it. Spray this mixture on your microfiber mop to make it damp and clean your floor. You can use a cotton rag floor mop instead if you feel working with microfiber is difficult for a larger area as it tends to drag. But make sure that your cotton rag mop isn’t too wet. After you’re done with mopping, wipe the floor dry with a clean absorbent towel.
  • Water and Vinegar Mix: This is another DIY cleaning solution you can use. Add half a cup of white vinegar to 3.5 litres of water and mix well. The acetic acid present in vinegar will help cut the grime and grease without leaving any residue like detergent cleaners. Clean the floor in the same process mentioned above with a microfiber mop or a sponge mop. Don’t forget to wipe the floor dry after mopping.
  1. Manufacturer Approved Cleaners

You can buy ready-made cleaning solutions from your hardwood manufacturer or at any store-front. They’re chemically designed for your Jatoba hardwood flooring and come packed in a spray bottle. You just need to spray it on a mop to clean your floor. There are also some other varieties of commercial cleaners available for hardwood in the market that come as concentrated liquids. You need to mix it with water before using. Follow the instructions provided in the manufacturer’s label thoroughly.

When it comes to maintaining Brazilian Cherry or Jatoba hardwood flooring, always make sure not to allow water or spills sit on top of the floor. It can potentially damage your hardwood floor. Use area rugs in heavy traffic areas like the doorways and ask everyone to take off their shoes, if you can. Use furniture caps to avoid accidental scraping and keep your pet nails groomed.

Jatoba hardwood can make any space look elegant and exclusive and it’ll also add to the value of your home if you think of selling it. Always go for high-quality products from reputed hardwood specialty stores.

How to Hide Sapwood in Walnut: DIY Guide

It’s common with homeowners to look for only heartwood face in walnut lumber and few approve of sapwood. However, sapwood is a natural occurrence in walnut wood, it isn’t a defect. But when it comes to woodworking, it’s not considered ideal for furniture and flooring.

What are Sapwood and Heartwood?

Sapwood is the living, outer layer of the stem/branch of walnut wood just under the bark and cambium. It’s lighter in colour and the vital medium which carries water and sap in a living tree. It isn’t a good stock for woodworking as it contains a lot of moisture. It’s vulnerable to fungus and shrinks when dried.

Heartwood is the dead, inner layer that forms the major part of the stem’s cross section. It’s darker in colour and contains considerably less moisture and shrinks less than sapwood.

How to Deal with Sapwood

You’re likely to find a few streaks of sapwood even in walnut wood boards even at the showrooms of reputed lumber suppliers and manufacturers. Thankfully, you don’t need to discard sapwood entirely from your walnut lumber. Although it may not look as beautiful as heartwood and isn’t as durable, it can be treated and used for your flooring purpose. Below are some ways to deal with sapwood.

  • Cut Off Sapwood

A piece of lumber has two sides – a face and a back. Only one side is displayed in your final product. You can cut off the sapwood part completely and work only with the heartwood if you can afford the wastage.

  • Hide Sapwood with Dyes

Dyes will help you achieve an evenly coloured project while hiding the lighter sapwood.

There are several dyes available in the market. Dyes don’t conceal the appearance of the beautiful grain patterns of walnut like stains.

They’re either water-soluble or alcohol-soluble. However, water-soluble dyes are more resistant to fading than alcohol-soluble dyes. They’re also easier to apply on the wood and don’t leave lap marks.

Follow the steps below to apply dye on the wood piece and hide the sapwood.

  1. Select a dye colour of your choice. To keep the look natural, choose a dye colour that closely matches the colour of the heartwood. The dye should be UV resistant.
  2. If it’s a water-soluble dye, dilute it with water and if it’s an alcohol-soluble dye, dilute with denatured alcohol by 50%.
  3. Apply the diluted dye in 2-3 coats on both the heartwood and sapwood of your wood piece.
  4. Use a thin coat of shellac and seal the wood.
  5. When the sealer is dry, sand it lightly with 180-220 grit sandpaper.
  6. Apply a light coat of an oil-based stain gel on the top of the sealer. Ensure that the pores get pigmented without giving too much pressure when applying the gel.
  7. Complete the process by applying lacquer, varnish or any other finish of your choice.

Some More Tips

  • Before applying the water-soluble dye, wet the wood and dry it first. After the wood dries, sand it with 180-220 grit sandpaper to sand off the raised grain and then apply the dye.
  • Always test the dye on a few test pieces before applying it on your final product. Test with different dilutions to get your desired colour on the wood.
  • After you apply the dye, let it dry overnight before you apply the sealer.
  • To get a richer colour on the wood, apply a thin coat of glaze with a rag or a brush before you apply the finish.
  • Let the glaze dry completely before you apply the coats of finish.

Walnut lumber with 100% heartwood aren’t widely available and they’re very expensive. If you want to keep a balance between look, quality and costs, you just need to know the tricks mentioned above to make your project look flawless! If you think it’s too much of a job for you, call in the help of a professional hardwood installer.

How to Get a Better Finish on Your Walnut Flooring

Walnut flooring is a beautiful flooring option in terms of looks and durability, while also being light on maintenance requirements. Its warm colours and graining patterns can add charm to your dwelling. The most popular types of walnut flooring are Brazilian walnut (Janka hardness 3,600) and American walnut or Black walnut (Janka hardness 1010).  They come in both prefinished and unstained varieties.

The porous property of this wood helps hold stains and finishes very well. Walnut looks great with just a few coatings of finish without a stain because of its beautiful natural colour. However, when it comes to applying a wood finish, there are several techniques which all look great on walnut. Below are some tips on how you can get a better finish on your walnut flooring.

  1. Prepare Your Floor Prior to Finish

The key to a great floor finish is preparation. You need to prepare the surface of your walnut floor properly before starting the finishing process. Here’s a step by step guide to the preparation stage.

  1. Clean thoroughly: Cleaning your floor is very crucial to get rid of any dust, dirt or grime. Mix trisodium phosphate (TSP) and warm water. Use the mixture to clean the floor with a mop. Make sure to allow the floor to dry completely.
  2. Check thoroughly: Watch out for protruding nails or hardware. Sink them into the wooden floor properly. Also, carefully check if there are any cracks on the floor. If you find holes or cracks, fill them with wood putty. Allow time for the putty to dry out well.
  • Sand the floor: Proper smoothening of the floor surface is necessary for a good finish. You can start sanding with a drum sander (with 36” sandpaper). If any section of the floor is left out, you can fix those sections by manual sanding them with a handheld tool.
  1. Vacuum thoroughly: Get rid of all the sawdust generated by sanding with either a wet or dry vacuum.
  2. Sand the floor for the second time: After the initial sanding, use 80-grit sandpaper to sand the surface a second time.
  3. Vacuum again: Remove all the sawdust with a vacuum cleaner.
  • Sand the floor for the third time: If you find any cross-grain scratches after the previous sanding, make sure to remove them by sanding again, parallel to the graining pattern. Use 100-grit sandpaper.
  • Vacuum once again: After the final sanding, vacuum the area thoroughly to remove every bit of sawdust. Don’t forget to remove sawdust accumulated in between the wooden boards/planks.
  1. Stain the Floor

You can stain your walnut flooring after following the steps above. Just make sure to apply a wood sealer before staining. A sealer helps seal wood surface pores, minimizing the chances of blotching or streaking.

To stain your walnut flooring, you can either use a clean piece of rag, cloth or a brush. Follow the graining pattern of the wood when applying the stain. Allow the stain to dry completely before moving on to the next steps.

  1. Apply Finish

It’s now time to decide what kind of finished look you want for your walnut floors. There are several options.

For a matte look, use Tung oil. It highlights the grains in walnut wood. Tung oil has to be mixed with a solvent in a ratio of 1 part oil to 1 ½ parts of solvent. You also need a thinner like turpentine, mineral spirits or citrus spirits to mix with Tung oil and solvent to ensure maximum penetration into the wood cells within 40 minutes. You can add more thinner and adjust the mix accordingly. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Apply with the help of a brush or paint roller. Start from one corner and gradually move up to the other side.
  2. If your room is small, allow it to dry for 40 minutes before reapplication. If your room is large, then you can start to reapply again from the starting point if the oil has soaked in by the time you finish applying the initial coat to the whole area.
  • Apply 3 to 7 coats of finish on the first day. In case there are some dry spots, treat them individually with coats.
  1. On the second day, apply several coats of Tung oil mixed with thinner following the same 40 minutes-rule as before.
  2. Allow the floor to dry for 7 to 10 days before you move in.

For a satin sheen, go for oil-based polyurethane and follow the steps below.

  1. Slowly stir the polyurethane so that the particles and hardeners mix well. Make sure that no bubbles are created during stirring.
  2. Following the walnut graining pattern, coat the floor with polyurethane with the help of a brush. Let it dry.
  • After it dries out, take a 220-bit orbital sander and sand the floor again.
  1. Remove the residues with a vacuum.
  2. Repeat applying another coat of polyurethane, sanding, and vacuuming once more.
  3. Complete the entire process of finishing with a final coat of polyurethane.

It takes time to finish walnut flooring. A perfect finish gives a flawless uniform look to the floor. If you need assistance installing, staining and finishing your floors, seek out the help of a hardwood flooring professional. A beautiful walnut floor can add value to your home if you decide to sell in the future, so make sure it’s done right!

Oak and Maple Hardwood

Key Differences Between Oak and Maple Hardwood Flooring

For most hardwood lovers, oak and maple are the top picks when it comes to hardwood flooring. Both are popular and durable, available in solid and engineered forms and many different types of finishes. Although there are some similarities between the two, there’s much discussion about which one is superior to the other. In this guide, we’ll help you explore the key elements where oak and maple differ.

Differences between Oak and Maple Flooring

Three essential factors make oak and maple stand apart from each other –appearance, durability, and pricing.

  1. Appearance: They differ a lot in grain patterns and colours. They also come in different species which makes the choosing process tricky.
  • Oak: There are two types of oak available – Red Oak and White Oak. Red Oak has a reddish/rosy tone and a medium to heavy grain pattern. White Oak has a brownish to slightly grayish tone and a less distinctive grain pattern. Both red and white oak are available in a variety of grades, unfinished and pre-finished forms.

The presence of various patterns like rings, wavy figures, stripes, flecks, etc. on oak makes it more desirable than maple. Also, oak having a slightly porous property holds stain well. This means it can have a beautiful finish with both light and dark stains. The rich, warm tones with unique graining patterns add a prominent charm and character to your space, making oak a timeless flooring option.

  • Maple: Maple hardwood can be broadly placed into two types – Hard Maple and Soft Maple. Maple has a lighter and creamier complexion than oak. It has light graining patterns with wavy, curly and straight lines. The non-porous property of maple doesn’t hold stain well. Dark stains may look blotchy on maple hardwood.
  1. Durability: Both these flooring types are highly durable. Here are the hardness ratings of oak and maple according to the Janka hardness test

Red Oak – 1290 lbf (Pound-force)

White Oak – 1360 lbf

Hard Maple – 1450 lbf

Soft Maple – 950 lbf

The higher the number, the harder the wood. Hard maple, red and white oak are very hard and soft maple is medium hard in terms of resistance to tear and wear.

Among all the above-mentioned types, white oak is the most stable material. Besides hardness, it also displays the least amount of expansion and contraction with changes in temperature and moisture levels. It’s also resistant to fungi and bugs. So, it’s the best flooring choice for locations with extreme summer and winter temperatures as well as humidity.

Both oak and maple are resistant to dents and scratches. However, you must remember that there are several grades available and each grade may have different imperfections.

  1. Pricing: Generally, oak is more expensive than maple. However, each has several varieties whose prices depend on their quality. Average oak prices range from $4.99 to $7.49 per sq. foot while average maple prices can range from $3.74 to $5.75 per sq. foot. The price difference between oak and maple can range anywhere from $1 to $5 per sq. foot for materials and installation.

In a nutshell, oak is more expensive, offers more choices in grain patterns and is very durable. Maple is less expensive, durable, doesn’t offer many choices in grain patterns and can stain unevenly. Whether you want to go for oak or maple hardwood for your home, it depends on your stylistic preference and aesthetic choice. However, while one type may seem better than the other for several reasons, what matters most is good quality!

6 Questions to Ask before Choosing Maple Hardwood Flooring for Your Home

The beautiful and timeless look of maple hardwood flooring makes it a popular choice for many homeowners. The light, fine and smooth grains, ranging from straight lines to curly patterns, are visually appealing for any room. However, before deciding if it’s the right flooring option for your home, ask the manufacturer the following 6 questions.

  1. What is Hard Maple and Soft Maple?

Maple hardwood flooring is one of the hardest and most durable domestic hardwood flooring options. However, there are various species of maple wood available that are broadly differentiated into two types, hard maple and soft maple.

Hard maple often refers to a particular species of maple – Acer saccharum. Black Maple (Acer nigrum), is also sometimes considered as a subtype of hard maple. Other species like Bigleaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum), Box Elder (Acer negundo), Red Maple (Acer rubrum), Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum) and Striped Maple (Acer pensylvanicum) are known as soft maple.

The characteristics of both types of maple are different in terms of hardness, strength, weight and other factors. Hard maple has a Janka hardness of 1450 lbf (Pound-force). Although both types are suitable for flooring, soft maple (as the name suggestions) isn’t as hard.

  1. Is the Maintenance Easy?

Dust and dirt don’t accumulate on maple hardwood, meaning you can easily sweep it off with a mop or use a vacuum cleaner. You can also use wood soap and water or an approved cleaning solution from your manufacturer to do a mild wet mopping once a week. This will keep the finish looking like new. To keep the shine intact, buff it twice a year. Hard maple is more resistant to scratches and dents than other types of hardwood. If any scratches appear, you can remove them by rubbing compound wax on the problem area.

Just make sure to wipe spills immediately as maple wood is highly sensitive to moisture. Also, monitor your indoor humidity level with the help of a hygrometer. Always keep it between 30% and 50% by regulating it with a humidifier or a dehumidifier depending on your need. Extremely high and extremely low humidity can warp the wood, causing permanent damage.

  1. Does it have Nice Colour Options?

Maple is available in a range of tones like neutral beiges, reds, browns and chromatic grays. Its natural pale creamy white colour also makes it very versatile to adapt to a wide range of colours. So, you won’t have to worry about a contrast clash between your new flooring and your walls and room décor.

  1. Is it Affordable?

The wide availability of maple in Canada and North America makes maple hardwood one of the most affordable hardwood floors options. Lower grades of maple wood are also functionally durable and budget-friendly.

  1. Does Maple Hardwood have Any Other Benefits?

Since it is dust and mold resistant, it keeps the indoor air pollution to a minimum. If you’re allergic to dust or other airborne contaminants, then this flooring provides better indoor air quality. Maple hardwood also offers better acoustics compared to other types of flooring. It neutralizes thuds, vibrations, and footfalls. In fact, you can minimize floor sound transmission by using an underlayment beneath it.

  1. Does it Suit My Location?

Maple hardwood flooring doesn’t provide good resistance to hot and humid climatic conditions. It’s not a good option if you live in the prairie climate region, especially during summers. However, you can solve the problem by using a dehumidifier to absorb the moisture and prevent cracks. Similarly, you’ll need to use a humidifier during the extreme dry months to control shrinkage.

Maple, like most hardwoods, adds value to your home. Since it is very durable, it can last for generations if properly maintained. To know more about maple flooring and whether it’s a perfect flooring option for your home, give your local professional a call for advice.

Leftover Floor Boards

DIY: Get Creative with Your Leftover Floor Boards

Whether you are installing hardwood or laminate floors, leftover floor boards are inevitable. Despite carefully doing all the calculations, you’re still likely to end up with extra planks.

Now the question is, what to do with those extra floor boards? Some people suggest storing it for future repairs, while other just say to throw them away. Don’t do either. Instead, use them creatively!

Think outside the box and try some DIY projects to reuse your scrap wood planks.

1) Wooden Coasters

This is one of the easiest ways to turn your extra floor boards into something useful. Cut the plank into a square of 11 x 11cm and sand the edges to make it smooth. After you get a perfect square, cut other planks to make a set of 6. Varnish the coasters for a shiny finish and to make them moisture and heat resistant. You can experiment with shapes by ditching squares and instead opting for circles, hexagons, etc.

2) A Doormat

Your scrap wood planks can be converted into a doormat for a sheltered area. Cut the floor boards into lengths of 18 inches. Drill four holes of 0.25 (1/4) inch at equal distance on the sides. Use a string to tie all the boards (a simple overhand knot) together through the side holes. Your new doormat is now ready!

3) A Coat Rack

For this DIY, all you need is a single plank of wood with a few coat hooks. Repeat the same process of sanding the edges as for the coasters. You can customize the look of your coat rack by covering it up with an attractive wallpaper or fabric to match your room décor. Drill and screw the hooks on the plank and mount it on the wall.

4) Name Plates or Sign Boards

This is one of the simplest and the most creative ways of using some extra laminate floor boards. Take one plank of leftover laminate flooring, paint it with a dark colour and write your message with chalk paint. Mount the board by drilling it on the wall or attaching a string to it. You can use this method to create fun name plates and sign boards with funny messages.

5) A Photo Frame

A nice wooden photo frame will make your pictures look great. Cut the wooden planks as per the size of your photo print. Remember to cut the corners at an angle of 45 degrees to fit it together. Nail the pieces of the frame together and smooth out the edges. Add a glass in the front and some scrap wood at the back with some space to put the picture.

Recycling leftover floor boards is a better option than throwing them away. They can be used in great ways by kids, artists and DIYers. Make unique items by implementing these ideas and share them with your friends!

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Hardwood Can Be Used for a Lot More Than Just Flooring

If you were to type ‘hardwood’ into Google, chances are that first few pages of the results would be about hardwood flooring. Installation, repair, maintenance, pro and cons, and similar topics would crop up. There’s a good reason for this. Hardwood, as a material makes for an excellent flooring option. Sure, it has it’s drawbacks, but that’s true of anything.

What a lot of people don’t realize, is that because of its attributes (sturdiness, durability and appearance), hardwood is used in a lot of non-flooring projects. Something of thing are very impressive.

We’ve compiled three of our favourites. Not because we encourage you to try them (some would be impossible without millions of dollars and a team of engineers), but so you can appreciate the versatility of the material.

  • Historic Buildings

Several old buildings were constructed (and continue to be constructed) out of hardwood. However, New Zealand’s Government Buildings Historic Reserve deserves a special mention. For nearly 150 years, this building has stood tall, and was at one time the second largest wooden structure ever built. While it no longer has that honour, it is unique in that it can never be reconstructed. You see, it was built using kauri wood. As Kauri forests are now protected under New Zealand law, it’s likely this building will remain unique for the foreseeable future.

  • Noah’s Ark (sort of)

The tale of Noah’s Ark holds a special place for many across the world. Despite this, it’s a bit of a surprise that a creation museum in Kentucky, US, took it upon themselves to build a replica of the famous ship. It’s not that there isn’t people who would be interesting in carrying out such a task. It’s the resources that went into it that make it impressive. The replica ark stands 90 feet high, 510 feet wide and was built using more than 600 miles of wood planks. Whatever your faith, you still must admit that it’s impressive.

  • Skyscrapers

You wouldn’t believe it, but there’s actually several large buildings built out of mostly hardwood, or entirely out of hardwood. While the material can’t really compete with concrete in terms of large building construction, it’s still a popular choice for architects trying to make a statement.

Our favourite is a bit of a cheat because technically, it hasn’t been built yet. The C.F Møller proposal does look promising however. Although it has a concrete core, the 34-storey tower is set to become one of the largest wooden structures in the region when its finished in 2023.

Hardwood is an amazing building material. It’s beautiful, its sturdy and its long-lasting. No wonder it’s being used in so many different building projects. However, despite the amazing thing that can be done with it, flooring is still our number one favourite. While it doesn’t have the ambition of some of the other projects we’ve mentioned, it’s practically and universal appeal is what continues to win us over.

Remodeling a Staircase? Here 4 Things You Need to Know

Whether adding a new floor, doing a home-makeover or installing custom staircase is a good move. However, proper implementation of this idea is not easy. Before you start, it’ll be critical to answer these four questions.

1) What is the layout of the building?

Your home’s layout is the deciding factor when remodeling or installing a new staircase. If you have a spacious home or office, you’ll have the option of installing something like a large hardwood staircase. If the area is small, then your options are more limited.

Because the layout of your home is such a determining factor, you’ll need to consult an expert to look over your plans. What you don’t want, if to buy all the materials and then find out mid-construction that your plan won’t work.

2) Who will be using the stairs?

A customized staircase can add a lot to the aesthetics of your home, but the style you choose needs to be based on utility. How often it’s going to be used and by whom are important matters to figure out.

For example, if there are a lot of younger people in a home or office, then wooden stars will likely be appreciated. However, if you have elderly family members at home, then the same wooden stairs will be an obstacle.

A custom staircase should always have function and safety at the fore-front. Style and design come second.

3) How often will the stairs be used?

The amount of use the stairs will have should determine what type of stairs gets installed. Will the stairs be used frequently or just occasionally? The answer to this question will suggest which should be the attribute you’ll most—sturdiness or aesthetics. If the stairs will see plenty of use, then something more plain, but with greater resistance to wear and tear will be best. If the stairs will see infrequent use, then installing something more elaborate could be the better option.

4) What material do you want for the stairs?

The answer to this question depends on what you answered for questions 1-3. For example, if you have a small home, then it wouldn’t make sense to install sprawling granite stairs. Likewise, as mentioned, wooden stairs might be what you want, but if the building has a lot of elderly people, the decision will be impractical.

Installing or remodeling stairs is a lot of work. But, by carefully considering what you want, how it will be used, and the layout of your home or office, some of the work needn’t be so complicated. Regardless of what you choose, be sure to call an expert. Even consulting with one can save you several hours and a headache.