Author Archives: Lee Pelletier

Are Laminate Floors Obsolete?

What is a laminate floor?

A laminate floor is a wood based product that has a digital picture on top.  A clear wear-layer is placed over the digital picture for performance.

Laminate floors come in a variety of qualities from very poor performance to excellent performance.

We have an old laminate floor in our office that looks like rainbow slate, but without the many issues that real slate has.  Real slate can have high and low spots (which can be tripping hazards).  Real slate can “shear”, which means layers of stone can come off.  The laminate floor does not have these issues.  The laminate floor we selected for our office is of excellent quality, and has performed well.

Our office floor costs about five times what cheap laminate costs. The difference in quality is not readily apparent to mere visual inspection.  So many people have purchased the laminate floor that was five times cheaper thinking “it’s the same thing.  This is a much better deal”.

The problem comes in performance.  The quality laminate was made with wood fiber strands compressed under very high pressure with a plastic binder.  This laminate is durable, resists water, excessive expansion and contraction, and looks great years later.

The cheap laminates (mostly Chinese imports – there we go again), are not wood fiber, but saw dust.  Saw dust and glue.  Visual inspection does not make this difference apparent.  But it is obvious a short time after the laminate is installed.  The core is weak, and all the edges get scuffed and torn. You soon see the core.  If someone leaves a damp towel on the floor, the floor bubbles.  If someone leaves a glass of water on the floor, it leaves a permanent ring.

So much of this cheap laminate has been sold, it has effectively ruined the market.  So many people have been disillusioned by the poor performance of cheap laminate floors, they never want to go back to it.  But our office is living proof that laminate floors can be extremely durable.  Nevertheless, once bitten, twice shy.

Laminate Floors are Obsolete Anyway

If you find the right look for you, and it is in a quality laminate, then by all means get it.

However, I need to tell you about today’s vinyl floors.  These are not your mother’s vinyl floors.  Vinyl floors look so real, you would be hard pressed to know the difference between vinyl and “the real thing” if you are standing up looking at the floor.  You have seen many of these extremely durable floors in businesses, and been fooled thinking you are looking at real wood, real tile, or real stone.

Advantages of vinyl floors:

  • No click/clack sound like laminate.
  • More resistant to water and moisture.
  • Easier to clean.
  • Easier to install.
  • Less expensive to install.
  • Less mess to install (no sawdust).
  • And definitely more choices in colors and styles.

Examine the following pictures.  See if you can determine which ones are laminate, and which ones are vinyl, and which ones are “real”.  Good luck . . .

photo photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5 photo 6

Excite Your Life With Color!

When television was first introduced, all we had were black and white pictures.  When color television was introduced, everyone wanted color.  Why?  Color is exciting and interesting.  We do not see people purchasing (or even requesting) large flat screen televisions in black and white.  You can’t get a black and white television.  No one wants it.

I’ve seen a trend in decorating towards monochromatic color schemes.  Beige on beige.  Gray on gray.  Excuse me while a scream: Boring!

We have a rainbow of colors for a reason.  Use them.  And try to think beyond primary colors.  There is so much more than “blue”.  There is navy blue, royal blue, sapphire, cobalt blue, denim, azure, periwinkle, baby blue, cerulean, cornflower blue, Wedgwood blue, and ultramarine.  Given a few moments, I’m sure you can quickly add another dozen blues.

How about red?  There’s not just red.  There’s fire engine red, crimson, cranberry, cherry, cardinal, brick, raspberry, auburn.  Oh, this is fun!  Come up with some more.

Green? How about mint?  Hunter green?  Chartreuse, apple green, olive, sage, teal, forest, lime, or pistachio.

These colors are so much more exciting than beige on beige.  Color adds a mood . . . an emotion . . . to a room.  Beige is flat and emotionless.  Do we want to add sense of serenity to a room?  Which of the colors I’ve mentioned so far could do this?  How about pistachio?

Want to add some drama to a room?  How about a slash of cardinal red?

By using color to add an emotion to a room, our home (or work) becomes a refuge.  Want to change how you feel?  Just go to another room!

 

 

 

Is Your Room Upside-Down?

You want your home to be as comfortable as possible.  If the colors in your room are upside-down, your room will never feel as comfortable as it could be.  So which colors should go on your walls, and which colors should go on your floor or ceiling?

 Do Colors Have a Weight?

British psychologist Edward Bullough was lecturing at Cambridge University in 1907, when he published “The Apparent Heaviness of Colours” in the British Journal of Psychology in 1907.  Bullough’s paper was based on research where he tested people’s perceptions on color.

In one experiment, Bullough had people paint a wall.  They were given red paint and pink paint; and they were told to paint the top half one color and the bottom half the other color.  Nearly everyone chose to paint the bottom red, and the top pink.  The conclusion was that people feel more comfortable with the darker color on the bottom.  The darker color seems “heavier”.  With the darker color on top, the wall appears to be top heavy.  People don’t like it.

In another experiment, Bullough showed objects painted in different colors.  The objects were exactly the same, except for the color.  Using visual observation only, Bullough’s subjects where then asked to identify which object seemed to be heavier.

The results?  Darker colors are perceived as being heavier than lighter colors.  In addition, red is perceived as being heavier than yellow even when the colors have the same saturation level.  Some colors appear heavier, and others lighter.

Red-Yellow-Squares

The red and yellow have the same saturation, but the red square appears heavier than the yellow square.

What Does This Mean For Your Room?

Keep your heavier colors lower.  Putting heavier colors on top will make your room feel like it is “upside-down”.  It will feel uncomfortable.

Some public spaces are designed that way deliberately to discourage loitering.  But that’s not what you want for your home.  Most businesses should avoid upside-down colors as well.

So which colors are heavier?  Darker colors feel heavier than lighter colors.  Blue and red are heavier than green.  Green is heavier than yellow.  Blacks and browns feel heavy, while white and beige feels lighter.  If you follow these guidelines, you will get better results.

 

The Best Floor For Your Basement

The Right Floor for Your Basement

Moisture

The issue with basements is moisture.  Moisture comes in two types.

  1. Water can seep into the basement through cracks, poor flashing, etc.  This can cause puddles or even standing water.
  2. While concrete appears solid, it is actually quite porous.  Water vapor easily passes through concrete.  Think of this moisture as “humidity” that comes through the concrete.  Many people believe they do not have a moisture problem in their basement because they do not see standing water.  But water vapor IS a moisture problem.  When the floor is covered with a non-porous material, this water vapor can accumulate.  It can develop high water vapor pressure that is stronger than the glue holding the flooring to the floor.  Then your flooring is loose.

Testing may be necessary to be sure the amount of water vapor coming through your floor does not exceed certain levels.

Rating Flooring for Basements

    •  Excellent. Carpet is an excellent choice for many basements, as long as you don’t have standing water. Carpet breathes, so water vapor cannot develop high pressure.  This choice seems counter-intuitive to many people, but it is the right answer.

  • Very good. Ceramic tile is a very good choice, and will also handle occasional standing water.  The tile must be ceramic, not porcelain.  Porcelain is not porous enough and the tiles will come loose in environments with high vapor pressure.  The grout should not be sealed in this application.
  • Very good. Loose lay vinyl plank allows water vapor to escape from the edges of each plank.  Loose lay vinyl plank can handle vapor readings of up to 10 lbs.
  • Good.  Floating vinyl click flooring can handle vapor readings of up to 6 lbs.
  • Fair.  Glued down vinyl plank flooring can handle vapor readings of 3 to 6 lbs, depending on the product.

  • Fair. Sheet vinyl and linoleum can handle vapor readings of 3 to 4 lbs.
  • Very Poor. Wood flooring.  Wood and moisture do not mix.  Moisture will cause rot, decay, warping, and deformation of the wood.  Even wood installed with moisture mitigation systems have very high failure rates and are not recommended.
  • Very Poor. Laminate flooring. Laminate flooring is a wood based product, and has all the same issues as wood flooring.

 

Showroom Remodel

Our showroom remodel has begun!  The old, old wood floor, commercial carpet, ceramic tile, and laminate on the left side of the showroom are ALL being replaced with vinyl plank.  We chose a weathered board look, to tie in with the seaport motif we have.  Do you like it?

Weathered plank flooring.

The weathered plank flooring we are putting in our showroom.

Prepping the concrete floor.

Prepping the concrete floor. We pushed the display racks either way so we can work. We are doing the flooring in sections over several days.