Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Best Flooring For Pet Owners

J&B-resized-600None of us at Pucher’s would trade our pets for anything (see Jake & Bodhi, left and Jesse & Emma, below right).  But we admit, our four-legged friends can be tough on our homes.  So when it’s time for new flooring, you have to think about which floors will stand up to claws, dirt, fur and the occasional accident.  Here are some flooring options for pet owners to consider.

  • Ceramic/Porcelain Tile – certainly durable, stands up to claws and cleans up easily.  The downside is tile can be cold and hard to walk on, especially during a Northeast Ohio winter (unless you install radiant heating underneath).

jesse2-resized-600

  • Hardwood Flooring – Choose hardwood species that are inherently hard, like North American Hickory and the exotic hardwoods, especially 6-year old Moso bamboo (younger bamboo will be softer).  These hardwoods will resist scratches better than others.  See how various hardwoods rank on the Janka Hardness Scale.  Take a look at the new distressed, wire-brushed or hand-scraped styles which offer a practical solution.  Any scratches will be less noticeable and may even add to the “weathered charm” of the floor.  Always clean up accidents ASAP and use a hardwood cleaner (not Murphy’s).
  • Vinyl Tile – We like vinyl tile because it’s warmer and softer to walk on than ceramic, quieter than laminate and less expensive than hardwood.  It is so tough and durable that some vinyl tiles can be used in commercial applications.  It is very scratch-resistant as well as water-resistant (assuming it is installed correctly).  Clean up is easy with a hard surface cleaner.
  • Laminate – One of the most economical choices for pet owners.  It is scratch- and water-resistant. Some of the newer laminates feature such realistic stone and wood looks, that it’s hard to tell the difference between laminate and the real thing.
  • Carpet – Nothing adds warmth and softness to your home like carpet, but it can present challenges for pet owners.  You’ll want to look at carpets that are treated to resist pet urine stains, like Shaw’s Anso Nylon and Clear Touch carpets.  It’s also a good idea to upgrade your carpet pad to one that has a moisture barrier and contains enzymes that neutralize odors.  For spot cleaning, we recommend using an enzymatic cleaner that removes stains and odors.  You also might want to avoid higher-pile styles like shags or frieze which can trap pet hair.

Key Takeaway:  Choose a floor that is inherently hard with a tough, durable finish, especially if you have large dogs.  Keep your pets’ nails trimmed and clean up accidents ASAP. 

We’d like to hear from you about your experiences with flooring and pets – what’s worked and what hasn’t.   For more information, visit our Flooring section or stop in to one of our three locations.

One-Day Deck Maintenance with Wolman Wood Stains

wolmandecks-resized-600As we are drying out from our stormy spring, it’s time to begin those outdoor projects in earnest.  One of the most important (if not your favorite) is maintaining your formerly beautiful wood deck.  But deck care need not be complicated.  Wolman Wood Care Products has developed a 2-step process that can help you get your deck done in one day.  Here’s how.

Important Tip:  Start out early in the morning when it is cool, dry with little wind.  Ideally, the temperature should be between 50 – 90 degrees with 24 hours of precipitation-free weather.  All you will need is a garden hose, a deck brush (or pressure washer if you prefer), a roller or stain pad, and some protective equipment.

Step 1: Restore
Prepping the surface is the most important part of the process because the quality of the work you do here ultimately determines what the end result will look like.  You have to completely remove any existing finish so that the new stain you apply will absorb into the top layers of wood to ensure maximum adhesion and uniform color.  Remember to wear protective clothing, gloves and goggles as these products can be caustic to skin and eyes; and always follow product instructions!

So, how do you know if you still have existing stain on your deck?   Pour some water in an unused spot on your deck to see if it beads.  If it does, there is an existing stain or finish on your deck that needs to be removed.  We recommend applying Wolman’s DeckStrip Stain & Finish Remover and letting it sit on the surface for 15 minutes.  Then either scrub or pressure wash and rinse thoroughly with water.

Also, if your deck has turned gray, has mildew, bird droppings or anything that stripping did not remove, we recommend using Wolman’s DeckBrite Wood Cleaner.  DeckBrite is formulated to clean gently without dissolving the wood structure or bleaching the surface white.  Simply mix DeckBrite with water per package instructions, apply with brush and leave on for 10 minutes.  Again, brush or pressure wash and rinse thoroughly with water.  Allow deck to dry until wood is dry to touch.

Step 2:  Protect and Beautify
Without protection, wood that is exposed to outdoor weather will eventually warp, split, rot and decay from water absorption and gray from UV exposure.  To prevent this deterioration, apply a protective coating that is water-repellent and UV-resistant.  Once coated, your wood will better withstand the elements and look beautiful.

Once the deck is clean and dry, apply a clear or tinted water repellent sealer, pigmented stain or wood preservative coating depending on the look you want to achieve.  We like Wolman Raincoat wood stain because it provides beautiful sheer matte color that is semi-transparent allowing you to see the wood grain.  It is economical, can be applied in one day and lasts up to 4 years.   Whichever product you choose, be sure to test the stain in an inconspicuous spot on your deck to make sure you like the color.  Apply stain evenly with a nylon brush, roller or stain pad.  If possible, avoid applying stain in direct sunlight as it will dry too quickly.  If you’re using Wolman Raincoat, one coat is all that is needed.  Allow stain to dry 24 hours before replacing furniture or walking on the deck.

That’s it!  In one day your deck will look like new and you can get on with enjoying your summer!

The Benefits of Engineered Wood Flooring

grandinroad-resized-600At Pucher’s, we’re bullish on engineered wood flooring.  We think they are a win-win for everyone – you, your home and the environment.

Engineered hardwoods are perfect for our NE Ohio  climate.  Because of their ingenious structure, these floors are more resistant to changes in temperature and humidity than solid wood flooring.  If you install a solid wood floor in your home, it is important to maintain a constant temperature and humidity level in your home at all times.  Even doing so, you should expect that the wood will expand during the warmer, humid summer months and contract in the cold, dry winter months.  We have seen some beautiful, high-quality solid hardwood floors warp and gap because of this.  The problem is even worse with solid exotic hardwoods because they tend to absorb a lot more moisture than American hardwoods.

In contrast, engineered floors are constructed of multiple layers of wood that are cross-layered, glued and pressed together.  The graining of each layer runs in the opposite direction of the layer above and below it, thus acting as a check and balance system, keeping the wood from expanding or shrinking too far in one direction.  This cross-ply construction makes these floors more resistant to higher moisture levels.  This means they can be used on any grade of your home, including the basement and over any concrete slab.  Also, engineered floors are installed differently than solids.  Engineered planks can be stapled down, glued down or “floated” – a technique in which the tongue and grooves of the boards are glued together but the floor is not glued down to the subfloor.  So, if this floor expands and contracts, it moves as one unit, preventing gapping between planks.

Another bonus – engineered floors are economical and eco-friendly.  Generally, engineered floors cost less than solid hardwoods simply because they use less wood.  Suddenly, the American walnut floor you love becomes a whole lot more affordable!  We like Shaw’s Epic hardwood floors because they not only have attractive pricing, their inner cores are made from recycled wood, using 67% less harvested wood.

We know that some people might feel better buying a solid wood floor because they believe they can refinish it if needed.  But even solid wood floors have a limit to the number of times they can be refinished because you can’t sand them down below their nail heads.  Most engineered floors can be refinished 1-3 times depending on the thickness of the top layer of wood.  Plus, the extreme durability of today’s hardwood finishes (on both solid and engineered) makes this a mute point.  Many floors today are coated with an aluminum oxide finish that is so durable, it comes with a Lifetime Warranty.  Shaw’s Epic Hardwood floors have a 2-4 mil aluminum oxide coating that can last 40-100 years.  So you’ll never need to worry about refinishing.

So next time you’re shopping for flooring, take a look at engineered hardwoods.  They are a smart solution for all of us in NE Ohio and they just might save you some money as well as benefiting the environment!  For more information, click here for our Flooring webpage -Wood Flooring or come in to Pucher’s and talk to one of our design consultants.  They will be happy to show you our wide selection of gorgeous engineered hardwoods and help you choose the right floor for your home and lifestyle.