What is the difference between a $1.99 laminate and a $3.39 laminate if they appear the same?

 Ask your salesperson these questions.

What is the density of the core board?

A true High Density Fibreboard should have a density of at least 800kg/m3. Less than this is a medium density fibreboard and will not perform as well structurally overtime. Warping and cupping become real possibilities. Steps Uniclic has a core density of 800kg/m3.

 What is the swell rate?

The swell rate is determined by the manufacturer submerging the material in water for 24 hours and measuring how much it has swollen. The European Producers of Laminate Flooring allow only an 18% swell rate while North American manufacturers may allow up to 50%! Steps Uniclic allows only less than 8% on all its 8 and 9.5 mm flooring. Swell rates determine how well a laminate floor will cope with humidity fluctuations and water spills. Remember, there is no such thing as a waterproof floor.

 What is the pattern repeat?

Laminate floors are meant to mimic the real thing, wood or tile. A pattern repeat refers to how many different visuals can be expected in the floor. The more visuals, the more realistic it looks. The industry average on laminate floors is 1 in 4 pattern repeat.

Steps Uniclic starts at 1 in 10 pattern repeat and goes as high as 1 in 34! Do you want your laminate floor to look like a $1.99 laminate, or a real wood floor?

 What is the joining system?

It is now common to have a glueless joint on a laminate floor, but not all systems are created equally. The UNICLIC system used by TORLYS Steps Uniclic is the original glueless joint that is defended by world wide patents, because, it simply works better. It will not let go with over 1000 lbs of force on the joint, yet is warranted for removal and re-installation 3 times. It can be installed with 3 different methods, making it very versatile for either the professional or the ‘do-it-your-selfer.’ If it does not say UNICLIC on the box, it is not UNICLIC in the box.

These are just some of the very important items that make up the price differences between a cheap imitation and a quality product that you can feel safe investing in. Don’t be fooled, it has nothing to do with buying power, it has to do with the professional floorcovering dealers who will not sell substandard flooring vs. those who don’t know any better. Ask these questions and find out who really knows flooring and whom you should trust with your investment.

Basement Floors:

We’ve decided to refinish our basement. Typically, what type of flooring is best suited to this space, which is often prone to excess moisture?

First, let’s discuss the “excess moisture” issue you mentioned. If, by that, you mean that you have a recurring leak, or that your foundation walls or floors feel wet to the touch, then those issues must first be remedied by a foundation professional. No wood-based residential flooring products are designed to be installed in wet areas. If you have no current moisture issues, but are simply concerned about the higher humidity levels, often seen in basements then you’ll be happy to know there are many flooring products suitable for basement applications. Engineered hardwood, laminate flooring and cork flooring are three of the most common choices.

 For those who want the luxurious look and elegance of hardwood in their basement, then engineered hardwood must be used, not solid hardwood. Engineered hardwood is manufactured in a way that gives much more stability than solid hardwood. This means it will expand and contract less and won’t be adversely affected by the higher relative humidity you typically experience in a basement. Engineered hardwood can be installed in several ways: some are glued-down directly to the concrete, some are “floated” by either clicking together or gluing together, or some can be nailed down if you’ve installed a good plywood sub-floor.

 Laminate is often chosen because it is extremely durable, in terms of dent and scratch resistance, even though it’s usually the lowest price range. Laminate is fully man-made and is an imitation of a hardwood or tile floor. Because they’re man-made, they are much more durable than the natural products they imitate.  So for busy recreation rooms, children’s play rooms, spare rooms and storage areas, laminate flooring might make the most sense. Laminate is a click-together product and is installed in a floating method.

 Cork flooring is very warm, quiet and comfortable, but at the same time very resilient and much more durable than most people expect. It makes a great comfortable floor for a home theatre room, recreation room, spare bedroom or home office. Cork is also very commonly used in kitchens and washrooms, for its warmth and comfort level. Most cork is installed in a floating method, but some are glued down.

 In all cases, a “vapour barrier” must be created between the flooring and the concrete. This is achieved by the underpads used for floating floors or the adhesives used for glue-down floors.  

 Today we have many brands available to choose from, so it’s important to let your flooring store specialist know that you are looking for flooring for your basement that way they can guide you to the brands and floors that are suitable for the conditions in your home.

Flooring Accessories

Flooring Accessories are often treated as something of an afterthought by both the homeowner and the installer, which is unfortunate because as with many home improvement undertakings, it’s the finishing details that really make for a superior job. Well-chosen and correctly-installed flooring accessories don’t just finish the job; they marry the new wood floor seamlessly to the rest of the interior décor.

Flooring Accessories come in many different shapes and sizes. Cove base, quarter round and base shoe are all types of trim for covering the gap between the floor and the wall. T-caps neatly bridge the gap between the wood floor and another flooring material of the same height, while reducers step between floor types of different heights. Stair nosings finish the front of stairs.

Within each category, there are countless variations of profile and dimension to fit various different flooring styles. Whatever their specifications, accessories serve several important functions;

-they hide the expansion space required for the wood flooring

-they help to hold the flooring secure to the subfloor

-transitions and reducers help smooth a change in elevation between the hardwood and the adjacent flooring

-they create a clean and visually pleasing transition between two different flooring types or between the flooring and the wall.

Tip:  To achieve a really smooth-looking transition, find a board of flooring that is a close match in color and grain to the transition piece and install that board on the edge where the transition will be placed.


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