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The choice to install hardwood floors in your home is positive, as wood floors are considered a timeless classic: elegant, durable, and sleek. Specifically, oak flooring is a wonderful option for those interested in a long-lasting and versatile material.
Of course, it’s important to know the process of installing and maintaining this material so you have an idea of what’s involved before opting for them.
Installing and maintaining oak floors isn’t overly complicated. This article will offer an overview of the installation process as well as information about oak floors including the necessary tips for caring for them properly.
As with any installation or renovation project, being prepared will allow you to complete this task with success. First, we’d recommend starting with a sketch of the area or room where you’ll be installing the oak floors. The sketch should include the direction with which the wood slats will be placed.
Another important note is that hardwood must acclimate to the room temperature and humidity for 3 to 5 days before installation. We’d recommend laying the slats down and getting a feel for how you’ll want them laid out for installation. Make sure to check if there are any misshapen wood pieces and choose the straightest ones for the first 2 rows.
Here’s a list of materials necessary for this project:
A level subfloor is essential for a smooth installation, with the hardwood installed over ¾ inch plywood on or above grade. Hardwood cannot be installed over concrete.
To begin installing, bear in mind that the first and last rows will need to be secured through the face of the board, where all other boards will be nailed through the tongue. Lay the first board with the groove toward the wall. Set ¾ inch spacers for the expansion gap along the length and at the end where the board and wall meet. Now, you can drive the nails through the pre-drilled holes in the boards.
Tap the next board in place using a tapping block and mallet, then countersink the nails. To begin the second row, push the board groove into the tongue of the first row and tap together. You can continue this process with the rest of the boards, remembering to stagger joints and maintain the extension gaps.
To finish, you’ll need to cut the excess underlayment. Sand and stain if this is necessary. Fill the nail holes with wood putty. Cover the expansion gap by replacing the baseboards and shoe moulding.
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Now that your new hardwood has been installed, you’ll need to know how to best care for it in order to prolong its beauty and lifespan. Here are our top tips for your oak floors:
One of the best ways to keep your oak floors safe from scratches and defects is to use felt pads beneath every piece of furniture. This is an especially important tip in terms of any furniture that’s moving around a lot: chairs especially. These can be found in most hardware and big-box stores. Make sure to check out the different sizing options in order to choose the right ones for you!
Cleaning your oak floors should be done with a careful approach, as this material is different from those of stone, porcelain tile, ceramic tile and laminate. Although oak is a durable material, it needs to be cleaned in a specific way. Our advice is as follows:
Clean away dust, dirt and debris using a vacuum or soft-bristled broom before moving onto wet floor cleaning methods like mopping. If you’re using a vacuum, make sure to choose a high setting, as this will allow you to avoid scratching the floor.
When mopping, we’d suggest getting a mop that’s been specifically designed for hardwood floors. String mops are not the best choice, so look for additional options on the market.
Make sure to use cleaning products that have been specifically designed for natural wood. Using a hardwood-specific cleaner will provide the proper protection without damaging the finish.
Scratches happen and on an oak floor preventing them isn’t impossible but can prove difficult. If you find yourself with a few scratches on the surface of your oak floor, we have some tips to suggest on how to deal with them:
Although oak floors are strong and resistant, time may still wear them down. This is especially true for the top coat. So, if your oak flooring has been installed for a while, you may be wondering about the right time to add a new coat of finish. Here are some signs that the time has come:
Caring for your oak floors is not as difficult as it may sound. In fact, putting a minimal amount of love and attention into this earth-born material will allow for a long-lasting and beautiful flooring option.
Would you like to continue reading on this subject? We have a few articles for you:
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Last modified 2023-09-27
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SoumissionRenovation.ca • 24 May 2023
Tiles are crafted with different materials. Having a clear understanding of said materials means choosing aesthetic and hard-wearing wall and floor coverings. Here are 6 of the most used types of tiles, whether indoors or outdoors. What are the different types of tile materials? Source: Canva Yanick Dupré, Dupré Carrelage Inc., mentioned that tiles are effectively made using many different types of materials: Aluminum; Ceramic; Terracotta; Glass (enamel and glass paste); Natural stone; Cement. 1. Aluminum tiles Aluminum is a luminous tile material that reflects light, thus enhancing the aesthetic appeal of the room in question. It’s perfect as a kitchen backsplash or to protect the area right beneath your range hood, said material is increasingly used inside. Average cost: $5 - $16/sq. ft. 2. Ceramic tiles Tile materials that are best known as “ceramics” are plentiful: Sandstone; Tin-glazed; Natural terracotta. These can be added during the manufacturing process: Quartz; Kaolin (China clay); Feldspar. Clay is what gives tiles their final shape and volume. Materials such as quartz and feldspar then add strength and uniformity to it. Essentially, there are two types of ceramic tiles: Red body tiles; White body tiles. Red body tiles are made up of fibre-rich clay. The latter is both cost-effective and extremely porous. To the extent that, if red clay tiles were to be laid outside, they would shatter at the first frost. White body tiles aren’t much less porous. Their white clay or kaolin base simply allows for a high-end and resilient tiling, especially to impacts when dual-fired (first without enamelling, then a second time with enamelling). Average cost: $3 - $25/sq. ft. So, does this mean that ceramic tiles can't be laid both indoors and outdoors? Actually, no. That's where porcelain stoneware ceramic tiles come in. Porcelain Stoneware Among porcelain stoneware, two types can be distinguished: full-body ceramic stoneware and glazed ceramic stoneware. In both cases, the tiles are: Especially resistant to impacts; Highly resilient; Impervious to chemicals; Non-abrasive; Impervious to cracking when frozen over. The only difference is that the former has a similar-coloured surface to that of a biscuit porcelain, while the latter is heat-coated with a layer of enamel. Finally, "stretched" sandstone tiles consist of stoneware that has been stretched rather than pressed during the manufacturing process. Laying stretched stoneware is generally done directly on the ground, whether indoors or outdoors, provided the porous nature of the product allows it. 3. Terracotta tiles Source: Canva Made of clay and sand, terracotta tiles get their pale yellow to dark brown colour from the earth. Terracotta is among those highly porous materials used for tiling. Once the tiles have been laid, and before the tiles are grouted, a hydrophobic treatment should be applied to the surface. A waterproofing agent is then added to fully protect the tiles. Terracotta has many interesting qualities: Moisture resistant Easy maintenance; Doesn’t feel cold to the touch; Ideal for indoor or outdoor use; Anti-slip. However, while terracotta is easy to lay indoors and outdoors, whether on walls or floors, certain types of terracotta are especially susceptible to impacts. As is the case with glazed terracotta, and should be limited to wall installations (bathroom, kitchen backsplash, etc.). Average cost: $20 - $30/sq. ft. 4. Glass tiles Glass tiles are made up of two materials: Glass pastes; Enamels. Glass pastes are tiny, iridescent, plain or metallic tiles that are glued together to make mosaics. Their main benefit is that they're highly resistant to impact, heat, and scratches even. Unlike terracotta or natural stone, glass mosaics don't require any water or chemical treatments. Glass tiles are easy to clean and ideal to fit in with the lines and curves of any surface, making them the perfect finishing touch in any kitchen or bathroom. Another glass medium could be Émaux de Briare tiles, which can be installed indoors and outdoors. They're wear-, shock-, and UV-resistant, fully impervious to chemicals, and waterproof. By adding a flux to the mixture of calcine, crystalline rock, and sand, the resulting enamel becomes more easily vitrified and tinted during the firing process. Since they're extremely thin, they can be glued directly onto an existing floor. It's the exact opposite approach to natural stone tiles, which we’ll now delve into. Average cost: $10 - $60/sq. ft. 5. Natural stone tiles Natural stone tiles are smooth and raw, with white, black, brown, or blue nuances, thus lending the space in question a unique, charming look. Whether inside or outside, natural stones adorn both floors and walls, with two major advantages: Wear- and impact-resistance; Don’t fade over time. The only downside to using natural stones is their maintenance and weight. Laying natural stone tiles not only requires the use of a hydrophobic treatment to render the porous surface water-repellent but also regular maintenance to preserve its gloss. This is especially important for highly porous limestone. Without crystallization treatment, such tiles are stain- and scratch-prone. Natural stone tiles are thicker than tiles made of other materials and are typically between 0.8 to 2 inches thick. Hence, they’re made heavier to provide identical mechanical resistance. As such, when picking out your tiles, if you land on natural stone tiles, note whether: The tiles add too much height to the floor; And if they can withstand the intended load. Once you’ve answered these questions, you can choose the tile material that you prefer: Igneous rock (granite, basalt, porphyry); Sedimentary rock (sandstone, travertine, white rock); Schist (slate); Metamorphic rock (marble). Average cost: $5 - $30/sq. ft. 6. Cement tiles Cement tiles are made from mortar and pigmented marble powder, and are now trending again. Like natural stones and ceramics, cement needs to be well protected by a triple-action treatment: Hydrophobic; Waterproof; Oil-repellent. Although wax is also used during this treatment, never clean your cement tiles with bleach or acidic household products. The only acidic product you can apply to cement is one that can remove any leftover laitance from the installation process. One last piece of advice: If you notice signs of efflorescence on the tiles you were shipped as a result of laitance during the in-plant drying process, all you have to do is gently sand the tiles with water to remove the efflorescence. All you need is sandpaper. Average cost: $5 - $20/sq. ft. Are you looking for experts for your flooring project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! Best Tile Options Source: Canva Choosing the right material depends on the room you want to tile. Tiling materials come in all sizes and styles: Enamelled or glazed ceramic; Aged or bumpy material; Pearlescent colour; Contemporary factor; etc. Indoor tiles Ceramic tiles; Mosaic; "Stretched” sandstone; Terracotta; Glass tiles; Natural stone tiles; Tin-glazed. Outdoor tiles Porcelain stoneware; Terracotta; Glass; Cement; Natural stone tiles. Tiling Ideas Source: Canva Wall treatment Tiles can be laid in several areas throughout a home. However, wall tiling is mainly done in wet areas (bathrooms and kitchens). It protects walls and makes them easy to clean. However, you can also lay tiles outdoors, notably along your patio, swimming pool, or on walls specially designed to create a lounge area. Bear in mind that ceramics can also be used to design beautiful mosaics. Floor tiles In a home, certain areas must have easy-to-clean flooring. Notably in the kitchen, in which cooking and food splatters are a daily occurrence (especially if you have young children). Tiles aren't merely an ally when it comes to cleaning, they're also a durable flooring material, even in high-traffic areas (kitchen, stairs, entryway, basement, etc.). For outdoor use, tiles can be laid across your patio or walkway. Your garage and driveway can also be tiled. And many materials have the mechanical strength to withstand the load of a car. What’s the best bathroom tile? Source: Canva Porcelain stoneware is the perfect material to tile your bathroom since it meets one crucial requirement: it's easy to clean. After all, hygiene is the most important aspect of a bathroom, to prevent germ proliferation and mould growth. In this respect, porcelain stoneware comes out on top. Not only can it be easily cleaned, but it's also really hard-wearing. And, because it’s available in a wide range of formats and sizes, porcelain stoneware can be adapted to all bathroom sizes. What’s the best tile size for a bathroom? Some industry experts still recommend using small tiles for smaller-sized bathrooms. However, it's simply outdated wisdom. It's merely a preconceived notion that large tiles weigh down smaller bathrooms. It’s quite the opposite, really. Large tiles convey a feeling of spaciousness that small tile surfaces lack. So, why is this belief that small tiles are best for smaller bathrooms? This trend can be traced back to long ago when large tiles were first developed. It was customary to lay small tiles in the bathroom, especially as large tiles required specific cuts for the patterns to be aesthetically pleasing. Let your imagination run wild, choose tiles of various sizes and of different colours, whether as borders or murals, laid straight, at 45°, herringbone or offset. That said, choose and lay your tiles as you wish.
SoumissionRenovation.ca • 04 Apr 2023
Back in the day, dimension stock was the material of choice used to build floor systems. However, through the years, building techniques have significantly evolved to allow for innovative engineered wood products on the market, such as floor trusses. These can be shaped in various ways and are especially valued for their many advantages by building professionals. What are floor trusses? Source: Canva Floor trusses are a product of engineered wood used as a dimension stock alternative. They’re designed to support static and dynamic loads imposed on floor systems. In other words, they’re load-bearing floor parts. Spanning anywhere from 9 ¼" to 24" tall, trusses limit the use of beams, bearing walls, and columns. They facilitate installation and allow for a 2 ½" or 3 ½" nailing surface. Also, floor trusses are designed to ensure mechanical systems such as plumbing, electrical wiring, and heating can be routed through the width of the floor. Trusses can be fitted on all floor levels, whether it's a ground floor, upper floor, basement floor, rooftop terrace or crawl space floor. Although floor trusses are typically shipped individually, some manufacturers will package them in pre-assembled floor sections. They can even include plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) structural sheathing. Types of Floor Trusses and Their Advantages Source: Canva There are two types of floor trusses: I-joist and open-web trusses. Both types are commonly used as part of lightweight, wood-frame floor system construction. However, each has specific characteristics and advantages that we’ll delve into in the following section. The I-Joist The I-Joist is made up of two parallel, finger-jointed flanges of lumber that are typically manufactured from 2x3 and 2x4 composite wood (LVL, LSL). The web is a 3/8” to 7/16” thick OSB panel that joins the two flanges. The latter are glued to the web’s width, thereby making an I-shape thanks to a patented assembly method. For clarity, the web is the vertical part of a joist. I-joist floor trusses can be manufactured in various lengths, grades, and depths to cater to all spans. The most commonly used depths are 9 ½”, 11 7/8”, 14”, 16”, and up to 24”. As for length, it typically ranges between 12’ and 36’. However, lengths can reach 48 feet or even more sometimes. There are many advantages to using I-joist floor trusses. In fact, this product’s large web provides a nailing and glueing surface for the structural floor sheathing. Another advantage is that its shape gives it great strength-to-weight and quality-for-price ratios. Drill holes can be made according to the manufacturer’s instructions to allow pipes and ducts through, particularly in the middle third of the span where the shear resistance is low. Another benefit that can be said of the I-joist floor truss is that it can be cut to exact specifications. However, note that though it’s a material that offers building flexibility, floor trusses do, at times, require rim boards and face mount joist hangers. On top of that, they need blocking panels, made of I-joist sections, mid-span between the floor trusses. Its installation does require more time and is more technical than that of the open-web wood trusses. The Open-Web Wood Trusses Source: Canva Open-web wood trusses are made with two lumber flanges that are often linked with diagonal webs and available in a triangular shape that reduces the quantity of lumber required while also having interesting and precise mechanical properties. These are made with 2x3 or 2x4 chords that are laid flat to have a large nailing surface for the structural floor sheathing. The advantage of this type of floor trusses over that of I-joists is that it allows for plenty of space for the building’s services to pass through the diagonal web openings. As a matter of fact, the trusses are made with strategically placed tunnels and openings to facilitate household plumbing, electrical wiring, or ventilation duct installations. These trusses are also available in a range of spans, depths, and lengths. They can be laid against the upper chord, which limits the number of joist hangers needed and conceals the trusses within the structure. Most manufacturers offer various models that can be adapted on-site thanks to their web ends (end posts), which allows the builders once on-site to adjust the trusses perfectly. The open-web truss is a great alternative to more expensive, lightweight steel structures. The truss’ lightweight renders it easy to manoeuvre and install. Moreover, its installation process is rather quick compared to that of standard floor joists. Another advantage of the open-web floor system, one can note the innovative building techniques used to enhance the strength and efficiency of the floor trusses. Also, their interior triangular structure is a considerable asset since it reinforces the floor system against long-term damage like floor squeaking or deflection. It’s best to choose open-web floor trusses that are tailored made and done so according to the National Building Code of Canada and vibration measurement, control, and standards. There are two types of open-web floor trusses that are most commonly used for commercial constructions: open-web metal-pin connected trusses and open-web wood joists. What’s the maximum span of trusses? There is a wide range of depths available on the market. Here are some of the most sought-after measurements: 241 mm (9 ½ in); 302 mm (11 7/8 in); 318 mm (12 ½ in); 356 mm (14 in); 406 mm (16 in); 457 mm (18 in); 508 mm (20 in); 559 mm (22 in); 610 mm (24 in). Lumber floor trusses can reach spans that range between 6.1 m and 7.62 m, so 20 and 25 ft respectively. However, they can measure beyond the 9 m (30 ft) mark depending on the dimensions and type of wood used for the chords and bearing loads. To create a truss diaphragm (solid sheet), lumber floor trusses are used with structural floor sheathing, like plywood or oriented strand board. They can be shipped individually or in pre-assembled floor sections. Do you have a floor renovation project in mind? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! How to Install Floor Trusses Source: Canva Before installing your floor trusses, you absolutely must choose the right materials. Choose according to the use you want to make of your floor. We recommend favouring sturdy materials if it’s intended for a living space. However, opt for lighter materials when it concerns less frequented areas like an attic. Here’s a bit of information to help you understand how floor trusses are installed. Note that the steps detailed below are solely for reference purposes. It's entirely dependent on your contractor to adapt them according to the specificities of your construction project site. Step 1: Level load-bearing walls and mark off the layout of the trusses Before doing anything, make sure that the walls supporting the joists are horizontal and level. To do so, measure all sides, both length and depth. If necessary, lay a base course to then get a horizontal, level surface. Once that’s done, allow it to dry before moving on to the next step. Step 2: Install floor joists Laying the floor joists is done according to a plan elaborated by computer software by taking into account the load-bearing ability of the floor trusses. To begin, square the house’s perimeter to ensure it’s 90 degrees. Then, go forth by laying the floor joists according to the markings. Using a tape measure, determine the layout of the floor joists based on the blueprint. Then, unfurl a layer of foam sealant to achieve a capillary break between the footing and concrete. Now proceed by installing your joists. Make sure the hanger face mounts are well screwed into the joists as indicated on the plan. Then, spread construction glue on the hangers to prevent cracking as the joists are affixed. Properly screw in the joists where needed and fasten the rim joists according to the manufacturer's instructions. Once the floor joists are secured, stabilize them by fastening pieces of lumber between them. For longer areas, some construction requires steel beams. A few installation recommendations Avoid cutting, grooving, or drilling into open-web lumber joist chords and connectors. Aside from the adjustable end post that can be cut on-site to then obtain the desired joist length. Avoid loading the joists beyond the structural design loads, even if only temporarily. Make sure concentrated loads are applied where needed and according to the blueprint. Follow the installation details provided for double joists to ensure there’s an equal load distribution between the two. Remember to secure the brace trusses to prevent the floor from tipping or moving sideways. The building contractor must be sure that the non-load-bearing walls aren't transferring loads from the upper floors. The trusses shouldn't be left in areas that are permanently exposed to the elements. They should be stored in a dry environment. Floor Truss Pricing Examples Source: Canva The cost of building a floor truss system varies depending on the type of truss chosen, as well as its composition. That said, it’s best to inquire with manufacturers to be sure of the exact cost of the material suited to your needs. Here are a few examples of different brands of joists available on the Eastern seaboard: TRIFORCE: This brand specializes in timber open joists (open-web design), which are made according to the National Building Code of Canada in terms of vibration and sound transfer performance and fire resistance. The TRIFORCE open joist is a high-end product that offers excellent floor system performance. Vulcraft joists: These are made with steel according to the latest edition of the CAN/CSA S-16 standard. Whether it’s a standard, composite, or girder joist, this brand has a complete line of joists that’s a sure value added to your structure. Lanoix et Jeanson’s trimmable wooden joists: These are ideal if you want a sturdy floor, devoid of creaking. They have the added benefit of making the system installation easier.
SoumissionRenovation.ca • 20 Sep 2023
Who doesn’t like wooden floors? The wide-ranging species are sought-after, whether installed inside or outside. However, while wood may be well-acclimated and low maintenance inside your home, it’s another tale when facing Mother Nature in your backyard. Wood decking, albeit a timeless favourite, does require a hefty amount of care. Be it ipe, cedar, or pressure-treated lumber, there’s no way around it. Since we’re usually short on time to paint, stain, and seal it, and it can be tough to come by a professional to do the work for us, sooner or later, we find ourselves with poorly maintained flooring that’s wearing out and deteriorating prematurely. Hence the reason why composite decking is an ever-growing favourite. It’s durable, eco-friendly, and high performing, which means you can benefit from wood’s beauty, lustre, and shades, as well as the richness of its fibre, stress-free, and, without cutting down a single tree. How to Choose Composite Decking Source: Canva There are different types of composite flooring grouped according to the following 4 factors: Profile: hollow or solid boards Plastic design: high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polypropylene (PP), PVC, or expanded PVC Filler base: wood flour, paper, rice hulls, bamboo, hemp, peanut shells, etc. Extrusion type: first generation or co-extrusion Wood-Plastic Composite Profile Hollow boards were first launched on the market at the beginning of the 1990s, and because they’re made with 40% less material than solid boards, they’re much cheaper. We like the fact that they’re lightweight, facilitate construction, speed up the process, and can be installed on an existing structure that wasn’t built for WPC (wood-plastic composite) boards. A quality product will easily withstand extreme temperature variations. On the other hand, hollow composite boards are rather water- and humidity-vulnerable (boards dilate and crack due to stagnant water and freeze), are more brittle and damage-prone under physical impact, and can’t be worked like real wood (cut or screwed) since their profile is partly hollow. The arrival of solid boards on the market solved these different issues. While they’re heavier than so-called engineered (hollow) boards, they more closely resemble wood planks. Solid WPC boards are better for soundproofing noise and footsteps (or swift steps) than hollow boards. Lastly, they don’t necessitate a skirting board or end caps for a put-together, finished look. Solid boards still have their share of drawbacks, such as their weight, and tendency for expanding, contracting, or warping when exposed to harsh weather conditions. They also require a bit more effort during the building process. Wood-Plastic Composite Board Design Other than being hollow or solid, the various other products used to design composite flooring or decking are divided into two categories based on their plastic composition: polyolefins (polyethylene and polypropylene) and PVC. Polyolefin-based boards are more supple and must be installed on a structure with a tighter mesh because of just how flexible they are. They’re more easily worked and perfectly mimic the look of wood. Heat, directly on polyethylene, has the added bonus of eliminating micro scratches caused by our four-legged best friends or by pushed-aside furniture. Lastly, polypropylene is harder and more difficult to extrude, both of which render the product’s quality inconsistent. PVC is more rigid, oftentimes more expensive, as well as more prone to cold-weather breakage. Paired with wood fibre, a denser product than traditional composite can be designed. While PVC boards are practically all hollow, solid decking boards can be produced with expanded PVC. Composite Wood Filler Base By “filler base,” we mean the percentage of wood paired with plastic matter, which varies from one product to another. Composite wood is typically made with recycled wood particles (most notably waste softwood or hardwood in Europe and America) and polymer resins. The filler material allows the board to expand, while the wood fibre serves as a stabilizer; the goal being finding the perfect balance. As such, the wood content may vary between 15% to 70% in a filler base mix. A significant amount of wood (or wood flour) doesn’t necessarily mean higher quality as the latter speeds up the composite’s discoloration process and heightens its vulnerability to moisture. Therefore, the percentage of wood fibre used during the manufacturing process shouldn’t exceed 60%. NOTE: Polypropylene can encase a higher percentage of wood fibres than polyethylene. Are you looking for experts for your flooring project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! Deck, Terrace, or Balcony: How to Install Composite Decking Outside Source: Canva Prior to jumpstarting your composite decking project, consult your municipality's urban services to familiarize yourself with the current regulations. In most cases, you’ll need to submit a sketch of your project and request a permit. Composite Deck Structure Requirements Building a composite wood deck is done according to a set of distinct requirements. As such, from the get-go, the foundation on which the boards will be placed must meet specific criteria. joists and stair stringers must be fitted every 12-inch; the joists have to be doubled where the boards are joined together at their ends; H-shaped joists must be used where the boards will be met with a perpendicular directional change; the joists must be coated and weatherproofed with a bitumen membrane; the deck must have proper airflow (there has to be a 12-inch clearance between the deck’s surface and the ground) since excess humidity will warp the boards. As such, it’s recommended to install a lattice skirting that will seal the gap while promoting adequate airflow. Installing Composite Boards Composite products available for outdoor decking are as follows: stair nosing, boards or tiles, and skirting. Here are some recommendations to consider whilst assembling: avoid, as much as possible, cutting or trimming the composite boards. When necessary, use a tungsten carbide-tipped blade; a wood sealant must be applied with a paintbrush on the cut ends; install the boards at a 90-degree angle to the joists; because composite wood is prone to expansion and contraction, avoid connecting one board end to another. If it must be done, double up on the joists positioned at the junction. That way, each board can be securely fastened to its own joist; when installing the boards, start with the stair nosing and work your way toward the house. Fastening Hardware Never screw or nail composite boards directly to a structure. Only use the hardware supplied by the manufacturer during installation otherwise the warranty will be null and void. Typically, there are three different types of fasteners used: 1. Basic clips, used to securely attach the boards to the joists; 2. Starter clips, used to fasten the initial deck boards; 3. Locking clips, designed to connect and lock two boards, end to end, preventing unwanted side-to-side movement. TRICK OF THE TRADE: Should you prefer square tiles, there are 12-inch by 12-inch (30 cm by 30 cm) composite tiles sold on the market. This type of durable flooring is easy to install and will revamp your worn outdoor space in no time. What are the pros and cons of composite wood? Source: Canva If you’ve opted for composite decking boards, yet aren’t sure which to choose amongst the near dozen available on the market? Since comparing and contrasting the pros and cons can be rather complex, here are a few key factors on which to base your decision. Composite Material’s Moisture Resistance Level Composite decking’s performance when exposed to humidity significantly varies from one brand to another. Moisture resistance is directly linked to the quality of the process by which the wood fibres are enclosed in plastic. Therefore, abide by the guidelines when it comes to recommended clearance between the decking and ground, as well as the required airflow beneath the structure. Note that MoistureShield composite decking is the only brand that guarantees a ground-level, underground, and underwater installation. Available Warranty Warranties significantly vary from one brand to another. Some warranties cover manufacturing defects, discoloration, moisture intrusion, rotting, stains, warping, cracking, and insect-related damage… Look over what’s covered and for what period of time! Typically, the warranty period is between 25 to 50 years, depending on the chosen brand and model. Have composite materials ever been the subject of structural field failures? Some brands have been the subject of class action lawsuits due to manufacturing defects. Choose quality products retailed by a reputable and reliable company. Amount of Heat Absorbed by the Product Composite decking boards tend to absorb heat and become quite hot during peak summer season. If you can’t tread barefoot on your deck, terrace, or balcony for the better part of the summer, you won’t be able to benefit from it as intended. Weigh how the product reacts under various weather conditions prior to making up your mind. Some products absorb up to 35% less heat than others, thereby limiting contact heat transfer. Percentage of Recycled Materials Involved in its Making As for the percentage of recycled materials used, it also varies from one product to the next. Considering that some composite wood is made with 95% recycled materials (milk cartons, grocery bags, pallet packaging), makes for an appropriate choice that allows you to significantly reduce your environmental footprint. Protective Coating Some composite materials issued from first-generation designs are more prone to discoloration and staining over time and necessitate periodical cleanings. They’re also more prone to scratching. Others benefit from a protective coating that guarantees the product’s durability. Product Designed for Our Weather Products designed and manufactured in North America are quality composites and PVC, suited to our weather conditions. While these are more expensive than products imported from Asia, they perform better when exposed to notable temperature variations. Overall, if you don’t want to go wrong, you can definitely rely on reputable brands that have been proven effective in Quebec. Composite Boards: Cost and Colours Source: Canva Low-priced products available in big-box stores often have a poor-quality shell that absorbs heat a lot more. These products also often have porosity-related issues that result in discoloration, they require more maintenance and are subject to expansion. The products designed and manufactured in North America are made according to our weather conditions. They’re often more expensive, but the quality of their manufacturing and warranty is often well worth the investment. One can always save money by opting for hollow boards rather than solid ones. You’ll be saving on your purchase, but also on building time. However, choose a quality product and make sure the design (faux wood finish) meets your aesthetic criteria. A few price points: $76 to $126 for a 16-foot long, 5.5-inch wide board $9.39 per linear foot for a 12-foot long, 8-inch wide board $49.99 for a 12-inch by 12-inch tile As for shades, composite wood is spoiled for colours. Shades range from all the most aesthetically pleasing hues, whether you prefer a natural-looking board (Maple, Acacia), to warmer tones (Cocoa, Dark Coffee, Sandy Beach), driftwood (Seashell, Slate Grey, Barnwood), or a pretty faux torrified wood (Carbonized, Rustik). PRO TIP: Light colours won’t absorb as much heat as dark shades. As such, one may notice a 5- to 13-degree Celcius difference between two same-brand composite decking boards, one light-coloured and the other dark-coloured. Composite Flooring: Weatherproof and Durable Composite decking is highlighted as an exceptional flooring option, offering both unparalleled weatherproofing and unmatched durability. Such modern materials blend both wood’s aesthetic and plastic’s robustness, thereby creating decking that withstands: UV rays humidity mould insects Although the initial cost is slightly higher than that compared to traditional alternatives, you’ll be benefiting from a long-term solution that requires little maintenance. Composite flooring encompasses the perfect equilibrium between shape and function, for appealing outdoor spaces that can withstand harsh weather. As such, it makes for a wise choice for those who aren’t looking to compromise in terms of durability or aesthetic appeal.
SoumissionRenovation.ca • 20 Sep 2023
Engineered wood floors are most certainly the type of flooring you need. To ensure you’re choosing the best type of flooring for your interior living spaces, here are flooring-specific must-haves to stand the test of time, as well as installation tips. What’s engineered wood flooring? Source: Canva It’s a type of flooring that consists of a core layer glued onto a piece of hardwood. Typically, the core layer is made of: Russian birch plywood high-density fibreboards (HDF) oriented strand boards (OSB) When made, the plywood that makes up part of the engineered wood flooring is either sawn, sliced, or peeled. When sawn, only high-value wood species can be used, creating a 0.2-inch (5 mm) thick layer. However, sawn plywood is rarely used nowadays given that it requires a significant amount of raw materials and manufacturing delays. Sliced plywood will typically consist of a veneer made from broad-leaf trees. Generally speaking, it won’t exceed 0.12 inches (3.5 mm) in thickness. Last but not least, peeled plywood, which is much faster to produce than the other two. All types of wood species can be used. Therefore, it can either be uniform, if solely one species is used, or blended, if multiple species are mixed together. It’s 0.04-inch thick at most (1.2 to 1.9 mm). Then, real wood is glued to the plywood; the glue used can be: PVA type I wood glue Epoxy PVA Hot melt glue A study carried out at Université Laval determined that for longer-lasting results, engineered wood flooring must have the following characteristics: a Russian birch plywood core be sliced or peeled not glued with epoxy (subpar bonding and delamination) What’s the difference between an engineered wood floor and a hardwood floor? The primary difference lies in quality and thickness. By thickness, we aren’t referring to the board as a whole, which can measure up to ¾ inches (1.9 cm). What we’re looking at is how thick the wear layer is. A difference in thickness Hardwood floors are designed with a single board made from a single wood species. Therefore, its wear layer is thicker compared to laminate (floating) flooring. It can thus be renovated more often and last longer. On the other hand, laminate flooring is plywood. Meaning, a succession of wood layers glued atop one another, with a top coat finish. The wear layer isn’t as thick. Therefore, laminate flooring can’t be renovated as often as hardwood floors. A difference in quality Given the discrepancy in characteristics, both products aren’t installed in the same areas. Hardwood flooring doesn’t react well when exposed to humidity. Therefore, avoid installing it in the following areas: basement bathroom or wet room kitchen On the flip side, engineered wood floors can be installed any and everywhere, and aren’t limited to floors. It can be layered on walls, ceilings, concrete slabs, or be laid over a radiant floor system. What’s the difference between laminate and hardwood flooring? Laminate floors are often mistaken for hardwood. In reality, these two types of flooring couldn’t be any more different. Hardwood floors are a type of flooring, while laminate flooring refers to an installation method. There are: hardwood floors engineered wood floors laminate (floating) floors Hardwood floors, just like any other type of flooring, can be installed using the “floating” method, meaning secured without the use of glue or screws. Are you looking for experts for your flooring project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! What are the benefits of choosing engineered wood? Humidity resistant Low maintenance Its many layers prevent buckling Heat resistant (heating system) Can be laid on concrete Which makes the best flooring: oak, maple, bamboo, or birch? To ensure durable flooring, it’s best to turn to hardwood species. To determine wood-specific durability, the Janka hardness test is regularly used for that purpose. Below are the values representing the primary wood species used for flooring: Species Pound-force (Janka) Cost White oak 1,350 lbf $5.19/sq. ft Sugar maple 1,450 lbf $8.32/ sq. ft Bamboo 1,380 lbf $4.98/sq. ft Birch 950 lbf $4.29/sq.ft 9 Engineered Wood Flooring Installation Tips Source: Canva Tip 1: Finish other endeavours first Prior to installing engineered wood floors, make sure the following work is completely finished: water supply system floor heating system concrete and plaster (60- to 90-day curing period) etc. Tip 2: Install dry floorboards The temperature and humidity levels in the room in which the engineered wood flooring will be installed are very important. They must be between the following: 15-20°C (59-68°F) 40-60% humidity Tip 3: Store the floorboards prior to installing them To make sure the flooring is accustomed to the room’s temperature, store the flooring inside the room anywhere between 48 to 72 hours before proceeding with the installation. Tip 4: Have the right tools handy Jigsaw and mitre saw Wood chisel Measuring tape Carpenter’s square Level Pencil/chalk Line Claw hammer and rubber mallet Vacuum Tip 5: Check the subfloor The layer onto which the engineered wood flooring will be installed has to be flat and stable. Meaning, height- and depth-wise, it must not exceed the following: 0.19 inch (5 mm) over a 6.6 feet (2 m) length, 0.07 inch (2 mm) over a 7.87 inch (20 cm) length. Otherwise, the floor will have to be re-levelled using self-levelling cement. Tip 6: Install the first row The first row will set the tone for the rest. Make sure it’s straight as every other row will match it. Maintain a ¼ inch gap between the wall and the tip of the floorboards, as well as half an inch between the wall and floorboard, length-wise. Tip 7: Add adhesive Using a trowel, apply glue to the backside of the floorboard while maintaining a 45° angle. Doing so will allow you to evenly spread the glue. Tip 8: Install floorboards Installing the planks using hammers as well as your body weight can render this task easier. In fact, it’ll ensure the boards are firmly pushed down against the glue and subfloor. Tip 9: Cure time The drying time normally takes 24 hours—based on the humidity levels and temperature. However, as you’re working, make sure to remove any glue residue on the planks. Once the glue has cured, it’ll be much harder to remove. Engineered Wood Flooring Maintenance Source: Canva When it comes to the benefits of engineered wood flooring, its low-maintenance factor definitely comes to mind. Here’s everything you can do to keep it looking like new. How can it be cleaned? Regularly sweep or vacuum your floors to prevent anything abrasive from idling on its surface. For a deep clean, use a microfibre mop pad soaked in a cleaning agent. Wipe the floor with the wood grain. Repeat the process using a mop once a month. How can it be repaired? It all depends on the depth of the physical impact, or just how worn the flooring is. For scratches, the best repair method is using a pen, or marker, with an ink colour that closely resembles that of the floorboards. The purpose here is to dab pen or marker ink over the scratches. If the scratches are quite deep, there are waxes that closely resemble floorboard shades. Such a wax can be applied directly to the affected area using a putty knife. Fill in the scratches with the wax. There will be a time when these methods will prove futile, especially when it comes to the flooring’s natural wear over time. Note that engineered wood flooring can be professionally sanded two or three times. Engineered Wood Flooring: A Perfect Blend of Technology and Tradition Engineered wood flooring embodies a harmonious balance between the timeless beauty of natural wood and the advantages of cutting-edge technology. This flooring solution was designed with durability, humidity and temperature variation resistance, and exceptional dimensional stability in mind while preserving the welcoming aesthetic of real wood. Courtesy of innovative engineering methods, this type of flooring is perfectly suited to various uses, including settings that are subjected to fluctuating weather conditions. By opting for engineered wood flooring, you’re decidedly choosing the best technology available for comfort and elegance, therefore creating interior spaces that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing for years to come.
SoumissionRenovation.ca • 14 Jun 2023
Tiles suit just about every surface, from kitchen to bathroom, floor to ceiling. Nowadays, they’re also a popular choice for backyards. To achieve a clean, refined look, tiles can be used to embellish porches, surround pools, and revamp flat roofs to design a scenic rooftop terrace. As far as current trends are concerned, outdoor ceramic tiles are used to stylishly revamp backyards. After years spent admiring Mediterranean courtyards from afar, you can now tile your yard with materials specifically designed to withstand our harsh Canadian winters. The Different Types of Outdoor Tiles Source: Canva Natural stone, porcelain, faux wood…outdoor tiles are available in countless shapes, all of which are aesthetically pleasing. With the myriad of options out there, one can go about designing the exact setting they had in mind. Tiles, with their distinctive looks, suit just about any and all architectural styles. So, without further ado, here’s a selection of outdoor tiles to consider. Outdoor Porcelain Tiles This type of tile is quickly becoming the go-to product favoured by high-end outdoor setting industry experts who, with reason, consider porcelain tiles the best option for their clients seeking a unique look, yet refuse to cut corners in terms of design. These tiles are luxurious and comfortable to tread on barefoot, conveying an absolutely contemporary look, thus swiftly transforming outdoor living spaces. Noteworthy: MSI Stone ULC Niagara Frost floor tiles. These 12-inch x 12-inch tiles can be laid on walls and floors, and adequately resist frost. What’s the difference between ceramic and porcelain tiles? While outdoor ceramic tiles are much talked about, the majority of tiles laid in backyards are made with porcelain. They’re much more solid compared to ceramic tiles, considering they’re baked at higher temperatures, and made with sandstone, ceramic, and clay. Therefore, they’re more resistant to harsh weather conditions. For these reasons, they might just be the best option in terms of outdoor tiles. Not only can porcelain tiles withstand Canada’s harsh weather, but such tiles offer near-endless possibilities where pavers once had limitations. Faux Wood Outdoor Tiles Source: Canva Faux wood tiles are perfect to convey a Scandinavian- and rustic-inspired setting, while also suiting a Zen vibe for undeniable appeal. Glazed stoneware tiles are rather great in terms of value for money while also being low maintenance. These tiles are also available in a natural stone-like finish. Noteworthy: The Treverkview Collection, made in Italy, captures the timeless appeal of oak in four classic shades. These tiles perfectly replicate the effect of wood flooring due to its length-wise shape and realistic veining to convey a natural and cozy look. Retails for $7.99 per sq. ft. Natural Stone Tiles Natural stone tiles have a raw granite finish which isn’t likely to wear anytime soon. Ideally used in high foot traffic areas, they can withstand scratches and are low maintenance. Noteworthy: Enigma tiles, more specifically Artic Marble, with its polished finish conveying a standout outdoor living space. Retails for $10.05 per sq. ft. Slate Tiles We especially appreciate the appeal of slate due to its rich, golden, rust-coloured, green, or blue shades. Slate is timeless, always worthwhile, and valued as flooring, but also for outdoor fireplaces. Its use opens the door to a lot of possibilities and adds indescribable appeal to just about any architectural style. Its natural look withstands wear and seamlessly blends in with any patio furniture colour. Noteworthy: MSI tiles since they’re particularly easy to install, interlocking seamlessly. This type of quality tile allows for a professional-looking, super-refined result. We especially like its natural-like, split-face finish that reveals subtle, varied shades. Retails for $12.48 per sq. ft. Also noteworthy: Slate Montauk tiles. This collection of Brazilian slate is available in several tile formats, with a texture that’s both subtle and elegant. Retail starts at $6.99 per sq. ft. Wall Tiles Source: Canva Wall tiles are a new alternative to conventional wall treatments. They’re easy to clean, with a ton of options when it comes to finishes and colours, which is undeniably contributing to its success. Noteworthy: LifeProof wall and floor tiles in Quartzite or Revere Wood finishes. Retail starts at $3.54 per sq. ft. Anti-Slip Outdoor Tiles These tiles are 50% more slip-proof than slip-resistant tiles found on the market, which makes for a wise choice for all non-covered outdoor surfaces and those edging around a pound. These tiles are also water-, stain-, and scratch-resistant—they’re perfectly suited for bustling households. They’re also low maintenance. Therefore, you can make the most of their use, without safety concerns. Noteworthy: LifeProof range of products given its varied finishes: faux wood, natural stone effect, polished concrete, etc. This quality product is anti-slip, and blends the look of stone, the authenticity of quartzite, and the durability of porcelain. Retail starts at $3.54 per sq. ft. Especially noteworthy: The stunning hexagonal mosaic tiles with a quartzite finish from LifeProof. Retails for $7.22 per 10-inch x 12-inch tile. NOTE: Avoid very light shades like beige in especially sun-drenched areas as the tile could have an unpleasant glare. Are you looking for a general contractor for your renovation project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! The Benefits of Backyard Outdoor Tiles Source: Canva In all honesty, your outdoor space is on display for all to see. For those who are invited into your backyard, it serves as a sneak peek of what your indoor space holds. If you enjoy stunning guests, outdoor tiles are an excellent alternative to conventional landscaping options. Here’s a list of outdoor tile benefits: Designs that transcend one’s imagination Whether modern, traditional, or rustic in style, and regardless of the aesthetic you’re seeking for your project, outdoor tiles are a great option to consider. These tiles are prestigious and of noteworthy quality, and facilitate a seamless transition between your home and backyard. Impressive durability Contrary to popular belief, outdoor tiles are far from fragile. Designed to meet stringent manufacturing standards and tailored to their intended environment, these tiles are made with sturdy and resilient materials, effectively withstanding physical impacts and bad weather. Wear-resistant Made with durable materials like porcelain and natural stone, outdoor tiles are suited for high foot traffic areas, while also resistant to scratches that may have been caused by patio furniture or furry, four-legged friends. Lastly, the sun has no power over them. These tiles don’t lighten, darken, or fade over time; they maintain their beautiful finish. Safe option Source: Canva Porcelain stoneware is among the most used materials to manufacture outdoor tiles. Not only is it solid, but it also has the added benefit of having a non-slip surface, which limits the risks of accidents. Go for anti-slip (unpolished) tiles. A damp or snow-covered outdoor living space can quickly turn into a makeshift ice rink! Withstand sudden temperature changes Tiles intended for outdoor use have to be especially well-suited to the elements. Therefore, choose products that can withstand very cold temperatures, snow build-up, intense sunshine, and sudden temperature changes. Some types of tiles have the added benefit of withstanding even the most extreme weather conditions. Surprisingly low maintenance A lot of outdoor flooring options are rather difficult to upkeep. Some products need to be repainted, while others stain easily. Some will be overrun by weeds, while others will deteriorate as soon as a treatment is delayed or its surface is improperly maintained. Outdoor tile surfaces can be easily cleaned and don’t require any particular upkeep. A quick mopping using a bit of soapy water is all that’s needed to restore their gloss. A long-term investment At first glance, porcelain tiles exude an air of luxury—evident not only by the looks of them but, at times, by their accompanying price tags. Yet, among the range of products retailed, options cater to all budgets. Also, note that by doing your research, you may be able to benefit from a few worthwhile deals. However, beware of skimping on quality and make sure the product chosen is truly suited for its intended use. No matter the product you choose, outdoor tiles are durable, which makes for a worthy investment. How to Lay Outdoor Tiles Source: Canva Step 1: Check the water runoff Start by ensuring that there’s a 1.5° slope in place, facilitating effective rainwater drainage. Step 2: Clean The section of the yard that will be tiled must be clean and devoid of any irregularities. Preparation may include eventually levelling the ground, applying a layer of bitumen prior to pouring the slab or stabilizing the yard. Step 3: Tile layout This step consists of aligning a tile against the wall, and from that point, drawing a parallel line. Then, draw a perpendicular line to that line, at the centre of the wall. Now, proceed to lay your tiles, starting with the first set of tiles lined up against the wall, following the marked angle, and continuing with a second set along the perpendicular line. OUR TIP: At the risk of ending up with an irregular linear path, don’t start tiling at one of the corners. Step 4: Adhesive Mix the adhesive to obtain a uniform mixture. Carefully lay your tile and secure it with a rubber mallet. Insert tile spacers between each tile to configure the grout joints. This ensures there’s ample space between each tile to accommodate expansion joints for temperature variations. OUR TIP: Use a premium polymer-modified tile mortar. The latter is both robust and supple, therefore less likely to crack when exposed to bad weather. Tile mortar used for indoor tiling is clearly not made for outdoor use, especially when considering Canada’s harsh climate. Step 5: Grout joints Once the tiles are laid, wait a day before grouting. Spread the mortar using a margin float while ensuring the gaps over the entire tile surface are properly filled. Then, clean the surface using a damp sponge. PRO TIP: If you’ve chosen rectangular-shaped tiles, there are more options available to you. You can lay your tiles perpendicular or parallel to the house. But you can also offset each tile by half, or you can design an aesthetic edging. Outdoor Tiling FAQ Source: Canva When should you install outdoor tiles? If you’ve already laid tiles indoors, needless to say, it’s a craft that requires accuracy. Note that installing outdoor tiles happens to be a bit more of a complex undertaking, and since installer rates can be quite steep, you may be tempted toward the DIY route for this one! Prior to installing the outdoor tiles, you first must ensure the mortar base or structure is solid. Outdoors, one has to account for water infiltration and plan for an appropriate drainage solution. You also have to pick the right day to undertake such a project. As Yanick Dupré, of Dupré Carrelage, mentioned, “Outdoor tiling should be done in temperatures above 10 degrees Celsius [for the mortar, Ed.], and shielded from bad weather.” Furthermore, avoid especially humid or sunny days. Due to the particular makings of adhesive, avoid installing tiles under the beating sun. Favour slightly overcast days since direct sun exposure may have negative repercussions on the adhesive. If working in a shaded area isn’t an option, consider using patio umbrellas or tiling during a period of the day when the sun isn’t beating down as hard. TIP: The more experienced tradesperson will confirm the following: large-format tiles are easier to install compared to small-sized tiles. And, it so happens oversized tiles are all the rage! Look for 24-inch x 24-inch tiles or even 32-inch x 32-inch. How should you clean outdoor tiles? One of the biggest advantages of outdoor tiles is their low maintenance factor. As such, most often, you’ll simply need to clean the tiles using a damp cloth or mop and soapy water. Over time, your patio may need a deep clean, that is, after a few memorable barbecues or as a result of darkened grout joints. In such cases, opt for specially-made outdoor tile cleaning products. Here are several tips to effectively tackle tough stains and prevent dirt from lodging between the tiles. In a litre of warm water, mix half a cup of baking soda and half a cup of white vinegar. Add a cap of household black soap and scrub the stained areas. Rinse with clean water. Use a pressure washer, gently so as to not damage the surface of the tiles. Add bleach and a cup of salt to the lukewarm water and scrub vigorously. Rinse with clean water. To bleach the grout joints, add half a litre of warm water, half a cup of white vinegar, and half a cup of lemon juice, then give the surface a good scrubbing. Mix baking soda with a bit of water to obtain a paste. Apply to the tiles and rinse with clean water. To clean an oil stain, pour citric acid on the affected area and allow it to take effect for 30 minutes before cleaning. To successfully clean a cement stain, use white vinegar. To effectively clean a paint or ink stain, soap a cloth in rubbing alcohol and scrub. For lodged dirt, try pouring potato water onto the surface! OUR TIP: Avoid cleaning outdoor tiles with strippers or household cleaners with high levels of hydrofluoric acid. Also, steer clear of oily products that could potentially leave a film on the tiles.