The performance of floor coverings depends on many variables and not just one. I
teach this to anybody and everybody willing to learn more about the science of floors. This is
always an ongoing topic of conversation in the Hodges Wood Products Lab at NC State
University. We are constantly evaluating multiple properties of both domestic and
international products to help the industry understand the differences between product
categories and performance levels. A few years ago, the topic of “water-resistant” came into
the mix as one of the properties to be evaluated. Since then, we have worked on different
methods to assess this property and to properly understand what this means for in-service
Whole plank test
Walking around DOMOTEX USA, we will find whole products submerged in fish tanks. The
display presents how a product in its manufacturing configuration can be subjected to any
amounts of water without changing its dimensions or properties. This display is commonly
used for products where no components absorb water. In a laboratory setting, this test could
measure dimensional changes like thickness and squareness as well as change in weight.
The downside of this test is that no single plank is installed on its own and, in many cases,
planks are cut for layout dimensions. This test can also be time dependent. While some
products can withstand these conditions for a short period, others can handle much longer.
As an alternative to a submerge test, products can also be placed in a high humidity
Less-than-whole plank test
This type of test evaluates the performance of a section of the flooring product. For this
reason, the manufactured product receives at least one cut in order to expose the core of
the product and show the effect of water or moisture on the properties of the material. This
test can evaluate the same properties as a whole plank test except the manufacturing
tolerances on the cut edge. The cut on the product also removes any protection that may be
present on the joints of the product. Variants of the test include different numbers of cuts.
The simplest version involves one cut edge while more complicated tests include the cutting
and exposing of all sides and even parts of the top or bottom of the planks. When subjecting
the product to water the floor can be fully submerged or partially submerged. Partially
submerged methods allow us to determine capillary moisture movement, rate of absorption
inwards and differences between the edges and middle of a product.
Assembled product test
An assembled product test derives from the understanding that a single piece of flooring is
not put in service by itself. These types of tests try to replicate in-service conditions to
understand the performance level of a product. Settings can be as large as 9’ x 6’, like
international methods under different environmental conditions, to multiple T-joints, like the
North American Laminate Floor Association’s (NALFA) topical moisture resistance test. This
last test looks at the ability of an assembled product to withstand the effects of surface
water while holding the water on the surface. While this methodology was developed for
floating floors, modifications can be made for other installation methods. Understanding how
a flooring system performs versus a single flooring element is of great importance. Products
need to perform under service conditions and not in isolation.
Floor coverings within the building envelope
An important final consideration is to remember that our products live within a larger
structure. In both residential and commercial settings, flooring systems have to properly
handle moisture and water interactions. Our products are not only exposed to the
living/work/recreational environment but are also in contact with subfloor structure,
membranes, padding, barriers, heating systems and a variety of elements on top, beneath
and around the flooring covering. Different flooring products use different methods to limit
the effect of water, but all of these methods have to be in harmony with the building
envelope. The whole system must withstand the effect of water or we may be exposing
ourselves to unforeseen water problems instead of preventing them.
About the Author
Guillermo Velarde is the Manager of the Hodges Wood Products Lab
within the Department of Forest Biomaterials at NC State University. He
is a leader in University-Industry collaborations serving the domestic and
international flooring industry. The Hodges Lab holds memberships to
NALFA, NWFA, DHA, as well as other suppliers and user associations.
Guillermo currently engages with installers and inspectors through
trainings and seminars hosted by multiple wood industry associations.
Guillermo was recently recognized by Hardwood Floors Magazine as one
of the forty under 40 in the Industry (2019). He has partnered with
DOMOTEX USA since the inception of the event.
Curb appeal is a very important aspect of selling a home. Popular television shows have encouraged potential buyers to be less interested in opening the front door if the outside of a property looks neglected or unloved. That’s why curb appeal has been shown to have an impact on both your home’s resale value and the time it takes to sell.
If you’re looking to boost your home’s value by investing in curb appeal, consider these three areas first: easy upgrades, simple security, and inviting landscaping.
Easy Upgrades: A Welcoming Picture
Think of your front door as a picture and the front of your house the frame. What do you want this picture to say to house hunters? Ideally, it says, “Come on in! The inside is as lovely as the outside.” While you can scale these upgrades to fit any budget, we’re going to focus on a few easy, simple and inexpensive ones to get you started.
Simple Security: A Safe and Comfortable Home
If your property looks secure from the outside, homebuyers will feel more comfortable on the inside. Some kinds of security features, such as bars on the windows, can often give the wrong impression about your neighborhood, so keep these features simple.
Inviting Lawns and Gardens: Landscaping Made Easy
Lawn maintenance is one of the most important curb appeal elements that homeowners can prioritize. An easy one to start with is simply keeping your lawn trim and neat. If you aren’t sure your schedule can keep you on top of regular lawn maintenance, hire a landscaping company to come by each week and manage the lawn for you.
You may also want to add in these other aspects of landscaping:
Curb appeal is the easiest and most effective way to manage homebuyers’ first impression of your property. While you want to add these enhancements to your home, you also want to make sure it doesn’t imply that maintenance is a lot of work. Strike a balance between elegance and ease to ignite excitement and intrigue in house hunters, which will, in turn, help your home bring in higher asking prices and sell more quickly.
Author Credit: Clara Beaufort
Nothing ruins a night like spotting a bedbug in the sleeping area or a cockroach scurrying across your floor. Nobody wants an unwelcomed guest inside their homes – and it’s even worse if they are pests. Indoor pests are not only annoying, or scary to look at, but they are destructive; posing a threat to your home interior and livelihood. Read on to learn of a few tips for getting rid of damaging pests this summer.
Bedbugs are dangerous insects that feed on human and animal blood. Bugs are active at night and inactive during the daytime; therefore, your bed, furniture, carpet, and clothes can be their hideout.
Symptoms of Bedbug Bites
Some people develop noticeable symptoms when bitten by bedbugs, and the bites tend to be:
How to Prevent Bedbugs
If you are tired of bugs here are simple tips for getting rid of them:
Cockroaches get into everything and multiply rapidly, worse still, they can survive for several weeks without food and water; therefore, they pose a lot of challenges. However, with the right practices and tools, you can eradicate them.
Tips for Getting Rid of Cockroaches
You can remove cockroaches from your home using simple tips:
Your mattress is moist and warm; therefore, a bouncy breeding area for dust mites. Notably, dust mites trigger asthma, allergic, and other related bacterial infections. However, if you wash your beddings regularly, you are likely to prevent such infections.
Tips for Preventing Dust Mites
Termites are destructive when they infest a home; however, you can get rid of them by relying on some simple tips.
Tips for Getting Rid of Termites
You are likely to eradicate termites using these tips:
Besides being scary, pests are dangerous because they cause both physical and mental damages. Pests such as cockroaches and bedbugs can be difficult to eliminate because they hide during the day and show up at night. However, consistency in maintaining house cleanliness can help you prevent their multiplication. Importantly, check second-hand items for pests before bringing them into your house. Otherwise you will regret saving money when you later incur a cost of removing the pests.
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