January 2021

Using Reclaimed Hardwood Flooring In Home Construction

How to Install Engineered Hardwood Flooring Over Concrete Substrate

When is engineered hardwood a better solution?

What do you tell your customers who have a concrete subfloor and want to install hardwood? We recommend an engineered hardwood for several important reasons. One, it’s much less sensitive to changes in humidity compared to wood that can swell with moisture and temperature. Two, it can be installed at any grade level – including below grade. And three, it’s better than traditional plank for installing over in-floor heating systems.

However, while engineered hardwood flooring offers increased durability, that doesn’t mean it can be used anywhere. Installations in wet environments are one example where numerous other types of flooring options are much more suitable.

What are the first steps before installation?

Your very first step before installing engineered hardwood floors over concrete is to let the boards acclimate to the room where they’re going to be installed. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations, but in most cases it’s a minimum of three days with no maximum.

Next, check the boards for warpage or defects, and then remove any bad ones. If you skip this important step, you could face problems later if you need to replace even a single board.

Why is moisture so critical to surface preparation?

Engineered hardwood is sturdier than traditional plank – but surface preparation still matters. For any flooring installation over concrete, you should anticipate potential problems with moisture levels.

Like any wood product, engineered hardwood expands and contracts because of changes in moisture. For that reason, the adhesive you choose depends on the environment and the conditions during installation. You need to be aware of any concrete substrate that has known moisture problems, and remember that new slabs will be high in moisture.

How should you install the floor?

After inspecting your boards and removing any defective ones, plan on following a running bond pattern of the grain. This is the most popular way to install engineered hardwood flooring because it’s stronger and more aesthetically pleasing.

Remember to leave expansion gaps between the flooring and wall. Consult the manufacturer’s recommendations to see how wide the expansion gap needs to be. Installing engineered hardwood flooring over concrete too tight against a stationary object will not allow room for normal expansion, and may cause a failure.

Consult the product data sheet for instructions regarding specific trowel requirements. In general, use a notched trowel to spread the adhesive. Pass the trowel through the glue at a 45-degree angle and install hardwood flooring immediately after the adhesive is spread.

Lay the flooring into the adhesive with the tongue side of the board facing the center of the room. The hardwood may slip and move at first, so be sure to secure one row entirely before moving on to other rows. The initial row will limit the movement of subsequent rows. You may have to temporarily tape edges of adjacent planks together with painter’s tape until installation is complete. Bowed boards or boards over low spots should be weighted down while the adhesive cures.

Periodically lift a piece of hardwood to make sure you’re achieving a 90 percent adhesive transfer. If the board doesn’t appear to have this level of coverage, remove the dried adhesive and apply more.


How to Deep Clean Hardwood Floors

  1. To deep clean your hardwood floors, start by vacuuming or sweeping. Removing all the loose dirt and debris will ensure that you can move onto the next steps without moving around the dirt and scratching the floors. Be sure to move furniture and rugs to clean the surface of all of your floors. Also, for wood floors with deep character knots, try using the wand attachment to get loose dirt out of the knots and crevices.
  2. Once you’ve removed the loose dirt from your hardwood floors, you can move on to the next step. You should always check with your manufacturer for floor cleaning solutions or cleaning products that are recommended for your floors before using them. Using a solution that is not recommended can damage the finish on the floors, which can be irreversible.
  3. Once you have found a cleaning solution, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines if it needs to be diluted. Also, check to see how much product is recommended for use on your floors. It’s always a good idea to test your cleaner on floors in a closet or somewhere that’s not noticeable, just in case it causes any discoloration, bubbling, or warping.
  4. Once you’ve tested your floor cleaner, you can start at the back of the room with your mop. Work in the direction of the hardwood grain, and don’t add too much cleaning product, as you want the floors to dry quickly. When you’ve finished a room, move on to the next room. Keep working until you’ve finished cleaning the hardwoods, and allow them to dry. Then, enjoy how beautiful they look!


How to Keep Hardwood Floors Clean

One of the easiest things you can do to keep your hardwood floors clean is to remove your shoes when entering and exiting your home. Rocks, gravel, and sand, among other materials, can easily get stuck in your shoes and be tracked around your home. Removing your shoes will help you and your family ensure that there is less of a mess.

With hard-surface flooring, one addition that adds not only warmth and comfort but also protection for your floors is an area rug. Area rugs will keep your hardwood floors from becoming faded, worn, and scratched, and they can be installed in many areas. Living rooms, bedrooms, and hallways are just a few areas where area rugs can change the look and feel of the space, but also protect your wood floors from the wear and tear of daily life.

If you have pets, another thing you can do is wipe their paws when they come inside. Whether it’s raining and their paws are full of water and dirt, or they seem to collect all kinds of mud, using a towel to wipe down your pet’s paws will help you create a home that stays clean.

Spills and accidents are common in any household. From pets to kids and even adults, there’s no telling when water will spill on your floors. To ensure that your hardwood floors stay in good condition, always wipe up spills as soon as they happen. Standing water can damage wood quickly and should not be left to dry.


Solid wood flooring: what should I look for?

Engineered wood floors are often quite similar in appearance. It’s worth choosing one with a click-lock mechanism, rather than tongue-and-groove boards, which are harder to fit. It’s worth seeing how well the planks fit together on in-store display panels. Look at the quality of the finish and the size of any gaps between the planks. Wood is a natural material and the planks will vary a little in colour, but some more than others, so think about whether you want a uniform look or a set of planks with a range of light and heavy grains.


Engineered Flooring

Engineered flooring is a type of layered “timber floor” with an upper layer of hardwood timber with several pieces of plywood. Its the upper layer of hardwood timber is prefinished and bonded to the subsequent plywood layers.

Engineered floors combine the benefits of real timber floors with the versatility of a floating floorboard design – making it suitable to be installed in apartments.


  • Real timber flooring look and feel
  • Greater stability compared to solid timber floors
  • Suitable for apartments and unit blocks
  • Simpler to install than solid timber floors


  • May be expensive (some engineered floors are almost the price of solid timber floors)
  • There is only a thin layer of real timber, making it difficult to sand & polish.
  • Timber floors tend to be soft, so the thin upper timber layer may be susceptible to wear and tear.

Tips On How To Choose A Wedding Photographer

Things All Wedding Photographers Should Know

Being a part of a wedding can be a magical experience in itself but consider capturing all the magic that is about to define someone else’s life. Now that is a challenge.

Wedding photography can be a tough profession to take up. With challenges from getting started to producing pictures that the clients like, a lot of work goes into running a wedding photography business.

Let’s get down to what issues you may have to face if you start taking up wedding photography as a profession.

Getting Hired Is The Hard Part:

The first step to being successful in any field is finally getting a paying project. A strong portfolio makes it easier to convince someone that you have enough expertise to cover their wedding. You should have some idea of your costs but you need to convince someone else that your costs are worth your output. Once you have someone interested and willing to pay, you need to remember the next point so that you don’t ruin your opportunity.

You Are Your Brand:

And you have to create it from scratch. You know how you want it to look; you know what brand image you want in the market. So you are the best bet to handle every aspect of it. From sales manager to CEO, it’s mostly you. You are the one who will look out for production costs and give out advertisements. You get your business up and running and learn how to manage everything that goes in. You have to show your customer your value as a wedding photographer. The good news is you won’t have to do it all the time due to the fact that…

Weddings Are Seasonal:

Wedding photography is not a year-long business. There will be dry months where you’ll have to survive from your earnings acquired in the last season. To overcome this difficulty, you need to make sure you make enough to get you through the rainy months or find an alternative for this part of the year to be able to keep paying those bills. You better be sure to nail the jobs when you get them because…

There Won’t Be Any Retakes:

Literally speaking, you only get one shot. That first kiss, that first dance, it won’t happen again. You need to be skilled and alert enough to be able to capture all these special moments that the bride and groom want to look at on their return from their honeymoon. If you miss a shot, you won’t be excused because of the bad lighting or the overzealous crowd. You need to figure it out yourself. Make sure everything is set beforehand so you won’t have to miss out on capturing that bouquet mid-air or that aforementioned first kiss.

Give What’s Asked For…But Be Original:

A lot of skill goes into photography and so does creativity. Couples don’t want their pictures to be clichéd. They hired you for this exact reason – so that you could give them memories in a way that makes their friends jealous. This would only result in you being hired by their friends. And then the friends’ friends. And so on. Listen to what the clients want and then incorporate your experience and your finesse in giving them a refined version of their dream wedding album.


How do I find a wedding photographer?

First things first: where do you even start your search for the perfect wedding photographer? One obvious potential path is to ask friends, family, or co-workers to see if they have any recommendations. However, one downside to that plan is that you may feel obligated to take their suggestion even if it doesn’t seem like a good fit.

Another option is to search the Internet, typically running a “near me” search in Google. This can give you a jumping-off point and provide you a few options. However to get a better feel for a photographer’s work and what their customers say it’s better to go to a dedicated photographer site, like Photobooker.com. From there, you can consider reviews, compare portfolios, and view availability to help whittle down you list of potential hires.


What should I look for in a wedding photographer?

Commonly, exploring a photographer’s portfolio will be your first step in determining if they’re right for your wedding. Looking through past events they’ve captured will give you a sense of their style as well as any potential strengths and weaknesses. For example, if you see that a photographer’s portfolio is mostly made up of outdoor shots and your venue is indoors, you might consider asking to see comparable images or look for a photographer with an indoor specialty.

After you’ve found a photographer whose work you like, the next step is to ensure that their personality and vision for your event match your own. Like any professional, certain photographers may have particular ways they like to go about things. Unfortunately, this may sometimes clash with what you had planned. In some cases these differences can be resolved but, when in doubt, it’s better to go with a photographer who’s fully on board with your vision than to compromise on your big day and regret it later.

Finally, another major consideration to make when hiring a photographer involves money — as in how much will their services cost you? Depending on how strict your budget is, you may even want to move this question higher up your list so that you don’t fall in love with a photographer’s work only to learn that they’re out of your price range. Although talking about money can be awkward at times, keep in mind that these photographers are professionals. Therefore, there’s nothing wrong with inquiring about their rates and seeing what works and doesn’t for your budget.


Things you should know before hiring professional photographer

You know when they say that a picture speaks a thousand words? They were not wrong. What this usually means is that a single picture has the capacity to explain complexities better than what a thousand words could do. Let’s face it we would rather look at a picture than read a  thousand words describing it. A good photograph has embedded in it a lot of emotions and quite frankly everything you would want to remember and this is not possible without the right photographer.

So here are some things to consider when choosing a photographer for your project.

Project Description

So first of all, you should consider what project you need your photographer to cover. If it’s a wedding, you should know that it is a full day’s work and this means your wedding photographer will need help. If it’s a family photoshoot then you’ll most likely want to do it outside which means your photographer should have some knowledge of the city and interesting locations and landmarks. The point is that your project is the major determinant of who your photographer will be. If you are in the e-commerce space, you have your online store or you are selling on Amazon, Walmart or Esty, you’d have to take into consideration what exactly you need from the shoot, your product type and if your photographer knows a thing or two about such products. A fashion show on the other hand, should have a photographer than can capture moving objects or in this case persons. Referrals are good but sometimes may not really be what you want. So the project at hand should come to play when looking for the best photographer out there.


One thing to understand is that every photographer has some level of expertise in one field or the other. It could be as a wedding photographer or a still life photographer or even as a macro photographer. What this naturally means is that they work well under certain lighting. It could be with natural lights or artificial but either way, everyone of them has an aspect of photography that irks them more than the other and this is something you should figure out because you really don’t want to get a still life photographer to cover one of the most important moments of your life such as a wedding. So pick one that has really prove himself in certain photography field or style.

Check out their portfolio

Every photographer has a portfolio of pictures they have taken in the past and by all means you should take a look at this. This will show you what they are best at. Looking at their portfolio will help you decide if they are the best choice for your project or not. It will also help you decipher their photography style. Whether it is formal or traditional or artistic. The portfolio will help you see clearly the photographer’s eye and what he is best at creating. From looking at all these, you clearly will not choose a wedding photographer to cover anything other than weddings.


Personal Convictions

This will usually come to play after you have met the photographer in person. What you need to understand is the fact that there is someone for everyone. So if you are the conservative type, there’s a photographer to meet your needs and same goes for someone else whose theme is Gothic. Meeting the photographer will help you decide if you would like this person to photograph your event or wedding or party. A lot of times it’s easy to book online and subsequently dislike your photographer when you get to meet him. It is advised to set up interviews and share what you have in mind when it comes to photographing your event. This will give him an understanding of what you like and most importantly it will help you realize if you like him enough to let him give you instructions. If you two cannot get along when you meet, you most likely won’t get along on your event or when running the photo session.

Knowledge Base

This may be a bit difficult seeing that clients have no idea of what a photographer should know. This can be remedied by looking at his page. What are the things he blogs about? and what are his reviews? Everyone doing something commercially has people reviewing their work. Read the bad and good reviews and this will help you understand if he knows exactly what he’s doing. Photography is an aspect that does not have a lot of regulation and you’d need to be sure before handing out a cheque. It’s much better to go for someone with a lot of experience in this field. It would be of great help to know if he teaches other people.