Flooring Options for Large Living Spaces

By Jill

Posted on Monday, January 11, 2016 3:48 PM


Californians love the sun and big open spaces with high ceilings and lots of windows in their homes. Many homes incorporate an open-concept design where rooms flow seamlessly into other rooms. This can make a decorating challenge when trying to create a cohesive visual appearance while still adding your own personality to each interior space. When we help decorate large living areas we always recommend breaking down the design process into four basic components: flooring, furniture, paint, and accent accessories. Since flooring is our specialty, we have put together some flooring suggestions that will help transform your large living spaces into truly stunning rooms.

Create a Beautiful Canvas with Hardwood Flooring

Preverco flooringWhen it comes to adding richness and character to large living spaces hardwood flooring’s beautiful grains and natural tones is hard to beat. Carrying one hardwood style throughout large living spaces is a perfect way to visually tie the spaces together. To achieve this sleek, continuous look, the wider and longer the planks the better it will tie the room together. Want to create a warm, rustic effect? Consider the hand-scraped or distressed wood planks visuals. For example, DuChateau specializes in wide-planked hardwoods that replicate the time-worn character of vintage European flooring. For this distinctly antiqued look, their woods go through a variety of natural processes including hand-scraping, hand-sculpting, smoking, brushing, liming, and carbonization. Hardwoods that include such distressing techniques help add visual interest in a large space. For a more modern aesthetic visual you may opt for a clean, neutral look such as Mirage’s White Oak in Snowdrift, a wide plank in creamy white with subtle gray tones. Or, maybe you prefer for your living spaces the striking color variations found in exotic wood species, such as: Bubinga (African Rosewood), Ipe, or the popular Acacia, as well as many other wood species we offer to our Los Angeles customers. These woods will make a real dramatic visual flooring statement that truly commands everyone’s attention when they enter the room. At Barry Carpet we are very selective of the wood flooring brands we carry to be sure styles and colors fit the California lifestyle and decorating tastes.

Add Your Unique Style with Area Rugs

DuChateau Hardwood FlooringFor large living spaces we offer custom made area rugs to complement your new wood flooring. We specialize in rugs that can be made in any size shape, color and style to add a distinct design element to your space and help visually separate the different open living areas. Area rugs also can help tie large, open spaces together and reduce the sound. Here, a high-end custom designed wool rug can be a beautiful and durable option. Start by choosing from the many different wools we offer in our showroom and we will hand-craft it into your own unique area rug for your room. In fact, at Barry carpet, we can create custom area rug runners for hallways and stairs that fit your exact dimensions to accommodate specific angles, including odd-shaped entryways, halls, and fireplaces. We’ve done some stunning one-of-a-kind designs with our custom fabricator, who is a true craftsman. Stanton area rug rug-2 rug-3

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Choosing Prefinished or Unfinished Hardwood Flooring

By Jill

Posted on Thursday, April 30, 2015 8:00 AM


Choosing Prefinished or Unfinished Hardwood Flooring

choosing-hardwood-floors Today’s prefinished hardwood flooring has come a long way from the old days when waxy-coated floors quickly showed scuffs, scratches, and white blotchy water spots. With advances in technology, hardwood flooring manufactures have perfected their finishing techniques, now producing floors that are not only more durable than ever before but also more beautiful. While unfinished woods will always be an available option, the increased durability and flawless appearance of prefinished woods has pretty much made prefinished hardwood flooring the norm in the flooring marketplace. So does this mean prefinished hardwoods are better than unfinished woods? Not necessarily. Deciding whether to go with prefinished or unfinished hardwood is largely an individual preference. Here’s some information to help you decide which finish option is right for you.

Prefinished Hardwoods

Prefinished hardwoods are available in varying gloss levels, ranging from high-gloss to matte. While gloss level will affect the overall look of the floor, it will not impact the finish’s durability.

Prefinished hardwood flooringReasons to Choose Prefinished Woods

  • Increased durability: Six layers or more of urethane combined with the superior curing ability of UV technology make factory-finished woods far more durable than woods that are finished on the job site.
  • Less mess: Prefinished flooring is all done at the factory, so no need to stain, sand, and apply several coats of urethane.
  • Less time consuming: Install the wood flooring and move furniture right back in the room. You won’t have to wait days (or weeks) for floors to dry.
  • No odor: The finish is completely dry, so there are no strong odors in your home.
  • Better finish warranties: Since the wood manufacturer does the finishing at the factory they give extended finish warranties that the installer doing a job-site finish can’t offer.

Unfinished Hardwoods

While on-site finish techniques and products have improved over the years, finishing a wood floor yourself is a messy, time-consuming process. But for some, the level of customization it can produce is far worth the added time and effort

Unfinished hardwood flooringReasons to Choose Unfinished Woods

  • Wider color range: Finishing the wood flooring at the job-site means you can select any stain color you want. Whereas, with a pre-finished floor, you are limited to the manufacturer’s available colors.
  • Increased moisture protection: When floors are finished on-site, the seams between the planks are also sealed, allowing for more moisture protection. Whereas with prefinished woods, only the individual planks are sealed.
  • Closer-matching wood trim: Unfinished woods can be stained to match the trims and moldings.

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Hardwood Flooring Grades and Quality

By Jill

Posted on Wednesday, December 24, 2014 6:38 PM


When shopping for hardwood flooring, you’ll likely come across the term “grade.”  And if you’re like many consumers, you may wonder if a high-grade wood ensures the best-quality flooring. The short answer is: Sometimes yes – and sometimes no. Hardwood Flooring Grades rate the wood's natural appearance. GAT-OAW7-GWD-3 Oak flooring is rustic grade.Actually, grade and quality are two independent measures that together help evaluate a product’s overall value. Grade can best be thought of as “what the tree gave you to work with” – the wood’s natural appearance. Grade is evaluated along a wide spectrum that ranges from woods that are very uniform in appearance and color, without knots or other noticeable character markings, to woods with significant color variations and other visible natural character features. Quality is tied more closely to manufacturing – how the final planks are produced. Quality issues may include milling defects, finish imperfections, and stain color variations, for instance. So back to my answer above: A high-grade wood doesn’t necessarily guarantee a floor’s long-term value. For example, flooring made from a high-grade wood may include manufacturing defects that would lower the flooring’s “quality” – and thus its overall value. On the other hand, flooring made from a lower-grade wood, but with little to no manufacturing defects, would be considered higher quality, raising the flooring’s value. For this reason, product warranties are often based largely on quality and are much less dependent on a wood’s grade. Oak, with more active graining patterns and natural color variations, will never look as “clean” as Maple, even at its highest hardwood flooring grade.Additionally, since no two tree species are exactly the same, grade is not always the best indication of a wood’s appearance. For example, Maple, which characteristically has clean lines and light coloring, looks almost white at its highest grade. Whereas a wood such as Oak, with more active graining patterns and natural color variations, will never look as “clean” as Maple, even at its highest grade. And grading doesn’t always account for the wood’s source. For example, reclaimed woods are often sought-after flooring choices because of their rich patina. While board-to-board color variations are typically a low-grade characteristic, in this case, this time-worn look is what makes reclaimed wood uniquely beautiful and often far more expensive.

Hardwood Flooring Grades: How Woods Are Graded

Within each species of wood, the highest grades will be the ones that are the most uniform in color and have the longest board lengths. Following is a brief description of each grade. The allowable defects for these grades are considered part of the industry’s standard 5% allowable waste for all better wood flooring grades (this can be as high as15%-20% for low-grade woods). While the descriptions within each category are fairly similar for prefinished and unfinished woods, the names used to refer to these grades may differ depending on the manufacturer.
  • Prime Hardwood Flooring Grade Natural White Oak FlooringPrime Grade: Representing the top grade within each wood species, these boards are also referred to as Clear, A, 1st, and Select & Better Grade. Woods are uniform in appearance with minimal natural color variations and character marks, and they include the longest plank lengths. Allowable defects include: occasional small burls, very small, tight knots, and fine pinworm holes – in limited pieces and when properly filled. After finishing, the face of the plank will have the cleanest appearance within the species.
  • Standard Grade: The next-best wood flooring grade, these boards contain more wood characteristics relevant to the species, while the face is still even and smooth after filling and finishing. Also referred to as Select, #1, 2nd,  Common, and Common & Better Grade, boards include the following allowable defects: small worm holes; season and kiln checks;  dime-size broken knots; larger open knots, if properly filled and finished; minor imperfections from machining; and other minor characteristics that will not affect the floor’s durability.
  • Builder Grade: Boards include most of the wood’s spectrum of natural character – more color, bigger knots, and creamy-colored sapwood. Sometimes referred to as Natural, #2 Common, C, Mill Run, Run, Rustic, Sapwood, or Shorts, boards have a limited amount of unfilled or unfinished open characteristics. Allowable finish irregularities include: bubbles; small skips; lines; stain or color variations; and surface scratches. Expect overall shorter pieces.
  • Cabin Grade Riverbed Flint White Oak FlooringCabin or Tavern Grade: This grade tends to have better board lengths and cleaner faces but may include some low-grade wood characteristics and quality imperfections such as machining issues. Overall, this grade has shorter board lengths, more color variations, and small dings, and is thus expected to have more than a 10% waste factor. Because quality defects are allowed, there typically is no structural warranty offered on this wood, but a warranty on the finish may be available. [Add image showing some common imperfections]
  • Utility Grade: Also called #3 Common or D Grade, these boards include those with the most wood imperfections and matching issues.  The expected waste factor is 10%, and there is generally no structural warranty offered on this wood, but a warranty on the finish may still be available.
  • Shop Grade: The lowest-grade of wood flooring, these woods include all of wood’s imperfections. Often offered at the best prices, these woods can be a great value but expect more labor, waste and added materials to get the desired look.

Deciding if a Flooring Makes the Grade

It’s important to remember that grade is only a spectrum, with the “cleanest” woods rating the highest. If you prefer hardwood flooring with more color variations and character, there’s nothing wrong with going with a lower grade. The main consideration here is quality. In general, the lowest-priced woods will be those that are both low-grade and include manufacturing defects that impact quality. Ask_An_Expert_logo_colorHave more questions about wood grades?  Ask one of our Barry Carpet hardwood flooring experts. Or visit our Barry Carpet showroom in West Los Angeles.

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To find the hardwood flooring that best meets your needs, contact us. We’d be happy to answer all of your hardwood flooring questions and show you the latest trend in hardwood flooring.