Look at what we are working on in our shop.

But guess what, we still accept order’s for regular Linear flooring!

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Virtu – The Finest Wide Plank Floors Made in America

Virtu LogoIt’s time to introduce Virtu, the first American-made, custom-crafted, wide plank wood floor to feature three-layer, true balanced construction! After years devoted to research and testing, Virtu wide planks are now being manufactured for projects large and small.

True balanced construction is the key to achieving a level of stability in a wide plank that is unattainable in solid plank flooring. The three-layer design features top and bottom layers that share the same thickness, wood species, wood cut and grain orientation, so both layers respond in exactly the same manner when changes in ambient humidity promote expansion and contraction across the width dimension. Sandwiched between these two perfectly balanced outer layers is a cross-banded solid wood core with the wood grain oriented at 90° to the top and bottom layers. The core adds stiffness and resistance to the forces of expansion and contraction acting on the top and bottom layers, providing the necessary counter-force to the natural inclination of the wood face to undergo dimensional changes and distortion. The three layers are bonded together with a special elastomeric adhesive that flexes, reducing the stresses between the layers.

Virtu planks can be manufactured in widths up to 12 inches and lengths up to 16 feet, or even longer! At 4.4mm (0.17”), Virtu’s wear layer is nearly the same dimension as that of a solid wood floor. This means Virtu planks can sustain several sanding and refinishing cycles, increasing the longevity of the floor. Virtu planks are custom fabricated for each project, so the client has great flexibility in selection of wood species, plank width and plank lengths. Virtu floors are manufactured to be site finished, allowing any custom finishing treatments to the applied on site to meet project appearance needs.

Not only does American-made mean you’re supporting American workers, but the close proximity to manufacturing means quicker turnaround times in response to customer needs.

For more information on Virtu Floors, please call us at 212-627-1818.

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No BS with this OSB!

Multi-unit residential buildings often have very strict sound attenuation requirements for flooring installations to help isolate residents from sounds originating in the apartments of their upstairs neighbors. The requirements may originate from municipal ordinances or directly from the building’s own rules.

Specifying a high quality wood flooring installation under these conditions can be challenging. Since these sound isolation requirements often prohibit direct mechanical fastening of a subfloor to the concrete substrate, it is necessary to develop a totally isolated flooring system. For those seeking a solid plank floor installation, one popular solution is to incorporate a gravity-loaded floor system into the apartment. This type of system is also referred to as a “floating floor”, because it is simply sitting on top of the concrete without any fasteners or adhesive tying it to the larger structure. It is held in place by its weight alone.

Typically this subfloor system consists of a sound isolation mat rolled out over the concrete substrate, upon which two layers of subflooring panels are placed. The panels are typically 3/4” thick plywood sheeting that are glued and mechanically fastened to one another. Unfortunately, plywood sheeting that is not hard fastened to any substrate can start to resemble a potato chip!

Not surprisingly, what in theory was to be a flat subfloor ends up undulating, lifting and bouncing… I’m getting queasy just thinking about it!

Fortunately, there is a domestically manufactured OSB (Oriented Strand Board) subfloor sheeting product called AdvanTech manufactured by Huber Engineered Woods that outperforms plywood and other competitor’s OSB products in testing. AdvanTech has superior bending stiffness, bending strength, resistance to water absorption, and lower water induced edge swell than its competition. All these characteristics allow a gravity-loaded AdvanTech subfloor system to remain incredibly flat while other trades are working in the space, and provide a superior underlayment for a high quality wood floor installation.

For more information on AdvanTech, please contact us at 212-627-1818.

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Is Solid Wide Plank Flooring Right For Your Project?

 

There is no doubt that wide plank floors can be an effective way to introduce visual drama to a space. Unfortunately, if the flooring system is not properly designed and installed, wide planks can also introduce emotional drama to your project!

It is important to understand the special requirements of wide plank floors prior to specifying them on a project. While solid wide planks have all the same physical characteristics as narrower solid planks of the same species, their greater breadth may make some of the characteristics become problematic.

For instance, all wood species expand and contract with changes in ambient humidity. If a 2” wide plank expands to 2.02” when exposed to high humidity, a 10” wide plank of the same species would be expected expand to 10.1” under the same conditions. When less humid conditions return and the flooring contracts once more, some gaps will likely remain between the planks. The 10” wide planks will have gaps averaging 0.1”, but since gaps are not presented uniformly across a floor, some gaps may be up to 1/4” wide!

Other wood characteristics such as shape deformation and appearance defects (knots, grain deviation, sapwood, mineral streaks, etc.) are also more prevalent in solid wide planks. Shape deformation is normally controlled by setting the planks in a full bed of adhesive, followed by face fastening – screwing down the planks, then concealing the screw heads with wooden pegs.

Use of high quality engineered flooring can eliminate the need for face fastening, and alleviate some of the problems associated with solid wide planks. But be forewarned, the vast majority of engineered wood flooring products are poorly designed and utilize low quality materials. There are only a few engineered flooring manufacturers offering durable, high quality, well designed products, so product selection must be made carefully. While there may be some high quality products from over-seas manufacturers available, there are great advantages to choosing a domestically produced product. Not only can we assure the quality of the production, but turn-around time for custom orders can be much faster, AND you will be supporting U.S. manufacturing!

Please contact us at 212-627-1818 for further information and guidance.

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Atmospheric Data Loggers Protect Wood Floors

Control of the interior environment before, during, and after wood flooring installation is always stressed by reputable flooring contractors. Failure to control atmospheric conditions is among the worst culprits in bringing about wood flooring movement and gapping. When gaps develop, the flooring contractor is generally the primary suspect; however he is not always the responsible party. Evaluation by an experienced wood flooring consultant may be helpful, though there are steps that can be taken to help avoid the problem in the first place.

Of course, before any wood floor is installed, the moisture contentment of the subfloor and planks should be measured to assure that they are within acceptable range, and acclimation of the wood flooring prior to installation is recommended in certain circumstances (though not always… but that’s a topic for a future blog post). If the wood floor is also installed in the right atmospheric conditions, then the floor will never develop any gaps, right?  W R O N G ! Sure, it means you’re off on the right foot, but this is by no means the end of the story! Maintenance of temperature and relative humidity within an acceptable range is necessary to control future movement of the flooring.

Optimally, solid wood floors should live in an environment that is between 60°F and 80°F, with relative humidity between 30% and 50%. Trouble is, it has always been difficult to determine when and if the conditions strayed outside the acceptable range, especially after the contractor has left the job site. Fortunately there are now relatively inexpensive atmospheric data logging devices available on the market. They offer a wide range of features including: storage of tens of thousands of Temp/RH readings, alarm or autodial activations when conditions drift outside specified range, downloadable measurement histories, digital displays, etc.

As you can see, investing a small amount of money in one or more data logging devices for a space can help in maintaining atmospheric conditions, provide a history of conditions, and ultimately, can save a wood floor from excessive gapping.

We welcome your calls at 212-627-1818.

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Wood Floor Consults Produce Results

There are many situations where the expert advice of a wood flooring consultant can save money, time and aggravation. Janos P. Spitzer Flooring Consultants was founded on the notion that investing early in consultation on the wood flooring aspects of a project will reduce costs and improve outcomes.

Wood flooring systems are more complex than they appear. On top of this, new construction methods, changing business realities, and competitive and econominc pressures continually reshape the building industry. This level of complexity can make it difficult for any one architect or team of architects to thoroughly manage the details. Whether large or small, new or a restoration, more than ever a successful flooring project depends on both broad knowledge of current flooring trends and meticulous attention to detail throughout the various project phases. This is why an experienced wood flooring consultant is invaluable.

Whether you’re planning a new construction project, questioning decisions made on an ongoing project, or evaluating a flooring failure situation, engaging a wood flooring consultant can help to reach a successful end result.

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Kitchen Talk

It is a fact that wood flooring installations have become commonplace in kitchens. Such flooring installations are normally laid wall-to-wall before the installation of cabinets, countertops, and appliances. It is also true that most water-related disasters happen in the kitchen, mainly because it’s the most complex area of a dwelling – packed with appliances and plumbing that can malfunction and leak.

Often the leak isn’t detected until it’s too late; when the floor begins to warp and buckle.

More often than not, repairing the damage requires total deconstruction, replacement of the ruined floor, and reconstruction of the cabinetry, stone counters, etc.

In order for such extensive work to be performed, the owner must often vacate the premises while restoration is underway, since they typically lose use of their kitchen.

Is there a better way? The answer is an emphatic YES! The consequences of a flood can be much less devistating.

The solution is to forgo wall-to-wall wood flooring and build concrete or stone platforms under the cabinetry, installed on the same plane as the eventual wood floor.

Indeed, precise plans are required to build the the platforms at the right elevation and perimeter dimensions. But the tolerances required are not out of the ordinary. Moreover, costs are not greatly divergent from the wall-to-wall flooring installation, and the the potential costs and inconvenience associated with a water situation are greatly diminished.

Disasters of this nature strike often enough to make this simple solution worthy of consideration for new construction and renovations alike.

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So Many Ways to Fail … Let Us Count the Ways

Thomas Edison said “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Try explaining a flooring failure to a client with those words and you’re liable to be escorted out the door, or more likely, given the bum’s rush.

Flooring failures take on a wide range of forms. From overall system failures and material failures, to installation failures, sanding failures and finishing failures. There are even many post-project protection failures, maintenance failures and collateral damage incidents that could be cast under the expansive failure umbrella!

Let’s see how many we can list before we collapse from exhaustion…cupping, crowning, buckling, water damage, plank separation, subfloor not stable, subfloor not flat, moisture content too high, moisture content too low, delaminated engineered planks, splitting, breakage over tongue and groove, squeaks, board movement, unsmooth surface, sanding gouges, edger marks, edger dishing, chatter, milling irregularities, snake marks, swirls, missed sanding spots, missed finishing spots, sanded surface not uniform, stain uneven, lap marks, color doesn’t match sample, color not dark enough, color changes over time, photosensitive wood species, inconsistent sheen, grain rise, finish lifts stain, debris in finish, hair in finish, alligator surface, finish not drying, finish pealing, hollow sounds, finish pooling, white spots in finish, finish stop marks, tape lifts finish, finish didn’t cure properly, finish soft, sisal strands in craft paper leave grid embossed in finish, checking, wood doesn’t meet spec, yellowed finish, furniture legs scratched floor, dents in surface, paint in wood grain or finish, worn finish, planks laid in same direction as subfloor sheeting, elevation not aligning properly with adjacent surfaces, finish or stain on adjacent surfaces, edger gouges along baseboards, mallet rubber marks on walls, stain rags ignite, foot prints in wet finish, protected too soon, etc., etc., etc., whew!

List too short for you? Let us know any we may have left out of the list!

Have flooring issues… let us know at Janos P. Spitzer Flooring Company and Janos P. Spitzer Flooring Consultants!

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Across the Grain Blog Launched!

Welcome to the Across the Grain wood flooring blog!

We will be making regular posts dealing with all things wood floor. We have a long history to draw upon (48 years in the business!), so we should not be at a loss for topics to post.

We encourage all our followers to post comments and questions. Hopefully, you will find the posts to be informative, interesting and provocative enough to warrent subscribing.

We’re looking forward to the interaction and the opportunity to spout off in the blogoshpere… it should be an improvement over our previous forum for impromptu pronouncements – perching on a wooden soap box yelling into a megaphone at the corner of 24th Street and 6th Avenue!

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