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Higher Formaldehyde Traces Found in Laminate Flooring, Report States

The danger of some laminate wood flooring that was originally reported was underestimated.

According to a report by CNN, the traces of formaldehyde discovered in laminate flooring manufactured in China and sold by Lumber Liquidators were underestimated.

People exposed to formaldehyde could experience harmful heath issues, according to numerous government reports. This includes a lifetime cancer risk, which was found to be higher than originally reported. The US Centers for Disease Control and The National Center for Environmental Health states that the issues are linked to laminate floors manufactured in China and sold by Lumber Liquidators based in Tano, Virginia.

Lumber Liquidators said that they stopped selling the products last year.

How It All Began

In 2015, a CBS “60 Minutes” special called Lumber Liquidators was aired featuring CNN Contributor, Anderson Cooper. Which found formaldehyde traces in certain laminate products, which exceeded standards set by the California Air Resources Board.

CNN did their own private testing on 30 boxes of laminate flooring, which they received from 5 Lumber Liquidator store locations from New York, Texas, Florida, and Illinois.

This prompted the Consumer Product Safety Commission to run their own tests with laminate products manufactured in China. The CDC and Disease Registry reviewed the test results and reassessed the health effects.

Formaldehyde Effects From the Results Conducted

Formaldehyde can result in eyes, nose and throat irritation. Breathing problems can also occur in individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and asthma.

 The Calculated Error

“The revised report concludes that irritation and breathing problems could occur in everyone exposed to formaldehyde in the tested laminate flooring, not just in sensitive groups. The report also increased the estimated lifetime cancer risk from breathing the highest levels of formaldehyde from the affected flooring all day, every day for two years. The lifetime cancer risk increased from the previous estimate of two to nine extra cases for every 100,000 people to between six and 30 extra cases per 100,000 people,” the CDC and ATSDR stated.

“The American Cancer Society estimates that up to 50,000 of every 100,000 people may develop cancer from all causes over their lifetimes,” the CDC stated.

Formaldehyde Preventative Measures

  • Reduce other sources of formaldehyde, such as tobacco smoke
  • Consider getting professional air testing
  • Ensure that you get daily fresh air circulation throughout the home by opening windows daily

 

 

How to choose grout for tiles

When picking tiles, it’s easy to spend days debating the right tile colour, size and finish that will work well for your space. Yet the grout that frames each tile is often picked at the last minute. Don’t let grout choice become an afterthought. The grout used determines the function, durability and overall aesthetic of a tiled floor. Picking grout is just as important as picking tiles.

Selecting grout colours

There are three simple approaches to choosing grout colour – matching, contrasting or neutral.

Matching

Choosing a grout colour that matches the tile creates less pronounced grout lines and draws more attention to tile. When used with a one colour tile with simple layout, a matching grout line creates a fluid look. Matching grout lines are also a great option to show off the beauty of natural stones such as marble or granite.

Marble tile with matching grout lines in bathroom

Contrasting

A contrasting grout colour accentuates the pattern and layout of the tile. This approach is a great choice for geometric or decorative patterns. This hexagon pattern tile from Julian Tile is a great example of a contrasting grout working well with a geometric pattern.

Black hexagon tiles with contrasting white groutJulian Tile Extro series colours black and white

When using a pebble mosaic, a contrasting grout colour gives an earthy vibe to the pebbles.
Pebble mosaic with contrasting grout
Casa Roma Pebble Mosaic colour Fiji Cream

Neutral

Neutral grouts are considered the safe choice. A light coloured beige, brown or grey grout will have the most mass-market appeal.
This neutral yellow-beige grout doesn’t stand out too much and works well against the wall colour.
White subway tile on the wall installed with neutral grout and octagon mosaic on the floor
Daltile Rittenhouse Square on the wall and Daltile Octagon and Dot mosaic on the floor

Neutral grout lines let multi-coloured mosaics take centre stage.
Colourful hexagon mosaic with neutral grout
Julian Tile Onix Hex – Aquamarine blend

Dark grout vs. light grout

Darker colours hide dirt better but the colour tends to fade quicker. Lighter colours tend to show more dirt and grime. To balance the pros and cons of light and dark grouts, some designers recommend using an in-between colour like a tan or light grey. When considering dark vs. light grout, think about the traffic of the room. A busy family kitchen may not be the best choice for a light coloured grout but it could be put in a guest bathroom that isn’t used often.

Types of grout

Cement or epoxy?

Cement-based grout is the most commonly used tile grout. It’s relatively inexpensive and works well in most situations. Epoxy grout is more resistant to stains and water damage and can be substituted for either sanded or unsanded cement grout.

Sanded or unsanded?

If your grout lines are 1/8″ or bigger, use sanded grout. A sanded grout has fine sand added to it that prevents the grout from shrinking as it cures.

Inspired by: The Louvre

The Louvre Museum is a Paris landmark and must-see for any visitor. The miles-long museum is renowned for its impressive collection of artwork including pieces like the Mona Lisa & Venus De Milo. But while enjoying the 35,000 pieces of artwork, sometimes visitors miss the most prominent piece of art: the building itself.

Louvre Museum
The Louvre Palace was first built in the 12th century. When Louis XIV choose the Palace of Versailles as his place of residence instead of the Louvre Palace, it left the Louvre as a home for the royal artwork collection.

The wood floors underfoot in the Louvre are as inspiring as the artwork on the walls. Simple oak planks are cut to size and put together to create unique patterns.

This two-tone herringbone is striking even with all the character marks.
The Louvre two-tone herringbone hardwood floors

This room featured an intricate hardwood pattern with star inlays.
Hardwood with inlay stars at the Louvre

A close-up on a stunning diamond pattern.
Diamond pattern hardwood flooring at the Louvre

In the Napoleon III apartments exhibit, visitors can see what these patterned wood floors would look like at home – if you home also happens to be decorated in an opulent Second Empire style.
Napoleon Apartments - Wood Flooring

Tile floors are used throughout the Louvre as well – we love this pattern.
Patterned tile at the Louvre

With 9.7 million visitors traipsing through the halls in a year, these floors are put to the test. On the stone steps, you can see how the middle of the step, where most people walk, has been worn down.
The Louvre Stairs

Get the look at home

To get the classic look of the Louvre at home, try Herringbone floors like these options from Kentwood, available in both natural oak and walnut.
Kentwood Herringbone - Walnut and Oak
Kentwood Couture Collection Chevron Herringbone Walnut and Oak Natural

To mimic the elegance of the natural stone and patterned tile used in the Louvre, try this combination of Carrara marble style tiles and basket-weave mosaic from C&S tile.Carrara marble style tile and basketweave mosaic
C&S Tile I Marmi series colour Carrara

Advice Every Strata Should Know About Carpet Cleaning

Commercial carpet Patcraft Paseo

At least once a year we visit a strata getting a quote on new carpet and find out that the dirty, severely stained, unkempt carpet underfoot is only a few years old! Even high-quality commercial carpets can end up looking old well before their time simply because they were not properly cleaned. While there are many reasons building are not maintained properly, with carpets often the council doesn’t think carpet cleaning and maintenance is necessary or they don’t understand what maintenance is expected.

Picking a good quality, stain-resistant carpet is not a substitute for regular maintenance. All carpets require maintenance suitable for their traffic areas. Since strata common hallways experience high traffic and are often victim to mystery stains, they require more cleaning than the carpet in your home.

What happens when regular carpet maintenance is not performed

  1. Lifespan of the carpet is shortened and results in the a higher replacement costs in the long run.
  2. Manufacturer refuses to warranty coverage on your investment.
  3. Stains and soiling create negative impression of the building for both residents and visitors.
  4. Old worn carpet suggests that the strata doesn’t take care of the building and residents shouldn’t either.

It’s clear that regular carpet maintenance is important, but let’s face it – few people are excited to spend the time researching and planning it. That’s why we’ve broken down your commercial carpet maintenance into four easy-to-follow steps. No more excuses for prematurely uglied-out carpet!

4 easy steps to a commercial carpet maintenance plan

Carpet maintenance works best with a deliberate scheduled program instead of reacting to stains and soiling. The manufacturer of your carpet can provide an in-depth guide to planning your scheduled maintenance plan. We always recommended reading the manufacturer’s guide to follow any manufacturer specific guidelines. See the links at the bottom of the post for maintenance guides from popular carpet manufacturers. If MIRA Floors has recently completed flooring for your strata, either the property manager or strata will receive warranty and maintenance info in the mail, so keep an eye out for it.

This advice is for carpets with synthetic, man-made fibres (e.g. nylon or olefin). If the carpet is wool/wool-blend carpet or printed, please contact the carpet manufacturer directly for specific cleaning instructions.

1. Prevent dirt/soil from getting on the carpet

Various studies have shown that the cost of removing a pound of soil from a building ranges up to $500 or more. It’s much cheaper to keep the soil outside than remove it!

To keep the soil out, manufacturers recommend using a combination of walk off mats. A course textured walk off mat to trap grit and dirt should come first, followed by a mat designed to absorb water. Using both mats is essential at preventing soiling; one type of mat alone is not good enough. Mats should be placed at all entrances where residents could track in dirt and soil.

To be effective at keeping dirt and water out, mats need to be cleaned even more often than the carpets. It is worth investing in high-quality commercial grade mats that do a great job of trapping soil and have a longer lifespan.

2. Remove dry soil by vacuuming

Most dirt and grim that accumulates in a strata building is dry soil. The best way to remove dry soil is by vacuuming. Walking pushes soil particles deep into the carpet pile, where they are harder to remove. Frequent vacuuming removes the soil particles before they are trapped in the carpet fibres. In entrances, elevators and hallways daily vacuuming is recommended to maintain the appearance and longevity of the carpet. Areas with less traffic can be vacuumed 2-3 times a week.

Investing in a good vacuum for the strata is key to keep the carpet looking great. Vacuuming only helps when he vacuum can effectively remove soil from the pile. For vacuum cleaners, we only recommend ones certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute’s (CRI) Seal of Approval program. Their seven part program tests how well vacuums clean carpet, only recommending the best products for maintaining your carpets. For carpet tiles and broadloom carpet glued to the subfloor, most manufacturers do not recommend using a vacuum with a beater bar as it may damage the carpet pile.

3. Remove spots and stains by spot cleaning

Spots and stains are the one unplanned part of the maintenance program. Be prepared by having a spot cleaning solutions available to use immediately. Check for spots daily and if there is one, act quickly. Even if it has stain-resistant treatments, no carpet is completely stain-proof.

If you can identify the type of stain, we recommend checking out the Carpet and Rug Institute Spot Solver website. Search for the type of stain and they will provide feedback on the cleaning products and methods to use. The carpet manufacturer’s Technical Service department is another great resource to call for cleaning advice. Please use the methods recommended by professionals – home remedies or mixtures can cause more damage to the carpet than the stain did.

General spot cleaning tips

  • Scoop up solids gently with a spoon or dull knife.
  • Absorb by blotting (never scrubbing or rubbing) with white paper towel or cloth.
  • Clean by working from the edges to the centre to prevent the spill from spreading further.
  • Use patience. Complete removal of a stain may require repeat spot cleaning.

4. Clean with hot-water extraction

Vacuuming alone is not enough to keep your carpet clean. The vacuum cannot pick up the oily soil that is also tracked into the building. Carpet manufacturer’s recommend a hot water extraction 2-4 per year for entrances, elevators and hallways, depending on how much traffic your building gets. Hot water extraction (also called steam cleaning) should use high-performance commercial equipment for the best possible clean. Self-contained walk-behind hot water extraction systems are a good interim solution for cleaning but are not a substitute for professional cleaning equipment.

Carpet manufacturer’s actively advise against bonnet system cleaners. They only clean the surface and do not extract the soil deep in the carpet. In some cases, the bonnet system leaves detergent behind and may damage the edges of carpet tiles. Check that your carpet cleaners are doing a hot-water extraction and not using a bonnet system.

Maintenance guides from commercial carpet manufacturers

Shaw Commercial carpet maintenance videos

Patcraft Commercial carpet maintenance guide

Shaw Contract commercial carpet maintenance guide

 

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