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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


Hardwood Trends: White Hardwood Floors

Whether you call them white-washed, limed or “pickled”, white hardwood floors are beautiful. The growing popularity of Scandinavian design kick-started the design community’s love affair with white-washed floors.

If you’re not familiar with Scandinavian design, think white walls, light coloured wood floors and minimalist interiors. Choosing light interior finishes is a utilitarian decision for these northern countries. The long cold winters and few hours of sunlight need white walls and floors to brighten up the space. While Vancouver may not have Scandinavia’s snow and never-ending nights, a bright interior adds cheer to a long streak of Vancouver grey rainy days.

The white-washed look allows the natural beauty of the wood grain to shine through the finish. It’s softer and more natural looking compared to painted white floors. Here are a few of our favourite white-washed hardwood floors.

White-grey hardwood newbury-locking-arctic
Newbury Locking Oak colour Arctic – $

The light-wire brushing adds a touch of texture to this classic 5″ wide oak hardwood.

White-washed hardwood - Shaw Castlewood Oak colour tower
Shaw Castlewood Oak colour Tower – $$
Castlewood Oak has a lightly-whitewashed surface that preserves the natural charm of white oak. Its knots, mineral streaks and natural splits add a touch of rustic character to these 7.5″ wide boards.

White hardwood floors - Vintage Etched Maple Iceland
Vintage Hardwood Maple North Solid Sawn Etched Iceland – $$
The subtle grain pattern of the maple keeps these white floors simple. We love the low-gloss oil finish and variety of widths. (3″, 4.5″ and 5″)

Kahrs Oak Bloc White

Kahrs Oak Bloc White – $$$

The Oak Bloc is perfect for creating beautiful patterned wood floors. Its three sizes (12″x12″ 24″x12″ and 36″x12″) can be mixed and matched to create a unique pattern. The light wire-brushing and white oil finish add to a touch of simplicity to balance busy patterns.

Karelia Ash Story Shiny White
Karelia Ash Story Shiny White – $$$
Go for an authentic Nordic look direct from the experts at Finnish company, Karelia Hardwood. Similar to oak, ash hardwoods have a strong grain. The shiny lacquer finish mimics the look of painted floors without losing the beautiful wood grain.

Just like white shoes or a white sofa, white hardwood floors can be tough to keep clean. Following basic hardwood maintenance rules like taking shoes off indoors, using walk-off mats and cleaning often will help to keep your floors white.

MIRA Floors Wins BBB Innovative Business Practices Award


BBB Mira website Pic

MIRA Floors is the proud winner of the Innovative Business Practices award from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Mainland BC. The BBB Torch Awards are held annually to acknowledge excellence in the BC business community and honour companies that maintain a healthy, honest marketplace. This year the winners were announced on June 11, 2015 at a gala at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Vancouver.

The Innovative Business Practices award is presented to an accredited business for their ability to break conventional business models and have a positive impact on their industry. MIRA Floors was nominated for their mobile flooring showrooms that allow customers to cut down on repetitive visits to flooring showrooms. Award recipients are selected by an independent committee after an in-depth application process.

“We are honoured to receive the BBB’s Innovative Business Practices award,” says Kevin Bergstresser, owner of MIRA Floors. “For a service-focused business like ours, the mobile showroom is the key to delivering above industry-standard service. Customers can spend so much time taking samples between their home and the showroom when picking flooring. Implementing the mobile showroom allows customers to save time and select flooring in the comfort of their own home. We’re grateful to receive recognition from the BBB for this business practice we’ve worked so hard to develop.”

MIRA Floors & Interiors has been a BBB a accredited business since inception in 2002. This is the second BBB award MIRA Floors has received. In 2013 MIRA Floors was the Marketplace Excellence Award winner – medium business category.

The five Torch Award categories this year included Marketplace Excellence, Community Excellence, Green Award, Innovative Business Practices and People’s Pick. Visit the BBB website for a full list of the Torch Award winners.

BBB 2015 Torch Awards

CARB Compliant Flooring FAQ

The safety of laminate flooring has come under fire in recent months with the 60 minutes story on Lumber Liquidators and Lowe’s pulling Chinese laminate over formaldehyde concerns. At a recent home builder’s trade show we were still fielding questions of how to talk about California Air Resource Board (CARB) compliance with customers. Everyone just wants to know their floors are safe for their families. Here are a few  frequently asked questions about CARB compliant flooring.

What are California Air Resource Board (CARB) regulations?

The California Air Resource Board requires all composite wood products (e.g. particleboard, medium density fibreboard and hardwood plywood) for sale in California to be certified as complying with California’s formaldehyde emission standards. For flooring manufacturers, this means their laminate and engineered hardwood flooring has to be manufactured with certified composite wood products. Composite wood producers are required to have their products tested by a third-party certifier. Flooring manufacturers must label their laminate and engineered hardwood flooring boxes to indicate they were made using CARB compliant composite wood products. CARB regulations only apply in California. In Canada, there are no similar rules to regulate formaldehyde emissions from wood products.

What flooring does CARB regulations apply to?

CARB regulations apply to laminate and engineered hardwood since these products are made with composite wood products. They do NOT apply to solid hardwood and vinyl flooring.

What is formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde is a colourless, strong-smelling chemical often used to make home building products. In everyday life, we are exposed to formaldehyde through tobacco smoke, cars, fires and even some glues and cleaning products.

How can I tell if my flooring is CARB compliant?

The CARB indoor air-quality standards were implemented in two parts. The second phase implemented in 2012 lowered the formaldehyde limit to a more stringent 0.05 parts per million. We recommend checking that laminate and engineered hardwood meet this second phase of CARB standards, known as CARB 2.

In the wake of the alleged issues with Lumber Liquidators laminate, flooring manufacturers are being more transparent about their supply chains and CARB certifications. The recent news has taught the flooring marketplace the value of asking more questions. Does the flooring manufacturer produce their own products or buy from others? If they buy from other suppliers, what do they do to ensure the products meet air-quality standards? Do they sell CARB compliant products to all customers or just those in California? Do they do additional testing? Do they go above and beyond CARB compliance by submitting their products for additional certification from independent third-parties?

Two flooring manufacturers that are exceeding expectations in their commitment to safe, sustainable products are Shaw Floors and Armstrong. Read the Shaw Floors laminate and hardwood certifications statement and the Armstrong’s eco-friendly laminate page for more information.

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