Should You Have Your Trees Trimmed or Lopped?

There are several different services you can get from a tree trimming company. When it comes to cutting the trees around your home, there are two basic options. You can have a tree trimmed or lopped. Trimming can mean pruning a fruit tree so that it grows better fruit, shaping a tree so that it fits your design, or cutting it so that it doesn’t grow too large. Lopping, on the other hand, is simply cutting the top off a tree. Lopping a tree is a drastic measure that does not consider the health of a tree. Inf act, trees often die after they’ve been lopped. If that’s the case, why would you ever lop a tree?

Why Lop a Tree?

When a tree becomes so large that it is a danger to your house, your property, or your neighbors, it might need to be lopped. In the past, trees were lopped to make them smaller, create room for new growth, and help shape them. However, it creates wounds that are difficult for a tree to recover from; also, it opens the tree up to infections that could kill it. Therefore, lopping is not used for maintenance anymore. When a tree is truly out of control, it might need to be lopped. Since it could kill the tree, a tree trimmer will essentially only lop a tree when the only alternative is cutting it down completely. Otherwise, the tree can be trimmed.

When to Trim a Tree

If you have a tree that has grown too large, doesn’t bear new fruit, or needs to be shaped in some manner, you should hire tree trimmers. Many types of trees that bear fruit or buds will only bear on a new branch. That means that old branches might produce leaves but they won’t bear fruit; they’ll be wasting your tree’s resources. Trimming those away can make resources available for new growth.

Trimming a tree can also help shape it as well; even if you don’t need to remove very much from the tree, shaping it can help it grow better. Finally, trimming a tree can reduce its size; however, you need to make sure you do it from time to time. To keep the tree from growing too large and unwieldy, you’ll have to hire tree trimmers frequently. If you let it grow too large without trimming, it will need to be lopped or cut down. To avoid that, you need routine maintenance.

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Should You Use a Paint Roller or a Paint Sprayer?

There are three basic ways to apply paint to an interior wall; you can use a paint brush, paint roller, or a paint sprayer. A brush shows your brush strokes even after the paint dries, and they are often much slower to0 apply paint than other systems. Therefore, paint brushes will not be discussed. They’re great for applying paint in corners or to window frames. They’re great for close, careful work but not for the work of painting an entire wall. Which should you use to paint an entire wall, roller or sprayer?

Amount of Paint Used

Paint sprayers use a significant amount more paint than paint rollers. Paint sprayers aerosolize paint, which means that a lot of the paint will float in the air and land on surfaces other than the wall you want. That could result in as much as 33% of the paint being wasted. Typically, a paint sprayer uses about 10% more paint than a paint roller. If you are very concerned about the cost of paint, then a paint roller is the clear winner.

Paint Coverage

When painting a wall, you obviously want uniform coverage with no visible streaks and pitting. A good paint roller will typically apply paint very evenly. In some cases, even the best paint roller will leave some dimpling or pitting where the paint roller didn’t quite contact the wall with even pressure. This is usually covered by a second coat of paint, but it does happen. A paint sprayer, on the other hand, applies an even spray of paint. As long as you keep the swing of the paint sprayer moving evenly, it should apply paint evenly. If the ease of applying even paint is your biggest concern, the paint sprayer is the winner.

Job Duration

For many people, the amount of time it takes is the most important factor. A paint sprayer applies a smooth even coat of paint that does not change. Your paint roller could change the thickness of the coat based on your own pressure. Also, the paint sprayer applies paint as quickly as you can sweep across the surface. That means that the sprayer applies paint much faster than a roller. It also applies paint in thicker coats than the roller; that means that you might not need multiple coats with a paint sprayer. Essentially, a sprayer applies thicker coats faster. That means that if your job duration is your concern, the sprayer wins.

If your concerns are cost, the roller is more cost efficient. If you want to do the best job as quickly as possible, the sprayer wins.

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Explaining the Natural Grade Hardwood Flooring Trend

Natural grade flooring is a prominent trend that has been growing in the previous few months. The move towards natural grade flooring is consistent with other trends towards more natural and rustic looking flooring. Other similar trends are moves towards wide planks, reclaimed wood, and hand-scraped wood. A natural grade floor is one that is made from many different grades of wood, which means that it will more closely mimic the natural state of the wood.

Explaining the Wood Grades

Wood flooring tends to come in four different grades. Clear grade is the finest and most uniform grade of wood. In this grade, the wood grain is tight and understated. There are no imperfections, knots, mineral streaks, or worm holes in the wood. These planks are basically flawless. The next grade is select grade. A select grade wood plank is close to a clear grade but it will have some differences in wood tone and coloring. The grain might be more pronounced and little more irregular.

The next two grades are common grades one and two. Common grade two has the most imperfections, color variations, inconsistencies, mineral marks, and wormholes. It is a very irregular wood that lacks almost any consistency. To create a natural grade hardwood floor, all four of these grades are mixed together.

Natural Grade Flooring

When manufacturers mix together all four of these grades of wood, they create something that more closely resembles an entire tree. A tree is made up of many different kinds of wood, affected by all kinds of outside influences, and greatly altered by the way it grew. That means that the hardwood flooring of the past was very inconsistent; it was what would now be called natural grade.

Manufacturers in the past used every part of a tree, which means that they would use multiple grades. If you want your flooring to look more classic and timeless, you should consider natural grade flooring.

Versatility

Natural grade flooring is also more diverse than higher grades. They are easier to repair because there is already a significant amount of inconsistency in the wood. That means that replacing a damaged plank with a mismatched plank won’t stand out too terribly. Furthermore, you’ll be able to mix and match widths and lengths to give it an even more authentic look.

The natural grade flooring trend has also led to some less expensive floors because more of a tree can be used. Also, some parts of the tree that were previously thought undesirable are being used in great-looking floors.

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Should You Skin Your Palm Trees?

Palm trees are iconic trees that represent sun, the beach, and wonderful weather. They’re a great addition to any home or business that can sustain them. However, they do require some maintenance. Palm trees are very fast growing trees. As they grow, their fronds die and new ones grow above those. The dead fronts don’t completely fall off the tree the way leaves do, though. When you look at a palm tree and you see the crisscrossed bark running up the tree, you are actually looking at dead fronds. The fronds form the surface of most of the trunk but they’re not actually the wood itself. There is no harm in removing the dead fronds. That’s called skinning a palm tree. Even though there’s no harm, should you do it?

Pest Reduction

The tangle of dead fronds and tree fibers that develop as the palm tree grows forms a perfect nest for pests. Squirrels, birds, and insects all like to spend time in the fronds. Birds will use the fibers for nesting materials. The fronds can trap moisture as well, which makes them perfect candidates for mosquitoes and other bugs to lay eggs in. Furthermore, the trapped moisture will keep the surface of the tree trunk moist. That moist wood will be a perfect environment for termites to burrow into the tree. That will endanger the tree’s health, endanger your home, and eventually lead to the termites moving to other sources of wood such as your own home.

Skinning the palm tree can help reduce that possibility. It can also make your trees look much better.

Appearance

Many people like the appearance of a skinned palm tree. The tree looks simple and self-contained. Recently, a diamond skinning pattern has grown popular. The tree trimmers will cut a diamond pattern into the fronds as they skin the tree. That will leave it looking like the surface of a pineapple. The living fronds form the top of the tree and resemble the top of a pineapple. That completes a very tropical look.

A well-trimmed palm tree can look like a work of art. You should keep in mind, though, that palm tree skinning is not for the benefit of the tree. The fronds are supposed to protect the tree from wind, frost, and other dangers. Skinning the tree is only to make it look a certain way; however, when it is done properly, it should pose no danger to the tree.

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Black Stains Are Very Trendy in Hardwood Flooring

There are many different materials in 2018 that are designed to look and feel like hardwood flooring. None of them match the warmth, comfort, and timeless quality of authentic hardwood though. Also, they are not nearly as durable. If you take good care of your hardwood floor, you can keep it for several decades. That’s why it’s so important to pick the right hardwood floor; they can be an investment that will last you for a very long time. So, what is popular in 2018 and what will be popular for the next decade or two?

Dark Stains

Dark stains have been popular for up to a decade. In the past, hardwood floors were almost all light colors or even just bare wood. However, that has been changing for awhile now. That means that you will likely be able to find a manufacturer who offers hardwood flooring stains in a range of colors. Furthermore, it will be more likely that your floor will still look great a decade from now. Everyone has an experience of getting on board with a trend that did not age very well. Dark stains are not going to be like that. So, what colors are popular?

Black Floors

As stated earlier, hardwood stains have been trending darker for years and years. Well, they have finally reached their natural conclusion: black floors. There are a few options for black floors. Usually, the flooring professionals will offer you a range of different shades of black. Typically, they will mix an ebony stain with a dark walnut. Ebony stain is a thin, black stain. That means that it will soak into the wood, and the wood grain will rise to the top. The wood will still be noticeably brown, especially in the grain. If you want it to be darker or if you want to hide some of the grain, you can find a thicker stain that is a true black.

A true black stain is very popular for people who have different types of wood in their hardwood floor. For example, if you have had to replace damaged planks or if you want to match rooms in different floors, you’ll have a hard time making the grains and colors match. However, a dark black stain that masks some of the grain will cover up any differences.

That’s one reason black is so popular; it is very easy to repair and match with other woods. The biggest concern is that black floors will show every bit of dust; you will have to stay on top of your cleaning regimen.

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Hardwood Flooring Takes a Turn for the Exotic

The most common hardwood used for flooring in the United States is oak. Oak generally comes in two different varieties: red oak and white oak. Red oak generally ranks about 1260 on the janka hardness scale. White oak is a little bit harder at 1360. Both of them are great choices for hardwood floors because they are readily available, hard, and very attractive. They provide floors with a great grain; they’re easy to clean and easy to maintain. However, oak floors are not necessarily the most trendy floors. They’re something of a base type of hardwood flooring. If you want something a little more exotic or unique, you’re in luck. Exotic woods are very popular now.

Brazilian Woods

Some of the hardest and most popular exotic woods are Brazilian woods such as Brazilian teak and Brazilian walnut. Brazilian walnut is, in fact, one of the hardest woods readily available for flooring. It is more expensive than other types woods because it is more rare and harder to mill. However, it is such a unique wood with such a unique grain pattern that it will always stand out. Also, a wood that is that hard will resist scratching very well.

African Ebony

Ebony wood is known for its dark color that ranges from a very deep brown to almost a jet black. However, that’s only the heartwood. The sapwood is pinkish that trends towards a darker red. If you have a floor that is made of ebony sapwood, it will be a deep red color that will deepen over time. If you have an ebony heartwood floor, it will range from dark brown to completely black.

Ebony wood is also a very hard wood, which means that it will last a long time. If you want a dark wood without having to stain it, you should consider ebony. If it’s a naturally dark wood without a stain, that means you’ll be able to sand away scratches or damaged portions without affecting the color.

Australian Red Mahogany

Another wood that is popular is Australian red mahogany. This wood, as the name suggests, is reddish in color. The heartwood is a rich, dark red in color. The sapwood is a creamier, lighter complexion. The wood is very hard but it has an open, coarse grain. That means that it will take stains better than many woods of similar hardness.

These are three exotic woods that have been trending in popularity. The popularity of rare woods generally depends on their appearance and their hardness. All three of these woods are beautiful and very hard.

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Can You Install Hardwood in the Kitchen?

Hardwood flooring suppliers and installers are often asked what alternative to hardwood can be used for the kitchen. There are a lot of conflicting ideas about whether hardwood can be installed in the kitchen at all. Well, it can be but you need to be aware of the concerns. Many people believe hardwood flooring cannot be installed in the kitchen because hardwood flooring is susceptible to heat and moisture. The kitchen, obviously, is very vulnerable to spills and drastic changes in temperature. That means that you’ll need to be able to account for that.

Engineered Hardwood or Solid?

Since heat and moisture vary so considerably in the kitchen, you need to be concerned about cupping. Cupping occurs when heat and moisture cause the edges of the wooden planks to curl upward. To avoid this, you could choose engineered hardwood. Engineered hardwood is made from a thin veneer of hardwood with plywood or pressboard underneath. The layers of softer wood and the glue itself help to prevent moisture from getting into the layers of the wood. That means that it will be less likely to cup.

Prefinished Hardwood

You should also consider the finish on your wood. The finish will protect the wood from moisture and heat. One solid option is prefinished hardwood. Prefinished hardwood is treated at a factory with urethane that is embedded with aluminum oxide crystals. This finish is harder and more durable than anything that could possibly be applied on site. You will not be able to change the stain or the seal on your floor, but it will last as much as five times longer than polyurethane.

Invest in Fans

The biggest danger your floor will be in is from moisture. To combat that danger, you need to be able to dry your kitchen as quickly as possible. The best ways to do that are with dehumidifiers and with fans. If you can blow a fan across the surface of the floor or dehumidify the kitchen, you will reduce the likelihood that the floor will be damaged by moisture. A local dehumidifier tends to work very well if you don’t want to dehumidify your entire house with an HVAC system.

Wooden floors in the kitchen require a little more work than some synthetic materials, but they are definitely worth the extra effort. You should seriously consider these durable and attractive floors. They’ll last for a very long time and look great the entire time.

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How to Choose the Right Hardwood Floor Luster

Whether you’re buying prefinished planks or finishing new hardwood planks yourself, you need to choose how they’re going to be finished. There are several different levels of luster that you can choose from. In layman’s terms, that is a determination of how shiny your floor will be. There are advantages and disadvantages to every kind of luster level. Some are easier to keep looking nice and others are more difficult, for example. Here is a quick rundown of the pros and cons.

High Luster

Anything with a high luster will look very sleek and very modern. It’s a very contemporary style that wasn’t even possible in floors in decades past. The floor will look very formal as well. If you want your house to look picturesque and ornate, then a high luster floor will help you do that. It will look more like the receiving rooms and foyers of nice hotels. Those are the pros.

The cons are the upkeep. You will need to clean your high luster floors regularly because a high luster will show every scuff and scratch. That’s because high luster means that it reflects more light. Therefore, the scratch will look more dynamic and deeper. Furthermore, dust and dirt will be more noticeable because they will not reflect light.

Low Luster

A low luster hardwood floor is going to be much easier to keep clean. The floor will not reflect a lot of light; therefore, scratches will not show up readily, nor will dust. However, it will also be slightly more difficult to keep the floor looking clean. That’s because many people associate a shine with cleanliness. If the floor isn’t shiny, it might not look clean to some people. If you try to shine a low luster floor, you’ll likely just wear down the finish faster.

Middle Ground

The compromise between high luster and low luster could be a semi-gloss or a satin. Satin and semi-gloss are fairly moderate positions you could choose from. Typically, semi-gloss is near the middle but slightly on the side of gloss. Satin is in the middle but slightly on the side of matte. Either one of those will help you balance the benefits of high luster with the benefits of low luster. They’ll look fairly clean and modern while still hiding some dust and scratches. Furthermore, they’ll be easy to clean and make look clean.

Try out several different lusters on small areas before deciding on one.


What Can You Expect From Your Hardwood Floors Polyurethane?

Most modern hardwood floors, with the exception of a few, are finished with a layer of polyurethane. Polyurethane is a polymer that is suspended in a solvent. It is applied to the floor, and the solvent evaporates, leaving behind only the polymer. Essentially, it is a can of liquid plastic that is applied over your flooring. There are two basic kinds of polyurethane, oil-based and water-based. Each one is going to act differently immediately and over time. Here’s what will happen.

Immediate Effects

When you apply polyurethane to your stained floor, it will have a few immediate effects. Water-based polyurethane goes on fairly clear. It is also low odor. You’ll need to wait several hours before you can touch the polyurethane and even longer before you can walk on it. However, the most common visual effect is a deepening of the colors and the grain on the wood. If you choose a glossy polyurethane, it will shimmer and almost look wet. A matte water-based polyurethane is basically invisible once it’s dry.

An oil-based polyurethane is a little more dramatic. Most oil-based polyurethanes have a very slight amber hue. When you apply the polyurethane, you’ll notice that the floor becomes slightly tinted amber. That’s a very good way to deepen and enrich the colors of the floor.

Long-Term Effects

There are long-term effects to the polyurethane choices as well. Water-based polyurethane typically doesn’t last quite as long as oil-based polyurethane before it needs to be repaired. However, it maintains the same quality throughout the time that it is applied as long as you don’t let it get so scratched up that it becomes cloudy.

Oil-based polyurethane, on the other hand, will start to turn a deeper shade of amber. This yellowing is desirable for some people. It creates warmer colors on your floor and makes it seem a little more rustic. Others don’t like the yellowing.

There are also concerns about volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These are chemicals that can vaporize at room temperature. The off-gassing can result in pollution or even health effects. Most polyurethanes are designed to have minimal VOCs. Oil-based polyurethanes sometimes have more VOCs than water-based, though. Over time, that could be a factor.

These are a few things to consider and to expect when applying polyurethane to your floor. You’ll need to reapply it every few years. Most flooring experts will say that a polyurethane coat lasts about 15 years.


Can Hardwood Flooring Be Green?

Hardwood flooring has gotten a reputation for not being very environmentally friendly. The main complaint is that hardwood flooring is made by chopping down trees, which contributes to further deforestation. That further deforestation threatens wetlands, natural habitats, and carbon sequestration. However, there are ways that you can still have a hardwood floor installation with a very minimal carbon footprint.

1 – Sustainable Hardwood

You’ll likely hear about sustainable hardwood, but what does that mean? It can mean many things. Typically, it means that the hardwood is cut from an area that can quickly replace the lost tree. For example, some hardwoods grow much faster than others. If a forest is quickly growing large trees, then cutting down trees for hardwood flooring will have a minimal impact.

Also, there are offsets. This could mean that the lumber company that cuts down a tree replaces that tree with a sapling. Some of them even plant two trees for each one they cut down.

2 – Reclaimed Wood

Reclaimed hardwood floors are floors that are made from hardwood that has already been in use. The roof supports for an old barn, for example, can be milled into hardwood flooring planks. Also, an old hardwood floor can be sanded and refinished to be used as your hardwood floor. When properly maintained, wood will last for decades in great shape. That means that you can get a brand new floor without a single tree being chopped down.

3 – Stains and Finishes

One of the main concerns about hardwood flooring is actually the stain and the paint that is used. Oftentimes, they will employ volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can harm the environment. Fortunately, there are companies that sell low- or no-VOC products that will do the job just as well. Oftentimes, these products are water-based instead of oil-based and contain fewer harmful chemicals.

4 – Salvaged Wood Flooring

Salvaged wood flooring might sound like reclaimed wood, but it is actually different. In some situations, a tree might need to be salvaged. If a tree is diseased, dead, or endangering the surrounding area, it might be chopped down. In other cases, some trees are cut down to allow other trees to grow unimpeded. When those trees are used for their wood, it is often called salvaged wood. Since they were going to be cut down anyway, it carries a much smaller ecological impact.

These four options can make your hardwood flooring more sustainable and less harmful to the environment.