Sunday, December 27, 2009

Favorite Flooring Flavor of the Week - Dave K

Favorite Flooring Flavor of the Week

Name- Dave Kaplan, Portland simpleFLOORS

Photo- Attached photo is my grand-daughter Nora, eating cake with the Tigerwood flooring in background

Favorite Flooring Product- Hardwood, Engineered

Collection- Terre Verte

Wood Species- Tigerwood

Thickness: 9/16"
Width: 5"
Length: 47 1/2 "
I go over: Both concrete or wooden subfloors
I can be: Glued, Floated, Nailed, or Stapled down
I am: Real Hardwood Engineered
Use: Residential/Commercial
Wood species: Tigerwood
Janka hardness rating: 2160
Tongue & groove type: Precision milled 4 sided tongue and groove
Edge design: Micro-Beveled
Wear layer: 2.5mm Real Hardwood
Finish: German Klumpp brand Aluminum Oxide

Gloss level: Satin/Semi Gloss
Construction: 9-Ply
Cross Grain Engineered
Countries grown in: Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Guatemala, Mexico
Installation rating: Easy
Structural placement: Above, Below and on Grade
Radiant heat: Yes
Warranty: 25 year wear warranty/lifetime structural

Why is that flooring my favorite?
"I bought it before I even worked here!"

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Favorite Flooring Flavor of the Week - Charlie

Favorite Flooring Flavor of the Week

Name- Charlie Anderson, Seattle simpleFLOORS

Photo- Charlie with the Golden Topaz display!

Favorite Flooring Product- Hardwood, Engineered

Collection- Old World Chisel

Wood Species- Acacia

Color/Name- Golden Topaz

Thickness: 1/2"
Width: 4 3/4"
Length: Random
I go over: Both concrete or wooden subfloors
I can be: Glued, Floated, Nailed or Stapled down
I am: Real Hardwood Engineered
Use: Residential/Commercial
Wood species: Acacia
Janka hardness rating: 2400
Tongue & groove type: Precision milled 4 sided tongue and groove
Edge design: Micro-Beveled
Wear layer: 2.5mm Real Hardwood
Finish: German Klumpp brand Aluminum Oxide
Gloss level: Satin/Semi Gloss
Construction: 9-Ply Cross Grain Engineered
Countries grown in: Australia, Africa, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines
Installation rating: Easy
Structural placement: Above, Below and on Grade
Radiant heat: Yes
Warranty: 25 year wear warranty/lifetime structural

Why is that flooring my favorite?
"Because it is awesome! I like the variation, the rich & warm iridescent tone. The subtle hand-scraped technique and the sheen of the finish make it look and feel high-end without the cost."

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Understanding Noise and How it Relates to Flooring

Understanding Noise and How it Relates to Flooring

In the last few years noise has become a hot topic. One of the reasons for this change is that people are moving away from carpets to hard surface floors, such as hardwood and laminate flooring. It seems like every place you go there is "the newest and best underlayment". All these new products and product claims can be quite overwhelming and misleading. The purpose of this article is to provide a better understanding of noise and how it relates to flooring.
Complaints from condo owners about noisy neighbors are a constant issue. Some of these involve airborne sound sources (talking, music, plumbing), but many are due to the reverberation of footfall (people walking, running, to tap dancing!) or structure-borne noise that differs from its airborne counterpart.
The most commonly used terms in multi-family residential construction are the sound transmission class (STC) and the impact insulation class (IIC). These describe different types of noise, but are often interchanged or misunderstood.

What is noise?There are two basic types of noise and measurements used to rate the acoustical performance of the floor-ceiling assembly. They are airborne noise and stucture-borne noise. The measurements used to determine the acoustical performance of airborne and structure-borne noise is the Sound Transmission Class (STC) and the Impact Insulation Class (IIC).
- The STC measures the performance of the floor-ceiling assembly to stop or isolate airborne noise such as voices, radio, televisions, etc.
- The IIC measures the performance of the floor-ceiling assembly to reduce or isolate impact noise (footfall) people walking, dropping objects, furniture being moved, etc.

Building codes
Building codes have established standards for minimum noise performances of partitions between residences. Most states use the International Building Code (IBC) which calls for a minimum IIC & STC rating for multi-family dwellings for new construction at 50 (or 45 if field tested). The minimum IIC rating of 50 would be considered low or an affordable housing rating, while a 55 would be considered more of an average or mid range rating and a 60+ would be considered a luxury or high-end rating.

One of the most common mistakes in selecting a floor underlayment is to look at a product IIC rating and think that it will perform to the same rating in your building. An IIC rating is determined on the complete floor-ceiling assembly, not just the floor underlayment. When comparing floor underlayments it is important to request the official IIC report from the company. The test report should come from an accredited lab and should detail what the floor-ceiling assembly was tested at. In recent years there have been some companies that advertise IIC rating of 72 without explaining how the product was tested, leaving many uneducated builders thinking that's all they need.
Whenever architects, builders and contractors are concerned with impact noise they should take the time to evaluate what underlayment will be installed and have an experienced acoustical consultant review their plans.
Here is the link to our underlayments

Friday, November 13, 2009

Families Fight Over Flooring

Families Fight Over Flooring
I had an interesting experience the other day where two families I had been helping from earlier in the week came in approximately the same time to make their final flooring decision. Both of them were debating among themselves, and I was going back and forth between them answering questions and checking stock for them. Then one of them told me they had decided and were ready to purchase the Passport 2 Smoked Almond. I said ok, and then turned to the other couple, letting them know that they would have to wait a few weeks if they also wanted the Smoked Almond, as the other couple was ready to buy! As I wrote up the order for couple #1 he whispered about couple #2 "you snooze, you lose".

What it got me thinking about is that I sell a much higher percentage of my personal favorites than the other colors in a collection - and if my favorites were the same as other simpleFLOORS team members. After taking a brief poll, here are some other employee favorites!

3/4" Hardwood (*3/4" and hand-scraped)
*Any Reclamation Plank (Stephen, Sherin)
*Indian Red Reclamation (Ryan, Kristina)
*Prairie Acacia Reclamation (Charlie)
*Sable Reclamation (Chace, Rick, Tommy, Cece)
Amber Blaze (Len)
Brazilian Cherry (Shannon)
Brazilian Walnut (Debbie, Lesley, Cece, Dave)
English Saddle Acacia (Tommy, Jason)
Smoked Almond Acacia (Julie, Lesley, Lidia, Len, Tammi, Sherin, Reneelyn)
Tigerwood (Charlie, Kristina)

Link to Top Favorite 3/4" solid - Smoked Almond Acacia
Second mention - any of the Reclamation Plank

ANY Strand (Lidia, Len, Reneelyn)
Burnt Mocha (Debbie)
Strand Bora (Chace, Rick, Tommy, Tammi)
Strand Carbonized (Julie, Shannon, Lesley, Cece, Jason)
Strand Natural (Dave)
Zebrano Charred (Ryan, Stephen, Charlie, Kristina)

Link to Top Favorite Bamboo - Strand, Strand, Strand
Cork - (sorry I forgot to put this on my poll, so only a few people gave their opinion)Cobblestone (Debbie)
Durango or Harmony(Cece)

Acacia Old World Chisel(Christian)
Any Old World Chisel (Julie, Sherin, Reneelyn)
Brazilian Teak Vintage Couture (Tammi)
Golden Topaz Old World Chisel (Dave)
Hickory Old World Chisel (Lesley)
Lapacho Vintage Couture (Stephen, Lidia)
Machu Pichu Old World Chisel (Jason)
Natural African Hickory Old World Chisel (Lesley, Cece)
Natural African Walnut Vintage Couture (Debbie)
Roasted Almond Old World Chisel (Chace, Ryan, Rick, Mallery)
True Teak Vintage Couture (Shannon)

Link to Top Favorite Hand-scraped - Roasted Almond Old World Chisel

Aged Hickory True Timber (Stephen, Rick, Len, Reneelyn)
ANY Masterpiece (Lidia)
Calladium Block Genva-Loc (Julie)
Cedar Masterpiece (Lesley, Cece)
Cinnamon Genva-Loc (Len)
Fedora Masterpiece (Chace)
Purple Heart True Timber (Ryan, Tommy, Charlie, Kristina, Jason)
Santos Mahogany True Timber (Shannon)
Varnished Walnut Masterpiece (Debbie, Tammi)

Link to Top Favorite Laminate - Purple Heart True Timber

In case you are interested - both couple #1 and couple #2 purchased their beautiful new floors from simpleFLOORS that day :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

How to Build Your Personal Brand and Sell More!

How to Build Your Personal Brand and Sell More!

What is a brand?A distinguishing symbol, mark, logo, name, word, sentence, or a combination of these items that companies use to distinguish their product from others in the market. (

How do you build your "brand"?

Internet - Website, online reviews, rankings on search engines, SEO, links, social networks such as Twitter & Facebook, and advertising.
Reputation - Being known for something whether it be particular product, quality, customer service, experience.
Word of mouth - Customers telling others about your brand/product/service.
Guerilla marketing - Unconventional marketing intended to get maximum results from minimal resources.
Advertising - Online, print, mailers, coupons, etc.
Quality - Making sure that what you sell is quality, whether it be product, education, customer service, or experience.
Google and other search engine searches - Rankings, reviews, advertising and websites.
Viral marketing - Viral marketing describes any strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message's exposure and influence. Like viruses, such strategies take advantage of rapid multiplication to explode the message to thousands, to millions.

How many times do you need to see something before you recognize a brand?
I have no idea!! But I do know that the more your "brand" is recognized- the more success you will have reaching your potential customers as well. When doing direct mail or email campaigns, you get an increased open rate when they have a positive reaction to your name (hey- it's an email fromTammi at simpleFLOORS!)
Current open rate for direct mail advertising - 2.61% (varies based on industry)
Current open rate for email advertising 14 - 17% (for Retail)

Brands that may not be "the best in their category" but because of their brand awareness are recognizable to a huge population.Bruce hardwood
Campbell's soup
Chesterfield - if you don't know what the heck this is, please contact Dave

How do you build your personal "brand"?
Do you what you say you will do
Educate - your customers know what they want even if they don't know they do
Under-promise, over-deliver
Ask for referrals
Be honest
Get recommendations or reviews posted about you and the product you have sold
Have integrity

Why invest in creating your own personal brand?Look at this equation...
You get 1 person to recognize your "brand" with quality (product, follow through, personality, customer service, you name it) - and so they buy from you (you personally or your company- depending whose brand they believe in) instead of the competitor.

This one customer tells a couple of friends (you remember the commercial if you are old enough) and 2 of them decide to try you out based on getting that same branding experience (customer service, honest answers and information, fabulous product and price, etc.). This continues to build as your name gets passed on because you have a brand that people trust. This has unlimited potential.

So my advice is to live up to your potential! If you need help doing that, please reach out- your team here at simpleFLOORS is here to support you!

Interesting links re: brand
Social Definition of a brand
A is for Advertising, B is for Brand - article
Email marketing metrics

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

EcoMetro approves Simplefloors as local green company!

Simplefloors was reviewed and approve by as a local green company!

Eco-Metro helps keep you up to date with monthly green tips, green coupons, and local approved green listed businesses. Simplefloors is proud to be accepted as a green business!

See our listing below!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hard Surface Flooring vs. Home Sales

I recently purchased a new home and wanted to share my home shopping experience and what I noticed along the way in terms of hard surface flooring. We all know now is a great time to buy and there is a healthy inventory of homes for sale. That being said shoppers can be a bit pickier than normal in these times and a decision could be made purely on the flooring in certain cases. After viewing over 60 homes I came to the realization that a home with hardwood flooring definitely has a better sense of value and has a noticeably cleaner feel and look. When you walk in the door of a home with carpet you instantly can feel the difference in my eyes, and more often than not you can smell the difference as well. When you walk into a similar home with hardwoods it just feels nicer, and seems like it’s worth more like I mentioned before. When reviewing the homes with carpet and the homes with hardwood I noticed the asking price was higher almost every time with hardwoods. To give my point some justice when I walked into a carpeted home and my realtor dropped his card it was typically placed next to one or two others that were barely recognizable covered in dust. While walking into a home with hardwoods his card was placed on a pile that looked like that jar at your local sandwich shop to win a free lunch had been dumped out. It is obviously apparent these days that most knowledgeable homeowners are ripping out their carpet to replace with a hardwood floor. Bottom line you can list your home for a higher price, and have a better chance of selling it compared to the comparable home with carpet.

simpleFLOORS helps fight Breast Cancer!

simpleFLOORS helps fight Breast Cancer!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States, aside from skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), an estimated 192,370 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed among women in the United States this year. An estimated 40,170 women are expected to die from the disease in 2009 alone. Today, there are about 2.5 million breast cancer survivors living in the United States.

simpleFLOORS was a proud Title sponsor this year of the Pink Ribbon Classic Golf Tournament at the River Club Golf Course in Suwanee, GA - where one of our partners resides, golfs, and is an active member within the community.

Some great websites to learn more-
Pink Ribbon Classic
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Susan G Komen for the Cure
The Breast Cancer Site (click for free to help give free mammograms to women in need)
Athena Bottled water

Monday, October 5, 2009

Blogging and Natural Search - flooring websites

Blogging and Natural Search
I feel blogs are interesting... a neat way to learn about what is important to specific companies, or groups of people that contribute to their particular blog.

That being said, I have been recently enlightened and dismayed by the current trend to post totally non-sensical and fake articles in company blogs purely to get better search optimization on search engines.

Although I agree that getting the most out of your company blog... education for your employees and potential customers should be priority, extra clicks should just be frosting on the cake- not the entree. Reading some of the fake articles out there by others in the flooring business makes me sad (and angry when the "advice" is clearly wrong and just worded for more clicks) as I think it is our job to inform potential customers through our company blogs, not just get some free advertising.

Ok, I am jumping off my soapbox now.

Information re: Natural or Organic Search - Wikipedia
The Google, Yahoo!, and Bing search engines combine advertising and search results on their search results pages. In each case, the adverts are designed to look like the search results, except for minor visual distinctions such as their background color and/or placement on the page. Further, the appearance of the adverts on all major search engines is so similar to the genuine search results that a large majority of search engine users cannot effectively distinguish between them.
Because so few ordinary users (38% according to Pew) realized that many of the highest placed 'results' on search engine results pages were actually adverts, it became important within the search engine optimization industry to distinguish between the two types of content. As the perspective among general users was that all the results were in fact 'results', the qualifier 'organic' was invented to distinguish the real search results from the adverts. Because the distinction is important (and the word 'organic' has many useful metaphorical uses) the term is now in widespread use within the search engine optimization and web marketing industry. It is, as of July 2009, now in common currency outside the specialist web marketing industry, being used frequently by Google (throughout the Google Analytics site for instance).
Google claims that their users click (organic) search results more often than adverts, which has led them to rebut the research cited above.
The same report (and others going back to 1997) by Pew shows that users avoid clicking 'results' that they know to be adverts.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Seattle simpleFLOORS gives back to the community aka "Teddy Bears in Tukwila"

In the Tukwila/Seattle store location we have the luxury of having a good sized showroom for our flooring displays and a warehouse in the back. One of the partners here has allowed his mom to keep a few boxes of personal items in the back, on a temporary basis. Last week she came in and sorted through some boxes, and found a box of stuffed animals. They were primarily teddy bears, most being beanie babies with their tags still on. She generously offered to give them to me to bring home to my 3 year old daughter, Riley. I thought there are other children who could use these teddy bears more than Riley (believe me, she is not lacking for toys). I called the local police station and asked if they were in need of any new teddy bears for their Operation Teddy Bear program. The nice officer who answered the phone immediately said "yes, we can definitely use them to give to children in need". In about an hour local Tukwila police officer came by and picked up the box full of teddy bears for the kids. The team at the Tukwila simpleFLOORS store feels good about being able to help 15-20 kids in trauma feel a little better with a new teddy bear to snuggle with. Just so no one feels bad for Riley... there were a few stuffed animals that were not teddy bears, so I brought those home to her.

Operation Teddy Bear Info (this is available in most cities!)The program centers around helping young children who have been exposed to or involved in a traumatic incident involving police intervention. Ex: Domestic disputes, accidents involving injury. Children are given a teddy bear to keep, to help the officer form a bond with the child and also console the child. Teddy bears are donated by a private citizen.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Strand Woven Bamboo Test

At our Seattle store we have a lot of customers who are interested in the strand woven bamboo. Some come in curious about bamboo, and some are not aware of it but fall in love with the strand as soon as we show them "the strand test". Many of these customers previously had a bad taste in their mouth about bamboo due to hearing about a friend (or friend of a friend) who has experienced problems with traditional bamboo (horizontal/vertical in either natural or carbonized). Once they see the test with their own eyes these concerns go away immediately.

What I mean by "the strand test" is we take 2 samples - a regular bamboo, and a strand bamboo - then we take the strand bamboo sample and hit the regular bamboo sample, which dents relatively easily. Remember - regular bamboo is about as hard as oak and maple. Then we take the regular bamboo sample and hit the strand bamboo sample with it (hard!) and honestly - nothing happens! I have been using the same strand sample for about 3 weeks, pounding on it multiple times per day, and you can't see a scratch. We also do the test with Brazilian Walnut/Ipe, the hardest wood - and the strand outperforms it.

Concerns about bamboo hardness are addressed when conducting "the Strand test" because you can immediately see how much harder the Strand is compared to regular bamboo.
This is not a trick - it is a great tool to show customers so they can get a real idea of how durable the strand bamboo is. Customers have asked me for samples to take home and show "the test" to their spouses, builders/contractors, and friends.

Strand comparison works well for:
Natural maple vs natural strand - similar color but much harder
Laminate vs strand - get the durability of laminate with natural beauty of bamboo
Hardwood vs strand - you can refinish the strand if you were ever able to damage it
Pet owners - very difficult to scratch/dig into the strand, and good for pet "accidents"
Families - very difficult to scratch/damage the strand with active children
Moisture concerns - being essentially a grass it is much better with liquid than hardwood
Eco friendly options - sustainable product that can also be refinished, not having to replace
Versatile look - easy to "dress up" or "dress down" based on personal taste. Can swing modern or traditional look depending on your furniture

In addition to being a great selling tool of the strand bamboo, it is fun!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Flooring underlayment - the scoop!

I had another customer today ask me about underlayment... some of the common questions are:
1. Do I need underlayment?
2. Does it really matter which underlayment I get?
3. Why do I need a good underlayment if I am going over concrete and there is no one below me?

We decided at our Seattle store to put together a "cheat sheet" for our customers that outline the different underlayments we carry, and their features... as well as our comments and favorites listed.

Underlayment Options
When you are using a floating flooring product (whether it be wood, laminate, cork, or bamboo) you will need an underlayment. If you are going over a concrete subfloor you will also need a vapor barrier (a 6mil plastic). You will lay down the vapor barrier if necessary, tape the seams, then lay down your underlayment. There are multiple underlayments available, and the higher end ones will absorb more sound and vibration and make your floor sound more solid. This is true on both wooden or concrete subfloors. Low end underlayments will still cover your warranty but tend toward a more hollow or "clicky/tap-dance" sound when you walk on your floor.

6mm Cork (A close second for Favorite Category) $.97/sf
Natural cork underlay provide exceptional sound reduction capabilities in addition to insulation and comfort underfoot. The cork is harvested from the bark of the Cork Oak tree without harm to the tree. An environmentally friendly option for naturally healthy living. Cork quiets both hardwood and laminate floors.
· Environmentally friendly option
· Meets condo requirements
· Sound Performance: STC 52 - 66
3mm Cork $.68/sf
Natural cork underlay provide exceptional sound reduction capabilities in addition to insulation and comfort underfoot. The cork is harvested from the bark of the Cork Oak tree without harm to the tree. An environmentally friendly option for naturally healthy living. Cork quiets both hardwood and laminate floors.
· Environmentally friendly option

Redux® Acoustical Reduction (Simple Floors employee Favorite) $.50/sf
Our best foam rubber underlayment. Redux can be used in both commercial and residential applications. Redux reduces same room foot traffic noise as well as reduces sound transmission to adjacent rooms and lower levels. Redux is for use under both engineered wood floors, laminate and cork floating floors. Specifically for use with the floating floor installation method, Redux provides a quieter surface by absorbing under floor vibration.2.5mm thickness
· Mold and mildew resistant as well as non allergenic
· Sound Performance: STC 55

Royal Walker® $.59/sf
A premium underlayment developed to reduce noise transmission for use under both hardwood and laminate floors. The unique engineering of this underlay allow it to interact with the floor system itself in a manner that produces a sound similar to that of traditional wood flooring.
· Exceeds recommended moisture permeability ratings for installation over concrete slabs
· Sound Performance: STC 53

Silver series 3 in 1 (Moderate) $.32/sf
The silver series 3 in 1 is a mid level laminate and hardwood flooring underlay. The silver series offers moderate sound absorption for laminate and hardwood flooring. The higher density 2mm thick foam comes with an foil moisture barrier backing. No additional moisture barrier is needed when using The Silver Series. This underlay is for use over both wooden or concrete subfloors. The foil on this underlayment also adds insulating properties.

2 in 1 Combo Foam Film (Low end) $.24/sf
The 2 in 1 Combo Foam Film is the standard laminate floating floor underlay. The 2 in 1 Combo foam film can also be used under solid or engineered real hardwood floors as well. The 2 in 1 is a 2mm thick foam with a pre-attached moisture barrier. This underlay can be used over both wooden or concrete subfloors.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Green is not always about buying new

Anytime you purchase something, you have an impact on the environment. Planned obsolescence is a term used to describe the artificial short life of a product. When I think about this in terms of flooring products (this is a blog about floors), one of the first things that comes to my mind is carpet and even sheet vinyl goods. Both of these products have a very short life span. They wear out, mat down, tear, stain and are available in colors and even patterns that date themselves and become obsolete by plan. They are both oil based and treated with stain resistant chemicals and fibers from companies like Monsanto the chemical company (another video to watch sometime is the world according to Monsanto). When I think about the impact of s carpet on the environment, I have to multiply the negative impact by more than a few times. This is because in a 50 year period it will need to be replaced at minimum 3-4 times.

In contrast good quality wood floors can be in service in a home 50 years down the line. Wood, bamboo and cork floors are a quality, long lasting product and they do not become design or "style" obsolete. Not only is their manufacturing impact on the environment less to begin with, they have a lower overall 50 year cost of ownership as they do not require constant replacing and they provide for healthy interior living spaces. 

This video has been watched over 7 million times now. Its the Story of Stuff and the global manufacturing chain. It is direct, somewhat entertaining, very enlightening and only about 20 minutes long.  I recommend it to everyone. 

Monday, August 10, 2009

Pets and Flooring

Many potential flooring customers come in the store looking for something that hold up well with their pets. Asking a few questions will help determine what the best flooring is for their personal situation.

What type of pets?
Dogs? If so, what size and how active are they?
What are the concerns?
How long would the customers like the floor to last?
Are the customers looking for a cheap/inexpensive floor?
What type of sub-floor are they going over?

The good news is there are flooring options for pets in all categories... Here is some of our best flooring for pets and why one choice may be made over another:
Solid Hardwood - Although the finish on all hardwood can be scratched by pets, the wood hardness (Janka) varies per species. The harder species will still allow the finish to scratch, but will not be as easy to actually scratch/dig into the wood. Solid hardwood can be re-finished multiple times over the life of your flooring. Most of the solid hardwoods must be nailed down, our Reclamation Plank can also be floated.

Engineered Hardwood - Although the finish on all hardwood can be scratched by pets, the wood hardness (Janka) varies per species. The harder species will still allow the finish to scratch, but will not be as easy to actually scratch/dig into the wood. Engineered hardwood is typically less expensive than solid hardwood, and due to the multiple layers has less expansion and contraction, which is a better fit for many climates. Easy to install - can be nailed, glued or floated. May be able to be re-finished depending on the wear layer.

Handscraped Hardwood - Although the finish on all hardwood can be scratched by pets, the wood hardness (Janka) varies per species. The harder species will still allow the finish to scratch, but will not be as easy to actually scratch/dig into the wood. Due to the handscraped features on this product, scratches by pets can be filled in with a color-fil pen, just adding to the already "distressed" look of the flooring. Small dings/dents typically go un-noticed on this type of flooring.

Solid Bamboo - Although the finish can be scratched, this is an eco-friendly and inexpensive option vs. solid hardwood. It can be re-finished multiple times over the life of your flooring. This must be nailed or glued down.
Handscraped Bamboo - Due to the handscraped features on this product, scratches by pets can be filled in with a color-fil pen, just adding to the already "distressed" look of the flooring.

Strand Woven Bamboo - Our current favorite! Super hard and very difficult to scratch. Solid, so it can be refinished multiple times over the life of your flooring. 1/2" thickness allows the Strand bamboo to be nailed, glued down, or floated. The nature of bamboo vs. other flooring products makes it the best for "accidents" as well, being essentially a grass it is incredibly stable with spills/moisture.

Cork - This is a great option for an eco-friendly product, with a softer feel and special look. If your pet has a lot of accidents, we would recommend applying another coat of varnish so that it would be "seamless". Because of the varying pattern of most cork flooring small scratches/dents are difficult to notice.

Laminate - Great flooring for no-scratch marks from pets. Comes in various collections, colors and styles to suit different tastes. Not the best if the pet has a lot of accidents because there are seams in the flooring - but replacing planks is an option because it is a click-together product.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

New Product Introduction: French Bleed, Dark Edge Eucalyptus

Taconnay Eucalyptus
Taconnay - Eucalyptus

This product, in person, is stunning. We have taken many angles, lighting shots and takes when imaging this and we are not able to capture the real look. You get a glimpse when you use the image zoom on the site to magnify into the grain. Customers in showrooms will see large displays and this floor has the look to become one of our most popular in short time. With a plank defining french bleed and a higher than standard gloss level, combined with the latest in distressed wood looks - the flat surface (no wave) with slightly distressed burmishing marks randomly and not overdone, throughout. We perfected this look last year and I am  happy to see it finally in stock. More updates coming as the containers are really moving in, Oakland warehouse is near capacity again as we ramp up for the selling season with the latest colors and styles. 

Monday, June 8, 2009

Enviro-Cork, Cobblestone hot new pattern

Cobblestone, a new cork floor in a rectangular narrow block plank design.CobblestoneCobblestone CorkCobblestone Cork

The Enviro-cork line, like most corks floors is produced using the left over cork scraps from the wine bottle industry. Cork is a renewable resource as it is harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree. The tree grows new cork and is left unharmed providing the harvest was done correctly. In the past few years a fire destroyed many cork oak trees in Portugal so the material is not as abundant as it once was. 

The Enviro-cork line has a locking center fiberboard core. Cork floors are to a large extent a green flooring option. The exception to this is the fiber board core. Nothing green nor environmentally friendly about fiberboard cores regardless of how companies want to spin it. The core does make installation easy and possible for most diy'ers as it allows the product to click together and requires no adhesives to install. 

The fiberboard core has a cork underlay attached to the back of it as well. This means you need to purchase no additional underlay. This floor is starting in the low $3.00 per square foot range, you will find this is a remarkable rate if you shop around a bit. 

Thursday, June 4, 2009

New Product Arrival-Chiseled Teak

Chiseled TeakChiseled Teak Sitting Room
Chattered Delfino: New hand-scraping style: Chiseled Teak

A brand new arrival, now in stock in our Oakland Warehouse. This is the latest look in handscraping techniques. I was visiting the factory site while this one was being made. Time Consuming and difficult to achieve. This works in traditional settings but really excels in modern and contemporary scenes. Razor thin scrape marks running horizontal throughout the body of the plank with no surface wave. It is stunning. Inset are random charred rectangle and box shaped carvers. Typically one per box or so but they are random in nature and done by hand so no quoting me on that. With handcrafted floors like this, what you get is unique to your home, no one else has a floor exactly like it. Its like purchasing an original art piece. This floor is actually starting at under $4.00 per square foot for a full pallet. An amazing price for an authentic hand crafted heirloom that will fill every room in your home. 

Friday, May 15, 2009

Happy Birthday to US!

First ever Showroom

E-sales at work

First E-sales Team

Charlie, John and Dave

First Company Truck

It started with a concept, that continues at simpleFLOORS. Taking care of our customers, not investors. 4 years ago today, in (an ant infested) small showroom/call center on Palou ave, an out of the way industrial neighborhood just south of downtown San Francisco simpleFLOORS was born.

With no budget and a little paint and elbow grease we build it.... and all of a sudden, the customers came, and by the hundreds. Some remember, originally the company name was floor factory.

Here is a nostalgic link to the original website, created from scratch.

Our styles, quality and vision propelled to the 2nd highest trafficked website in its class. The product line has expanded greatly boasting the freshest in styles. 15 stores later and a booming e-sales division shipping quality floors at low prices, to homes across both Canada and the U.S.

Just a little company that simply could. Happy Birthday to the entire simpleFLOORS team. 4 years is a short time, the best is yet to come, we have just begun to get started!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

When you work here,

And you sell the most



TO HERE----------------


for selling the most installation
and winning a flight for 2 and
3 nights at Casa Pericos in
Beautiful Yelapa, Mexico

Friday, May 1, 2009

Old World Chisel Acacia Room Scenes

Brando from the Chicago office, took a video class at the local Mac store and this is his first version. This is a compilation of the room scenes from the Old World Chisel collection. Its nice to see these in larger room scenes. Keep the creativity coming........

Chicago, Pizza, Party and Peter

We are sorry to see him go but he is not really leaving us. Peter from our internet sale team is re-locating to our new georgia office where he is certain to continue his record breaking streak.  This picture was taken during his farewell pizza lunch party. Jan in the background seems a little to excited to see him go....hmm.........

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Quite Simply a Hero

Oscar is a excellent installation coordinator, a great communicator and now a local HERO. Oscar was honored by our local King County sheriffs dept., by being presented with the MERITORIOUS SERVICE AWARD by none other than the sheriff herself. He was picked up and escorted to the presentation by officer friendly himself. First time he got to ride in the front of a cruiser. see pic. of both outside of our of Seattle store.

Below is copy of an article that ran in a recent copy of the Stranger,written by David Schmader. It talks about our hero and why he won this award.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22 Attentive readers will recall the Metro bus saga of May 2008, when a man inflamed by mental illness and/or religious fervor boarded a bus and began beating a fellow passenger, who happened to be a blind woman. Reporting from the scene: Hot Tipper Oscar, aka Oscar Grey, who rushed to the woman's aid and, with the help of his fellow passengers, restrained the crazy clobberer until cops arrived. Today brings a most gratifying coda to this story, courtesy once again of Hot Tipper Oscar, who this afternoon was escorted by a King County Sheriff's deputy to the regional training center in Burien, where he—along with five of his fellow passengers—was given a meritorious service award for his help in stopping the assault. Congratulations to Oscar, who describes his award as "parchment in a green leather folder embossed with the King County insignia in gold." The wonderfully specific text: "To commend your actions when you intervened in an assault on a visually impaired woman on a Metro coach. The assault suspect was distracted and restrained by you and other passengers until King County deputies arrived on the scene. Your efforts kept the victim from suffering more serious injury." Hurrah for all.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sustainable Rain-forests?

Ipe impressions
Ipe impressions. Both the grain and color mimic the Brazilian Walnut (ipe) wood species. A unique finishing & grain embossing surface process transforms the appearance from bamboo into that of an exotic Brazilian Hardwood floor. When bamboo is the sustainable material of choice but a wood grain is more desire-able from the perspective of design, theIpe impressions option is ideal. This renewable floor has Low Voc’s, counts for LEED points and the bamboo plant from which this is harvested, lives on to be harvested again.  The adhesives used are free of components classified as hazardous to the environment. No solvents, no heavy metals no bactericides.  No rainforests were harmed in the making of this floor.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

New Product addition

An even wood surface in the field of the plank, a slightly higher than normal gloss level. Hand burmished darkened areas throughout the flooring. Hand painted/darkened french bleed beveled edges outline the 6" width of each plank.
8 coats of treffic aluminum oxide, 1/2 thick real wood, multi-directional plied grains. Glue, nail or floating installation all approved with this exciting new high design release. We have it by the truckload. Buy it for just under half the price of it's $9 flooring store price. Its why we say....
taste. the difference

Monday, April 13, 2009

Product Videos

We are working on a series of information videos for all of our flooring collections. These videos contain highlighted details about the features of the collections and are designed to save you reading time. We have just started this project and are working on editing graphics and flooring pictures into the appropriate frames within the videos. Already It has been a fun project and the actual flooring consultants from e-sales dept, volunteered there time to do the scripts. We will not have all of them posted online for probably 2 months or so, still working debating internally the most user friendly, logical place to post these on the simplefloors site itself. Click here to check out our first test video 

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Hand-scraped wood floors. Why and where to use

Design theme?
Hand-scraped wood floors when created using tradition and actual human artisan techniques create value in any home. These floors are not limited to a particular design theme. They adorn perfectly, the most minimal to the ultra traditional. Hand crafted goods add value. Regardless of whether you plan on ever selling your home, installation of authentic hand carved flooring increases the appeal and wow factor of any home. We have had many customers comment on their homes selling and attributed it in part because of these handcrafted floors being installed.

Realistic costs are possible on handscraped wood floors The art form of authentic handscraped floors is something that motivates us at simplefloors. Not only do we boast the largest species selection and handcrafting techniques of hand-scraped floors, our beginning price point starts below $3.00 per square foot.

The hanscraping techniques:
Time Worn Shallow Sculpt
The least aggressive of the hand-scraping techniques. The hand tool lathe is used to gently carve valleys into the surface of the floor. The edges of the floor are also carved to 
an uneven, random state.
Flowing uneven paths throughout the surface are characteristics of this hand scraping technique. The Time Worn Technique, accomplishes the natural uneven effects of foot wearing patterns and subtle textures. 

Saw KerfThis hand scraping technique consists of a multitude of Smaller chisel marks in selected groups running throughout the body width of the wood surface. Smaller intricate lines arranged in close proximity to each other produce whole unique distressed sections of the floor. Primarily due to the arrangement and creation of the smaller marks and greater quantity of them this is one of the most time consuming hand distressing processes.

Chisel impactUsing a sharp flat end chisel, the artisan applies blows with a hammer to the top of the chisel. The end of the chisel is held to the wood surface at an angle. The chisel is then placed at the adjacent edge of the fist blow mark, again at an angle. A small pie shaped indent randomly placed throughout the body of the wood surface results. Chisel i
mpact is not only one of the most striking in appearance it is one of the most time consuming hand scraping techniques and of no surprise by far one of the most requested. On some stained colors, deeper tint is often applied to the marks themselves creating further contrast with the surface for an authentic time aged appearance. The Hand Chisel Impact is not able to be mimicked by machine and takes the average artisan one day to complete 75 square feet.

Cross Slash
A series of stacked line gouges carved into the planks surface using a flat gouge blade. 
Typically this vintage technique is accomplished using multiple scrape marks and at an angle to the length of the plank. Original craftsmen did not have the power tools to achieve perfect
planed surfaces. The stitch cross gouge will range in size depending on the intent of the artisan and resembles the scrape mark left
 by the overcut of a tooth saw blade. Darkening tints will often be applied to the Stitch cross gouge making it more visible. This scraping technique is often used as a compliment to one or more of the other scraping techniques.

Zipper punch
The zipper punch distressing technique is used as a complimentary element of the overall distressing technique. Not as conspicuous as most techniques it can actually resemble a small metal zipper indents side by side on the surface of the wood floor. To further describe this distressing technique, you might imagine what a coarse, often referred to as “bastard file” file imprint stamped into a wood surface would look like. This techniques re-creates the impression of the teeth marks left in the wood by a hand held coarse file used centuries prior.

Hand-rubbed & toned
The process in which the flooring stain is applied heavier and lighter in various areas of the plank. This creates an uneven depth of color ranging from nearly translucent to dee
ply opaque. The goal is to achieve a very uneven time weathered look with the use of color stain. Often times this is used in conjunction with hand sculpting techniques to provide further depth and texture to the surfaces. This technique results in a surface with a variation of tones within the given stain color.

Bamboo flooring that may surprise

Made of Bamboo, Premium Green's new strand woven hardwood flooring is not only breathtaking visually, it is a renewable "hardwood" floor produced organically without the use of fertilizers nor pesticides. The bamboo is harvested in approx 5 years and the plant it left alive and healthy to regrow once again. Something that can not be said for domestic tree species not to mention the exotic brazilian hardwoods that are under depletion.

If you want the exotic look of a brazilian hardwood the new strand woven collection might be the place to look. The original tones were in the steamed darker brown tones or the lighter natural tone. Now by mixing and weaving a variety of both we have the Charred and Raw options. Great choices and neutral colors all with an unexpected 3000lb janka hardness rating matching that of the Exotic Brazilian Walnut tree. This is twice the hardness rating as maple, standard bamboo flooring and Oak.

What about the cost? It is priced lower than our solid brazilian wood options.

So if you want the look and hardness rating of an exotic hardwood floor but do not like the idea of walking on the product of a dead rainforest, consider the strand woven bamboo option by premium green bamboo. Click here to view the color options of this new strand woven Premium Green bamboo flooring option