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Choosing the Best Flooring for Radiant Heating Systems

Choosing the best flooring for radiant heating systems

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Choosing the best flooring for radiant heating systems

If under floor heating is important in your home or commercial property, you have to wisely choose a new flooring material when renovating or working on new construction. The floor that goes on top of your radiant heating system to keep the property warm should be designed to handle the heat demands of that system. You’ll also need to consider factors such as the comfort level and durability of the floor heating systems.

In most cases, you’ll probably need to settle for different flooring types in different areas of the property such as a stain-resistant floor for the kitchen, carpeting for the living room and a waterproof floor for the bathroom. Whatever floor type you choose to install, it is important to understand the under floor heating options available for you.

Wooden flooring

This is a popular option mainly because it adds a unique character and warmth to the home. Wood is also comfortable underfoot, even though it may require more maintenance to prevent damage. Wood is a good insulator, which is one of the major drawbacks if you want to use under floor heating in wooden flooring. For instance, if your floor is made of extra thick solid wood, it can be very difficult for heat to transfer. Thin-engineered wood is one of the best options if you want to install under floor heating on wood. Also, you need to ensure that the wooden floor is not exposed to temperatures above 27 degrees centigrade. The system should be properly installed with controls to guarantee optimal performance. Always check to ensure if the wood flooring you’ve chosen can be used with under floor heating. A heat map can be laid between the battens and controls used to ensure the maximum output of the heating system is 160W per sq. ft.

Laminate & vinyl flooring

Most homeowners choose vinyl floors because it’s a more flexible and affordable material compared to options like wood. The good thing with vinyl is that it conducts heat very well which makes it a great option to use with under floor heating. Laminate and vinyl floors are also easier to maintain than wood, which is why you can use them in areas like the bathroom and kitchen. Since vinyl and laminate floors are great heat conductors, it’s important to ensure that the floor doesn’t get too hot when you install radiant heating systems. A temperature sensor must be installed to prevent this. Also, it is important to ensure that the heat is spread evenly throughout the laminate floor to avoid discoloration and movement. With vinyl, the heating element can be covered with screed or levelling compound in order to help ensure it spreads evenly across the floor.

Carpeted floors

Thick carpets are designed to act as good insulators. This makes under floor heating less efficient when installed in a carpeted floor. If you want to use carpeting together with under floor heating in your property, consult a technician to advise on the best type of carpets to use before installation. Thin carpets don’t insulate as much and may offer efficient warming of the room above.

Other flooring options

Polished concrete floor: If you are renovating, polished concrete is a great option. Not only does it conduct heat very well, but it is also durable and retains the heat for long hours. If you have a polished or painted concrete floor, heating cables embedded directly into the concrete would work best. It’s an affordable option that doesn’t add extra height to the floor and offers stable temperature.

Slate: This is an ideal option for busy areas in your home. Slate is a durable material that not only withstands lots of foot traffic but also conducts heat very well which makes it suitable for use with heating systems.

Granite: The main disadvantage of granite is that it is prone to cracking. However, granite is an effective flooring material to use with radiant heating systems. It comes with very beautiful and unique finishes with lots of options to choose from.

Porcelain: This is a non-porous tile that is designed to resist stains. Porcelain tiles can retain heat very well, but may require longer installation time for heating systems.

Marble: Marble floors may take longer to heat up than most flooring types but once they do, they retain the heat well. Marble is also a good conductor of heat.

Screed tiles: Though not a very popular option, screed tiles, conduct heat much faster than most tiling materials. The tile is also designed for different kinds of under floor heating options.


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Which countertop should you choose for your kitchen?

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Which countertop should you choose for your kitchen?

With so many different materials in market to choose from, we broke down the most popular choices to help make your decision easier

Most families spend a lot of time in the kitchen; between cooking meals and entertaining it’s often the room with the most amount of traffic. Choosing the right countertop can make or break the overall aesthetics of your kitchen. Not to mention it’s going to be there for many years, which means you want to be happy with your decision.

Between granite, marble, laminate or butcher block it can be hard to choose the right one for you. There are three main factors to consider before purchasing a countertop: durability, maintenance and cost. The choices can seem overwhelming so we’ve rounded up the most popular options to help make your decisions easier.

Laminate

The cheapest option on the market is laminate countertops. They can be designed to look like the more expensive quartz and granite options but with a lower price tag. Laminate countertops are perfect for buyers weary of stains, scratches and water damage. With many different colours and patterns to choose from, you will definitely find something to match your kitchen. Plus it’s very easy to clean and maintain. The downside? Laminate countertops are sensitive to heat and won’t look as luxurious as their pricey counterparts.

Granite

One of the more popular options for countertops is granite. Even the sharpest knives won’t scratch these elegant surfaces. If you often cook with high temperatures then granite is definitely the direction you want to go in — bubbling pots won’t make a mark. Every slab has its own markup so you’ll never need to fear anyone copying your style. If choosing granite countertops, maintenance is very important. Typically a warm cloth with water and soap will do the trick but be careful of oils and acids as they will stain the rock.

Butcher block

This material is quickly taking over the often cool and harsh stone materials. Butcher block countertops can make your kitchen feel warm and inviting. True butcher block is made from wood strips blended together. Perfect for slicing, chopping and dicing directly on the surface, it’s a great alternative to cutting boards. The type of wood typically chosen includes walnut, cherry, oak and maple. Maintenance is relatively easy but make sure to wipe up stains immediately. Butcher block isn’t the best material around sinks or dishwashers but great for low traffic areas like islands.

Marble

If warmth is what you’re looking for in a kitchen and butcher block just isn’t sophisticated enough for you, consider marble. Similar to butcher block, marble can stain easily so placing it in low traffic areas around the kitchen is your safest bet. Many homeowners reserve marble countertops for kitchen islands. Make sure you aren’t placing hot pots or pans directly on the surface, wipe away any stains as soon as you can and research what cleaning solutions work best with the material. For all of it’s care and price, marble will stand out in your kitchen and last a lifetime.

Madisyn is a freelance writer and social media obsessed traveller based out of Toronto. Always looking for her next adventure but glued to her phone, you can contact her at madi@therestlessworker.com or visit her at www.therestlessworker.com

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4 Main Options when Picking Flooring for Your Home

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4 Main Options when Picking Flooring for Your Home

New floors can considerably change the look, feel and value of your house, especially if you are dealing with old flooring or need to replace the carpet. The good news is that there are many sweeping trends you can pick from. This article looks at the four main options you will have when picking the right flooring for your home renovation project.

Hardwood

The most prestigious material is definitely the hardwood. Hardwood is usually made from solid lumber that is a natural insulator. It is mostly preferred because it can match with just any interior décor, it’s easy to clean and adds significant structural strength. Oak, maple, and cherry floors are the most popular materials in Canada due to their hardness, thus durability. Hardwood floor will attract and retain less dirt hence reducing molds and allergens from your home.

The problem with the hardwood floor is that it is not moisture resistant. You cannot afford to leave spills for too long because the will be absorbed by the wood. Individual boards may also expand or contract when exposed to varying humidity levels indoors. For the best performance, you will need to keep the indoor humidity at between 45% and 55% throughout the year.

Engineered Hardwood

Engineered hardwood is a much better alternative to a regular hardwood, although it is more expensive. These floors are made using the uppermost layer of dried hardwood and the lower layers are composed of solid wood, plywood or HDF. The pieces are pressure bonded.

The good thing about this option is that it is moisture resistant and more durable. You don’t need to keep a close eye on temperature and humidity levels when using this flooring. You also enjoy more flexibility during installation since there are many installation methods. The downside is engineered hardwood is costly.

Cork Flooring

Cork flooring has been very popular in Canada in 60’s and 70’ and up until 2000s was mostly used in commercial buildings. In the past few years Toronto homeowners have begun favoring cork flooring due to its unique retro-look and eco-friendly nature. Home gym, kitchen and kid’s room would benefit from cork floor’s shock-absorbent structure.

This flooring is made from cork oak tree and the tree itself doesn’t need to be cut to harvest the material. It is highly resistant to mold, mildew and bacteria which makes it a good option for people with allergies.

The downside is that cork scratches easily and it is not moisture-friendly. Most of professional contractors do not suggest using cork flooring in bathrooms, laundry area or basements.

Laminate Flooring

The forth option is laminate flooring. This one is gaining popularity mostly because it has longer life span and offers remarkable aesthetic effects; as well as several cost saving benefits. It is easy to install, clean and maintain.

One of the greatest laminate benefits is its versatility. Prints on laminate can simulate any desired pattern and color: from warm wood-like palette to modern grey stone or marble. And it will cost you much cheaper than actual marble floors.

Laminate floors are also a wise option if you are planning on installing in-floor heating. Nowadays homeowners in Toronto are including such floor-heating systems in their house renovation projects by default. First, it adds warmth and a comfort to any room. Second, it increases the house value overall making heated floors a rational investment.

Ceramic Flooring

Ceramic tiles are the best alternative to any other flooring if you need it to be waterproof or easy washable which makes them ideal option for bathrooms, kitchens or outdoor patios.

Ceramic floor is extremely durable and not so easy to crack when installed. Properly installed tiles can serve you for 20 years and even longer when properly taken care of. And even if one tile gets cracked it is pretty simple to remove it and replace with a new one.

In Toronto ceramic flooring would cost you between $1.50 to $6 per square foot depending on quality, tile size and pattern. This makes it moderately expensive option, but will long-term value to a property price.

Marble Flooring

Marble flooring is one of the most expensive, but durable and versatile type of floor. Most homeowners in Canada pay between 10$ to 20$ per square foot for professionally installed marble flooring.

Its luxury look and elegant texture can turn your house into a castle. Marble tiles come is various colors and sizes, easy to install and will last forever.

Another benefit of this floor compared to other soft flooring options is the fact that it’s easy to clean and hypoallergenic. It is also a perfect match for any floor-heating system, as a natural material marble stays warm longer after the heating system is turned off.

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Trend Watch: Marble Mix

Trend Watch: Marble Mix

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Trend Watch: Marble Mix

by Silvana Longo

Marble is a luxurious, timeless stone usually seen gracing the surfaces of bathrooms and kitchens…So coveted, in the past few years I have watched this classic material, real or faux, extend its scope from the countertop and floor to smaller decor and accent pieces throughout the home. But it doesn’t travel alone; marble pairs up with gleaming metallics, warming up the traditionally lux, albeit cool material, with this perfect marble mix. From accent tables to wallpaper, this style story of two becoming one lends sophistication and interest to everyday pieces.

Marbled Metallic Wallpaper roll: 27’l, 27″w, $118US

anthropologie.com

Marble Wall Clock $50

desrocher.etsy.com

Oneda Coffee Table $825

eltemkt.com

Marble & Rose Gold Ring Dish $20

wanderandroamstudios.etsy.com

Palazzo Marbleized Planter $18.95 (small) and $44.95 (large)

cb2.com

Winding Course Table Lamp $248US

anthropologie.com

Selene Square Marble & Brass Knob $12.95

cb2.com

Palm Container $135

gingers.com

Gold Leaf Marble Accent Table; 15.25″ dia x 24.25″h; $500

cobistyle.com


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The Skinny on Countertops

The Skinny on Countertops

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The Skinny on Countertops

If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then perhaps the counter is the heart of the kitchen

Whether you choose from classic and natural materials such as marble, granite and limestone, or from a wide array of man-made materials and composites, it is the one element which can determine the style, level of luxury and functionality in a kitchen.

We all know that marble and granite are classic choices for a countertop, whether in a kitchen or a bathroom. They are both natural stones which must be quarried, leaving an environmental impact which must be considered when we make our choice. Though granite is virtually indestructible and heat proof, it can be very expensive and have a ‘heavy’ look in the space. With prices beginning at $50 per square foot and up, there are options for various budgets.

Marble provides a very desirable high end look and depending which strain of marble you choose, it has very good heat and waterproof properties, although it can scratch and stain unless it is professionally sealed. When choosing marble, you must be ready to accept that it will age over time and the ‘patina of your life’ will be reflected in the marble.

One of the most abundant minerals in the world, quartz is often considered the alternative to granite and marble. Available in numerous colours and now even in the look of marble and limestone, quartz’s non-porous quality makes it highly resistant to mold, bacterial contamination, stain, heat and all of life’s accidents making it a perfect choice for most residential or commercial applications. Because it is man-made, the availability of consistently sized and coloured slabs is a designer’s dream. Slabs of quartz are normally 55″ x 122″ and they are often available as jumbo sized slabs at 63″ x 132″, which is fantastic for design flexibility and often fewer cut lines. Priced from $80 per square foot, it is not inexpensive, but it is a perfect choice for those who want many customization options.

Soapstone is a metamorphic rock composed primarily of talc as well as magnesium, mica, quartz, chlorite and iron. It is very durable and has been used for centuries to create everything from fireplaces to sinks. It is coming into vogue these days because of its natural beauty and durability; hot pans, lemon juice and wine will not damage it. The colour ranges from light gray to black with random veining which gives it an ability to look great in rustic or traditional interiors as well as in modern and contemporary spaces. At about $80 to $100 per square foot installed, it is on the pricey side, but will provide a lifetime of enjoyment.

The desire to be eco-friendly makes recycled glass a perfect option for a contemporary space. Available in multiple colours and textures, it is perfect for a bar or as a secondary counter surface because it is easy to clean and resists heat and stains. Cement is often used with glass to create a textural look with various colours. At about $120 per square foot, it is easily customized and comes in multiple colours.

Semi-precious stone including quartz, iron, agate, petrified wood and fossils are high end options which add a luxurious and unique visual expression. Although this is a very costly choice, it will no doubt be the star of any space where it is used.

Solid surface counters can emulate just about any material because they are completely man-made. The ability to mould sinks, drains and creative shapes makes this a designer’s dream while the ease of maintenance makes it a wonderful investment for long term use.

Metal counters such as copper and zinc are not common, but they make a powerful statement. At about $100 per square foot and up, it is a creative choice which will patina over time and be the conversation starter in your kitchen or bar area.

Sustainably harvested wood will bring any serious cook’s kitchen to the next level with its natural beauty and ability to work as a built-in cutting surface. Maintenance of regular sanding and oiling will bring out a beautiful patina and enhance the inherent properties. Even though it is porous, wood has an inherent ability to protect from bacteria build up as long as it is cleaned regularly with mild soap and water. Prices vary from $35 per square foot and up depending on the type of wood and how it is fabricated.

Let’s not discount laminate counters as they are still the best option for budget conscious projects. Improvements in quality, fabrication, colour and textural choices make this a surprisingly good option when installed with no backsplash, simple edges and accented with beautiful tiles. Be creative and expressive in the design of the countertop by combining metal finishes and interesting translucent combinations, high gloss and t extural surfaces. With starting prices at around $8 per square foot, it is an attractive choice when your budget is tight.

Don’t reach for the obvious, consider the counter as a design expression which can complete and enhance the look and style of the space. The list is endless with options, make sure to research and explore the options based on your functionality, style and budget. By combining materials, finishing edges creatively, and considering ‘alternative’ choices, you will make your project stand out.


Recognized for her classic taste and eclectic style, Interior Designer EVELYN ESHUN has been providing innovative, forward thinking and consistently artistic design solutions for her discerning clients for almost 2 decades. A design personality on various television shows, including Take this House and Sell it, Evelyn is a regular contributor to local and national design publications.

For more information, visit evelyneshun.com.


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