“State Cracks Down on Unlicensed Contractors”

Western Carpet: California State Licensed Contractor

Is your contractor legitimate?

NBC4 recently covered the state of California’s crackdown on unlicensed contractors by the CSLB (Contractor’s State License Board.) It’s quite disturbing how many people fall victim to these unsavory individuals as well as the number of individuals willing to engage in such unscrupulous actions using various tactics to gain your trust and then walk away with tens of thousands (and sometimes hundreds of thousands) of dollars. The question is, “how do they get away with it?”  Check out the NBC’s broadcast on the CSLB’s crackdown aired October 19, 2015 to learn a few of their tactics which includes posing as a legitimate contractor by “borrowing” a legitimate contractors license number. So even if you check with the CSLB regarding the license number presented, you can still be deceived.

How can you safeguard yourself?

  • Do check the license number with the CSLB for any claims or defaults regarding the potential contractor. Take notice of how long the contractor has been in business and if the insurance coverage is current.
  • Get referrals from trusted family, friends, and neighbors. Not all referrals are great referrals as people have different standards. Make sure your references are from people with “equal to” or “greater than” standards as you hold.
  • Observe contractors at work in your neighborhood. Do they finish their projects in a timely manner? How did the finished product turn out? Talk to the client to find out about their satisfaction with the overall experience as well as the finished product.
  • Does the contractor have an office or showroom where you can visit? An established place of business, that has hopefully been around for years, is an indicator that the contractor is legitimate. Many contractors operate out of their homes, which does not immediately disqualify them, but you should have a way of substantiating a specific location the contractor identifies as his/her place of business. If the contractor cannot provide you a contact address or if you cannot substantiate the address as belonging to the contractor, then you may want to reconsider.
  • If you’re new to an area or even if you’ve lived in the area for decades, enter the name and license number of the potential contractor in a search engine, especially if you are without a referral and unfamiliar with the contractor in question. You may find an image of the contractor associated with the license number to help with identification. It wouldn’t hurt to ask for identification upon your first meeting.
  • Arm yourself with knowledge about materials, terminology, and procedure. Have a basic understanding of what is required and then ask questions. Are your questions answered satisfactorily or are your questions deflected?

These are a few suggestions which we hope to prove helpful!

Furthermore, you won’t have to worry when you  hire Western Carpet for your flooring installation, water damage, and reconstruction services. We are a state licensed contractor holding a C-15 Flooring & Floor Covering License as well as  a B- General Building Contractor. Our reputation is stellar and your satisfaction is or primary concern!

Check our License at the CSLB.

Enter License #791191.

The ABC’s of Buying Carpet

ABCs of buying carpet banner

These carpets look the same so why is the price range so extreme?

Just like shopping for cars or clothes, different carpet styles have a lot of look-a-likes; yet, prices vary tremendously and there’s a reason for that. Fiber type, yarn twist, pile height, density, soil and stain protection features, and carpet backing are among the driving forces affecting price.

Fiber Type:

Wool is by far the most expensive carpet fiber and, if you are looking for carpet made with wool, you can expect to pay a premium. However, more than 90%  of today’s carpet is made using 1 of 4 synthetic fibers: nylon, polyester, triexta, or polypropylene. Each fiber has its benefits, but some are more expensive to produce and will provide a longer life span than others. Nylon and triexta are the most expensive synthetic fibers to manufacture and have a greater life expectancy than the two other fibers; hence, just as a genuine silk blouse costs more than a polyester version, the retail price for nylon and triexta fibers are higher than a look-a-like carpet made with polyester or polypropylene fibers.

Yarn Twist:

“Yarn twist” refers to number of turns the individual tufts of yarn are twisted per linear inch. Twist is secured with heat setting and, typically, the greater amount of twist is equivalent to greater resilience and structural integrity of the tuft. Basically, greater twist equals better bounce back from direct traffic and greater ability to stay twisted. A carpet fiber that has lost its twist will look frayed,  fuzzy, and matted which is not exactly a carpet’s best look!

Pile Height:

“Pile Height” or “Pile” refers to tufted carpet yarns that are measured from the primary backing to the top of a carpet’s pile not including the thickness of the backing. In short, it’s the length of each tuft. Pile can range from 1/8″ to 1″ for plush styles and even longer lengths in shag styles; however, pile is generally of interest in plush styles. A higher pile means more yarn was used in the construction of the carpet and will therefore cost more than a lower pile carpet.

Density:

“Density” refers to how closely carpet yarns are tufted together into the primary backing. Think of density in terms of the number of tufted yarns per square inch. The denser a carpet is the more a surrounding yarns can support one another. This type of construction often becomes of interest with plush style carpet which largely depends on its teammates to support each another and prevent a crushed appearance. As you can imagine, a denser carpet increases the retail value as a greater quantity of yarn was used to construct the carpet.

Soil and Stain Resistance Features:

Every carpet has soil and stain resistance to some degree, but some products today have taken soil and stain resistance to a new level and warranty the carpet for pet urine, red wine, mustard, and chemical solutions such as bleach or benzyl peroxide. Obviously, a carpet’s increased capacity to resist soil and permanent stains increases the carpet’s value. Furthermore, carpet manufacturers are improving stain resistance by a process called “Solution Dying.” Just as the term implies, the yarn is dyed in its solution (liquid) state. This process allows for the fiber to be sealed and for the dye to entirely permeate the yarn. Prior to solution dying becoming the standard, carpet yarn was dyed after the yarn was in its solid state and took up color at injection points called “dye sites.” Dye sites are literally microscopic holes injected into yarn for the purpose of taking up dye. However, this process also allows for other undesirable colorants to be taken up including red wine, pet urine, mustard, coffee, and other stain causing culprits.

Carpet Backing:

“Carpet Backing” not only holds the carpet all together it also holds the carpet to the tack strip after installation. A higher quality backing will help resist carpet buckling even after years of use, will resist pulling away from the tack strip, and will lend to the overall structural integrity of the carpet. All it takes is observing different carpet at different price points. You will find three different types of backings: the standard backing which is rough and broader connections, the soft back which is a layer of soft fabric over standard backing, and the opti-back with a more flexible and tighter construction.

Those are some quick tips to help you in your pursuit for new carpet. We at Western Carpet are here to help and, of course, we have an outstanding selection of carpet.

Shop at home or office! Call: 909-794-0333

Wire Brushed & Reclaimed Hardwood

Wire Brushed and Reclaimed Hardwood Examples

Defining Wire Brushed Hardwood Flooring:

Wire-brushed wood floors, sometimes called wire-scraped wood floors, are just as the name implies: they are hardwood floors with planks that have been brushed with hard wire brushes. These hard wire brushes scrape off the floor plank’s soft wood from the surface, leaving only the hardest wood and exposing more of the wood’s natural grain. Wire-brushed wood floors can look very dramatic offering rich texture including knots and grain character without the waves or ridges of a hand scraped style. Wire-brushed floors are less likely to show chips, scratches and scrapes. Since you can see more of the wood’s natural patterns in wire-brushed floors, sometimes scratches from your pets’ claws or your furniture’s’ legs will just blend right into the floor. This up and coming style will wow you. 

Defining Reclaimed Hardwood Flooring:

Reclaimed wood is wood removed and preserved from old buildings that are being deconstructed. Typically, wood beams and flooring planks are preserved for future use particularly in construction, flooring, and furniture manufacturing. Reclaiming wood is a fantastic way to recycle and preserve our forests as new lumber is not required. Reclaimed hardwood flooring offers a great deal of rustic character and cottage charm by means of patina and wear patterns.

Western Carpet offers wire brushed and reclaimed choices in hardwood, laminate, wood replica tile, and vinyl flooring.

Shop at home or office. Call: 909-794-0333

Solid Hardwood vs. Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Banner Solid vs Engineered

A bit of confusion often swirls around the hardwood flooring realm upon hearing the term “engineered wood”. While the term “solid wood” is relatively clear to flooring shoppers, the term “engineered” wood generally invokes a response of “Oh, I’m looking for ‘real wood.’” If you ever thought engineered wood is “fake wood,” allow us to bring the “genuine” facts regarding the differences between solid hardwood flooring and engineered wood flooring.

FAQ: Is engineered hardwood flooring real wood or an imitation wood looking product?

It’s real wood flooring! While engineered wood flooring is not a solid plank of a particular wood species, the surface layer is a 2 to 4 mm veneer of a solid wood species suitable for flooring. Engineered wood floors are constructed in one of two ways.

One way is the traditional method when 3 or more thin sheets of wood (called “plies”) are laminated together to form a single plank. The inner plies are usually laid in opposite directions to each other during  manufacturing in a process called “cross-ply construction.”  The ply constituting the flooring surface is a veneer of hardwood usually anywhere from 2 to 4 mm thick.

Another method is to flank a high density fiberboard (HDF) with a bottom layer of hardwood backing and the surface layer with the species suitable and desirable for flooring.

“Solid hardwood flooring must be better than engineered hardwood.”

While it sounds true, this not necessarily the case. In fact, solid wood flooring, while solid, is less stable than engineered wood and is unsuitable for a variety of flooring applications; hence, the invention of engineered wood flooring.

Wood flooring, in general, is sensitive to moisture and temperature changes; however, solid wood flooring is extremely susceptible to these changes. Since wood is a natural product, hardwood flooring expands and contracts in response to seasonal changes in moisture. High humidity or rainy weather can cause the wood to swell resulting in buckling and cupping. When the weather turns hot and dry or when indoor heating is turned on, wood can contract creating unsightly gaps between planks. Solid wood is far more susceptible to these climatic changes and is a primary reason engineered wood was created.

On the other hand, engineered wood is far more stable than solid wood flooring. The cross-ply construction creates a hardwood floor that is not affected by changes in moisture and temperature variations like solid wood floors. The advantage of cross-ply construction is that the wood plies counteract each other, thus prohibiting the plank from expanding or shrinking. Engineered wood planks also offer versatility as they can be installed practically anywhere, including over wood sub-floors, concrete slabs and in your basement. Now throw planks made with HDF in the mix and, voila, you have a super stable moisture resisting ninja plank.

Will I be able to sand my engineered wood floors?

This answer depends on the thickness of the veneer. If the veneer is 4 mm, then sanding is possible one time. If the veneer is less than 4mm, then it’s not advisable. However, keep in mind that a benefit of engineered wood floors is its affordability in comparison to the cost of solid wood floors. So the cost of changing them is less significant.

Here’s a few other fun facts about sanding wood floors:

    • Solid wood can only be sanded to the point of its joint so even a solid wood floor has a limit of how often it can be sanded.
    • If the wood is hand-scraped, then all that wonderful craftsmanship must be sanded down to a smooth surface prior to refinishing the raw wood.

Additional benefits of engineered wood: Sustainability and Added Durability

Sustainability:

Engineered wood floors reduce the amount of durable and exotic wood used in plank construction. Since only the wear layer is comprised of the preferred wood, the remaining veneers eliminate waste of the most desirable wood in the remaining body of the plank.

HDF boards are made from post-industrial wood fiber and are a positive contributor to eliminating waste.

Added Durability:

Due to its phenomenal density and hardness in comparison to traditionally softer core boards, HDF boards enhance a wear layer’s durability by adding support from beneath the veneer’s surface.

Now that you’re ready to start shopping for hardwood flooring, Western Carpet has a wonderful selection of hardwood flooring choices.

Shop at home or office! Call: 909-794-0333

 

Hand Scraped & Distressed Hardwood Flooring Facts

Handscraped and Distressed Banner

Hand scraped and distressed woods have been all the rage for several years. This popular style is an excellent choice to help hide nicks, dents, and scratches inherent to hardwood floors while making a fabulous fashion statement.  Basically, they add personality to a room while withstanding high traffic. Crossing many styles boundaries, hand scraped is a favorite for country, old world, and rustic designs. A major bonus to hand scraped styles is the species of choice is often the super hardy hickory wood which ranks in the 1800’s on the janka scale (that’s industry talk for “extremely scuff and dent resistant.”)

Hand scraped gets its name from the once-common technique of using a draw knife to scrape a plank into levelness. The woodworker pulls the draw knife, a single blade with a handle at either end, toward himself to remove shavings to make a level surface; yet, hand scraped wood is not perfectly smooth. The surface has slight unobtrusive ridges or waves that run the length of the plank contributing to it’s rustic beauty.

Distressed features in hardwood are man induced techniques that create an antiquated appearance as if your wood was reclaimed from an Italian villa or turn of the century barn. Chains, hammers, chisels, awls and saw blades are just some of the tools used to create dents and cracks on the wood. Drills, ice picks and wire are used to create worm hole effects. Some contractors hammer nuts and bolts into the floor or pour liquid metal to create a bullet-hole effect. The possibilities are endless. Even a broken beer bottle has been used on a floor to create a crystallized effect. Another popular effect is to add burn marks to the floor by using various methods including a soldering iron, heated nuts and bolts or lacquer thinner. A great deal of consideration goes into creating products that look as if nature was the genius behind the perfectly placed markings.

While distressed hardwood is found in hand scraped styles, not all hand scraped wood is distressed. So if highly distressed wood sounds too extreme for your purposes, but still want rustic charm, no need to be “distressed”, you can find plenty of gorgeous products with moderate hand scraping and no distress applied.

Western Carpet carries a diverse selection of Hand Scraped and Distressed hardwood, laminate, and wood replica porcelain tile. Come check it out.

Shop at home or office! Call: 909-794-0333

A Little F.Y.I. About Laminate

Laminate Flooring Construction | Demonstrating the Layers of Laminate Flooring

Are you looking for a product that looks like wood and feels like wood, but without the price tag of wood? Allow us to introduce you to laminate flooring. While the word “laminate” may not evoke sentimental feelings as the thought of genuine hickory or santos mahogany floors, it can certainly appeal to both your practical and fashionable side. Laminate flooring has come a long way since its inception offering incredible graphics, realistic texture, and sensational durability in comparison to traditionally engineered hardwood or solid hardwood.

What is Laminate?

Laminate flooring is a multi-layer man made flooring product adhered together through a laminating process using heat, pressure, and adhesive. This type of flooring can accurately simulate wood and stone though it is more widely available in wood looks. Laminate’s realistic graphics are achieved through digital imaging and is typically packaged in a number of tongue and groove planks that can be clicked into one another for ease of installation. This product is often a good choice for a D.I.Y. project.

How is it Made?

Laminate flooring is comprised of 4 basic layers:

The Balancing Layer

The Core Layer

The Pattern Layer

The Wear Layer

The Balancing Layer is the bottom or stabilizing layer. Its function is to resist moisture and stabilize the floor plank regarding expansion and contraction.

The Core Layer is comprised of a high density fiberboard (HDF) generally comprised of wood chips or sawdust that have been saturated in resin to make the core tough and water resistant.

The Pattern Layer is a thin paper that has been digitally printed with a specific wood grain or stone look and can be embossed with texture creating a realistic looking wood or stone product.

The Wear Layer is an aluminum oxide coating protecting the plank from scrapes, stains, fading, and moisture penetration. This layer is extremely durable and makes laminate flooring an excellent choice for high traffic areas!

All four layers are combined in a high-pressure process with temperatures reaching 400 degrees Fahrenheit and up to 600 pounds per square inch of pressure for 20 to 30 seconds. After the sheets are pressed, they are cooled to ensure that they fully cure and to prevent any surface imperfections. The sheets are then stacked and stored so that they can continue to acclimate, enhancing the stability of the boards.

Where can it be installed?

Due to it’s stability and durability, laminate does not have restrictions on where it can be installed indoors; however, just like engineered wood, laminate is sensitive to large quantities of water so take caution before installing it in moisture prone areas.

Quality Counts:

As with any product, you get what you pay for. While laminate is meant to be affordable in comparison to wood flooring, there’s a difference between affordable and down-right cheap products and you can typically spot those by simply looking at them. Cost is affected by the quality of graphics and texture, warranty, and ease of clicking system. The more authentic a product looks and feels, the more you can expect to pay for it. Some products are nearly impossible to distinguish from the real thing and they are well worth the higher cost of the average laminate floor.

At Western Carpet, we think laminate is a fabulous flooring choice for a variety of applications that can bring a room to life at a more friendly price point that genuine hardwood flooring. Of course, we can bring samples to you for an in-home or in-office estimate.

Shop at home or office! Call: 909-794-0333

 

Why Not Vinyl Flooring?

Vinyl Flooring Has Come A Long Way Baby

Vinyl flooring, also known as resilient flooring, has come a long way. At Western Carpet, we have noticed a common response from customers when we suggest a vinyl floor to help meet their tight flooring budget. The response is often a look of disbelief that we would suggest such an “unsophisticated and primitive” option as visions of tiny flowers on their grandmother’s vinyl kitchen floor comes to mind; however, that only lasts until we show them what’s new in vinyl. Once they see what’s new in vinyl, a transformation occurs to being awestruck and interested. Many are so impressed that they even opt to have vinyl installed in their entire house.

Vinyl: Graphics, Texture, and LVT

What has happened in this flooring category? Glad you asked! To begin with, incredible graphics and textures have happened.

Consider the incredible graphics in these LVT products. Gorgeous!

Rock Creek LVT Room in Reed

Rock Creek LVT in Reed

Easy Style LVT in Five Spice

Easy Style LVT in Five Spice

Graphics:

Vinyl flooring has added impressive wood and stone looks that rival porcelain replica products. Some product lines even offer bamboo and painted concrete looks.

Texture:

Embossing techniques lend to a rich and lifelike texture while still providing the moisture resistant benefits of vinyl.

LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile):

Another advancement in vinyl is Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT). These are vinyl planks or tiles that are glued down like sheet vinyl, but are much easier to handle than sheet vinyl and create a more authentic look. The newest LVT product is planks or tiles of vinyl with a hard and dense backing that click together like laminate as well as loose lay floating planks with a hefty suction cup like backing.  LVT products are easy to handle making them ideal for a D.I.Y project.

Benefits of Vinyl:

Ease of Maintenance: It’s tough and resists fading, staining, scratching, denting and tearing and doesn’t need to be waxed. Spills can be wiped up easily with a clean cloth and warm water.

Moisture Resistant: an excellent choice for moisture prone areas such as kitchens and baths.

Great for Busy Households: can stand up to sippy-cup bearing toddlers, swamp loving dogs, mom’s new in home cake decorating business, and junior’s science experiments.

Installation: Unlike hardwood, it can be installed on sub-floors that aren’t perfectly level; however, the sub-floor does need to be clean and smooth.

Resilience & Warmth: carpet is certainly the softest and warmest flooring choice, but in the hard surface flooring category, vinyl offers more spring, cushion and warmth underfoot than hardwood, laminate, and tile.

Budget Friendly: Even the highest end commercial grade sheet vinyl  is more affordable than a low end tile, laminate, or hardwood product. The good news is you don’t have to purchase commercial vinyl to get a great looking product. The one flooring category that can rival the cost of vinyl is carpet and that, of course, comes down to the level of quality in either category that is being considered. However, carpet is not ideal for every flooring application such as moisture prone areas and this is where sheet vinyl plays a significant role for those on tight budgets.  LVT isn’t quite as budget friendly as sheet vinyl unless you install it yourself.

The Various Layers of Vinyl Flooring:

Vinyl is a versatile plastic flooring made up of layers of material including a core layer, decorative layer, and a wear layer.

Core Layer:  Vinyl adhered to a backing of felt or fiberglass. Fiberglass backing is preferable as it adds stability to prevent shrinkage and curling around the edges.

Design Layer: This layer sits on top of the core layer. The design layer adds the “wow” factor to vinyl as this is where the design is printed and texture is embossed to create a gorgeous replica of stone, wood, bamboo, or even painted concrete.

Wear Layer: This top layer is a protective layer of clear vinyl about 10 mils thick on average. In comparison, human hair is about 1 mil. thick. The thicker the wear layer, the more durable the flooring.  The flooring industry is constantly experimenting to find wear layers that are tougher and more resistant, but still beautiful and practical.

Now that we have your attention, Western Carpet offers an excellent selection of sheet vinyl flooring as well as LVT. Call to schedule a free in-home or in-office estimate and we’ll bring samples to you!

 Shop at home or office! Call: 909-794-0333

Be Wary of the “Too Good to be True” Sale and Other Tricks of the Trade

You’ve undoubtedly seen the commercials: “I carpeted my whole house, but only paid for this much carpet” by Empire Today and the computer graphics display a whole house of carpet being reduced to one room of carpet that was allegedly the only room they paid for. Another good one by Home Depot: “Whole house of carpet installed for only $37.00.”

Surely you’ve heard the saying: “There at no such thing as a free lunch,” and you can be sure it applies to these clever advertisements. Empire Today, Home Depot, Lowe’s and any other flooring retailer making stupendous offers need to make a profit just like any flooring retailer, so how do they make such incredible offers and survive?

Consider All the Details

Where there is an outrageous offer, there is the fine print! What is actually included for that special? Let’s take a look:

“60% Off Sale”

by Empire Today

 

What’s in the Fine Print?

Disclaimer: “Discount is applied to select styles of Carpet, Hardwood, Laminate, Ceramic, and Window Treatment products only.”

Translation:

        • You are limited to a few of their products not their entire selection.
        • Sale products are usually entry level. These aren’t necessarily unattractive products, but certainly aren’t stand outs which lures you into a higher end product that happens to be full price.

Disclaimer: “No discount is applied to installation, all other materials, padding, miscellaneous charges, and applicable taxes.”

Translation:

        • The flooring product is strictly on sale, not all the other materials associated with installing the product nor the labor to install it.
        • As with any installation, you will have labor costs, but other materials are always necessary no matter the product. Carpet needs pad and perhaps new tack strip. Hardwood needs adhesive or nails. Laminate needs underlayment. Ceramic needs mortar and grout.
        • You will pay a premium for labor and materials to make up the difference for the “discounted” product.

Disclaimer: “Product cannot be sold separate from installation.”

Translation:

        • Empire Today cannot honestly sell carpet, hardwood, laminate, ceramic at 60% off. The company needs to make a profit to survive!
        • If you were thinking that you could buy the materials and install it yourself, think again. The discount is only applied if you pay for the installation. 
        • You may be figuratively saving 60% on the flooring product, but you cannot purchase that product without paying to install it and that, my friend, is where they make up the difference by ramping up the price for labor and installation materials.

 

 “$37.00 Whole House Basic Carpet Installation

by Home Depot

 

Installation Disclaimers: posted by Home Depot as of December 19, 2013:

“$37 Whole House Basic Carpet Installation on purchases of $499 or more. Offer valid 10/31/13 through 1/29/14 with the purchase of carpet and pad. Minimum purchase amount of $499. Customer must purchase installation and pad to be eligible for discount. Discount applies to basic labor only, and does not include product, pad, or optional/custom labor. Excludes glue down, wool, 90 Day Guarantee, Shop at Home installation and commercial installation (applies to single family residential only). See store associate for details and product exclusions.”

What’s in the Fine Print?

Disclaimer: “Offer valid with the purchase of carpet AND pad. Customer must purchase installation and pad to be eligible for discount.”

Translation:

    • The cost of carpet and pad will be incredibly inflated to accommodate for the “discounted” installation.

Disclaimer: ” Discount applies to basic labor only, and does not include product, pad, or optional/custom labor.”

Translation:

    • You will be charged for every little thing that Home Depot excludes as “Basic Labor”. Do you want your old carpet and pad removed? That’s probably not going to be considered basic labor. Need some fresh tack strip? Again, not part of basic labor. Have a staircase to be carpeted? Stairs are probably not considered “basic labor”.

Disclaimer: “Excludes glue down, wool, 90 Day Guarantee, Shop at Home installation and commercial installation (applies to single family residential only). See store associate for details and product exclusions.”

Translation:

    • The product you most want may not be included as a part of Home Depot’s installation offer.

 

Be A Smart Shopper

When it comes to flooring installation it always comes down to the bottom line. Have in writing the final installation cost and know what is included for that cost. You will be spared a multitude of unwelcome surprises on installation day. By the way, Western Carpet is very competitive in pricing and we offer free residential and commercial estimates.

Shop at home or office! Call: 909-794-0333