What are the Differences in Hardwood Flooring Options

Wood floors add a certain elegance and style to any home, whether it is new construction or a home renovation. The right wood flooring that fits within a specific design style, color and lifestyle makes all the difference when bring home design elements together. Understanding the difference between the different hardwood flooring types can make the difference when making your wood flooring selection.

There are both subtle and significant differences between the various wood flooring types such as Hardwood Floors, Engineered Floors and Laminate Floors. It is our goal in this post to help define the differences between these wood floors and how to select the right hardwood flooring for your project.

The Difference Between Hardwood Flooring, Engineered Floors and Laminate Floors:

Hardwood Floors – One of the most common types of wood flooring is what is referred to as Hardwood flooring, or often Solid Hardwood Floors. Solid hardwood flooring is largely what the phrase indicates, in that the wood flooring is composed of solid wood.

Traditionally, hardwood or solid hardwood flooring is manufactured with more dense and durable wood species, such as oak, birch and acacia, however this is not always the case. For example, pine flooring is also included within the solid hardwood floors category, as it too is considered solid wood flooring as well. Most solid hardwood flooring is sold prefinished and ready to be installed.

Advantages of Solid Hardwood Flooring: By far the biggest advantage for choosing solid hardwood flooring over other types of wood floors is that of durability. Since this type of wood flooring is solid, it can withstand more abuse, longer than other wood floors. Additionally, because hardwood floors are solid, they can be sanded and refinished when and if they become scratched, worn or you decide you would prefer a different finish or color stain.

Disadvantages of Solid Hardwood Flooring: The largest disadvantage to hardwood floors is price. Given the fact that hardwood flooring is made from solid wood, it tends to be more expensive per square foot than other types of wood flooring.

Engineered Wood Floors – Another category of wood flooring is engineered wood floors. Engineered wood floors are designed to have the same look, feel and finish as traditional solid hardwood flooring, however they are not made from solid wood. Engineered hardwood floors are manufactured using a substrate of plywood, particle board or other cores, then covered with a layer of solid hardwood flooring. In addition, Engineered hardwood flooring is also completely prefinished and ready to be installed.

Advantages of Engineered Wood Flooring: Engineered hardwood flooring is an excellent alternative to typical solid hardwood flooring in that they look and feel identical, but come at a substantial savings. If costs are a consideration in your wood flooring project, looking at engineered hardwood flooring can provide you with a durable, identical looking wood floor, at a lower overall cost. Most engineered wood floors can come in the same styles, colors and finishes as traditional hardwood flooring, so you will not have to sacrifice your design choices by selecting engineered hardwood floors.

Disadvantages of Engineered Wood Flooring: Though engineered hardwood floors appear identical to solid hardwood flooring, they are not solid. Using a layer of solid hardwood over a substrate, engineered wood floors may or may not be sanded and refinished, depending on the thickness of the hardwood layer.

Laminate Wood FloorsLaminate wood flooring is a completely separate category of wood flooring from both solid hardwood floors and engineered hardwood floors in that they typically contain little to no actual wood. Developed to be a cost-effective alternative to both wood floors and typical rolled vinyl flooring, laminate wood flooring gives you the look of hardwood flooring at a significant cost savings.

Laminate wood flooring is typically made using multiple layers of synthetic materials that are laminated together. Laminate wood floors are finished with a photographic wood simulation then covered with a durable protective coating.

Advantages of Laminate Wood Flooring: There are two distinct advantages to laminate wood flooring that offer excellent applications in certain situations. First, laminate wood flooring is significantly less expensive than both hardwood and engineered wood flooring. Additionally, the synthetic composite used to create laminate wood flooring holds up well under high traffic and wet environments such as commercial businesses, bathrooms and basements.

Disadvantages of Laminate Wood Flooring: Although the look of good laminate wood flooring can appear identical to actual hardwood flooring, it is not wood. With laminate floors, there will be subtle but noticeable differences in texture as well as a different feel when walking on them. Though they are not manufactured with wood, they can provide an extremely cost-effective alternative to natural hardwood.

Bamboo wood floors are an additional category that fall under the hardwood flooring headline. Similar to solid hardwood flooring, bamboo floors are extremely durable and offer a eco-friendly, sustainable option. On the high-end of wood floor prices, bamboo flooring is becoming extremely popular for its unique design and finish selections.

There are many types, styles and finishes of hardwood flooring on the market. Having an idea of the similarities, advantages and differences between hardwood flooring, engineered flooring and laminate flooring enables you to confidently weigh your options. Though solid hardwood floors are the most well-known, engineered and laminate flooringoptions are becoming far more prevalent in both home and commercial applications.

Before deciding on which type of wood flooring to purchase, it is helpful to be educated on what you are looking at beyond just specifications and price. Working with professionals that will take the time to answer your questions and understand your design goals is important. Let us know if you have any wood flooring questions we can answer for you.

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Wool Rugs and Moth Infestation

Moth Damaged Clothes?

Moth Damaged Carpets?

Fibers containing protein, such as the keratin in wool, are susceptible to damage by moths and carpet beetles. Silk fibroin is the major structural protein obtained from the cocoon of the silkworm and is also edible to these pests. However,  it is the cystine amino acid residues in keratin that are more vulnerable to moth attack than the fibroin of silk. Yet, carpet beetles will eat keratin, fibroin and additional proteins.

Of all the moths in this world, there are really two moths that should be considered the culprits to the majority of damaged wool and silk fabrics. And, they are the notorious “webbing moth’ and the “case-making” or “case-bearing” moth.

Welcome to the world of Wool devouring Moths!

Here are the four Clothes Moth Culprits to be concerned with:

  1. The Common Clothes Moth, Tineola bisselliella
  2. The Case-bearing Clothes moth, Tinea pellionella
  3. The Tapestry Moth, Tricophaga tapetzella
  4. The  Large Pale Clothes Moth, Tinea pallescentella

Although we can simply identify adult flying moths in our home and finger them as the culprit, it must be understood that it is the larvae stage that actually causes the damage. Typically, it is the Clothes Moth larvae. However, both species (i.e., the Clothes & House Moth) feed on wool. As such, all wool clothing, carpets, rugs, upholstered furniture, drapes, furs, animal bristles, and wool felts used for pianos & pool tables are susceptible to damage.

Insects often damage fibers other than wool or silk in attempt to reach desirable food, the proteins. Synthetic fibers (i.e. like Rayon … created from wood pulp cellulose) or natural fibers such as cotton are fed or infested upon by moths only if they are blended with wool or silk. Often, the larvae use the cotton fibers to make their pupal cases (i.e. these cases are tell-tale signs of infestation). Generally, most of the moth infested damage appears in hidden locations such as under collars or cuffs of clothing, in crevices of upholstered furniture or in areas of carpeting covered by furniture.

Of interest, fabrics that have been soiled or stained by foods, perspiration, or urine are more susceptible to damage.

Tapestries, coarse heavy fabrics and carpets are prone to attack, particularly by the Case Making or Case Bearing Moth.  Moreover, rabbit wool seems to be particularly attractive to moths too.

The Larva

As such, the larvae feed on the wool. The webbing moth and the case-making moth larvae are well known and identified because they spin a web tube (i.e., the pupal case) that acts as a protective barrier. The webbing moth larvae attach their tubes to dark crevices or seams. This action allows them to stay stationary to feed in one location. However, the case making moth’s larvae do not attach their tubes, or “cases.” As such, they like to remain mobile and can cause a greater amount of damage.

The life cycle of the clothes moth can range from two months to 2 1/2 years. Typically, an adult moth will lay their eggs on woolen textiles that the larvae will consume. Each female moth can lay 100 to 150 eggs. The larval stage itself can last from two to 30 months.

The lifespan of the moth depends on the availability of food (like wool). That is why moths can be so devastating to rugs. Rugs provide a huge source of food for the larvae and if gone unnoticed the larvae can feed for almost 2 1/2 years.

During the eating phase the larvae increase approximately 300 percent in weight.

Moths and their larvae thrive in the dark, undisturbed areas of a rug that get little traffic and are seldom vacuumed.

Since moths are attracted to the keratin in animal hair a dirty rug covered in dog and cat hair is a paradise for moth larvae. They can feed on blends of natural and synthetic fibers, but not on materials made only of synthetic fibers. They also tend not to consume cotton.

Identifying a moth infestation

Indicators to look for are a lot of flying adult moths; this shows the infestation may be considerable. Look for loose carpet fibers on top of the rug pile; this is a result of the larvae actually eating the knots off the rug foundation. Also, look for the cocoons: slightly fuzzy cylinders 1/8-inch in diameter and 1/2-inch long that are the same color as the rug pile. You may see the actual larvae squirming along the pile surface and underneath the rug.

Check out this short video to see damage & pupal cases:  https://youtu.be/66gBk6XeBso

 

Preventing or reducing Moth infestations

Good housekeeping is paramount. By periodically cleaning those areas of the home where clothes moths may harbor, you can simply prevent or control infestation. These areas include those seldom cleaned areas. Places like under the furniture, along baseboards, around heaters, the areas behind them, vents and in cracks where hair and debris accumulate.

Most importantly, remember to clean closets, especially those where woolens and furs are kept.

The vacuum cleaner is the best tool for most of this cleaning. However, please remember after using it in infested areas, dispose of the bag contents promptly because they will include eggs, larvae, or adult moths. Clothes moths may first become established on woolen garments or scraps stored for long periods. If such articles are to be saved, they should be stored properly, or periodically hung in the sun and brushed thoroughly, especially along seams and in folds and pockets. Brushing destroys eggs and exposes larvae. Larvae are strongly repelled by light, and will fall from clothing when they cannot find protection.

Although most can control small infestations in clothing, some infestations are best handled by a pest control applicator which has the equipment, materials, and experience necessary to deal with a difficult control job.

How do you stop a moth infestation? Kill the eggs and Larvae.

Start with a thorough, professional in-plant cleaning. The washing removes the larvae and a hot dry room can destroy the eggs. However, an infested rug will bring larvae into close contact with other rugs, which can spread the problem.

The larvae must be killed to prevent their migration from one rug to another. The safest and most effective insecticide the rug cleaner can use is pyrethrum. The product is the oleoresin extract of dried chrysanthemum flowers referred to as pyrethrins. These strongly lipophilic esters rapidly penetrate many insects and paralyze their nervous systems. These materials are contained in various commercial products.

Use a pyrethrum product specifically formulated to kill clothes moths, particularly those in the egg- and larval stages.

As with applying any material to a rug, first test it in an inconspicuous area. Spray the infested rug thoroughly on the front and back, preferably outside or in a well-ventilated room. Roll the rug up and put it aside for a day to allow time for the pyrethrum to work. Moreover, rolling the rug will keep the concentration high and potentially more effective.

The rug is now ready for a typical cleaning. A good vacuuming or a run through a beater/duster will be effective in removing the dead moth matter. The rug should then be washed using a typical in-plant method. If the only cleaning method available is hot-water extraction, be certain to thoroughly clean both sides of the rugs.

Some information on Moth Balls

Please be cognizant that moth balls, their flakes and crystals (i.e., naphthalene or paradichloro-benzene) are ineffective in moth control for rugs. These materials act only as a minor repellent to moths. Moth ball products do not kill moth larvae. Moreover, the naphthalene odor can be unpleasant and difficult to remove from the rug. As such, moth balls are essentially bad. The active ingredients enter the human system through inhalation, and may cause irritation to the nose, throat and lungs. Headaches, confusion, excitement or depression and liver and kidney damage may result from over exposure to moth ball vapors (or exposure to the vapors for extended periods of time).

How to Protect Rugs from Moth Infestation

The safest way to protect rugs from infestation is with moth-repelling agents containing magnesium silicofluoride, a moth repellent. It does not kill moths, larvae or the eggs. Instead, it makes the wool less appetizing by changing the taste. It is applied as a spray solution and should thoroughly cover the front and back of the rug. It lasts for up to three years (or until the rug is washed again), has no residual odor and is not harmful to people.

One of the major hurdles to preventing moth damage is consumer education. Too many consumers believe that periodic professional cleaning is not good for their rugs because they believe it leads to further deterioration. Today, people are home less and have less time to appropriately care for their rugs (e.g., vacuuming, regular housekeeping, and have even less time to inspect dark places such as under furniture for problems). However, it is widely known and mentioned in this article that:

Dirty rugs are targets for moth infestation.

 

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Coastal Area Rugs

Coastal Area Rugs by Main Line Floors & Interiors

For several reasons, natural fiber rugs provide that “wow factor” when decorating a coastal home, beach house or shore home. But, if you are just desiring some coastal elegance and texture in your primary home. There are several natural fiber rugs that provide that intricate woven texture to perfectly complement your design needs.

Natural Fibers

Typically, the natural fibers of jute, sisal and sea-grass rugs are found easy to care for, affordable and Eco-friendly. Their natural, earthy texture makes them amazingly versatile and a perfectly neutral foundation for any decor. In fact, many designers opt to go au-naturel, using a natural fiber rug in nearly every room of a house.

Natural Area Rugs

What happened to the good old days when rugs were, for the most part, wool?

Here’s a list of just some of the natural fibers now used to make rugs:

  • Soy fibers
  • Banana Silk
  • Hemp
  • Soft Jute
  • Leather
  • CoirACBR
  • Sisal
  • Cotton
  • Cactus
  • Aloe
  • Pina
  • Sea grass
  • Bamboo
  • Linen
  • Nettle
  • Paper
  • Corn

Most of these fibers are not new but are new to rug production.

What is a Soy rug? This is a very high-end and expensive designer fiber just recently incorporated into rug and carpet construction. A Shanghai-based scientist, Le Guanqi, after 10 years of research created a process of turning the leftover plant waste material from the soy bean into a textile fiber. This fiber is now used to make custom tufted rugs and wall to wall carpet and other textiles.

The fiber feels like a cross between cotton and linen. As such, it is very soft, lustrous and demonstrates a natural sheen. However, the sheen and soft hand can be affected by wet cleaning. Dry cleaning will not drastically affect the look of the fiber, but of course is not effective on soiled carpet.

Banana Silk is another new fiber to area rug production. This fiber is also known as Abaca and Manila hemp. These fibers were used for centuries in rope and other textile manufacturing products. It is a type of palm in the banana family (musaa textiles), not the cannabis hemp. The fiber is extremely soft, warm and lustrous, with the “look-of” of silk.

Jute has been used for designer rugs for some period of time. What is new, according to the Bangladesh Jute Research Institute, is that, “Jute yarn is processed to have a wool-like feel. It is much warmer and cheaper than wool.” It does feel like wool. Please note, it is a cellulosic fiber and will brown unlike wool. Moreover, it also does not have the resilience of wool.

Bamboo has been hot for a few years now as a hard floor material. You will see strips of this material made from the hard outer shell bound into area rugs. They do roll up for transport and have an attractive natural look. I do not see too much opportunity for cleaning here, as they are really a hard surface that could be mopped by the consumer. However, bamboo can be made into fabrics (like shirts, towels, pants) and yarns for rug production. Bamboo is regenerated to form fibers, as rayon is made from cellulose. Look for more textiles made from bamboo, particularly as it has a “green” appeal.

Linen comes from the flax plant and is not new to textiles. In fact, the Egyptians were famous for their extremely fine woven linen fabrics. What is new is that more and more linen is now used for designer rugs and wall-to-wall carpet; some products are selling for $500 per yard installed

The Difference between Jute, Sisal and Sea Grass

While they share many similarities, the differences between jute, sisal and sea grass are what sets them apart. You may find that one is more suited to your lifestyle than the other. So, if you want to know if jute rugs are soft, if you should go sisal in your high-traffic entry or if sea grass can handle spills in a playroom, then read on.

Jute Rugs

Jute is a natural plant stem fiber. It is considered a bast fiber that has been used since the dawn of civilization. Jute is primarily grown in the areas of Bangladesh, India and Thailand. The fiber has been extensively used to make burlap and twine. Jute fibers are soft and smooth with a waxy sheen, resulting in the softest choice underfoot. For a super-soft jute rug, look for one that’s blended with chenille. Because of their weave, our Braided Link Jute Rug and our Braided Jute Rug have a softer texture than your average jute rug.

Main Line Floors and Interiors is a premier source for high end residential and commercial hospitality ornamental rugs and home interiors.

Feel free to leave a comment if this post was helpful or informative. I hope it was.

Thank you,

Main Line Floors & Interiors

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Jacquard Innovation

Joseph Marie Jacquard: a Textile Engineer Revolutionary

Joseph Marie Jacquard

Joseph Marie Jacquard was a French Textile machine inventor who revolutionized the automated weaving production process for patterned fabrics. 

In 1752, Joseph Marie Jacquard was born the son of a silk weaver.  He later entered the profession himself. However, Jacquard was a poor businessman and his weaving company failed. Most likely, it was his penchant for technological process improvement that led to his business decline.

After the French Revolution, Jacquard returned to his home, Lyon France. Lyon had been the silk weaving capital for almost 200 years. He went back to work in a silk weaving factory. While working in a factory,  Jacquard constructed an improved loom for silk fabric weaving.

Based on earlier inventions by the Frenchmen Basile Bouchon (1725), Jean Baptiste Falcon (1728), and Jacques Vaucanson (1740) Jacquard tinkered with those designs to create his concept of an automated weaving loom. In 1745, Vaucanson’s loom was introduced as the first completely automated loom in the industry. His loom used repetitive movements guided by holes punched in  cards that gave precise automation “instructions” mechanically to the weaving process. However, the loom was not adopted by the industry and was placed in a museum. Where Vaucanson’ stopped, Jacquard ventured on to innovation.

News of Jacquard’s work reached Napoleon himself, who then funded Jacquard to complete his loom. By 1801, Jacquard’s first loom was operational and considered revolutionary . The innovative Jacquard loom enabled each individual warp yarn (i.e., referred to as an “end” in textile terminology) to be lifted individually and simultaneously. This mechanization when applied in the proper sequence or “instructions” provided by the punch cards (i.e., the logic, or logical “instructions”) created the desired patterns in the woven silk.

Jacquard innovated the weaving loom by attaching each warp yarn to an assigned wire harness that could raise or lower each warp yarn independently. Each wire harness was connected to a needle. Above this linkage rested a bar capable of lifting the wires and their individual threads.

What set his invention apart from the work of Vaucanson was the use of needles. Driven by the mechanical action of the loom, the appropriate needles would enter holes punched in heavy card stock, triggering the lifting bar which would in turn raise the proper wire and its thread.

Needles that did not touch a punched hole would be forced backward, detaching that wire from the lifting bar. Only the threads specific to a particular portion of the pattern would be woven. As such, Jacquard had created a logic based mechanical machine that could provide the necessary instructions to weave intricate patterns.

For further definition of the principle of the Jacquard operation follow this link.

Better yet, check out this 6 1/2 minute youtube video. It covers some basic terms, concepts, loom styles and the Jacquard loom operation.

https://youtu.be/TyhDkd8Iabs

jacquard2

The instruction cards are perforated according to pattern. The preparation of these perforated cards was extremely time consuming and the most difficult task of his weaving process. A new set had to be prepared for each new pattern.

The above picture depicts a few punch card patterns stored for further production.

The Jacquard attachment could be applied to almost any loom. It is regarded as the most important apparatus ever adapted to textile weaving technology due to its automated production for varieties of patterns.

Upon seeing his loom in operation, the weavers of Lyon revolted. Fiercely protective of their skills and livelihood, these hand-loom operators attacked Jacquard and his mechanical invention. Jacquard survived the assault, but his machine was destroyed.

Jacquard was not deterred by the angry craftsmen and their fears. He continued to improve his loom and increased its operational efficiency. His punch-card instruction system was modified to be incorporated with existing looms.

Sales took off. However, employed weavers discovered that the loom’s guiding machinery could easily be rendered useless by dropping a wooden shoe, known as a sabot, into the works.

Such acts of disruption and destruction became commonplace, yet the Jacquard loom offered such a dynamic advance in textile manufacture that its acceptance proved unstoppable. Within a few years, the looms numbered in the thousands and Jacquard was not only recognized for his achievement, but was rewarded for it.

The rights to the loom with the punch-card process were sold to the French government in 1806 under an agreement that gave Jacquard a pension and a small royalty for each loom in operation. By 1812, there were more than 11,000 such looms in operation in France.

The acts of destruction aimed at his machine are among the first widespread examples of industrial sabotage. There is a popular belief (i.e., however, a false account of the origin of the term’s present meaning) that the story of the French laborers throwing their wooden shoes, sabots, into Jacquard’s machinery was the origin of the word, sabotage.

Jacquard’s standardization of the punch-card system for instructing mechanical operation would come to be seen as perhaps the earliest precursor of computer programming. Essentially, Jacquard applied the first binary control logic to a manufacturing mechanism. Punch cards remained prevalent in the computer industry as current as the 1990’s.

Jacquard Raschel

Jacquard notable invention is the device that fitted onto a power loom and simplified the process of manufacturing textiles with such complex patterns as brocadedamask and matelassé.

The technology of the Jacquard loom has been applied to weaving Wilton and Axminster carpets still present today fabricated into area rugs, as well as, lace patterns and tapestries. My great grandfather would have been very familiar with the Jacquard Raschel pattern pictured above as he immigrated from England to Philadelphia, PA to work in the burgeoning lace manufacturing factories that once ruled the city to support his family.

Main Line Floors and Interiors focuses on the supply and installation of high end residential and commercial hospitality flooring, area rugs and fine home interiors.

Feel free to leave a comment if this post was helpful or informative. I hope it was.

Thank you,

Main Line Floors & Interiors

 

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Allergen Free Textiles in your Bedroom

Devan Chemicals, a textile finisher, just launched this past summer of 2018 an updated technology that helps textiles to become free from allergens shed by cats and dogs. Their new product is called Purissimo. It is a probiotic-based solution that is completely natural, which was inspired by their experience with Purotex®.

Purotex is a  textile treatment technology that uses five 100% natural bacteria or probiotics. The probiotics are selected for their ability to clean up house dust mite allergen along with other allergen types. The active probiotics are placed inside of millions of capsules and are introduced during the textile production. These human friendly bacteria remain non-active until friction force is created.

Purotex has been used  to help alleviate excessive allergens in your bedroom. When friction is created between the mattress/pillow and the sleeper’s body the probiotics are activated. Under the friction force a small part of the capsules is opened and probiotics become active. The probiotics saturate the bacterial capacity of the textile and by doing so, reduce the risk of dust mite allergen development and growth of molds and harmful bacteria.

How does it work:

1. Inactive probiotics are encapsulated and integrated in the textiles.
2. Friction between body and mattress opens the micro-capsules.
3. The probiotics absorb humidity and self-activate: they start to clean up allergens.

Devan Chemicals has been able to demonstrate that probiotic bacteria can be used to neutralize dust mite’s allergens present in textiles. This technology is based on 2 principles.

Principle 1: probiotic bacteria must survive on textiles

The probiotic bacteria used in Purotex® have the ability to sporulate. A spore is a reproductive structure that is adapted for surviving in un-favorable conditions for many years. The sporulation process makes it possible for bacteria to survive hard conditions and regain activity as soon as environmental parameters improve.

Principle 2: probiotic bacteria must survive wash cycles

In order to work over long term, spores should be slowly liberated. The spores are therefore micro encapsulated in reactive microcapsules, which are microcapsules with functional reactive groups on the shell surface. Those microcapsules react covalently with the reactive groups of the fibre and are therefore resistant to washes. The capsules break by friction and release the spores, which in contact with food sources, will transform to probiotic bacteria and will start to consume the allergens of the dust mite.

Main Line Floors and Interiors focuses on the supply and installation of high end residential and commercial hospitality flooring, area rugs and fine home interiors.

Feel free to leave a comment if this post was helpful or informative. I hope it was.

Thank you,

Main Line Floors & Interiors

 

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Luxurious Hotel Sheets made from Lyocell in your Home

Looking for those fabulous hotel sheets where you got your best night’s sleep?

I love them too! In the sanctuary of your bedroom, your bed sheets and bed linens are truly personal statements. The sheets we love have custom thread counts, beautiful designs, special materials and other soft crisp luxurious benefits that require careful consideration before your next investment.

Slipping in between soft, clean and freshly laundered sheets is one of life’s greatest pleasures.  The anticipation of a great night’s sleep on luxurious sheets cannot be beat! Again, those luxurious sheets we all love can be made with varying design elements like high thread counts, all-natural fibers, smooth finishes, and that special cool feel only add to the allure.

Currently, the most difficult decision when buying bed sheets is between materials. The highest quality options on the market are luxurious, silky and sumptuous crisp sheets. Yea, you know the ones. Maybe, on your last stay away from home you slept on a pair of those sheets and cannot stop thinking about them?

While searching for those sheets for myself, I ran across an incredible company that supplies those soft, sumptuous and inviting sheets, Living Fresh by Valley Forge.

Tencel or Lyocell fiber sheets are stylish, modern, and suited to any decor.

To my surprise the sheets I ended up getting, dreamed of and now dream in are made of Tencel or Lyocell fibers by the Lenzing company.

Interestingly enough, while I was an Adjunct Professor at the Philadelphia College of Textile & Science in the 1990’s, a fellow graduate student was working on her master’s thesis in Textile Engineering. Her focus was an overall  performance criteria around ring spun yarns and knitted fabrics produced with Tencel or Lyocell fibers. This was during the time of Tencel’s introduction to the fiber market.

If you need more comfortable sheets to get a deeper sleep, these are the sheets to consider.

The Tencel fiber integrated into Lyocell sheets from Living Fresh are designed to channel moisture away from your body. As such,  you will be kept cool all night long. The surfaces are smooth, and the layers do not stick to each other. All of this results in a comfortable, cool and less constricting sleep environment. I love these sheets!

What is the Tencel or Lyocell Fabric?

Natural fibers like silk or cotton may seem the most obvious options when choosing bed linens or sheets for the sake of comfort or luxury. However, Tencel, the brand name of the Lyocell fiber, deserves equal consideration for its affordability, versatility, silky feel and incredibly comfort-ability that keeps you cool at night.

Lyocell also has an environmentally conscious production process.  Lenzing Fibers Incorporated, the manufacture of Lyocell, boasts that their product is as Eco-friendly as it  is economical. Before we learn more about the fiber and it’s production, let’s look at some advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of Tencel / Lyocell Fabric

  • Green or Eco-Friendly Print
    Lyocell fibers are made from the natural cellulose found in wood pulp. The fiber is economical in its use of energy and natural resources, and is fully biodegradable.
  • Color Rich
    Lyocell was created with color in mind, because of the fibers’ high absorbency. The fabrics can be dyed to high quality standards.
  • Moisture Absorbency
    The Lyocell fiber Eco-friendly fabric has a natural air permeability or “breath-a-bility.”  Moreover, the fiber has a 50% greater moisture absorption rate compared to cotton. That reason alone has found the fiber to have tremendous market success in the baby wipes business. But, for those of us that love cool crisp sheets that remain cool throughout the night, Lyocell fabrics will provide us this comfort because of this property.
  • Anti-bacterial
    Due to its moisture management, Lyocell is also considered anti-bacterial.
  • Feel of Fabric
    Lyocell is very similar to rayon in feel (i.e., our fist synthetic Silk). Soft, breathable, lightweight and comfortable. Tencel has an extremely smooth, soft surface (i.e., the “hand” of a fabric) that drapes beautifully.
  • Great for Sensitive Skin
    Lyocell’s smooth fiber surface feels soft and supple against the skin, and its incredible wicking abilities keep the skin dry, making Tencel a great fabric for sensitive skin (i.e., the high moisture absorption property).
  • Versatility
  • This Eco-friendly fabric has what is referred to as controllable fibrillation (i.e., Fibrillation is the longitudinal splitting of a single fiber into microfibers). In other words, the very fine hairs found on the outer surface of the parent fibers can be manipulated to create a suede-like softness to a silky smooth finish. However, this positive attribute can lead to advanced pilling and early fabric deformation if not properly cared for. Follow this link for further information.
  • Durability
  • The Lyocell fiber can withstand a beating both wet and dry. Moreover,  Lyocell is resistant to wrinkles. Lyocell fabrics are easily treated with cross linking agents that create the wrinkle-free advantage.

Eco-Friendly Status

Lyocell is often considered an environmentally friendly fabric because it comes from renewable sources, is biodegradable, and is made in a closed-loop system that recycles almost all of the chemicals used. The raw materials needed to make it also take up much less land and water than those needed for comparable materials like cotton. Lyocell is made with eucalyptus trees that are grown without pesticides or artificial irrigation. Furthermore, the Eucalyptus trees are grown on farms certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (F.S.C.). This certification means that the Eucalyptus trees are grown and replaced on specialized tree farms in effort to support our forests and environment. To learn more about F.S.C. mission click here.

Within the solvent spinning process that produces Tencel®, a closed loop circuit recovers, purifies and reuses the solvent up to 99.5 percent, yielding very little by product.

How can a silky soft and supple fiber be made from a tree? Read more about the Lenzing process here

Are you looking for perfect bedding that won’t leave you feeling trapped?

Then, Tencel or Lyocell fabrics should be on your list.

Tencel keeps or wicks moisture away from your body. As such, you and your sheets feel cooler. Better yet,  those luxurious sheets will not cling to your body. Above that aspect alone, I love the light and comfortable feel of these sheets.

Feel & Comfort

The unique manufacturing process shows itself in the texture you feel when sliding into bed.

Tencel is smoother than silk, but some users report it’s more akin to cotton. This makes sense because of the natural items used in production. Lyocell fibers are typically supplied as staple fibers and blended with other natural fibers (i.e., like cotton and silk) to create or engineer specific textile properties. However, it is not as stiff as some cotton sheets can feel.

If you enjoy the unique feel, you will love the comfort it affords you. Because Lyocell fibers and fabric wicks moisture away, you won’t feel uncomfortably hot at night. Again, these sheets don’t cling to each other too, so you’ll also feel free inside the bed just like the first time you slip under the covers.

If this is the environment you love sleeping in, you have found your bedding solution.

Try them in your beach, shore or coastal home for that extra get-a-away feeling.

What are you looking for the most to improve your sleep?

If it’s about falling asleep faster and sleeping without waking up sweaty, these sheets will be valuable to you and worth the investment.

Again, bed sheets are highly personal. Compare your requirements with what these quality sheets offer you. Is it what you’ve been looking for all along?

Who Should Buy Lyocell Sheets?

If you need more comfortable sheets to get more sleep and a deeper sleep, these are the sheets to consider.

These sheets are designed to channel moisture away from your body. As such, you will be kept cool all night long. The surfaces are smooth, and the sheet layers do not stick to each other. All of the inherent Lyocell fiber properties and designed fabric performance results in a comfortable, cool and non constricting sleep environment. The feeling is reminiscent of our baby papoose.

Main Line Floors and Interiors is a premier source for high end residential and commercial hospitality ornamental rugs and home interiors.

Feel free to leave a comment if this post was helpful or informative. I hope it was.

Thank you,

Main Line Floors & Interiors

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Design for Senior Living Centers and Memory Care in Philadelphia

Memory Care Flooring Designs in Philadelphia

How to Choose Flooring for Senior Living

Flooring is an essential building block in the design of a memory care senior living environment.  The floor itself impacts safety, spatial orientation,  patient confidence, independence and staff. There are several varieties of high-performance soft surface and advanced textile composite flooring products engineered to stand up to the multipurpose demands of senior living spaces.

In theory and practice there is no ‘exact science’ in the design of memory care or dementia based senior living centers.  No single design element stands out on its own. Yet, the floor is certainly an integral part of the design as well as incorporating the color choice of the walls, doors, furniture and lighting.

Dependent on a center’s layout, carpets and other flooring can change from area to area. Typically, in facilities that offer memory care, assisted living, and independent living the community itself can differentiate areas through interior design. However diverse a range of specific need areas are offered, most facilities usually share common living spaces. Design elements (e.g., flooring & carpeting) can assist residents to differentiate between a particular wing or common space.

Senior Living Flooring in Philadelphia

Main Line Floors & Interiors for Memory Care

Main Line Floors & Interiors is a Philadelphia, PA area flooring distributor and installation contractor. We specialize in helping deliver the best flooring resources to assisted living and senior living environments.

Our work with industry experts is to raise awareness in appropriate design for dementia care facilities. We are committed to understanding the design needs in dementia and mental health to help deliver a better quality of life through building better living spaces.

The population suffering with dementia is set to increase as baby boomers age. We feel appropriate design is the key to help create safer environments to help seniors navigate their environment more easily. Following are some practical flooring and interior considerations to assist those inflicted with dementia. Moreover, we will address the design criteria intended to serve the needs of all seniors as a whole community.

Senior Living Centers of Today in Philadelphia

With the ever increasing demand of baby boomers downsizing and considering senior living communities, all facilities marketing to this demand find themselves immersed in a fight to increase occupancy.

In the past few decades, a movement began to “de-institutionalize” senior living or the traditional nursing home. This shift became more individual oriented than the traditional institutional focus based model.  As such, residents and care givers began to create nurturing communities together.

Since the average age of a resident is 82, there are about 70 million baby boomers a decade away from moving into these communities. The resident’s influence has tremendous input to today’s greater choice of amenities, services, and locations available across the continuum of care. These positive changes and market demand have challenged designers to create multi purpose of care giving communities.

 

Assisted Living Carpet Patterns

Designing Common Areas Flooring

Potentially there will be a culturally diverse group of people living in a single community. Accommodating the varied cultural and religious backgrounds can be a challenge.

Let’s look at some simple the facts.

Some residents are single and some are married. All have varying tastes, personal and care giver needs. Typically, single women comprise the resident majority in senior living communities, but let’s not overlook the needs of the male resident.

Designing for Men

Men’s needs cannot be overlooked. The designed amenities for men can include pool halls, card rooms, gyms or “pub like” bistros & bars. It is important to have areas designed where guys can be guys.

Designing for Women

Since senior women are the majority, senior living design trends for women focus on such amenities as hair & nail salons, as well as social engagement purposes. Many women enjoy playing cards, painting, cooking, crafts and so on. As such,  their activity rooms within possible separate areas need to be accommodating. Moreover, designated public cooking areas are becoming vogue in design.

Recently, “open” (or public) kitchens are in vogue design for senior living communities. These kitchens are available to all residents and can be used for group cooking sessions. These open kitchen concepts are therapeutic and create another social, home-like environments. Moreover, the aromas can help to stimulate the residents’ appetites and evoke feelings of comfort.

Luxury Vinyl Tile in Senior Living Community Kitchen

Design for All Residents

Whether it is independent living design, assisted living design or memory care design, all of the integrated looks play a pivotal role in the space. Designing space for couples, singles and people with a high level of acuity or residents in memory care should not stand out as an obvious design detail.

All the beauty and grace of one senior living environment should overflow into every other space and welcome all residents equally.

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Interiors for Senior Living

Senior residents have varying degrees of challenges with everyday activities. They see, hear and smell things differently and may have strong opinions, especially about their surroundings.

Designing specifically for senior living communities must address these physical and emotional changes.

Quality of life

Whether creating a whole community with varying housing and assistance options or designing a stand-alone building dedicated to one area of care, many senior living communities desire the neighborhood concept.

From Isolation to Social Interaction

Each neighborhood may include shared areas for interaction, such as a dining room, sitting room, spa, kitchen, activity rooms, indoor sun porches and outdoor patios and gardens. These social areas are critical to drawing residents out of their rooms to prevent isolation and depression.

Fight boredom

Fighting boredom is essential to improve the quality of life for seniors. It is important that the resident’s physical, mental and emotional needs are all  met. Stimulating the mind can help to exercise not only the body but the brain. This is increasingly important as the population inflicted with Alzheimer’s dementia is estimated to nearly triple from 5.7 million to 14 million by 2050.

Research shows that cognitively active seniors are about 2.6 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and dementia than those that are not. To keep the mind sharp, “brain gyms” are being used by more senior living communities. These spaces may be rooms that have computers, mind-challenging games, hobby spaces or areas where seniors can express creativity by painting, singing and drawing.

Creating a variety of dining options is another way to engage the resident in a pleasant dining experience and social interaction. Living centers are creating more options by integrating restaurant-like atmospheres like a bistro for a burger, a café for a soup or a formal dining space for a traditional fine-dining experience.

 

Senior Living Bistro

Types of social areas include beauty salons, pool halls and sitting rooms designed to increase resident social interaction. Games, social club meetings and even broadcast sports events can bring residents together to interact. All season porches overlooking gardens are also conducive for small gatherings.

Designing for outdoor spaces can also include such amenities as community green houses, croquet, putting greens, and walking paths or gardens.

Color and Color Combination

Color is mostly a matter of personal taste. From a cultural perspective, some colors are associated with specific feelings and evoke emotions per our cultural understanding. Essentially, all colors affect us subconsciously.

Interior Color Design for All Residents

Those living with memory loss often have issues with depth perception. As such, when selecting a carpet for a memory care facility, consider color contrast. Please note, color contrast should not be too high to ensure residents do not feel unbalanced. A simple subtle patterned carpet is a great way to add an enhanced design element while still being functional to the residents.

For more information on color and design for senior living centers click here.

Memory Care Flooring & Vibrant Color

Senior Living Flooring Design Considerations

  • Safety: Textured surfaces increase traction and stability. The textured surface can provide an ergonomically supportive environment that facilitates mobility and ease of movement. Increased underfoot stability also significantly decreases the overall risk of slips and falls. As such, reducing impact and injury.
  • Comfort: Underfoot cushioning reduces leg fatigue for staff and residents, while soft surfaces reduce visual glare and absorb light.
  • Acoustics: Sound absorption & noise dampening help create peaceful, inviting environments, and promote personal interaction and engagement.
  • Indoor Air Quality: Soft surface fibers will entrap allergens and airborne particles until they can be removed during cleaning.

Safety and Accessibility

Every design should start with safety as its priority in senior living design. Since some of the functional abilities of seniors are reduced, they can experience difficulty navigating their environment. Seniors experience weakening joints, poor vision, declining spatial skills and frailty. As such, they are at higher risk for falls and injuries.

The communities’ layout, interior colors, textures, lighting and many other considerations are factors for consideration to create a safe and effective healing environment.

Closely related to safety, ease of access into and around the facility is also important for seniors.

Senior Living Luxury Vinyl Tile

Seniors Perception of Tile & Glossy Floors

Seniors tend to perceive tile and waxed floors as a slick surface whether or not the floor is actually slippery. This can make them unsteady on their feet. To help reduce the real or perceived risk of slips and falls, many health care facilities are minimizing waxed and tiled flooring and are using non-glare or matte flooring products.

There are many other products that are pleasing to the eyes and easy to maintain. Luxury vinyl plank flooring that simulates any conceivable wood pattern or color tone are very easy to maintain and create homelike environments.

Many seniors shuffle their feet, so it is critical to create smooth transitions to reduce tripping hazards. Some flooring manufacturers offer products that do not require transitions. For example, sheet vinyl and carpet can be welded at the seams, thus eliminating the transition strip and reducing the tripping hazard.

To make it easier and more desirable for seniors to keep their bodies moving, designers should consider incorporating indoor walking paths or corridors.

Senior Living Flooring

Acoustics and Lighting

Good acoustics for seniors can correlate to quieter environments. Loud environments (i.e., especially considering dementia care residents) can induce stress, anxiety, irritability and confusion for seniors and others.

To help reduce noise and create a quiet, calming environment, designers should consider acoustical ceilings with high noise-reduction coefficients. In some instances, acoustic wall panels could be added to reduce noise when reverberations may be too high otherwise, as in most dining rooms.

Ceiling clouds or suspended acoustic panels can be used in lobby areas where there typically is hard surface flooring. Carpet also can be used to help reduce noise in common spaces.

Finish choices

Evidence based design shows a strong connection between healing and stimulating interiors. As such, living spaces that incorporate an interesting use of color or focus on nature and natural patterns can stimulate health. There is no need for over use of neutral color schemes.

Natural Colors and Patterns

Colors found in nature can reduce stress and promote healing.

Perception of color is a dynamic force. Generational preferences and how eyes perceive colors vary among age groups. Seniors typically see 20 percent less color saturation and often have yellowing of the eye lens, which makes colors appear yellower to them.

Watery shades of beach glass, topaz and blues promote peace and serenity. Blues and green wavelengths also are easier to perceive, making them more restful. Earthy shades of rock, stone, terra cotta, espresso and soil connect residents to the natural world. Wood shades of soft moss, leaves and lichen promote balance and harmony. Air shades of linen, white and cream promote sincerity, hope and spirituality.

Soft colors or colors of similar intensities are difficult for the aging eye to discern. As such, the use of pastel colors can appear dull and sometimes gray to seniors. More saturated hues are easier for the aging eye to decipher.

Studies indicate that seniors have an aesthetic appeal toward certain patterns and textures. However, designers should carefully choose patterns for wall coverings and carpets. Subtle patterns that are not considered confusing are more appropriate than bold geometric forms or high contrasting patterns.

It’s best to select patterns that do not encourage a perception of visual movement. Patterns can be visually disturbing to aging eyes and can cause agitation. Designers should avoid big floral patterns, because these patterns can appear to move.

Colors as visual cues. Similar-toned walls and floors make it difficult for aging eyes to see where one surface ends and the next begins. To help alleviate this confusion — and make the environment safer for seniors — contrasting colors should be used. Contrasting colors between walls and floors, steps and landings, and furnishings and floors help to differentiate between surfaces and planes.

Similarly, designers of senior living communities should consider introducing pops of color at key activity areas to stimulate the residents and to add definitive destinations in corridors.

When designing memory care communities, it is good for designers to minimize the entry. Any doors that are not part of the program space can be painted to match the wall color so they blend in with the corridor. This helps with way finding and minimizes anxiety. Residents can use their indoor wandering trails without being distracted by a lot of doors.

Contrasting floor colors within a building can be used to indicate that certain areas are off-limit or indicate a clearly different space.

Light Refection Values (LRV) 
LRV ratings are an important design tool for dementia environments.

Combinations of various colors and other interior products can be made by using identical or contrasting LRV’s for the area that needs to be furnished. As LRV’s are a universal measurement for all materials, also the LRV of wall covering or furniture can be measured against the colours chosen for the floor. In our set-up you can see the light reflection values of all products grouped together which allows you to make a choice within a certain LRV range or decide to go beyond that. In this way the LRV guide of the dementia flooring selection provides a practical tool for designers of dementia environments

Conclusion

Senior living communities have many special requirements that designers must consider. In review of demographic trends, these requirements will be challenging to the health care design community in the coming years.

Main Line Floors and Interiors focuses on the supply and installation of high end residential and commercial carpets and flooring. However, we have great products and installations for Builders, Multi-family, Senior Living, Hospitality and the Real Estate Investor / House Flipper. We proudly serve the Philadelphia, PA metro area, Delaware and South New Jersey region.

Feel free to leave a comment if this post was helpful or informative. I hope it was.

Thank you,

Main Line Floors & Interiors

 

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Senior Living Floors in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Commercial Flooring by Main Line Floors

Main Line Floors & Interiors is a Philadelphia, PA based flooring distributor and installation contractor. We specialize in helping deliver the best flooring resources to assisted living and senior living environments. We also offer:

Discount Flooring in Philadelphia

Multi Family Flooring in Philadelphia

Senior Living Flooring Trends

With the ever increasing demand of baby boomers considering senior living communities, all operators are finding themselves immersed in a marketing fight to increase occupancy. Amenity choice and Interior design has much influence over seniors decisions.

Innovative senior living design practice places a strong emphasis on creating a clean, comfortable and contemporary living space. To achieve this, it’s imperative that the design include the appropriate wall color, the proper furniture and, most important, the right type of flooring for seniors.

Since the 1990’s, a movement began to “de-institutionalize” senior living or the traditional nursing home. This shift focused on facilities becoming more individual oriented than the traditional institutional focus.  As such, residents, operators and care givers began to create more nurturing and accommodating communities together.

Considering the average age of a resident is now 82, there are about 70 million baby boomers a decade away from moving into assisted living communities. By 2030, 72.1 million Americans will be over the age of 65, and 6.6 million will be over 85. Not surprisingly, the number of Americans living in senior living communities is expected to double by 2030. These days, the resident’s influence has tremendous effect on the greater choice of amenities, services, and locations available across the continuum of care. The current trends in accommodation and market demand have challenged designers to create multi purpose care giving communities.

Assisted Living Lobby Modern Flooring Trends

How to Choose Flooring for Senior Living

Flooring and wall surfaces are essential design criteria to create attractive and welcoming environments.  However, in a senior living center, flooring  must provide a safe, stable and durable foundation to handle the needs of aging and disabled residents.

Whether the facility is independent living, assisted living or a Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC), the choice of flooring is critical to minimize the risks to the health and safety of your residents and staff.

Balance Aesthetics and Function

Assisted living communities have to be designed to meet the needs of the all residents.  As such, designers are challenged to create an environment that has the feel of home while accommodating the needs of seniors who have mobility and vision challenges.

Evidence-Based Design 

In healthcare, evidence-based design is a field of study that deals with how the environment can influence a person’s well-being. It is believed that this design can make a real difference for people as they age, removing some of the stress, frustration and confusion from everyday living.

Designers are taking the results of these studies and incorporating them into their designs.  Design choices in flooring color and texture can lead to achieving a measurable goals of reducing disorientation, loss of balance and the risk of injury from falls.

Consider Movement When Selecting Flooring for Senior Living Facilities

Carpets

For Senior Living, the importance of non-slip flooring and its effect on safety, comfort, acoustics and creating a warm and inviting environment is essential. We offer a complete portfolio of high-performance soft surface and advanced textile composite flooring products engineered to stand up to the multipurpose demands of senior living spaces.

  • Safety: Textured surfaces increase traction and underfoot stability, providing an ergonomically supportive environment that facilitates mobility and ease of movement.
  • Comfort: Underfoot cushioning reduces leg fatigue for staff and residents, while soft surfaces reduce visual glare and absorb light.
  • Acoustics: Sound absorption & noise dampening help create peaceful, inviting environments, and promote personal interaction and engagement.
  • Indoor Air Quality: Soft surface fibers trap allergens and airborne particles until they can be removed during cleaning.

Moreover, carpets constructed with low, dense piles can help seniors move more efficiently and feel more confident as they traverse the assisted living space.

Combined with the practiced approach of evidence-based design, our products provide a solid foundation for the healing environments ranging from independent and assisted living to Alzheimer’s and memory care facilities.

Research shows that carpeted floors can lead to physical and psychological improvements. The carpets we specify are inherently slip resistant, comfortable, incorporate into any design and offer noise reduction. Most important, seniors walk more efficiently and feel more secure on carpet. As such, from living spaces to entry ways, carpet is utilized in more places than not.

 

Senior Living Flooring

Carefully Select Colors And Patterns

Color is mostly a matter of personal taste. Culturally, some colors are associated with specific feelings that evoke emotions per our cultural understanding. So, it is important to consider resident and local community taste when designing flooring.

Please note, busy patterns and color combinations can inhibit mobility in residents with changes in vision, Alzheimer’s and dementia. Too much stimuli can cause confusion that creates an increased risk for injury.

Color and Pattern

In creating functional spaces for aging residents, designers need to understand vision changes. Although this adds complexity to color and pattern selection, certain overriding principles still remain:

  • Brighter colors may be used to emphasize more important areas of a room, supported by color contrast and additional light.
  • Color can encourage or discourage movement into certain areas.
  • Color schemes can be incorporated to assist in “way-finding” and orientation.
  • Color can be used on the walls in stairwells, corridors, and bathrooms to contrast with handrails and help with navigation.
  • Use as matte floor surfaces.  Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI) Guidelines state: “Use of non-glare finished floors should be considered to avoid compromising vision and potentially disrupting balance of residents.”
  • FGI Guidelines state: “To prevent falls, flooring should have no pattern or a small pattern less than 1” wide or a large pattern wider than 6”. Flooring should have low-contrast patterns.”
  • Because the lens of the eye yellows with age, it is easier to see warm colors.
Assisted Living Carpet Patterns

Choose Flooring Options that are Easy to Maintain

With the increase of average age of residents, comes an increase in the risk of spills and incontinence.

Luxury Vinyl Plank in Senior Living

You have got to love Luxury Vinyl plank and tile floors.

The use of moisture impervious backing can significantly extend the life of the product. Products designed this way are the ideal choice for senior living communities. Furthermore, luxury vinyl tile and plank flooring are excellent choices for wet areas, like dining areas.

When it comes to flooring for seniors, luxury vinyl tile or plank represents an incredibly versatile alternative to the traditional carpet and hardwood options. Today’s approach is following closely in the design footsteps of the hospitality industry, where creating a home-like environment is the ultimate goal.

Created to enhance and perform, luxury vinyl tile and plank is becoming an ideal option for today’s new and more exciting version of senior living design.

Assisted Living Flooring

A Familiar Flooring Solution

Transitioning into a senior center setting can be a hard sell. That’s why maintaining a certain level of comfort and familiarity is of utmost importance. Customized and versatile in design, luxury vinyl tile and plank comes in a wide variety of design options — all of which are capable of striking a careful balance between being clean and comfortable, as well as long lasting and offering a feeling of luxury. A wood-look luxury vinyl tile and plank design is an extremely popular option in senior living design because it offers the comforting look of real wood without having to incur the added costs of installation throughout what is typically a large facility. Luxury vinyl tile and plank is also softer underfoot than hardwood and other hard flooring options.

A Stand-Out Flooring Design

In addition to offering familiarity to residents, the use of luxury vinyl tile and plank inside a senior center offers a unique opportunity to stand out among other facilities in the industry. Endless design options allow for creativity when designing the senior living space — no matter if it’s common space, dining rooms, kitchens, hallways or even the individual resident rooms themselves.

But while versatility in design is key, a senior center environment should offer a neutral and natural aesthetic that is inviting rather than confusing. Some seniors can experience confusion as a result of an overly intricate flooring design or patterns. In some extreme cases, residents of nursing homes have experienced symptoms of vertigo as a result of the flooring design. Whether the desired design aesthetic is active or more subdued, busy or more basic, luxury vinyl flooring allows you to achieve both ends of the design spectrum.

Healthcare Luxury Vinyl Design

A Capable, Clean and Durable Design

Because walkers, canes, wheelchairs and scooters are very common within a senior center setting, the flooring should be able to withstand this use. Luxury vinyl tile and plank, unlike carpet, caters very nicely to these different modes of senior transportation. Additionally, any damage done as a result of walking aids can conveniently be dealt with the ease of maintenance that luxury vinyl tile and plank floors promote. Maintaining a clean and sterile living environment is also easily attained with luxury vinyl flooring products.

Luxury vinyl tile and plank is incredibly adaptable, so much so that it can be easily integrated with existing carpet and/or other flooring designs within a senior center setting. It provides a smooth flooring option without being too hard or too cold.

Main Line Floors & Interiors of Philadelphia

Main Line Floors and Interiors focuses on the supply and installation of high end residential and commercial carpets and flooring. However, we have great products and installations for Builders, Multi-family, Senior Living, Hospitality and the Real Estate Investor / House Flipper. We proudly serve the Philadelphia, PA metro area, Delaware and South New Jersey region.

Feel free to leave a comment if this post was helpful or informative. I hope it was.

Thank you,

Jim Ives

Main Line Floors & Interiors 610.304.3222

 

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Which Fiber is Best for Your Next Carpet Purchase

Carpet Fibers

Which Carpet Fiber is Best?

Fibers are the “building blocks” of textiles and carpets. Like the pixels on your computer screen, fibers are the millions of “mini threads” that when combined create the look and feel of a carpet. Fibers are used to create the color and pattern. They define the texture and softness, and they determine how long a carpet will resist wear and staining.

Bulked continuous filament vs Staple fiber

Bulked Continuous Filament & Staple Fibers

Yarn Production and Carpet Performance

Have you ever vacuumed your carpet and noticed millions of tiny fibers that now need to be disposed? Have you been on the floor only to notice the same fibers on your clothing? Maybe you don’t see or realize what is known as “shedding” at all.

Why do some Carpets Shed?

Some carpets are made from staple or spun fibers, and other carpets are made from continuous filament fibers. If a carpet is “shedding,” it is most likely from a staple spun yarn. This is seen time and time again from the cheaper selection or grade of Home Depot carpet.

Staple Fiber Carpet

There are many processing steps for a staple fiber spun yarn.

In carpet yarn processing, synthetic spun fibers are first created by the method of extrusion. Synthetic fibers like Nylon begin as plastic pellets that are then melted and extruded into hair-like filaments.  These filaments are then heated, cooled, and crimped to improve strength and impart other physical characteristics. In the staple process, the fibers are cut into individual lengths (e.g., 7-8 inches), packed into bales, and then sent to a spinning facility to process the staple fibers into yarn.

From the bale stage, the fibers require these additional processing steps to prepare for yarn spinning:

  • Blending – Blending mixes the fibers. An homogeneous blend improves the finished product during the dyeing process.  It prevents color streaking.
  • Carding – Carding is another stage of blending that properly orients the fibers for yarn spinning. This process imparts the true strength to a spun yarn.
  • Drafting – This step continues to blend the fibers and aligns them into a parallel orientation for spinning. Again, this process facilitates and imparts the true strength in the finished spun yarn.

After spinning, the yarn is further processed. Yarns are plied and twisted to develop certain characteristics. These additional processes create key textile attributes like the degree of luster, bulk, and texture. The spun yarn is then heat-set to establish or impart twist. Twist creates the yarn’s “memory” to maintain its appearance and further imparts strength.

Advantages

Carpet made from spun yarn can produce a variety of desired looks.  These designed or engineered values (i.e., “looks“) create carpets that exhibit very dense and luxurious finishes.

Spun colors are considered subtle and natural looking, as these fibers accept dyes much in same way as wool.

Prior to the technical processing advancements of bulk continuous filament textile technology, these desired looks were unique to spun staple yarn.

Disadvantages

Change in consumer tastes have moved away from the dense or tailored saxony look that spun yarns created. Furthermore, the numerous processing steps in manufacturing spun yarn outlined above make the process costly.

Perhaps, the most common complaint related to carpets of spun yarn is pilling and fuzzing.

Since the yarn is composed of millions of shorter fibers twisted together, the staple fibers tend to shed  those loose filaments. This creates the necessity for frequent vacuuming.

Bulked Continuous Filament Carpets

Today, most carpets are constructed with either man-made or synthetic polymer fibers otherwise known as “bulked continuous filament” (BCF) or  Staple fibers (i.e., a “Staple fiber” is much smaller, or shorter than a filament and typically refers to cotton). BCF fibers are long continuous filament strands of synthetic materials twisted together to form the carpet yarn. BCF fibers have the benefit of being  less prone to shedding and wear (or, pilling resistance). There are several  benefits of the BCF fiber predominately due to the always evolving engineered characteristics of the synthetic material, fiber shape and processing technology.

These benefits occur because the continuous filament is extruded as one long string. These strings are then twisted and heat-set together to form strands of yarn. The BCF yarn can also be texturized to curl, or kink. This secondary treatment increases the bulk of the yarn, can impart further twist for strength and creates more memory (i.e., “dimensional stability) for better texture retention and wear resistance.

BCF Advantages

Because the BCF fiber is one continuous strand of fiber itself, it will not shed the broken or loose fibers like a staple fiber spun yarn. BCF yarns are more cost-effective to manufacture today because there are fewer manufacturing steps involved.

Common Carpet Fibers

The majority of today’s carpeting comes in four primary fiber types: wool, nylon, polypropylene (otherwise known as olefin) and P.E.T. polyester.

Wool Carpet Fiber

Wool Carpet Fiber
From sheep to your floor, wool is considered by to be the finest fiber available for carpets. Wool carpets are the most expensive, but for good reason. Wool is a natural fiber that is durable, soft, naturally flame resistant, and water repellent. And shockingly, it doesn’t conduct static electricity. It’s also the most stain resistant carpet available.

Wool carpets come as Saxony, Berber or twisted frieze.

Nylon Close up

Nylon Carpet Fiber
Nylon is a petroleum-based synthetic fabric invented in the 1930s as a silk alternative by Dupont Chemical Company. Today’s nylon carpets are made from a newer generation of the product called “Nylon 6” or “Nylon 6,6.” These fibers are engineered to be even more durable, resist abrasive wear damage and offer almost a lifetime resistance to stains. Nylon 6/6,6 carpets can be pricey, but they’re perfect for any room — especially places where stains are likely to occur.

Olefin (Polypropylene)
Olefin is colorfast, prevents moisture damage, is stain resistant, and is low in static. But it’s not as durable as wool or nylon and should not be installed in heavy usage locations.

Created in the late 1950s and gaining popularity by the ‘60s, Olefin is the second most popular fiber after nylon. It’s soft and lightweight, won’t fade and stands up to strong chemical cleaning agents — even bleach.   It is less resilient than nylon and it has a low heat resistance. It’s also an oil-based product, so it attracts grease stains and may take on an undesirable sheen.

The best uses for Olefin include places with a greater amount of moisture or an informal space, like a child’s room.

Polyester (P.E.T.)
Save a sheep a haircut and buy P.E.T. Polyester. This inexpensive wool alternative is environmentally friendly, has built-in moisture and stain resistance, is colorfast and feels incredibly soft. Made from recycled P.E.T. products, like plastic soda bottles, polyester carpets are stronger than Olefin and can perform as well as nylon at a much lower cost. Polyester offers a way to enjoy a soft, plush carpet at a very affordable price.

Branded Vs. Unbranded Fiber
Carpet is not like clothing. When you buy a pair of jeans, a big brand name will set you back a lot more than a no-name pair, for about the same quality.

When it comes to carpet fibers, brand names rule. Why? Because branded fiber and treatments are manufactured to strict standards set by their respective companies. Branded fibers offer better performance characteristics, improved stain, static, and crush resistance. Branded fibers also offer extended warranties backed by the fiber company, as well as the carpet manufacturer.

To achieve the premium branded fiber label on the back of a carpet sample, manufactures have to meet construction requirements set by the fiber manufacturer. The result is a carpet that meets the high expectations of the consumer, as well as protects the reputation of the brand.

Triexta
In 2009, the Federal Trade Commission (FTS) established the subclass name “triexta” as an alternative to the generic name “polyester” for a subclass of polyester fibers made from poly (trimethylene terephthalate).

This fiber, while having the same general chemical composition as polyester, has distinctive features of durability, resilience, softness and the ability to stretch with recovery that make it significantly more suitable than conventional polyester for carpet (and apparel). It also has superior water-based stain resistance. Triexta is marketed under the Mohawk brand name “Smartstrand.”

Recycled Fibers
Petroleum-based fibers slowly decay in our landfills. That’s why both carpet manufacturers and retailers have partnered to turn old carpets (and other plastic products) into new carpets. In 2007, one carpet recycler reported recycling of 5.5-million pounds of used carpet from our ever expansive waste dumps. This amount  has grown exponentially since.

Carpet recyclers can create premium new carpets without the loss of softness or durability. Something to consider the next time you’re carpet shopping.

When shopping for your new carpet, please consider the traffic or activity that carpet will have to endure. From this first decision, a selection of fiber can be considered relative to the processing technology of the yarn.

Main Line Floors and Interiors focuses on the supply and installation of high end residential and commercial carpets and flooring. However, we have great products and installations for Builders, Multi-family, Senior Living, Hospitality and the Real Estate Investor / House Flipper. We proudly serve the Philadelphia, PA metro area, Delaware and South New Jersey region.

Feel free to leave a comment if this post was helpful or informative. I hope it was.

Thank you,

Main Line Floors & Interiors

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The Importance of Flooring Trends for Alzheimer’s related Dementia.

Are you looking for flooring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s Dementia and Flooring Considerations

In Alzheimer’s dementia care facilities, designers and operators must consider the flooring design as the blank “canvas” to create a living space to promote tranquility, comfort, functionality and safety. The flooring design and type of finish are equally important whether dementia patients are in residential care or are living independently at home.

Careful consideration on the finish, color and overall look of the floor must be made relative to user perception. If the flooring design confuses perception, it can negatively impact those inflicted with dementia by increasing agitation, disorientation and anxiety. This can lead to the increased risk of falls. However, if a resident with dementia feels more “at home” because of the interior environment, this can lead to less stress and better overall safety.

In an Alzheimer’s living care facility, the flooring design should be incorporated with other interior elements such as signage, appropriate lighting, clear contrasts between floors and walls, contrasting handrails and furniture. When appropriately combined, these aspects should foster your loved one’s ability to navigate their surroundings clear and simply, aiding orientation and visual comfort.

A dementia friendly floor, reduces anxiety and stress in patients who may experience the loss of peripheral sight, age-related vision changes and color perception.

Color Selection Guide for Alzheimer’s Dementia Care Seniors

Throughout all cultures, certain colors are associated with particular feelings and evoke emotions that are relevant in modern design. Colors can affect how we feel subconsciously. As such, an individual may not realize that they are being affected or even how a certain color in their environment affects their mood.
The psychological feelings associated with colors typically are divided into two main groups representing colors as either “warm” or “cool.”

Although color choice and dementia care is not an “exact science,” it is believed the color preference for individuals with Alzheimer’s related dementia are blue, red and green.

Blue

Blue is considered a restful color with a calming effect on your mood. It is also the color associated with trust. Blues are the shades of the sea and sky which is thought to induce feelings of calm and convey tranquility, serenity and peace. Research shows that using blue in the physical environment can actually lower blood pressure, and that blue rooms are seemingly cooler than rooms painted in shades of red or orange. Blue also appears to increase the size of the room. Interestingly, blue instills confidence and inspires feelings of trust, loyalty, integrity and responsibility.

Red

Red is the color of passion and drama. It is also known to increase brain wave activity. The color attracts the most attention and is associated with strong emotions such as love and anger. Moreover, red is used universally to depict danger, courage, strength and power. The color red is stimulating, vibrant and exciting. Spatially, it seems to decrease the size of a room, and increases the perceived temperature of the room. If you want to get the attention of an individual with Alzheimer’s or dementia, use red. However, use carefully as red can evoke feelings of aggression and cause visual strain.

Green

Green is symbolic of growth, health and life. In nature we see green in all its glory expressing renewal and life. It is considered the most restful of colors. Green reduces central nervous system activity, and helps individuals remain calm. Using green makes rooms appear larger. Particularly, lime green is effective with individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia for visual attention ( e.g, visual cues for bathrooms, bedrooms, walkers, etc.)

Pink

The use of a pink color for the affected individual who may have aggressive tendencies has been suggested throughout research.  Try using pink in their personal space as it tends to ease aggression. Pink is the color of sensitivity. The color is associated with love, tranquility and femininity because it is the combination of red (i.e., passion) and the purity of white. Pink has associations with tenderness and nurturing while conveying a sense of safety and vulnerability.

For other color selection guidance click here for further detail. And, click here for a detailed discussion for the color use of gray.

Besides color choice, flooring trends in Senior Living are reproductions of natural patterns and colors. These natural looking surfaces promote “home like” milieus considered less institutional than traditional hospital environments. In studies, participants with dementia commented that they preferred natural colors and patterns over artificial designs.

However, excessive use of patterns or distinctive bold patterns can have a negative effect. Seniors with Alzheimer’s related dementia may perceive patterns and motifs as actual objects. As such, they may be inclined to “pick something up” off the floor. This phenomenon is referred to as the ‘trompe d’oeuil’ effect, where people are confused or tempted to try and pick up design elements from the floor.

Moreover, the color of the floor tile or the pattern in the carpet could have a dramatic impact on the dementia patient’s perception of their surroundings. For example, an extremely dark carpeting may create an optical illusion that depicts a “hole” or a dangerous area to be avoided. Furthermore, drastic contrasting flooring tiles may be perceived as two distinct or different surfaces causing confusion.

This does not mean that your design needs to be bland. Good use of color and patterns can not only lift spirits, but it also helps residents to recall positive memories.

Understanding Color Perception and Contrast

The human perception of color is dependent on the natural pigments of color in objects and how light reflects from their surface.

In color theory there are the three primary colors: red, yellow, and blue, and three secondary colors: orange, green, and purple. Both primary and secondary colors can vary in terms of: hue, value, and chroma:

  • Hue: is what is typically referred to as “color.” Hue is determined by one or more of the primary and secondary colors.
  • Value: determines the degree of lightness (i.e., or “tint”) or the perceived darkness (i.e., or “shade”) of a color.
  • Tint: in more detail, tint is the lightness of a color when white is added.
  • Shade: is the darkness of a color when black is added.
  • Chroma: is considered the brilliance or purity of a color. Accordingly, the primary colors would exhibit the brightest chroma, and they are considered the most brilliant.

So, when speaking of the contrast between colors, this includes:

  • Contrast of hue: For example, the contrast between red and yellow hues.
  • Contrast of light and dark occurs when different tints and shades are depict side-by-side to each other.
  • Contrast of cold and warm: This occurs when colors with different perceptions of “temperatures” are displayed next to each other.
  • “Light” Considerations

Light is a critical factor in perception of color. Our perception of color is a combination of the pigment color of an object or the surface reflection in a specific environment. But, our perception is also affected by how that color (i.e., when exposed to light) reflects off that object.

Now, that we have the science of color behind us, flooring and interior manufacturers have made our design decisions a little easier by grading their products relative to interactions with light.

Light Refection Values

Light reflection values (LRV) are important factors for consideration in dementia environments. The combinations of various colors used in flooring, walls and other interior products can be logically determined by using identical or contrasting LRV’s. Since LRV’s are a universal measurement for all materials, the LRV’s for wall covering or furniture can be measured relative to the flooring design.

Color and Contrast 

Through a greater understanding of the perception of color, contrast and lighting, better designs can assist our loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s related dementia in Senior Living Centers. Most importantly, the knowledge of color perception incorporated into design can help those with dementia to be safer and hopefully less agitated from stress.

Main Line Floors & Interiors for Dementia Care Living

Main Line Floors and Interiors is a specialty flooring distributor and installation contractor in the metro Philadelphia Pennsylvania, Delaware and South New Jersey marketplace. We specialize in helping deliver the best flooring resources to assisted living and senior living environments.

Main Line Floors & Interiors works with industry experts to raise awareness in appropriate design for dementia care facilities. We are committed to understanding the design needs in dementia and mental health to help deliver a better quality of life through building better living spaces.

The number of people with dementia is set to increase dramatically as our population ages. Appropriate design is the key to tackling the changing needs – we have the knowledge and skills to create much safer environments to help seniors navigate their way around more easily. Following are some practical flooring considerations to assist those inflicted with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Flooring Guide for Alzheimer’s Patients

  • Use floors that have a matt appearance rather than shiny materials. The glare can alter perception, as well as be perceived as slippery and wet. This perception can negatively affect the gait of the individual and cause anxiety and unfamiliarity.
  • Excessive use of patterns or textures can cause illusions leading to confusion and increased agitation.
  • Use appropriate contrasts. The use of tones with similar light reflectance values (LRVs) are recommended as a sharp contrast may be confusing.
  • Color contrasts can be used to create boundaries. For example, the use of color contrast can create a visual barrier for those areas where residents are not permitted (e.g., staff areas or danger zones).
  • Use strong colors rather than paler shades to aid in orientation and understanding of pathways. This is helpful for those afflicted with color vision deterioration.
  • Avoid using dark colors. These shades could trigger emotions of imprisonment.
  • Consider flooring materials that absorb noise and reduce sound levels between rooms. Noise is another factor that can contribute to agitation.

Main Line Floors and Interiors focuses on the supply and installation of high end residential and commercial carpets and flooring. However, we have great products and installations for Builders, Multi-family, Senior Living, Hospitality and the Real Estate Investor / House Flipper. We proudly serve the Philadelphia, PA metro area, Delaware and South New Jersey region.

Feel free to leave a comment if this post was helpful or informative. I hope it was.

Thank you,

Main Line Floors & Interiors

Follow and like us now