Pizza, anyone?

When it comes to pizza, I’m a big fan, especially DeLorenzo’s Tomato Pies in New Jersey (you know the one – the pizza I import for special occasions).  But I have a new affinity for the stuff now that I’ve been quoted in Pizza Today magazine.  Writer DeAnn Owens asked me about the best flooring for pizzarias, which was great timing because we had just finished laying the floor for a Shakeys restaurant, so the info was fresh in my mind.

The link to DeAnn’s article is

http://www.pizzatoday.com/Magazines/Year/2011/October2011/34FHflooring052311.html

I’ve also included the article below for those who want to hang out on my blog.

Happy reading!

Floor Dance

Lay flooring with safety and maintenance in mind

BY DeAnn Owens

With so many options available, upgrading or replacing a floor can be overwhelming. But, if an operator can identify the needs of the restaurant, flooring can be a perfect reflection of design and function.

“Restaurant floors should be planned and designed with practicality and safety as the top considerations,” says Restaurant Consultant Aaron Allen.

Allen recommends operators look for flooring that has easy to clean surfaces, high/durable base boards, is accessible to surface cleaning tools, holds up to chips and cracks, is resistant to stains and fading and offers a guarantee or warranty for its lifespan.

“Flooring at the restaurant entrance will have different considerations than flooring under the fry line in the kitchen, where oils are likely to splash and spill,” Allen says. “Carpeting areas with high humidity can result in mildew which may smell; likewise, high humidity can cause wood flooring to buckle and warp resulting in poor aesthetics and trip hazards. Flooring that may need to hold up to heavy equipment or weight strains has unique considerations.”

Eric Peters, a communications specialist with Acoustical Solutions, Inc., in Richmond, Virginia, advises operators to minimize noise.

“Customers appreciate the fact that they can hear each other as well as their servers, but with dishes clanging, servers scurrying about, conversations and sometimes multiple TVs on, it is very hard to hear anything,” Peters says.

To fight the noise, Peters suggests treating the floor with an acoustic floor underlayment to stop noise transferring to lower levels and reduce echoing.

Consider upkeep when choosing a floor, advises Doron Armony, president and CEO of Eden Flooring and Construction, Inc. in Orange County, California. He suggests textured quarry tiles for kitchens because they provide some traction and are easy to clean and maintain. Smooth quarry tile may be required under machinery.

“In high traffic areas of the restaurant, porcelain tiles that resemble wood and come in various colors and sizes are a good choice,” Armony says. “If you mix the sizes and the colors in each row (i.e. one row will have all 8-inch red tiles and the next row will have 4-inch brown tile and the next 6-inch yellow tile etc.), the untrained eye will easily mistake it for hardwood flooring.”

Armony warns operators against hardwood flooring because it is often cleaned incorrectly with water, which creates separation, gaps and eventual buckling. He suggests laminate flooring for dining room areas, but operators should take caution; too much spillage or water can penetrate the laminate and cause it to expand. For industrial use, he recommends concrete because it can handle forklift pressure, is very low maintenance and is easily repaired.

For operators who want waterproof and easy-to-clean flooring, Debbie Gartner, owner of Floor Coverings International in Elmsford, New York, suggests tile or vinyl.

“Tile will look nicer and cost more,” Gartner says. “The grout lines sometimes make it harder to clean, but it also helps if you have tighter grout lines. And, if you seal the grout (and reseal every year), it will last longer and look better. I would choose something with some texture rather than shiny/glossy, which can be more slippery. I would stay away from natural stone (unless it’s a very upscale store) as these are harder to clean and maintain.”

According to Gartner, vinyl offers many options. On the low-end, sheet vinyl and VCT (vinyl composite tile), which are 12-inch by 12-inch squares, are easy to clean but not as attractive. On the high end, luxury vinyl plank or tile offer the look of hardwood or tile.

For operators who want to go green, Allen suggests flooring made of sustainable materials. “Bamboo, unlike typical wood trees, replenishes at incredibly fast rates and is therefore a sustainable material now being used in flooring,” he says. “Crushed coconut is also on the horizon as a commercially viable material.” Then, of course, there are recycled materials, which are being transformed into all sorts of new restaurant flooring options.

With the hustle and bustle in restaurants, operators need flooring to be a safe foundation. “Both ceramic and quarry floor tile will be more slip resistant than the standard (lowest cost) VCT,” says Matt Vetter, president of River’s Edge Project Management, in Hamburg, Michigan. “There are options available for textured VCT designed to be more slip resistant, but in my experience it is very difficult to clean. There are also solid epoxy options available (much like what you would see in a residential garage), but I have not found many health departments that are on-board with this yet. ”

Armony recommends abrasion-resistant tiles to prevent slippage.

“Minimizing the height between different floor finishes will minimize safety hazards (i.e. don’t put ½-inch tile next to 3/8-inch marble without adjusting the height at the seam where the two meet),” Armony says.

Of course, an operator’s budget may have the final word in the flooring debate.

“If budget is the key priority, then I would say some sort of commercial carpet — one with a lot of color variation that will hide the dirt,” Gartner says. Nylons will hold up better than olefins/polyesters. The carpeting will cost less, but will need to be replaced more often.

Vetter suggests balancing budget with style.

“A worthwhile compromise that I suggest often when project budgets are very tight is to install ceramic tile in the lobby (most of my clients do not have any dine-in areas); install quarry tile in the walk-in coolers and around any wet areas, and fill in the rest of the kitchen with VCT,” Vetter says. “This presents the best look to the customer, keeps employees safer from slips, and controls budget.”

To get the most from their flooring investment, operators need to apply elbow grease.

“One, make sure the flooring is installed properly –– any flooring installed improperly will not produce the desired results and will most likely fail,” Vetter says. Two, keep it clean. Any flooring needs to be cleaned on a regular basis — doing so will prolong the life and look.

With so many options available, operators are sure to find flooring that meets their safety, maintenance, design and budget needs.

 

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Got Noise? Put a Cork on It.

Did you ever wonder why the floors in haunted houses creak so much?  Probably because they have no cork under them (and you thought they were just trying to scare you).  
 
If you’re thinking of installing hardwood or laminate flooring and don’t want your house to sound like Jason’s coming to get you, I urge you to put down  cork underlayment.  Cork is the absolute best choice for “acoustic control” (reducing noise, that is) – it prevents creaking from the floor boards themselves and, when installed on second floors or higher, it keeps the noise from below from coming through the floor.

How does it do that?  Millions of air-filled pockets inside the material create a cushiony surface that prevents sound waves from travelling through.  That’s why cork is commonly used in apartments buildings, hotels, museums and other high traffic venues where uncontrolled sound would kill the experience.
 
Cork can be used with laminate flooring and almost every hardwood flooring installation, whether you’re gluing, nailing or stapling down the wood.  It can also be used under ceramic tile or to build up a subfloor when there is a height difference in the floors between two rooms.
 
And here’s a few more great things about cork I’ll bet you didn’t know: it’s fire resistant and environmentally friendly.  Cork is stripped from the trunks of cork oak trees beginning when they are 25 years old. 

Those big guys live to be about 200, giving us an abundant supply of this renewable material – an important fact for those of us worried about our carbon footprint.
 
So what’s the downside (isn’t there’s always a downside)?  Price.  Cork adds about $2 per square foot to your cost, making it probably the most expensive of underlayment materials.  I always try to save my clients money wherever I can, but this is one item I say is well worth the additional expense.  There simply isn’t another material out there that controls noise as well, so unless you plan to tiptoe your way through life, I recommend bearing the price.
 
We recently installed a cork underlayment in a client’s Newport Coast home.  He installed hardwood on his second floor and was very concerned about noise from downstairs disturbing him while he’s working in his upstairs office or trying to catch a few winks.  

Here’s a photo of the prep.


 
For best installation, we glued the cork to the subfloor, then glued the wood on the cork. 


 
The wood you’re seeing is Midnight Oak, a beautiful, rich hardwood that never goes out of style.

 

Keep in mind the baseboards have yet to be installed, so we’ll show you the finished project once we’re done.  For now, you can see the beautiful hardwood floor with cork underlayment.  And listen….

Hear that?  No noise.  

Before I go, I’ve got another contest for all you trivia buffs.  What country produces the most amount of cork (hint – it’s not Ireland)?  Send your answers in the comments section or on Facebook.  Winner gets a free cork bulletin board courtesy of Eden Flooring and Construction, Inc.

Is noise in your home driving you mad?  Why not install new flooring with cork underlayment?  Contact Doron at 949-228-5218 or doron@edenflooring.com

Getting the Home You Want and the Money to Fix it Up

Have you ever seen a fixer upper that you knew had a lot of potential but you just didn’t think you had the budget to both purchase it and make it the home you knew it could be?  Then I’d like to share with you one of real estate’s best kept secrets (well, maybe not a secret, since it’s been around for years and has put homeownership in reach for many who couldn’t afford it otherwise, but it was new to me until not that long ago).

FHA 203k loans are home loans backed by the U.S. government. Simply put, they let
you purchase a home and finance up to $35,000 in renovations and repairs in a single loan.

Why is that important?  Renovating with an FHA loan means that you can do the work in your house without dipping into your savings.  Imagine being able to remodel your home to make it exactly what you want – and not going broke to do it.  There are some limitations, mind you.  203k loans won’t let you put in a resort-style pool with swim-up bar and cabanas covered in palm leaves.  But you can get that beautiful new kitchen or
bathroom you’ve longed for, or make your home environmentally kind by using green
appliances and materials.

Another advantage is that 203k’s may be easier than getting a mortgage plus a second
renovation loan – and you know how much paperwork and hassle multiple loans can
be (plus they give the banks more opportunities to say “no”).  Dealing with the FHA may mean that you’ll get a lower interest rate than you would on a regular loan. These loans may also require a lower down payment – between 3.5-10% – than a conventional loan, for better or for worse, depending on your situation.  For someone with shaky credit, this may be the way to go, since 203k’s have a lower credit requirement.  And since you’re looking at homes that need work, you may be able to negotiate a really good deal, especially when the seller knows it needs work and isn’t willing to put the money into it.

Of course, like anything, 203k’s have some disadvantages.  First, they can take longer to secure, sometimes up to 45 days.  You might also incur costs such as having the home appraised and getting an estimate from an approved lender for the renovations you intend to do.  Finally, because 203k’s have safety guidelines, you might have to pay for repairs and improvements you hadn’t planned on (and that aren’t nearly as much fun), such as replacing faulty wiring or removing lead paint.

All in all, 203k’s are a good solution for some people, especially those want to purchase a home but can’t afford one that is turn key, as well as for those who really want to create something truly their own.  If you think this is for you, talk to your real estate agent.  If you don’t have one, or if yours isn’t fully versed on 203k’s, let me know.  I can recommend some great ones.

I thought I’d share with you today a staircase we did recently in Irvine – I think it’s just beautiful.  The homeowner had old, worn-out carpeting on the stairs and wanted to pull it out and do something a bit more dramatic, but he didn’t want the expense of hardwood.  Stairs are a high traffic area, so I often recommend installing laminate, a multi-layered, wood-based flooring system that is strong a durable, resists scratches much better than wood, and can typically stand the wear and tear of kids and pets that would be no match for hardwood.

The client chose a rich, 12 mm red ancient pine laminate which we put only on the tread, leaving an elegant contract between the tread and the riser.

 

Beautiful.  And see how wonderful the stairs look against the wood banister.

 

Cutting the laminate for the treads is hard work, but so worth it.  I just love it!

Here’s just one more view.

More next time about our big Irvine remodel, where some behind-the-scenes electrical rewiring and plumbing is taking place to get ready for the new bathroom and recessed lighting that will go up through the house.  Thought I’d spare you the photo of hanging wires and toilet pipes.  Stay tuned.

To get a beautiful, durable staircase like the one you see above, contact Doron at 949-279-2011 or doron@edenflooring.com.