Skim Coating | Floor Preparation


About Skim Coating

Skim coating in floor preparation is a process in which a compound is applied to the subfloor as an underlayment to reduce variations in the floor and provide for a smooth and adherable surface over which new floor coverings can be installed. Sometimes a floor requires a thick layer (up to a 2 inches) of cement patching compound to eliminate issues and make it ready.

In our case in New Holland, PA where we were installing sheet vinyl over a previous layer of sheet vinyl, all we needed was a thin skim coat layer. We used Ardex Feather Finish to smooth the surface as well as to introduce a drying agent for the adhesive. Feather finish is self-drying. It crystalizes the water enabling it to dry without the need for evaporation. If, for example, you install your new sheet vinyl directly over vinyl without embossing (putting a thin layer of mud over the surface and thus providing a gripping surface), the glue is not likely to dry and may not grip to the finish of the vinyl.

Do you need to update your old floor with some new luxury sheet vinyl? Give us a shout!


Our installers Chad and Joel Martin made this skim coat as smooth as butter for the new sheet vinyl to be installed. The layer of coat is very thin, measuring 1/16” to 1/32”. It’s just thick enough, however, to eliminate telegraphing of the old floor (where the patterns, lines, and bumps in the subfloor’s surface show through to the new layer of flooring). You wouldn’t want this straight-lay pattern showing through to your new flooring with, say, a brick-set pattern. Besides the problem that would be presenting by glue that didn’t adhere, it would be unsightly!

Good work, gentlemen.

Did you know that much went into installing vinyl flooring in a kitchen?

A Conversation with Josh Plank, Lead Flooring Technician

There’s a lot more to installing new floors than securing them in place. From material selection to properly preparing the subfloor to putting the finishing touches on the project, there are many details to take into consideration to make the final product excellent. It’s these fine details that separate the good from the great. In this video, we’re talking to our lead technician, Josh Plank, to hear of the provisions our installers make to ensure a beautiful and enduring work. With this presentation, we are also aiming to prepare customers for what to expect on a new flooring project and if they would happen to run into a need for repair down the road.


Nick: Tell us a little bit about your experience in the flooring industry. You’ve been doing it for like 10 years or something like that?

Josh:  Actually, I have 17 years experience. I started working for my stepdad when I was 17 as a carpet helper. I’ve been at D&S for about a year and a half.

Nick: Having a good time?

Josh: Yeah, I like working here. I specialize in hard surface installations, anything other than carpet and ceramic.  I do do some of those from time to time. It’s not really my specialty but..

Nick: You can do it and get it done.

Josh: You have to be well rounded. Yep!

Nick: That’s excellent! From your perspective what should a customer take into consideration when they’re choosing a new flooring product?

Josh: That’s a good question. I mean, typically I would say skies the limit at this point. Most flooring now is designed for families with pets and kids. And there’s carpet with waterproof backing and pad with waterproof membranes on the top. A lot of the vinyl products that are popular right now. Vinyl planks, tiles.. the floating ones are waterproof. They’re putting more aluminum oxide in the finish of hardwood for scratch resistance. So I would say it’s really about what you like and how much you want to spend. I wouldn’t put carpet in a kitchen/bathroom obviously. As far as other things, I mean, I’ve seen lot of hardwoods going into kitchens now. 

Nick: Is it like a newer trend, the hardwood in kitchens?

Josh: The past 5/7/10 years has been, you know, coming around more. People do a lot more open layouts. They’re running the same thing throughout the whole downstairs her house. Whether it be hardwood or vinyl plank. The printing abilities they have now it looks more realistic now (vinyls) than they did 10-15 years ago. I’ve seen pictures of stuff… I’ve taken pictures of jobs where I was impressed with how it looked, and people were like, “Oh is that wood?”  And I say, “No, it’s actually a vinyl product.”

Nick: So you’ve worked with a lot of different materials. If you’re recommending to a customer in terms of what’s going to last the longest, what would be some of the top few things you would mention?

Josh: There’s two products to get out to me for for longevity and durability. They would be in cork (solid cork) and linoleum. They’re the two most green products, if you will, natural products. If they’re installed properly they can last 40 to 50 years or longer. Now the cost on those is fairly high and you really have to like what you’re putting in obviously if you want a floor to last that long. I would say right under that would be ceramic tile and solid wood, would probably be your next step down. And then you’re looking at your engineered’s, your vinyl products, your sheet vinyls, your vinyl planks/tiles that sort of thing. Then carpet would be at the bottom of the list. I’m not saying that carpet’s going to last you two days or anything like that, but it’s not, I would say, as durable. It’s a softer product than some of the more hard surface things. 

Nick: There really are a lot of options out there for customers. Options out there for customers so let’s talk a little bit about demolition and removal what should customers expect and what typically goes into that part of the process

Josh: Removal and demolition is typically your job most labor-intensive part of the job depending on, obviously, what you’re removing. Ceramic tiles for example, if you are tearing out a bunch of that, I mean, that can take a week depending on the size of the job. Usually, we plastic stuff off as best we can. Carpet… I mean, you can go from that end of the spectrum down to carpet which is usually cutting stuff up and taking out the tack strip and the pad staples. Typically, that’s not quite as long of a process. We do try to keep, you know, dust down/noise down as much as we can. However, we are a construction company. I know a lot of people don’t typically put flooring in that category because it’s more of a decorating type of a thing, but we still are a construction company. 

Nick: So sometimes customers will do the demolition, but we also offer that?

Josh: sometimes people want to tear it out themselves, save some money. That’s fine. But typically I say about 80 to 90% of the projects, we do the tear out/demolition. 

Nick: So taking care of the environment, I know, is important to us. What are some of the things we do to ensure that?

Josh: For example, if we are tearing out hardwood, typically we burn that; as opposed to putting that in a landfill. Cardboard we recycle. The only problem is, construction waist is hard to dispose of to wear it doesn’t go into a landfill. We strive for the best we can do in that area.

Nick: so tell us a little bit about what goes into floor preparation.

Josh: floor preparation would be, especially on the hard surface end, Going to be the foundation that you build upon. A good analogy is a foundation like a house. You could have the nicest looking house in the world put your foundation could not be up to par…

Nick: and that would make all the difference..

Josh: Exactly. So as far as floor prepped, mostly for what I do… Typically you’re looking to get a floor smooth. OK? And as flat as possible. We don’t want to say level because unless you’re pouring self leveler, you’re not going to get a level floor. That can be done at a cost… Basically from my end of it, I am looking at.. concrete: is there a hump that can be ground out? Is there a low spot that can be filled in by pouring on cement patching compound? Holes: they need to be filled as well. Wood substrates: You’re looking at your subfloor joints. They need sanded. Another key thing for what I do typically is under cutting. That could be door jams, brick hearths, stone hearths, brick walls, even ceramic tile walls in bathrooms can be undercut. It gives you a more finished look to a job, almost like it was meant to be there, as opposed to (scribing). We are able to scribe material, but to me, the more you can undercut the better of the job you’re going to get as far as aesthetics go.

Nick: Wow! So a lot goes into floor preparation.

Josh: yeah, I would say typically, 60% of the work that’s done for me would be floor prep.

Nick: if you don’t do floor preparation right, it’s not necessarily going to be hidden by the product that goes on top.

Josh: Correct. Yeah. Typically, floating floors are usually the real key to that one because they are floating, and if you have a lot of variance in your floor, you can feel movement up-and-down. Say for example you’re working in a house that was built in 1870, say. The subfloor in there can be fairly wavy. It’s not going to be like you’re working in a house that was built 10 years ago that you’re trying to redo where everything is a lot more flat. We do the best we can with what we have to work with and communicate that with the customer to handle their expectations as well.

Nick: We make it a point at D&S to be excellent at what we do. What would you say distinguishes us as ‘expert installers”?

Josh: There’s plenty of things in that. Attention to detail is definitely A big one. Professionalism on the job… We are a service business. It’s not just about putting a floor in. I mean, it’s about communicating with the customer, handling their expectations, holding ourselves to a high standard as far as installation goes, installing a floor properly per manufacturers recommendation, (and) making every job look the way a customer in vision is it looking. Technically, you could be the best flooring installer in the world and not be able to communicate with someone and it’s basically pointless. That to me is what really separates the good ones from the great ones. The attention to detail thing is definitely key. Flooring installers have to wear a lot of different hats. We do trim-work. We do concrete finishing if you want to call it that. I mean, we do a lot of different things.

Nick: You’ve been installing for 17 years, what are some of the top mistakes you’ve seen made or maybe some DIYers would make?

Josh: floor prep is a big one. I mean, again… To me it always goes back to that. Undercutting jams… Not Knowing how to properly finish the floor as far as, like, on a hardwood installation puddy-ing nail holes correctly, Installing trim-work correctly, installing… Moldings or a big one. Transitions. Transitions our very difficult to install sometimes..

Nick: Transitions.. so one type of flooring goes into the next?

Josh: Correct.

Nick: Or maybe different levels?

Josh: Yep. Different levels of floor, different heights. What do you do here or there? Making transitions work that aren’t necessarily designed for the use that you need them to do.  Not nailing underlayment correctly Is another one I see. If you don’t have enough nails in your underlayment, overtime they could bubble up, almost like a trampoline type of fact. When you push down… Your flooring is glued or adhered to the underlayment but the underlayment is not adhere to the sub floor… Not caulking properly is another one. I mean, the sky is the limit. I’ve seen all kinds of stuff.

Nick: (Laughing) yeah.. One time there was like a hole, right? And someone took a soda can?

Josh: Oh yeah yeah.. i’ve seen soda cans nailed on top of holes in the floor. I mean, just anything you can imagine.

Nick: So something that would distinguish as Expert installers is, yeah the final product, but all that goes… All that hidden stuff that goes into floor preparation.

Josh: I would say… There is a flooring company where part of their name is flooring systems. So basically, they are saying that from their glue to the prep to the material is one system. And that’s what we’re trying to do. Everything in the system plays a part from top to bottom.

Nick: So in terms of percentage, how much time is spent on installation?

Josh: So percentage of time on installation I would say depends obviously on the type of flooring you’re doing. Sheet vinyl’s: it could be as little as 20% of actually installing sheet vinyl on a job, and the rest could be floor prep and installing trim-work. Hardwood: a little bit more, probably 40%. Same thing with carpet, but again, a lot of your time and hard surface goes into floor prep and a lot of the finishing stuff. 

Nick: You’re going into a customers home, and they are excited. They are getting their new floor, you know, put in that day or, you know, The next two days. Maybe what’s something customers should expect for like the day of installation or like maybe even before hand?

Josh: If we are moving furniture, we can do that. We typically ask if a customer can move some of the small items out, out of their furniture. Say if you have a China cabinet where you have a bunch of breakable things in there, we ask that you remove those. If, you know, in a residential house if we need access to water or power… If we can use those things, that we have access to them as well…  if we are grouting a floor or gluing a floor, pets should be put away where they’re not going to, you know, run through something you can track throughout the house.

Nick: When you’re installing, is that room typically off-limits?

Josh: Depending on what you’re doing, it can be. With grouting especially, you don’t want any traffic on that for 24 hours. Heavy rolling loads on vinyl floors, anything glued down. I mean, we can put fridges and stoves back. Once it’s installed, we roll them or carry them in on something to protect the floor. Foot traffic is normally is ok. Typically I say if I’m walking on the floor, you can. Showers and things of that nature, I’m not 100% sure on the timeline for that. I believe its 3 days after, 3 to 4 I think.

Nick: In terms of getting it wet?

Josh: Right. Exactly. If I’m installing vinyl in your bathroom and I caulk at your tub, you know, silicone caulk your tub. You can use your shower but just be mindful that caulk usually takes 24 hours to cure. 

Nick: So we’ll talk about repairs at this point. What are some of the most common repairs that you find yourself doing?

Josh: I would say, carpet: “Oh my dog tore a hole in something..” or “my cat”. You spill something on your carpet or burn it (with a) hot pan/candle. Hardwood would probably be like a scratched board or something you drop something on and put a ding in it. Same thing with vinyl plank. Sheet vinyl I see a lot of, “Oh! I moved my fridge out to clean it. And I… there’s a divot when I rolled it back.” 

Nick: As you’re going out to make these repairs, what are some of the easier flooring types to fix

Josh: Carpet is probably the easiest. That and sheet vinyl. Typically you can, you know, cut a square out or cut a tile in your vinyl pattern out and put another one in. Hardwood and like glue-down vinyl planks fairly easy. Engineered wood would be easier. Typically you’re cutting a board out and glueing another one in place. Solid wood is a little trickier than that. It’s a little harder to get that in. The two hardest would probably be a floating floor and ceramic tile. Floating floors are notoriously hard to fix because, you know, it’s a floating floor and you’re not adhering it to anything except the locking system. So typically, it can be… tricky. It’s very time-consuming because they don’t always want to go back together properly. You’re having to glue and this and that but not glue to the floor. 

Nick: So it’s possible but just maybe something customers can be aware of when they’re purchasing a floating floor. Hey, if this plank gets ruined it’s fixable but it’s going to take a little bit of time.

Josh: Right. Yeah. And I’m not saying it’s going to take days. It would just take an extra hour or two.

Nick: Any other general comments you would have?

Josh: I know all of our guys are passionate about what they do and are striving to do the best job that, you know, that we can for you. To me, if you’re not passionate about something, you’re not going to be good at it. I know for myself, I’m really passionate about flooring and I have been and I will be. I mean, I can’t see myself working in any other industry. When you’re shopping for a company to use is to keep that in mind because you do ultimately get what you pay for and that all goes into it. 

Nick: Thanks for sharing that Josh!

Josh: Yep, (I) appreciate it. 

Considering LVP?

5 Things You May Not Have Known


1st Thing

Resilient Luxury Vinyl Plank or LVP and linoleum are two different products! Sheet vinyl often gets mistaken for linoleum and linoleum for sheet vinyl. The big difference between the two is their composition. Vinyl is an oil-based product while linoleum is plant-based (linseed oil, pine tar resin, wood flour, natural pigments, and jute for the backing). Go green! Another big difference is the style or look of vinyl. In terms of design versatility, linoleum is limited to a linear or marbled pattern whereas vinyl can mimic any type of flooring or design because its look is printed on the material by a machine.

2nd Thing

Your high quality LVPs today will come with a very strong wear layer made out of urethane that’s been cured using ultraviolet light. This process actually creates a chemical reaction that makes the urethane a very hard surface. Armstrong Flooring has come out with their Diamond Ten coating which actually has cultured diamonds in the urethane coating making it even stronger and resistant to wear over time. Other methods include adding silicone oxide or aluminum oxide to the UV urethane coating to increase longevity as well.

3rd Thing

To increase the dimensional stability of LVP, manufacturers have begun adding limestone to its composition. Armstrong Flooring has an LVP product line called rigid core, and US Floors has their Coretec line with limestone in their makeup. This type of LVP is perfect for a hunting cabin, for example, where the temperature can vary from 22 to 104 degrees. Despite the vast temperature change, this type of LVP is dimensionally stable which means it won’t expand or shrink.

4th Thing

LVP is 100% waterproof which means the flooring material itself won’t absorb water. Thanks to the engineering of LVP locking systems, water spilled (and dried up quickly) won’t reach your subfloor due to the maintained surface tension across the joints between pieces. To be clear, both glue-down and floating LVP, however, are not a 100% waterproof barrier to your subfloor. In the case of flooding, they will not protect what’s underneath from getting wet and absorbing water.

5th Thing

LVP is a super low maintenance product. It doesn’t require re-sealing, refinishing, or an expensive vacuum cleaner to keep it looking amazing. It’s total life span is shorter than a solid hardwood floor, but during the 30+ years of your LVP, the daily regimen will mostly just include dry sweeping up the dirt and grit followed by a swiffer cleaning using a hard surface cleaning solution.

How to Choose the Right Floor for You | 5 Questions to Ask

A new floor can be a big investment, and with so many options, how can you be sure you’re getting the right floor for you? Here are some questions we recommend you ask to get you headed in the right direction.

1. What is my budget?

This question should be your first question when venturing into any renovation project for your home or business. Prices for flooring material vary from less than $1/square foot to $15/square foot, and that can add up quick. Here is the general price range for resilient vinyl (sheet, LVP, LVT, and VCT), carpet, tile (ceramic & porcelain), natural stone, and hardwood (engineered and solid).


Depending on the amount you’re looking to spend on your new floor, this price range can give you an idea of what works for you, so start there. And to help our customers with the cost, we offer free financing for 6 and 12 months.

2. Who should I trust to install my floor?


Depending on the nature and scale of the job as well as the quality of the finished product you’re looking for, you’ll need to decide between a highly skilled professional, shopping at a big box store, or calling your brother-in-law to borrow his tools! 🙂 In most cases, you get what you pay for. You might save some money with DIY-ing it or shopping at a chain store, but are you getting an expert installer? Quality professionals take great pains to ensure straight edges, smooth transitions, properly installed cove base, and provide patches and puddy work that looks sharp. If these things matter to you, you’ll want to make sure your installer is qualified and willing to stand behind his work, even if that installer is you.

In addition to material warranties supplied by our manufacturers, we offer a 1 year service warranty, guaranteeing all of our labor. If your flooring fails because of poor installation on our part, we will take care of that.

3. Where will my new floor be installed and how will it be used?


There is flooring for all kinds of applications. From commercial to residential, interior to exterior, to floors, walls, and backsplashes, the options are seemingly endless. Remember the 70’s when people installed carpet on their walls? You get the idea. Make the best selection by understanding the benefits and drawbacks of each type for your application.

Take residential kitchens, for example. You’ll want a durable floor that is able to withstand high traffic and is waterproof. Stone and tile would be your top choices. Hardwood, especially engineered hardwoods are a popular choice found in many kitchens today while other recommended options include linoleum, cork, and vinyl for their durability, water-resistance, and sound deadening qualities.

Do you have pets and kids? Opt for a stain-resistant and durable flooring type like stone, tile, hardwood, or vinyl. There are also high quality nylon carpets on the market with stain-resistant treatments that hold up well with proper maintenance. Speaking of carpet, did you know that berber (loop pile) tends to stand up better against traffic over time than a cut pile (plush) carpet? Do you have an outdoor space you’d like to beautify with flooring? Natural stone, porcelain tile, ceramic quarry tile, and exterior carpet are great options. Read about each of these options in our 8 Outdoor Flooring Options article.

Knowing the material, their strengths and limitations, is critical to making the best decision for flooring in a particular space. Our sales team loves walking customers through all these options to help them make the best decision for their needs.

4. What look do I want?

After you’ve narrowed your flooring selection based on price and utility, it’s time to have some fun with style. What do you want your room to look like? Thanks to modern printing techniques, realistic (not cheesy) natural stone and hardwood looks are available in ceramic, porcelain, vinyl, and laminate materials. Varied colors and patterns can also be found in these products, styles that are in step with current trends but subtle enough to endure the world's ever-changing interior design preferences. There’s a myriad of options in neutral tones of beige or gray. Certain colors and looks have the added benefit of hiding dirt. Carpet offers tons of colors and patterns as well. Additionally, you get to choose the finish of your hardwood, stone, or tile, making a selection between high gloss or matte finish as well as a rough feel created by various preparation and finishing methods. Overwhelmed yet?

Here are some more options to consider. With hardwood, tile, or lvp, instead of installing along the longest wall, you can lay it out on a 45 degree angle. Fancy! A herringbone pattern is a popular style with a lot of visual appeal. Have you ever heard of parisian chevron? You can also install in a pattern of squares or even frame your room with a border. Carpet tiles offer the option of getting creative with where you place your accent color should you choose one. Get creative. Have fun!

5. How much cleaning and maintenance am I willing to put into it?



Unfortunately, there is no super floor out there that is completely damage resistant. In fact, the more expensive natural stone and solid hardwood flooring still need regular care to keep looking amazing. Natural stone should be resealed every 1 to 3 years to prevent staining. Hardwood floors typically need to be refinished every 7 to 10 years. With natural stone, hardwood, and quality tiles, you’ll go longer between new installations, but regular maintenance is a must.

Carpet is amazing and just so soft, but it needs a lot of TLC (not the music group). To remain stain-resistant and clean, carpet is recommended to be professionally cleaned every 12 to 18 months. But let’s be real - who does that? If effectively cleaned, however, carpet can actually trap allergen and microbial particles, making them less available to become airborne, thus improving indoor air quality.

Resilient vinyl and laminate boast the least rigorous maintenance program. Daily dust-mopping to remove loose dirt and debris to avoid scratches, cleaning up spills immediately, and using some quality hard surface cleaner like Shaw’s R2X solution pretty much takes care of your floor.

For more maintenance tips for indoor floors or maintenance tips for outdoor floors, check out our other articles.

8 Outdoor Flooring Options


When warm weather beckons you outside, these flooring choices for exterior spaces will make for a beautiful and enduring setting.

Enhance your outdoor living space by installing a beautiful new floor using natural stone, man-made tile, or even carpet! Read the following recommendations from us here at D&S Flooring for some inspiration and drop us a line if you want some professional direction and/or installation in creating an even more welcoming exterior space for your home or business.

While some of these exterior flooring options can be installed directly on the ground, at D&S we specialize in installing on concrete and wooden subfloors. Here are our 8 recommendations:

Natural Stone


Part of the natural stone family, granite is the hardest and least porous of all the natural stones. Granite is an igneous rock which means it was formed from lava. Tell that to your guests next time they compliment you on your floor! Granite is rough cut from quarries into blocks or slabs of specific length, width, and thickness and then finished for its final presentation. Because granite is hard enough to resist abrasion, strong enough to bear significant weight, inert enough to resist weathering, and accepts a brilliant polish, its use dates as far back as ancient Egypt and is a prevalent building material today with many applications. It also holds up well in cold temperatures and adverse weather conditions, definitely suitable for the northeastern part of the United States where we are. Granite is available in beautiful color variations from white to black.

Finishing options for granite include polishing, honing, flaming, as well as a leather/brushed application. A polished finish is high-gloss and reflective. Once polished, an added benefit is that granite is more resistant to stains. A honed finish is similar to a polished finish but presents a matte appearance. This finish is achieved simply by stopping at an earlier stage in the polishing process. A honed finish is recommended for flooring because of its ability to better hide foot traffic and the evidence of wear as well as reduce the risk of slipping. A flamed finish is achieved when extremely high temperatures (often supplied by a blowtorch) are introduced to the surface of the granite, causing the individual grains to burst and change color. The result is a rougher and more natural look. A leathered finish is similar to honed in that is presents a matte look without the reflective element of a polished finish. Unlike a honed finish, however, a leathered finish leaves pits and fissures on the surface giving a slightly bumpy texture. The latter two finishes mentioned are recommended for outdoor flooring as a rougher surface makes your granite flooring more slip-resistant. Additionally, a penetrating sealer is recommended to prevent water damage, caused by freezing and thawing.

We sell granite products for outdoor flooring installation from the following companies: American Olean, Chesapeake Flooring, Daltile, and Interceramic USA.

For even more about finishes, check out this page.


Marble is the second hardest natural stone and slightly more porous than granite. Marble is a metamorphic rock which means it was once a caterpillar. Just kidding. Marble is a limestone that underwent high pressure and heat, and because of its formation process, marble is durable and resilient. It’s still porous, so it needs to be sealed to prevent degradation. Marble is available in many color variations from white to black with beautiful veining.

Finishing options for marble, which are similar to granite, include rough and polished finishes as well. In the polished category are polished, honed, or a combination of the two. In the rough category are ‘tumbled’ and leather/brushed edge finishes. These finishes present a more rustic or worn look. As far as the tumbled finish, the process consists of placing the marble tiles into a rubber drum that also includes things like rocks, sand, and water. The stone surfaces are bumpy when completed. Again for outdoor flooring, the tumbled or leather/brushed finish would be recommended to decrease the risk of slipping.

We sell marble products for outdoor flooring installation from the following companies: American Olean, Chesapeake Flooring, Daltile, Interceramic USA, Marazzi USA, and Shaw Floors.


Slate is another viable outdoor flooring option, famous for its durability and waterproof characteristics. We’re very familiar with slate being used as a roofing material. Like marble, slate is also formed through the metamorphic process but has a structure which enables it to be ‘cut’ or split along its foliation lines into smooth flat sheets. Its strong color variations create a lot of texture and visual interest.  No two tiles are ever alike which is great for creativity though presents a challenge matching if a replacement is needed in the future. As such, it’s a great choice when you want contrast in your outdoor patio. Colors ranges are gray, green, orange, brown and tan.

Finishing options for slate include natural cleft (manually split at the quarry), tumbled, polished, and honed.

We sell slate products for outdoor flooring installation from the following companies: American Olean, Daltile, and Shaw Floors.


Travertine is a limestone produced from the the interaction with chemicals over time. It’s a very porous material and must be sealed to prevent staining and water penetration. Travertine is available in rich colors from white to deep brown.

Finishing options for travertine include tumbled and polished finishes.

We sell travertine products for outdoor flooring installation from the following companies: American Olean, Chesapeake Flooring, Daltile, Florida Tile, Interceramic USA and Shaw Floors.


Limestone is a beautiful stone with a rich, light-colored appearance. It’s a sedimentary rock formed mostly in warm shallow waters from the remains of skeletal organisms such as coral. Being readily available and easily cut into block, it’s a popular building material.


In case you were wondering what the Giza Pyramids in Egypt were made out of, now you know they were built using limestone. Needless to say, limestone holds up very well against the elements over time making it an excellent option for outdoor flooring. If the great pyramid ruins still stand today, you can confidently install some limestone flooring over your backyard patio with confidence. Limestone is very porous, however, with visible pits in the stone, so it must be sealed for stain protection as well as freezing and thawing in cold weather climates. Limestone is available in colors from white to brown.

Finishing options for limestone include tumbled and polished.

We sell limestone products for outdoor flooring installation from the following companies: American Olean, Chesapeake Flooring, Conestoga Tile, and Marazzi USA.


Man-Made Tile


A clip from Florida Tile's porcelain tile printing process.


Porcelain is a ceramic material created from clay heated in a kiln to between 2,200 and 2,600 °F. During the process, materials in the clay vitrify, which means they turn into a liquid/glass, making them impermeable to water even before glazing (melting a thin glass layer onto the tile). As an impregnable surface, porcelain tiles are excellent options for outdoor use. Further strengthening this feature through the process of glazing increases porcelain’s resistance to water and breakdown caused by freezing and thawing. Additionally, porcelain boasts a high break strength or PEI rating which means it is stiletto-heel resistant.

As a man-made tile, porcelain comes in many styles from stone to wood to patterned looks thanks to innovative modern digital printing techniques.

We recommend installing porcelain tiles with a textured finish outdoors to reduce the risk of slipping.

See below for our list of porcelain tile manufacturers/distributors.

7. Quarry Tile

While most ceramic tile is not suitable for outdoors due to its permeability, lack of resistance to frost, and lower breaking strength, ceramic ‘quarry tile’ is a viable outdoor option where freezing temperatures and severe weather conditions are a factor. Quarry tile is fired at temperatures over 2,000 °F making its surface mostly impregnable. The main difference between porcelain and quarry tile is quarry tiles have an unglazed surface.  Quarry tiles come in red, brown, gray, or tan colors and can have a smooth or rough finish.

See below for a list of quarry tile manufacturers/distributors.


  • American Olean - Porcelain, Quarry Tile

  • Chesapeake Flooring - Porcelain

  • Conestoga Tile - Porcelain, Quarry Tile

  • Crossville - Porcelain

  • Daltile - Porcelain, Quarry Tile

  • Florida Tile - Porcelain, Quarry Tile

  • Garden State Tile - Porcelain

  • Interceramic USA - Porcelain

  • Marazzi USA - Porcelain

  • Marca Corona - Porcelain

Man-Made… Carpet!



Don’t forget about outdoor carpet! Shaw Floors, one of our major flooring suppliers, carries a line of needlebond and tufted indoor/outdoor carpet perfect for adding a soft touch to your outdoor experience. Made out of 100% UV polypropylene, these products are crafted to resist weathering and mold when kept clean and dry. Carpet offers sound absorption and aesthetic value in high profile areas of pools, patios, porches, sunrooms, playrooms, basements, walkways, and even miniature golfing fairways.

Carpet options for installation outdoors include artificial turf, tufted berber, and needlebond (needle punched) carpet. These come in wide variety of colors and color blends perfect for hiding dirt.

7 Outdoor Flooring Maintenance Tips

how to clean, maintain, and protect your natural stone flooring

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A cool fact about natural stone from the DalTile Website:

Natural stone has its own unique qualities that not only distinguish it from man-made materials, but also should be considered in selecting it for a particular project. Stone is not manufactured; it is a product of nature. Blocks are removed from the quarry, slabs are cut from these blocks, and the slabs are further fabricated into the final stone to be installed. Each block is different; each slab is different. Skillful blending or matching of the dimension stone blocks, veneer panels, tops, etc., results in a beautiful blending of nature’s variety and man’s design. “Uniformity of material,” when applied to natural stone, is a term of relative value that needs to be understood when making a selection.
— DalTile


Follow these tips to keep your slate, marble, travertine, onyx, and limestone in the best shape.

  1. Know Your Stone. Travertine stone for example, has voids in it due to the way it forms in nature. Certain white marbles if exposed to direct sunlight will yellow over time, and natural stone in general has a different cleaning regimen than man-made ceramic. Therefore, know your product so you can keep it looking and functioning at its best.
  2. Seal and Regularly Reseal Your Stone. Natural stone is more porous by nature compared to man-made ceramic tile. Properly sealing the stone with a high quality sealer is crucial to stain prevention. You’ll know it’s time to reseal your stone when water fails to bead on the surface but instead disappears into the stone and leaves a dark spot.
  3. Vacuum or Dust Mop Regularly. Dirt and grit can scratch the surface of natural stone. So remove it via vacuuming or dust mopping before applying the cleaning solution with a mop.
  4. Don’t Use Acids or Bleach to Clean. Introducing even mild acids to the natural stone can dull, etch, or otherwise damage your stone, so avoid using cleaners with vinegar, lemon juice, or bleach. Use a neutral pH cleaner designed for stone. (See recommendations below)
  5. Clean Up Water and Spills Right Away. Dry up any standing water from your stone flooring. Make sure your sprinkler isn’t also watering your floor as it waters your lawn. Always get after stain-causing spills as soon as you can. The longer a stain has to set in the stone, the more difficult to even impossible it will be to get out.
    1. Installation Note: Allow your newly installed tile to sit for 7 days before aggressive use or steam cleaning.
  6. Stain Removal is Possible. Using what’s called a ‘poultice’, an absorptive clay cleaning powder,  apply it for stain removal. There are different types of poultices depending on the type of stain. These can have a dulling effect on your stone.  You might need to polish your stone after using a poultice to restore your stone's natural shine.
  7. Buy Enough of the Product on the Front End. If part of your floor gets damaged and needs to be replaced, make sure you have enough of the stone to replace and match the original floor in the first place. Because you’re using a product created by natural processes, even the same type of stone harvested from the same quarry can look very different.

For more tips, consult your flooring salesman as you’re selecting flooring options as well as manufacturer product information.


Some Recommended Sealing Products:

  • Pre-Grout Sealer: DuPont Stone Tech Professional Bullet Proof (follow manufacturer instructions for application process)DuPont Stone Tech Professional Heavy Duty Sealer (follow manufacturer instructions for application process)

  • Aqua Mix Ultra-Solv (follow manufacturer instructions for application process)

  • Post-Grout Sealer: DuPont Stone Tech Professional Impregnator Pro (follow manufacturer instructions for application process)

  • Post-Grout Sealer: Aqua Mix Sealers Choice Gold (follow manufacturer instructions for application process)

Some Recommended Cleaning Products

  • DuPont™ StoneTech® Professional Stone & Tile Cleaner

7 Indoor Flooring Maintenance Tips

clean, maintain, and protect your hardwood, tile, resilient vinyl, and carpet flooring



Whether engineered or solid, these insights will help you keep your hardwood floor in good shape.

  1. Sweep, dust and vacuum your floors. If using a vacuum, attach the proper hard floor adapter to avoid scratching the finish of your wood.

  2. Use the right cloth. Microfiber is best. It kind of goes without saying, but especially avoid steel wool, scouring powders, or abrasive cleaners. Also avoid using a buffing machine. You know, the ones designed to remove floor finishes...

  3. Use the right cleaner. Choosing the proper cleaning solution depends on the finish of your hardwood (surface finish or penetrating finish), not so much the wood itself. Using oil-based, wax, polish or strong ammoniated products can dull your floor’s finish, and that would not be cool. We carry Shaw Floor's hard surface cleaner in our showroom. (You may have noticed Josh demonstrating it.)

  4. Wipe up spilled water immediately. Dry any standing water as soon as possible. Even surface finished hardwood can suffer water damage.

  5. Don’t mop (in the traditional sense where you're soaking your floors with lots of water). Mopping your hardwood floor introduces way more water than you’d ever want to spill onto your floor by accident. This excess water could seep into the wood fibers and cause swelling and warping, and that would be sad 😢

  6. Use entry mats and floor protectors. Implementing the use of entry mats in high traffic areas and floor protectors underneath heavy furniture can increase the lifespan of your floor. Ask us for some felt floor protectors, and we'll hook you up.

  7. Rearrange Your Furniture Periodically. Let your flooring share the load as evenly as possible by redirecting high traffic each time you move your furniture around.

    1. BONUS. So here’s another cool tip: If you drop gum or candle wax onto your floor, you can remove it by first hardening it by rubbing it with an ice cube and then scraping it off with a plastic card.


Keeping your ceramic, porcelain, or natural stone tile at its best.

  1. Sweep or vacuum first. Before using any cleaning solutions on your tile, remove dirt and debris with a soft-bristled broom or vacuum with a hard surface attachment to avoid putting scratches in your glazed tile.

  2. Glazed tile cleaning. Mmmm… glazed. After sweeping or vacuuming, clean your tile with an all-purpose (non-oil-based) household cleaner. Mixing some water with a mild detergent also works. If you’re feeling creative, you could introduce an acidic ingredient like fresh lemon juice to your cleaning solution, effective for removing soap scum and alkaline type stains. Don't add an acidic solution to your cleaner if you're cleaning marble or other natural stone flooring. The pH balance in your cleaning solution needs to be neutral or it will break down your material. Read more about caring for your natural stone flooring in this article.

  3. Unglazed tile cleaning. Unglazed ceramic or porcelain (man-made) tile lacks the melted glass coating of its glazed counterpart. It’s a lot less slippery when wet but more porous which means you need to be more gentle when cleaning it. Hot water and white vinegar mixture is recommended. The vinegar mixture is great especially if you have kids and pets since it’s chemical-free and safe if ingested.

  4. Cotton, microfiber, or chamois-style cloths. Avoid using sponges or sponge mops as they tend to push dirt and grime into cracks and grout joints.

  5. Grout Joint Cleaning Tip. Mix baking soda and water together, forming a paste, and rub it onto your dirty grout joints. After letting it sit overnight, scrub the grout with a stiff nylon brush. Repeating this step to get your desired results may be necessary.

  6. Reseal your floors. If you want your tile installation to keep looking good and remain mostly impervious to stains, seal them after installation then reseal them every year to 2 years. If water doesn’t bead on the grout lines, it’s probably time for the resealing regimen.

  7. Protection. Tile is strong, but it still suffers wear and tear. the use of mats in high traffic areas and floor protectors underneath furniture is recommended.


Follow these tips to keep your resilient vinyl flooring (Sheet/LVP/LVT) in tip top shape.

  1. Immediately following installation. Keep foot traffic to a minimum. And for glue down vinyl, avoid putting furniture on the floor until after the first 24 hours.

  2. Clean Daily. (Or at least make that your aim) Clear your floor of potentially damaging dirt and grit by dust mopping or sweeping every day. Having good entry mats can cut down on the amount of dirt and oil tracked inside from the great outdoors.

  3. Clean spills immediately. Vinyl is waterproof but leaving a spill standing on your floor for a long period of time increases the chance of staining.

  4. Protection. Hopefully you get this by now. Protective mats (without rubber or latex backing) at high traffic areas and pivot joints (like in front of your kitchen sink) can increase the longevity of your floors and prevent visible wear spots. Floor protectors (plastic or felt) that are non-pigmented and at least an inch wide are recommended.

  5. Avoid direct sunlight. This is a tip for all flooring and furniture, really. Lower the blinds during bright times of the day to minimize direct sunlight on your floors. Over time, it can cause discoloration. Excessive temperatures can also cause expansion of the vinyl material. While some companies are coming out with dimensionally stable options, it's still a good tip!

  6. Do not use vinegar or soap or detergents. Soaps and detergents can leave a dulling effect on your floor's finish. Use an approved resilient vinyl cleaning solution like Shaw Flooring’s R2X Hard Surface cleaner or Mannington Flooring’s Rinse-Free Cleaner.

  7. Do not use a vacuum with a rotating beater bar. It could scratch your beautiful floor, and again, that would be so sad.


Whether cut pile, loop, or the cut and loop carpet combo, follow these maintenance and cleaning care tips for your maximum carpet satisfaction.

  1. Install the Right Pad. During installation, get it right from the beginning with the proper carpet padding, especially on stairs. Check the carpet's warranty recommendations and explore your carpet pad options.

  2. Don't Track Dirt Inside. This is so obvious it's almost funny. But seriously, make your life easier and make your carpet's life longer by having good walk-off mats to keep the dirt, grit, soil, and asphalt outside and off your carpet.

  3. Vacuum Regularly. This is stated by one of our main supplier's as the most important maintenance tip. In light of this and the myriad of vacuum cleaner options on the market, we've included a link below to help you make an educated vacuum cleaner decision! We recommend that you then use that educatedly purchased vacuum cleaner to clean your carpets thoroughly, especially in high traffic areas.

  4. Treat the Affected Area Immediately. The sooner you can get at it, the better. The longer spilled foods or liquid stands on your carpet, the more likely they are to leave a stain.

  5. Clean Your Carpets Regularly. Using a hot water extraction method, clean your carpets every 12 to 18 months. It's recommended to hire a professional cleaning service and one that follows the Carpet and Rug Institute Seal of Approval. A poorly cleaned rug can actually increase the rate at which your carpet breaks down. So make sure you don't cut corners here.

  6. Minor Repairs. Use scissors to cut back snags or loose piles. If the there are small burn spots on the carpet, you can use a pair of curved nail scissors to cut back the burnt tips.

  7. Spot Cleaning. When spot cleaning, completely remove the detergent or solution used to avoid any residual sticky residue that just attracts more dirt. Derry, our owner, would highly recommend using Shaw Flooring's R2X Stain & Soil Remover, which doesn't need to be rinsed out. Bonus!

Here are some links to super helpful resources by two of our main carpet suppliers:

Shaw Flooring's Website of All Things Cleaning and Maintenance

Vacuum Recommendations: Mohawk's + Shaw's