Monthly Archives: October 2008

Cork Flooring – Warm, Resilient & Easy On The Planet.


by Chris Moline, LEED AP

Are you looking for a warm, comfortable, eco-friendly floor? I’ve had cork flooring in my sun room and kitchen for almost two years now. What’s the verdict?

Well, my wife and I, along with our children ages 9, 10 and 13… and our 75-lb German shepherd… absolutely love it. In fact, we recently installed it in her home-based physical therapy office as well.
We’re active (to say the least) and there is so much about this type of flooring that goes with our lifestyle. In fact, cork has been used for flooring since the mid-1800’s. Stop by some of Frank Lloyd Wright’s homes and you’ll see cork everywhere from the kitchen to the bathrooms.
Cork is well-suited to commercial applications, too. Chicago’s First Congregational Church, the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, and Lafayette College in Easton, PA, are just a few of the places you’ll find it.

Click HERE
for a Free Estimate!

Here are some great reasons to look into cork for your flooring choice:

It’s warm
– Our 300 s.f. sunroom is built over a crawl space. It’s also got a 12-foot cathedral ceiling and I didn’t want to run ductwork for heat. So I installed R-45 insulation, radiant subfloor heat and the cork.  We do not have a problem staying warm, even though the three sides of the sunroom are all glass (triple-pane, Low-E).
Here is a picture of our sunroom:

It’s quiet
– Cork is the most efficient insulating material. Humans have tried, and failed, to make something better. But cork’s bajillion-cell-per-cubic-inch structure (ok, so I’m not a numbers guy) insulates wonderfully well against the sound of 3 kids and a dog when the adults are trying to relax.

It’s great camoflauge!
– Ever notice how hotels and restaurants always have patterned carpet and other types of flooring? It’s really quite simple to explain. Every floor will get dirty, but if you can’t see it, the time-lag to cleaning doesn’t bother you as much. Cork definitely offers that hands-down.
The natural appearance of cork is very, well, varied. Heaven forbid that I drop something small on the floor… it’ll be hard to find! And that, my friend, is just what I need given our hectic lifestyle.
But even though it’s great for hiding spills and other household ills, it also cleans up very easily. Personally, I use Windex for spot-cleaning, and Alba, our cleaning person, for weekly cleaning. Alba, however, uses Mr. Clean for hardwood floors. Cork, after all, is made from the the bark of the Cork Oak tree.

Cork is very green
– Cork comes from the bark of the cork oak tree. It is a renewable and sustainable resource with a very small carbon footprint. In cork oak plantations the first cork bark is not harvested from a tree until it is 25-30 years old.  The process of stripping off the bark in sections is traditionally done by hand, the way it’s been done for hundreds of years. The tree is not damaged and the bark regrows completely. The bark is harvested every nine years and a cork oak can live for 150-200 years, so it can be safely harvested up to 20 times during its life cycle.
According to Natural Cork, “Cork’s structure is very similar to that of a honeycomb: each square centimetre is composed of 40 million cells (a more accurate figure than a bajillion). These cells, as well as the spaces between them, are filled with a gaseous mixture similar to air. That is what makes cork so remarkable. The unique structure of cork creates the three most important characteristics in its application as flooring: Thermal Insulation, Sound Reduction and Elasticity.”
That’s why you can place a grand piano on your cork floor and it will bounce back when you move it.  Also, if you do happen to gouge it, repairs are much more easy to conceal since the finish is so varied in color and texture.

We’ve just installed a hundred square feet of cork in our showroom in Alexandria, Virginia. Come on by and give it a walk. Go ahead, take your shoes off!


cork flooring northern virginia,, greenfloors, green flooring, eco friendly floors

Chris is our Residential Group Manager & a US Green Building Council LEED Accredited Professional

Christopher Moline, LEED AP
Residential Group Manager
Commercial Carpets of America
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Mississaugua/Toronto Area Carpet, Hardwood Flooring & Tile Sales

Stradwick’s Carpet One is our member partner in the Mississaugua Toronto area for carpet, tile, hardwood and laminate flooring.

Check out their blog at

Indoor Air Quality, Allergies & Flooring

Get ready for a shocker!

by Chris Moline, LEED AP
Darn, I blew it right off the bat.
Now you’re going to know something out-of-the-ordinary is about to come when I ask the question – Which floor type is better for people with allergies… carpet or hard-surface?
Well, a study by the German Allergy and Asthma Society appears to prove that levels of airborne fine dust are reduced (in places dramatically) by the use of carpeting.
In fact, according to the study, the average fine-dust concentration in hard-surfaced rooms is twice as high as in wall-to-wall carpeted rooms.
Hooey, you say? Me, too, until I dug deeper.
Because that’s when the engineers spelled it out. Carpet, apparently, binds dust in the fibers and backing, trapping it and preventing re-release into the air.
From my early years in the business I can attest to the fact that every time I pulled up carpet, I could see the dust fly… dust that would normally have remained on top of a hard-surface floor to be re-released into the air by foot traffic or the opening of a door.
“…the average fine-dust concentration in
hard-surfaced rooms is twice as high as in
wall-to-wall carpeted rooms.”

And that’s not accounting for the “filtration” effect evidenced by the presence of very-fine dust particles on the subfloor that had migrated through the carpet backing and pad.
I’m still a bit hesitant to completely say “amen”, but it really does make sense.
The study, or at least what portion of mind-numbing statistcs I’d read, didn’t mention IAQ in regards to VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) and off-gassing. No one will ever convince me that vinyl is a healthy floor for someone with chemical sensitivities, but that’s another story.
I’ve told you what’s on my mind, now let me know what you think!
We have a complete section of our showroom dedicated to “green” flooring I’m sure you would find interesting. In fact, we have natural, undyed wool carpet with natural latex and jute backing, along with cork, bamboo, marmoleum… and that’s just the beginning!

Chris Moline, LEED AP

Not allergic to my dog!

Not ashamed to be a tree-hugger!

LEED Credits – MR4, MR6, MR7 and EQ4.4

The following can affect the above specs:

Presence or absence of added urea-formaldehyde;
Recycled post-industrial content
Recycled Wood – wood that is a by-product of other manufacturing processes, such as sawdust, veneer backer boards, and peeler cores, etc…
Reclaimed Wood – All manufactured wood products that are reused or remanufactured into new products. For example, Relaimed wood can be reused flooring or reclaimed from old construction – barns, textile mills, factories, beer casks, etc…

Final finish – low- or no-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds); unfinished floors can also be site-finished with water-based top-coat urethane, or waxed/oiled, depending on final use.
Salvaged Industrial Forestry – percentages matter;
Rapidly-Renewable – Bamboo – It’s hard to beat a 5-year re-growth curve. Cork, as well, is rapidly renewable and does not kill the tree when harvested. Cork comes from the bark of the Cork Oak tree which grows on the Portuguese and Spanish coastlines. It’s harvested about every 7 – 9 years and one tree can be harvested over 20 times.
Non-wood – Bamboo, cork.
Salvaged Post-Agricultural – again, percentages of content apply;
Salvaged Logs – Waterway, Forest Deadwood, Urban Forest, Industrial Forest, Post-Agricultural.
Sustainable Forestry – Wood harvested from well-managed natural forests or plantations. FSC-Certified – either mixed sources or 100%.
Low-Energy – certain manufacturing facilities save energy various ways. The goal is to reduce their overall carbon footprint.

Consider, for example, LEED MR6. MR stands for Materials and Resources. This classification considers the following:
Use rapidly renewable materials and products for 2.5% of total value of all building materials and products used (based on cost)
Harvesting is to be within a 10-year cycle or shorter. For flooring, look into these:
bamboo flooring
cork flooring
linoleum flooring

Use minimum of 50% of wood materials and products certified in accordance with FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) Principles and Criteria for wood building components:
flooring and sub-flooring
wood doors
Based on Cost of FSC wood products compared to total wood material cost.
Contractor doesn’t need the FSC number, but the supplier does.

As you can see, there is a wealth of information regarding LEED specs. We can help guide you to the proper flooring choice to maximize your LEED compliance, and minimize your carbon footprint!

Not ashamed to be a tree-hugger!

Not ashamed to be a tree-hugger!


Chris Moline
Residential Group Manager
Commercial Carpets of America
Alexandria Carpet One

Welcome New CCA Team Member

It is with great excitement that I welcome Sean Marietta to our Residential Division, Estimating Department.

Sean brings with him a wealth of knowledge in the building industry and has experience in all facets of home building. Sean is also a former Marine and was a member of the Marine Air Wing at Cherry Point, NC. He also has a BA in Finance from the University of Iowa.

Sean Marietta - Residential Esimating, and his son, future pro fisherman.

Sean Marietta - Residential Estimating, and his son, future pro-fisherman.

FSC Standards List

by Chris Moline, LEED AP

How do you know you’re purchasing legally-harvested wood flooring?
The Forest Stewardship Council criteria for forest management applicable to all FSC-certified forests throughout the world.

There are 10 Principles and 57 Criteria that address legal issues, indigenous rights, labor rights, multiple benefits, and environmental impacts surrounding forest management.

Forest management shall respect all applicable laws of the country in which they occur, and international treaties and agreements to which the country is a signatory, and comply with all FSC Principles and Criteria.

Long-term tenure and use rights to the land and forest resources shall be clearly defined, documented and legally established.

The legal and customary rights of indigenous peoples to own, use and manage their lands, territories, and resources shall be recognized and respected.

Forest management operations shall maintain or enhance the long-term social and economic well being of forest workers and local communities.

Forest management operations shall encourage the efficient use of the forest’s multiple products and services to ensure economic viability and a wide range of environmental and social benefits.

Forest management shall conserve biological diversity and its associated values, water resources, soils, and unique and fragile ecosystems and landscapes, and, by so doing, maintain the ecological functions and the integrity of the forest.

A management plan — appropriate to the scale and intensity of the operations — shall be written, implemented, and kept up to date. The long-term objectives of management, and the means of achieving them, shall be clearly stated.

Monitoring shall be conducted — appropriate to the scale and intensity of forest management — to assess the condition of the forest, yields of forest products, chain of custody, management activities and their social and environmental impacts.

Management activities in high conservation value forests shall maintain or enhance the attributes which define such forests. Decisions regarding high conservation value forests shall always be considered in the context of a precautionary approach.

Plantations shall be planned and managed in accordance with Principles and Criteria 1 – 9, and Principle 10 and its Criteria. While plantations can provide an array of social and economic benefits, and can contribute to satisfying the world’s needs for forest products, they should complement the management of, reduce pressures on, and promote the restoration and conservation of natural forests.

We have an extensive array of responsibly-manufactured wood flooring products from:
Carriage House
Cikel America
Natural Cork
and more.
If you purchase exotic hardwood flooring, it’s quite possible that
product was originally harvested via illegal logging (as defined in
the Lacey Act of 2007). You do not want that. You want to buy from
a reputable source, totally “green” from the forest to the floor and FSC certification is your insurance.

One manufacturer, Cikel, owns and manages 1.2 million acres of FSC-certified forests.
Purchasing from Cikel not only keeps you in compliance with the law,
you get world-class sustainable products at affordable prices!

Who would have thought?

Please email with any questions.

<br>Christopher Moline, LEED AP<hr><br>Residential Group Manager<br>Commercial Carpets of America <br>703-370-0000 <br><a href=
Christopher Moline, LEED AP
Residential Group Manager
Commercial Carpets of America
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Carpet Pad – Is it really THAT important?

by Chris Moline, LEED AP

Pad, padding, carpet underlayment, cushion, foam… whatever you may choose to call it, it’s the unseen and often unsung hero of an excellent carpet installation.
If you’ve never bought carpet for a home, I’m glad you’re here.
If you have, and feel you were well-educated by your sales person, you are one of the fortunate few, my friend.

On my desk is a piece of yellow foam, 3/8 of an inch thick, masquerading as pad… and it’s bothering me. Of course, it is FHA base-grade pad and weighs in at a paltry sub-3-pound density… but that’s not the real story.
The real story is – tada! – that “pad” will void your warranty, no matter how excellent and well-thought-out your carpet choice. In fact, few sales people take the time to educate their customers in the area of the importance of pad.

Let’s go to the go-to resource, the Carpet & Rug Institute (CRI). They mandate that carpet cushion should be “no more than 7/16 inch thick and no less than 1/4 inch with 6 pounds per cubic feet density. If the carpet is a Berber or a low profile carpet, choose a cushion no more than 3/8 inch thick with 8 pounds density.” I couldn’t have said it any better myself, and I have, thousands of times over the years because it is so vital.
Check out this picture of what junk pad can do to good carpet:



And here is a close-up of the culprit:

Base grade, foam pad ruined this carpet.

Base-grade, foam pad ruined this carpet.

I do not sample that type of pad, but it is available, begrudgingly.
My standards start at 6 pound and range through the most beautiful 22 pound slab rubber pad you’ve ever set your feet on.
In fact, I have three wonderful, very active, children and you’ll find rubber pad in my basement! We take it very seriously and think you should, too.
That’s why our professional sales staff will take the time to work with you to ensure you’ll be pleased with your choice years from now.
If you are in the neighborhood, stop by our newly-redesigned “Green Area” and take a walk on 40 yards of Sorona SmartStrand frisse carpet with five different pad types underneath. Come to think of it, by next week there will be six because I am going to put a small section of this… lovely… yellow… FHA base-grade foam down, just to make a point.

Feel free to email with any of your “pad” related questions and I’ll do my best to get you the best answer in a timely manner. I will be updating this post with much more in the coming weeks.

All the best!

<br>Christopher Moline, LEED AP<hr><br>Residential Group Manager<br>Commercial Carpets of America <br>703-370-0000 <br><a href=
Christopher Moline, LEED AP
Residential Group Manager
Commercial Carpets of America
Email Blog Facebook Twitter

And here is what Shaw has to say about pad:

Carpet cushion, or “pad,” is available in three basic types: foam, fiber, and rubber.

Each type of carpet pad has several different varieties and constructions. The type and thickness of cushion you need varies according to traffic levels and carpet patterns. Bedrooms and other areas with light or moderate traffic, for example, can use thicker and softer carpet cushion. Living rooms, family rooms, hallways, stairs and other heavy traffic areas require thinner and firmer cushion.

Consult your carpet dealer to help you decide the best carpet cushion for you.

The Carpet Cushion Council describes the three different types as follows:
Foam Carpet Cushion
Generally speaking, foam carpet cushion comes in three recognized, clearly different varieties:
Prime polyurethane foam is a firmer version of the same cushioning used in upholstered furniture, mattresses, and automobile seats. Two liquid ingredients are combined to form a large mass of foam, which is then sliced into sheets for use as a carpet cushion.
Bonded polyurethane foam (sometimes called rebond) is quite unique. You cannot mistake it when you see it, because it is formed by combining chopped and shredded pieces of foam, in different sizes and usually different colors, into one solid piece. It frequently has a surface net for ease of installation and improved performance.
Bonded foam is one of the most amazing recycling projects of all time. Nearly all the scrap foam in the U.S., and some from other countries as well, is utilized to make bonded cushion. This recycles waste which would otherwise be thrown out, and it eases the strain on our landfills. Moreover, bonded foam is itself recyclable.

Froth polyurethane foam is made with carpet backing machinery. Liquid ingredients are applied, either directly to the backs of some carpet styles, or to a non-woven material (for making separate cushion). They reach and form a thin, dense foam which is particularly useful in commercial applications with wide expanses of carpet.
Rubber Carpet Cushion
There are two basic types of sponge rubber carpet cushion:
Waffled rubber carpet cushion is made by molding natural or synthetic rubber. Heat cures the rubber and forms a waffle pattern. This variety produces a soft, resilient cushion whose luxurious feel is particularly useful for residences.
Flat sponge rubber is a firm, dense carpet cushion which has a flat surface and is normally used in large-scale commercial applications and with loop type (or Berber) carpet.

Rubber carpet cushion manufacturing processes can be varied to produce different levels of density and firmness. The usual measurement is the weight in ounces per square yard.
Fiber Carpet Cushion
Foam and rubber carpet cushions are produced from new and recycled materials. Fiber carpet cushion, on the other hand, uses existing fibers (both virgin and recycled, and either natural or man-made fibers) which are interlocked into a useful sheet of felt. There are two distinct varieties of fiber carpet cushion:

Natural fibers include felt, animal hair, and jute (the material used to make some kinds of rope and heavy burlap bags). This is one of the oldest types of carpet cushion, dating back to the earliest days of machine-made carpet.
Synthetic fibers include nylon, polyester, polypropylene, and acrylics, which are needle-punched into relatively dense cushions which have a firm feel and, as with other types of carpet cushion, can be made in virtually any weight, to stand up under light, medium, or heavy traffic, which is how they are usually classified.
Special Notes
Berber carpet is becoming increasingly popular, and needs a thin, firm carpet cushion. When buying this type of carpet, be sure that the accompanying cushion has been specified by the manufacturer as suitable for Berber carpet.

Radiant heating is becoming more widely used in certain sections of the country. In the case of radiant heating, you do not want a carpet cushion which is an exceptionally effective insulator, but one which allows the heat from the subflooring to penetrate the carpet system and heat the room. A relatively thin, flat cellular sponge rubber or synthetic fiber carpet cushion works well under these circumstances.

ASID CEU Education Event – Fashion Under Foot: Carpet & Its Components

Courtney Ward and Kris Truta (Invista/Stainmaster) host our CEU training course.

Courtney Ward and Kris Truta (Invista/Stainmaster) host our CEU training course.

There is so much more to carpet than style… and interior-designer attendees of one of our recent training events were treated to the latest information on performance and the various components of a professional carpet installation.

Following is the actual course outline. Our Residential Group Manager, Chris Moline, LEED AP, is available to answer questions about these topics for you, so feel free to contact him at or 703-370-0000.

1) Education/Carpet Knowledge-(Discussion of fiber types used in manufacturing of carpet; both natural and synthetic with Question and answer at end of section)
a. Fiber-Natural (Wool, Cotton) vs. Polymer (Nylon 6,6, Nylon 6, Polyester-PET 2GT, DuPont Sorona 3GT, Olefin a.k.a. Polypropylene, acrylic)
b. Brief History of Polymer Fibers
c. Definitions of Carpet Fibers:
Carpet fibers can be defined by their:
-Polymer type
-Length (BCF vs. Staple)
-Dye Type and Level
-Shape (of cross section of fiber)
-Thickness (denier per filament, also known as “hand”)
-Antistatic Qualities (Very important in this age of expensive electronics.)

2) The Technology of Manufacturing- (Explanation the technology behind carpet manufacturing including hand-outs of fiber chips; BCF and Staple samples;
a. How filaments are used to create various styles of broadloom carpet: heat-setting, tufting, twist, shape(s) and deniers of fibers and how they relate to the total feel, performance and appearance of the product, etc.
b. The Dyeing Process-New Technologies-What to expect to find in the search for the right color(s) for your client
c. Stain and Soil Resistance-Teflon®, Scotchguard®, etc.-“How do I know what will serve my client’s needs?”
d. Anti-static Properties of Fiber- How important anti-static properties are in homes today.

3) Carpet Styles and How They Relate to Lifestyles- (Both ppt depictions and carpet samples of each type of carpet. Q & A)
a. Texture
b. Frieze
c. Cable
d. Saxony
e. Cut Pile Berber
f. Loop
g. Cut Loop
h. Pattern Cut Pile

4) Product Expectations- (Hand-outs for after class reading on warranties and cleaning recommendations.
a. Durability of various carpet fibers/styles/weights
b. Maintenance and proper care of various carpet fibers/styles (hand-out)
c. Warranties of various fibers (Hand-out)
d. Which is better for people with allergies, hard surface flooring or carpet? (Hint: The answer may surprise you!)

5) Cushion & Backing-Out of Sight Shouldn’t Mean Out of Mind
a. What cushion for what carpet style
b. Comfort vs. function

6) Carpet Trends- (Color, luster, pattern and style trends)
a. How and why are colors selected?
b. What are the new trends and innovations?

7) Partnering – (What to look for and expect in your flooring allies)
a. How to select a flooring contractor/supplier and work with them.
a. Know the product/know the client. Educating the client makes the designer a trusted ally.

If this is greek to you (even if you are a flooring professional) we can translate!

All the best!

<br>Christopher Moline, LEED AP<hr><br>Residential Group Manager<br>Commercial Carpets of America <br>703-370-0000 <br><a href=
Christopher Moline, LEED AP
Residential Group Manager
Commercial Carpets of America
Email Blog Facebook Twitter

Introducing our new line of NO-VOC Environmentally-Friendly Hardwood Flooring By Catalina.

In the Northern Virginia area we are the exclusive source for this exciting product – Catalina Engineered Hardwood. Why is it so special?
It’s PEFC certified – on par with FSC and GBC certification (not LEED-compliant, but a good certification to have.)
Vegetable-based finish – very green.
Color-through stain process means the coloration goes below the top “skin” for amazing durability and appearance retention.
We’ve got some on the way to install in our showroom, but I recorded our representative talking about the product so you can learn more.
Give us a call or email if you’d like some more information.
<br>Christopher Moline, LEED AP<hr><br>Residential Group Manager<br>Commercial Carpets of America <br>703-370-0000 <br><a href=
Christopher Moline, LEED AP
Residential Group Manager
Commercial Carpets of America
Email Blog Facebook Twitter