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2011 - Volume 1 Issue 2
Casas Bonitas
New Home Construction
Article: Charlotte Tallman
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The floor or foundation of a home is the bottom of the energy envelope. Typically a reinforced concrete slab with footings makes up the floor in this region, and the bottom of the building envelope is the barrier that buffers for cooling in the summer and retaining heat in the winter. It is advisable to insulate the edges of the concrete slab that meet the chosen surface wall finish and then take the insulation down below the surface of the earth to protect the sub-surface foundation.

The Energy Affect

    Photo Captions

1.) Teragren’s Portfolio Collection: Paris Black, strand bamboo flooring.

2.) FLOR’s Warm & Fuzzy Rug Set

3.) Insulated Concrete form used for a poured concrete application.

4.) Polar-R® Below-Grade EPS Insulation for perimeter and underslab applications.

5.) FLOR’s Shirt Stripe Carpet Tiles.

6.) Teragren’s Portfolio Collection: New Country, wide-plank bamboo flooring.
  "For wood flooring, BIC recommends eco-friendly bamboo material."

Sergio Cuartas,
BIC Homes

EF Building Materials


Stout Hardwood Floor

The Design Center
at Floor Concepts

Because your foundation is poured below the land surface, it acts as a natural cooling source. This helps with cooling your house in the summer. In the winter the affect is contra to keeping the house warm. One option is radiant heating, which is a system that places tubing into the slab to run heated water through, warming the floor and then the house. There are some builders that are running heating and cooling ducting under the slab to utilize the coolness of the earth to further cool the circulating air. There is also a basement option to take advantage of the geothermal ducting placed well below the land surface.

The type of flooring you place on your concrete slab has different properties and effectiveness in allowing the temperature of the slab, or the house, to move through. Tile has similar properties as the concrete slab and will transfer heating and cooling directly to and from the slab. Wood floors and engineered laminates act as barriers and help to buffer the interior of the house from whatever thermal transfer is coming from the slab. Carpeting with backing and a pad is a stronger barrier and that is why it is often the flooring of choice in colder climates.

Style & Comfort

Selecting flooring for a home is one of the most important elements in designing a home and it isn’t all about getting the look you want – flooring must also fit in with family and lifestyle. Considering the type of durability and toughness needed in flooring is important. Flooring also plays a role in the heating and cooling efficiency of your home.

Natural hardwood floors are very attractive but require care and maintenance. Common hardwood types include oak, maple, beech, birch and pecan and are available in planks or parquet tiles. Engineered flooring is a popular alternative to solid hardwood flooring. The surface veneer is made of hardwood such as maple or oak, while tongue-and-groove strips underneath are constructed of plywood. There is now a variety of hand-scraped surfaces to give an attractive old world look.

Carpet, usually constructed of nylon, polyester, wool, acrylic and polypropylene, can be durable but stain easy. The quality of carpet depends on the density of construction (the denser the better) and the twist (how many fibers have been intertwined to make the yarn).

Vinyl and laminate flooring were used in the past and gaining popularity for selection and durability. Available in a large variety of colors and patterns, most vinyl flooring comes in rolls or as square tiles. Vinyl flooring is more durable than other flooring types and the thicker the material, the better the durability. Laminated flooring consists of thin layers of wood or paper products adhered to a resilient foam core and are designed to look like wood, stone or marble. Laminated flooring is easy to maintain and resists scratching, denting or staining.

Tile floors provide perhaps the most variety with ceramic, marble, granite, slate and quarry tiles available. Tile is more durable and easier to maintain than vinyl or wood flooring. Glazed tile is made of clay that has been single fired at a high temperature, a process that makes color and shape permanent and a surface that is resistant to stains, burns and scratches.

Bamboo floors are gaining popularity as an eco-friendly, highly renewable source of material. Bamboo is an attractive alternative for flooring because of its physical similarities to hardwoods. Compared to wood it grows much faster because bamboo is a grass and can be harvested without the need to replant because the root system is left intact when it is harvested. When selecting bamboo flooring, Teragren Fine Bamboo Flooring, Panels & Veneer suggests asking six questions, including: When was the bamboo harvested (Moso bamboo takes five and a half to six years to reach maturity, and when properly harvested, traditional bamboo flooring can be 25 percent harder than red oak); what species was used (Moso bamboo is the best choice for flooring); how hard is it on the Janka ball test (the Janka ball test is designed to measure the hardness level of wood floors and the higher the number, the better); is the bamboo flooring coming from a reputable manufacturer, or from an importer or trading house purchasing from any factory or multiple factories based primarily on the lowest price; what will I get in terms of customer service; how truly environmentally-friendly is the flooring; how does the flooring affect indoor air quality and will the product offer lasting value?

Once toughness and durability is considered, it is important to make sure comfort is considered. For families with children, carpet is a great choice because it provides cushioning. Tile, vinyl and laminates might be better choices, but they can be cold to walk on at certain times of the year. One easy solution is covering areas with carpet like FLOR’S carpet squares created in a variety of colors and textures and connect securely with FLORdots.

Finally when selecting flooring, decide how much cleaning and maintenance your flooring is going to need. Hardwoods take a little more care and most carpets, laminates and tile require minimal. ///
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