The Importance of Good Customer Service

I just read an interesting study regarding the shopping preferences of today’s consumers.  When asked about their buying decisions, 64% of the consumers polled said that the customer experience was more important than even price in making their purchase choice.

Hmm. Seems like a no-brainer:  Offer your customers a great shopping experience and they will likely purchase your product.  But you would be surprised at just how many flooring retailers fall short when it comes to providing good customer service.  I know, because I hear stories all the time from customers who have “shopped around” for flooring and ultimately ended up making their purchase at Olson Rug.

So what exactly sets us apart?

No high-pressure sales

We’ve all had the unpleasant experience of walking into a store and being greeted by a high-pressure salesman.  They come on way too strong and when they determine that you are not going to buy from them drop you like a hot potato.  At Olson Rug, we understand that flooring is a big investment – and one that you will live with for many years. We never want you to feel rushed in making your purchase decision. In fact, we encourage you to browse our store, ask us questions, and ultimately, take home any samples that you think may fit your home or office. At Olson there is never a request for a deposit for you to use our samples.

We’re here to help

One of the biggest complaints we hear from customers who have visited the big box stores in their search for new flooring is that there’s often no one around to help them. While it’s important to be able to browse a store without feeling pressure, it’s equally important to have someone there when you need some help. When you visit any of our many Chicago-area locations you’ll always be greeted by a knowledgeable flooring professional who is ready to show you around and answer any of your flooring questions.

We’ll never “yes you to death”

Shopping for new flooring can be a bit confusing, to say the least. With so many flooring options, different brands, quality levels, and prices, it’s hard to know what type of flooring will work best in your particular situation. That’s where our many decades of experience in the flooring business comes into play. We know our products and how well each will perform under certain conditions. So while some stores will gladly sell you anything your heart desires if we think the product you’re choosing might not be the best fit for your needs, we’ll tell you. We’ll always offer you options that may work better.

No “hidden” costs

Some stores like to focus primarily on the cost of flooring material alone. At Olson Rug we prefer to give you the full picture. This includes the cost of additional materials (if needed) such as trims, risers for entryway transitions, sub-floors, haul away, door trimming, etc. During our free in-home visit one of our expert sales associates or installers (depending on the situation) will visit your home or office to measure your space and tell you exactly what is needed for your total installation. Our price quotes reflect the true final cost for getting your floors done.

Expert installations and maintenance advice

As a local specialty flooring store we have formed many longstanding relationships with area contractors who are experts in flooring installations. This allows us to confidently stand behind your flooring installation, guaranteeing your complete satisfaction.

Aside from proper installation a major factor in a floor’s wear life is its ongoing maintenance.  That’s why we take the time to explain the proper maintenance of your new flooring. And should you have any questions, we will be here to answer them – long after your installation is complete.

Come see for yourself

Stop by any of our Chicago flooring stores to experience great customer service for yourself.

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The Cost of a Carpet Installation

Carpet can be one of the most affordable flooring materials to install, especially when compared to hard flooring surfaces, such as hardwoods, laminate, ceramic tile, or natural stone, which are more labor-intensive to install.  But if you’re looking to add new carpet to your home, depending on your specific installation, there may be some additional costs you’ll need to consider.

Installing new carpetOld Carpet Removal

Is there existing carpet in the room you are planning on carpeting? If so, there may be an additional charge for take-up and removal of the old carpet and padding.  Some installers will leave removed carpet and padding curbside, while others offer hall away of your old carpet to a local landfill or a carpet recycling center.  If recycling your old carpet is important to you, you’ll want to inquire about this service. On average, carpet take-up, removal, and haul away can add as much as $1 per square foot to your total installation charge, so it’s important to find out these costs up front.

Furniture Moving

Does the room you are carpeting include heavy furniture? Many installers will move heavy items such as couches, tables, entertainment centers, etc., as part of the installation fee. But there may be an extra charge for exceptionally heavy or breakable items such as pianos or marble-topped tables.  In addition, most installers will not be responsible for disconnecting or reconnecting complicated electronics such as sound systems or computers.

Carpet Padding

High-quality carpet padding (cushion) can really extend the life of your new carpet. For the best fit and wear, it is important to match the carpet you are buying to the appropriate padding. For example, a thicker carpet such as a Saxony may require a ½” thick pad, while a low-profile carpet typically performs best with no more than a 3/8” thick pad. Many carpet Karastan carpet closeupmanufacturers require the use of a specific type of pad to uphold the carpet’s warranty. Prior to purchasing carpet, it’s always important to review the carpet manufacturer’s cushion recommendations with your carpet retailer and discuss the benefits and added costs of upgrading to higher-quality padding.  In most cases, the extra cost will be well worth the added wear life.

For More Information

At Olson Rug & Flooring, we are always happy to answer your carpet installation questions and explain all of the costs involved. If you are considering purchasing new carpet and have questions, feel free to ask our flooring experts at Olson Rug. Or stop by or call one of our nine Chicago-area showrooms.

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Maintaining Your New Carpet or Floor Covering: Avoiding Common Post-Installation Mistakes

New flooring is one of the quickest ways to transform a room and add both beauty and value to your home. It can also be a big investment. So how can you protect your investment and help ensure your new floors stay looking great in your busy home? It all starts with the proper care.

To help protect your new flooring from damage and early signs of wear, following are some common post-installation mistakes to avoid.

Hardwood, Laminate, and Vinyl Flooring Care:

  • Mistake #1: Not using flooring protectors under furniture – One of the biggest issues affecting hard flooring surfaces are scratches, especially those caused by furniture such as kitchen chairs and tables that are regularly moved back and forth across the flooring. To help protect floors from scratches, there are many products available that can either be placed under or mounted to furniture legs. These range from simple self-adhesive felt pads and rubber gripers to swivel glides and rolling casters. But even when used properly, flooring protectors are not foolproof. Many popular felt-adhesive products will wear over time and may fall off or rip, especially when placed on chairs that get frequent use. Dirt and grit can also get trapped in the felt or felt adhesives and can accumulate on rubber and other types of casters. So it’s always important to check furniture often to ensure that protectors are securely in place and dirt free.
  • Mistake #2: No walk-off mats at entryway doors – Another cause of damage to new floors is tracked-in moisture, dirt, and debris from the outdoors. Walked-in dirt and grit can act like sandpaper, quickly abrading your new flooring’s surface. Protect floors by not only placing walk-off mats inside and outside all exterior exits, but also sweep, clean, and replace mats often to avoid dirt buildup. If mats become mud soiled or wet, remove them from floors immediately to avoid moisture damage.
  • High heels on wood floorMistake #3: Walking on floors in high-heeled shoes – Walking on hard flooring surfaces in high-heeled shoes (stiletto heels), athletic footwear with spikes, or shoes that can trap dirt, such as those with lugged or damaged soles, can also easily scratch or dent flooring. Likewise, pets with sharp nails or claws can scratch your flooring’s surface. Establishing a “no shoes” rule and ensuring your pet’s nails are properly trimmed are two easy ways to help extend the long-lasting beauty of your new flooring.
  • Mistake #4: Wet mopping floors – Excess moisture that seeps beneath your floor can cause the boards to swell and buckle, especially with hardwoods and laminate floors. For this reason, it is never recommended to soak floors by wet mopping. Instead, regularly sweep, dust mop, or vacuum floors with a soft brush head or attachment. For hard-to-remove stains or debris, damp mopping is acceptable, but only use manufacturer-approved cleaners and thoroughly ring out the mop or applicator before applying it to the floor’s surface. Always wipe up any spills promptly with a soft, dry cloth.

Carpet Care:

  • Vacuum cleaner on carpetMistake #1: Not vacuuming frequently – Just as tracked in dirt and debris can scratch hard flooring surfaces, it can also abrade carpet fibers, causing carpet to look dull and worn. Most manufacturers recommend vacuuming carpet often – typically, at least once a week for carpet that is in a high-traffic area such as a family room, hallways, or stairs. For best results, use a vacuum cleaner with a beater bar or rotating brush and a strong air flow that will penetrate deep into the carpet backing. However, some carpets, such as those made of wool or wool blends and thick loop piles, may become fuzzy from excessive brushing. For these fibers, a suction-only vacuum is better, or adjust your vacuum height so that the beater brush is lifted well above the carpet.
  • Mistake #2 Using carpet shampooers to clean carpets – Most carpet manufacturers recommend that homeowners professionally clean carpets at least every 12 to 24 months. But not all carpet cleaning methods are the same. Avoid using carpet shampooers, such as those available for rent at your local grocery or hardware store. These shampooers typically use detergents with harsh chemicals that often leave behind residue that can actually cause carpets to look dull and worn quickly after they are cleaned. Instead, most manufacturers recommend a professional hot water extraction cleaning. With this method, a high-powered machine propels a mixture of hot water and cleaning solution onto the carpet, sanitizing the carpet as it loosens embedded debris. Then, the machine’s powerful vacuum removes the solution, along with the loosened debris. Hot water extraction not only produces a cleaner carpet, it also requires a much milder cleaning solution that does not leave behind residue and is safer for your family and pets.

For More Information

With any new flooring, it’s always important to read and follow the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions and use only those cleaning products recommended by the manufacturer. In most cases, failing to do so will not only impact your flooring’s long-term performance but may also void the manufacturer’s warranty.

At Olson Rug & Flooring, we are always happy to answer your questions regarding the proper care of your flooring. Feel free to ask our flooring experts. Or stop by or call one of our nine Chicago-area showrooms.

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Before you buy flooring from Olson Rug of Chicago

Put simply here is a checklist of questions that we would like to see our customers ask us. We have aimed this check list to, hopefully, be most helpful to current homeowners that are planning an upgrading, changing or remodeling of their current homes.

Questions applicable to both Carpet and Hard Surface products:

  • Do you remove old carpet/flooring? Do you haul old stuff away or leave it on the curb? Is there a cost?
  • Do you move Pianos/Pool Tables/Grandfather Clocks/ Sensitive Electronics/Etc? Do you move non-sensitive furniture (beds, chairs etc.)? Do we have to move anything? Does it cost to move furniture?
  • What happens if something gets broken?
  • We have wiring for our electronics/appliances how does that affect the installation?
  • We have outside entrances to the room does that make a difference?
  • Will direct sunlight affect my new flooring/carpeting?
  • What happens to my doors?
  • Do the installers clean up all scraps and messes?
  • Which way should I run the new floor/carpet?
  • I just had my rooms painted are they going to scuff my walls?
  • How do I determine what my sq. footage is? How am I charged?


  • We have a definite traffic pattern in the room(s) how does that affect what we should look at/do?
  • We have pets what should we know?
  • I have radiant heat is this a problem?
  • I have spindles and wide stairs can these be carpeted?
  • I want a patterned carpet on my stair can you match the pattern?

Hard Surface:

  • I’m looking to re-do my bathroom what do we do with the toilet?
  • Do I need to know what type of Sub-Floor I have?
  • How do I determine if my sub-floor is level?
  • I run a dehumidifier in this room(s) is this a problem?
  • Does the new flooring need to be acclimated in our room prior to installation?
  • What happens to my current trim(s)?

These questions are a bunch of the right questions (not all) to ask any carpet/flooring retailer you are considering working with. Most flooring and carpets require skilled and knowledgeable craftsmen to do the installation right. What adds to the level of difficulty for occupied home installations is that the home is occupied meaning all those details of what to do with everything needs to be accounted for (unlike an empty house).

Hopefully this list will help. Finally we in no way claim that this list is the be all and end all of this conversation so if you have a question please ask! it will allow the work to go smoother.

Olson Rug & Flooring is proud of our Chicago heritage and servicing Chicagoland homeowners since 1874.

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How to tell a good quality laminate floor from a cheap one?

Recently a customer asked us: “What differentiates a good quality laminate floor from a cheap one?

To which we replied:

Laminate Inner Core: There are a variety of different materials used to make the core board of laminate floors but they all basically break down into two categories; particle board vs. high density fiberboard (HDF). HDF is denser than particle board. The denser the board the less movement you will see in the floor from expansion and contraction. Excessive movement in the floor leads to both buckling and/or plank separation issues.

First we want to emphasize that laminate flooring mimics hardwood flooring in that it is negatively affected by excessive moisture. This is why better quality HDF core boards (which are naturally more water resistant due to their density) are treated with a melamine resin which dramatically increases water resistance. The biggest benefit being that your boards will be significantly more resistant to cupping. Cupping is when the edge of a board curls up. Of course additives such as these increase the cost of making the flooring.

Locking Systems: Better quality laminates tend to have stronger mechanical strength to their locking system. The stronger the locking system the less likely the planks will be to separate when exposed to the “forces” created by everyday foot traffic.

Some locking systems (UniClic) have additional benefits engineered into the product that create a water tight fit on the surface of the product which helps prevent moisture and liquid spills from penetrating the joints in the flooring.

Recycling: Many higher quality boards are comprised of recycled content reducing the environmental footprint of the product. Not all companies have the resources and technology in place to utilize recycled materials; check the back of the board.

Wear Surface Performance: Performance of a laminate floor’s wear surface is another key differential between better and cheaper laminates. Although the components of wear surfaces today are similar the quality of ingredients is frequently not equal. The standard wear surface is aluminum-oxide enhanced urethane. With that being said there are many different qualities of urethane that are used. Lower quality urethanes will not provide the hardness, scratch resistance nor stain resistance that a higher quality urethane will provide.

Also, the particle size of the aluminum oxide is a factor; cheaper urethanes use larger particles which increases the cloudiness of this layer. Greater cloudiness lessens the clarity of the image layer just below. At the end of the day a proportionately mixed wear surface will not only perform better but will also add to the beauty of the visual.

Image Layer: Finally, an indication of better quality laminate flooring is the in the quality of your image layer. Better laminates use high resolution images. Why is this important? The more realistic the image (and we are talking wood/stone/tile) the better it looks. By better we mean the clarity/sharpness/realism of that image in comparison to the natural products. The end result should be that it is not obvious that the board is man-made.

Also better boards tend to use a single visual per board opposed to the butcher block or multi-tile layout per board. After all, real wood/ceramic has only one set of joints between boards/tiles. By emulating this single visual better laminates promote the realism of the species or stone being represented. In cheaper laminate it is typical to see a two plank design. Meaning, two sets of plank joints; one joint occurs in the image and one is the actual joint between the boards.

Unfortunately, the laminate flooring industry as a whole does a poor job of explaining these differences. Generally, your older and better flooring manufacturer’s (such as: Mohawk, Shaw, & Mannington) tend towards offering better quality laminate floors. Why? They don’t want the problems that are inherent with lessor quality laminates. There is a lot of less expensive (and we mean inexpensive) laminate floors in the marketplace today and it has its role but not for the homemaker that wants a product that will give them honest service during its lifetime.

Generally, the more expensive the product the better quality overall and the longer the product will perform under normal household conditions. To see the latest laminate flooring fashions and get a free flooring estimate please see our 12 Chicagoland flooring stores for our store nearest you.

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What to do if my carpet gets flooded?

What do I do to save my flooded carpet?  And are there times it’s not safe to even try?

A question we get asked a lot at times, unfortunately.

First you must understand that there are health issues and concerns that come with carpeting that has been exposed to a water intrusion. There are basically 3 categories or “types” of water intrusions that should be taken into consideration before you make this decision.

Clear Water – This type is caused by a leak from a “clear water” source, in other words it was “potable water”.  Potable Water comes from a toilet holding tank, ice maker hose, interior water supply line, etc. This is the only type of water intrusion that you should consider attempting to save on your own.

First, get the water out…and by out we mean bail, wet vac, squeegee however you get it out it is essential that you get it out as FAST as you can. How much water? As much as you can.

Secondly, at the same time turn on the Lights!  Keep the area lit until all the moisture is gone. Lighting the affected area helps to prevent mildew and mold growth…They like dark wet areas so deny them their natural breeding grounds.

Thirdly, as carefully as you can roll back your carpet from the tack-less strips and remove the cushion.  Cut the carpet as little as possible (hopefully not at all) that will improve the chances of the re-installation looking like the original.

How much of the cushion should you remove?  All of it; better to start fresh.

Finally, Air Flow! Specifically use fans and open windows (if available) to get cross breezes going since moving air promotes evaporation of the moisture.

Once you have removed the cushion and dried the floor unroll your carpet so it too can dry out. Even though most of the moisture was absorbed by the cushion it is important to start the drying process for your carpet ASAP or it will be ruined.

Do not remove any of the tack-less strips as in most cases they will dry out and be re-usable. Allow your professional installer to make that call.

Gray Water – This type of intrusion is typically from ground water (non-potable) or another contaminated source, such as discharge from washer hose, sump pump back up or floor drain back up etc. Bacteria counts in gray water are always higher then with a clear water source. This type is often the most misunderstood because we don’t “see “anything wrong with it and it can often appear clear.   We do not recommend that you even consider trying to save the carpet or padding in this scenario. Total remove of all flooring material is the only safe option.

Black Water – Sounds bad, doesn’t it?  That’s because it is really bad. This type of intrusion was a sewage source. Do not attempt to mitigate this problem without professional advice. We do not recommend that you even consider trying to save the carpet or padding in this scenario. Total remove of all flooring material is the only safe option.

One other safety precaution that we would stress – Be aware of the risk of electrical shock from outlets, extension cords, appliances etc. Always have a certified electrician ensure that the environment is safe for you to enter in BEFORE you do.

* Referenced material directly from IICRC  S-520 water remediation standards and policies.

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How Long Will This Carpet Last?

We are frequently asked “How long will this carpet last?”

Assuming you are looking at a range of carpets that fit your needs the only realistic reply to this question is “Basically, for as long as you take proper care of it”.

I grew up next to a household of seven children who lived in a two story 3 bedroom house with only one staircase leading to the 2 upstairs bedrooms. The carpet they bought when they moved in was, for its day, a very good well-constructed frieze (in this day and age we’d call it a heavy twist) made of this relatively new fiber called “Nylon”. 7 days a week 7 kids ranging in age from 12 to 2 crawled, ran, slid and fell up and down those stairs. There was only one path from the kitchen thru the living room to the stairs to the bedrooms upstairs. 27 years later I was called in to replace that carpet; not because it was worn out or over soiled but the women of the house had decided that she couldn’t stand the color anymore.

I was amazed that that same carpet I had grown up on (her youngest were identical twins my age and let’s just say we saw the back end of a spoon frequently) was still there. I asked “How did this last so long??” Turns out she vacuumed the traffic areas twice a week and had the carpet professionally cleaned once a year. Also, when inevitably spills occurred she learned that flushing the spill/stain prevented a permanent mark.  All on her own this women had figured out how to protect her investment.

There are three things you can do to maximize the life of your carpet:


Vacuuming may be the single most important action you can take to maintain and add years of life to your carpet. Think of it this way, anything with hair, fur or any type of exterior fibers can and will over time accumulate grit and particles. As those grit and particles are rubbed or agitated against the fibers the fibers begin to lose both their shape and luster. This does not mean your carpet is unclean or unhealthy since most of these particles are microscopic in size and inert to boot. However they do over time saw away at your carpets fibers.  How can you remove these agitated particles before they do real harm?? Vacuum and we mean vacuum often.  Vacuum heavily trafficked areas most often, don’t worry as much about under the couch.

Please Note:  With the advent of today’s new soft carpet fibers (Shaw’s Anso Caress,  Mohawk’s Smart Strand made with Dupont Sorona, WearDated Embrace, Invista’s Stainmaster TruSoft, et al) not only is vacuuming even more important to maintain the “Like New” look of your carpet  but what type of vacuum you use with these new fibers has become an issue as well. Soft carpet manufacture’s now link their warranties to your care and maintenance as in are you using the proper type of vacuum with that new soft fiber you purchased.  It is important that you take the time to read the manufacturers recommendations as to make and model of vacuum you buy and use in order not to void your warranty. After all if you bought a cashmere sweater you would not maintain and clean it the same way you do your cotton t-shirt. Please see the attached PDF for a variety manufacturer’s recommendations regarding vacuuming and vacuums for many new soft fibers.

Professional Cleaning

By professionally cleaning we mean Hot Water Extraction. By Hot Water Extraction we mean steam clean. Never ever “Shampoo” your carpet as the residue detergent (and there is always residue) will act as both a magnet and adhesive for all the particles mentioned from above. Think of it this way shampooing requires a detergent. Overuse of the detergent, even by professionals, is both likely and common; the residue detergent, as it dries, acts like a magnetic glue by attracting and adhering all the particles to the very fibers you just cleaned. Microscopically every time you walk on your carpet these little saws gnaw away at those fiber bundles …Not good. Hot Water extraction uses heat and pressure to both loosen and float and so remove all the particles from the base of your carpets fibers. Why is this good? Because by removing the particles you give the fibers a chance to return to their original shape and position; no residue, no soapy film, carpet looks new…this is a good thing.

Please Note: Manufacturers will not honor any warranty claim unless you prove to them that the carpet has been professionally cleaned (using, you guessed it, Hot Water Extraction) every 12 to 18 months. For example Shaw Ind.’s warranty reads “professional” cleaning is required every 24 months minimally – Mohawk’s reads every 12-18 months.

Also, IICRC certifications are required and the use of CRI-SOA equipment and cleaning products (don’t worry your cleaner knows what this stuff is). Basically this means that these companies want to know that the carpet was cleaned by a professional not the local rented Rug Doctor.

Their viewpoint, and it is a valid one, is if you didn’t change your oil in your car but once a year no auto manufacturer would honor their warranty after the engine seized up from dirty and sludgy lubricant.  Please have your carpet cleaned within your particular manufacturer’s warranty time frame…Not for Olson’s sake but for yours in order to maximize the life of this beautiful and expensive investment in your home.

Flush Spots (Spot Cleaning)

A “spot” is defined as a localized area of contaminant. In most homes the contaminants range from Kool Aid to Pizza. The key to removing and eliminating any evidence of that particular ooops is very simple.

  1. Don’t Panic.
  2. Use paper towels or even an old t-shirt to remove all excess ooops from the area but do so in a manner in which you do not in any way put pressure on that area. In other words Do Not Press the goop deeper into the carpet!
  3. Finally it’s time to ….Flush! Flush! Flush! Did we mention FLUSH?  We want you to float all the goop that has made its way to the base of your carpet to the top so you can gently sop it up with white paper towels or a white cloth. Why white? Because white will not transmit any color onto your carpet and at the same time will allow you to easily see how much goop you are removing and still need to remove. Don’t worry about your carpet getting wet as it will quickly dry and spring back. Water applied in this small of an area for this purpose will not harm your carpet.

Understand that almost all (and by almost I mean 90+%) carpets sold to the home today have either a built in or topical treatment designed to resist staining. Please note the word RESIST…There is no such thing as a stain proof carpet. Resist means giving the owner time to react before the stain chemically bonds with the yarns and so is irreversible.

Hopefully this diatribe has helped and we promise if you enact these three maintenance steps your carpet will last until you can’t stand the color anymore.

Wouldn’t that be a wonderful problem to have?

Ps.  When it comes to noticeable and or catastrophic damage caused by animal urine this can be a very complicated process. It’s best to leave the neutralization and extraction up to the professional carpet cleaning company with certified training in this area. There is even a difference between treating contamination between Dogs vs. Cats or even Male vs. Female. Retail store pet urine damage products are virtually useless and can even cause the urine stain to “set” and the carpet to prematurely delaminate (start to soften and begin to come apart)due to over saturation.  After all “If a little is good, then a lot is better”, Right? Nope.

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Why does my Exotic wood floor look different than the sample I saw at the store?

First let’s understand that this phenomenon occurs with all hardwoods, whether domestic or imported, common or exotic.

Secondly, it is most noticeable and dramatic when hardwood floors are installed in their natural condition, in other words, unstained.

What happens, and it happens every time, is that the sample you see in the showroom is the color your floor will end up becoming, and this is the key, not the color that will be installed.

Hardwood changes color over time. In some species the color change is very gradual and over such a long period of time that you will either never notice or when you do will shrug your shoulders and say to yourself, Cie La Vie. The color change for these species is subtle; these species tend to be, but not all, common domestics such as Oak, Maple, Pine, Hickory, etc.

On the other hand the hardwoods we call exotics, again whether imported or domestic makes no difference, have brilliant and dramatic change in colors over a shorter period of time than those mentioned above.  Unless properly explained upfront the initial installation can be both frustrating and scary as you feel a mistake has been made. Trust us, unless you have bought from a flat out and out disreputable company, they are installing the right product. The apparent problem is the new wood being delivered to your home can be absolutely and dramatically different.

Why does this happen?

It is simply a function of wood. All wood reacts to moisture, exposure to the elements, humidity and most importantly sunlight. All of these factor cause the wood to change in other words mature into the color you saw in the sample in the store. Please understand wood is a natural product and unlike man made things there is no guarantee that any two wood floors will end up being EXACTLY like the color you saw in the store’s sample. In fact, it is very unlikely. Think of the store sample as a pretty close cousin in the, no pun intended, family tree color way.

The nice thing about these dramatically different floors is that no two are ever alike. You truly have bought a unique product for your home; a product that will continue to evolve for the lifetime of your home. To buy a exotic hardwood requires your willingness to gamble a little, take a chance, understanding that the amount of sunlight, humidity, traffic, etc all affect how fast and how deeply the floor color will change. Examples of exotics, again whether imported or domestic does not matter, are Cherry, Walnut, Sandalwood, Tigerwood, etc.

If you don’t feel comfortable making this gamble or just feel you want a hardwood floor that is more predictable in its future coloring history you should stick with domestics as these have been acclimated to our environment since a seed and are less susceptible to change in reaction to the environment around them.

If you would like to learn more before you make a hardwood flooring purchase stop in any of our 12 Chicago area flooring stores and our professional sale staff will be happy to answer your questions and help you make the right selection.

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How do you know you are getting a good carpet cushion?

Through our experience of selling and installing carpet in Chicago for over 100 years we learned what type of cushions work best with different types of carpets and applications. At Olson Rug & Flooring we always marry the proper carpet cushion that satisfies the manufacturer’s requirements for warranties with the best performing pad that will give years of performance and meet your expectations.

Although there are some very cheap carpet cushions sold in the market place, we believe that any reputable dealer should steer their customers to a better quality cushion that fits manufacturer’s carpet warranties, your situation and improves the performance of the carpeting. Cushion failure can lead to crushing and matting of the carpet, especially in the traffic areas. This can lead to the added expense of replacing both the cushion and the carpet, not to mention additional labor costs as well. By selling the best performing cushions we dramatically reduce our carpet claims and keep our customers coming back to Olson Rug for all their flooring.

So how do you know if the carpet cushion is good or not? The most talked about statistic is the “pound” of the cushion as in “this is a 6 LB cushion”. This is the most basic measurement of cushion quality and the one most easily understood.

What does this term mean? It is basically a measurement of volume i.e. pounds per cubic foot. All foam Cushions regardless of type are made in buns that are approximately 6 feet wide by 4 feet tall and 60 feet long. The measurement of density is taken by slicing 1 cubic foot from the bun, weighing it and applying a mathematical formula to determine the density. We will not bore you with the math herein.

Why is this important? Basically this measurement denotes the density of the product being bought. A Cushions main purpose, from a manufacturer’s viewpoint, is performance enhancement which means adding longevity to your new carpet. A cushion is designed to soften (or, as it were, cushion) the blow of a descending footstep. The denser the cushion the more effectively it softens the blow and thus helps your carpet to last longer. Interestingly, the firmer the cushion the less “Bouncy” it feels.

Each dealer, including Olson Rug & Flooring of Chicago, picks those type(s) that they feel work best with the range of products they offer. The most important and noticeable decision a customer will make will be “Feel” under foot. However, Cushions today should also be judged on the Benefits offered in conjunction with the price. We feel we offer some of the best values in the Chicago land area.

Below we give the Features and Benefits of the cushions we offer:

Stratus 6IL Bonded & Emerald 8IL bonded

  • Meet or exceeds fiber manufacturer’s warranty requirements
  • CRI Green Label for air quality assurance
  • Environmentally friendly and LEED certified (90% recycled content)
  • FHA Class I – moderate traffic rating
  • Stratus
  • FHA Class II – heavy traffic rating
  • Emerald
  • Added thermal insulation for energy savings
  • Life of Carpet Warranty


  • The Mohawk name on every roll – assurance that you are buying the very best
  • ViscoElastic Memory foam for luxurious comfort and durability
  • Antimicrobial additive to inhibit odor causing mold, mildew and fungus
  • SpillSafe moisture guard film to protect against spills and pet accidents – prevents them from seeping into cushion and reappearing later.
  • Makes clean up a “once and done process”
  • CRI Green Label for air quality assurance
  • Environmentally friendly and LEED certified (90% recycled content)
  • FHA Class II – heavy traffic rating
  • Maximum thermal and sound insulation for warmer, quieter rooms and energy savings
  • Life of Home Warranty – Transferable to new owner
  • Enhanced Carpet Warranties: (SmartCushion + Mohawk Carpet) Abrasive Wear – add 10 Years to current warranty. Carpet warranty is transferable
  • Texture Retention warranty is extended to include stairs*

*Must be a carpet product approved for installation/use on stairs
**All fibers except PermaStrand qualify for upgrades

Stop by one of our 12 Chicago carpet store locations to learn more and to get a free estimate.

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Understanding Engineered Wood Flooring For Chicago Area Homeowners

Q. Why are there different veneer thicknesses, why are they so thin and how does it affect the performance of an engineered wood floor?

The thickness of the veneer of engineered hardwood flooring basically has no effect on that board’s longevity or durability. Engineered hardwood floors get their long life and durability from the protective polyurethane finishes applied, the type of species used to make the veneer and the number of layers the boards are constructed out of.


What you must come to understand is that the protective coating covering your hardwood floors (3/4” or engineered makes no difference) whether wax, oil or polyurethane are the true shields or protectors of your wood floors veneer. You do not actually walk on the wood but rather on the protective coating. From a durability viewpoint polyurethanes are considered the toughest and longest lasting. Of course not all polyurethanes are equal. The two types that are particularly long lasting are those made with aluminum oxide or any that have Scotchguard protector as an additive.  By the way, factory applied coats are much tougher than any site finished applique.

Secondly, the species the veneer is made of also has an effect on the toughness of the board. By toughness we are referring to the density of the species; denseness is created by the trees growth cycle. The longer the growth cycle the denser the tree. Denser trees are more resistant to dents and scratches. This is often measured using the Janka hardness test. Click here to see the Janka hardness chart for comparisons. A word of caution about the usefulness of the Janka test: please note that the test is simply a measurement of dent resistance under extreme conditions and is frequently inapplicable to most home usage (unless you shoot ball bearings into your floor regularly). It should not be the sole reason you purchase a floor. In fact, we have found over the years that this test, in the end, has little bearing as to why you should or should not purchase a particular type of hardwood flooring.

Thirdly, in a word, layers. The single most important reason to buy an engineered floor (besides the environment) is that it is the most resistant hardwood product produced that resists the dreaded enemy of all wood floors, moisture. What greatly dictates that level of resistance is the number of layers used to construct that floor; more layers more resistant. Of course it also means more money.

As to the thickness of the veneer although today’s technology allows manufacturers to peel or slice any thickness they desire it has been found that most veneers thicker than 2mm are susceptible to “Checking”. Checking basically means that the face of the board is splitting; this can occur in both solid and engineered flooring as it is moisture on site that dictates this occurrence opposed to a manufacturing issue.

If properly taken care of and with no major moisture issues (death for all hardwood floors) almost all engineered floors will last for the lifetime of the house they are installed in. Any type of hardwood floor (after all its hardwood not concrete) can be scratched, dented or marred but as long as the owner is willing to screen and re-coat their engineered floor it will last for a lifetime. Any boards that are deeply gouged or damaged can be cut out and replaced, assuming you have saved a few extra boards for just such a contingency.

Q. So, if not veneer thickness, what is the most important feature(s) of an engineered floor?

– Engineered wood flooring is more dimensionally stable than 3/4” solid hardwood floors. In English that means it expands and contracts a lot less than 3/4” solid hardwood flooring, which means you don’t get those ugly gaps that eventually occur in almost all 3/4” solid installations over time in our Chicago winters and summers.

– It is the only hardwood flooring that should be installed over radiant heat

– Engineered wood floors can be installed over a concrete slab, such in basements

– It is the only type of hardwood flooring that should be installed below grade (it’s what we recommend for our Chicago customers).

– Ecologically friendly. What most people don’t realize and we as dealers don’t always explain well is that 2/3 or even a little more of any 3/4” solid wood can never be sanded and re-stained which means that it is wasted, tossed out, unused.  It also means that when comparing the veneer thickness of an engineered wood floor to a 3/4″ the difference of usable veneer is not very great.

– Finally, a lot of engineered hardwood floors can be stapled down which can, in the right circumstances, save you a lot of money by not requiring new sub-floors be installed or the usage of costly latex.

Q. Why do some engineered wood floors look different than a 3/4” solid wood floor of the same species?

rotary vs sawn cutBasically it is dictated by how the veneer was cut off the log. There are only two methods used to create veneer and they are either Straight Sawn Cut or Rotary Peel.

Rotary Peel is the most efficient usage of the log as basically 100% of the log is able to be used as a veneer.  The only negative that customers have pointed out with Rotary is that the veneer graining does not “look or match” same species 3/4” solid wood floor. This is true in that all 3/4” solid is straight cut so that the graining effect produced by Rotary Peel is noticeably different.

Is this a good or bad thing?


Only if you are trying to abut an engineered wood floor to a 3/4” solid wood floor of the same species does this become an issue. Rotary Peel is a common and an ecologically sound way to create veneer for a variety of applications while utilizing close to 100% of the log (straight cut utilizes considerably less that 100% of the log). Of course some manufacturers offer a straight cut engineered to match their 3/4″ solid visual appearance for this very reason.

When it comes to engineered wood flooring how thick the veneer or how it is cut have, for all practical purposes, little bearing as to performance but have a great impact on the “Look” you want to achieve.

To learn more and to see our actual engineered wood samples stop into any of our 12 Chicago flooring stores.

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