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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Hand-crafted Runners by Olson Rug

Pie shaped stairs (or in fact any configuration other than straight) presents a visual dilemma for pre-finished runners. At Olson Rug we custom design runners by hand to ensure a balanced fit.


We start by creating templates of the stairs for a precise fit.

rug template

We then take the templates back to our workroom floor to start the process of creating a custom fit runner, one stair at a time.

runner templates

The templates are used to cut out each stair’s exact configuration to ensure that the future runner will exactly match each individual stair’s shape.

matching template to runner

We hot melt glue the border trim to the carpet runner by hand which ensures a perfect pattern match.

hot melt runner

We use hot melt seam tape to permanently secure and strengthen the joined matched pieces together.

seam taping rug runner pieces

We then hand sew the seams. Hand sewn seams takes a lot of extra time and care but really adds to the quality and life of our custom rug runners.

Hand sewn seams

Then we lay out the runner pieces and check the design for exact pattern matching and sizing.

rug runner pattern matching

Finally, we install the custom built runner. Please note that unlike with pre-finished runners how the custom built runner is:
1. The same distance to the wall regardless of the shape of the stair and
2. The pattern matches thru out.

finished stair rug runner

finished stair rug runner

finished stair rug runner

finished stair rug runner

If you are in the Chicago area looking for a custom area rug, stair runner, carpet or flooring stop by any of our 12 Chicago rug store locations.

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Not All Great Looking Hardwood Flooring Is Hardwood

Homeowners have always loved the look of a hardwood floor and today’s flooring manufacturers offer the wood visual appearance in many different types of flooring, such as vinyl, vinyl tile and laminate flooring.  Not only do these floors do a wonderful job of capturing the look of real hardwood planks but offer some other benefits as well.

A real hardwood floor is not always the most practical choice for our living areas. This can be because of high traffic, maintenance, height of the existing flooring, kids, pets, sub-floor, and humidity.  Luckily, there are a lot of great options today to choose from.

Resilient flooring (vinyl) and luxury vinyl tile manufacturers offer a wide array of realistic wood styles. These floors not only look real but some also have textured embossing that makes them feel like a real wood floor.  The vinyl wear layer is impervious to moisture and is more spill-resistant than wood allowing homeowners to have a wood looking floor in wet areas of the home where a real wood floor is not recommended, such as a bathroom, mud room or kitchen.

During remodel projects homeowners often want to save cost by installing the new floor over the existing flooring. A wood style vinyl flooring may be the best choice where raising the height of the overall flooring another ½” or more is not possible without doing some costly remodeling.

Karndean luxury vinyl tile

Luxury Vinyl Tiles (referred to as LVT) has been an extremely popular choice for many homeowners. These tiles are drastically superior to the old self-stick vinyl tiles. Like the better grade resilient floors, they offer a great realism and durability.  Because these floors come in planks and squares some of the LVT floors can be mixed and matched allowing for a more unique design.

Laminate flooring also offers some terrific looking hardwood flooring styles.  Today’s laminate flooring manufacturers use very sophisticated photographic and embossing technology to add more realism. This allows manufacturers to offer  authentic looking classic wood floors at a fraction of the cost of reclaimed old wood flooring. The special melamine wear layer found on laminate floors not only protects the pattern underneath but  is also highly stain, fade, spill, burn and scratch resistant.  Since laminate floors are installed by floating the planks over the sub-floor they can be used in areas of the home where solid hardwood floors are not recommended.

So if you love the look of wood but not sure you can use for your particular interior situation, stop into any of our Chicago flooring stores and let us show you all your options. We have the years of expertise to make your flooring choice the right one that will be enjoyed for years to come.

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Chicago Mohawk Carpet & Flooring Spring Sale

If you are in the market fo buy carpet and you live in the Chicago area stop into on of our 12 Chicago carpet store locations for the Mohawk Colors of Spring Carpet Sale. We have a tremendous selection of Mohawk Carpets on sale. Plus, free estimates, special financing offer, free tear up of your old carpet (does not include haul away) and a free pad upgrade.

Mohawk hardwood flooring, Mohawk laminate flooring and Ceramic tile are on sale with some great designs and prices.  With the early Spring the snow and mess is gone so it’s a perfect time to start you Spring house cleaning and remodeling projects. Our knowledgeable sales staff has years of experience and can help you find the perfect flooring for your situation. So, please stop in and see why so many Chicagoland people have been buying their flooring from Olson Rug since 1874.

Mohawk Color of Spring Sale


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