Tips for Designing with Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floor styles come in strips, planks and parquet, and are available with numerous edge treatments such as square, micro, and beveled edges. The state-of-the-art technology and almost limitless choices of today’s stains, finishes, styles and designs makes hardwood flooring one of the most practical and versatile floor coverings available.

The shade of hardwood flooring you choose can dramatically change the look of your room. You can compliment the other design aspects in the room, bringing continuity and balance to the overall design. Lighter colors of hardwood help small rooms appear larger, while rich, dark tones add drama to larger rooms to create a warmer, more intimate feel.

One of the most popular attributes of hardwood flooring, is its’ natural coloration. Natural flooring adapts to any style, now or in the future. For rooms with plenty of natural light, you may want to consider some of the darker tones available. If the room doesn’t have natural light, you can lighten it up considerably by choosing a floor with a lighter color. Just remember, you can avoid being tiedto a particular scheme by choosing natural colors.

Hardwood comes in a variety of strip and plank options. Strip flooring is 21/4 wide and plank comes in varying widths starting at 3″. You can visually expand the size of your room by selecting a strip floor, while a plank floor enhances a larger room. Choose a width that corresponds to the overall scale of the room. A popular option is to use different width planks ranging between 3-5-7″. This can create a more traditional and less formal look.

Beveled edge planks can help delineate detail in the natural wood and adds a more casual feel while square edge planks fit flush against each other creating a smooth, traditional look. An eased or micro-beveled edge creates an angled effect where boards meet to create more depth and dimension while creating a more casual, relaxed look. These profiles can give the overall floor pattern distinctively different looks.

The Benefits Of Wooden Flooring

They’re affordable and come in a wide variety of styles and colors. They’re easy to install and maintain. They add value to your home, and maintain their value over time. They’re versatile enough to be the perfect backdrop to any decor. And to top it off, they help keep your home allergen and dust free. A natural wood floor is easily the best investment you can make in your home. Take a look at the benefits of natural wood flooring in your home!

Whether your personal style leans toward a clean, contemporary design or the hominess of a traditional Colonial style, wood floors fit right into the decor, and everything in between. Depending on the wood you choose, they can add to the open, airy feeling of a living room, warm a design based on steel and leather, or be the perfect background for a prized Oriental carpet. Dramatic and simple at the same time, wood floors can accent and complete the decor in any room in your home.

A new wood floor will add more value to your home than any other flooring option, including tile or wall-to-wall carpeting. And unlike other options, wood floors maintain their value over the years. When tile, vinyl flooring and carpets are looking worn, wood floors still retain their beauty. When they do begin to show wear, they don’t need to be replaced. Wood flooring can be refinished for a fraction of the cost of a new tile floor.

Wood floors are a healthy choice. Many doctors recommend hardwood floors such as oak floors as a way to help control animal and dust allergies. Carpets can trap dust, animal dander and mold spores, and serve as a breeding ground for dust mites and other common household allergens. Natural wood floors are easy to clean – sweeping and occasional vacuuming are all that it takes.

Wood floors are a natural choice, made from a renewable resource. In many cases, wood flooring is made from ‘recovered’ wood, recycled from old ships, barns and other old wooden structures.

There’s a common misconception that wood floors must be treated with kid gloves. In fact, wood floors are among the most durable of flooring options. That’s the simple reason that most gymnasium and auditorium floors are made with natural wood. It’s durable enough to stand up to heavy traffic with minimal care. Today’s polyurethane finishes and sealants make wood floors a good choice even in areas like bathrooms and kitchens

Wood floors are easy to care for. Daily dust-mopping or vacuuming is all that most floors need to stay beautiful and shiny. Polyurethane sealant will maintain a high gloss or soft sheen, while protecting the floor from moisture and spills.

With all that going for them, why would you choose anything but a natural wood floor, such as a new birch flooring for your new home or remodeling project? As you can see, wood is a natural choice for beauty, value and durability!

Remove Carpet Stains – The How To

Your short lesson on how to remove carpet stains: act fast. Carpets today (most) come with stain-resistant treatments, so spills can be removed if you get to them quickly. The longer you wait, the more difficult removing carpet stains becomes. And no, there are no stain-proof carpets – yet.

Spot Cleaning Carpets

Professional carpet cleaners will tell you that “spots” are removable, and stains are permanent. In any case, the appearance of carpet stains can be improved even when the stain cannot be fully removed. Follow these guidelines :

Blot up liquids, don’t rub them in! Just use a clean white cotton cloth or plain white paper towels. When you have removed the liquid, rinse the spot with water and blot again until dry. Repeat this if necessary to remove more of the stain, but don’t scrub, or you might damage the carpet and set the stain in more permanently.

With semi-solids, such as peanut butter, pudding and such, scrape and lift gently with a spoon. Rinse out the remaining spill and blot dry.

Dried solids can be broken up and vacuumed. Repeat this until it’s all gone, then rine with water and blot dry.

Stain Removal Guidelines

When you’re not sure how to get out specific carpet stains, try water first, before you try carpet stain removers.

When you use a cleaning solvent, apply it to a cloth, then work it in from the outside of the stain to the center, so you don’t spread the spot. The procedure is this: apply the cleaner, extract (blot), rinse, extract, and repeat until you can’t get out more of the stain. Always extract solvents completely, then dry the carpet quickly when you are done. If any of the stain remains, deeper down in the carpet, quick drying prevents it from wicking up to the surface.

Carpet Stain Removal Secret

One of the best tools for removing carpet stains is a shop-vac. A wet/dry vacuum cleaner can quickly suck up spills, and more importantly, you can repeatedly flush the area with water and suck it out. This is more efficient than blotting with a cloth, and less likely to cause damage to the carpet.

Electric Radiant and Floor Coverings

If the decision of what type radiant heating system to use was left to the floor-coverings, it would choose electric radiant. Eliminating the risk of water/glycol leaks, standard floor-heights, simple retro-fits, almost unlimited choice of carpet padding, uniform heat flux, easier installations and superior floor or space temperature control are only a few of the advantages of electric radiant heat. This isn’t to say that there aren’t disadvantages of electric radiant, I’m here to espouse the benefits and desirable features of electric radiant heat and its loving relationship with any and all floor-coverings. Oh, wait a minute, how could I forget, electric systems cost a fraction what hot-water (hydronic) systems do.

From the simplest of painted concrete to floors that started with linoleum, added carpet, then converted to imported marble, electric radiant is truly and simply superior to hydronic radiant and here are the reasons why.

There is no water or glycol ‘ and spilled electrons don’t damage floor-coverings, in fact, there’s no need to even sweep them up. Seriously, the safety standards and National Electrical Code keep electrical systems safe. Yes, a cable, mesh or mat can be damaged by an errant nail or screw, but the worst case scenario is the system doesn’t work as compared to a penetrated tube of a hydronic system with 100 gallons of water and glycol pumped out on the top level floor of a three floor custom home.

Built-up floor height for most electric systems is less than ?” and some as little 1/ 16″ thick. Most hydronic systems pour 1 ?” of light-weight concrete over the tubes increasing construction costs and limiting the types of floor-coverings that can be installed. If you want traditional hard-wood floors, a complex system of sleepers must be installed to allow for nailing of the wood to the sub-floor.

Retro-fitting carpet over what used to be tile can’t be easily done with hot-water systems. Changing the R-value (insulating characteristic) of the floor-covering changes the amount of heat that makes it into the space in hydronic systems, since they are designed to transfer heat via a temperature difference between the water in the tube and the floor covering surface, whereas electric systems put out a constant wattage regardless of the floor-covering insulating characteristics. Floor covering types can be changed time after time with electric radiant without changing the heating system.

Hot and Cold Spots o what some-people call spot-heating can be easily accomplished by installing higher or lower heat-density and adding a simple floor- sensor to control the temperature. Have you ever noticed how dogs or cats search for the warmest piece of flooring in a home and sleep there? We added a special tile floor heated 10? warmer for our house pet that became new sleeping accommodations for Cairo.

Uniform Heat Flux ‘ The harder the floor covering the more noticeable warm or cold spots become and the layout of the hot-water tubing and the changing temperature of the water through the loop result in changing floor-temperatures. This doesn’t happen with electric heat, each foot of cable, or length of mesh or mat generate exactly the same amount of heat as the next foot making it very easy to maintain a constant temperature across the floor. If the floor-coverings are going to be different in one room or one zone, split it into two zones of electric so the desired temperature can be maintained on each surface. This is easier to do and less costly for electric than hydronic.

Installation of any product is a concern and any time the cross-trade issues of installation can be minimized everyone wins. Electric systems don’t require any mechanical room space so long as they are installed before the floor-covering is installed you don’t have to do a lot of coordination with the other trades. If you want to climatize some exotic hardwood flooring from Brazil within the space it’s unlikely that you’ll have gas to operate your boiler, but it’s very possible that you can run your electric radiant heat off of temporary power to assist in stabilizing your wood before installation.

Independent of HVAC ‘ Electric radiant can be the primary heating system, but can operate very efficiently if you want the bathroom floor 80? in June and your husband has the air-conditioner running throughout the rest of the house. Try doing this with your 1,000,000 Btu boiler and you’ll regret it when the time comes to pay your gas or oil bill.

Precise Temperature Control ‘ Adding multiple zones to an electric system costs only pennies per foot compared to dollars per foot for hot-water. Having as many zones as you ever anticipate different areas with different floor-coverings is possible and practical, with the other benefit of precise control of temperature of every space in the home.

Carpet Care and Maintenance

State of the art technology coupled with perpetual research and development has resulted in carpet fibers that resist matting and crushing and are far more stain resistant. The quality and type of carpet fibers used will have a direct impact on the durability and life of your carpet. Certain carpet fibers are more stain resistant than others, while certain fibers display a higher degree of resistance to matting and crushing.

Olefin fibers are the most stain resistant of all fibers used in the manufacture of carpet; however they tend to matt and crush easily. Olefin fiber is solution dyed, making it unique among carpet fibers, facilitating the use of a bleach water solution that will not damage or discolor the carpet when cleaned. Polyester is inherently more stain resistant than nylon; however it is not as resilient.

Routine maintenance of your carpet will ensure optimum performance in terms of durability and aesthetics. Carpet construction is designed to hide dirt and soil and the fibers are treated with chemicals that have the ability to resist soiling and stains. This coupled with certain inherent stain resistant qualities of the fibers itself, has resulted in carpets that are more stain resistant and are less likely to abrade and discolor.

Regular vacuuming is the key to maintaining the luster and health of carpet. Particles of dirt, dust and soil contain sharp edges and will cut into the fibers of a carpet, thus reducing its sheen and giving it a lack luster appearance. Regular vacuuming will remove these particles from the surface of the carpet, preventing them from being trodden into the carpet pile and thus abrading the fiber. For plush carpets, utilize a vacuum with a beater bar or rotating brush head, in order to loosen and remove soil and dust particles that are present on the surface as well as deeper in the pile. When vacuuming a loop pile carpet, it is advisable to use a suction vacuum only,in order to prevent the fibers from fuzzing.

Due to their tight level loop construction, berber carpets are easier to maintain as dirt particles cannot penetrate the pile. As the carpet is vacuumed, the soil and dust particles are easily lifted off the surface of the carpet by the vacuum cleaner, as opposed to a plush constructed carpet which is more difficult to vacuum due to soil and dust particles penetrating the shag and settling deep within the carpet pile. Always ensure that the vacuum cleaner head is free of any protrusions, nicks or gouges, as these will damage the carpet fibers and cause unnecessary wear and tear.

Spills must be cleaned up immediately with the use of a sponge and a dabbing motion. It is important to dab a carpet and not rub it, to ensure that as much liquid as possible is soaked up by the sponge. Dabbing the carpet will facilitate the removal of topical spills without spreading the spill or pushing it deeper into the carpet pile. Often, one will clean up a spill and later find that the stain has re-appeared. This is a common occurrence and is caused by the spill penetrating the carpet pad that is then reabsorbed by the carpet when foot pressure is applied to the affected area. This scenario can also be the cause of carpet odors that tend to linger, as the odor has been absorbed into the pad; in which case normal cleaning methods are insufficient. If your household contains pets, it is a good idea to purchase a pad with a spill barrier, as this will prevent liquids such as pet urine from penetrating the carpet and settling in the carpet pad where the odor can linger.

Always follow the manufacturers recommended guidelines with regards to approved cleaning methods and materials. Following the guidelines will ensure optimum performance of your carpet as well as ensuring the adherence of all warranty guidelines.

Bamboo Flooring: Is It The Right Choice?

Bamboo flooring is amazing to look at. It has a very beautiful texture and adds quite a bit of style, beauty and quality to a home or business. It is quite a versatile element as well. Bamboo fibers can be made into virtually any type of material allowing for a wide range of styles, colors and methods of use for it. It can be used in businesses, homes and in virtually any environment.

Bamboo is a relatively soft wood that you would not think to use in most hardwood flooring situations. But, like most other hardwoods, their hardness rating can be much higher once protective coatings are applied to them. When the flooring is chosen, it will be crafted with the most care in order to further strengthen the density of it. These additional coatings will often protect it from damages such as scratches, denting and markings. This also helps to prolong its life by making it last longer and more beautifully.

Bamboo flooring is a very unique type of flooring. What you would think that it would look like is not necessarily what it will. And, there is little doubt that having the best quality is quite important. This type of flooring will be one that allows for a variety of different styles. For example, it can be colored, or stained, in virtually any color necessary. This allows for it to fit well within many homes and environments well. Often the purchaser will have the ability to choose which ‘color’ is right for their needs.

Although bamboo flooring is quite an expensive purchase, it is one that will likely last many years and will deliver beauty and design as well. If you are considering the purchase of this type of flooring insure that you get the highest level of quality so that it will last you a lifetime.