5 Easy Steps to Protect Your Hardwood Floor From Disaster

Common knowledge states that hardwood floors are a great investment for a homeowner. They add a certain charm and character to a home that can’t be replicated by laminates, carpeting, or any other type of flooring. However, the investment does not stop with the decision to purchase hardwoods. To retain the value, the hardwood must be properly cared for and maintained. Fortunately, with a few simple, easy, inexpensive steps, your hardwood flooring will always remain in perfect shape.

1. Do not use Murphy’s Oil Soap. Murphy’s works great on wooden furniture, but don’t make the mistake of using it on your hardwood floors. You won’t notice anything wrong after applying it once, but if used consistently, residue will build up and leave your floor with a dull appearance.

2. Do not use a Wet Swiffer. A Dry Swiffer is great for collecting dust, dirt, and pet hair from your floors, and it is also less abrasive than a vacuum cleaner. However, a Wet Swiffer can cause major long-term damage. The chemicals in the cleaning solution can break down the urethane finish on your floor and leave it dull, faded, and lifeless.

3. Place area rugs anywhere that might collect water. Prime areas are in front of the refrigerator, by the dishwasher, and nearany sinks. Make sure that the floor is protected in any spot that is susceptible to minor leaks and water collection. A pool of water is the quickest way to destroy your floor.

4. Use floor mats in spots where people step on the hardwood directly after being outside. In addition to protecting against wet or muddy footprints, floor mats will help collect any sharp or abrasive materials stuck in the treads of shoes. This step will help prevent accidental scraping or scratching.

5. Use felt pads when moving furniture. Or better yet, lift the furniture off the ground instead of sliding it across your hardwood floor. If felt pads must be used, please make sure that they are free of any debris. Even if a tiny little object like a staple is under that pad when heavy furniture is set upon it, your floor could receive some serious gouges.

These steps will help ensure that your home retains its value by protecting your hardwood floors against major damage.

Accidents do happen, however, no matter how careful you are. If your floor becomes damaged, contact the manufacturer or the installer for advice.

Laminate Flooring Installation Guidelines

The Beauty of Laminate Flooring

One way to add value to your home is to consider laminate flooring installation. Laminate floors combine the beauty and elegance of hard wood, or tile floors with the easy maintenance of linoleum or vinyl flooring. Constructed from a high density fiber (HDF) wood board topped with a wood or stone pattern, laminate flooring is incredibly durable. Resistant to scratching, scuffing and burning, the beauty of laminate floors will last a lifetime. With today’s constantly changing interior design trends, the easy installation and variety of laminate flooring is a popular choice for home designers.

The Quality of Laminate Flooring

If you’re planning to redecorate your home including laminate flooring installation, there are some decisions you need to make about the type of laminate flooring that will work best for you. It is commonly thought that the harder the HDF core, the higher the quality of the laminate flooring. The second mark of laminate floor quality is the means by which the core is bound to the pattern and protective layers. There are two basic types of laminate flooring to consider

  • Direct Pressure ‘ Direct Pressure lamination consists of a one-step process to bind the flooring layers into a single cohesive unit. DPL flooring that has been bound is then treated with melamine resins to increase the strength of the core. This final step also allows notches and grooves to be evenly cut into the pieces to facilitate the process of laminate flooring installation.
  • High Pressure ‘ High pressure lamination produces a more durable end product by binding the flooring layers over several steps. First the top layers are joined to each other and ten glued to the HDF core. After this, the melamine resins and glued flooring are submitted to a high pressure press that completes the process and makes the product ready for laminate flooring installation.

Laminate Flooring Installation Types

Once you’ve decided on the design and product you want to use, you’re ready to begin the process of laminate flooring installation. The various laminate products currently on the market offer several different options for laminate flooring installation. The type of installation you choose will depend on your budget, your commitment and ability to execute the project and your preference in design. When shopping for laminate flooring, you can expect to find products the require the following laminate flooring installation techniques:

  • Standard Flooring ‘ Standard laminate flooring is installed by using glue to affix the flooring to the sub floor. Standard laminate flooring installation is both cost-effective and secure.
  • Pre-Glued Flooring ‘ You may also come across laminate flooring products that have been treated with glue prior to sale. To complete the laminate flooring installation, water is applied to the underside of the board to activate the glue.
  • Snap and Lock ‘ There is no glue required for a Snap and Lock laminate flooring installation. The floor boards are instead linked by a locking mechanism on the underside of the wood. Snap and Lock flooring is very easy to install, but may be more expensive that laminate flooring installed with glue.

Laminate Flooring Basics

Laminate flooring resembles the look of hardwoods but offers easier installation and stronger durability. You can use laminate flooring in any room in the house, including hallways, foyers and family spaces, bathrooms, and kitchens. While hardwood floors are always vulnerable to evils like sand, spills, messy kids, and pets, laminates are better designed to withstand the trauma of daily life.

On the surface, you might mistake laminate flooring for hardwood. They look almost identical. What looks like natural hardwood is actually a layer of paper sealed below a super tough protective film that is then pressed and glued to a backing board.

When choosing a flooring material, a critical factor to consider is the amount of expected traffic. Durability the major advantage held by laminate flooring over hardwoods. Because of the high-density backing board, laminates are resistant to scrapes, cuts, and punctures. The high-pressure laminate coating will prevent stains from seeping through and damaging the floor. Sliding chairs and heavy falling objects that would normally dent or gouge a hole in hardwood will have no affect on laminate flooring.

Another big plus for laminate flooring is the ease of installation. Rather than having to rip out the existing floor, laminate can be installed over many existing floors, including wood, tile, vinyl, and linoleum. Theydo not fasten directly to the existing flooring material with nails or glue. Rather, it is fastened with an adhesive. The adhesive holds the flooring material together, while allowing the sub floor below to move independently of the laminate. The adhesive also helps protect the core material from moisture.

Maintenance is easy with laminate flooring. The coating will protect against liquid spills and moisture. As long as you wipe it up, the core material will not get damaged. If it does get through the coating, the material might expand and damage the floor. These instances are rare though, and overall, liquid that would cause major damage to hardwood will be harmless to laminates. Also, unlike hardwood, laminate does not need to be finished or sanded every few years. Just keep it vacuumed, mop it every once in a while, and you’re all set.

One last big advantage for laminate flooring is the cost savings over hardwoods. Your basic hardwood material, usually Oak, costs between $10-13 per square foot. More exotic or rare wood species send that price through the roof. Laminates, on the other hand, cost an average of $7-11 per square foot. And since the wood grain finish is actually just a photographic image, the look of the flooring will not increase the price.

How to Lay Tile: A Beginner’s Guide



Homeowners are constantly looking for simple ways to add to their home’s value and beauty. One of the easiest and quickest ways to do so is to install tile flooring in bathrooms or kitchens. Many homeowners see installing tile floor as a job that is too complicated for them. In most cases this is simply not true. Laying tile is fairly simple and you can maximize your return on investment if you do the job yourself. On a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is something extremely difficult like building an addition and 1 is something simple like hanging a picture, laying tile is about a 3 or 4. It is a fairly simple project and this guide will give you a much better understanding of how to lay tile.

The first step of how to lay tile is to measure the area where the tile will be installed. Once you know how much tile you will need, you’re ready to buy it. You can check online and at local home improvement stores to find the best prices. You will also need to buy some kind of backer board (usually cement), a trowel, grout, spacers, and mortar.

The next thing to do, especially when you are just learning how to lay tile, is to measure and cut a piece of backer board to fit in the area and test the fit prior to mixing any mortar. This is crucial as you don’t want any mortar to dry if the backer board doesn’t fit.

Next, you’ll want to place a thin layer of motar ver the area to be tiled and let it dry. Then, place a layer of mortar and use the notched side of the trowel to create ridges and place the backer board over the ridged mortar and stand on it to press it into place. Now use some roofing nails or cement-board screws to secure the backer board.

How to Lay Tile

The next step of how to lay tile is to create straight reference lines using a square or other straight edge. Then place a thin layer of mortar on a section of the backer board, make sure to not cover up reference lines. Use the notched side of the trowel to create ridges so you can press down the tile into the mortar later. Place tiles onto the mortar using spacers. The spacers will create space between the tiles where you will later place grout.

Once you have all tiles placed, wait for the mortar to dry, around 1 hour depending on how much mortar you used. You can use a screwdriver or razor blade to scrape away mortar that creeps up above the tiles as it dries.

After the mortar has dried and excess has been scraped off, you’re ready to apply grout to the tiles. Once the grout has been applied and excess grout removed, you’re done. Now you know how to lay tile.

Choosing A New Floor

Is it time to give that tired kitchen floor a face lift? Are you looking for just the right finishing touch for your new living room? The floor you choose can brighten a dark room, make a small one appear larger, or set the mood and tone for the rest of your decorating. There are so many flooring options available on the market these days that you’re biggest problem will be deciding which floor you like best! Here are a few suggestions to ease your decision process.

With all those choices available, how do you decide what type of floor fits your lifestyle and design sense the best? There are a number of factors to consider, including the mood you want to set, the style and colors of your furnishings, and what the room will be used for. The perfect floor for your work-in kitchen may be too dark for your bright and airy living room, and the floor that you love for your living room could be too formal or too delicate for your back patio. Rest assured though, that there is a perfect choice for every room in your home.

Things To Consider When Choosing a Floor

How much traffic will the floor get?

The amount and type of traffic that your room will see should be one of the largest deciding factors in the kind of floor that you choose. A family room floor with a ping-pong table and busy, active life needs a floor that will stand up to lots of foot traffic and the occasional spill In addition, you want a floor that won’t show wear, will be comfortable underfoot, and easy to care for. Vinyl floor tiles or linoleum might be your best choice there, though a good, durable wood laminate floor might do well, as well.

What’s the moisture level? Is the floor likely to get wet or is the room naturally ‘damp’?

Some floors just aren’t suited for damp areas. A basement playroom with a high moisture content, or a bathroom are seldom candidates for a solid wood floor, though there are some choices in wood laminates that might work if finished properly. Instead, you might choose slate or ceramic tiles with area rugs for the bathroom for a dramatic look that wipes up well and keeps its gloss for years.

What’s your personal style? What mood do you want in your room?

Want a luxurious feel? A thick pile rug over polished wood is a classic, elegant look that is pure luxury. A floor to accent a spare, modern style? Stone or slate, polished to a high sheen is a beautiful backdrop for leather and steel furniture and ascetic lines. A wooden parquet floor can be a dramatic focal point in an open foyer, or can lend a touch of Continental elegance to a formal living room. Wooden floors can hit any mood from rustic to royal, and the choices of color, pattern and style in vinyl or ceramic tiles can fit any active room in your home.

Protect Your Floors with a Concrete Sealant!

Although concrete may seem pretty tough, it actually is vulnerable to many environmental factors. People often overlook the fact that concrete is porous. And as with porous surfaces, moisture, stains, molds, and other environmental hazards can seep in, wrecking havoc on your beautiful concrete surfaces.

Your concrete is always vulnerable to water. These porous surfaces will allow moisture to loosen your vinyl tiles or ruin your carpet.

How does water get in my concrete, (and how do I stop it)?

Water can enter concrete in two ways: from the top side or from the ground. Water entering from the top is called positive moisture. It comes from rain and other liquids that spill on the concrete surface. Ground moisture is called negative moisture. It comes from the natural moisture of the ground over which the concrete is laid.

Concrete surfaces act like sponges when exposed to water. It will draw water until it is saturated, or if there is no more water available. It will then disperse the water until it reaches equilibrium state.

What does water do to my concrete? Water may cause many processes that can lead to noticeable damage. Water causes the rebar to rust. This in turn weakens the concrete.

Water also activates alkali disintegration. During the curing process of concrete, the alkali in the concrete becomes dormant. As water seeps into the concrete the alkali begins to react again with the concrete around it. This destroys the concrete from within.

Water is also causes mold, mildew and algae to grow. Mold has been known to influence severe health problems. Algae, on the other hand, cause the concrete to become slick and discolored while mildew often give off a bad odor and stains organic materials.

Up to 60% of homes have basements that suffer from this sort of problem. This could seriously affect the resell value of your home and make your home a health hazard to its occupants.

The moisture must be stopped to stop the damage.

To protect your concrete walls or floors, you need to have them protected with a concrete sealer. Concrete sealers protect concrete from deterioration brought about by road salt, stains, oil, moistur, and molds. It also provides a layer of protection that allows for easier sweeping and cleaning.

You will most likely need only one application of concrete sealant to keep your concrete surfaces protected.

Needed Equipment

First of all, you need to assemble the needed equipment. First of all, you must wear protective clothing since you are about to work with potential irritants. Gather a stiff brush and a water bucket. You will also need some rubber gloves, goggles and small-particle filter to protect you against chemical agents. You will also need some paintbrushes and a paint roller. Make sure there is proper ventilation at the place you are to work with the concrete sealer.

How to Apply

1. Clean the Floor. Your surface must be free of dirt, grime, grease, and oil. The stiff scrub brush will help remove stubborn stains. Use a commercial cleaner to help remove the dirt. Stubborn stains might need some soaking in a detergent solution before they can be removed. Rinse thoroughly with clear water. A second application may be required.

2. Apply Sealer: Before painting the floor, make sure you test the sealer on a small patch of floor. This will tell you if the floor is clean enough or if there are still imperfections that should be remedied. Uneven density in the concrete may result in a blotchy appearance that may be undesirable. Apply the sealer using a paint roller with an extension handle. Use the brush to cut in when working the perimeter. Start in a rear corner and work your way out of the area you are working on. Work the sealer into the surface. Spread it in a way that all the puddles are eliminated and apply a relatively thin uniform coat. You will probably only need one coating. Allow the sealer to dry. This will take a few hours.

3. Clean Up: Don’t forget to wash up with soap and warm water immediately afterwards. Remember you had just dealt with a potentially hazardous chemical. Always keep safety in mind as you work on your area. Also, dispose of the roller and the brushes you used for the job. Concrete sealers may require that you use these equipments just once.