The Best Time to Refinish Your Floors

hardwood refinish

Ideally, you have your hardwood floors refinished before you actually move into the home. The reasons are simple: number one, you can’t walk on the floors the entire time they’re being refinished, number two, you need to move all of the furniture out of the space before it gets done, and three, it usually costs less since you can conceivably do it all in one go.

However, not everyone has the luxury of not already living in the home they are trying to refinish. If you must get this project done while you are actually living in the home, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • You can sand and refinish at any point during the year as long you keep the indoor temperature between 65 and 75 degrees.
  • During the hot summer months, especially August, the drying process for the refinishing can take longer. This is largely due to the humidity that summer brings with it. Of course, if you can vacate the home for a week or two, then it shouldn’t make that much of a difference anyways.
  • The biggest mistake that people make when scheduling their floor refinishings is not allowing enough time for it to be done. Refinishing an entire home can take anywhere from 7 to 9 days before you can put furniture back onto the floors. This process takes even longer if you have to have carpet removed or a lot of furniture taken out of the space.

Because of the last reason, make sure you are planning well in advance when to get this whole process done. If you’re moving into a new home, plan on staying in your old home for an additional week or so. If necessary, you can also delay the moving of all of your furniture and crash in the basement until the project is complete.

If you absolutely must be living in the home while scheduling a refinishing, no worries: just be aware that it will likely take more time and cost you a bit more inconvenience. Best of luck!

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How to Clean Carpets Like a Pro

carpet cleaning

Knowing how to properly care for a carpet is a great way to increase its lifespan. A properly cleaned and maintained carpet can easily last twice as long as one that is neglected and poorly maintained. You can find any number of carpet cleaning tips online, but here are some of the basic strategies that we recommend you use day-to-day.

  • Vacuum carpet as least once a week, and even more if you have an area of heavy traffic. Vacuuming frequently prevents the buildup of particles that cut into your carpet fibers, prolonging the lifespan of your carpet. Once a month or so, take some time to use the specialty tools on your vacuum and get into the nooks, crannies, and corners of the spaces you’re vacuuming.
  • Note: making a single pass over the area with the vacuum is rarely enough to get the job done. Yes, you’ll pick up the surface layer of grime and will see your bag start to fill up, but it will take a couple more passes before you get all the way down to the particles that have been worked down into your fibers.
  • Take your time when vacuuming and don’t try to go too quickly. Make long, slow passes over the areas you are tackling, especially ones with high traffic. High-traffic areas should be vacuumed over a couple of times from different angles.

If you intend to steam clean your carpet, consider using a pro. They have the experience and training necessary to do a good job and will almost certainly know more than you. If you intend to do it yourself, however, consider the following tips:

    • Clean the carpet before you feel like you absolutely have to. It’s better to catch it with a little bit of debris at a time or it becomes more difficult and takes much more time.
    • Before and after the steam cleaning, vacuum the whole area.
    • If there are stains that you intend to clean up, make sure that you pretreat them before going in with the steam cleaner.
    • Don’t over-wet the carpet, and once you are through, make sure you let it dry completely before putting it to use. Wet carpet can easily form mildew, so turn on any fans that you can, crank the AC, and use a dehumidifier if you have one.

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Living Room Flooring Ideas

living room

The living room is often the focal point of any residential space: it’s where the family gathers to spend time together, it’s where you entertain guests, and it is often one of the largest spaces in the home. Therefore, it’s important that you do your homework when selecting a flooring option for it. You need to take into consideration such things as the style of house, how much money you have to work with, sustainability, and the overall look you are trying to accomplish. Here are four of our favorite flooring ideas and why you may wish to consider them for your own needs:

  • Wood. It looks great, adds substantial resale value to the home, and requires very little in terms of care (usually a simple vacuuming is enough to keep it clean for long periods of time). The drawbacks are few, but include cost ($3 to $12 per square foot) and the occasional need for refinishing if installed in a high-traffic area.
  • Tile. It is generally quite durable and resistant to scratching, comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and is water resistant. Like wood, it is easy to maintain and shouldn’t often need more than a vacuuming to clean. The cons of tile: it can be cold to your feet and on the off chance that they start to crack or disintegrate, they can be difficult to repair.
  • Carpet. Always a great go-to option for old or new homes, it makes any space look soft and cozy. It is easy to walk on and simple to install (even over old floor!). The costs vary depending on quality, ranging from $2 to $5 per square foot. The only problem you’re likely to run into with carpet is that it stains easily and needs more constant maintenance to stay looking good. Carpets need to be vacuumed regularly and occasionally steam-cleaned.
  • Cork. It’s environmentally friendly, warm, feels wonderful, and absorbs sound so you don’t have to worry about making too much noise by walking on it. Again, the costs vary depending on quality, but you will most likely be looking at somewhere between $2 and $8 per square foot of space. Be warned: since cork is a natural material, it can be prone to fading in direct sunlight and can swell substantially if it gets too wet.

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Cold Weather Tips for Hardwood Floors

cold weather

If you have installed hardwood flooring in your home, you are likely aware that it is a living, breathing type of floor that swells and shrinks according to changes in temperature. Keeping that in mind, here are a few tips that you can use to help maintain your floor during the cold winter season.

  • Keep the level of moisture entering your home as minimal as possible. Everyone likes to go out and play in the snow, but your boots capture lots of moisture that can prove destructive to your hardwood. Make sure you clean your boots off outside if you can on a mat, and then on an indoor mat. Once you’ve finished drying them off, knock off all of the snow salt that has accumulated on them to prevent scratches on your floors.
  • Keep a mop or rags beside your front door at all times, especially if you regularly leave the house throughout the day. If your front door is continually opened and closed, you increase the chances of snow entering the home and damaging the floor. If snow does get inside, don’t wait for it to melt: mop or soak it up as quickly as possible.
  • If you have a fireplace in your home, now is the time you’re probably thinking about using it: it will keep the house warm and comfortable during even the coldest weather. However, be careful that you aren’t using it excessively: keeping a wood fire burning without any humidity in the home will make the air very dry and potentially damaging to your hardwood floors. If you want to maintain atmospheric humidity, you can keep a water kettle boiling above the fire to help.
  • Make sure that you know just how old your hardwood floor is. If it is getting up there in years, it may be time to add another layer of protection to it. Clean off the surface, sand it, and paint a coat of epoxy or polyurethane over the whole area.

Don’t let the winter ruin your home’s beautiful hardwood; take action as soon as you can to prevent damage!

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Changing the Color of Your Hardwood Floors

stainD

Have you ever taken a look at your hardwood floors and wished that you could change their color? Or perhaps you’re looking into buying a house, but you want the hardwood to be darker or lighter than the current floor is? Good news: you may not have known, but when you refinish a hardwood floor, you can absolutely change the color of it! It doesn’t matter if you’re going light to dark, dark to light, or anywhere in between: if you can sand and refinish your floors, you can change the color of them.

The process for sanding and refinishing is simpler than you might think. This first step is to purchase or rent a sanding machine and sand down the floor that you are refinishing. Do about three sandings, moving from coarse grit down to your finest grit for best results. This should give your hardwood a smooth surface that will readily accept any stain that you add. Your floor should look basically like brand-new hardwood once you’re done.

With that step out of the way, now it’s time to choose your stain. There are many, many different options ranging all different colors, so try picking out a couple of choices and testing them on your own floors first. This is an essential step because every floor is different and may take different colors differently than another. You may be hesitant to stain over a large area if you’re just testing it out, but we can assure you that this will give you the best visuals and is well worth the time spent.

The last step is to add two to three coats of polyurethane. This coating will take about 24 hours per layer to dry, assuming you’re using an oil base (water based polyurethane dries faster but isn’t as durable). Make sure that after every coat application, you buff the floors in order to smooth them out and help the polyurethane last longer. 90-95% of people select a satin finish for their hardwood, but don’t let that stop you from checking out some of the other choices: you can look at matte, gloss, and semi-gloss, as well!

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Kitchen Flooring Ideas

kitchen flooring

When it comes to laying down flooring in your kitchen, your first instincts may be to prioritize design and color. However, make sure that you aren’t overlooking other important qualities such as durability and ease of care! Here are some of our favorite ideas for long-lasting, aesthetically pleasing kitchen flooring:

  • With new advances in wood manufacturing and sealants, wood still reigns supreme in the household. Hardwoods are easy to clean, hard to permanently damage, and bring a sense of tradition and warmth to any household.
  • Cork flooring. This option is slowly becoming more and more popular in the American household, and it’s easy to see why. It feels great underfoot due to its slight cushioning, it is easy to clean, and can be purchased in a wide variety of patterns and colors. Simply seal it to prevent water damage and your kitchen it ready to go.
  • Natural stone. It doesn’t get more durable than this timeless flooring choice: stone is very resilient and isn’t going to need replacing every time you drop a dish on it nor a full cleaning if you spill food or liquid upon it. Similar to hardwood, stone gives any space a older, antique look that so many people find appealing. The only cons are its cost and the fact that you’ll need a strong subfloor to be able to handle its weight.
  • Bamboo. This choice gives you all of the benefits of a traditional hardwood floor with the added bonus of being environmentally friendly, as it comes from a highly renewable source. It is naturally water-resistant and durable, making it a prime choice for any kitchen.
  • Vinyl. There isn’t much to not like about this flooring option: it’s budget-friendly, one of the easiest floors to maintain, and is soft to the foot. You may consider this option if you’re not looking to break the bank, you cook a lot, or if you simply want a floor that doesn’t require much more cleanup than a simple sweeping and mopping at the end of the day.

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Waterproof Basement Flooring Options

waterproof basement

If your home has a basement below ground level, or if you are planning on purchasing a home with one, then it’s important that you put some thought into potential flooding risks. Being the lowest level of your home, your basement is ground zero for water damage from plumbing problems or rainfall. Luckily for you, there are several different options that you can consider to help make the floors waterproof, ensuring that your foundation doesn’t get eaten away over time.

  • A simple concrete sealer is not only a quick and easy solution, but it has the added benefit of being cost-effective. Most of these sealers are acrylic liquids that will flow easily and fill up cracks without giving you too much trouble. We recommend that you clean your concrete floors before applying the sealer so that you maximize its adhesive properties.
  • Another cheap and easy solution to waterproof flooring is an epoxy paint or coating. Epoxy is a simple polymer resin that will provide waterproofing qualities to the surface it is applied to. You can also get epoxy in multiple colors to correctly match the look of the room. If you want to go the extra mile with epoxy, you can also choose to go with an epoxy coat and hardener rather than a simple paint. Epoxy coating is more expensive, but it provides you with a larger range of coloring options.
  • You can even go all-out and get Place N’ Go waterproof basement flooring. This flooring option is an easy-to-install covering that can be placed directly over top of any existing basement flooring. The covering using interlocking mechanisms, meaning that there is no need for adhesives or moisture barriers. All that you need to do is snap it all together and your basement floor is waterproof and ready to roll.

If you have any questions regarding waterproofing your basement, don’t hesitate to give our professional installers a call!

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Asbestos Floor Tiles: What You Should Know

asbestos tiles

Asbestos flooring was a popular installation of choice up until the 1980s, with it being used most predominantly from the 1920 to the 1960s. Therefore, on many older models of home, it is still fairly common. Now, having asbestos tiles in your own home is no cause for alarm, but it definitely does pay to be able to identify and remove them if necessary. As is the case in many situations such as this, your number one choice is to have a professional remove them for you, but if you wish to take them out yourself, here’s how to do it safely.

Firstly, you need to know how to identify asbestos tiles. There are a few handy tips you can use:

  • If the building was made between 1920 and 1960, you have a higher chance of finding asbestos tiles. Take a look into your home’s history.
  • Asbestos tiles came in three sizes: 9”x9”, 12”x12”, and 18”x18”. Measure the tiles and see if they fall within this range.
  • Make sure that you handle disintegrating tiles with care. Intact tiles shouldn’t be an issue and can even be left in place if they are covered with other flooring materials.
  • Asphalt was a primary ingredient in asbestos tile manufacturing, and the oil from it can discolor floor tiles. If your tiles show discoloration, they might contain asbestos.

If you have successfully identified asbestos tiles in your home, you have two options: cover them up or take them out. Concrete and rubber-backed carpeting is the way to go If you wish to cover them. If you want to pull them up, follow these steps:

  • Seal off the work area by closing doors, windows, and air vents.
  • Always wear a respirator, safety goggles, and thick clothing including boots.
  • Try to keep the floor space wet to minimize airborne asbestos particles.
  • Use either a floor scraper or a flat shovel to pry the tiles out of the floor.
  • Place the removed tiles in specially-made asbestos bags and make sure that the bag is properly sealed shut.
  • Upon completion, mop the area where you were working.
  • Dispose of the bags in an appropriate landfill. Keep in mind that not all landfills are equipped to handle asbestos, so check with them ahead of time before driving out there.

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