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Hardwood Floor Installation: DIY Project, or Professional Installations Only?

Hardwood floors offer a sophisticated look for homeowners who live in the metropolitan areas around Washington D.C. and beyond.  Installing hardwood floors is a great way to enhance the market value of your property. Some homeowners have previous experience in working on their own homes, but there are many compelling reasons to hire this particular type of work out to a professional company instead. The services should be performed by skilled and experienced contractors who use industry standard tools and equipment to get the job done right the first time. This can reduce the likelihood of expensive errors that drive up the total installation cost. You can also benefit from the guarantees provided by the company. Consider the advantages of hiring a professional to install your perfect floor.

A professional installer is a person who has special training and experience in this industry. Even if you have some experience working on your own home, floor installations are still extremely tricky to do right the first time. Professional installers apply the highest standards when performing the work. This includes the use of specialty tools that are not readily available to the public. In addition, you will have fast access to a variety of experts who can inform you about the process every step of the way. This is an important benefit if you intend to use the same services on business properties. It is also helpful to have access to a showroom that contains a large selection of different types of hardwood. This can be the fun part for people who get excited about interior design for their living spaces. The different shades of hardwood can be browsed for your enjoyment. This also means that you can enjoy the benefits of customer service for your particular environment.

Avoid Mistakes, Get Professional Installations

Professional equipment is a lot more expensive than normal consumer supplies, and this drives up the cost. These floors require a variety of tools and techniques, and most people do not have the proper skills and equipment necessary to install the floors correctly. Remember that when you hire a professional, you are renting their equipment as well as their expertise. If you were to purchase similar equipment, you would also need to evaluate the total costs involved. You might not save as much money as you imagined by purchasing specialty supplies for the job. This can include sanders, buffers, air compressors, adhesives, hygrometers, and professional grade saws. The amount of equipment necessary can also raise the issue of what to do with the supplies after the job is finished. When you hire a professional floor installation company, they take care of the equipment costs, storage, and maintenance.

Mistakes can be costly, and this can drive up the total cost of the installation if something is done that requires a correction later in time. Professional floor installations can also be insured by the company who hired the worker to perform the job. This means that you can often get the work fixed if something goes wrong. This is another level of security that you can enjoy by working with a company instead of trying to do everything yourself. There are many common mistakes that are made when attempting to install hardwood flooring in a home. The space measurement tools can determine the accuracy of the installation, for example. The best solution is to hire professionals who understand the process and have the experience and training necessary to get the job done right the first time.

Professional, Expert Hardwood Floor Installers

Hiring a professional installer for your hardwood floors is highly recommended. Classic Floor Designs has decades of experience offering premium installation services to clients who have a variety of home layouts. This is an important point because expertise in this field only comes with experience. Professional installations can prevent problems in the future, and this will help you to avoid the expenses associated with correcting an installation that was not done correctly. This solution also allows you to enjoy peace of mind. Experts use special tools and equipment to ensure that the hardwood floor is professionally installed the first time.
Contact us for your free installation quote today!

What Type of Flooring do Home Buyers Prefer?

It is important to know what type of flooring home buyers are looking for in your area if you plan on selling your home. Preferences vary by room and locale, but nationally hardwood floors tend to be the most sought-after flooring in a home. Worried because your hardwood floors are old, or have a home covered in worn out carpet? We have you covered, and the cost of renovating may be less than you think. Follow this list to get a sense of what flooring needs to stay and what needs to go in your home.

Entryway

Arguably the most important of part of your house to consider when remodeling is the area right when you walk through the door. A potential homebuyer’s first impression can make or break the sale of your home. Old hardwood or worn out carpet not only turns buyers away but can severely impact the selling price of your home. Wood flooring in an entryway can make the area seem more spacious and cohesive. Even though this is an essential area to focus on, do not break the bank. Equally imperative rooms in the house like the kitchen and bedrooms must be included in your budget.

Kitchen

Tile remains a popular option for kitchens. However, especially in new constructions in the Washington DC metro area, hardwood is now the preferred style among home buyers. If you already have hardwood flooring in your kitchen, a simple restoration can make a world of difference for your kitchen’s appearance. Also, believe it or not, hardwood flooring is usually less expensive than tile. As one of the focal centers of a home, do not overlook the value your kitchen can add to your selling price.

Bedrooms

It’s a toss-up for carpet vs. hardwood flooring in the bedroom. Most simply prefer what they grew up with, but often that’s not enough to be a deal breaker. In fact, most people purchasing a home with previous owners will tear up carpet regardless. This has to do with the perception of the carpet being “dirty” or the presence of actual odors. A simple solution, if you have hardwood underneath the carpet, is to tear it up and refinish the hardwood. Even if you cannot afford to refinish, it is better than leaving old carpet in for the new owners to replace.

Basements

A lot of homes in the Washington DC area come with unfinished basements. This is usually either because of flooding or the sheer cost of a full renovation. Given the threat of moisture, hard flooring would seem like the ideal solution. However, this is far more expensive than installing carpet and may not even give you a significant return on investment. Not all home buyers have a need for a basement and may be content with simply using it as storage or a workshop. If you currently have a finished basement, consider replacing your existing carpet or refinishing the hardwood (if any damage is present). Those who are looking for a finished basement will highly appreciate it.

Contact Us

Get a FREE consultation. Give us a call at (202) 872-9860. You can trust that we know custom flooring. With 40+ years of experience, clients such as the White House, US Mint Building, Four Seasons Hotel, and awards from the National Flooring Association and the Washington Building Congress. Help us bring your vision to life by contacting us today.

 

 

Hardwood Floors: How to Keep Yours Looking Like New

Do you have hardwood floors? If not, are you thinking about installing them? Hardwood can be more expensive than its counterparts, but it also lasts much longer and looks incredible! In fact, if you properly clean and maintain them, wood floors can last the lifetime of your home. This can rarely be said for its alternatives, such as carpet or linoleum. As an added plus, wood floors are a breeze to take care of. Here are a few tips to keep your floors looking like new for years to come.

No Shoes

When it comes to walking, shoes are a great invention. They cause a great deal of wear and tear on your floors, however. Therefore, it might be a good idea to leave the shoes at the door. Some people are okay with a no shoes in the house rule while others prefer to wear shoes wherever they go. If you prefer to wear shoes in the house, just know that it will cause extra wear on your floors and will likely make them a little more difficult to keep looking new. Dirt and grime carried in on shoes can leave an abrasive layer on your floors that can scratch them or leave them looking dull. If you prefer not to enforce a no-shoes rule, just make sure you keep those floors clean on a regular basis.

Keep it Clean

All hardwood floors are not created equal, and neither are the products designed for cleaning floors. Whether your hardwood flooring is unfinished, waxed, or oiled, read all the labels on a cleaning product before you use it to make sure it is safe to use on your floors. Once you have settled on the best cleaning product, wood floors can be simple to keep looking great. A simple sweep and mop is generally all that is required. Make sure to mop up spills as quickly as possible. Spills are never good to let sit on any type of flooring, but it can cause particular wear and damage to the hardwood.

Buff the Scuffs

Scuffs can occur on your floors for a variety of reasons, and they are a simple fact of life when it comes to hardwood. The good news is they are easier to get rid of than most people think. You may need to try different methods to remove a scuff, but they are not permanent and can easily be banished!

  • Dampen the corner of a soft cloth and rub it over the area. This may be enough to gently remove the scuff from your floor. Dry the area with the dry part of the cloth once you have removed the scuff.
  • Lightly dab the area with a damp sponge or cloth. Rub the area with a pencil eraser, then use the sponge again to wipe away the eraser debris. Wipe dry.
  • Buff away the scuff with a tennis ball! This surprising technique works like a charm on some scuffs. Simply rub the tennis ball over the area and watch the scuff disappear. The fabric on the tennis ball is abrasive enough to buff away the scuff, but it is gentle enough that it won’t harm your floor.
  • For tough scuffs, wipe the area with a damp cloth and dry. Mix a tablespoon of olive oil with a tablespoon of vinegar and pour a small amount of the solution on the scuff. Let it sit overnight. Dry the area with a soft cloth the next morning.

 

Long-term Maintenance

For the long haul, you should add a maintenance coat to your floors every three to five years to keep it looking like new. The particular type of coat you use will depend on your style of wood flooring.

Prevent Damage

While you can’t prevent eventual wear and tear on your floors, you can lessen the damage with a few simple tricks.

  • Prevent scratches and scrapes on your floors by placing felt protectors under chair legs and other furniture. Many people tend to overlook the application of felt protectors, but they can save years of wear and tear on your floors. Just make sure to replace them if they become detached or worn thin.
  • Use rugs in high-traffic areas to help keep the floors clean. Rugs are great when they are used properly. Make sure you wash the rugs on a regular basis or they will do nothing more than look pretty and scatter dust. You should also always use a rug pad underneath to ensure the rug doesn’t stick to the floor and leave a residue when it is removed.
  • Protect your floors from the sun. As much as you may love the bright sunlight streaming through your window, it can discolor your floors over time. Blinds, curtains, or other window treatments are suggested to keep your floors from being discolored by sunlight. You can also use a protective UV coating on your floors for an added level of protection.

Hardwood floors are one of the classic floor designs that add beauty and elegance to any home. Keep yours looking new with these simple tips from Classic Floor Designs.

 

Are Your Hardwood Floors Worth Saving?

Northern Virginia and the Washington DC metropolitan area are filled with beautiful, historic homes. If you live in one of these homes and have old hardwood floors, you might wonder whether it is better for you to restore them or to replace them. Whether you should restore your existing hardwood floors or get new flooring installed will depend on several different factors, including your budget, the condition of your floors and whether you like their look and style.

Budgetary considerations

Generally, it’s more expensive to install new hardwood floors than to refinish the ones that you already have. Buying new wooden flooring requires removing the old floors and disposing of them, which include a price tag. There will also be labor costs involved with cutting the flooring to fit around doorways and walls. If you have some boards that are stained or damaged, to save money, you can opt to replace only the damaged sections and then refinish your hardwood floors so that they look as good as new. Wood floors can be matched so that the replaced sections will blend in seamlessly.

The condition of your existing floors and their age

Hardwood floors may be refinished around five to seven times during their lifespans. If your floors have been refinished repeatedly over time, they may be too worn to save. If you are able to see the tongue between the boards where they fit together, you will likely need to replace your floors. You should also consider replacing your floors if they do not seem sturdy or have too much bounce. Certain types of wood, like pine, are softer and are may become less sturdy as time passes. If your floors are simply scratched up, you may choose to have them refinished instead of buying new floors.

Structural problems

If you have structural problems that need repair, you will likely have to opt for new wooden floors. For example, if the floor supports are damaged or you need a new subfloor, you will have to get new floors installed; these types of repairs require the old floors to be removed.

Wanting a different wood species

Most historic homes in the DC area have oak floors. To update the look or if you desire a different wood species such as cherry, you might choose to have new floors installed. To change the color of your floors, however, you may not need to invest in new floors. Sanding and staining can easily change the color of your flooring, alleviating the need to replace them altogether.

Change the width or direction of your floorboards

Many older homes have oak floors that are 2-1/4 inches wide. Wider planks are more popular and on-trend now. If you want to have wider planks that are 5 to 7 inches wide, the only way you can get them is to get new floors installed. Similarly, if you want to change the direction that the boards run, you will need to replace the floors.

Time and mess considerations

If you are pressed for time, replacing your floors typically takes less time than refinishing them. Floor replacements also do not generate as much of a mess. However, it is also possible to refinish your floors with a minimal mess when you use dustless floor refinishing. Classic Floor Designs has a dustless refinishing system that vacuums all of the dust away from the inside of your home into our truck so that the mess is minimal.

Deciding whether to refinish your existing floors or to install new ones will depend on your preferences, budget, time constraints and the condition of your existing floors. To learn more about refinishing your existing floors or replacing them, contact Classic Floor Designs today.

Should Hardwood Floors Match Throughout the House?

If you are like many people who are thinking about installing new hardwood floors, you might have the idea that all of your floors should match. While some people think that they should match the floors throughout their homes for a sense of uniformity and space, it is unnecessary to do this. At Classic Floor Designs, we recommend that you consider mixing different types of wood on the floors throughout your house for a stunning result.

Choose wood grains according to your rooms’ locations and sizes

If you have rooms that face south or that are large, choosing a dark wood for your hardwood floors such as mahogany or Brazilian walnut can lend a luxurious feel. Smaller rooms work better when they have lighter wood grains. For small rooms, think about using lighter wood grains such as white oak, ash or maple.

When you are choosing hardwood flooring for a long hallway, make sure that you do not install it running parallel to the room’s length. This will make it appear narrower than if you install it in the other direction. If there is a doorway at the end of the hall that separates the spaces, you can choose to install wood running in a different direction or in a new grain to add interest. If there is no door separating the hall from the adjoining room, continue laying the flooring in the same pattern.

Separating rooms

If you want to install different wood grain floors in adjacent rooms, it can be easy to do so. You can simply separate them using wooden borders or T-moldings in the thresholds of the doors. You can also separate areas in large rooms with different grains of wood. This can be used to highlight specific areas and can be done well if you creatively use borders. You can try to create a border around the area with contrasting wood by using some of the wood grain from the adjoining space.

In a home with an open floor plan, using different types of hardwood floors can be used to set certain areas apart. For example, the entryway area might have wood floors that are installed in a parquet pattern while the rest of the floor is installed in straight lines. This can help you to set your entryway apart while also complementing your home’s design.

Why trying to match existing wood floors is difficult

If you are planning to install wood floors in only one area of your home, you may be tempted to try to match the floors that are installed in your other areas. This is very difficult to do because different series of the same types of wood flooring may be slightly mismatched in their tone. After the new flooring is installed, the difference may be apparent. Instead, try creating contrast and choose a new grain of wood that will complement what you have installed without matching it too closely.

If you are wanting to try to match the existing wood floors with your new flooring, you might want to instead consider sanding and refinishing all of them to match. Instead of going through the hassle of doing that, choosing a different type of floor or wood grain and selecting a border to separate the two can add to the look of your home.

While some people think that they have to use the same type of floors throughout their homes, choosing to mix different wood grains can make your home look more interesting. The experts at Classic Floor Designs can help you to choose the floors that will make your home stand out. Call us today to schedule your consultation so that you can begin the process of transforming your home into the beautiful place that you envision.

How to Make Your Hardwood Floors Last Longer

Hardwood floors make a stunning first impression, increase the value of your home and add warmth to any room. We know you want the beauty of your floors to last a long time without the need for refinishing, fixing or replacement, but we also recognize the challenge of cleaning and protecting hardwood.

Preventing damage to flooring is easy if you’re diligent and practice smart strategies. Start with these five tips to preserve the shine and prolong the life of every wood floor in your home.

Use the Right Cleaner

Before investing in a cleaner promising to restore shine and make wood floors glow, find out how it makes good on its promise. Many products rely on oils or waxes to provide shine. These produce an attractive effect but only serve to break down the finish of your floor over time, leading to the need for sanding and refinishing.

Instead of putting on a false shine, choose a cleaner formulated to remove dirt and reveal the natural beauty of the wood. Bona, Libman, Pledge, Method and other well-known names in home cleaning offer products just for hardwood. Choose a gentle, non-toxic formula, especially if you have pets or children who spend a lot of time in contact with the floor.

Develop a Regular Cleaning Regimen

Use your cleaner as part of a consistent routine designed to keep your hardwood flooring in top shape. Sweep up dirt and debris often to prevent scratches, and invest in a vacuum cleaner made for wood floors to lift the dirt brooms leave behind. Dry dust mops like Swiffer make it easier to reach into corners and grab dust bunnies under large pieces of furniture.

Keep a stash of soft cloths on hand to wipe up spills the moment they happen. Leaving water on the floor can lead to damage, and anything sticky will be difficult to remove if allowed to dry. Should an unidentifiable substance weld itself to your floor, spot clean with a minimal amount of liquid to remove it.

Mop the floor using a dry mop and your chosen cleaner to get rid of the rest of the dirt and grime. When you’re done, you should see the coveted shine for which hardwood floors are prized.

Say No to Shoes

Even if you’re obsessive about wiping your feet before heading indoors, your shoes are likely still holding onto dirt and debris. Routinely tracking these particles across wood floors can lead to scratches and scuffs in the finish. High heels are also problematic because the force focused on the concentrated surface of the heel can dent the wood.

To avoid both issues, remove your shoes the moment you come inside. Place a boot tray or rug by the door, and ask guests to help you preserve the floors by taking off their shoes when they visit. For a more attractive solution, consider investing in a bench with built-in storage cubbies for the shoes you wear most often.

Give Your Furniture a Soft Touch

Wood flooring looks great in the kitchen and dining area, but the constant scraping of chairs does no small amount of damage to the finish. Since you can’t expect everyone to remember to pick up their chairs instead of pushing them in or to maneuver themselves sideways to avoid pushing chairs back, invest in adhesive felt pads or gliders. These can be placed on the bottoms of kitchen chair legs or on the feet of small tables. You can also get more permanent gliders designed to be nailed in place so that they don’t slip off.

For larger furniture, consider snap-on felt glides. These not only protect your floors but also make moving couches and other big pieces easier when cleaning or rearranging.

Learn to Love Rugs and Mats

To protect wood flooring in high-traffic areas and in places where water or food is likely to be spilled, you need throw rugs, mats or runners. Put mats by the sink and near kitchen counters where the majority of food preparation takes place, and roll out runners in the places the family passes through the most. A welcome mat outside the door encourages everyone to wipe the bottoms of their shoes, and a small rug can be placed just inside to prevent errant dirt from winding up in the house. Remember to clean underneath all mats and rugs when caring for your floors to prevent debris from building up or backings from sticking.

Start practicing these preventative strategies the moment your new floors are installed, and you’ll enjoy beautiful hardwood for many years to come. If you’re ready to get started with an installation, contact one of our specialiststo learn more about your options and find just the right hardwood floors for your home.

Top Tips to Protect Your Floors This Holiday Season

Tips to Protect Your Floors This Holiday Season
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but your hardwood floors might disagree if they could talk. The holidays are a great time for inviting over friends and family, which usually means lots of extra foot traffic, moving around furniture and inevitable spills.

We know that life is probably going to be busy and full of fun and festivities, so you probably won’t want to spend a lot of time worrying about the state of your beautiful flooring. To help put your mind at ease and minimize any potential damage, we’ve compiled a quick and simple list of tips to help save your hardwood, carpeting and laminate floors from the abundance of cheer that comes along with this time of year.

Doormats and Rugs

Doormats are your first line of defense when it comes to caring for your floors. Be sure to place heavy-duty mats on the inside and outside of all of your entrances to cut down on the dirt that gets tracked in by guests and family.

Strategically placing area rugs in high-traffic areas is also a great, stylish way to protect your hardwood floors. If you live in an area that is particularly prone to wet, snowy weather, it’s a good idea to have extra washable rugs placed near the doors for guests to knock off snow or mud before they come inside.

Remove Your Shoes

Most people naturally come home and take off their shoes first thing. This is a good habit to get into, especially if you’re hoping to keep your floors looking great for years to come. Though it may feel strange to ask at first, you should consider requesting that guests leave their shoes at the door, too.

To help facilitate this, there are a few things you can do. First, have everyone in your house get into the habit of leaving a pair of slippers by the main entrance so it’s easy to slip off shoes and put on slippers. Keep a boot tray and small shoe rack near the door as well. Wet or dirty shoes go into the boot tray, and other shoes go onto the shoe rack or into their respective bedrooms.

For guests, you can either let them know ahead of time to bring a pair of slippers, or you can keep a few pairs of washable “house shoes” near the door. These are not difficult to find, and they are not very expensive either. To eliminate any potential awkwardness, you can make it fun and hang a lighthearted sign on the door letting guests know to leave their shoes at the entrance.

Clean Up Regularly

This one is obvious, but extra traffic means extra cleaning. To cut down on the time you spend doing housework, you can go high-tech and invest in a small robot vacuum that will pick up debris and even spot-mop your floors. If that’s outside of your budget, consider keeping a dry mop in all of the main living spaces, and do a quick once-over anytime you’re walking through.

Invest in Furniture Pads

This is an especially useful tip if your home is mostly hardwood floors. Home improvement or flooring stores will carry a variety of soft, easy-to-apply furniture pads that can be placed on the bottoms of chair legs, table legs and anything you know will be getting pushed or pulled across the floor regularly. Padding these surfaces will not only allow the furniture to move more easily, but it will save your floors from any potential scraping or gouging.

Seal and Treat

For hardwood flooring, you should take the time to have your floors varnished if you haven’t already. A fresh layer of sealant will protect the wood from spills and stains.

Carpeted floors should be steam cleaned and protected with an anti-stain or liquid-repelling treatment. Not only will this save your carpets, but it will save you stress and headache when someone drops a glass of wine or the kids get a little too excited about their holiday treats.

Train Your Pets

It may take a little bit of time and patience, but training your animals to sit by the door while you wipe their paws is an invaluable trick for reducing the amount of cleaning you do and keeping your floors fresh.

In addition to this, you should keep your pet’s nails trimmed and blunted whenever possible. Long or sharp nails can scratch and gouge hardwood in no time. If you have cats, make sure there are plenty of places for them to scratch. Otherwise, your carpeted floors may suffer.

One Final Tip – Relax

Remember, the memories and joy of the season are much more important than keeping your floors pristine. Enjoy your holidays, and consult with our professionals if you have questions or need help with post-party floor cleaning.

Top 10 Myths About Hardwood Floors

When looking to make improvements to their home, many people consider the addition of a hardwood floor. Hardwood floors are both durable and beautiful, but there are many common myths that still exist about this particular flooring option. The following information is designed to set the record straight on ten common flooring myths regarding hardwood floors.

Top 10 Myths About Hard Wood Flooring

Even though wood floors have gained in popularity over recent years due to their natural beauty and appeal, many people are still put off of considering them as a viable option due to many myths that abound about them. If you’ve been wondering whether some of the things you’ve heard about floors of this type are true or not, please consider the following list of the top ten myths associated with wood flooring.

*They are Expensive

While it’s true that there is usually more upfront costs associated with wood floors, they actually prove to be a low-cost flooring option. Because wood lasts for decades or longer when properly maintained, these types of floors can last a lifetime. This makes them rather cost-effective in the end. They also require less maintenance and fewer cleaning products and tools, reducing the lifetime cost associated with this type of flooring even more.

They Show Dust Easily

It is true that dust is a bit more visible on a sleek wood surface. However, this brings additional benefits with it. Dust and debris can be difficult to detect on carpeting and other popular floors. This means that it sticks around and poses an allergy risk to sensitive people. Dust on wood surfaces is usually more visible, but this allows for it to be noticed and properly removed promptly. This makes your home cleaner and your air quality better.

They Lack Warmth

Contrary to popular belief, a hardwood floor does not make a room appear cold. In fact, the opposite is true. The natural glow of a wood surface adds an element of warmth to the room in an aesthetic sense. However, it goes much deeper than appearances. Wood is also a natural insulator, making it easier to maintain warmer temperatures in your home during the winter.

They are Hard to Maintain

Wood is actually quite easy to care for, and flooring is no exception to this rule. A simple dust mop is often all that is needed to provide routine cleaning and removal of dust particles. If the floor has lost its shine, a high-quality cleaning product designed for wood surfaces can easily restore its luster.

They Deplete the Forests

Many flooring manufacturers use sustainable techniques that are designed to harvest wood in a manner that has the least environmental impact long-term. Since the floors last so long, they do not need to be replaced and end up costing less in terms of environmental impact than other flooring choices.

They are Not Durable

Some types of wood are definitely more durable than others. If you have young children or active pets, you can choose a harder wood that has more durability over time.

They are Not Real Wood

Engineered wood is still real wood. It is simply manufactured in a way that allows for multiple layers to be placed on top of one another. The end result is called a wood composite, but it is still genuine wood, not a man-made substitute.

They Aren’t a Good Option if You Plan to Move

On the contrary, wood flooring will add value to your home that others will appreciate. In many cases, the beautiful addition of this type of flooring will appeal to home buyers or even bring more money from the sale of your home.

They Scratch Easily

Wood is essentially the only material that can be repaired to like-new status if it becomes scratched. Man-made flooring does not provide this convenient option. While it’s true that softer types of wood may develop scratches on the surface of the wood more easily, these are quite easy to buff out and repair.

Polyurethane Floors are More Durable

Polyurethane floors are cheaper to purchase and install initially. However, they can become dented and damaged easily. Unlike wood counterparts, this damage is not easy to repair. In fact, parts of the flooring may need to be replaced entirely. This actually leads to a greater expense in the end. Additionally, polyurethane can be much more expensive to care for in the long run as well, adding to the overall cost associated with this type of flooring.

While they may involve more of an upfront expense than some other flooring options, hard wood floors can add a touch of practical elegance to your home. Hardwood floors provide a durable and gorgeous flooring option that you can proud to show off to family and friends. With careful planning and a skilled team of professional installers, hardwood floors can become one of the most beloved features of your home.

Home Improvement Suggestions for the Biggest Payoff

If you’re planning on putting your home on the market soon and want to increase its value, the key is to pick home improvement, remodeling projects that give you the best return on investment. As a rule, aim for projects that earn back at least 90 percent of your investment but preferably 100 percent or more. These are some of the top recommendations for the best ROI.

Kitchen Remodeling

Along with bathrooms, kitchens are the most expensive rooms from a structural perspective. When inspectors come to assess your home’s value, they can tell when money is invested and when cheap fixes are used. For the fairest ROI, don’t spend more than 10 percent of your home’s value on a kitchen remodeling project.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is investing in high-end designer wood cabinets. Tearing out and hanging new cabinets is a costly home improvement project. If your cabinets aren’t severely warped or damaged, you can refinish them and install new hardware. Granite countertops add value to a home. Appliances are also important. Ask a real estate agent about which appliances are better for your area. Some brands may raise a value more than others in a certain area. Some less expensive additions that add value are under-cabinet lights and pull-out pantries. Installing recessed lighting is also a good inexpensive way to add value.

Bathroom Remodeling

When you live in a popular area, like Washington, D.C., a smartly planned bathroom renovation can earn back more than 100 percent of your investment. In today’s fast-paced world, fewer people have time to take baths. Install a glass walk-in shower instead of a prefabricated standard combination unit. Low-flush toilets are also a smart purchase.

Adding a second bathroom may be wise in some cases. If your home has more than two bedrooms and only one bathroom, opt to add an efficient second bathroom instead of renovating the current one. In some cases, it can increase the home’s overall value by five percent or more, which is a better average value than creating an additional bedroom.

Add A Bedroom

In a hot housing market, you may be able to top your investment by adding a bedroom. There are several ways to do this. You can make an attic bedroom or loft. Or, you can put a bedroom in your basement. If your basement and attic need a considerable amount of expensive work such as HVAC and wiring, an addition may only be a cost burden. However, you can turn a finished den or office into a bedroom. The presence of a closet is what distinguishes a regular room from a bedroom. Explore cost-saving options for adding a closet. Bedrooms add more resale value than all-purpose rooms without closets.

Install New Flooring

Although floors collect dirt and germs, they shouldn’t look dingy. If you have old carpeting, cracked tiles, or discolored and warped laminate flooring, upgrading your floor is an excellent investment when it’s time to sell. Hardwood flooring offers the biggest payoff. Check to see if there is existing hardwood flooring exposed or hiding under old carpeting, and consider having the wood refinished and adding a dustless finish to entice more buyers. Stone floors also add value to your home and are a coveted feature among many buyers. If you have a large budget, some exotic flooring options add a considerable amount of value as well.
When you have other areas of the home that need attention and you can’t afford a high-end stone or hardwood floor, consider ceramic tile or engineered hardwood. Both home improvement options are more affordable and add value.

Prioritize Home Improvement

While adding a bathroom or converting a den to a bedroom may be the best investments for some people, others would be better off avoiding such projects to address more serious issues. For buyers and inspectors, updated plumbing, roofing, heating, cooling and wiring are more important than an extra bedroom or a bathroom with a glass shower. If the roof needs to be replaced, make that a priority. Fix any serious problems or structural issues that are lowering your home’s value before you start thinking about remodeling the interior.

The best way to approach a pre-sale renovation is to inspect your home or have it professionally inspected. Make a list of what must be done, such as treating a termite problem or patching a newer but damaged roof. Next, make a list of prioritized home improvement tasks, and decide which ones fit your budget and offers the biggest payout.

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Refinishing Hardwood Floors: What’s Involved?

Refinishing hardwood floors can seem like a daunting task that just is not worth the effort. However, if you have enough time and patience, you can achieve the beautiful floor of your dreams at a fraction of the cost.

This post will cover the time commitment it takes as well as the various steps that are involved in overhauling your hardwood flooring.

Before you go any further, keep in mind that remodeling your floors is the very last thing you want to do when you’re working on your house. It’s too easy to ruin all of your hard work with paint drips or accidental bumps and scratches from other projects.

What to Expect

First, it’s important to have a detailed plan to follow before you start on anything.

Step One: Refinishing Method

Step one should be deciding which refinishing route you want to take. If your floors are very worn, deeply scratched or damaged in any way, you should do a complete refinish. This requires more time and effort because you must sand all the way down to the bare wood, but the end result is worth the extra work.

If your floors have scratches, worn finish or dullness that is only cosmetic, you should be able to opt for the simpler process of screening. Screening only strips off the topmost layer of polyurethane coating, which should remove any unsightly wear and tear.

Step Two: Choosing a Polyurethane

Regardless of which option you take, you will need to decide whether you want an oil-based or water-based polyurethane.

Oil-based polyurethane does take longer, but it also lasts longer. Generally speaking, it will take about three to five days plus drying time to refinish a hardwood floor with this method. Expect to do one coat per day, because an oil-based product will need at least a full 24 hours to dry.

For water-based polyurethane, the entire process usually takes about two days. These products take far less time to dry, and in most cases, you can move furniture back into the room closer to the 48-hour mark.

These timelines are general estimates, though, so you will want to take into account things like square footage, how dark you want the initial stain to be and even the weather. Because wood is porous, things like dampness and humidity can affect absorption and dry time.

Step Three: Plan-Ahead Prep Tips

Many experts recommend that you remove your baseboards prior to staining and sanding your floors because they will inevitably get dinged and stained no matter how careful you are. If this isn’t possible, just keep in mind that you will need to go back through and touch up the baseboards once your flooring project is done.

It’s extremely important to seal off the room as much as you can to keep dust contained. It’s also easiest on you to plan this project during a time where the weather will be nice so you can open the windows to ventilate and speed the drying process.

Overall Time Commitment and Final Thoughts

While it depends on how dark you plan to stain your floors, which polyurethane you choose and other factors like the weather, you can still make at least a general estimate of how long the process will take from beginning to end.

For a beautiful finish that will last for many years to come, plan for the project to take five to seven days from beginning to end.

Keep in mind that, even though the floors are dry, you still need to take precautions. Furniture should have felt pads installed, pets should have their nails trimmed and no area rugs should be laid down for three to four weeks to allow the wood to “breathe” and cure properly.

Refinishing hardwood floors is a process that’s not overly complicated, but it is time-consuming. However, the end result will last for many years with proper care, so it is a wise investment of your time.

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