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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

How to Take Care of Your Hardwood Floors
Many of us have beautiful hardwood floors in our homes, and unfortunately some of us do not know how to properly take care of our hardwoods. Here are care and maintenance "Do's and Don'ts"
·Do vacuum and sweep your floor frequently, especially in high-traffic areas. ·Do keep pets' nails trimmed and their paws free of dirt, gravel, grease, oil, and stains.
·Do use protective window coverings to block fade-causing UV rays and excessive heat from direct sunlight, and rearrange rugs and furniture periodically to help your floor age evenly.
·Do remove shoes with spiked or damaged heels before walking on floor.
·Do use a humidifier during heating seasons to help reduce wood shrinkage and a dehumidifier during the wet and high humidity times of the year to maintain proper relative humidity (between 35% - 55%)
·Do not wet-mop, damp-mop, or clean your floor with water or other liquids. ·Do not use hardwood floor-cleaning or buffing machines or steam cleaners.
·Do not use oil soaps, liquid or paste wax or other household products containing oil (such as citrus, lemon or tung oil), silicon or ammonia to clean floor.
·Do not use harsh cleaning aids such as steel wool pads, any scouring pads containing metal or scouring powders.
·Do not use 2-in-1 cleaners with polish that may contain acrylics or urethane polish to restore gloss.

Not to single out a particular manufacturer, but this is an example of a product that we do NOT recommend for use on hardwood floors. Notice it does more than clean--it shines! protects! revitalizes! These words tell you that there is some sort of wax or finish in the product. You do not want to put a do-it-yourself finish on your floors. Many times it will not adhere to your floor, or it is very splotchy or streaky. Please, just use cleaners on your floors. Google "XXXX product ruined my hardwood floors" and you will quickly see how many people are very sorry they tried these miracle products-----

Plus a few general tips:
A Clean Routine
Vacuum or sweep with a soft-bristle broom regularly, especially before using floor cleaners, to prevent gritty dirt and particle buildup that can scratch the wood's surface. Don't use vacuums with a beater bar or power rotary brush head. Wipe up spills and spots immediately with a wood floor cleaner (made by a flooring or polyurethane manufacturer) applied directly to a clean white cloth. Use ice to harden tough substances such as candle wax or chewing gum and then gently scrape with a plastic scraper, such as a credit card. Be careful not to scratch the flooring surface. Wipe area clean with a soft, slightly damp cloth.

Floor Mats Protect Your Floor
High-quality floor mats at entrances and exits are key to reducing wear. They collect and trap all the corrosive substances that can be tracked in from outdoors, including dirt, sand, grit, oil, asphalt, or even driveway sealer. Also use mats in areas of constant pressure, such as in front of vanities, kitchen sinks and stoves.

Protective Pads On Furniture -- A Good Idea
Attach felt or similar protective pads to all furniture legs, particularly heavy pieces. When you're moving furniture, appliances or other heavy objects, use a dolly; never slide or roll anything across the floor. If furniture has hard plastic or metal casters/wheels, use protective mats underneath or replace them with soft rubber casters.

Did You Know
The average consumer spends 137 days (almost 5 months!) gathering information before making a flooring purchase? So if you have just now started to think about a brand new floor for your home, we'll see you in December to install it for you! Seriously, if you are thinking about having major projects completed before the holidays, now is the time to begin the selection process. Thanksgiving is less than four months away. Enhance Floors & More is open seven days a week and is here to assist you in making your dream home a reality.

How To Measure A Room
Many of our clients bring in measurements so that our Design Consultants can give them some rough pricing prior to the in-home estimate. Some floor plans that we see are very impressive, while others just aren't detailed enough to be of much assistance. We have compiled some tips on measuring your space for new flooring. (NOTE: The ballparks that we give you in the store or on the phone are just that----ballparks. We always need to see the job to assess all installation details and to take our measurements to ensure that you purchase the correct amount. As professionals, we know how to include hallways and closets, match patterns, plan seam placement, work with room irregularities, and account for rooms with widths greater than 12 feet.)

Floor Area = Length of room x Width of room
Wall Area = Height of wall x Length of wall
The foundation of a solid redecorating plan includes accurate dimensions of your living space. To start, we suggest creating an accurate Floor Plan. Here is what you will need to get started.

Recommended Tools
· 25-foot metal tape measure. Look for one that locks and retracts. · Graph paper: The grid makes it much easier to sketch an accurate plan. · Drafting tools: A ruler, pencils with erasers, a clipboard.

Basic Measuring Instructions
· Before measuring, make a rough sketch of the basic floor plan, including walls, windows, hallways, closets and door placements. Don't worry too much about it being proportional at this point. · With your rough sketch in hand, start measuring. Measure in running dimensions as much as possible. Fix the tape measure at one corner and run the tape along the side of the room, taking note of the measurement each time on your rough sketch. Record the dimensions in feet and inches, for example 13' 6" NOT 162". · Make additional measurements and notes on the drawing as you see fit. These might include the ceiling height, trim width, flooring or wall materials, etc. · With your new measurements and a new sheet of graph paper, redraw your floor plan to accurately represent your room's proportions. · Make photocopies of the finished drawing. You can use the copies anytime you need to talk to a retailer about new flooring or window accents, or even when rearranging furniture.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

                 "The Dean of Home renovation and Repair Advice"

Prefinished Vs. Unfinished Wood Flooring

I’ve looked at flooring from both sides now… and it’s the horrors of applying polyurethane I recall.

Apologies to Joni Mitchell for that, but when it comes to installing solid or engineered wood flooring, prefinished is my choice. Some pros disagree, but these are my reasons:

You can walk on your new floor immediately.
With flooring that is finished on-site using oil-based polyurethane, the homeowner must wait days, sometimes even weeks, before moving furniture back into the room. Even though the floor may be dry to the touch, it will be vulnerable to scraping until the waiting time has elapsed and the finish has fully cured. I once had to shuffle around in socks and remain furniture-less for four weeks after applying three coats of poly to a floor. (Waterborne polyurethane finishes dry to touch quickly but can have varying cure times—some quite long.)

No issues with VOCs and your family’s health.
For days after applying an oil-based polyurethane, you will smell and breathe in vapors from polyurethane resins and solvents. VOCs have been shown to be carcinogenic, and some waterborne polyurethanes produce them too. Why not buy prefinished so that the curing takes place in a factory, not in your living room?

No worries about dust.
Dust and errant hairs are the enemy of on-site floor finishing, but these annoyances won’t have any effect on your new prefinished flooring. You will, however, need to take measures to protect prefinished floors if you have contractors tromping around with tools and equipment en route to other jobs around the house.

Installation in one session.
There’s no necessity of staying home to complete the various stages of an on-site finishing job—sanding, sealing, staining, applying polyurethane and so on. A crew of two had our 300-square-foot solid wood floor installed, with underlayment, in only about two hours.

A better finish than what homeowners or contractors can apply on-site.
Factory-applied finishes are incredibly durable and often come with a lifetime warranty. For example, a Mullican red oak flooring, will stay new-looking for longer. It came with a PPG UV-cured resin and nanoparticle coating that is highly scratch- and abrasion-resistant. I can’t even scratch it with my fingernails.

Lower cost.
Prefinished solid wood floors initially cost more than unfinished wood flooring—starting at about $3 per square foot for the product. But once you factor in finishing costs, prefinished ends up being less expensive.

Okay, you’ve heard my arguments. But some homeowners and many contractors disagree with me and prefer site-finishing wood floors. Here’s why:

New construction or large renovations.
Many contractors prefer to wait until the end of the job to finish the floor. That way, a dropped tool or a mortar pebble under a work boot can’t mar the finished floor—and ruin customer relations.

Greater choice of finishes.
There is no question that the site-finished route opens up a greater variety of choices with respect to color and shade. Prefinished products, however, come in more species and stains than ever before.

No bevels.
Prefinished floorboards usually have micro-bevels on all edges. These bevels hide slight discrepancies between board depths and widths. Inevitably, some homeowners will prefer the flush look of site-sanded floors, as they feature no such grooves and can be finished to a mirror-like surface.

What’s your preference? Perhaps the hassles of site-finishing will be worth it to you—for one or all of the reasons above. But for homeowners like me, prefinished floors are the future