Cleaning Your Hardwood

 

Hardwood floors are unique. They add taste, style, and elegance to your home. We all know that wood floors are an expensive purchase. Therefore, it is important to keep them looking just as they did when you first installed them. Although not all hardwood floors are the same, they all need special treatment to keep them clean.  The first step is simple—make sure you have a soft bristle broom in handy for those daily dust removing touch ups. Avoid using brooms that have hard bristles because they may damage the floors. If you choose to vacuum, be sure not to scratch the floor. The hose attachment may be helpful to gather extra dust near the baseboards of the floor. The attachment is a safer choice because it is difficult to repair damaged wood caused by a vacuum.  If a water spill occurs, wipe it immediately with a towel.  Use a dry-damp mop so that extra water does not seam into the floor. Now that the simple cleaning rules are understood, more extensive care may have to occur if the floor is beginning to look dull. If this happens, waxing and buffing the floor can be done by using a buffer machinurle. Most of the time, wood floors needs a good mop cleaning when it comes to certain stains that are sometimes unavoidable, especially with a full house. Most of the time, a damp cloth will do the trick. Remember to dry the spot so that water is not left behind. Of course there are products and solutions on the market that help when it comes to spills or accidents. Most products contain wax which gives the floors an extra glow. Depending on the type of floors in your house, it is always best to find a solution best fit for the kind and quality of floor you have. Important tip: Be sure to never dump an entire bucket of solution onto the floor. It could leave unwanted streak marks. Remember that to keep your hardwood in its best condition, maintain its quality by cleaning and dusting it frequently.

 

Engineered Wood Flooring and its Benefits

 

Ever wonder about engineered hardwood? The fact is, it’s actually real hardwood!  There are many benefits of choosing an engineered product.  To help you understand the basics, engineered hardwoods are made up of layers that are “glued together in a cross-grain construction.” It is stronger than a piece of solid wood and can be installed direct to concrete.  The top layer of the hardwood “provides the most uniform color and the most resistance to seasonal expansion.” If concerned about the environmental factors of your flooring, engineered hardwood has beneficial aspects when it comes to the Earth.  It uses half as many trees as solid wood floors and takes less water and url-25energy to produce than other flooring options.

If considering engineered wood flooring for your home, the main question you might ask is: What’s the advantage of using an Engineered wood floor over a Solid nail down floor? The answer is simple.

“Engineered hardwood floors can be installed in areas where there is slightly higher relative humidity levels. Engineered wood flooring being more stable is a great choice to use in summer homes where the heat is turned lower when no one is there. Because manufacturing engineered flooring does not waste valuable prized wood below its wear layer, purchasing engineered flooring also helps conserve our forests.”

 

How to Create a Built-in-Bookshelf

 

As we all know, flooring has numerous factors that complement color, shade, the type of wood, and more. Design, care, and maintenance are just a few aspects that go hand-in-hand with the flooring that you choose. Decoration and color are key factors to a wonderful, breathtaking room.  Sometimes these additions can become expensive. Why not create a decoration yourselfurl-10? Many might be thinking– where is my talent and money that must go into this process? No need to worry. Following a few steps will help create a decoration or addition that you have always wanted. Today we are going to discuss a popular trend that is seen in many living rooms and bedrooms..Built-in bookshelves! In my opinion, I believe these are great for show, and for also saving space on a regular bookshelf. The trick is a 12-step process that will bring you from scattered supplies to a magnificent creation. After-all, if you can read, you can build!

One,  you need to measure and cut the shelving. Measure the shelves in relation to the space you will be inserting them.  Cut the pieces of shelving and using a circular saw, cut out the kick-plate area on the bottom of the unit.

Two, you must cut rabbet joints into the ends of the top shelf, cutting straight across the shelf into 1/8’’ increments

Three,  “Mark the location for the center shelf, and use the pegboard as a template for drilling holes for adjustable shelves. Clamp the pegboard in place so that the first holes will be 4″ above and 4″ below the center shelf. Draw reference lines across the holes in the pegboard to help you keep the holes even. Drill holes 2″ from the edge in 2″ increments.”

Four, attach 1’’x 2’’ support blocks for the center shelf with glue and finish nails. “Drill and countersink pilot holes for the top of the bookshelf. Attach it with glue and 2″ wood screws. Apply wood glue to the support blocks for the center shelf, and set the shelf in position. Drill and countersink pilot holes in the side of the bookshelf, and attach the shelf with 2″ wood screws (Image 2). Be sure to drill the holes in an area that will be covered when the bookshelf is recessed into the wall”.

Five, attach support blocks for the bottom shelf with glue and nails

Six, Fasten the back panel with 1’’ brads to help the shelf stay square

Seven, “Attach 1″ x 2″ trim pieces to the side and bottom edges of the bookshelf with sixpenny nails and glue”.

Eight, “Drill and countersink pilot holes for the kick plate so the screw heads will be just below the surface of the wood. Attach the kick plate, then cover the screw heads with wood filler or spackling compound.”

Nine, remove any base molding from where the shelf will be placed

Ten, drill pilot holes through the back corner and into the wall studs—be careful not to drill through the inside of the bookshelf.

Eleven, “Measure and cut the nailer board and trim for the top of the bookshelf. Attach the nailer to the top of the shelf with sixpenny finish nails. Use finish nails to attach the trim”.

And finally, replace the baseboard trim and touch up any areas that need adjustment.

See photos and tips for guidance on http://bit.ly/12CHela

 

Water Damage: How to Prevent and Fix

 

We all love the look of newly installed wood floors. Of course there is maintenance that goes into keeping your floors quality, but what happens when water damage becomes an issue? If there is major damage, like a flood, the floor may need to be replaced. This can obviously be highly expensive. At the site of damage, remove the wood so that the sub-floor is visible. Drying it outside is the next step. In minor cases, it is important to act immediately by cleaning any spills by using towels. No matter how major the accident is, dehumidifiers and open windows can hwater-damage-hardwood-floorelp ventilate the room to prevent the damage to begin with.

Experts speak upon the easiest ways to dry your flooring

-The easiest way to dry out the top of the floor is to buy or rent large fans and point them down to the floor.

-Keep the AC on if you have it, but open windows next to the floor area about 2 inches.

-The excess moisture has to go somewhere, even with air conditioning.

-Now more importantly, below the floor in the basement, you also need to have large industrial fans pointed up to where the water has come through.

-If you happen to have a finished ceiling below the floor, you might also consider cutting a neat (and repairable) square in the drywall.

-This is so the fans can better dry the under side of the subfloor.

-It would help if a few holes were drilled up into the subfloor where the leak began, to make sure a puddle of water is not sitting between the floors.

ask@woodfloordoctor.com

There are other simple things you can do to prevent water damage in the first place.

“Use entrance mats- Sometimes dirt that accidently grinds into floors can accumulate water and moisture” which can cause long-lasting damage that might ultimately go un-noticed.

“Clear your floors regularly- Soft brush vacuum cleaners help prevent scratches” and there are many mild wood flooring cleaning products that are gentle on your floors.

“Choose your wood products wisely- Oil soaps are known to damage certain floors.” You wouldn’t want to cause more damage than the problem itself!

“Wax coating can help seal out moisture”’

Elegant-Floors

The important thing to know is that one must act immediately upon any noticeable water damage. Some floors can even collapse if the problem is not attended to. Re-coating and finishing the floor is important when going from damaged goods to a newly defined wood floor!

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How Your Floors Reflect Your Style

 

What better way to start a fresh year than to re-design a room to match your wood floors?  The correct flooring and texture go hand in hand with the interior design of your home. It has much to do with the layout, feel of your home, and the style that you wish to have. Wood flooring has become a very popular, modern trend that many have become fond of as an addition to their homes.

Design sets a sense of style that catches an eye when entering a room.  In order to choose your perfect hardwood flooring, design is the first step that factors into your transformation. It is ultimately the most important decision when it comes to choosing the correct flooring.

In fact, your own inspiration is what sets the decision making process.  Start with a plan.  How would your room look in order for you to be content with it when you walk in? Ask yourself a few more questions. What objects in your home inspire your lifestyle? Do you enjoy a modern look? A contemporary one? Or are you more traditional when it comes to the comfort of your home? Of course, there are many more factors that go into the decisions of creating your newly designed room.  Considerations include the size of the room, color of the walls, and the idea that the colors must complement each other for the final product to be beautiful. It is important to remember the color of your floors should not match perfectly with your walls or furniture. Diversity is key, but it should also be done tastefully. The color of your wood floor can be light, natural, or a darker stain. It is all up to your own preference.

Sofa-and-wooden-floor-in-living-room“In terms of a traditional look, dark wood floors suggest a formal appearance. Lighter colored walls as well as floral accessories accent the room greatly”.

Luanne Kelchner

Quotes from experts can be inspiring as well.  Holly is a design expert who has a love for art, design, and architecture.

“The wood flooring in a home is a critical part of the perfect design. It should be a canvas or a place to start for the overall picture that a quality designer will create. It should not be the focal point but a back drop.”

Remember, plenty of design magazines and books have even more visual tips to help create your perfect home.  When your interior style changes, there are many things you can do to re-arrange the look of your home.  Furniture and accessories say it all when a change of heart occurs!

 

 

Tips for Handling Asbestos During Home Renovations

 

Tips for Handling Asbestos During Home Renovations
by Brian Turner

Since Hurricane Sandy hit the tri-state area, many older homes must be renovated and rebuilt. These home renovations must be greeted with caution because many homes built before 1970 may have materials containing asbestos. Insulation, floor tiles, drywall and joint compounds may all contain asbestos.

Asbestos may become airborne when removed from the home for replacement. When asbestos is inhaled, it becomes lodged in the lungs. Ten to 50 years later, it may develop into mesothelioma. This type of cancer is difficult to treat and may be fatal. Consider these tips to minimize asbestos exposure:

1.  Do Not Disturb Asbestos
If you encounter asbestos, you should not drill through it, saw it, break it, hammer it or disturb it in any way. Housekeepers or janitors should not sand or buff floor tiles made with asbestos. Wet stripping is recommended with floor tiles made of asbestos. During the buffing process, low abrasion pads are recommended. Speeds below 300 are suggested.

2. Involve Professionals for Asbestos Containment  
Report all suspected asbestos materials to Environment, Health and Safety (EHS). The report may include damaged insulation on a pipe, broken ceiling tiles and spray-on insulation. Asbestos abatement workers may be hired to determine if asbestos is present and remove it from the home. In the meantime, others should be prevented from disturbing the asbestos to avoid exposure.

3.Monitor Your Health After Exposure
After exposure to asbestos, you should monitor your health closely for early detection. A mesothelioma blood test can detect the cancer before symptoms appear. After exposure, you should be tested annually. Ensure the test is approved by the FDA. Other diagnostic tests may include an X-ray of the lungs to determine how well the lungs are working.

Click Image to Enlarge

Asbestos in the Home

Image courtesy of the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.

 

Urbanfloor Hits Celebrity Circuit

 

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Thinking About Doing Your Own Ceramic Tile Demo?

 

Thinking About Doing Your Own Ceramic Tile Demo?
by Ron Call

As we continue in the series of do-it-yourself demo, today I will cover ceramic tile and stone removal from a concrete slab.  This is a quite a bit more involved and difficult compared to carpet removal.  Depending on the method of installation (whether installed over slip sheet or direct to concrete) and the materials used in bonding the tile, removal may be fairly easy or one of the most difficult jobs you will ever tackle.  In this day and age of trying to save a buck or two on your home remodel you may want to consider doing your own demo.  If you’re planning on installing your new flooring project soon, doing your own demo (removal of existing floor covering) will save you money.  The cost to remove an existing ceramic tile or stone floor could be as much as the labor to install a new floor!  Here is how you can do it yourself.  For this project we will assume that we will be installing a new wood floor.

If you have an existing ceramic tile floor that is on a concrete slab here is what you will need.

  1. Hammer
  2. Pry bar
  3. Floor scrapper
  4. Work gloves
  5. Dust mask
  6. Safety glasses
  7. Five gallon bucket
  8. Flat head shovel
  9. Red rosin paper
  10. Blue painters tape
  11. Plastic sheeting
  12. Rotary hammer
  13. Commercial ceramic tile stripper (optional)
  14. Concrete grinder (optional)

Start your demo project by first protecting all the areas you are not demoing from flying debris.  Use your red rosin paper and blue tape to protect any cabinets or walls that you don’t want to repaint.  Hang your plastic in doorways or openings to adjacent rooms to keep the dust contained.  Always wear your safety glasses, gloves and dust mask.  If the area to be removed is not that big such as an entry way or small bathroom or kitchen hand tools may be all you need.  Doing larger rooms you will do yourself a big favor by renting a ceramic tile demo machine from your local tool rental outlet.  Your rotary hammer with a chisel bit will work as well but will take much more time.  Here is a youtube video of the ceramic tile machine you may want to rent.

You will need to start your tear out at an exposed edge, possibly a door way or where the edge of the tile meets carpeting.  If the carpet is staying pull it back away from the tile far enough to start your demo without causing damage to the carpet.  If the carpet is being replaced as well, remove this first (See last week’s blog).  If the room is totally tile with no exposed edges use your hammer to breakout a few tiles in the middle of the room.  Once you have enough area exposed use your rotary hammer or your machine to start your demo.  As you proceed through the demo use your shovel and five gallon bucket to carry the broken tile out to your truck or dumpster.  Tile is very heavy and the broken edges can be as sharp as a razor so wear your gloves.

I do not recommend trying to fill your trash cans with the removed tile as it will become so heavy your trash man will most likely not pick it up for you.  Transport it to the dump in a truck.  Be sure to remove any residual mortar from the floor using your floor scrapper, rotary hammer or concrete grinder as needed to achieve a clean smooth surface for your new floor.  Once all your old floor is removed your ready to call your installer…

 

Thinking About Doing Your Own Carpet Demo?

 

Thinking About Doing Your Own Carpet Demo?
by Ron Call

In this day and age of trying to save a buck or two on your home remodel you may want to consider doing your own demo.  If you’re planning on installing your new flooring project soon, doing your own demo (removal of existing floor covering) may save you a few bucks.  Here is how you can Do-It-Yourself.  For this project we will assume that we will be installing a new floating wood project.

If you have an existing old carpet to tear out here is what you will need.

  1. Hammer
  2. Pry bar
  3. Floor scrapper
  4. Sharp utility knife
  5. Work gloves
  6. Safety glasses

First start in one corner of the room and then pull up the carpet off the tack strip.  Once you pulled up the corner, pull along one wall raising the carpet only as high as to release it from the tack strip pins.  If the carpet is down so tight that you cannot grip it to pull it up, try cutting a slit down through the top of the carpet in the corner large enough to get your hand underneath then pull it up.  Now go around the perimeter of the room pulling it up along the wall from corner to corner.  Once the carpet is released from the tack strip it’s time to start cutting the rug.

First cut the carpet at any doorway seams to separate one room from another.  Carpet is very heavy so you will want to cut the carpet in manageable size strips maybe four to six feet wide.  Then roll it up in individual pieces light enough to carry without hurting yourself.

Once the carpet is gone take your floor scrapper and remove the padding, it may be glued or stapled.  Wear your gloves! Staples are sharp and trust me I have the scars to prove it.  Once you have released the pad roll it up and dispose of properly.  Depending on where you live you may be able to recycle the padding and the carpet both, which will save you dump fees and possible pay for your gas as well.  I’ve gotten as much as $40.00 for a whole house worth of old nasty padding.

Now it’s time to tackle the wood tack strip around the perimeter of the room.  Grab your pry bar and hammer, put on your gloves and safety glasses.  Take the curved edge of the pry bar place it on the floor up against the tack strip right next to one of the nails that secures it to the floor.  Start at either end of the tack strip, now hit the pry bar down low by the floor with your hammer to dislodge the nail and raise up the tack strip.  Once the first nail pops up move to the next nail.  Do this around the entire room until all the tack strip is removed.  Dispose of carefully as tack strip pins are very sharp and very painful.  Double check the perimeter of the room for any tack strip nails that may have been left behind and remove them with your pry bar.

You do not want these nails under your new floor.  Scrap any glue residue from the pad off the floor or remove any staples.  Sweep the floor and call your flooring company and tell them you’re ready for your install.  It’s hard dirty work doing demo but if you have the time and inclination, you can save a nice chunk of change.  Depending on the size of the job the savings could be hundreds of dollars.  And nothing makes your installer happier than a floor that is ready for install.  Installers love to install, not so much doing demo…

If you ever need advice, guidance or have questions you can always get in touch with me under the “Ask Ron” section of our blog HERE.

 

You Get What You Pay For

 

You Get What You Pay For
by Ron Call

So I’m driving down the road today with my wife in the car coming back to San Diego from a business trip in LA.  I admit after a long 5 hours in the car I was a little grumpy.  And this radio advertisement comes on and tells me they sell their flooring at 80% off cost.  After I calmed down ranting and raving things like “sure 80% off a 100% mark up, bunch of lying so and so’s”!  My wife says don’t get mad about it just blog about it.  So anyway I’m calm now and collecting my thoughts.

Ron Call, your Urbanfloor Guy

Everyone needs to make a profit.  That’s how we all pay the bills right?  If no one could make a profit we’d all be poor living on dirt floors.  But 80% off?  Come on, next they will be selling stuff at what?  100% off?  Remember you get what you pay for.

I did an installation for a customer last month that is a perfect example of you get what you pay for.  I’m a licensed flooring contractor that works out of a small shop.  I am typically hired by retailers, interior designers and general contractors to do installations of the flooring that they sell.  Occasionally I’ll have a customer usually a referral where I’m asked to provide both the flooring and the installation.

So I head over to her house to meet with her and go over all the details.  I find out what type of flooring she wants, I figure out how much material that will be needed and what type of sub-floor she has (very important).  Because she lives upstairs in a condo, I also need to make sure for any sound proofing requirements.  She also lived right on the ocean which can bring a whole set of challenges in itself.  So I submitted my bid for labor which detailed exact square footage required, moldings, base boards, demo of the old floor etc., everything but the floor that she would eventually choose. We planned on me returning in a few days with samples of all the different types of flooring she was interested in.  A couple days later she called to say that she was putting things off for a couple weeks as her mom was ill.

Two weeks later she called me very excited that she had found the perfect bamboo floor at that large national discount chain.  (I won’t mention their name) but they constantly advertise on T.V. and have their signs hanging in baseball parks all over America.  I was a little disappointed that I didn’t sell her the floor myself but I was happy she was happy, and work is work.

So we scheduled the installation for two weeks later.  She scheduled her vacation time so she could be home during construction.  The plan was I would pick up the bamboo and deliver it, start the demo and prep which was extensive, then on day 4 after proper acclimation we would start putting down some wood.

Here’s where its starts getting a little sticky.  We pick up the bamboo and deliver it to the house up two flights of stairs and stack it in the dining room.  I open one of the boxes to verify the color and quality and to my shock and dismay it’s solid bamboo not engineered.  Which basically means it needs 10 -14 days acclimation not the standard 3 days for engineered products.  This customer’s home was one block from the ocean which means acclimation is hyper critical even for engineered products let alone a solid one.

I tell my customer the situation and I explain that we cannot start the install for two weeks.  She was beside herself telling me that she could not change her vacation time and what could I do.  I explained that without proper acclimation her floor would have no warrantee from the manufacturer.  And that from my experience, installing a solid floating floor without proper acclimation would almost surely fail and that I, in all good conscience could not install it.  So the job was rescheduled for 2 weeks later as the discount store did not have a similar engineered product in stock so we could not exchange it.  My customer thought she was getting a good deal saving what she thought was a few cents per square foot.

In the end she took 2 more weeks off work unpaid and I lost 2 weeks of work myself.  Between the both of us it cost us thousands of dollars.  I went to the see the store manager at the discount warehouse and he was no help at all.  I asked him if he qualified his customer’s to make sure that what he’s selling people is actually suitable for the application involved (he should have known she lived by the ocean and sold her engineered flooring).  He basically told me when a customer comes in and buys a floor that his sub-contractors don’t install he just sells the customer what they want.  Cash and carry, all he cared about was that he made the sale.

The purchase of new flooring in your home can be one of the most expensive purchases that you will ever make.  You need to make sure that you shop at a good retailer with experience and one who only utilizes good licensed contractors.

Some retailers don’t use sub contractors they use their own employees, which is fine as long as the retailer is themselves an experienced contractor.  There are many factors to consider when choosing new flooring and there are many things that need to be considered to ensure your flooring purchase is a good experience such as type of floor, environment, location of the home, sub floor, type of home (ie: single family, condo, apartment, mobile home or a high traffic business location), method of installation, type of floor, warrantee and the list goes on and on.  Sometimes when you’re trying to cut corners and save a few pennies it ends up costing you more in the end.  Remember you get what you pay for!

 
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