Four Reasons to Choose Hardwood Floors

Photo Courtesy: Bona

Photo Courtesy: Bona

With all the different flooring options available, hardwood flooring may seem like an expensive option. However, hardwood flooring remains the best choice in having a space that is safe and clean with low maintenance. When you consider the overall life of a hardwood floor, the benefits of wood flooring outweigh the initial cost.

Safe and Clean

One of the biggest advantages of hardwood floors is that hardwood flooring is a more sanitary option than other floor types. When thinking about carpet vs. hardwood, a good amount of dust, germs and other debris get absorbed into the carpet fibers. With hardwood flooring, there is no place for debris to hide, making for a healthier, safer living environment, especially for allergy sufferers.

Low Maintenance

Generally, hardwood floors cost more than carpeted floors, but they also require less maintenance. Because hardwood floors are typically sealed surfaces with a protective layer of finish, wood floors are more stain resistant than other types of flooring.

One of the benefits of hardwood floors is that they can be repaired and refinished. Hardwood floors do get scraped, scratched, scuffed, dented and damaged – especially in high traffic areas. However, wood flooring can most often simply be sanded, smoothed and refinished. It is rarely necessary to replace a wood floor.

Sustainable

Another advantage of hardwood floors is the environmental factor. Wood flooring is the most abundantly renewable flooring material available. The U.S. Forest Service states that the annual net growth for hardwoods is greater than the average annual removal rate. This means that trees are growing faster than they are being used today.

Wood floors also use less water and energy to produce and can be recycled at the end of their life cycle, making it an extremely sustainable product. Considering the differences in producing carpet vs. hardwood, carpet uses more synthetic materials to produce and is treated with more chemicals than hardwood. Also, hardwood not only brings beauty and value to a home, but it can truly last a lifetime while carpet needs to be replaced every 10-15 years.

Unsurpassed Beauty and Value

Probably the biggest benefit of hardwood is its unique and beautiful look. Hardwood is one of the oldest flooring materials there is, and it never goes out of style. Because of the large variety of trees and wood types, a world of colors, consistencies, designs, and grain patterns are available.

Hardwood floors also increase the value of a house. Whereas many new homeowners will remove carpeting when they buy a house, a gorgeous hardwood floor is usually a reason why a house is bought.

Source: Bona

How to get Red Wine out of Carpet

Photo: Shaw FloorsAccidents can happen. Here are some tips on how to get red wine out of your carpet.

  • Apply detergent solution (1/4 teaspoon clear hand dishwashing soap and 1 cup warm water) with a damp towel; leave on for three to five minutes (blot, don’t rub).
  • If stain is not removed, apply a hydrogen peroxide/ammonia solution (1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide and 1 teaspoon household ammonia) and let stand for two to three hours under a weighted sheet of plastic wrap (repeat as needed).
  • Once removal is complete, apply white vinegar to neutralize the area, then water with a damp towel to rinse.
  • Blot, then finish with a weighted pad of white paper towels.

Always rinse with water and blot dry as the last procedure.

Techniques:

  • Apply – Apply all liquids to a clean white (not printed) towel or paper towel and use to dampen carpet. Never wet a carpet through to the backing.
  • Blot – Press straight down with a pad of clean white paper towels – never rub. Rubbing alters carpet texture. Then in a final blotting, leave 1/2″ of paper towels on spot overnight with a weight.
  • Weight – A weight 1/2″ pad of white paper towels, left overnight, will absorb the last traces of liquid and foreign materials. Make sure the weighted object is colorfast and will not bleed onto the carpet.
  • Rinse – Apply water to a white towel or paper towel; blot, don’t rub.

Solutions:

  • Ammonia – Undiluted, unscented, clear (not sudsy) household ammonia.
  • Detergent – Mix 1/4 teaspoon clear, see-through hand dish-washing detergent with 1 cup warm water.
  • Hydrogen peroxide/ammonia – 1 teaspoon undiluted, unscented, clear (not sudsy) household ammonia. Use within 22 hours of mixing.

Source: Shaw Floors

 

Select the Right Furniture Arrangement

Buckingham-Oak-color-519fbCreating balance in furniture arrangement is mostly about learning to look at a room design in a new way. When homeowners make the best use of a room’s features, including architectural details and hardwood floors, the right proportions and balance are achieved.

In determining a room’s layout, home decorators should consider the traffic flow of the space by looking at how the doorways are situated. If two doors open onto a room, the traffic pattern should move behind the seating, not through it from one door to another. With a single doorway, the traffic should flow directly to the main seating area.

The size of furniture pieces and where they’re placed in relation to each other can throw off the balance of a room as well. Spread out the largest furnishings throughout the room for horizontal balance. The placement of area rugs on wood floors can also upset the balance of a room, and should be considered in conjunction with furniture placement.

Making a space comfortable

The furniture placement in home design can start with three easy steps – evaluate the space, consider the room’s purpose and determine the best seating arrangement.

In rooms without a fireplace, a good alternative is a line of windows or a TV, if the room is used primarily for family activities. Homeowners can also create their own focal point by hanging a large artwork or arrange a display of collectibles on shelves.

Home decorators continue to make the same mistakes, such as placing a sofa against the room’s longest wall. Rather than give the impression of more space, it may look as though the couch is too distant from other pieces that would otherwise make a comfortable conversation area.

Selecting the right furniture arrangement has the same effect whether it’s in an indoor room or an outdoor living area. It allows people to settle in comfortably in a cavernous space made to feel cozy or in tight quarters that become more open.

Source: Anderson Floors

Home and Garden Tours Offer Design Inspiration

Spring is one of our favorite seasons for a variety of reasons! It’s the perfect time to check out one of the many home and garden tours sprouting around metro Atlanta. Here are a few of our favorite tours.

Inman ParkInman Park Tour of Homes (April 29-30 and May 1)

The tour will feature 10 homes and points of interest, including an American Foursquare, Victorians, lofts, and bungalows. The tour hours are noon-4 p.m. on Friday and noon-6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Advance tickets are $15. www.InmanParkFestival.org

Gardens for Connoisseurs Tour (May 7-8)

This tour, which benefits the Atlanta Botanical Garden, will showcase 10 private gardens in Buckhead, Sandy Springs, Brookhaven, and Midtown. The tour will feature a range of styles and sizes. Advance tickets for the self-guided tour are $28 in advance (Garden members-$22). www.AtlantaBG.org

Druid Hills Tour of Homes & Gardens and Maker’s Market (April 22-24)

“History Happens Here” at this tour, sponsored by the Druid Hills Civic Association. The $25 advance ticket gives you access to six homes, a garden, a plant sale, live music, and an artists’ market. www.DruidHillsTour.org

Home and garden tours are a great resource for design ideas for your home. Are there other tours we should add to this list?

Fiber: Carpet’s Basic Ingredient

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Photo: Shaw Floors

The four basic fibers used in carpets today all have their individual strengths. Your ultimate choice will be determined by the characteristics that are most important to you.

Although some carpets are made of blends, most are made entirely of one of the following four fibers:

Nylon

Nylon is more expensive than other synthetic carpet fibers and has been the most commonly used carpet fiber since the early 1960s. In overall performance characteristics, nylon is the most versatile of all fibers, providing excellent flexibility in creating a variety of carpet styles. Nylon can be found in a wide range of both cut pile and loop pile styles. It is durable, resilient, and receptive to dyeing for color versatility and uniformity; many new nylon yarn systems are also exceptionally soft. Though not inherently stain resistant, most nylon carpets are treated with stain-resist carpet treatment for protection against household spills and stains.

Polypropylene (also called Olefin)

Since 1980, the use of polypropylene carpet fibers has grown dramatically. Unlike the other fiber types, polypropylene will not absorb water and must therefore be solution dyed (pigmented) to impart color. Solution dyeing is a pigmentation process in which color is actually built into the fiber when it is formed, or extruded, thereby becoming an inherent part that cannot be removed from the fiber. The color will not fade, even when exposed to intense sunlight, bleaches, atmospheric contaminants, or other harsh chemicals or elements. However, since it is not as resilient as other fibers, polypropylene is normally used in loop pile constructions in which there is less need for superior resiliency.

Polyester

Polyester offers exceptional softness and color clarity, and it is also naturally stain and fade resistant. While polyester is not as inherently resilient as nylon, carpets made of polyester fiber will perform well if appropriately constructed. Carpets of polyester are generally available only in cut pile styles and are usually less expensive than nylon in comparable weights.

Wool

The preeminent natural fiber and used in the manufacture of carpets and rugs longer than any other fiber. In fact, the weaving of wool carpets has been traced back to 3,000 B.C., and wool rugs and carpets have been prized as objects of beauty and prestige ever since. Wool does not have the stain and abrasion resistance of some of the man-made fibers, but it has an enduring quality, and many wool carpets and rugs are said to “age gracefully.” Soft underfoot, wool also offers the somewhat intangible consideration of prestige. However, wool carpets are considerably more expensive than most synthetic carpets and represent less than 1 percent of all broadloom carpets sold.

A number of carpet styles utilize a fiber blend, such as nylon and polypropylene. The blending of fiber types to form the carpet yarn is designed to combine the beneficial characteristics of each fiber, such as the resiliency of nylon and fade resistance of polypropylene.

While these descriptions outline basic characteristics of different fibers, how the fiber is processed and fabricated – the construction – is more of a determining factor of a carpet’s performance potential.

Source: Tuftex Carpets

 

Wood Floor Maintenance: 10 Tips

Photo: Bona

Photo: Bona

Cleaning your wood floors is easy. Regular maintenance includes sweeping with a soft bristle broom, and vacuuming with the beater bar turned off. You also should clean your floors periodically with a professional wood floor cleaning product recommended by a wood flooring professional.

Here are some other steps you can take to maintain the beauty of your wood floors.

  • Don’t use vinyl or tile cleaning products on wood floors. Self-polishing acrylic waxes cause wood to become slippery and appear dull quickly.
  • Use throw rugs at doorways to help prevent debris from being tracked in and scratching your floor.
  • Don’t wet-mop a wood floor. Standing water can dull the finish, damage the wood and leave a discoloring residue.
  • Wipe up spills immediately with a slightly dampened towel.
  • Don’t over-wax a wood floor. If a wax floor dulls, try buffing instead. Avoid wax buildup under furniture and other light traffic areas by applying wax in these spots every other waxing session.
  • Put stick-on felt protectors under the legs of furniture to prevent scuffing and scratching. Replace these often as dirt and debris can become imbedded on the pad and act like sand paper on the flooring surface.
  • Avoid walking on your wood floors with sports cleats and high heels in disrepair. A 125-pound woman walking in high heels with an exposed heel nail can exert up to 8,000 pounds per square inch. This kind of impact can dent any floor surface.
  • When moving heavy furniture, don’t slide it on wood flooring. It is best to pick up the furniture to move it and to prevent scratches.
  • For wood flooring in the kitchen, place an area rug at the kitchen sink.
  • Use a humidifier throughout the winter months to minimize gaps or cracks.

Source: National Wood Flooring Association

Improve Indoor Air Quality

Pure Genius from Lauzon is an air-purifying smart hardwood floor that improves the indoor air quality of your home without compromising the quality and appearance of your hardwood flooring. It’s like having three trees in your home.

Learn more about Pure Genius in this brief video from The Weather Channel.