Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tips for Hardwood Floors for the Cold Weather

Winter is starting to show itself in some place. We want you to enjoy your hardwood floors in the summer, winter, spring, and fall. I asked our tech and install team at Lumber Liquidators to give us some tips to help you keep your floors looking their best, even when old man winter is at his worst.

* For areas of the country that get lots of snow especially, DO NOT track snow covered shoes or boots onto your hardwood floors. Use an outside mat and another inside mat to catch the moisture. Take your shoes off the door and move them to a place off of the hardwood flooring. In many places where there is a lot of snow, ice-melt (or snow salt) can get stuck in the bottom of shoes and boot and create grit and scratch the wood floors if you aren't careful. Homes that have a garage, it is best to enter through the garage and leave shoes and boots by the garage door before entering.

* Many people find it helpful to keep rags or mops near the entryway of their home, at the ready for when snow or water clean up is needed.

* Some heating systems can lower the humidity level in your home. Low humidity levels can cause the wood flooring to contract and create gaps between planks. Low humidity levels can also create cupping and checks in the wood. It is key to use a hygrometer to maintain the humidity to the recommended levels written by the floor manufacturers installation instructions. Hygrometers can be helpful and are inexpensive ($7-$30).

* Not only wood flooring, but fine furniture and plaster walls can suffer from very low indoor humidity. The goal is to maintain recommended/target humidity levels of 35-55%. Many HVAC units can be professionally retro fitted with APRIL AIR or similar equipment designed to add moisture back into dry homes.

* Wood burning stoves and fireplaces offer cozy but very dry heat. You can add needed moisture back into your home simply by putting a kettle full of water on the wood stove, thereby adding moisture back into the dry air.

* DON'T FORGET TO ACCLIMATE!!!! Many products are stored in warehouses where the temperatures are less than ideal. It is up to the customer/installer to correctly acclimate materials to in-home conditions before installation. The stores are there to store and inventory the materials safely.

* If you plan on installing in the winter, many of our adhesives are moisture cure urethanes which require some air humidity for them to cure. If the air is very dry due to your heating system, it will take longer for the adhesive to cure. Most adhesive manufacturers will have a Temperature/Humidity chart in their instructions that will tell you how long it will take the product to cure.

* Nail guns should be allowed to warm up and should be oiled before use. Using cold nailers can cause the nails to stick or get stuck and could cause internal damage.

* Adhesives should also be brought into the house before installation. Cold adhesives will not spread very well. Many adhesive companies require the adhesive to be store at temperatures between 50F and 100F.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Juli_A

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

20 Tips for Taking Care of Hardwood

Your business and residence contain a variety of wood surfaces that need care and cleaning to look their best. Here are 20 tips for taking care of your hardwood floors, furniture, and cabinets.

1. Know how hard your wood is and act accordingly.

Kiln-dried hickory and pecan are the hardest of the hardwood species. Next on the list is hard maple. Other hardwoods, in decreasing order of hardness, are white oak, beech, red oak, yellow birch, green ash, black walnut, soft maple, cherry, hackberry, gum, elm, sycamore, alder, yellow poplar, cottonwood, basswood, and aspen. Treat these latter hardwoods with extra care.

2. Clean regularly.
If allowed to accumulate, debris acts like sandpaper on hardwood.

3. Select the right product for the job at hand.
Removing a scratch? Use light sandpaper, a matching stain, and a protective coat of polyurethane. Restoring the finish? Choose a wax or oil recommended by the hardwood manufacturer and apply it exactly according to the instructions. Doing a light cleaning? Use non-alkaline dishwashing soap and a damp sponge to clean, making sure to dry the area immediately. Avoid the use of too much water, ammonia, and abrasive cleaners. Be aware that some products like linseed oil leave a residue, and other products may stain your clothing if you lean against the polished surface. Silicone sprays may also break down the wood.

4. Use the right tools.
Choose a vacuum without a beater bar and brushes. Select a broom with exploded ends. Use a microfiber dust mop. Dust and polish with soft, clean cloths.

5. Remember you are often cleaning the hardwood's finish rather than the hardwood itself.
Unless you are looking for a stain to match the color of a hardwood like cherry, products designed for a specific wood serve no purpose. Choose the product that is best for the wood's finish instead.

6. Protect your hardwood floors from scratches and wear and tear.
Use a welcome mat or two to catch dirt and debris at the door. Sweep up dirt weekly; daily is even better. Never drag furniture across your hardwood floor. Instead, place felt pads under the legs of furniture, especially pieces like dining room chairs that are moved frequently. Ask guests not to wear high heels, soccer cleats, skates, or muddy shoes past the front door. Keep wheeled toys outside.

7. Maintain constant humidity.

Air condition in the summer and use a humidifier in the winter. This will minimize the expanding and contracting done by natural hardwoods.

8. Protect your hardwood from the elements.
Close windows before raindrops blow in and on the floor, cabinets, or furniture. If you are building a new home or remodeling, keep your hardwood from damaging exposure by having new building materials delivered to an enclosed space. Also, make sure all your doors and windows are properly installed and closed before work with hardwoods begins. Ideally, your contractor will store hardwood flooring or lumber in the room where it will be installed so the wood can adjust to the moisture content of that space.

9. Use a sealer.
Apply a sealer at hardwood cut marks to prevent moisture from seeping in at the exposed area. Also, apply a sealer to surfaces that will get heavy traffic or constant use because they will also need frequent damp-cloth cleanings.

10. Install a vapor barrier.
Never install hardwood over a damp subfloor or newly installed drywall. Dry out the area and install a vapor barrier first.

11. Use protective pads.
Encourage family and guests to place coasters under their drinks. Use pads on hardwood tabletops. Place warm objects on hot pads or trivets. Use felt or a tablecloth under sharp objects like cut glass bowls, picture frames, vases, and lamps.

12. Wipe up water spills immediately.
In the past, builders refrained from using hardwoods in moisture-prone settings like bathrooms, basements, and kitchens. Now, hardwoods can be coated with polyurethane and still retain their natural look. Simply wipe off cleaning products, liquid splashes, food and beverage spills, or pet accidents as soon as possible.

13. Filter sunlight that shines on hardwood floors and furniture with drapes or blinds.

14. Move hardwood furniture away from heat sources like fireplaces.

15. Apply a protective sealant to hardwood floors and work surfaces.

16. Use a cutting board instead of chopping on your wood countertop.

17. Keep brass polish off your hardwood by removing it before polishing.

18. Clean the glass of a hardwood cabinet by spraying cleaner on a cloth first.

19. Remove plastic from hardwood surfaces to avoid sticking and discoloration.

20. Be wise. If a child shouldn't consume it or you can't pronounce it, it probably shouldn't be left on your hardwood.

Why do it yourself? Leave the care and cleaning of your hardwood floors, furniture, and cabinets to your professional cleaning team. They have the expertise, tools, and products that will make your hardwoods glow so you can enjoy them for a lifetime.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dark VS Light Hardwood Flooring: The Pros and Cons

Whenever someone relocates to a new home, there are a lot of various remodels they are looking to make; after all, the previous owner may not have shared the same aesthetic preferences. While there are some obvious choices like flower-print wallpaper and green colored walls, one of the first changes new homeowners make is the flooring. Whether you are replacing chipped tile or outdated carpet, you still have to make sure that you are choosing the appropriate replacement. Hardwood flooring is the typical choice for replacement, because of its many benefits, such as affordability and appearance. The problem then arises - dark or light colored? Here are a few basic pros and cons for both.

Like any winning design, you want to discover the balance in the various elements you are planning to utilize, especially color. That being said, if you do choose to implement dark hardwood flooring, note that it must be combined with light colored furniture, area rugs, slip covers, etc. Because dark hardwoods like mahogany and walnut normally establish a sleek and sophisticated feel, blending it with light colored furnishing will create a classy and chic design. Some of the benefits of using dark colored hardwoods are that the dark stain enhances the hardwood's grain, they absorb light and don't fade, and they conceal dirt well, especially if you select walnut. There are a few cons, which includes the fact that scratches become highly visible and not all hardwoods take dark stains.

Now we come to light hardwood flooring. Some of the big pluses you get when choosing this one instead, is that it will open up a room, giving you a much more spacious and modern appeal. Let's say you have a laid back personality and are looking to have your home become an extension of yourself, light hardwood flooring will be exactly what you are looking for. This type of hardwood flooring is also useful in rooms that don't get a lot of sunlight and certain hardwoods like maple, yellow birch, or white oak are great for high traffic areas, including kitchens, playrooms, etc. Remember, not all light hardwood flooring is good for high traffic areas; in fact, softer hardwoods, such as beech and white ash will damage quickly from all of the moving feet.

Remember, the type of hardwood flooring you opt for is entirely reliant on the design you are looking to achieve. If you want to establish a refined look, then choose dark hardwood flooring and accent it with light colored furnishings, like drapes, dining tables, and couches. If you prefer a laid-back appearance, choose light colored flooring, which will open up your room and create a much more comfortable feel. Whichever you choose, try to have it installed after the movers arrive. Moving companies are comprised of professionals, but to avoid any mishap, have the flooring installed once you have completely moved in.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Alejo_Tenutta

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Why Exotic Hardwood Floors Are Better Than Your Average Wood Material

There are several exotic woods that can make the exotic hardwood floors for your home flooring, and many homeowners actually prefer these to other types due to the many benefits they offer. Some of these woods are teak, Australian Cypress and Brazilian cherry, just to name a few.

The reason why people like them so much is not only because they look really great in the rooms, but also they have a high quality that is unmatched so far. They are very durable, quite hard and quite alluring to homeowners. Because wood is wood, you'd think that it has all the same colors - brown. However you'll be surprised to learn that exotic hard wood flooring has some great colors that you can adorn your floors with. From the pale yellow to the dark brown, everything is possible. And since no planks are the same, you will have quite a unique flooring in your rooms, even if your neighbor has the exotic variety as well laid on the underfloor.

Teak is just one of these exotic flooring types. Depending on which you use, sapwood or heartwood, you will see quite a few colors starting from the light yellow to dark golden brown. This wood has the property of acquiring a darker color over time due to exposure to constant light. What is even better, teak is a notorious insect natural repellent, as it can easily withstand these termites from attacking it due to the oils that it emits that keeps insects away from it.

Brazilian cherry is another type of exotic hardwood flooring that is well loved by homeowners. The color goes towards a pretty dark red-brown that is quite appealing in living rooms. This color also changes over time due to exposure to sunlight so you will find your flooring changing to a darker shade of cherry color after a few years. The wood is quite heavy, strong and durable and it has that interlocking grain feature that people are attracted to. This wood type has the characteristic of giving your room a warm and cozy feel and appeal to it.

Australian Cypress is yet another variety that has the look of pine to it. However it is much harder than pine so it's quite a durable material to have as your preferred flooring. You can find many colors for this wood, ranging from cream to light brown, with various knots and strong lines that will lighten, but not too much with the passing of time. This darkening also occurs when it is exposed to direct light over the course of years.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Doug_M._Taylor

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Benefits of Oak Hardwood Flooring

There are plenty of wood species to choose from when deciding to install hardwood flooring in your house. You may contemplate over maple, pine or birch in your selection process and budget consideration. However, oak hardwood flooring is one of the finest choices that you can make on your hardwood-flooring project.

Oak is one of the durable species perfect for hardwood flooring. Oak can endure harsh weather changes and also very easy to clean materials. Besides, oak can effortlessly endure heavy pressure especially on a part of the house where there is heavy traffic of footfall. Whether you have chosen solid hardwood, engineered or quarter-sawn oak wood, you will never be disappointed on the quality that this type of wood gives.

Oak hardwood flooring is one way of adding glamour and style in your home. There are different kinds of oak wood that can be purchased in your favorite home improvement stores. No matter what kind of oak that you choose, it would surely bring comfort and style to your floor. Besides, oak wood is very affordable so, it will not make a dent in your wallet. The natural pattern of the oak wood will complement the design and style of every part of your house. The oak flooring is easy to maintain therefore you can use the same flooring for many years. All you have to do is to take care of it regularly.

Another wonderful benefit that you can get from oak hardwood is that you can save lot of money from repair of your floor. There are kinds of woods that is surely appealing to the eyes but not durable enough to withstand pressure. This leads to repairs and even replacement of the hardwood floor. Oak is a very reliable material that does not need much maintenance aside from cleaning. You can be relaxed and forget your flooring for the rest of your life if you have chosen to install oak flooring.

If you are quite unsure about the quality of the oak hardwood available at the home improvement stores near you, you can check the Internet for help. There are online hardwood stores that provide detailed information about the quality of the hardwood that they are selling. This way, you can be sure that the oak that you are going to use is a top grade material. Besides, you don't have to leave your house therefore giving you more time to carefully plan your flooring project.

These days, homeowners look for things that can make their home unique and comfortable. Uniqueness is a factor that remains to be one of the priorities when making or remodeling a home. When entering, the floor is the thing that you will see after the door. If you have chosen oak wood flooring to decorate your home, you can be sure that the quality it emanated would represent your home for a very long time.

Hardwood flooring has existed for centuries. Now, through technological innovations, people can choose varieties in oak hardwood flooring to give flexibility for choosy owners to decorate their home.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Justin_E_Simmers