Sunday, April 24, 2011

Things to Consider on Hardwood Floor Wax

If you're lucky enough to own a hardwood floor, you probably want to do everything possible to help it stay beautiful. Using hardwood floor wax is a common way to do this. However, there are a few simple rules to follow and some instances where wax is a bad idea. In this article we'll look at those rules, as well as run though some waxing basics.

Is Wax Right for Your Floor?

Your floor's original finish, and the condition of that finish, determines whether or not waxing is right for you. Your floor was either finished with a coating, which sits atop the wood and acts as a barrier for dirt, or with a sealant, which penetrates and makes the wood itself more resistant to dirt. If your floor is very shiny (or used to be) then chances are a coating was used. If it appears more matte, it's likely to have been finished using a sealant.

Floors with shiny coatings are generally not suitable for hardwood floor wax. Instead, you should thoroughly clean and then buff the floor to renew the shine. If your floor is so old or damaged that clean and buffing don't work, then hardwood floor wax can provide a temporary renewal of the floor's shine and luster. Just keep in mind that eventually, you'll need to invest in a good refinishing.

Waxing Basics

Vacuum your floor thoroughly, sweep and mop before beginning to apply hardwood floor wax. After all, you're trying to improve the look of the floor, not make it worse by sealing in dirt and grime! Ensure that the floor has dried completely before moving on.

It's important to follow the direction on the wax precisely. If you're unsure about something, look it up on the internet or ask somebody at a home improvement store. These are general guidelines for hardwood floor wax, but each brand is different, and the manufacturer's directions will alert you to any special steps their particular brand requires.

You'll begin with a very thin coating of wax. If you can see thick gobs or streaks, you've applied too much. Let this first layer sink in, which can take from half an hour to an hour. You'll repeat this step until the floor can't absorb any more wax. Hardwood floor wax is designed to sink in and penetrate the wood, and so you're only done when the last layer won't sink in. When that happens, simply wipe it off, and leave the floor alone for at least a few hours (overnight is best) to dry completely.

Buffing comes next. A heavy-duty rented buffer is best for this, because the weight of the machine will actually make the job easier, no matter how bulky and cumbersome it might look. Buffing is going to bring out the shine. Follow the directions very carefully, since you're dealing with a large machine. When you're done, your floor should have a brilliant shine.

If the shine dulls over time, don't re-apply...simply buff the floor again. Hardwood floor wax can easily and economically extend the beauty of your floor for years to come, if applied and maintained properly.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Get the Look of Hardwood Flooring for Less With Laminate Flooring

If you're looking to update the appearance of your home, you may be thinking about giving its flooring a face-lift. Replacing worn-out carpeting with sleek, stylish hardwood flooring can make a dramatic difference in the appearance of just about any room in the home. However, hardwood floors have many drawbacks; one of the biggest ones involves price. Don't worry, though - you can enjoy the style and elegance of hardwood flooring for a lot less by opting for laminate flooring. Laminate styles have come a really long way. Today, they are barely discernible from honest-to-goodness wood. Learn more about the top perks of laminate below.

It Looks Like the Real Thing

Laminate flooring has made a lot of progress over the last ten to fifteen years. These days, it is available in many great wood styles that look a lot like the real thing. Whether you're interested in the stately style of oak or the country charm of pine, you can get those looks - and more - without any of the drawbacks. For example, many species of wood are too soft to be practical for everyday use; laminate floors replicate the look of many species of wood while providing unbeatable strength and durability. There's no reason to cross any particular type of wood off of your list, when you can always opt for laminate.

Unbeatable Wear Resistance and Durability

While some worn-down wood floors have a bit of rustic charm, it often doesn't turn out that way. Scuff marks, scrapes and other signs of wear and tear can seriously detract from the style of a wood floor. While laminate floors aren't impervious to such issues, they can be less likely to incur damage. As a result, you can invest in laminate and rest assured that if it is properly maintained it will look as great in five to ten years as it does on the day when it is installed.

Use it in Virtually Any Room in the House

As you probably already know, wood is not an ideal option for moisture-prone areas of the home. Therefore, you can't really have wood flooring installed in the bathroom or kitchen - at least, not without doing a lot of finishing. Even then, warping and other issues may arise. Laminate flooring minimizes those concerns. While it looks almost exactly like the real thing, it isn't as prone to water damage. You can enhance the look of your bathroom, kitchen or basement with the appearance of wood floors - just choose laminate.

Enjoy Today's Hottest Design Trends

These days, many people pay big bucks to invest in wood floor that is strategically distressed or scraped. The rustic and shabby-chic look of these floors can really bolster a home's appearance. You don't have to miss out on such hot trends when you opt for laminate floors. It is perfectly possible to buy laminate floors that are scraped, distressed or otherwise enhanced. Best of all, these features are added to the laminate before the wood detailing; the end result, therefore, is virtually identical to what you would get when splurging on real wood.

Buy Planks of Various Lengths and Widths

Laminate flooring is anything but cookie-cutter or dull. If you think that a laminate floor is going to look utilitarian or like it was put together in a factory, think again. Today's wood-style laminate floors can be laid down in planks that mirror the widths and lengths of today's best wood floors. Whether you are looking for wide planks or thin ones, you can get the look that you need with laminate. Similarly, it's possible to buy laminate wood planks in exceptionally long lengths that mesh well with today's hottest contemporary design trends.

Skip the Wood and Save a Bundle

At the end of the day, laminate flooring is closely mirrors that of real wood, but it eliminates many of the issues of real wood. When you opt for laminate, you don't restrict yourself in terms of the rooms in which you can use it. More importantly, you are a lot less likely to exceed your budget. Today's laminate floors are durable, stylish, affordable and versatile. Unless you are absolutely determined to have real wood in your home, there's no good reason not to use laminate.

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