Archive for April, 2012

How to Pick Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood floors have become a major trend in home renovations due to the many benefits they provide. Not only are they very aesthetically pleasing, but they also come in eco-friendly and affordable options.

When choosing a hardwood floor, there are a number of factors to consider.  There are a variety of styles, colors, and finishes to choose from, so you need to take a look at your overall space and determine what would fit best with the interior of your home and the design style you want to achieve.

Below are some useful tips to help you pick the right hardwood flooring for you.

  • Know and understand the different options that are available.  Take the time to learn the nuances of the different varieties and jot down the pros and cons of each  If you have difficulty recognizing what makes each material different, you can seek the help of a professional, who can guide you to the perfect hardwood floor.
  • Choose a reliable wood manufacturer. Ask for recommendations and research popular and established manufacturers of hardwood flooring. Do not gamble with companies that are unknown, even if they offer cheaper wood. You may not be able to verify that the supply they provide you is high quality.
  • Research which types of hardwood flooring are best suited for different areas of the house. One standard material isn’t always a good decision. Certain types of hardwood floors are not appropriate in the kitchen, for example, where there is too much heat.
  • See if your choice fits your budget.  One of the great things about hardwood flooring is the flexibility of cost that it offers.  Even people who are on a very tight budgets can find a quality material that also fits their design needs.
  • Once you’ve narrowed down your options, get a few samples to test whether or not they look good in your house. See if they match your overall interior, your furnishings, and the lighting in the room.
  • Explore reclaimed wood options.  They can actually offer more benefits than manufactured woods, they are more affordable than other types of wood, and because they are recycled, you can feel good knowing you’ve chosen an eco-friendly option.

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Why is Reclaimed Wood the Best Choice?

While Reclaimed Wood may not be the least expensive choice as opposed to many new hardwood floor options – you might find yourself saying “they just don’t make flooring like they used to” after you select reclaimed wood for your home. Reclaimed wood is durable, environmentally friendly and adds a fantastic degree of character to any home that new floors just cannot quite create.

What is a reclaimed wood and why is it the best choice?

Reclaimed wood is recycled wood from abandoned or damaged structures, such as warehouses, boats, gymnasiums, or barns. Although the structures they come from may be damaged, the wood itself is  perfectly functional.

Using reclaimed wood can offer long lasting functionality, unlimited resources, wider options, and an eco-friendly advantage. Although some of these benefits are also evident in other types of materials, the greatest edge of reclaimed wood is its benefit to the environment.

If you are the kind of person who values living a greener lifestyle, then reclaimed wood is the best choice for you. Why not use something that is recycled instead of using another material that is made from scratch and requires additional resources?  Reclaimed wood does not require cutting more trees in the forest. In fact, many trees can be saved if reclaimed wood is used instead of composite because there is no additional required processing, energy use, or waste for reclaimed wood.  Furthermore, by using reclaimed wood, you are recycling materials that would be trashed otherwise. Just think of the amounts of waste and clutter that do not appear in rivers and streams as a result of using reclaimed wood!

Another benefit of reclaimed wood is the overall value it offers you. It is also long-lasting and has been shown to actually be more sturdy  than virgin wood, which means it does not have to be replaced as frequently.

When you take a look at the facts, it becomes clear that reclaimed wood has serious advantages to other options.  It is eco-friendly, full of character, does not require frequent replacement, and is extremely durable.

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How Should I Clean My Hardwood Floors?

Hardwood floors are a beauty to behold. The elegant finish on a natural material creates a beautiful combination that leaves visitors in awe.  In order to retain such beauty, however, you will have to put in a bit of time and effort to make sure they stay clean and dirt-free.

One question that many homeowners ask is, “How should I clean my hardwood floors?”  There are a few answers to that question, but it boils down to being cautious,  immediately addressing spills and possible damage, and dusting regularly.

Hardwood floors are quite delicate compared to other types of material however, so certain care must be taken.  Below are some tips that can help you clean your hardwood floors properly…

  • Regularly sweep your floor to avoid the accumulation of dust and dirt. Use only a soft and fine bristled broom to prevent scratches.  In addition, use brooms that already have fraying ends because they can properly clean even the smallest dirt particles and can also aid in polishing the floor.
  • Vacuum your hardwood floors to further remove dirt, dust, and sand. Vacuum once or twice a week if you can and make sure that your vacuum does not have any beater brushes attached to it, as they can scratch your floor.
  • When mopping your floor, use a slightly damp mop. Get rid of excess water before mopping the floor because it can easily seep through the surface and damage the flooring.
  • Never attempt to use straight ammonia or any ammonia-based products on your floor because they can be very damaging.  If you must use a solution, use vinegar instead. Mix a solution of a half cup of vinegar with one gallon of warm water.
  • When cleaning sticky spots, use barely damp towels or rags. When cleaning gum that is stuck to the floor, remove as much of the gum as possible with your finger and then place a bag of ice on top of it to freeze it. Once the gum is frozen, remove it with something thin and flexible. Do not try to remove the gum with sharp items like a knife.
  • Before using any cleaning or waxing material, double check to be sure that they are appropriate for the type of wood you have. This will prevent unnecessary damage to your floors.

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Composite Decking or Natural Wood: Which One Is Right for You?

Decking adds beauty to any house and enables you to enjoy your property even more through outdoor living. When planning the construction of a deck, one of the most important factors to consider is the kind of material you will be using. Among the most deliberated materials are composite and natural wood, and the dilemma between the two has been long standing.  Which is better?

Composite decking has a lot of advantages, but so does natural wood decking.  In order to avoid getting lost in a sea of endless comparisons, however, focus on a few vital features that are important to take into account.  The first is the lifespan or durability of the material. Many people believe that composite materials can last for several decades; however, existing composite materials have not been around long enough yet to prove that claim. Natural woods are generally expected to last around 25 years, but they have been known to remain in good shape longer than that.

Needless to say, because decking is on the higher end of the upgrades spectrum, cost is also always a factor.  Most people want an option that is both inexpensive and practical, and cost, therefore, plays a huge role in determining which material to use.  Composite materials are generally around five times more expensive than natural wood options.  However, you must combine the base cost with the longevity factor to determine which one will indeed be most cost effective for you.

For more conscientious consumers, environment friendly options are on top of their list. It is far more important for them to ensure that the materials they use are creating a huge positive impact on the environment rather than sticking to what’s in trend.  In this scenario, natural woods surpass composite materials by a great deal. Natural woods are highly sustainable because they are fabricated from managed forests and plantations governed by strict logging rules. Composite materials, on the other hand, create more damage to the environment throughout the production process.   Composite materials are made of petroleum derived from oil drilling. As a result,  there is the risk that they can damage our vegetation and even our bodies of water. In addition, they normally include a significant amount of embodied energy created during their fabrication from petroleum.

While composite decking may offer a modern aesthetic to your house, its overall effects can pose a threat to you, your home, and the environment. Natural woods may require a bit more care and maintenance, but in the long run, they are more practical and safer for the environment.

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