Archive for July, 2012

Caring for Your Log Cabin Vacation Home

A log cabin is a warm and comforting vacation house for any family. However, because of varying weather conditions and the permeable nature of wood, log cabins are prone to deterioration and the need for frequent repairs.  In order for your log cabin to last for generations and be a worthy investment, you must properly maintain both the exterior and interior.

Below are some useful tips on how you can properly maintain your log cabin:

  • Use durable wood materials such as reclaimed wood. Not only does reclaimed wood offer an eco-friendly option for building your log cabin, but it is also durable enough to withstand years and years of wear and tear.  Reclaimed wood often comes from old woods, which have already matured properly and are, therefore, a lot stronger than newer woods. In addition, the unique aesthetic of reclaimed wood adds something special to your cabin’s interior.
  • Keep trees and plants at least two feet away from your log cabin. For trees that tower over the cabin, make sure that the branches are trimmed, so dead leaves cannot fall and accumulate on your roof.  Dead leaves and branches easily rot and could therefore cause your cabin to rot as well.
  • To keep the interior of your log cabin looking new and beautiful at all times, make it a habit to clean the floors and walls regularly. If you allow dirt and moisture to accumulate, they will cause the wood to deteriorate faster.  If you will be away for several months, arrange to have someone check and clean it once in a while.
  • Avoid spraying your log cabin exterior with water, whether it be while watering your garden or cleaning.  If you experience leaks, address them immediately.  Water is not compatible with wood, and if too much moisture collects inside your wood, it will rot quickly. Though you cannot avoid rain and snow, you can prevent additional contact.
  • Apply stain or refinish your cabin whenever needed. Staining and finishing your wood protects it, so refreshing it from time to time will keep everything strong and resistant.
  • Treat it as your permanent home. If you want it to last as long as your primary home, it deserves to receive the best care possible.

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Customizing Your Reclaimed Wood Flooring

Wood floors have seen a return to popularity for many years now. The smooth, natural look of hardwood floors and their ability to conform to any interior design style make them an elegant addition to any home, particularly in dining rooms and living rooms.

And, what better way to enhance the beauty they add to your home than to customize them? Many people like to add a personal touch to their home to make it feel like theirs, and having customized wood floors takes that to a whole new level.  Customizing hardwood floors is easier now than it used to be because so many wood manufacturers offer a wide array of wood varieties.

A great way to achieve a more personalized look is to use reclaimed wood flooring. Reclaimed wood comes from old barns, boats, and other structures and is durable enough to be repurposed in houses and buildings. Reclaimed wood carries history, beauty, and personality that cannot be found in newer woods, and it is evidenced in the nail marks and dents found throughout the boards. These marks create a unique pattern that is not easily achieved by young wood, so if you choose to use reclaimed wood, you will have a floor that bears no similarity to the laminate wood flooring found in many houses these days.

In order for you to customize your reclaimed wood flooring, the first thing you need to do is decide which type of wood species you want to use. Since reclaimed wood is obtained from old barns and structures that have stood the test of time, you can be assured that its unique and durable appearance will last for a long time.

Next, determine which treatment and finish will give you the personalized look you want for  your home. This is where you decide which color and tone of wood you prefer.

Then, you will want to think about what pattern of wood grain you would like.  Reclaimed wood pieces already have pretty distinctive patterns of their own, but if you are looking for something in particular, you can usually find a design that suits your liking.  Search until you find what you are looking for because that is what will make your floors so uniquely you.

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Mistakes to Avoid When Refinishing Your Wood Furniture

Refurbishing your wood furniture helps to keep it looking brand new and elegant. If you choose to do the job yourself, it is important to understand what’s involved and what you need to avoid to achieve excellent results. Otherwise, you will end up with inconsistent color and a less attractive final product sitting on your living room or kitchen.

To help you refurbish your wood furniture beautifully, here are some common mistakes to avoid:

  • Skipping safety precautions – One of the most important things to consider when it comes to refurbishing your wood furniture is safety. Many homeowners are too lax and forget to take the proper safety precautions when doing the job, which results in accidents and injuries such as cuts, burns, and respiratory problems. Proper safety accessories and equipment must always be worn and precautions should always be implemented.
  • Ignoring instructions – It is very important to follow instructions because the steps are arranged the way they are for a reason. Oftentimes, manufacturer’s instructions for different wood waxes and varnishes vary, so you must read the instructions.  If  you don’t, you will likely end up with a finish that is different than what you were wanting.
  • Not taking the proper time to prepare and wait – It’s easy to become so excited about refurbishing a piece of furniture that you want to get started right away, even if you haven’t properly prepared.  Refinishing wood furniture requires certain preparations before applying varnishing or wax. The piece must be completely stripped of old paint, properly sanded to smooth the rough areas, and thoroughly cleaned.  If you skip any of these steps, varnishes and stains won’t adhere properly, and you could easily end up with a mess.
  • Not making repairs – Wood furniture needs to constantly be checked for repairs. Cracks and chipped wood should be addressed as soon as possible, so no one hurts themselves when using the furniture. This is important after you have refinished the furniture, but also before.  Many homeowners immediately proceed to waxing or varnishing without checking for repairs first.  They end up refurbishing damaged wood.
  • Applying without waiting – Applying coats of wax or varnish needs to be done at the right time. After you apply the first coat, you must wait for a period of time before applying the next coat. It is important to know the waiting time between coats, so you achieve consistency and avoid color or texture variations.

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Wooden Seating for Your Outdoor Deck

Your outdoor deck doesn’t have to be limited to wood floors and railings. Now, you can enhance the beauty and functionality of your deck with built-in wood seats. This type of seating is not only elegant looking, but it is also comfortable and quite functional during the warm months.

To give you more ideas on how to incorporate wood seats on your outdoor deck, here are some different style options to consider :

  • Curved bench- Install a curved bench around your railing to accommodate more people on your deck. A curved bench can be built directly into the railing for a permanent seating option.
  • Seatwall – If your deck is directly on the ground, you may decide to have a seatwall, which acts as a low bordering wall that doubles as seating. When you install your deck’s flooring you can extend each corner with a seatwall to accommodate more people when you have gatherings.
  • Raised bed – Create a dual function for your outdoor seats by building a wooden raised bed on your deck. Add some cushions on top to make it conducive to an afternoon nap. Then, use it as primary seating when entertaining guests.
  • L-shaped bench – Make use of the corners of your deck with L-shaped benches. You may choose to have it built in on your deck or leave it detached to make it easier for you to move it when needed. If it is facing the corner versus being lined up against it, adding a tree between the bench and the railing creates a nice touch.
  • Fire-pit benches – Install built-in benches around a fire-pit to encourage late night lounging on your deck. The fire-pit enables you to enjoy your outdoor living space even on cool nights.

Using reclaimed wood will enable you to achieve a more unique style for your outdoor deck. Each piece of reclaimed wood provides character that cannot be replicated by young, new wood, and it will last you for years to come, as it has already weathered the test of time.

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Enhancing Your Home with Modern Reclaimed Wood Furniture

Wood furniture adds value to any home because it is elegant, aesthetically pleasing, and conforms well to most interior design themes. However, homeowners are sometimes hesitant to incorporate wood furniture into their homes because it is more expensive than other materials. Others are concerned about contributing to deforestation if they buy wood products.

If cost-efficiency and environmental issues are hindering you from buying wood furniture, a great alternative is modern reclaimed wood. Reclaimed wood does not produce any additional harm to the environment or the cutting of young trees in the forest because it is recycled from old structures.  As a result, it also reduces landfill waste and clutter in rivers.

When it comes to cost-efficiency, recycled wood is often less expensive than new, virgin wood. Many manufacturers of reclaimed wood furniture also sell online, so they do not incur the costs of a brick and mortar store and are able to pass those savings on to customers.  Additionally, you can obtain reclaimed wood from old structures or construction sites that will sell it to you at a negotiated price.

Aside from the cost-efficiency and environmental benefits, reclaimed wood also adds stunning style to a home. Because of its old and rustic appeal, it is almost like having antique furniture, but you can find it in any style. For example, you can buy reclaimed wood furniture that is modern in style, but made from centuries old wood.  It simultaneously retains its historical beauty and adds to the overall appeal of your home.

In addition, reclaimed wood furniture offers unique qualities that furniture made of younger wood cannot provide. You can find one-of-a-kind grain patterns, richer wood tones, and imperfections such as nail holes that create depth and texture. Most young woods cannot provide these features, and they end up producing cookie cutter furniture pieces.

Most importantly, reclaimed wood furniture is guaranteed to be durable and last for years. Since this type of furniture has already weathered the test of time, it has a built up strength that will produce furniture that will serve you for years to come.

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Maintaining the Beautiful Finish of Your Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floor enhance the beauty and value of any home. Hardwood floors are elegant, especially when well-maintained, and have beautiful finish that makes your house feel more attractive and clean.

Maintaining the beautiful finish of your hardwood floors, however, may require several steps. Bear in mind, though, that the end result of all the hard work is well worth it because not only will they be beautiful, but they will last much longer than if left unattended.

To help you maintain a lovely hardwood floor finish, here are a few tips to follow:

Observe the changes of your hardwood floors. Alterations to your wooden floors are inevitable as they naturally expand and contract. However, it is always advised to check your hardwood floors once in a while in case anything has become damaged in the process, so you can make adjustments or repairs as soon as possible. This way, you can avoid larger damage over time and having to totally replace your floor.

Apply wood stains to your hardwood floor. Wood stains add protection to your wooden floors by shielding them from damaging UV rays, moisture, and dirt. To maintain your wood finish, reapply a coat of wood stain every time it starts to fade.

Use soft protective mats and rugs on your floor to protect the finish from being scratched. In addition, try to occasionally rotate your mats and rugs around the floor, so the color does not become uneven as a result of certain areas people covered longer than others.

Apply wax to your floor. A good coat of wood wax will also protect your hardwood floors from dirt and dust. It will prevent the penetration of these elements into your finish, thus maintaining its luster. It also seals the wood finish to prevent easy scratches and marks.

Keep your floors shiny and clean at all times. The best way to maintain the beautiful finish of your floors is to make sure that no dirt or dust resides on them. Regularly clean your floors by vacuuming using a soft brush or sweeping. You can also try natural cleaners that are appropriate for the kind of wood and the type of finish you have.

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Protecting Your Hardwood Floors from Your Pets

Hardwood floors are a beautiful addition to your home when maintained properly. However, when scratches and stains begin appearing, it reduces their elegance. Sometimes, you even need to replace the damaged boards as a result, which creates an additional cost to you.

A couple of the main culprits for damage to wood floors are the scratching and “accidents” from our pets. Since they have sharp claws, dogs and cats tend to scratch the floor when they walk around, and if they are puppies or kitties that have not yet been trained properly they may even scratch at the wood intentionally or not wait until they go outside to urinate.

To prevent future scratches and stains on your precious floors, here are some tips:

  • Always trim your pet’s nails. This will prevent permanent marks on your floors even if they do scratch.  If their nails are rough after you cut them, file them to smooth them.
  • Place a soft, wide rug where your pet normally sleeps. Pets have the tendency to scratch their nails on the floor when they stretch after sleeping for a long time or when they prepare their bed to go to sleep.  Place some rugs and mats at doorways, near the sofa, and in other high-traffic places as well.
  • House-train your pets. Train them not to do their business inside the house. Establish a schedule for taking them outside, so they become used to a routine and learn to wait.
  • Place claw caps on their feet. These caps are glued onto their feet to guard their sharp claws from the floor. You can place claw caps on both dogs and cats.
  • In case of urine spills on your floor, clean the spill immediately to prevent it from creating a stain. Wipe with a clean, dry cloth until all the moisture is gone.
  • Consider using distressed hardwood. The natural dents and marks on the wood will allow scratches and stains to easily blend in should they appear.
  • Wax your floors to help buffer out deeper scratches. A simple reapplication of the wax will help fill the scratches created by your pet.
  • Don’t let your dog gets too excited when they are inside your house. Most dogs have the habit to unintentionally scratch the floor when they become too excited and some even urinate. If you have a surprise, show it to them outside.

 

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