Fall/Autumn Cleaning Checklist to Prepare for Winter (2015)

/ November 20, 2015

fall cleaning checklist prepare for winterGlowing pumpkin vines, leaves turning yellow and falling, crisp mornings, and shorter days signal winter’s approach. This is the time to clean up summer’s outdoor lifestyle and check on your winter linens in storage, prepare your spaces for a long winter’s nap, and get your garden ready for a freeze.

Autumn’s brisk and windy days present the ideal time to tend to winter preparation chores and repairs before the first frost.

Indoor Cleaning

  • It will soon be very cold outside so you will naturally want to stay indoors. Here are some things to make your indoors warm and cozy.
  • Get a professional technician to inspect your furnaces and recommend specific cleaning and maintenance steps.
  • Get a professional sweep company to clean the chimney, vents, and filters (can also be replaced).
  • Clean and sort through the pantry, discarding anything that has gone bad or is unlikely to be used.
  • Free up space in your closet for tweed pants, cozy sweaters, socks, etc. by packing up your summer items – bathing suits, sandals, etc.
  • Place a sturdy mat inside and outside every entrance and ask people to remove their shoes upon entering the house to prevent damage of your hardwood floors.
  • Get your winter gear primed & ready.
  • Send your holiday outfits or fancy tablecloths to the cleaners.
  • Clean out your junk drawer.
  • Clean your computer.
  • Get a few more festive teas.
  • Vacuum the mattress, box springs and flip it.

Outdoor Cleaning

  • Clean patio furniture and cover it with a heavy tarp. You can also store it in your garage or shed where it is shielded from the elements.
  • Clean dirt, leaves, and pine needles between the boards of your wooden deck to discourage the growth of mold and mildew.
  • Inspect the deck for decay, insect damage, or splintering and treat as needed to avoid further deterioration over winter.
  • Clean soil from your planters and place pots made from fragile materials, like clay, indoors to prevent cracking.
  • Clean leaves and rubble from the drains to prevent blockages.
  • Clean the gutters and ensure they’re properly fastened; and extend downspouts 5 feet away from the walls to prevent flooding of the foundation.

You will also want to keep the thermostat setting consistent, as fluctuations in temperature and humidity can make the floor boards swell and shrink, causing them to warp and buckle.

Understanding Moisture and Hardwood Floors

Why Engineered Hardwood Floors Are More Popular Than Solid Flooring

/ November 2, 2015

engineered vs solid floors

An example of an engineered hardwood floor.

When you compare the two, most will have difficulty spotting the differences on the outside with engineered and solid hardwood floors. Other than being beautiful flooring choices, there are fundamental differences that make engineered floors a more popular choice than solid wood floors.

3 Reasons Engineered Hardwood Floors Are More Popular

1. Environmentally Friendly

Many people love supporting products and services that keep an environmentally friendly approach in mind and engineered hardwood floors – by default – are more environmentally friendly than solid wood.

Take a maple tree for example. With solid wood flooring, a whole chunk of this tree will be processed into one board. That is what makes it a “solid” floor. With engineered flooring, the same chunk may be able to be engineered for up to 10 boards.

Read about eco-friendly hardwood floors.

2. Price

Engineered hardwood floors naturally will be more cost-effective than solid hardwood. Engineered hardwoods feature a top part known as a veneer, which features the hardwood of your choice (i.e. maple, hickory, oak).The difference is that beneath this veneer are less expensive, yet stronger layers of wood.

3. Performance

Engineered hardwood floors have increased resistance to rooms or areas that contain high moisture levels. Solid hardwood floors are more susceptible to rippling or buckling in high moisture areas, resulting in a thwarted appearance.

Understanding moisture and hardwood floors.

However, engineered wood floors do not respond this way under similar circumstances. They are “engineered” specifically for this reason. As such, engineered floors may be able to be installed in basements, kitchens, bathrooms, and any other high moisture areas.

Solid Hardwood Flooring Advantages

The only advantage solid hardwood flooring offers over engineered floors are the fact that they can be sanded and refinished multiple times. Although it is a very dusty process, it is considered the only benefit of solid flooring.

There are pros and cons to both types of hardwood flooring, but engineered hardwood floors remain the most popular choice by homeowners for the reasons listed above.

Tips on How to Choose Hardwood Floors

/ October 16, 2015

choosing hardwood floors tipsChoosing the perfect hardwood floor for your home is often a very exciting time. Being experts in hardwood flooring, we wanted to offer you a simple guide to keep in mind when considering what hardwood floor is best for your home.

Hardwood Flooring Factors to Consider

1. Solid or Engineered

First, you are going to want to find out whether or not you want engineered floors or solid hardwood floors in your home. Both options have their pros and cons.

You have to ask yourself where the hardwood will be placed. Certain areas such as basements have only one option to select from: engineered. You want to make sure this is considered first.

Engineered Wood Flooring and Its Benefits

2. Species

There are differences in the species of wood such as grain patterns, hardness, durability, color, and style. Oak, maple, and hickory are popular choices that all contain many features homeowners enjoy. Compare sample boards side by side so you can zero in on the details they offer.

3. Color

Next, you’ll want to decide what type of colors you believe will match your home décor the best. This is often purely a subjective matter but many homeowners love lighter, neutral colors because they have a tendency to blend well with just about anything.

4. Width of Boards

Are you going for the illusion of more space? Then you’ll want to consider a flooring option that features wider board widths.

5. Warranty

Hardwood floors are essentially an investment into your home. As a consumer, you want to know your investment is protected. That’s where the warranty comes in. Make sure the hardwood floors you are interested in come with a great warranty to keep you covered for several years.

Urban Floor’s Warranty

6. Reputation of Manufacturer

How long has the manufacturer been in business? Are they new to the industry? Do they offer a lot of variety? Do they have excellent, trustworthy reviews? Are there any awards they have won for various areas of performance? These are the kinds of questions you should be thinking of before making a decision.

Don’t let it be a daunting task, either. Selecting new hardwood floors is very exciting. The best part is being able to show off the choice you made to family and friends! Just make sure you have asked all of the right questions to ensure you’ve made the best possible decision.

What Questions to Ask a Hardwood Floor Salesman?

10 Reasons to Choose Hardwood Flooring Over Laminate Flooring

/ October 1, 2015

hardwood floors over laminateNothing quite adds beauty and natural warmth to a room like wood flooring. From its magnificent natural appearance to the warmth underfoot, wood is beautiful and timeless. Part of the appeal of older traditional homes is the fact that they come with original hardwood floors. Modern homes looking to achieve the same natural look of wood but at a lower price point use laminate flooring to lure homebuyers.

hardwood flooring over laminate Both solid hardwood and engineered hardwood flooring are manufactured from actual wood, which means that it preserves the distinct appearance and textured grain of natural wood. Laminate, on the other hand, is only an imitation that looks very similar to real wood. While the two may appear the same, they are actually very different.

10 Reasons to Choose Hardwood Flooring Over Laminate

1. Hardwood floor adds value to your home

Hardwood floors, both solid & engineered, are designed to last a lifetime – making them a great investment for homebuyers. Hardwood floors often never have to be replaced, only refinished, unlike laminate that needs full replacement every 15-25 years. Some hardwood floors in old buildings are decades old, such as the floors in Washington’s Mount Vernon for example.

2. Easier to clean

Even when compared to tiles or carpets, hardwoods are still easier to clean. Routine care may comprise vacuuming, sweeping, and cleaning up spills with a mop and non-aerosol spray. Additionally, hardwoods don’t trap dust particles in concealed places, hide bacteria in its fibers, or grow mold within its grout.

3. A natural product available in a wide range of grain patterns, colors, and styles

The warmth, beauty, and design appeal of hardwood floors is unmatched. While laminated floors over a wide array, there is now more diversity in hardwood floors than even before.

4. Eco-friendly

Compared to the manufacture of other building products, like steel, bricks, or concrete, wood is a much cleaner material.

5. Recyclable

Hardwoods can be recycled 100 percent.

6. Ideal for homes with allergic members

Since hardwood does not trap dust or fumes, it will not harbor mold or dust mites, improving the air quality in your home great for those who suffer from bothersome allergies related to pollen, dander, dust, etc.

7. Easy to redecorate

To change the entire look of your hardwood floor, all you have to do is paint, stain, dye, or apply inlays, without having to replace the materials.

8. Easy to repair or re-apply finishes

Hardwood floors can be easily recoated or touched up. If well maintained, you may never have to completely re-sand. We recommend a licensed professional before attempting to re-sand or refinish any of your hardwood floors.

9. Better for your joints

Hardwood floors tend to give a little, which makes them good for your spine and joints. This is why standing on tile, stone, or laminate can make you get tired faster than on hardwood.

10. Finally, hardwood is the greatest renewable resource in North America, considering that the continent has maintained the forest cover that was there centuries ago (in the 1600s).

Read more about Eco-Friendly Hardwood Floors.

What Hardwood Flooring Color Hides “Wear and Tear” Best?

/ September 22, 2015

light colored hardwood floorsAll hardwood floors are VERY beautiful except certain hardwood floor colors and species have an ability to hide normal wear and tear much better than others. Today we’d like to let you in on the hardwood flooring color that hides wear and tear the best.

Best Hardwood Floor Color for Hiding Wear and Tear

When it comes to hiding scratches and other minor issues with hardwood floors that inevitably arise from normal wear and tear, no color hides it better than…

Light-colored hardwood floors.

This is probably no surprise either. Because scratches and other minor nicks are often light colored, they blend in well with light-colored hardwood floors.

To add, hardwood floors that have little to no glossy sheen (i.e. matte hardwood floors) also aid in hiding wear and tear.

The higher the gloss your hardwood flooring has, the more likely it will reveal scratches. However, on the plus side glossy floors are often prized for their beautiful presence and elegant appeal they bring to any room.

View our simple guide on removing minor scratches and nicks from wood floors.

If you’re the type who is eager to replace your carpet with hardwood flooring but are unsure of exactly what type of hardwood floors to consider, then you’re in luck. We’ve compiled a list of our very own personal recommendations for those wondering.

1. Maple Natural
2. Hickory Natural
3. Monarch
4. Romagna
5. Birch Oatmeal
6. Roosevelt Hickory

Birch Oatmeal by Urban Floor.

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