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Problem Solved: Removing Cigarette Smell & Odors in House

Jan 15, 2016

remove cigarette smell odor houseCigarette smoke has an odor that tends to get into everything, including furniture, carpets, walls, clothes, sheets, and bathroom fixtures. Fortunately, whether you’re a smoker trying to sell your house or a new owner who has just purchased a home that reeks of tobacco, there are steps you can take to get rid of that smell.

First & Foremost: Do Not Use Air Fresheners

Burning scented candles or spraying room fresheners only masks the smell temporarily. The same applies to opening windows, as letting in fresh air helps to dilute the odor, but does not remove it permanently.

To truly get rid of cigarette smell, you must remove the actual source of the odor. However, this is not easy since smoke particles are extremely tiny, and can penetrate nearly every surface in the house. Tobacco smoke can even circulate through the entire house via the ventilation system. But there is no need to panic, as the smell will dissipate over time.

Two Key Steps to Getting Rid of Cigarette Smell Completely

1. Wipe down all hard surfaces

Start by getting rid of all the smoke in the house, and then start wiping down every hard surface, including your kitchen cabinets, ceilings, walls, and hardwood floors. As mentioned before, cigarette smoke settles on everything, so cleaning the nicotine, tar, and resins is vital to eliminating the odors. Make sure to use the right cleaning products for the different surfaces to avoid any damage.

2. Wipe down all soft surfaces and wash the curtains

After cleaning the hard surfaces, move on to the soft surfaces. A lot of the lingering smoke smell comes from smoke residue that settled in your furniture and carpet.

To aid in the cleaning of hard and soft surfaces, the following tips may prove to be useful:

  • Use an odor eliminator for blitzing furniture to remove the smell entirely rather than covering it up. Keep the affected area well ventilated before and after cleaning for best results.
  • Clean mirrors and glass with vinegar, and then rinse them down with clean water.
  • Consider choosing a professional cleaning service to help with cleaning the carpet. If you do-it-yourself, follow the directions in the owner’s manual strictly.
  • You can use baking soda to clean your furniture and carpets, by sprinkling it on the surface and leaving it to rest for a day. The baking soda will absorb some of the smoke smell and dampness around it, after which you can vacuum it up.
  • You can also use the vinegar or a solution of baking soda to clean curtains, shades, chandeliers, wall hangings, and other fixtures.
  • Install an air purifier to help remove contaminants from the air. These devices provide a great way to mask the smell and shift dust and dirt while keeping you from smelling cigarette smoke.

Before using any cleaning products, like vinegar and baking soda, test them out on a concealed area to ensure that this area or fabric will not get damaged or fade.

Industry Outlook – Hardwood Flooring Trends for 2016

Jan 7, 2016

hardwood floor trends 2016In recent years, home renovation projects have been hugely impacted by green initiatives and human safety, and flooring products are no exception. According to data and research of the World Floor Covering Association, flooring trends for 2016 are running towards the use of wider wooden planks that come in richer tones, a more natural, vintage look and feel that showcases wood’s inherent grains and textures, and reclaimed wood options.

These are some of the newest trends in hardwood flooring that are creating an entirely new arena of design possibilities, and providing today’s consumers of hardwood flooring with more options than ever before to showcase their individual style.

Top 3 Hardwood Flooring Trends (2016)


1. Wider, longer planks

Traditionally, the plank sizes available to homeowners measured between 2-1/4” and 3-1/2” wide, compared to the wider plank options available today in 5”, 6”, and even 7”.

Wider planks open up small spaces visually. In other words, they you can really make a small space appear bigger, and thus wider planks are ideal for master bedrooms, living rooms, and other sections of the home.

These wider planks are now also available in longer lengths measuring up to 6 feet, which are great for producing a much smoother-looking floor with minimal seams. The wider planks can be installed in any direction – horizontally, vertically, or diagonally – it all depends on the effect you’d like to achieve.

Although the demand for the traditional narrower planks is still strong, the wider-plank trend is catching on, with some newer products coming in planks measuring as wide as 10 and 12 inches.

2. Grey tones

Another emerging trend in engineered hardwood flooring involves a process called ‘fuming’ that makes use of advancements in technology to create a natural grey patina that is not a stain or glaze, which often appear artificial.

The fuming technique takes place in a controlled environment, whereby White Oak is given a naturally aged look without highlighting the grain of the wood. Larger fuming degrees result in darker and richer wood design

3. Reclaimed/recycled woods
The trend for recycled or reclaimed woods is particularly appealing to modern-day environmental-friendly consumers, plus they get to enjoy the visual appeal of distinctly aged flooring. The term reclaimed is used to refer to all previously manufactured wood products that are currently either being reused in the same form or re-manufactured into new items.

Reclaimed hardwood flooring includes woods sourced from farmhouses, old barns, wood barrels, and beams, as well as timber salvaged from lakes and rivers. Attributes of reclaimed wood, like varied lengths, heavy graining, knots, color differences, and original nail markings all add to the appeal of reclaimed hardwood flooring.

There are many other hardwood flooring trends to look forward to in 2016, including wire-brushed wood, vintage style, differing gloss levels, lime-washed woods, and darker woods. What these trends signify is that consumers are increasingly seeking more personality from their hardwood flooring, and with advances in technology, there is an increasing range of options to suit every consumer taste and style.

5 Ways to Increase Value to Your Home

Dec 14, 2015

increase value homeFor most homeowners, their home is their single largest investment. So it only makes sense that the items you put into it not only increase your standard of living, but also give you some return on investment (ROI) by increasing the value of your home.

There are numerous things that you could do to make your home more presentable and possibly increase its value, but they may not necessarily give you the most impact. Here are a few things that prospective buyers regard as the most important improvements when shopping for a home to buy:

How to Increase Value to Your Home

1. Kitchen Remodeling

You can ask the best realtors; as well as interior designers and both would agree that a kitchen remodel gives the greatest return. There are a number of things you can do to improve the look and feel of your kitchen, including installing a new backsplash; giving your cabinets a faux-wood finish painting; opting for stainless steel appliances, which can be done gradually as the ones you have wear out; installing an island work space; and hanging a rack for pots and pans.

2. Bathroom Remodeling

The bathroom sees a lot of wear and tear, so you should consider beautifying it and keeping it functional with upgrades, like under-mount sinks, marble or granite counter-tops, wall lighting with no shade around the mirrors, and installing a shower with body sprays (as well as stone surround tile). It also needs to be clean and free of dirt and grime.

3. Improved Hardwood Flooring

Refurbishing your hardwood floors, or replacing them if they’re worn or stained, will enhance both the look and value of your home. You may consider an extravagant display of wide-plank hardware floors in your living room and foyer, and a lighter touch in the bedrooms.

Learn How Hardwood Floors Add Value to Homes

4. Fresh Paint

Consider changing the paint on your kitchen, front door, and other areas to make your home more attractive & appealing. Even consider repainting the exterior of your home.

5. Lighting

Well-placed pools of warm light will make your home inviting and user-friendly.
A recent survey revealed that home buyers were prepared to pay an average of 16 percent more on a property if it had the improvement that they valued the most; plus 73 percent prefer to buy a home where all improvements have been made for them.

Whichever improvements you decide to make, it is important that you don’t forget the simple things, such as de-cluttering, cleaning, and staging your home, as they can impact on your selling price, as well.

Recent Report Finds Buyers Staying in Homes Longer

Dec 7, 2015

home buyerGood news for hardwood floor owners – home buyers are deciding to stay in their homes longer. Home buyers prefer hardwood floors to carpet & other sources of flooring for a variety of reasons, one of them being because of increased value! And the best part is that today’s hardwood floors are built to last several years and are covered by extended warranties.

The Home Buyer Report Findings

Following the Great Recession – towards the end of the first decade of the 21st century – the state’s housing market has been struggling to recover from the market meltdown, slowly but progressively.

The 2015 Survey of California Home Buyers report released by the California Association of Realtors revealed that people who lost their home between 2008 and 2009 are looking to buy again.

Additionally, home buyers, including younger wage earners forming households and other buyers have expressed that they intend to live in their homes for an average of 20 years.

This is a big change compared to earlier years here buyers preferred to scale in terms of their home purchases. A survey conducted in 2013 showed that home buyers stayed in their homes for an average of six years before moving-up. This indicates a three-fold increase in the number of years preferred for home retention.

Comparison to the Rest of the Country

These findings suggest a drastic change in the average length of home ownership in California, which has always been in the single-digit years. This is much lower compared to the national average, which according to the American Housing Survey (AHS), has averaged 13 years between 1987 and 2011, with trade-up buyers consistently staying longer than first-time buyers. A 2013 report by the AHS suggested that single-family home buyers stayed for 11.5 years while buyers who have owned a home before stayed for 15 years.

The Trend in California

It is possible that the drastic preference to own a home for longer is due to rising home prices, which has resulted in affordability problems across a considerable market segment. Affordability has always been a concern for first-time buyers, but it is rarely considered when it comes to trade-up buyers.

The new trend is attributed to household formation, with 12 percent of the buyers having previously lived with their parents before buying the home; the desire to buy a home instead of paying rent for 15 percent; reasonable home pricing, with 85 percent of buyers claiming that their home is worth what they paid for it; and lower down-payment on the total value of the home (24 percent) compared to 28 percent in 2014.

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

Nov 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

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