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laminate floors

6 Reasons to use Microfibre Mops on Laminate Floors

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When you’re looking to buy a mop for your laminate floor, you should have been told that water will cause the laminate to buckle and warp. And that’s true. For that reason, most string styled and sponge headed mops are inappropriate for laminate floors. Microfibre mops are the proper choice for a laminate floor. There are several reasons why you should be using them rather than any other type of mop head. Here’s 6:

Less Work

Compared to traditional mops, a microfibre mop is is much lighter and needs less elbow grease to make them effective. You won’t need to put your back into scrubbing like you do with a sponge headed mop and you won’t need to make as many passes as you do with a string mop.

Reusable Heads

Microfibre mops come with reusable heads meaning you’re not continually throwing out mop heads as you do with sponge headed mops. Once your microfibre mop head gets too dirty, simply put it into the washing machine and it’ll come out like new.

Attracts Dust

Microfibre mop heads act like a magnet that attracts dust, hair and dirt. Rather than chasing dust bunnies around with a broom, a microfibre mop will have the dust bunnies chasing it. No need for multiple passes like that required by a broom.

Wide Head

Microfibre mops feature a wide head that cuts down on the number of passes you need to make to cover the entire floor surface. The wide head allows you to spend less time working on your floor.

Swivel Head

The swivel heads that are a common feature of microfibre mops make it easier to get into corners, get underneath furniture and navigate chair or table legs.

No Water Bucket

Because microfibre mops barely use any water, you’ll no longer need to drag a bucket around with you when cleaning your floors. It’s easy to rinse the mop head in the sink and you won’t risk accidently knocking over a full water bucket which could spell disaster for your floor.

floor scratch

How to Remove Scratches from Hardwood Flooring

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removing or repairing hardwood floor scratches. Different scratches require different techniques, so assess your situation and act accordingly.

Scratches Affecting Only The Protective Coating

A minor scratch that affects only the protective coating of the floor is the easiest to fix. Simply rub the scratched area with a soft cloth dabbed with hardwood flooring cleaner until the scratch is smoothed out and the area cleaned. Rinse the affected spot with a small amount of fresh water and allow to dry thoroughly. Apply a new layer of coating and allow to dry overnight.

Scratches That Reach The Wood Surface

Clean the affected area well with hardwood flooring cleaner. Use steel wool to rub the scratch with the grain of the wood until the scratch is removed. You may need to blend the edges of the scratch into the surrounding areas. Rub a matching colour wax repair stick over the scratch to fill it in before allowing it to set. Buff and clean the repair with a soft cloth.

Gouges And Deep Scratches

Fixing deep scratches can take some skill, so you may need to consider calling a professional to do the job for you. Heavy gouges call for the floor to be stripped, the wood to be repaired with sanding and wood filler and for the floor to be refinished. If you have experience with this type of work it’s entirely possible to do it yourself, however, if you don’t have the time, expertise or proper tools, it’s probably more efficient to hire a professional.

Scratches In Polyurethane Coated Floors

Polyurethane coated floors require a different process for fixing scratches. It’s important not to use wax repair sticks or wax finishes as they will cause the polyurethane to fade and lose its lustre. To remove a scratch, rub the affected area with a scrubbing pad dabbed with mineral spirits before cleaning with a cloth and allowing to dry. Reapply a coating of polyurethane to restore the finish.

hardwood floor trends

Top 2018 Hardwood Flooring Trends

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As a flooring material, hardwood has found itself becoming more and more popular since the shag rug era or the 70’s and 80’s.  The ease of keeping it clean, its durability, its natural good looks and a myriad of other redeeming qualities has made hardwood the flooring choice for more homeowners today.  Although everyone has their own personal tastes, there are definite trends in the hardwood flooring world.  Here’s a few  predictions for 2018.

Dark Tones

Dark tones seem to have become more popular over the past 10 or 15 years.  The stylish good looks of dark hardwood have made it popular with blends of ebony and jacobean or ebony and walnut creating the deepest hues.  Darker stains have also allowed homeowners to deepen the colour of their existing floors. If there is a drawback to the darkest hardwoods it’s the fact that they show dust quite readily and therefore don’t work as well in homes with children or pets.  In that case, slightly lighter shades can offer the best of both worlds.

Eco Friendly Finishes

Water based, polyurethane finishes may cost more, but have the added advantage of being a fast drying, durable finish that produces less odours due to its lower levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  An even more environmentally friendly option is oiled floors which have no VOCs or polyurethane whatsoever.  Although it’s easier to fix scratches on oiled floors, the downsides are the cost and the lack of protective finish provided by polyurethane which leaves the wood vulnerable to moisture.

Wire Brushed Floors

The texture provided by wire brushing floors exposes the wood’s grain and gives it a vintage, distressed look that helps hide dirt and wear.  Wire brushed flooring is finished by hand and therefore ends up with a bit of texture that may cause the floor to be less slippery than other types of finishes.  If there is a disadvantage to wire brushed floors it becomes apparent if any sanding is needed.  It’s not very easy to get away with sanding only a few boards or a small area as the sanded area will look quite different from the rest of the floor.

 

hardwood floors clean

How to Keep Your Hardwood Floors in Perfect Condition

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Avoid Scratches

Scratches on your hardwood floor can lead to deterioration, early aging and at worst, irreparable damage. The way to prevent this is to avoid them in the first place. Strategic use of area rugs in locations that experience high traffic will reduce damage caused by heavy footfall. Leaving your shoes at the door will lower incidents of small pebbles or gravel being tracked through the house and scratching up your floors. Ensuring your pet’s nails are maintained and kept trim will also cut down on accidental scratches and scrapes. Fit your furnitures’ feet with felt pads to prevent scratches from occurring when you need to move the pieces around.

Clean Regularly

Sticking to a regular cleaning schedule will minimize the abrasive qualities of dust, dirt and tiny stones. Make sure to sweep your floor on a daily basis. Weekly vacuuming will also pick up any dust left between cracks and remove larger bits you may have missed while sweeping. When mopping your floors avoid using a wet mop. Water can affect the floor’s finish, cause stain marks and warp the wood. There are dry mops and pH balanced cleaners made specially for hardwood floors which should be used instead.

Avoid Moisture

Moisture can be incredibly damaging to hardwood floors and should be avoided if at all possible. Again, area rugs placed where moisture tends to accumulate, such as in front of sinks, the refrigerator or entryways are a good defence. Also make sure to clean up any spills immediately to avoid damage to the finish or the wood itself.

Buffing, Waxing And Sanding

Maintaining your hardwood floor with buffing and waxing can prolong its life greatly. It typically only needs to be done once a year. Buffing the floor will smooth out small scratches and scuffs and is done after the current wax coating is stripped. After buffing, the layer of wax can be reapplied to bring back the floor’s shine and lustre. Eventually, your floor will need to be sanded down and restained completely. If you’re careful with your floor’s maintenance, however, this may only need to be done every decade or so.

protect floors

6 Tips to Protect Your Floors This Holiday Season

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The holiday season also brings about holiday season weather.  Snow, slush, cold temperatures and excess moisture can spell disaster for your flooring – nevermind all the extra foot traffic, shedding seasonal decorations and spilled food and drinks.  If you want your floor to survive the holiday season unscathed, you’ll have to be extra vigilant while being sure to employ these tips as well.

Consistent Cleaning

The best prevention against damaged floors is a well kept house.  Keeping a consistent cleaning schedule ensures dirt and moisture doesn’t accumulate and lead to scratches or warping.  During the holiday season you may even need to increase your regular sweeping and vacuuming to keep up with the extra footfall.

Doormats

Having a place for guests to wipe their feet upon entry into your home is the best defense from dirt or moisture coming into contact with your floor in the first place.  Make sure you have doormats at all points of entry and on both sides of the door for maximum protection.

Shoe Removal

Since it’s your house, it shouldn’t be a huge problem to have family and friends remove their shoes at the door.  This will not only prevent dirt and moisture from being tracked throughout your home, it will also keep it contained to your entryway.

Shoe Racks

Of course, if you insist on shoe removal for people entering your house, they will need a place to leave their footwear.  Placing shoe racks at the doorway will also infer that yours is a house where shoes aren’t worn indoors.  Depending on the style of shoe rack and the material your flooring is composed of, you may want to place an absorbent rug or towel beneath the rack.

Slippers

The home dwellers should already have their own slippers left at the doorway to allow for easy use, but you might also want to consider providing guest slippers.  Place a basket next to the shoe rack filled with slippers of varying sizes for guests of all ages to wear.  If you know you’re having company, you might also want to give your guests the option of bringing their own.

Area Rugs

Area rugs are great for protecting high traffic areas in your house.  Also consider laying them at the bottom of staircases.  Runner rugs and plastic mats are great for protecting hallways and staircases.  You may also want to consider rugs in front of sinks, the fridge and other areas where moisture might accumulate.

 

Flooring Options For Pet Owners

Great Flooring Options For Pet Owners

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Pet owners already understand the benefits of sharing their home with non-humans.  Research has even confirmed that pets can decrease an owner’s stress, lower their blood pressure and cholesterol levels.  However pets can be tough on a living space by causing damage to furniture, floors and possessions.  Fortunately there are flooring options that are able to withstand the stresses caused by pets.  In this article we’ll go over some of the best flooring options for pet owners.

Tile

Tile flooring works well with pets because it’s strong, durable and resistant to scratches and stains.  There’s little chance that your pet’s claws will be able to mar the surface of a tile floor or that any “accidents” with leave a permanent stain.  The smooth surface of tile floors are easy to sweep and mop while being available in a wide variety of colours and styles.  If there is a drawback to tile is that it can be hard or slippery underfoot, but that can be rectified with area rugs and pet beds.

Vinyl

Vinyl is much softer underfoot than tile while still providing an easily cleaned surface.  Vinyl is water resistant, durable and comes in a wide range of styles to allow matching with the rest of your house.  Vinyl is also less noisy than harder flooring options which might be welcomed by owners of active animals.  A disadvantage of vinyl is that it can be ripped if heavy furniture is dragged over it, but it should still be able to withstand the paws of your pets.

Bamboo

Bamboo is an eco-friendly flooring option that looks similar to hardwood while providing a durable and easily cleaned surface.  Although stain resistant, bamboo may naturally discolour with time but it’s also easily refinished.  On the downside, bamboo is more prone to scratching than tile or vinyl.  And although more water resistant than hardwood, excessive moisture can cause warping.

Laminate

Laminate flooring is a popular option because it resembles hardwood but is much easier to care for and comes at a much lower price.  Laminate flooring is resistant to fading, staining and scratching because of its durable top layer coating.  Laminate floors work well with pets because they are easy to clean and maintain.  A drawback of laminate floors is they cannot be refinished, so if damage does occur, the offending piece will need to be replaced.

dark hardwood

3 Best Types of Wood for Dark Hardwood Flooring

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One of the biggest trends in hardwood flooring for 2017 is a shift towards darker colours.  Even though dark hardwoods are typically more expensive, reveal dirt quite readily and are more challenging to maintain, the lure of the exotic woods that typically comprise darker floorboards is proving hard to resist.  In this post, we’ll go over some of the best types of wood to use for dark hardwood flooring.

Ebony

Ebony is probably the most well known dark hardwood.  However, it can be a very expensive choice due to its scarcity.  In many cases what passes as ebony flooring is actually just an ebony stained oak.  Ebony is extremely difficult to work because it’s hard to cut, sand and refinish.  The wood is so dense that it actually sinks in water.  Although there are many different types of ebony, it’s only commercially available from a handful of sources which adds to its exclusivity.  It’s hard to replicate the deep colour of ebony with any other type of wood, but if you plan to use ebony as a floorboard, understand that you will end up paying handsomely for the luxury.

Black Palm

Although not actually a hardwood, black palm is a hard, durable and dark coloured flooring option.  Black palm is much cheaper than ebony, but the fact that only the outer layers of the tree can be used for planks means that it is far from the cheapest wood available.  The grain of black palm is composed of dark brown to almost black fibres interspersed through a lighter shaded body.  Black palm is a very hard and durable wood that is somewhat difficult to machine because of its brittleness.  The fact that black palm is not a threatened species makes it popular choice.

Ipe

Ipe, or Brazilian walnut, is a hardwood from Brazil that also sinks in water because of its density.  It’s one of the hardest woods to be used for flooring.  Because of its hardness it’s been known to bend nails and typically needs to be pre-drilled to allow pieces to be attached.  Ipe is not as dark as ebony or black palm with a colour closer to reddish, dark brown.  Ipe is scratch resistant and contains high concentrations of tannic acids which ward off bug and fungus attacks.  The fact that ipe was used to build the boardwalk at Coney Island and lasted 25 years before it needed to be replaced is a testament to its durability.

 

hardwood flooring winter

How to Protect Your Hardwood Flooring For Winter

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Winter can be especially tough on hardwood flooring.  The added moisture, dirt and salt tracked into buildings because of snowy conditions can scratch, buckle and warp hardwood floorboards.  However, with a bit of forethought and preventative maintenance, you can protect your hardwood flooring from the harsh conditions.

Outdoor Doormats

Having a thick, bristled doormat outside your front door will allow people to give their shoes and boots a quick wipe and prevent them from tracking dirt and water into the building and over your hardwood.

Indoor Doormats

Similarly, a second thick and absorptive doormat inside the front door will give visitors another chance to dry their footwear before venturing on.  You might also want to consider a longer floormat leading from the door into the first few feet of the foyer.

Shoe Racks

Having a shoe rack near the front door will encourage people to take off their shoes in the first place. And once they do, any moisture or dirt will end up on the shoe rack rather than on your hardwood floors.

Clean And Maintain

Cleaning your floors regularly will prevent any dirt, salt, or moisture from settling and damaging your floors.  If you end up with any puddles on the floor, make sure to clean them up immediately.  The same goes with any small pebbles as they can lead to scratching.  Patches of salt need to be removed quickly to prevent staining or damage to the varnish.

Educate Your Family And Guests

Letting everyone know the type of shoe policy you have will help prevent floor damage in the first place.  If your family and guests know that you don’t allow shoes in the house, you will have less worry about damaging elements ending up on your hardwood floors.  At the same time, you can train your pets to wait until their paws are wiped before they enter the house.

Provide Indoor Slippers

It’s easy enough to provide slippers or floor socks for your family, but you might also want to consider placing a basket of guest slippers at your front door to allow visitors the same level of comfort when visiting.

 

unique flooring options

Unique Hardwood Flooring Options

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Hardwood floors can be used in a large variety of locations in both residential and commercial situations.  It’s a highly popular material due to its durability, good looks and sustainability. Hardwood is known to promote indoor air quality by being easy to clean because it has no electromagnetic properties that attract dust. Although there are a plethora of hardwood flooring options available, this list will go over some of the more unique versions that have become popular of late.

Wide Planks

Wide planks are the latest trend in hardwood flooring.  Wide planks show fewer seams than narrower ones and typically come in longer board lengths.  Wide planks have a tendency to make small rooms appear smaller, but this can be counteracted by laying them parallel to the longest wall in the room.  Wide planks work best when trying to achieve a minimalist feel in a room since narrow planks show more seams and create a busier look.

Reclaimed Wood

Using reclaimed wood is an environmentally sensible method of utilizing hardwood as it doesn’t result in cutting down more trees or disposing of wood that’s already been used.  Reclaimed wood also has a distinct look that works well in rustic settings.  Reclaimed wood can come from a wide variety of sources including old farms, industrial areas and even underwater.  There’s also an assertion that reclaimed wood is stronger than its modern day counterpart due to the lower levels of air pollution prior to the 20th century.

Puzzle Pieces

As the name suggests, this hardwood is cut into interlocking units that resemble the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.  The result is a unique conversation starter that works just as well in a kids’ room as it does where adults spend their time.  First introduced as part of the Jamie Beckwith Enigma Collection, the flooring is constructed of white oak and stained a variety of colours.

Tigerwood

Named as such because of its unique markings, tigerwood or Goncalo Alves is grown in tropical regions such as Brazil.  It has a broadly contrasting colour scheme of reddish brown with darker brown stripes that resemble tiger markings.  It’s a very durable wood that resists scratches, denting, insects and rot.

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus looks similar to the rarer tropical mahogany, but it’s a fast grower therefore resulting in rapid renewability.  Eucalyptus trees can be harvested at 14 years of age, significantly younger than most other hardwoods.  Eucalyptus is known to be harder than red oak allowing it to resist dents and scratches.  And because of the ease of its availability it’s quite a budget friendly hardwood as well.

Brazilian Cherry

Brazilian cherry is one of the more popular exotic hardwoods with a unique grain and photosensitive colourings that will darken over time.  It’s a durable wood that’s resistant to staining and therefore suitable for high traffic areas in both residential and commercial buildings.  Although not actually a cherry tree, it’s marketed as such because of its deep red colourings.

 

hardwood floors

How To Keep Hardwood Flooring Looking New

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Installing a hardwood floor is a long term investment.  As with any other kind of investment, you want to keep it protected from deterioration, degradation or outright loss.  This article will go over some of the ways that you can keep your hardwood floor looking brand new.

Take Off Your Shoes

Taking off your shoes in the house, especially high heels, heavy work boots or those caked in mud will go a long way to keeping your floors protected.  Heels and work boots are especially hard on floors and can easily cause permanent damage.  Just as harmful are dirt, small rocks and water which can create scratches or cause the hardwood to warp or cup. Simply removing your shoes when you enter the house is an easy method of protection for your hardwood floor.

Protect Heavy Traffic Areas

Entry ways and stair landings typically see more than their fair share of use and abuse.  Protect these areas from dirt and foot traffic with small rugs. Not only will they protect the floor from wear and tear, they will accumulate dust and dirt that can cause scratches and scuffing.

Use Furniture Foot Pads

Moving heavy furniture can leave major scratches on hardwood floors.  This may result from actually rearranging the furniture or just from slight movements caused by sitting down.  Prevent this altogether by fitting your tables and chairs with protective foot pads.

Keep Them Clean

Keeping your floors clean is the first line of defence when it comes to keeping them in good shape.  Employing a simple cleaning routine will help you remember to maintain your floors on a regular basis.  The basis of this routine starts with a daily sweeping. Use a broom or dust mop to clean the surface dirt and debris.  Microfibre mops capture dust more effectively and typically come with washable, reusable heads.  Floors should be deep cleaned every week followed by a monthly polish using the floor cleaner recommended by the manufacturer.  And every three to five years you’ll need to re-apply the protective coating.