Monthly Archives: September 2014

Prepare for Winter Before It Arrives

outdoor tileThe leaves are turning color, pumpkins are ready, kids back in school. It’s fall, a great time to prepare for the white stuff that inevitably falls on Wisconsin. And while we traditionally think of bringing out coats and mittens, homeowners also need to think about winterizing their floors, windows and roof:

  • Ready your floors for snow and mud. With winter comes the inevitable tracking in of snow, mud and ice. Spread rugs by doors to catch the dirt and water that comes in with your kids, pets and guests. If you have wood floors in your entryway, stash a rag or towel nearby to clean up water on the floor that could cause your wood floor to warp. Have your carpets professionally cleaned now—before you spend all your time indoors because of the cold—and give your hard floors a good cleaning in preparation.
  • Contact a professional to clean your ducts. You are about to be stuck inside with all the allergens circulating through your ducts. Clean them now before you’re spending the majority of your time inside.
  • Check your windows and doors. Check your windows and doors for wear and tear. Fill in holes around windows and doors with caulk. If your window seal is broken, or you question their efficiency, purchase plastic to install on the interior to keep drafts out or contact a contractor about replacement.
  • Have your chimney inspected. Prevent carbon monoxide build up or a fire.
  • Pressure wash your siding. Don’t be the ugly house on the block covered in mold and mildew. Clean your house before it’s too cold to run that pressure washer.
  • Have your furnace checked now before it has to work hard. Hire an HVAC technician to do maintenance at least biannually. Furnace maintenance saves you money in the long run because inefficient heaters run more, raising your utility bills.
  • Check your roof for loose or damaged shingles. Summer storms and high winds can wreak havoc on your shingles. If you only have a few damaged shingles, fix the problem for far less money than a full roof replacement.
  • Test your smoke detectors. Keep your family safe. Change any detectors with low batteries.

Annual winterizing increases the lifespan of your windows, doors, flooring, roof and furnace. Are there any other home winterizing tasks you would recommend?

Start a love affair with…Porcelain tile?

floors_croppedOh Porcelain Tile, let me count the ways I love thee…we’ll spare you the drama. However, if your carpet has one of the fatal signs that signal replacement, or you’re looking for a flooring in an area where puddles of water are common, it’s time to start a love affair with the new look of porcelain tile flooring. Forget your Grandma’s flooring. Today’s porcelain tiles come in any beautiful tone or color, and can look like wood or stone. There are also many other benefits of porcelain tile flooring, including: (cue the drum roll)

  • Looks like real wood, without the “water fear.” You don’t have to worry about water like you do with wood flooring—and you can get porcelain tiles that look just like wood flooring! That’s right you can trick your guests into thinking you have wood flooring in your laundry room, kitchen or entry way, without worrying about water spots on the floor that would warp real wood floors.
  • One word: durable with a capital D. Don’t worry about scratches with this beautiful floor.
  • You can install it on your front steps or patio. Highly durable with a low water absorption rate, porcelain tile looks and works great outdoors. Plus, porcelain comes in a variety of colors and sizes, meaning you can create a unique and beautiful backyard. When shopping for flooring for your patio, balcony or steps, make sure you tell your salesperson that you are looking for tiles to use outside to make sure that you get the best outdoor product. Then, set up an installation date and sit back and admire your fantastic outdoor space.
  • Your feet love it with radiant floor heating under it. If you’re worried about the cold feeling of this tile, you can install radiant heating underneath and enjoy toasty toes even on the coldest Wisconsin days. Tile conducts heat naturally, leaving you with an even heat that is easy-to-clean and mildew resistant. Tile is also one of the easiest floors to install over radiant flooring.
  • Porcelain tile can handle water and is EASY TO CLEAN! It’s an ideal candidate for your laundry room, mudroom or entry way. Porcelain tile is water, odor and mildew resistant, and easy to clean. Simply wipe it down on the worst Wisconsin weather days or when your kids or pets track in the mud and snow from outside. If sand and gravel tracked in from outside is your nemesis, grab a broom and sweep it up.

If these reasons have caught your attention, do your research. Find the style of porcelain tile that looks right in your home, and choose a grout color (if needed). You’ll be singing about your love for porcelain tile in no time.

What kind of backsplash tile is available?

10532797_10152564225224378_1945387486072007828_nScenario 1: You love your kitchen countertops. The color of the cabinets complements your beautiful flooring. However, you just feel like something’s missing…

Scenario 2: Your kitchen is functional and you love the layout, but it’s dated.  You’re researching inexpensive ways to update your kitchen without paying for new cabinets (which you don’t need). You’ve found new countertops and flooring, which cost a lot less than you thought. But it needs more…

The answer to scenario 1 and 2? Backsplash tiles. Backsplash tiles can be added to your kitchen at any time: before or after your countertops are installed, whenever you need to add that pop of color. Backsplashes are also one of the cheapest ways to update a kitchen, and can be a do-it-yourself project or a job you hire a professional to complete. They come in a variety of materials, colors and styles, and are easy to clean when your pot of pasta sauce gets all over your wall.

  • Glass. Want a tile with a lot of color? Whether you choose a single color of tile or a multi-colored glass tile, glass tiles are a pop of color for any kitchen. If you want white cabinets and want to add another color to break it up but you don’t want to go crazy, consider a single color backsplash tile for a great focal point.
  • Metal. Need a shiny focal point? Or would you like to add a classic touch with the old fashioned look of tin tiles? Metal tiles come in a variety of shapes and textures, and are perfect for light or dark cabinets.
  • Stone or ceramic. If you want a neutral addition to your kitchen, consider stone and ceramic tiles.
  • Mixture. Can’t decide which option is best or want the best of both? Mixed tiles are your answer. Choose a mixture of ceramic and glass for a pop of color, or glass and stone for a different look for your kitchen backsplash.

Don’t be afraid to be unique with your kitchen backsplash—you don’t have to just install backsplash tiles between your counter and cabinets. Consider running your backsplash to the ceiling or using a different pattern behind your stove for a unique focal point. Head into a local tile showroom for inspiration, to find the latest new tile designs for your kitchen or to talk to a professional about design and installation. Ask for a quote, set up an installation date and enjoy the aesthetic and functional benefit of a new backsplash.

When to Face the Music: 7 Signs You Need New Carpet

Consider purchasing a remnant for small carpeted areas.

Consider purchasing a remnant for small carpeted areas.

You’ve ignored that nasty carpeting, put rugs over stains and used cleaners until your hands are raw. Eventually, however, it’s time to face the music and consider replacing that smelly and worn carpet with new wood floors, tile or carpet. With the upcoming cool weather coming (and that white stuff), now is the time to take notice of those telling carpet-replacement signs:

  • You realize that gelatin stains all the way to the pad. Have carpeting under your dining room table? Swap it out with flooring more ideal (think laminate, wood or tile flooring) for kids and their red, green, blue and purple messes.
  • All that carpet cleaning in the world is never, EVER going to get that stain out. It’s that bad.
  • You need to sell your house. Consider putting in new flooring or having a full house carpet cleaning before you put your house on the market. (Just make sure people wear booties when coming in for showings). Your investment means a lot to buyers, and can influence their decision to purchase.
  • There are holes in your floor. Remember, holes should only be associated with donuts.  Never with flooring.
  • You need to get rid of that pet accident. Many pets mark or repeatedly urinate where they smell urine. Remove the carpet, remove the smell…and the accidents.
  • You’re embarrassed to have anyone over. Can’t have a barbeque with friends because of your nasty carpeting? Want to host family Thanksgiving and holiday parties without getting flack about your worn carpet? Hesitate no more.
  • When you finally realize that, no matter how much retro stuff is trendy, that old shag carpet will never come back in style.

If your nasty carpeting is in a small area—a hallway, small bedroom or office—consider purchasing a remnant. Remnants are the remainder of a roll of carpeting that we can’t use, but you can.  The best part about remnants is the low cost.  Remnants are ideal for any part of your house that is not huge, but could use a cleaner, new carpet.

Do your research before you replace your carpet. Talk to local flooring experts about new carpets and what works best for your home. If you have kids or pets, there are carpets ideal for busy families. You also need to consider traffic flow in your home, as well as what’s under the carpet (such as in a basement) and if you need a new pad. Your research is well worth the time and efforts, especially when you’re enjoying your new, durable, soft carpeting.