Monthly Archives: September 2016

Best Flooring Options for Your Dining Room

dining room floor with chair, table, and tile flooringIt took only a few months with a new baby in a high chair to realize that the previous owner’s choice of white carpet under our dining room table was not going to work with a growing family.  If you’re in the same boat, or thinking ahead before your next big family holiday meal (you know, with everyone gathered around the Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter dinner), choosing the right flooring for your dining room is more than just bringing home the right sample that looks good with your wall color.

The right dining room floor can handle everything life can throw at it: water, food, foot traffic, pets begging at the diners’ feet.  After all that, the dining room floor needs to be easy-to-clean from food and drink spills, and resilient enough so you aren’t still seeing the stains from an accidental spill.  The good news is that there are several dining room flooring options that meet the criteria.

Wood

Solid wood flooring and engineered hardwood floors are both ideal for dining rooms. They’re beautiful, easy to clean, and incredibly durable—as long as you clean up any water spills as soon as possible.  If you want a soft feel under your feet while you eat, get a custom-made, spill-proof rug to go under your table.  A custom-made rug gives you the option of choosing the right pattern and size that fits perfectly around your table.  Talk to the professionals at your local flooring shop for options and any precautions you need to take to keep your wood floor in great shape (i.e. protection under the rug, etc.)

Laminate

kitchen and dining room with island, table, and laminate floorsLaminate floors have come a long way over the years; today’s laminate flooring is so realistic many people can’t tell the difference between laminate and real wood flooring.  Laminate floors come with the same disclaimer as wood floors; you do need to clean up water spills as soon as possible to prevent damage, but they are durable enough to handle heavy foot and pet traffic and easy-to-clean in case of accidental spills.  Laminate floors are a floating floor, meaning they can be tackled as a homeowner do-it-yourself project.

Tile

We’ve wrote about the benefits of porcelain tile in the past: it’s durable, water resistant, and easy-to clean.  Today’s tiles also come in long, rectangular slats that are stunning; some porcelain tile products even have the look of wood.  The one disadvantage of tile is t820_vp02_00-1000x731the cool feel under your feet when the temperature drops.  This problem can be resolved with radiant heating, which can be naturally conducted through porcelain tile.

Luxury Vinyl

Luxury vinyl is one of the newest products on the market, and for good reason.  New luxury vinyl products have the look of wood or tile, are incredibly durable, and some products that come in slats can be an easy DIY home project.  For more information about luxury vinyl, stop in at your local flooring store (or send them a message) to find out more about this dining room flooring option.

Best Entryway Flooring Options for Your Home

tile flooring in entryway with front table and lampEntryway. Foyer. Front hall. Whatever you call the main entryway into your home, we call it the front line of defense against all the dirt, gravel, sand, water, snow (that’s right, our famous Wisconsin snow!) and everything else tracked in through your front door.  It’s also the first room of your home your guests see, making it vital to find the best entryway flooring that can be beautiful and handle everything that comes in with your family and friends (the good news: there are ways to protect your floors, read here).

Porcelain Tile

Pros: Porcelain tile is durable and water, odor and mildew resistant—two BIG reasons to put porcelain tile in your entry way. The tile also comes in many different colors and looks, giving you a ton of beautiful flooring options for your entryway.  Porcelain tile comes in stone and wood designs, and in a million different colors that coordinate with your home.

Cons: Porcelain tile can feel very cold under your feet when the temperatures drop.  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.

Wood

warm wood floors in entryway of homePros: Wood floors are incredibly durable—just look at the wood floors in a historic home.  Wood floors can last for years and handle heavy foot (and paw) traffic.  Hardwood floors can also be sanded down and refinished, making it a long-term flooring option for your home.

Cons:  Wood floors cost more than other flooring options, and are more susceptible to water damage.  If you do install wood floors in your entryway, make sure you use rugs and these tips to keep your wood floors looking new.

Laminate

Pros: Laminate floors have the beautiful look of wood, but are more affordable than their wood flooring counterpart.  They are also durable, easy-to-clean, and can handle everything that gets tracked in.

luxury vinyl flooring that looks like woodCons: Laminate floors have the same weakness to water as wood flooring.  To keep them looking great, use the same wood flooring tips and be ready to clean up water.

Luxury Vinyl

Pros: Some of the newest vinyl products could fool even the most hard-core hardwood admirer. Whether your preference is stone or hardwood, these tiles can mimic both styles with colors that floor everyone who enters your home. Vinyl is also durable and soil and stain resistant, perfect for the room that takes the brunt of the elements on a regular basis. There’s another bonus: some luxury vinyl floors come in planks, which make it a good DIY project for any handyman.

Cons: Luxury Vinyl flooring can be one of the more expensive options.  To find out more about luxury vinyl floors, stop in or contact the flooring pros to find out more about luxury vinyl flooring products.

Vinyl Sheet

Pros: Vinyl sheet flooring is very durable and budget friendly, perfect for your front entryway. It comes in a variety of patterns and colors, making it easy on the eyes and easy to clean.

Cons: Vinyl sheet floors can be scratched if you’re not careful.

If you want to see samples of floors perfect for your entryway, or want to know what works in other homes in your area, head into a local flooring store or contact them for more information.  They can suggest flooring products that’ll wow your guests and impress you with their durability.

4 Cleaning Tasks to Add to Your Fall To-Do List

Couple raking up lawn autumn leavesNow that Labor Day is done, we can start using the ‘fall’ word. After all, apple orchards are opening, trees are starting to turn beautiful autumn colors, and kids are heading back to school.  Fall also brings a fall maintenance checklist for homeowners, who are trying to get their homes ready for winter with HVAC maintenance, pressure washing the exterior or your home, winterizing your lawn mower—you know the standard fall maintenance list.

If you’re one of those homeowners, consider going the extra mile by adding these to-do’s to your fall maintenance list so you and your home are set for all that winter is going to throw at it—and its residents.

Carpet cleaning

There are three reasons to schedule a carpet cleaning during autumn; if you have allergies or other respiratory issues, make that schedule a carpet cleaning as soon as possible.  A professional deep carpet clean can rid your carpet of allergens and dirt, which can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms (especially during winter when we’re all trapped inside).

Another reason to add carpet cleaning to your list is to keep your carpets looking new—and to ready your home for all the snow and mud that’s going to get tracked in over the winter months.  If you schedule your carpet cleaning during fall, you can still open your windows during the carpet cleaning (while the weather’s still okay!).

Fireplace & stove inspection and clean up

Before you start cuddling up to that warm fire on a cold and windy day, have your fireplace or stove chimney inspected and cleaned—for both a gas and wood-burning fireplace and stove.  A professional can inspect the chimney for build-up, check the firebox to make sure it is safe, examine all lines and structure, and give your fireplace, stove, and chimney a full clean.   A pro can make sure that your chimney is clean and safe for all your winter fires.

Duct cleaning

We’ve seen studies that estimate Americans spend as much as 90% of their time indoors—especially during winter.  If you have allergies, you know that indoor allergy symptoms are often caused and exacerbated by the most common indoor allergens: dust mites, pet dander, mold. All of those allergens re-circulate though our air ducts every time you turn on your furnace. To avoid sneezing, wheezing, and all those other annoying indoor allergy symptoms, add a professional duct cleaning to your fall maintenance list.  One call (or email) to a professional duct cleaning company can clean your ducts of all those allergens, making your time indoors this winter allergen-free (or at least, less allergen).

Smoke & carbon monoxide detector inspection

This addition to your fall maintenance checklist is one that you can perform yourself—and it’s easy to do.  Clean the area around your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and test the detectors to make sure they still work.  As long as you’re testing your detectors, do a full run-through of your emergency escape plan with your family to make sure they know the drill.  Finally, swap out batteries in every detector to make sure they work during the winter if you need them (hopefully not!).