Monthly Archives: December 2016

Last Minute Tips that’ll Get Your Home Ready for the Holidays

Pretty little girl smiling with present near the Christmas tree after last minute preps for family ChristmasWe’re all down to the wire.  It’s the proverbial holiday go time, and it’s up to you to get your home ready for all the Christmas get-togethers, family time, and holiday cheer that your home can take.

Make a list, and check it twice.

It’s time to think like Santa: make a to-do list and check it twice.  Make sure you have an organized list so you can move from one task to another without wasting time thinking about what to do next. If you are in the middle of any home remodeling projects, finish as best you can or make it safe enough for your guests. (If you need any assistance, stop in at your local flooring and tile store for last minute supplies and advice.)

Worry about your exterior.

We’re not talking about adding extra holiday decorations to your home.  When getting ready for your family coming to town or a big family holiday celebration, don’t just concentrate on the inside of your home.  Worry about the outside: the driveway, the sidewalks, the door.  Make sure your walks are clear of snow and ice.  Have your driveway cleaned out, or clean it out yourself so no one gets stuck.

Carry your cleaning supplies together.

If you want to get your home clean, and cleaned quickly, carry your cleaning supplies with you from place to place in a tray or tub.  Just like a list, this saves you time running from place to place looking for supplies.

Deep clean your hardwoods with care.

No matter how much of a hurry you are in, don’t just throw some water on your hardwood floors and walk away.  Also, don’t fast track your hardwood deep clean with a steam cleaner; it can have the same effect and permanently damage your floors.  Follow these steps for deep cleaning your floors, and make sure you don’t leave puddles when you are done.

Prepare for guests.

Anticipate your guests, and their needs, before they arrive.  Stock up on everything your out-of-town guests need, and stock their room and bathroom accordingly.  Add storage options for their things, or clear out closet or dressers they can use.  For shorter term guests, clean out your front hall closet or coat rack to accommodate the jackets and winter gear they are arriving with.  Put out mats at each door to keep the snow on their boots and shoes off your floors.  A few minutes of preparation can make your holidays merrier—for you and your guests.

10 Tips for Protecting Your Floors this Winter

Children playing in the snow ready to come in on wood floorsWinter is hard on all kinds of floors: hardwood, carpet, laminate, vinyl.  Between all the snow, ice, gravel, and all the other “stuff” that comes with winter, wet feet (and paws) can do quite the number on your home.  You know what we’re talking about: floor stains, damage, warping, and all the other damage from the elements.  The good news is that all that damage is preventable—if you use these tips to protect your floors this winter.

Put rugs by all your doors.

Adding mats by all your doors is a simple and effective way to keep the snow and water puddles off your floors.  If you have wood or laminate floors, stop at your local flooring store to find out if you need to put a protective pad under your mat to minimize scratches.  Mats also prove to be a relief for homeowners with carpet so water and winter mud doesn’t cause stains and cleaning headaches.

Wipe up puddles and spills right away.

If any snow does make it past your mats, have paper towel or rags handy to clean up your puddles right away off your wood or laminate floors.  Puddles can stain any kind of flooring or cause your wood and laminate floors to warp.

Don’t skip a daily sweeping.

With all the snow and ice that comes in on boots and paws also comes gravel and debris that can scratch your hard floors and leave your carpet looking dirty.  Set some time aside each day to sweep up the small pieces that leave a mark—literally.

Add felt pads to all chairs and furniture.

This is a year-round protection tip that you need to take to heart all year round.  Put felt tips on all your furniture and tables.  If you are using folding chairs to accommodate all your additional holiday and party guests, make sure there are protectors on all your folding chairs as well.

Be careful when moving furniture.

Moving furniture for your holiday get-togethers or to accomodate your Christmas tree is pretty much a holiday norm.  It can also be a scratch hazard to your floors.  Use cardboard or large felt pads to keep your floors in as good shape as it was before your furniture move.

Have guests take off their shoes.

It’s not rude to ask guests to remove their shoes at the door.  Make this simple request to keep your floors clean and shoe print free.

Don’t steam clean your wood floors.

As tempting as it may be to buy one of those steam cleaners off of TV for your wood floors, please don’t.  Steam floors can damage your floors, and void the warranty if your floor is a new install.  Instead, to deep clean your floors, use our tips for deep cleaning wood floors.

Schedule a carpet cleaning.

If you’re worried about your carpets and the snow, schedule a professional carpet cleaning that can deep clean your carpets after all your holiday get-togethers.  Not only will a professional carpet cleaning get your carpets clean, it can also rid your carpets of all those indoor allergens that cause problems over the winter.

Follow cleaning instructions to a “T.”

When using cleaners on your carpet, don’t take any liberties with the cleaner or how you apply it—unless you want to end up with a spot or damage you don’t want.  Visit your local flooring store to make sure you find a floor cleaner that works and won’t damage your floor.  Test cleaners before you use them, and follow the directions on your floor cleaner closely so you don’t void your floor warranty.

Put protectors (mats, rugs, etc.) under your holiday tree.

This tip rings true for any home with hard or carpeted floors.  Make sure you buy a floor protector to put under your tree so you don’t have any problems with water leaking onto your floor.  You don’t want your merry holiday to end badly with a damaged floor and a badly needed repair.

10 Home Gift Ideas for the Person Who Has Everything

man giving gifts to woman who has everythingWe all have that one person on our holiday gift list: the one who has everything they need and could ever want.  You know who we’re talking about: your grandma that has a full house.  Your mother who has every collectible that she needs for her collection.  Your wife who loves design shows and decorating your house.  What in the world are you supposed to give someone like that?

It’s time to think out of the box.  If your gift recipient loves her home, think about getting her a home decor gift.  Want to give a gift with a BIG impact?  Combine your funds (and/or efforts, if you want to install the gift) with other family or friends so you can make a big splash in their home.

Backsplash tiles (and installation)

summer project kitchen with backsplashA kitchen backsplash can make a big difference in a kitchen, no matter the size.  If you really want to make your gift recipient’s day, offer to install the tiles (well) or pay for the installation so the tiles don’t just sit.  To make sure you get the tiles they want, buy them a gift certificate or promise to take them into a local flooring store right after the holidays.    

Cleaning break

For a gift recipient for everything but time, consider buying them the gift of a clean home.  Give them a gift certificate for a cleaning service or pre-pay for a home cleaning with a local home cleaner.

Area rugs

Young happy smiling woman lying with laptop on carpet over radiant in floor heatingIf you have a new home owner who can’t afford a lot of home décor, or a seasoned home owner who needs protection for their new wood floors, it’s time to be sneaky.  Measure their floor for dimensions for their new rug on the sly and visit your local flooring store to select a custom made area rug.  Talk to the flooring experts at the store for the rug and any covering needed to keep their new wood floor beautiful.

Personalized sign

If you want to put your personal stamp on their gift, make them a sign personalized just for them.  To make it memorable, sign up for a class before your holiday get together or schedule the class with your gift recipient so you have a fun night out making your signs.

Upholstery cleaning

Does your gift recipients have a chair that they want cleaned in the worst way (like their husband’s)?  Give them the gift that just keeps giving: a good upholstery cleaning of their favorite chair, sofa, or other piece of furniture.

Project IOU

If your gift recipient has a project they’ve been meaning to get to or just doesn’t have the time, give them the gift of your help.  Promise to come help them with their kitchen remodel, laundry room redo, or anything else on their to-do list.

Wood floor refinishing

protecting wood floorsDo you have a gift recipient with everything…except wood floors in good condition?  Surprise your gift recipient with a gift certificate to get their floors refinished (or arrange to pre-pay it with a local flooring contractor). 

Carpet cleaning

If your gift recipient has pets or frequently fosters dogs or cats, give them the gift that keeps on giving: carpet cleaning.  Surprise them with a certificate for a carpet clean that gives them a break from cleaning their carpet—for awhile at least.

Blinds

Have you been hearing, “I’ve been meaning to get new blinds” for awhile now?  Give your gift recipient what they’ve been wanting: new window treatments.  To make sure you get the right product (and a quality product), visit your local flooring store to talk with a designer about your options.

New bathroom

If you have a lot of people chipping in, give your gift recipient a whole bathroom remodel (and the labor to make it happen).  If their bathroom is in good shape, consider just giving them a bathroom face lift with new flooring and a new countertop.  If you want to put in the floor yourself, use this guide for DIY floor options and buy in bulk at your local flooring store. 

What kind of flooring can be installed over in floor radiant heating?

Young happy smiling woman lying with laptop on carpet over radiant in floor heatingIt’s the gift that just keeps giving: warm in floor radiant floor heating.  Just ask anyone who has in floor heating in their home and they’ll tell you how wonderful it is to have a warm floor underfoot (especially during winter!)  If you decide that radiant floor heating is an affordable luxury you want in your home, you have two options.  If you use a boiler to heat your home, radiant heating can be installed with your hydronic heating. For a home without a boiler, an electric mat can be purchased and installed under these kinds of flooring:

Carpet

If you really want to combine warmth and softness, let the sales associates at the flooring station know when you order the carpet.  They can recommend the ideal carpet pad that ensures you can feel the warmth from the in floor heating through the pad.

Laminate

Wood flooring is not an ideal product to install over in floor heating, but laminate is the next best thing.  Because laminate is a floating floor, it’s easy to install over radiant floor heating.  And with the look of wood or stone, laminate flooring gives you the look you want and the warmth from your in floor heating.

Tile

Tile is one of the most popular floors to install over in floor radiant heating.  It’s easy to see why: without radiant floor heating, tile can be cold to the feet.  With in floor heating underneath, tiles conduct the heat from a radiant floor heating system and look great.

Engineered hardwood

Engineered hardwood floors differ from wood floors in construction; engineered wood floors are manufactured in layers, making some products suitable for installing over in floor heating. To find out what engineered hardwood products would work, ask an expert at your flooring store to point out what products give you warmth and beauty.