Monthly Archives: June 2017

8 Steps to Keeping Your Hardwood Floors Beautiful

wood floorHardwood floors are timeless. Beautiful. Durable. An investment. The challenge can be to keep your investment in the same beautiful shape as the day of installation, especially when your floors are in high traffic areas and are continuously being tested by the ups and downs of our unpredictable Midwestern weather. We’ve put together steps that’ll help you face the challenge head-on so your hardwood floors can look as great as the day we installed them.

Put felt pads and protectors on all your chairs and furniture.

To prevent scratches on your new wood floors, purchase felt pads for your couches, chairs, tables, entertainment cabinets, and any other furniture. These pads do wear down over time so make sure you replace the pads as needed (usually once or twice a year).

Put rugs down by all the doors.

Keep the dirt, sand, gravel, and water off your floors to protect the finish, prevent warping and water damage, and keep scratches at bay. Place rugs by all your doors with protectors under the rugs to protect your floors.

Clean up puddles ASAP.

Hardwood floors and towels go hand in hand. Standing water on hardwood floors can warp the floors, leave water stains, or damage floor boards. Keep a paper towel and towels close at hand so you can clean up any spills or water tracked in (especially during winter or after a dip in the pool!). If you have a dog, train your pup to stop at the door so you can wipe off their paws.

Wait to put down area rugs.

Rushing to put down an area rug can damage the finish. Be patient and wait to put down an area rug until after the finish on your floor has had time to cure. Instead, ask your installer (or local experts) for a time frame; the answer is different for every floor.

Sweep on a regular basis.

Daily grit is the enemy of hardwood floors. Sweep your floors on a regular basis, and start every deep clean with a thorough sweep and vacuum (or vacuum cleaner attachment). When you purchase a vacuum cleaner for the job, make sure it is not abrasive when it cleans which could damage the finish on your hardwood floors.

Deep clean your hardwoods periodically.

A periodic deep clean is essential to keep your floors in the same condition as the day they were installed. Use an approved hardwood cleaner so the floor is not damaged (even vinegar and water can harm the finish). Steam cleaners can also damage the floors and void the warranty. Your periodic deep clean is not the time for experimenting; contact the experts if you need deep cleaning advice (or use our in-depth post on hardwood cleaning) or to schedule a deep clean for your wood floors.

As you mop, don’t leave puddles. Water is the enemy of hardwood floors. Wring out as much water as possible, and use fans to make sure the floor is completely dry when you are done.

Keep an eye on your home’s humidity.

There is some expansion and contracting of hardwood floors that happens with humidity so it is normal to have some small gaps in the floor when humidity is low, such as during winter. For the same reason, be selective about what rooms you install hardwood floors in. Rooms with high humidity, such as laundry rooms and bathrooms, are not ideal for hardwood floors. If you are concerned about humidity, buy a humidistat for your home. The ideal humidity for hardwood floors is between 35% and 55%.

Ask before you tackle those marks or stains.

Before you tackle those scuff marks and stains, ask your local flooring experts for tips on removing marks and stains so you can avoid scratching or damaging your wood floor (or schedule a deep clean and ask them to take care of the mark or stain as part of the deep clean).  A little bit of research now can benefit you in the long run, especially when your hardwood floor keeps looking beautiful.

5 Ways to Speed Up Your Summer Party Cleaning

summer grill out partyIt’s the dirty secret of hosting a summer party: the deep clean that has to happen before your guests arrive. The truth is there’s a lot of preparation and elbow grease that has to happen before the grill out fun can begin—and summer is a very busy time already! If you’re running short on time, here’s how to speed up your pre-party cleaning so the fun can start.

Do as much of the cleaning ahead of time as possible.

If you want a faster clean before your summer grill out, make your cleaning to-do list shorter. Wipe down your counters after a meal, sweep your floors regularly, and clean off your table after you eat. All your regular cleaning leads to an easier (and faster) cleaning later; it’s a lot easier when you don’t have to scrub off hardened food later or .

Make a cleaning list.

To speed up your pre-party cleaning, divide and conquer as much as possible. Make a list of all the cleaning that needs to be done (inside and out!) before your summer party and divide it up among your cleaning crew.

Take your cleaning supplies with you as you clean.

Make the most of your cleaning time; carry your cleaning supplies with you as you clean so you don’t waste time making multiple trips for supplies. This simple cleaning hack makes your cleaning efficient and quick because you can just keep cleaning as you go from room to room.

Use rugs to your advantage.

Technically, placing rugs by all your doors (inside and outside), in your mudroom and hallways may not be a cleaning task but it’s an effort that can save you a lot of cleaning later. Rugs are an important part of keeping the dirt out of your home and off your floors—especially when guests are tracking in and out of your home.

Bring in outside help.

When your time for cleaning gets short, don’t be afraid to bring in the pros: a carpet cleaner to deep clean your carpets (before and/or after), hardwood cleaner to get your floors shining, a cleaning service to get everything else. (For DIY floor cleaning tips, read this blog post.) With a little bit of elbow grease, help, and hard work, you and your guests’ll be enjoying a fun summer party in no time.

Practical (and Welcoming!) Ways to Dress Up Your Patio

patio with furniture and tile overlayMake your patio the go-to spot where everyone wants to hang out this summer—the spot that everyone gathers and enjoys a delicious brat, each other’s company, and your beautiful patio décor. Use these ideas to make a beautiful outdoor space that you, and all your guests, enjoy all the days of summer (and fall!).

Add tile

A tiled patio is the finishing touch that sets your patio apart from the rest. When shopping for the perfect tile, tell your sales person that your tile is going outside so they can recommend the right porcelain tile for your patio.

Use furniture

front steps with porcelain tileThe right furniture for your deck is the right color and coordinated so it doesn’t look like a mishmash effort. Don’t pack your patio so tight that your guests can’t circulate or buy furniture that is too big for the size of your deck. Choose pieces that coordinate both in color and size—some pieces can even serve a dual purpose (such as a planter or storage and a bench).

Think tranquil

If you want to make your patio relaxing or cover up background noise, make your patio a calm oasis with a water feature. A waterfall or pond can be your answer; make sure the water is circulating to avoid stagnant water and the problems that come with it.

Add green

Planters full of flowers, an herb garden, or evergreens can make your patio look like an inviting garden—or at least make it look more inviting. As an added bonus, an herb garden or container garden can provide fresh food for your next grill out.

Cozy it up

Everyone loves a nightly campfire, and a built-in (or portable) campfire is one of Wisconsin’s favorite past times. Add a fire to your patio for a welcoming end to the night, and arrange your furniture for optimal comfort and coziness.

Add privacy

Make your grill outs (and any al fresco meals) a private affair with privacy screens. Instead of adding abrupt privacy screens, coordinate your screens so they look like a part of your outdoor patio décor. Use greenery or latticework to make your nights on the patio a private—and aesthetically pleasing—affair.