Category Archives: Laminate

What Floors are the Easiest to Clean?

This is a question I rarely hear while helping people decide which floorcovering is the right one for them. I will bring maintenance and cleaning into the discussion but it rarely seems to be a huge concern. Maintenance and floor care should be the first concern and color and aesthetics should follow. I have lived on many different flooring products and I believe that Ceramic or Porcelain Tile is the easiest and require the least amount of effort to maintain. Let’s look at different types of flooring and the maintenance involved.

How do we Clean Carpet?

We will tackle the hardest first. Carpet. Most people don’t even want to look at carpet because they are never taught how to care for it. If proper care and maintenance id followed for carpet it can be the greatest floor product. Abuse it, neglect it, and you will become frustrated and aggravated and change it out sooner then you should have. By price, carpet should be your most affordable option so a little extra cleaning by Professionals would be a wise investment. Your local ProSource Wholesale Floorcoverings Store probably has many Members that are the finest in their field when it comes to getting Carpet Cleaned or stubborn stains removed.  Also when purchasing new carpet, consider investing in a Prime Urethane Padding with a moisture proof barrier, this is some of the cheapest insurance you can take out on your new purchase.

It's nice to be able to sit on soft inviting, clean carpet.

It’s nice to be able to sit on soft inviting, clean carpet.

What about Pets?

Even with pets, proper cleaning makes carpet easier to live on

Even with pets, proper cleaning makes carpet easier to live on

General care

Regular vacuuming is the key to keeping carpet beautiful and new-looking – for heavy-traffic areas vacuum every day if possible and once a week for the rest of the carpet.

Many types of cleaners are available when needed, including dry cleaners, spray-on foam cleaners and wet shampoo. Whichever you choose, make sure it is made for carpets. Always test a cleaner on a small inconspicuous area of the carpet first. Avoid anything meant for hard surfaces such as wood or tile. When choosing a professional carpet cleaner, ask for a reference and/or a firm estimate.

Treating spills

Act immediately! Don’t let the spill set or it might never be removed. Remember these three steps:

Apply-a damp white paper towel soaked in a cleaning solution to the spot (see list of solutions below); never wet the carpet through to the backing.

Blot-press straight down with a white paper towel-DO NOT RUB; place a 1/2″ thick pad of white paper towels with a weight on top and leave overnight if necessary

Scrape-from the outside edge of the spot toward the center

Cleaning solutions to be used to treat spills include:

Detergent-mix 1/2 tsp. clear dishwashing detergent with one cup warm water

Pre-soak-mix 1 tsp. enzyme laundry product (such as Axion or Biz) with one cup water

Hydrogen peroxide-mix 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide (3% strength, available in drug stores) with 1 tsp. household ammonia. Use within two hours.

  • Ammonia-undiluted household ammonia
  • Dry powder cleaner
  • Dry cleaning solvent-non-oily, non-caustic type sold for garment spot removal (caution: may be flammable)

Again, test on a small inconspicuous area first.

When you know your specific stain and need extra help follow the guidance from this Stain Removal Guide. Using the proper method always produces the best result.

Ceramic or Porcelain Tile

Tile ~ So easy to keep even a child can do it.

Tile ~ So easy to keep even a child can do it.

How to clean Porcelain Tile:

Porcelain tile is resistant to germs and bacteria and it is also among the easiest of flooring materials to clean. You can clean your porcelain tile with a damp sponge mop. A solution of 1/4 cup of white vinegar to 2 gallons of water works best – allow time for drying. You can also sweep or vacuum.Although porcelain tile is by definition impervious, it is still possible for its surface to discolor. The following instructions explain how to clean porcelain tile surfaces.
Glazed Tile:
For glazed porcelain tiles, use the following instructions for general cleaning:

  • Sweep or vacuum loose dirt and dust from the floor. An untreated dry dust mop is recommended instead of a broom.
  • Mop the floor with a mild cleaning solution (do not use wax, oil-based, or abrasive cleaners).
  • Rinse the tile thoroughly with clean and clear water.
  • Drying is also recommended – to increase the shine and to prevent water spots.

Textured Tile:
A textured porcelain tile surface requires additional cleaning procedures. A standard wet-mopping will not effectively clean a textured surface. For cleaning textured surfaces, follow these instructions:

  • Sweep or vacuum dust and debris from the floor. When sweeping, use a soft-bristle broom and sweep in 2 directions. First follow the direction of the tile, and then sweep diagonally. This will ensure the removal of all foreign material that might be residing in the texture.
  • Saturate the tile with a neutral cleaning solution, such as vinegar, with hot water and stir. Allow the cleaning solution to remain on the floor 5 – 10 minutes. Scrub the floor with a brush; again using a two-direction method.
  • Rinse the floor with clean, clear water to remove the cleaning solution.
  • For high traffic locations, it is recommended to clean the floor at least once per day and wet mop at regular intervals.

Always Remember:

  • Do not clean porcelain tile flooring with ammonia or with cleaners that contain bleach and/or acid. Acid and ammonia based cleaners may modify grout color.
  • Do not use wax, oil-based, abrasive cleaners, or sealants.
  • Agents that contain any dyes or colors are not recommended.
  • Use rugs at entrances to prevent dirt and grit from being tracked onto the tile flooring from outdoors.
  • Do not use steel wool pads, because loose steel particles may create rust stains in the grout.

What about dirty or stained Grout Joints?

My favorite products for cleaning tile are made by: Custom Building Products. Your local ProSource should have access to all their products. They are very easy to use and by following their instructions you should be able to solve all your cleaning woes.

custom grout cleaner

STRIPPING OR HEAVY SOIL BUILDUP: Mix 1 part cleaner to 2 partswater.Apply solution to surface with mop or sponge. Allow to dwell 3 to 5minutes for cleaning, or 5 to 10 minutes when stripping waxes orfinishes. Agitate with synthetic mop, scrub brush, or scrub machine. Donot allow solution to dry on surface. Mop up dirty solution. Rinsethoroughly with clean water.

Laminate Floors

Laminate has been the rave for durable flooring for a long time now. Remember, dirt and dust are the enemy. The small particles will act like sandpaper between your feet and the flooring surface. A good dust mop and regular vacuuming will help keep your floors looking beautiful much longer then anything else you do.

Mannington Elmhurst Alabaster Laminate Flooring

Mannington Elmhurst Alabaster Laminate Flooring

How to clean Laminate Flooring:

  • Use a damp cloth to blot up spills as soon as they happen. Never allow liquids to stand on your floor.
  • For tough spots, such as oil, paint, markers, lipstick, ink, or tar, use acetone/nail polish remover on a clean white cloth, then wipe the area with a damp cloth to remove any remaining residue.
  • Sweep, dust, or vacuum the floor regularly with the hard floor attachment (not the beater bar) to prevent accumulation of dirt and grit that can scratch or dull the floor finish.
  • Periodically clean the floor with cleaning products made specifically for laminate floor care. For optimum results.
  • Do not wash or wet mop the floor with soap, water, oil-soap detergent, or any other liquid cleaning material. This could cause swelling, warping, delamination, and joint-line separation, and void the warranty.
  • Do not use steel wool, abrasive cleaners, or strong ammoniated or chlorinated type cleaners.
  • Do not use any type of buffing or polishing machine on your laminate floors.
  • For spots such as candle wax or chewing gum, harden the spot with ice and then gently scrape with a plastic scraper, such as a credit card. Be careful not to scratch the flooring surface. Wipe clean with a damp cloth.
  • A more frequent dust-mopping or vacuuming schedule may be required in very sandy areas such as a beach home.
Armstrong's Canyon Slate - Available through your local ProSource

Armstrong’s Canyon Slate – Available through your local ProSource

Here are some ideas I borrowed from Armstrong to help keep your Laminate looking good for a long time.

The versatility of laminate flooring is what makes it a favorite with homeowners who want a beautiful floor that’s long-lasting and easy to clean. To get the performance you want from your laminate floor, follow these simple steps.

Routine cleaning for your laminate floor

  • Your scratch resistant laminate floor is extremely durable, but everyday dirt and grit could eventually lead to fine scratches that can dull the surface. Regularly dust mop or vacuum laminate flooring with a soft brush or wood floor attachment to pick up dust and grit. You can also use a slightly damp mop for spot cleaning.
  • Clean up liquid spills as soon as they occur with a cloth or sponge. Don’t allow excess liquids or wet areas – including your pet’s water bowl – to pool on the floor or they may stain or damage your floor’s protective wear layer.
  • For occasional thorough cleaning, use a well-squeezed mop dampened with Armstrong Hardwood & Laminate Floor Cleaner or Bruce® Hardwood & Laminate Floor Cleaner. A light mopping is all you need!
  • Don’t use soap-based detergents or “mop and shine” products as these can leave a dull film on the surface of your laminate floor.

Caring for your laminate floor

Your beautiful Armstrong laminate floor is extremely scratch- and impact-resistant, but it’s not indestructible. Maximize the durability of your laminate floor by following these care and maintenance tips.

  • Place a natural material mat or a mat that won’t fade or bleed color at outside entrances to collect tracked-in dirt and absorb excess moisture.
  • Use protective felt pads under furniture legs and appliances. As a general rule, the heavier the item, the wider the floor protector should be to prevent indentation.
  • Avoid wearing high heels or shoes with cleats on your laminate flooring, and keep your pets’ nails trimmed.
  • When moving furniture, don’t slide pieces across a laminate floor. If possible, carefully lift heavy items when repositioning them. Or use a wheeled dolly after first placing a clean sheet of smooth plywood or large, heavy cardboard over your laminate floor to protect it.
  • If you expect an area of your laminate floor will be subjected to heavier than normal foot traffic, use an area rug.
  • Occasionally, rearrange furniture to avoid indentation.
  • Make minor nicks or scratches disappear with a color-matched correction kit, such as Armstrong’s Laminate Floor Touch-Up Kit.
  • Be sure to check the manufacturer’s warranty for additional care instructions and recommendations.

As you can see, it doesn’t take much time or effort to ensure your beautiful laminate floor will look and perform its best year after year.

Resista Laminate has hundreds of patterns to choose from.

Resista Laminate has 5o Year Warranty

Affordable

At ProSource Wholesale Floorcoverings you will always pay less, see our Low Price Guarantee

I have $100 that says you can't beat our prices!

I have $100 that says you can’t beat our prices!

We have 7 Locations to serve you better:

Allen, Texas Phone – 972-521-5115

Austin, Texas Phone – 512-836-7888

North Dallas, Texas Phone – 972-250-4040

Dallas Market Center, Texas Phone – 214-742-3300

Fort Worth, Texas  Phone – 817-831-8181

Little Rock, Arkansas Phone –  501-758-0801

San Antonio, Texas Phone – 210-829-8290

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Filed under Cleaning, Cork, Hardwood, Kitchen, Laminate, Luxury Vinyl Tile, Natural Stone, Tile

Hardwood or Laminate?

Today the Laminate Industry has come a long way in making products that are more appealing then in the Days when Pergo first came to the United States in the early 1990’s. There are many options in thickness, style, sound, color, etc. So the dilemma I am constantly hearing is: “Which floor should I choose? Laminate or Hardwood?”

Today’s Laminate have a much more real look, feel and sound.

Armstrong: Sapele Long Plank - Wrought Iron 12.30 mm Laminate Wood Look

Armstrong:
Sapele Long Plank – Wrought Iron
12.30 mm Laminate Wood Look

Laminate has it’s place and I will usually show it if the budget dictates, and that isn’t always true the nicer looking laminates in the market are priced similar to hardwood. Another reason you might choose laminate is if you wanted a more “Green” Product. Laminate in most cases can be more environmentally friendly.

Check out these environmental facts about Laminate:

Laminate flooring is inherently eco-friendly but not all products make the cut. The NALFA certification seal is proof that a laminate floor is sustainable and is built with these qualities:

  • It’s made with natural resources like wood chip fiberboard
  • It’s recyclable
  • It’s free of air-damaging chemicals
  • It complies with formaldehyde emissions regulations for laminate flooring core board set forth by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) sections 93120-93120.12, title 17, of the California Code of Regulations
  • It is comprised of recycled content that may contribute points to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards for homes and businesses
  • It requires no special glues or adhesives during installation (eliminating VOCs) and no special cleaners for proper cleaning and maintenance (improving air quality)

Wood flooring is the most abundantly renewable flooring material available. Sustainable forest management makes it possible to harvest wood without any serious impact on the environment, because trees are a renewable resource that can be replaced time and time again.

Check out these environmental facts about Wood Floors:

  • Average annual net growth for hardwoods is greater than average annual removals (Source: US Department of Agriculture Forest Service)
  • Indoor air quality is better with wood floors (Source: US Environmental Protection Agency)
  • Wood is a carbon neutral product that produces oxygen during its growth cycle and stores carbon during its service life (Source: University of Wisconsin Wood Products Program Solid Wood Flooring Life Cycle Analysis)
  • Wood floors use less water and energy to produce than other flooring options (Source: University of Wisconsin Wood Products Program Solid Wood Flooring Life Cycle Analysis)
  • At the end of its service life, wood flooring can be burned as fuel or recycled (Source: University of Wisconsin Wood Products Program Solid Wood Flooring Life Cycle Analysis)
  • Wood floors last hundreds of years, so won’t need to be replaced as often as other flooring options (Source: National Association of Home Builders)
  • While it takes most hardwood trees 40-60 years to mature, the inventory planted today won’t be needed for 100-plus years (Source: National Wood Flooring Association)

You can learn more about the environmental benefits of wood floors by downloading a copy of the University of Wisconsin Wood Products Program Solid Wood Flooring Life Cycle Analysis

Hardwood gives much better re-sale value to your home. In today’s tough real estate market, sellers are looking for any edge they can find to help sell their home fast. For many sellers, hardwood flooring can help. Across the country, 99% of real estate agents agree that homes with hardwood floors are easier to sell. And, 90% agree that they sell for more money. In many cases a homeowner can double their return on investment by installing hardwood floors. You can’t get a much better bang for your buck than that. With today’s finishes the average lifespan of a hardwood floor is 30 years, so whether you are selling or plan to stay a while, hardwood is always the better option.

Armstrong: Acacia - Natural 4.72 in. Engineered Hardwood Plank

Armstrong:
Acacia – Natural
4.72 in. Engineered Hardwood Plank

So, what do we need to look at? Durability, dent resistance, wear layer, moisture resistance, they are all traits that might make us choose one over the other.

Laminate:

Laminate Flooring has four layers: a wear layer, a design layer, an inner core layer and a backing layer.

Wear layer – clear top layer that protects the floor from stains and fading
Design layer – a photographic image of wood, stone, brick or ceramic
Inner core – plastic resin that keeps the laminate stable and flat
Backing – creates a moisture barrier that protects the floor from warping

This layered construction makes laminate floors remarkably durable.

Engineered Hardwood:

Engineered wood floors are real wood floors that are manufactured using three to nine layers of different wood veneers. The sub layers can be of the same species, or of different species. The grain of each layer runs in different directions, which makes it very stable. This means that the wood will expand and contract less than solid wood flooring during fluctuations in humidity and temperature. The top layer of engineered wood flooring consists of high-quality wood. While this type of flooring can be sanded and finished, it cannot be done as many times as solid wood flooring. Engineered wood flooring can be installed above, on or below grade.

One of the most critical elements about either of these products is installation. Many products say DIY, and that sounds wonderful. Neither are any easier to install and I have installed both. Laminate is sold as easier for a Do-It Yourselfer, but I disagree. I found that gluing down my Hardwood floor was much easier then laying my floating laminate floor. to each his own I guess. If you are not up to the challenge and need a reputable company to install your laminate, ProSource Wholesale Floorcoverings has many Members that could assist you with your project and let you buy direct through their account.

To find out more about Laminate Flooring visit: North American Laminate Flooring Association

To find out more about Hardwood Flooring visit: The National Wood Flooring Association

We have 7 Locations to serve you better:

Allen, Texas Phone – 972-521-5115

Austin, Texas Phone – 512-836-7888

North Dallas, Texas Phone – 972-250-4040

Dallas Market Center, Texas Phone – 214-742-3300

Fort Worth, Texas  Phone – 817-831-8181

Little Rock, Arkansas Phone –  501-758-0801

San Antonio, Texas Phone – 210-829-8290

Doesyour Professional have a Membership?

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Filed under Green Products, Hardwood, Laminate, Uncategorized

Finding the ideal floor coverings for a Rustic Bathroom or Kitchen

For many clients, picking the perfect floor covering for a bathroom is as simple as looking for the best investment that will provide years of loyal service. However, for some consumers, finding the ideal flooring option that adheres to their interior design is just as important, so knowing the ins and outs of today’s most popular home design styles could prove to be invaluable in your sales pitch. The rustic decorative scheme is one that has remained popular, and it embraces light and airy furnishings, as well as blurring the lines between nature and the indoors. Here are a few flooring types that could be tailor-made to your clients’ design plans.

Porcelain Tile that looks like wood is a great choice for a Rustic Look with a versatile product.

Porcelain Tile that looks like wood is a great choice for a “Rustic Look” with a versatile product.

Wood grain vinyl flooring
Hardwood flooring is usually among the top choices for homeowners working with a rustic aesthetic, but hardwoods are not the ideal option for bathrooms. Your clients can replicate the look of wood flooring with ease by utilizing wood grain vinyl flooring. This floor covering has all the attractive wood grains and textures that you’ll find with hardwoods but is far more moisture and scratch-resistant, making it ideal for bathrooms. In addition, many of these vinyl floors come in sheets that can be custom-cut to fit the dimensions of the client’s space, which means that the installation process can be completed rather quickly and your clients’ bathroom can come together in an afternoon.

Vinyl is a very durable product and today's digital imaging gives you a very realistic look.

Vinyl is a very durable product and today’s digital imaging gives you a very realistic look.

Laminate floors
Another option for clients who are looking to replicate the look of wood flooring is to opt for laminate floors. These floor coverings are among the most cost-effective products on the market and can be installed over an existing subfloor. Additionally, many of these boards snap together, making installation a breeze and ensuring a quick and easy process when replacing a floorboard in the future if needed.

Mannington Historic Oak would be an excellent choice for your Rustic Kitchen.

Mannington Historic Oak would be an excellent choice for your Rustic Kitchen.

Tile and stone floors
The old mainstay in bathrooms is tile and stone flooring, and considering the wide range of options available to your clients, they’ll be hard-pressed to find a style that won’t pair beautifully with their interior designs. Tile is one of the most durable floor coverings your clients can choose from and will require minimal maintenance to keep it looking its best. If your customers are revamping the entire bathroom, suggest a glass tile backsplash behind their bathroom vanity that will pair very well with their floor coverings and introduce more dynamic hues in the space.

Natural Stone can give you a Rustic Feel with an added bit of elegance.

Natural Stone can give you a Rustic Feel with an added bit of elegance.


When considering a product to give you an authentic looking Rustic bathroom or kitchen, consider vinyl. Below is a chart comparing CORETECplus to other commonly used products.

Vinyl will withstand the abuse everyday life throws at it

Vinyl will withstand the abuse everyday life throws at it

CORE TEC PLUS ENGINEERED VINYL PLANK FLOORING 

EXTRAORDINARY LUXURY VINYL WITH GREAT BENEFITS. AVAILABLE IN WOOD AND TILE LOOK. IT IS FAST AND EASY TO INSTALL WITHOUT NEED FOR ANY ACCLIMATION. LARGE ROOMS WITHOUT ANY TRANISTION STRIPS FOR EXPANSIONS. MINIMAL FLOOR PREPS. RESISTS WATER WITHOUT DAMAGE TO THE CORE OF THE FLOOR. STABLE, SO THERE IS NO EXPANISON OR CONTRACTION. RESISTS MOLD AND MILDEW FROM TOP AND BOTTOM. A QUIET FLOOR THAT REDUCES NOISE. WITH A CLICK SYSTEM QUITE EASY TO INSTALL WITH DROP AND LOCK GLUELESS PROFILE.

COREtec Plus represents a revolution in luxury vinyl flooring and is your #1 alternative to laminate flooring, glue down LVT, or solid locking LVT. COREtec Plus is an entirely new category of vinyl called Engineered Luxury Vinyl flooring. The patent-pending* construction of COREtec Plus features our innovative COREtec core structure, which is an extruded core made from recycled wood and bamboo dust, limestone, and virgin PVC. Since COREtec Plus is 100% waterproof, COREtec Plus floors can be installed in wet areas and will never swell when exposed to water. Because COREtec Plus is inert and dimensionally stable, it will not expand or contract and never needs expansion strips in large rooms. Each COREtec Plus plank has an attached cork underlayment for a quieter, warmer vinyl floor that is naturally resistant to odor causing mold and mildew.
COREtec Plus features the most popular looks in hardwood, stone and slate flooring and is milled with the Drop and Lock profile for the easiest glue-free installation.
*COREtec Plus is a patent-pending product exclusive to USFloors Inc.

 RESIDENTIAL WARRANTY: LIFETIME  WATERPROOF WARRANTY: LIFETIME  STRUCTURE WARRANTY: LIFETIME  COMMERCIAL WARRANTY: 10 YEARS

RESIDENTIAL WARRANTY: LIFETIME
WATERPROOF WARRANTY: LIFETIME
STRUCTURE WARRANTY: LIFETIME
COMMERCIAL WARRANTY: 10 YEARS

CORETECplus has the colors and styles to give you a Rustic look with the best durability, best price and the best selection. See their selection for yourself here or stop by ProSource Wholesale Floorcoverings where they have a large selection of samples to view.

At ProSource Wholesale Floorcoverings we have the widest selection available in the market today. Take a look at what Mannington has to offer with it’s Adura Line:

ProSource Wholesale Floorcoverings carries a full line of Mannington Adura

ProSource Wholesale Floorcoverings carries a full line of Mannington Adura

Adura provides the look and elegance of wood, tile, or stone without the worry! Available in a variety of shapes, sizes, textures, and installation options, Adura delivers award-winning fashion to your home. With proprietary technology, Adura is engineered to look and feel like the real thing, easy to maintain, and is backed up by a 20 year residential/5 year light commercial warranty.

And because we know you care about the impact of the products you use in your home, Adura is FloorScore certified – which means it meets strict indoor air quality guidelines – so you can choose Adura with confidence that it’s good for your home, and your family.

Adura is the next generation of luxury vinyl, and the fastest growing category in the flooring business.

Adura is the next generation of luxury vinyl, and the fastest growing category in the flooring business.

We have 7 Locations to serve you better:

Allen, Texas Phone – 972-521-5115

Austin, Texas Phone – 512-836-7888

North Dallas, Texas Phone – 972-250-4040

Dallas Market Center, Texas Phone – 214-742-3300

Fort Worth, Texas  Phone – 817-831-8181

Little Rock, Arkansas Phone –  501-758-0801

San Antonio, Texas Phone – 210-829-8290

Doesyour Professional have a Membership?

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Filed under Hardwood, Kitchen, Laminate, Luxury Vinyl Tile, Natural Stone, Special Promotions, Sustainalble Flooring, Tile

4 Tips for Creating a Cozier Living Space

If one of the most frequented rooms in your home is small, dark and dull, you might be itching to spruce it up and transform it into a sanctuary for your family – but what do you do if you’re not exactly an experienced interior designer? Luckily, it doesn’t always take a professional to know how to select the appropriate flooring, furniture and decorative pieces to enhance a dark, bland space. Here are four tips on how to improve the decor of a room that could use a little extra TLC.

1. Use bright colors.
Whether your room has a limited amount of space or you simply want to brighten it up, there’s no easier way to do so than through color. Consider picking carpet flooring in a light neutral to make the room feel larger than it really is.

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2. Bring in reflective surfaces.
Reflective surfaces can do wonders for a room that lacks space and style. Instead of decking out your walls with paintings, use antique mirrors instead to reflect light and create the illusion of more space. Use glass coffee tables or side tables that spread natural light throughout the room. These small tactics can go a long way when it comes to creating elegance and a welcoming atmosphere.

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3. Utilize natural light.
What better way to brighten up a space than with sunlight? If your room has numerous windows, you’re in luck – these are the most effective tools you have to create a more inviting space. Allow sunlight to flow into your room throughout the day to make it a cozier area for work and play. Work in more window treatments to anchor the room in warm light.

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4. Incorporate storage pieces.
Keeping your room neat and tidy might be all that’s necessary to enhance its interior design. That being said, you may want to bring in new pieces of storage furniture to make this dream a reality, whether it’s an armoire or a small standing cabinet. These items can make it easier for you and your family to maintain the decor of the space.

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Whether you plan on decorating now or in the near future, these tips can help you create an interior design worth keeping for years to come.

SOURCE

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October 19, 2012 · 1:58 PM

What are the best types of eco-friendly floor coverings?

Practicing safe environmental habits and exploring the new trend toward sustainability in flooring can be an excellent way for homeowners to enhance the values of their home. From laminate to cork and bamboo flooring, several sustainable flooring options exist that can be a great complement to the existing interior decor.

“The manufacture of laminate flooring doesn’t involve the harvesting of old-growth hardwoods like those found in tropical rainforests,” said Bill Dearing, president of the North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA). “Laminate provides the desired look, no matter how scarce, without depleting natural resources.”

What makes laminate flooring such a great option for homeowners looking to go green? According the NALFA, many laminate floors are made using pre-consumer recycled waste and require fewer raw materials during the manufacturing process than other floor coverings. Furthermore, laminate  often times doesn’t require installation using glue or an adhesive, which can reduce harmful emissions, and is also recyclable.

There are two types of laminate flooring – high pressure and direct pressure. While each type offers great resiliency, how it’s manufactured can impact the finished product. With high pressure laminate the materials are pressed at high temperatures of around 500 degrees to produce a cohesive floor covering.

Laminate flooring manufacturers construct direct pressure laminate differently, binding materials together at a lower temperature and using less pressure in the process. This can make direct pressure laminate a cost-effective alternative to high pressure laminate and an attractive option to homeowners who like the look and sustainability of laminate but want to avoid spending a great amount of money.

Another great flooring option for homeowners who want to use sustainable materials is bamboo, which is technically a form of grass and has regenerative abilities. Harder and more dent-resistant than wood, bamboo also offers a crisp aesthetic appeal that many homeowners are sure to find alluring, according to Elegant-floors.com.

Floor Trends Magazine reports that BAMBOO is found naturally in several areas throughout the world, however, the majority is imported into the United States from China, which pockets an estimated $10 to $15 billion annually from the industry.

Made from tree bark and resistant to moisture, CORK flooring can reduce a homeowner’s environmental impact and lend new-found elegance to interior decor. HouseLogic.com recommends treating this distinctive and richly-textured grain flooring type with a sealant every three to four years to prevent scratches, which could mar the beauty of this luxurious material.

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Filed under Bamboo, Cork, Laminate, Sustainalble Flooring

Tips for Low Cost Remodeling

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The economy may be steadily showing signs of improvement, but for many budge conscious homeowners, setting aside the funds necessary for a wide-scale renovation may be unrealistic. However, with a few of these tips, it may be easier to prioritize the projects that should happen now from those that can wait until better financial times.

The first thing a homeowner should ask is whether a project needs to happen immediately, or whether it can wait. If there’s a pressing issue like a defunct heating system or structural error in the house, these should take precedence. However, if a homeowner has no immediate need for renovation but simply wants to improve the appearance of his or her domicile, there are many ways to do so without breaking the bank.

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Increase efficiency, not size.
If you can reorganize and equip your kitchen for maximum utility, you may not need to blow out the walls to gain square footage. Start by replacing space–hogging shelves with cabinet–height pullout drawers 8 inches wide, containing racks for canned goods and other items. “You’re getting three or more horizontal planes where you might otherwise get only one,” says Louis Smith Jr., an architect with Meier Group, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. You could easily shell out a few thousand to outfit cabinets with upgrades like dividers, pull–out pot trays, and lazy Susans, but you’ll save many times that amount by skipping the addition you thought you needed.
*Cost to expand kitchen by 200 square feet: $48,000 to $95,000
Cost of super–efficient, custom–designed cabinets: $35,000
SAVED: Up to $60,000

ImageDo your own demo.
Knocking down may not be as costly as rebuilding, but you can still shave dollars by doing some of the demolition yourself—as long as you proceed with care. “If a homeowner wants to demo a deck, well, I am sure they can handle that,” says Michael Winn, owner of Winn Design, in Virginia. “But when it comes to interior spaces, I would dissuade them from doing it unless they have done it before.” The reason: A reckless wrecker might unwittingly take out a load–bearing wall or, worse still, plunge a reciprocating saw into live wiring or pressurized plumbing. (For tips on how to do demo right, see our October 2005 feature, “Before You Construct, You Have to Destruct.”)
Cost to demo a 200–square–foot deck yourself: $450 (Dumpster rental and parking permit)
Cost for a pro: $1,000
SAVED: $550

ImageMake sweat equity count.
Unless you’ve got loads of time (and expertise) to spend on your project, the best way to add sweat equity is up front, by handling your own demolition, or at the back end, by doing some of the finish work yourself. “If you want to save money, dig in and start helping out,” says Tom Silva. “You can insulate, you can paint, you can sand.” Or better still, he says, help with cleanup every day. “Instead of paying someone to pick up sawdust off the floor, put your money into the time it takes to trim the window properly,” he advises.
Cost for construction crew to handle cleanup: $200 per day
Cost to do it yourself: $0
SAVED: About 3 to 5 percent of the overall job cost

Plan with stock sizes in mind.
“Ask yourself, ‘Why am I building something 10 feet wide if plywood comes in 4–foot–wide sheets?'” says Lisa Stacholy, of LKS Architects, in Atlanta. The same applies to stock windows and doors: Use manufacturers’ off–the–shelf dimensions from the outset and you will save the premiums of custom fabrication. Cost of custom doors: $1,500—$2,500
Cost of standard doors: $500–$800
SAVED: Up to $2,000

Use Home Equity to Finance your Flooring & Cabinets

If you are thinking about using home equity for something, consider the consequences first. Your home equity is one of your most valuable assets as a homeowner. You could do many different things with your home equity, but not all of them are a wise investment. Once you use your home equity it may take several years to get it back

One of the best things that you could possibly do with your home equity funds is to improve your home. When you use the money from the equity of your home to actually improve the home, you will be creating even more equity. When you do this, make sure that you are using the majority of the funds for projects that add value. Buying new curtains is not going to increase the value of your house. Adding a room onto the house will add value.

When you are deciding what to do to your house, keep an eye out for permanent changes to the structure. When you put in hardwood flooring, update the cabinets, and add on rooms, you are improving the house as a whole. When you get new carpet or drapes, you are just making it look nicer. While other things can make your house more enjoyable while you live in it, they may not actually add value. Therefore, try to put your focus on projects that actually add value.

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First 48: Water Damage Recovery

Water damage is one of the most problematic and widely experienced forms of disaster damage in the country. Its causes are numbered and varied, including natural flooding, burst or leaky pipes, fire hose damage, and plain old humidity. Water damage is such a problem because it affects most every aspect of your home; it rots the wood, rusts the steel, de-laminates plywood, and, most frustratingly, ruins precious documents. To lose appliances or furniture is one thing. Those can be replaced. But when a flood or some other disaster damages family photo albums, antique books, or business documents, water damage goes from irritating to downright tragic.

To better protect yourself from water damage it’s important to know exactly what it is and how it occurs. There are three typical classifications of water damage. The first classification is Clean Water. As the name suggest, this type of water damage does not pose a health risk to humans and is more annoying than anything else. An overflowing sink or tub or leaky appliance are examples of Clean Water.

Grey Water is the next classification and refers to water that contains degrees of chemical, biological or physical contaminants. This type of water can lead to sickness in humans and animals if consumed or exposed. Toilet bowls, dishwashers and washing machine leaks are the most common kinds of Grey Water.

The last classification of water damage is Black Water. This classification of water, as you probably guessed, contains highly unsanitary agents such as bacteria and fungus and can lead to severe illness. This classification is most rare and comes mainly from sewage, seawater, and contaminated river or stream water.

Any classification of water can cause severe damage. However, water damage restoration techniques, especially for business records and documents, vary greatly depending on the water’s classification. It is important for you to know what classification of water you’re dealing with before you attempt any restoration projects. If you suspect the water to be of either Grey or Black classification, contact your local fire department, water bureau, or environmental protection agency to have the water decontaminated.

One of the most effective and popular forms of water damage restoration is desiccant dehumidification. This restoration process removes moisture from the air quickly and safely, effectively salvaging important documents and helping prevent mold growth. This process works by dehumidifying the air surrounding the damaged documents or personal effect, allowing the water molecules trapped in the damaged items to escape into the air. Desiccant dehumidification is a great restoration option, especially for businesses, as it allows documents to be accessible during the recovery process. This helps businesses get back on their feet after a disaster, quicker.

Another effective form of document restoration is freeze-drying. This process is best for books, binders, or any bound printed matter. Freeze-drying restoration works on a similar premise as dehumidification but in a contained chamber and at much lower temperature. Some freeze-drying processes can lead to warping, so it is important to choose a recovery service that offers even pressure distribution inside the chamber. When shopping for a disaster recovery service or company, keep an eye out for vacuum freeze-drying; this is the best restoration option available today. If your recovery service doesn’t offer vacuum freeze-drying you might want to consider looking elsewhere.

The most important thing to remember after incurring water damage is to act fast. Time is not on your side after a water disaster. The longer you wait to start the restoration process the greater the chance the process won’t be as effective as you’d like. You also risk incurring a great deal of mold damage by waiting too long. Because time is such a key factor after a water-related disaster, it is a good idea to have an emergency plan already in place before disaster strikes. Some document recovery and water damage restoration companies can even install air dry distribution areas on-site, a great idea for businesses that deal with a lot of important hard copy information.

So many things can cause water damage to a floor such as leaking refrigerators, faucets that were left on, burst pipes, and natural floods. In fact, any incident involving water damage would most likely affect the floor since water normally flows downward to the lowest place.

Signs of Water Damage

Aside from standing water or pools of water that have collected on the floor, other signs of water damage in floors include wet carpets or rugs, discolored grout lines, stains or water marks, warped wooden floors and soft or spongy flooring material.

Cleanup, Repair and Restoration

In all cases of water damage to floors, cleanup should always start with removing any standing water to prevent further damage. Next, discard any floor materials that cannot be salvaged such as carpet padding.

It is also very important to remove excess moisture from the floor and especially the subfloor of wooden floorings. This can be done by using dehumidifiers or fans and other drying devices that force dry air onto the area and help restore the correct level of humidity. Once the surface is thoroughly dry, it should be treated against mold growth.

After applying an anti-mold treatment, the floor should be ready for repair and restoration. The specific methods for restoring water-damaged floors will depend on the type of floors that were affected. For carpeted floors, replace the carpet padding and then reinstall new carpet if the old one was severely damaged and beyond cleaning.

For water-damaged wooden floors, make sure you’ve removed all hardwood that was damaged. The subfloor must also be replaced if the water has weakened it. Apply a floor-leveling compound and then install new wood flooring, making sure it has the same color, thickness and texture as the existing floor. Re-sanding and refinishing the replacement wood pieces may also be necessary so they will blend with the rest of the floor.

For water-damaged tiles, use a baking soda and water solution to clean stains off tiles. If there is serious staining and discoloration, it would be necessary to call a tile professional. If there are cracked grout lines or any loose tiles, they would have to be removed and replaced. It is important to make sure there is no moisture in the surface underneath the tiles.

When It’s Best to Call for Professional Help

If there was a flood in your area caused by a storm or river overspill, or the cause of water damage in your home is sewage backup, do not attempt to do the cleanup yourself. You will be putting yourself at great risk because you’re dealing with highly-contaminated water. You should call a water damage restoration professional instead.

Also, if the water damage is extensive, affecting large areas, or more than one floor, then it is also best to call professional help because you may not be able to clean up everything quickly and time is of the essence in any water damage incident. Molds can grow on a surface that’s been wet for just a day or two.

In addition, the wet floor and subfloor must be dried thoroughly and this is done properly with the use of specialized equipment. You may have to rent them so why not just hire a professional water damage crew who already has the needed equipment and training to do the job efficiently?

On the Road to Recovery, Let PROSOURCE Be Your Guide

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