Saturday, October 31, 2009

How To Clean A Hardwood Floor

The character and elegance of a hardwood floor makes it a favorite among homeowners. And if you’ve come here you’re probably more than just mildly interested in hardwood.

The point of this section is that, if you’re seriously considering hardwood floor covering as a solution for the way you live, the way you treat that floor is important.

Wood is a natural, beautiful and timeless design and decorating element.

Caring, consistent and correct maintenance will insure it remains that way.
Frankly, we believe you wouldn’t have it any other way.

So check out the hardwood floor care tips below and be prepared to have your family and friends “check out” your new hardwood floor with praise. For years to come.

First off, think walk off.

Place walk off mats or area rugs at each entryway to collect dirt and grit that might be tracked in. These tiny particles act like sandpaper and will scratch your floor.

Be sure to avoid using rubber-backed or non-ventilated mats or rugs as they can damage your floor. Instead use mats or rugs made especially for hardwood floors and remember to shake them out regularly.

n addition to entryways, remember to place mats in any areas where water may be splashed, such as near a kitchen sink.

These tools rule.

Buy a good quality broom and sweep your new floor regularly to pick up grains of dirt, dust and other particles.

A vacuum cleaner, without a beater bar, can be helpful in between planks and other hard to reach areas. Once dirt and grease are gone, buffing can help restore the luster of your hardwood floor.

Bona fide cleaning suggestions.

Cleaning techniques vary depending on the installation and finish of your hardwood floor.

For "finish in place" hardwood floors, we recommend using an 8”x14” terrycloth mop with a rotating head that makes cleaning corners, under cabinets and along base boards an easy task.

Spray a professional wood floor cleaning product recommended by your retailer to safely remove tough stains and spills without dulling the finish of your floor.

Manufacturers of "pre-finished" hardwood floors recommend their own specific products designed for their floors routine maintenance. Be sure to check with your retailer as well about these cleaners.

Hardwood do’s and don’ts.

All floors with a urethane finish should never be waxed and require cleaners that won’t leave a film or residue.

A hardwood floor cleaner is useful in removing occasional scuffs or heel marks. Merely spray some cleaner on a cloth and lightly rub the stained area. Sticky spots can be cleaned with a damp towel or sponge.

Do not use ammonia cleaners or oil soaps on a wood floor, as they will dull the finish and performance of your floor. These products will also affect the ability to recoat your floor later.

Since wood naturally expands when it is wet, never wet mop or use excessive water to clean your floor. Large amounts of water can cause the wood to swell and may cause your floor to crack or splinter.

Being a natural product, hardwood will expand and contract due to moisture level changes. Minimize water exposure to hardwood floors and clean up spills as soon as they happen.

Beyond surface cleaning: deeper methods.

If your floor is showing excessive wear beyond normal cleaning you may want to consider screening and recoating.

Screening is the process used to abrade the polyurethane finish that is currently on the floor. Then, fresh coats of urethane are applied. Screening and recoating will rejuvenate and prolong the life of your hardwood floor.

If the damage to the floor is severe and has gone through the stain of the boards down to the bare wood, you can sand and refinish.

This should only be done if a screening and recoating does not solve the problem. This is an extensive process where the floor is sanded down to the bare wood, restained and then refinished. If the damage is only in a small area you may want to see if replacement boards are available to alleviate having to refinish an entire area.

Be sure to hire an experienced professional when having any work done on your hardwood floor.

Finally, protect against Father Time, Mother Nature and active families.

All hardwood floors will fade, darken or change shades over time. Exposure to sunlight will greatly increase this process.

Window treatments are recommended, as well as rotating area rugs and furniture regularly to allow floors to age evenly from UV exposure.

Cover furniture and table legs with protectors to guard your floor against damage. Take care when moving heavy objects across your floor to avoid scuffing.

Stiletto heels can cause dents and scratches that are not covered by your warranty. Love your pet but regularly trim their nails or claws to avoid scratches on the hardwood floor. The point here is to be cautious of sharp objects that may scratch or damage the floor. Tread carefully!

The regular cleaning and periodic professional maintenance of your hardwood flooring will insure a home and lifestyle of beauty and comfort for years to come

All this information was taken directly from the World Floor Covering association website ( Also, visit the Americarpet sites at and

Friday, October 16, 2009

How to Maintain A Cement Floors

Cement is a raw component made from calcium, silicon, limestone, aluminum, iron and other ingredients. Mixed with gravel, sand, water, mineral and chemical admixtures, it forms concrete. Cement is the paste that binds all the mixture together. Concrete is the finished product used as a construction material for buildings, houses and other structures. The cement and concrete industry plays a large role in society's architectural development. Cement and concrete manufacturers provide the foundations of structures. Some of cement and concrete products include building materials like brick, tile, block, pipe, which are used for a lot of different purposes. However, the use of the term cement is oftentimes intended to imply concrete. Concrete floor is frequently called cement floor. The two are entirely different but are used interchangeably.

Concrete is also used for walls, stairs, roofs and flooring of different kinds. While concrete is used as flooring for driveways, streets, basements, sidewalks, patios, barns, etc., concrete is also used as interior decorative surfaces. Because concrete is durable, attractive and versatile, it is popular with most homeowners - especially because it is easy to maintain. Although concrete is proven to be durable, you need to know how to properly maintain it in order to preserve its attractive appearance and make it last a lifetime even with heavy floor traffic.

  1. Clean your concrete floor. To remove debris, dust, fine specks and grime build up, sweep and dust mop your floor regularly. If you use a wet mop, do not use vinegar or ammonia. Use a small amount of mild cleaner mixed in warm water. Rinse away remaining cleaner solution or soap residues. Know from your concrete contractor if there is any particular cleaning or maintenance product that works best for removing stains and grits from your concrete floor.
  2. Seal your floor. Traffic patterns can diminish the attractiveness and shine of your floor over time. To protect and preserve the beauty of your floor, resealing is advised. You can purchase concrete sealer from a home improvement store and do the sealing work yourself but you can always contact a floor maintenance provider to have the task done efficiently. Resealing is recommended every three to four years but it is better to verify with your contractor how often the sealer must be re-applied.
  3. Repair cracks. Before patching up concrete cracks, ensure there is no dirt or oil on the floor. To take away large pieces in the crack, use a cold chisel. Brush and vacuum to clean up debris. Follow manufacturer's instructions on applying the concrete filler. Let the filler cure according to the duration suggested by the manufacturer. Reseal your concrete floor.

Cement or concrete floor maintenance is something you as a homeowner should not overlook since your floor is largely visual around your house. Proper maintenance is crucial not only to its attractive appearance but to your expenses as well. Keeping it presentable and free from contaminants will keep you away from potential concrete damage that would require a bigger cost.

This article was taken directly from

Tile Cleaning and Maintenance

Ceramic Tile Floor Care and Maintenance
As many people know, caring for a tile floor is different from other flooring surfaces. For one, tile typically has a very delicate finish which can be scratched by brittle bristle brushes, scouring pads or steel wool and harsh abrasive chemical agents. Another area of quandary is the grout finishes on tile floors; how do you get stains out of grout? The answers to these questions coincide with one of tile floor's nicest qualities: its resiliency to staining. And while the grout may be porous and slightly more susceptible to staining, a few procedures can make your floor almost totally stain proof.

When your floor tiles leave the factory, they have been through a barrage of treatments. In their initial stage as molten clay, aluminum powder may have been added to strengthen the tiles. Next, they may have been treated with a glaze to add a layer of protection and enhance their appearance. From there, your tiles were fired to immensely high temperatures, essentially cooking the tile, and further sealing the glaze. Finally, your tile is treated to a sealer which will protect it, both in transit to your home and then again once it's set in place in your home.

All these steps have been put in place to insure that your tile floor looks its best for as long as possible. Now it's your turn to continue that maintenance, and prolong the life your floor indefinitely. A solution of mild soap and water applied the surface of the tile on a regular basis is generally enough to keep your floor clean and looking its best. But from time to time, depending on the level of household traffic, it may be necessary to spruce your floor up with a few readily available treatments.

Removing Stains from Tile

Some people complain about stains on their tile floors from kitchen mishaps. These stains can imbed themselves in the porous finish of some manufactured tile. Bleach can be used in most cases to remove some of the nastier, deeper stains, but where bleach does not reach, what can you do? Many household tile cleaners make great claims about removing deeply saturated stains or hard water marks from tile. The fact is, most miss the mark when compared to the time honored method of diluted muriatic acid.

Muriatic acid has been carefully used by trade professionals for decades to treat and remove industrial stains from tile and stone surfaces. When used in the home, it is important to thoroughly ventilate the area and protect yourself extensively from this corrosive agent. Heavy gloves, mask and eye protection are imperative, but if you exercise reasonable caution, this tool can be just the trick to removing those stubborn stains. Dilute the acid to a 60/40 acid/water solution. Then with a toothbrush or other soft bristle brush, apply the mixture and scrub the area clean. Once the stain is removed, quickly wash the area down and discard the remaining mixture in a safe and proper manner. Refer to your local constabulary regarding regulations for disposal of acid products.

Cleaning the Grout

If a stubborn stain emerges in your grout, follow the same steps described in the procedure above to gently work the stain out. If a situation arises in which the stain cannot be removed, it might be necessary to replace that particular area of grout. Grout can be removed quickly and effectively by using a small grout remover, inexpensively bought at any home improvement retailer. Work the stained section of grout until you are beneath the stained area and clean grout is present.

You are now left with an indentation in the grout that needs to be filled. Bring a grout sample, if possible, to your local tile store or home improvement retailer, and try to get the closest match you can. Once you have obtained the material, pour the dry mixture into the cavity you created. If the color matches to your liking, vacuum the dry mixture out and follow directions on the box to make a small batch. Use a rubber glove and a finger to firmly apply the grout to the damaged area. Blend the mixtures in to the best of your abilities, and clean the area with a clean, damp sponge. Verify the joint composition is a match to the original grout.

Tile Sealers

There are several good quality tile sealers available. These are great tools to keeping your tile and grout looking fantastic, and with installation intervals of four years and beyond. Applying a tile sealer is a very simple process, and relatively affordable. Once applied, the stain resistance of your floor is dramatically increased, and the overall finish is kept to a factory high standard. Begin with a general and thorough cleaning of the floor surface; inspect the grout especially for any staining or discoloration, as this is the ideal time to address those issues. Next walk the floor briefly and watch for any for objects or debris that could interfere with the application of the sealer. Then apply the sealer to the floor surface evenly, mop it back towards the opening of the room, and allow the sealer to dry. Some products have you completed at that point, while others suggest a general buffing of the area. Use a clean soft rag and buff the floor using a circular motion.

Take the time to go through these steps, as tile provides a resilient, durable surface that, if treated properly, can bring a great element of design to your d├ęcor. For questions on products, be sure to speak with your local home improvement store professional for suggestions on your specific applications. Before using any acid products, consult with your local township regarding any regulations, and keep children and pets clear of the treated area until it has been washed appropriately.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Maintain Your Carpets For Longer Life

The carpets in your home are a major investment. Maintaining your carpets saves you money in the long run and keeps your home looking great. With three simple tips you can stretch the life of your carpets past their normal life expectancy. All you need to do is not wear your shoes in the house, vacuum regularly, and have the carpets cleaned yearly. These tips will assuredly increase the life of your carpets.

Do you were your shoes in the house? If so you are tracking in more soil then you might expect. Always take off your shoes at the front door. Walking through the house in your shoes will scratch the carpet fibers and do damage that may not be repaired. Also, it is not wise to walk on the carpet with your bare feet. Oil from your skin will stick to the fiber and attract soil much faster.

Next, it is vital that you vacuum your carpets at least twice a week. Always use a good quality vacuum that contains a beater bar for agitation and a hepa filter to trap all dust being expelled from the exhaust. It is a good idea when vacuuming to always vacuum in one direction and then vacuum again at a 90 degree angle from the first pass of the vacuum. This allows the beater bar to come in contact with all sides of the fiber.

Finally, always have your carpets professionally cleaned at least once a year. A professional carpet cleaner will be able to remove soil deep in the carpet fiber that regular vacuuming will not be able to reach. Additionally, it is a good idea to use a cleaner that specializes in low moisture cleaning. This method uses less moisture than traditional steam cleaning and allows for faster dry times.

So if you are interested in saving money by maintaining your expensive carpets follow this advice. Just remember to never wear your shoes in the house, vacuum on a regular schedule, and have your carpets cleaned by a professional cleaner at least once a year. This will allow you to enjoy your carpets for years and years.

All information was taken directly from and was written by Brian Rather.

How To Maintain A Natural Stone Floor

The most common natural stone floors in homes today are marble and limestone. Both these stones are calcite based, meaning they contain calcium carbonate. They are also generally soft stones compared to Igneous varieties such as Granite and Basalt. What this means from a maintenance point of view is that the stone will absorb liquids and will easily etch (meaning the stone can suffer acid corrosion)

The first step which needs to be taken in order to facilitate easy maintenance of the stone is to have it sealed properly with an impregnating sealant. This needs to be an oliophobic sealant which will repel both oil and water, especially in the kitchen. This is the single most important step in stone protection. Generally, water based sealers will offer less protection than solvent based sealers, however there are exceptions to this rule. A qualified stone restoration company will have the skills and knowledge to properly seal a stone floor and so this is usually a job that should not be left to the tiling contractors.

Unfortunately, although a good quality sealant will protect the stone from staining nothing can really protect it from acid based substances. A polished floor which is subjected to lemon juice or vinegar which is left on the surface of the stone will almost definitely show etch marks. These are where the acid reacts with the calcite and shows signs of corrosion.

Once the marble or limestone is properly sealed the next issue which needs to be addressed is surface scratching. The main cause of scratching on a marble or limestone floor is grit from outside being caught under shoes and walked across the floor. Therefore the easiest way to minimise scratching on the stone is to introduce good quality, deep coir barrier mats. One should be placed outside the front door and one inside if possible. Scratching is more of an issue on a polished floor as damage to the natural crystals in the stone is the main cause of a dull looking surface and lack of shine and reflection.

For regular maintenance and cleaning of the floor, a good quality natural stone soap will need to be used. This can in most cases be simply mopped on and left to dry. The better natural stone soaps will contain linseed oil which also helps to keep the stone protected by leaving an invisible film on the surface.

Described above is one stage of the maintenance cycle and at some point the stone will need restorative maintenance due to a loss of shine, staining due to sealant needing to be re-applied or repairs to damaged tiles. At this point a stone restoration expert will restore the floor to as new and the cycle of maintenance will start over.

All information was taken directly from and is written by Nick Gonnella.

Why Are Old Rugs More Expensive Than New Ones?

Why are old rugs more expensive than new ones?

Well it depends how old, as there is a watershed in Oriental rugs that occurred around 1890 to 1920 when there was a huge influence from Europe that affected the design, dyes and wools used in oriental rugs.

The old rugs particularly from traditional weaving cultures in Turkey, the Caucasus, Persia and Central Asia were woven either for their own use or for sale in local bazaars. Therefore each tribe or village would have a particular design pool from which they drew that have significance to them, and would have been around in their homes and surroundings.

Weavers, mostly women, would be creative in combining these elements to produce aesthetically pleasing rugs, pillows, bags of all shapes and sizes. Young women would prepare a full range of weavings to show her skill to prospective husbands.
Another element is the choosing of the best quality wools and dyes as these make a tremendous difference to the finish of the rug.

Natural dyes are vibrant, harmonize together, and do not fade. Therefore rugs hundreds of years old, particularly if made with good quality wools have a beautiful lustrous quality that is not diminished by time.

With the tremendous increase in demand for oriental rugs at the end of the 19th Century soon the stocks of traditional rugs ran out and production could not meet the demand. Therefore factories and workshops were set up to meet the demand from a less discriminating market. The designs were also simplified or modified in ways that a traditional weaver would never do. At this time the first chemical dyes became available.

These included fuchsine a garish purple that faded to a dull grey over a period of decades. There were also very bright reds and oranges which did not harmonize well with the natural dyes, these also tended to fade over time and also were very prone to bleed when wet. The introduction of chemical dyes destroyed the wonderful harmony of natural dyes and replaced them because they were less effort and the customers did notice the difference. By the mid 20th Century most of the hand woven rugs were dull lifeless objects that bore little resemblance to their magnificent forebears.

In the last 30 years there has been a revival of natural dyes, started by the Dobag project in Turkey, but also in Iran and lately in Afghanistan. These rugs are available now but consist of only a small proportion of rugs available today and are well worth the effort to find and pay the extra for.

This articles was grabbed directly from and written by Margaret Demers.