Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Is Thicker Laminate Better?

A lot of people ask what is the difference between thin laminate and thicker laminate. I mean, laminate is only printed on the plank itself so it shouldn't matter, right?

Well, you'd be wrong, it does matter; and here is why.

"Laminate flooring is not real wood, but it is manufactured to look like and give the feel of real wood as flooring. But unlike real wood, it will not stain, fade, or dent over time. It is virtually scratch proof, which is good for parents of young kids and pet owners. It is also more water resistant than real wood.

Entry level laminate flooring is good for about 15 years in an area of daily light traffic. Experts say that to expect anything more is wrong. Most people think that laminate will last forever. However it will suffer and need to be replaced if used in high traffic areas of the home.

Which Type to Use: Most folks look only at the finish of the flooring and don't pay attention to the core. Cores can range from 6 mm to 12 mm. Thicker is better in this case, albeit more expensive. The thicker the core, the more stable the floor. There will be fewer if any instances of creaking sounds. A good quality core is also treated to make it more water resistant, which will eliminate the swelling that moisture can cause.

Laminate flooring can be used in bathrooms and kitchens, however it is wise to select a flooring that has wax embedded in the joints to give even more protection against moisture. The wax guards against sudden water spills and keeps the water from penetrating to the core of the wood, eventually disrupting stability. Prior to installation, check the warranty because even some laminates are not recommended for bathroom or kitchen use.

Glueless Laminate Flooring: This type of flooring utilizes boards that are grooved to snap together. So long as the instructions are followed, it is a very easy installation. It is probably the most affordable of flooring choices. It comes in a wide variety of design and color schemes and they don't look cheap, even if they are affordable. The laminate is durable, highly resistant to everyday living of people and pets. It is also very easy to maintain.

Drawbacks and Disadvantages: A major drawback to using laminate is that it is not a lifetime proposition. Over the long run, while it may resist dents, moisture and scratches better than real wood, it does tend to wear out faster than the real McCoy. Non-laminate flooring can last for a hundred years in kept in original condition. Laminate is impossible to repair and hard to sand or refinish. 20 years is the maximum life span for most laminate flooring.
While it is more resistant to moisture, glueless laminate flooring is vulnerable to moisture when spilled on the floor. Even if the spill is gotten up immediately, there is a danger of the spillage seeping down into the core and other under parts of the flooring causing damage. And it doesn't add as much value to the home as wood does. Traction can also be an issue.

Caring for Laminate: The smart thing to do is to carefully read the warranty to find out how to care for your new floor. Most will tell you not to mop for 48 hours after initial installation. Never wet mop a laminate floor. That will cause water to seep at the baseboards or under the trim or between the joints in the floor, ruining the core. Vacuum or sweep the floor and then if necessary, damp mop. However, if you must use a damp mop, make absolutely sure it's wrung almost dry.

Never apply wax or acrylic floor finishes over your laminate flooring. It is already finished. Only use stain removal products recommended by the manufacturer. Some products will ruin your finish. Put doormats on both sides of an exterior door. This will cut down on the amount of dirt carried in on the bottoms of shoes. This dirt can scratch the finish of the floor. It would be wise to put those easyglide buttons on the bottom of furniture to guard against scars and scratches, too.

Common Sense Maintenance: Keeping the laminate flooring is basically a matter of common sense and easy cleaning procedures. Guard against using heavy or sharp objects in proximity to the new floor. Use tarps or padding when working on the ceiling or in a position to drop something like paint, onto the floor. These things can obviously cause damage.

Waterproof Laminate: A laminate that is waterproof is best for homes where moisture is a problem, either through spills, or the weather. All laminate is fortified against moisture, but some goes that extra mile. Waterproof laminate has four layers- a decorative layer and three layers that support the decorative structure. One is a melamine layer. In other words a clear resin filled membrane that coats the top layer of the flooring. The core, located in the middle is fiberboard, made of a high density material designed to absorb impact. These two along with the two other layers make the flooring waterproof.

The best way to make the floor waterproof is to install a floating floor that locks tightly over the old flooring. This locking, whether it be wax or glue, keeps moisture out preventing damage.

Locking Laminate: Before buying locking laminate flooring there are some things to consider. The good news is that locking laminate is easy to install. It requires matching up the tongues and grooves to keep the boards in place. In the less expensive versions, the locking can wear out or expand and loosen over time. So, look for thicker grooves and tongues on the type of laminate that you want. Thicker is better in this case.

However, even the best locking mechanism needs a smooth and level under surface upon which to rest. If the foundation is bumpy or lumpy or uneven for whatever reason, then no locking mechanism is going to hold forever. Unevenness can cause the floor to actually break if stepped on in the wrong place at the wrong time. So remove all impediments, old carpeting, old tiling, whatever is there to make sure the sub-flooring is smooth before laying down the new laminate flooring. "
To summarize the reason it is important:
  • The thicker the core, the more stable the floor. There will be fewer if any instances of creaking sounds. A good quality core is also treated to make it more water resistant, which will eliminate the swelling that moisture can cause.
  • It requires matching up the tongues and grooves to keep the boards in place. In the less expensive versions, the locking can wear out or expand and loosen over time.
This article was quoted directly from Professor House. Moreover, Americarpet sells Laminate and Hardwood floors. Come see our website at www.AmericarpetFloors.com. 3a

Saturday, December 11, 2010

How To Remove Stains From Floors

Stain Removal Floor Stains Dents
Despite the number of floor coverings that claim to be stain-resistant, eventual marring by marks and stains is inevitable, whatever type of flooring you choose, whether it is plush carpet or glossy wood, soft vinyl or hard natural stone. Provided that the stain or mark is tackled quickly, most can be removed without professional intervention.

Prevention
We all know that prevention is better than cure and this is certainly true when it comes to floor stains. By modifying your usage slightly, you can go a long way towards avoiding nasty stains and marks that may be difficult to remove.

Tips for Protecting Your Floor
  • With hard surface floors, even those designed for heavy traffic, such as durable laminate, take care when moving furniture or heavy objects across the floor. Ideally lift rather than slide, even with slick, shiny floors such as vinyl which looks as if sliding would be easier. If the object is really too heavy to be lifted, use a towel or a heavy sock under each leg to reduce damage to the floor.
  • Even durable laminate and vinyl can be gouged, scratched or dented so even if the furniture is immobile, it is a good idea to use felt pads or fabric-covered casters or gliders on any part that comes into contact with the floor.
  • For waxed floors, make sure that you avoid cleaning products that include or require water, always check the label and make sure it is compatible with the kind of wax on your floor surface. Also, never apply wax over a dirty floor.
  • Try to avoid high heels on wood floors, laminate and vinyl if possible and if they have to be worn indoors, make sure that the heels are not worn down to the metal nails as this can seriously scratch the floor surface, particularly hardwood.
  • Entrance mats are always a good idea, not only do they trap dirt and grime and outside moisture, they can also help to prevent unintended scratches from incoming or outgoing traffic, especially in the case of grit being tracked into the house.
  • If you have potted plants, make sure that they are situated in special containers that have ‘legs’ to allow airflow beneath the waterproof saucers, so that water damage and staining are prevented.
Note: entrance mats are a good idea, try to avoid those which have a rubber backing as this may cause yellow discoloration of the floor underneath. Choose instead mats with a natural fiber backing. Similarly, furniture feet made of rubber should be removed or separated from the floor surface by a coaster.

Be especially careful when using spirit-based products such as permanent marker pens, solvents, shoe polish and hair dye. If accidental marking does occur, wipe it off as soon as possible. Similarly for strongly-colored food products, such as mustard and turmeric and also when using any corrosive substances such as acid or alkaline cleaning solutions. These will quickly damage the surface of the floor so clean up any spills immediately.

Never use abrasives on polished surfaces as they can cause serious scratching.

Finally, humidity can play a role in floor damage, especially with hardwood floors - so try to keep humidity in the rooms between 45 and 55%. Excessive moisture in the atmosphere can cause swelling in wood fibers, leading to cracks and buckles in the finish. Conversely, very dry conditions will cause floor boards to separate.

Dealing with Stains
Carpet stains can usually be successfully removed with patient sponging and blotting using just water and absorbent white paper towels, working from the inside of the stain outwards. Avoid using detergents as if these are not thoroughly rinsed out, they will cause the carpet fibres to attract more dirt and grime and thus make staining even more likely in the future. For serious stains, it may be worth hiring a professional carpet cleaner and an annual deep-clean is always recommended in any case. [Ed. Note: That being said, solution dyed nylon is as stain proof as you can get. Moreover, most solution dyed nylon carpets come with stain resistance guarantees that have the owner covered in case it does get stained.]

For scratched or dented laminate and vinyl floors, commercial touch-up kits are easily available which include step-by-step instructions for a simple repair process. If cleaning a stain from laminates or vinyl with a detergent solution, make sure that you rinse the floor thoroughly with clean water afterwards as otherwise, the detergent will leave a sticky film on the surface which will not only cloud the finish but also attract more dirt in the future.

For hardwood floors, the key is wiping up spills immediately. Moisture is the main enemy of timber flooring so never allow a wet area to stand. Use a soft, clean cloth to wipe up the liquid and then another dry cloth to make sure the area is completely dry.

Ceramic tile tends to be water-resistant but it is still a good idea to tackle any stains or spills immediately. Usually, just mopping with hot water and mild household detergent should do the trick as the hot water will loosen the dirt and the detergent helps to lift any oily substances off the floor. If the stain remains stubborn, try to loosen the spot with a soft brush or synthetic scouring pad but avoid steel wool or metal brushes as these can scratch the surface of the tiles.

Mildew is a common problem with ceramic tiles and this can be tackled with a solution of equal parts water and ammonia, together with a soft brush. (Always ensure good ventilation in the area when using ammonia and never mix with chlorine solution/bleach). If the grout itself is stained, diluted bleach (3 parts bleach to 1 part water) applied with a toothbrush will help to lighten the area.

The key to stain prevention is regular cleaning. Dust and lint can turn into hard-to-shift grime if they are not speedily removed, especially if there is moisture in the area. Most flooring suitable for home use is relatively easy maintenance and simply require a weekly sweep, vacuum or wet mop to ensure that they look their best.

This article was taken directly from Floor Ideas (http://www.floorideas.co.uk). Also, visitwww.americarpetfloors.com, www.stylishrugs.com and www.americarpetcommercial.com for all your flooring needs. Americarpet sells all the flooring you read about on the article.  1a 2a 3a 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Best Carpet For Pets

Many of us are pets lovers but keeping animals in the house and ensuring our carpets remain looking their best do not always go hand-in-hand. Some people are tempted to give up, and simply choose hard flooring instead, finding it easier to maintain when animals are about. But for those who do like to feel the soft warmth of a carpet under foot, there are options.

Think About Color

The color of your carpet is perhaps the first place to start. This will need to tie in with your overall color scheme while also being a sensible option with your pets. Firstly, think about the animal traffic in and out of the room you are designing. Will you have pets – particularly dogs – that might, despite your best intentions, be coming in and out with muddy paws. If so, you will have to go for a darker shade – try blacks, chocolate browns or even deep terracottas.

Next, you need to consider co-ordinating your pet with your home! Having a carpet that is constantly covered in obvious animal hair results in a lot of work with the vacuum cleaner. If you have a long-haired dog, cat or even rabbit with dark hair, then do not lay a light carpet. Similarly, white or gray hairs will be far more noticeable on a darker carpet. To overcome the problem of grubby paw prints from a light-colored animal, choose a patterned or multi-colored carpet.

Carpet Quality

With regard to wear and tear, always take advice from your carpet retailer or manufacturer – and remember that you do tend to get what you pay for. Find out what level of guarantee comes with the flooring, this should give you an indicator of how long it is expected to last. The longer, the better. Also consider the pile on the carpet. Although long pile is may be warmer and more comfortable underfoot, choosing a shorter pile may wear better and less likely to encounter paw damage. Look for a non-looped pile as this is likely to pull on nails and to be loosened by playful cats.

Preventing Stains

If you have a puppy or kitten and are worried about house training stains, then once again take advice from your supplier. Some carpets have been treated with special chemicals and therefore come with a certain degree of built-in protection. These carpets come in a range of twists, piles and colors, so you should be able to find something that broadly meets your design needs. If not, research just how easy it will be to clean the carpet you really desire, should the worst happen. Some carpets, such as those made from man-made mixes, will be more suitable for home cleaning with a vacuum, gentle rubbing or carpet shampoo. Others, such as those made from natural fibers, will need more careful handling.

Animal Allergies

Finally, there are a few people who despite their animal allergies just cannot resist keeping a pet or two. While many of these owners will opt for hard flooring in a bid to be able to keep their home hair-free, others many still wish to have carpets. Options for those householders would be to have as short a pile carpet as possible or to have the carpet cleaned with a product that works to break down pet allergens.

Taken directly from Floorideas.uk (http://www.floorideas.co.uk/best-carpets-pet-lovers.html). We sell all the flooring mentioned in the article. 2a 

Friday, November 19, 2010

How to Choose a Floor Color for Your Home

When most people think of colors for their home they automatically think of the walls and then maybe the upholstery and main furniture pieces and accessories, such as sofa and bed linen. However, the flooring in a room is one of the single biggest elements of a home’s interior décor, playing a pivotal role in setting the mood and ambiance of a room - and yet it is often overlooked and its color hardly considered, aside from a practical perspective (e.g., no pale colors in easily dirtied areas). A bit of thought spent on flooring color can pay huge dividends in the overall success of an interior decorating scheme for your home.

Color and Mood

Research has long shown that colour can play a vital role in setting our moods and even affecting our creativity and concentration. It is a well-known fact, for example, that shades like red, yellow and orange give off a warm, intimate and even cheerful feel. In addition, they create the illusion of advancement, which can make a room seem smaller and thus make large rooms feel cosier. Cool colour schemes, on the other hand, like blue, green and purple, have a serene, calm and soothing effect while appearing to recede, thus appearing to make a room larger. It can also be used to balance an extremely sunny room to temper the brightness. It’s also good to remember that neighbouring shades on the colour wheel – like blue-purple-red, red-orange-yellow and yellow-green-blue, and – create harmony, whilst opposite colours create drama and bring energy to a room, such as violet and yellow, red and green, and orange and blue.

Go NeutralColour

selections do not have to mean a commitment to rainbow hues, however. In fact, knowing what you do about the effect of different colors, you might actually decide to opt for ‘no color’ or neutral shades which do not make a strong statement one way or another. This can be an advantage particularly when considering putting a house on the market, either for sale or rental, as it is more likely to appeal to a larger proportion of the population and to make it easier for them to superimpose their own design preferences onto the palette of your home. Even if you are planning to remain in the house, a neutral color scheme can have advantages, making it easier for you to redecorate or change the look of your home, simply by highlighting different furnishings and accessories. A neutral background of stone, beige or cream can easily look very different if accented with different colors and textures, such as warm berry tones in velvet versus black and gray shades in cool linen; or earthy browns in ceramic versus formal elegance in dark wood.

Of course, with certain flooring types – such as timber, stone and concrete - you may not have such a large choice of colors to begin with although you will still have ample ability to make a difference to the mood of a room simply by the shade you choose. With other flooring types – such as vinyl, tile and carpet, you will have a wealth of colors to choose from and the large selection can almost be too daunting. The functional aspect should always be the first consideration and this can in fact help to narrow your choices. For example, flooring for an area of high traffic may not benefit from being too pale in color, as this would show up stains and dirt easily (especially on carpet). Similarly, a polished, dark shade of hard flooring will show up dust and damage more easily and is something to be considered if you will not be able to devote a lot of time to cleaning and maintenance.

Finally, consider the entire house when choosing flooring colors in different rooms and remember that a good décor flows seamlessly from room to room. The most expensive materials will be wasted if colors are not considered, resulting sadly in flooring which looks like a clashing patchwork quilt across the entire household.

This article was taken directly from Floor Ideas (http://www.floorideas.co.uk). Also, visit my websites at www.americarpetfloors.com, www.stylishrugs.com and www.americarpetcommercial.com for all your flooring needs. Americarpet sells all the flooring you read about on the article. 1a 2a 3a

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Kitchen Floors

http://www.interiorarcade.com/images-pictures/2010/07/complete-marble-stone-kitchen-furniture.jpg

For the room that is the “heart of the home” the choice of flooring can be especially important. Your choice will depend on many things, from ease of maintenance and cleaning to the way the floor looks; from how environmentally-friendly you wish to be, to how easy it is to install; and from hypo-allergenic properties to longevity…plus, of course, budget and cost.

With the development and refinement of flooring materials, the choice today is endless. Here is a summary of the main types with a discussion of their suitability:

Vinyl (PVC) – despite its reputation as a dated choice from the 1960s, vinyl remains a popular flooring for the kitchen, as it is low maintenance, tough, hard-wearing and generally resilient. It also feels comfortable to walk on and suits a large variety of sites, as well as being available in an enormous variety of colours and patterns. It is inexpensive as well as having a good product life expectancy – for example, modern versions often have inlaid patterns which endure longer than old versions where patterns were only printed onto the surface. As it is water-repellent, it is easy to keep clean with a simple sweep and damp mop regularly to keep it in good condition. However, it can be scratched by grit and pebbles (or become embedded) and the colours and patterns can fade with time. Nevertheless, it remains a top choice for kitchen floors.

Linoleum – although largely replaced by vinyl flooring in the 1960s because of the hassle of having to wax it, this type of flooring is enjoying a revival today as new versions come pre-sealed and do not need to be waxed. Because linoleum is made of natural resources such as ground limestone, wood flour and linseed oil, which are renewable, it is therefore more environmentally-friendly. Even its maintenance is eco-friendly as it only requires a pH-neutral cleaner. Its components also have anti-bacterial and anti-static properties and is anti-allergenic. Like vinyl, it is also comfortable to walk on, hard-wearing and comes in a large variety of colours. However, it can be more expensive and it can be more difficult to find good professional installation.

Tile – it is hard to match this type of flooring for durability, as evidenced by the countless historic buildings across Europe. Tiles are hard and resistant to water, making cleaning and maintenance easy, usually just with dilute all-purpose cleaner and hot water, although it is important to rinse thoroughly. However, this hardness also means that anything dropped can easily break and it may not be so comfortable underfoot, especially if you are standing for hours by the kitchen sink! The other disadvantage is that tiles can become dangerous and slippery when wet – in general, unglazed tiles have better grip and you can also choose a tile with a textured surface to provide more traction. Another thing to consider with tiles is maintenance of the grouting as staining of this is very unsightly. And lastly, tiles can be very cold!

Stone – this is a similar option to tile, although it retains heat better and gives a unique appearance, depending on the stone you choose – for example, black granite gives a look of elegant sophistication whereas uneven limestone gives off a rustic air. Whether it is granite, soapstone, slate or limestone, this type of flooring is very durable, hard-wearing and low-maintenance. For best results, the surface should be sealed (except soapstone) and only pH-neutral cleaners used, as anything which leaves a soap film will only encourage dirt to stick.

Wood – especially for older homes, it is hard to beat the beauty of solid, hardwood flooring. Oak is a popular choice, although other types of wood used include beech, walnut, maple and ash – and pine is often used to create a vintage look. Wooden floorboards have a tongue-and-groove design which enables them to interlock securely and usually only require regular sweeping and vacuuming, with any additional maintenance depending on the floor’s finishing. In general, this is a form of water-based polyurethane. Aside from their beauty, wood floors are warm, comfortable, extremely long-lasting (properly finished and cared for, they can last the life of the structure) and have good resale value. However, maintenance of the finish does need to be taken into consideration and some will expand and contract depending on dampness and humidity. In addition, solid hardwood is very expensive.

Laminate – this type of flooring looks like solid wood but is actually made up of multiple layers of processed wood, such as M.D.F. (medium density fibre board), topped by a photographic image of wood and then all covered by a clear layer of melamine which is hard-wearing and water-resistant.

Because it is installed over a flat “sub floor” (e.g. a layer of plywood or pre-existing vinyl or tile), laminate is often called the “floating wood floor”. While older versions of laminate may have required glue for installations, new models have tongue-and-groove mechanisms similar to traditional wood planking which makes it even more attractive for the DIY market. Laminate is an extremely popular choice nowadays due to its ease and speed of installation and the low cost, compared to traditional hardwood floors. It will not fade or yellow, like vinyl, and yet is also scratch- and water-resistant. It is also comfortable and requires only simple maintenance. However, colours and styles can be a bit limited and the surface can dent if care is not taken; in addition, the fibreboard core can actually trigger some allergies.

Other options – there are several other types of flooring that are gradually gaining in popularity, such as cork which is an environmentally friendly, natural product and is warm, comfortable, hard-wearing and easy to maintain. It is also hypoallergenic and relatively affordable. However, it can still fade and dent and you will need to take care of the finishing. Also, because of its strong ability to absorb water, damp and humidity is a serious issue – in fact, most manufacturers recommend installation during the drier months and finishing carefully with a recommended sealer. Cork also gives off a distinct odour which some people may find offensive.

Bamboo is another type of flooring that is gradually finding favour, especially because it is an environmentally-friendly choice. There is limited choice in colours and styles, however, and it can also be expensive.

Whichever type of flooring you choose, make sure you faithfully follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning and maintenance, to ensure maximum longevity of your product.

This article was taken directly from Floor Ideas (www.carpetbuyershandbook.com). Also, visit my websites at www.americarpetfloors.com, www.stylishrugs.com and www.americarpetcommercial.com for all your flooring needs. Americarpet sells all the flooring you read about on the article.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Removing Stains from Floors

Despite the number of floor coverings that claim to be stain-resistant, eventual marring by marks and stains is inevitable, whatever type of flooring you choose, whether it is plush carpet or glossy wood, soft vinyl or hard natural stone. Provided that the stain or mark is tackled quickly, most can be removed without professional intervention.

Prevention

We all know that prevention is better than cure and this is certainly true when it comes to floor stains. By modifying your usage slightly, you can go a long way towards avoiding nasty stains and marks that may be difficult to remove.

Tips for Protecting Your Floor

  • With hard surface floors, even those designed for heavy traffic, such as durable laminate, take care when moving furniture or heavy objects across the floor. Ideally lift rather than slide, even with slick, shiny floors such as vinyl which looks as if sliding would be easier. If the object is really too heavy to be lifted, use a towel or a heavy sock under each leg to reduce damage to the floor.
  • Even durable laminate and vinyl can be gouged, scratched or dented so even if the furniture is immobile, it is a good idea to use felt pads or fabric-covered casters or gliders on any part that comes into contact with the floor.
  • For waxed floors, make sure that you avoid cleaning products that include or require water, always check the label and make sure it is compatible with the kind of wax on your floor surface. Also, never apply wax over a dirty floor.
  • Try to avoid high heels on wood floors, laminate and vinyl if possible and if they have to be worn indoors, make sure that the heels are not worn down to the metal nails as this can seriously scratch the floor surface, particularly hardwood.
  • Entrance mats are always a good idea, not only do they trap dirt and grime and outside moisture, they can also help to prevent unintended scratches from incoming or outgoing traffic, especially in the case of grit being tracked into the house.
  • If you have potted plants, make sure that they are situated in special containers that have ‘legs’ to allow airflow beneath the waterproof saucers, so that water damage and staining are prevented.

Be especially careful when using spirit-based products such as permanent marker pens, solvents, shoe polish and hair dye. If accidental marking does occur, wipe it off as soon as possible. Similarly for strongly-coloured food products, such as mustard and turmeric and also when using any corrosive substances such as acid or alkaline cleaning solutions. These will quickly damage the surface of the floor so clean up any spills immediately.

Never use abrasives on polished surfaces as they can cause serious scratching.

Finally, humidity can play a role in floor damage, especially with hardwood floors - so try to keep humidity in the rooms between 45 and 55%. Excessive moisture in the atmosphere can cause swelling in wood fibres, leading to cracks and buckles in the finish. Conversely, very dry conditions will cause floor boards to separate.

Dealing with Stains

Carpet stains can usually be successfully removed with patient sponging and blotting using just water and absorbent white paper towels, working from the inside of the stain outwards. Avoid using detergents as if these are not thoroughly rinsed out, they will cause the carpet fibres to attract more dirt and grime and thus make staining even more likely in the future. For serious stains, it may be worth hiring a professional carpet cleaner and an annual deep-clean is always recommended in any case.

For scratched or dented laminate and vinyl floors, commercial touch-up kits are easily available which include step-by-step instructions for a simple repair process. If cleaning a stain from laminates or vinyl with a detergent solution, make sure that you rinse the floor thoroughly with clean water afterwards as otherwise, the detergent will leave a sticky film on the surface which will not only cloud the finish but also attract more dirt in the future.

For hardwood floors, the key is wiping up spills immediately. Moisture is the main enemy of timber flooring so never allow a wet area to stand. Use a soft, clean cloth to wipe up the liquid and then another dry cloth to make sure the area is completely dry.

Ceramic tile tends to be water-resistant but it is still a good idea to tackle any stains or spills immediately. Usually, just mopping with hot water and mild household detergent should do the trick as the hot water will loosen the dirt and the detergent helps to lift any oily substances off the floor. If the stain remains stubborn, try to loosen the spot with a soft brush or synthetic scouring pad but avoid steel wool or metal brushes as these can scratch the surface of the tiles.

Mildew is a common problem with ceramic tiles and this can be tackled with a solution of equal parts water and ammonia, together with a soft brush. (Always ensure good ventilation in the area when using ammonia and never mix with chlorine solution/bleach). If the grout itself is stained, diluted bleach (3 parts bleach to 1 part water) applied with a toothbrush will help to lighten the area.

The key to stain prevention is regular cleaning. Dust and lint can turn into hard-to-shift grime if they are not speedily removed, especially if there is moisture in the area. Most flooring suitable for home use is relatively easy maintenance and simply require a weekly sweep, vacuum or wet mop to ensure that they look their best.

This article was taken directly from Floor Ideas (www.carpetbuyershandbook.com). Also, visit my websites at www.americarpetfloors.com , www.stylishrugs.com and www.americarpetcommercial.com for all your flooring needs. Americarpet sells all the flooring you read about on the article.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Types of Carpet Fibers

Pile fiber represents more than 80% of the cost of most residential carpet; therefore differences in price between carpet styles usually can be attributed to differences in fiber. Of the three most commonly used fibers (nylon, olefin, and polyester), nylon is by far the most expensive fiber and the best all around performer. In comparing price alone, a polyester fabric could be one-third less than the cost of a comparable nylon product.
In addition, when comparing two like fibers, there can be considerable cost differences between the two. Nylon, for example, may be type 6 or type 6,6 and may be branded or unbranded. These factors influence value, price and performance as well. It is impossible to purchase carpet and anticipate performance or value by fiber ounce weight alone. In essence, two 40-ounce nylon fabrics may differ in price by 30% or more. There are a number of variables to consider in selecting the proper carpet product. Hopefully, the descriptions contained in this explanation will make the decision easier rather than more confusing.

Staple and continuous filament

Each of the fiber systems used in the manufacture of carpet can be divided into two classifications: staple and bulked continuous filament (BCF). Nylon is produced in both staple and BCF yarn. Olefin is typically produced in BCF only. Polyester is manufactured in staple only; cotton and wool are inherently staple. Staple yarns are yarns that are produced in short lengths and spun and twisted together (like cotton) to form long threads of yarn and tufted into carpet. BCF yarns are actually long filaments of fiber that are plied together to form continuous bundles of fiber.
Many lower face weight products and higher end carpet products are manufactured using staple yarns. These yarns can be spun by the manufacturer into any size yarn bundle and provide more styling flexibility. This allows manufacturers to spin very small yarn plies for pinpoint saxonies and very large bundles for shag or cabled yarns. Staple fiber also is used to manufacture the beautiful velvet plushes that signify luxury and comfort.
Some consumers prefer bulked continuous filament fibers, because they do not shed loose filaments following carpet installation. Staple fibers will shed loose filaments for a short time following carpet installation. In some cases with staple fibers, you may notice your vacuum cleaner bag filled with these short staples. In lower quality staple fibers (short staple length) these filaments will work loose and accumulate on the carpet surface. As mentioned, staple fibers offer design opportunities that BCF fibers cannot. Better quality staple fibers shed very little because of their length (8-10 inches vs. 3-4 inches). This loose fiber is generated when the tufts are cut to form cut pile. While one end of the staple is anchored in the synthetic latex adhesive (see construction), the cutting of the tuft may sever the end of the staple that is not anchored. This unanchored cut staple will eventually work loose of the yarn tuft.
While this shedding does not affect carpet performance or long-term appearance, you should be aware that this is a normal occurrence and the shedding will stop with time depending upon the frequency of vacuuming or the amount of foot traffic. In rare instances, when shedding exceeds six months and frequent vacuuming has been performed, you should contact the manufacturer. In these cases, poor encapsulation of the yarn bundle with synthetic latex may have occurred. As stated, this is very rare but it should be noted.
To distinguish between staple and BCF yarns, look on the sample label for the description BCF or CFN (continuous filament nylon). Any sample label that does not carry this designation is probably a staple fiber. If you are looking at roll goods, where a sample is not available, rub your thumb across the fiber over the same area. If short filaments work loose, it is probably a staple fiber.

Nylon

Nylon is utilized in approximately 65% of the carpet sold in the U.S. It is a very durable fiber with excellent performance characteristics. Its strengths include good resiliency, good yarn memory to hold twist, good carpet cleaning efficacy, good stain resistance with stain treatment applied, good soil hiding ability, and good abrasion resistance. Nylon is manufactured in both BCF and staple fiber. It is the strongest fiber, making it an excellent choice for the heavy traffic of an active household or commercial facility. It's also the most durable of the synthetics. It is soil and mildew resistant and resilient, but is prone to static. Most nylon is treated with an anti-static treatment to reduce static. Continuous filament fibers minimize piling and shedding.
There are two basic types of nylon (type 6 and type 6,6) and each provides different performance characteristics. For many years, type 6,6 has been considered to be the premium nylon fiber, but technological advances in dyeing and twisting processes have narrowed the gap between the two. However, type 6,6 remains the premium nylon fiber used today. If you are looking for value goods, type 6 nylon fibers offer a considerable benefit for the money. Nylon fibers also can be branded or unbranded. For example, DuPont nylon (type 6,6) is manufactured by DuPont and is a premium fiber. Many fibers that do not carry a brand name may be extruded by the carpet manufacturer (typically type 6) and can be considered value goods. Branded fibers traditionally cost more than value goods. This can be attributed to a number of factors including the shape of the fiber (soil hiding), topical treatments (stain inhibitors), minimum construction requirements (twist level, pile weight), and consistency of fiber quality. However, you should not base your purchase decision solely on branded vs. unbranded or type 6 vs. 6,6. Because of lower cost for the fiber, an unbranded type 6 fiber may be able to provide better construction attributes for the same dollar amount.

Polypropylene

Polypropylene, also called olefin, is the fastest growing fiber segment in use today. It is a relatively inexpensive fiber, which is easily extruded by most carpet manufacturers. There are very few, true branded olefins available other than those brands registered by carpet manufacturers. Olefin makes up about 30 % of the fiber used in U.S. carpet manufacturing today. Its strengths include superior stain resistance, with the exception of oil-based stains, and low cost. It is a solution-dyed product, which means color is added during extrusion in its molten state rather than topically applied. (Imagine a carrot vs. a radish). Because of this dye method it has superior resistance to bleaches and sunlight fading. However it has poor resiliency, which can lead to crushing. Color selection is limited due to its dye method. It has poor abrasion resistance and its low melt point can cause fibers to fuse if furniture or other objects are dragged across its surface. Olefins clean very well and most staining is non-existent. Olefin was originally favored for outdoor carpeting and basements due to its resistance to moisture, mildew, water damage, staining, piling, shedding and static all for lower cost than nylon. Now it's more widely used for its durability and appearance. Since it's dyed before it's made into a fiber, olefin is extremely colorfast.
This description should not scare you away from olefin, because constructed properly, olefins provide an excellent value and good performance. Olefin would not work well in a busy airport or school environment, but will perform well in a busy family room. In acknowledging it's weaknesses, it is easy to find a suitably constructed olefin Berber or other loop pile product. Steer clear of big loop Berber with low density and never consider any cut pile olefin for residential use. These constructions typically fail with any fiber system, but olefin is especially susceptible to pile crush in these constructions. A properly constructed olefin will outperform a similarly constructed nylon product because of its inherent stain and fade resistance, but a poorly constructed olefin will ultimately lead to dissatisfaction. Olefin is manufactured in BCF only.

Polyester

Polyester fiber produces some of the most beautiful colorations available.It is also extremely fade resistant and provides excellent resistance to stains. However, like olefin, it does have poor resilient properties and thus, is susceptible to crushing. Polyester fabrics are generally sold in heavy face weights with high-density construction. Avoid high pile heights with low-density construction. These products tend to flatten and "ugly" out. Also look for high twist levels rather than "blown" yarns. Loose twists (blown yarn) tend to untwist and the yarn tips tend to fuse together creating a matted appearance. Most consumers like to dig their fingers into the carpet pile and if it provides a luxurious feel (hand) they believe this is excellent quality. This is referred to as "perceived" quality. True quality exists when it is difficult to insert your fingers into the pile. This is a true test for all carpet constructions, but it is a necessity for polyester fibers. This will be discussed in detail under the construction basics section.
Polyester is manufactured in staple fiber only. While it's not as durable as nylon, it's quite durable and resists wear. Polyester offers a wide selection of textures and colors. It is non-allergenic, sheds moisture and resists moths and mildew at a lower cost than wool or nylon. While it's susceptible to piling, shedding and oil-based stains, it otherwise cleans fairly easily and is enhanced by stain treatments. Some polyester fibers are recycled from plastic pop bottles, so if environmental concerns are a major issue for you, ask for polyester fibers that have been reclaimed from post consumer use products.

Wool

This traditional favorite offers a deep, rich look and feel. Wool remains the premier fiber in carpet construction, but it's price is out of reach of most consumers. It has excellent resilience and durability, but is very expensive often twice as much per yard as nylon. Other synthetic fibers have done an excellent job of duplicating the characteristics of wool, although none can duplicate all of these characteristics. Wool cleans especially well, provides beautiful colors, and has good resiliency, but special care should be used in cleaning wool carpet. Unfortunately, wool tends to "wear down" or the pile tends to wear away. In some cases bald spots may occur as a result heavy traffic loads. Wool is naturally a staple fiber. Although it is naturally stain resistant, it requires a high level of maintenance including mothproofing. Most wool products manufactured in the U.S. have been permanently mothproofed. While it's still extremely popular for rugs, it accounts for less than 1% of the fiber used in carpet.
Since wool can hold 10 times its weight in moisture, it is susceptible to shrinking and mold and mildew growth.
This article was taken directly from Floor Ideas (www.carpetbuyershandbook.com). Also, visit my websites at www.americarpetfloors.com , www.stylishrugs.com and www.americarpetcommercial.com for all your flooring needs. Americarpet sells all the flooring you read about on the article. 1a 2a

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Commercial Flooring: Functions


Commercial Flooring Shop Flooring Retail
Flooring for commercial purposes has to meet many needs – not only must it provide the correct image for the company or organization and be cost-effective; it must also fulfill the functional needs and practical requirements of day-to-day use. This can be a tall order so choosing flooring for commercial use requires careful thought and planning. Thorough consideration must be given to all functional aspects of the flooring – from the amount and type of traffic, level of wear and tear, expected longevity and even impact on health and safety, as well as any special needs – before even beginning to look at samples and choosing styles and colors.

For each different commercial sector, there will be a different aspect relating to flooring choice that they need to focus on:


Retail Sector

Many high street shops need to present an attractive interior while at the same time conveying a sense of quality and promoting their image. In fact, the look and feel of a shop can actually influence the amount of time a customer spends browsing inside the shop. They also need to keep the shop looking clean and neat, despite the constant, heavy foot traffic. Furthermore, they need to keep the safety and well-being of their customers in mind, particularly as research has shown that 50% of public accidents are caused by slipping and tripping. Lastly, they need to conform to the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) and ensure that there is easy transition between the exterior and interior environment. All these demands make the correct choice of flooring vitally important. One good choice is entrance matting specially designed to remove dirt and moisture at the doorway, thus preventing dirt and water being tracked all over the shop and helping to keep the interior flooring clean.


Office Sector

Offices can have similar problems at their entrances and require similar dirt- and moisture-trapping matting fitted in their entrance ways. In addition, offices need to meet and maintain a professional, corporate feel throughout their interior while still adhering to the DDA and Health and Safety rules, such as considering allergy sufferers in the staff, particularly if carpet is chosen for the floor coverings. High cleanability of flooring is also important as this maintains a healthy and inviting environment for both staff and visitors. Other things to consider are busy multi-function areas, communal spaces and transition areas like corridors and stairs. Lastly, acoustics are important in an office and the right flooring can help to maintain a calm, quiet environment more conducive to concentration. Many modern carpet tiles, specially designed for the corporate environment, are ideal choices for the office. They provide durability and retain their colors and appearance despite heavy foot traffic and regular cleaning. They are also more cost effective than wall-to-wall carpeting.


Leisure Sector
For the leisure sector, such as fitness centres, multi-function halls, crèches and other communal spaces, hygiene and durability are key criteria in the choice of flooring. Flooring design and construction needs to enable the effective removal of body fats, machine oils, general soiling and deodorization just by normal cleaning methods. They also need to be able to withstand heavy traffic and other high impact activities. The DDA requirements need to be taken into account again. And equally importantly, aesthetics need to be considered, with the flooring needing to retain its original appearance despite a constant stream of foot traffic and to have enough variety in color and styles to create imaginative and appealing environments.


Public Sector
Interiors in the public sector, such as schools, have a special need to conform to DDA requirements and also to follow Health and Safety rules. However, they too need to maintain an attractive appearance and enhance their image. Thus they need flooring which is safe to walk on, easy to clean, hygienic, long-lasting and also good to look at. Choosing a truly washable, waterproof floor covering which retains its appearance year after year is a worthwhile investment. There is now also flooring available which can trap air-borne allergens and ‘lock’ them in until released by cleaning. This can be especially useful in schools where many children can suffer from allergies, such as eczema and asthma.

Commercial flooring needs to work overtime to meet the requirements of durability, hygiene, easy maintenance and appearance retention. Therefore choosing the right type of flooring should be a careful process and not just an attempt to install the most cost-effective option.

This article was taken directly from Floor Ideas (www.floorideas.co.uk). Also, visit my websites at www.americarpetfloors.com , www.stylishrugs.com and www.americarpetcommercial.com for all your flooring needs. Americarpet sells all the flooring you read about on the article. 1a 3a

Friday, September 17, 2010

Should You Choose Carpet or Hard Surface?

Sometimes choosing between carpet and hard flooring can be a real struggle. They both have their distinct benefits and advantages and – with the exception of kitchens and bathroom – both can be equally suitable in a variety of situations. Here is a summary of their properties to help you with your decision:

Advantages of Carpet:

Warmth – the key reason for installing carpet is usually for warmth. It is hard to replicate the same feeling of cosiness and warmth with any other flooring material. In cold climates, carpets are almost obligatory; not only for their insulating properties but for the visual and psychological comfort they give. Thus having carpet means reducing the amount of energy needed to maintain a comfortable internal temperature and therefore saving money.

Sound Insulation – carpet is perhaps the best sound insulator you can find as a flooring material. In fact, it has been shown to be ten times better at reducing airborne noise than any other floor covering.

Comfort – there is nothing like the luxurious feel of a soft, plush carpet. Aside from being comfortable to sit and play on, it also reduces the leg fatigue normally felt on harder floor surfaces.

Safety – due to their cushioning effect, carpets are soft to fall on which makes them a great choice for homes with active young children who are prone to accidents; they can also be good choices to public areas as they reduce the dangers of slipping and the associated legal liabilities in today’s litigious society.

Looks – a good-quality carpet lends a unique sense of class and prestige to an interior, whether it is a professional office or a private living room. The huge range of colors, styles, patterns and even textures means an enormous amount of choice, with something to suit every preference and interior decorating scheme.

Lower Maintenance Cost – despite common belief that carpet is easily dirtied and hard to clean, it is actually less expensive to maintain than hard flooring, as long as both are maintained correctly. In fact, the very construction of carpet means that its loops and piles will trap dirt and dust until they are released by vacuuming. (Some people even argue that this means carpets are actually better for allergies as they trap the allergens and dust particles until vacuumed whereas hard floors force the microscopic particles to recirculate and remain in the atmosphere). In addition, vacuuming – even on a daily basis – is less labour-intensive and more time efficient than the dusting, mopping and sometimes stripping and resurfacing needed for hard floor surfaces.

Advantages of Hard Flooring

Maintenance – the main reason many people choose hard flooring is for ease of maintenance and cleaning. Most types – whether it is hardwood, laminate, vinyl or tile – require little more than a regular vacuum or dust mop, followed by a wet mopping. Hard flooring also accumulates less dust and dirt in the first place. In particular, spills and stains are easily cleaned and removed and in fact, many hard flooring nowadays come with stain-resistant top layers.

Durability – this is the other key reason people choose hard flooring. They can withstand high traffic and heavy wear and tear. This is particularly true of laminate and vinyl. They are ideal for areas such as entrance ways, family living rooms and kitchens, which may experience a lot of foot traffic and other high impact traffic.

Non-Allergenic – the general consensus is that hard flooring is better for people suffering from allergies or asthma as they are less likely to trap allergens. Research shows that carpet environments often harbor large accumulations of dust particles, debris, pet dander, dust mites and other allergens.

Looks – this especially applies to hardwood floors as they have a warm, timeless beauty that is hard to match by any other type of flooring. But laminate and vinyl flooring also offer huge advantages as they come in an endless range of colors and styles, which makes interior decorating an easy and enjoyable task and enables you to create the look and ambiance you seek with minimal effort.

Investment – again, this applies only to hardwood flooring: timber flooring is the one addition that will increase the resale value of your house – in fact, many will consider hardwood floors as a substantial investment in the home’s value. If well-maintained, hardwood flooring will last the lifetime of the structure.

As in many cases, the choice may come down to one of personal preference for style and effect. Remember also that it is important for the flooring to blend with the rest of the interior décor and for it to flow easily from room to room, thus creating a coherent whole.

This article was taken directly from Floor Ideas (www.floorideas.co.uk). Also, visit my websites at www.americarpetfloors.com , www.stylishrugs.com and www.americarpetcommercial.com for all your flooring needs. We sell all the flooring you read about on the article. 2a 3a

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Rubber Flooring

http://www.polymax.co.uk/images/Rubber%20Matting-Premium/09%20-%20Rubber%20Flooring%20Slate%20Effect%20Tiles%201.jpg
It’s easy to see why rubber is the flooring of choice for many commercial, educational and government establishments – and even, in some cases, a good choice of flooring for areas of the home. It has outstanding durability, as well as resilience and is also resistant to burns, scratches, dents and stains, as well as being completely waterproof. Furthermore, it comes in a stunning array of colours and designs and can also incorporate textures for additional safety. Surprisingly, it can also be a very environmentally-friendly option too!

What is Rubber Flooring?
Traditionally, rubber came from the milky sap of the rubber tree and natural rubber is still harvested in this way. However, the majority of rubber flooring is now often made of synthetic materials. Rubber has always been popular in industrial settings because it is one of the most hard-wearing and resilient floor coverings available and yet still offers a remarkable level of cushioning underfoot and impact absorbency. Its water-resistant and stain-resistant surface, as well as its chemical stability, means that it is ideal in high moisture areas and where thorough cleaning (with water and harsh cleaners) is regularly required. This also makes them ideal for bathrooms in domestic settings. (Note: in heavily wet areas, rubber flooring must be combined with a wet room system to provide a reliable moisture barrier and prevent water leakage).

Where is it Used?
Rubber flooring is used in a huge variety of settings, from airports to schools, hospitals to lifts, farms to restaurants, as its high durability and resistance to wear and tear means it can cope with just about anything, from dogs claws to stiletto heels! In many of these cases, particularly in areas of high traffic, it is worthwhile applying a maintenance layer of polish to the surface to make cleaning and maintenance of the rubber flooring easier.

Rubber flooring is used in commercial and industrial settings for heavy traffic areas due to its combination of aesthetics, functionality and value. It is also widely used in public transport as it meets the stringent requirements of public safety and durability – not only does it have slip resistance and abrasion resistance but it also performs highly against fire and smoke emissions. Lastly, rubber floors are embraced in the sports and fitness industries where their flexibility and cushioning, together with their resiliency and hygiene-promoting properties make them the ideal flooring material.

Rubber floors have also gained in popularity with modern designers as it gives a room a unique ‘high-tech’ look and feel, as well as being versatile enough to match a variety of design schemes. Modern rubber flooring comes in solid sheet or tile form and is available in wet suit finishes, primary and pastel colours and with embedded textures, such as studs or ribbing, for potentially wet areas to prevent slipping and accidents.

Features of Rubber Flooring:
  • Durable: most good quality rubber is guaranteed to last the life of the application without cracking, wearing or breaking. In fact, it is not unknown for the rubber floor to outlast the life of the premises in places such as airports, stations and public transport such as buses and trains. Their longevity is due to their high abrasion resistance and also to an in-built system of self-releasing wax which helps the rubber “heal” against scratches and abrasions. The other factor that helps their longevity is rubber’s inherent resilience and flexibility.
  • Anti-Fatigue: one of the key benefits of rubber flooring is its cushioning effect which dissipates impact energy and thus reduces strain on joints and muscles. This then helps to provide comfort underfoot and prevent fatigue. This makes it an ideal flooring for situations where people will be standing for long periods, from the domestic kitchen to commercial settings such as factory conveyor belts, bars, shopping centres, cash registers and transit areas. This cushioning comes from rubber’s highly-elastic polymer chains arranged in a unique cross-linked network, which enables them to act like miniature springs beneath your feet and gives rubber some of its great resilience under heavy weights.
  • Stable: rubber has in-built UV-stability which makes it ideal for outdoor use, weathering very well in semi-UV exposed areas. For strongly exposed areas, the rubber can be treated with a special sealer coating which will prevent fading and make it more resistant to strong sun exposure. Rubber also has good dimensional stability, which means it shows no noticeable shrinkage or expansion in fluctuating temperatures.
  • Insulating: rubber is a fantastic insulator, both of temperature and sound. The molecular density of the elastomers in rubber helps it absorb sound and impact, and reduce the transfer of noise, resulting in a quieter environment. Its thermal insulation properties also provide comfort in winter and even in summer, keeping the environment warm and cool respectively.
  • Hygienic and Safe: rubber’s smooth surface means that it does not easily harbour pet hairs, dust mites and other allergens. The elastomers within rubber also give extremely high surface traction, making rubber flooring an ideal anti-slip floor covering in both work and home environments. Furthermore, good quality rubber is formulated so that it does not produce any toxic substances when incinerated, thus giving safety in the event of fire – particularly important for public places.
  • Low Static: rubber flooring can be available in a static-dissipative version which is of key importance in certain settings such as hospitals, computer rooms and electronic manufacturing plants, where control of build-up and static discharge is vital.
  • Oil-Resistant & Water-Resistant: rubber flooring can also often be formulated to withstand oil, grease and chemicals which makes them ideal for settings where these compounds are present in high amounts – e.g. car dealerships, beauty salons, food processing facilities and laboratories.
  • Long-Term Economy: because of its longevity and durability, leading to a long life cycle – together with its low maintenance – rubber is without question one of the most economical flooring types in the long term.

Environmentally-Friendly Flooring?
Rubber flooring may not be your first thought as environmentally-friendly flooring but it actually has a lot of eco-friendly properties. Because of its long life cycle, there is no need for frequent removal and disposal of flooring materials plus regular installation, thus reducing use of chemicals (e.g. adhesives), wastage and demand on natural resources. Once it is finally removed, rubber can be recycled. Even if it is not, it is easily disposed of in landfills and in many cases, if it has been formulated without PVC’s, there will be no toxic plasticizers, halogens, or dioxins to seep into the groundwater. Lastly, rubber has been shown to significantly improve indoor air quality.
This article was taken directly from Floor Ideas (www.floorideas.co.uk). Also, visit my websites at www.americarpetfloors.com and www.stylishrugs.com for all your flooring needs. We sell all the flooring you read about on the article. 3a 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Can a Ceramic Floor Look Like Real Stone?

For those looking for a cheaper alternative to stone, choosing a ceramic floor is certainly an option. Visit high street stores, browse the internet or look on auction sites to see what bargains you can pick up. By shopping carefully you could find a floor that looks as good as the real thing. Colours come in all sorts of shades, from rich reds to rusty browns and from warm sandstone shades through to slate blues. Tiles also come in varying shapes and sizes – whether you are looking for large oblong slabs for your new kitchen breakfast room or small squares for your bathroom, the benefits of going down the ceramic route are numerous, and include both flexibility and durability.
A slate-look floor
The beauty of real slate cannot be under-estimated – from its deep colours through to its wonderful textures. Real slate comes in blacks, dark blues and rusty browns. It can be roughly textured, riven or even honed. When you buy a batch of slate you never quite know what you will get in terms of patterning and colouring. How close you can come to the appearance of natural slate with a porcelain tile really depends on the look you are going for. If you are wishing to achieve a highly textured, roughly hewn style then ceramic is likely to look just too finished to be close to the real thing. If, however, you are going for a much sleeker slate look – a uniform dark colour and a smoother finish, then your ceramic tile is likely to pass muster. Don’t forget one of the great benefits of opting for an artificial slate is that it will be much more impervious to water spillage and therefore damage.

Natural stone
A faux-stone floor does have a number of benefits over a real one. To begin with, it requires much less maintenance. Sealing and having to carry out a regular programme of maintenance will not be an issue. Scratching and chipping is also much less likely. If you are looking for a ceramic style that creates a limestone look then you will find examples that do their best to replicate uneven surfaces and slight variations in lightness. These engineered tiles, which often have a very matt finish, can come in large pieces and even when close up can be almost impossible to separate from the real thing.

Faux travertine
If you are looking for something that emulates a travertine floor, however, and brings that cool European feel to your room, then look for a light Italian-style porcelain tile. Once again, the light veining through these man-made products can really help to create the illusion of the real thing. Team the large oblong or square tiles up with a border made from the same material to create a Romanesque look that appears completely genuine. By using a porcelain or ceramic version of the stone you can achieve the same timeless look of cool elegance as with the real thing and you can create a floor that really makes a statement.

This article was taken directly from Floor Ideas (www.floorideas.co.uk). Also, visit my websites at www.americarpetfloors.com and www.stylishrugs.com for all your flooring needs. We sell all the flooring you read about on the article.  3a

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Types of Wood Flooring

For many people, natural wood floors are the ultimate choice of flooring and a lifetime investment. They feel that the timeless beauty and premium look of hardwood floors far outweighs any negatives of cost and maintenance. But the appearance of your wood floor can depend a lot on the species of wood you choose. So even if you have set your heart on timber flooring, take some time to consider the different types of wood and their suitability:

Oak

The most popular type of timber used, there are two main categories used for flooring: red oak and white oak. Most floors are made of the former as it is more plentiful and its beautiful warm pink and red tones give warmth to a room, plus blend well with most colour schemes.

White oak is growing in popularity, particularly as cooler, paler colours are favoured in neutral modern design schemes but also blend well with traditional “country” styles. Furthermore, its relatively impermeability to water makes it a good choice for kitchens and bathrooms.

All oaks take stains well which adds to their popularity as it increases the choice of colours and shades available. Dark stains, in particular, give a formal feel and are ideal for use in offices or formal rooms of the home. The grain on both types is a combination of straight and wavy patterns although red oak tends to have a coarser and more uneven appearance.

Oak’s popularity stems not only from its colours but also its versatility, being used from ship-building to barrel-making. Its great flexibility means that it will bend and shape easily, making it especially good for floor installation. However, at the same time, it is an extremely strong and stable wood which rates highly on the Janka scale, meaning that it copes very well with hard use. In fact, its pronounced grain means that it is particularly suitable for areas of high traffic, such as hallways and entrances.

Maple

The durability of maple and its resistance to scratching and denting means that is the top choice for areas of heavy wear and tear, and has been used in such places (e.g. gymnasiums and sports arenas) for decades. In the home, it is ideal for places like kitchens and hallways due to its resistance to marring by pointed objects.

Despite its hardness, maple is still comfortable underfoot due to its inherent “give” but as it is not as stable as oak it may need support from a small perimeter border when floors are being laid, to avoid damage during natural expansion and contraction.

While it does not stain well, it comes in a beautiful range of natural colours, from a pale white-blond to a warm honey tone and its closed grain has very distinctive, attractive patterns, adding to its natural beauty.

Beech

Like maple, beech has been a popular choice for floors that take a lot of wear and tear due to its durability. In fact, its durability and general popularity contributes to its status as one of the most commonly “reclaimed” woods used in recycled flooring. It is similar in strength to oak and will resist splitting and damage, while at the same time retaining a certain “spring” which makes it flexible and ideal for floors enduring constant high impact.

While it accepts staining well, it comes in a natural range of colours from pale white to dark cherry brown and is often most attractive simply finished with a clear protective urethane coating, particularly as its natural grain is a fine, straight, even pattern which produces an enviable uniform texture. Its elegant appearance makes it a popular choice for office interiors as well as home settings, blending well with both contemporary and traditional décor schemes.

Birch

One of the main reasons for birch’s popularity is its natural variation in colour, from creamy pale white to deep, rich, red tones. This colour depends partly on the species and partly on the part of the tree used, with the younger, softer sapwood generally being a pale, creamy tan whereas the heartwood, from the centre of the trunk, being a deeper, richer shade, from golden tan to reddish brown. It will also stain well and is often finished with a high gloss to emphasize the beauty of its natural colours.

Its grain is fine and straight, with good uniformity in appearance, making it an ideal choice for pieced floors. Again, birch is similar in strength to oak and is also resistant to splitting and damage. It is slightly softer than oak but extremely durable, making it a good choice as flooring for active families. This is helped by its mild flexibility as well. Thus, birch is a good choice for high activity living areas as well as office floors.

Ash

Ash is another popular choice for wood floors, due to its clear, light colour and durability. It is often chosen for smaller rooms as its straight grain, combined with its light colour (and in thin planks) can open up the room and give the impression of a bigger, airier space.

Despite its delicate appearance, ash is one of the strongest hardwoods, resisting splitting and damage and coping with heavy wear extremely well. It is harder than oak although not as hard as Brazilian cherry or walnut. Nevertheless, its durability makes it an ideal choice for high traffic areas such as family rooms and children’s playrooms. Furthermore, its natural elasticity means that it has a flexible “bounce” and thus good shock resistance. It will also stain well, although most décor schemes tend to take advantage of its natural light colour to brighten up a room, particularly one that does not receive much sunlight.

Cherry

Two types of cherry are used in flooring: Brazilian and American. Both have a reddish tinge but will vary in tone and colour, with American cherry being usually a softer, pink colour that can sometimes be almost as pale as white, while Brazilian cherry tends to be darker and more uniform in appearance. Both are susceptible to colour change with exposure to light and this is something to keep in mind, particularly if using in a very sunny room.

One big difference between them is hardness, with American cherry considered one of the softer hardwoods and Brazilian considered one of the hardest. It is thus a good choice for a hardwood kitchen floor or other areas that take a lot of heavy use, particularly as it is also extremely moisture-resistant. Both types are durable, although soft American cherry can scratch and dent more easily but its “bounce” and stability still makes it a good choice for floating floors which can be laid over a sub-floor without the need for any nails or glue.

Walnut

This is a premium wood, often considered one of the most beautiful in the world, with a natural colour that varies from golden brown to almost black and a very fine, even grain. Walnut is extremely strong, durable, stable and yet flexible, with a natural shock resistance - making it ideal for almost any part of your home. However, it is generally very expensive and thus is not generally used extensively but more usually just as accents.

This article was taken directly from Floor Ideas (www.floorideas.co.uk). Also, visit my websites at www.americarpetfloors.com and www.stylishrugs.com for all your flooring needs. We sell all the flooring you read about on the article.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Types of Commercial Flooring

Flooring for the commercial sector has to satisfy many widely-differing needs, often simultaneously - depending on the industry involved. It is not unusual for a floor to need to be attractive, easy to maintain, durable, resistant to strong chemicals and still be cost-efficient! With floors having to do double, sometimes triple or even quadruple duty, it is difficult to find a certain type to fit all needs, but here are some popular choices:

Concrete
Concrete is used more in the industrial sector, although it is also rapidly gaining popularity with designers for use in interiors to deliver an edgy, industrial look (e.g. for trendy clothing stores or restaurants). It can be stained and etched into a variety of attractive colors and designs. Concrete is incredibly durable, strong and long-lasting, although it can be hard underfoot and so not ideal if many employees are to be standing all day. It is also extremely cost-effective which makes it a popular choice for areas which may not need to convey a premium image. Note, it is porous so must be covered with a protective sealant in order to protect against staining and damage from chemicals, as well as general wear and tear.

Laminate and Vinyl
Probably one of the top choices, particularly in the retail sector but also for offices and leisure facilities, such as restaurants, laminate and vinyl offer a wonderful combination of practicality and aesthetics. On the one hand, they are durable, stain- and moisture- resistant, easy to clean and maintain and insulating underfoot but at the same time, they do not compromise in the attractiveness stakes, coming in an enormous variety of colors and patterns, not to mention wonderful replications of other flooring materials, such as marble, stone and hardwood. This last characteristic, alone, makes them popular as they offer an affordable way to achieve a more luxurious look on a limited budget. For example, laminates are a fantastic alternative to real hardwood floors; easier to maintain and much cheaper to install. If budget is not a problem, there also ranges of luxurious vinyl that inevitably come with a higher price tag.

Rubber
Again, a popular choice for the industrial sector but also in great use in the leisure industry, rubber flooring is used particularly for exercise and sporting facilities. It is also favored in the public sector, such as in schools and hospitals. Rubber is naturally hygienic, water-proof, cushioning, insulating, easy to clean, stain-resistant and very, very durable, coping well in areas in high traffic and heavy impact. It does lose slightly in the sophistication stakes but there are some situations where its basic, industrial look is actually desired.

Carpet
Carpet is mainly used in offices and high-end stores and other leisure facilities (e.g. hotels, spas), carpet gives an unsurpassed feeling of luxury and class but can be difficult to maintain in high traffic areas or under constant, heavy impact. It is also vulnerable to staining and moisture, particularly if a light color is chosen. Nevertheless, it is still a popular choice, particularly in colder climates. It is also one of the best insulators against sound, which can be vitally important in some situations (e.g. hotels). In some situations, carpet tiles can be a better choice as it offers the look and feel of carpet but is more affordable and easier to install and replace any damaged or stained sections, with minimal disruption to business.

Naturally, other types of flooring can also be used in commercial settings. Hardwood, for example, is frequently used, despite its higher maintenance as it has an unparalleled timeless beauty and lends a feeling of 'quality and value' to the premises. Ceramic tile is also popular, particularly in eating establishments, as it is one of the easiest types of flooring to clean and maintain, as well as being waterproof. Many businesses nowadays are also opting for environmentally-friendly flooring to promote their 'green' image and so may choose floor covering such as cork, bamboo and linoleum for their recyclable properties, their use of renewable resources and their promotion of a healthier working environment.

[Ed. Note: We still recommend carpet as the best choice for commercial flooring. With modern technology such as carpet tile it is very easy to replace heavily damaged areas or permanently damaged tiles. Solution dyed nylon is almost impossible to stain and can handle severe traffic.]

This article was taken directly from Shelter Pop (www.shelterpop.com). Also, visit my websites at www.americarpetfloors.com , www.stylishrugs.com , www.Americarpetcommercial.com for all your flooring needs. We, Americarpet, sell all the flooring you read about on the article.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Cork Flooring and Floor Tiles Revisited

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With the increasing focus on environmental-friendliness more and more people are looking towards natural, renewable materials for their flooring options. One of the most popular choices is cork, which is incredibly eco-friendly and one of the most easily renewable resources in the world. It also has a host of wonderful qualities which make it an ideal flooring choice in many situations. So here are some frequently asked questions about cork:

What is Cork?
Cork comes from the outer bark of the cork oak tree, which is indigenous to Portugal, Spain, Italy, Southern France and Northern Africa. This tree is unique in that the outer bark (cork) layer can be stripped off several times in a 200 year lifespan with no harm to the tree, thus providing a steady supply and a completely renewable resource of raw material.

What is so Special About Cork?
Cork is unique in so many ways: it is light, buoyant, compressible and elastic, rot-resistant, fire-resistant (in its natural state), impermeable and yet soft. Yet it is a completely natural material which cannot be emulated by any synthetic material. It is no surprise that it is highly sought after in a variety of applications, in particular stoppers and floats, due to its honeycomb structure, flexible membrane and lightweight properties.

Why is Cork Suitable as Flooring Material?
In many respects, cork is the perfect floor, in particular for families with pets and children:

  • It is soft and warm.
  • It is durable enough to handle wear and tear and heavy traffic. In fact, cork floors are more durable than many other flooring types. One reason is because of its elasticity and its ability to recover well from compression. This means it has the ability to spring back and regain its original size and shape. Having said that, the use of furniture pads is recommended and a polyurethane finish will help protect the cork floor further and make it easier to maintain.
  • It insulates against both temperature and noise: the honeycomb structure of cork provides tiny cell-like compartments which seal bubbles of air; these in turn provide a layer of insulation which means low conductivity for heat, sound and even vibrations. This makes cork one of the best insulating substances in the world.
  • It is easy to clean and maintain and beautiful to look at.
  • Ideal for people with allergies as it does not absorb dust and is also anti-static.
  • It is environmentally-friendly and cost-effective.

Can you use Cork in Kitchens and Bathrooms?
Yes, cork can be used in all rooms and in both residential and commercial settings. In fact, kitchens are one of the most common rooms to install cork floors, in particular because it is comfortable to stand on and very easy to clean. Although cork is absorbent, surface spills will not penetrate cork floors and can wiped off, in the same way as any other type of hard flooring. Cork can be used in the bathrooms and is especially good for providing a warm surface underfoot, compared to tiles. However, if there is likely to be heavy water spillage (e.g. children splashing in the bath), then special precautions are needed during installation to make sure that the room perimeter is caulked before installing the molding or base boards.

Is it True that Cork Does not Rot?
Yes, cork contains a natural substance called suberin which enables it to be impermeable to gases and liquids. It is therefore also naturally anti-bacterial.

Can you Still have a Choice of Colours with Cork?
Of course – cork can be available in its natural honey tones (and remember, as with all natural products, some variation in shades or texture is normal and part of its inherent beauty) or stained in a variety of colours, from red to green to chocolate to black.

How do I Install Cork?
You can call upon a professional manufacturer and installer or for DIY enthusiasts, cork tiles are easily installed using any water-based contact cement. For cork floating floors, normal carpenter glue will suffice. These types of cork flooring will usually come with detailed manufacturers’ instructions for installation.

Where can I use Cork?
Cork can be used anywhere in the home, from the child’s bedroom to the kitchen, living room to the bathroom. Because it is so abrasive-resistant, anti-allergenic, insulating and resilient as well as being naturally anti-microbial, cork is frequently used in public buildings, such as schools, hospitals, restaurants, hotels, shops and even offices.

Cork has been used since the early 1900s, with Europe having a long history of using this product as flooring while North America and Australia are more recent converts. The popularity of cork has now spread around the world.

    Saturday, August 7, 2010

    How To Clean Wood Floors

    For Starters -- Are Your Floors Sealed?

    Determine how (if at all) your floors are sealed. Cleaning techniques vary depending on the finish -- not the wood type -- so clean accordingly. Not sure what finish you have? Simply rub your finger across the floor. If no smudge appears, the floor is surface sealed. If a smudge does appear, the floor has been treated with a penetrating seal, oil finish, shellac, varnish or lacquer, and then waxed.

    For surface-sealed floors: Typically, new wood floors are sealed with urethane, polyurethane or polyacrylic. These are the easiest to care for because they're stain and water-damage resistant. Simply sweep, mop and relax.

    For penetrating-seal-treated and oil-treated floors: Also common, a penetrating seal or oil finish soaks into the wood grain and hardens. This type of floor must be pampered and protected with liquid or paste wax.

    For lacquered, varnished, shellacked and untreated floors: Although these finishes are not as resistant to moisture, spills and wear as the other sealants mentioned, treat these finishes (and floors with no finish) as you would "penetrating-seal-treated and oil-treated floors."

    Tips for Cleaning Surface-Sealed Floors

    DON'T:
    -Use oils, waxes or furniture sprays. Oil leaves a residue, furniture spray creates a too-slick surface, and wax makes recoating difficult. Also avoid straight ammonia, alkaline products and abrasive cleaners that can dull or scratch the finish.

    -Never rely on water alone or a vinegar and water solution. Water won't-budge dirt buildup, and (despite what some people think) vinegar and water is not as effective as soapy water, and it may even dull floors sooner.

    -Mop with a soaked sponge. Wring it out completely and mop in the direction of the wood grain. When the water starts to look dirty, immediately empty the bucket and mix a new batch of cleaning solution. Better yet, says Davis, invest in a micro-fiber mop and use it regularly. "These things are the greatest inventions since sliced bread, maybe better," he says. "They pick up all the built up grit that can scratch a wood floor surface."

    -No need to panic if you find hairline cracks in the floor. Dry heat during the winter can cause wood floors to shrink and crack. Those cracks should close up on their own during the summer months -- using a humidifier can also help.

    DO:
    -Contact your floor manufacturer for the best cleaning product for your floor -- if that's too hard to find (or too pricey) opt instead for plain soap and water. Add a quarter cup of mild or pH-neutral soap, like liquid dishwashing soap, to a bucket of water. That should do the trick.

    -Sweep daily if possible, and mop once or twice a week in high-traffic areas, like the dining room and kitchen.

    -Tackle scuff marks with a bit of baking soda on a damp sponge. (It's like a magic eraser!)

    -Plan for consistent maintenance. Even "low-maintenance" surface-sealed hardwoods will require recoating (see below) every five to seven years.

    Tips for Cleaning Penetrating-Seal-Treated, Oil-Treated, Shellacked, Varnished, Lacquered or Untreated Floors

    DON'T:
    -Never use acrylic, water-based, furniture or one-step waxes. Acrylic and water-based waxes can turn floors white, furniture wax creates a slippery surface and one-step waxes can trap and seal in dirt. Additional "no-no's" according to Davis are oil soaps or other household cleaners that contain ammonia, tung oil or lemon oil.

    -Never damp-mop waxed floors. Simply vacuum and sweep the surface regularly. "But for heaven's sake," says Davis, "do not use the beater bar that is used to vacuum carpet. Carpet fibers need to be beaten up to get them clean. All that attachment does to a wood floor is beat it up." Instead, use the empty headed attachment with felt surrounding it.


    DO:
    -Use a stripper to remove old wax buildup. Choose a product the floor manufacturer recommends, a commercial product or mineral spirits.

    -Get stripping: Strip your old wax and apply a fresh new coat about once or twice a year, depending on wear. If a high-traffic area gets dull in between treatments, you can spot-wax that area.

    -Follow these tips for cleaning problem areas. White water spots? Add a small amount of mineral spirits to an extra-fine (0000) steel wool pad and gently rub the area in a circular motion. Food stains? Wipe the surface with a damp cloth, rub dry and wax; work from the outside edge of the stain in toward the center. Heel marks? Add a small amount of wax to an extra-fine (0000) steel wool pad and gently rub the area in a circular motion.

    Tips for Keeping Floors Happy

    DON'T:
    -Use rubber-backed or non-ventilated mats or rugs; they can damage your floor. Instead, opt for rugs made especially for your hardwoods -- and remember to shake them out regularly.

    -Allow stiletto heels and untrimmed pet claws to run rampant (or even stride casually) across your hardwoods. They can cause dents and scratches that are not covered by the average flooring warranty. "Also avoid golf shoes or any other spiked shoes that you'd use to aid in fertilizing a lawn," Davis advises. "Commercial flamingo dancing in stilettos is also not advised."

    DO:
    -Leave the HVAC on. "Wood floors love 35 to 55 percent relative humidity and temperatures between 60 degrees and 80 degrees," Davis says. "Only do this if you want your floors to have a long life."

    -Place mats or area rugs at each entryway to collect the dirt that gets tracked in; particles of dirt can act like sandpaper scratching your floor. Also place mats in areas where water might be splashed, like near a kitchen sink, to protect those areas from damage.

    -Protect your floors from over-exposure to sunlight -- which can fade, darken or change your floor's coloring -- with window treatments and area rugs wherever possible. Be sure to rotate the area rugs and furniture regularly to allow floors to age evenly from UV exposure.

    -Prevent friction between your flooring and legs of furniture by covering table and other furniture legs with protectors. And if you plan to drag heavy furniture over a wood floor, Davis says, "use clean floor protectors, rubber wheeled dollies or multiple professional weight lifters for this purpose."

    -Consider taking that extra step for floors with excessive wear-and-tear. Screening and recoating will make your floors look like new. (Screening is a process used to abrade the polyurethane finish currently on your floor, then fresh coats of urethane are applied for a like-new look.) If that doesn't solve the problem, you might need to consider hiring a professional to sand and refinish the floors. If the damage is only in a small area, you may be able to save yourself all that work if replacement boards are available from your manufacturer.


    This article was taken directly from Shelter Pop (www.shelterpop.com). Also, visit my websites at www.americarpetfloors.com , www.stylishrugs.com , www.Americarpetcommercial.com for all your flooring needs. We, Americarpet, sell all the flooring you read about on the article.

    Friday, July 23, 2010

    In Depth Look At Tile

    Tile flooring is one of the most versatile forms of floor covering with styles catering for every taste and a durable, easy-care surface suitable for every kind of lifestyle. It is not surprising, therefore, that it is one of the most popular choices of flooring and is used in a variety of
    domestic and even commercial situations.


    Why is Tile so Popular?
    For those wishing to install hard surface flooring, tile offers one of the most durable options. It is especially suitable for high traffic areas, such as entrances and in kitchens and other high activity rooms. It is also one of the easiest to clean, especially where heavy soiling is involved so again, it is popular in doorways and other entrances where outdoor dirt and moisture is likely to enter the house. Similarly for kitchens and bathrooms, its stain-resistant, waterproof surface means easy care, cleaning and maintenance.

    Furthermore, tile is inherently attractive with a natural, hand-crafted look that suits a variety of decor themes and offers the possibility of limitless design patterns with differing combination of size, texture and color.


    What to Look for When Selecting Tile Flooring
    Most floor tiles come manufactured to standard sizes, from 4"x4" up to 24"x 24" and are usually 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch thick. Although usually square in shape, they can come in a variety of other shapes, such as octagonal and hexagonal.

    People usually base their choices on personal preference of colour and style but it is important to take a few other things into consideration as well. For example, it is important to make sure that the tile is rated for the type of exposure and wear it will receive. This basically depends on where you plan to install it; bathrooms, for instance, will need a water-proof, non-slip surface whereas doorways and entrances require an extremely durable and hard, abrasion-resistant type of tile. Ideally, they should also be water-resistant and non-slip (especially in countries with frequent wet weather, such as the UK); this means treating the surface of the tile so that it becomes 'rougher' and therefore provides more traction or grip. Tiles that are intended for outdoor use need to be of a material for outdoor use only (and some tiles can be used for both outdoors and indoors).

    Tiles are rated using a series of standardized tests which evaluate their relative hardness and durability under wear and tear. This is dependent partly on the firing process: usually the longer and hotter the firing, the harder the resulting tile. When tiles are 'double-fired' this means that they are baked a second time after color or other decoration has been added following the first firing and such tiles are usually thicker.

    The tests also measure the amount of water absorbed by the tile. This is termed the porosity and can be a very important value, especially when you are considering tiles for bathroom and kitchen floors. Tiles are usually categorized into Impervious (least absorbent), Vitreous, Semi-vitreous and Non-vitreous (most absorbent). In addition, porous tiles should be avoided outdoors in areas of extreme cold weather and the likelihood of freezing and thawing.


    Types of Tile

    Porcelain
    This type of tile is probably considered the 'luxury' end of the tile market; porcelain is fired at extremely high temperatures, making it very dense and therefore incredibly hard, resistant to wear and tear (especially foot traffic) and most importantly, resistant to moisture. In fact, it is often used as an alternative to stone tiles and is frequently chosen as an ornate option for kitchens and bathrooms. Porcelain comes in a range of colors and finishes and can be installed glazed or unglazed. Its premium look means that it has gained popularity in both domestic and commercial settings, with its combination of sophistication and practicality.

    Ceramic
    Probably the most common type of tile, ceramic is made from clay and/or other minerals using the traditional kiln firing method; one of the most efficient methods of production. The extruded material is usually shaped and then fired in the kiln, before being further treated with glazing. This means that color is added and a glass-like surface bonded to the tile. It also means that brighter colors can be used and the tile is made more stain-resistant. Tiles can also be left unglazed (see quarry tiles); if so, such tiles need to be sealed in order to provide stain resistance. Ceramic tiles come in a huge range of colors and styles and are popular for their simple beauty and their easy maintenance.

    Brick
    Brick tiles are usually used in outdoor settings and come in a range of earth tone colors. As they are porous, they need to be treated with a stain-resistant sealer. They can also be used indoors and tend to be favored as part of a rustic decor or an informal interior scheme.

    Cement
    Made by pouring cement into molds which are then fired or left to dry naturally, cement tiles can come as natural or have color added. It also requires sealing to prevent staining and moisture seepage. Again, it is more commonly used in outdoor settings.

    Quarry
    Another name for unglazed tile, quarry is often used in commercial settings as it is relatively cheap but still very durable. It is clay-based and usually comes in earth shades of red and orange.

    Saltillo
    A particular type of tile which has a very rustic appearance, these tiles are the complete opposite to the highly refined urban look of porcelain tiles and may be ideal for certain decor themes.

    Mosaic
    These can be porcelain or ceramic but their defining feature is that they are two inches square or smaller. They are often mounted on mesh or paper sheets, although they can also be installed individually. They also come in glazed or unglazed form.

    Terracotta
    Similar to the material used in clay garden pots, terracotta is known for its distinctive earthy color, however, remember that they are porous and very absorbent and therefore need to be treated with sealer for outdoor use.

    Pavers
    Similar to bricks and quarry tiles, these are largely used for outdoors, although some are installed as interior flooring. Again, they need to be sealed for moisture and stain-proofing and they tend to be thinner than brick.

    Cold Feet?
    The one problem with tile flooring is cold feet, particularly in chilly weather and it is also not very comfortable or cosy to sit on tile flooring in such climate conditions. However, the strategic use of soft rugs, preferably thick and plush, will solve this problem and provide not only comfort underfoot but also an inviting surface for children and adults to sit and play on.

    This article was taken directly from Floor Ideas (www.floorideas.co.uk). Also, visit my websites at www.americarpetfloors.com and www.stylishrugs.com for all your flooring needs. We sell all the flooring you read about on the article.