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.