Tips For Maintaining Your Wooden Flooring

There aren’t many homes where wooden flooring would look out of place; they’re versatile, beautiful and can make even the smallest of rooms look larger. Keeping them in great condition, however, can be difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing. That’s where these tips come in, and if you follow them closely your wooden floors could double in life expectancy.

Pounce on spills as soon as they happen

wooden flooring

It’s impossible to just stop spillages from happening, so instead make sure you’re prepared for them and attack the spills as soon as they occur. Every second they go untreated, the wooden floor will absorb more and more of it and the finish will be dulled even further; if that spill dries up, then that will result in some long-term damage. A cloth or cotton mop is perfect for avoiding this.

Vacuum with care

Vacuuming is great to suck up deep resting dirt that brushes or cloths wouldn’t normally get, but if used incorrectly, they can do more bad than good. The beater bar (also known as a bristle bar) is the rotating brush section at the bottom of some vacuums that can rotate thousands of times per minute. This is ideal for a carpet, as it can be very effective at dragging up dirt.

However, for a wooden floor, it can rapidly dull the woods finish and take months off its life span. Instead, either use a vacuum without a beater bar or switch the mode to Hard Floor, if that is an option available to you.

Use mats at entrances

floor mat

Think about everything that could be on the pavement outside your home; glass, faeces, hard stones, so on. These can all get captured in the grooves of your shoes, and dragged into your home. Grass and mud might be a nuisance to clean up, but stones and glass could cause some serious damage to your wooden floor. To cut this down, tough mats at the entrances to your home and rooms are perfect for collecting this dirt and debris.

Better yet, you could take a page out of Asian culture and remove your shoes as you enter. While mats are effective, it doesn’t get more effective than taking your shoes off completely.

Follow the grain

To keep your wooden floors looking as good as possible for as long as possible, we also recommend following the grain of the wood when you clean. Sweeps and strokes going in the same direction of the wood means you won’t disrupt the grain too much, and the protective layer will be kept intact for longer.

Keep that mop (relatively) dry

A very common mistake when it comes to cleaning wood floors is using too much water. It might sound counter-intuitive, but your mop should be almost dry when you use it and only slightly damp at the touch. Similar to the first tip that mentioned how bad spills were for your wood, too much water means the wood will absorb some of it; which can lead to the warping of the wood or a ruined finish.

Let us know in the comments below if you have any other tips for looking after wooden floors!

Author bio: Criterion Flooring are wood flooring experts who specialize in the restoration and installation of wood floors. They also supply and install Oak, Bordeaux, Laminate and Alternative Floors.

Pre-Autumn Updates: 5 Things to Check on Your House Before Summer Ends

Pre-Autumn Updates: 5 Things to Check on Your House Before Summer Ends

The steps that you take in the coming weeks could have a major impact on your family’s comfort once the weather cools off. Seasonal maintenance will also help you cut back on your energy bills and save a little extra money every month when you start using your furnace or boiler again. Here is a look at five areas of your home you should take a look at well before the summer ends.

Check on Your Furnace or Boiler 

Most newer furnaces and boilers are designed to last for well over a decade, but they still require constant maintenance. When your HVAC system is being used regularly, you might need to change the filters as often as once every month. Homeowners should also have their heating and cooling systems inspected by an HVAC contractor twice a year.

Seal Cracks and Openings

Keeping your home at a consistent temperature is going to be nearly impossible if you have openings around doors, windows, vents, and pipes. Even with high-quality insulation and a new HVAC system, small openings will allow quite a bit of warm air to escape from your home during the winter months. Most smaller openings can easily be sealed with a caulking gun and all-purpose caulking.

Inspect the Roof for Damage

Your roof, rain gutters, and downspouts should never have any cracks or clogs. A minor pinhole or clog could cause thousands of dollars in damage during a rainstorm, and your home insurance might not cover the repairs. If you are unsure of how to inspect your roof for damage, then you should schedule a service call with a local roofing contractor like Gutter Magician NKY or someone else who has gutter service options.

Protect the Pipes

Any water pipes that are exposed to cold temperatures could burst when the weather begins to change. All of the pipes inside your home should be checked for leaks and wrapped in foam pipe covers before the start of autumn. You also need to close the shutoff valve that controls your outdoor faucets and remove the bleeder caps to drain any remaining water.

Upgrade the Insulation

High-quality insulation will keep your home at a comfortable and consistent temperature no matter what the weather is like outside. At the very least, you need to check your insulation a few times a year for any signs of damage. Homeowners who have a little extra money to invest back into their property should consider upgrading to blown-in insulation with a high R-value.

Another project that you might want to tackle this summer is scheduling a comprehensive energy audit for your home. During an audit, a specialist will inspect your property and come up with a detailed list of changes you can make to improve your home’s efficiency.

Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from Utah. She enjoys Tennis and spending time with her family.

 

How To Clean Your Retractable Shade Awnings

Many people forget to care for their retractable awning once it’s installed and keep using it every day and for months and years till one day they realize that multiple problems have developed with the uncared for awning. The awning may stop rolling in or out smoothly, or may develop mildew and fungi, or may have too coarse and thick covering of dust on it to make it frizzy, etc. Most of these problems can be avoided easily with a little maintenance and periodic cleaning. A clean and well-maintained outdoor retractable awning would last for many years. Here are some expert tips and steps to clean your outdoor awnings.

awning
Retractable Shade Awnings

  • Steps for general cleaning

A general cleaning is advised every month to keep the awning in good health. This just needs a broom and a water hose.

  1. Clean the awning fabric outside and inside with a broom
  2. Now clean the awning with a jet of water and use only cold water
  3. Allow the fabric to air dry completely before you retract it

This cleaning is required once a month, and without any serious steps, the awning will keep looking nice and shining with this much care. However, you need to clean the retractable shade awning once in 2 to 3 years with soap water.

  • Soap water cleaning steps

To clean the awning with soap water, use only mild soaps, and avoid the use of harsh chemical and detergents. Also, use only cold water for this.

  1. Use a broom to clean the fabric outside and inside very well.
  2. Now with a hose of cold water, wet the fabric.
  3. Make soap water solution, and then sprinkle the solution on fabric and gentle rinse in patches with a soft brush. Start from the bottom and move upwards.
  4. Now leave the soap water and give some time for the soap to work, as it loosens the dirt.
  5. Now rinse off the soap with cold water.
  6. Allow the fabric to air dry completely
  7. Retract it

All types of dirt and stains can be removed from outdoor awnings when you use the right cleaner for the problem. Oil stains, paint stains, bird droppings, mold and mildew, rust stains, and everything will be gone with the right cleaner.

  • Facts you must know to keep the awning good

Besides cleaning the awning periodically, there are some words of caution, which you must know and follow. They are:

  1. Shrubs and vines, which twine around the awning or touch it, may contain chemicals and acids, which will slowly corrode the fabric and the metal bar. Hence, you should try to keep such elements away from the awning and prune shrubs and vines nearby.
  2. Never retract an awning while the fabric is still wet. This way the fabric will develop molds and mildew on it, and eventually smell awfully bad, and freeze while rolling on or out.
  3. The awning frame is made of aluminum like metal, which does not demand much cleaning etc. Hence, you may loosely broom it in a month and forget.
  4. Never wet the motor part of the awning. Wetting the framework or the motor will bring trouble.
  • Outdoor retractable awnings need little and general care mostly

Generally, retractable shade awnings are made of stain and mold resistant fabrics, which are treated accordingly to show such characteristic. However, when too much of dirt builds up, then molds may grow not directly on the fabric, but on the dirt clumps. Hence, a periodic cleaning ensues that you won’t face challenge while retracting the awning or rolling it out. It will look fresh and stay as it is for longer period of time.

How to Maintain Metal Surfaces in Your Yard

Since the early times, people have praised metal for properties they couldn’t get from natural materials. But actually, metal is much closer to nature than many people think. The iron ore comes from the depths of the earth, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that metal feels in our gardens like at home. Still, as a man-made material, metal is more susceptible to elements than other materials used in landscaping. Its arch-nemesis is rust – so homeowners need to intervene from time to time to keep metal features like fences, furniture, posts, taps, gates, rails, and grates in a mint condition.

How to Maintain Metal Surfaces in Your Yard

Coating vs. painting

Rainfall and unsteady temperature always conspire to chip away the metal coating. Once the protective layer is damaged, rust is never far behind. One way to avoid it is to choose the most suitable metal for the intended use. Products with baked-on enamel or powder-coated surfaces will last long, without any special maintenance. On the other hand, varnished metal or surfaces protected with regular paint are prone to peeling, flaking, and chipping. Metals with superior coatings are expensive, but their longevity definitely justifies the initial cost.

Debris attracts moisture

With its intricate details, metal patio furniture is particularly exposed to a risk of decay. However, a few simple routines can make it last many years. The first defence against rust is cleanliness. At least twice a year, let’s say in spring and autumn, give your patio set a good scrub. Stir some liquid detergent in a bucket of warm water and use a sponge to remove dust and debris that attract moisture. Use an old toothbrush to reach hidden areas. When you are done, rinse away the detergent with a garden hose and leave the pieces to air-dry in the sun.

Physical protection

As mentioned above, it is the coating that safeguards metal from rusting. Careless handling can make two metal surfaces clink and cause chipping on one or both pieces. Whenever you need to move metal furniture, lift the pieces from the ground instead of dragging them. When the time comes to pack your outdoor furniture inside, make sure you protect the pieces with old towels or bed sheets to prevent them from scraping against each other.

How to Maintain Metal Surfaces in Your Yard

Quick and effective solution

Still, even if you take all precautions, no one can guarantee that rust won’t develop over time. Although seemingly a small problem at first, it can get more serious if left unattended. Once you spot a small patch of rust, clean the area as described above and stop the corrosion in its tracks by using a quality rust converter. These products interact with iron oxide, converting it into an adherent black layer that is moisture-resistant and provides an excellent surface for latex and enamel paints.

Highly damaged surfaces

In cases of more extensive damage and negligence, you may need to refinish the metal – a task that demands more time and effort. Before you can start refinishing, you need to get to the bare metal surface. Using a wire brush or a special wire wheel drill attachment, scrape away the old coating. Take care not to damage crevices and folds that may be a part of the design. After you have removed the coating, wipe down the dust with a damp cloth and let everything dry before you apply the primer and metal paint.

The majority of homeowners regularly tend to their lawns and shrubs, trimming and clipping to add appeal to their gardens, but only a few pay the same attention to metal elements in their yards. With rust, prevention is the best protection, but when the surface layer is already damaged, quality anti-corrosion products can save the day.

 

 

 

Is Your Home Ready for Fall? 4 Things You Must Do Before the Season Changes

Is Your Home Ready for Fall 4 Things You Must Do Before the Season Changes

Fall is a time when the leaves change color, football is back on television and the temperatures start to cool off. This is a good time to inspect your home and make sure that it is ready for the cooler and wetter weather typical of fall and beyond. Let’s look at some items that you should check before summer ends.

Check for Nests of Any Kind

While there may not be any wasps or bees flying around this late in the year, it is a good idea to check for nests. If you see any, it is a good idea to knock them down as it increases the odds that they don’t come back next year. You should also spray for bees, ants and any other pest that may try to make a home in your home.

Organize and Clean the Garage and Shed

As the weather gets colder and wetter, dirt can easily turn into mud that gets tracked into your house. If you have old grass clippings or other debris in the garage or shed, it can turn into sludge or otherwise decompose, which can lead to a nasty smell. It may also attract insects looking for an easy meal. If you own a lawn mower, make sure to clean it and store the gas securely before putting it away for the fall and winter.

Have Your Roof Inspected

Even a slight amount of water damage can wreak havoc on your home. In many cases, water leaks from the roof and flows throughout the entire home. Inspecting your roof and having it worked on by a professional, such as one from Berwald Roofing Inc, can prevent water damage from becoming a major issue. It can also prevent damage caused by insects and exposed roof decking.

Get the Furnace Inspected Too

The summer months are the perfect time to have your furnace inspected because demand will be low. This means that you can get someone to look at it in a timely manner and for a lower price. Many contractors offer service packages that provide seasonal inspections for a flat fee, and repairs may also be covered with a service package.

The fall season is considered to be a transitional one. While it won’t be cold and snowy for another couple of months, you know that winter is coming sooner rather than later. Therefore, now is the best time to get your home ready for the changing weather conditions. If you aren’t up to doing this work yourself, don’t hesitate to call a professional as soon as possible.