How to Flood-proof Your Basement

It’s that time of year again. When the humidity becomes overbearing, the heat is out of control, and we’re hit with regular doses of flash floods. 

Every year, these issues get worse. Two years ago, flash floods were not this common. Our environment is changing rapidly and it’s only going to get more dangerous from here. 

Everyone with a basement should be concerned about flooding. It can happen in any home and the risks only grow as time goes on. There’s no way to prevent all possible flooding, but you can greatly lower the threat with a few precautions. 

Have Proper Gutters

One way you can prevent flooding in your home is making sure you have proper gutters. 

You want to extend your rain gutter away from your home, and extend the downsprout way beyond the home. This will divert water away from the home and make sure it doesn’t gather on the sides. 

It also helps if you walk around your home during a storm and see where large puddles like to gather. If you see something close to your home, then see if you can install something to keep the water away. 

You also want to make sure your gutters are clean every spring and after the leaves fall in Autumn. 

Have a Sump Pump

No basement is complete without a sump pump. You want to not only install one, but two and make sure that you have a backup generator as well. 

A sump pump reduces your damage exponentially. In an environment where flooding only gets worse every year, you need all the help you can get.

Everything You Need to Know About Subfloors

When you imagine a floor all you think of is the top layer. What is my floor going to look like in my home? But have you taken a moment to ask yourself what’s beneath the surface? Knowing about the full layout of your floor can be helpful in detecting damage and saving costs. So we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about subfloors. 

Layers

There are generally four layers that make a floor. The joist, the subfloor, underlayment, and the top layer. 

  • The joist is the first layer of flooring. Every floor has joists, with the exception of concrete. Joists are made of engineered wood, laminated wood, or dimensional lumber and are laid out as short columns to provide foundation to the floor above. 
  • The subfloor is the next layer and the first complete floor right above the joists. 
  • The underlayment is the next layer and it’s used as a cushion between carpet or laminate and the subfloor. Its purpose is to keep moisture from rising through the subfloor and increase noise dampening. 
  • Finally, the top layer is the floor you’re familiar with. By this point it doesn’t provide much structural support but it’s what brings the whole house together. 

What’s a Subfloor

Diving deeper into the subfloor, a subfloor is what provides the structural integrity of the rest of the floor. It is the first full layer of flooring above the joists. The type of subfloor one might build depends on cost, endurance, noise insulation, comfort, and cleaning effort.

Materials

The material used for subfloor depend on which level the floor is on. Below-grade, or basement/underground floors are usually made of concrete. Same goes for ground level if there is no basement. Above-grade floors, or floors above the bottommost level are usually made of plywood. 

Signs of Damage

Now that you know about subfloors, it’s time to learn about how to spot signs of damage. Here is a small list of things to watch out for, that could be signs of subfloor damage: 

  • Squeaking – if you’re walking around your floor and you’re hearing a lot of squeaking, then the subfloor underneath might be losing its integrity. 
  • Sagging – same thing goes for sagging. If you see sagging anywhere on your floor, that’s a sign that its losing its strength and is preparing to give in. 
  • Bad smell – if you smell something really bad and it’s coming from your floor, that’s a sign that your subfloor has attracted mold due to high moisture. 

Knowing these signs can help you spot problems with your floor more quickly, saving you a lot of time and money in the long run. If you see any of these signs in your home, call us immediately, and we will handle it.

What is a Subfloor?

You may have heard this term when talking about your floor. A subfloor is the floor beneath your floor. It’s the foundational support that keeps your floor level and stable. Its importance cannot be overstated. While your main floor may be concerned about looks, your subfloor is what gives your home stability. It’s what allows you to only worry about cosmetics on the top floor and save money.

So let’s explore the subfloor a little more.

What’s it Made of?

A subfloor can be made of various materials. The subfloor is the bottom most layer that is attached to the joists. It’s usually made out of plywood or OSB. Maybe concrete if you’re in the bottom floor.

What does it do?

A subfloor provides full support for your entire home. They attach to the joists and hoist up several layers of flooring above it. All homes have subfloors.

What are Joists?

Joists are not necessarily the floor, but they’re the layout that keep the house structured. It’s the engineering that keeps it all together.

How to Check Your Subfloor

The only way to check on your subfloor is by removing your top layer. That means that your subfloor has to be very sturdy and last a long time. Long enough that you can wait until your top layer of flooring needs to be replaced.

Common signs that your subfloor might be having problems include:

  • Squeaky floors
  • Odors. Indicate mold or water damage.
  • Uneven spots on your floor
  • A bouncy floor

If you notice any of these signs call us right away. Your subfloor is the most important part of your home, so be sure to pay good attention to it.

How to Keep Pets from Ruining the Floor

Pets are animals. The puke and poop and pee and scratch and shed wherever they might please. We love them anyway. But the health of your floor doesn’t have to be a sacrifice for a loving pet. Here are 3 ways you can keep your floor and pets.

Clean Urine Right Away

Pets pee. And not where they’re supposed to. Cats have litter boxes, so they will only pee on your floor if something is wrong. But dogs might pick a spot anywhere and stay with it. The problem with urine is that it has a ton of ammonia that will continue to seep through the wood even as the urine dries.

Ammonia will stain your hardwood floors. Your best bet is to keep an eye on your pet and clean those accidents immediately. If you find a stain that’s been there for more than a few hours, pour a little vinegar on the spot so that it at least stops the ammonia.

Urine is actually very dangerous for your floors and these stains are not easy to remove. Sanding might help, but urine stains often need to be patched out.

 

Toe-nail Scratches

Good news is that it’s very difficult for your pet’s toenail scratches to do permanent damage to your floor. Bad news is that it does cause some cosmetic damage. Your floor will probably need a resanding more often than you’d like.

One solution is to go with a tougher finish, and more coats. You want to the scratches to scratch the finish, not the floor. If you scratch the floor, it will have to be sanded. But if you scratch the top layer of finish, you can just add a coat polyurethane.

 

Keep Your Doggy’s Toenails Clipped

It’s very important to keep your pets well groomed and their toenails clipped. Not only is it good for their health, but also for the home’s. This will prevent scratches from accumulating on the floor and you won’t have to be fixing it constantly.

See if you can train your dog to pee outside. And if your cat pees away from the litter box, take that as a sign that something is wrong.

Pets are a member of the family, and we can’t deny that they do more good than harm. But you still need to put extra care into your floor when they’re around.

How to Choose a Good Rug

How to Choose a Good Rug

Every home needs a good rug to pull the room together. But the wrong rug can make your space look like a mess. How do you choose a good rug?

There are three factors to consider: size, shape, and color. Getting these three categories right will insure you get the perfect rug for your needs.

 

Size

90% of the time, families buy a rug that is too small. For your living room, you don’t want it to only cover the table, and not even the entire seated area. You actually want to take that entire area and go one size over.

For example, if you have two sofas and a table that create something like a rectangle, you want to measure that rectangle from the ends of the sofas. The rug shouldn’t start in front of the sofa, but underneath it. That way the room looks significantly bigger, and the rug is fixed in place.

For other rooms, you want to find where the foot traffic is and ask yourself what is the centerpiece of the room. Use the rug to bring focus to that centerpiece and arrange it so that it matches with foot traffic. And in general, just remember – 1 size bigger than you think.

 

Shape

Shape is another important consideration. For living rooms I always recommend rectangles or maybe squares just because that matches the layout of mosts couches. Circular rugs can be nice but they have to be placed around a centerpiece like a round table. In general, look at the way your furniture is arranged and try to match those shapes.

 

Color

The right color and the pattern is critical for finding the perfect rug. A rug should be one of your last purchases. It should be there to tie all the loose ends of the room together. To find the ideal color, look at your furniture, you drapes, and decorations and try to find 2 or 3 common colors among them.

Then look at patterns. Are any of your furniture/decorations full of patterns? If so, then you might want to go for an even color rug. If not, then adding a rug with a complex design might add balance the room.

Finding the right rug is harder than it looks, but it is worth the effort once you it.  

Flooring Trends that will Fade vs. Trends that Will Last

Building a trendy home is a tough decision. Flooring is near permanent while trends fade rather quickly. How do you know whether your floor will stay trendy or not? Predicting is not an easy skill, but necessary when considering resale value on your home. While most fading trends will still be okay for homes, some will move from trendy to repulsive rather quickly. We want you to love your floor and keep its value, so we compiled a list of flooring trends that will fade, and trends that will last.

Trends that will Fade

  • Extreme Colors – Dark wood against a white wall will stay, then get out of fashion. Our guess is that it will increase in popularity through 2019 or 2020, stay popular for a few years, and by the end of the next decade it will fall drastically. While it will likely not hurt the value of your home, it has the issue of being hard to upkeep and every speck of dust is visible on dark wood floors. We are already seeing signs of a fade with the rise of medium colors starting to match the rise of contrasting colors.
  • White-wash – Another extreme color. We intend this to last for a little while, and fade for much of the same reason as dark-wood. It’s difficult to clean and will decline as medium colors gain popularity.
  • Variation Wood Floors – This one is a hard prediction to make because it’s a personal favorite. Variation wood floors are one of the most popular wood flooring trends and will probably continue to grow. But again, we see a sharp decline in favor simpler, medium colors.
  • Chevron – The trend of unusual patterns in wood flooring like Chevron will not last. Most people are going to look for more basic, straight-forward flooring.
  • Carpet – Carpet is declining drastically because of usability. It’s harder to clean. We predict it will be completely out of fashion by the next decade, although a comeback is always possible.

Trends that will last

  • Lighter colors – Oak and Honey wood are popular and will grow as extreme colors decline.
  • Eco-friendly – the effects of climate change are happening right now, and more people are getting the message each year. We expect to see a sharp rise in eco-friendly flooring.
  • Wood-look Flooring – Nothing beats a proper wood flooring, but we expect an increase in cheaper solutions, including wood-like vinyl.
  • Water-proof flooring – Floods are occurring more and more often each year. The potential damage to a home could leave many home-owners very worried. We expect a rise in water-proof flooring, especially in basements.
  • Personalized/unique designs, whatever they may be – While a lot of the unique trends are fading, we do expect homes to become more personalized to the individual. More people a looking to make their homes a reflection of themselves instead of conforming to the norm. We expect individuality and personality to keep rising over the years.

Because some trends are fading does not mean that you can’t have a beautiful home that fits your personality. Give us a call today, and we’ll create something beautiful, unique, and entirely YOU for your home!