Ways to Protect Your Floors from the Holiday Tree
It happens like clockwork each year…after the holiday trees are removed, the flooring takes a beating. Sometimes, the damage is so bad that your floors need to be sanded and refinished, or the carpeting needs to be replaced. The big culprits are water, pine needles, and sap. So there are helpful ways to keep the damage from adding up to more than costs of whats under the tree.
Cleaning the area where the tree will go is one of the top helpful things to do. Before bringing your holiday tree home, you want to prevent any debris from scraping against the stand. You will want to dust the floors with a vacuum on a low setting or a microfiber cloth. After bringing in the tree, you want to ensure that you use a vacuum and not a broom to not scarp hardwood floors.
Having a barrier between the stand and floor is key. Getting a plastic rectangular drain tray that typically go under washing machines or a specific tree stand mat would be your best bets. Either will collect any access water from the stand or overflow. Then you can camouflage the mat with a tree skirt.
When bringing in the tree, you will want to ensure you have moved all furniture out of the pathway. In addition, you will need to make sure the that you are lifting it completely off the floor. Any drops or drags will create damage.
Water your holiday each day or every other day to keep from over or under watering it. If the tree is under watered, dehydrated trees will shed their pine needles more. Then if the tree is over hydrated, then you could cause water damage on your floors.
Regardless of how you decorate for the holidays. Always make sure to take safety precautions for both yourself as well as your home.
Ways to Take the Old Flooring from Drab to Fab
When you are renovating your home, you want to repurpose as much as possible to save in the long run. There are plenty of cool ways to take those old floorboards to another level.
Your mudroom need a new bench? Let’s take those flooring scraps make to make a perfect hardwood bench top. The best part about using hardwood scraps as a bench top is that you can leave it as without applying a top coat with primer and paint.
How about taking your dining room to the next level with your piece of art? I call it a piece of art because it is going to take a long time to complete. It will be worth the wait in the end. A couple of time savers would be using metal legs or already built wood legs.
You can add to your bathroom with a shiplap towel wall to add a bit more of a cozy homey vibe. You can take leftover plywood scraps to complete the look as it doesn’t need to be perfect. As being imperfect is the whole vibe.
Home décor objects can be created by any left over pieces too. It’s functional as well as decorative. You can create neat geometric shelves or rustic picture frames.
Really the opportunities are endless as long as you have a little creativity and fantastic with your hands!
Best to Meh Flooring Options for Winter
With the impending cold winter weather at our doorstep, let’s chat about ways to prepare for winter. Some of these ways may be replacing your flooring to maximize your comfort and wallet.
Carpeted floors are the most common in locations with colder climates. To state the obvious, carpet flooring is one of the warmest and coziest flooring options. It provides a natural cushioning, excellent insulators with warm fibers to keep your toes warm, and offers a bit of thermal resistance. For a colder climate home, you are going to want to select a carpet that is deep pile with thick fibers.
With a heat radiating system, you may want to consider engineered wood flooring. It not only keeps your feet warm, but it provides a sleek and more modern vibe to your home. One of the big contributing factors is this style of hardwood doesn’t expand or contract. So it makes it an awesome contender, considering it is not effected by polar opposite temperatures. What makes it so resilient are the several layers in each board to giving it more stability and preventing cracking or warping.
Vinyl is amazing when combined with a high-quality underlayment. The underlayment will create a well insulated floor to be “warm” for your bare feet on a cold winter morning. Also a lot of vinyl flooring manufacturers come with a pre-attached pad for added warmth and sound-absorption. So this can eliminate the need for underlayment. This easy-to-install flooring typically offers a stain-resistant, fade-resistant topcoat, and creates an anti-glare from winter sunshine.
Most tile materials have excellent natural insulation properties. However, it takes a long time to get the “stone-like” material to warm up. Yet once warm, it will keep insulated for a long time. Tile is one of the few floorings that can do both, cool in the summer and stay warm in the winter. With tiles being laid directly on the slab, allowing the earth’s reasonably constant temperature to maintain the temperature.
Really there is no wrong way to go with flooring. It truly comes down to preference, style, and your type of home. Do what works best for you financially and aesthetically.
Heated Floors? Yes, Please!
Imagine waking up, and having your feet touch a nicely warm ground on a cold snowy morning. You can have that amazing experience any where in your house that has tile. Warm up cold bathroom floors, basement entertainment spaces, or even your bedroom with electric in-floor heating mats that can be installed directly under your tile. You can use it as supplemental heat for comfort or as space heat to warm the entire area. Installation is just as simple and easy as laying tile.
Electric radiant heating systems use wires embedded in a mat placed directly on our concrete flooring. Please note, these wires are not able to be cut or manipulated in any way. So ensure the size of area is 100% accurate in order to be installed. Take super careful measurements of the area and make a to-scale drawing of the space to be submitted to the manufacturer. Gotta love new age technology as some manufacturers provide an online templating program that allows you to design a custom mat. While others take your measurements over the phone, then they design the mat for you. Every company provides you with a blueprint detailing how and where to install the mat. Something to keep in mind, the mats usually come in 12, 24, and 30 inch widths with increments of 5ft in length with a 10 sq. ft. minimum.
Make sure your concrete is immaculate before you lay down your in-floor heating mat. This means filling in any cracks and using self-leveling compounds. After you have unpackaged the mat and fixed into position near the area where the controls will be placed, then you want to connect your mat to a volt-ohm meter to crosscheck against the manufacturer. If they match, you are looking good. If they don’t, then contact the manufacturer as your mat may have been damaged.
Every mat adheres differently to the concrete based on the manufacturer’s suggestion. Some recommend thinset mortar — the same mortar used to install tiles, and others suggest the use of hot glue. If it’s thinset, then fold the mat back super carefully, spread the mortar onto the concrete with a trowel, then fold the mat back into place. If it’s hot glue or another non-spreadable adhesive, squeeze a thin line of it down the center of each portion of the mat to adhere it and the wires to the concrete.
Next is laying the tile based on your grid. Wiggle and tap the tiles firmly into place to ensure a level surface. Read just previously laid tiles so they remain in line and properly spaced. After placing a few tiles, then you want to do a couple resistance tests to double check you haven’t damaged the cable. If the resistance test fails, see the manufacturer’s instructions to find the problem. Once the mortar has dried, grout the joints. Once complete, do one last test before it dries.
Last stage is wiring the thermostat, which is in accordance to the manufacturer’s instructions. For safety reasons and coverage, please have your electrician make the final connection to your circuit panel. Have them label it as well. Power up the system for 10 or 15 minutes to ensure that the floor heat functions, then turn it off and keep it off for two to four weeks while the mastic and grout cure and harden.
Ways to Tackle the Mold
With it being hurricane season and the temps fluctuating so drastically, you may be running into an issue with historic homes and mold. Mold in homes happens with either water damage or extreme moisture in the house/room because all that mold needs to thrive on is organic matter and moisture. One of the big problems with hardwood floors is that it is susceptible to getting mold underneath them. If you have mold under your hardwood floors, it can become a serious health hazard for anyone who normally walks around in that environment.
Mold build up is alldue to lack of ventilation. Keep open windows as long as possible to enable the circulation of air. If this may not be do-able based on the climate at the time, then it is always great to have a dehumidifier.
Molds habitually appear as staining, discoloration, and fuzzy growth on the surface. There are various colors of mold in nature, such as black, white, green, gray, brown, or yellow. And they usually grow from water, spills or moisturized areas.It can be a bit challenging to detect mold growing under the hardwood floor. You can smell it, though. Mold produces a pungent musty smell in your home, and if you smell the musty, pungent, earthy odor, you might have mold under the hardwood floor.
How to Treat It:
Vinegar has the ability to kill more than 80% of various molds. For the remaining mold species that vinegar alone can’t kill, many people have found great success in pairing white vinegar with baking soda. To kill mold with vinegar,
- Ensure you are wearing gloves + face mask
- Pour undiluted vinegar into a spray bottle
- Spray the moldy area directly.
- Allow the vinegar to sit for up to one hour.
- Wipe the area clean with a damp towel and allow the wood to air dry.
Note: The smell of vinegar will linger on the wood for several hours but will dissipate naturally.
When you are in a pinch, vodka actually works super well at getting rid of mold. No need to use the good stuff as rail works just fine.
- Wear face mask + gloves
- Fill a spray bottle with some cheap vodka.
- Apply it to the affected surface.
- Leave for approximately 10 minutes.
- Scrub away the mold using a sponge
- Ensure there is proper ventilation to dry
Bleach is actually great for surface mold. You actually want to do a combo between bleach, water, and detergent. With this combo, it will tackle the mold and keep at bay.
- Wear gloves + face mask
- Fill a spray bottle with 10:1:2 ratio of water, soap, bleach
- Spray the solution on the mold or mildew
- Let it sit for 5 minutes
- Wipe the solution off
- Ensure there is proper ventilation to dry
Mold is a health hazard and should be removed before causing harm. Mold can also stain a wood floor and can cause permanent damage. Products formulated for killing mold should be used with care and tested before using. If you are not sure, consider contracting an expert to remove mold from your home.
There are very few advantages of creaky floors (besides alerting you to kids being up past curfew) and often cause annoying squeaks. These maddening and irritating sounds can be common in older homes but newer homes are not exempt. They typically occur after the house has settled and the flooring lumber has dried out and shrunk. As you walk across the floor, boards rub against each other or slide against nail shafts to produce the squeaky, creaky noises you hear. Loose wooden floorboards are often the cause of annoying squeaks, but even carpeted rooms can be noisy if the plywood subfloor isn’t firmly attached to the joists. Fortunately, these squeaky floorboards can be silenced relatively quickly and inexpensively.
Repair from Below using carpenters glue
If the floor is over a basement or crawl space, go below to repair. Have someone walk across the floor so you can track them and listen to where the squeak is coming from. Once you pinpoint the exact spot, take a thin wood shim and coat it in carpenters glue. Gently tap the shim into the space between the joist and subfloor. Just make sure you don’t drive it in too far or you could raise the actual flooring. You just want to fill the gap above the joist and take out any “give” in the floor. If you feel additional support is needed, a 1 ¼ inch drywall screw can be driven at an up angle through the joist and shim into the subfloor.
This cleverly designed piece of hardware is called Squeak Ender. It has a threaded rod attached to a flat mounting plate and steel bracket fitted with a squared-off hook on the end. Installation is easy – screw the mounting plate to the underside of the subfloor with the four screws provided. Position it directly under the squeaky spot. Slide the bracket over the threaded rod and hook it onto the joist. Spin a nut onto the rod and tighten with a wrench until the subfloor is pulled down and snug against the joist.
Work from Above
When you are unable to access the floor joists from below, your only choice is to make repairs from above. The trick is to silence squeaks without damaging the finished floor. Fortunately, there are kits for this!
The Squeeeeeeek-No-More Kit can be used on carpeting laid over a wood subfloor. This kit has a screwdriver bit, pilot screw to help you locate the joists, depth-control fixture and 50 screws, specially designed to breakaway. To use this kit, first – locate the joist closest to the squeak. Stand the depth-control fixture on the carpet directly over the joist. Wrap transparent tape around one of the screws to prevent it from catching on the carpet strands, drive it through the fixture. Then remove the fixture, tip it sideways and insert the screw-head into the slot at the top of the fixture. Rock the fixture side to side until the screw-head snaps off below the surface of the subfloor.
The Couner-Snap Kit provides an effective and almost undetectable way to stop squeaks in hardwood floors. The kit has a screwdriver bit, depth-control fixture and 25 breakaway screws. Unlike the Squeeeeek-No-More system, the screw-heads automatically snap off when you drive the screw into the depth-control fixture.
- Locate source of squeak
- Start by boring a 3/32-inch-diameter pilot hole through the hardwood flooring (not necessary to hit a joist)
- Put screw through the Counter-Snap’s depth-control fixture and into the pilot hole. Drive the screw until it automatically snaps off below the surface of wood
- To conceal the screw, fill the pilot hole with wood putty. Allow to dry, lightly sand the spot. You can also use a crayon-type putty stick.
It may not be possible to silence every squeak in your home, but with the techniques described here, you can certainly cut down the chatter to an occasional chirp.
Fixing Squeaky Stairs
When it comes to figuring out how to fix your creaky stairs, it’s important to understand where the noise is coming from. Interior staircases tend to squeak because they are made up of a variety of wooden stair parts that contract and expand over time. You can use a few methods to stop the noise:
- Drive flooring nails at opposing angles
- With hardwood treads, drill pilot holes for the nails, drive nails into risers and countersink the nail heads
- Fill holes with wood putty