Northern Virginia received an unprecedented amount of rainfall this summer. In fact, it rained a whole year’s worth in a couple months. We are facing the brunt of global climate change and it will worsen as the years go on. This will mean more flooding, more home damage, and more floor damage as well. For our basements, this means we must consider flooding as an inevitability. As sea levels rise and our waters become hotter, the ground will become saturated early into the summer. A saturated ground means that when water falls, the ground can’t soak up anymore, so the water flows somewhere else.
What to Know Before Buying a Home
For anyone looking to buy a house, you now have a lot more factors to consider. How much risk is there for flooding in your neighborhood and how will that change over time? Flooding insurance will have to be added to your home insurance (we highly, highly recommend you don’t skip it), and will your housing value drop as more flooding occurs?
Shifting from a Storage Space to an Informal Living Space
For current homeowners, this means rethinking how we use our basements. If you use it to store valuables, it might be best to move them someplace higher, like your attic or in a storage facility. You may also want to avoid hardwood or carpet flooring there, as they will be damaged by flood water.
It might be a good idea to change your basement to stone or tile. Tile would be our recommendation, we have plenty of designs that can keep your basement looking elegant without making a risk for when basement flooding occurs.
This post is not to say that basements are obsolete, far from it. The current trend is to turn them into comfortable living spaces. While storage may move to the attic, you get a lot more room to form an informal guest room. If you keep all of your furniture elevated, then your options grow even more, because they’re less likely to be damaged by any flooding.
Times are changing and so is our environment. It’s important we adapt to these changes before we face thousands of dollars in damages. Even something like changing the flooring now could save you a lot of money in the long run.
Hardwood floors are ever increasing in their popularity but many people would prefer something else for all or part of their home. Tile is still a popular option for many rooms of the house and understandably so. Tile is affordable and offers homeowners limitless design choices. It is also durable and very easy to clean. Although many enjoy the design qualities of hardwood flooring, there are practical considerations when installing flooring in certain areas of the house. Considering your personal taste, family needs, and budget, here are some parts of the home where tile could make more sense than hardwood.
Although many homes now feature hardwood floors, tile is a classic choice for the kitchen and is a well-suited material for this type of space. The main drawback with tile is that it tends to feel cold underfoot and can be uncomfortably so. Grout lines in tile tend to get dirty in any room and will need regular cleaning. However, tile can be cleaned relatively easily, cooking or food spills are easy to wipe up, and minor amounts of water will not cause rapid deterioration of the floor. A tile floor may also handle the wear and tear of a family better than hardwoods, at least in the kitchen.
Tile floors are a nice contrast in the kitchen, when cabinets are typically wood. A flooring specialist can help you come up with the best type and size of tile for your budget and preferences. Tile floors do not have to be uncomfortable! A padded mat by the sink and the counter can keep your feet warm while you prep and cook in the kitchen.
Hardwood flooring in the bathroom is most likely a bad idea since bathrooms are naturally moist environments. Tile works perfectly in a bathroom since it can handle this type of intense moisture. Tile made of porcelain is a very popular choice for bathrooms, since it is denser, less porous and generally harder than ceramic tile. Porcelain tile is versatile and can be made to match many different natural stone varieties. Porcelain also makes a better walking surface than ceramic tile.
Laundry Room/Mud Room
Like the kitchen and bathroom, tile is often the more popular choice for a laundry or mud room, mainly due to moisture. Tile is much better suited to the warm, moist heat from a dryer or potential leaking water from a washing machine. Tile is also much easier to clean if people or pets are tracking muddy shoes or paws into the space.
If you do not like the look of hardwood floors, do not fret! Carpet, laminate, and tile are all possibilities for your new floors! Just because hardwood floors are “trending” does not mean you must install them in your home. Choose what is right for you, your family, your taste, and your budget. Our flooring specialists are here to help you!
Choosing the type of flooring you would like in your home is only the beginning. If you have settled on hardwood flooring, your next steps are choosing the type of wood, grain, finish, and plank size. Our flooring specialists are here to assist you with each of these steps, starting with plank size!
Hardwood floor manufacturers offer many plank width options to choose from. 2-3 inch widths used to be considered the standard size but larger widths have become increasingly popular. Homeowners can opt for a uniform look where all the planks are the same size or they can choose to have a random assortment of plank widths. Plank widths of 5-8 inches have become more popular, but widths as high as 10 inches are possible if you have enough space!
Choosing the width that is right for you depends on a few factors:
Keep your budget in mind when choosing a plank width. Random width planks are typically less expensive than uniform planks, since the manufacturer will spend less time sorting through their inventory or refashioning wider planks to be a uniform size for your project. Random width planks also utilize the wood better and more efficiently.
Are you adding hardwood floors to improve the resale value of your home? If you plan to sell your house in the future, consider what is currently popular in the real estate market. Floor planks that are too narrow or too wide should be ruled out since either of these choices may not appeal to home buyers or stay trendy. The current most popular plank width is 7 inches so staying in the 5-8 inch width range is a safe option. Ultimately, go with a look that you love but keeping an eye on resale value is a smart choice for those who plan to sell their home soon.
Look and Feel of Your Home
Very wide planks can make an area of your home feel more spacious. Wider planks also have less seams in the floor, a look which many people prefer. Wider planks can also give a space a rustic feel, which may make them a great option in a farmhouse-style kitchen or sunroom. Wider planks are also an excellent choice if you are renovating a historic home but want to choose a look true to the age of the house. A random assortment of widths looks very authentic and natural and works well in a modern space or a rustic one.
There are so many options to choose from, it is okay to be unsure of what you want in your hardwood floors! Contact one of our flooring specialists today, we are here to help you every step of the way!
How to Bring Luxury to Your Home on a Budget
Staying in a luxury hotel or resort while traveling is a fabulous treat. These hotels are clean and comfortable, decorated beautifully, and lack the clutter and to do list of our everyday lives. There is no reason though to not feel like we live in a clean, comfortable and luxurious space every day, no matter your budget. With some simple tips and tricks, your home can feel like a luxurious retreat too!
- Create An Inviting Entryway
A nice hotel lobby is well appointed and welcomes you to sit down and relax as you wait to check in or while you are waiting to meet up with someone. You can create this luxurious, welcoming feeling in the entryway at your home. Keep the entryway of your home uncluttered by hanging up coats and putting away shoes as soon as you reach home. If you have the space, a small entryway table with a mirror above it looks welcoming. Add a lamp and décor to the table, a decorative bowl or tray to hold keys would work well. If there is additional space, a chair or small bench where your family and guests can sit to remove their shoes would all feel very inviting.
- Improve Your Bedroom
A clean and airy bedroom with a comfortable bed is a hallmark of any luxury hotel. This look is easy to create and maintain at home. Begin with updating your mattress and bedframe if you need to. Does your mattress sag or leave you feeling worse for the wear in the morning? If you have room in your budget, upgrading your mattress will seriously improve how rested you feel. A hotel bed typically has luxurious pillows and bed linens. A new crisp white sheet set, some fluffy pillows, and a duvet will help you create the look of luxury in your bedroom. Make your bed each morning to achieve the feel of a hotel. Also, take some time to declutter and clean your bedroom. No one can relax when faced with piles of clutter or if they feel like the space is not clean.
- Create a Spa-Like Bathroom
Walking into the bathroom at a luxury hotel can make you feel like you have entered the spa, with gleaming counters, fluffy towels, and boutique bath products. You can transform your bathroom into a spa-like atmosphere with a few small improvements. If needed, give your bathroom a thorough cleaning until it shines! Replace your shower curtain and liner and old towels with fluffy, over-sized new ones. Add in some new fluffy bath rugs and some specialty soaps and your bathroom will feel like a spa in no time!
- Think About Your Flooring
Hotels usually have a layered look with gleaming hardwood or tile floors with area and throw rugs layered on top. This look makes a space look well-organized and thoughtfully planned. Hotel floors are also beautifully clean and sparkling! Keep your floors clean with regular sweeping. Choose new area rugs or throw rugs that compliment your décor and coordinate with your flooring. If you have room in your budget, consider flooring updates such as installing hardwood or refinishing an older floor. These changes can really improve the look of your home, give us a call if we can help you make these improvements!
Choosing a floor stain is a big decision because it is not something you want to get wrong and have to repeat! Staining a floor is an investment in your home and a time-consuming process so you want to be confident in your choice before the project begins. Luckily, there are some questions to ask yourself that will help you decide which flooring is correct for your home!
Choosing between a Light or Dark Colored Floor
There are pros and cons to both light and dark-colored flooring. Dark flooring adds contrast to light colored walls, which will really add delineation between the walls and flooring. Dark floors feel modern and can help brighter-colored rugs and textiles stand out! Dark flooring feels polished and looks particularly elegant when the floor boards are wide. On the other hand, dark floors really do suck up the light in a room rather than reflect it.
Lighter-colored flooring reflects natural sunlight rather than absorbs it. If you enjoy light, airy spaces then a lighter stain may be the best choice for your floor. Lighter colored floors photograph very well and look polished with rugs in many different colors. However, do keep in mind the color of the original wood of the floor if you are re-staining an existing hardwood floor. If you are trying to stain a floor with red or orange tones, these shades will combine with the lighter stain and show through. Think about how this might affect the result in comparison to the shade you had hoped for. A darker stain is much more likely to cover red or orange undertones in the wood. Keep this in mind when you are perusing idea books or websites, that the floor stain that looks so perfect in the photo may have been applied to a different wood base. Ask your flooring specialist to explain how your hardwood may be effected by various stain colors.
Consider your Pets
If you have three black Labrador retrievers or five white Persian cats, pet hair is going to be a constant battle. While all of us should have cleaning systems in place to keep our hardwoods sparkling, pets continually shed hair and there will be times when pet hair is on the floor. Dark flooring camouflages dark pet hair while light-colored flooring can help hide stray white or lighter shaded fur.
Consider Resale Value
Are you planning on moving in the future? Browse design websites like Pinterest or magazines to get an idea of current flooring trends. Choosing a floor stain that stays in line with popular design ideas may make your home easier to sell. On the other hand, this is your house and you should be happy with your choice. A floor can always be refinished if the person who purchases your house may have chosen differently.
Our flooring specialists are available to help you make your choice! Contact us today!