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5 Main Differences Between Solid Hardwood and Engineered Hardwood

When thinking about interior design, there are so many decisions to make. From deciding which kitchen cabinets you’d like to choosing windows, balancing style and practicality is a difficult feat.

That said, there’s no more difficult a decision than selecting the right flooring for your home. Unfortunately, there’s no one size fits all solution. That said if you’re looking for longevity, durability and style, you can’t often beat hardwood flooring. Whatever your style or individual requirements, the wide options of hardwood floors available mean you’re sure to find something to suit your space.

That said, while hardwood floors are elegant and timeless, they’re not all created equally. When it comes to hardwood floors there are two main types: solid and engineered. Solid hardwood planks are created from a single thick piece of wood. Engineered hardwood, on the other hand, has a core of plywood with a layer of hardwood veneer applied to the surface.  

Traditional solid hardwood floors have been in demand for many years but recently, engineered wooden floors have received a surge in popularity. As both options provide a beautiful finish, it can be hard to compare the two. To help you make an informed decision, we have compiled a list of 5 key differences between solid and engineered hardwood.

Cost

In most scenarios, your budget will help determine which option is best for you. Generally, engineered hardwood is less expensive than solid hardwood, but at the end of the day, the quality and species of the wood will be the largest price determinant. Ultimately, exotic varieties of solid wood are more expensive than engineered hardwood.

There is no definitive cost for either type, the price range varies greatly. The cost of engineered hardwood is generally $3 to $14 per square foot, but this price will depend on plank thickness and wood species. Depending on the hardness and durability of the wood, most solid hardwood floors cost between $8 and $15 per square foot.

Installation

As engineered hardwood is less likely to buckle or react to heat, there are a variety of installation options available. The fact that engineered wood does not react to changing temperatures, means that this alternative can be installed above or below ground level. Since solid hardwood will expand and contract over time, this wood can only be installed on or above ground level.

Engineered hardwood can be installed fast and in a variety of different spaces. This option is your best choice if you’re looking for a do-it-yourself project. Most styles of engineered wood can be glued or nailed down. In fact, in some cases, similar to laminate flooring, you can opt for a type that locks the planks together without fasteners.

Solid hardwoods generally have a longer installation process; the flooring is attached with a specific flooring nailer then sanded and finished. This sanding process can be difficult to navigate if you don’t have experience, and although you can do it yourself, hiring a professional will get the job done much quicker and neater!

Stability & Durability

The good news is that both forms of hardwood offer durability and toughness. That said, solid woods still come out on top and are inherently sturdier as they must be permanently nailed or glued to your subfloor.

That said, in extreme temperatures, engineered woods have greater structural stability, which offers better resistance against buckling. While this is definitely a benefit, the durability of engineered wood is not comparable to solid forms, mainly because the surfaces on these engineered types are quite thin and therefore prone to chips over time.

Moisture Resistance

When it comes to moisture, engineered wooden floors are probably the better choice. Engineered wood is constructed with a plywood base, which means that moisture is less likely to flex or warp the boards. The fibers in the plywood run in cross-wise layers, helping to resist moisture build-up.

Solid hardwood floors are not recommendable in any areas where moisture is prevalent. This means it’s probably best to avoid solid woods for your bathroom or any areas which require regular mopping. Even still, solid hardwood can still resist moisture to some extent, but this will depend on whether the wood is pre-finished or site-finished. Site-finished wood has a sealed top layer which helps to absorb some moisture.

Environmental Considerations

Most people want to support products that sustain a positive environmental approach. In most cases, engineered hardwood floors are more eco-friendly than solid wood. The manufacturing process for engineered wood is less wasteful and requires less energy than most other flooring types. However, this isn’t to say that selecting solid hardwood isn’t a sustainable option. You can still buy environmentally friendly solid wood, provided it is purchased from a responsible supplier and is certified by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).

So, there you have it! Hopefully, these differences will help take the hassle out of your hardwood flooring selection.

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What Types of Hardwood Floors are Easiest to Keep?

When looking for the perfect hardwood floors, each person has their own priorities set. For some, it’s design. For others, it might be price. Many people do have one common priority: practicality. No one wants to break their back trying to keep their hardwood floors looking new and clean.

With the range of options out there, it might be hard to know where to begin when looking for hardwood floors that are easy to keep. But there are a few aspects that you can take into consideration when picking the right hardwood floors for your home.

Color

Even if you have a design in mind, the color wood you’ll pick can play a big role when it comes to practicality. Darker colors can scratch more easily, and any stains or dirt will be more visible without the right finish. They would be better picks for rooms where there is not a lot of walking around, or where furniture is not moved around too much.

Lighter colors, on the other hand, can hide dust or dirt very well because of the grains, and the color tone of the wood. They would not be so visible in Ash White hardwood floors, for instance. Another great option would be multi-tone hardwood floors, since it already has a naturally “stained” look to it.

Janka Hardness Scale

This scale was made to identify and classify the density of the wood. The reason why this is important is because, the denser it is, the more durable it can be. This means it won’t dent or scratch so easily, making it perfect for most businesses or social spaces. The softest wood ever measured, Balsa, ranked 22 lbf (pounds-force), while the hardest one registered was Australian Buloke, at 5,060 lbf.

Finish

The finish on your hardwood floors can help keep them for longer depending on your choice. Look-wise, there are matte, satin, and gloss finishes. Glossy finishes, while not as popular anymore, are great for maintenance.

There is another way to classify hardwood floor finishes, which is by its base. Oil-based polyurethane adds a glow to the wood while also being able to withstand the natural movement of the wood. On the other hand, acrylic urethane (also called water-based) makes the resin more resistant to wear such as scratches, but it is not as resistant to heat or solvents. Therefore, an oil-based finish can make keeping the wood easier in the long term.

It is possible to find a common ground between the design and color you have in mind and a hardwood floor option that won’t be too hard to keep! Just try to check as many items off this list, and you’ll be able to pick the option that best suits your priorities.

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5 Main Differences between Solid Hardwood and Engineered Hardwood Flooring

When thinking about interior design, there are so many decisions to make. From deciding which kitchen cabinets you’d like to choosing windows, balancing style and practicality is a difficult feat.

That said, there’s no more difficult a decision than selecting the right flooring for your home. Unfortunately, there’s no one size fits all solution. That said if you’re looking for longevity, durability and style, you can’t often beat hardwood flooring. Whatever your style or individual requirements, the wide options of hardwood floors available mean you’re sure to find something to suit your space.

That said, while hardwood floors are elegant and timeless, they’re not all created equally. When it comes to hardwood floors there are two main types: solid and engineered. Solid hardwood planks are created from a single thick piece of wood. Engineered hardwood, on the other hand, has a core of plywood with a layer of hardwood veneer applied to the surface.  

Traditional solid hardwood floors have been in demand for many years but recently, engineered wooden floors have received a surge in popularity. As both options provide a beautiful finish, it can be hard to compare the two. To help you make an informed decision, we have compiled a list of 5 key differences between solid and engineered hardwood.

  1.     Cost

In most scenarios, your budget will help determine which option is best for you. Generally, engineered hardwood is less expensive than solid hardwood, but at the end of the day, the quality and species of the wood will be the largest price determinant. Ultimately, exotic varieties of solid wood are more expensive than engineered hardwood.

There is no definitive cost for either type, the price range varies greatly. The cost of engineered hardwood is generally $3 to $14 per square foot, but this price will depend on plank thickness and wood species. Depending on the hardness and durability of the wood, most solid hardwood floors cost between $8 and $15 per square foot.

  1.     Installation

As engineered hardwood is less likely to buckle or react to heat, there are a variety of installation options available. The fact that engineered wood does not react to changing temperatures, means that this alternative can be installed above or below ground level. Since solid hardwood will expand and contract over time, this wood can only be installed on or above ground level.

Engineered hardwood can be installed fast and in a variety of different spaces. This option is your best choice if you’re looking for a do-it-yourself project. Most styles of engineered wood can be glued or nailed down. In fact, in some cases, similar to laminate flooring, you can opt for a type that locks the planks together without fasteners.

Solid hardwoods generally have a longer installation process; the flooring is attached with a specific flooring nailer then sanded and finished. This sanding process can be difficult to navigate if you don’t have experience, and although you can do it yourself, hiring a professional will get the job done much quicker and neater!

  1.     Stability & Durability

The good news is that both forms of hardwood offer durability and toughness. That said, solid woods still come out on top and are inherently sturdier as they must be permanently nailed or glued to your subfloor.

That said, in extreme temperatures, engineered woods have greater structural stability, which offers better resistance against buckling. While this is definitely a benefit, the durability of engineered wood is not comparable to solid forms, mainly because the surfaces on these engineered types are quite thin and therefore prone to chips over time.

  1.     Moisture Resistance

When it comes to moisture, engineered wooden floors are probably the better choice. Engineered wood is constructed with a plywood base, which means that moisture is less likely to flex or warp the boards. The fibers in the plywood run in cross-wise layers, helping to resist moisture build-up.

Solid hardwood floors are not recommendable in any areas where moisture is prevalent. This means it’s probably best to avoid solid woods for your bathroom or any areas which require regular mopping. Even still, solid hardwood can still resist moisture to some extent, but this will depend on whether the wood is pre-finished or site-finished. Site-finished wood has a sealed top layer which helps to absorb some moisture.

  1.     Environmental Considerations

Most people want to support products that sustain a positive environmental approach. In most cases, engineered hardwood floors are more eco-friendly than solid wood. The manufacturing process for engineered wood is less wasteful and requires less energy than most other flooring types. However, this isn’t to say that selecting solid hardwood isn’t a sustainable option. You can still buy environmentally friendly solid wood, provided it is purchased from a responsible supplier and is certified by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).

So, there you have it! Hopefully, these differences will help take the hassle out of your hardwood flooring selection.

 

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6 Tips for Measuring and Maintaining Humidity Levels in Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are beautiful additions to any property. They offer charm and beauty, and can really add value to your home. They can be expensive, however, which is why you have to do your best to maintain them as much as possible. One of the biggest concerns is humidity. Humidity can really damage hardwood floors and can wreak havoc on the rest of the property. This is why it is essential to catch the first signs of humidity as early as possible. We have some tips that can make this easier.

Choose the Right Meter

One of the most important things you can do to measure humidity in hardwood floors is to buy the right humidity meter. There are so many available that it can be a daunting process. There are meters that come with all manner of special features, but a simple one can be just as effective. A very important thing to consider when choosing a meter is the reliability of the company that makes them. Read their warranty and read reviews to ensure that you are getting the best, most accurate meter. With a bit of research, you will be able to find a reliable option for your needs.

Store in Similar Conditions to Home

If you really want to ensure that the hardwood floors will be able to withstand the normal air humidity in your home, store the wood in as similar conditions to that of your property as you can. Many people choose to store the planks in a room of the home, without adjusting the conditions at all. This will give you a good idea if the kind of wood you are choosing will face humidity issues once installed.

Do Not Forget Sub-floors

Many people spend a lot of time and money buying the perfect wood and checking it for humidity issues and they forget the sub-flooring completely. This is not a good idea. For people who are replacing the flooring, it takes only a little bit of time to check the sub-flooring material and it can save you a lot of trouble in the long run. This is especially important for homes with sub-flooring that is concrete, wood chip, plywood, or planks.

Choose the Right Wood Type

Not all wood types have the same humidity levels. Some of them are inherently more humid, which is something you have to keep in mind when checking them with meters. Some meters are not created to measure certain wood options, so it is important to know if the meter you have purchased will work on the flooring you have chosen for your home. If you are not sure about the best options, there are lots of companies that can point you in the right direction and give you basic information about the different wood choices.

Wood Flooring

Hire Experts

Another great way to ensure that the humidity levels in your hardwood floors are correct is to hire an expert. There are companies that are dedicated to this kind of work and that can even offer solutions if the humidity levels are too high. Many flooring companies can offer these extra services for a small fee, so it is definitely something to consider before having the hardwood installed. To choose the right people, be sure to ask for references and to ask if they have all of the right insurance in place.

Follow Humidity Measuring Instructions

You can buy a great meter, but if you do not use it correctly, it will not be able to help you. All of these meters come with full instructions, but there are also instructional videos online that you can turn to if you are still not sure of how to use it. Take time to really learn the ins and outs of the meter, including how to use some of the special features. By following the instructions to the letter, you will be able to measure the humidity in your floors without too much trouble.

All of these tips can make measuring humidity levels in hardwood floors much easier and much faster. Get a reliable meter that can read the levels in all manner of wood, and be sure to check the warranty. Checking sub-flooring is also vital, since humidity there can seep into the hardwood floors, and be sure to choose the wood carefully. Some wood types have higher humidity levels than other and you do not want to be surprised when you measure it. With all of these tips, you can install your floors safely and with the knowledge that your boards will not buckle or bend with humidity.

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5 Small Changes That’ll Make a Big Difference With Your Hardwood Floors

Whether you’ve moved into an older home or the home you’ve lived in for years has hardwood flooring, sometimes it just needs some freshening up.

Hardwood flooring is durable, made to withstand years of use and abuse while still looking beautiful. However, over time they may start to look dull or scratched from moving around furniture or appliances.

However, you can make some little changes that will have a significant, positive effect on your flooring, without having to take out a loan or hire a professional.

1. Make Your Old Hardwood Floors Look New

Prefinished vs Site Finished Hardwood Flooring

When was the last time you refinished your floors? Maybe it looks like it needs to be done, but most times, it isn’t really necessary. You just want to do something to it, not only to regain its beauty but also for some added protection.

Instead of getting estimates for refinishing your hardwood floors, you may just need a recoating. Recoating adds a fresh layer of protection that adheres to the original or previous floor finish; this is a safer, faster and easier process than completely refinishing the floor.

The fresh coat of finish, when placed on top of the old finish, will improve the look of your floors and add protection while saving you time and money.

If you must do a complete refinishing due to the age and condition of your hardwood floors, you may be able to change the color while you’re at it for a fresh new look.

2. Go for Light Cleaning to Get Consistent Floor Shine

Best Maintenance Practices for Your Hardwood Floors

Cleaning hardwood floors do not have to be a strenuous, time-consuming task. However, you want to make sure you’re using the right cleaning solution so you don’t damage the floors.

If your flooring has a wax finish, you should use a cleaning/waxing compound to remove any embedded dirt and add a fresh coat of wax to the floor.

If you have Polyurethane-coated hardwood floors, you simply need a vinegar and water solution to give them a good cleaning.

How can you tell what finish is on your floors?

Drip some water on it. If the water beads up and stays on top of the floorboards, you most likely have a polyurethane finish. You can keep a bottle of vinegar and water on hand for quick clean-ups.

If the dripped water soaks into the floor, it’s most likely a wax finish and you’ll need the compounding cleaner.

In between regular cleanings, you can use a dry dust mop or broom to sweep up dry spills.

3. Check the Temperature and Humidity Levels in Your Home

Controlling Humidity Levels

A simple change of your thermostat can have a positive or negative impact on your hardwood floors. Since woods are naturally porous, they will expand and contract during the year depending on the season.

Extreme humidity and moisture in the air may cause the wood to buckle or create gaps between the floorboards if you aren’t practicing proper maintenance.

The ideal settings for protecting and maintaining beautiful hardwood floors over time are:

  • Temperature: 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Humidity: 30-50 percent

Certain rooms during particular seasons may require the use of a humidifier or dehumidifier to protect your floors. You’ll want to use a humidifier during winter seasons as low humidity may cause the wood to shrink. A dehumidifier will lower the humidity levels in the summer.

During installation, if you live in a humid climate, it’s a must to lay a floor moisture barrier.

4. Use Floor Protectors on Furniture to Avoid Major Damage

If you have young people living with you, you’ve probably at some time had to tell them to pick up the dining room or kitchen chair to move it and not slide it across the floor, which could easily start scratching the floor with the constant scraping.

No matter what type of wood flooring you have, all woods have the natural tendency to sustain scratches or dents. Even with a quality finish on the flooring, hardwood floors are still susceptible to some damage. If your floors are made with hickory or hard maple wood, they made be more resistant to dents, but it is always better to be safe and not risk the damage.

Adding furniture pads to the bottoms of chair legs will eliminate the possibility of the chair scratching the flooring as the chair scrapes back into place.

Whenever you have to move heavy furniture around or just slide a chair to a different area in the room, it’s best to use rugs or furniture pads to prevent any possible damage to your floors from scratching.

5. Accent Area Rugs in High-Traffic Areas of Your Room

Area Rug on Hardwood Floors

You may not want to completely cover your hardwood flooring with wall-to-wall carpeting, especially if the floors are freshly installed or newly refinished or recoated.

However, you can accent areas of a room or rooms with a quality area carpet to highlight the decor and complement the beauty of the flooring.

You want to select rugs that not only accent the decor of your room, but you want to complement and bring out the beauty of the flooring itself.

In addition to the area rug, it’s best to place a thick rug pad under it for added comfort. Thicker pads are best used under furniture that won’t be moved often, like a coffee or side table.

To keep the carpet from sliding around in an open area, choose thinner pads that provide more grip and keep the rug flush with the floor. This also prevents people from possibly tripping on the edges of the carpet.

Use caution when deciding where to place an area rug, though. If the room receives direct sunlight, for example, the kitchen or a Florida room, direct sunlight may lighten the hardwood floors except where the rug is. Over time, this may cause some discoloration between the covered and uncovered areas of the flooring.

Let us show you how to select the best hardwood floors.

 

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How Does Radiant Heat Work in a House?

If you are looking for the most efficient way to heat your home, radiant heat may be perfect for you. The high cost of space heating and the inefficiency of forced air and baseboard heating systems may leave you looking for another way to keep your home comfortable in the colder months. If you are unfamiliar with radiant floor heating, you may have questions such as how does radiant heat work in a house? Or, is radiant heat efficient? Read on to learn more about what radiant heat can do for you.

How does radiant heat work?

Radiant heat is used to heat a home from the ground up. Heating coils or water tubes are installed in the floor, walls or ceilings and they radiate heat to a room thus warming everything in it. Radiant heat works by the same process that allows an oven to heat up your entire kitchen. While heating coils do use electricity, the water in the tubes can be heated with a variety of fuels including gas- and wood-fired boilers.

Radiant Heat vs Forced Air Cost

The radiant heat vs forced air cost is one of the most important factors to consider when comparing the two types of heating. Installing a radiant heat system can lower the amount that a homeowner spends on heating by as much as 50 percent. One of the ways that it does this is by eliminating the loss of heat via the air ducts.

Forced air systems can lose a considerable amount of heat via the home’s ductwork. Not only do the ducts have small openings through which heat can be lost, they also often travel through cold attics and basements. Since radiant heat does not involve the use of ducts, losing heat through them is not an issue.

In addition, radiant heat eliminates the cost of lost heat due to stratification. Stratification results from the fact that warm air rises after it leaves the register and then cools before falling again. The falling cool air creates drafts among other problems.

Radiant Heat vs Baseboard Heat

Baseboard heating is yet another option that you may want to consider. When it comes to the radiant heat vs baseboard heating comparison, radiant heat wins again. Like forced air heating, baseboard heating is simply not as energy efficient. One of the issues with baseboard heating is that it involves heating large windows in a home during very cold spells. While this can have its advantages, it is also very expensive. There is also the fact that you will have to install multiple heaters if you have multiple windows.

Radiant Heat Efficiency

Is radiant heat efficient? According to Scientific American, radiant heat can allow occupants in a room to feel warmer at a lower temperature. It transmits heat with up to 15 percent greater efficiency.

While forced air continues to be a popular way to heat a home, radiant heat offers a number of attractive benefits. As a result, the installation of radiant heating continues to be a valuable home improvement.

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3 Garage Flooring Ideas to Inspire Your Next Remodel

With property values skyrocketing across the country, homeowners are looking to get the absolute maximum value out of their homes. Many are upgrading their garage flooring to add additional usable space to their homes. Garages can be transformed from merely a place to store your car to game rooms and entertainment spaces or even home offices.

Something to keep in mind about garage remodels is that not all changes will add value to your home and some may even diminish it. If you live in an area where there is plenty of on-street parking or you have another structure available to house a car, then a garage remodel is likely to add value. If parking is prime, however, the lack of a useable garage space may decrease your home’s value. For this reason, it is wise to cover the floor of your garage in such a way that it can still be used as a garage by future residents, but can also be used as additional square footage for entertainment or business use if that’s what you want to do with it.

For this reason, hardwood flooring is not generally a good option for a garage. Not only will the higher moisture levels in most garages ruin the wood and the finish, but it also makes a terrible surface for inevitable fluid leaks and spills that come from most cars. To get the most bang for your buck in a garage to remodel, here are some other great flooring options to choose from.

1. Epoxy Coatings for Garage Floors

Epoxies and other coatings give your garage floor a hard, durable, stain resistant surface that is still attractive and even beautiful. An epoxy-coated floor will allow you to use your garage as an entertainment, storage or office space and turn it back into a parking space when you are ready to sell. Because epoxies allow you to quickly and easily clean up any fluids or spills from a vehicle, applying a coat will enable you to use your garage as a place to store your car most of the time and quickly turn it into entertainment or extra living space when that’s what you want.

Floor coatings also come in a wide variety of colors and styles, which means you can make your garage floor look like whatever you want it to. From high gloss, solid color coatings to coatings that are nearly indistinguishable from marble, granite, quartz or other natural flooring options, your garage no longer needs to be a bland, utilitarian space no matter what. There are a number of DIY coating kits you can purchase, but for the best results, coatings are really best left to garage flooring professionals.

2. Garage Flooring Tiles

Floor tiles are most definitely an easy DIY project and offer some of the same benefits of a coating. You can lay tiles to either protect the surface in your garage or to create a beautiful space for an office, game room, or entertainment space. Garage floor tiles can be made from two different types of material: Rigid tiles are hard, interlocking plastic that offer excellent stain resistance, while flexible tiles are constructed of PVC and provide a more smooth, seamless appearance.

Floor tiles can also be used in conjunction with coatings to give a garage floor a more decorative appearance, while still offering the same protection and durability as a coated floor. Like coatings, floor tiles come in a wide variety of colors and styles, but unlike coatings, they can be quickly and easily removed to turn your garage back into an everyday vehicle storage space.

Floor tiles also make it easy to create an appealing checkerboard design in your garage, giving it a striking, stylish appearance. Remember that, when choosing flooring materials, you want to create an overall look and style in your garage. Make sure that you plan storage and paint colors and methods at the same time you are planning your flooring to make sure your garage has a polished, uniform appearance.

3. Garage Flooring Mats

Garage mats are probably the quickest and easiest DIY garage flooring on the market. Garage mats come in large rolls that can be rolled out and cut to the exact dimensions of your garage. Like coatings and tiles, they provide a smooth, stain resistant surface, but are not generally as decorative as coatings or tiles. Mats are a fabulous choice when you want to install a protective cover in your garage but aren’t as concerned with appearance. If you merely want to protect the floor, use a mat. If you’re going to turn your garage into a usable or functional living space, you are far better off going with a coating or tiles.

Another type of mat you can use in your garage is called a containment mat, which also pairs well with a coated floor. A containment mat fits under your car and protects your garage floor from moisture, snow, mud and fluid leaks. If you want to use your garage on occasion as something other than a parking space, placing a containment mat under your car when stored in your garage will help you quickly and easily convert it for use for something else when the need arises.

More Easy Garage Upgrades to Try

Doing a large-scale garage remodel starts with the floor of course, but certainly doesn’t stop there. In addition to housing and protecting your car, most garages are also necessary for critical storage space for a wide range of items like tools, household supplies, and sporting gear. Custom cabinetry will give you a place to store all the necessary equipment you will undoubtedly need, while still providing you with a vast expanse of clean, open space.

If you have a smaller garage that doesn’t have an area for a giant bank of custom cabinets, garage storage ideas like overhead compartments are another great option for making your parking area into a double-duty space. Overhead compartments are great for single-car garages that need to house both a car and a wide variety of other items.

If you don’t have the space or the money for custom cabinets, shelving is also available to help organize all the supplies you need to keep in your garage while still supplying open floor space. While shelving may not keep your garage looking quite as beautiful as custom cabinetry, it will furnish functionality in your while keeping everything neat and tidy.

Final Thoughts

Even if you don’t want to use your garage as anything other than a place to store your car, you can prevent it from being a nightmare with the right flooring and storage options. While new home buyers may not be willing to pay a premium price for a high-end, tricked out carport in a middle-income neighborhood, they will most definitely be attracted to a clean, well-maintained space with plenty of great storage options already installed.

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3 Window Treatments Ideas for Historic Houses

 

Window treatments provide homeowners with a sense of privacy, while also adding to the decor of the room. Some window treatments look great with hardwood floors, while others clash in unfavorable ways. The type of custom window treatment you choose for your historic home will have a huge impact on the style and overall feel of the space, so you should consider your options thoroughly before committing to something that you are less than crazy about. If you’re in need of some inspiration, check out these 3 ultra-cool window treatment ideas that could breathe life and character into your historic house!

Install or Update Interior Shutters

We’re all familiar with shutters on the outside of the home, but adding these features to the inside of your home is a sure-fire way to add Interior shutters in a living area, image courtesy of ProctorDrapery.comdramatic flair to any space! They will also help protect against pesky winter drafts. Reminiscent of New England’s colonial era-homes, windows with a completed interior shutter treatment are far too elegant to hide behind curtains. Instead, they are grandiose enough to stand alone. If your historic home is like many, its windows may already be covered with interior shutters. In that case, consider updating their look by replacing them with modern plantation shutters, which are available in many beautiful stains and paint shades that would work well with any period look.

Shades

If your heart is set on keeping the row of eye-level windows in the kitchen of your historic home that allows you to Sheer rollup shades in a dining area, image courtesy of ProctorDrapery.comadmire the views of the back yard, but are concerned about privacy issues or the glaring sun, consider installing simple roller or pleated shades. The easy-to-use window treatment may seem uninspiring at first thought, but you don’t want to draw the attention away from the intricate details of your historic home. And since the shades can be adjusted to block or allow the sun at different times of the day, they make for a convenient and attractive option. Also, maintenance will be a breeze if you opt for shades made of 100% polyester or some other material that is both nonabsorbent and easy–to-clean. This holds true especially if you have hired a restoration company for home clean up for mold or flooding.

Venetian or Georgian Blinds

Before you curl your nose, it’s worth noting that Venetian blinds have a colorful history when it comes to interior decoration. If you have purchased a historic home you probably appreciate history, so don’t venetian blindscount this option out too quickly.

If you want to stay true to the style of your old home, what says “historic” more clearly than Venetian Blinds? Generally, they are made of 2″ slats, and Georgian blinds have slats ranging in size from 1″ to 3″ wide and were held together by a long, flat piece of cloth. They could be stained any color to match the look of your home, though dark cherry and walnut were the most popular during the Georgian Era. For the finishing touch, add a cornice to create an instantly more dramatic look. 

This guest post is courtesy of Proctor Drapery and Blinds of St. Louis, a veteran window treatment company of 35 years with a mobile showroom!

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Not Necessarily High & Dry Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are prized in many homes for their beautiful looks and easy cleaning. Yet, just as with any flooring materials, hardwood brings with it unique challenges which any homeowner must address. In particular, dry climates and high altitudes expose hardwood to adverse conditions not found elsewhere. Even so, if you live in a desert climate or tucked away in the mountains and still want a beautiful floor, you don’t need to give up on your dream of owning hardwood.

The problem

Unlike artificial flooring, wood is a living material. It derives many of its qualities from internal moisture both at build time and over its life. If you’re in a high, dry climate, your floor isn’t getting the moisture it needs.

This lack manifests in several ways. Most common is dry cupping, a process caused by the difference between the floor’s underlying plywood substrate and the hardwood top. As these layers dry, they contract unevenly. The result is a top layer that contracts faster than the layer beneath, causing cracks and other disfigurements.

The Solution

Fortunately, dry cupping and other hardwood floor issues are easy to prevent by following a few important principles.

Pick Good Materials

Wood thickness and density plays an important role in how flooring responds to drier climates. Thicker woods absorb less humidity, but once they’re warped, those changes aren’t going away. Dry climates need materials that will respond well to sudden shifts in humidity and temperature.

Cherry and walnut are very stable woods. They may warp over time, but not in ways that will adversely affect the utility of the floor. No hardwood floor is perfect, and good materials will settle into their structure over time. A wood like hickory is dense and unyielding, but walnut and cherry will accommodate a foundation and retain that shape despite shifts in temperature and humidity.

Acclimate When Installing

Floors were most likely not manufactured in the environment where they are to be installed. Even if they are, conditions in the factory and at the installation site may differ enough that the wood’s character will change slightly over time. It is important for these changes to manifest before the floor is installed.

Acclimation is the process of letting wood sit in the ambient environment before commencing installation. This is especially important in dry climates, whose conditions are particularly harsh for moist woods.

Heat in Winter

Cold materials contract. As such, hardwood in winter will shrink and split, causing cracks that may expose the underlying plywood. Since colder temperatures are particularly harsh at high altitudes, heating in winter is critical to minimizing the temperature transitions to which a floor is subjected.

Control Humidity

Humidity permeates wood more slowly than it does air. As such, variable humidity levels will travel through hardwood and plywood like waves, causing tension that damages your floor over time.

By maintaining a constant humidity level, the tension between these layers can be normalized. Rather than expanding and contracting at random, they will maintain an equilibrium appropriate for their environment. The best way to achieve this is by integrating humidity control directly into HVAC systems, thus maintaining regulated levels of moisture throughout the life of the home.

Conclusion

While caring for a hardwood floor in high, dry climates may seem more complicated, it is just a matter of making the right initial choices while being aware of an area’s unique weather conditions. With the right wood, acclimation and internal environment, hardwood floors will look good and perform well for many long years.