Floors — Tips for Homeowners

Floors - Tips for Homeowners

Floors: Tips and Articles

Tips by Real-Estate-Agents.com

Articles of interest to homeowners about Floors and Flooring.

Refinishing Wood Floors

Wood is perhaps the most practical of all flooring materials. But over time, the protective finish may wear off. This occurs most noticably in heavy traffic areas, or you may decide to freshen up the finish of a wood floor that’s been hidden under carpet for years. Also, applying a modern new finish can make hardwood floors much easier to maintain than when they were originally installed.

Specialty carpets need special care. Some rugs, such as those of Asian origin, can be constructed of everything from silk to nylon to wool. Special care must be taken when cleaning to avoid any damage. They may need to be drycleaned or cleaned by hand with special shampoos. Determining the origin and construction of the rug is important before choosing the best method of cleaning. It’s important to create a consistent maintenance schedule, particularly if you have kitchen rugs which are often exposed to spills and crumbs.

In recent years, laminated wood flooring has soared in popularity. Laminated flooring has a 1/8-inch layer of hardwood bonded to two layers of less costly wood backing, reducing the amount of expensive hardwood needed. Almost all laminate floors have a triple warranty against wearing, staining and fading; a 15-year warranty against all three isn’t uncommon. Some companies are now adding moisture warranties for their products.

In addition to wood floor specalists, many carpet, tile or vinyl flooring professionals can help you install laminate floors. Laminate flooring is easy to install because, unlike conventional solid wood, it’s pre-finished and may be glued down or applied over a thin foam pad laid on the subfloor. Some types are adhesive backed.

Read more: Laminated Flooring. Wood Flooring Over Concrete Slab

Q: I am looking to have a hardwood floor installed. My house is on a concrete slab and I do not have water seepage problems. Is it better to have the floor glued down or layered over an underlay of plywood? I am looking for longevity and I have several grandkids who frequent my house.

Vinyl, or resilient flooring, is one of the most practical flooring materials. Whether in tile or sheet form, vinyl is comfortable, skid-resistant, quiet, and warm. In addition, it’s relatively inexpensive and readily available in an unbelievable array of patterns and colors. Although vinyl flooring can be installed by consumers, a professional has the knowledge, experience and tools to install vinyl flooring quickly and efficiently for quality results.

Carpet types: Plush or cut-pile carpet has loops trimmed off so that yarn ends poke up. Saxony plush, one of the most popular varieties, has short tufts that are densely packed. While a popular choice, plush carpet doesn’t tend to wear as well as berber (or high level loop) carpet.

Read more: Types of Carpet. Staining a Hardwood Floor

Shades of Wood Floors: Wood floors can come in a variety of different shades and color, so finding a matching stain on an existing floor can be difficult. You can likely get close, but perfection will be challenging.

Read more: Staining a Hardwood Floor. How to Fix Squeaky Floors

Squeaky floors are caused by wood rubbing against wood or wood rubbing against nails in a floor that has loosened. The rubbing creates the squeak. If you can get to your floor from a basement or crawl space, most homeowners should be able to repair a squeaky floor easily with the following fix:

Q: Our home has sloping floors. Part of the house was a pre-fabricated home (52×24) and has been added onto several times. The main area is anywhere from 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch lower than the additions. This will be temporary as we intend to tear the house down in a couple of years and build a new one. How can we fix this, and how do we go about doing it?

Read more: Sloping Floors. Repairing Vinyl Flooring

Repair methods for vinyl flooring depend on the type of floor as well as the type of damage. With vinyl tile, it’s best to replace the damaged tiles. With sheet vinyl, the surface can be fused or new material can be patched in. When vinyl flooring is badly worn or the damage is widespread, replacement is the only answer.

Q: My puppy chewed a small hole at the edge of my carpet. This is where carpet and ceramic tile meet. I am wondering if it would be possible to repair this spot? Maybe I could do this myself. Any ideas?

Read more: Repairing Carpet. Repair Hardwood Floor

Many times minor damage can be repaired on hardwood floors. Here are some common problems.

Read more: Repair Hardwood Floor. Removing Glue Under Flooring

Q: Should I remove the old glue under vinyl tile to lay ceramic tile?

Read more: Removing Glue Under Flooring. Remove Vinyl Floor Over Cement

Q: I want to remove the vinyl flooring before I lay down ceramic tile. Underneath the vinyl is cement. The vinyl is stuck really well. I have a large scraper (six inches attached to a six foot handle) that I have been using, but it is a really slow process.

Read more: Remove Vinyl Floor Over Cement. Refinishing Hardwood Flooring

Q: I am retired and have a lot of time on my hands. I have a living room that has hardwood floors. I have lived in the house over 30 years and the floors have been kept clean and waxed but they really need a refinish job done. I would like to attempt it but I don’t know where to start and what to do.

Q: Which is the right cushion to put under radiant floor heating?

Read more: Radiant Floor Heating. Minimize Moisture Under Hardwood Floor

Q: I installed a 3/4 tongue and groove Bruce hardwood floor in my dining and living rooms. I have been advised to do several different things to minimize moisture from the crawl space that could affect the floor, but am not sure which is right.

Read more: Minimize Moisture Under Hardwood Floor. Prefinished vs. Unfinished Wood Flooring

Deciding between pre-finished or unfinished wood flooring can be difficult for any homeowner. Pre-finished flooring has a durable finish that can’t be achieved on floors finished on the job site. Pre-finished floors mean less mess during installation, too. Unfinished also wood flooring has advantages. It is available in more widths and wood species than pre-finished and can be matched to existing wood floors.

Q: I recently saw a floor that had the appearance of a school house floor. I was told it was white pine. I loved the look of the wood. Would you recommend I install it in my Creole cottage?

Read more: Pine Flooring. Poorly Installed Linoleum

Q: My tenants replaced the linoleum in the kitchen, and the carpeting in two bathrooms with vinyl floor tiles, without my knowledge. The install was substandard.

Read more: Poorly Installed Linoleum. Leave Carpet Stretching to the Pros

Q: We have rented a carpet stretcher, but are having problems getting the wrinkles out. The carpet type is indoor/outdoor and is being placed on a concrete floor, using tacking strips.

Q: I have ceramic tile on just about half of my first floor which includes kitchen, breakfast area, entry and hallway up to carpet in living and dining area. It is approximately 14 years old and showing many nicks and a couple of hairline cracks. None of the tiles are loose. The first floor is typically cooler in summer, and freezing in winter, so I would really like to cover the tile with a vinyl sheet. It’s my understanding that there is a rubberized mastic that could be smoothed over the top — filling any grooves and then placing vinyl on top.

What started out as a simple laminate flooring line with a handful of basic woodgrains has burst into a multi-line family available in a wide range of woodgrain and tile patterns.

Read more: Laminate Flooring. Insulating Under a Wood Floor

Q: I am evaluating the most feasible method to insulate below the wood floor of a post-WW II house with a crawl space. I have approximately 16 inches of clearance between the bottom of the floor joists and the ground.

Read more: Insulating Under a Wood Floor. Install Hardwood Over Asbestos Tile

Q: I have a 30-year-old home. I want to put down a hardwood floor. The problem is that I think the old vinyl tiles, which are cracking and sit on a concrete slab, have asbestos.

Can I cover them or do I need to remove them to successfully install a hardwood floor? Can I place stone flooring on top of these tiles. What is the best, yet least expensive route as I must do this job myself?

Q: I just bought a below grade condo on the garden level of a renovated school house. The school house was renovated ten years ago and the basement floor is dry as a bone. I’d like to put a hardwood floor down but I have heard mixed reviews about installing solid hardwood below grade. My plan was to put down a moisture barrier, lay down 2×4 (flat) framing, add insulation between framing, and putting down 3/4 inch plywood, then installing the hardwood. Is this a bad idea?

Q: I had some tile installed in my home. I noticed that several of the tiles sound hollow when you walk over them. The tile installer claims that it’s normal, and that it’s due to one of two things: Not enough mortar was used or that my floor was unleveled. He claims the floor is the problem, the job was done correctly and any other person would have gotten the same result. Which is it?

With the types of wood and finishes available, a wood floor can be put in virtually any room in your house — even kitchens, baths, and utility rooms.

Read more: Hardwood Inlays. Hardwood Floor Inlays Add Style

Inlaid wood can maximize the dramatic effect in any room. Inlaid borders can be used as a separation between flooring styles, on thresholds between rooms, to mark the outline of furniture groupings or to add a distinctive accent around certain areas or the perimeter of a room. Decorative designs can add real character to an otherwise normal room.

Q: We have a one-year-old hardwood floor that started cupping in the spring or earlier. The boards are four-inch red oak. The installer is claiming no responsibility for the problem. He blames customer abuse and moisture problems as the cause.

Read more: Hardwood Floor Cupping. Flooring to Warm Cold Floors

Q: We live in a tri-level house and are looking to replace the carpet in the family room. This room is quite cold for many reasons and we’d like to install flooring that may help to warm the room up a bit. Heated flooring is probably more expensive than we can manage. Thanks in advance for your help!

Q: We are building a new home and will have a 16′ x 16′ area over a concrete floor in the basement for a workout room to include free weights, a treadmill and work station.

What do you suggest for flooring and where can I get information on the product?

Read more: Flooring for Workout Room. Dirty Grout in Tile Floor

Q: I have a one-inch white tile in my bathroom surrounded by white grout. The tile always looks dirty because the grout is impossible to clean. Is there any solution, such as painting over the tile? Replacing the grout to a darker color? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Read more: Dirty Grout in Tile Floor. Cracks in Hardwood Flooring

Q: How do I fill in spaces between the wood strips of my hardwood floor? The wood somehow split and now there are spaces. I tried filling them with wood putty, but the color was quite different and it didn’t last long.

In general, hardwoods are more durable and more resistant to damage from impact. However, if you maintain your softwood floor, it should last just as long as a hardwood floor. Following are popular wood flooring choices.

Floors - Tips for Homeowners

Read more: Consider Wood Flooring. Common Carpet Repairs

Here are some common professional carpet repair techniques.

Read more: Common Carpet Repairs. Clean or Refinish Hardwood Floor?

Q: Going with the new trend, we removed the wall-to-wall carpeting in our home, built in the late fifties. We’ve lived here 25 years and ignored the hardwood flooring that we knew existed under the carpeting. The hardwood is in decent shape, although a few boards will have to be replaced due to stains and water damage, particularly next to a bathroom where a toilet overflowed.

My question is about the living room where there are dark areas around some parts of the floor perimeter as if at one time someone had an almost wall-to-wall rug. Someone suggested that those dark areas are wax build-up. One product that I bought, Bruce Clean and Strip, had no effect in changing the color. Can you tell me what might cause that darkening of the wood finish and if there is a remedy, short of refinishing?

Most people make the mistake of choosing carpet only according to color. Before purchasing, you should take into consideration the basic characteristics of a carpet’s fibers and construction, as well as the lifestyle of your family. Understanding the attributes and drawbacks of each product can help you choose the most appropriate flooring for your home with confidence.

Read more: Choosing the Best Carpet. Choosing Floor Coverings

One of the quickest ways to give your home a fresh new look is with new flooring and carpeting. However, there are so many different products available that homeowners are sometimes overwhelmed by their choices. Consulting with knowledgeable professionals will help you choose flooring materials that meet your needs and budget.

Q: We have a one-storey, three bedroom house. The kitchen has ceramic tile, the dining room, living room, hallway and bedrooms are carpeted, and the entry has ceramic tile. We have been thinking of removing the carpet in the dining room and hallway, and replacing it with ceramic tile. The kitchen and entry tile needs to be replaced.

Read more: Choosing a Tile Floor. Carpeting Over Heated Floors

Q: I would like to know what kind of carpet is the best. Our floor is wooden and heated. I am concerned about the dust and small particles that may be coming from the carpet into the air when the floors gets hot.

Carpet is often discarded and replaced because of wear and tear, including discoloration, fading and stains. These problems can often be solved for a fraction of the cost of replacement.

Carpet Cleaning Basics

An average room takes about 1-2 hours. A whole house can take up to one day. You may use your carpet immediately, however, try to keep heavy traffic off damp carpet because it attracts dirt.

Read more: Carpet Dyeing. Carpet Care Tips

Proper cleaning is the best way to extend the life of your carpet. Dirt is abrasive, like sandpaper. Every time you step on the carpet, you grind dirt into the fibers, making tiny cuts in the fibers that cause the carpet to wear out faster. Remember the following three rules, and enjoy like-new carpet for longer.

Read more: Carpet Care Tips. Carpet Care In Depth

Carpet adds comfort and warmth to almost any room in the house, and with modern stain-resistant finishes, carpeting is even showing up in more and more dining rooms and kitchens.

Q: Three years ago I had the old asbestos linoleum in my kitchen replaced with a new asbestos-free vinyl. A few months later part of it turned pink — it turned out to be from moisture coming up from a crack in the concrete slab. I found a local flooring company that removed the vinyl, applied a moisture barrier and installed the same flooring again. Now some small bumps have developed in the vinyl. Can you tell me who to turn to for some help?

Read more: Bubbling Floors. Attaching Free Formed Carpet

Q: We have wall-to-wall carpet throughout the house and I am going to install 18 x 18 vinyl tiles in my 12′ x 10′ dining room. I will be cutting and attaching a 15 foot area of carpeting with a slight curve to it. I want to free form the carpet at the end of the tiles without using one of those metal or plastic strips usually installed on ends of carpet. What would I use to tuck the carpet under and attach it to the new tile flooring? I had it done in a previous house we owned but didn’t observe the installation. What would I use to keep the carpet down?

Read more: Attaching Free Formed Carpet. Removing Vinyl Flooring from Concrete Subfloor

Q: I want to faux the concrete floor in my kitchen. Right now there is vinyl flooring glued down. What is the best way to remove this vinyl? I do not know what glue was used.

Q: The hardwood floor in our house is old and needs to be refinished. My mother-in-law thought it would be okay to mop it with Murphy’s oil soap and then add a coat of lemon oil. The lemon oil stained very unevenly, and I’m not sure how to remove it. Any suggestions on how to remove the lemon oil in the wood?

Ask the professional who will be installing your floor for cleaning tips. Keep any cleaning solutions used for secondary materials off your wood floors. Here are some tips for keeping your hardwood floor in pristine condition.

Read more: Cleaning Hardwood Floor Inlay. Choosing a Carpet Cleaning Service

Every time you step on your carpet, you grind dirt into the fibers and dirt is abrasive, like sandpaper. Dirt causes carpets to wear out faster. Proper cleaning is the best way to extend the life of your carpet.

Q: I have a small bathroom floor 5’x 8′ with good plywood. On the subfloor screwed down every 6 there is a wide dip or valley in the floor about 1/8 deep by 2 1/2′ wide. Can I do anything to level the floor for ceramic tiles?

Q: I would like to remodel the basement of my century-old house. I want to put a floor down but I am not sure what I should place on the concrete slab first, so the floor will not be so cold. Additionally, I want the walls to remain as is — that is, I want the bricks to show.

There are pipes everywhere, but I am not sure what they all go to. I would like to paint them but I am unsure what type of paint to cover them with. I am also unsure what type of paint I should use on the ceiling since I will not be putting a new ceiling in. Can you help?

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