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How to Level a Concrete Floor

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Concrete floors are extremely durable, however even the hardiest of floors can develop problems. One of the most common complaints is that the concrete has settled unevenly, or there are dips in the surface. This is problematic if you wish to install new flooring, as it needs to be laid evenly.

Leveling concrete isn’t a particularly hard job, however you do need a fair amount of strength to lift and carry materials. You’ll also have to rent specialized equipment. If you don’t feel confident in your abilities, you of course have the option of hiring a contractor to complete the job.

Leveling a Concrete Floor

  1. Remove furniture and baseboards
  2. Sweep and clean the area. Use a mop and a mild cleaner, or a power washer if needed. Wait until it’s completely dry before going onto the next step
  3. Mark any areas that are visibly uneven with chalk, distinguishing between dips and high areas
  4. Mix a batch of concrete and use it to fill in the holes. Try to make it as even as possible and leave to dry
  5. Rent a concrete grinder if needed, grinding down any high spots whilst wearing the correct safety protection. Clean and allow to dry
  6. Add protection to any doorways (such as a strip of wood) so nothing leaks where it shouldn’t
  7. Use a self-leveling concrete primer – usually two coats are needed but check the instructions. Allow to dry
  8. Next mix self-leveling concrete resurfacer, ensuring to add dry mix to water. Mix as directed (usually with a paddle attached to a power drill) to the right consistency.
  9. Pour resurfacer starting at one end of the room, evenly and carefully. Pour across the narrowest width of the room steadily with a little overlap, ensuring you don’t get trapped in the process. It set quickly and needs to all be done at once, so ensue to make enough or have someone on resurfacer duty just in case
  10. Allow to set for at least two days
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Perks of Bamboo Flooring

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Thinking of getting new flooring and not sure which direction to go in? Why not try something different and install bamboo!

Bamboo flooring is becoming an increasingly popular choice thanks to its many positive qualities. From architects to homeowners and contractors, more and more of us are choosing this type of flooring. Here are some of the reasons why:

Eco-Friendly

Nowadays a product being sustainable is important to many consumers; we see it in the cars we drive and the food we buy. Bamboo is an eco-friendly choice that’s incredibly sustainable. It grows quickly in comparison to other woods, and when being farmed the root remains so it doesn’t need replanting.

Cost

Sometimes when we opt for eco-friendly choices the price gets hiked up – luckily that’s not the case with bamboo. The great thing about bamboo is you’re still getting a natural and aesthetically pleasing, luxurious product, but unlike traditional hardwoods you don’t have to pay through the nose for it.

Variety

It may surprise you to know that bamboo flooring offer a variety of different styles and shades. From light and airy pale tones to modern stone greys, you can easily find something to suit your décor. The way it’s constructed also makes a difference to the overall aesthetic (vertical, horizontal, woven etc.) as does the finish you choose.

Strength

Even though bamboo is technically a grass it still holds an admirable amount of strength – in fact it’s twice as hard as oak! This makes it a great option for high traffic areas in both domestic and commercial buildings.

Stability

Another great advantage bamboo offers is its dimensional stability. This means it can readily cope with alterations in both temperature and humidity. This makes it a viable choice for rooms with under floor heating, bathrooms, conservatories, basements etc.

Ease

The final perk of bamboo is the relative ease it offers. It’s super easy to install (you can even have it as a floating floor) and it doesn’t require a huge amount of maintenance in comparison to other wooden flooring.

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How to Repair White Concrete Floor

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White concrete floors have traditionally been thought of as an option just for industrial or commercial properties, but recently more and more homeowners have been installing this chic material to give their rooms a sophisticated, modern edge.

In the past concrete was seen as the base to cover, whereas now many people are seeing the benefits (both aesthetically and functionally) of treating it as the flooring itself. The practical advantages of this material are numerous, and include:

  • Energy efficiency
  • Strength
  • Durability
  • Speed of installation
  • Easy to maintain
  • Fire and damp resistance

The above are the very reasons why concrete has been used for years as the base for lot of other types of flooring, but what about aesthetics? Well nowadays many companies offer stylish options to add to the décor of your home or business. One of the most popular is to have white concrete installed, but there is also a huge variety of colors and finishes available.

So you have your beautiful white concrete floor installed, but after a while wear and tear takes its toll. Concrete flooring is designed to be durable, so if early on your flooring seems to be in need of maintenance you should speak with your contractors as it may be a sign something under the flooring needs fixing.

If you need to make a repair to your concrete flooring, you can easily find a variety of concrete patchers at your local hardware store. If you’re unsure of which is best, do some research beforehand or speak to an employee and see what they recommend.

Use the following steps to make your repair as smooth and hardy as possible:

  1. Clean the area, removing all grease, loose dirt, grit, and flaking concrete – do this by using a hammer and chisel.
  2. Use a soft bristle brush to scrub as needed.
  3. Rinse thoroughly and allow to dry.
  4. Using a trowel, mix the concrete patcher thoroughly.
  5. Spread the mixture carefully using the trowel, ensuring it is level with the rest of the floor. Using a wet trowel will keep the product smooth.
  6. If the repair is deep, do not attempt to fill it all at once. Apply in several layers, ensuring each is dry.
  7. The products tend to take a few hours to dry – even if it looks dry on the surface it may not be the case. Give the patcher at least 2 hours to harden.

 

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Is It Worth the Cost to Rent a Floor Sander?

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While renting a floor sander is a much more affordable option than hiring a contractor to help you refinish your floor, is it worth it? Having a professional complete the work means you know it will be finished to a high level, however if you have some skill, a little patience, and do some research, you can cut costs considerably by renting a floor sander and completing the job yourself.

You should bear in mind that this isn’t a job you should rush, so you might well have to rent it for several days in order to ensure the job gets done right.  Also make sure to check if your floor can be sanded – you’d be surprised by how many people forget to do this! If you don’t feel confident in your sanding abilities, then the best advice would be not to risk it – paying for brand new flooring to be installed is going to be more expensive than hiring a contractor or a few days.

If you do decide you can handle the sander you’ll usually be renting two pieces of equipment: the large drum sander and the edger. Check out the following tips:

Keep Moving

You need a steady pace when using the sander so keep moving – if you stop in the same place you can cause an unsightly dip. That being said, it’s not a race. Take your time and move with the machine.

Be Methodical

It will be easier for you to work out a system and stick to it, to do so minimizes the risk of missing spots. You shouldn’t turn with the drum machine like you would a vacuum cleaner – only ever go in straight lines. Overlap a little on your path to ensure you cover the entire area (this is true for the edge sander too)

Use a Pencil on the Edges

If you mark the edge of the entire room with a pencil, you can then clearly see where you have and haven’t sanded.

Keep Safe

Always wear a dust mask and safety glasses, and empty the bags when they’re a third full as they’re a fire hazard. Rest as often as you need and don’t apply any extra pressure to the drum sander – its own weight is enough.

Ask for Help

If you haven’t used a floor sander, ask the employees at the rental for any tips. You can also ask them to show you how to install the sandpaper, and get them to put the first piece on for you.

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What Stain or Sealer Do I Use to Refinish Hardwood Floors?

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Hardwood flooring requires regular maintenance to keep it looking its best – it has a long lifespan but needs some TLC right from the start and frequently along the way. The longevity and condition of your hardwood flooring will be greatly affected by the type of stain or sealer you choose to treat it with. There are several types to choose from, resulting in different benefits, lifespans, and aesthetics.

It’s important to note the difference between stain and seal, so be sure to speak with an expert to check what your floor needs. Staining can be a tricky business and some types of flooring are not made to be stained – in fact it can sometimes actually make scratches and imperfections more visible.

If your floor needs to be stained, opt for a wood or stain conditioner which is designed to control penetration or to use gel stains. An alternative is to try a dye, but whatever you do ensure to speak with a professional first as the last thing you want to do is ruin your beautiful hardwood.

When it comes to sealing (which helps to protect the floor) you have several options. Here are three of our favorites:

1. Varnish

Our first choice is one you’ve probably heard of and it comes in a variety of different possibilities, ranging from super matte to startlingly glossy. The general rule is the higher the gloss, the more durable the varnish.

2. Polyurethane

This can be either oil or water based and is one of the most popular sealers. This is a good option for high-traffic areas, but can be tough to repair and tends to darken the wood. That being said it’s very easy to clean.

3. Oil Sealer

Oil sealer is a good choice if you’re intending to do the sealant job yourself. It’s easy to apply and is great at enhancing the natural shades in the wood, bringing a more natural look to flooring. It isn’t as strong as some of the other options and requires several coats every five years.

How Do Ceramic Tile and Laminate Wood Floors Compare?

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Both ceramic tile and laminate flooring can be beautiful, and both have their pros and cons.  How do you choose the best one for your room? There are some things to consider including warmth, comfort, budget, installation, and ease of maintenance.

Ceramic tile is beautiful and has several applications.  It’s often preferred in bathrooms and kitchens because of its water-resistant nature and will last pretty much a lifetime.  Laminate isn’t as water-resistant and has a life span of about 20 years. Both come in a variety of colors to match your style needs.

Laminate is great for living areas such as bedrooms and family rooms because it’s a bit softer to walk on, and warmer.  It also has a higher sound dampening effect than ceramic tile because it’s not so hard and has an under layer. Laminate is easily cleaned with a damp mop or dust mop and doesn’t require any special cleaners or detergent.  Ceramic tile can require special cleansers, though it is stain-resistant. The grout between the tiles is not stain resistant, however, and can require scrubbing, bleaching, or re-grouting.

Installation is another factor to consider.  Laminate flooring can be installed as a DIY project with little prep work.  It’s created with a tongue and groove design to easily snap together. Ceramic tile is a little more difficult to install, requiring a level floor, a tile saw, Thinset, grout, and spacers.  Getting the pattern just right can be a challenge for some so that the tiles are straight and even, and many people choose to hire a professional installer rather than go the DIY route and have to have it replaced down the road.

Pricing is the final factor to consider.  Both ceramic tiles and laminate pricing vary according to style and product quality, but laminate is generally less expensive than tile.  Laminate requires a special material to be laid down before the floor it, but ceramic tiles require a special adhesive, grout, and spacers which can make it more expensive to install than laminate.  Also, if you want to have the ceramic tile installed professionally, there’s added cost there.

The best choice between the two depends on your goals and where you want the flooring installed.  Consult with your flooring professional to help you make the best choice between these two great products.

How to Resurface a Brick Floor

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Brick floors are durable and can lend beauty and character to a home, but due to their porous material, they will need regular maintenance which includes resurfacing.  Resurfacing your brick floors will remove all the dirt and grime that has accumulated in the pores of the brick better than any type of cleaning will and bring life back to your floor.

The first step to resurfacing your brick floor is a thorough cleaning.  Using a brush and mild detergent, scrub the floor well, paying special attention to the grout lines.  The grime usually settles in these lines. Allow the floor to dry, and then prepare a 15:1 solution of water and vinegar.  Dip your mop into the solution and mop the entire floor. Allow to dry, and you’re ready for the next step.

If your brick floor has a layer of wax on it, which is pretty common, you’ll need to remove the wax as part of the resurfacing process.  Mix one cup of ammonia with 8 cups of water and mop it over the entire floor in slow, even strokes. Allow the floor to set with the solution for about 10 minutes, then scrub the floor with a brush and rinse with clean water.  Allow the floor to dry.

The final step is to apply a floor sealant to the surface of your prepared floor that is specifically compatible with brick flooring.  Remember to start at the opposite end of the room away from the entrance and work your way toward the entrance to avoid stepping on your sealed floor before the sealant sets.  Read the directions carefully or consult a flooring expert to make sure that you apply the sealant in the best way that will allow the natural beauty of the brick to shine through.

Though it’s a bit of work to resurface a brick floor, the final result will be worth it.  If DIY sounds a little too involved for you, consult a flooring professional to get some references of professionals who can resurface your brick floor for you.

What is The Best Type of Flooring for Schools?

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When installing new flooring for schools, there are several factors to consider.  Budget, water-resistance, durability, and a long life. Depending on the goals of your school, and what types of use the floor will have, style and function are also important things to consider.  There are several options available that meet all those needs.

For high-traffic areas that need to be easily maintained and cleaned, vinyl flooring is a great option.  It is easy to walk and stand on, cleans easily with detergent and water, and will hold up to quite a bit of foot traffic.  Vinyl flooring is fairly easy to install, and many have a lifetime warranty. They are stain and water resistant, and there are many styles and colors to choose from.

Some schools choose carpeting as their favorite option for flooring.  That’s not the choice for everyone, though, as carpeting can stain easily and isn’t as easily maintained as other types of flooring.  However, carpet tiles are easily replaced, and can be a good option for classrooms where small children sit and play on the floor.

Rubber flooring is another good option for classrooms where children might sit or play on the floor.  It can be laid in tiles, replaced easily, and can be cleaned and sanitized with no issues.

Linoleum is a favorite choice of many schools because it can be installed on a grand scale and lasts a very long time with little maintenance.  It can be sanitized easily and is pretty durable to high traffic and the scraping of chairs and desks. Linoleum is available in a variety of colors, patterns, and styles, and carpet tiles or rubber tiles can be laid over the top of it in classroom situations that require it.

Discuss your school’s goals to decide which is the best option.  Any of the above will do well, but the perfect choice will depend on the purpose of the room, budget, and the needs of the students and administration.

Can You Paint or Epoxy a Cork Floor?

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Cork floors can be great, but not that versatile in the style department.  Many homeowners would like to freshen up the look of their cork floors with paint or an epoxy but should be aware that it may not work out like they would like.

Cork floors can be painted, but there is some prep work involved.  Most cork floors will have a finished surface that should be sanded down and leveled before any type of paint is applied.  Test a small, inconspicuous area first to make sure the paint will apply evenly and stick to the surface after it dries. When choosing paint, choose a type made for flooring or outdoor use so that it will be more durable and hold up to the abuse that a floor can take.

If the small area works out well, and you’re satisfied with the color and application, sand down and even out the entire floor and be sure to clean it well to remove all the bits and dust that will stick to your paint.  Once the floor is clear of debris, apply multiple coats of paint to cover evenly and thoroughly, being sure to allow the paint to dry between each application.

Epoxy can be applied over the paint once it has set and cured but putting epoxy directly on the cork surface can cause it to become brittle and crack over time.  Due to the absorbent and soft nature of cork, the epoxy may not set evenly which will cause problems down the road. Sealing it with paint first can help prevent this issue.  If using epoxy, be very certain that the floor has been leveled and cleaned. If the floor has any dips or slants, the epoxy will not set correctly, and it can cause it to crack or look unsightly.

Consult your flooring professionals for more advice on using paint and epoxy on your cork floor.  It may be a good idea to ditch the DIY idea and hire a professional who can do the work for you and is insured for it to look great in the end.

What Are the Different Kinds of Home Flooring Available?

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When choosing flooring for your home, you’ll find that there are several available options that range in price, style, durability, and purpose.  To choose the best one for your home, you’ll need to decide on the functionality, budget, and look that you want.

Wood flooring comes in a variety of options. It’s popular with many homeowners for its beauty and versatility.  Wood flooring can come in different plank widths, grains, and colors. It can add warmth to your home and is fairly easy to install with the right tools.  The price will depend on what type of wood you choose, and there are many options out there for the perfect look.

If you would like more durability than wood with the same type of warmth and look, engineered flooring may be your best choice.  Engineered wood flooring has the same look as wood, as the top layer is wood with a plywood or recycled material backing. It’s less susceptible to climate changes and can be a bit more durable than regular wood flooring.

Laminate flooring is a perfect choice for those who want water-resistance, durability, and an easy installation.  Laminate flooring is available in several styles, including planks that mimic the look and texture of wood. It has grooves on the side that allow it to click together for a quick install over a thin underlayer and can be installed over many types of flooring. Depending on the finish, laminate can also be a more affordable option.

Carpet is a popular choice for those who want warmth and sound-dampening in a space.  There are more options now than ever, including varying colors, textures, patterns, and even fiber types to work the best in the space you have.  Carpeting is now available in tiles, as well, so a homeowner can easily remove a soiled tile and replace it with a new one instead of having to remove the entire room of carpeting.  It’s best installed by professionals, and most brands and styles will hold up under several years of normal use.

Stone and ceramic tile are also great options and are water-resistant.  They can lend a rustic look to a home or add charm to a bathroom or kitchen.  Popular because of its durability and ease of maintenance, tile can be a little more difficult to install and the pricing will vary according to the pattern and material that is being used.

With so many options out there, talk to your flooring professional to determine the best choice for your needs and design of your home.