Choosing Colors for Your new Flooring

So you’ve decided it’s time for a change. You’re tired of looking at your present flooring; in the face, some of it looks weary and worn. As you look at the colors, you realize that your favorite colors from a few years ago are missing from the color pallet. In fact, you’re afraid that there’s nothing that looks vaguely familiar to you. All the colors available are radically different from your existing décor. Not to panic, first determine what you’re trying to achieve.

Neutral colors work well in most homes. Beige and tans have been in for years when it comes to all types of flooring. In addition to color look at texture and “busyness” of the floors. Often times it’s not the color that’s the problem but the texture. Even wood flooring which is normally thought of as neutral can clash with furniture and wall paper. If your furniture is patterned, stay away from flooring with a definite direction because it will probably feel uncomfortable to the eye.

It’s important to take home samples of the products you’re considering and place them in the rooms where they will be installed. Look at them at various times during the day and see how the colors change. A warm yellow in the morning can make a room feel like a blazing inferno when hit with the afternoon sun.

Gray is another neutral color, which varies from very dark to almost an off white. It is considered a very sophisticated neutral and will make the room feel cool in contrast to the beige family which warms up the room. Consider the complete color scheme as you look at floor covering. If you don’t have a color wheel get one at a local art supply store so you can understand how the color pallets are achieved.

The room will feel more appealing if you determine which rooms should be cool and, which should be warm. If a room feels too cool or warm, you can neutralize the feeling by adding window treatments that fit into the picture.

Red, yellow and blue are considered primary colors; this means that they are not derived from any other colors. In addition, all other colors are made from using these three colors. Red and yellow are considered warm colors, think about the sun. Blue is considered a cool color. When you mix two of the primary colors, you get secondary colors. Once you mix the colors, the room will feel warmer or cooler depending on the intensity or saturation of the color. For instance, instance, green is made by combining blue and yellow. Blue is a cool color, and yellow is a warm color; the outcome will depend on how much you add of each one.

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You Get What You Pay For!

There used to be an old expression, “You get what you pay for.” The implication of the message is that higher prices give you better merchandise and of course; the opposite is also true. We all know with so many retail outlets, there is a multitude of price points and sometimes there are great bargains.
It’s suggested that using price as a deciding factor is tricky. Starting with price does not allow you to dream or look at products that you would ordinarily ignore. Let’s say you’ve always wanted a refrigerator with an ice maker but your budget doesn’t include an ice maker. Is an ice maker frivolous or do you really love ice cold beverages, give lots of parties so having ice is really important? Instead of looking at your “dream” refrigerator, you don’t even think about it and go home with one similar to what you have. Really, how many times will you buy a refrigerator?
Flooring is a very similar item. It is not something that you purchase very often, and it’s not something you will replace eventually unless it gets damaged, or you want a new style. Floor covering can be a substantial investment so getting the best you can afford is a good idea.
A better way to determine the cost would be to first start out with an honest assessment of what you need. I call these “the conditions of satisfaction.” Instead of starting with a predetermined price, number why not start with what you would really want. Starting with what makes you happy and makes your home and you, feel better in the long run.
If you have a predetermined budget, share it with the salesperson and also let him know what you really want. Ask the salesperson what is available in your budget and then determine if it suits your conditions. Don’t be surprised if there’s a large difference in what you would like to spend and the reality of what you have to spend to get what you want.
Unless you’ve purchased floor covering recently, it’s possible that you are unfamiliar with the costs and may be faced with “sticker shock.” Like a refrigerator or other product that is not replaced often, prices go up as raw materials become scarce or more difficult to obtain. It’s better to go through the buying process with an open mind and an idea of what you really need. It’s not necessary to know what you want to buy, it’s more important to know what you are trying to achieve. This way, the salesperson can help you determine the best possibilities for your situation.
If you are insistent on spending a certain amount of money on your product, beware. I remember purchasing a raincoat that looked very similar to one I had seen at a high-priced department store. I was so excited I forgot to notice that it wasn’t really a rain coat it just looked like one! In this case, I lost twice; one on the wrong product and second on the additional dollars I had to spend on the new one.

What to Look for When Buying Ceramic Tile

Looking forward to purchasing ceramic tile? There’s more than what you see.
Of course, color and style are important, but how and where the product can be used is even more important.. Although all ceramic tiles are a product of two basic elements, clay and water, there are ratings to help you determine which tile is right for your particular need. The different types of clays are mined, ground down and blended into a fine power and combined with water. Once these are mixed together the pressed clay is dried to reduce the moisture content. Ceramic tiles come with a glaze and unglazed surface.
Glazed tiles are covered with a material called frit, which is a glass derivative. The glaze is sprayed into the top of the tile, and the tile is then placed in the kiln to be fired. The firing sets the glaze on the top of the tile which now makes the glaze non porous and hard. Because it will not absorb moisture, it becomes very stain resistant and easy to clean.
The unglazed tiles are often found in quarry tile and porcelain tile. Porcelain tile, which can be one of the unglazed tiles usually, has a consistent color throughout the body of the tile. In addition, the unglazed are usually very strong and will withstand heavy traffic in both interior and exterior applications. They may be used in residential and commercial applications.
Tiles are also classified in terms of how they can be used. The designations are wall and floor tile. These designations tell where the tile can be used. Wall tile can’t be used on the floor, but floor tile can be used on the wall depending upon the weight of the tile, and if it can adhere to the wall. Before considering the use of a floor tile on the wall, it’s best to have an installer look at the wall to see if it’s possible.
Ceramic tile can be used in other areas. Tile can be used around and in swimming pools, for kitchen back-splashes, fireplaces, bathrooms and countertops.
Many tile manufacturers have ceramic tile combinations that can be used on floors on walls. This saves you time if you are looking for a combination that will work with your floor. Instead of looking through all the tiles and determining what looks right together, the manufacturer has done it for you. This way, you can “customize” your room and create a designer look with very little effort.
Trim pieces are very important and often are included with the combinations. Trim pieces are available in decorative as well as accent and border pieces, which finish off the job. These pieces give the room an attractive and consistent look as well as adding beauty to your room.

1. Installation Tips for Your Wood Floor

You’ve decided to get the floor of your dreams; wood. Wood floors have been the rage for years, and with improved scratch resistance, are quite practical. They are still not “bullet proof” and may incur scratches if you have a large dog. If this is the case, it’s wise to discuss it with your flooring professional.
In addition to looking amazing, should you decide to sell your house, it will add to the value. According to realtor statistics, wood flooring adds considerably to the resale value of your house.
Wood floors should be installed by professionals. It is suggested that you have the installation done by the retailer who sells you, the flooring or someone they recommend. This way, you will have a warrantee on the flooring as well as a warrantee on the installation.
Installing wood flooring is different from installing carpet. It should not be kept in the warehouse or garage prior to the installation but acclimated in the room where it’s to be installed. This is not an option. The purpose of the acclimation process is to allow the wood to stabilize so that it can adjust to the temperature and humidity in the room. It needs to expand and contract before the installation; if this process is not adhered to, there can be serious problems after the installation. It doesn’t matter what season, if the garage or warehouse is heated this procedure must be followed. Wood is naturally hygroscopic and expands and contracts to meet the conditions of the room where it is installed. It may expand or contract depending upon the conditions.
The installer will measure the moisture in the wood as well as the sub floor. (This is the floor underneath your new wood floor.) This tells the installer how much room is needed around the perimeter for expansion and contraction of your new floor. This is considered Best Practices for wood installation and will automatically be done by your installer. If you are planning on doing the installation yourself, you will need what’s called a moisture meter for these measurements. This tool is rather expensive, and unless you’re planning on installing other wood floors, its best left to the professionals.
There are unusual conditions where the moisture level in the sub floor is out of the normal ranges. When it is out of the normal range, the condition must be corrected before the new floor can be installed. When this is discovered the installer will be looking at the floor and around your house to see if there is a leak under the floor or outside the house. Sometimes this repair can’t be completed by the flooring professional, and a building contractor must be called before the floor can be installed.
This moisture problem can come from a broken pipe, a drainage problem or a wet concrete slab. Often times a concrete floor addition to your house, such as a kitchen or porch may not look damp, but the moisture meter will indicate that it is. This dampness is leached by the sub floor under your floor installation and must be repaired before the installation.
Having this problem prior to the installation will prevent more serious problems with both the floor and your home.

Feng Shui: A Way to Enhance Your Life and Your Home

Tags: Feng Shui, Chinese art of placement, geophysical orientation, ch’i, cosmic breath of life, effect of wind and weather, Carl Jung and the unconscious mind.

The practice of Feng Shui dated back thousands of years ago and is still practiced by many people. Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese art of placement that and geophysical orientation. It is considered both and art and science and helps one design their living space to harness positive energy. It is not only for personal use but is used e extensively in the business world. Since the principals of Feng Shui are inspired by the Chinese, it would make sense that many of the buildings in Hong Kong are inspired by these principles. It is considered more of a natural practice rather than a cure all so it’s doubtful that it will help you win the lottery, but it might make you more aware of positive business practices.

In Chinese, Feng means wind and Shui means water. The Chinese believed that water sustains life, and wind carries the water around the earth. Our survival is dependent on the both water and wind. It is also believed that these carry and invisible life force known as the ch’i. The ch’i is known as the cosmic breath of life.

In order for us to receive the maximum effect of the wind and water, we must have been adequate ch’i in our house. This can happen if the ch’i is mapped effectively throughout the house so it can flow freely.

You may be thinking that Feng Shui has to do with superstition; it has to do with symbolic placement of items throughout your house. Psychologist Carl Jung showed the world that the unconscious mind was often moved by symbols that were overlooked by the conscious mind.

Decorating using the principles of Feng Shui is really quite interesting. One of the favored decorations is the mirror.

It is said that the mirrors, are capable of moving the ch’i around because of its reflecting nature.

Colors are an important part of Feng Shui. Colors are used to balance the Yin (usually considered female) and Yang (usually considered male). It is said that the balance is typically 60% Yang and 40% Yin. Yin/yang balance consists of both soothing and robust colors. Strong colors (reds) are considered Yang colors. To balance these colors, softer colors or Yin must be added.

Another way to add Yin into a very male environment is to add plants and flower to soften the area.

Each color is attributed to the five Elements; fire, wood, metal, earth, and water. The strongest colors are red, green and gold and are used in many Chinese decorations. Here’s what the colors mean:

Red is for happiness and festivity. (fire)

Green is for peace, eternity, posterity and harmony. (wood)

White, gold and silver represent royalty, strength and wealth. (metal)

Yellow is for gaiety. (earth)

Black is for calamity. (water)

Blue is for the heavens. (dark blue also represents water)

Here are a few tips on circulating the ch’i:

Placing furniture in circular, square of octagonal grouping will help the ch’i circulate. Round tables will also encourage the ch’i to move throughout the room. Both plants and light will help promote good energy throughout your house.

Looks like Wood Doesn’t it?

Tags: Laminate, looks like wood flooring, laminate countertops, oiled finishes and laminate floors, solid wood and engineered floors, hand scrapped laminate, installing laminate below grade, laminate warranted against moisture, laminate and hollow sound, laminate padding.

Similar to wood, laminate comes in a variety of colors and patterns that would make you swear that it is wood. It is extremely strong, a beefed-up version of your kitchen counters. Other than the outdated look of the pattern, laminate countertops are still functional in many old homes.

Laminate flooring is made essentially the same way. It starts with a core at the bottom which is usually engineered wood or fiber board. The core is covered with a stabilizing layer which is made of paper or melamine. Above the core is the design layer, typically a photo or printed patter on paper. This is strengthened with resins. The top layer is a type of cellulose paper impregnated with clear melamine resins. The laminate pieces can be made to look like any material. Another thing which makes laminates different in wood is the continual repeating of the pattern throughout the floor.

Although it is not wood, It can still cost as much as solid or engineered wood floors. One of the major differences between wood and laminate is the fact that laminated floors cannot be refinished when they are damaged.

Today’s laminate hand-scraped floors are actually scraped prior to applying the wood making laminate visual, thus creating a realistic look and texture. Laminate floors come in similar sizes to wood floors; some of the new boards are over seven feet in length. They are also available in an oiled finished, hand scraped and reclaimed wood look.

The larger planks may be easier to install because long planks in real would maybe have a potential for warping.

One of the things that makes laminated flooring more desirable than wood is that it can be installed above and below grade. Many of the laminate floors are warranted against moisture, so they can be installed in the kitchens and half baths. They are not suggested for installation in baths where there is a tub. Laminate is highly water resistant but not water proof.

People have often commented on a ‘hollow’ sound when walking on laminate. Most manufacturers provide a special underlayment pad or sound deadening cork to make this less noticeable. These underlayments will provide both sound deadening as well as protecting the floor from sub floor conditions.

Are you thinking of installing it yourself? Why not? Many of the manufactures have videos that will show you how to install their floors. Since laminate contains wood particles it is recommended that it be left in the room where it is to be installed for acclimate in the room where it is to be installed for 48 hours.

Most of the laminate floors produced today can be installed using a click together method. This method requires no adhesive, nails or staples, and you can walk on your floor immediately.