Stairs Refinishing

Years of constant use can leave your home's staircase looking worn-out. Although it generally takes a few years before wooden staircases start showing signs of wear and tear, the rate might depend on how often you use the steps and the type of staircase you have installed among other factors. Regardless of how deteriorated your staircase might be, you can still restore and get it to look like new.

Although many people consider it an easy undertaking, refinishing your stairway is a customized project that requires serious thought and some level of expertise. Even so, it can take as little as a weekend to complete a refinishing project. While it won’t take much in the way of materials, you’ll need slightly more elbow grease to refinish a scuffed-up staircase than you would need for other types of furniture. To help you save time and money, here’s how to refinish your stairs correctly.

Restore the stair treads

In many cases, trouble will start on the stair treads. Constant foot traffic often scuffs the horizontal surface, scraping off the finish and exposing bare wood. Once the protective finish wears off, your staircase is more susceptible to damage. To begin your stairs refinishing project, examine each stair-tread carefully. You'll probably notice varying degrees of wear and tear. For instance, the top and bottom stairs can have more worn-out treads than those in between. 

If the topcoat finish is still intact and no bare wood is showing, a good cleaning might be all that is needed to restore the tread and get it to look like new. Once you’ve changed into work clothes and have a pair of rubber gloves on, apply gel or liquid stripper onto the tread. Working on small areas helps keep the finish remover from drying on the wood. 

Wait until the surface of the old stain or paint starts to blister. Use a steel-wool pad to rub thinner into the wood. After you’ve worked it in, scrub the tread lightly to remove any stains and scuff marks. Use a cloth soaked in mineral spirits to wipe the surface, removing the stripper before it dries up on the surface. Use a clean white cotton cloth to dry the tread thoroughly. This technique helps reveal spots that might require additional treatment.

Refinishing is necessary if the topcoat has worn off. If you're using an orbital sander, you’ll need an 80-grit disc. However, if you’re doing it manually, use 60-grit sandpaper. You need to remove any existing finish if you are looking to apply vanish, which means sanding the tread down to bare wood but without changing the shape of the stairs. So, make sure you sand gently and evenly. Vacuum the surface clean before you sand the tread again. Go over the process several times, gradually working your way up to the finer 100-grit disc.

If the tread’s rounded front edge needs to be refinished, use a sanding sponge to sand it down to bare wood. Alternatively, you can use an electric profile sander, one that features a 5/8-inch-radius convex pad.

Before you begin work, place drop cloths over nearby furniture and any other items to protect them from dust, paint, and varnish. You’ll also want a face mask to help keep you from inhaling fumes. Since sanding machines can produce a lot of fine dust, getting one that can be attached to a dry/wet vacuum or has a dust-collection canister is advisable.

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What Is Embossed Laminate Flooring?

Today's homeowners have a greater variety of flooring options to choose from than ever before. From solid wood flooring to engineered hardwood to laminates to vinyl in a vast array of styles, colors and textures, the possibilities are endless. In fact, there are so many options that it can be hard to decide which one is right for you. Becoming educated on what each type of flooring is, how it is made and the strengths and weaknesses of each will go a long way towards narrowing down the right flooring option for you.

What is laminate flooring?

To start with, many consumers are confused about the difference between vinyl, laminate and engineered hardwood flooring. Laminate and engineered hardwood flooring are both "planks" of flooring that are laid and connected by a tongue and groove system of some kind, leaving a smooth, seamless look. Engineered hardwood flooring is created by gluing a thin slice of genuine hardwood to a series of base layers and generally coated with a protective coating of some kind. Laminate flooring utilize essentially a picture of a natural element like wood or stone, which is then laid over a series of base layers similar to those used in engineered hardwood. Because of advanced digital photography technology, today's laminates can be almost completely indistinguishable from natural materials, but are much more durable and easier to care for.

Vinyl flooring is printed on large sheets, which generally come on a large roll and is installed much like carpeting. Vinyl flooring is generally thin and needs to be installed over a perfectly smooth base or it will show lumps and bumps. Engineered harwood and laminate floor installation tends to be the easiest and most forgiving, as they essentially "float" over the surface of the floor. This means they can generally be installed right on top of concrete, old tile or old wood flooring without creating any unsightly lumps or bumps.

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Tips For Picking New Hardwood Flooring

hardwood flooring in the living room


When it comes to choosing new flooring for a space, there are many options to choose from. Carpet, linoleum and wood floors are just some of the choices to start with. If you want a long-lasting and charming option for your space, hardwood flooring is the way to go. However, there are many choices to choose from with hardwood flooring and it can be a tedious process choosing which type to ultimately go with. To make things a bit easier, below are some of the top tips for picking your new style of hardwood floors.


Choices For Installing Hardwood Floors

There are many style choices when it comes to your new hardwood flooring. The following are some of the main options to consider when looking at purchasing new hardwood flooring in Barrie:

•Board Widths- You can choose the width of your new floors to go with the look of the room. The boards can come in slim strips as small as a few inches to much bigger widths of up to half a foot or more. More recently, there are the options of getting wood flooring in the shape of squares and rectangles for a more unique look. However, traditional wood strips are best to make the space look bigger and more open.

•Wood Types- Along with the width, you can also choose from many different wood types as well. Maple hardwood flooring and oak hardwood flooring are top choices in the market of wood floors. However, the type you choose will be best chosen depending on the overall look you are trying to accomplish in the space. Grey hardwood flooring is a great choice for a more subtle and modern look.

•Colors and Textures- Colors for your new flooring range from light to black. The colors are typically dependent on the type of wood that you choose to go with. As for textures, the wood can come finished or unfinished. The finished wood can give a shiny, new look to your space while an unfinished wood type can give your space a more antique or rustic feel. Many wood floor manufacturers offer wood that is hand-scraped or distressed to help disguise heavy usage over the years.

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7 Types of Flooring For Your New Home

When you are ready to remodel a room in your home, it is essential to choose new flooring material that is suitable for the particular space. There are several things to consider when you are selecting new flooring materials, including:

• Color that makes a room more attractive
• Texture that doesn’t collect debris
• Foot traffic in the space to ensure that the flooring is durable
• Temperature control to have warmer floors in the winter
• Safety to prevent falling or injuries
• Types of care required to reduce cleaning time
• Fiber or material to avoid an allergic reaction
• Sound control to avoid too much noise

In addition, you can find flooring at a variety of price points to suit your family’s budget. There are seven types of popular flooring materials to choose from that are available at retail outlets.

1: Hardwood Flooring

People have been using classic hardwood flooring for hundreds of years because it is durable, beautiful and natural. There are several types of hardwoods to choose from, including:

• Cherry
• Maple
• Beech
• Oak
• Walnut
• Ash
• Mahogany
• Teak
• Pine

When you select hardwood flooring, it is available in a natural finish, or you can also find it stained in a variety of finishes. It is also possible to paint hardwood floors a single color, or you can make patterns on the material's surface. To protect hardwood planks, it is a good idea to have the surface covered with a protective layer of shellac to keep it waterproof.

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installing hardwood flooring over concrete

Solid hardwood flooring is beautiful and lends an element of class to every home. They are warm, easy to clean and very popular today. If you are considering installing hardwood flooring over concrete, here are some things to consider before you begin the project.

Check Moisture Levels

Humidity and excess moisture are a solid wood floor's enemy. If you are installing hardwood floors in a new home, be sure to allow two months to pass before even testing for moisture levels in the concrete. New concrete needs time to dry before hardwood can be installed.

If you are installing a hardwood floor in a humid area like a basement, you'll want to make sure the moisture levels are not high enough to cause buckling and warping of your finished floor. Nearly all homes built after the 1980s have a vapor barrier under the concrete foundation of a home, which are typically required by local building codes. If this is the case, these barriers can help minimize the amount of moisture a concrete slab tends to pull up from the soil.

You should the moisture levels in multiple areas where you plan to install the hardwood. Duct-tape a small piece of polyethylene plastic, a little larger than a standard sheet of paper, to the basement floor. Be sure the duct tape runs completely around the plastic to form a good seal. After 24 hours, check to see that the plastic is not moist, damp or cloudy. If your concrete floor passes this test, you can proceed with your hardwood floor installation.

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7 Reasons Rustic Looking Hardwood Flooring Is a Hot Trend in 2017

rustic hardwood flooring

People often ask our opinion about which types of hardwood flooring Barrie homeowners should consider installing. Rustic looking hardwood flooring is one of our top suggestions. Right now rustic flooring is a hot item in all of North America, but it's especially appropriate for use in Barrie and the surrounding areas. Let's take an in-depth look at some of the lifestyle and design trends driving the demand for this type of flooring. Let's also discuss 7 of the main reasons rustic flooring is so popular right now.

1. Rustic Hardwood Flooring Complements Mountain Modern Style Home Design

The mountain modern interior design style is a newly emerging trend that's popular in both Canada and the USA right now. It's particularly relevant in the mountainous areas surrounding ski resorts. For those who aren't familiar with this style, mountain modern is basically a new evolutionary update on the rustic ski lodge theme -- usually minus the prominent moose and bear motifs. Think sophisticated yet gritty, earthy yet industrial. It's the sort of design you'd get if you were to fuse the interior styles of a downtown hipster loft and an upscale condo at the ski slopes.

The recipe for mountain modern style interiors: rustic hardwood flooring plus large, spectacular picture glass windows plus industrial chic furnishings. You might also find elements like rough textured walls made of brick, pipes that are exposed rather than hidden and trendy new RLM light fixtures. Whatever else you include, the rustic wood flooring is typically a central focal point in this design style.

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Increase the value of your home with hardwood flooring

For centuries wooden floors were the preferred choice for homeowners. Then a few decades ago wall-to-wall carpeting took over as the favourite. Many homeowners covered over their wooden flooring with carpeting, others installed carpet in new homes.
Now, however, many local homeowners are pulling up their worn, faded and dirty carpets in favour of wooden floors. In installing hardwood flooring Barrie residents are adding a new dimension to their homes that they realize, as it grows in popularity, is likely to increase the value of their property.
Indeed, potential buyers are likely to pay more for a house with hardwood flooring than for one without that asset and the house is likely to sell more quickly than otherwise would have been the case.
Often homeowners sell their homes with old carpets that have become dirty, worn and stained. Although they suggest that the new owner can replace the carpet, possibly with wooden flooring, the impression given is already enough to put off buyers. On the other hand, hardwood flooring already installed helps a home to show well and increases its value, bringing with it a higher sale price.
The value it adds to the price of a house is likely to exceed the cost of the installation of the floors.
There are many reasons installing a hardwood floor attracts buyers and boosts the value of a home. Here are some of them.

Hardwood flooring is timeless

home with hardwood flooring

Wood has a classic look that does not change as fleeting fashions change. Offered in a wide range of colours and finishes, wooden floors will fit in with any decor, providing a timeless base even when the furniture and fittings change.
If it is cared for, hardwood flooring lasts a lifetime. Other floors are likely to start showing wear and tear over time, but hardwood flooring will continue to display its classic finish for generations. Indeed, wooden floors have been around since the Middle Ages in Europe. Not only does wood outlast most other floor coverings, wood often improves in appearance as it ages.
It’s also worth remembering that even flooring that was installed decades ago can be revived and look as good as new with refinishing.
Wooden flooring accords, too, with today’s trend toward natural beauty and is viewed as eco-friendly. Unlike stone and tiling, wood has a natural warmth that harkens back over time, creating a feeling of enduring stability and dependability.
Hardwood flooring also adds a degree of spaciousness when it is installed in a home. It is therefore ideal for smaller spaces or any area that will be improved if it looks larger.

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Does Carpet Help or Hinder Your Allergies?

Love it or hate it, carpet is a fact of life. Older homes are often equipped with it, newer homes sometimes feature it, and many people find it’s what’s on the floor in their office and other locations. Whether you love it or hate it, it's everywhere. It also has a profound effect on your health. Whether you love the soft feel of it on your feet after a long day of work, or you detest it and how dirty it gets throughout the day, it might just make you sick. Homeowners ask their doctors all the time if their carpeting is making their allergies worse and causing them not to feel well, and the debate is ongoing.

Carpet flooring is popular, but many people choose to forgo it when building or have it removed from their news homes when it’s time to move. Your doctor might recommend getting rid of it if you have allergy issues, or the doctor might tell you it doesn’t make that much of a difference to your overall health. Here’s the facts as they stand regarding carpet and allergies. You can decide for yourself whether it’s the right choice in your home.


Allergens and Soft Flooring

Dust, pollen, pet dander, and other gross allergens are easily trapped in the fibers of your rugs and other soft flooring. Even with vigorous vacuuming each day, it’s easy for these allergens to become trapped and sit there in the floor in your home. There’s also mold in these floors, and understanding just how much dirt, dust, and other disgusting features are stuck down in those fibers is enough to make you never want to touch this soft flooring again. However, many experts believe your allergies aren’t worsened by the carpeting in your home. In fact, they believe it might improve the air quality in your home.

The professional argument is having soft flooring with so many fibers in which allergens become stuck helps to relieve the quality of your indoor air. When allergens are on the floor stuck between fibers on the rugs, they’re not in the air. When they’re not in the air, those with allergies aren’t breathing them. Becoming stuck in the floor actually increases air quality in your home. That’s a benefit many people are unaware exists in their home.


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Is Laminate Flooring Suitable for the Kitchen?

Laminate is a preferred flooring material because it has an exceptional style that mimics high-quality wood floors, but it is available at a much more affordable price than true wood floors. In addition, it is easier to maintain and is less likely to scratch or dent than wood. In many homes, it is commonly found in living areas, dining rooms and even bedrooms. Because of how functional and stylish it is, you may be wondering if you can pursue laminate floor installation in the kitchen as well. With a closer look, you can make an educated decision about the best places to install this material in your home.

What Is Laminate Flooring Made Out Of?

The best laminate flooring is a synthetic flooring surface that is comprised of four distinctive layers, and it essentially is a laminated material. It commonly mimics the look of wood, but it can also mimic the look of stone or tile flooring in the home. The bottom layer is the backing, and it typically has a moisture barrier that can reduce the incidence of warping or damage when the floor is exposed to water. Above the backing is the core layer, which is the thickest and most durable component of the floor. It is designed to withstand weight as well as wear and tear to ensure long-lasting use in the home. The thickness of this section of the flooring can vary by several millimeters in some cases. The applique material is above the core layer. This is the material that gives the floor the look of wood. It essentially is a photographic image that is covered with a layer of strong resin for protection. The uppermost layer of this type of flooring is made of melamime, which is a hard, durable surface that is designed to protect the photographic layer from damage. It typically is water resistant.

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Hardwood Flooring

hardwood flooring

Many homeowners crave the beauty and longevity of hardwood flooring, which is constructed from the wood of deciduous trees such as maple or oak. Softwoods are conifers like yew, cedar or pine. The names don’t describe the actual hardness of the wood, but hardwoods are more dense than softwoods and tend to be harder to cut.

Types of Hardwood

The wood of many types of deciduous trees can be used to create a hardwood floor. Oak has been one of the more popular woods for hardwood flooring for centuries. Oak hardwood flooring is beautiful, with a gorgeous grain. It is also hard and durable. Species of oak used for floors include white, Tasmanian, red and European.

Lighter-colored maple is another popular choice when it comes to hardwood flooring. Species of this tree that are used for flooring include rock maple, silver maple and Japanese maple. The grading system for maple is different than for other types of wood. The grades are: first, second, third.

Hickory is marketed as red, which comes from the heartwood or white, which comes from the sapwood. Hickory has a beautiful grain, is strong and resists shock.

Brazilian cherry also has different colored sapwood and heartwood. The sapwood makes for a lovely, silvery grey hardwood flooring, while the heartwood is salmon-colored or an orangey brown that mellows into deeper red-brown as it ages. The wood’s texture ranges from medium to somewhat coarse, and the grain is interlocked.

Walnut’s heartwood is a deep, chocolate brown to purple-black, but its sapwood is pale. Some samples of walnut come with a curled grain or burls that are prized by many homeowners.

Many species and grades of ash are used for flooring. Among the most popular is the Japanese ash, which often has an attractive “peanut” figure. Other types of ash used for hardwood floors are the European ash and the black, brown, white and green ash, which are native to America.

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