Category archive - Flooring

Let’s Talk About Lumber

Let’s Talk About Lumber

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For Westchester homeowners looking to get more into the DIY lifestyle, lumber is a material that provides a myriad of uses and can offer a major gateway into understanding how one can build on one’s own terms. Knowing what you want to build and what you want to do with your lumber, however, is only the beginning, as there are several types of popular lumber that can be used for many different projects. One type of lumber is good for small Westchester home jobs, while others are better for big jobs, and it’s important to know the difference.

Western lumber is perhaps the most well known, used for most general building projects and framing, and there are some 15-20 commercially important species of Western softwood. Douglas fir and Hem fir tend to be the most popular and can be classified in three terms: high-quality appearance, general-purpose board or radius-edged patio decking. When looking for western lumber, make sure the brand you purchase has the logo of the Western Wood Products Association (WWPA), which has excellent quality standards and a thorough, check process. Lumber with “WWPA Rules” stamped on it, however, merely indicates the lumber has been graded according to the WWPA rules, but not inspected.

Redwood has two major grades: heartwood and sapwood. Either comes in a variety of grades including a fine finish or a rougher, less attractive finish. Heartwood fends off termites and decay naturally, making it an obvious choice for projects involved in nature or underground. Sapwood, on the other hand, should not be used in contact with the ground, but is good for many Westchester home projects. Architectural redwood is, of course, the strongest redwood, often kiln-dried and used for structural and finish applications. Lastly, garden redwood comprises lower grades and is used commonly for decks, fences, and, you guessed it, gardens.

Less prominent but highly valuable is southern pine. It boasts high strength, resistance to wear and is perfect for projects that require fasteners be used with wood. Southern pine is graded 1-4: 1 has the highest quality and best appearance, 2 has tight knots but usually has no holes, 3 is serviceable sheathing, and more popular than other grades, and 4 contains usable portions of 24 inches long. Then there’s treated lumber, which is resistant to weather, termites and fungus. ACQ and copper azole are the current popular chemicals used to treat lumber, which is used in outdoor consumer projects (decks, etc.). Treated wood isn’t waterproof, but is decay-proof, and comes largely from ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, Douglas fir, Hem-fir and southern yellow pine. Be certain to wear respiratory protection when cutting it.

Finally, there is pine shelving, Pieces of pine shelving measure about 1-inch thick and at varying widths and lengths. Shelving is a favorite for those doing touch ups in garages or basements; it’s sometimes referred to as simply “garage shelving.” Consumer-grade pieces measure up to 12 feet long but most consumer sales will come in at 4 and 6-foot lengths. It’s the most economical wood, which is where a beginner would most likely want to start, but now that you have some idea about lumber, you can start anywhere you like, really.


Fixing Tiles on a Fixed Budget

Fixing Tiles on a Fixed Budget

Installing tiles is something that needs to be planned out carefully on various levels. One has to pick out color and design, consider how it will look in the designated area, make decisions as to what the rest of the kitchen will look like and then, inevitably, there is the task of actually putting down the base, the mesh, the tiles and the grout. Nothing can really be left to chance or ignored.

In contrast, damaging tiles is often done with the most minor and ignorable of actions: Erosion from constant wear, scrapes from furniture and other harsh edges, dirt rubbed and ground in, dropped items both weighty and sharp, and certain chemical cleaners. Naturally, replacing damaged tiles is something that comes up frequently, especially in kitchen floors and bathrooms. You’ll need the following items:

  •       Colored Masking Tape
  •       Replacement Tiles
  •       Nails & Hammer
  •       Chisel
  •       Trowel
  •       Grout & Grout Float
  •       Sponge
  •       Set Mortar
  •       Gloves (optional)

Begin by taping off the surrounding area of the tiles with the masking tape, being sure to cut the tape before the grout, as that will be getting replaced as well. So, the damaged tile(s) and the grout directly surrounding it should be taped off. Take a nail and hit it into the center of the damaged tile(s) to shatter the tile and make it easier to pick up in pieces. Use a chisel to clear out every last trace of the old tile, so that you can lay the new tile on an even surface. (You might want to use gloves while picking up the small shards to make sure you don’t get cut.)

Once the space is clear, take your replacement tile(s) and put a very thin layer of thin set mortar on the bottom of the tile with a trowel. Make sure it is just enough to set the tile in place, as you don’t want to have any mortar squeeze up around the sides of the tile. Let it dry (six to eight hours, to be safe) and then lay down some grout using a grout float to make sure it gets deep into the surrounding area.  When you’re done, use a sponge to clean up any unwanted grout on the tile(s). Let the grout dry and pull up the tape to take a look at your brand new tile(s). It’s just one more thing to ensure you don’t have to call in an armada of contractors to fix a minor problem in your home.


Make Those Squeaky Floorboards Silent

Make Those Squeaky Floorboards Silent

Squeaky floorboards are one of those things that most people consider a necessary evil of homeownership. Some people think it’s a sign that the entire floor is about to give way, or that a poltergeist is secretly creeping around, or that they really need to hit the gym. In reality, this is a natural deterioration of the floorboards that have dried out after awhile and are now sliding and grinding against each other; there’s also the factor of unstable subflooring. Bare hardwood floors tend to be the main culprits but the squeaks are still perceivable in carpeted areas and tiled areas.

Fixing these common annoyances is an easy enough project for an active home improvement weekender. In any situation, the first thing to do is locating the squeak and mark it with some electrical tape. Now, the toughest situation is when you have no way of getting under a bear hardwood floor and must fix it from above. This will require a drill, breakaway screws, matching screwdriver bit and a depth-control fixture. (O’Berry’s makes a handy counter-snap kit for this sort of job.) Drill a pilot hole (approximately 3/32 in.-dia) and use the depth-control fixture provided in the kit to drill one of the provided screws into the hole until it snaps off. To conceal the work, fill the hole with wood putty.

Carpeted floors that need to be looked at from above can be similarly fixed. In this case, I highly suggest a squeak-no-more kit, which contain everything you’d need for this job, including breakaway screws and a pilot screw for locating joists. If you have a joist locator, it’s a bit easier and quicker. Using either, locate the joist that is in closest proximity to your squeak and mark it. To ensure your carpet doesn’t get damaged, wrap the special breakaway screw with scotch tape when you drive the screw through the fixture. Screw it in and then use the fixture’s side to break off the top of the breakaway screw. All of the work you’ve should be concealed by the carpeting.

The more common and easier task is fixing squeaks from underneath, through a basement. Have a member of your family or a friend walk over the squeaky area while you’re below. Take a thin wooden shim, cover it with carpenter’s glue and tap it into the area between the closest joist and the subfloor. Follow this up with a drywall screw driven through the joist, the shim and into the subfloor at an angle. This is an easy enough fix, but for a more secure fix, get your hands on a hold-down bracket – the most popular one is the Squeak-Ender. This usually consists of a steel mounting plate being held next to the trouble spot’s closest joist, screwed into the subfloor and then tightened via attached nuts so that the joist and the floor are brought closer together.

Floorboards make noise, so don’t get out your kits and tool belt every time you hear the faintest utterance of sound. Be reasonable, but there’s no denying the sound of a floorboard that needs attention. Now, at the very least, you’ll be able to walk across your home without wanting to run for the scale or checking the notches on your belt.


Renovations are back

Renovations are back

After a while, most homeowners start to get bored with the look of their interior. Whether you designed your home in another decade with different style sensibilities, or moved into a house that someone else decorated, renovations can often be the best way in which to make your home your own. If you want to improve the look and feel of your home in Westchester, curtain installation, flooring replacement, a kitchen overhaul, a new plumbing fixture in the bathroom, or a splashy new color for your walls are just a few of the ways that you can customize your home and increase its value.

For homeowners in Westchester, curtain installation can be a great way to brighten up your walls and give them extra pizzazz. Whether you want to create a sense of movement in a tired room, or soften a harsh looking space with pale pastels, adding new curtains or an accent wall are easier and less expensive than painting an entire room. Rather than the standard, cookie cutter approach, creative homeowners have the opportunity to renovate with real originality. Consider flooring walls: rather than a standard accent wall that is painted or wallpapered to provide a pleasing contrast, flooring walls combine the beauty and elegance of genuine wood flooring with the dramatic appeal of an accent wall.

If you want to make a design statement in your home in Westchester, curtain installation, combined with a wooden accent wall, can be a great choice. There are many professional installers who can advise you as to the best placement of your accent wall, the right type and color of wood to use, and the optimal material for your curtains. When you install new curtains or add a flooring accent wall, you can make a spectacular statement in a way that’s both practical and economical!


Wall flooring?

Wall flooring?

There are many ways to spruce up your rooms and reinvigorate a tired decorating scheme. Adding new light fixtures, hanging different art, changing your window coverings and installing molding around your doors and windows are all great ways to freshen up your home and make it look new again. If you want to make a really dramatic change, however, your walls and floors play the biggest role in the look and feel of your home. Because they cover such a large area, your walls and floors inform how the rest of your space looks, and have a huge influence on other decorating decisions. Because they are both so important, why not combine them? For homeowners in Westchester, flooring walls can revitalize your space in an elegantly unexpected way!

It’s well known in the world of design that accent walls one of the most powerful ways to make a room stand out. They’re also a great way to get the most bang for your buck, since painting or wallpapering a single wall is less costly and time consuming that redoing all the walls in your home. Paradoxically, it is this very “less is more” approach that makes them pop! A wall in a complimentary color or pattern can set the tone for a room and make it look more dramatic. For homeowners in Westchester, flooring walls take the concept of the accent wall to a higher level.

If you want to add a truly stunning design flourish to your home in Westchester, flooring walls can help you to do so. This trend is sweeping the nation, and it’s easy to see why: flooring walls give you the elegant warmth of natural wood flooring, combined with the dramatic flair of an accent wall. Flooring walls are a guaranteed way to make your rooms stand out, and can form a spectacular centerpiece for a living room, entryway or dining area. If you want to combine striking originality with eye-catching style, a wooden accent wall is for you!


Need a new floor? Polish your old one

Need a new floor? Polish your old one

There are few things that combine beauty, timeless elegance and durability like genuine wood floors. Real hardwood imparts classic style to your home, complimenting any decorating scheme and giving a sense of warmth and comfort combined with matchless good taste. Whether your home’s architecture is sleek and contemporary or cozy and old-fashioned, wood floors can compliment your décor and make your home look and feel great. Not only is hardwood a beautiful material, it also feels wonderful underfoot, giving you a warm surface with just a hint of spring that can make standing for long periods easier on your joints and more comfortable for your body. For homeowners in Westchester, floor polishing can help give your old floors new life and bring back their shine.

One of the greatest advantages of wood as a flooring material is its durability, and the way in which it can be reinvented time and again. Like any component of your home, your floors are faced with daily wear and tear as they’re walked over, spilled on, and subjected to the ravages of shoes, paws and countless of other items. Scuffs, scrapes and scratches can cause the surface of your floors to look dull and worn, robbing them of their smooth finish and diminishing their looks as well as their smooth feel underfoot. If you’ve found that the wood floors have lost their sheen in your home in Westchester, floor polishing is an excellent way to restore their brilliance and make them look brand-new again.

For homeowners in Westchester, floor polishing is an economical way in which to renew your floors and make a substantial improvement to your home. Rather than going to the time, trouble and expense of having your floors completely replaced, having them professionally polished can give you that new-floor look at a fraction of the cost!


Fresh New Decks

Fresh New Decks

Outdoor spaces are just as important to your home’s overall look and feel as indoor ones. For busy homeowners, having a beautiful outdoor area to call your own can help you to relax and unwind from the everyday stresses of life. Spending time outside can have a wonderfully restorative effect, allowing you to reflect and have some much needed time to yourself. Outdoor spaces can be anything from gardens to patios, but for homeowners in Westchester, wooden decks are one of the best ways to enjoy the outdoors. A wooden deck gives you the convenience of a patio, allowing you to arrange furniture, barbecues, plants and anything else you desire, while also giving you the organic, natural look of genuine wood.

For homeowners in Westchester, wooden decks can be a beautiful, elegant solution to all of your outdoor entertaining needs. Casual cocktail hours with friends, elegant al fresco dinners and leisurely weekend brunches can all be made better by having a beautiful setting to enjoy them in. A wooden deck is the perfect place to entertain, or simply enjoy some time with a book.

If you want your outdoor space to look great in your home in Westchester, wooden decks should be refreshed from time to time. One of the best ways to insure that your deck looks its best year-round is to have it painted. A new coat of paint can do wonders for your deck, helping to extend its lifespan by protecting and preserving the wood, and making it look brand-new again by erasing the effects of weathering. Deck painting can also allow you to reinvigorate your outdoor décor by choosing a splashy new color. If you want a simple and economical way to improve your outdoor areas, having your decks professionally painted can help them look great and last longer.


Prep For Your Patio

Prep For Your Patio

During the summer, there are few things more enjoyable than eating a meal, chatting with friends, or simply soaking up the great outdoors on your very own patio. The sights and sounds of a beautiful summer evening are even better when you have a place to sit in comfort, barbecue and socialize. For homeowners in Westchester, patio construction can be a great way to expand your home and maximize the benefits of your outdoor space.

For residents of Westchester, patio construction is a growing trend that allows homeowners to extend their living space into the back yard. When it comes time to add a patio to your home, your imagination is the only limit. Wood-fired pizza ovens, built-in benches, wet-bars, even full kitchens, afford homeowners more outdoor entertaining options than ever and can make cooking even more fun. A customized look can be achieved through your choice of facing, flooring and railing material, as well as through the addition of plants, decorative lighting, statuary and other special flourishes that showcase your unique aesthetic sensibilities.

If you want to get the most from the outdoor space at your home in Westchester, patio construction should be preceded by careful planning and preparation. There are many options for the discerning homeowner when choosing construction materials for a patio. Facing, steps and flooring can be made from concrete, flagstone, granite, stucco, brick or many other materials. Railings and fencing can be made of wood or metals such as steel or wrought iron. Whether you’re going for a look that’s sleek and contemporary, or charmingly old-fashioned, selecting the right materials for your patio can help you to achieve it. By deciding exactly how you want your patio to look before construction begins, you can make the process easier and quicker – so that you can begin to enjoy your beautiful new patio as soon as possible!


Which Floor To Choose?

Which Floor To Choose?

Your floors are an essential aspect of your home. They take a beating every day, as they’re walked on, spilled on, scuffed and required to support furniture and appliances. For this reason, it’s essential that your floors be durable and easy to maintain. It’s also important for floors to look beautiful and provide a comfortable surface to stand and walk on. For residents of Westchester, home flooring material is an important choice that can have major implications for your quality of life and your home’s value, durability and looks.

or homeowners in Westchester, home flooring material is best selected based on the room it will be used in. Tile is an excellent choice for areas like kitchens and bathrooms: it’s exceptionally durable and easy to clean, making it a perfect fit for places where spills and messes are common. Because it can be hard and cold however, tile is not the best choice for spaces like living rooms and bedrooms; when you want a sense of cozy comfort, carpet is best. Soft, warm and perfect for muffling sound, carpet is great for kids’ playrooms, bedrooms and living rooms. Carpet is less-than-ideal for areas where messes and moisture are common, however, as it is susceptible to stains and water damage.

If you’re looking for a timelessly classic option for your Westchester home, flooring made from genuine wood is an unbeatable choice. Wood flooring is durable, sustainable and of course, exceptionally beautiful. However, it cannot be used over a concrete subfloor (often found in basements) and is susceptible to scratches, scuffs and water damage. Although it can be refinished to restore its original beauty, wood floors are expensive to purchase and install. For areas like basements, hallways or game rooms, laminate can be a great choice. It mimics the natural beauty of wood, but is very inexpensive and easy to install. Unlike real wood, however, laminate can’t be refinished, so once it’s damaged, it needs to be replaced. Whichever option you choose, research and preparation can help you to find the perfect flooring material for every room in your home!


Floor Facelift

Floor Facelift

A nice floor can completely transform a room, making it seem to shine from within. Natural wood is unparalleled as a flooring material for its beauty, classic elegance and unmatched durability. Whether your style is sleek and contemporary, or cozily old-fashioned, wood floors can make your space seem warm, inviting and sophisticated all at once. Despite their durability, however, wood floors are susceptible to wear and tear – just like any other element of your home. If you want the best out of the floors in your home in Westchester, flooring can be repaired and refinished for a like-new look and feel.

When a wood floor ages, it loses some of its trademark luster, becoming dull as scratches, nicks and divots accumulate over time. Loose boards, cracks, scrapes and dings can all rob a floor of its beauty and leave it looking old and tired. One of the great advantages of a natural wood floor is its durability; under the surface damage, there is a brand-new floor, just waiting for its chance to shine! For homeowners in Westchester, flooring repair can make a world of difference.

Sanding wood floors allows you to remove the top layer – the one that has been damaged by heavy traffic – to reveal the unblemished wood underneath. Staining the floor after it has been sanded not only protects and seals it against moisture, but imparts a gorgeously lustrous shine. In addition to sanding and staining, repairing loose boards and filling cracks can give your floor a more even, regular appearance; it can also put an end to the annoying squeaks and groans of a floor in need of repair! If you want to enjoy the benefits of a beautiful floor in your home in Westchester, flooring repair can lead to an incredible transformation, allowing your space to live up to its full, glorious potential.