Help Your Carpet Survive a Pittsburgh Winter

pittsburgh winter

Pittsburgh’s winter season is in full swing! Between the frigid weather and the yo-yoing temperatures, it feels as if there are natural forces working against us all this time of year. But there’s another silent enemy of winter home care we must be mindful of: rock salt.

Not only can the chemicals in this ice-melting tool wreak havoc on your shoes and tires, they can also cause damage to your carpet and other flooring. Another issue that can arise is subpar air quality in your home, as soiled carpet can spread allergens and pollutants throughout your home by releasing them into the air.

But this isn’t the time to give up! There are many steps you can take to care for your carpets during the winter here in the Pittsburgh region.

Make a “No Shoes” Policy

We’re sure you’ve visited a friend or relative’s home and been asked to remove your shoes upon entering. While it may seem like a pain in the moment, this action can really help maintain your carpets and avoid any unnecessary damage year round, but particularly during the winter months.

There are a few easy ways to ensure this happens when a guest enters your home. First, find a specific area near your entryway for the shoes to be places. You’ll want to be sure that any wet footwear is placed on flooring that can withstand the wear, on a small, durable area rug, or on a rack of some kind.

You also may want to add a small sign asking guests to remove their shoes, just in case.

Clean Your Carpets Regularly

Ideally, you already vacuum your heavily traffic carpet areas twice each week, but for areas with less traffic, weekly is just fine. Pro tip: always use a vacuum cleaner with a beater bar or rotating brush and with a strong air flow.

No matter how often you vacuum in the winter, your carpet will still need heavy-duty cleaning from time to time. We recommend hiring a trained carpet care professional to perform this service at least once each year to refresh the texture and rejuvenate the fibers. If you worry your carpet is beginning to show wear during the winter, now is the perfect time to have your carpets cleaned.

Do you have any winter carpet care tips? Feel free to share them with us in the comments!

How To Clean Your Carpet, Tile, Hardwood, and LVT Floors

cleaning carpet

Have you had trouble keeping your floors clean in the past? No matter what type of flooring you have in your home, it certainly requires some type of care and maintenance. Whether it’s carpet stains or dirt in your tile grout, we have cleaning solutions to keep your home fresh and clean!

Cleaning Carpet

If you clean your carpet floors yourself instead of hiring professionals, there are a few best practices to follow. First, you can clean carpet by water extraction, commonly done with steam cleaners. Steam cleaners work by releasing a cleaning solution into the floors, then extracting the now-dirty solution back into the appliance. Water damage is a risk when using this method, especially when handling a steam cleaner on your own, so make sure there’s not an excess amount of water being injected into the floors during this process.

An alternative way to clean your carpet is the dry extraction method. Dry extraction works by using a dry absorbent compound. After the compound is fully spread, vacuum the floors with a carpet cleaning machine (such machines are available to rent).

If you’d like more carpet cleaning tips, we have a curated list of carpet cleaning solutions to help you tackle the spots and stains that inevitably appear on your carpet from years of wear and tear.

Cleaning Tile

Tile is extremely durable, which makes the cleaning and care process easier and less involved. One way to consistently ensure your tile floors look fresh is to vacuum or sweep, then use a sponge mop to clean your floors one to two times a week. The most important part about keeping tile clean is keeping the grout clear of dirt and buildup. To extract dirt from your grout, use a grout cleaner spray or a mixture of baking soda and water. Apply the spray or paste to the grout and let sit for ten to fifteen minutes. Use a small brush to scrub the spray or paste out of the grout, bringing with it the years of buildup and grime.

Cleaning Hardwood

To begin to clean hardwood floors yourself, you will first need to sweep the floors to remove excess dirt. This will take care of the recent buildup, but not the dirt that has been on your hardwood floors for a long period of time. You’ll need a wood-cleaning product to clean the long-term buildup. As a precaution, make sure you read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully on the cleaning products you plan to use before spreading them all over your hardwood floors. Use a sponge mop to spread the cleaner on the floors, making sure you don’t put too much product on the floor. Clean the mop and dampen it with clean water before using it to remove the cleaner. After you completely remove the cleaner, take a dry towel and gently dry the hardwood.

Check out our Hardwood Care & Maintenance page, or learn more about our refinishing services to ensure the longevity of your hardwood floors.

Cleaning LVT

Cleaning LVT, or luxury vinyl tile, is very similar to cleaning tile or hardwood floors. As with hardwood, you want to watch out for excess moisture during the cleaning process to reduce the risk of water damage. Vacuum and sweep LVT floors weekly to keep them in great condition. For a deeper clean, use the same process as you would with hardwood floors, except replace the the hardwood cleaning product with a cleaning product that is made specifically for LVT.  LVT floors are very durable however, they still need to be maintained properly to ensure they continue to look pristine for years to come.

Learn everything you need to know about maintenance and care for carpet, tile, hardwood and LVT floors on our website, and be sure to stop by any of our Pittsburgh flooring locations for more information!

 

Upkeep/Maintenance for LVT Floors vs. Hardwood Floors

cleaning hardwood floors

Now that you have your hardwood or LVT floors installed, it’s time to focus on the upkeep and maintenance of your floors. Taking care of your floors is important, and ensures that your flooring can be the heart of the home for many years to come. Since hardwood floors are a natural source and are known to last longer than luxury vinyl tile, they requires more upkeep over the years. LVT on the other hand, is popular because it’s cheaper and not as high maintenance as hardwood.

Everyday Care

The day-to-day care for hardwood flooring includes vacuuming and sweeping regularly with a broom. Avoid using a vacuum with a power rotary brush head on the floors, as it can be too rough. It’s also a smart idea to move the furniture in the room occasionally, to help the hardwood age at an even pace. Try to prevent extreme daylight from shining on the hardwood for long periods of time, as this can cause uneven fading and aging.

LVT is more durable than hardwood, and it’s also waterproof. The durability and low maintanence of this type of flooring results in little daily upkeep. The basic everyday care for luxury vinyl tile includes sweeping with a soft-bristle broom to clean loose dust or dirt, as well as mopping with clean water and gentle cleaner. Unlike hardwood, you don’t have to worry as much about direct sunlight fading or aging LVT floors. If there is a stain on your LVT floors, use 1 part bleach and 10 parts water to spot-treat.

Prevention

There are various ways to prevent speeding the process of aging, scratches, dents and other damage to your hardwood or LVT floors. For both types of flooring, it’s best to avoid wearing heeled or spiked shoes while walking on the floors. Avoid dragging heavy furniture on the floors, instead pick up the furniture to prevent scratches and dents. If there are any spills, you should not let them sit for long periods of time and instead clean them up immediately. Although it is possible to clean LVT floors with a damp mop, you should avoid using a damp or wet mop to clean your hardwood floors to prevent any liquid damage.

Refinishing Options for Hardwood

Although LVT floors are low maintenance and require little to no upkeep overtime, choosing hardwood floors allows for future refinishing options. These refinishing options can take your flooring from tired and worn out to looking better than when they were first installed! Refinishing hardwood can also extend the longevity of hardwood floors and help you get the most out of your investment. There are three types of refinishing services: sanding, screening, and staining.

  • Sanding: Sanding is when the floors are completely sanded down to the raw wood to start fresh with the refinishing process.
  • Screening: Screening is the process of lightly sanding or “screening” the top layers of the floor. Then, covering it with a polyurethane top-coat.
  • Staining: This process requires sanding the floors, then staining them the color or finish of your choice, then topping them with a coat of polyurethane.

Want to learn more about the similarities and differences between hardwood and LVT floors? Download our Hardwood vs. LVT guide and check out our previous blog comparing the installation process for hardwood and LVT floors.

 

Designing a Bedroom on a Budget

After a long day, there’s nothing more relaxing than coming to your humble abode and being in your own space. While not everyone has a large budget to spend, you can still create the bedroom of your dreams with these tips:

  • Accent wall: If you’re looking to add some color to your space, painting an accent wall will give your bedroom the life it needs to make your room feel homier.
  • DIY: You can create a headboard for your bed, refurbish old door knobs or drawer handles, or even paint over your dresser to give your bedroom the look you’ve always wanted.
  • Plants: Adding some greenery to your space will make it feel more Zen and calming when walking into your room, especially if it’s been a busy day and you’re looking to relax for a few moments.
  • Clear the Clutter: Add shelving units or storage under the bed to get rid of some of the clutter. Your bedroom will feel like the big space you want.
  • Canopy: If you have some extra fabric from your last DIY project, you can make a canopy to make your space look more luxurious. Even if you don’t have fabric around, you can easily find an inexpensive roll.
  • Lighting: Lighting can give your room a chic, simple feel. Lamps, candles and even white Christmas lights can give you that effect.
  • Throw Pillows: Find some inexpensive throw pillows to accent your bed and to give it the comfy, cloud-like feel you want when you put your head down at night.

 

Do you have other tips on how to design a bedroom on a budget? Share them with us in the comment section below!

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Deep Cleaning Your Home On Moving Day

Getting ready to move into a new place? Getting your new place ready is more than moving boxes and placing everything how you want to, you also should have a fresh and clean home to move into on that special day. Here are tips for you to deep clean your new home on moving day:

  • Start in the bathrooms: First step is to replace the toilet seat covers. Then you’ll want to clean behind the toilets, clean out the shelves of the medicine cabinets (if there are any), and make sure you give the bathtub and shower a good scrub down.
  • On to the kitchen: Remove the top knobs of your stove and give it a deep clean. Then, wipe down the counters, kitchen appliances and inside the refrigerator. If your oven doesn’t have a self-cleaning feature, you’ll also want to wipe out the oven. The biggest part of cleaning the kitchen is cleaning out the cabinets. Wipe down the shelves and drawers, and if you’re considering using a liner, this would be the time to put those in.
  • Wash the walls: If you’re going to do this, make sure you are using a safe cleaner for that particular surface. And don’t ignore the molding along the tops and corners of the wall.
  • Dust: Dust doorknobs, light fixtures, tops of the doors, window sills and anything else you can think of. The last thing you want in your home is a place covered in dust mites.
  • Wash windows: When you’re washing windows, don’t forget the window panes and screens that are notorious for catching dirt.
  • Carpets: Before you move in your furniture, you’ll want to give your carpets a fresh, clean scrub down. You can do this yourself by renting a steam cleaner or paying a professional carpet cleaning service to do the work for you.
  • Vinyl or tile floors: Sweep up and mop down those floors, getting in between the nooks and crannies to make sure they are spick and span.
  • Hardwood floors: Use a cleaner that is designed to clean hardwood floors. Each wood grain is different, so use something specific to your flooring. Avoid using wax, oil, ammonia, cleaner that is silicone-based, as well as water.

Do you have other tips on how deep clean your home on moving day? Share with us in the comment section below!

The Best Wood Stains for Your Patio

Summer is getting ready to make its exit, but because of the sunshine and rain’s effect on your wooden patio, it’s important to consider some maintenance and care to keep the natural look all year long.

Wood stains come in three different varieties—clear, which will show off more of the grain and natural look of the wood; solid, which covers the wood completely; and semi-transparent, which is a mixture of both a solid and a clear stain.

If you’re looking to freshen up your patio, these Consumer Reports top-rated wood stains might be what you’re looking for:

This clear wood stain provides strength and protection from mildew and UV ray damage. The formula is water based, so it’s easy to clean up. Best of all, it’s a one day project, so you can apply to damp or dry wood in just one coat and go on with the rest of your day.

If a solid stain for your deck is what fits your style, this 100 percent acrylic formula seals out water and protects from UV ray damage. This wood stain can be used to prepare new to heavily weathered or cracking wood stains.

If you fall in the middle and want a wood stain that’s semi-transparent, this product also had high ratings from Consumer Reports. The formula for this wood stain is also acrylic, seals out water and protects from UV ray damage. You can use it on properly prepared new to moderately weathered, unsealed exterior wood surfaces.

What qualities do you look for in a wood stain? Let us know in the comments!