DIY Floors: The Odds Are Against You

By Steve Cooper

Installing_Floors1A few weeks ago in her Floor Talk blog, interior designer Annette Callari offered some good advice to consumers in an entry called “DIY Room Designs . . . Don’t Go Too Far.” Beware of the false impressions created by your favorite home-makeover shows on TV, she warned.

Annette’s blog reminded me about a friend who had worked on one of the popular makeover shows. She had lots of war stories to tell. The best story was about a kitchen passageway that was walled off by a frenzied TV crew. It made for good television, but there was a slight downside. By blocking the doorway, the TV remodelers changed the kitchen’s traffic flow—and not for the better. The real reason the designers had boarded up the pass-through? They needed a better angle for their camera and closing off the door gave it to them. After the curtain came down on the production and the TV renovators were long gone, the homeowners were forced to invest in restoration work to reopen the entry.

Don’t be fooled. What you see on TV has been shaped for the viewers, not for real life. There is a point of view called reality and another POV called camera reality. All the rooms you are shown on television or in magazines are limited by what seen is within the camera frame. That’s camera reality. It’s sort of real, but it doesn’t tell the complete story. Disaster may lurk just outside the camera’s view.

Which brings us to your floors. Don’t believe everything you see or read in the media about DIY flooring installations. Homeowners are often encouraged to view DIY installations as an easy task that anyone can tackle. You have the morning free, put down new floors! The truth is that flooring installation is usually best left to professionals. Through training and experience, the pros know how to:

  • Work around the edges of a room, making sure that every spot where flooring meets wall has a clean seam.
  • Cut around oddities, such as the uneven surface of a fireplace hearth or a tricky jog in a wall. They even know what to do when walls are crooked instead of straight and true.
  • Handle difficult transitions between floors of different heights or different materials.
  • Work cleanly and efficiently with floor adhesives and/or nails.

Certainly, there are some situations where a homeowner can do an acceptable job with installation. It’s possible for someone with a steady hand and patience to put down a no-nail laminate click floor, for instance, in a small space with straight walls, no tricky changes and no obstacles. However, before you commit to such a project, study the room carefully for any challenge, such as a difficult transition or meandering wall.

In the end, you will enjoy your floors more by bringing in professional installers. You’ll also save money because you won’t have to pay to have your mistakes fixed. The choice is simple: Hire a professional’s experience or go through the angst of gaining you own experience That’s a lesson that a couple of botched flooring installations taught me well.

For more information on flooring visit the World Floor Covering Association’s Consumer Carpet & Flooring Guide.

Trending Forward

By Annette Callari, Allied ASID; CMG

GraytonesIt’s time to talk about the trends shaping the color palettes for 2012 and 2013. Working closely with Color Marketing Group International provides great insight as to what designers are seeing across the country as to color “drivers”.

1. “The Good Old Days”
The post World War II era represented a period of growth and patriotism for Americans. Happier times and bluer skies are associated with the colors from that time. With positive associations tied to them, colors popular from the 1940’s through the l960’s are selectively reappearing in the coming palette.

2. “Eco-Friendly Lifestyle”
We’ve already established that personal recycling and preserving the earth’s natural resources are high-priority choices for most Americans. Now a lifestyle (rather than a trend), colors will reflect our commitment to sustainability. Natural hues in their purest form will influence the new color palette. Aqueous blues, botanical greens, earthy browns will anchor the palette and convey the “green” message.

3. “Caution and Care”
We are barraged daily with economic news that is enough to make you want to hide your head in the sand. Hard-working Americans are not to blame for the economic messes our country needs to clean up, but just the same, politicians are laying the sacrifices to be made on our shoulders. No wonder there is such low consumer confidence. No wonder the stock market has resembled an out-of-control roller coaster for weeks on end. And no wonder we are searching for colors that will stabilize our psyche and give us some comfort. Beautiful, tailored shades of gray will be a staple in the color palette for that very reason. It is just the prescription we are looking for as we swing towards conservatism on all fronts.

4. “A Global Perspective”
Most of us are proficiently cruising the internet on a daily basis. We are also devouring HGTV programs with a vengeance. With that said, we are being exposed to color like never before. Global fashions, exotic destinations, luxury interior designs are all available to us now. Because of that, we have developed an appetite for stronger colors. The new color palette will be a genuine mix of safe, comfort colors, punctuated with these global stunners.

5. “The Affordable Luxury”
So maybe we aren’t “trading up” our homes, or buying new cars every two years. Maybe the wardrobe has to last a little longer, and our vacations are closer to home. But we can afford a can of paint or a bolt of fabric, and that means our luxury du jour is COLOR!!! The immense satisfaction we get from surrounding ourselves with a new color goes a long way in making us feel happy. Color in times of stress and economic down-turns is a huge refuge for all of us. So roll up your sleeves, put down those drop cloths, and create something colorful!

That’s where we are headed as to the key color drivers for 2012 and 2013. If you had any doubt that color trends reflect exactly what is happening in our lives, our country, our world, we (CMG) can safely attest to the fact that color is historically the mirror of our society. We are headed for better times (albeit ever so slowly), but we can start the process ourselves, at home, with paint brush in hand.

For more information on flooring visit the World Floor Covering Association’s Consumer Carpet & Flooring Guide.