Holiday Magic

The holiday season is the perfect time to make sure your floors are looking their best.

By Annette M. Callari, Allied ASID; CMG

Approaching holidays always seem to force us take a long, honest look at our homes and to consider some season-inspired creative ideas. Decorating ideas abound in magazines and home shows this time of year. But let’s include some ideas for your floors so they look their holiday best.

This is the perfect time of year to get broadloom carpets professionally cleaned. Steam cleaning not only removes dirt and stains, it refreshes the fibers of your carpet, making them plumper and firmer. The overall appearance of the carpet will look fresh and feel thicker. If you have a tired looking carpet, this is the way to bring it back to life.

For renewing the look and sheen of your luxury vinyl tile or planks, contact your flooring retailer where you purchased the floor. He will be able to tell you what products the manufacturer recommends to clean and refresh the finish on your vinyl-wood planks. The same advice goes for your hardwood floors. Look to the professional to give you the recommended manufacturer’s products to maintain your hardwoods, and protect your warranties. Using non-recommended products may invalidate the warranty.

Once your floors are sparkling, we can consider dressing them for the holiday. Area rugs are a wonderful addition to bring Christmas themes and colors to any room. Dining rooms, especially, should be dressed, since this is usually the hub of your family’s celebration. Regardless of your year-round color scheme, feel free to play with green and red hues to transform your rooms for the season.

Thrifty ways to repeat holiday colors in unexpected places include festive toss pillows on sofas and beds; replacing shower curtains with holiday-specific themes and colors. Think about wrapping large wall-mounted pictures or canvases with holiday paper and ribbons. This entails little expense and changes the entire ambience of a room.

Get creative with lighting. Interior and exterior lighting can bathe walls in the colors of the season. Projection systems are a great way to make snowflakes dance on your walls or floors. Different templates can be interchanged to suit your holiday mood.

If you are one of those rare families that have a clean, uncluttered garage, you can transform it into an additional holiday dining room or dance floor! Here’s an idea: Karndean Design Floors makes a vinyl-wood plank product called “LooseLay”. It has a unique friction backing that adheres tightly to any clean, dry wood or concrete substrate. Create a temporary dance floor for your holiday party if it suits you and remove and store (flat) after the holiday for future use.

Hopefully you are beginning to realize that it takes more creativity than $$$ to transform your home to a joyful, season-friendly environment. Welcoming family, sharing good food with friends and loved ones, and being grateful for our many blessings gives meaning to the season. Your decorating touches make it that much better. Happy Holidays!

Cleaning Stone Floors

By Steve Cooper

Marble-EntryUnwelcome guests may be entering your home and damaging your stone floors. Small stones, tiny pebbles, sand and stone-hard grit sneak into your home on the bottom of shoes. These little invaders are your floor’s No. 1 enemies because they can easily scratch and mar elegant-looking stone.

Protect against such attacks by putting up defenses outside your front door. Put down industrial-strength mats with tough ribbing, which encourage visitors to scuff dirt from their shoes before crossing the threshold. Purchase mats that are 4 to 6 feet long, allowing guests ample opportunity to leave grit behind before they enter. Typical 2×3-foot doormats are too lightweight to handle the job. Put them at all entry doors and add a smaller mat inside as an added precaution. The best mats will also absorb significant amounts of water, so that isn’t tracked into your home either.

Having kept most of the worst outside, you also need to keep a close eye on the inside entrance area. Wet mop this area whenever dust, dirt, pebbles or stones collect on the floor. Mopping frequency depends on the amount of foot traffic and how well shoes are cleaned off at the entry. Tackling this as a once-a-week task is common.

When mopping, use a microfiber mop, instead of rayon. The newer material does a much more effective job taking up grit and water. Neutral pH cleaners are recommended for most stone because they will not harm the stone sealer. Remove as much of the water as possible to avoid streaking and clouding. Never use acidic cleaners containing lemon juice, vinegar or ammonia. Also avoid abrasive cleaners. All these may damage stone, particularly the softer varieties such as marble and limestone.

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