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Troubleshooting: how to dry wet carpet

Whether the result of an external leak, a burst pipe or some other home emergency, wet carpets can be difficult to dry out. This article covers the basics you need to know and provides some helpful tips to ensure your carpets don’t suffer lasting damage.

Identify the water source

This should always be your first step and will prevent the problem becoming any worse. Your priority should be to identify and stop the source of the water and take any necessary steps to prevent further water reaching your carpet. Once this has been taken care of, you can start work on drying out your carpet.

Clear the affected area

Don’t try to work around furniture and other objects. Remove everything from the affected room or the affected area if it is just one part of the room. This will make the clean-up job much easier and will prevent water damage to your belongings.

Use towels for small areas

If your wet carpet is confined to one small area, you can mop up the water using clean towels. Lay the towels down and walk over them to soak up as much water as possible. Wring out the towels regularly as you go, replacing soaking wet towels with dry ones when needed.

Use a wet vacuum for larger areas

If you are dealing with a whole room and larger quantities of water, you can hire a wet vacuum to suck up the water. If required, a commercial fan and dehumidifier can also be hired. If you go down this route, ask the hire company for advice on using the equipment effectively, as they may have some useful tips to speed up the process.

Sprinkle diatomaceous earth

Often used in absorbent cat litters, this handy and naturally-occurring powder absorbs water. It is non-toxic and can be sprinkled liberally over wet carpet to soak up water. You can use a garden rake or a heavy-duty broom to move it around the room into the affected areas, soaking up more water as you go. Once it has done its job, simply sweep it up.

Use borax to prevent mould taking hold

Borax is often used in laundry and household cleaning and is readily available from many retailers. Sprinkling borax over your carpet will help prevent mould growing on your carpets. It is a natural product and is gentle enough to use on most carpets.

Posted on by Paul Smith | Posted in Carpets

Cleaning vinyl flooring

Vinyl flooring has been enjoying increased popularity in recent years, partly due to its versatility and easy upkeep. While vinyl is an excellent and hygienic choice for any family home and can last for many years, following a few simple tips can help to keep it looking newer for longer and keep your home clean and free from dirt.

Don’t forget that using a doormat at every entrance to your home will remove a lot of potential dirt from your floors, so make sure you have some heavy-duty mats by all external doors. This should also help you to avoid scratches from sharp stones and chunks of gravel that would otherwise be trodden into your home.

Remove dirt before it gets ground in

Removing dirt as soon as it appears might sound like a hassle, but it will make your life much easier in the long run. Ground-in dirt is far harder to remove than fresh dirt and you run the risk of certain substances staining your beautiful new vinyl flooring if you leave it too long. If you clean your flooring regularly, you should find a quick wipe with a cloth or mop does the job. The longer you leave it, the more time you will have to spend scrubbing away at stubborn marks.

Use the right products

Vinyl is generally pretty hardwearing and you can use a lot of all-purpose cleaning products on many vinyl floors; however, do check before using any harsh chemical products. You don’t want to risk fading your flooring or otherwise damaging it. If you are not sure a product is suitable for vinyl, check with the manufacturer. You will also find a lot of products formulated specially for vinyl flooring.

Don’t use too much water

While vinyl has long been used in bathrooms and kitchens due to its ability to withstand constant spills and splashes, you should not leave large pools of water on your floor for long periods. While this might not affect the vinyl itself, it can seep through the floor below and cause problems with damp and damage if it finds its way to the edge of the flooring or into any seams.

Rinse well at the end

While your floor might look perfectly clean after a good going over with a mop or cloth, you can end up with an unattractive dull finish caused by soap residue if you don’t rinse it properly.

Posted on by Paul Smith | Posted in Vinyl Flooring

How to remove an old carpet

Whether you have just bought a new house or a new carpet and are desperate to remove the old carpets and put your own stamp on your home or you have decided to give a long-neglected room a much-needed makeover, removing an old carpet is a fairly easy job and should not take too long. While some carpet fitters will remove and take away your old carpet as part of their service, there will no doubt be times when you want to remove a carpet yourself, perhaps to check the flooring underneath or simply to save paying someone to do it.

This article explains how to remove a carpet as easily and quickly as possible, and hopefully without too much stress.

Removing carpet

Most carpets are not fitted under the skirting boards; instead, they are pushed right up against them. This makes it easier to pull up the carpet. Pick a corner of your room and make a start there. Carpets are held down by rather lethal-looking tack strips, which can cause injuries if you are not careful; therefore, be sure not to accidentally rest a hand or knee on one. You should find you can pull up a corner of the carpet without too much difficultly, although very old and worn carpets might start breaking up and make the job more time-consuming. Unless your carpet is several decades old, you should not have too many issues.

Pull the carpet back and start moving along the wall. Your aim is to gradually fold the carpet back from one wall towards the middle of the room. Once you have done one wall, head to the opposite corner and do the same. You should end up with your folded carpet in the middle of your room. If you have assistance, you can roll it up and remove it this way; however, it can be easier to use a utility knife to cut it into manageable chunks for removal, especially if your room is very large.

Dealing with tack strips

If your tack strips are securely attached to the floor and look in reasonable condition, and you are installing a new carpet, you can leave them in place for the new flooring. Just make sure no one steps on them while they are exposed! If they are loose or damaged, or if you are installing a completely different type of flooring, you will need to remove them. The easiest way to do this is usually to lever them up using a pry bar to pull out the nails holding them to the floor.

Posted on by Paul Smith | Posted in Carpets

What to do with leftover laminate flooring

You have chosen your ideal laminate flooring, bought enough to cover installation accidents and wastage, and now you have a beautiful new floor and a spare box or two of laminate planks. What can you do with your leftover laminate flooring once you have determined you definitely don’t need it? Here are some eco-friendly ideas:

Keep some spare

If a section of your flooring gets damaged beyond repair, you will be delighted to have a few spare planks safely stored in your garage or shed. Whilst most laminate flooring can last for many years without damage, accidents can and do happen; therefore, it is never a bad idea to keep a few spare planks.

Use it in a cloakroom or study

You might not have enough to floor a full room, but you might well have enough to install a shiny new floor in your home’s cloakroom, study or box room.

Sell it on eBay

There will always be someone who wants to buy your leftover laminate, especially if you have one or more unopened boxes. Just because you don’t have any use for your spare laminate does not mean there isn’t someone out there who is after a bargain to refloor a box room or other small space.

List it on Freecycle

Freecycle is an international community-based website that enables people to list items they are happy to give away for free. People can also request items they want that other people might have lying around. This is a great way to ensure goods end up being used by someone who really wants them. It is free, and easy to sign up – you can be added to your local group once your application has been approved by a moderator. Once your item is listed, you will receive messages from people interested in taking it off your hands. The recipient usually collects, but you could offer to drop off your flooring if you are feeling generous.

Upcycle it

If you are not particularly crafty or adventurous, this option might not be for you, but sites such as Pinterest have thousands of ideas for upcycling or repurposing laminate flooring. People use it to make coffee tables, shelving, storage boxes, picture frames and much, much more. If you are handy with a saw and have the confidence to get creative, this is a fun and versatile option!

Posted on by Paul Smith | Posted in Laminate Flooring

The best types of carpet for cat owners

If you share your home with cats, you’ll probably know just what a problem their sharp claws can cause. Whether it’s on furniture, wallpaper or carpets, chances are, your beloved feline companions will have sharpened their claws in at least one part of your home you’d rather they didn’t. While kittens are notorious for scratching furniture and other items, they can often be trained to stop it, especially if they have access to the outdoors or plenty of scratching posts scattered about the home.

While stopping your cats deliberately scratching your furniture and other household items might be possible, certain types of carpet can still pose problems for cats and their sharp claws. Certain carpets, particularly those with looped piles, can get caught on your pet’s claws, causing frustration and discomfort to your pet, and possible damage to your carpet. Another point to bear in mind is your cat’s moulting. Some carpets are easier to keep free from pet hair than others, as they don’t cling onto the shed hair so much.

Choosing your carpet carefully can make all the difference when it comes to keeping it looking as good as new for as long as possible.

Wool carpets

Wool has long been considered one of the most luxurious floor coverings. It’s natural, timeless and hardwearing, and can stand up to all manner of wear and tear. It’s naturally tough and any hair your cat sheds will generally remain on the surface, making it easy to vacuum up. On the downside, wool carpets tend to be pricey compared to other alternatives, so this might not be suitable if you are on a tight budget.

Synthetic carpets

Synthetic carpets have come a long way in the past few decades and often now look and feel just as luxurious as wool, but without the price tag. Synthetics are generally good at standing up to cat claws, and are extremely popular due to often being stain resistant – another plus if you have pets.

Carpets to avoid

While every cat is different, and some have longer claws than others, deep pile carpets, and those with looped fibres are less practical choices for homes with pets. Cat hair can become trapped in deep pile, posing particular problems for family members or visitors with allergies, while looped pile carpets can get snagged on sharp claws. Many older cats in particular struggle to fully retract their claws so bear this in mind if your cats are getting on in years.

Posted on by Paul Smith | Posted in Carpets

Recycling old carpet

If you are in the market for new flooring and find yourself with old carpet to dispose of, here are some ideas for reusing it and keeping it out of landfill or incinerators.

Make a scratching post for your cat

Cats need to scratch to keep their claws sharp and stretch their limbs. If they do not have an adequate number of places where they can scratch in comfort, they will soon start on your furniture and wallpaper. Carpet makes a great scratching post cover, as cats can really get their claws into it. Staple carpet offcuts – a rough, heavily-textured carpet without loop pile is best – to a post of large board and place it in one of your cat’s favourite spots.

Use it to get rid of weeds

Old carpet used to be a popular choice of weed suppressant on allotments; however, it is now banned on a lot of sites due to the potential for chemicals to leach into the soil – not ideal if you are growing food! If you are not growing edible crops, however, carpet is a great option for areas of your garden in which you want to banish weeds. Cut the carpet to size and place it face down on the ground before covering with a thick layer of mulch.

Carpet your dog’s kennel

Revamp your dog’s kennel with an offcut of carpet. Keep spare pieces cut to the right size so that you can replace the kennel’s flooring when needed. You can also use carpet to insulate the kennel walls if needed and make your dog’s kennel an altogether more pleasant place to be.

Use it to insulate your shed

If you spend a fair bit of time in your shed throughout the year, you will know it is not much fun when the temperatures dip. You can use carpet offcuts to add a layer of insulation to your shed. Use it as a floor covering and as a shed roof liner, if necessary, to keep the chill out.

Protect wooden floors from furniture

You can buy felt pads to stick to the bottom of table and chair legs to prevent them scratching your wooden floors; however, these are often not the right size and you might have to shop around. Using old carpet means you can cut your furniture pads to the perfect size and protect your floors from scratches, scrapes and dents.

Posted on by Paul Smith | Posted in Carpets

Why is underlay so important?

When you are looking at new floor coverings for your home, you probably spend a great deal of time and effort thinking about how you want it to look and feel. You might well set a budget and have a particular style or colour in mind; however, one thing you probably pay very little attention to is what goes underneath the flooring, despite this being just as important as the floor covering.

Having the right underlay is essential if you want to keep your new flooring in great condition for as long as possible. It can also help to prevent draughts, reduce your heating bills and muffle sounds, turning your home into an oasis of peace and quiet.

If you have ever renovated an old house, or lifted up flooring from a long-neglected corner of your home, you will probably have found worn out, crumbling underlay beneath the floor covering. This should give you some idea of the amount of wear and tear underlay goes through and what an important job it does in absorbing much of the impact that would otherwise be borne by your flooring or sub-floor.

Let’s look at some common types of floor covering and how underlay helps to protect them:

Carpets

Carpet underlay keeps your new carpet looking new for longer. It absorbs much of the wear and tear caused by foot traffic and furniture, and can help the pile to retain its bounce. It can also make your floor feel softer, warmer and more comfortable underfoot, which is invaluable in bedrooms in particular.

Laminates

Laminate underlay cushions your flooring, preventing it flexing. It helps the flooring to remain stable and goes a long way towards muffling the sounds associated with harder floor coverings such as laminate. It can also help to stop moisture reaching your floor.

Engineered wood

You might think you don’t need underlay for engineered wood flooring, but you would be wrong. It helps your floor to look new for longer and can prevent moisture seeping through, which can cause staining, discolouration and warping.

Vinyl

While vinyl is far more forgiving than most other types of flooring, it can still benefit from the correct underlay. Underlay adds another layer between the vinyl flooring and the hard, possibly uneven sub-floor, helping to cushion your flooring and protect it from wear and tear. Underlay can also add an extra layer of insulation and help to reduce noise transfer.

Posted on by Paul Smith | Posted in Flooring

What is the best flooring for a child’s bedroom?

When it is time to lay new flooring in your child’s bedroom, do you stick with what was there before or do you think about the best option for a family home? As your child grows, you will find they use their room differently, which might have an impact on the type of flooring you choose. If your young child spends a lot of time playing on the floor, for example, it makes sense to consider a soft, plush carpet that is comfortable to sit on; meanwhile, older children or those with allergies might be better served by a laminate that is easy to keep clean and will not hold onto dust or allergens. Here are some pros and cons of some popular floor coverings.

Carpet

Carpet is the traditional choice in children’s bedrooms, but it is no longer the go-to option. While it is soft and warm, making it great for children to sit on and meaning they will not hurt themselves if they fall, it can be more difficult to clean than other options. It is also not always the best choice for homes with occupants who have allergies.

Laminate/wood flooring

Wood and laminate flooring have become increasingly popular in recent years and suit any style of decor. They are great for children with allergies, as they can be wiped with a damp cloth or mop to remove dust and allergens. They are not as comfortable to sit on as carpet; however, you can add a plush rug if this is a problem for children who like to play sitting on the floor. While they look great, wood and laminate flooring is not always the best choice if you want to soundproof your child’s room. Hard items being dropped on the floor can cause a fair bit of noise.

Vinyl florring

Vinyl makes a great floor covering for a child’s bedroom. It is softer underfoot than wood or laminate, and is also warmer. It is easy to install and very simple to maintain and keep clean. It is available in such a huge variety of colours and textures that you will be able to find just about any design you want, making it perfect for quirky or colourful rooms. It also has good soundproofing properties if paired with the right underlay. It will muffle the sound of hard items being dropped and will cushion your child if he or she falls. There are not really any disadvantages to vinyl – it is more likely to come down to a matter of preference and some people will always prefer wood or carpet.

Posted on by Paul Smith | Posted in Flooring

Wood-effect flooring for bathrooms

Hardwood flooring is a style classic and a firm favourite amongst homeowners all over the world. It is naturally hardwearing, beautiful and extremely versatile, making it suitable for most rooms in the home. It is not ideal for areas of high humidity, however, and does not work well in bathrooms in particular. For a long time, this meant homeowners who wanted the look of wood in their bathrooms had to deal with the problems high moisture levels caused for wooden floors or simply choose another flooring option. Luckily, advances in non-slip flooring, vinyl and laminate flooring mean any home can now enjoy the look and feel of wood in any room.

Laminate flooring for bathrooms

Early laminates often did not bear much more than a passing resemblance to the real thing. They were certainly fairly attractive, and worked well in many homes, but they were unlikely to be mistaken for hardwood flooring. They were also not suitable for use in bathrooms, as they were not water-resistant. These days, however, laminates are practically indistinguishable from real wooden floorboards. The attention to detail on many lines of laminate flooring means it is almost impossible to tell you are not looking at the real deal. Many laminates even feel just like wood, thanks to clever finishes and texturing. While not all laminate flooring is suitable for use in bathrooms, many, many lines are. This means you can now get the look of wood in your bathroom without worrying about water damage.

Vinyl flooring for bathrooms

Vinyl flooring has long been a popular flooring choice for bathrooms; however, the sophisticated vinyl planks and tiles available today are a far cry from the sheet vinyl popular in the 1970s and 80s. Lots of modern-day vinyl flooring looks so much like the ceramic or wood it is replicating that it is impossible to tell the difference until you touch it! Vinyl flooring is still available on rolls; however, much of the highest-quality flooring is supplied in planks, much like laminate. Vinyl is so versatile that it is possible to achieve just about any colour, pattern or texture you can think of, making it easy to get that bleached pine finish or rich, varnished oak look.

Another great advantage of vinyl is that it is generally far more affordable than other types of flooring, making it ideal if you are on a budget. It is also easy to install, meaning that many homeowners will be able to lay it themselves and save paying out for a professional.

Posted on by Paul Smith | Posted in Flooring

Rescuing your carpet after a party

If you are planning a gathering or two throughout the summer, you will be hoping your home escapes unscathed from the celebrations; however, even careful guests and relatively sedate get-togethers can lead to accidents and spills! Read on for some simple tips to help you get your carpets looking their best again after a full house:

Dealing with food spills

Whether you are hosting an extravagant buffet or just having the neighbours over for a drink and a bbq, food is going to end up on your floor. Crumbs are inevitable and can be easily vacuumed up once everyone has left, but what about more serious spills?

The first thing to do is to remove as much of the spill as possible. Most spills won’t stain, but certain foods – such as tomato sauces and chocolate puddings – can be trickier to clean up. When you have removed as much of the spill as you can, use either a suitable carpet detergent or a homemade white wine vinegar solution to blot the stain. Depending on the size and depth of the stain, you might be blotting away for some time, but this method should work on most common food stains.

Removing wax from a carpet

If your gathering continues throughout the evening twinkling candles and tealights may be dotted around the home, it is a good idea to acquaint yourself with the easiest method of removing wax from carpet. Many people choose to melt the wax with an iron, soaking the melted wax into a piece of paper such as a brown paper bag. While this is often highly effective, the heat from the iron can burn your carpet and cause irreparable damage; therefore, this method is best avoided, particularly if you are dealing with expensive flooring.

Instead, use a regular butter knife and gently yet firmly scrape the set wax from the carpet. If this leaves the carpet looking tatty, a small, sharp pair of scissors can be used to trim any fluff or untidy strands at the end of the process. When you have removed most of the wax, it is time to dig the iron out. Use a low setting, and don’t use a paper bag – a clean tea towel or folded cloth will help to prevent the iron burning the carpet. Brightly-coloured or dark wax might stain lighter carpets, so finish off with a suitable stain remover if required.

Posted on by Paul Smith | Posted in Carpets

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