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The best flooring to keep you cool in summer

It might sound like a nice problem to have for some in the UK, but living in a home that is simply too hot during the summer months can be highly unpleasant. There are many reasons why some homes are very warm; for example, they could get a huge amount of sun due to their aspect and location or they could be very well insulated, such as in a block of flats with heat-generating neighbours on both sides and above and below. If your home always seems to feel too hot in the summer and remains a nice warm temperature even during the colder times of the year, you might want to think about ways in which you can make your rooms more comfortable on hot, sunny days.

Changing your flooring is a great way to help regulate the temperature in your home, such as by replacing thick, heavy carpets with cooler options. Of course, if your home – or certain rooms within it – is only too hot on a few days of the year, you probably don’t have a problem; however, if certain rooms are unpleasantly warm for much of the year, it might be worth considering your options.

Replace carpets

If one or more of the rooms in your home is hit by the sun all day, even in winter, you might choose to replace your carpet with alternative flooring. Carpet is generally the warmest option, so anything should make at least some difference. Stone or tile flooring is the coolest, which is why you find this type of flooring in so many hot countries, such as those in the Mediterranean region. If you don’t want to lay stone or tiles, wood or laminate is a happy medium. Both wood and laminate are much cooler than carpet and won’t trap dust and pollen, which can add to the oppressive feeling in an already warm and stuffy room. They won’t get too cold in the winter either, so they are perfect for a room that is unbearably hot in the summer but not overly warm in the winter.

Vinyl flooring is another good option if you don’t want to go to the effort and expense of stone or tile but don’t like the appearance of wood or laminate. Vinyl is tough, easy to clean and available in such a huge range of styles and colours that there is something for every taste. It is cooler underfoot than carpet in the summer; what’s more, like wood and laminate, it is not too cold in the winter.

Posted on by Paul Smith | Posted in Flooring

What style of laminate flooring will suit your decor?

If you crave the look and feel of hardwood flooring in your home but it is not a practical option for budget or other reasons, laminate flooring is the answer to your prayers. Available in a limitless number of colours, finishes, widths and styles, it is versatile, easy to install, and far more affordable than solid wood flooring. What style should you go for to complement your home decor? Here are three different looks you can go for to create a warm, welcoming finish in any space.

Rustic

If your tastes run to simple, country styles, this look is perfect for you. Medium-dark coloured laminates work well with rustic decor. If your room has exposed brick and beams, even better – you can choose a laminate that complements the wood of the beams for a harmonious finish. Textured surfaces will add interest to your flooring and make it look even more like the real wood floor you are attempting to replicate, so look for laminates with a textured finish as opposed to those that are completely smooth. You might also prefer to choose flooring with the appearance of lots of knots and other interesting features.

Scandinavian

The trend for all things Scandi is showing no sign of slowing down, with the cosy Nordic look perfect for creating a welcoming home. The classic Scandi look has light wood floors, so think beech or pale pine. These lighter-coloured laminates are ideal for brightening up a dark space; alternatively, if you find the look too harsh, you can break up the floor with soft, luxurious rugs. This look is great when paired with plain white walls, squishy sofas and lots of colourful cushions. Darker laminates can also work; however, unless your room is very well lit by natural light, you might end up finding it a little too dark if you move away from the traditional Scandi flooring tones.

Sleek and minimalist

If you favour a clean, modern finish, you will want to steer away from laminates with a lot of texture. While these are great for rustic decor, stick to smooth laminates with minimal detail and pattern in the wood effect finish if you want a modern look, such as in a new-build home. Most colours will work here, with light-medium tones being the most versatile and the easiest to work into your colour scheme.

Posted on by Paul Smith | Posted in Laminate Flooring

Keeping your laminate floor looking as good as new

If you are gearing up for your big spring clean, no doubt the floors will be getting special attention, but what is the best way to keep your laminate flooring clean all year round? As with so many things, prevention is better than cure and there are lots of things you can do to ensure your laminate stays looking good for years and never gets too dirty.

Use doormats to prevent scratches

Wherever possible, avoid wearing shoes inside the house. Even if you think your shoes are clean, tiny pieces of gravel and debris can easily get stuck in the grips of footwear and find their way onto your laminate. While modern laminates are tough and durable, they can still be damaged by sharp materials. Place doormats at every entrance to the home and get into the habit of removing your shoes when you get home; after all, slippers are far more comfortable to wear around the house!

Use the correct vacuum attachment

How many of us just use the same vacuum attachment no matter which room we are cleaning? Depending on how new your vacuum is, it might have come with instructions about which attachment to use on laminate flooring or other hard floors. If you are careful, you can vacuum laminate flooring every day without damaging it, but make sure you are using the best attachment for the job. Many modern vacuums have a hard floor setting and the instructions will advise you how to get the best results. Next time you are in the market for a new vacuum, check which models are best for laminates.

Mop regularly

Unless your home gets a lot of dirty foot traffic – if you have pets, for example – mopping every couple of weeks should suffice. A squeegee mop is generally best for laminate, as you can squeeze almost all of the water out of it before using. Don’t be tempted to use a traditional mop, as these hold a lot of water that can seep into the joins between laminate planks and cause problems.

You don’t need to buy specialist floor cleaner, although you can if you prefer. Heavily-diluted dishwashing liquid is fine for most clean-up jobs in the average home. If you want to add shine, you will find specialist laminate products that will do this for you.

Posted on by Paul Smith | Posted in Laminate Flooring

Caring for your vinyl floor

Due to its versatility and durability, vinyl flooring is an increasingly popular choice for homeowners. While it is famously low maintenance, it will still need some care and attention to keep it clean and looking good as new. Here are some simple tips to help you care for your vinyl floor.

Keeping it free of debris

Vinyl can be vacuumed or swept with a broom, which should be done regularly to remove any sharp pieces of gravel or other debris that might have been trodden in from outside. Although vinyl is tough, sharp objects can scratch and dull the surface. As with any flooring, it is a good idea to place a doormat in front of any external doors for household members and visitors to clean their shoes on before entering the room.

Cleaning

Firstly, you should always make sure you use the right cleaning products. While lots of general-purpose floor cleaners will be perfectly safe for use on vinyl, you should always check the label if you are using a new product. Avoid any abrasive cleaners, as these can scratch the surface of your floor and cause irreparable damage. Vinyl is easy to clean and difficult to stain. You can use any kind of mop or damp cloth on your floor, but check that any products you use do not contain chemicals that might be harmful to children or pets.

Stain removal

It is generally pretty hard to stain vinyl flooring – certainly harder than it is to stain carpet – but accidents will always happen. The first thing to do in the event of any spill is to remove as much of the spill as possible with a damp cloth. Next, use your regular vinyl floor cleaner to see if it does the job. For tough stains, you might find you need a specialist stain remover. If the manufacturer states bleach can be used, this is another option and works well on stains such as ink from pens.

As vinyl is so hard-wearing, you have a lot more options available to you than you would with other types of flooring; what’s more, there are some simple tips you can try for certain stains. For grass stains, for example, slice a lemon in half and rub it on the stain. Wipe with a damp cloth, then repeat the process if necessary. With most stains, prompt action is the key to their successful removal.

Posted on by Paul Smith | Posted in Vinyl Flooring

Make a statement with patterned carpet

If your mind casts back to the traditional and rather garish designs found in 1970s homes and old pubs when you think about patterned carpets, it is time to think again. Contemporary patterned carpets are available in such a huge array of designs, colours and styles that there is something to suit every home, budget and taste. From striking geometric designs to timeless stripes, patterned carpet is an easy way to instantly give any room a stylish makeover.

Create the illusion of space

One of the often overlooked benefits of patterned carpets is that they can make rooms look bigger; alternatively, if you have a large space you want to make feel cosier, patterned carpets can help here too. Take a striped carpet as an example. Lay this carpet with the stripes running away from the main entry point into the room and you have created the illusion of a longer room; however, lay the carpet horizontal to the entrance and the room will look wider. If you have a room that you feel is too narrow yet also long then lay striped carpet with the stripes running across the narrowest point.

Define different areas of your home

With open-plan living on the rise, we have created welcoming, open spaces where friends and family can spend time together, no matter what they are doing; however, in very large spaces, this can look a little impersonal. Using different types of flooring can let you mark out different areas – such as dining and living areas – while retaining the advantages of open-plan living. Plain carpets in one part of the room and a patterned carpet in complementary colours in another is a great way of breaking up large rooms.

Create interest in small rooms

Smaller rooms, such as studies or small bedrooms, are great places to experiment with bold carpet design. Take a look at some bright, brash patterns for inspiration. Bold patterned wallpapers or carpets can be very dramatic in small rooms, and you can be as daring as you like if you are not trying to create the illusion of more space. To avoid overwhelming the room – unless this is the look you are going for, of course – choose a dramatic carpet with plain walls. This is a great way to modernise your home’s smallest rooms and might encourage you to be more adventurous in other parts of the home when it comes to decor.

Posted on by Paul Smith | Posted in Carpets

Should you mop laminate floors?

Laminate floors are a popular choice in UK homes due to their versatility, attractive finish and ease of installation. They are also easy to clean and can be swept, vacuumed or wiped with a cloth, but what about mopping? Should you mop your laminate floor and if so, what is the best way to do it? Here we explain how to keep your laminate flooring looking clean and new for longer.

Should you mop?

It is perfectly fine to use a mop on your laminate flooring, which is good news if it is dirty and you don’t fancy spending time on your hands and knees scrubbing away with a cloth or sponge. The most important thing to bear in mind is that you should never use a soaking wet mop; therefore, you should wring out your mop thoroughly before using it to ensure it is damp but not wet. If water gets between the joins in laminate, it can cause warping or discolouration. Even if your laminate is suitable for use in high humidity areas, such as bathrooms and kitchens, any spills or splashes should be cleaned up as soon as possible to prevent water damage.

It is a good idea to sweep or vacuum your flooring before mopping. This will remove any debris – such as sharp stones or pieces of gravel traipsed in from outdoors – that might cause scratches if dragged along the floor by your mop.

What type of mop is best?

You can use most mops on your laminate flooring, providing you don’t use them while they are dripping wet. Microfibre mops are particularly well suited to laminate flooring, as they can be used dry or damp. Use them damp to clean up muddy footprints or dried on spills, or use them dry to collect tiny dust particles and loose pieces of dirt. You can use traditional mops or the sponge design ones as long as you always ensure they are not too wet and that you are using recommended cleaning products.

What cleaning products should you use?

There are plenty of specialist cleaning products for laminate floors available. Always remember to check the label before using a new product and stick to anything that specifically says it is suitable for laminate. It is also vital to ensure you use the correct dilution. If you prefer a natural approach, a heavily diluted household vinegar and water solution is a great way to get your laminate floor sparkling clean.

Posted on by Paul Smith | Posted in Laminate Flooring

Give your kitchen an instant makeover with vinyl flooring

If your kitchen is looking a little tired and you want to revamp it without committing too much time or money, vinyl flooring might just be the answer. Vinyl flooring is huge right now – just take a look through any interior or home magazines and you will see how far it has come since the 70s and 80s. It is available in a huge variety of designs, colours and finishes and is the perfect match for a kitchen, as it stands up well to moisture, spills and heavy foot traffic. Here are some on-trend ideas to think about for your own kitchen.

Geometric patterns

Geometric patterned vinyl flooring works particularly well in smaller spaces. Adding a statement floor is the perfect way to add interest and drama in a small room and you will find plenty of stunning designs from which to choose. Opt for something in a dark grey for a sleek, modern finish or something more colourful if you want to add an element of fun to your kitchen. As kitchens tend to be fairly plainly decorated – with plain units and worktops – adding a heavily patterned floor works very well and won’t clash with other patterns.

Tile effect

If you love the look of real tiles but don’t want to splash out the money this entails or are worried that tiles will be too cold underfoot in the winter months, it is possible to get vinyl flooring that is indistinguishable from the real thing. You will find hundreds of different designs and shades, making it easy to find your perfect match. Vinyl is not only cheaper than real tiles but also far easier to install. Vinyl flooring is cushioned meaning crockery is less likely to smash if accidentally dropped.

Monochrome

One of the most popular vinyl designs for many years has been the classic black and white tiled finish. This complements just about any kitchen decor and is a timeless look. You can achieve this look by using individual tiles or by choosing sheet vinyl flooring. If you love the monochrome look but want something more fun, you will find an array of striking designs in black and white. As a rule of thumb, more intricate patterns tend to work better in smaller spaces while larger, bolder patterns make an impact on larger floor areas. Having said that, sometimes rules are made to be broken and you can achieve a stunning finish by choosing something a little different to the expected.

Posted on by Paul Smith | Posted in Vinyl Flooring

Tips for upcycling your carpet offcuts

As we become more and more aware of the impact of our throw-away culture on the environment, most of us are trying to limit the amount of waste we create and do our bit for the future of the planet. If you have ever had a carpet fitted in your home, no doubt you will have been left with a pile of offcuts and no idea what to do with them. Many such offcuts end up as landfill, but there are lots of ways in which you can use them and give them a new purpose.

Create a doormat

This is an easy hack and one that even someone with no DIY experience can do. You will need to cut the carpet to the right shape and size first, which you can do with a carpet knife and something to guide your cuts so that they are straight. Once you have cut the carpet, you will need some adhesive binding to stop it fraying. Cut this to length, fold it over the edges of the carpet and you have made a simple yet attractive doormat! You can use exactly the same technique to create a runner for a hallway or any other long, narrow space.

Make floor protectors for your furniture

If you are worried about chair or table legs scratching wooden, laminate or vinyl flooring, cut small pieces of carpet and stick them to the bottom of your furniture.

Make a cat scratcher

If you have cats in your home, you will probably know how much they love to scratch carpets, furniture, and anything else they can get their paws on. By making a scratcher, you encourage your cats to practise their natural instincts but leave your furniture alone. Use heavy-duty glue to stick carpet offcuts onto a wooden board and attach it to the wall, or wrap carpet around a post to create a homemade scratching post.

Use it for insulation

Do you have a boarded-out loft or a concrete floor garage that feels extra chilly for most of the year? Use large offcuts to add a bit of warmth in these areas.

Keep it for repairs

Finally, it is always worth holding back some spare carpet to use in the event of damage to your main carpet. Depending on the size of the damaged area and the type of carpet, it is often possible to replace stained or worn patches with a carefully cut piece from an offcut.

Posted on by Paul Smith | Posted in Carpets

Choosing the right carpet for your home

It can be confusing to wade through all the different types of carpet available. All the talk of fibres and weaves can seem daunting, but this simple guide will outline what you should think about when selecting a new carpet.

Underfoot feel

Different types of carpet feel very different underfoot. Have you ever stayed at a friend’s house and been blown away by the soft, enveloping feel of their carpet under your bare feet? If so, they probably had something like a Saxony carpet. If you are carpeting a bedroom and want a luxurious, comforting feel underfoot, you will need to opt for something with a deep pile; however, if you are carpeting a busy hallway, you might want something flatter and firmer, such as a loop pile carpet. You should also bear in mind any household pets. Cats and dogs can get their claws stuck in the long pile of some carpets, so something more practical might be the best choice.

Durability

If you are carpeting a stairway or busy family room, durability is likely to be topmost in your mind. Luxurious, deep pile carpets might look pretty but they are unlikely to be practical in busier rooms of the home. Twist carpets are great for busy thoroughfares and have the ability to bounce back to their original shape after being walked on. For a good all-rounder, take a look at loop pile carpets. These work well in most rooms and are available in a huge range of colours and designs. Many carpets can be treated with special formulas to make them more stain-resistant.

Fibre

Wool carpets are the ultimate in luxury and softness, but you might not want to splash out on wool for busier rooms that are likely to experience a lot of spills and wear and tear. There are plenty of synthetic fibre carpets on the market in a wide range of prices – not to mention that these are great for anyone who avoids wool for ethical reasons. If you want something stain-resistant, consider polypropylene, which is extremely easy to clean and highly family-friendly. Nylon carpets are also a great option for busy homes. Nylon does not mark as easily as wool, meaning it is perfect for rooms in which you want to move furniture around regularly. You can find nylon carpets in a huge array of contemporary designs, making this a great choice for modern homes.

Posted on by Paul Smith | Posted in Carpets

How to dry a wet carpet

Whether the result of external flooding, a burst pipe or another incident, having a wet carpet can be a stressful experience. It is vital that you get to work as soon as possible to prevent further damage. A wet carpet can cause damage to walls, sub-flooring and furniture and be a breeding ground for mould. In the worst cases, particularly if external flooding is involved, you will need to rip out the carpet and replace it once the property is dry. Luckily, as long as the damage is not too severe, you should be able to remedy the situation yourself without too much expense or hassle. Here are some tips to help you get the situation under control quickly.

Clear the affected room

The first thing to do is to move everything away from the area of the wet carpet. Place all your furniture in a dry place away from the wet carpet to prevent damage.

Start removing the water

Depending on the amount of water, it might be possible to remove most of it with dry towels. Lay towels over the affected area and walk over them to help them absorb as much water as possible. Wring out the towels when they are soaked through and keep going until you have removed as much water as possible. For larger areas, a vacuum that can suck up water is a good option. You should be able to rent one fairly easily if your vacuum is not able to suck up water.

Another option to help you soak up the water is diatomaceous earth. While this is safe for humans and pets, it can be a little messy and you will need to vacuum it up once it is no longer absorbing water. You can move it around the floor with a broom to ensure it collects water from as much of the carpet as possible.

Begin the drying process

Use a fan to circulate air and help your carpets to dry out more quickly. Dehumidifiers can also help to speed up the process. It is important to ensure the room is ventilated to help dry out the carpet and prevent mould from forming in the humid conditions. If possible, leave the windows open for a few days after the flooding incident to ensure the air continues to circulate. Many DIY stores will have products you can sprinkle over the carpet when it is almost dry to help prevent mould from forming.

Posted on by Paul Smith | Posted in Carpets

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