Cork Flooring Reviews – What You Must Know Before Purchasing

Posted by on 2011-07-13 8:55 pm in Design, Flooring

Today, more and more people are becoming more aware of the environment, making them find more ways to take care of the nature. When it comes to choosing the right flooring, cork flooring reviews provide helpful points for eco-friendly floor installation. With the numerous modern manufacturing techniques, it may be useful to know about cork flooring reviews in order to be informed about this kind of improvement for homes. Cork flooring is known to be an eco-friendly floor. Cork oak tree is used in the manufacturing process of cork flooring and once it is harvested, the tree is milled and processed in order to create sheets. Afterwards, these are oven-baked to make flooring tiles. This kind of floor is usually used in houses, offices and other light commercial establishments. Cork flooring production requires strict regulation. The cork tree must be at least twenty-five years old before harvesting. This way, the bark of the tree can still grow back, resulting to more sources for flooring. This is one of the many reasons why this type of flooring is a better choice when planning to purchase materials for your floors. This material is durable and resilient and can endure different kinds of impacts. It has microscopic air pockets, creating a surface that can return to its original status even after pressure or impact. It is the perfect choice for people who have pets at home but it is essential to make sure that their nails are kept short in order to prevent floor damage. Cork flooring is known to be resistant to moisture as it contains suberin, which is a waxy substance. Suberin is the reason why floating cork flooring is best when it comes to moisture resistant. However, it is still best to avoid spilling fluids on the floor and letting it stand for a long time. Make sure to clean the spills right away if you want to maintain the quality and beauty of your floor. Aside from moisture resistance, cork flooring is also insect resistant due to the suberin substance. This waxy element makes the material tough against molds, mildew and insect infestation. With this in mind, if your children are experiencing allergies, it is recommended to change your carpet into cork flooring. Aside from acting as a good protection, the cellular structure or air pockets of cork flooring can also help confine heat, making the floor warmer and more comfortable even in barefoot compared to other flooring materials such as vinyl or laminated floors. Additionally, the cellular structure of the cork effectively absorbs sound. Compared to other flooring materials that produce hallow sound, cork flooring absorbs sound well and can be useful for hallways and certain areas where echoes can be a concern. Cork flooring has low maintenance and everyday dirt can be removed with just a broom. It is recommended to wipe the floor with a slightly damp mop at least once a week. Make sure to clean any liquid spills at once using paper towel or sponge and then dry the cork flooring with a mop. Remember to avoid using abrasive or harsh cleaners with this kind of...

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Designing Acoustics

Posted by on 2011-07-06 11:36 am in Design

Good home design is not just visual and functional; it is also an auditory experience. How does it sound as you walk into a room? This sound should be as pleasurable as the sight of your room. An echo in a room can make it feel cold. Soft furnishings, such as window treatments and area rugs, can reduce the level of the noise and create a warm inviting environment. Don’t be afraid to use an area rug in the kitchen. Stain resistant carpet fibers take the fear out of drips and spills. The type of flooring you choose can also help reduce the noise level. For example, a cork floor will absorb harsh sounds as well as provide a unique visual appeal. Appliances play a big part in your auditory experience, too. If you are in the market for a new dishwasher, find the dBA rating (decibel rating). This will tell you how well insulated the dishwasher is, therefore how quiet it will be in operation. With a rating of 45 dBA’s you will have a difficult time knowing if the dishwasher is operating or not. Anything in the 50 dBA range will be comfortable to carry on a conversation and not feel as though you need to shout. Balanced acoustics create a serene and comfortable home environment and will help you shake off the stresses of the day. Just one more way FA Design Build can help you turn your house into a home....

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One Bathroom Renovation

Posted by on 2011-05-17 7:47 am in Bathroom renovation, Renovation

How do you renovate your bathroom when you only have one? Renovation in a one bathroom home, a situation that many of us here in the DC area encounter, can be a tricky situation and a major disruption to your usual lifestyle. It’s important to know what to expect prior to your contractor ripping your bathroom apart…instead of realizing after the fact that you don’t have a place to do your “business”. As someone who has been in this position (renovating my one bedroom / one bathroom condo in Del Ray, Alexandria), I have some tips and tricks to share, many of which I wish I knew about prior to my renovation, but we live and learn so I thought I’d share this valuable info: 1. Plan ahead and talk with your contractor. Make sure your contractor knows that this is your only bathroom and discuss how long the renovation will take. Not only will you not have a bathroom, but the contractor also will not have a bathroom on site. Remind your contractor of this so he can make other arrangements if necessary – – like a port-a-john or public facilities close by. 2. Talk to your friends, family, and neighbors about sharing their bathroom. Many of us have friends, family, or neighbors that would be happy to share their facilities. This situation is ideal, but not always possible – – see below for more tips on how to make do with what you have……. 3. Don’t remove the toilet until you are ready to install the new one (if possible). If you are doing tile work on the floor, your contractor will have to remove the toilet to install the new tile. Worst case scenario is you will be without a toilet for two days. The toilet is the most difficult convenience to do without, don’t try and get creative on this one, plan ahead and make sure you have somewhere to go. 4. Use the kitchen sink instead of your bathroom sink. The kitchen sink is great for tooth brushing, face washing, and a general (showerless) clean up. I even used my pull-out kitchen faucet to wash my hair in the sink. 5. Do you belong to a gym or does your office have shower facilities? Gyms or the office are often a good place to get cleaned up while your bathroom is under renovation. After a workout at the gym in the morning get showered and dressed for work. Or, if you dare, head into the office in your pajama’s and use the office’s shower facilities. 6. Make sure all materials/products needed for the install are onsite prior to demolition starting. If all material is on site, there is less likely a chance that there will be issues or delays along the way. The quicker the install goes, the quicker you will be back to your normal...

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Universal Design Showers: Safety and Luxury

Posted by on 2011-01-20 11:33 am in Bathroom renovation, Renovation

Here is a great post by Wendy Jordan of HGTV about how Universal design makes bathrooms work for everyone, regardless of age, size and ability…read on! The telephone booth-size shower is going the way of the telephone booth. And why not? With so many great shower features out there, people want big, beautiful showers where they can soak in comfort and style. Of course, once they pour creative thinking — and dollars — into a dream shower, they want it to serve them well for a long time. Universal design, an ingenious approach that makes sure designs work for everyone, regardless of age, size, ability and changing needs, helps ensure that the shower will do just that. When it comes to showers, universal design and luxury have a lot in common. Some of the hottest design trends — large, walk-in showers with no doors; boutique tiles; versatile shower sprays — fit right in with designs that make showers safe, accessible and enjoyable to use. As for size, your shower should be at least three feet square and have a wide entry, so there’s ample room to get in and move around. Designer Mary Jo Peterson, CKD, CBD and a universal design specialist in Brookfield, Conn., says 42 by 60 inches is even better, particularly for showers that have no door or curtain. The larger space helps keep the water from straying out and allows someone in a wheelchair or walker to maneuver with ease. Curved or angled shower walls have both design panache and universal design advantages, helping keep water inside and offering privacy even if the shower has no door. If you do have a shower door, make sure it swings out of the traffic pattern. No room for a big shower stall@f0 You can turn the bathroom itself into a “wet room,” another hot trend these days. In a wet room, the shower and bathroom share one big, open space that has an extra floor drain and slightly sloped floors for drainage. Still trying to figure out how to fit a bigger shower into your small bathroom@f1 Universal design expert Cynthia Leibrock of Easy Access to Health, Livermore, Colo., has a solution: Remove your bathtub and install a shower where the tub was. Most people prefer showers anyway, and they are generally safer and easier to use. The tub space will work fine for an accessible shower. Your contractor will have to make the shower entry barrier-free and level with the bathroom floor. Instead of a solid rim at the threshold to contain the shower water, Leibrock recommends a compressible plastic strip; it holds in the water but is easy to roll over and won’t be a tripping hazard. A Universal Shower Okay, you’ve carved out the space for a universal design shower. Here’s a checklist of features to make the shower work well for the whole family. Seating. Some people want or need to sit in the shower, and some don’t. If you recess a bench into the shower wall or install a fold-down seat, everyone will be happy. Sprays and controls. An adjustable handheld shower spray is the way to go for maximum flexibility. It slides on a wall-mounted rod, and can be locked into place or pulled out on a retractable hose. In other...

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Dispelling myths behind granite……

Posted by on 2011-01-07 10:54 am in kitchens

We love granite countertops! Myths Dispelled: Cleanability Granite ranked #1 in cleanability when compared to six other countertop surfaces including stainless steel (based on a 1999 study by the Hospitality Institute of Technology and Management). Marble and granite have the same level of cleanability as engineered (based on a 2006 study by the Hospitality Institute of Technology and Management). Price Natural stone is competitively priced with quartz surface products and often priced lower. Maintenance Natural stone is low maintenance often only requiring warm water, mild dishwashing liquid and a soft cloth to maintain its beauty. Many varieties of natural stone do not need to be sealed, although many are for customer peace of mind. Radon Granite does not emit dangerous levels of radon (based on technical paper by Dr. Donald Langmiur, PhD, Colorado School for Mines in 1995, confirming that consumers do not have to worry about radon exposure stemming from natural stone in their home). Individuality Stone is a product of nature and has its own unique qualities that distinguish it from quartz surface materials. The wonderful character that is offered by vein patterns, color variations, and other design characteristics of stone should be taken into consideration when selecting the perfect stone for your project. Are you thinking of new granite countertops this year? Jessica...

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How to Remove Halloween Candy From Rugs

Posted by on 2010-10-22 11:13 pm in Flooring

Fall is finally here, and Halloween is quickly approaching. For most of us, this holiday means funny costumes, trick-or-treating, bobbing for apples, and doing “the monster mash”.  Unfortunately, for some of us with “little ones”, it also means unsightly candy stains on your carpet. Well, lucky for you, here are some helpful techniques you can use to get rid of the icky mess those lollipops and gumdrops may leave behind. As soon as you spot a sugary blob attached to your carpet, you should: Scrape or blot up excess. Apply detergent with a damp towel. Blot; don’t rub. Apply water with a damp towel. Blot; finish with a weighted pad of towels. If that doesn’t work, try this: Apply detergent solution with a damp towel; leave on for 3 to 5 minutes. Blot; don’t rub. If stain is removed, finish with a water rinse. Blot then apply a pad of weighted paper towels. If stain is not removed, continue as follows. Apply hydrogen peroxide/ammonia solution; let stand for 2 to 3 hours under a weighted sheet of plastic wrap. Repeat application of hydrogen peroxide/ammonia solution and allow to dry under weighted plastic wrap until removal is complete. Apply water with damp towel. Blot; finish with weighted pad of paper towels. To neutralize the area, apply white vinegar only after stain is removed. Of course you can avoid this mess altogether by making the carpeted areas of your home “off limits” to candy-carrying kiddies. If the mess they make is too big for you to tackle on your own, you should call a professional carpet cleaner. This will prevent you from doing further damage to your carpet or voiding your warranty. America’s Floor Source offers carpet cleaning to anyone in the Columbus, OH area. To learn more, visit the Floor Care section of our website. For more useful stain removal tips, check out the Anso Nylon Stain Center. They also have a pretty cool iPhone app you can use that will identify a stain and offer removal tips for that particular substance. Oh the wonders of modern technology. Happy Halloween folks! (Stain removal information provided by Anso Nylon Stain...

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FA Design Build Partners with Non-profit Organizations

Posted by on 2010-09-14 1:41 pm in kitchens

FA Design Build is taking strides in building relationships with non-profit organizations like ReBuild, Habitat for Humanity and Community Forklift who accept quality, used building materials and sell them back to the public, raising awareness in their communities. FA Design Build will make efforts to donate usable building materials and provide the homeowner with a suggested donation amount that can be written off on their taxes.  We will provide homeowners with an official donation form provided by the non-profit organization.  As part of the standard process, FA Design Build will also coordinate the pick-up of the materials during the donation/de-construction phase of the project at no additional cost to the homeowner.  Typical donation amounts can vary greatly, but a full kitchen, of quality materials in working order, can provide homeowners approximately $500.00 to $1,000.00 or more as a tax deduction.   Contact FA Design Build at 703-934-8447 for more...

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Posted by on 2010-09-01 10:47 am in Renovation

The 203K program enables HUD (Department of Housing and Community Development) to promote and facilitate the restoration of our existing housing.  It is HUD’s primary program for the rehabilitation and repair of single family homes.  HUD’s main goal is the revitalization and expansion of homeownership throughout our communities. 203K operates through FHA’s (Federal Housing Administration) approved lending institutions that submit applications to have the property appraised and to get the buyer’s credit approved.  The 203K program allows that buyer to just have one mortgage loan, at a long-term adjustable rate to finance the purchase and rehabilitation of the property.  The mortgage is based on the projected value of the property once the work is completed.  Once the mortgage is disbursed and an escrow account for the rehabilitation is established, the lender will have a fully-insured mortgage loan. Eligible properties are one-to four-family dwelling units that have been completed for at least one year.  The units must meet the local zoning requirements.  The program is also eligible for condominiums that have been approved by the FHA. Only certain lenders and subcontractors are approved by the FHA to participate in this program.  Flooring America/FA Design Build is an approved 203K subcontractor and we have completed several properties through this program. Please visit for more details.  Stay tuned for our next blog which will discuss the 203k Streamlined(k)...

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Preparation for your Hardwood Installation

Posted by on 2010-08-12 4:52 pm in Flooring

Avoid any bumps in the road to your home design project.  Use our installation guide for great tips on the transition of your old floors to the new.  Installation Matters  Today’s hardwood flooring is extremely versatile.  There are more ways than ever to install your hardwood flooring: nailing, stapling, gluing, floating or the new “click” (glue-less) fit, where the plank edges snap together like the pieces of a puzzle.  At Flooring America, we have a “Points of Difference Guarantee”, meaning we stand behind our products and services.  Our guarantees protect you and your investment to ensure you a confident, worry-free and enjoyable shopping experience.  We believe that how your floor is installed will impact its performance and life.  We provide a warranted installation by a trained, professional craftsperson who will finish the job to perfection-GUARANTEED!  Things to Do Before Installation  We want you to have a clear understanding of the services we provide as well as to be aware of items you will need to handle prior to the installer arriving at your home.  After your purchase, items crucial to the smooth installation of your new flooring will be detailed by your sales professional in a pre-installation check list and may include some of the following: Verification of the installation date. Ensuring the removal of all “breakables” from the room. Determining who will remove furniture, appliances and the sub-floor, if needed. Arranging for the disconnection of gas appliances and icemakers. Determining if any change to the height of the floor require adjustments to doors in order for them to close properly. Ensuring the removal of items in storage areas and closets where the floor is to be resurfaced. Make certain drapes, wall hangings and pictures are removed from walls. Verify that your in-home temperature is appropriate for the installation.  Installation  Your local Flooring America store offers expert installation for all of the flooring products that we carry.  You can trust our installers to create a great-looking floor for your home.  Whether it’s a solid-color carpet or a detailed, custom tile design, our licensed and insured professionals will get the job done accurately and beautifully.  We are so confident that you will be more than satisfied with our professional installation that we will be happy to correct any installation-related problems for free during the intended life of your floor. Get started today and bring your colors, swatches, photos and ideas into one of our stores…Fairfax, Woodbridge or White...

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What Type of Hardwood Works for You?

Posted by on 2010-08-06 10:25 am in Flooring

 There are two different types of Hardwood Floors, Solid and Engineered.  Today we are going to discuss Solid Hardwood Floors. Solid Hardwood is exactly what it says…100% solid wood.  There are three different types of Solid Hardwood and all three can either come unfinished or pre-finished.  Below are the three types of hardwood: Strip Hardwood Flooring Although strip hardwood is always going to be the same width (1 ½ inches, 2 inches and 2 ¼  inches), the thickness of the wood can vary.  It starts at 5/16 of an inch. Plank Flooring There are two thicknesses for plank flooring (1/2 inch or 3/4 inch), but the widths vary from 3 inches to 8 inches. Parquet Floors Parquet floors do not look like your typical hardwood flooring.  They are patterns in individual wood slats.  Solid hardwood is more susceptible to shrinking and expanding from excessive moisture and extreme temperature changes.  Please be aware that in the winter months, moisture may cause gaps between the planks…once the summer months come around, and the humidity is higher, the planks then expand back to fill in those gaps.  We recommend that you keep your homes relative humidity between 40-55%.  Because it is sensitive to moisture, we do not recommend that you install solid hardwood below ground level. Solid hardwood should not be installed directly over concrete and should be nailed or stapled to the subfloor.  We suggest that you have the wood acclimated prior to installation. The most popular types of Solid hardwood species are Red Oak, White Oak and Maple, but these are just the most popular…there are several different species of solid hardwood. Do you want Prefinished or Unfinished hardwood flooring? Prefinished hardwood is quicker to install because it does not have to be sanded or refinished.  It does not need to dry, so your house can get back to normal as soon as it is installed. Unfinished hardwood takes a little longer to install and has to...

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