hardwood floor sealer Choosing between hardwood floors, tile, and carpet is a decision that may make or break the look of an entire house. Carpets will provide comfort each time you walk around your home, while hardwood floors may be somewhat chilly for your feet on a cold day. There are, however, numerous benefits to installing hardwood floors. Hardwood flooring will add aesthetic value to any room.. Additionally, hardwood is often associated with the modern look that many people try and achieve in not only their house, but also their office.

The durability of hardwood floors strongly outweighs that of carpet. Advances in modern technology have changed the way hardwood floors age. No longer will the wood warp and bend over time. Different hardwood floors are available for different rooms. For example, if you want to eliminate the tile in your bathroom and replace it with wood, there is special hardwood flooring treatment available that will resist the moisture that comes from a bathroom. Hardwood floors can prove to be a valuable investment for your home. Wood flooring will make your house much more appealing if you decide to put it on the market.

The maintenance of hardwood floors will be easier than that of carpet. You will not have to vacuum on a daily basis to pick up the dust and dirt that becomes lodged in the fibers of carpet. Additionally, the colors in the wood flooring may fade or deepen, and grain patterns may develop over time, making the wood look even more elegant than when it was first installed.

The dust that builds up in carpet fibers and grout are often allergens and other dangerous materials that can aggravate sinuses. Hardwood floors have no material that can catch these harmful particles.

The choices are endless when choosing wood floors. The high number of products available will allow you to choose exactly what you want, including color, design, size, wood type, and cost. Installing a hardwood floor can greatly alter the decor of your home. It is important to note that if you do choose wood for your floor covering, it is vital to use the proper wood floor cleaner in order to ensure that it is always sparkling. Nonetheless, choosing a hardwood floor will be a decision that will never leave you second guessing the removal of carpet.

home wood care When it comes to building materials, wood takes a leading role in many homeowners’ and companies’ list. Wood is highly versatile, durable, cost-effective and offers that old world charm and class that can’t be duplicated by other popular building materials. Also, when wood is responsibly sourced, it can also help protect the environment since it’s renewable and features a much lower carbon footprint. Thanks to these benefits, wood works for a number of applications, from building homes to constructing warehouses and buildings.

While wood brings out natural aesthetics and packs the durability, there are also some limitations associated with these wood building materials. Wood can deteriorate in time, and the rate of deterioration depends on the area and the kinds of hazards present. For example, in the southeastern United States, the warm and wet climate in the region can result in higher rates of deterioration.  Exposure of untreated wood building materials to moisture and wood-destroying organisms can destroy the wood, even before you can even realize its full potential. To minimize the risks, every homeowner or property owner should work with experienced professionals and use appropriate wood-treatment solutions.

Wood treatment solutions can work in protecting wood

Treating unprotected wood requires attention to details and the appropriate choice of treatment solutions. For starters, it’s best to first clean the wood surface before applying the choice treatment solution. General safety instructions should be followed based on what is indicated on the product label. For example, when handling a treatment solution, it’s recommended that the solution should not get in contact with one’s skin. And clothes should be washed immediately once it got contact with the solution. These safety practices and approaches to using wood treatment solutions can help ensure safety for everyone.

Borates-based treatment solution- Borates-based treatment solutions are EPA-approved biocides that can be used to protect and extend the lifespan of wood. Borates can work against decay fungi and insects, including termites, thus making these as appropriate solutions when protecting wood. There are different brands of borate-based wood protectors, including Bora-Care and PenaShield that can work on different types of wood and work against decay fungi.

Copper naphthenate- This solution has been around for decades and can also work against decay and action of insects. Traditionally, the solution is applied on benches, electric utility poles and other wooden structures.

Other solutions and active ingredients –There are other EPA-approved solutions and active ingredients that can help protect the wood. Some of these protective solutions include copper-8-quinolinolate that works against fungi, lodo-2-propyl carbonate for molds and permethrin (or other synthetic ingredients that end in ‘thrin’) for insects but not for decay fungi.

These biocides have been screened and tested to work on wood building materials for homes, buildings or even benches and electrical utility posts. Hundreds of products are available in the market, but look for those that have been tested and EPA-approved. And to fully maximize its potential, it’s recommended to check the labels for the active ingredients and apply the protective solutions as indicated.

concrete repair Concrete sidewalks, ramps, parking lots and garages around institutional and commercial facilities can perform reliably for years. But they can do so only if maintenance managers implement a comprehensive concrete-maintenance program that identifies small problems early and addresses them before they become larger and more costly.

By developing inspection guidelines focused on common causes of problems, combining them with effective repair procedures, materials and equipment, and specifying coatings to protect surfaces, managers can extend concrete performance life and minimize trip-and-fall hazards.

Effective Inspections

Managers tackling the challenges of concrete maintenance must accept two contradictory facts: Water is a necessary ingredient in concrete, as well as its single most destructive enemy. Without a vapor retarder to keep water out, concrete coatings on below-grade inside floors or walls soon will fail.

Water expands by 9 percent when it freezes, causing spalling and cracking in exterior concrete walkways, floors, walls, and roofs. Concrete is alkaline and normally protects rebar from rusting, but water mixed with chlorides in de-icing compounds can penetrate to rebar and rust it, causing expansion and cracking. Water also can penetrate structural concrete beams and cause cracking, rusting the rebar and weakening the structure.

The first thing technicians must determine when inspecting concrete is whether the problem is structural or superficial. The start of a structural failure — for example, a deep crack in a structural concrete beam — requires immediate attention and documentation. A concrete engineer using non-destructive evaluation, such as ground-penetrating radar, infrared thermography, and impact-echo technology, can discover hidden problems.

Most concrete problems are superficial, but even these problems need careful and ongoing attention. A cracked curb or spalled walkway, parking-lot surface, or garage floor that is unstable can cause falls and broken bones that require surgery, rehabilitation, and months to heal.

Performing thorough inspections before the colder weather arrives can detect relatively small problems that technicians can repair quickly, preventing further water and ice damage. Inspecting concrete surfaces after cold weather arrives also can reveal new damage that technicians can repair quickly.

The key root-cause factors technicians should record during an inspection include environment, soil, drainage, nearby chemical waste, and on-site activities. They also should document essential facts related to the concrete surfaces in question:

  • What was the original purpose of the site, and what is its purpose now?
  • What is the history of past stresses, such as changes in the water table and violent weather?
  • What were the surface’s past conditions, such as snow, ice, load damage, abrasion, vegetation damage?
  • Is there evidence of soil causing concrete to settle or heave, or animals burrowing?
  • Is there vibration of the surface due to heavy truck or train traffic?
  • Is there evidence of settling, cracks, discoloration, erosion, efflorescence, dusting, rebar corrosion, or spalling? If so, what is the location of each such problem?

deck staining Whether your deck is made of pressure-treated lumber, cedar, redwood, or teak, everything from the sun’s UV rays to rain and snow to simple everyday use creates wear and tear on the surface. Sooner or later it’ll need refinishing. Telltale signs that your deck needs a bit more attention than just a good scrubbing are: peeling; when water no longer beads on the surface; grey wood (an indication of dead wood fibers); and splintering (the wood is drying out).

As with almost any paint job, expect to spend most of your time prepping: A good strategy is to devote one weekend to cleaning and prepping, and the following weekend to applying the finish. No matter what the situation, time spent properly at this stage means the final finish will last longer and application will be quicker and easier.

Pro Tip: The best time to refinish a deck is in mid-to-late spring, early summer or early fall, when the surface temperature of the deck is above 50°F, but below 90°F, and when the humidity level is low to average. (If you can’t put your hand on the deck and leave it there without getting uncomfortable then it’s too hot.) Best times to work are in the late morning or late afternoon, when the surface is not in direct sunlight.

A thorough pressure wash is most likely needed.  In addition, mildew and mold must be removed by bleach or other products designed for that purpose.  Finally, sanding may be needed, as well as the replacement or repair of any wood severely affected by the elements.

By using an exterior stain or coating, you can keep your wood siding, fence or deck protected and looking its very best for a long time to come. If you have a deck or fence that is starting to look dull or run down, you may be able to save yourself money on a replacement and give it a face-lift instead. You’ll feel like you have a whole new deck or fence, and you’ll pay a fraction of the price. Coatings will help to lock in the stain or protect the natural wood. Coatings will protect against water damage and freezing, and they will keep the color looking vibrant longer.

home improvements molding When you are remodeling your home, you don’t need a huge budget to get the look you want. By making some smart choices, you can create a room that looks like it was put together by a top interior designer but will only have spent a fraction of the budget.

Here are a few accessories to try:

Plinth Blocks

These small blocks feature decorative carvings that you can add to moldings and mantles to add a little something extra. You can add a carved flower or plant at the bottom of your fireplace mantle or freestanding shelf, or you can put a square carved block between strips of molding. Instead of the typical, functional pieces that most people would expect to see there, you have a detailed piece that adds sophistication to the room.

Flex Crown Molding

While most crown molding looks like a variation on standard trim, flex crown molding looks like a carving on a small strip. It can make any room look more luxurious with just this simple detail. Just make sure to use it with the right wall coverings and art. You don’t want to make a room look too fussy with it.

Rosettes

Rosettes are tiny circular medallions that are sculpted to look like various flowers. You can use rosettes in a number of ways. They can be placed on ceiling tiles, in the middle of decorative wall molding or even on pieces of furniture. They make lovely decorative accents and don’t take up a lot of room or cost a lot of money.

Just because you’re on a limited budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the look of your home. Check out these wonderful accessories to create sophisticated décor.

patio repair Ben Franklin made the famous statement that the only things guaranteed in life are death and taxes.  I’ve got news for you; good ole’ Ben was wrong!  Try this one:  Death…..taxes…….and concrete will crack!  That’s not quite as catchy, but it’s true nonetheless.  Yes your concrete pool deck will crack.  But don’t get excited, we’re going to discuss why concrete cracks and then talk solutions.  Let’s see if we can comprehend this contrary characteristic of concrete. There are several types of cracks that occur in concrete.  Among them are shrinkage cracks, structural cracks, freeze cracks, or cracks that occur from a “bad mix” of concrete, also known as product failure. How to repair smaller cracks in your patio?

Clean the Concrete

Before you can go about actually patching the concrete, you need to completely clean the surface of debris that will impede the bond of new, fresh concrete. The easiest way is to take a power washer and blast the surface, but you can also use a scrub pad and then a mop to clean things up. Allow a minimum of 24 hours for the surface to dry before patching.

Use Flexomeric to Fill Cracks and Voids

Use Flexomeric when patching concrete because it will give you an additional layer of adhesion between the old layer of concrete and the new one. In addition, you will be sure the new surface application will not leak in those areas. After you’ve mixed your concrete in a machine and have it ready to pour from a wheelbarrow, you can coat the work area with Flexomeric. Then, while the Flexomeric is still tacky and wet, fill the low, sunken spot with fresh concrete. Don’t worry about excess since you can scrape that off later; it is more important to cover the primed layer before the Flexomeric dries.

Finishing the Surface

After the concrete has been poured or shoveled into place, use a combination of straightedges and flat trowels to finish the surface and smooth it. To pull the excess off, hold a straightedge from high point to high point across the lips of the “bowl” or sunken area, and pull the straightedge across the top while also using a slight side-to-side or sawing motion, thus leveling the concrete across the dip. Afterward, smooth it with a flat trowel and allow it to dry.

wood stain Whether you are installing a brand new deck or cleaning and re-staining an existing structure, a well-built deck can have a dramatic impact on the look of your home.  While this is a fairly simple do-it-yourself project to take on, a series of tips and tricks will make it even easier.  The following tips will equip you with the knowledge needed to stain your wood deck with the result being exactly what you intended.

Preparation

The preparation stage of this project is perhaps the most important step.  Make sure that you are taking the time to gather the correct materials, and prep the surface to be worked on.  If you are adding new stain to an existing deck structure, this involves thoroughly cleaning the surface.  For the best results, you may need a pressure washer and a strong oxygen bleach wood cleaner.  Taking the extra time to do this before adding stain will result in a brighter more vibrant end result.

Don’t Skimp on Stain

When looking for a staining product, do not go straight to the cheap stuff.  Choosing a quality stain now will lead to longer lasting results.  Spending a little more now will save you money later by resulting in a longer-lasting result.  While you do not necessarily have to go straight to the most expensive option, consider some of the better brands.

Use a Good Brush

As the application tool, the brush that you use to apply the stain can greatly affect the way it looks as it is put on the wood.  Again, do not use a cheap brush as these often cause streaky results and can even shed their bristles during the job.  Choose a high-quality brush and you will be happy that you did.  Not only will the texture look better as the stain is put down, but a good brush will work the stain deep into the wood.

Maintenance

Implementing a few maintenance routines will keep your freshly stained deck looking great for years to come.  Every so often, use a hose and broom to wash off any dirt that may have collected on the surface.  If dirt and mold are left sitting on the deck, it can begin to wear down and damage both the stain and the wood.  If some areas begin to gray and wear away before others, they can benefit from the application of a new layer of stain.

These tips should help you on your way to the perfect deck space.  With just a little bit of time and effort, you can create the perfect place for backyard cookouts, family time and relaxing Sunday mornings.  For a great selection on many of the products and tools that you need to complete the job, visit www.ewoodcare.com.

wood care tips Wood stains get bit of a bad rap in the woodworking world. However, I think this is largely because many people use wood stains to hide the imperfections of poorer quality wood. But, when you think about how this particular use of wood stain improves the appearance of cheap wood, I think we ought to admit that wood stain deserves more respect.

Moreover, wood stain is not only used to prettify ugly wood. It is also used to protect wood, which is often times very expensive and beautiful. Think about wood decks, they would deteriorate very quickly sans stain. Without wood stain, exterior wood would quickly fall victim to the sun, rain, and insects. Also, wood stains are very effectively used when they subtly alter the tone of a wood rather than change its color.

Of course, not a single type of wood stain is able to color wood, subtly alter a wood’s tone, and protect wood. No, when the time comes for you to stain wood, you have got to make sure you get the right stain for the job.

The most popularly used wood stain is oil-based stain. Made up of an oil, color pigment, and some type of binder that keeps the color in the wood after the oil has dried. To keep an oil stain from becoming a de facto varnish, you should only apply a single coating of it. Otherwise the color pigment will build up into a thick layer, which is not what a stain ought to be. Wood stain needs to be in the wood, not on it.

Water-based stains have grown in popularity because, in part, they are fast drying. If you are considering going with a water-based wood stain, make sure the wood is sanded. Wood that has not been sanded may be very thirsty and drink up the stain, which will result in an uneven result.

Finally, if you need to protect your wood, you need to go with a wood stain that also has a varnishing agent or polyurethane.

concrete repair kit Though concrete is just about the toughest, most durable building material we commonly use, it is not indestructible; it does crack over time. After all, even the mountains crumble into sand and soil eventually.

The good news for us homeowners is that there are many concrete and cement repairs we can do ourselves starting with crack repairs. The basic steps to repairing cracked concrete is to (1) identify and inspect the crack, (2) clean the area surrounding the crack, (3) Clean the crack itself and perhaps chisel out loose bits, (4) brush away all of the dust and dirt from out of the crack and surrounding area, (5) apply your choice of concrete repair patch, (6) let the patch cure according to its instructions, and (7) seal the patch and surrounding concrete.

Identify and Inspect the Crack

Identifying the crack is easy enough. If you see a crack, you have a crack. Make sure that it is not just cracked paint or stucco, but actually goes into the concrete. If you see rust coming out of the crack, you have a real problem that you probably cannot fix yourself. Rust indicates that the reinforcing steel is deteriorating.

Clean the Area Around the Crack

You will need to use a solvent to remove oil, paint, and dirt from the area around crack so that the concrete patch has a suitable surface to adhere to. Do not skip this step.

Clean the Crack

Just as you have to clean the surface around the crack, the crack itself must be cleaned as well so that the patch with stick to it. If there are broken pieces of concrete inside the crack, chisel them out.

Brush Out the Crack

Once you have used solvent to clean the crack and chiseled out the loose pieces, brush out the crack so it is ready for the patch. A small broom is perfect for this. Finish the cleaning by wiping the crack and surrounding area with a damp cloth to pick up the last remnants of dust.

Apply the Patch

Following the instructions provided with your concrete patch, apply the patch and spread it flat. After you believe you are done, check it a few minutes later to see if it has settled any. If need be, apply more.

Leave the Patch Alone to Cure

Let the patch cure for as long as instructed. Usually, this will be at least overnight.

Seal the Patch and Surrounding Area

Now that your concrete has been repaired, you must protect it from staining and moisture by sealing the patch and all of the area that you cleaned.

wood rot fixWhen you decide to set up wooden posts or columns outside, you need to account for possibilities like wood rot. In the presence of excess moisture, woodworks become prone to rotting which can completely ruin their visual appeal. The wood also becomes weak over time and eventually breaks. Here are some simple tips you can use to prevent wood rot. 

Prime the Wood

The outer portion of the wood needs to be properly primed to improve its longevity. You need to prime all 6 sides of the wood, which includes front and back, sides and also the two ends of the block. The end portion of the wood will act like a sponge and unless you prime this region, the wood becomes highly vulnerable to rot. Use an oil based primer to get the job done and use 2 coats just to be on the safer side.

Sloping

When you are using wood for outdoor use, it might be a good idea to slightly slope them so that they do not retain any water. A lot of woods start to rot during rains as they end up retaining moisture. This is a common occurrence with window sills, porches and other horizontal wooden surfaces where water can seep through and stagnate. By sloping the wood, you can ensure that it sheds all its water. The slight slope can also be made to look aesthetically appealing in terms of design.

Good Quality Wood

It is always better to use rot resistant good quality wood for home use. Even though they are more expensive, they are better protected against insect damage and rot. Some regularly used rot resistant wood types are Cumaru, Ipe, Cypress, Red Cedar and Teak.

Air Flow 

When wood absorbs a certain amount of moisture, it becomes immediately prone to rotting. It is essential that it has adequate air flow so that it can dry up. You can develop ventilation columns by creating space between the floor surface and the trim and also the vent at the top. This can be further accompanied by installing metal louvers to create more vents on columns and wooden posts.