Hardwood floors make a stunning first impression, increase the value of your home and add warmth to any room. We know you want the beauty of your floors to last a long time without the need for refinishing, fixing or replacement, but we also recognize the challenge of cleaning and protecting hardwood.
Preventing damage to flooring is easy if you’re diligent and practice smart strategies. Start with these five tips to preserve the shine and prolong the life of every wood floor in your home.
Use the Right Cleaner
Before investing in a cleaner promising to restore shine and make wood floors glow, find out how it makes good on its promise. Many products rely on oils or waxes to provide shine. These produce an attractive effect but only serve to break down the finish of your floor over time, leading to the need for sanding and refinishing.
Instead of putting on a false shine, choose a cleaner formulated to remove dirt and reveal the natural beauty of the wood. Bona, Libman, Pledge, Method and other well-known names in home cleaning offer products just for hardwood. Choose a gentle, non-toxic formula, especially if you have pets or children who spend a lot of time in contact with the floor.
Develop a Regular Cleaning Regimen
Use your cleaner as part of a consistent routine designed to keep your hardwood flooring in top shape. Sweep up dirt and debris often to prevent scratches, and invest in a vacuum cleaner made for wood floors to lift the dirt brooms leave behind. Dry dust mops like Swiffer make it easier to reach into corners and grab dust bunnies under large pieces of furniture.
Keep a stash of soft cloths on hand to wipe up spills the moment they happen. Leaving water on the floor can lead to damage, and anything sticky will be difficult to remove if allowed to dry. Should an unidentifiable substance weld itself to your floor, spot clean with a minimal amount of liquid to remove it.
Mop the floor using a dry mop and your chosen cleaner to get rid of the rest of the dirt and grime. When you’re done, you should see the coveted shine for which hardwood floors are prized.
Say No to Shoes
Even if you’re obsessive about wiping your feet before heading indoors, your shoes are likely still holding onto dirt and debris. Routinely tracking these particles across wood floors can lead to scratches and scuffs in the finish. High heels are also problematic because the force focused on the concentrated surface of the heel can dent the wood.
To avoid both issues, remove your shoes the moment you come inside. Place a boot tray or rug by the door, and ask guests to help you preserve the floors by taking off their shoes when they visit. For a more attractive solution, consider investing in a bench with built-in storage cubbies for the shoes you wear most often.
Give Your Furniture a Soft Touch
Wood flooring looks great in the kitchen and dining area, but the constant scraping of chairs does no small amount of damage to the finish. Since you can’t expect everyone to remember to pick up their chairs instead of pushing them in or to maneuver themselves sideways to avoid pushing chairs back, invest in adhesive felt pads or gliders. These can be placed on the bottoms of kitchen chair legs or on the feet of small tables. You can also get more permanent gliders designed to be nailed in place so that they don’t slip off.
For larger furniture, consider snap-on felt glides. These not only protect your floors but also make moving couches and other big pieces easier when cleaning or rearranging.
Learn to Love Rugs and Mats
To protect wood flooring in high-traffic areas and in places where water or food is likely to be spilled, you need throw rugs, mats or runners. Put mats by the sink and near kitchen counters where the majority of food preparation takes place, and roll out runners in the places the family passes through the most. A welcome mat outside the door encourages everyone to wipe the bottoms of their shoes, and a small rug can be placed just inside to prevent errant dirt from winding up in the house. Remember to clean underneath all mats and rugs when caring for your floors to prevent debris from building up or backings from sticking.
Start practicing these preventative strategies the moment your new floors are installed, and you’ll enjoy beautiful hardwood for many years to come. If you’re ready to get started with an installation, contact one of our specialiststo learn more about your options and find just the right hardwood floors for your home.
Solid Wood Floors for Decades of Use
The laminate and engineered wood floors are less popular than solid wood floors this year. Whether you’re going to be living in your forever home or simply making improvements to help increase the return on investment, solid wood floors are on trend in 2018. And, solid wood floors can last for more than 100 years when they are taken care of properly.
Wood Types Depend on Your Style
The type of wood you choose comes down to your taste and style. Oak and hickory are the most sought after hardwood floor types. Maple and birch are still a great option for people who want to keep a modern design. Not surprisingly, eco-friendly species like bamboo are also popular because they are sustainable and environmentally responsible as well as affordable and attractive.
Color is as Simple as Black and White … and Shades of Gray
Finishes Make the Floor
Super glossy floors are falling out of favor this year. Our designers suggest going with matte or satin finishes to get the look you see on your favorite home and remodeling shows. Oil floors are coming back with a vengeance because of the patina from years of aging. One of the biggest advantages of using oil finishes is that you can repair them easily with an additional coat of oil.
Planks Add Character
Parquet is an old trend that is seeing a revival in 2018. Chevron and herringbone patterns are very on-trend. Decorative and textured floors are seeing an uptick in sales too. The character of the floor is a big deal with knotty wood coming up the winner in floor trends.
Rustic in the Farmhouse Sense
Distressing the wood for existing floors is one of the most frequently requested projects this year. Taking it down to the bare wood and giving it a touch of class with the right stain or treatment is by far a welcome change. Letting the natural imperfections show through is one of the best ways you can get the farmhouse feel in your home.
Concise and Clean Lines
If you want to go to the other end of the spectrum with a minimalist design, Classic Floor Designs recommends longer planks of wood for your flooring. Fewer seams paired with classy lines enhance the charm in the room. Often this floor choice pairs best with the stark white or deep ebony colors.
(Seeming) Bigger is Usually Better
Wide planks make small rooms feel much bigger. Using wide planks in bathrooms brings a spa-like atmosphere and is trending in 2018. Event a small powder room can instantly feel roomier with a six-inch hardwood floor.
The best way to select a new floor for your home is to listen to your gut. After all, you will be living with it! Choose patterns, colors, and textures that compliment the rooms you already love. Classic Floor Designs wants to help you find the right floor option for your home. To talk to one of our designers or to schedule a free consultation, please call us at 202-872-9860.
We know that life is probably going to be busy and full of fun and festivities, so you probably won’t want to spend a lot of time worrying about the state of your beautiful flooring. To help put your mind at ease and minimize any potential damage, we’ve compiled a quick and simple list of tips to help save your hardwood, carpeting and laminate floors from the abundance of cheer that comes along with this time of year.
Doormats and Rugs
Strategically placing area rugs in high-traffic areas is also a great, stylish way to protect your hardwood floors. If you live in an area that is particularly prone to wet, snowy weather, it’s a good idea to have extra washable rugs placed near the doors for guests to knock off snow or mud before they come inside.
Remove Your Shoes
To help facilitate this, there are a few things you can do. First, have everyone in your house get into the habit of leaving a pair of slippers by the main entrance so it’s easy to slip off shoes and put on slippers. Keep a boot tray and small shoe rack near the door as well. Wet or dirty shoes go into the boot tray, and other shoes go onto the shoe rack or into their respective bedrooms.
For guests, you can either let them know ahead of time to bring a pair of slippers, or you can keep a few pairs of washable “house shoes” near the door. These are not difficult to find, and they are not very expensive either. To eliminate any potential awkwardness, you can make it fun and hang a lighthearted sign on the door letting guests know to leave their shoes at the entrance.
Clean Up Regularly
This one is obvious, but extra traffic means extra cleaning. To cut down on the time you spend doing housework, you can go high-tech and invest in a small robot vacuum that will pick up debris and even spot-mop your floors. If that’s outside of your budget, consider keeping a dry mop in all of the main living spaces, and do a quick once-over anytime you’re walking through.
Invest in Furniture Pads
This is an especially useful tip if your home is mostly hardwood floors. Home improvement or flooring stores will carry a variety of soft, easy-to-apply furniture pads that can be placed on the bottoms of chair legs, table legs and anything you know will be getting pushed or pulled across the floor regularly. Padding these surfaces will not only allow the furniture to move more easily, but it will save your floors from any potential scraping or gouging.
Seal and Treat
For hardwood flooring, you should take the time to have your floors varnished if you haven’t already. A fresh layer of sealant will protect the wood from spills and stains.
Carpeted floors should be steam cleaned and protected with an anti-stain or liquid-repelling treatment. Not only will this save your carpets, but it will save you stress and headache when someone drops a glass of wine or the kids get a little too excited about their holiday treats.
Train Your Pets
It may take a little bit of time and patience, but training your animals to sit by the door while you wipe their paws is an invaluable trick for reducing the amount of cleaning you do and keeping your floors fresh.
In addition to this, you should keep your pet’s nails trimmed and blunted whenever possible. Long or sharp nails can scratch and gouge hardwood in no time. If you have cats, make sure there are plenty of places for them to scratch. Otherwise, your carpeted floors may suffer.
One Final Tip – Relax
Remember, the memories and joy of the season are much more important than keeping your floors pristine. Enjoy your holidays, and consult with our professionals if you have questions or need help with post-party floor cleaning.
A well-designed room begins with the right flooring, and gray hardwood remains the perfect starting point for many home decors. We’ve received countless requests for this elegant option in recent years, and interest doesn’t seem to be slowing down. So, why are gray hardwood floors the foundation of choice for so many homeowners?
Gray: A Soothing Color Choice
For most, the home is a sanctuary. It’s where we go to relieve stress from the outside world and connect with the ones we love. Maybe that’s why so many of us crave the soothing look and feel of gray hardwood flooring. Its soft color works beautifully with mint green or sage, super-soft pink, pale yellow and other pastels for the ultimate in relaxing decor. Baseboards in cream create a natural, non-jarring transition from light-gray walls to slightly darker gray floors.
Lighten Up Your Home’s Interior
Gray wood flooring helps lighten any room. It can open up space visually, especially when paired with walls and furniture in shades of gray that are lighter than the flooring. The light color works wonders at creating an open feel in smaller living areas. And just as it makes a cramped room appear spacious and inviting, soft gray enhances the roomy feel of larger spaces.
The Influence of Scandinavian Design
Anyone who’s leafed through home decor magazines or browsed decorating websites has likely noticed a Scandinavian influence on interior design these days. Besides last year’s obsession with Hagge, a Danish concept roughly translated to coziness and an appreciation of life’s simple comforts, Scandinavian minimalism is still huge in American home design. The timeless appeal of Danish modern design helps explain why the streamlined, scaled-back look of mid-century interiors remains in-demand.
Gray Hardwood Flooring: a Versatile Choice
You don’t need a minimalist sensibility to fall in love with gray hardwood floors, though; their versatility is part of their charm. A gray hardwood floor looks just as much at home in a farmhouse-chic decor as it does in a contemporary or mid-century modern setting. Its color is reminiscent of metals, making it a good fit for industrial-style interiors. It also provides the perfect arena for playing with color in your accents and furniture. We’ve seen designs recently incorporating coral, orange, red and other bold color choices against a soft, airy backdrop of gray floors and walls.
The Natural Beauty of Gray Hardwood Flooring
Gray hardwood fits nicely into the architecture of older homes, but it also adds character to newer houses. Wide planks are a smart choice for this type of wood flooring. This style highlights the burls and other markings for a somewhat rustic appeal that brings warmth to any setting. These characteristics also make light scratches less noticeable — a boon to families with active households. Consider white oak in a gray-washed stain formulated for hardwoods, especially if your home has a vintage, rustic or shabby-chic aesthetic.
It’s easy to see why gray hardwood floors show no signs of waning in popularity. This type of flooring adapts to nearly any decorating style, from rustic and cozy to minimalist or industrial. It creates a sense of calm — something we seem to crave more than ever. As the new neutral of choice, it also gives you the freedom to express yourself through color and have fun with your decor. And its burls and markings bring the beauty of nature inside, adding character to cookie-cutter spaces or complementing a home’s existing charm. If you’re considering upgrading your home with this popular flooring choice, get expert guidance throughout the process from a company experienced in installing and maintaining these and other types of quality flooring.
Your home is so much more than where you drop your keys at the end of the day. It is a sanctuary of peace from outside-world distractions, it is the inspiration for family gatherings and when properly outfitted it reflects your own fashion-forward style. At Classic Home Design, we took a glimpse at what will be coming down the interior design catwalk in 2018 to offer you insight into the freshest home design trends for the soon-approaching new year. Here are our top six picks.
#1 Use of Natural Elements
If your home is like ours, its chock-full of the latest tech gadgets that promise to make our lives easier. While these tools allow us to speed up our days, natural home design features can help to bring us down to earth a bit. The incorporation of organic materials such as wood, stone, and linen into our homes can serve to soothe and relax us and our house guests. In 2018, these materials will show up in designer interiors as striking stone accent walls, sustainable seagrass rugs or simple yet attractive hewn wood pots and planters. It’s all about capturing the hues and textures of nature and bringing them indoors to complement your home’s unique vibe.
#2 Neutrals Paired With Intense Colors
We found that the upcoming year will bring greater dimension to neutrals. Go-to shades in beige, taupe and gray have traditionally served as backdrops for special architectural trim, pieces of art or other furnishings. In 2018, they are paired with intense colors that give interiors elements of surprise, contrast, and cheer. Top designers say that the saturated hues will show up on ceilings, furniture, and accessories. They recommend accents in vibrant jewel tones such as green, lapis blue and warm shades of red, gold and orange. The intense colors will primarily be found on accent pieces and ceilings that can be easily replaced or repainted if you ever grow weary of the color combinations.
#3 Modern Minimalism
We have a sneaking suspicion that the trend toward modern minimalism was inspired in part by the sluggish economy of the last decade. However, its popularity has even spilled over into luxury markets. Designers are challenged to optimize interior spaces at posh addresses with furnishings that are beautiful, functional and in some instances multi-purpose. Modern architectural design is known for its simple, elegant angles and curves, and top designers in 2018 will play up these features by giving the spaces that they create a pleasing sense of frugal sophistication. Incorporating storage space into decorative pillars and archways is just one example of how designers implement the concept of modern minimalism.
#4 Painting Interior Doors Dark
White walls and ceilings can give rooms a sense of purity, which is like a blank canvas that is ready for something inspiring. We believe that the inspiration can be found in something as simple as a painted interior door. An all-white space looks crisp, but sometimes the human eye needs to see boundaries in contrasting colors to show the space’s scale and depth. That is why many designers rush to add a vivid ceiling color or a splash of checkerboard flooring to an otherwise all-white room. An interior door that is painted in black, charcoal or another dark hue can offer a contrast that equates to instant sophistication as it enhances other contrasting accents in a room such as elegant black and white photographs.
#5 Maple, Pine and Hickory Flooring a Hit in 2018
A quality hardwood floor is a classic that seems to never go out of style. While homeowners love the durability, low-maintenance and hygienic nature of hardwood floors, designers are typically taken in by the material’s beauty and versatility. This is especially the case with growing trends toward maple, pine and hickory flooring. Maple hardwood flooring shows even grains, and most varieties are lighter in color than traditional oak flooring. The lighter shade of flooring often gives rooms an open, airy look that can enhance both contemporary and traditional decor. For homes that are inspired by the interiors of yesteryear, pine and hickory are excellent hardwood floor choices. These wood species offer enough grain variations, imperfections and knots to simulate the unrefined look of wood flooring in historic homes. Popular yet somewhat pricey finishes include wire-brushed and hand-scraped pine and hickory flooring.
#6 Use of Reclaimed Wood for Kitchen Island Kick-Plate
We know that the kitchen island is one of the busiest spots in many kitchens. It’s where spouses perch to communicate the highlights of their day and where little ones congregate to get help with homework while helping themselves to afternoon snacks. The material that covers the lower portion of the island must be durable enough to withstand countless kicks and scuffs. A top 2018 home interior trend is to use reclaimed wood to serve as a kitchen island kick plate. A wooden island kick plate can give your kitchen added warmth and character. Reclaimed wood that has a special story associated with it is not only an eco-friendly choice for your island, but it can also be an interesting conversation piece for guests.
Top 10 Myths About Hard Wood Flooring
Even though wood floors have gained in popularity over recent years due to their natural beauty and appeal, many people are still put off of considering them as a viable option due to many myths that abound about them. If you’ve been wondering whether some of the things you’ve heard about floors of this type are true or not, please consider the following list of the top ten myths associated with wood flooring.
*They are Expensive
While it’s true that there is usually more upfront costs associated with wood floors, they actually prove to be a low-cost flooring option. Because wood lasts for decades or longer when properly maintained, these types of floors can last a lifetime. This makes them rather cost-effective in the end. They also require less maintenance and fewer cleaning products and tools, reducing the lifetime cost associated with this type of flooring even more.
They Show Dust Easily
It is true that dust is a bit more visible on a sleek wood surface. However, this brings additional benefits with it. Dust and debris can be difficult to detect on carpeting and other popular floors. This means that it sticks around and poses an allergy risk to sensitive people. Dust on wood surfaces is usually more visible, but this allows for it to be noticed and properly removed promptly. This makes your home cleaner and your air quality better.
They Lack Warmth
Contrary to popular belief, a hardwood floor does not make a room appear cold. In fact, the opposite is true. The natural glow of a wood surface adds an element of warmth to the room in an aesthetic sense. However, it goes much deeper than appearances. Wood is also a natural insulator, making it easier to maintain warmer temperatures in your home during the winter.
They are Hard to Maintain
Wood is actually quite easy to care for, and flooring is no exception to this rule. A simple dust mop is often all that is needed to provide routine cleaning and removal of dust particles. If the floor has lost its shine, a high-quality cleaning product designed for wood surfaces can easily restore its luster.
They Deplete the Forests
Many flooring manufacturers use sustainable techniques that are designed to harvest wood in a manner that has the least environmental impact long-term. Since the floors last so long, they do not need to be replaced and end up costing less in terms of environmental impact than other flooring choices.
They are Not Durable
Some types of wood are definitely more durable than others. If you have young children or active pets, you can choose a harder wood that has more durability over time.
They are Not Real Wood
Engineered wood is still real wood. It is simply manufactured in a way that allows for multiple layers to be placed on top of one another. The end result is called a wood composite, but it is still genuine wood, not a man-made substitute.
They Aren’t a Good Option if You Plan to Move
On the contrary, wood flooring will add value to your home that others will appreciate. In many cases, the beautiful addition of this type of flooring will appeal to home buyers or even bring more money from the sale of your home.
They Scratch Easily
Wood is essentially the only material that can be repaired to like-new status if it becomes scratched. Man-made flooring does not provide this convenient option. While it’s true that softer types of wood may develop scratches on the surface of the wood more easily, these are quite easy to buff out and repair.
Polyurethane Floors are More Durable
Polyurethane floors are cheaper to purchase and install initially. However, they can become dented and damaged easily. Unlike wood counterparts, this damage is not easy to repair. In fact, parts of the flooring may need to be replaced entirely. This actually leads to a greater expense in the end. Additionally, polyurethane can be much more expensive to care for in the long run as well, adding to the overall cost associated with this type of flooring.
While they may involve more of an upfront expense than some other flooring options, hard wood floors can add a touch of practical elegance to your home. Hardwood floors provide a durable and gorgeous flooring option that you can proud to show off to family and friends. With careful planning and a skilled team of professional installers, hardwood floors can become one of the most beloved features of your home.