Hiring a Contractor – What’s important

What’s important when selecting a contractor

When you find a contractor there’s so many things going on in your mind; can I trust them in my home, will they take the money and run, how do I know they will do a good job?

  • How quickly do they respond to your call,
  • set up an appointment with you & how timely is getting your estimate back (a telling signal to their normal response on the project).

We have access to technology to provide us with contractors but do you ever dream of a simpler time? Think back to 1960 when you could ask a neighbor for a recommendation. Or better yet, only having one contractor in the whole town.

As technology has made it easier to find a contractor, it’s made it harder to know if you can trust them. Before you hire a contractor for your next project, here are somethings to consider.

 

HOW TO PREPARE

Starting online will get you in front of the largest amount of contractors and from there you can narrow it down. There’s a few great places you should start online, and these are in no particular order.

Where  to look for contractors

Angie’s List is a great place to start because it is geared towards homeowners who have multiple projects or job in mind, from plumbers to flooring contractors. The website has been around for years so the profiles you will find should have lots of great photos and reviews. Try to find those profiles that show recent activity, and lots of great pictures from past jobs.

Angie's List - Gainey Flooring Solutions

 

Most people think of Yelp for your next lunch spot or date night but you will find service based businesses as well. You should look for profiles that have photos, descriptions of the business and reviews.

Check for multiple reviews

When reading reviews on any site, whether it be Angie’s List, Yelp or Google, pay special attention to the bad reviews. Look to how the business owner responded, did they keep it professional or were they accusatory? Was it a picky, venting customer or did the contractor put the homeowner in a bad position? There’s always two sides to each story so don’t be afraid of a few bad reviews, and how they respond says a lot about the integrity of the business.

These days we start online,  but asking your neighbors can be a great resource many homeowners don’t immediately think of. The nice thing about personal recommendations is that they will have already vetted the contractor on their own; you will get to hear each step of the job. If they are friendly, they may invite you in to see the work for yourself.

You don’t have to walk next door with cookies to meet your neighbors and ask for a recommendation. There’s a new community called Nextdoor full of everyone in a close radius to your address. Think of it as the online community bulletin board.

Verify licensed and bonding and proper insurance

Once you’ve asked around and found potential contractors, look up if they are license or bonded. Why is this important? The license verifies that the contractor has had some training or certification in the field. And the bonding ensures that if anything goes horribly wrong, you can submit a claim against the bond rather than paying for the remainder of the job yourself.

GFS is licensed, bonded and insured. ROC #296456 & ROC #297719.

Once you call a few contractors and share details about your job, don’t be afraid to ask for references of previous jobs like yours. Ask for the date of the job as well to ensure they are actively running this business, not just a weekend contractor.

 

UNDERSTANDING THE ESTIMATES AND BIDS

Now it’s time to request bids on your project. Everyone contractor’s bid will look slightly different from the next. Some contractors simply conduct their business in a different manner than others. Let’s walk through the general bidding process and what you might expect.

There are two pieces of the bid, the time or labor involved and the material needed.

Time and material

Included in the labor estimate will be any prep work needed. If you are looking to create a new custom bathroom this prep work takes into account the toilet being taken out, the old tile being removed, the disposal of the tile, any relocation of plumbing, etc. This is assuming that there were no hidden issues like mold or the bad work of the person who have previously installed the bathroom. That may come up as the job progresses.

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The biggest prep work, and often the most unconsidered, is preparing the subfloor. Any cracks found in the foundation will need to be filled. The floor will also be measured for levelness. Even a slight incline or decline could cause your shower floor to mold due to water pooling in certain raised areas.

Things to consider

Other considerations for time or labor estimates  should be the company’s years of expertise, the quality of the work, the attention to detail and caliber of the installers.

A good rule of thumb is to receive 2-3 bids. Try to look beyond the price because each contractor has different skills. One might be more expensive but they have the knowledge and strong reputation. Another bid might be cheaper but they are not licensed and don’t manage their installers to do everything to code.

A hidden gem of a contractor will be one that has a good eye for design. It’s very helpful getting an expert’s opinion on the design aspect so you don’t have to have everything figured out. Things like what backsplash will match the tile, or what grout color to choose.
Congratulations! You’ve found a reputable contractor, accepted his bid, and you’re ready to start the project. You should have a written copy of the agreement you are about to enter.

If there’s fine print on the agreement make sure to spend some time reading it, this is a big purchase. Some things you might see on the fine print are the finer details like whether or not the tile will be sealed, any surcharges for credit card payment or liabilities.

Sign the agreement and keep a copy with both of signatures for your records.

 

WHAT TO EXPECT

At this point you should have agreed on a timeline. Contractors have several projects going on at once so don’t be surprised if you don’t start tomorrow, but you should have a plan.

Establish start time and a finish date, then purchase materials

Once the agreement is signed and the start date is set, it’s a good time to begin sourcing the materials. At Gainey Flooring the design process is the most exciting. During the estimation process we can talk about how to make the new flooring/shower updates work for your home.

I have several recommendations for places to visit around the valley. Together we can visit the showroom to discuss different material options, what’s trending and what will work in your home. The GFS will arrange all the shipping to your home.

Click here to review some of Arizona’s finest flooring and tile showrooms.

If you have a specific material in mind, always be prepared with a plan b. You might learn that the product is sold out, or or not available for several months.


COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR CONTRACTOR

Starting day has finally arrived. Your contractor should be communicating with you who the installers are, what time they plan to arrive, and how long they will stay each day. It’s important to keep your project on schedule, but having installers in and out of the house until 9PM is unrealistic. Don’t be afraid to express those boundaries.

If you have any concerns at all – about your install team, how they are working, the progress of the job- don’t be afraid to communicate that with your contractor. This is a big investment and they should understand and be mindful of your concerns.

These are just some of the thoughts, items and moments you will find yourself in during the process of a renovation. For any questions, contact Gainey Flooring Solutions for more information.

Best Flooring for My White Kitchen

So, you’ve decided to follow the white kitchen trend. Good move! Real estate agents say that white kitchens sell homes. Gone are the days of the natural wood cabinets, dark richly colored walls, and busy backsplashes. When it comes to kitchens, the whiter the better! But, you might be thinking that you don’t want white floors. That’s just too much. And you would be right. Too much of any color can feel bland and even overwhelming. So, if you’ve eliminated white natural stone or ceramic tile as an option, you might be asking, what IS the best flooring for my white kitchen?

Dark Hardwood

Best Flooring for My White Kitchen

Dark floors can anchor all the floating white in the room. It gives weight to a room that’s too light, too airy. You can install dark wood in a contemporary kitchen, paired with shiny, laminated, flat surface cabinets, or in a country kitchen with more rustic features. The best part of dark wood is that it doesn’t show every stain or spill. It has some camouflaging properties, unless it’s very dark and very shiny. Sometimes shiny, dark floors show dust more, which can be another headache.

Light Wood Tones

Best Flooring for My White Kitchen

If you don’t want to go dark, you can still keep the light feel of the kitchen without going all the way white or cream. Natural wood floors are a great option because they keep with the bright feel without letting the kitchen “float away.” Pair your modern cabinets with a rustic, natural tone, wide plank flooring to really make the whole look sing. But, you could also go for a beige natural stone or ceramic tile. Just make sure it doesn’t go too dark, if you go this route. Medium to dark tones of natural stone or ceramic flooring can come across as Tuscan, which is hard to combine with white cabinets.

Medium Wood or Bamboo Flooring

Best Flooring for My White Kitchen

Somewhere in between dark and light is a medium color flooring. This can be great in a kitchen with warm gold hardware with some black or dark gray fixtures. Stick with natural colors and materials here. It’s easy to end up with a floor that doesn’t match the clean, bright style of a white kitchen with medium tones. A gray/beige hardwood is a great choice, whereas a orange/beige ceramic tile is not. Again, it hearkens to a Tuscan, ornate style that doesn’t pair well with white cabinets.

Go White

Best Flooring for My White Kitchen

Sometimes it’s great to go all the way. It takes a brave soul to live with stark white flooring because it shows spills and dirt very easily. A shiny white tile might be a high maintenance mistake for someone with small children or pets. But, there are some white or almost white options that could be less of a headache. If you must go light, avoid shine. Shiny floor show dirt more than dull floors. Consider a shiny car. It looks dull when it’s dirty and indicates that it’s time for a wash. A car with a matte finish might give you a little more time between washes. Also, you could try for painted wood on the floor. It is more rustic and allows for some dents and scratches. So, a little dirt doesn’t stand out as much.

And, if you must have white floors, look for an anchoring element somewhere else in the kitchen. Dark wood doors and trim, a dark gray backsplash, or a brightly colored Indian rug could do the trick.

When it’s time to pick flooring for your white kitchen, remember that all white isn’t always best. Select some fixtures or accessories that bring the room back down to earth. While white is bright and cheerful, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Ask yourself, what’s the best flooring for my white kitchen? And call a professional if you get stuck.

Ready to talk flooring? Click to give us a call or schedule a design consultation.

Hardwood Floors, DIY or Professional

Hardwood Floors: DIY or Professional installation 

Your realtor tells you hardwood floors increase your home’s value.  Your pet-loving neighbor recommends hardwood floors for easy cleaning.  Your DIY friend assures you the installation of natural finish oak floors was a breeze.

You’re ready to make the commitment to hardwood floors. Do you do the project yourself or hire a professional?  What’s the real investment for a DIY installation?

Here are some considerations as you decide about installing hardwood floors DIY or professional.

Installing Hardwood Floors Yourself – Considering Each Type of Hardwood Floor

Your choice of hardwood flooring will determine how many episodes of your favorite show you’ll need to DVR or how many football games you’ll miss.

Laminate flooring, made from compressed layers of fiberboard overlaid with a photographic image of wood grain and a protective coating, is available in easy click-and-lock styles.  You’ll need to unpack the flooring and acclimate it for about three days in the room where you plan to install it.  This prevents expansion of the moisture-sensitive particle board.  You can use this time to clean, level uneven areas of the sub-floor and lay a plastic, paper or foil vapor barrier.  After acclimation, allow three to four hours for completing the installation in a 12 x 16 bedroom or living area.

Engineered hardwood is made from compressed layers of multiple woods or wood veneers.  Its construction adds stability, making it less susceptible to expansion, so you may not need to acclimate it like laminate. You’ll still need to spend time prepping the floor. For our 12 x 16 room, plan on at least two working days to complete the install.  And you won’t be able to walk on the new flooring for 24 hours after installation.

Solid hardwood flooring is available in finished or unfinished formats.  Maple, oak, and cherry are among the more widely available hardwoods.  Exotic hardwoods like Brazilian cherry, rosewood and bamboo are durable options becoming more popular because they have more unique appearances than traditional hardwoods.  Allow at least three days to acclimate solid hardwood flooring prior to installation. The exotic woods may need to acclimate for up to seven days.  Plan to commit two days to installation.  With a finished solid hardwood, you can use the room after completing touch-up work.  Unfinished solid hardwoods need to acclimate for up to two weeks after installation prior to sanding. Applying a polyurethane finish and allowing it to set requires three to five more days.

Average Labor Cost for Installing Hardwood Floors

With a rough idea of the time you’ll invest, you need to consider potential dollars you could save by installing hardwood floors DIY or professional.

The professional installation costs associated with hardwood floors vary by floor type.  Industry labor rates to install laminates range from $2 to $8 per square foot, depending on the complexity of the room and prep required.  Engineered hardwoods cost $3 to $10 per square foot.  Finished solid hardwood installation averages $3 to $6 per square foot, with unfinished rates at $4 to $8 per square foot.

If bragging rights and dollars saved are worthy trade-offs for some possible frustration and missed games, then consider the DIY option.  But if the investment with a professional seems reasonable, then make the call and save your time.

Eco-Friendly Flooring Ideas

Eco-Friendly Flooring IdeasToday, most people are concerned with choosing flooring that is attractive, durable and affordable. But, the demand for eco-friendly flooring ideas is rising, and these needs are not necessarily mutually exclusive. When it comes to sustainable flooring options, there are quite a few. And some look great, are cost effective and even durable. Here are some great options that most flooring contractors can provide and install for you.

 

  1. Cork. Cork is a common and easily sourced material. You can even find it at Home Depot. It’s harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree, and the bark grows back over time. This means that the tree doesn’t need to be cut down to produce the flooring material. Cork, like wood, can be stained and finished to match pretty much any interior style. While it lacks the traditional wood grain that you see in wood flooring, in some homes it is a better style fit. It’s fire retardant and even repels pests! And, best of all, cork flooring is affordable.
  2. Reclaimed Wood. This material is salvaged from old buildings such as homes, barns, or factories. The wood is still structurally sound, but is weathered and full of character. While it can be difficult to find this material and it can be expensive, depending on where you live, it’s a great way to keep natural wood from getting destroyed or decomposing and give it another 30 years of use. It is also relatively simple to install, and most flooring contractors can do it for you.
  3. Bamboo. Bamboo trees grow 3-5 feet per year, which is extremely rapid growth for a tree. Therefore, it’s a very renewable source. Like wood, it can also be stained and treated just as easily. It’s also affordable and durable too. The best thing about bamboo is that it looks great in traditional, transitional, and contemporary homes alike.
  4. Concrete. Sometimes no flooring is the best option for eco-friendly flooring ideas. Concrete makes great, durable and affordable flooring. To add your personal style to the floor, you can acid stain the concrete and seal it. The minerals in the concrete oxidize, giving you a one-of-a-kind finish that can’t be duplicated. You can also grind the concrete down past the hardened “cream” and get to the aggregate, which is quite beautiful when polished.
  5. Linoleum. Yes, linoleum is pretty eco-friendly. If you’ve ever demoed a floor in an old house, you probably have seen linoleum in one of the layers. It was popular in during the first half of the 20th century, then went out of style. But, linoleum is made of eco-friendly materials like limestone and linseed oil. Many people think it’s made of plastic, but remember that plastics weren’t widely used in the 1920’s. Linoleum is really affordable and can be durable if you choose the right type. It’s also easy to install.

 

Whatever you choose, there are many options that can meet your needs for eco-friendly flooring ideas. There are many more, too. Do your research to find out which flooring works best.

Ready to get in touch? Call today to schedule an in-home consult.

 

Acid Stained Concrete Arizona

Acid Stained Concrete ArizonaIf you are building a house or just considering a change in flooring, you might be curious about acid stained concrete in Arizona. This type of flooring is found often in commercial buildings, and you might have been impressed with the way it looks. There are many options, from colors to polish sheen to aggregate exposure. Acid stained concrete looks great in many interior styles, especially modern or contemporary homes. But, there are some things you should know about this style.

Stained Concrete Cost

Because there are so many different ways to do stained concrete, there is a range of cost, usually between $2 to $5 per foot. A simple stain process with a single coat of sealer is the cheapest process. But, if you like the look of the aggregate in the finished product, it will cost more. This means that that contractor will have to grind down below the “cream” level of the concrete to expose the aggregate. It’s messy and time consuming. This is the kind of flooring you see in high-end modern homes and businesses. It’s quite interesting to look at, but will cost more. So, while staining your concrete might seem like a great way to save money, it usually ends up costing you about the same or more than ceramic tile or carpet.

How Stained Concrete Works

Acid stained concrete is a staining process that oxidizes the minerals in the concrete, causing them to change color. While some might stop the process at that point and be happy with the color, others often apply an acrylic “faux” finish to add dimension. But, the floors are always sealed with an epoxy coating to prevent staining.

It’s a process that takes several days, since the concrete needs to be cleaned extremely thoroughly and then allowed to dry completely. The larger the area, the longer it will take. So, the existing flooring is removed, and the concrete gets cleaned with a large buffing machine, while excess water is removed with a wet vac. Then, paint drips, carpet glue, and other residues are carefully removed. Then floor is cleaned again and, once dry, is ready for stain. The stain is applied with a sprayer and then neutralized. After that, it’s ready for the epoxy top coat or an acrylic faux finish.

Durability of Stained Concrete

Concrete is, well, concrete. It’s obviously one of the most durable building materials in the world. However, the finish can be less durable, believe it or not. While epoxy coatings, when applied correctly, are hard to scratch, it’s not impossible. For instance, ceramic tile will be harder to scratch than epoxy coating in most cases. It’s really just a strong paint, and dragging a heavy piece of furniture across it will probably leave a mark. Also, if it’s not done correctly, it will scratch easier. So make sure you find an experienced and proven contractor to do the work.

If you really like the way stained concrete looks, it could be a great option for your home or business. However, if you are considering it simply because it’s cheaper, there are some flooring choices that are as cheap (or cheaper) that will be more durable, such as porcelain or ceramic tile.

Whatever you decide, make sure you do your research and hire the right contractor.

We do wood-look tile, natural stone flooring, and luxury vinyl. Give us a call for a quote.

 

How-To Make Your Home Senior-Accessible

If you or your parents are 65 or older, there is a 40% chance that you or they will enter an elderly care facility at some point. This means just under half of people who survive past 65 will have to leave their home and move into a new environment.Aging in Place, Making Your Home Senior Accessible

Moving is stressful for anyone, no matter what the situation. Imagine moving from your familiar home environment when you are dealing with dementia, or even just the mild forgetfulness of old age. Losing one’s physical and mental capacities is frightening and makes the strongest of us vulnerable. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to simply modify your home into a space that accommodates you as you age? There wouldn’t be a traumatic move to an unfamiliar home, just a few helpful additions to the home you love and feel comfortable in. Home modifications for the elderly and disabled can make your home senior-accessible for your aging loved ones, here’s how.

Safe Bathroom for the Elderly

Bathrooms are the most important aspect of home modification for the elderly or disabled. Wet, slippery floors, high, inaccessible tub walls, and hard corners make it a common place for injury or worse. Everyday, 640 people are treated for non-fatal bathroom falls in the United States. It’s considered the most dangerous room in the house, and it only gets worse as you get older.

But, there are many easy fixes for this problem. While it’s impossible to make the bathroom totally safe, there are some cheap and simple ways to make it safer.

Grab bars should be installed, into studs, near the toilet, in the shower, and anywhere else that one needs to crouch, sit, or stand. Think of it this way, if you are just standing, it’s easy to stay standing. But, if you need to move around, sit down, or stand back up, that can be tricky with older people. Poor muscle tone, arthritis, and inner ear problems make them less stable in these situations.

Floor mats should be put down liberally. First, floor mats soften the hard floor, and second, they make it less slippery. Make sure the mats have a rubberized layer on the bottom to add grip. A floor mat without the rubber will actually be a hazard, making it easier to slip.

The best bathing solution for seniors is a shower with a plastic chair. Bathtubs present a hazard since the person has to step over the edge. As easy as this might seem to younger people, it can be a scary proposition for someone with weak joints, poor muscle tone and arthritis.

Ceramic tile is the best finishing material for a shower since the grout line makes the floor less slippery. One inch tiles on the shower pan, sealed with a grout sealer, will be a beautiful and safe shower floor for those who are at risk of slipping.

The shower head should be handheld, with the option of hanging it for regular showering. Install a grab bar, again, into studs. With the shower set up this way, a person can shower regularly or can sit and bathe themselves in comfort. The progressive nature of aging should match your retrofit strategy. You may not need grab bars now, but getting them installed after you have an accident is less ideal.

View Gainey Flooring Bathroom Projects for Aging in Place

Including grab bars, handheld shower heads for easy accessibility, shower benches, and curbless entry for the disabled.

 

Creating a Senior Friendly Home

You may not be approaching your golden years, but you want to make your home comfortable for your loved ones who are. A total overhaul may not be necessary, but some simple tweaks could do a lot of good.women-friends-friendship-helping-together-160767-min

Entry steps, or any steps, strike fear in the hearts of many people in their later years. If the knee or ankle joint fails in taking that step or steps, it means a nasty and painful fall. As a young person, you take steps for granted. You don’t even notice them.

Consider this. Bind one of your knees with a bandage so that it’s hard to bend. Now go around your home and notice the areas that are difficult to maneuver with your knee bound up. This will help you spot problem areas that you may have ignored. You grandfather might be too proud to mention that he is afraid to climb the three stone steps to your front door. Having this empathy for him will make a big difference in making him comfortable and welcome.

Simple ramps can be placed around the house. This might mean portable or permanent, depending on your need. If your great aunt house sits a couple of times a year for you, permanent ramps might be a better investment.

Low seating is can make seniors uncomfortable too. They have less control in their thigh musculature, so sitting is more like falling. Falling a long way can be unnerving. Then, when it’s time to stand up, they have the opposite problem. Those weak quadricep muscles are not strong enough to get them out of that bean bag chair easily.

This doesn’t mean you need to replace all of your furniture. Have one or two chairs available and make sure no one sits in them during visits. Tell them, “that’s grandma’s chair!” These chairs should be high, have firm cushions, and be stable and strong.

While you don’t need to outfit your whole bathroom, there should be a bar installed near the toilet. You don’t want your guests to dread using the restroom and fear a humiliating fall.

Home Modification for Elderly and Disabled

Whether you are approaching your golden years yourself, or you want to make a family member more comfortable in your home, making these modifications can make a difference. Imagine living in your home for ten years longer than you would have without the modifications. Imagine having a loved one fall and hurt himself in your home. Consider all the realities and make some changes that make sense for your situation.

Ready to make your home senior-friendly? The Gainey Flooring team has reputable experience remodeling bathrooms to fit your needs.

Matching Interior Design Style Types to Your Personality

When looking to change up your home décor, it can be pretty intimidating to decide how to decorate and which interior design style types to choose. Sometimes browsing Pinterest or Houzz piques your interest, but confuses you. A lot of styles, done well, look great. But, it’s a budget-buster to try them all. So, the real question is, what style is best for YOU and your family?

Considering your practical needs is first. Does your flooring need to be durable? Do you prefer leather seating because it repels sippy cup spills? Does your furniture need to be small and compact and serve multiple functions? Get all the practical stuff out of the way, then you can get down to the work (and the fun!) of styling.

Interior Design Style Types

How a home feels is the most important aspect of interior design. But, some people feel a certain way in some spaces and others have a totally different reaction. So, matching your personality to your interior styling can mean the difference between ultimate comfort and constant frustration.

Let’s go over each of the main style types and talk about how to determine whether it’s right for you.

Contemporary Interior Design Styles

People often confuse contemporary design with modern design. This is because there are some similarities. Both styles tend toward a clean, minimalistic vibe, with unusual, artistic flourishes. You might see a one-of-a-kind gooseneck lamp or a brightly colored vase in both design styles. But, that’s where the similarities end. Contemporary style leans harder into starkness, metallic finishes, no fluff, and strategically-placed furnishings and décor. Nothing is “thrown in” with contemporary design. Flooring is often stone or concrete, since the contemporary style resists warmth and softness.

This doesn’t mean that this style can’t be comfortable. It just means that the styling is reduced to what is necessary. A clean-lined, black leather sectional can be just as comfortable as an overstuffed, down traditional sofa.

If you like things to have a place and feel that a home space should be clean at all times, the contemporary style might be right for you. You won’t be spending a lot of time picking up fifteen throw pillows, re-folding throws and adjusting the many books on the shelf in a contemporary home. It’s easy to dust, it’s simple to clean, and it lacks all traces of fuss.

Transitional Interior Design

This is a common buzzword that many don’t really understand. Transitional design is compared frequently to traditional design. This is because they are related to each other. Traditional design is faithful to 18th century European styling. This means brocade, rich patterns fabrics, tufted and padded furniture, and dark carved wood accents. Think Downton Abbey. While this style is still popular in the strictest sense, transitional takes the best from traditional design and leaves the really old-fashioned stuff behind.

Contemporary or modern surprises abound in transitional décor. In a room with pink satin armchairs and an ornate fireplace, you may find a bronze sunburst clock and a modern glass chandelier. Instead of a heavy oak dresser with gold drawer pulls, you might find a bright white end table with mirrored legs.

This style is perfect for you if you have a relaxed, kinda messy life. Décor can be moved around, pillows don’t have to be perfectly placed or fluffed, a pair of shoes and a coffee mug wouldn’t totally stand out in this interior. In fact, stylists often place these “living life” objects throughout a transitional room for a photo shoot.

But, it’s still proper. This kind of interior cleans up nice. If it’s kept tidy, it’s a lovely and somewhat formal environment. It has enough traditional comfort and enough modern flair to make it interesting and beautiful at the same time. And, it’s family friendly.

Your flooring choices for this style run the gamut, but avoid rustic flooring. It should be polished, of good quality, and regal.

Urban Modern Interior Design

This interior design style is a take on modern. The difference is that it’s geared toward city living. So, revamped lofts with original bricks walls, high exposed ceilings, big windows, an airy feel, combined with the space-saving aspects of small apartment living, create this lean and cool vibe.

Urban modern spaces push the limits of design. That oddly-shaped coffee table with the legs that look like dinosaur arms? That’s a perfect quirky art piece for an urban loft. Glass, metal and some softer wood accents and a giant indoor fiddle leaf tree make this a perfect space for a city dweller. It brings in the exterior atmosphere of the city with a few welcome natural accents.

You don’t have to live in Manhattan to bring this style home, but your existing architecture should support it on some level. If you have large windows and high ceilings, you may be able to make this style work for you. Flooring choices for this design include darker shades of hardwood or polished stone. Remember, sleek is the key here. Like other modern and contemporary designs, resist fussiness.

Mid-Century Modern Interior Design

This style is making a comeback in a major way. From high-end designers to mommy bloggers, almost everyone has adopted this aesthetic. A word of warning, styles that become hot trends can become fads. So, don’t go too deep into the styles that take the world by storm. Today’s midcentury modern could be tomorrow’s Tuscan provincial.

But, classical elements of midcentury modern interiors are pretty timeless. Warm oak and maple wood, stained in light honey colors, white fluffy area rugs, rich green indoor plants, and modern metal accents make up the general framework of this style.

Midcentury modern has Scandinavian influences, with a sort of bare, yet warm and homey vibe.  Simple, clean lines, varied textures, and bright colorful accents are common in mid-century modern interiors. Furniture should be simple and compact with a modern silhouette.

If you love the modern or contemporary look, but crave little softness, this might be the interior style for you. Midcentury modern is also great with pets and kids, because it allows for some “living,” and doesn’t demand perfection at all times. Great flooring choices for this style are lighter colored hardwoods or vinyl plank flooring.

Industrial Interior Design

The name of this interior style speaks for itself. Elements of industrial design include finishes you might find in a factory, old or new. Rustic industrial design might have old carts with weathered wood and rusted wheels. Modern industrial design would have stainless steel, straight utilitarian lines, and other elements of a factory setting.

Rustic industrial styling is very unique and usually involves hunting for authentic, antique pieces from actual mills or plants. There are some good replicas too, but nothing beats the creak and age of an actual antique from the 1800’s. In homes with this style you would find architectural elements like exposed beams, brick or stone walls, and hardy flooring. Exposed shelving in the kitchen disposes of superfluous cabinet doors, getting down to the basics of storage. Imagine textile mills and printing presses from the early 1900’s.

Imperfection is key, and this is reflected in the flooring as well. Beaten farmhouse hardwood or worn out brick pavers go well in a rustic industrial home. This style matches your personality and needs if you enjoy age and character and you feel honored to preserve history in your space. It can be really fun to spend a weekend searching for the perfect antique piece for your living room.

Modern industrial design is more polished and less vintage. Concrete, polished metals, and glass are commonly found in these interiors. Consider what materials you would find in a forensics lab other modern spaces. It’s sterile, somewhat cold, but can also be really interesting. If you like no-nonsense spaces, easy to clean and super long lasting, this is the right interior style for you.

Coastal Interior Design

This design style sounds just like it is. Coastal homes have a beachy flair, sometimes to the point of being kitschy. But understated interiors in this style just have a hint of traditional beach homes. Weathered wood accents, ocean colors (different shades of blue and white), soft white furniture, thin, airy curtains, and other elements add up for a classic coastal interior.

If you like a weathered, relaxed atmosphere, coastal styling could be right for you. Think about how you would style your home if it was right on the beach. Consider sand, wind, and salt water. Think of the wildlife, the sunsets, the beach activities like surfing and sailing. All of these could play a role in your home.

Avoid making your home into a “theme,” however. It’s easy, with this interior style, to go too far. You don’t want to end up living in a surf shack or a seashell graveyard. A glass bottle full of shells or one conch is probably as far as you want to go. Think about more subconscious clues to the coastal theme. Soft blues, down-stuffed pillows, white and cream curtains, wood that looks like it was left outside in the salt water wind too long, and other hints can make you feel like you live in a coastal home without going too far with the theme.

What type of flooring would a coastal home have? Probably durable, since people would be tracking in sand and salt water. Stone or sturdy hardwoods look great in this type of home. Jute or worn tribal patterned rugs can be excellent in this space as well.

French Country Interior Design

French Country style is cozy, warm, and full of country accents. It’s not a style for people who like clean lines and a space where “everything has a place.” It’s ok for the rug to be askance, the picture frames to be plentiful and cluttered. You can move things around, build a whole shelf of figurines, and use rustic or antique pieces throughout the space.

In a French Country home you might find checkerboard flooring, roosters, rusty red accents, soft worn furniture, fluffy throws, and a big yellow Labrador. Imagine a kitchen from the French countryside.

If you like a very comfortable, relaxed environment, French Country interior design might be a better fit for you. Signs of life are welcome in this interior. And there are many flooring choices. A worn, honed stone floor with irregular pieces of stone, a wide-plank hardwood, or even more stylistic ceramic tile in a checkerboard pattern looks great in a French Country style home.

Use Your Imagination

When searching for the right interior style for your home, really try to imagine living in each type of home. What would it feel like? How would you do everyday things there, from cooking to cleaning to relaxing? If you don’t spend much time at home and like to entertain, a modern or contemporary space might be better for you. If you spend every possible moment on the couch watching Netflix and have kids and a few pets, a softer, more lived-in style might be better for you. But, mostly, you have your own preferences that originate from your childhood and later experiences. Respect those preferences and model your home after the style that makes you happiest.

 


Need a little help from an expert?

 

For many of the Gainey Flooring customers, the project begins way before ripping up flooring or tearing down an old shower. We’re proud to kick off the project with a design consultation that helps us to understand the look you’re trying to achieve.

Not sure about the look you want yet? We can help explore that together. Give us a call to set your free design consult.

When is it Time to Replace Flooring?

when is it time to replace flooringAs homeowners, we tend to hold off on major home improvement projects for as long as possible. These projects are expensive, time consuming, and can be extremely inconvenient.

When your kitchen floor is torn up for a whole week, the room that is most often used in your home is out of commission, that’s stressful. But, sometimes we let our old flooring go too long without being replaced.

When is it time to replace flooring? Here are some ways to gauge whether your flooring really needs to be changed.

Carpet- The Allergen Collector

Carpet, while inexpensive and comfortable to walk and sit on, has a shelf-life. Every day, the people who come into your home are tracking dirt from outside, and not just dirt from the yard. Shoes carry dirt from the bus station platform, the public bathroom at the junior high school, the cafeteria, and other grimy, bacteria-ridden places.

Also, carpet collects dander, dust mites, and hair and skin particles, making it a veritable smorgasbord of allergens. Vacuuming frequently and having a carpet cleaner come in occasionally can help with this, but carpet should be replaced every five years. If you want a real visual of the dust and particles that your carpet is collecting, watch old carpet get removed. There are literally drifts of fine dust particles under your carpet pad.

So, if your carpet is more than five years old, consider having it changed. Or better yet, try hard flooring. With sweeping and mopping, almost every possible allergen is removed and you won’t have to worry about asthma or allergy issues from your flooring. Also, if you take care of tile or stone or wood floors, they will last you four times as long, or longer.

Tile-When it Breaks, it’s Time

Tile is incredibly sturdy. It doesn’t stain easily and can be cleaned quickly. The problem with tile is when it breaks or when the grout starts to get dingy and cracks. Over time, you may start to notice that an edge of

your tile has cracked or that the grout is splitting. This is often because the subfloor is shifting underneath the tile. Once this starts happening, the tile will continue to shift and may become a trip hazard. To make matters worse, dirt and moisture starts to build up under the cracked tile and grout, often becoming moldy and developing an odor. When this happens, it’s time to replace your tile.

Also, because tile does last so long, usually you don’t need to replace it until the style trends change. Many will replace tile floors simply because they have outlasted home décor trends. If your floor is avocado green with brown grout, it’s from the 70’s and it will certainly affect the value of your home. It’s time to put something more modern in.

Wood Flooring- Water is the Enemy

Wood flooring, believe it or not, can last a very long time. Old historic homes often have their original wood floors intact, a demonstration of how durable these floors are. The biggest enemy to wood is water. If water sits long enough on hardwood, it will warp. And usually it will warp beyond saving. This is an obvious time when your flooring needs to be replaced.

But there are other situations as well. The finish on your hardwood will eventually start to fade, and that wood will be exposed to the elements. It will start to turn gray and will be hard to clean. Eventually that unprotected wood will crack and even break. If this happens you may be able to just refinish your wood floors. A good sanding, staining and sealing will give your wood floors new life.

Lastly, termites have been known to attack wood floors. In this case, the entire floor should be totally replaced and the subfloor should be treated with pesticide to ensure the little critters are really gone.

Sometimes it’s obvious when your floors need an upgrade. But sometimes we wait too long, which can be a detriment to our health. Allergens and mold, when inhaled, can inhibit the immune system and cause serious respiratory problems. Also, in the case of wood floors, early intervention can save the floor from irreparable damage. So know when it’s time to make the switch.

Top Five Most Durable Flooring Options

You may be looking for attractive flooring, or the most durable flooring options for pets and children. You may be looking for scratch resistant, waterproof and easy-to-clean floors.

Carpet has its advantages, it’s difficult to clean, traps allergens and dust mites, and stains easily. If carpet isn’t your first choice, one of these five options might be just right for you.

Durable Flooring OptionsLuxury Vinyl Planks

This flooring is the new rage in commercial and domestic interiors. It’s super durable and waterproof, making in an excellent choice for kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms. Wood-look vinyl plank flooring is difficult to differentiate visually from real wood and will not warp in the event of a flood like hardwood. The finish is also scratch resistant, though it can get scratched if something heavy is dragged across it.

Most luxury vinyl plank products are made to be easy to install, though this often depends on your skill level. It’s best to hire a licensed contractor to assure that the subfloor is level and the flooring is installed appropriately.

High Quality Laminate

Cheap laminate will chip, warp, stain and easily scratch. All laminate is actually made from a high-density fiberboard, which is like a cross between paper and wood, and covered with a thin layer of printed plastic. In this higher quality, laminate flooring durability is higher and more scratch-resistant.

The benefit laminate flooring is that it’s cheaper than a luxury vinyl plank, easier to install (since it’s a “floating” floor and not glue down) and there are many options in finishes and styles. It also feels and sounds a lot like real wood, because it’s essentially made from wood—derived material.

Whatever your budget, there are many options for flooring that may work for you if you need something durable. Some are more resistant to water and some more resistant to cracking, so choose your flooring based on the type of use the room or rooms will get.

durable tile for bathroomCeramic or Porcelain Tile

Porcelain is slightly more durable flooring option than ceramic, but it’s also slightly more expensive. The two flooring types are both excellent choices when you need something that is resistant to scratching and water damage. Ceramic and Porcelain tile is easy to mop up and, if the grout is properly sealed, will resist staining as well. However, tile can crack if something heavy is dropped on it, though this is very rare.

Natural Stone

There are different types of natural stone, and some are more durable than others. Slate requires a diamond saw blade to cut, while sandstone will wear with time and natural erosion. All in all, though, natural stone, if cared for, will last a very long time. Sealing your natural stone floors every 2-3 years will help them retain their original beauty and luster. Also, watch out for grit and staining and mop up spills quickly.

Hardwood

While natural wood gets a bad rap in terms of durability, it’s important to remember that some historic homes that are 100+ years old have their original hardwoods in-tact. Yes, a flood will warp the wood and yes, it can be scratched, but a quality hardwood will not only last, but can be refinished and restored as needed. Also, if the dishwasher floods and the water is cleaned up quickly, your wood floors probably will not warp. The only real threat is standing water comes after a flood in an unattended area.

 


Looking to install new flooring in your home?

Starting your next flooring project with Gainey Flooring Solutions is easy, just three steps:

  1. Free design consultation  | This includes a design consultation to discuss what materials are best for durability and cost, popular plank sizes or colors, and flooring showrooms to visit.
  2. Starting your project | The project starts with the installation quote, the job costs from floor prep to transitions. If the materials were purchased from our preferred flooring showrooms we’ll deliver your materials.
  3. Full 2 year warranty | We stand behind our work and offer homeowners a full 2 year warranty.

Book Your Flooring Consultation

Cleaning Natural Stone Tile

 

Cleaning Natural Stone TileThe contractors have gone home, and your house is finally put back together after installing new stone flooring. Now the question is, what do I know about cleaning natural stone tile?

If you have natural stone in your house, you may be intimidated by the care of it. Since natural stone comes from natural materials, it does act differently than other hard floors. There are some things you should remember when cleaning and caring for your travertine, slate, granite, or marble.

Removing Dirt & Stains from Stone Flooring

Dirt is your number one enemy. Dirt, sand and dust grind under your shoes and into the floor, gradually “sanding” the protective finish off. Avoid this by putting rugs near all the doors, dust mopping the floor often, and keeping the floor clean in general.

Enemy number two with stone floors is staining. The porous nature of the stone causes it to absorb liquids like urine and red wine and to cause staining that is almost impossible to get out. Avoid this by mopping up messes as soon as possible after the spill.

After sweeping or dusting the floor, mopping helps get what was left behind. Using the cleaner you have chosen or a mild dish soap and warm water, mop your floor with a soft mop. Then, rinse the entire surface with water alone. Allow it to dry. Be careful, wet stone (especially granite and marble) is very slippery.

Stone Floor Cleaner Products

Look for the right cleaning agent. Some stone, like granite, slate, sandstone, quartzite, are SILICEOUS. Siliceous stone is very durable, and you can use a mildly acidic cleaner on it. Marble, travertine and limestone is CALCAREOUS. These stones are not as durable, and you should avoid any cleaner that is acidic. Check the bottle of any stone cleaner to see which stone types it is safest for, and consult with a professional to find the right cleaners for your floor type.

Sealing Stone Floor Tiles

Get it re-sealed. Natural stone needs to be sealed before use, and that sealer can wear thin and get permeated by use. Once it wears off, your stone will start to get stained and scratched, sometimes beyond repair. Get your stone sealed every three years by a professional. The cost of this varies, but you can expect to pay about $1-2 per square foot. This will extend the life and beauty of your stone dramatically.

Repairing Natural Stone Floor Tiles

Get it repaired. Sometimes your flooring will become uneven or cracked. If there are cracks or unevenness in the tiles, dirt will collect and be hard to get rid of. Have a flooring contractor come and fix the damage as soon as possible after you notice the crack or raised tile.

Make sure it’s installed correctly. A bad install will lead to cracking and lifting tiles, which means excess dirt collection and eventually, the need to reinstall the entire floor. Avoid this costly repair by hiring the right contractor in the first place.

Caring for your stone floor takes a little research and some time, but if you do the work, you will enjoy your stone for years to come. It’s one of the most beautiful and durable flooring types in the world, and because it’s natural, it’s always one of a kind.