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How to Clean Different Types of Flooring in Your Home

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Confused about which cleaning method is best for you floor? Some cleaning solutions can work wonders on one kind of floor and wreak havoc on another. We thought we’d make it that little bit easier. So whatever your floor type, check out our top tips on how to keep them ship-shape.

Carpets and Tiles

Regular vacuuming is essential for carpets, as it prevents loose dirt and grit from working into the carpet pile where it will damage the fibres. Upright vacuum cleaners are best, especially those with revolving brushes to dislodge embedded dirt. Use the suction head for loop-pile carpets, as beater brushes and heads can cause the carpet to bobble. Manufacturers recommend an annual steam clean. Clean according to wear. Whether you do it yourself or call in the professionals, high-traffic areas should be cleaned once every two years.

Natural remedy

Remove wine or grease stains from carpet by lightly sprinkling area with baking soda. Dab it up and add a little more if necessary. Leave on until the wine is absorbed, then vacuum up any residue left.

Natural Flooring

All good quality natural floorcoverings should have a substantial latex back to prevent dust and debris falling through and ensure easy maintenance by vacuuming. A cylinder-type vacuum cleaner without brushes is the best choice for natural floorings to avoid damaging the fibres.

Most high quality natural floorings are sold with a stain inhibitor that protects them from dirt and prolongs there life, so ask your supplier for details of cleaning products for natural fibres. These should be used on stains immediately – not once the stain has been absorbed. Mop up with a clean cloth or kitchen paper. Don’t use carpet mousse or shampoo as these can cause natural floorings to shrink.

Consider hiring a professional cleaning company if you want to give your flooring a thorough clean, but make sure they use a dry-cleaning system as opposed to a wet on. Ask your retailer to recommend a firm

Wooden Flooring

Sweep wooden floors regularly, or use a vacuum cleaner with a brush setting. Mop once a week or so with a well-wrung mop, using soapy cleaner specifically for use on wood. Don’t saturate the floor or allow water to stand on it as this can cause damage. Wet-clean waxed boards sparingly and wax polish them to improve the patina. Dirty wax build-up should be removed with white spirit and the boards re-waxed. Treat engineered boards with oil or lacquer reviver, applied with a soft cloth.

Natural remedies

Remove scuff marks from wooden floors by rubbing them gently with a pencil eraser.

Bring out the natural colour of your wood flooring by wiping the surface with lemon oil and a dry cloth. However, this only applies to natural and waxed flooring, not varnished floors.

Laminate flooring

Laminate should be swept or vacuumed regularly. Using a damp cloth is fine, but never soak the floor with water – they’re designed to be water resistant. Most spills on laminate can be removed with household cleaners but, if the stain is lipstick, ink or permanent marker, try acetone. Never use scouring pads to remove stains on laminate flooring, and remove any liquid stains from the floor as soon as possible.

How to clean tiles and stone flooring

Stone floors

Stone will often have been treated before it left the factory. If not, it will stain easily so it’s important to seal it with a proprietary sealant or, for terracotta and slate, use linseed oil. Once sealed, clean it with a mix of mild detergent and water. However, it will need re-sealing at regular intervals to keep it looking its best.

Immediately wipe away any acidic spills.

Reconstituted stone needs to be sealed with a stain inhibitor then impregnated with a top coat of water-based sealant. It’ll need re-sealing every two years. Ask your manufacturer or suppler for specific care advice and suitable products.

Ceramic tiles

Ceramic tiles can be cleaned with a mild detergent and water solution and do not require sealing. Damp-mop your ceramic tile with a standard, all-purpose cleaner. Dry the floor with a soft cloth to avoid streaks.

Never use harsh abrasive cleaners that might scratch the glaze.

Flagstone, limestone, slate

Damp-mop flagstone or slate floors using either clear water, an all-purpose cleaning solution in warm water, or water to which fabric softener has been added. Wring the mop until it doesn’t drip, and apply it to the floor in slow, even strokes. Ask the manufacturer for recommend the appropriate cleaning product.

Wipe up spills on unglazed floors immediately or they might cause a stain.

Remove stubborn marks with white spirit, but always do a spot test first.

Flexible flooring

Vinyls, linoleums and rubber are hard wearing and easy to care for. The amount of cleaning and maintenance depends both on your lifestyle and the colour of the floor. Vacuum or brush regularly to remove dust and grit that might lead to your floor being scratched, and follow with a weekly wipe with the cleaning agent recommended by your supplier.

Remove scuff marks by gently rubbing with a scouring pad – the sort you would use to clean non-stick cookware.

Clean the floor with mild detergent and water. Don’t use abrasive cleaners, which may leave a dull film on your floor. Be careful with spray polishes and other silicone-based products as they can make your floor very slippery, as can white spirit.

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How To Measure For New Windows

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It is important to measure properly for replacement windows to get an accurate price and for ordering the right size windows. If you order them too small, you will have to be creative when fitting and are likely to have problems. If you order them too big, you’re really in trouble.

Measuring correctly may be very daunting, but in reality it’s actually quite simple for most window types. All windows are measured from the outside of the house. When you order your windows, always give the dimensions as width x height. In the double glazing industry it is widely accepted that the width of a frame is always stated before the height, so stick to this convention or you might cause confusion.

Flat windows

If you have old wooden windows you want to replace either with modern ones or uPVC windows, measure the width first and then the height. To establish the width take three measurements. This is very straightforward. First measure from the top right corner to the top left corner, brick to brick. Then measure in the same way from left to right at the midway point right above where the window locks, and finally measure at the bottom.

If your house is rendered or covered in pebble-dash, it is advisable to chip away some of the material to reveal the brick. For houses with cladding ease away the cladding to find the outer edge of the frame to take accurate measurements.

When you measure, you will probably discover that all your measurements are slightly different. This is quite normal as brickwork is often uneven. It is not a reflection of your measuring skills! Deduct 10mm from the smallest measurement to allow for sealing and clearance tolerances. This is your width.

Measuring the height is not quite so easy, and how you go about it will depend on whether your window has a windowsill or not. If it does, measure from the top of your existing window frame or the head drip to the bottom of the sill. The manufacturer will deduct the sill from the overall height.

Again take three measurements, one on the left, one in the middle and one on the right. If your current window does not have a sill but sits on a concrete sill, the replacement window can be made either without a sill or with a sub-sill. As before, take the smallest measurement and deduct 10mm if your window sits on a concrete sill, otherwise just 5 mm. This is your height.

If you have existing uPVC windows that need replacing with new ones, you need to measure the thickness of your existing units in addition to the width and the height. This is because, if the thickness of the new units is greater or smaller than that of the originals, the new units cannot be easily fitted. The height and width can be measured by removing the glazing bars which may be fitted on the outside for externally glazed, or on the inside of the window pane for internally glazed windows.

Curved windows

Whereas everyone can measure easily for flat windows following the steps above, measuring for curved or rectangular bay windows requires more skill and experience. Ideally these should be measured by experienced surveyors before you order. If you want to measure to get a quote, however, follow the steps below which are a simplified way of measuring.

Measuring for bay windows follows the same principles as for flat windows. A bay window is measured as a series of flat windows and you have to measure the width and height of each part of the bay window. The height will be the same on all.

For the installation of a new or replacement of an existing bow window, measure the width and height and specify the number of facets. Only the overall width of the opening is required for a bow window, as the facets will be sized equally.

Measuring for replacement windows is not difficult, and if you follow the steps outlined above, you will always achieve accurate results.

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No Streak Window Cleaning

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If you want to brighten up a room or your entire home, there is no less expensive way than to have clean windows. However, getting the windows to look good with no streaks can be a problem. Clean windows let in more light and brighten any room but a streaky window can be more of a negative than a positive.

Follow these simple tips for window cleaning no streak solutions.

The first tip is to never use paper towels or cloths of any kind on windows. Paper towels leave small particles on the glass and cloth will leave lint behind. Either of these solutions will leave unsightly streaks on the windows. A better solution is to use coffee filters. They fit the hand, are absorbent and don’t leave lint.

You should use the right tools for window cleaning no streak solutions such as a squeegee or scrubber. The proper tools will have your windows looking like a professional window cleaner did them for you.

A scrubber is padded and used for cleaning or scrubbing the dirt away. A squeegee is a long metal “blade” with a rubber edge, somewhat similar to a window wiper. You could replace a scrubber with a regular, cleaning sponge if you don’t have a scrubber—it works just as well. Window cleaners will work well, but be sure that those cleaners have vinegar in the ingredients. Commercial window cleaners often leave a waxy film on the window. Vinegar and water works very well if no waxy film is present but if you’ve used commercial cleaners in the past, it’s a good idea to add ½ teaspoon of liquid dish soap to the window cleaning solution to remove the film. Just using vinegar and water on a window with a film will leave the window streaky.

Vinegar and water is very environmentally friendly to clean windows. If dish soap is added on the first cleaning after using a commercial cleaner, it’s only necessary the first time and in such a small amount that its impact on the environment is minimal.

For a really streak free clean just crumple up newspapers to use instead of paper towels or a cloth of any kind to wipe away excess water and cleaning fluid.

Another great tip for window cleaning is to clean on a cloudy day. If the day is extremely hot or the window is in direct sunlight the windows will dry any solution you are using too quickly. Drying too quickly will leave streaks or water spots, which aren’t desirable.

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Garage Doors Are the Focal Point of Most Homes

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When someone drives down your street and takes a look at your home, it’s likely they will notice your garage door. After all, it may take up as much as one third of the facade of the house, so it can be a real focal point, good or bad. No matter what your home looks like, if the overhead door is old and shabby, people are going to get the impression that the entire property is rundown. So much for curb appeal! If you decide you want to replace your existing door with a new one that’s going to enhance your house, you will have a number of different styles to choose from. You will want to pick something that is going to look good with the overall look.

You need to do a little preliminary work before you’ll be ready to have a new door installed. You have to take the measurements of your current door or its opening in order to determine if you’ll be able to use a standard-sized replacement or if you’ll have to have your new door custom made. You also have to decide the type of material you’d like the door to be made of with steel being the most durable and wood having the most pleasing aesthetic value. Of course, the amount you can afford to spend will dictate the style, material, and extras, like decorations or windows, that you will be able to purchase. Basic door styles include:

1. Most American housing styles look good with traditional doors. These include ranch homes, colonials, Victorians, Cape Cods, and Craftsman styles. A traditional door will also be appropriate on many European-styled homes, such as Mediterranean, Tudor, French Country, and Spanish.

2. Contemporary doors will only look right on homes that also have contemporary styling. If your home was built with high-tech materials and clean lines, then a contemporary door will fit the styling like a glove. These doors often include tempered-glass windows which may be tinted, frosted, or clear and come with door frames that are wrapped in aluminum which require less maintenance.

3. Carriage doors are based on the doors that used to be found on carriage houses back before the era of cars. These doors often swing open, but if you are short on space, you can find models that fold back even though they look like swing doors. Although carriage doors seem like they would look best on older homes, they actually look perfect with many traditionally-styled houses.

4. Many doors you will find have raised panels which add depth and interest to the front of your home. In recent decades, this style of door has become the standard for most American homes. Because of this, they are available in a wide selection of materials and with a number of different options.

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