Get Your Floors Ready for the Holidays!

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance, Holidays

afp_E8322_rsShopping, decorating, wrapping presents, baking, you’ve got a million things to do to prepare for the holiday season, don’t forget to add “floor cleaning” to your list. If you’re entertaining over the holidays, you want to make sure your home looks beautiful. Taking care of your floors is one way to do it. Sparkling clean, polished floors will make a great impression on your guests.

For the best results, you should always clean your floors regularly with the proper products. Armstrong floor care products are ideal for regular and heavy duty cleaning for all types of floors. Now, you may be thinking, why should you spend money on Armstrong floor care products? The simple answer is: they work.

In addition –

  • They’ve been tested and proven in the lab and on thousands of residential floors.
  • They’re specially formulated to work on Armstrong floors and other floors.
  • They’re engineered to be environmentally friendly. So you get a great-looking floor without dumping harsh chemicals down your drain.
  • By using the proper cleaning products, you will help protect your flooring investment for years to come.

Let’s get started. Armed with your mop, bucket and cleaning products, follow these tips to get your floors ship-shape for the holidays!

Hardwood & Laminate Floors

Before the entertaining begins in earnest, dry mop or vacuum your floor, then clean your wood floor with Armstrong Hardwood & Laminate Floor Cleaner in the spray bottle. It comes in a ready-to-use, no-rinse formula, and it’s suitable for all gloss level finishes. For highly worn areas of your floor, try Bruce’s Fresh Finish to restore the shine. Finally, before your guests arrive, place runners and area rugs with slip-resistant backings along high traffic areas.

Wood Floor Cleaning Myth #1: Dry mopping is the best way to clean hardwood flooring or laminate flooring. Any type of liquid cleaner could damage the floor.

Truth: Dry mopping is fine for a quick dusting, but if all you do is dry mop, you will eventually grind the dirt into the surface of the floor. Use only cleaning products specifically designed for hardwood or laminate to remove soil. RSCB5277_web

Wood Floor Cleaning Myth #2: Concentrated cleaning products are fine for hardwood floors. Just add water and go.

Truth: Never use any cleaner that requires you to add water on hardwood floors – even sealed floors. Water will get seep into and around the planks and cause serious damage to your floor.

Vinyl Floors

Routine maintenance will keep your floor looking good longer. Regular cleaning also reduces the number of times you’ll need to do heavy duty cleaning. Armstrong’s Once ‘n Done Resilient and Ceramic No-Rinse Floor Cleaner is good for spot cleaning or all-over floor cleaning. It comes in a convenient, ready-to-use spray bottle or a concentrated formula. You can also use Once ‘n Done with ceramic, tile, marble, granite, terrazzo, slate and stone floors.

But with the holidays fast approaching, you probably want to put in a little extra effort to make your floors look like new. Armstrong’s Shinekeeper restores the appearance of high gloss vinyl floors, while Armstrong’s Satinkeeper does the same for low gloss vinyl floors. For seriously faded or dirty floors, try New Beginning® Extra-Strength Floor Stripper. New Beginning solves tough cleaning problems, but use it only once every couple of years, or, depending on traffic, once a season.

Enjoy the holiday season and bright, sparkling floors with help from Armstrong.

Get a $2.00 mail-in rebate on Armstrong floor care products at Armstrong.com.

Sustainable Hardwoods

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Green Flooring, Hardwood and Laminate

If you are concerned about the environment, you are not alone. More and more people are making sustainable purchasing and lifestyle choices. Industries and companies are responding to that by providing more information on their commitment to environmental responsibility.

A recently announced study demonstrates the interest in providing good information on home products. PE International, an environmental consulting firm, has started to investigate American hardwood’s environmental footprint, by type, from the day the lumber is cut through delivery at the importer. At the conclusion of this research, consumers and suppliers will have access to every aspect of the carbon footprint of each type of wood resource in the U.S..

This study and studies like this will enable you to make informed choices for your home. Recycling and watching your resource consumption is important for our planet, but your dollars provide one of your best tools for encouraging businesses to focus on the environment. If companies see that their consumer base takes sustainability seriously, they will too.

Clean your Carpet for the Holidays: Part 2

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance, Carpet

Now that your carpet is clean, the next step is getting it dry as quickly as possible. If you don’t actively work on drying your carpeting, particularly in the winter or if you live in a high humidity area, you can end up with mold. But with a few temporary moves, you can have a dry carpet by the end of the day.

The best drying tool is your own heating system. Turn the heat up a few degrees and switch the fan on the thermostat from auto to on. This will keep your home venting to the outside whether the heat is running or not. Any other fans that vent to the outside in your baths or kitchen should also be turned on.

If you have ceiling fans, turn them on high. Place any portable fans you have in spots not otherwise covered. If you rented a professional blower, move that around to take best advantage of its strength. It is better not to replace furniture until the carpeting is dry.

Prepare for you and your pet’s wet feet by covering your upholstery with towels and watching any transitions from wet carpet to hard surfaces that can get slippery. With careful attention, within 12-24 hours, your carpet should be completely dry and ready for the holidays.

Clean Your Carpet for the Holidays

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance, Carpet

A responsible way to keep your carpet looking new is regular vacuuming and cleaning. With the holidays coming up, now is a good time to get your carpeting ready. Take these steps to make the process easy and successful.

Shop for a good carpet cleaner: this means getting recommendations from family and friends. You cannot assume that a well-known name or company is the best choice, as franchises vary. Look for a firm with a good better business record that has been in business for some time. Also check into the type of equipment. A truck-mounted steam cleaner will do the best job. You may want to ask if the company has a professional blower to rent to help dry your carpet faster – these are generally available for a minimal fee.

Prepare for the cleaners: If you take the time to make your home ready for cleaning, you will have a better job and it will take less time. All furniture that you can move easily should be placed on hard surfaces away from the carpeting. Also remove anything with a fabric base. Take any breakables away from the area, to avoid risks of furniture accidentally getting bumped. Finally, place wax paper or plastic wrap under any wooden furniture legs. Some wood stains will bleed with the hot cleaning water, leaving stains on your carpeting.

Check for spots: your cleaner will probably catch them, but make sure so that they can receive a stronger treatment with stain remover before cleaning.

Protect your pets: Move your pets to a room where they and the cleaner don’t have to interact. This saves time and trouble, and keeps your pets safely locked up while the front door is open during cleaning.

When you’re finished, if the cleaning process went well thank the cleaners, and let them know you will call them again next time.

Ordinary to Extraordinary Powder Room

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

A Powder Room is a room that nearly every guest in your home will see. This room can easily be enhanced into a welcoming private area for guests. Upgrades you should consider (in order of priority) lead to significant results: 1) Sink/Vanity Cabinet; 2) Lighting; 3) Wall Covering; and 4) Flooring.

Present day vanity cabinets are obtainable in various sizes and styles. Vanity cabinets have evolved into a single unit that looks more like a piece of furniture, rather than a sink cabinet. This type of cabinet is favorable for many reasons. It hides plumbing, satisfies the need for storage and is normally sold with all resources needed for a finished sink cabinet (countertop, sink and faucet). In the past, necessary materials were chosen, bought and installed individually. Improving a sink/vanity cabinet has become incredibly easy.

Lighting can enhance or harm a room. The mirror should flatter your guest’s appearance. Warm, yellowish light is most flattering for all skin tones. Fluorescent bulbs are unflattering to skin because of the awkward, cold light. Most likely only one fixture needs replacing; pick a striking fixture, which spreads a warm glow light. For ceiling mounted fixtures spring for a beautiful down light, which conceals the bulb(s) or a simplistic chandelier. A casual chandelier is dressy without looking “over done”.

Wall coverings engross a small amount of square footage. Go the extra, mile and get a decorative wallpaper, faux finish, or wall treatment, such as linen finish using plaster. Hire a professional; this project only needs a small amount of labor and materials. As far as color is concerned, select a rich, dramatic color such as, plum, silver or gold.

Flooring also only requires minimal material and labor. This is another improvement you should show an added effort towards. Add a natural tumbled stone (or travertine), real bamboo or cork flooring. Using a genuine natural material will add a degree of warmth and comfort to this intimate space.

Upgrading any of the above will dramatically improve your room. Upgrading all of the above will really make a splash!

How You Live

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Website Tools

One of our favorite website tools is our “How I Live-Interview“. Here, we ask you basic information regarding your home and your lifestyle. It is important for us to know who lives in your home, if you have any children or pets, what type of atmosphere you would ideally like to create in your home, if you plain on entertaining in your home, etc. Your answers to these questions will play a vital factor in your decision-making process regarding the color, design, and products that you will select for your project.

Once you have completed the quiz, you will be directed to a forum full of information related to each question that you answered. It is important to know the best ways to accommodate yourself and your family, and it is our job to help you understand all of the ways to do so.

On the left hand side of our website you will see the “Take A Quiz” button, from here choose the “How I Live” tab and it will direct you to the correct page.

We hope you find this quiz helpful and that its answers can assist you in your decision making for your home.

How to Remove Gravy Stains from Carpet

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance

The holidays are really here! We hope you’re well into preparation by now for your Thanksgiving feast! We thought we’d share some stain removal techniques with you, just in case someone knocks over the gravy boat onto the carpet, or accidentally drops their plate. If an accident does occur, try one or several of the below techniques. Happy Thanksgiving!

Nail Polish Remover – Two types of nail polish removers are available. One type contains acetone, a dry cleaning solvent. Use the same precautions as with other dry cleaning solutions. The second type contains amyl acetate, which is used in many paint, oil, and grease (POG) removers. Many POG removers leave residues that may cause rapid soiling. When using a POG remover, always rinse the area thoroughly with a dry solvent.

Solvent – A non-flammable spot removal solution, or dry cleaning type solvent, is preferred. Exercise caution when using a solvent. Never pour it directly onto the carpet or allow it to reach the backing, because it can damage the latex that holds the primary and secondary backings together. Acceptable solvents include Carbona®, Energine®, K2R®, Goof-Off®, etc.

Detergent Solution – Mix one fourth (1/4) teaspoon of a liquid dishwashing detergent per one (1) cup of lukewarm water. NEVER USE A STRONGER CONCENTRATION! Thorough rinsing is necessary to remove detergent residues that may cause rapid soiling. It may be necessary to rinse with warm water several times to completely remove residues. (See Residue Precautions.) Care should be used in selecting a detergent. Never use a laundry detergent of any type, because laundry detergents may contain optical brighteners (flourescent dyes) that dye the fiber. Do not select an automatic dishwashing detergent because many contain bleaching agents that destroy dyes and some fibers.

Vinegar Solution – Mix one (1) cup of white vinegar per two (2) cups of water. White vinegar is a 5% acetic acid solution. It is used most often to lower the alkalinity caused by detergent solutions or alkaline spills.

Warm Water – Lukewarm tap water should be used in most cases to rinse the cleaning solutions from the fiber. Failure to completely rinse the solutions from the fiber may cause accelerated soiling.

Ammonia Solution – Mix one (1) tablespoon of household ammonia per cup of water. Please note: Be aware that ammonia, if used improperly, can cause a color change. Be sure to test a hidden area.

When in doubt, call a professional – Professional cleaners have the ability and the equipment to use more aggressive cleaning solutions to remove stubborn spills. Always consider consulting a professional cleaner regarding any spot removal question. Carpet and Rug Institute – 1-800-882-8846.

Ask Pete The Pro

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Website Tools

Here at Century Tile, we have our own expert available to you online. You can ask Pete the Pro any types of questions you may have regarding your flooring. He provides a list of frequently asked questions 24/7.

If you cannot find your question on his list, you can click to send him an email. He will respond to your question in a very short amount of time. This is a great feature for those of you who are not quite sure what type of flooring you should put in your home, how to clean your tile properly, etc.

Do not hesitate to ask him any questions regarding your flooring. That is why he is here. Sometimes putting new tile in a bathroom can be very stressful. There are a lot of components to doing this correctly and Pete is here to help. We hope you find this tool helpful!

Thanksgiving Recipe: Baked Mac & Cheese

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Thanksgiving

This time next week, we’ll all be spending time with our family and friends on Thanksgiving Day! Here at Century Tile, we thought we’d share one of our favorite side dishes with you for this special occasion. We hope you chose to cook and and enjoy! If you do, let us know what you think! Happy holidays!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 large egg
  • 12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper

Topping:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it’s free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.

Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.

Home Décor Ideas For Christmas

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Christmas

We are so excited for the holidays and Christmas will soon be here! Decorating for the holiday season doesn’t have to break the bank. Follow these guidelines to create your own Christmas Wonderland:

1. Theme it right: Choosing a theme will head you into the right direction, regarding where to start. Themes can be based on the geography where you live and/or special interests.

2. Color coordinate: Selecting your color theme can easily stem from your special interest theme or simply coordinate to enhance your theme. Choose two to three main colors to work with. Color combinations that have a main vibrant color and one or two supporting colors really make your theme unique and well put together. Choose a primary or secondary color for your main color. Gold, Silver, and white make for great supporting colors that enhance your main vibrant color.

3. Some DIY: You can cut costs by making some DIY decorations. Popcorn can easily be strung to make great garland. If you buy a real tree; save the clippings from the bottom to make your wreath out of. Pretty ribbon can be intertwined into your wreath, tree and garland. Pack it away neatly so it can be used for year after year (until it wears out).

4. No mantle? No problem. You can decorate your entertainment unit like you would a mantel. Add garland, lights and even hang your stockings on it. Feel free to decorate doorways as well!

Get creative. Get innovative. Anything that shimmers or glistens can be incorporated into Christmas decorations! Glass and crystal items are complimented when dispersed on a mantel or used in a centerpiece surrounded by garland, ribbon and lit by a strand of lights!