Energy Saving Tips and Renovations for 2016

Posted by on February 25, 2016

With the new year well under way and spring right around the corner, now is a great time to take a long look at how much energy your home is using. Even if you’ve taken steps to improve your home’s efficiency, you may be surprised at just how much energy is used every day. Taking steps to better track and reduce the amount of energy you use can leave more money in your wallet and reduce your overall impact on the environment, so here are a few great tips to reduce waste and boost your home’s energy-efficiency.


Get Smart


The advances in home automation over just the last few years have been incredible, and few things are more beneficial to your home energy usage than a programmable smart thermostat. A Wi-Fi-enabled programmable thermostat offers several benefits when it comes to energy savings, but the most important is the ability to automatically dial down the heating or cooling when you’re not around..


Consider Window Treatments


You may not realize it, but your home’s windows can have a major effect on how much energy you use. Energy is transferred much more readily through windows than solid walls, and controlling that flow of energy is a key to boosting efficiency. This can be done with various window treatments such as blinds, drapes, awnings and window films. To reduce cooling costs during warm weather, consider installing light-colored blinds or thermal drapes to reduce the amount of solar heating inside your home.



Another common source of wasted energy is aging or outdated appliances. Manufacturers have made great strides in improving the energy-efficiency of many appliances over the last decade, and smart consumers know to look for the ENERGY STAR label when shopping for new appliances and electronic devices. ENERGY STAR represents an international standard in energy efficiency, and devices bearing the distinctive seal have been tested and certified to use less energy than their non-labeled counterparts.


Maintain Your Heating and Cooling Systems


It should come as no surprise that heating and cooling often represents the biggest share of home energy costs, but it may not be obvious just how much energy is wasted by poorly maintained heating and cooling equipment. You should make a habit of regularly inspecting, cleaning and replacing components such as air conditioner filters and evaporator coils, heater filters and furnace combustion chambers. Some components may also benefit from regular inspections and cleanings by a trained professional.

Watch Your Water Heater


When it comes to energy usage, the humble water heater is often a silent killer. Few people recognize just how much of their energy costs can be attributed to their water heater. Fortunately, there are several energy-saving steps you can take. Perhaps the simplest step is to ensure your heater and associated pipes are well-insulated. Specially designed water heater blankets can be wrapped around your water heater to boost efficiency and cut down on energy costs, and insulating sleeves are available for any water pipes you’re able to access. Another simple step is turning down the thermostat.

Take On Solar Power


Renewable energy has become a significant part of the world’s energy supply in just the last few years, accounting for nearly 22 percent of all global electricity generation as of 2013 and steadily growing (learn more). Doesn’t it make sense, then, to take advantage of the abundant renewable energy of solar power for your own home? The possibilities are almost endless, but a popular place to start is with solar roof panels. These panels harness the solar power of the sun to generate clean, renewable energy. Depending on your particular circumstances, this can slash or even eliminate your usage of traditional energy. In some cases, you may even be able to sell excess power back to your local utility company!


The world may be slow to adopt long-term solutions to the threat of climate change, but you can certainly do your part to reduce your energy usage and protect the environment. Even better, you can save some serious money in the process. As these tips show, even seemingly small changes can make a big impact on the amount of energy your home consumes. By being more conscious of where that energy goes and how it can be better used, you can do your part to make the world a little greener.


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What Low Gas Prices Mean for Your Home

Posted by on February 23, 2016

It wasn’t too long ago that filling up an average size gas tank would cost nearly $100 dollars. With gas prices seeing an all time low, it is a cash windfall for everyone.

It loosens up the pocketbook and allows us to put those savings to good use. There are numerous inexpensive home improvement projects that will build equity without breaking the bank.

1: New Window Coverings


This is the quickest way to spruce up your home and with the right products can make any home more energy efficient. Instead of blinds try dual-sided shades. One side is white and will compliment any room while the other side (reflective) is heat absorbing. These shades can easily be reversed during the different seasons.

2: Clutter Control


Whether it is an overcrowded closet or an overflowing mud room, every house has one. Organizing does not have to be a daunting task and it can be accomplished over the weekend. There are many free standing closet systems that include cubby holes for shoes and compactable racks for extra storage. Stackable wire bins and floating shelves can turn a “mud” room into a “neat” room in no time.

3: Bathroom Updates


Revamping a bathroom is always instant equity in the real estate world and it doesn’t need top cost an arm or a leg. Sometimes all it takes is new accessories such as a fresh coat of paint, new towels or a bright shower curtain. To continue the updates try new tiles, pedestal sink or an energy efficient commode.


4: Entryway Rehab


The entrance is the first thing guests see and it welcomes all who enter it. There are some very simple fixes that can make it stand out from the rest. There are numerous door kits that are available to add a new style to a drab entryway and can be easily installed by a homeowner. Or you can just add a fresh look by adding a new coat of paint and hardware. Upgrading the exterior lights can make a bold statement and saves on the electric bill. For added pizazz try solar lighting along the pathway or a couple of potted trees to accent the doorway.

5: Landscaping Renovations


Outdoor living is one of the most enjoyable assets of home ownership and you don’t need a green thumb to achieve a beautiful landscape. For serenity there are ready to install Koi ponds that can be set up in no time and freestanding fire pits make the perfect focal point. Glow in the dark spray paint on stones will show your guests the way in or try easy to install rope lighting along the edge of the path. A shade garden can be created by quick growing sunflower seeds and children will adore the simple to make bean fort.

“A penny saved is a penny earned” but it only makes sense to put the new found savings to good use. What better way to invest then by doing a quick and inexpensive facelift on your home. With gas prices continuing to drop, those do-it-yourself home projects are limitless.


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Home Automation You Can DIY

Posted by on February 21, 2016

Home automation provides a convenient way to operate your home’s devices remotely. Traditional home automation systems can be costly, not to mention, involve complex wiring, which may prove a bit difficult to the average homeowner. However, the latest advancements in programmable equipment provides an affordable way to incorporate home automation into your home yourself and without the need to rewire your entire home.


What is Home Automation?


Home automation, sometimes referred to as a smart home, is the electronic and automatic control of household appliances, activities and other household features. Home automation can be used to describe a single programmable device or homes with nearly everything controlled by an automated network such as lighting, electrical outlets, automatic blinds, appliance, sprinkler systems, heating and cooling systems and more. It could also include the alarm system, windows, locks, all of the doors, smoke detectors, surveillance cameras and other security devices.


How it Works


Home automation uses one or more computers to control your home’s functions. With this automated system, homeowners can monitor or activate various household devices or schedule automatic operation of household features and activity from anywhere in the world using an internet connected device. Home automation allows your home to work for you, while also saving energy, and you can receive text messages and alerts whenever your home’s alarms are activated.

Revision 2010

Home Automation and DIYer’s


Home automation doesn’t have to involve costly or time consuming rewiring of your home. In fact, homeowners can automate their home just by replacing existing features with automated ones. Switch out your existing light bulbs with smart ones, replace your non programmable thermostat for a programmable one or upgrade your current security system with a smart system for instant home automation.


Smart Products for the Home


Where most traditional thermostats operate by reading the temperatures in just a single room, leaving other rooms uncooled or unheated, the Ecobee3 contains remote sensors that allows homeowners to control the temperatures in any room they want. It is easy to install and set up, and the Homekit-enable feature allows homeowners to control and monitor their cooling and heating from anywhere and anytime using an iPod Touch, iPad, Apple Watch, and Siri. Ecobee owners, on average, save approximately 23% a year.


The iSmart Alarm is an HD video, motion and sound detection device with sound recognition that notifies you of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. The unit includes simple to install magnetic installation and on demand video streaming from your smartphone. The iSmart Alarm can be installed as a complete system or install stand alone units for home security.


The Nest Protect, Smoke and CO Alarm is a battery operated, voice activated system that alerts you if it senses carbon dioxide or smoke. The unit is easy to install and conveniently links to the Wink home automation network. Simply connect the unit to your Wi-Fi to receive phone alerts when the alarm is activated.


The Belkin WeMo Switch is a switch that enables you to control your electronic devices from anywhere using your home’s Wi-Fi network. Simply plug the switch into any electrical outlet in your home, then plug any device you want into the switch for remote access using your tablet or smartphone. The Belkin WeMo Switch is easy to install and can even be scheduled to turn on or turn off your devices.


The SkyBell smart video doorbell enables homeowners to hear, see and speak to visitors at the door. This unit is easy to install and includes a free app for various Android and iOS devices, so when a visitor rings the door bell, the unit can send live video feed to your smartphone when you’re away.

Home automation is a fun and convenient way to control your home’s features and save on energy costs, and with single programmable units, now DIYer’s can get in on the fun too. To get started, simply swap out non automated features for automated ones to enjoy energy savings and instant access to your home from anywhere.

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What Home Improvement Shows Don’t Tell You

Posted by on February 19, 2016

Home improvement shows are more popular than ever, and it’s no wonder why. These programs feature ambitious people who set out to turn their ordinary and outdated digs into fabulous modern masterpieces or huge profit makers, and they all seem to do it in the blink of an eye. The truth? Remodeling and home buying aren’t nearly as easy as these shows make it seem.


Remodeling is often rushed on-screen


When you tune in to watch a program, such as HGTV’s Fixer Upper, and see a drab interior get turned into an awesome new living space in just a few days, know that it usually doesn’t play out like this is real life. In order to pull off such speedy makeovers huge crews of skilled craftsmen must work around the clock. Unless you have some serious cash to invest into a quick remodel, you’ll be hard pressed to find a crew willing to work day and night to finish the job.


The budgets are far from realistic


No, you probably can’t buy a 3,000 square foot historic house for less than $300,000 in a popular suburb or create a brand new kitchen in less than a week for $5,000. Yes, it happened on your favorite house flipping or home design show, but that’s not how it really goes. Show such as Property Brothers, which you can catch through DirecTV, are fun to watch and quite entertaining, but the budgets aren’t realistic. They don’t tell the viewing audience about the significant costs to make the renovations happen in a very short amount of time, and if they did, viewers would be amazed at how out of reach such quick design work is for the average person.




The home buying process isn’t so simple


Speaking of Property Brothers, home buying doesn’t often go as smoothly as home improvement shows would have you believe. On their show, Jonathan and Drew Scott help couples find homes, buy, and then transform the properties in a short time span. For most people, buying a home is a relatively slow process that includes negotiating a loan, bidding on properties, and waiting to close. Closing rarely happens within a month, so it’s far fetched to expect that you can close on and remodel your property in less than two weeks.


Flipping doesn’t happen at the snap of one’s fingers


Flip or Flop is another popular program that is big on entertainment but short on realism. Just as the home buying process typically isn’t very simple or quick, buying and then reselling a property takes even more time. There is one caveat: if you are flush with money or can owner finance the property you want to flip, you can get things going much more quickly than if you have to wait for the approval on a loan. For those of us without millions in the bank, renovation and reselling takes patience, time, and lots of sweat equity.


Not every home buyer story is true


It would be lovely if everything portrayed on home improvement shows was true, but sometimes producers have to play up the drama or fabricate it altogether. Take a look at the housing market numbers, and you’ll see that fudging the details and creating characters is necessary in order to create a story line that viewers will watch. In short: don’t look at these shows and think that the home buyers featured on each episode represent most Americans.


Home improvement and renovation shows can be useful, if not truthful. Watching these programs is a great way to get DIY ideas, learn more about the home building and buying processes, and hear about the latest design and decor trends. But when it comes to executing your own home renovation or investment in a property, you’ll avoid frustration and come out much better if you remain realistic.


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Keep Cold Floors Warmer this Winter with These Tech Tips

Posted by on January 19, 2016

Save Money

Each year as winter gets into full swing, it quickly becomes time to check the comfortable state of your home before cold weather truly arrives. If you have hardwood floors, or even newer laminate ones, chances are you’re going to be dealing with some cold feet, and unfortunately, American households waste nearly 40% of the energy used for heating – but take heart, you have fresh opportunities to improve the comfort and efficiency of your homes by utilizing new smart-home technology that is easier to customize and more affordable than ever!

Better Lighting

The latest and greatest LED light bulbs can reduce energy consumption over incandescents by 80-90% with a lifetime of around 100,000 hrs. They are extremely energy efficient, so that even though they are more costly than incandescents and compact fluorescent bulbs, they save you money while giving off brighter and more natural white light. The LEDs currently available can be installed to work with dimmers so that you can dial in the right amount of illumination that’s needed in every setting. You can also install motion sensors as an easy way to ensure that lights automatically turn on when needed and aren’t left burning in unoccupied rooms as you and your kids go run in and out during your activities.

Programmable Thermostats

Programmable smart thermostats set the temperature in your house according to a regular pattern: less heating or cooling during the day when you’re away at work, but turning back on in time for you to arrive home to a comfortable house, with warmer floors instead of icy laminate. They can regulate as many as eight climate control zones of your house to accommodate different needs as well! The latest advance in programmable thermostats is an intuitive device made by Nest. The Nest thermostats can learn their owner’s routine behavior during the first few weeks of use and adjust themselves accordingly without the owner getting involved. The Nest is also easy on your wallets by eliminating guesswork and human error in programming a thermostat so that you can achieve around 20% savings in your heating and cooling bills – check for more information.

Eco-friendly Appliances

Did you know that Energy Star was established specifically to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants caused by inefficient energy usage while also maintaining features, cost, and convenience? An eco-friendly Energy Star clothes washer uses about 25% less energy and 40% less water for yearly savings of 3,000 gallons of water. Of all household appliances, clothes dryers use the most energy, but Energy Star dryers use 20% less than conventional ones. On the other hand, some new spot-use washing machines like the compact Yirego Drumi are so eco-friendly that they use no electricity at all – simply washing personal delicates, baby clothes, and hand laundry just with foot pedal power and air drying.

Solar Panels and Energy Storage Batteries

Solar panels and systems are quickly becoming more common and are a great addition to any household, even just as a supplement. But while many assume solar power is only effective in sunny locales, don’t be afraid to invest in solar power if you live in northern regions. Solar panels surprisingly remain efficient in winter because photovoltaics can be 15% more efficient at colder temperatures than during the hot summer months. Large scale battery systems being introduced in the North will smooth the daily variation of solar power and begin to reduce the seasonal variation – just as energy storage batteries can provide night time electrical power with your typical rooftop solar power systems.

With smart-home gadgets of the like, it’s an easy process to improving your household efficiency, and make sure. Do-it-yourself replacement items like LED bulbs, together with motion sensors and dimmers are simple to install, and even various solar powered appliances are quick installs like garden and walkway lights. It’s a good time to improve the comfort of your home while the temperatures are right for winterizing!


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Cleaning Your Floors & Home After a Flood

Posted by on December 28, 2015

Clean laminate floors after flood

Handling a flood within your home or around your property can be extremely stressful and overwhelming, especially when you have furniture and belongings that have been damaged in the process. Although the stress of cleaning up can be intimidating, knowing how to clean up after a flood, keep your family safe and file a proper flood insurance claim can help you to overcome the challenge to begin living your life normally again. The more knowledgeable you are about floods and property damage, the easier it will be to get your life back on track.

When is it Safe to Return After a Flood?

Knowing when it is safe to return to your home or property after a flood is essential to keep your family safe from additional flooding, electrical damage and potential mold depending on the severity of the flood. Monitor the NOAA Weather Radio station if possible if you are dealing with a flood that was due to a natural disaster or weather that surrounds your home. It is also important to ensure your street does not have downed power lines, washed out roads or even trees surrounding your home before reentering the house. The more cautious you are, the less likely you are to run into any issues or potential danger.

Filing a Flood Insurance Claim

When you are dealing with a flood of any kind, it is vital to call your flood insurance agency immediately after the discovery in order to properly report the flood. Keep your policy number and have any contact information you may need to share readily available for the agent you talk with about filing the claim. Make an appointment as quickly as possible to have an insurance adjuster visit your home to assess the damage.

Take photos of all of the flooded areas of your home as best as you can, including shots of property, flooring and walls that may have been damaged in the process. Remove any undamaged property from the flooded area as soon as you can to lower the amount of damage you have to handle. Create a complete inventory list of your items and furniture along with the investment you have made in the flooring, walls and other areas of the property that have been damaged to show estimates to the insurance adjusters who visit your home.

Cleaning Up After a Flood

Cleaning up after a flood requires gear such as a face mask, clean water, hand soap, safety glasses and plenty of gloves to ensure you avoid touching any dangerous water, mold or even electrical items. Most of the times, flood water is often contaminated, so it is essential to treat it as if it is not safe to breathe, walk in and especially drink or wash in.

Turning off all of the home’s power is essential and can be done by reaching the electrical circuit in the home, switching the main power off along with any other outlets that may be on. Removing all clothing and the items you can from the flooded area is essential before you use a wet shop vacuum or a pump to help rid the water from your home. Washing walls and floors by hand, removing carpet and flooring and bleaching the entire area of your house that has been flooded will ensure it is safe to return to once the flood is completely gone.

Safety Issues When Dealing With a Flood

Mold can often be a big issue when handling a flood, so it is important to always air out the area that has been flooded while gearing up using masks, gloves and even wearing wading boots if the flood is deeper than expected. Avoid getting the water on your skin or in your mouth, as it may be contaminated and even contain sewage, which can be extremely harmful or fatal if ingested.

What Not to Do After You Experience a Flood
Do not use items that have been soaked in floodwater after a flood, as this can lead to harmful side effects, especially if the water was contaminated. Avoid walking in flood water without the proper gear. Also, be sure to turn off all power sources before you begin the cleanup process, regardless of the severity of the flood.


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Smart Home Devices Make Floor & Home Maintenance Easy

Posted by on November 19, 2015

Roomba Floor cleaner

In just the course of a year the home automation industry has skyrocketed to new levels. 2015 could be the year that smart devices start to become ubiquitous, for several have been released or will be released this year. Not only is there a growing selection of gadgets, but they are becoming easier to install and use. Operating these smart devices is most of the time as easy as downloading the corresponding app onto your phone tablet and typing in a setup code.

Many devices truly are ‘smart’ and are more than capable of learning their user’s preferences over time – including keeping your laminate floors sparkling clean on your own schedule. Here is a look at some of the most user-friendly and innovative smart devices of the year.


Apple HomeKit is a system designed to communicate with and control all compatible devices in a smarthome. The system was unveiled in June 2014, but did not become available to the public until this summer. HomeKit enables people to use their iPhones or iPads to communicate with devices in their home including lights, security systems and heating.

HomeKit is designed to work with Siri, which is software built into most iPhones that serves as a personal assistant. Siri responds to voice commands and will enable HomeKit to do so as well. HomeKit can also link to the current models of Apple TV to a limited extent, but that could change with the next generation of Apple TVs. Other devices that will be able to work with HomeKit include Lutron (which controls lights), the Insteon Hub (which controls a variety of devices ranging from cameras to switches) and Elgato (which controls sensors that gather data on items like humidity, air quality and energy consumption).


A new version of Ecobee3, a smart thermostat, came out this past July. The new version can be integrated with HomeKit and also be connected to WiFi, and will control the heating, air conditioning and venting in a home. Ecobee3, now available at the Apple store, is capable of learning its owner’s needs and preferences so you don’t have to worry about settings and will automatically adjust itself to meet your needs. For example, the program will learn and recognize your habits if you come home around 6pm daily and spend most of the night in a certain room. But if you prefer to manually set the thermostat, that can easily be done in a matter of seconds as well.

Pella Insynctive

Well known company Pella Windows and Doors has finally entered the home automation sector with Z-Wave based Pella Insynctive. With this efficient, low-energy tech, your home’s doors and windows are equipped with built-in sensors that increase security, comfort, and convenience. Homeowners will be able to know with just a simple glance if their doors and windows are open, closed or locked. The motorized shades and blinds can monitor the temperature of the household, and can be programmed to open or close to keep the house at a comfortable temperature. This technology can easily be controlled at home with a remote or through the corresponding app on your smartphone – you can even connect the Insynctive technology to a larger home automation hub and expand your operating options even more. Pella Insynctive also has the added bonus of helping people lower their electric bills.

Nest Protect

Nest Protect, from the makers of Nest Thermostat, is a smart smoke and carbon dioxide detector. It will send alerts directly to you through a smartphone app so you will be the first to know if anything happens, even while you are away, and the app can even advise the owner when the Nest’s batteries are running low, so no more wondering which detector the pesky beeping is coming from! Nest Protect also has speech capabilities programmed into it, so it can tell the user exactly where the smoke or carbon is and how to safely get out of the house. Nest Protect can also be connected to Nest Cam, a security camera, which will automatically record and store video of anything requiring action on Nest Protect’s part.


SkyBell is a smart doorbell that includes a motion sensor, speaker, microphone and day and night video camera. Skybell offers the ultimate convenience – imagine essentially Facetiming with your front porch so you can see and communicate with whoever has rung your doorbell, without having to leave your current location (even if you aren’t home). It alerts the user when someone is standing at the doorway or rings the doorbell, and if the user chooses to answer the doorbell, they can see, hear and speak to the visitor, receiving the live video feed on any compatible smartphones. Skybell is also great for peace of mind and safety when you or the kids are home alone, when it’s dark, or are away from the house when someone arrives.

The possibilities with stand-alone “smart” home automation devices are shaping up to be endless – you have the option to automate everything from coffee machines to a full security system, and entertainment devices to leak sensors. And with the variety of different smart hubs available, it’s possible to essentially build your own smart house, customizing these smart devices to suit your needs and preferences.

If you haven’t explored home automation yet, these devices are a great place to start.

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Differences Between Laminate and Hardwood Floors

Posted by on April 23, 2013

Is There A Difference Between Laminate & Hardwood Floors? You Bet There Is!

With advancing production techniques making it easier for floor manufacturers to turn out plank and tile type floorings of ever increasing quality and good looks, it’s no wonder that some people have trouble telling the difference between laminate and hardwood flooring. But beware, the ‘look’ isn’t the only cause of confusion! Here we’ll attempt to explain what else is different between these two highly popular floor choices.

Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood floors come in two basic types, Solid Wood planks or Engineered planks. As the name suggests, the solid type would typically be made from a single solid piece of timber that has been milled to a uniform size. Solid floors do not contain a core or underlying layer.

Engineered hardwood floors are also sometimes called Laminate hardwood floors and it is this alternative name that most often leads to confusion with the true laminate flooring flooring types. While it is true that Engineered hardwood flooring is manufactured by laminating several individual layers together, it is still considered a hardwood floor as the surface layer is a hardwood veneer, a thin slice of real hardwood.

Laminate Flooring

As with Engineered hardwood, true laminate flooring is made up of several individual layers that are pressed and bonded together. However, the difference is that the visible textured layer is not that of real wood, but merely a high quality image of wood, or other natural texture, that is stuck on to the substrate or underlying core layer.

Does Either Have a Benefit Over The Other?

For the Do-It-Yourselfer, Laminate has a clear benefit over hardwood for it is invariably constructed with built-in tongue and groove joints, often of the snap lock or click variety that make for easy installation with no need for messy glues or adhesives. It is also factory pre-finished which means that it can be used the moment it has been laid in place. It’s therefore no wonder that laminate flooring is a favored choice for many people.

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Which Type of Laminate Flooring Should You Choose?

Posted by on April 21, 2013

Direct Pressure Laminate (DPL) and High Pressure Laminate (HPL)

Flooring laminates are basically manufactured in one of two ways, either by the Direct Pressure method or High Pressure method.

If the flooring is made using the DPL method then all of the individual layers that make up the tiles or planks will first be arranged in their required position and then pressed and bonded together at the same time.

With the HPL method, the individual layers of the planks or tiles are fixed together in separate stages. This technique uses a combination of both pressure and heat and the result is usually a wear layer that is thicker and therefore harder wearing than that of laminates made by Direct Pressure.

While it is said that High Pressure Laminates are harder wearing, it is the Direct Pressure method that provides manufacturers with increased design flexibility and more easily allows them to produce realistically textured patterns on the floor surface and ultimately makes for a finished product that, in many cases, is more visually appealing.

The right type for you? Since both methods of manufacture produce a high quality finished product, it will probably be the actual texture of the pattern that will dictate which type you purchase. However, if your laminate floor is intended for commercial, or heavy residential use then you may want to choose a floor made by the High Pressure method since commercial grade laminates are most often made this way and will usually be graded to level AC4 which signifies that they are suitable for “general commercial” use.


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The Suburban Miracle – Laminate Flooring

Posted by on April 19, 2013

Life in the suburbs is not without hazards. Commute times can be long, grass can grow more quickly than you have time to mow, and your carpet can be seriously damaged from the foot traffic occurring in your house daily. Carpets and hardwood floors are not designed to take the beating of soccer cleats and the byproducts of the backyard sandbox. Fortunately, there is one type of flooring designed specifically to withstand the beating of a modern suburban family – laminate.

Muddy Feet

Muddy feet from playing in the backyard or (finally) cutting the grass are no match for pre-finished laminate floors. Laminate is made by combining various levels of materials fused together. The top layer, or finish, is applied to give laminate its amazing ability to withstand just about everything. Unlike carpets, good quality laminate will not absorb the mud and water tracked in from outside, and will not warp the way hardwood floors might.

High Traffic

Despite the myths of a laidback lifestyle, the typical suburban household teems with activity. Children rush through on the way home from school and on the way to various practices or activities. Moms breeze through in high heels fresh from the office, and disappear again in tennis shoes to chauffer the rest of the family to various destinations. Dads come in from the office, and march around dejectedly trying to find the remote and remember where the rest of the family has gone for the evening.

Suburban families produce a lot of footsteps. Carpet wears out quickly underfoot, and hardwoods need maintenance – especially in high traffic areas. In comparison, laminate is specifically designed for large amounts of foot traffic. The middle layer, or core, of the laminate is designed to withstand tremendous amounts of travel, and the resistant top coats resists dulling or scratching, making laminate the perfect choice for hallways and other main thoroughfares throughout the home.


Maintaining a home takes time, and often, there is simply not enough time in the suburban day to vacuum or polish your floors to keep them in optimum condition. Fortunately, long, tiring processes are not necessary to maintain a laminate floor. A simple trip around with a broom or dust mop will collect all dirt and dust that has collected during the day. In fact, dust mops are considered a wonderful toy by most children, and it is possible to pass the chore off to the youngest members of the household. The same can not be said for vacuuming.

Spot and Fluffy

The beloved pets of a family can be just as annoying as they are cute and cuddly. Muddy paws, sharp toenails, scratching, and the occasional accident make maintaining floors that much more difficult. Luckily, laminate flooring offers a solution to these furry family members as well. The protective finish on laminate is impervious to scratches or scrapes, and any wet spots will not soak through to the carpet pad or warp the flooring, they will simply puddle, allowing for easy clean up.

By and large suburban families need more than just an average floor under their feet. The lifestyle of the suburbs can be intense and often chaotic. Fortunately one flooring material has answered the call. It does more than fit the needs of these families, it is a suburban miracle!

By Rebecca Garland

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