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HELP! my wooden floor is squeaking!

clip_image002Are squeaky floorboards keeping you awake at night? Here we look at a few fast fixes to put your mind at ease.

Wooden flooring is porous in nature which means that it absorbs moisture. With time this added moisture can cause the flooring to expand by swelling. Then, when the moisture leaves, it causes the flooring to shrink. This in turn can cause gaps between floorboards which pockets of air can travel through, causing a ‘squeak’ when weight is pressed on them. But how do you put a stop to it?

WD-40
WD-40 is the traditional go-to product for squeaky hinges but it works for floorboards too. To get started you must find the offending floorboard that’s making the noise. What you’ll notice is that there is a slight gap between the joining of the offending floor board and one of the floor boards either side. If you think you might have more than one squeaky floorboard then walk around your entire room and mark down with chalk or pencil the floorboards which are causing you problems. Now simply spray your WD-40 into the gap and begin pressing down on the floorboards to allow it to seep into the crack. Then just wipe it down to get rid of any excess fluid and repeat the whole process as necessary as you walk around your room.

Baking Soda & Baby Powder
You shouldn’t have to replace your flooring just because it’s beginning to squeak at you. Solid wood flooring isn’t the cheapest of flooring but it is long lasting and robust provided you care for it properly. If you don’t have any WD-40 to hand then you can also use powdered substances like baking soda, talcum powder and baby powder to fill the crack. Simply follow the instructions above, being sure to wipe away any excess powder afterwards. Be careful not to use a vacuum on it too soon afterwards because you’ll likely undo all your hard work.

More permanent fixes
If you find that simply lubricating the gaps between your floorboards isn’t doing the track then there are some longer lasting repairs that you can undertake that fall short of replacing your flooring. Look for a gap between the joist and the subfloor and insert a wooden shim until it feels nice and tight. You can also try inserting wood screws from below which are fixed through the sub floor and just below the surface of the finished flooring.

For more tips on cleaning and maintaining your floors, please read our free guide on how to maintain and clean your floors and carpets.

The dos and don’ts of choosing flooring for a conservatory

For many people, the modern conservatory is the perfect way to create more space in your home without the need for relocation, providing you with a perfect place to soak up the sun in the warmer months of the year. What’s more, in 60% of cases you don’t require planning permission to have one built and they can add a great deal of value to your property if executed properly.

When it comes to the flooring in your conservatory, it’s important that you think carefully about which option you choose. Wooden flooring is one of the most attractive and timeless types of flooring out there but sadly it’s not always the best option for a conservatory setting. This is because the heat in a conservatory can fluctuate from hot to cold which spells bad news for wooden floors.  Under the stress of temperature fluctuations wood will naturally expand and contract which can eventually lead to cracking and warping, ruining your wonderful flooring. If you have your heart set on the rustic beauty of a wooden floor then your best bet is to opt for an engineered wooden floor instead which closely mimics the look and feel of a wooden floor but has less of the vulnerabilities that make wooden flooring unsuitable for a conservatory.

Carpet is a popular option throughout our homes and is suited to almost every room in the home and the conservatory is no different. Carpets might be tougher to clean but they are comfortable and warm which might make it more likely for your conservatory to get usage in the colder months of the year as it will hold the heat much better than some other types of flooring. The only downside for choosing carpet in a conservatory is that carpet fibres can show up dirt quite easily. Because of this you might want to have a doormat to catch any debris on the way in and out.

Vinyl flooring is another popular option for home owners – due in part to its low maintenance properties. Vinyl flooring just needs a good sweep or dry mop, so you don’t have to worry about treading in soil and dirt from the garden as you can just wipe it away. However, that said vinyl flooring can be susceptible to strong sunshine so think carefully before you place it in a south facing conservatory.

Another type of flooring which you might consider for a conservatory is that of laminate flooring. Laminate flooring is easy to clean, available in a wide range of different styles and is a cost effective choice. While laminate flooring is a good option for conservatories, particularly if you are trying to save money, it is important not to skimp too much on the cost. Quality laminate flooring is less likely to fade in the abundance of sunlight that your conservatory receives and should come with a long warrantee.
  
Our team at Lincolnshire Flooring can help you to find the perfect type of flooring for your conservatory. For help and advice please call us on 01522 524374 or visit us at our show room on Outer Circle Road, Lincoln.

Why good quality flooring is important for buy-to-let properties

Buying property in order to let it out has grown in popularity in recent years, spurred on by a healthy rental market with increasing demand for homes and only a limited supply of them available. Many people are now turning to letting property as a way of investing for their futures, ensuring that they can live comfortably in their later years. Those who have found success with buy-to-let properties have even begun purchasing more property and turning their secondary earner into a full-time career.

However, the process of buying property to let it is not always simple and it is rare for a landlord to make it through the experience without a few headaches along the way. From troublesome tenants to confusing health and safety regulations and expensive agency fees, there are lots of things to get your head around.

A key part of preparing your buy-to-let property is deciding how you will furnish and decorate it. It’s important to narrow down who exactly your target market is. If you make your property too neutral then you run the risk of appealing to nobody, so it’s important to have an idea of the type of tenant you would like.

Flooring options
When it comes to choosing flooring for a buy-to-let property you need to think carefully. A light carpet may well make a room seem large and sterile, but it is likely to cost you a lot of money in the long run. Carpeted flooring is not necessarily a bad choice for a rental property but those with a light colour palette are more likely to need replacing. The fibres of the carpet will show dirt more easily and are tougher to remove stains from so overtime may begin to look very dirty. While as a homeowner you might take extra caution to look after a light coloured carpet, a tenant might not always be so cautious. So, instead of choosing light colours like white or magnolia, you should opt for shades of brown and grey which might be a little bit more forgiving to spillages of food or drink.

Another aspect that is important to consider is the cost of your flooring. While it is important not to overspend on your property, you should know that choosing flooring that is cheap may come back to bite you in the behind. You may end up forking out for new flooring on a regular basis, something that will become tiresome particularly if you own a property where there is a high turnover of tenants such as in student accommodation. Instead, it might be better to opt for mid-range flooring which will last longer, require little maintenance and be highly durable.

Here at Lincolnshire Flooring we regularly source flooring for landlords of buy-to-let properties and can advise you on the best types of flooring available to you within your budget. For more advice call us on 01522 524 374 or visit us at our showroom on Outer Circle Road, Lincoln, LN2 4HU.

8 rookie errors that ruin your solid wood flooring

A hardwood floor is one of the most sought after features among homeowners. While more affordable types of flooring can mimic solid wood, the unique shapes, textures and tones of natural solid wood is something that can never be 100% matched. However, while solid wood flooring is luxurious and versatile it is not indestructible. In fact there are more than a few different ways that you can cause damage to your wonderful wooden floor if you don’t take special care in looking after it. Here are 8 mistakes that you need to avoid making.

#1 - Forgetting to place mats at entrance and exit points
One of the biggest dangers to hardwood flooring is that of dirt and grit. Every pair of shoes that makes its way through your home is likely to bring with it dirt and debris from outdoors. Besides making a mess, particularly hard particles can cause nasty scratches across the surface of your wooden flooring. The easiest way to prevent this is to have a welcome mat at your door for visitors to wipe their feet. Even a simple rug or mat with a felt back (to prevent discolouration) at entry or exit points to a room which has hardwood floors will offer some protection.

#2 - Neglecting to sweep your floor
Even if you have mats at your entry and exit points you’re still bound to end up with some debris on your floors, whether from outdoors, the dinner plate or other means. By regularly sweeping your wonderful wooden floor you can lock in shine and prevent grit from being caught underfoot causing scratches and scrapes. 

#3 - Using too much water when cleaning
While hardwood floors often have a barrier to safeguard against moisture they are still porous and will soak up water given half the chance. Because of this you should never drench it in any kind of liquid, including cleaning products. Instead, you should give your wooden floor a light damp mop which will avoid excessive soaking and subsequent swelling.

#4 - Using harsh chemicals when cleaning your floor
In general you should avoid any cleaning products which are not specifically designed for wooden floors. Many supermarket cleaning products will contain chemicals which are too harsh and abrasive for your wooden floor, upsetting its PH balance, dulling its shine and causing cracks. Always read the instructions on your floor cleaner and only use the amount advised otherwise you once again risk the floor swelling.

#5 - Leaving spills and stains for too long
Whether it’s red wine, milk or a mess made by your pet – you should never let a spill or potential stain sit for too long. This goes for any type of flooring really, but it’s worth remembering that wooden flooring is porous and so will soak up liquids. So be sure to clean and dry it up pronto before it sets in.

#6 - Wearing shoes indoors
Wearing shoes indoors can spell bad news for most types of flooring. Even if you give your shoes a wipe on a mat, there is still the chance that you could bring through small pieces of grit which could mark your wooden flooring. The best option is to have a shoe rack by your front and back doors so that both you and your visitors can simply take them off as they enter your home.

#7 - Don’t cut your pets nails
Another easy way to do damage to your wooden flooring is to forget to trim the nails of your beloved pets. Not only is the noise likely to make the hairs on your neck stand up, it can also leave scratches and scrapes behind. Make sure that you give your pets regular nail trims and consider placing rugs or carpet in areas where your dog frequents. Alternatively you could install small pet gates to keep your dog away from rooms with wooden flooring.

#8 - Dragging heavy furniture around your floor
One last tip for keeping your hardwood floors free of scratches and scuffs is to add felt pads to the bottoms of heavy furniture or appliances. This will help them to glide along when you move them and reduce the chances of scuffing or scratching the floor. 

For more tips on cleaning and maintaining your floors, please read our free guide on how to maintain and clean your floors and carpets.

Why flooring transitions are essential in open plan spaces

With more and more people opting for open-plan layouts in their homes, the importance of well-crafted flooring transitions is becoming more and more evident.  Traditionally homes have been built with separate rooms that have their own self-contained identities with their own wallpapers, carpets and unique individual styles. However in present times one of the most sought-after features of a home is an open plan kitchen, dining room or living space.

Open plan spaces allow for a spacious, free moving style of living. However, even with open plan spaces it is still important to have variation between spaces, not only to offer some texture but also for practical reasons. Having a luxury cream carpet may well be comfortable underfoot and be a great choice for the area that serves as your living room around your TV and sofa, but it would be a disastrous choice to have the same carpet in the areas where you cook and eat.  Equally, a stone or tile flooring may be well suited to your kitchen area where it can be easily cleaned but may be far too cold and uncomfortable underfoot in the area where you relax and watch TV.

The use of different types of flooring also helps you to create guidelines for your open plan living space and properly define different zones. For example by using laminate or hardwood flooring to mark out your kitchen or dining area and using carpet to identify where you relax. Another way that you can differentiate between areas is to switch patterns, colours or directions with hardwood, laminate or luxury vinyl tile (LVT) flooring. 

When deciding on patterns and colours it’s important to be imaginative. You may find that two different kinds of flooring or colours are far too different to work together or similarly that they are too alike. Here at Lincolnshire Flooring we have a range of different styles, tones and textures and can help you create an open plan living space that looks stylish, modern and flows continuously.  To learn more give us a call on 01522 524374 or pop in to our showroom in Lincoln on Outer Circle Road.

What’s the best type of flooring for elderly people?

Slipping and falling are common causes of injury for elderly people and as you get older it becomes harder and harder to recover from a nasty accident. This is why lots of thought should be given to the type of flooring that you have installed in your home if you are worried about slips and trips, or perhaps if you are choosing flooring for an elderly relative’s home.

First of all, it is important to note that, regardless of what type of flooring you decide to have installed, it must also be installed properly and by professionals.  A carpet that is lose, saggy and badly fitted can move under your feet and cause you to fall. Should you be carrying hot food or drinks then this could result in a very nasty accident.  This is particularly important when deciding on flooring for stairs where sagging carpet is very dangerous. Here at Lincolnshire Flooring we employ all of our own carpet and flooring fitters which means that we can be sure that they are trained to the highest standard with both internal and external training, and we offer full site surveys, measuring services and aftercare for peace of mind.

When it comes to deciding which flooring to install to reduce slips and trips there are three good choices that we often recommend. The flooring you choose needs to be not only safe but also comfortable and easy to maintain. It should be comfortable and cushioned to reduce the impact of a fall, and easy to maintain so as to reduce the chances of causing an injury while cleaning. With this in mind, vinyl, carpet and other soft flooring types like cork and rubber flooring are often safe options. Carpet and cork are naturally resistant to slips and offer plenty of friction underfoot which aids stability. While vinyl flooring is slightly tougher and provides less cushioning it is very easy to maintain and only requires a mop or brush to keep clean. In general it is best to avoid laminates and wooden flooring which can be particularly smooth and may increase the chances of slipping over and having an accident.

Bathrooms are one of the most common places where slips and trips occur. After showers and baths these types of rooms can become a slip hazard due to build ups of water and moisture. While ceramic tiles, stone and concrete floors are easy to keep clean, which is important, they are very unforgiving in the event of a slip or trip which means they aren’t always the best choice. Hardwood flooring is also tough and may not provide much cushioning if you have a fall and the moisture of a bathroom tends to make it an unsuitable choice as swelling and cracking can occur. More friendly options for your bathroom include rubber, cork, bamboo, vinyl and carpet. However, carpet can be difficult to keep clean and dry in a bathroom.

No one person’s situation is the same and beyond reducing slips and trips you may also have questions about issues like wheelchair access, warmth and other concerns that need addressing.  At our showroom in Lincoln we have a wide range of different flooring options and our team are always on hand to answer any questions you may have and help you find something suitable. To learn more give us a call on 01522 524374 or pop in to our showroom in Lincoln on Outer Circle Road.

Important carpet care advice for autumn and winter

clip_image002While it’s sad to see the sun pack its bags at this time of year, the autumn and winter brings with it a whole host of opportunities for adventures. You now have the chance to wrap up warm and enjoy a muddy walk around the countryside.

Unfortunately, while a brisk walk and dose of country air can do wonders for our physical and mental health, the same can’t be said for our carpets which can fall victim to muddy boots and paws. Here are a few ways to protect your rugs and carpets during cold and wet weather.

Sweep often
Debris from outside can quickly bed its way into your carpet fibres, which can make it appear dirty even after vacuuming. One way to stop this from happening is to regularly sweep away leaf piles and other dirt from the entrances to your home.

Stop dirt in its tracks
The next step to preventing dirty carpets is to minimise the amount of dirt that makes its way into your home. To do this you try and encourage good behaviour from all your residents by placing a doormat and shoe rack in your hall way. When these are spotted they will encourage guests to wipe their feet and then remove their shoes, minimising the amount of dirt that makes its way inside.

This is particularly important in the colder periods of the year as mud and slushy snow or ice is more likely to be brought inside, along with salt used to grit roads which can wreak havoc on your carpet fibres.

The same goes for your pets. If you’ve taken your dog out for a walk then make sure to wipe off their paws and give their coat a quick rub down before they make it through the rest of your home.

Cleaning mud
As awful as it may seem at the time, mud isn’t impossible to get out of a carpet. Generally if you tackle a stain quickly then you have a better chance of removing it. So if mud does make its way on to your carpet then allow it to dry before giving it a quick vacuum away. After you’ve removed as much mud as you can you should grab a cloth, add a little detergent and begin to gently blot the stain away.

Don’t despair! If you fail in your attempt to stop dirt from making its way to your carpet, in this blog we detail some tried and tested methods of removing stains that are sure to work.

For more tips on cleaning your floors, please read our guide on how to maintain and clean your floors and carpets.