I Get Around … For Now

Disability - Beach Boys

“Round, round, get around, I get around       Yeah
 Get around, round, round, I get around         I get around … “ 

If you don’t recognize those lyrics, you are not eligible to read this article.  Just kidding.  That is the opening salvo from the Beach Boys hit “I Get Around”.  Many of us remember it well.  Now that we are older, those words may take on a different meaning.  Getting around may not be quite as easy for us or someone we care about.  Sometimes, life events bring about necessary lifestyle changes.  “Getting Around” is no longer taken for granted.

The AMERICANS with DISABILITIES ACT was passed in 1990.
The AMERICANS with DISABILITIES ACT was passed 25 years ago.

When you walk on a city sidewalk you may notice a slight slope to the street for wheel chair access.  When you walk into a restroom you notice an extra large stall for people with special needs and when you park your car you notice places reserved for people with wheel chairs or other health issues. Even elevators are tucked away in hallways and drinking fountains have a large push button on the front side that can be operated without using your fingers. Well, it has not always been that way. The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990 to provide guidelines insuring that people who have difficulty accessing or otherwise using public facilities, from sidewalks to restrooms, can do so in the most convenient and safe manner possible.  When first instated there was significant resistance to the ADA because of the modification expenses that many businesses incurred.  It also did not come cheap for cities and other municipalities.  But, ultimately, everyone had to ask this question; “Is this the right thing to do?”  I think that most Americans agreed, “Yes, it is.”  Now, 25 years since its introduction, we take the ADA for granted, but things were not always this way in public. 

Now, you can make your home safely accessible and usable if the need arises. Safety and access issues may become a concern within your family dwelling someday due to illness or some type of disability of a family member and you can definitely deal with it.  Perhaps that is already the case.  Here are some ideas and guidelines that you may want to consider in the area that is typically of most concern; the bathroom area. 

BUILDING CODES:  Sometimes real remodeling is desirable.  A good contractor will be reasonably knowledgeable about building codes, but codes do change.  Ultimately, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to clarify local building code requirements with the local building codes administration and coordinate with the hired contractor to insure compliance.

WHEEL CHAIRS are a key consideration in most disability modifications. Always plan on a 60” unobstructed circled area for a wheel chair to make a complete circle spin.   

Wheel chairs do not usually spin in a perfect circle. This 60" circle area is really important.  Be thoughtful.
 This 60″ circle rule is really important. Wheel chairs seldom spin in a perfect circle, so allow a little wiggle room.  Just measuring the wheelchair is a no-no.

If you have a large bathroom in your home, that’s a great start.  Many older homes have only a 5’x9’ bathroom with no room to expand.  If you have that small bathroom and it is possible to knock out a wall to provide more space, that’s great.  If you can’t, well you just have to deal with reality and be creative. 

SHOWER AREAS are part of the bathroom, not a separate place.  Most likely, the bathroom includes the shower, toilet, and sink/vanity.  So, a little planning is in order.  Here are some ideas.  

This was a 5' tub at one time.  You may just have to do the best you can do.  And this is a nice start for someone who cannot expand.
This was a 5′ tub at one time. You may just have to do the best you can do. This was a good option for this homeowner who had no option for enlargement.
This spacious, modern shower has tile everywhere.  No water problem here. Unobstructed space beneath the sink provides wheelchair access.
Lots of unobstructed space. And look at all that beautiful water-proof tile.
Totally flat floor provides easy entry to a slightly sloped drain. The curtain provides as much privacy or freedom as desired.  TILE & SPACE !!!
Easy access everywhere. The curtain provides as much privacy or freedom as desired.
Tile + Flat Corner Shower + Curtain + Space = Creative Functionality

BATHROOM DOOR ACCESS: A 36” wide door is usually OK.  Even if a wheel chair fits through a 32” door, that can be a real knuckle-buster.  A door wider than 36” is rare, but quite nice.  If a bathroom is large enough and interior privacy is provided, it may be possible to not have a door.  That’s really nice.

VANITY ACCESS: Have you ever considered how you approach a vanity compared to how a person with a disability may do the same?  It is probably a somewhat rote act for you, no thought required.  For those in a wheel chair or with any number of other physical disabilities, the task may require some assessment of the environment, planning, and maneuvering.  Here are a couple ways that you can ease the situation.

These are what you might call "Thoughtful Dimensions" for a vanity approach. MIN. = Minimum   MAX. = Maximum
Nice Vanity Approach:  MIN. = Minimum MAX. = Maximum
See how this vanity is cut back below the basin?  It is also off the floor.  Very considerate.
See how this vanity is cut back below the basin? It is also off the floor. Very considerate.
Generally install GRAB BARS 34"-38" above the floor.  Secure the grab bar solidly into wall studs.   The tube or bar diameter should be 1-1/4' to 1-1/2".   Space between the wall and bar should be about 1-1/2".
Don’t forget the GRAB BARS.  Generally install grab bars 34″-38″ above the floor. Secure the grab bar solidly into wall studs, otherwise they will simply pull out when grabbed. The tube or bar diameter should be 1-1/4′ to 1-1/2″. The hand-space between the wall and grab bar should be about 1-1/2″.
Small Bath Area:  Minimum dimension requirements in inches.   eg. 60 min = 60" minimum to accommodate wheel chair spin
STUDY THIS SUMMARY    eg. 60 min = 60″ minimum for wheel chair spin.

And that’s the INSIDE SCOOP from Uncle Steve. 

Advanced Interiors, Inc. has lots of experience with bath remodels and many great TILE products available.  It is a great way to go.

FREE IN-HOME ESTIMATES  913-393-1985 

The Engineered Wood Gang

The Engineered Wood Gang

THE ENGINEERED WOOD GANG

“There’s a new gang in town pardner, and they’re shaking things up. They’re tough, rugged, and charming as all get out.” It’s the ENGINEERED WOOD GANG.  Well, maybe not all that new, but really tough and durable. 

If you have a hankering for a hardwood floor, you should absolutely consider the ENGINEERED WOOD GANG from Advanced, Interiors. You will see some gorgeous examples of Engineered Wood floors in this post.  Advanced Interiors selects styles from more than 20 manufacturers provided by our various wood product distributers.  Just to simplify things, all of these examples come from our Shaw distributor.   

Rose Down Hickory Engineered Wood - 4 shades available
Rose Down Hickory Engineered Wood – 4 shades available

WHAT IS ENGINEERED WOOD?

It is NOT an artificial laminate.  It is a GENUINE HARDWOOD surface adhered to an extremely durable cross-structured base.  Check out this cross-section graphic of Solid Hardwood compared to Engineered Wood.  You can see that the Wear Layer is very close to the same as Solid Wood. You won’t wear down either floor any time soon, if ever.   

Engineered Wood vs. Solid Wood Cross Section This is not ordinary plywood.  Notice NINE plies in this sample.
Engineered Wood vs. Solid Wood Cross Section
This is not ordinary plywood. Notice NINE plies in this sample.

INSTALLATION ADVANTAGES

Unlike the general rule for Solid Hardwoods, Engineered Wood can be installed on any level of your home.  That includes your basement concrete floors.  It is a very stable product, meaning that it is less prone to expansion, contraction, and crowning. Remembering the three following basic definitions will help you make good choices in any flooring selection.  Moisture content comes into play. 

  • ABOVE GRADE: a floor that is above ground level
  • ON GRADE: a floor that is even with ground level
  • BELOW GRADE: a floor that is below ground level      (OK for Eng. Wood)
Chesapeake American Cherry (natural)
Chesapeake American Cherry Engineered Wood (natural)

SPECIE & FINISH OPTIONS

Engineered Hardwood is available UNFINISHED and PREFINISHED.  Unfinished Engineered Hardwood is available in a variety of species. You can then have the floor stained and finished after installation as you desire.  Plan on about 3 days of not being able to access the floor during the finishing process followed by a substantial curing period before laying down throw rugs. 

Camden Hills Engineered Wood - 4 shades available
Camden Hills Engineered Wood – 4 shades available

Prefinished Engineered Hardwoods can be walked on in fully-livable condition the day of installation.  They are available in many species and finishes.  Many products include FANTASTIC FINISH WARRANTIES, especially those with ALUMINUM OXIDE finish coats. Warranties can be 25 years or longer.

Eloquence Engineered Wood - 3 shades available
Eloquence Engineered Wood – 3 shades available

  ENGINEERED HARDWOOD FLOORS

  • 1 day installation
  • Any room in your home – even on concrete
  • Huge variety of species and finishes
  • Amazing durability
  • Fantastic Warranties
Pemberton Engineered Wood - 4 shades available
Pemberton Engineered Wood – 4 shades available

And that’s the INSIDE SCOOP from Uncle Steve.

ADVANCED INTERIORS, INC. provides quality Engineered Wood products from more than 20 different manufacturers.             FREE ESTIMATES 913-393-1985

ARE YOU GIFTED?

This guy is NOT a gifted DIYer.

Are you gifted? Were you the kid who would tear apart an alarm clock just to see how it worked and then, actually put it back together? Can you read a French cookbook and fearlessly try a new recipe when important dinner guests are coming?

Or do you change a lamp bulb and then can’t get the lamp shade back on?.

        NOT SUPER GIFTED? GO WITH A FULL SERVICE FLOORING COMPANY.      

MATERIALS

You can go to local home centers and hardware stores to purchase many of the products you want for a DIY project. Ask yourself this: “Am I buying what is BEST or am I buying what is AVAILABLE?” Professional trades folk buy from distributers and often refuse to install materials provided by the customer. The PRO needs to be confident that the materials are of the quality needed for the job. One common issue that many PROS have learned the hard way is that customer provided materials (ceramic tile, for example) do not lay flat or that they do not match up size-wise from one piece to the next. A PRO cares about little details that invariably lead to extra prep work and time wasted culling the product. That will cost YOU money. If a PRO does agree to install customer-provided materials there will probably be NO WARRANTY on the installation.

PROPER PREPARATION

Any home is only as stable as it’s foundation. Any floor covering is only as stable as the flooring structure on which it is installed. Depending on the particular floor covering installation, some things that real PROs care about and know how to address include: • Structural integrity • High spots and low spots • Age of the home • Relative Humidity (RH) in the home • Moisture Content (MC) of the concrete floor, wood subfloor, and the product to be installed • General surface preparation • And more.

Notice how the PRO spent a lot of time prepping this floor to insure that the new vinyl would lay smoothly and adhere to the surface.

Pro vs. DIY - Vinyl Floor

TOOLS OF THE TRADE

Watching a PRO install flooring products may give the false impression that anyone can do it. One reason the PRO may make it look easy is having the RIGHT TOOLS and TECHNIQUE. Both have been acquired over years of education and experience. Most DIYers do not have the right tools. Just buying the tools does not equal the skillful and safe use of those tools.

A PRO wood floor installer has a boat load of professional quality tools AND knows how to use them.

Pro vs. DIY - Wood Floor Tools

A PRO tile installer uses some potentially dangerous tools, like this WET SAW.  Yes, it has water in it. And a very sharp, fast blade.

Pro vs. DIY - Tile Wet Saw

A PRO carpet installer knows how to properly POWER STRETCH your carpet.

Pro vs. DIY - Carpet Power Stretch

WARRANTY

Actual product warranties are provided by the manufacturer. Installation warranties should be provided by the installer. IMPROPER INSTALLATION OF PRODUCT WILL VOID THE MANUFACTURER’S WARRANTY.

Which one of these statements is true?:

A. If I install the product and a problem appears six months from now, I can count on a PRO to fix it?

B. If I directly hire an installer who does not show up on the job, I can easily find another right away.

C. If I deal with a reputable Flooring Sales & Installation company, that company will manage the entire job, including installation warranty work.

I think you realize that the correct answer is (C).

RESULTS

Overly ambitious DIY attempts can result in: • Personal injury • Warranty issues • Unexpected expenses • A ton of frustration. If you need flooring, relying on a PROFESSIONAL SALES & INSTALLATION PROVIDER is a really good idea. Be aware of the risks of counting on amateur acquaintances.

“If you think it’s too expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.”   NWFA (National Wood Flooring Association)

Advanced Interiors has the Product, Design Expertise, & Install Team.                   FREE ESTIMATES 913-393-1985

Fiber Facts

Nature's Own High Quality Renewable Fiber

Nature’s Own High Quality Renewable Fiber

Don’t be sheepish about answering this question:  Are you getting the right fiber?  You know how important it is to make thoughtful decisions about fiber in your dietary selections.  Well, how about fiber choices in your home, with your carpet, for example?  Just to keep things simple in this amazing edition of the Inside Scoop, let’s consider CARPET STYLE as appearance related and CARPET FIBER as ENDURANCE related.  The intent here is to compare your CARPET FIBER CHOICES.

FIBER CONSTRUCTION

The two most basic things that will impact fibers in general are how the fibers are constructed into a carpet and how the coloring becomes part of the fiber.

Fibers that are cut into relatively short links STAPLED into place to create a carpet.  Long strands of twisted fiber become BCF, or Bulk Continuous Fiber. BCF has the advantage of less PILLING, which is the appearance of little fuzzy stuff on your carpet, caused by friction. 

Fibers are colored either before they become fibers or after they become fibers.  That sounds weird, doesn’t it?  Look at it this way:  prepare a cake mix and put food coloring in the mix, then bake the cake.  It will come out of the oven the color that you chose.  In the fiber world this is called SOLUTION DYING.  The color is part of the fiber, not just the “icing”.  If the fiber is not (SD) or SOLUTION DYED, then it is like the icing on the cake.  Which would you prefer, fiber that is dyed in the solution or applied to the surface afterwards?

If the fiber is SOLUTIION DYED (SD) the color goes all the way through, just like a cake.
The color goes all the way through a SOLUTION DYED fiber.  Just like a cake.

TYPICAL FIBER TYPES

WOOL  Now do you see the relevance of the beautiful sheep photo.  I love wool and could not resist the sheepish comment and the photo of the half-sheared sheep.  After all, give the sheep credit for providing a wonderful, top quality renewable resource.  Wool is a premium carpet fiber.  Surprisingly, it has some natural flame-retardant and stain resistant characteristics.  It has a unique top quality feel and appearance and with proper maintenance its durability is top notch.  It is often used for carpets with decorative designs as well as smooth plush carpets.  

NYLON   Recommended as a high value product, nylon has a durability factor and feel that is tough to beat for the price.  It is hard to get a seasoned pro to disagree with the wisdom of choosing a nice quality nylon carpet.  New technology developments have brought about products, like SHAW’S ANSO NYLON, that offer the buyer a thinner fiber that can be constructed into a dense configuration that actually feels softer, yet has superior rebound and wear resistance.   

POLYPROPYLENE (P.E.T.)   OK, you are wondering so here it is:  P.E. T. = Polyethylene Terephthalate.  Now, that’s out of the way.  Poly fiber is comparatively less pricey than either wool or nylon.  It is made from recycled soda bottles or bottle caps (some say bottles only, some say caps only) and that feature is very attractive to the environmentally conscientious community.  It offers a special brightness to its color pallet and great stain resistant attributes. 

OLEFIN   This is an interesting product.  It is polypropylene, another oil-based product; resists moisture, holds color nicely, looks good, stands up to a lot of things, even bleach.  On the down-side, it does not quite have the ability to rebound quickly from footsteps that nylon has. It is best applied in areas that are not highly trafficked.

This chart shows a comparison between NYLON and POLY products.  Triexta is a proprietary name. “Recovery” refers to the relative fiber “Rebound” after pressure.  Set the technicalities aside, it is clear that even though the poly products have improved performance greatly over the years, nylon is still an industry performance leader by some measures.  But, at the right price and for the right application, poly fiber can be a tremendous value and may be the right choice for you.

"Compression" is like your foot pressure.   PTT Triexta is a proprietary brand name.
1.BCF Nylon  2.SD BCF Nylon  3.SD PET Texture  4.SD PET Twist  5.Triexta   

SO WHAT’S THE POINT?

Carpet fiber is one thing to consider when selecting your next carpet.  How the carpet is made, where it is going to be installed, who is going to install it, budget, and more.  Yet, FIBER is the one thing that buyers frequently know the least about.  That doesn’t mean that it is all that complicated or that you need to be an expert.  A little knowledge can go a long way in helping you make a SMART, VALUE-BASED, BUYING DECISION.

And that’s the INSIDE SCOOP from UNCLE STEVE.

Advanced Interiors carries these QUALITY carpet lines AND MORE.
Advanced Interiors carries these QUALITY carpet lines AND MORE.

ADVANCED INTERIORS, INC.     FREE IN-HOME ESTIMATE     913-393-1985

When a CUP is TOO MUCH

Cupping - Coffee Cup

Go ahead, have a CUP for PEAK performance.  Many of us enjoy a morning cup of coffee or a special concoction at our favorite bistro.  There is another type of CUP that is a real problem and early summer is the perfect time of year for it to occur.  And the PEAK that I am talking about is not about prime time performance. Grab a cup of your fav and enjoy this edition of the Inside Scoop.

Hardwood floors are like a fine sponge. They absorb moisture both from the humid air in your home and from the subfloor beneath.  There are two key factors:

RH – Relative Humidity = % measurement of moisture in the air.

MC – Moisture Content = % measurement of moisture in an object, like hardwood.

PEAKING

If the RH rises, the MC will eventually catch up and perhaps equal the RH.  As MC increases, an object will be modified by weight ,or density, or shape, or bulk, or any combination of those identifiers. In the case of hardwood flooring with tight joints, swelling boards can push on each other, resulting in PEAKING.   

PEAKING - See all the PEAKS running the length of each board?  That is the result of HIGH MC in the hardwood.  Boards are expanding. The result is that they push against one another as well as CUP.
PEAKING – See all the PEAKS running the length of each board?
The HIGH MC is causing the hardwood boards to expand on the bottom edge..
The result is that they push against one another as well as CUP.

You might think that sanding the peaks down to level the floor and refinishing would solve the problem.  CAUTION  If the floor is still peaked when it is sanded, the MC is likely still higher than the RH. It takes longer for the wood to dry out than it does for the humidity to change, perhaps days, weeks, even months.  If you sand off the peaks while the MC is still high, when it eventually dries you will have  CROWNED boards arching across your floor.  And that’s not good.    

This floor was Cupped.  It was sanded while MC was still to high.  It looked great for a while, then it dried out and the bottom straightened out.   The top edges had already been sanded away.   RESULT:  A CROWN.
This board was taken from a PEAKED floor that had been sanded down while the MC was still too high. It looked great for a while, then it dried out fully and the bottom straightened out. The top edges had already been sanded away.
RESULT: A CROWN.

CUPPING

Now we are getting to your coffee cup.  Better yet, think of your saucer.  CUPPING refers to a concave dip running the length of a board. When hardwood flooring is installed it is nice and flat, each board carefully selected and placed.  Our dreaded culprit, MC, enters the picture in just the right manner and a great looking floor becomes a disappointment.    

End View:  CUPPED BOARD with HIGH MC.
End View: CUPPED BOARD with HIGH MC.

Moisture entering the bottom side of a hardwood floor slowly “moisturizes” the boards from the bottom up.  So, while the bottom side is increasing MC and expanding, the top side is drier and stable. The result: that long concave dip running the length of the board, aka CUP.   How does moisture come up from below the hardwood? Several ways are possible. 

  • During the installation the subfloor may have a high MC.  The hardwood is a slow-acting sponge, remember? That’s why it is important for installers to check the MC of the subfloor as well as the hardwood that will be installed. Ideally, the MC of the two will be very close. 
  • If the hardwood is being installed on a second or third floor and the ceiling below is not insulated, a possible moisture source is at hand. That is because the lower room may be warmer and the ceiling not insulated. Warm air colliding with cool air may result in condensation.  
  • Plumbing lines or AC ducts directly below the floor can bleed off condensation that slowly increases the MC in some areas.
  • Poorly insulated crawl spaces or sill plates can leak moisture directly below the subfloor.
  • Any structural configuration that prevents warm air beneath the floor from being insulated from cooler air above the floor can cause condensation. Over time that condensation may very well seep into the subfloor and very gradually into the bottom of the hardwood flooring.

One reason to not panic about slightly cupped hardwood flooring is that once you take care of the MC issue by balancing RH and MC, the flooring is very likely to resume it’s original shape.  This does not happen overnight.  Give it a chance.  Don’t make rash decisions about refinishing.

End View:  This is the CUPPED board AFTER DRYING OUT.
End View: This is the same CUPPED board AFTER DRYING OUT.

PREVENTATIVE MEASURES

If you think that RH and MC sound a little technical, just look at it this way: Controlling AIR & WATER in your home is the best way to prevent serious hardwood flooring issues. 

  • Maintain your home gutter and downspout system.  Be sure that the downspouts drain the water forcefully away from the structure.
  • If you have a basement check your sill plates for air leaks.  Insulate as needed to stop unwanted air seepage.
  • Ask your preferred, professional HVAC maintenance company to keep your unit in good working order.  A well-maintained unit can help stabilize the RH in your home. 
  • If you notice a cupping or peaking problem with your existing hardwood floor, don’t rush for a sand and refinish solution.  Call for a professional opinion.
  • Rely on professional installers to install new hardwood flooring.  A professional installer will:
    • Acclimate the new wood prior to installation.
    • Conduct appropriate MC readings with a professional meter.
    • Apply moisture barrier if appropriate.
    • Install the hardwood properly and WARRANTY the installation.

SO WHAT’s THE INSIDE SCOOP?

AIR & WATER are two of the most amazing things about our planet. They can keep us alive, provide wonderful means for entertainment, or cause unbelievable problems.  The key is to take charge. In your home that means control RH and MC and choose PROFESSIONALS WHO YOU TRUST.  

And that’s the INSIDE SCOOP from Uncle Steve.    

ADVANCED INTERIORS, INC. is your HARDWOOD FLOORING EXPERT. www.advancedinteriorsinc.com      FREE IN-HOME ESTIMATE 913-393-1985   

Graphics: National Wood Flooring Association

Save a penny … lose a buck !

“If you think it’s too expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.”  

It is our nature to get the best buy for our buck.  There is nothing wrong with the quest.  When it comes to our home we want quality improvements and we still want to put the kids through college.  A comfortable family room and a vacation next year would be nice. The key to making sensible, affordable, lasting home improvements is no big secret. Knowledge is the key.

  • Envision what you want.
  • Learn about product options.
  • Assemble your home improvement team.

Think about those three things as you follow along in this article. I think it will make perfectly good sense to you. 

THE PRO vs. THE AMATEUR

Through many years in the field you would be surprised how many alleged “designers”, “interior decorators”, and “experts” are next door coffee pals or close cousins who happened to have purchased a carpet at Chubby’s Carpet Fire Sale a couple years ago and laid it (almost) wall-to-wall in the basement.  Believe me, whether you project includes carpet, tile, hardwood, stone, or whatever, there is plenty involved beyond the obvious. 

Genuine professionals bring knowledge and skills to the table that save you time, money and aggravation in the long run.  The key is to find the pros that YOU trust.

These examples show how a PRO can make a positive difference in your project, whether it is your existing home or if you are building a new home.

CARPET

A PROFESSIONAL CARPET ADVISOR can explain and show you the difference between carpet fibers, pad qualities, manufacturer warranties, and provide ACCURATE materials estimates.  Remember that simply measuring the square footage of a home or area to be carpeted does not equal the amount of materials needed.  Simply measuring that yourself does not yield an accurate estimate.  The PRO will learn your general preferences and what you have in mind for budget.

Then, affordable options can be presented and the appropriate PROFESSIONAL INSTALLATION CREW can be assigned. Some people do not realize that a product warranty and an installation warranty are two different things.  Stick with the licensed professional installer, not a fly by night amateur. 

HARD TILE AND STONE PRODUCTS

A PROFESSIONALTILE ADVISOR can explain and show you the differences between Ceramic, Porcelain, and Stone tiles.  By that I mean how they wear, the best areas to use each of them and NOT to use them, how to maintain each of them, and what to consider about your environment before you consider the tile option.  The PRO will advise you honestly about GRANITE COUNTERTOPS.  For example, granite is a very low maintenance countertop.  My gosh, it is already thousands of years old !  Quality providers have already sealed the microscopic pours it when it is polished (that means ground to a high sheen) so it is a myth that granite countertops require you to reseal them frequently.  Well, I guess that if I were trying to sell a truck load of magic sealer I might try to … oh never mind, I just couldn’t do it. Granite countertops are great. ALL tile products require a flat, solid surface to insure a quality installation. 

That’s where a PROFESSIONAL INSTALLER comes in.  The base on which the tile is installed is critical, whether it is a wall or a floor.  No flexibility and tolerances, in some cases, of an 1/8” over 10 lin. ft. is not for an amateur.  And we haven’t even laid a piece of tile yet.

FINAL NOTE

I started this blog thinking that I did not want to turn it into a lengthy, detailed product knowledge article.  I think that I accomplished that much.  I was thinking of the numerous times over the years I have talked to well-intended  folks who tackled projects on their own and ended up needing professional help to fix the mistakes and finish the project.  Worse yet, are the folks who have dealt with unscrupulous sales people or contractors that took money, gave them horrible advice, sold them lousy products at high prices, did lousy work then disappeared, leaving the home in dangerous repair even with the roof open or hot electrical wires exposed.  It is amazing to me that this happens, but it does.  

FOLKS, BE SMART

If you find a grocer that you trust, keep going to that grocer.  If you find a dentist whom you trust, stay with that dentist.  If you find a plumber whom you trust, stick with that plumber.  And when you find the professional full-service home improvement company that you trust … stick with it. 

SPEND A DOLLAR … SAVE TWO DOLLARS.  Find your trusted professional.

And that’s the INSIDE SCOOP from Uncle Steve.

Advanced Interiors    913-393-1985    FREE IN-HOME ESTIMATES www.advancedinteriorsinc.com  

Stop the Big Stink

That odor you noticed may not be what you think. Don’t rush to judgment about your kids room cleaning habits, although there may be some truth to it.  With this beautiful spring weather we are blessed with the moisture we need to freshen our lawns, clean our outdoor air, and grow our starter crops.  Unfortunately, it begins messing up the air inside our homes. THAT may be the beginning of the BIG STINK. More than annoying, that stink may be a danger signal for a health issue. So pay attention to it.

Stink - Nose Holding Lady

During the Midwest winter months we operate our furnaces and that dries up moisture in the air.  So we need to add moisture, or HUMIDIFY our air, in order to keep our homes and belongings, even ourselves in good health. When Spring comes along the moisture content in our air can easily exceed healthy amounts. That’s when we need to DEHUMIDIFY the air in our homes.

MOISTURE + DARK + NO AIR = MILDEW

Excessive moisture in your home air can cause MILDEW.  People often think that mildew is only caused after a plumbing leak occurs or when a tub/shower is not properly maintained.  Indeed, those are common causes, but mildew loves damp dark places in general. That is not only a nasty looking and smelly problem, it is a genuine health issue.

SOME MILDEW PROBLEMS ARE OBVIOUS

This is the most common and easy to spot mildew problem. 1. Remove the caulk 2. Clean the heck out of everything 3. Replace the caulk.
This is the most common and easy to spot mildew problem. 1. Remove the caulk 2. Clean the heck out of everything 3. Replace the caulk.
Typical tub/shower mildew cleaning solution: ONE part bleach to FOUR parts water. Protect your hands, eyes, and clothing.  Be careful where it might splatter.
Mildew cleaning solution: ONE part bleach to FOUR parts water.
Protect your hands, eyes, and clothing. Be careful where it might splatter.
Yes, some caulk products are worth the extra $$$.  "Mold-Free" is good.
Yes, some caulk products are worth the extra $$$. “Mold-Free” is good.

SOME MILDEW PROBLEMS ARE NOT SO OBVIOUS

Mildew and Mold does not stop at the wall and baseboard.  It will sneak into your pad and carpet.   Cleaning is NOT likely to resolve either the HEALTH or the ODOR issue.
Mildew and Mold does not stop at the wall and baseboard. It will sneak into your pad and carpet.Cleaning is NOT likely to resolve either the HEALTH or the ODOR issue. Plan on replacing the carpet and pad. It will never be the same.

 

Cleaning mildewed sheetrock is NOT an option.  Cut it out, then REPLACE it.
Cleaning mildewed sheetrock is NOT an option. Cut it out, then REPLACE it.

HOME VENTILATION

Proper HOME VENTILATION is essential. To find out about HOW to ventilate your home and HOW MUCH ventilation your home needs, check out these these previous INSIDE SCOOP articles:

  • May 8, 2013 – CHUCK THE HUMIDITY
  • September 22, 2014 – VENT YOUR FRUSTRATION HERE

DEHUMIDIFIERS

DEHUMIDIFIERS actually remove moisture from the air.  Remember that this is a literal and physical action.  Water is pulled from the air and collected in a reservoir. What does that mean to you?  Well first it means that there is less water in your air.  Secondly, it means that either a drain line will discard that water or you will need to empty the reservoir yourself.  If you choose a PORTABLE DEHUMIDIFIER, plan on a little upkeep. 

This ROOM SIZE dehumidifier serves it's purpose.   It will shut off automatically when the reservoir is full.
This ROOM SIZE dehumidifier serves it’s purpose.
It will shut off automatically when the reservoir is full.
A dehumidifier like this is capable of working on more than one room, but perhaps not a large home.
A dehumidifier like this is capable of working on more than one room, but perhaps not a large home.

 

This whole house dehumidifier is installed in-line with your duct work. Relatively expensive, very efficient, and convenient with a drain.
This whole house dehumidifier is installed in-line with your duct work.
Relatively expensive, very efficient, and convenient with a drain.

 

If your rec-room floods you may need a company to bring in a PRO-DEHUMIDIFIER for about a month to dry out everything.
If your rec-room floods you may need a company to bring in
a PRO-DEHUMIDIFIER for about a month to dry out everything.

QUICK TIPS

  • Use AC consistently, no wide swings in temp settings.
  • Change your furnace filter monthly (yes, your furnace filter).
  • Use slow moving oscillating fans and ceiling fans to keep the air moving.
  • Discreetly place a bowl of baking soda (like Arm & Hammer) in each room monthly.
  • Discard any damp cardboard or paper products.
  • Launder mildewed clothing with bleach or discard them (they don’t get better with age).

And that’s the INSIDE SCOOP from Uncle Steve. 

Is it time to replace your CARPET or build a beautiful TILE TUB/SHOWER? Call Advanced Interiors, Inc. 913-393-1985 for your FREE ESTIMATE.

Worldly Woody Wisdom

Woody 1

Don’t you just love that old Woody? You do know that a Woody is a car, right?  Those old cars actually had wood on them, not only on the exterior, but on the interior. I am pretty sure that WWW.com means Worldly Woody Wisdom.  Can you tell that I’m a wood fan?

I have been professionally involved in the building trades for nearly 40 years and I am learning every day.  I like being around really smart, talented, generous professionals who take pride in their work.  Those are the ones who share their expertise.  I learn from smart professionals every day.  I trust them.

“If you think it’s too expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.”    from the NWFA training manual

I learn in other ways, too.  Recently I completed a LIVE instructor-led course with the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA).  It is designed for professionals and, as you might expect, professionals from all over the country participated, each of us at our own expense.  WE are the types of people you can depend on for expertise.

National Wood Flooring Association
National Wood Flooring Association

Naturally, much of the course was technical.  Also, chit-chat during breaks and a few comments during the course reminded me of some not-so-technical things that “experts” sometimes forget to share with homeowners who have new wood flooring.  So, I thought that this might be a good way to share some of that “not-so-technical” wood flooring stuff.  I think you will like this Worldly Woody Wisdom.

NOT-SO-TECHNICAL STUFF … AREA RUGS & WOOD FLOORS

Area Rugs protect the wood finish - Sunlight fades it.
Area Rugs protect the wood finish – Sunlight fades it.
  • You may place an area rug on a wood floor where the sun shines in. When you remove it a year or so down the road, you will clearly see the difference between where the rug was and where the sun faded the exposed wood.  That is not stoppable. 
  • FELT is the best cushion beneath an area rug.  Other types may harm a wood finish.
  • Delay laying down an area rug after wood is finished:at least 7 (preferably 14) days for water-based finish and at least 14 (preferably 30 )days for oil-based finish.

NOT-SO-TECHNICAL STUFF … TAKING CARE OF YOUR WOOD FLOOR

  • If you clean wood furnishings with a spray cleaner, spray into the cleaning cloth.  Otherwise, spray residue will sprinkle onto your floor.
  • It would be difficult to find a manufacturer who would recommend steam cleaning a wood floor.  Something soft and dry to pick up dust is usually a much better idea.
  • Same goes for the old vinegar and water trick.  There is something to be said about that, don’t you think? Building materials centers carry reputable wood floor cleaning products in case you really need one.
  • HIGH HEEL shoes will damage a wood floor.  ‘Nuff said.
  • Keep a good quality door mat by the door to be sure that sand or other gritty materials do not track onto your beautiful floor.
YES ... High Heeled shoes will damage hardwood floors.
YES … High Heeled shoes will damage hardwood floors.

NOT-SO-TECHNICAL STUFF … STAINS & FINISHES

  • Before your installer/finisher leaves,  be sure that you have documentation of the STAIN TYPE & FORMULA.  Also, document the FINISH BRAND, TYPE & SHEEN.
  • Oil-based stains are more likely to show water splash spots than water-based stains. Consider this when selecting your stain for a kitchen wood floor.
  • Dark stains on wood are beautiful, indeed.  They are more like to show scratches, footprints, and dust than medium tone stains.
  • When you select your stain, your installer will apply a sample or two on the raw wood for you to see.  This is the best way to make your stain selection.  Just remember that there will be many steps that follow, so by the time the entire process is complete it will NOT look exactly like this sample.  Every board’s grain takes the stain differently and there will be 2 to 5 finish coats applied, depending on what you have decided to do.  Still, this process is the most effective way for you to make your stain selection.  Once you make your selection the process moves forward non-stop, with no turning back.
You can select your stain when your installer applies a few option to your RAW wood.  Once you make your selection there are many steps before completion. The FINISHED product cannot be identical, but this is the best method.
You can select your stain when your installer applies a few option to your RAW wood. Once you make your selection there are many steps before completion.
The FINISHED product cannot be identical, but this is the best method.

And that’s the INSIDE SCOOP from Uncle Steve.

Advanced Interiors PROFESSIONALS:    FREE ESTIMATES 913-393-1985

Hardwood Refinish – Engineered Wood – Hardwood – Prefinished Wood & MORE.

It’s All in the Details

 

WOW ! That looks great.  But does it run?

WOW ! That looks great. Does it run?

Have you heard about Advanced Interior’s ADVANCED HOME DETAILING PROGRAM? Here are two things the program does NOT include:     

A.  It does not include cleaning your car. 

B.  It does not include cleaning your house.       SURPRISED?

It’s great to have a clean vehicle, but I don’t clean mine. I have not washed my vehicles in years. I pay to have them washed.   I also don’t clean my house.  I am fortunate to have a professional cleaning service come in and take care of that for me.  I am so grateful that I can have those services.  Fantastic !!! But, make no mistake, those are NOT detailing services in the sense that I am going to describe.

The Advanced Interior’s ADVANCED HOME DETAILING PROGRAM is NOT a cleaning service. It is a REPAIR – REPLACE - REMEDY program to help you get the details of your home in good shape.

Nasty? Yes ... Ruined? No ... This baseboard, floor, and wall can be brought back to life.
Nasty? Yes … Ruined? No … This baseboard, floor, and wall can be brought back to life. Just cleaning won’t get the job done.

Have you looked around the house closely lately?  Or are you getting ready to sell your home? Have you checked for DETAILS? If you have lived in your home for a few years the odds are that a number of things need to be either REPAIRED, REPLACED, or REMEDIED in some manner well beyond cleaning.  These things may be more noticeable to people coming into your home than to you because you have become comfortable with the way things are.

REPAIR Example: Cabinet doors don’t close properly?  Advanced can REPAIR that.

REPLACE Example: Electrical outlet not working?  Advanced can REPLACE  that.

REMEDY Example:  Mildew around your shower base?  Advanced can REMEDY that.

Replacing a cracked window pane can be tricky and risky.
Replacing a cracked window pane can be tricky and risky.

The Advanced professional team can help get your home ready for potential buyer’s eyes or simply make it better for you.  They will come in with a DETAIL CHECKLIST and do a walk through to determine what interior fix-ups can have a cumulatively positive impact on your home. Little things count, you know.  For example, even though you have not paid much attention to it, a potential home buyer may be put off by the burned out light bulb or single lower wattage light bulb in that chandelier.  Or a stubborn entry door that may be old hat to you could raise a red flag to a potential buyer.  Keep piling on and before you know it your potential buyer has exited the premises, never to be seen again.

What can the Advanced Interior’s  ADVANCED HOME DETAILING PROGRAM do for you?  This plus MORE:

  • replace/repair faucets

  • replace cabinet hardware

  • caulk/re-caulk

  • rejuvenate grout

  • replace/touch up woodwork

  • replace shower/tub doors

  • paint walls/ceilings

  • replace or install electrical outlets

  • replace smoke alarms

  • basic window pane replacement

  • lockset replacement

  • all flooring needs and MUCH MORE.

Matching all of the Interior Door locksets is a good, affordable idea.
Matching all of the Interior Door locksets is a good, affordable idea.

REMEMBER: The Advanced Interior’s ADVANCED HOME DETAILING PROGRAM is not a cleaning program.  It really is “all in the details”.

And that’s the INSIDE SCOOP from Uncle Steve.

Advanced Interiors, Inc.   FREE ESTIMATES   913-393-1985

It’s Good to be Square

“Wow, that is amazing stuff.  I bet it will last forever.  Too bad I can’t afford it. ” 

CARPET TILE = CHOICE & CREATIVITY
CARPET TILE = CHOICE & CREATIVITY

There was a time when I might walk into a commercial building, look at the carpet and say that to myself.  I don’t say that any more.  CARPET TILE is usually SQUARE and often used in commercial applications.  Although once generally a bit pricey for most residential uses, that is no longer the case. Carpet mills, such as Shaw, Beaulieu and others, manufacture quality carpet tiles that are perfect for residential use and quite affordable. 

BENEFITS OF CARPET TILE

  • Various colors or patterns can be mixed to create unique flooring patterns.
  • Single pattern tiles can be turned perpendicular to one another to create an overall flooring pattern.
  • Carpet tiles in extremely heavy traffic areas can be swapped with carpet tiles in other areas, perhaps from the closet, for example, if they start to show wear.
  • Product waste during installation is likely to be less than that of broadloom carpet. 

WHERE TO INSTALL CARPET TILE

Carpet tile can be installed in any room.  Most people still prefer broadloom plush carpets in their living rooms, but if you are the creative type, there are no prohibitive rules.  Here are just a few possibilities in your home that can be both PRACTICAL and CREATIVE.  Think about it.

FAMILY ROOM: Enhance the mood of your family room with relaxing, warm color patterns.

FAMILY ROOM - Warm, relaxing, and inviting.
FAMILY ROOM – Warm, relaxing, and inviting.

INFANT ROOM:  Bright and joyful colors that are easy to keep clean … who wouldn’t like that?

BABY ROOM - Soft, bright, easy to clean.
BABY ROOM – Soft, bright, easy to clean.

EXERCISE ROOM:  Tough, long lasting, and available in styles that look like they belong there!

EXERCISE ROOM - Tough & unique, like you !
EXERCISE ROOM – Tough & unique, like you !

PLAY ROOM:  Colorful, inviting, and very helpful with sound reduction.

PLAY ROOM - What kid wouldn't like this?  Heck, I like it.
PLAY ROOM – What kid wouldn’t like this? Heck, I like it.

Residential demand for CARPET TILE has grown as mills have produced the products suitable for residential consumption.  Advanced Interiors has a great selection of carpet tiles and experienced installers for both COMMERCIAL and RESIDENTIAL applications.  I ask you to do this: BEWARE of SUPER-DUPER CLOSEOUT SALES and gimmicky promotions. 

And that’s the INSIDE SCOOP from Uncle Steve.

Stick with the PROS at Advanced Interiors, Inc.  Quality Products, Professional Installation, Expert Support.       FREE IN-HOME ESTIMATE:  913-393-1985