Installing hardwood flooring? Here’s a DIY guide for a seamless installation – Heartland Newsfeed

Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood floors have become a popular flooring option these days. The reason for this is, it not only looks elegant when installed but it also doesn’t need much maintenance. If you are planning to remodel your floor or have chosen hardwood flooring for your new home, knowing what to expect will help. Read on to have a fair idea about hardwood floor installation. The first and foremost thing to do is to hire the right experts for the job. 

Hiring an installer

When hiring a hardwood floor installer there are a few things to keep in mind. 

Licensing and insurance: The foremost consideration to cross-check whether the installer you have shortlisted is licensed and insured. 

Reference check: Once you are happy with all the other aspects of the installer, ask for references. You can understand their quality of work and also get first-hand information about their competency. You can also research online for customer reviews of the hardwood installer if they have an online business. Based on the feedback you get online you can decide to hire the individual/company. 

Warranty on installations: After learning that the installer is licensed, next, enquire about the warranty that is provided for work. This is vital as floor installation involves spending a considerable amount of money. 

Turnaround Time: Enquire about the turnaround time to finish the job. Specifically, check about the workers’ day off or if there will be days where work will not be done. That will help you to plan accordingly. 

Discuss all options

Hardwood flooring comes in many choices and it is essential for you to know all the options so that you can make the right decisions. This is where you need professional wood floor installation services. Before the start of the installation, it is important to get a few flooring samples so that you can check if it goes with your home. Use those samples against the cabinets, other floors and see if it blends. Talk to the installer on your choices and ask suggestions so that both of you are on the same page. Do not hesitate to ask questions and suggestions on how to get the shades you want. Many hardwood showrooms apart from providing various choices also do a custom mix to give their customers the shade they desire. The installers can also add decorative borders, inlays, medallions, etc. on the floor for a custom floor design. 

Prepping the room

Before the actual installation starts the room has to be prepared. As much as possible, remove all the furniture and furnishings so that nothing gets damaged during the installation. Some installers also ask wall-hangings and drapery to be removed so that it does not hamper with the work and also to prevent accidental damages. 

Installing the hardwood floor

The most important part of the whole process is the installation part. As planks are put on the floor there will be noise and traffic as the crew will get busy installing. The wood planks are manufactured in such a way that it sits perfectly. After the planks are placed, to make it appear smooth it is sanded. During the sanding process, there can be dust all over the house unless there is a dustless sanding system that can contain the spread and leaves no mess. 

To make the hardwood flooring look beautiful, it needs to be stained and refinished. Staining makes the floor look unique and fabulous. After staining, the floor is left to dry. Once dried, it needs multiple coats to ensure it gets the right finish. The hardwood floor is buffed and vacuumed to remove any dust in-between each coating. Choosing a quick-drying, safe, durable and environmental-friendly top-coat is recommended. Top-coats come in various shades ranging from low-luster to high-gloss finish or anything in-between. The quality of the topcoat decides how long the flooring looks good so always insist on the best.

Using the floor

After the finishing is done, the floor should not be used for 2 to 3 hours. After this period, people can walk on it with stockings. If you have pets it is recommended that they are not allowed for a couple of days as the topcoat can get chipped. The entire flooring takes about 7 to 10 days to get fully done. Furniture should be moved only after 10 days to ensure there are no damages to the flooring. 

Hardwood flooring not only looks stunning but adds great value to your home provided it is installed properly. Hire a qualified professional to install the hardwood floors so that your floors look chic and elegant.

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Here’s How to Pick the Best Energy Efficient Windows

Replacement Windows

are a great way to connect us to the outdoors from the comfort of our homes, no matter how small the room might be. Windows that are not installed correctly or that are not energy efficient can cause our energy bills to skyrocket because of either letting heat into our home in the summer or letting heat out of our home in the winter.

This is why it is important to shop around for the best energy-efficient windows. Keep reading to learn more and to help you make an educated decision while you are window shopping.

View dynamic glass provides a perfect solution for those that are looking to save money on electricity but still enjoy all the benefits that come with natural light. If you were not aware natural light improves eyestrain, reduces headaches, and helps alleviate drowsiness.

These windows adjust the tint levels on the windows based on glare, heat, and daylight. The windows can also be tinted on demand from a mobile device or by creating schedules for each window.

If you want true control and lower electricity bills then installing smart windows in your home is the way to go.

Double or Triple Pane Windows

Having windows that have two panes of glass will help with keeping the natural elements outside. They can help even in cold winters and in intense hot summers. A triple pane window option will give you three panes instead of two providing even more insulation.

If you opt for this option make sure that the windows are properly installed. No matter how expensive and how many panes a window has if the installer does not do a good job, the new windows will not be as energy-efficient. If you notice your window installer using too much sealant or expanding foams to make the window fit well, this is not a good sign.

Foams and sealants are not waterproof, which can cause issues in the future.


Two of the most important ratings you want to take into consideration include the U-factor and the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient. The U-factor will tell you how well the window will insulate your home because this rating measures the rate of the heat transfer.

The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient will tell you how well the window will block the heat that is caused by the sunlight. It does this by measuring the energy transmitted from the sunlight.

Ready to Buy the Best Energy Efficient Windows for Your Home?

Now that you have learned several options above of some of the best energy-efficient windows in the market, it’s time to go window shopping. Choose the best windows for your home after you weigh your options and take your budget into consideration.

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The post Here’s How to Pick the Best Energy Efficient Windows appeared first on urdesignmag.

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How to Set the Stage For Outdoor Living With Scenic Doors?

outdoor living

Embracing the outdoors and making them a part of your home have been popular trends in recent years. There’s a good reason for that when the weather is nice there is nothing better than getting outside and enjoying it. The best way to do this is to have friends around and blend the inside of your home with the outside.

But, in colder weather, the right scenic doors can actually make you feel like you’re outside, even when you’re not.

You just need to learn how to set the stage and find a supplier of great entrance doors.

Widen The Opening

The first step is to look at how you will be moving from your home into the yard. You need to make the gap as wide as possible, this will help if you have a lot of visitors and will help you to feel like your outside even when the weather isn’t good enough to be outside.

You may even be able to simply sit inside and appreciate the night sky.

You’ll need to consider if it’s structurally possible to remove walls to make the entrance larger than it currently is. It won’t just make the outside feel like it’s inside, it will also transform the look and feel of your home, creating a modern, open plan, and desirable house.

Maximize Glass

Having created as large an opening as possible you need to be thinking about glass. Ideally, the entire opening can be opened with a set of glass doors. This maximizes light into your home and makes it feel like your outside.

If you can’t find or afford doors to fill the entire gap then make sure the rest of it is made up of sheets of toughened glass. It will help to retain the same effect. 

Choose The Right Doors

The right doors can make a big difference to the look and feel of your home and the interaction between inside and out. The doors need to be primarily glass but the frame needs to match your home and your outside space.

There are a huge array of glass doors to choose from, from folding to French and even sliding doors. All can look good in the right situation. You just have to decide which suits you and your home best.

The Deck

Don’t forget that to really set the stage for outdoor living you need to design a great outdoor space. Wooden decking or patios are the most popular option but you can choose any type of floor. You’ll need a railing, even if you’re at ground level. You should also invest n some permanent decorations around the deck area and you’ll need to create a lighting system, this will allow you to stay outside until late in the night, enjoying the perfect integration of inside and outside in your home.

Don’t forget that your outside area needs seating and tables, if you entertain a lot it’s a good idea to make the area large enough to support several smaller tables and chairs, allowing people to relax or char as they wish.

Your place will soon be the one that no one wants to leave. 

The post How to Set the Stage For Outdoor Living With Scenic Doors? appeared first on Mom Blog Society.

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Don’t Make These Mistakes When Designing Your Outdoor Living Space

outdoor living

Outdoor living spaces are one of the hottest trends in home design. In one recent survey of 500 architecture firms, 70 percent revealed that the number of requests for outdoor living spaces, including kitchens and living areas, had increased in the last year. Some real estate experts even predict that the outdoor living space will follow the lead of the open concept “great room,” which started as a trend and has since become the standard for most new home construction.

While the notion of being able to spend time outside in comfort and style is appealing to many homeowners and buyers, the fact is that not all outdoor living designs and ideas are good ones. Adding a well-thought out outdoor space to your home can potentially increase its value, but there’s no guarantee that it will. You can increase the likelihood of a healthy return on investment, though, if you avoid these common mistakes.

Over Improving for the Neighborhood

With any home improvement project, you have to walk a fine line between making the right improvements and over-improving for your neighborhood. If you over improve – adding high end appliances, for instance – you run the risk of pricing your home out of the market, and will likely take a loss. The same principle applies to outdoor living spaces. How much value an outdoor living space bring to your home depends in some part on what the Joneses are doing. If you live in a market where homebuyers expect features like outdoor kitchens, not building one will hurt you when it’s time to sell. But if you live in a neighborhood where outdoor spaces are less elaborate, and limited to a firepit and deck, adding a full kitchen and living area won’t get you the return you want.

Not Considering Light

Outdoor spaces are meant to be used both during the day and in the evening, so lighting is a key concern. When designing the space, consider the angle of the sun and how it will affect usage during the day. If the sun is constantly beating down on your space, without any shade, you may not get much use from it during the height of summer. By the same token, if you position your outdoor space so it’s primarily shaded, it may be too cool in the spring and fall. Your design should find balance between the extremes, and use awnings, umbrellas, pergolas or other elements to maintain light and temperature.

For the evening, you need to think about how you’ll light the area so it is still usable. There are more options for outdoor lighting than ever before, so consider combining several styles to create the best ambiance. Don’t forget to use lighting designed for outdoor use though; indoor lighting can cause electrical shocks or fires, or simply won’t hold up to the elements.

Forgetting About Utilities

For a true outdoor living space, you’ll need electricity and running water – and using an extension cord and garden hose aren’t going to cut it. When planning your outdoor space, work with a contractor to ensure you have the right utility design in place and all of the necessary permits. Failing to plan ahead can result in a lot of frustration and headaches, and potentially damage to your home.

Forgetting About Maintenance

Like any other aspect of your home, your outdoor living space will require maintenance. You can limit some maintenance tasks by choosing the right materials and appliances to withstand the elements, but there are some tasks you can’t avoid. For example, when planning the layout, carefully consider how your Denver lawn mowing service will be able to care for the grass. Will they be able to reach all areas of the lawn, or have to work around hardscaping and furniture? With careful planning from the start, you’ll ensure your space continues to look great and function the way you want it to.

Ultimately, the best design for your outdoor living space is one that fits your lifestyle, climate, and the unique features of your yard. Choose only what you like, and don’t simply follow trends if they aren’t right for your space. Have a plan for what you want to do and where, and choose the best quality materials and furnishings you can afford. When you do, you’ll have an outdoor space that you can enjoy for many years, and will add some value to your property.

This content was originally published here.

Landscape Architect Visit: The California Life, Outdoor Living Room Included

outdoor living

When it came time to retire, Steven and Dee Dee Kim knew just what they wanted. They would leave their home in Tiburon, California near San Francisco, and build a traditional house with a swimming pool overlooking a golf course in the Santa Lucia Preserve in Carmel Valley, California. They found a five-acre lot in a stand of old-growth oak trees and assembled their dream team—landscape architect Bernard Trainor, architects Sagan Piechota, and contractors Stocker Allaire—to make it happen.

What they got was something different but even more desirable: a 4,400-square-foot modern house with a guest studio, an outdoor living room, and a glass walkway through the trees—and no one is missing the swimming pool. Principal architect Daniel Piechota walked us through the details:

Photography by Joe Fletcher courtesy of Sagan Piechota Architecture.

Carmel-Valley-Landscape-Mediterranean-outdoor-room-wood-floor-Garden-Piechota Above: An outdoor living room was one of the clients’ first requests; this one with plaster walls and a batu wood deck juts off the main, indoor living room. The daybed is from Danao Living.
Above: The Kims initially wanted the room screened to keep out bugs, but contractor David Stocker knew from experience that moving air does as good a job, so they installed a ceiling fan instead.
Carmel-Valley-Landscape-Mediterranean-Concrete-Garden-Piechota.-outdoor-roomjpg Above: Early on, the clients made clear that they liked houses with “long views.” When exploring the project site, Trainor and project architect Cameron Helland identified two main axes around which to arrange the house: the line running through the outdoor living room, shown here, and the axis marked by the entryway stair, shown below.
Carmel-Valley-Landscape-Mediterranean-concrete-slab-view-piechota Above: The view from the outdoor living room toward the golf course.

The clients initially wanted a house in a traditional architectural style, but they also gave the architects clues about how they wanted to live—close to nature, chiefly. “That necessitated a certain amount of glass,” said Piechota, “and a modern style is a better fit for that.”

Carmel-Valley-Landscape-Mediterranean-Concrete-Garden-Piechota Above: Trainor had three rows of drought-tolerant Cape rush (Chondropetalum) grass planted in the inner gravel courtyard behind the house.
Carmel-Valley-Landscape-wildflowers-stone-corten-Garden-Piechota Above: A verdant meadow beneath the oaks was largely destroyed during construction, and Trainor restored it. “It’s not as simple as putting some seed down,” said Piechota. “He’s a real master at bringing the landscape back to where it used to be.”
Carmel-Valley-Landscape-concrete-slab-wildflower-gravel-piechota Above: A patio with a fire pit overlooks the property. The homeowners first wanted a pool, but decided it would go unused. “It was a really good decision,” said Piechota. “In its absence, Bernard did something that was equally interesting.”
Above: The concrete and steel fire pit is Trainor’s design, and the chairs flanking it are 1966 Lounge Chairs by Richard Schultz.

Though the lot is on a slope, the architects “wrapped the house around the topography of the site instead of cutting into the hill.”

Carmel-Valley-house-hot-tub-wood-cedar-cladding-piechota Above: On the far side of the courtyard is a hot tub of Trainor’s design, clad in batu wood. In this shaded spot, Trainor planted giant chain fern (Woodwardia). The door beyond opens into the guest house.
Carmel-Valley-Landscape-Mediterranean-gravel-wood-exterior-Piechota Above: Trainor filled the courtyard with “Sierra tan” gravel, which has some brown tones but with an overall effect of gray. He chose it to temper the courtyard’s bright daylight sun. Just beyond sits a water feature of Trainor’s design, made of quartzite schist.
Carmel-Valley-Landscape-Mediterranean-Concrete-slab-Garden-Piechota Above: The view from the house’s “front door,” which borders the interior courtyard and disappears within a wall of glass.

Piechota and Trainor have worked together many times throughout the last decade and are highly collaborative. “Honestly, I don’t know how to design buildings that don’t relate to the landscape,” said Piechota. “And I appreciate working with someone who’s both in tune with the landscape and respectful of the architecture.”

Carmel-Valley-Landscape-wide-outdoor-stairs-Garden-Piechota Above: The Carmel Valley house is a case in point: “The roofs and walls interact in such a way that this house is really a framing device for the landscape,” said Piechota.
Carmel-Valley-Landscape-windows-piechota Above: An enclosed walkway over the staircase links the master bedroom to the main living space. The interior floors are white oak.

“What this house does best is that it has the feeling of being up in the air—in the trees—and simultaneously grounded on the courtyard side.” Often, said Piechota, a house offers one or the other.

Carmel-Valley-wood-walkway-concrete-slab-garden-piechota Above: Piechota clad the house in heavily knotted Western red cedar, satisfying his clients’ request for exterior character. (Luckily, the “lower” grade wood fit nicely into the budget.)

A gravel driveway rings the oak grove in front of the house. Here, Trainor chose a lighter, warmer color for the gravel—”California gold”—to brighten the front landscape and reflect back what little light filters through the trees.

Carmel-Valley-Landscape-wood-facade-deck-Garden-Piechota Above: A three-tiered deck of batu wood leads to a “dramatic arrival experience” beneath the glass and cedar bridge and up the staircase.
Carmel-Valley-wood-corten-exterior-Garden-Piechota Above: The architects used raw steel throughout the project, intending it to weather over time.

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Modern yet timeless Midwest cottage with indoor-outdoor living

outdoor living

This Midwest cottage designed by Peterssen/Keller Architecture in collaboration with Martha O’Hara Interiors is located in the charming Linden Hills neighborhood, of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Encompassing 5,518 square feet of living space, this four-bedroom, three-bathroom contemporary urban cottage easily accommodates a family’s active lifestyle. 

The vision for this dream home was to create a modern, yet timeless urban cottage that blurs the lines between indoors and out. Highlights include expansive rooms, get-away spaces for parents and kids, three fireplaces and a swimming pool. Designed to fit within the context of the neighborhood, this spacious two-story house blends traditional, gable-roofed cottage vernacular with exhilarating modern contrasts in texture and color. Continue below to see the rest of this fabulous home…

Project Team: Architecture: Peterssen/Keller Architecture | Builder: Reuter Walton Construction | Interior Designer: Martha O’Hara Interiors | Landscape: Travis Van Liere Studio

Key design elements include a double gable front facade with a steep roofline and dormers, a traditional front porch and columns, vertical nickel gap siding and metal panels, traditional wood-clad windows contrasted with sliding doors and a screened porch. On the interior, expansive living spaces are finished with a simple, understated materials palette including tongue and groove ceilings, Shaker-style cabinetry, and character-grade white oak flooring.

What We Love: This stunning Midwest cottage was designed to accommodate a family’s active lifestyle and their love of outdoor living. Two gabled pavilions offer living spaces for kids and adults to enjoy their privacy while the core of the home allows for quality family time. Traditional cottage vernacular blends with an open modern aesthetic, creating a stunning overall result.

Tell Us: What do you think of the overall design of this family home? If this was your home, are there any elements in the design that you would have done differently? Let us know in the Comments!

Note: Have a look at a couple of our favorite home tours featured here on One Kindesign from the portfolio of Peterssen/Keller Architecture: Modern twist on a traditional cottage style home in Minnesota and Gorgeous lakeside retreat in the Midwest gets inspiring renovation.

Above: This Midwest cottage forms a U-shape around the swimming pool and patio in the backyard. With its steeply pitched rooflines and classic white facade, the overall aesthetic exudes a modern-yet-traditional cottage motif.

Above: A three-season porch is located underneath one of the home’s pavilions. This space features Phantom retractable screens, a wood-burning fireplace and an array of seating arrangements for family living and entertaining.

Above: A glassed-in living room boasts white oak flooring and a baltic bluestone and blackened-steel fireplace. This helps to create an overall atmosphere that is casual and inviting.

Above: The master bathroom features custom white oak cabinetry, a marble steam shower with dual heads and a spa tub.

Photos: Spacecrafting / Troy Thies

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Hallway Hardwood Flooring Install Progress (Plus A Few Installation Tips From A DIYer) – Addicted 2 Decorating®

Hardwood Flooring

Note: If you’re not interested in flooring, please scroll down to the end of this post and read an important message from me!!

Yesterday, I got started on the installation of the hardwood flooring in the hallway, and I got about 2/3 of the way through. At one time, I had mentioned trying a herringbone pattern for the hallway, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I didn’t want to introduce yet another pattern in this small area.

My hallway bathroom is bright and colorful, the hallway has striped walls, and as I showed you yesterday, I want the guest bedroom to be fun and colorful as well. And I have something really interesting planned for the home gym. So I wanted to keep the hallway floor calm.

Plus, every time I come across this older picture of the hallway and music room, I just love how the flooring is all continuous through this area…

So I decided to keep it simple and install the new flooring just like the original flooring. Here’s the progress I made…

Some parts of this installation were a little tricky for this DIYer (although they would have been a breeze for a pro), so I wanted to share with you how I handled some of the tricky areas.

I started the install in the cased opening between the music room and the hallway. The tricky part of this area was that the exposed edge of the original flooring board was the groove side, and in order to start the install right there, I needed that edge to be a tongue edge.

In order to change directions in the middle of a hardwood flooring install, they make these hardwood splines that can be inserted into the groove to act as a tongue. This allows you to put two groove edges together securely.

So I glued this spline right into the groove of the original floor board…

And then I was able to add the new board, going in the right direction, with the groove edge against that original board…

With the tongue now going in the right direction, I could proceed with installing the rest of the boards.

I had about 18 inches of flooring installation before I reached the next challenging area — the doorway into the bathroom. I decided to use two pieces of hardwood flooring going across the doorway as a transition, and then butt the hallway flooring right up next to those transition pieces…

The problem here is that I should have cut the tongue off of the board that went right next to the bathroom tile so that the groove edge was exposed. But I didn’t think to do that, and once that first board was wedged in there tightly, there was no getting it out.

So I ended up having to use my table saw to cut the the tongue off of the second board (i.e., the board that would butt up to the hallway floor boards). This gave me a smooth edge with neither a tongue nor a groove.

Now a professional in that situation probably would have taken the time to use his or her router to route a groove into that board. However, I am not a professional, and I didn’t have the appropriate router bit to cut a groove for hardwood flooring. So instead, I opted for wood glue. I simply made sure that I was putting a cut end right up against the cut edge (i.e., I didn’t leave the groove in the ends of the hallway floor boards, but I cut them off to give me a smooth end), and I added wood glue before installing those boards…

I feel confident that once that glue is dry, those boards will be securely in place against each other.

I got most of that flooring installed in that doorway before I hit the other doorway — the doorway between the hallway and the guest bedroom on the opposite wall.

This one was much easier. Because I’m not a pro and didn’t want to take a chance on lacing in the new boards with the old boards and making a real mess of things, I installed transition strips in this doorway as well. I used wood glue to install the first transition board up against the guest bedroom flooring. And on the second board, I left the tongue attached…

I was able to do leave that tongue attached because it was on the correct side for the grooves in the ends of the hallway boards to fit onto the tongue on the edge of the transition strip…

So those looked quite nice and fit together perfectly.

So the bottom line is that it just takes a little bit of thinking through which direction everything needs to go, which sides the tongues and grooves are on, and how everything is going to fit together. And as is always true when you’re a non-pro DIYer like me, you have to figure out how to improvise when we lack the skills and tools that the pros have. 😀 But even with my workarounds, I think this is going to look great once it’s sanded and finished.

A Special Note:

I got a comment on yesterday’s post from someone telling me how disappointed they were to come to my blog and see a political advertisement.

Y’all, I cannot stress this enough, so please hear me on this…

We bloggers do not choose the specific ads that appear on our blogs. An ad for a political candidate, product, or service, is not an endorsement from me.

Y’all know that my blog is a politics-free, current events-free zone. If there’s a tsunami in Asia, OF COURSE everyone is sad about it. Y’all don’t need commentary about it from me. The 2020 presidential race is just getting started, but y’all don’t need commentary from me about it.

So when it comes to ads, I have the ability to choose general categories of ads that appear or don’t appear on my blog. I can allow certain categories. I can exclude certain categories. I personally have chosen only family-friendly ads, and have chosen to exclude categories such as pharmaceutical drugs, gaming, dating, and yes…POLITICS.

But even though I have chosen to exclude those categories, sometimes those slimy little suckers will slip through the cracks. I don’t have any control over that, and again, those do not constitute an endorsement on my part, whether it’s the latest and greatest pharmaceutical drug that will cure your ailments, or whether it’s one of the 3,497 candidates running for POTUS.

If you see an ad on my blog that you find offensive or off-putting, feel free to tell me about it. But please understand that I can’t do anything about it if you just leave a general comment about how you’re offended because I had a political ad on my blog. I need to know details about the ad so that I can pass that detailed info along to the company that handles the ads on my blog. If they don’t have details, they can’t track down the ad and figure out how it slipped through the cracks.

Thanks for understanding. 🙂

This content was originally published here.

Homecrest Outdoor Living | May 2019

outdoor living

Homecrest continues to add experienced retailers and industry veterans to the Homecrest sales team with a number of exciting East Coast announcements. These moves support our mission to bring a great sales team and compelling products to the marketplace through our independent sales reps.

Dobbins & Son: Industry veterans and retailers Gray Dobbins, Justin Carter and Pam Mulcahy have joined the Homecrest team, providing sales leadership in Georgia, Florida, Mississippi and Alabama. Homecrest welcomes both the industry and retail experience this dynamic team brings to the brand.

After attending the University of Florida, Gray joined his father as a manufacturer’s rep. For a number of years, Gray and his father represented some of the top brands in the casual furniture industry. In 2006, Gray purchased Atlanta Home & Patio, an outstanding retailer in the Fayetteville, Georgia, market. His skills as a retailer, coupled with his years of industry experience, makes Gray a valuable member of the Homecrest team.

Justin Carter entered the casual furniture market working at his father’s store in Peachtree City, Georgia. Justin joined Gray in 2006 as a manufacturer’s rep and to assist in running the Fayetteville store. Together, they represent and retail some of the top lines in the casual furniture marketplace.

Like Gray, Pam Mulcahy followed in her father’s footsteps, entering the casual furniture industry in her youth. Throughout her successful career, Pam has engaged in a number of retail pursuits include casual furniture, retail apparel, wood flooring and real estate. She is noted for her design expertise, her attention to detail and her ability to get the job done. Together, Gray, Justin and Pam represent one of the most effective teams in the casual furniture industry.

DD Sales, LLC: Retailer and business consultant, Darrell Campbell, joins Homecrest as an independent rep for the states of South Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee. Darrell’s experience in business and retail will make him a valuable addition to the Homecrest team.

Darrell holds an MBA from Jacksonville University. Early in his career, Darrell worked himself up through ranks at CSX Transportation to Vice President of Coal Operations. In 1996, he left the corporate life and, along with his wife, started Backyard Retreats, a retail store in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. Over the course of a few years, that business converted from selling hot tubs to become a premier casual furniture retailer. Darrell’s unique business background, along with his retail experience, positions him as a valuable business partner to our retail dealers. Homecrest is excited to welcome him to our team.

Signal Sales, Inc.: Jordan Kenney joined Homecrest in 2015 as an independent sales rep in the Mid-Atlantic region. Jordan, along with his partners, are building a strong retail-driven sales organization headquartered out of the Baltimore, Maryland, area. Jordan’s team continues to represent the Homecrest brand in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Virginia and Washington DC, and now takes on the added responsibilities of the Philadelphia metro market and West Virginia.

Jordan has a degree in marketing from Virginia Wesleyan University. With over 10 years of experience as a manufacturer’s rep, and his drive to build a great team, Jordan is well positioned to help build the Homecrest brand in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Don’t forget to share this post with your family and friends, and stay tuned for more blog posts!

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What Would Homeowners Do If They Could Do It Over Again?

Hardwood Flooring

Philipsburg, PA   – If you’ve ever bought a home, you know the choices and tradeoffs can be overwhelming. Balancing what you want against what you can afford and what’s available, it’s hard to look back without a few regrets.

A national survey commissioned by Erie Insurance shows that while more than half of U.S. homeowners (53%) are happy with the features they chose for their homes, the rest (47%) regret one or more of them. Overall, homeowners are much more likely to regret not getting certain features than getting them.

For example, in terms of what they wanted and got but wouldn’t choose again, the biggest percentage (9%) say they wouldn’t get hardwood floors again. But, when asked a separate question about features they didn’t get but wish they had, a much larger percentage (16%) say they wished they had gotten hardwood floors. Granite countertops were second on the list of features homeowners wanted and got but wouldn’t choose again, with 8% saying that. But, more than twice as many homeowners (18%) regret that they did not get granite countertops.

Regardless of how they feel about their homes’ features, the survey found an overwhelming number of people are fond of their homes, with 95% saying they like or love them. The survey also asked some questions about homeowners insurance.

“We were pleased to see that the vast majority of people have very positive feelings about their homes, but we also learned that there are some knowledge gaps when it comes to how to best protect those homes if something goes wrong,” said  Tina Burns, Hrenko Insurance Agency, Inc..

“For example, we recommend homeowners have what’s called ‘guaranteed replacement cost’ coverage, which would pay to replace a home regardless of what it would cost in today’s dollars. But the survey found that more than four in 10 homeowners don’t know whether their policy has this coverage or not.” “It’s important for homeowners to understand their policy and how it works with a covered claim. We get to know our customers so we can help them choose the coverages they need ” said Burns.

“Guaranteed Replacement Cost is a coverage that a lot of our customers really appreciate. We work with them, so they keep us up-to-date on home improvements over $5,000—a requirement for Guaranteed Replacement Cost.”

When asked why they would not get certain features again, reasons ranged from feeling the feature was not worth the money, to being tired of it, to feeling that the feature is outdated now. In terms of features homeowners regret not getting, a walk-in pantry topped the list.

Below are the top 5 features homeowners wanted and got but would not choose again:

Feature Percentage who would not choose it again 1. Hardwood flooring 9.2% 2. Granite countertops 7.8% 3. Stainless steel appliances 7.6% 4. Fireplace 7.4% 5. Deck 7.2%

Below are the top 5 features homeowners didn’t get but wish they had:

Feature Percentage who now wish they had it 1. Walk-in pantry 30.2% 2. Granite countertops 17.8% 3. Kitchen island 16.8% 4. Tankless water heater 16.4% 5. Finished basement 16.2%

For more information please contact:

Hrenko Insurance Agency, Inc. Tina Burns, 962 Tyrone Pike Philipsburg, PA 16866-9312 814-342-5204

This content was originally published here.

6 of the most durable flooring options for your home | AZ Big Media

Hardwood Flooring

Are you looking to put new flooring in your home, but aren’t sure which option to choose?

When it comes to choosing new flooring, make a decision can be overwhelming. After all, there are so many options out there, how are you supposed to know which one is best for your home?

If you’re looking for a flooring option that is both durable and stylish, you’ve come to the right place.

Read on to learn about the most durable flooring options for your home.

1. Hardwood

Hardwood flooring isn’t just popular because of how versatile it is, it’s popular because it’s also super durable.

When properly maintained, these floors can last decades upon decades. Although they’re susceptible to water damage and cracking, hardwood floors are easy to clean and provide a stunning foundation for any style.

When choosing hardwood floors for your home, it’s important to keep the following in mind:

Wood Hardness

If durability is what you’re after, then it’s important that you choose the right species of wood for your home.

For example, pine wood can dent easily, whereas Brazilian redwood is extremely durable.

Tough Finish

Regardless of the type of wood you choose, you want to make sure that you choose the right finish, as this plays a huge role in the overall durability of the wood.

If your hardwood floor starts to look shabby after a while, you can always restain it and refinish it, which is one of the main reasons hardwood floors can last so long.

Care and Maintenance

All flooring needs care and maintenance, but this is especially so with hardwood floors. Try to keep pets and high heels off of your hardwood floors, and put area rugs down in high traffic areas.

As an alternative to hardwood, you may also want to consider engineered hardwood flooring.

2. Laminate

While laminate may not be the classiest of flooring options, it’s very affordable and also perhaps the most durable option on the market.

Quality laminate flooring can be found for $3 to $5 per square foot.

If you have a busy household that receives a lot of floor traffic, laminate flooring is a great option to consider. In addition to holding up well against foot traffic, laminate flooring is also scratch-resistant, noise-resistant, and spill-proof. In fact, many manufacturers offer a 25-year guarantee against wear and tear with laminate floors.

Laminate is also resistant to moisture and fading from the sun, making it a great alternative to hardwood floors.

3. Cork

If you’re looking for a flooring option that is durable and environmentally-friendly, look no further than cork flooring.

Thanks to its soft nature, it’s quiet and warm under the foot. Due to the springy quality of cork, it rebounds well from high traffic and minor dinks. However, due to the fact that it’s softer than wood, you need to treat it carefully. High heels, sharp objects, and dragging heavy objects across cork floors can all be a recipe for disaster.

But, if you treat it with care and attention, your cork flooring will have a very long lifespan. We suggest sweeping, vacuuming, and mopping your cork floors once per week. This will help remove dirt and debris that can scar the floors over time if left unattended.

You should also prepare to re-seal your cork floors on a regular basis with a protective coat or wax finish.

It’s also a good idea to place felt pads or protective coasters under your furniture, as bare furniture can leave dents in the floor over time.

4. Bamboo

Like cork, bamboo is another great eco-friendly flooring option.

Due to its sustainability, price, and stylish looks, bamboo has sky-rocketed in popularity over the last few years.

However, this popularity comes with a price, as now many companies are relying on overseas production to keep their pricing competitive. This has led to low-quality flooring entering the market.

For high-quality bamboo flooring, look for one that has 7 to 8 coats of aluminum oxide finish. It’s also a good idea to shop for wider planks, as this indicates higher standards of manufacturing and therefore, higher quality.

Also, make sure you purchase your bamboo flooring from a trusted manufacturer.

5. Vinyl

Vinyl is another great option for those on the hunt for durable flooring. Not only is vinyl inexpensive when compared to the other options on this list, but it’s also very stylish.

It also comes in a wide variety of patterns and colors, making it easy to find something to suit your style. If you spend a lot of time standing or cooking, vinyl is a great option, as its cushy structure can help alleviate muscle fatigue.

Vinyl is also great in the kitchen and other highly trafficked areas because it’s easy to take care of. Just some weekly sweeping and mopping is all you need to keep your vinyl floors in good shape. Vinyl is also stainproof and waterproof, making it a great option for those who have young children.

6. Stone

Last but not least, we have stone.

Due to its cool-to-touch surface, stone is a great option for those who live in warm climates. However, not all stone flooring is durable. For high durability, we recommend purchasing a non-porous stone flooring, such as slate or granite.

Stone is also incredibly stain-resistant, making it a great choice for families with pets and young children.

Most Durable Flooring: Which One Will You Choose?

Now that you know about the most durable flooring options on the market, it’s time to choose the right one for your home.

Before you know it, you’ll be walking on a brand new surface.

If you liked this article, be sure to check back in with our website for more tips and tricks related to home improvement.

This content was originally published here.

The Hardwood Flooring Trends of 2020BECKI OWENS

Hardwood Flooring

Becki Owens Summit Creek Project / Rebekah Westover Photography / Oasis Wood Flooring, Carmel Collection, Fresh Traditions

Hardwood adds warmth and organic beauty to every space, and is on the wish list of almost all our clients. But because its a big investment, choosing the width, color, and brand can be stressful. Today we are sharing what is trending, the looks we love, and some specific flooring we’ve used in recent projects. Read on for hardwood flooring trends of 2020!

Width: Trending on both sides of the Spectrum

Becki Owens Summit Creek Project / Rebekah Westover Photography / Oasis Wood Flooring, Carmel Collection, Fresh Traditions

Neither our clients nor followers can get enough of wide plank oak. We don’t blame them. The look is light and airy with fewer lines breaking up the space. Take a look at this post, Design Trend: Wide Plank Oak to see why it’s a look to keep on loving and to learn about the specific hardwood flooring brands and finishes we used in our projects last year.

On the opposite end of the width spectrum, narrow strip wood floors are increasing in popularity. These floors add a lot of beautiful texture to a space since there are more visible lines and different grain patterns. Because strip wood floors were popular in the 1940’s and 1950’s, when used in a new build, these floors have a more traditional feel that fits in with the New Traditional vibe that is trending. They are also becoming popular because if you are remodeling an older home, keeping the narrow strip hardwood and refinishing it, instead of replacing it, is a greener way to go.

Color: Warmer Darker Tones are Dominating our Favorite Designs

For years, everyone seemed to favor light woods with cool gray undertones in their hardwood, but the last few years have seen a resurgence in rich warm woods. Choose this if you are after a classic look or want to add contrast to a white, light-filled space.

Finish: Raw, Hand-scraped Looks

Becki Owens Torina Project / Pravada Flooring, Canvas Collection, Palette

A raw unfinished looking floor with artisan details like hand-scraping is the look most requested by clients. It creates a vibe that feels just a bit rustic and looks beautiful in coastal and modern farmhouse spaces. One downside of a raw wood floor? Maintenance. Read about the flooring we chose for our Torina Project. It uses Pravada’s Endura Finish for durability without the shellac look.

Keep it Fresh: Mix Wood Tones Throughout your Space

Playing with wood grains and colors in your flooring is part of a bigger trend of mixing wood tones through out a space. Layering woods in a space creates rich organic beauty. Embrace this years traditional warm dark tones, but keep it feeling fresh by mixing in lighter, ashier tones throughout the space.

Thanks for stopping by! Check back for more inspiration and trends.


This content was originally published here.

The 5 Best Dining Sets for Outdoor Living

outdoor living

The perfect outdoor dining set is an entertaining game-changer. Adding one to your patio, deck, or balcony means you can enjoy moonlight cocktails with friends, backyard barbecues, alfresco family meals, and more — all because these dining sets, designed to withstand the weather, basically create a brand-new dining room just outside the walls of your home.

When you’re choosing an outdoor dining set for your space, you’ll want to consider the size as well as the materials. Outdoor furniture comes in lots of sizes and shapes, ranging from two-person bistro sets perfect for small balconies to L-shaped sectionals with seating for a dozen of your family and friends. Most also come with durable cushions designed for outdoor use, though protecting them under a cover or inside a storage bin will ensure they are clean and dry whenever you are ready to dine out(side).

Rattan or wicker are both popular for outdoor furniture, but the natural material doesn’t hold up well in the elements without a lot of maintenance and care. Thus, the introduction of synthetic rattan: Designed to look like real wicker, polypropylene resin wicker (also known as PE wicker) won’t rust, fade, peel or dent. Not only is it durable and strong, it’s simple to maintain; just just wipe it down with water and give it an occasional cleaning with a common household solution and it will last for many seasons to come.

Excited to host an alfresco gathering? We’ve rounded up the best dining sets for outdoor use, so find the one that’s right for your home and start planning that barbecue!

Our mission at SheKnows is to empower and inspire women, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale.

This content was originally published here.

Good-Looking Wood Floor with White Trim Sunroom Transitional Window Frame Armchairs Light Hardwood Flooring Matching Side Tables To

Hardwood Flooring

6 Ways to Make Your Front Porch Much More Welcoming

Your front porch is your very first chance to make a great impression on visitors as well as neighbors. A stark, vacant deck is uninviting as well as may offer others the impression that you’re hostile. Right here are six ways that you can dress up your front porch so your home looks welcoming as well as inviting to everybody.

1. Clear the Mess

Front porches typically come to be a catch-all for gardening supplies, hose pipes, yard accessories, playthings, as well as showing off equipment. Not just is all that clutter unsightly, it can be difficult to maneuver around as well as prospective visitors may hesitate about knocking on your door. Move everything right into the garage or shed to open up the area as well as produce room for more appealing items.

2. Include Lighting

Bright exterior lights allow everybody recognize that pleasant people are within and that burglars are not welcome. A pair of lamps on either side of your front door are an easy method to include light to an otherwise shadowy location. Or, if you have an encased entryway, a ceiling component will spread out the light around. You can likewise include solar lamps along your front pathway to lead the way to your front door in the evening hours.

3. Make Small Repairs

Peeling off paint, sagging gutters, as well as torn screens are an indication that you’re not that thinking about what others think of you or your home. Taking a weekend to spruce up your front porch will make your home look brand-new again as well as produce an inviting entryway that the neighbors will covet. If there’s cash left in the budget, include brand-new residence numbers, door hardware, or a brand-new mail box to refurbish the area.

4. Spruce up the Sidewalk

An inviting pathway will draw the eyes of your visitors right up to your front door, as well as hopefully their feet will follow. Freshen up mulch or crushed stone walkways with a couple of brand-new bags of material as well as scrub up concrete or stone walkways to provide brand-new life. Then, plant low-growing shrubs or blossoms to line the course as well as offer visitors the red-carpet treatment.

5. Include a Centerpiece

Since you have your front porch removed, rubbed down, as well as fixed up, as well as your pathway is leading visitors to the deck, it’s time to provide something intriguing to take a look at that when they get there. Include something that speaks with your individual style as well as have fun. Think of a rocking chair, an antique bicycle, a comfy bench as well as table for lemonade, or an old milk crate with seasonal decors.

6. Container Gardens: The Last Touch

Adding a couple of container yards are the excellent completing touch for developing an inviting front porch. For the most convenient low-maintenance alternatives, plant perennial blossoms as well as environment-friendlies that will return every year with little treatment. Or, plant seasonal annuals that you can transform with the periods: fragile flowers for springtime, passionate environment-friendlies for summer, as well as orange as well as yellow mums for the fall.

Creating an inviting front porch may appear like a great deal of hard work, yet it will settle in the long run. Your entryway will be the envy of the area as well as your visitors as well as visitors will aspire to find to your home to delight in all of the effort you have actually placed in to make them feel welcome.

This content was originally published here.

Top Outdoor Living Design Trends Coming Into 2020

outdoor living

Homeowners often look into different ways to spice up there living and make some incredible changes. While the inside of your home is important, you can’t forget about the outdoor scene. Think about this, your outdoor living space is essentially known as an extension of your home. A place where you can truly make your own comfortable scene with a number of things like kitchen appliances, a pool/spa area, comfy furniture and much more! What’s interesting is that investments in your landscaping (even outdoor areas) can drive your property value up.

Over the last decade, the designs and looks of outdoor living areas have evolved to new heights. You often see tons more features being used as well as different materials that are uncommon amongst most. In other words, there will be always be something new to try when it comes to your design ideas. This is a new year, so you can expect some big changes to present themselves when you are looking to make a change. Check out some of the top outdoor living design trends that have shown up this year.

Beautiful Hardwood Floor Look

Some homeowners like to have a flair behind their design, a flair that hardwood flooring can provide. Believe it or not, a hardwood flooring design can offer a different sense of beauty. The wood adds a seamless transition, and you don’t have to worry about the extra maintenance like staining or painting. Coming into 2020, this is a trend that a lot of people are starting to take a liking to when looking for a great outdoor design.

Dual-Purpose Furniture Options

Just like the indoors, wouldn’t it be great to have a different array of outdoor furniture in your outdoor living area? Furniture options that are functional can serve multiple purposes, especially flexibility. Not to mention that extra accommodation that’ll be available for any guests you have over. Think about all of the possibilities like keeping drinks together and having some extra storage space. You want to think about things like tables, benches, cooler designs, and much more. When it comes to dual-purpose furniture selections you are going to have a lot to think about.

Unique Metallic Finishes

There’s no surprise that the use of metallic finishes has become popular over the years. By now, you may have seen different decorative features with metallic finishes. You might even see lighting options and furniture selections with metallic finishes too, but it all depends on what you are interested in seeing. There are a number of different finishes you could expect to come into the light like aluminum, copper, chrome, and many more. Overall implementing a nice metallic finish into your outdoor living space design may be a go-to decision that you’ll love.

Needless to say, you have the power to come up with some incredible outdoor living space designs. What you could consider doing is heading on over to for some great ideas. This could be the year for some of the best outdoor home changes, so now would be a great time to start thinking about them.

This content was originally published here.

15 Best London Night Tours – Which One to Choose?

Glass Rooms

London night tours offer you the chance to capture the allure of the city as it lights up and illuminates everything around it.

We’ve put together a list of the 15 best night tours in London so that you can make the most out of England’s capital after dark.

There’s no place quite like London, especially at night. Enjoy!

1- London by Night: 90-Minute Open Top Bus Tour

Climb aboard an open-top bus and witness the wonders of London, with the majestic city lit-up against the night sky as you pass iconic sights. Enjoy a guided tour and see landmarks like Big Ben, Harrods, The London Eye and Trafalgar Square in all of their illuminated glory.

The bus ride lasts for 90 minutes and features an entertaining guide, who will provide historical information about one of the world’s most visited cities. You haven’t really seen London until you’ve seen it at night!

2 – Bateaux London Dinner Cruise On the Thames With Live Entertainment

Combine the delights of the London skyline at night with fine dining while you sail along the River Thames. The Glass Room is a luxurious dining cruise with a 5-course dinner and music to keep you entertained throughout the 3-hour cruise.

It was designed by architect Gerard Ronzatti, who wanted to create the de facto dining experience on the Thames. Take in the panoramic views of London at night before tucking into a tasty meal. Round the evening off with dancing to live music and open-air views of London at night.

3 – London Ghost Walk: 2.5-Hour Guided Tour

Find out if you’re afraid of the big bad ghosts on a London Ghost Walk. Prepare to be terrified for just over 2 hours as you discover some of the city’s most haunted sites, such as murders at St. James Palace, spooky goings-on at the Royal Academy, and ghostly monks at Westminster Abbey.

A guide will be on hand to tell you all about the gory details of the places you visit, so be prepared to be scared out of your wits. Let’s just hope you don’t see any real ghosts!

4 – London: Jack the Ripper 2-Hour Evening Walking Tour

If the London Ghost Walk didn’t put the spooks in you, the Jack the Ripper Tour will surely give you a case of the frights. This 2-hour walk is one of the spookiest London night tours and takes you back to the Victorian era by retracing the steps of one of London’s most notorious serial killers.

A guided tour will show you the sites where Jack murdered his unfortunate victims while teaching you about the poverty and slums of inner-city London in the late 1800s. There’s even a chance to play detective by studying profiles of other suspects during one of London’s most notorious eras.

5 – River Thames Evening Sightseeing Cruise

Did you know there are over 200 bridges that cross the River Thames? The Sunset River Thames boat cruise lets you see many of those bridges illuminated in the night sky as you sail between Westminster and Greenwich.

But there’s more to this cruise than a scenic bridge or two – enjoy London night tours and watch the sun setting against famous attractions such as Big Ben, the Shard and the London Eye. You can even enjoy a free drink as you sail down the river in this 2-hour cruise. What else could you ask for?

6 – Evening Food Tour of Soho in London

London is a melting pot of cultures, which means it offers some of the most eclectic cuisines in the world. It can be difficult knowing where to start on your culinary journey. Thankfully, the Twilight Food and Cocktail Tour of Soho has sourced the best spots. All you need to do is enjoy the delectable tastes.

Your foodie guide will take you around 10 of the best spots in the vibrant neighbourhood of Soho, where you can taste an array of dishes. From little-known cafes to famous spots, get ready for the best few hours that your taste buds have experienced.

7 – London Evening Bike Tour with Beer Tasting

Try a London night tour that’s a little bit different and hop on a bike to see the wonders of England’s capital. Lasting 4 hours, this small group tour sees you cycling at a leisurely pace with an expert guide while discovering London.

See some of the most iconic sites, such as Big Ben, the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament, Shakespeare’s Globe, Tower Bridge and Tower London. There’s also an interlude during the tour, which includes a stop at a historic London pub where you can sip back and enjoy refreshing ales.

8 – London by Night Independent Sightseeing Tour with Private Driver

Fancy enjoying the allure of London at night away from a group tour? If the answer is “yes”, a London night tour with a private driver should pique your interest. Design your perfect trip with your driver, who will recommend the best sites to see just in case you need any help.

Then sit back and enjoy as you discover London’s best neighbourhoods. The tour lasts for 3 hours, and your driver will give you key insight into what to do in London while showing you the most iconic places the city has to offer.

9 – Stonehenge Special Access Evening Tour from London

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Stonehenge is one of the UK’s most famous landmarks. And this after-hours tour is your chance to witness it at night! The tour lasts for 12 hours and includes travel from London to Stonehenge.

Other highlights include a local expert guide, who will provide a 1-hour history tour, and visits to nearby villages. Avebury is one of those medieval villages you will visit. Here, you can walk up the hillside to West Kennet Long Barrow, which is a 5000-year-old Neolithic burial tomb.

10 – London Night Walking Tour

Learn about London’s darker side with this historic night walking tour. Starting at 6:30 pm outside of Tower Hill station, this tour lasts for 2-and-half-hours and includes trips to the Tower of London – where you will learn about the most haunted buildings in the city.

Next up is a history lesson on the East End during the Middle Ages, when tyrants ruled over the city poverty was rife. The tour then continues to Prostitutes’ Church and ends at Ten Bells pub, two iconic landmarks where Jack the Ripper picked up some of his victims.

11 – London Pub Crawl and Nightlife Tour

London is famous for its world-class nightlife, and this pub crawl and nightlife tour is your chance to experience it first hand. Party the night away at some of the city’s best nightlife venues and enjoy free entry to 5 different bars and clubs in the iconic West End.

Shake a leg to top tunes and experience VIP spots in Soho, Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus. Each venue offers a complimentary shot, and a cheeky tour guide is on hand to make sure that you live your best life on the London club scene.

12 – London Showboat 4 Course Dinner Cruise on Thames River

Get romantic on one of your London night tours with a 4-course dinner cruise on the London Showboat. Marvel at the majesty of London and soak in a night of iconic sights and fun-filled entertainment as you cruise along the Thames.

The evening starts with a free glass of sparkling wine and the chance to watch the sun setting on landmarks like Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye from the open roof deck. Next, it’s time to enjoy a 4-course meal while taking in panoramic views before rounding the night off with a spot of music and entertainment.

13 – Comedy Horror Show: London Ghost Bus Tour

It’s all aboard the ghost bus for a mixture of horror and comedy with the Comedy Horror Show. Get ready for 75 spook-filled minutes that include sightseeing and a creeptacular guide who will provide insight into London’s most horrific history.

There’s no need to be scared though – everything is done with a hint of comedy, and actors put on a show as you head around the West End and the south of the river. Your tour commences on the Necropolis Bus, which was once used to transport deceased bodies around the capital. You will be very much alive and kicking on this scary jaunt around London, however.

14 – Thames Sunset Sightseeing Cruise

Make the most of London at night with a sightseeing cruise at dusk. Sail down the River Thames while enjoying sparkling wine and canopies as the sun sets over the capital, all to the backdrop of live jazz music.

This 2-hour cruise sails between Westminster and East London’s Canary Wharf, with views of landmarks such as St. Paul’s Cathedral, Millenium Bridge, the London Eye, the Tower of London and Tower Bridge all included.

15 – Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes Tour of Haunted London

Jack the Ripper is London’s most notorious criminal, and Sherlock Holmes is the capital’s most well-known detective. Learn about both of them and discover the spots in London where they frequented with this tour of haunted London.

This is one of the London night tours to remember and includes a bus and walking tour. Visit locations of London’s most famous executions, such as medieval Smithfield Market, and discover the dark history of Jack the Ripper, Sweeney Todd and the Cock Lane Ghost. Finish the tour inside the Sherlock Holmes pub and see if you solved any mysteries.

Ce post 15 Best London Night Tours – Which One to Choose? est apparu en premier sur TourScanner.

This content was originally published here.

Homecrest Outdoor Living | February 2019

outdoor living

Homecrest Outdoor Living doesn’t follow trends. We set them. That’s why, with over 65 years in business, we’re qualified to give you the real skinny on what style directions are going to be big for outdoor living in 2019. We’re cutting away nonsense marketing lingo to give you straightforward facts that you can use to directly inform your patio furniture plans.

Here are the Top Five Outdoor Living Trends for 2019:

1. Being Conversation-Centric

A beautiful outdoor set-up is only as good as it is functional.Patio furniture that’s designed to make conversation amongst friends and loved ones effortless will always be in. This season, look for modular seating that comes with corner options, like our Allure Modular collection. Designs like this focus people inward, towards one another, creating a sense of cohesion and making conversation easy.

 2. Fire Table Center Pieces

Fire Tables have so many benefits that they really are a game-changer. The obvious advantage is that they will keep you warm during cool nights and balmy weather, lengthening your outdoor season by several months on either side of summer. But, fire tables have many more aesthetic benefits as centerpieces. Fire tables create natural lighting, which has a calming effect, and they’re evocative of warm times shared around the campfire back in the good ol’ days. When you find the right style from Homecrest’s extensive collections and colors, you’ve got yourself a focal point for your outdoor space.

3. Rustic Materials

After nearly a full decade of interior and outdoor design moving further and further into clinical, technology-driven and “sleek” products, style is ready to move back in the other direction and breathe a little. Smooth plastics and cold metals are giving way to more rustic-appearing materials. Collections like our Natural Series tables use durable materials (that will last in rough weather) that still create the appearance of natural sandstone, slate, timber and others.

4. Earth Tones

Coupling with the rustic materials trend, frame finishes and seating fabrics for patio furniture are moving towards earth tones. For metal frame finishes, colors like warm browns with undertones of burgundy or olive (for example, Homecrest’s Cognac) compliment natural-style materials. Color trends are quite finicky, of course, so it is always most important to find a color that you like over what a company tells you that you should like. Homecrest offers a broad range of fabric patterns and frame finishes for this reason.

5. Minimalist Frames

With the trends towards functional, nature-inspired outdoor living styles, patio furniture designs that lean into simplicity are becoming the markers of sophistication. Take a look at Homecrest’s Eden series to see this in action. Its slatted, teak-inspired top with rectangular legs give a clean silhouette, possibly inspired by the Scandinavian Design movement. Watch for minimal, quality-made patio furniture styles in 2019.

See Eden Collection & Allure Collections Here! 

For more information on any of these trends or mentioned products, please feel free to contact Homecrest Outdoor Living. We’ll give you real, useful customer service.

Visit our website to learn more about our current collections or to find a dealer near you!

Don’t forget to share this post with your family and friends, and stay tuned for more blog posts!

This content was originally published here.

Prefinished vs. Unfinished Hardwood Flooring | Bob Vila

Hardwood Flooring


The to-do lists are long in a home renovation—and that’s before you account for unexpected tasks like running to the store to pick up a new size of fasteners or redoing a splotchy paint job. So, when it comes to installing solid or engineered wood planks for new floors, I choose prefinished hardwood floors to simplify the installation, color application, and sealing into one step among numerous other reasons. Some pros may disagree. To decide what will work best in your home, first get to know what separates the two options with these key points in the case of prefinished vs. unfinished hardwood flooring.

You can walk on your new prefinished floor immediately.

With flooring that is finished on-site using oil-based polyurethane, the homeowner must wait days, sometimes even weeks, before moving furniture back into the room. Even though the floor may be dry to the touch, it will be vulnerable to scraping until the waiting time has elapsed and the finish has fully cured. I once had to shuffle around in socks and remain furniture-less for four weeks after applying three coats of poly to a floor. (Waterborne polyurethane finishes dry to touch quickly but can have varying cure times—some quite long.)

Prefinished floors have fewer VOCs to affect your family’s health.

For days after applying an oil-based polyurethane, you will smell and breathe in vapors from polyurethane resins and solvents. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have been shown to be carcinogenic, and some waterborne polyurethanes produce them, too. Why not buy prefinished so that the curing takes place in a factory, not in your living room?

No worries about dust with prefinished flooring.

Dust and errant hairs are the enemy of on-site floor finishing, often caught as the stain goes down. But these annoyances won’t have any effect on your new prefinished flooring. You will, however, need to take measures to protect prefinished floors if you have contractors tromping around with tools and equipment en route to other jobs around the house.

Installation of prefinished flooring can be done in one session.

There’s no necessity of staying home to complete the various stages of an on-site finishing job—sanding, sealing, staining, applying polyurethane, and so on. A crew of two had our 300-square-foot solid wood floor installed, with underlayment, in only about two hours.


Factory-applied finishes are nearly flawless

Not only are they better than what homeowners or contractors can apply on-site, but these factory-applied finishes are also incredibly durable and often come with a lifetime warranty. The Mullican red oak flooring, shown above, will stay new-looking for longer. It came with a PPG UV-cured resin and nanoparticle coating that is highly scratch- and abrasion-resistant. I can’t even scratch it with my fingernails.

Prefinished floors come at a lower cost.

Prefinished solid wood floors initially cost more than unfinished wood flooring—about $2 per square foot for a good grade of red oak. But once you factor in finishing costs, prefinished ends up being less expensive.


Okay, you’ve heard my arguments. But some homeowners and many contractors disagree with me and prefer site-finishing wood floors for the following reasons.

Unfinished floors are preferred when the space is under construction or large renovation.

Many contractors prefer to wait until the end of the job to finish the floor. That way, a dropped tool or a mortar pebble under a work boot can’t mar the finished floor—and ruin customer relations.

Starting with unfinished flooring offers a greater choice of finishes.

There is no question that the site-finished route opens up a greater variety of choices with respect to color and shade. Prefinished products, however, come in more species and stains than ever before.


Unlike prefinished floorboards, unfinished boards have no bevels.

Prefinished floorboards usually have micro-bevels on all edges. These bevels hide slight discrepancies between board depths and widths. Inevitably, some homeowners will prefer the flush look of site-sanded floors, as they feature no such grooves and can be finished to a mirror-like surface.

What’s your preference? Perhaps the hassles of site-finishing will be worth it to you—for one or all of the reasons above. But for homeowners like me, prefinished floors are the future.

This content was originally published here.

Laminate Flooring vs. Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood Flooring

When it comes to new flooring for your home, laminate and engineered hardwood flooring are two great choices if you want the look of natural hardwood. They are both very similar and have grown a lot over the last few decades. But, how do you know which one is the right one for you? Well, that’s why we have this blog to help you out!

What is Laminate?

Laminate flooring is made up of four different layers: the backing layer, the core layer, the image layer, which is actually a photograph of various materials, and the wear layer. Laminate flooring is also called a “floating floor” because it isn’t fastened directly to a subfloor. Instead, individual planks snap together to create tight seams and are then put down over a thin underlayment pad. That means laminate flooring can go directly over old flooring without nailing, gluing or having to remove the existing flooring.

To learn more about the basics of laminate flooring, check out our other blog here.

What is Engineered Hardwood Flooring?

Engineered wood flooring has a similar construction as laminate except the top decorative layer is a thick veneer of real wood protected by a coating of a clear acrylic. The natural top layer makes engineered wood just as durable as traditional hardwood and provides the same classic, timeless look.

To learn more about the basics of engineered hardwood flooring, check out our other blog here.

Pros and Cons

Laminate flooring and engineered hardwood are like close relatives in a family. They obviously look alike, have similar genes but they have contrasting personalities and slightly different physical makeups. They have different pros and cons that make up their personalities and rock their own unique features.


Both laminate and engineered hardwood flooring are available in a variety of prices. Prices usually rise with laminate flooring due to the AC ratings, the higher the rating, (the higher the price), added technology, spill protection and surface textures.

Engineered floors will have a higher price depending on the top wood veneer thickness, style, species and brand. If price plays a role in your decision, engineered hardwood flooring will generally be a higher price, but it’s not always the case.


Laminates and engineered hardwoods are made very similarly, making them both a very durable product. The major difference between laminate’s and engineered hardwood’s durability will be found on the surface. Since engineered hardwoods have a real hardwood veneer, they are more susceptible to surface scratches, dents and expansion; however, most of these floors come with a protective top layer that helps protect against the wear. But, with engineered hardwood, the top layer is truly hardwood, so it can be sanded and refinished.

Water Resistance

Laminate flooring is more resistant to water than natural hardwood flooring but only on the top surface. The floor can swell and get ruined if the sides and the bottom of the flooring get wet.

If laminate gets wet on the sides or underneath, you can’t refinish it. Instead, you will need to replace the damaged flooring. For this reason, spills should always be wiped up immediately and laminate shouldn’t be installed in rooms that are moist or humid like bathrooms.

Engineered hardwood is also more resistant to water than traditional hardwoods. Due to the construction, it won’t expand or contract in humid rooms, making it different than laminate flooring and ideal for installation in below-grade rooms where hardwoods can’t be installed.

Ease of Installation

Laminate installation is more of a DIY go-to material than engineered wood floors. Installing laminate planks doesn’t require any nailing or glue like some types of engineered hardwood. It’s a simple interlocking tongue-and-groove system that can typically be installed in a day.

One major difference when it comes to installing these floors is the subfloor requirements. A laminate floor can be floated and almost all flooring can be floated except carpet. An engineered hardwood floor needs a more stable and structurally sound subfloor.

Appearance/Color & Styles

Laminate manufacturers use advanced printing processes to create flooring that looks and feels just like hardwood. These processes allow you to choose from replicates of many of the most popular species of wood, like oak, hickory and walnut in a variety of shades.

Engineered hardwood’s upper layer is made of real wood. Many of the same species in traditional hardwoods are used in the construction of the flooring, including traditional species like maple, pine, mahogany, and even Brazilian cherry. Engineered hardwoods are also available in many shades and styles.

Care & Maintenance

Laminate is quite easy to care for. You can clean it on a daily basis with a broom, dust mop or vacuum cleaner to use on bare floors. And for more extensive cleaning, you can use a dry mop or cloth. Never use a wet mop, because water can damage laminate flooring. Avoid steam mops as well as any wax polishes or cleaners. The last thing you need is an extremely slippery surface that can cause physical damage!

To learn more about laminate flooring cleaning tips, check out our other blog here.

Daily cleaning of engineered hardwood flooring is similar to laminate care. You can clean up dirt, dust and debris using a broom or dust mop. You can also use a hardwood vacuum.

However, it must be appropriate for use on bare floors. Regular vacuums can scratch and damage engineered hardwoods. It’s best to avoid harsh cleaners, wet mops and steam mops as well. This is because excessive moisture can damage the floors.

After going through the similarities and the differences, it’s clear to see that the winner of engineered hardwood vs. laminate flooring is really up to you. Both are strong, durable floors that are less expensive than natural wood but mimic the natural wood floor beautifully and are easy to keep looking new and fresh. So, give each of these details some thought, come to one of our showrooms to see the ones we carry in person and determine what one is the best for you and your home.

At Avalon Flooring, we want to make sure you’re happy from your first step in our showroom to your first step on your new flooring—and as your partner in home design, we’ll be there every step along the way. Consider us your “One-Stop Shopping” destination for all things flooring…(and window treatments)!

Our design consultants are equipped with the knowledge to guide you through the wide selection of products we offer, and our expert installation team is professionally trained to make sure everything gets installed the way you envision. We know your home is an expression of your sense of style, and we’re here to make sure you’ll be proud of it for years to come.

If you have any questions, please email us.

The post Laminate Flooring vs. Engineered Hardwood Flooring appeared first on Avalon Flooring.

This content was originally published here.