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Selling your House?

I currently have my house up for sale; we have had viewings and of course viewed a number of other properties that are for sale.

Prior to putting the house on the market the wife gave me a list of all the little jobs that needed doing and fixing, a lick of paint here, hang a door there, fix that leaking tap, you know the usual kind of stuff.

We then invited our estate agent round to value our property – again we asked for and were given advice on what we could do to help make our house more sellable. Tasks completed the house is ready for someone to buy.

This blog asks the question – why is it that when we are selling a car for any thing from a thousand pound to ten thousand pound are more likely to have our car cleaned, polished and serviced to make it look more attractive. Yet when it comes to our home probably the biggest single investment that we will make in our lives and therefore the possibility of making a fair size profit from that investment do we not have the same mind set?

Let me explain. As mentioned above I sorted out all of the things that needed doing around the house – just as all the vendors of the properties that we have viewed and those that we haven’t. Yet, and I was as guilty of this as anyone else our floors are left unattended.

Along with the ceiling the floor area of any room in any house is without doubt the largest area, but how often do we look up at the ceiling? More often than not we look ahead or slightly down making the floor a major factor.

During my viewings and the survey on my own house I have noticed that there are hundreds of homes with tiled and wood floors, the vast majority of which at the very least could do with a professional and expert freshen up and clean – just as we would with our vehicles. A lot off these floors could do with sanding, repairs, deep clean or sealing. Grout lines may have become discoloured or stained, wood floors scratched, marked or stained.

After discussions with estate agents from many different agencies and towns I have come to the conclusion that having the floor area of your home looked at and serviced before you place your property on the market will not necessarily add value to your home. However it will almost certainly add to the saleability. It will help to create a wow factor when the house is viewed by prospective purchasers. It will help to highlight a large surface area in your home and show that your home has been cared for – just like all of those other little jobs that you done in the first place.

The minute we decided to put our house up for sale we just wanted it to sell as quickly as possible, we want to move on to our next home. I am pretty sure that you as a vendor feel the same way. Any thing that helps speed up the process and does not take a lot of time and money has to be worth it.

Remember that there are always hundreds of other homes on the market at the same time as yours

First Impressions Count – Make yours a Great One!

Wood and Stone Floor Cleaning and Maintenance

As with most things in life prevention is almost always quicker, less painful and cheaper than the cure.

Wood Flooring

A lot of the time when we are asked to conduct a survey on a wood floor that has been fitted at some time over the last 10 years, we notice that the floor has had very little or indeed no maintenance carried out. I am sorry to say that this is a fault of the suppliers – all too often they sell us a wood floor with absolutely no advice on how to look after and maintain it!

We wash the floor with a bucket of water and a mop, we see people on the TV trying to sell us steam cleaners to clean our floors – How much damage do these things do?

The answer is quite a lot, black marks, dark stains ingrained dirt are all symptoms of this. A tired, jaded and marked floor is the result.

Stone Flooring and Tiles

As with wood floors again we are sold our floor and left to our own devises, we have probably spent a small or large fortune on buying and fitting the floor that we so loved when we first had it and now due to years of neglect it, it looks old and jaded.

Restore a Floor offer a professional and expert Commercial and domestic cleaning, finishing and sealing service for most solid hard wood floors, , natural stone floors, ceramic tiles, porcelain tiles and encaustic tiles are all deep cleaned with our power scrubber. Tiles and grout are cleaned and look like new again. We even clean and remove the dirt from the small “v” groves in your wood floor.

After cleaning is complete we can apply a refresher coat of finish to your wood floor or re – seal your stone floor as required.

All of this is carried out with minimum fuss and disruption making the floor available for use almost immediately.

Compare this to the cost, disruption and upheaval of having to pay for the removal of your current floor and the purchase and fitting costs of your new floor easier and in most cases better option of simply cleaning, re-sealing and restoration of your original wood or stone floor surface.

Pembrokeshire and West Wales based Restore a Floor offer nation wide coverage and service. To date we have worked on national and international projects for domestic and commercial clients.

We believe that once you have taken the time and trouble to contact us, restore a floor has a duty to listen to what you have to say, identify your needs, discuss your options and provide you the best advice and service we can based on our experience and expertise – no matter where you are.

Please feel free to contact us at any time with any questions that you may have regarding your floors.

You wouldn’t ask a mechanic to cut you hair….. Would you?

Everyday we employ people trained, qualified and experienced in carrying out specific tasks and jobs, we have a baker making our bread, we get our prescriptions from a pharmacy etc.

As the old saying goes; Horses for Courses. We don’t go to the doctor’s surgery for a cup of coffee and a cream cake or to the butcher to get our shoes repaired. Would you let a builder fit your new carpet?

The point of this article is to ask why then do we let trades men other than wood floor fitters and restorers loose on our floors?

Don’t get me wrong if I wanted an extension built, a concrete floor laid or a new brick wall then I would contact a builder. If I wanted doors hung, stairs or fascias fitted then it’s a carpenter for me, every time. The problem is, as with all of the above trades and countless others, people are trained, learn and gain experience in their specific craft. When we at Restore a Floor work for clients and they ask us about other aspects of their project we always advise that they speak with the appropriate professionals.

Restore a Floor are pleased to inform that we have spent a great deal of time, effort and money in acquiring the appropriate training, accreditation, equipment and support to carry out all aspects of wood floor restoration and fitting to British Standards 201:2011. This covers all aspects of wood flooring form sub floor preparation, humidity checks, moisture content of wood and sub floors to the acclimatisation and fitting of solid and engineered wood flooring. All of these aspects along with many others have a significant bearing and effect on how well your wood floor performs.

You should only ever fit wood floors once in any room; the chances are you will pay a good price for the wood flooring and for the fitting. Why then trust this particular job to someone who only does this work occasionally?

Many of these “part time” floor fitters probably don’t have moisture meters to measure for the wood and sub floor humidity, a hygrometer to measure the sub floor moisture. I am almost certain they won’t have their own floor sanding, extraction and cleaning equipment.

Your wood floor is a unique and beautiful feature of your room and home, wood floors have specific needs, they require upkeep and maintenance. I wonder if the person that fitted your wood floor advised you on how to clean maintain, upkeep and indeed protect your investment before they left you alone with the floor?

Deep Clean System

Mid June received the Bona Deep Clean System.

This machine along with the cleaning solution and polish will allow us to provide our clients with a thorough and professional wood floor cleaning service, with very little down time or disruption to the floor space. The process dissolves deeply ingrained dirt and removes stubborn scuff marks.

One client who had recently purchased a house that had been built in 1924 that had all the original floor boards in great condition did not require us to sand all of the wood floors; bed rooms are to have fitted carpets. However over the course of the last 89 years these wood floors have accumulated quite a bit of dust and dirt. We were asked to test our new equipment on these floors. Our client mentioned the fact that over the year’s pet hair, and all sorts of dirt and dust had settled in the floors.

What fantastic results we achieved!

The floors were cleaned, refreshed and ready for use within a matter of hours with the added bonus of a fresh clean aroma through out the house. The new carpet has been laid on a fresh clean floor and our client is extremely happy ☺

We are quite often asked about steam cleaning solid or engineered wood floors as advertised on TV?

There is no doubt that these steam cleaners will remove the dirt and grime from most floors, but …… at what expense?

The trouble is that steam and wood do not mix well, add that to the fact that it is pressurised when applied to the floor, the result will be a floor that quickly deteriorates in looks with ugly black marks and stains along with a dulling effect to the finish.

General Floor Care Tip

  • Use water sparingly while cleaning your wooden floors. Make sure to soak up liquid spills immediately as excessive water causes the floors to swell.
  • Avoid wax, vinegar and “all-purpose” cleaners, since they dull the floor’s finish.
  • Do not let sand, dirt or grit build up. Vacuum or sweep your floors once every week.
  • Place mats or rugs near doorways and in high trafficked pathways to trap sand and grit.
  • Use protective pads or caps on furniture.
  • Trim your pet’s claws to help avoid scratches on the floor.

We are now happy to offer clients a full cleaning and maintenance package, allowing you the option of a deep clean once or twice a year or one off service, this service will maintain and preserve your floor, allowing you to enjoy its natural beauty for longer.

Polo Ralph Lauren

In January 2013 we had the privilege of working for Polo Ralph Lauren at their new retail outlet in the Fox Town Factory stores complex in Mendrisio Switzerland, home of some 160 prestigious designer stores, located between Milan and Lugano near the foot of the Alps.

After sanding, restoring and fitting floors mainly in the domestic sector in the UK.
we found the experience of working in a new environment both in terms of location and customer type to be a fantastic and rewarding experience. Due to the cosmopolitan nature of Switzerland we met so many different types of trade’s people from a variety of countries, shop fitters from Germany, carpenters and electricians from Italy, painters from France as well as a variety of trade’s people from the UK.

Our remit was to take an empty shell of a store location and in 3 weeks transform it into the specific requirements of Polo Ralph Lauren. We started with the Floor area.
This was our area of expertise and got the ball rolling we had 3 days to lay 190M2 of engineered board brought in specifically from Belgium. (No pressure there) The 180mm wide random length flooring was glued to the sub floor using Bona R850 flexi adhesive. For this stage of the project we were fortunate and had the premises pretty much to ourselves. Wood flooring fitted and the client happy we were then asked to help with the decor.

This process involved assisting Pembrokeshire based artist Any Regan with his stunning and brilliant techniques of tromploy French meaning: deceive the eye.
This art form is widely used by set designers in the film, television and theatre industries. Andy had the task of basically aging everything to make the entire store and all its brand new, modern and up to date facilities look as though they had been there for many, many years. This process was carried out with pretty much all the trades doing their stuff at the same time. Our main part in all of this was to take brand new solid oak shelves of various widths, lengths and thickness and basically bash them, hammer them, stain them and make them look old and used.

We were in Switzerland for a total of 12 days for the two Saturdays and Sundays I was there we were unable carry out any construction work, due I am informed to a law the prevents any major noise or upheaval on these days throughout the country.
I am also told that you can not mow your lawn on Sundays?

As I have mentioned before this was a fantastic experience and it was a privilege to work for such a prestigious client and to work along side so many talented and dedicated trades’ people. I am pleased to say that the Head of Ralph Lauren Europe visited the site upon completion and signed off the entire job with a very well done to us all.

The next time you are in Mendrisio Switzerland shopping in the polo Ralph Lauren store check out the wood floor and hoe it was fitted look at the walls and ceiling I promise you they are not that old.

Why Wood Flooring?

Whether we are redecorating, renovating or working on a new build the option of a wood floor is something we all consider.

So what’s good about a wood floor?

It adds warmth, richness colour and texture, and just like good wine it looks better and better with age.
Replacing carpeted or tiled areas in your home with wooden floorboards can breathe new life not only into the room in question, but your whole house. As well as adding value to the price of your home, they may improve the health of your family, as nasty bugs and germs have nowhere to hide on wooden surfaces.

Add Value to your Home: Phil Spencer

The longevity of solid, hard-wearing wooden floors appeals to Phil, who thinks they can work particularly well for families. If installed in the main living area of a house, it saves worrying about stains from spilt drinks and muddy footprints. “This has to be a lot more relaxing than hovering with a damp cloth and bottle of carpet-stain remover,” Phil says. Wooden flooring is one of those features that appeals to just about everyone when it comes time to sell as well. Before you shell out thousands on expensive oak or black walnut, Phil suggests you take up a bit of the existing carpet and check what is underneath. You might be lucky enough to discover decent wood hidden below nasty carpets and filling in gaps or replacing the odd board won’t cost much.

Reveal the hidden treasure under your Carpet

So many of our homes have wooden floors hidden under carpets.
Why not have yours professionally restored and turn it into a spectacular feature which will add value to your home

Choosing the Right Wood Floor for your Home

The style choice is bewildering; take your pick from ash, bamboo, beech, cherry, iroko, maple, merbau, oak, walnut and many others. Walnut is currently the most fashionable for contemporary homes. The next choice is between laminate, engineered and solid wood. Beware cheap laminates; they are to this decade what swirly carpets were to the 1970s - a design disaster that will reduce the value of your home and will be instantly ripped out by new owners.

Need to know

Laminate vs engineered vs solid: A laminate is a piece of plastic with a photographic image of wood grain, mounted on MDF. They cost as little as £5 a square meter and although scratch-resistant, once damaged are non-repairable. Engineered flooring has a veneer of real wood, usually 3-7mm thick that can be sanded up to five times. It is particularly suitable for use over concrete floors and in kitchens. Solid wood is one piece of wood from top to bottom.

The grades: Most real woods are sold under "grades" describing its look rather than durability. "Rustic" tends to be cheapest as it has the most knots. Select or prime grade has the fewest defects and the highest price.

The strips: Engineered real wood is sold as one-strip, two-strip or three-strip, and in differing lengths. The main difference is the width of the wood; three strip is the narrowest. Single strip (or plank) is the most expensive. Longer lengths also go for higher prices.

Unfinished or finished? Unfinished floors give you almost unlimited colour stain options. But they must be sanded and finished after installation, which typically puts the room out of service for several days. Pre-finished floors have a factory-applied finish, so the room can be used within hours of installation.

Lacquered or oiled? Lacquered floors have an acrylic varnish which gives them a sheen and makes them relatively easy to clean. Oiled floors are becoming more popular, looking more "authentic" but need to be oiled twice a year, depending on the wear they receive. They also cost about £2-£3 more per square meter.

Do you need an "expansion" gap? Yes. A 15mm gap around the perimeter of the room must be left to allow the boards to expand and contract. If you don't, it may buckle or leave gaps.

Bathroom floors: Most manufacturers caution about laying a real wood floor in a bathroom, particularly beech, which is more sensitive to moisture. If the room tends to get very wet and humid, solid wood is likely to be inappropriate. Laminate or lacquered engineered floors may be more suitable. Don't leave wet bath mats and towels on the floor.

Kitchen appliances: You should install flooring under kitchen appliances, but be careful when you slide the appliances over the floor.