The Right Way to Wash Your Walls | Edmonton & Calgary Home Maintenance Tips

Always Dust First

It’s important to always dust your walls before washing them to remove any excess dust and dirt particles. You can do this with a soft-bristled broom, dusting cloth or even a vacuum cleaner. If your broom has sharp, tough bristles attached to it, just tie an old cotton shirt or cloth around the bristles so you don’t scratch or damage your walls. Microfibre cloths are especially effective at removing clingy and hard-to-remove dust.

Use a Magic Eraser

Go over any spots on the wall (marker stains, crayon marks, dirt smudges or scuffs) with a Magic Eraser. Magic Erasers are inexpensive, and you can find them at any Wal-Mart, Target, etc., and they work, well, like magic! Just soak the magic eraser in water, squeeze it out, and then apply it to any scuff-marks or smudges on your walls. Just don’t rub so hard that you take off the paint. Light pressure is all you need. Just make sure you test it on an inconspicuous spot first.

Bottom to Top

After dusting and erasing smudges and marks, the next step is to actually get to washing. You can use anything from damp cloths and a bucket filled with general purpose cleaner to a box of wet Swiffer cloths for this step. The important thing is to wash your walls from bottom to top, not top to bottom. Washing your walls from bottom will prevent streaking, and thus save you a whole lot of extra work.

Dust the Base Boards

The last step is to take some dryer sheets and dust your baseboards. Dryer sheets will automatically pick up any leftover dust, hair and dirt, and they actually prevent all that dust and dirt from sticking to the baseboards in the future. That means that you won’t have to clean your baseboards very regularly, but they will remain looking clean and dust-free.

Once you get into the habit of washing your walls the right way, you’ll find that you spend less time cleaning and your walls stay cleaner longer. Win! Clean walls make colours appear brighter, floors appear shinier, and make your house look cleaner and more inviting.

Want to have low-maintenance flooring that also makes your home clean, bright and inviting? Check out our huge selection of affordable flooring options today.


How to Turn Your Deck into BBQ Central

Summer is here and it’s time to get grilling, but nowadays there is a bit more to throwing a fantastic BBQ than just firing up that old charcoal grill. BBQing is a way of living now! As a result, you need a grilling space that can do more than just heat up those hot dogs. If you want to throw the best BBQ in town this summer, then you need to deck out your deck.

Turn your deck into a space for entertaining as well as grilling

The best way to turn your deck into BBQ central is to extend your entertainment space to the outside. You don’t want to be outside grilling while the fun is happening inside. The “how” depends on the type of hosting you like doing. If you and your friends are big on music, you can equip your deck with outdoor speakers. If you are a sports fanatic—or a film fanatic—make sure you have a TV that can be relocated outdoors to make those get together’s extra fun.

How do you make your deck BBQ friendly?

Outdoor kitchens are the up-and-coming trend, but your deck doesn’t have to have a full-out kitchen to be comfortable. Focus on the necessities. Make sure you have a good grill, and a good spot for that grill, whether you prefer gas, propane, or charcoal. Next, make sure you have a table and chairs set up close enough to be able to chat while you are cooking—but make sure you still have room to cook without having to ask people to move too much.

Incorporating a counter space for food preparation into your deck can make the grilling experience a lot easier, and even if you don’t want to outfit your deck with a full outdoor kitchen, incorporating a mini fridge can help you keep meat cool enough to rule out any health concerns—and keep your drinks cool, too. Of course, if drinks are a main priority, it may be worthwhile to incorporate an outdoor bar into your BBQ setup. With some stools on the other side, it could bring the conversation closer while guaranteeing you have enough space to grill, and you could build a mini fridge right into the bar to ensure you always have cold drinks and plenty of ice nearby (especially since we all know nothing chases your guests away faster than warm beer).

Need some more design tips? Call us today!

 


The Benefits of Cork Flooring

We live in a world that is highly conscious about the concept of sustainability, especially when it comes to corporate practices and the products we use. This is why cork flooring is such a great option for the modern home owner.

Renewable resources
Cork wood is highly renewable, unlike other types of trees. Although trees do grow back and are technically a renewable resource, they take a long time to grow to a usable size. Cork trees are different and the wood is harvested differently, making them much more efficient and environmentally friendly as a building resource.
Cork is a particular kind of oak tree, and cork wood comes from the bark of that tree. At 25 years of age, a cork tree’s bark can be harvested without cutting down and killing the tree. The bark regenerates every 8 to 14 years, depending on the tree and where it is grown.

Eco-friendly
Prepping cork for the building industry does not require as much work as other woods do. On top of that, very little waste is produced in the process. This means a reduction in energy usage and a reduction in the manufacturer’s carbon footprint. What you may not realize is that cork flooring isn’t a primary by-product of cork oak trees, in fact, cork oak is primarily used to fashion wine bottle corks, with all the excess and trimmings being refined into cork flooring – this is why there is so little waste.

Let’s not forget comfort is king
Cork floors are naturally soft on the feet. The wood has a spongy quality to it, and this translates into a cushioned and comfortable flooring surface beneath your feet. Cork is available in a variety of shades too, so not only can you get genuinely comfortable flooring, you can find it in a variety of warm and inviting shades.

Don’t be fooled – soft can also mean strong
It may be soft on your feet, but cork flooring is very durable. The wood is impermeable to liquids and although a piece of furniture may leave a slight indentation on your cork flooring, the wood will bounce back and that indent will disappear all on its own. When properly maintained and cared for, cork floors can last up to 40 years.

The healthy choice
Cork is naturally resistant to mould, mildew and termites. It is not a product that gives off gasses as it ages and it will not shed and fibres that may make their way into the air. This is the perfect choice for any home where air quality is a top priority, or where a damp climate is normal.

Safety first
Cork is not considered a highly combustible wood. In a fire, cork is highly fire resistant and only prone to melting or burning at very high temperatures. When burnt or melted, cork releases less smoke and fewer toxins into the air than wood flooring alternatives like vinyl or laminate.

If you’ve been looking for an alternative flooring material, then you have found it. Cork is available in tiles and planks and in a large variety of colour options. If you are concerned about making environmentally friendly choices when building or renovating your home, cork is a natural decision with far-reaching and long-lasting benefits for your home and your family.

Call us today to discuss your flooring needs.


How to Get Your Spring Cleaning Started

Spring is that time of the year when the weather starts to get warm, the birds begin to sing, and you start to notice that your house is extremely cluttered. It can be a pain to even think about how to begin cleaning your home, but it doesn’t have to be a difficult task. If you are able to plan your spring cleaning before you start, it’s going to be much more organized and a lot less time-consuming.

If you have a hard time getting started on cleaning your home, here are some tips and tricks for getting the job done.

Make a list
Before you start your spring cleaning, it is important to figure out exactly what it is you want to do. Make a list of all of the important and neglected areas of your home that need a good scrubbing or decluttering. Maybe you need to purge some of your clothing (to make room for more, of course), or maybe you want to finally clean the gunk and dust off of your window sills. No matter the task, making a list of your chores is an easy way to keep track of what you want to do and what you’ve already done. Plus, it always feels great to cross a task off of your list!

Don’t end up anti-purging
When we decide we’re going to get rid of clutter and old things we may not necessarily need anymore, we go in with a strong motivation and a will to purge many of the items we no longer deem worthy for our home. However, when the time actually comes to start getting rid of things, we often find ourselves keeping almost everything. We somehow are able to find a use for that pen you got from the dentist five years ago, even though it no longer works. It’s a strange urge to want to keep useless things, but it happens. When you make a plan to purge, resist the urge to run the other way.

Bring a buddy
When you need to get rid of old things or clean up your space, recruit a buddy to help you. You can repay them with pizza and other tasty treats for their service. A friend can help you take that extra leap to get rid of things you no longer need (if worse comes to worse, they can literally pry it from your hands). They can tell you if a particular shirt no longer looks good on you. It’s extremely helpful.

When you need to get spring cleaning, the only way to get it done is to buckle down and make a solid plan. Make sure you go in prepared in order to achieve success. Your home will be clean and back to normal in no time!

Now that your home is nice and clean, you’re probably thinking about a fresh start! Why not start with new flooring? Ashley Fine Floors has the selection and service you need to affordably upgrade your flooring in Edmonton and Calgary. Contact us now!


How to Properly Clean Hardwood Floors | Edmonton & Calgary

 

Hardwood floors are some of the most beautiful and natural enhancements we can have in our homes, and they require maintenance to keep them looking their best. This maintenance starts with proper cleaning. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to safety clean this valuable type of flooring.

Please note that there is a great variety of hardwood flooring available and each comes with manufacturer’s instructions on proper care and maintenance. This guide is for general use only and does not replace the cleaning and care manual provided by the manufacturer.

  1. Start with a Sweep

The first and most important thing to do when you are cleaning hardwood floors is to start with a solid sweep. Taking a soft bristle broom to your hardwood floors will get rid of the bigger dirt particles and other things that can get in the way of the later steps.  Vacuuming with a soft brush, but without the roller brush that’s designed for carpets, can make this quick work, but a traditional broom and dustpan will do just as good a job.

  1. Mop Up Remaining Dust

Once the sweeping is finished and all those larger pieces are gone, it’s time to focus on the tiny dust particles and pieces that sweeping leaves behind. The best way to clean up this dust is with a mop, water, and some cleaner. Combine the cleaner and water in a bucket as per the instructions, and soak up the concoction with a mop. Be sure to wring out the mop as much as possible before wiping the floor, a technique that’s sometimes referred to as “dry mopping.” Be sure to get into all the corners and crevices possible, and take care not to step where you’ve mopped, since that will leave noticeable marks.

  1. Use Some Elbow Grease

The above two steps will get rid of almost all the usual dirt and dust that accumulates on hardwood floors, but sometimes a deep cleaning is necessary. Hardwood has a tendency to attract grime, oil, and other tough-to-clean substances that the sweeping and mopping simply can’t clean up effectively. That’s where some good, old fashioned scrubbing comes in handy. Get some specialty hardwood cleaner, read the instructions, and don’t be afraid to get on your hands and knees to scrub out those tough spots. Be careful to use only soft cloths, no rough brushes, since you can scrub off the protective varnish on your hardwood and expose it to further damage. Be sure to rinse off the cleaner with some clean water after you’ve finished and don’t leave a pool of water on the floor.

It’s best to avoid hardened substances like dried ketchup on your flooring by wiping up spills as soon as they happen. If you don’t, you risk scratching and discoloring your floors.

Once your hardwood floor is clean, it’s important to practice regular maintenance to keep it looking its best. This includes having professionals varnish your floors every few years, and using preventative maintenance tactics, like placing rugs in traffic-heavy areas and monitoring the humidity in the room.

Contact Us for more information on our Hardwood flooring in Edmonton or Calgary.


5 Design Tips For Small Spaces

As the world’s population dramatically increases, more and more people are living in smaller spaces. However, don’t think that living in a small space means you have to sacrifice on design. Here are five design tips for small spaces.

  • De-clutter

One of the best ways to make a small space feel roomier and larger than it really is learning how to live with less stuff. Clutter is the #1 enemy of small spaces, as it makes rooms feel small, cramped, and suffocating.

If you’re someone who tends to collect “stuff,” make a habit of going through your clothes and houseware on a regular basis. While many stores promote discreet and compatible storage, keeping your small space looking fresh and roomy actually depends on keeping your stuff to a minimum. If you have to go out and buy a bunch of extra storage containers, it’s probably quite simple: you have too much stuff!

  • Space-Saving Storage

That said, we all have things we need to store, from winter gear to extra linen to toiletries. For these items, it’s best to come up with unique, space-saving storage units to keep your clutter down to a minimum. The open cupboard has quickly become a popular and unique way to store kitchenware by integrating the “stuff” into the design of the small space. Floor-to-ceiling shelves are a great way to store and display items that might otherwise just take up space. Display your storable stuff in unique and aesthetically-pleasing ways and you’ll be able to save on space and give your place a funky yet personalized look.

  • Keep It Clean and Organized

While this tip is not a design tip per se, it’s important for people who live in small spaces to be extra diligent about keeping their home tidy and organized. If you’re going to display your kitchenware in an open cupboard, make sure that cupboard doesn’t resemble a nuclear bomb testing site. Take some time to organize your stuff in an efficient, convenient and eye-catching manner.

  • Light, White, and Bright

When it comes to decorating a small space, it’s all about creating the illusion of space. To do so, choose light colors (including white) for your walls, furniture, or bedding, as darker colors tend to make a room feel smaller. You don’t have to model your place after the Arctic tundra, or anything, but just make sure that the majority of colors you choose are light. Then, throw in some bold splashes of color and pattern: a Mexican floor rug or a funky shag pillow. This will help to give your space some pizazz without sacrificing any of its roominess.

  • Be Smart About the Space You Use

If you have minimal space to work with, make sure that you aren’t letting any space go unused. If you have an awkwardly-sized corner space, why not turn it into a cute office nook or a vanity? You can build a desk or flat surface right into the wall, which takes up less space, and you can add shelves above it to store books or other items.

Don’t let a small space discourage your inner interior decorator. When you’re thinking about designing small spaces, the main thing is to get creative! Use your imagination and try out different colours, patterns and even spatial arrangements to find out the best ways you can approach designing that small – but mighty – space you call home.


Things to Consider when Choosing New Flooring

When it comes to flooring, there are a lot of different factors to consider, from where it’s going to what it’s made of. Choosing the right flooring can be a daunting experience, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, flooring can be a fun and exciting experience, one where you can create a whole new feel for a space and make an investment into your future. If you’re looking for new flooring, here are some tips to help make the decision-making process much easier.

  1. Set a Budget

The first thing anyone needs to do is set a budget. You do this before you’ve looked at different flooring types, before you’ve priced out installers, maybe even before you’ve decided you need new flooring. Without a carefully planned budget, your flooring experience can, and most likely will, go off the rails. The reason being that flooring can get very expensive very quickly, so it’s important to know your financial limits. Be realistic with your budget and available funds before you head out looking at new floors. That way, you can be happy with the final product without worrying about your financial future.

  1. Think About the Space

Different flooring works best in different spaces, and different spaces have different demands on your flooring. A kitchen, for example, needs to be durable and easy-to-clean because it’s a place with lots of messes and lots of traffic. Bathrooms need to be waterproof and tactile because the floors experience a lot of water and a lot of people stepping onto those same wet floors. When looking at flooring, it’s important to balance the right look with the needs of the space, and never compromise on the practical in favour of an aesthetic choice. The best flooring for you will balance both, and it’s sure to be around if you’re willing to have patience and take the time to look.

  1. Get the Right Look

While aesthetics aren’t as important as practical qualities, that doesn’t mean your floors can’t look good. When you’re hunting around for new flooring, be sure to think about what you want the space to look like, either as it is or with future renovation projects in mind. A beautiful white carpet may match your furniture now, for example, but if you’re getting a new couch, it’s best to think about what carpet will look best. The same goes for kitchen flooring and appliances, and bedrooms and bedroom sets. Finding something that’s complementary and beautiful will be a fun way to think about how your space looks, now and into the future.

When it comes to floors, there’s a lot of things to consider, but that doesn’t mean the experience has to be overwhelming. Be sure to think about your budget first, then your practical needs. Finally, be sure to get something that looks great. It may seem like a balancing act, but our flooring experts at Ashley Fine Floors can help you pick the perfect flooring for your budget and vision.