Wood Floor Maintenance

Wood flooring can help create a clean, open environment in your home. Easy to maintain and easy to clean, the beautiful, smooth finish of wood flooring can help maintain a consistency throughout your home. Many people who are prone to allergies are recommended to replace all rugs in their home with wood floors because it is easy to remove aggravating dirt and dust. Wood floors are also versatile – with the ability to choose the type of wood and type of finish. And with the proper care & maintenance, wood floors are adaptable and long lasting.

Keeping your wood floors clean is extremely important as errant dust and dirt can create imperfections in the finish. Wood floors are easily scratched and dented so taking care of them continuously is important. It is recommended to use area rugs to capture dust and dirt, especially in high traffic areas. And in addition to the use of area rugs, basic cleaning and maintenance of wood floors is quite simple. With a few precautions, you can keep your floors looking beautiful for many years:

  • Wood floors should be swept, dust-mopped or vacuumed daily to remove dust and dirt that can create scratches. Shake out all rugs first to ensure no particles can be transferred from the rug to the floors
  • Furniture bottoms should be protected with pads to ensure their movement across the floor doesn’t cause scratches
  • High heels should not be worn on wood floors unless the heels are in good condition. An unprotected heel tip can easily dent a wood floor
  • Never wax a urethane floor
  • Vinyl or tile floor care products should never be used on a wood floor
  • Do not use a wet mop on a wood floor unless it will be dried immediately.
  • Clean up food and other spills immediately and dry any wet spots to keep damage at bay.
  • A wax floor needs to be waxed regularly, but over-waxing can create buildup and dulling. Buff wax floors if this occurs.

In addition to keeping the floors clean, reducing moisture in and around the floors is imperative. Any spills should be cleaned up immediately. Also, the use of a humidifier or dehumidifier along with a furnace or air conditioning system will help maintain the moisture in the wood and minimize natural cracks between the boards. Wood floors should also be cleaned with special cleansers often and the type of cleanser used depends on the type of finish; refer to the finish manufacturer’s recommendations for proper cleansers to use.

Tile and Grout Maintenance

Maintaining the tile throughout your home can help it last throughout many years, as with any surface in your home. Your contractor will initially inform you about the type of tile and grout used and will be able to give you proper maintenance tips. If you are tiling your home yourself, know what type of tile you are using. If it is unsealed, you will have to seal the tile to ensure it lasts a long time. Cement grouts also will require sealing, while specialty grouts will not; refer to the manufacturer for the best recommendations.

Wiping down tile and grout daily with a wet cloth will ensure it remains clean. Using a pH-balanced cleanser and soap-less detergents will make it easy to remove daily dirt. Cleaned areas should be completely rinsed and dried to ensure the longest lasting finish. Occasionally, tile and grout will require a more heavy-duty cleaning. There are many products on the market to clean tile & grout in different areas of your home; they should be easily visible in the cleaning aisle of your local supermarket. The use of these products combined with scrubbing the area with a soft bristle brush or pad regularly will make the cleaning easier on an ongoing basis. Remember to thoroughly rinse and dry any area that has been cleaned.

In addition to PH-balanced cleansers, there are also acidic cleansers on the market to clean tile & grout. These cleansers can be used for deep-cleaning if regular cleaning isn’t sufficient. Sulfuric and phosphoric acids are the safest and most common acids used in cleaning tile and grout. The directions for using these acids should be followed specifically from the package. As always, the area should be rinsed and dried after cleaning.

Over time and immediately after installation, grout particles can rest on the tile causing grout haze. The same steps taken to clean tile should be taken to remove the grout. Initially, a scouring pad and water may be effective. If this isn’t successful, using a PH-balanced cleanser or acidic cleanser, as stated above, should remove the grout.

In order to keep grout clean, a sealer should initially be used. This will help prevent dirt and particles from settling in the porous grout, keeping your tiled area looking cleaner for many years with regular cleaning. Securing a grout sealer from your local hardware store is perfect, making sure to follow the directions as they are given on the product. After cleaning and sealing grout, buffing of the area can be done with a soft terry cloth or cheesecloth to ensure all particles are removed.

Sealing the tile is also imperative to keeping a clean surface continuously. If you are unsure whether your tile has been pre-sealed or not, simply run water over it; if the surface darkens, the tile should be sealed. When sealing tile indoors, a topical sealer can be used for softer tiles while hard, dense tile or stones should use a penetrating sealer. Manufacturer directions should always be followed.

Stone tile generally must be sealed, however following the manufacturer’s recommendations is always first and foremost. The type of sealant to us, whether petroleum or water-based) depends on the surface of the stone (polished, honed or natural) plus the density and porosity. Your contractor or the distributor of the stone will be able to help you decide what the best steps to take are.

Ceramic tile and the grout surrounding it should always be sealed. Again, your contractor or tile distributor can help determine the best practice and steps to take. Glazed tile requires no sealer and should never be sealed as the glaze acts as a sealant while unglazed tile usually requires a sealer. It is recommended that if the tile is being installed indoors, glazed or sealed tile is necessary to ensure proper protection against everyday dirt, stains and wear.

Cork Flooring and Maintenance

Cork flooring is a resilient flooring option outside of the traditional wood or carpeting. Cork is a product of bark of a cork oak tree that is shed every 9-15 years and offers a beautiful alternative flooring option. Cork flooring can also be used under wood and carpet floors to add cushion or “give.” It is a natural, hypoallergenic option that is resistant to mold and mildew unlike many other flooring options making it healthier for any environment. Cork flooring can be found in many natural and man-made tones and offers a warmer, more natural home surface.

Caring for a cork surface is not always easy, though the benefits of using cork could potentially outweigh the detriments to some:

  • Cork flooring can be cleaned with a damp mop and a mild soap. A very wet mop can cause damage to the cork so areas should be dried immediately
  • Spills and stains should be cleaned immediately to prevent permanent damage
  • Direct sunlight can discolor cork floors so proper window treatments to deflect and keep out UV rays are also important
  • Pads should be used under furniture legs. Also, try not to drag anything across the floor as that can rip the cork
  • Heavy furniture should sit on top of coasters to distribute the weight so as not to create dents in the cork

Most cork surfaces are protected with a polyurethane finish that can last up to a decade. A wax finish can be maintained by applying wax paste yearly. These finishes can be easily reapplied to protect the cork and is possible as a do-it-yourself project, however T&K Contractors HomeWorks division can help you in both replacing your floor with cork flooring and maintaining it by applying the polyurethane or wax finishes.

Maintaining Stainless Steel

Stainless steel has been used for many different products over the years and more recently, it has been found in many homes throughout the world. Stainless steel appliances have become very popular for their strength and aesthetic. Stainless steel does not corrode, rust or stain with water as ordinary steel does making it ideal for kitchen appliances. Many people are replacing their old refrigerators, stoves, sinks etc with stainless steel versions. While stainless steel is beautiful and highly hygienic, it does not remain this way without proper maintenance.

First and foremost, keeping your stainless steel appliances, countertops, sinks and other surfaces clean is very important. Clean your stainless steel with the following for best results:

  • A mild soap and water or a mild cleanser with a cloth towel is best and will keep your surfaces clean and streak-free.
  • Window cleaner to remove streaks
  • Stainless steel cleaner for a flawless polish.

Cleaning stainless steel as it gets dirty is extremely important and will ensure your surfaces hold their original luster. Though we recommend cleaning often to ensure your stainless steel remains perfect, it can also withstand a lot of wear. Stainless steel can withstand heat and oil, which makes it a great surface for kitchens. Though, stainless steel easily scratches and shows smudges requiring a bit of caution as with any long-lasting surface in your home. Also to keep your stainless steel appliances and countertops looking flawless, the following materials should be kept away:

  • Cleansers containing chloride such as bleach
  • Acids
  • Concentrated soaps
  • Iron such as steel wool, matching chips and iron residue
  • Trapped moisture
  • Salt

As with any surface in your home, proper maintenance can ensure a flawless look through the life of the product and following these steps and precautions will help to extend the luster and shine of stainless steel.

Window Installation

T&K Contractors in NJ will handle all aspects of your NJ home remodeling project, including providing you with quality Andersen Windows. Windows and doors can add so much to your home including light, space and character. They can offer magnificent views of the world around us and give the world a glimpse of who we our – our refined tastes and high standards. With a well-placed window combination, you can transform your ordinary home into a beautiful sanctuary.

Windows are the eyes of your home and as mentioned, add character inside and out. In addition to the type of window styles that are available, there are many additional options to choose from including grille styles, base materials, screen options and more. Part of the quality and personal service offered by T&K is the ability for our design team to make it easy for you to choose the window that best fits your home. When you’re remodeling your home, T&K Contractors’ design experts will help you choose the most appropriate windows for each room that is being remodeled. Whether you need casement, double-hung, sliding, bay/bow or specialty custom windows, T&K Contractors will help to present you will all of the potential options that will work with your home.

If you’re not ready to remodel any aspect of your home and you only need to replace your windows, T&K can handle that as well. New windows are a value-add-investment that can help you save money in the long run on heating and cooling bills. If your windows are old and don’t seem to be holding their seal, you could be losing precious hot air in the winter and cool air in the summer – literally letting money slip out the window. With new Andersen windows, the experts at T&K Contractors in NJ can replace those old, drafty windows with beautiful, new windows, ensuring the seal and window pane are of the highest quality and installed properly to ensure the highest energy savings. And with all of the new energy efficient options available, including multiple-pane glass, low-emissivity glass coatings and Pella innovation, your new windows will have you feeling better about your contribution to the world.

Once your windows are installed, it’s important to maintain them regularly. It’s not just seasonal cleanings that are necessary, but it’s important to periodically check your windows for consistent performance and quality:

  • Verify that all hardware is secure and not damaged, tightening any loose screws.
  • Examine the window’s frame and materials to ensure they are intact. Occasional repairs may be needed, especially to wooden windows, however when painting, staining and repairing, make sure to keep the solution away from the weather-strip as it can make it weak.
  • Check that all moving parts continue to move smoothly. If not, they may require repairs. Depending on the depth of the damage, a professional may be needed.
  • Check the weather-stripping to ensure it is still intact and keeping the seal as tight as possible. Weather-strip acts as a barrier between your home and the window and is important in keeping your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
  • Ensure the caulking is intact. If there is any caulk that is splitting or pulling away, remove the damaged caulk and replace using new caulk.
  • As always, keep your windows clean with a good quality cleaner.

If you would like help with your annual window maintenance, the professional handyman services at T&K’s HomeWorks Division can help you maintain the beauty of your windows and your home.

Information on Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that is deadly in large quantities. Carbon monoxide is produced by the incomplete burning of various fuels including coal, wood, charcoal, oil, kerosene, propane and natural gas. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are very similar to the flu including:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness

The one distinguishing symptom missing that the flu caused, but not carbon monoxide poisoning is a fever. If you experience any of these symptoms you should get fresh air immediately. Open all windows and doors to ventilate your home and move outside so you can get as much fresh air as possible. Once outside, call the local fire department to report your symptoms and see a doctor immediately, informing them of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning, for an accurate diagnosis.

Preventing and Detecting Carbon Monoxide

Inspecting your appliances is crucial in removing the carbon monoxide forever and a professional should check all appliances that could cause a carbon monoxide leak. Make sure not to use any of the appliances until they have been properly checked.

Detecting carbon monoxide is easy with the help of a carbon monoxide detector.

For more information on carbon monoxide and carbon monoxide poisoning, visit the EPA.

Planning Your Bathroom Remodeling Project

Think the winter months will halt your home remodeling projects? Think again. The winter months are the perfect time to plan your interior renovations, including a fabulous bathroom remodel. Don’t like your shower, or the layout of your entire bathroom? The experts in home remodeling , T&K Contractors in NJ, can make all of your bathroom remodeling dreams come true.

Plan your Bathroom Remodel Project

The first step in planning a new bathroom is deciding exactly what you want. Cut out pictures, shop around and start writing down all of those luxuries you have always wanted. No dream is too big and the expert New Jersey bathroom remodeling experts at T&K will be able to bring those dreams to life.

A T&K designer will meet with you to talk about your “dream list” and be able to take your list and bring it to reality. From choosing the perfect material for your countertops, the most comfortable and beautiful tub to fit and luxurious details to ensure your bathroom becomes the perfect sanctuary to help you relax at the beginning and the end of each day.

Try Express Bath for a Quick Bathroom Remodeling Project

Holiday guests creeping up on you and you don’t have enough time for a large renovation? Try our Express Bath services – a total bathroom remodel in just 10 days!!

Express Bath is the area’s only complete bathroom remodel that guarantees to replace your existing tile, shower or tub, toilet, vanity, fixtures and more plus repaint your bathroom in just ten days or less. It’s simple, you choose the bathroom package that fits your budget, customize it with our designers’ pre-selected finishes and fixtures and when we arrive to start the job the bathroom of your dreams is complete in ten days or less, guaranteed!

See images from T&K’s bathroom remodeling projects and contact T&K Contractors in NJ online today to plan your bathroom remodeling project this winter!

Kitchen Remodeling Before and After

A kitchen remodeling or any one room remodeling project can make all the difference in how you view your home and when a client comes to us at T&K Contractors in NJ, we want to do everything we can to ensure their home remodeling dreams come true. For the particular client we are showcasing here and their home in NJ, kitchen remodeling was just what they needed and exactly what they were ready to do.

Transforming a Home Through Kitchen Remodeling

After laying down a fresh floor throughout their kitchen and dining area, it was decided that more was needed to perfect the rooms that this family, and most families, spend the most time in. Enter the NJ kitchen remodeling experts, NJ Contractor T&K Contractors in NJ. Prior to inviting NJ Contractors Anthony Cammallere and his team into their home, the client knew they wanted and needed a great upgrade to their kitchen and dining area.

The first step in this NJ kitchen remodeling project was sitting down with the client and learning about who they are and what they envision the space to be. It was decided that an upgrade to cabinetry, furniture, appliances and much more was required. The team at T&K Contractors in NJ ensured that every detail was perfect and started by bringing cabinetry options for the client to choose. Ending with slightly weathered, buttery cabinets, the once dated kitchen that started with simple white cabinets and old appliances, began to take on the appearance of the luxurious kitchen that was the ultimate goal.

Next came the next upgrade in this kitchen remodeling project – new appliances. A new refrigerator, a wide open gas stove top, hidden electronics and a bright, big new refrigerator transformed the room to a room the owners never wanted to leave. Add a fresh coat of pale blue paint to off-set the buttery tones in the cabinets and antique-like furniture which included a beautiful hutch that matched the kitchen cabinetry and blue upholstered bar stools, the kitchen was transformed into a beautiful mix of colonial farmhouse freshness and modern flair and luxuries.

In the end, T&K Contractors, Inc. was able to deliver a homeowner’s dream – a kitchen and dining room fit for entertaining all year round!

How to Reduce My Heating Bill

While most people dream about ditching their utility companies and saving thousands of dollars each year on the cost of home heating, increasing numbers of homeowners are turning those dreams into reality by using wood furnaces and solar power to replace traditional sources of heat and electricity. Advances in solar power generation, outdoor wood furnaces and other alternative sources of energy have made it possible to dramatically cut the cost of heating your home, and in some cases, make home heating bills disappear forever. Here’s how you can heat your home (and your water) for free.

Reduce Consumption and Increase Efficiency

The first step towards eliminating your reliance on oil, gas or electric heat and electricity supplied by utility companies is to reduce your consumption of power. Recycle your old power-hungry appliances and replace them with new efficient models. Cut your electricity use by switching to CFL lightbulbs (or better yet, ultra low-powered LED lighting) and install timers and power bars to minimize unnecessary electrical use.

Increase the overall efficiency of your home by installing weather stripping around all the doors and windows. Consider upgrading your insulation to reduce the amount of heating fuel you burn and be sure to insulate all hot water pipes.

Once you have reduced your energy consumption and improved the overall efficiency of your home, it’s time to look at alternative sources of heat and power.

Wood Stoves and Outdoor Furnaces

For most Americans, home heating bills make up the bulk of their annual utility costs. As the price of oil, natural gas and power continues to skyrocket, many people are returning to wood as an economical, reliable and sustainable home heating method.

Recent advances in outdoor wood stove technology mean that homeowners can both heat their home and their water with wood, eliminating the need for electrical water heaters and oil-fueled furnaces. Since wood is plentiful in most areas of the country, many outdoor wood furnace owners never have to pay for their heating fuel. They simply cut down a tree from their own property, offer to remove a damaged or diseased tree for a neighbor or source out free wood from arborists or manufacturing facilities. Outdoor wood furnaces can accommodate pieces of wood that are up to two feet long, making it easy to convert fallen tree limbs, scrap lumber and other ‘garbage’ into free heat for your home.

Solar Electricity

Electricity bills are usually the second-biggest household utility cost. With solar power, many homeowners have managed to eliminate their reliance on grid-sourced electricity, and many even sell their excess power back to the utility companies, turning what was once an expense into a money-making venture!

Say Goodbye to Utility Bills
By working to reduce your household energy consumption while increasing the efficiency of your home, you will cut the amount of heat and power you need. Replacing your oil, gas or electric heat with an outdoor wood furnace makes it possible to heat your home for free, and with some solar panels, you can enjoy free electricity from the sun. Yes, it is possible to heat your home for free!

This article was written by a guest blogger, Kyle Brent, president of OutdoorFurnaceSupply.com. Outdoor Furnace Supply specializes in alternative home heating solutions. Check out the Outdoor Furnace Supply website and the Outdoor Furnace Blog.

Information on Radon

Radon is a radioactive, toxic and colorless gas that is naturally occurring. It is found in soil, rock and water throughout the U.S. and can create health issues for many. According to the EPA, “radon comes from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils. It typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Your home traps radon inside, where it can build up. Any home may have a radon problem. This means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements.” (Source: http://www.epa.gov)

Since radon is odorless and colorless, testing your home is the only way to tell if you and those around you are at risk for radon poisoning. A trained contractor will be able to test your home for radon and during a home inspection, testing for radon should be done. If you prefer to test yourself, there are various simple home test kits that you can purchase at the hardware store. Follow the directions on the packaging for the proper placement of the device and where to send the device after the test to get your reading.

If your home is found to have elevated levels of radon, flushing out the air is key. Initially, locating and fixing cracks in the foundation and any other unsealed opening, is imperative. This will ensure future radon issues are reduced. Venting systems with pipes and fans can then be used to ensure the radon escapes your home completely.

Contact your local radon program office if you have further questions about radon, testing for radon or suspect that radon is in your home.