Monthly Archives: May 2016

Carpet Tiles

Carpet tiles have been around for over 50 years and were originally developed for homes as a hardwearing alternative to traditional broadloom carpet. Carpet tiles offer many advantages over traditional broadloom and make designing your own floor scheme easy. Recently there have been some great new designs introduced. Interior designers, makeover programs and interior magazines are increasingly presenting carpet tiles as a new design trend.

Advantages of Carpet Tiles

  • Easy to install.
  • Easy to transport – boxes to fit in the back of your car.
  • Easy to lay on top of laminate/vinyl/concrete with no need for underlay.
  • Easy to fit in awkward shaped rooms.
  • Easy to clean and if a tile is damaged, you can simply replace the tile rather than the whole floor.
  • Easy to lift and take with you if you move home, particularly if you are renting.
  • Installations can be done in small areas or temporarily – you can even work around the furniture rather than empty the whole room.
 
Cost Effectiveness

Carpet tiles include a strong backing so they require no underlay or adhesives and produce less waste than other flooring types, particularly in awkward shaped rooms. This saves time and money and because carpet tiles are fairly easy to install, you can lay them yourself and save the cost of professional fitting. Any damage or spills can be resolved by replacing one tile rather than the entire floor, which is reassuring and overall means carpet tiles are definitely a cost effective flooring option.

 
Cleaning and Maintenance of Carpet tiles

Regular vacuuming is the best way to deal with everyday dust and dirt. For inevitable spills and accidents it’s best to treat the area as promptly as possible. Scrape up any solids as soon as possible, working from the edges of the spill towards the centre so it doesn’t spread.

Excess liquid can be soaked up by placing a thick wad of absorbent paper over the area and pressing firmly.  Sponge clean if required or the tiles can even be lifted and rinsed under the tap.  Normally you can use a mild detergent solution and scrub gently with a brush where necessary, but it is important to remove all traces of the detergent by rinsing.  Use absorbent paper to mop up as much excess moisture as possible, and allow to dry.  If you lift a tile to clean it, you should make sure it is dry before you put it back, but let it dry naturally – don’t put it on a radiator or other artificially hot surface as this may damage the tile.

At Home Select we have a wide range of carpet tiles to choose from! Servicing the Danville, Alamo, San Ramon, Walnut Creek, Blackhawk and Diablo area!

Get Pet Protect Floors!

Resists Pet Stains

STAINMASTER® PetProtect® carpet has built-in stain resistance that won’t wash off.  It is made from SuperiaSD® fiber, a solution dyed nylon 6,6 polymer engineered with inherent stain resistance and built-in color that resists fading. So when accidents happen, you can use hydrogen peroxide-based cleaners without fear.

Helps Reduce Pet Odors

Sometimes accidents happen, and time may pass before they’re discovered. But when you purchase the STAINMASTER® PetProtect® carpet & cushion system, you’re armed with a breathable moisture barrier on the STAINMASTER® carpet cushion that helps prevent spills from penetrating the padding and subfloor, allowing for more thorough cleaning which reduces lingering odors. To realize this benefit, you must purchase STAINMASTER® carpet cushion.

Releases Pet Hair

STAINMASTER® PetProtect® carpet uses proprietary technologies and chemistries applied to the carpet that reduce the force of attraction between pet hair and the carpet, allowing the hair to be more easily removed with normal vacuuming. And anyone with a German shepherd can tell you that’s a breakthrough.

At Home Select we have many options when it comes to pet guard carpets! Come check us out if you are in the Danville, Alamo, San Ramon, Walnut Creek, Blackhawk or Diablo area Now! Don’t wait!

Hand-Scraped Wood Floors

Hand-scraped wood floors add character to your family room, dining room, entrance way and bedrooms. It creates a sense of warmth in any area of the home and also presents several distinct benefits consumers won’t find with standard wood floor finishes. Check out these advantages and consider investing in handscraped wood flooring for your living space.

Unique Appearance

Both hand-scraped and distressed wood flooring create an old world feeling in your home. The distressed finishing process presents a fairly uniform look, while each hand-scraped plank looks unique. Choose the handmade option if you’re looking for an authentic rustic finish.

This type of finish also allows for more visual interest across a broad area. Give your living space optimum character and style with planks that offer a one-of-a-kind view, as opposed to smooth finishes or machine-distressed styles that mimic a blank canvas on your floor.

The uneven finish on this type of floor also changes appearance with different light levels. Enjoy the hues and shadows created by the morning sun and appreciate how your floor mellows in appearance as light changes throughout the day. The skills of trained craftsmen allow wood’s natural beauty to shine through at all times.

Extended Durability

This type of wood floor is ideal for homes with pets and small children and in any high traffic area. Small marks, scratches and dents hide easily within the varied scrapes, making normal wear and tear much less stressful for many homeowners.

Smooth finishes display the smallest mark and often look worn in a short period of time. Your hand-scraped hardwood will look just as good year after year, with small markings blending in and enhancing the original finish.

Use floor pads and area rugs to extend the life of your wood floors, but shrug away the worry that small flaws and accidents will ruin the beauty of your new wood flooring.

Lower Maintenance Needs

Experts agree that keeping hard surface flooring clean is easier than keeping carpets clean. Dust can be thoroughly removed using minimal effort and spills are quickly wiped up, whether you opt for solid hardwood, engineered wood or laminate flooring. The various types of hard surface floors also have different maintenance levels. Hand-scraped and distressed wood floors come out on top in that comparison.

Smooth wood floors must be ritually swept to maintain a tidy appearance, as the solid finish allows dirt to stand out. Rough finishes hide dust and small debris, such as pet hair, sand and small dirt particles, allowing you to sweep less often. The grooves remain fairly shallow as well, making it simple to sweep the floor clean.

Many homeowners use natural cleaners on hand-scraped hardwood, such as diluted apple cider vinegar. Always read through the manufacturer’s specific cleaning instructions in order to properly maintain all types of wood floors.

Think about the unique appearance, extended durability and lower maintenance needs of hand-scraped wood flooring when you’re considering the options. Prices vary depending on the wood species, but the character and beauty of hand-scraped styles are priceless.

If you are in the Danville, Alamo, San Ramon, Walnut Creek, Blackhawk or Diablo area then stop by and visit our showroom! We have a wide range of hand scraped floors to choose from!

 

Choosing the Right Wood

Comparing American Hardwoods, Softwoods and Tropical Hardwoods

Wood products are known for their natural beauty, but when selecting a type of wood for your next cabinetry, flooring, furniture or millwork project, it is important to also consider the level of durability by understanding the difference between wood types. Each type and species of wood has an individual cellular structure that creates unique physical properties that determine suitability for different uses.

For example, the hardness of woods varies widely, so certain hardwood species are not recommended for flooring because they are not hard enough to withstand heavy wear and tear.

The following offers a brief comparison of American hardwoods, softwoods and often misused tropical hardwoods and their appropriate applications:

  • Hardwoods are deciduous trees that have broad leaves, produce a fruit or nut and generally go dormant in the winter. North America’s forests grow hundreds of varieties that thrive in temperate climates, including oak, ash, cherry, maple and poplar species. Each species can be crafted into durable, long-lasting furniture, cabinetry, flooring and millwork, and each offers unique markings with variation in grain pattern, texture and color.
  • Softwoods or conifers, from the Latin word meaning “cone-bearing,” have needles rather than leaves. Widely available U.S. softwood trees include cedar, fir, hemlock, pine, redwood and spruce. In a home, softwoods primarily are used as structural lumber such as 2x4s and 2x6s, with limited decorative applications.
  • Tropical Hardwoods, including mahogany, rosewood, teak and wenge – are not native to North America. They grow in the tropical forests of the world and must be imported for domestic use. While some tropical hardwoods can be used for interior applications, including flooring, the color, grain pattern, hardness and luster of many imported woods differ from those of American hardwoods.

Janka Rating System

When in doubt about the type of wood to select for your cabinetry, flooring, furniture or millwork project, refer to the Janka Rating System, which measures the relative hardness of woods. The hardest commercially available hardwood is hickory, and it is five times harder than aspen, one of the “soft” hardwoods. And while this example lists just some of the most popular hardwood species, there are hundreds of varieties, representing the North American hardwood population. Because hardness is an important factor, and hardness varies for each species, the Janka Scale of Hardness is an excellent tool to help identify appropriate choices.

Species Pressure To Mar
(Kiln-dried) (in pounds)
Hickory, Pecan 1,820
Hard Maple 1,450
White Oak 1,360
Beech 1,300
Red Oak 1,290
Yellow Birch 1,260
Green Ash 1,200
Black Walnut 1,010
Soft Maple 950
Cherry 950
Hackberry 880
Gum 850
Elm 830
Sycamore 770
Alder 590
Yellow Poplar 540
Cottonwood 430
Basswood 410
Aspen 350

Source: Wood Handbook: Wood as an Engineering Material, USDA, Washington, D.C.

So come check out the selection we have here in Home Select! Now servicing the Danville, Alamo, San Ramon, Walnut Creek, Blackhawk and Diablo area!

Cork Flooring

Cork is a natural and renewable material. It’s harvested from the bark of cork oak trees, which are native to Spain, Portugal and Tunisia, and has been used in construction for centuries. It’s gained popularity in the United States as a flooring material because of its durability, beauty, “green” qualities and other unique characteristics. Cork flooring is:

  • Durable. It resists cracking and abrasions and is impermeable to gas and liquid. Cork flooring also bounces back, so indentations caused by furniture won’t be permanent. When properly maintained, cork flooring can last 40 years or more.
  • Healthy. Cork is naturally resistant to mold, mildew and termites. It’s also anti-microbial. Cork flooring does not off-gas or shed microfibers to negatively affect indoor air quality.
  • Safe. Fire-resistant, cork will melt or ignite only at very high temperatures. Before and during combustion, cork generates less smoke and releases far less toxic material than vinyl flooring.
  • Comfortable. A cork floor provides a comfortable cushion underfoot because it “gives” when compressed. Cork is also a natural thermal and acoustic insulator, which means rooms with cork flooring are naturally warm and quiet.
  • Aesthetically versatile. Cork flooring is available in tiles and planks in many styles, colors and sizes. Use planks to create an almost seamless-looking floor, or use tiles in single or alternating colors to create a nontraditional effect.
  • Practical. Unlike vinyl, the pattern and color of the cork penetrate the thickness of the material, so they’re retained as it wears. This lengthens the usable life of the flooring.

As a building material, cork has little negative impact on the environment. The harvesting practices are sustainable, for one thing. A tree must be at least 25 years old before its bark can be harvested; after that, cork can be harvested every eight to 14 years without killing the tree. Cork trees can live up to 800 years, but the typical life span is 150 to 200 years.

Another plus: The manufacturing process for cork flooring generates almost no waste. In fact, cork flooring is actually a byproduct of the manufacturing of cork stoppers for wine bottles. The residuals from the stopper production are collected and ground finely. Binders are then added to hold the ground cork together. Binders typically include urea melamine, phenol formaldehyde and natural proteins, which are relatively stable once processed. Pigment is added to create different colors and patterns, and a finish is applied.

Cork flooring is widely available in two types of finishes: polyurethane/acrylic-based and water-based. Polyurethane/acrylic finishes are a bit tougher and, therefore, will protect the flooring better. Water-based finishes are more environmentally friendly and also less likely to yellow with exposure to light. Water-based finishes are a bit more expensive than their polyurethane/acrylic counterparts.

In addition to being used as surface flooring, cork can be used as an underlayment for hardwood, laminate and ceramic tiles to reduce room noise.

If you are in the Danville, Alamo, San Ramon, Walnut Creek, Blackhawk or Diablo area then stop by Home Select and check out all of the amazing flooring options we have to offer!

Luxury Vinyl

Until recently, luxury vinyl tile has been somewhat hidden from the average consumer, while commercial designers have been taking huge advantage of the benefits of LVT.
LVT is different than other vinyl goods in the way it’s manufactured and in its overall aesthetics. It can precisely replicate the character, graining and look of real hardwood. You can also buy textured “stone” tiles that look incredibly similar to the real thing.
So now the question is, when commercial designers can have any flooring they want, why do they choose LVT?
Features and benefits:
  • A new process called photogravure is used to create remarkably realistic 3-D photo replication of natural materials. It’s a fake done so well that even trained eyes can’t tell the difference.
  • It’s a fraction of the price of real hardwood or stone.
  • Products that are made from 100% vinyl material can boast Green building standards and can be eligible for LEED points in commercial applications.
  • LVT meets safety requirements for flammability, slip resistance and many other safety codes.
  • It’s easy to maintain by simply damp mopping it.
  • It’s water resistant, built in. As long as there’s no water seepage beneath the floor, it’s easy to clean up spills from above.
  • The most common thickness is 20 mm, which includes specialized wear layers that are scuff, dent, scratch and stain resistant. Coatings on the top layer serve to enhance the durability.
  • In fact, in terms of durability, LVT may be overqualified for residential use, handling high-traffic areas easily. It’s made to withstand commercial wear and tear, plus it usually comes with excellent warranties.
  • There is an huge selection of sizes, shapes and styles. From distressed wood, to tactile slate, to woven textiles, beautiful realism is embedded into the product and there is a large variety of options available.

It’s definitely worth looking into as a flooring option. LVT has enough advantages to merit your consideration when choosing new floors for your home.

So stop by Home Select today if you are in the Danville, Alamo, San Ramon, Walnut Creek, Blackhawk or Diablo area and take a look at our large selection of luxury vinyl!

Wooden Wall Coverings

If you like what you see then come check out our new wooden wall coverings from Du Chateau! They offer a very rich and amazing look to any room. We have many to choose from here at our showroom. So if you are in the Danville, Alamo, San Ramon, Walnut Creek, Blackhawk or Diablo area stop by and take a look!

Choosing the Best Bathroom Floor

When choosing the right flooring for a bathroom, there’s more to keep in mind than personal style. Some very specific factors come into play: Is your flooring, for instance, impervious to water? Will it stain easily when makeup takes a spill? Is it safe when walking across with wet feet? Given those considerations, here are some of the top contenders in bathroom floor surfaces:

Carpet: Many people think that carpet isn’t a reasonable option for potentially waterlogged bathrooms. However, all you need to do is make some careful choices. As long as your carpet is water-, mildew- and stain-resistant — with a backing that doesn’t allow water to seep into the pad — you’re good to go. And it’s worth looking for options within those parameters. Not only does carpet provide softness and warmth underfoot, but the color and pattern options are practically limitless, too.

Ceramic Tile: Ceramic floor tile differs from, say, wall tile in that it’s designed with more of a texture to prevent slippage. It is typically between 1/2-inch to 3/4-inches thick, and measures anywhere from 4 x 4 inches to 2-feet-square. In addition to squares, other shapes are available, including octagonal and hexagonal. And mosaic tiles (2 inches square or smaller) come in pre-mounted fabric mesh sheets. Ceramic tile is available in a vast variety of colors and patterns; plus, you can take your creativity to yet another level with colored grouts. This type of flooring is durable and hygienic, but make sure that you pay close attention to the porosity rating; it’s critical in a space such as a bathroom that requires something that’s moisture-proof. The porosity classifications range from impervious (the least absorbent) to vitreous, semivitreous and, finally, nonvitreous (the most absorbent).

Laminate: Made of layers of materials literally bonded together for strength — resin, wood fiber and Kraft paper, for example — laminate flooring is compacted under pressure to create the final product, which is then transformed into planks. In fact, the surface of a laminate plank is actually a photographic image, printed from film onto a thin decorative layer, which is in turn protected with a wear layer. The high resolution of the film results in a realistic appearance, so laminates may appear to be a variety of other materials; wood grain is one of the most popular. And because it’s durable and easy to clean, laminate flooring a logical choice for bathrooms.

Hardwood: Part of hardwood flooring’s charm is that it lends a sense of warmth to your bathroom. Plus, if hardwood is your flooring of choice throughout the rest of the house, you’ll create a cohesive look. What’s more, even worse-for-the-wear hardwood floors can be given a fresh outlook; you can stain or paint to complement the rest of the room’s decor.

Natural Stone: Cut into tiles, typically 12 inches square or larger, stone is easy to care for and durable, but it does require a strong subfloor. It also has the potential to be slippery when wet, especially in a polished form. As an alternative, however, stone can be honed (ground flat but not polished) or textured (by sandblasting); keep in mind, though, that unpolished forms may require a sealant to prevent stains. And one more word to the wise if you opt for a stone floor: Keep a pair of slippers handy as it tends to be cold underfoot.

Vinyl: Long one of the most popular choices for bathroom applications, vinyl comes in sheets or tiles. Sheet vinyl comes in rolls that are 6- or 12-feet wide, providing a seamless look. Vinyl tiles, on the other hand, are typically 12 to 18 inches square and lend themselves to a variety of different patterns. Tiles are usually easier to install, and it’s simple to replace just one, if need be. On the downside, though, a vinyl tile installation has many more seams, which creates more places for germs to grow. Both options, however, are easy to clean and effectively resist stains and moisture.

So if you are in Danville, Alamo, Blackhawk, San Ramon or Diablo stop by and let us help you make the best selections on any floor in your house!!

Choosing Granite

There are many reasons that granite countertops are among the hottest high-end options for the kitchen and bathroom. Their popularity seems to have staying power – and may be growing – as new granite countertop options are made available for home remodeling. Here are the 5 benefits of installing granite countertops.

Granite is Tough and Durable

Granite is rock-hard, literally. It’s second only to diamond in terms of the harness of natural materials. When properly installed, it will be the last countertop you ever need. If you replace it down the road, it will be because you want to and not because you have to. It resists chipping, scratching and cracking. Because of their hardness, granite counters are also heat resistant.   If you do manage to chip or crack the granite, it is a relatively easy thing to fix, depending on the severity of the damage.  While it’s not recommended, if you occasionally set a hot pan or tray directly on the countertop, it won’t damage it the way it would laminate, wood and other softer materials.

Maintenance is Easy

The granite counters must be properly sealed, and that’s why it’s a great idea to have an experienced professional do the installation. But when sealed according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, the granite countertop will resist staining and bacteria. You can also seal them yourself.  This makes cleanup easy using soap and water, or with a cleaner designed for your granite. Get to spilled juice quickly – which you should do with ANY countertop material – and you’ll enjoy a stain-free counter surface that looks like new for decades.

Granite Boosts a Home’s Value

New granite countertops make your home more valuable as well as more attractive. The return on your investment can be as high as 100%. That means they’ll potentially increase your home’s market value by the amount you spend on them.

Here’s another way to look at it. If potential buyers are looking at two homes and your home has granite countertops while the other one doesn’t, the granite might make the difference in which home they select.

They’re a Great Long-term Investment

While you’re enjoying your countertops made from granite over the next 30+ years, one neighbor might be replacing their laminate counters three times while another replaces wood countertops twice and has them refinished a few times. They’ll last twice as long as popular materials like quartz or soapstone in some cases. Here’s the point: In the long-run, granite countertops are a very cost-effective solution for many homeowners.

Granite Countertops Offer Stunning Beauty

This is why you’re considering them, right? For all their other qualities, what really stands out about granite counters are their gorgeous appearance. The natural appeal of the stone, with its textured, gently-hued beauty, is unsurpassed by most any other material.

Conclusion

Granite counters work well in the kitchen and bathroom. They key is to have them installed by an experienced professional who will properly seal them.   If they’ve already been installed, they still need to be sealed.  Make sure to hire an experienced professional, or do it yourself.  Keep your granite counter tops maintained, and they’ll continue to give you outstanding beauty and performance in the decades ahead.

Shutters

If you are looking into new window coverings to replace those old, dusty drapes or broken blinds, consider having some dependable, beautiful shutters installed. This article discusses the top ten benefits of shutters, so you can be sure to make the right decision for your home or office!

1. Attractiveness

The right shutters will come with a patented finish so that the color won’t fade over time, making them the ideal permanent replacement for those dated curtains. They don’t go out of style, and their clean, neat appearance will always keep up with the trends. Due to their ability to raise the overall aesthetic attractiveness of the room, shutters are actually known to increase the value of your home. The attractiveness of shutters, combined with their dependable nature, ensure that you will not need to replace them, unlike the other temporary options that are available. When you also take into account their versatility – they look great indoors and outdoors! – the choice becomes clear. Select them in an array of colors to match your home or office and say goodbye to your window treatment worries!

2. Controlling the Temperature of your Home

Shutters made of a material called Thermalite will actually help to regulate interior temperatures in your home. In the winter, your new set of Thermalite shutters will actually function to keep your house warmer by inhibiting cold drafts from entering the room. Similarly, in the heat of summer, they’ll keep the sunshine from penetrating the room and raising the temperature – so you don’t have to spend a fortune on air conditioning any longer!

3. Keeping the Sunlight Out

Are you tired of rays of sunshine filling your room with light in the early hours of the morning? Shutters have the cure! Get the rest you deserve by closing your shutters at night; you’ll love how your bedroom stays dark and cool, even when the sun is hanging high in the sky. You can use your shutters in order to keep the sunlight out in varying degrees, depending upon the angle at which you set them. In fact, more light stays out with shutters than with any other window treatment option, so you can finally get the rest and relaxation you need to start the day off right.

4. Allergy Control

Shutters are easier to clean than heavy drapes or delicate curtains, so spring cleaning suddenly isn’t such an imposition. Just a quick swipe and they look brand new, whereas other types of window coverings are actually a magnet for the dust into your home.

5. Saving you Money

When you have the right shutters, you will be able to keep your energy bills low because shutters work as an insulation shield, preventing cold drafts or uncomfortable heat from entering your home. By helping to regulate the temperature of the room, you won’t have to crank up the heater or air conditioning to feel comfortable. Additionally, shutters are not as expensive as some other window treatments, so they won’t cost you a fortune to buy or install.

6. They are Built to Last

Shutters are built to last much longer than any other window coverings, so you don’t have to deal with the headache of replacing window treatments for years to come. If you purchase from a reputable company and they are installed correctly, shutters are durable enough to last as long as your home is standing!

7. Increase your Privacy

You should feel comfortable in the privacy of your own home. Broken blinds, sheer curtains, and other window options allow your home to be easily visible from the outside, so privacy becomes nearly impossible to achieve. Shutters offer a great deal of privacy, and you can be the judge of how private your home is by adjusting the tilt of the shutters to your liking.

8. Ease of Access

Shutters are easy for anyone, even the little ones, to open and close with no trouble at all. Other types of window coverings can be tricky and annoying, requiring confusing drawstrings, heavy ties, or other awkward mechanisms just to open and close them.

9. Size

It doesn’t matter what size your window is, custom shutters can be ordered to fit any dimensions, any shape. The best custom shutters are customized to fit your window perfectly, accenting your home and providing that special touch you’re looking for.

10. No Strings Attached – Literally

Shutters do not come with any strings attached! Window treatments that require pulling and tugging of strings in order to let the light in can put a surprising burden on your day-to-day life. Strings can get tangled and become unsightly, and if used improperly, the window treatment can easily break. Loose strings hanging low can also pose a hazard for children and pets in your household, so be sure to keep a watchful eye on those annoying strings if you decide not to opt for the simple, durable, and always beautiful shutters.

As you can see, shutters are an excellent option if you are considering new window treatments. From their ability to save you money and keep you comfortable, to their ease of use and everlasting aesthetic appeal, you can’t go wrong with a beautiful custom shutters.