How to Hide Carpet Seams

Carpet flooring looks great when it’s installed correctly. The good news is that carpet comes in wide widths that often span the room. Therefore, you won’t usually end up with too many seams. But even one visible seam can be unsightly. Carpet seams become even more of a problem if you’re patching an area. Learn how to hide carpet seams so that your carpet looks great for as long as possible.

Should Carpet Seams Be Visible?

When you patch a carpet or extend a carpet from room to room, you’re bound to have seams. The seam is the area where two pieces of carpet butt up to each other. In general, these seams should not be evident to the naked eye.

Some disadvantages of visible carpet seams include the following:

  • Distract from the focal point of the room
  • Attract dirt and dust
  • Risk of fraying
  • May lead to bare stripes or spots 
  • Discoloration at the seam edges
  • Creates seam shadows in direct light

High-pile carpets are better at hiding seams than smoother, low-pile carpets. But installation also plays a major role. If you want to minimize the appearance of carpet seams or repair existing problems with visible seams, keep reading.

Why Are Your Carpet Seams Visible?

The methods for how to hide carpet seams depend on the reasons that the seams are visible. Are your carpet seams visible due to one of the following problems?

Carpet Backing Delamination

Carpets have two layers of backing material:

  • Primary back – A grid-shaped layer through which the fibers of the yarn are tufted
  • Secondary back – The layer you see on the underside of your carpet

The secondary back is typically made from jute or polypropylene. It often has grid-like pattern that provides stability for the carpet. This layer is laminated to the primary back, creating a solid piece of carpet with tufting that goes all the way to the edge. 

Sometimes, the secondary backing starts to delaminate at the edges of the carpet roll. This doesn’t create a noticeable effect on the front of the rug. However, carpet that comes from the manufacturer this way should not be used as is. 

If the secondary back is loose, it will eventually create visible seams. Your carpet may also become threadbare along those lines. 

How to Fix It: In serious cases, contact the manufacturer for a replacement. Delamination at the edges often has to do with quality issues. If the problem is not severe, you may be able to bond the layers together using seam adhesive.

Unraveling Seams

If the seams are unraveling, you’ll often notice long strands of plastic-like material extending from the rug. You may even start to see tufts of fibers lying on the surface of the carpet. 

Fraying seams are usually caused by faulty installation. Either the carpet wasn’t cut correctly, or it wasn’t installed using a sealing iron. Over time, if the seam wasn’t installed  correctly, wear and tear can make the edges of the carpet begin to fray.

How to Fix It: To prevent carpet seams from unraveling, cut the carpet between the rows of tufted fibers instead of through the tufts before installation. Pressing a sealing iron against the edges of the carpet will melt the material enough to prevent any tufts from escaping. Go over the edges twice and press firmly to safeguard against this problem. 

If the seams in your carpet are already unraveling, trim them down before the problem gets worse. Use sharp scissors to snip the frayed edges to the same height as the carpet pile. Don’t pull on these strands as you cut them.

For severe fraying, try using carpet adhesive or a small amount of hot glue on the seam. Start by separating the carpet fibers and keeping them away from the seam with masking tape. Then, apply a small amount of adhesive deep into the seam. Use your fingers to twist sections of existing carpet upright, hiding the threadbare spot.

Peaking Seams

Peaking seams occur when pressure on either side of the seam makes the cut edge protrude upward. This creates visible lines wherever it happens. It’s usually caused by stretching a carpet too tightly or using a carpet iron that’s too hot.

How to Fix It: You can avoid seam peaking by gluing down the carpet or pre-stretching it. Attach the carpet seam tape to connect two pieces of rug together while it is in the pre-stretch stage. Wait for the adhesive to cool before releasing it from the stretch. Then, when you stretch it again for installation, it shouldn’t create a significant peak at the seam. Stretching the length of the seam tape harder than the surrounding carpet will also create a dip in the fabric, minimizing seam peaking.

If your carpet is already peaking at the seams, you can try to fix it using carpet seam tape. Pull up a section of carpet at the problematic seam. Lay the seam tape beneath it, using a carpet iron to secure the fibers to the tape and bond everything together. 

Splitting Seams

Splitting seams occur when two sections of carpet pull away from each other, revealing the pad or flooring underneath. This is usually caused by foot traffic or dragging heavy furniture over the carpet. 

How to Fix It: If your carpet is in good shape, you can often fix splitting seams using carpet or seam adhesive and a carpet iron. Use a seam roller or heavy weight to secure the carpet to the adhesive so that it bonds properly.

Tips for How to Hide Carpet Seams

You’re more likely to notice carpet seams than your guests. But if you want to improve the appearance of your carpet and keep it in good condition for a long time, you’ll want to use the following tips for how to hide carpet seams:

  • Choose dark-colored carpet, which hides seams better than lighter shades.
  • Line up patterns so that there is no visible distinction between sections of carpet.
  • Apply a heavy weight when gluing down carpet seams; leave it there until the adhesive dries completely.
  • Use a piece of plywood or another hard surface under the carpet when connecting two sections with seam tape. This creates a flatter base where the seams come together.
  • Don’t install seams beneath windows or in areas where strong light will cast shadows on it.
  • Make sure that your carpe iron is not too hot; extreme temperatures can cause discoloration and puckering.
  • Protect your carpets against urine accidents. The ammonia in urine causes the secondary back to delaminate from the top layer; if this happens at the seams, it can cause them to become misshapen. 
  • Consider installing a type of carpet that hides seams better, such as shag or berber.
  • Avoid moving furniture with casters along or across the seams of your carpet.
  • Don’t saturate your carpet with water or cleaning products when removing stains.
  • Use a syringe to inject carpet adhesive into tight spots beneath the fibers.
  • When joining seams, bend the carpet upwards so that the backing comes together before the top of the pile.
  • Have someone help you hold back the carpet sections while applying new tape beneath the seam.
  • Stretch the carpet parallel to the seams.
  • Glue carpet tiles directly to the floor for best results.

When you take care of your carpet seams, you’ll reduce the risk of falls and get the most life out of your carpet. Fix problematic seams as soon as possible. Failing to do so can make the problem worse.

How to Make a Tile Floor Shine

One of the most notable benefits of tile flooring is its pristine appearance. When they’re well-maintained, tile floors can create a glossy expanse that reflects light and delivers a clean, refreshing aesthetic. Shiny tiles make a room look bigger, reflect light to brighten dark spaces and clean up with a quick wipe. In this article, we explain how to make a tile floor shine so that you can maximize the benefits of this flooring material.

Sweep Them Regularly

While mopping with a wet cleaning solution can instantly bring back the sparkle in your floors, that won’t happen if you aren’t sweeping first. People and pets track in dirt daily. Dust constantly settles on the flooring. If you don’t remove these particles before wet mopping, they’ll combine with the cleaning solution and leave a dull, muddy film on the tile. 

Sweeping is essential before mopping. It should also be a daily habit. Keeping your floors clear of abrasive debris protects the shine by preventing scratches. If you don’t sweep, grains of dirt will wear away the surface of the tile. This leads to dullness that is tough to restore.

When you’re sweeping, make sure that you get into the areas where dust and dirt collect. Don’t neglect the corners or under furniture. Dirt buildup in those areas will make the floor look dull. That might not matter if the floor is hidden, but it becomes evident when you move your furniture around.

Mop the Tiles

Mopping regularly is an excellent way to make your tile floors shine. Using the proper technique when wet mopping removes dirt and soiling that leads to grime buildup and dull tiles. 

Start by going over the floor with a dry mop or broom. If you skip this step, you’ll just end up smearing dirty water around the tile. It will create a film when it dries, making your floors look dingy.

Use a cleaner that is intended for use with your tiles. A small amount of soap diluted in at least a gallon of water creates a simple and effective solution for how to make a tile floor shine. You can also purchase a dedicated product to use for cleaning your floors.

Some tips for how to make a tile floor shine when you mop it include:

  • Use a chamois cloth or rag; sponges deposit dirty water back onto the floor and into the grout.
  • Hot water cuts through grime better than cold water, allowing you to use less cleaning product to create a natural shine.
  • Work in sections, and follow a specific pattern so that you don’t miss any spots. 
  • Change the water frequently as you mop.
  • Rinse the floor with fresh water to avoid leaving residue behind.
  • Use a clean, dry rag to remove all moisture from the floor; water droplets that dry on the tile can create matte spots.

Get Rid of Grime

If you don’t mop your floor or use the wrong techniques and products, grime will build up on the floor. One sign that this residue is present is that your floor doesn’t get shinier after mopping and drying it. Your regular floor-washing detergent might not cut it; you may have to use a cleaning solution that cuts through the film.

Here are some recipes for homemade grime-busters that can bring out the shine in tile floors.

Distilled White Vinegar

White vinegar cuts through grease and grime effectively. It contains acetic acid, which eliminates soap scum, dirt, oils and mineral deposits. Vinegar disinfects and leaves behind a gleaming shine.

It’s also affordable and relatively safe to use on most tiles. Avoid using vinegar on natural materials, such as terracotta and marble. However, you can use this solution on ceramic or porcelain tiles.

Mix one cup of vinegar with one gallon of hot water. Mop the floors with this solution. Rinse with warm, fresh water before drying the tiles.

Baking Soda

This method requires you to make a baking soda paste and apply it meticulously to the surface of the tiles before wiping them clean. Start by mixing 2 to 3 cups of baking soda with ½ cup of dishwashing soap. Add warm water, a small amount at a time, to create a paste.

Apply the paste to the tiles, scrubbing gently with a soft toothbrush or cloth to remove deposits and stains. Allow the paste to sit on the tiles for about 10 minutes.

Rinse off the baking soda with a mop or rag dampened with fresh water. If you want an even better shine, dampen the cloth or mop with a solution of vinegar and water. This will make the baking soda fizz as you remove it. Follow up with a freshwater rinse before drying the tiles thoroughly.

Lemon Juice

The acidity of lemon juice works wonders for restoring shine to your floor. Simply blend some lemon juice with water in a spray bottle. Apply it to your floors, wiping them with a damp cloth as you go. Finish the job by going over the floor with fresh water before drying it. If you leave traces of lemon juice on the floor, they’ll be sticky and attract dirt that quickly dulls the tile.

Deal With Stains

Your tile floor may look shiny, but surface stains can blemish the appearance. Removing stains helps to create a flawless finish that sparkles from wall to wall. You can use any of the methods above to create a cleaning solution to remove stains. Apply it by hand, using a toothbrush or sponge to work the stains away.

Waxing a Tile Floor to Restore Shine

Wax creates a clear layer over tile flooring, which protects the surface from stains and abrasion. It can also be buffed out to a glorious shine. 

Because you can’t wax every type of tile, you should check with your flooring manufacturer before using this method for how to make a tile floor shine. Follow the instructions on the product to get the best results.

If you have been waxing your floors and they still seem dull, consider stripping the wax and refinishing them. You could also use a buffer to make the surface shine.

What About the Grout?

Dingy grout can spoil the appearance of any freshly cleaned tiles. Prevent them from becoming dingy by sealing the grout when the tiles are installed. If the grout has already become discolored, try cleaning it with a baking soda paste and toothbrush. More stubborn stains and efflorescence may come off with a steam cleaner. 

In severe cases, you may need to re-grout the tiles. Sealing the floor properly after this project will help it retain its shine.

How Shiny Will Your Tiles Get?

Not all tiles are meant to be shiny. Natural materials, such as terra cotta, aren’t glossy. Even ceramic and porcelain tiles may have a matte finish. Unless you seal them with a glossy coating, these materials will never have a glass-like appearance. 

Therefore, when you’re trying to make a tile floor shine, remember that you can only get it back to its original state. If you’re not happy with the natural appearance of the flooring, you can often use varnish to add gloss. However, you must use the right product and technique for the material to achieve the best results. You might be better off installing a high-shine tile from the beginning.

How to Clean Sticky Floors

If you have sticky floors, every footfall can be irritating. Fibers from your socks may stay behind on the material, creating dullness and a rough texture that captures dirt and debris. You might even hear a noise every time you peel your foot up from the floor. 

Your strategy for how to clean sticky floors depends on the reason that the surface is tacky in the first place. The method is different for cleaning sticky spills vs dealing with a compromised finish.

Dealing With Sticky Spills

Maybe you spilled soda on the floor and didn’t clean it well enough. Food and beverage products that contain sugars and oils are notorious for leaving sticky residue. 

The best way to prevent this from happening is to clean spills immediately. Use a cleaner that’s designed for your flooring surface and effectively breaks up grime. Make sure that you clean the area thoroughly to get rid of the slick film that oils and other foods can leave behind.

If the stickiness is coming from an old spill, you’ll need to use more elbow grease to remove it. Follow the steps below for a basic method for how to clean sticky floors:

  • Fill a bucket with hot water.
  • Add the recommended amount of cleaning solution that’s safe for your floors.
  • Dip a mop into the solution.
  • Wring out the mop until it’s slightly damp.
  • Use gentle pressure to scrub the sticky spot off of the floor.
  • Remove cleaning residue with a clean, damp cloth.
  • Dry the floor completely.

Basic Method for Removing Stubborn, Sticky Stains from Flooring

If a regular mop doesn’t do the trick, you might need to use more pressure or a different cleaning tools to remove especially gummy stains. Use the gentest option first so that you don’t damage the finish on your flooring. 

Some steps that you can try include the following:

  • Use a rag instead of a mop; applying direct pressure with your hand may help to disperse the stain.
  • If your flooring is waterproof, leave a damp cloth over the stain for 10 to 20 minutes. The sticky substance should wipe clean more easily when it’s moist.
  • Try rubbing the spot with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser or similar product. This works like an eraser and may pick up especially clingy stains. Go easy on this step. Rubbing too hard can damage the finish on certain types of floors.

Why Are My Floors Sticky After Mopping?

Sometimes, there is no clear cause for your sticky floors. You didn’t spill anything on the surface. In fact, you clean your floors regularly. Yet the entire surface feels sticky, grabbing your socks as you walk across it. If this is an issue for you, it can get worse immediately after mopping.

This type of stickiness is usually caused by the following factors:

  • Failing to rinse all of the cleaning solution residue with fresh water – Cleaning solutions work by encouraging water to bond with dirt particles. Therefore, they function best when they’re completely rinsed off. If you leave cleaning product residue on the floor, it will dry to a sticky finish that captures additional dirt and debris.
  • Allowing cleaning solution to dry on the floor – Just as soap leaves behind scum if it dries in your bathtub, cleaning solution dries to a filmy residue on your floor.
  • Using the wrong type of cleaner – Chemical cleaners can interact negatively with waxes and other finishes. Make sure that you opt for a cleaning product that’s intended for use on your type of flooring.
  • Applying too much cleaning solution – Floor cleaning products are usually so concentrated that a little goes a long way. If you use too much, you’ll have trouble rinsing it off completely, and it can build up over time.
  • Mopping with dirty water – If you don’t replace your cleaning solution frequently as you mop, you’ll end up putting dirty water back on the floor. As the soap and dirt particles dry, they’ll create a sticky film.
  • Your mop is dirty – Dirt and grime stick to your mop head if you don’t wash it thoroughly. If your mop is looking dingy and ragged, consider replacing it with a clean one.

Clean Your Floors With Vinegar

The acidity of vinegar works well for breaking down stickiness on the floor. You can mop your floor with a vinegar-and-water solution to solve the problems caused by faulty cleaning methods or spot clean with the mixture.

Learn how to clean sticky floors using the vinegar method below:

  • Combine equal parts vinegar and water in a bucket, bowl or spray bottle.
  • Apply the solution to the flooring using a damp rag or mop.
  • Alternatively, you can spray the floor with the solution. Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes, and wipe it off with a cloth dampened with fresh water.

Avoid leaving moisture on a floor that can’t handle the dampness. You don’t want to let water sit on a hardwood floor for 15 to 20 minutes. Instead, rinse and dry the floors immediately after applying the vinegar. If they’re still sticky, repeat the process.

Dealing With Sticky Polyurethane

Polyurethane sealants can feel sticky if they’re not applied correctly. Some issues that can cause polyurethane finishes to feel tacky include:

  • Failing to let the product dry fully between coats
  • Failing to thoroughly stir the polyurethane before applying it
  • Applying polyurethane when the environment is too hot or humid
  • The layers of polyurethane were applied too thickly
  • You applied polyurethane over an old layer of varnish or wax

Once the polyurethane has been applied, you might think that there’s no way to fix the tackiness. But you have a few options.

If the finish is new, give it some more time to cure. Some experts say that if you can still smell the polyurethane, it has not cured completely. Avoid walking on it until the odor goes away and it’s hard and dry to the touch.

Running a dehumidifier can reduce moisture in the air and on the surface of the floor. This can be especially helpful during warm, humid weather.

Dampening a rag with mineral spirits and running it over the polyurethane can get rid of surface tackiness. However, you’ll need to wait a few days for it to dry before walking or placing furniture on it.

If none of these approaches work, you might need to refinish your floors. The best way to do this is to strip and sand them before reapplying the sealer. You might be able to apply a different sealer over the sticky polyurethane. However, this should be left to the experts. If you use the wrong product, it can make the stickiness worse.

Prevent Sticky Floors In the First Place

Using the proper installation, finishing and cleaning methods for your flooring is the best way to prevent tackiness in the first place. Clean your floors daily using a vacuum or broom to get rid of loose debris. Mop the floors periodically, following the instructions on the appropriate cleaning product. You’ll need to do this more frequently in high-traffic areas.

Dedicate one mop to be used with cleaning solution and another to be used for drying the floor. If you use a mop with cleaning product residue on it to dry your floors, you might make the problem worse.

How to Get White Film Off Hardwood Floors

Hardwood is one of the most popular choices for flooring because it holds up well over time. With the proper care, hardwood flooring looks great for years. However, many homeowners complain that their hardwood floors have developed a white film. Sometimes referred to as haze, this foggy coating makes floors look dull and dingy. The haze might disappear temporarily while you’re cleaning the floor with a damp cloth, but it resurfaces as soon as the wood dries.

Understanding why this happens is the key to preventing the haze. It also provides clues as to how to get white film off hardwood floors.

What Causes Film on Hardwood Floors?

Have your hardwood floors lost their luster? In some cases, hardwood floors become dull from abrasion and scratches. But in other cases, a cloudy haze forms on the surface. This is usually caused by other types of damage to the finish. 

These are some of the most common causes of white film on hardwood flooring.

Incorrect Sealing Methods

Getting the best-looking hardwood floors begins with the installation. Prefinished hardwood floors are already sanded, stained and sealed. Factory-finished boards usually have a thicker, more uniform sealant application than site-finished hardwood floors. You can walk on them as soon as you install them—no waiting for them to dry.

If you add sealant to factory-finished hardwood, you could damage the existing finish. You don’t need to apply another product over this type of hardwood.

Hardwood floors that are finished on site need to be sanded after they’re installed. Then, the correct type of sealant for the material must be applied. But there is a higher chance of making a mistake when finishing a floor on-site. 

Failing to wait for the coats to dry fully or applying the sealant when temperatures or humidity levels are extreme compromises the appearance of the coating. Improper sealing often leaves behind tiny air bubbles that create a white film on your hardwood floors.

How to Fix Haze Film Caused by Poor Sealing

The best way to get white film off hardwood floors if they were sealed improperly is to sand and refinish the surface. Make sure that you remove all sawdust and reapply the finish in a climate-controlled environment.

Wax Buildup

Wax coatings provide a durable finish for natural wood. This barrier protects against moisture and abrasion. But wax can become dull and cloudy over time. If you haven’t refinished your wax floors in a while, this could be the culprit.

Also, using wax when it’s not necessary can lead to a dull, hazy finish. For example, wax interacts with polyurethane, creating  dull finish that’s difficult to reverse without sanding the floor down.

How to Fix Haze Film Caused by Wax Buildup

Removing the wax buildup and refinishing the floors is usually your best bet. You’ll likely have to tackle the whole floor. Work in sections to make the project easier, using the steps below.

  • Using a soft cloth and moving in the direction of the wood grain, rub mineral spirits into the floor.
  • Repeat the previous step, replacing the cloth as necessary, until the fabric comes out clean.
  • Use the mineral spirits and a steel wool pad along the grain to get into the deeper grooves.
  • Mop the floor with hot water.
  • Dry the floor completely.
  • After all of the moisture has evaporated from the floor, refinish it with wax or another type of sealer.

Using the Wrong Cleaning Products

There are so many types of hardwood flooring cleaners on the market that it can be tough to choose the right one for your floors. Some of the products that are advertised for use on hardwood floors can create a white film. Any product that leaves residue can build up over time and conceal the true brilliance of the wood. 

In most cases, you should avoid regular use of the following types of hardwood cleaning products:

  • Paste wax
  • Oil soap
  • Furniture polish
  • Ammonia
  • Steam cleaners
  • Bleach

One way to test a hardwood floor cleaner before applying it to the wood is to test it on a glass mirror or window pane. If the product leaves streaks or residue after you wipe it off, it might create a white film when you apply it to your floors. You can also check with your flooring installer or manufacturer to identify the ideal cleaning product that won’t leave a haze.

How to Fix Haze Film Caused by Cleaning Products

Although you shouldn’t use harsh cleaners all the time, you might try using ammonia or vinegar to get white film of hardwood floors if you suspect that the culprit is residue from other other products. Try the following method to remove the haze:

  • Combine one cup of ammonia with a gallon of water or half a gallon of white vinegar and half a gallon of water. (Do not combine ammonia with vinegar.)
  • Dip a rag into the solution, and wring it until it is damp.
  • Working in sections, rub the foggy area with the damp rag.
  • Follow up by rubbing the section with a rag that’s dampened with fresh water.
  • Use a dry cloth to dry the area.

Moisture Problems

Water can damage the hardwood’s finish as well as the material itself. If water absorbs into the floorboards from below, it can trap moisture between the wood and the sealant. This, process, called “blushing” or “blushing out” in the flooring industry, generates a hazy appearance. 

If you don’t clean up spills right away, they can impair your hardwood flooring too. Salts and other minerals that dry on the floor as the moisture evaporates stay behind as filmy residue. If this is the case, you’ll likely have round white spots that give the wood a mottled appearance. 

How to Fix Haze Film Caused by Moisture Problems

Splashed liquids are an easier fix than blushing because they only affect the surface of the wood. Use the following method to get white film off hardwood floors that have been exposed to surface moisture: 

  • Wipe the area lightly with denatured alcohol to remove mineral deposits.
  • If the film remains after the alcohol has dried, repeat the previous step.
  • If that didn’t do the trick, sand the area lightly with 180-grit sandpaper to remove some of the sheen.
  • Reapply the same sealant that was previously used.

You should also take steps to prevent moisture damage from happening. If you notice a leak or moisture problem, have it fixed at the source. If you don’t, the white film will continue to rear its ugly head.

Wear and Tear

General wear and tear on your hardwood floors creates scuffs and minor scratches over time. These marks can dull the surface of the material, removing the luster and making it look foggy. 

How to Fix Haze Film Caused by Wear and Tear

If the damage is minor, you can often buff it out. Buffing can bring waxed or polished floors to a high shine. But even without polish, buffing with a fine-grain pad can remove abrasions and restore luster.

Should You Replace Your Floors?

It’s usually easier to refinish flooring that has been finished on site. Matching the color and finish of factory-sealed planks can be difficult. If all else fails, you can replace the affected planks. Work with a professional flooring installer to ensure that you don’t damage adjacent areas when taking on this project. You may also need to replace your floors completely if the wood has structural damage.

Can You Use a Steam Mop on Vinyl Flooring?

Steam mops promise a deeper clean than regular mops and instant sanitization. They effectively remove dirt and residue without the need for harsh chemicals. But steam mops are not ideal for every type of flooring. Can you use a steam mop on vinyl flooring? The answer is that it depends… 

How Do Steam Mops Work?

Learning how steam mops work can help you understand why they might not be the best option for cleaning certain types of vinyl. Steam mops operate by heating water past its boiling point in an internal reservoir. The resulting steam escapes through the mop head, which disperses the hot mist through the mop head. As the steam loosens dirt particles on the floor, the mop head wipes them up.

Here are some benefits of steam mops:

  • Cut down on cleaning time
  • Less effort spent scrubbing
  • Kill bacteria and dust mites
  • Penetrates surface pores for a deeper clean
  • Non-toxic cleaning

Why Can’t You Use a Steam Mop on Vinyl Flooring?

Vinyl is made of a synthetic material that is durable, water-resistant and affordable. It holds up well to spills and traffic. Therefore, you might think that it can stand up to a deep cleaning from a steam mop. 

Unfortunately, that’s not the best idea. Whether you have vinyl sheet flooring or luxury vinyl planks, you should consider the following factors before using a steam mop.

It Degrades the Surface

Vinyl flooring usually has a factory coating that protects the surface from heat, abrasion, water and fading. While this layer offers some protection, it isn’t invincible. The high heat and moisture from a steam mop can wear away this layer more quickly than usual. Then, the design layer is susceptible to reactions with the environment.

You might notice that the steam mop changes the appearance of your flooring. The high heat melts some of the materials, spoiling the design. It can also change the texture of the surface, creating bubbles, waves and lumps.

It Damages the Adhesive

The glues that hold the layers of vinyl flooring together are not intended for exposure to high heat. Therefore, when you use a steam mop, you could reduce the adhesive’s ability to hold. This may result in floorboards coming off of the subfloor, creating gaps and movement in the flooring. 

Even if the floor isn’t glued down, the adhesives within the flooring itself become compromised. This leads to peeling, lifting and wrinkling.

It Gets Into the Core

The core of a vinyl plank is composed of several materials fused together. Some are more waterproof than others. If your vinyl floors have a porous material, such as cork, within them, they’re likely to absorb any moisture that seeps in. With a steam mop, you’re essentially forcing moisture into the tiniest cracks in the material.

Over time, this causes the layers within the flooring to separate. It can also lead to mold and mildew growth, which can show up as black stains between the boards and affect your health.

It Might Smell Bad

Have you ever noticed an unpleasant odor when you try to clean your vinyl flooring with a steam mop? If so, you’ve likely heated the vinyl too much. A plasticky smell indicates that compounds within the vinyl are deteriorating from the high temperatures. A musty smell could be a sign that moisture is trapped beneath the floorboards.

It Voids the Warranty

Many vinyl flooring manufacturers include a warranty with their products, which guarantees that the material will stand up to regular use. Check the details of the warranty before cleaning the floor with anything. In many cases, damage from steam or excess water will void the warranty.

Is There a Safe Way to Use a Steam Mop on Vinyl Flooring?

If you already have a steam mop, you might be tempted to use it periodically to make your floors shine. You can consider using a steam mop on vinyl flooring with the following adaptations:

  • Adjust the temperature – You might be able to do some sprucing up with a steam mop set to a low temperature and steam setting. This would be akin to mopping the floor with hot water.
  • Use a microfiber cloth – Microfiber glides over the flooring and prevents the hot mop from coming in direct contact with the vinyl. Use cloths that are in good condition, with no tears or holes.
  • Change the pad frequently – Going over the floor with a dirty mop pad simply spreads dirt and germs. Change the pad as you go to get the most effective cleaning power.
  • Move quickly – Prevent heat from building up by moving the mop continuously. Turn the machine off if you need to scrub a limited area repeatedly. 
  • Vacuum first – Remove surface debris with a vacuum, broom or dry mop before steam cleaning. Mopping with abrasive particles on the floor can scratch the vinyl.

Cleaning Vinyl Flooring Without a Steam Mop

If you have any doubt that your steam mop could damage your vinyl floors, avoid using one. There are plenty of other ways to clean and sanitize your vinyl flooring to preserve its appearance and life span. 

Vacuum and Sweep

Sand, dirt and other grit that you track in from the outdoors is an enemy to vinyl flooring. You grind it into the surface as you step on it, creating scuffs, scratches and dull spots. Eventually, this wear and tear can erode the protective layer on the vinyl, making it particularly susceptible to damage from a steam mop.

The best thing that you can do to clean your vinyl flooring is to vacuum or sweep it daily. Use a vacuum with a protective brush head, which won’t scratch the floor. You can also use a dry mop, which dusts the floor with a material that attracts dust so that you don’t spread it to other areas.

Clean Spills Right Away

Removing liquids from the floor immediately is important for preventing water damage. But you should also clean sticky, stubborn spills off of the floor right away. This prevents them from getting grimy and requiring extensive scrubbing down the road. 

You can use a diluted solution of vinegar and water or a dedicated vinyl floor cleaner to remove stubborn stains. If you keep your vinyl floors clean on a daily basis, you won’t feel the need for a steam cleaning.

Use a Damp Mop Periodically

Nothing feels as fresh as a newly mopped floor. You can use a damp mop on vinyl floors as long as you don’t introduce too much water or leave puddles around.

As for your cleaning solution, use a product that’s designed for use with your floors. Cleaners such as Pine-Sol are safe for vinyl floors. You should avoid using products with ammonia, wax or detergents. These can damage the surface of the material.

After mopping, dry the floor immediately. Standing water can trickle into even the smallest spaces. Therefore, you should remove all traces of moisture after cleaning.

Get It Professionally Cleaned

Professional cleaners who work with vinyl have equipment that safely buffs your vinyl floors to a glossy finish. If possible, ask for references or before-and-after photos to ensure that they have experience working with this material. A professional floor cleaner will also have high-powered vacuums, which remove all traces of dirt from the floor.

How to Replace a Kitchen Floor Without Removing the Cabinets

Kitchen floors take a beating. If your floors weren’t new when you moved in, you will likely need to replace them in the next few years. Perhaps the surfaces are worn and damaged. Maybe you just want to update your decor. But you’re thinking about replacing your kitchen floors. 

Removing the old material and installing the new floor is a major project. You might wonder if you can save time, money and headaches by working around the existing architectural elements and appliances. Here’s how to replace a kitchen floor without removing the cabinets.

Some Considerations

Before you decide to replace a kitchen floor without removing the cabinets, ask yourself the following questions.

How Long Will You Keep Your Cabinets?

Depending on the material, kitchen cabinets can last at least 20 years. If you plan to renovate between now and then, will you want to change the layout? You would want to install the flooring under the cabinets if so. That way, you don’t have to fill in gaps or redo it when you update your kitchen.

Are You Replacing Your Flooring and Cabinets at the Same Time?

If you’re doing a complete remodel or building from scratch, you probably wonder whether you should install the floors or the cabinets first. This largely depends on the flooring material. The main rule of thumb to keep in mind is that flooring that isn’t glued down should not be weighed down by cabinetry.

Most experts agree that hardwood and tile should be installed before the cabinets if at all possible. This produces a uniform surface throughout the kitchen and keeps the counters at the proper height. 

On one hand, hardwood and tile floors can withstand the weight of the cabinetry. But they can get damaged by the cabinets. If you expose covered areas in the future, you might have to replace or refinish them anyway to get rid of unsightly blemishes. 

Also, you’ll use—and pay for— more material when installing flooring beneath the cabinets. But you may save on the cost of labor. Laying out a floor in a rectangular room is faster than cutting out complex angles.

When you’re installing floating floors of any kind, you should avoid running them beneath the cabinets. The weight of the cabinetry will cause the floors to shift and buckle over time. Floating floors need room to expand and contract. Therefore, if you know that you’re going with floating floors, feel free to install your cabinets first. A benefit of doing this is that you won’t damage your brand-new floors.

Is Your New Flooring a Different Thickness?

Is your new flooring is significantly thicker or thinner than the old surface? If you replace the kitchen floor without removing the cabinets, the height of the countertops is going to feel different. 

This change is negligible to most people and becomes less noticeable over time. But you can prevent this from happening by removing the cabinets and running the flooring underneath everything. You can also adjust the underlayment, which is often necessary if you’re switching to a new flooring material.

What Kind of Toe Kick Will You Need?

The toe kick is the vertical piece of wood that butts up to the floor at the base of the cabinet. Sometimes, quarter-round molding is used in place of a toe kick. These boards provide a clean line and seal gaps at the edges of the floor. 

You can customize toe kicks to match laminate floors by cutting extra laminate planks to fit. Don’t be tempted to extend other flooring materials up the base of your cabinets, though. Vinyl or tile toe kicks would look strange. All other flooring materials should be paired with a toe kick made of plywood or a material that matches the cabinet.

Should You Install Kitchen Flooring Under Appliances?

Your refrigerator, oven and dishwasher hide much of your kitchen flooring. You can save money if you don’t extend the flooring beneath the appliances. Plus, you wouldn’t want your dishwasher or refrigerator to leak on the material. 

Many people choose to install a piece of plywood that’s the same thickness as the flooring under their appliances. Still, you should extend the flooring far enough under appliances so that you can’t see the plywood. Alternatively, you could install a toe-kick across the appliances. This creates a cohesive, finished look across the kitchen.

First Things First: Removing the Old Flooring

Before you think about installing new floors, you have to get rid of the existing material. Check whether it is installed beneath or around the cabinets. Laminate is usually installed around the cabinets. Vinyl and linoleum may be cut around the edges or run under the cabinets. Hardwood flooring often spans the width of the room, traveling beneath the cabinets as well.

If the cabinets cover the flooring but you don’t want to remove them completely, you have the option of cutting around them. You can use the following method to remove hardwood, laminate and engineered wood flooring. It works around any baseboard, such as in cases where a floor travels under a narrow wall.

  1. Remove the quarter-round molding or toe kick from the base of the cabinet.
  2. Cut through the depth of the wood at the edges of the cabinet using a toe-kick or flush-cut saw. Follow appropriate safety precautions when performing this step. Cutting through hardwood is a tedious and labor-intensive process.
  3. Use a circular saw to cut across the hardwood planks, perpendicular to the direction they’re installed. This makes each plank shorter and easier to remove.
  4. Use a tapered reciprocating saw or a hammer and chisel to finish scoring through the wood at corners.
  5. Pry the planks off of the floor with a pry bar.

Vinyl is much easier to cut than hardwood. You can remove it by following the steps above. However, instead of using a toe-kick saw, you can use a sharp blade to pierce the material.

Tile is a bit harder to cut. Use a diamond blade on the toe-kick saw to get through it cleanly. 

Installing the Floor Around the Cabinets

When installing a kitchen floor around the cabinets, the most important advice is to measure several times before cutting and laying out the planks or tiles. 

The following tips on how to replace a kitchen floor without removing the cabinets should help:

  • Remove baseboards, toe kicks and molding before you start.
  • Leave an adequate expansion gap to allow for movement in the floor.
  • Don’t cut all of your planks at once; measure and cut as you go.
  • Seal the edges, especially in moisture-prone areas, such as around the sink.

If installing a kitchen floor after the cabinets seems like a complex task, that’s because it is. If you’re not proficient in carpentry or home renovation work, you’ll probably get the best results by leaving the installation up to the experts. 

Flooring professionals understand how to measure and lay the floor so that it withstands the test of time. This is especially important in the kitchen, which is exposed to more moisture and traffic than most other rooms in the house. Your contractor can also help you make the final decision as to whether to install your floors or cabinets first.

How Much Extra Flooring to Buy

Deciding to move ahead with a new flooring project, whether it is one room, or the whole house, can be very exciting! Once you have chosen the material for your floors, you will need to properly measure each room to determine the floor space. This is a very important step and should be done methodically and with great precision.

Flooring is usually sold by the square foot, so in simplest terms, the square footage you will need is first determined by measuring the length of each room (in feet) times the width of the room (in feet).

It depends on what type of flooring is being installed, but generally speaking, you will need to plan on adding an additional 10% to 20% to your floor space calculations. This helps account for imperfection of the materials, wrong cuts, pattern matching, appropriate seam placement, and other factors unique to the room.

Tools You Will Need for Proper Measurements

To get started, you will need to gather your supplies: pen and paper, measuring tape, and calculator. If the floor is odd shaped, you may need to split the area into rectangles. If the sides are unequal, you will want to use the larger measurements from wall to wall, in both directions. Round up to the nearest foot.

Measure and subtract the space for permanent objects such as a kitchen island or vanity, unless you are using carpeting or vinyl. Allow for irregularities in the room by adding or subtracting space as applicable.

Pen and Paper

Measuring Tape


Measure Your Floor at Least Twice

Do your own measurements at least twice, whether you are installing yourself, are hiring a contractor, or working with a retailer who will do the installation. By knowing your measurements ahead of time, you can get a ballpark estimate of how much you will need to budget for the materials and what the costs would be if you decide to pay for the installation.

Your retailer will be helpful in confirming the measurements and requirements for the flooring you choose. If you’re using a contractor, they will also want to confirm the measurements as most often their quote for the work is dependent on the square footage of the project.

Use a Diagram to Properly Depict the Space

It is highly recommended that you to draw your layout as a floor plan diagram. That way you can see the shape, write down the exact measurements, and have a clear picture of the floor layout. Be sure to measure every side of where the floor meets the wall. Having a visual will be very helpful for you and for all those involved, be it the retailer or installer. You’d be surprised at the details you can catch and errors you can avoid by having the plan right there in black and white, on paper, and from a bird’s eye view!

Explaining the Overage Factor

No matter what material you are working with, your retailer and if applicable, your contractor, will help you get the amount calculated correctly. Accuracy is key and if there are any questions or things that need to be rechecked, it is better to address them sooner rather than later. Each project is unique, and while we have given guidelines for overages, many other factors can come into play especially if creating angles and custom patterns.

Arguably, the biggest factor that can alter how much overage you should account for is the flooring material itself.


For carpeting, you will need to keep in mind the maximum width available for the carpet that has been chosen. Standard width is usually 12 feet. If the size of the room would result in a seam, you will want to plan out the arrangement so that the seam will not be right down the middle of the room. To be sure that the lines are seamless in the final product, add as much as 10% to the square footage needed when installing Berber, patterned, or sculptured carpets.

small pillow on carpet

Hardwoods and Laminates

These are both sold by the carton and generally in 20 square foot bundles. It’s recommended to add 10% for installations requiring less than 1,000 square feet of material, and 7% when more than 1,000 square feet is required.

This allowance can go as high as 15% for products installed on a diagonal or for lower grade products. The percentage of overage needed for hardwood varies depending on grade, variance in color, and grain. You can get away with a little less overage allowance on laminate flooring as these products don’t have as many inconsistencies.

hardwood flooring in living room


Vinyl is sold off of a roll and the width of a roll can vary from ½ foot to 13 feet 2 inches depending on the style. Add about 2 inches for doorways and as much as 10% to the total square footage needed to allow for pattern matching. Don’t discount vinyl as an affordable solution for certain areas and functionalities in the home.

vinyl flooring in store

Stone and Tile

When working with tile or stone, purchase 10% more than you expect to use, but keep in mind you may need 20% more based upon the experience level of the installer. It is not unusual to have broken or chipped pieces in the bundle you purchase and while these can be used for smaller areas where they can be cut to size, this allowance should be enough to cover these damaged pieces.

This is another instance when you will want to plan either a vertical or horizontal layout based upon how the room is shaped or entered.

tile flooring in kitchen

Do I Really Need to Measure Extra?

Installing flooring isn’t easy. It’s a skill, and an art. The resulting new floor is a worthy investment in the beautification of your home. Every flooring project will require cuts so that the materials can fit exactly within the space. Even professional installers make mistakes. There are a few reasons that you will want to be liberal in your measurements, here are a few:

1. Imperfection

Sometimes cuts may not fit perfectly and will have to be redone. Pieces do get damaged during the project and pieces may be unusable for various other reasons. Flooring materials made out of natural products will have some flaws that add character and interest, but some flaws will make a piece not suitable to include. Have enough materials so that you don’t have to skimp. You will be much happier when every piece fits perfectly and the finished area looks professional.

2. Closets

Most likely you will want to do the closets in the same flooring material as in the room they adjoin, especially in the bedrooms, so don’t forget to include that measurement. Always add 2” for the doorways so the carpet meets the flooring in the next room. Simple things like finished closets and doorways make a big difference in creating a professional look!

3. Damage or Repair

There is a good chance you will need some more material down the road, too, if you decide to expand your space or have damages you need to repair. A flood, overflow, leaky sink, or broken appliance that ruins a portion of the floor doesn’t have to become a disaster if you have the extra flooring to replace the damaged area.

4. Matching

It’s quite possible that the lot and dye of your installed floor will be unavailable at a later date or the manufacturer could discontinue the style altogether and by then it will be difficult to match, if you need to do repairs. If your flooring is custom, acquiring even a small amount in the future may be very expensive or not even possible.

5. Selling Your Home

The extra box of wood, laminate, tile, or stone flooring can also be used for sprucing up worn areas and a comfort to a buyer if you decide to sell your home, so don’t be short-sighted about the value of your flooring investment.

No matter how big or small your project, or whatever materials you chose, taking the time to properly measure, plan, and allow for overage will help ensure that your new flooring endeavor will be a lot of fun and very rewarding. Best of luck and enjoy!

How to Clean an Area Rug on Hardwood Floor

Coupling hardwood flooring with an area rug can be both aesthetically pleasing and convenient. After all, wood floors, once installed, are relatively low-maintenance, and area rugs provide you with that extra pop of style to compliment the room. However, the fact of the matter is accidents are occasionally going to happen, and it’s not always going to be practical for you to take a large area rug outside, or to a dry cleaner. 

This means that you’re left with the necessity of taking care of it in situ. But knowing how to clean an area rug on hardwood floor is not always immediately obvious. You don’t want to use the wrong product for the job, risking ruining an expensive piece of carpeting. Not to mention the potential for wood flooring underneath to take collateral damage. 

The good news is, with a little care and preparation, you can take care of most area rug mishaps simply. We’ll guide you through a few areas of focus, along with some tips to help you get the best possible result. 


When spillages occur, it can be easy to fall victim to panic, which can in turn lead to further mistakes being made. One of the most important steps in how to clean an area rug on a hardwood floor is taking a moment to step back, assess the situation, and make appropriate preparations. 


  • Mitigation — In the event of a liquid spillage, this involves gently soaking up any excess fluid. Use a paper towel or rag to carefully blot the area. If the spill is something more substantial such as food, or the fluid has dried, scrape at the area using a windshield scraper or bread knife, pulling up and disposing of excess dirt. Don’t scrub or rub the spillage at this stage, as this can exacerbate the issue. 
  • Remove Debris — Whether it’s an unexpected spillage, or long-term grime, you don’t want to make the situation more difficult by mixing loose dirt up in your cleaning solution. Take a vacuum, and run it along the full upper surface of the area rug. You can use a broom or lightly beat the rug to ensure that no clouds of dirt or dust are rising before proceeding.
  • Protect the Hardwood — A significant spillage can result in fluids leaking through to the hardwood underneath. Lift the rug, mop up any excess liquid, and lay a ground sheet. This also helps to protect your hardwood floor from any damage that could be caused by stain removers or cleaning products you’ll be using. 
  • Spot Testing — There are various methods for stain and grime removal, which we’ll go into shortly. However, if you haven’t used a cleaner or solution on your rug before, it’s important to perform a spot test. Apply a small amount of the solution to a corner of the rug, along with a little water, and leave it for a few hours. This will reveal whether it is likely to affect the color of the rug.  

Carpet Shampoo   

Particularly if your rug is made from synthetic materials, an off-the-shelf carpet shampoo can be an effective option. As you’ll be applying this while it’s still on the hardwood floor, be mindful of how much warm water you’re applying to the area.

  • Use a moist brush to gently work the shampoo into the stained area. 
  • Work from the outside of the stain and move toward its center, to mitigate the potential for the stain to spread. 
  • Prepare a 1:1 solution of water and white vinegar, and lightly brush it into the cleaned area to help remove excess detergent. 
  • Dry the area by first using rags to soak up excess moisture. Then use a fluffy towel, making sure to carefully push any plush rug fibers back into an upright position.

Baking Soda and Hot Water

When considering how to clean an area rug on hardwood floor, one of the simple and versatile options is a sodium bicarbonate paste. It’s effective on a wide variety of stains and spillages, including wine, juice, coffee, grime, and even sticky substances. 

  • Sprinkle the dry baking soda over the affected area. If you’re cleaning the entire rug, be sure to spread this evenly throughout, in order to keep the effect consistent. If you are applying it to a fresh spillage, you should be able to see the chemical reaction fizzing. 
  • Using a damp brush or cloth, gently work the baking soda into the fibres of the fabric. You’re not looking to use enough water to dilute the sodium bicarbonate, just enough that it turns the powder into a thick, pale paste. 
  • Leave it to dry for a couple of hours. 
  • Vacuum the rug when dry to remove the remains of the baking soda and stain. 

Steam Cleaning

A rug can be a great addition to your home, but it’s essential that you keep it looking fresh. While there are creative and cost effective options for how to clean an area rug on hardwood floor, sometimes it’s worth the time and investment to rent a steam cleaner. 

While this can inject life back into your rug, and take care of most persistent stains, it’s important to be wary of how this could affect your hardwood flooring. By their nature, steam cleaners emit a significant amount of water vapor, and as such you must make sure that your floors are adequately water sealed, you keep windows open where possible to aid natural drying, and that you place a sufficient barrier layer between your rug and the floor.  

Conclusion — Keep it Fresh

The reality of life is that you’re unlikely to be able to keep your soft furnishings in pristine condition. However, by taking the time to understand how to clean an area rug on hardwood floor, you have a toolkit that can help you keep it fresh for years to come. 

Remember to: 

  • Prepare for cleaning by both vacuuming the rug and protecting the flooring beneath
  • Use a baking soda and warm water paste to remove stubborn stains
  • If using carpet shampoo, brush the stain from the outside to the inside to prevent spreading
  • Invest in occasional all-over steam cleaning to keep your rug in peak condition for longer