Category Archives: Flooring

Prepare Your Home For the Holidays

Pucher's Decorating CentersWith the holidays approaching, you are probably dreaming of getting your home cleaned, organized and ready for the splendor that awaits. The reality of the situation can also be frightening, though, as you look around your home and begin a check list of all that needs to happen. 

If you are worried about bringing your current state of chaos into focus for the holidays, some of the following home decorating ideas can help. You can take control and make your home look spectacular this coming holiday season in by visiting a Pucher’s store in Berea, Westlake and North Royalton. Instead of stressing out about what you are going to do, you can take control with a few simple tips and tricks to spruce your home and prepare for a joyous holiday season. 

Focusing Your Attention on Organizing and Cleaning 

Every week tackle a single room or area by applying four key skills to organize your home – eliminate clutter, organize, clean and plan for the holiday decorating touches that will make your home  look amazing. In the early stages of the plan, focus on your personal spaces, which make it easier to plan for the approaching season and give you the organized space you’ll need for decorations, craft gifts, wrapping and Christmas card writing. 

With Thanksgiving Day coming closer, storage areas and food preparation areas should be the main focus to help plan the menu, bake treats and cook delicious meals for the family to enjoy. By the time December rolls around, the focus shifts to organizing public spaces and going through a final cleaning phase. By the middle of the month, your home will be cleaned, organized and ready for everyone to enjoy the holidays. 

Once the holiday season is over, get a jump on organizing your space for the New Year by debriefing, storing your decorations and noting things you’d like to remember for the celebration next year while it is fresh in your mind.  

Decorating the Space Should be Enjoyable 

Holidays mean a time of love and celebration with your friends and family but it can also be stressful if you are worried about getting your home in top shape for approaching holiday guests. One way to minimize anxiety is to establish a reasonable budget and start early.  Decorating doesn’t have to be as difficult as one might think, so step in and embrace the holiday season with ease. 

Try Tackling the Paint Jobs that are Small and Quick 

Even though you could paint an entire room, you don’t have to take things to that extent. Save yourself money and time by harnessing the power of transforming your space with a couple of small paint jobs. Paint the trim and the molding. Choose an accent wall to paint with a color that is warm and inviting. Make a door wreath and welcome mat stand out by painting the door with a new color or add a splash of color by repainting an accent furniture piece. Home decorating can be fun and exciting if you take the time to focus your attention on the smaller things. 

Upgrade the Accessories and Faucets in Your Bathroom 

Since it is a room vital to every guest’s comfort, bathrooms are an important place to give your attention to. Fix leaky faucets and consider upgrading outdated accessories and bath hardware. Adding stylish antique brass or brushed chrome towel rings, towel holders and door hangers will add shine and sophistication to your space. A new mirror at the sink can go a long way towards sprucing up a small space. If your guest will be staying overnight, installing grab bars to make it easy for guests to get into and out of the tub and shower is a thoughtful touch.

Adding in New Living Room Accessories 

Families tend to congregate in the den and living room before and after  meals. You want to make people feel welcome and at home in the space by updating the accessories and adding in some new ones along the way. Accessorize your home decorating with some throw pillows in rich plums, browns and blues. Nothing warms and pulls together a room like fabric so consider replacing old blinds with drapery panels or roman shades.  Fabrics that have texture as well as pattern are really popular now and work with many types of décor. Remember the floors as well – adding in an area rug over existing carpet or floors can change the look of the entire room!

Upgrading the Lighting in Key Rooms

Christmas lights are one of the first things that come to mind when thinking about lighting for the approaching holiday season. People will often overlook the fact that there are other lighting issues that should be considered when preparing for house guests. Changing the light bulbs in your closets, bathrooms, guest rooms, patio and porches a day before the guests arrive is important. Updating the interior lighting by adding in some chandeliers and sconces will add elegance to your space. Adding in motion sensing lights and path lights help illuminate the walkway for those who arrive in the evening. 

Holidays are a great time to have fun and enjoy spending time with those you love. You want to make sure you provide them with a holiday experience that everyone will enjoy and remember for years to come. Prepare your Berea, Westlake and North Royalton home with simple home decorating tips to make sure you have everything in order to enjoy your time bonding together and enjoying the company of your friends and family.

Design Trends – Bamboo Flooring

bamboo flooringWhen you’re looking for home decorating options, Cleveland has plenty to offer. In a place like Cleveland which experiences a lot of different extreme weather conditions during both summers and winters, you have to choose materials that can withstand and literally weather such climatic conditions. Consult with your architect or interior decorator about the different areas in your home, their planned purpose and the ideal floors and walls and other furniture and fittings. Your floor is literally the most used and often abused space in your home, especially if you have young children and pets. You walk on them as well as run, stamp, spill and scratch them. Your flooring should be strong enough to withstand all that apart from the weather and the resultant variations in temperature and humidity.

The most favored traditional floors have been wood. In recent years, people are moving away from wood to bamboo because of the abundant supply of bamboo, and its growth rate. Bamboo matures quite quickly; where trees like teak, pine and oak might take fifty years to grow and be ready for lumber, bamboo is usually available in five! This makes the replenishment of bamboo faster, and hence people looking for a greener home opt for bamboo floors. Bamboo is a sustainable plant and is also available in a wide range of varieties making it suitable for flooring for the entire home, for all the rooms from nursery and bedrooms to the kitchen and the patio.

The various kinds of bamboo available for flooring in Cleveland depend on the type of plant and the way it is harvested. The most popular bamboo floors are of two types, called strand woven bamboo and fused fiber bamboo. The strand woven bamboo is much stronger and is used for floors where there will be a lot of foot traffic. The fused fiber bamboo floor looks more attractive and so can be used for decorating purposes like a hotel lobby or the patio that receives less foot traffic.

There are no standard grading systems for bamboo available, and so the seller or manufacturer reputation is very crucial when you’re thinking of going with bamboo floors. You need to learn about the different kinds of bamboo and their characteristics to make an informed choice. The age of the bamboo plant when it is harvested dictates its hardness and therefore its durability too. Ideally the plant should be at six to nine years of age when it is harvested for timber. At six to nine years bamboo becomes very, very hard and durable and is a great wearing floor. There are some engineered bamboo floors available today that combine a top layer of bamboo with layers of other wood which make them strong, light weight and yet durable.  The biggest scam in bamboo is the cheaper imports that sell for $3 – $4 that are only three years old. They are actually soft and do not hold up well – hence the lower price. Trust us – you do not want a floor made of three year old bamboo. 

At Pucher’s, started by Carl Pucher in 1928, we have been providing floors to the Cleveland area for the last three generations. Now headed by the grandson of Carl Pucher, Pucher’s is a by-word for flooring in and around the Cleveland area in North East Ohio. Our in-house design consultants can help you with any questions you might have regarding your home interiors. We also have a range of paints, wallpapers, other household products, cleaning agents, furnishings, fittings, window treatments, etc. apart from just floors. Anything you need for your home, you can find it at Pucher’s. Call us today for a free quote or visit us for a free consultation.

The Ease of Working With a Decorator

working with a decoratorYou have saved up for years and finally have your dream home built to your specifications so that you and your family can live happily for years to come. The next step is the interior decoration, like choosing walls, floors and window treatments, paint colors for the exterior and the interior and other such difficult decisions. Your home should be a relaxing place, a sanctuary. Your home should be a reflection of you. The modern version of “show me your friends, and I will tell you who you are,” is “show me your home and I will tell you who you are.”

However, your family members will also want their needs and personalities to be reflected in their rooms and private areas. If you feel it is a daunting task, it is better to engage a professional interior designer or decorator. The former gets involved with the architect and advises on the placement of rooms and planned activities for different spaces, based on the available light and other factors. The latter is typically engaged after the house is built to advise on floors, wall colors, draperies and other furniture and fittings to provide harmony and aesthetic appeal.

Engage with a Decorator

You don’t have to worry about any aspect of your interiors when you engage an interior decorator to do your home; you just have to state your preferences and have a beautiful home you can proudly show off. You can be assured of getting your home outfitted with the best possible floors, draperies, rugs, etc. as your decorator will be on top of the latest trends and innovations. You can save yourself both time and stress when you engage a decorator to help with your home décor, not to mention opting for something unsuitable and then having to get it fixed. Such costly do-overs can be avoided when you hire an interior decorator to help in fixing up your home.

Whether you are building, remodeling or redecorating your home, this time can very stressful to you. Oftentimes you will not know where to even begin. An interior decorator will relieve the stress and take the burden off of you. They will assist in space planning and décor by suggesting patterns, paints, flooring, and window treatments just to name a few. A decorator provides comfort and the security of knowing the services will be performed and completed without troubling you. This frees up your time and saves you money and frustration.

At Pucher’s we are fully aware of the importance of having your home look beautiful and appealing. You need to have a home that is welcoming, relaxing and soothing. Pucher’s, founded by Carl Pucher in Cleveland in 1928, has been serving the residents of Cleveland for three generations. We offer our customers professional advice and help you get your home décor the talking point among your family and friends. We offer home decorating services in Cleveland. We specialize in all household items and designer brands. Our staff members are well-trained and can help you with your fittings if required. Our in-house design team can handle any challenging project. Step in or call us today for a visit and a free quote!

How to Clean Tile

cleaningCeramic tiles need to be cleaned frequently to keep them in top condition. Here are a few tips on how to clean your ceramic tile floors:

Sweeping

Ceramic tiles are highly susceptible to dirt. Textured tiles in particular get dirty pretty quickly. Sweeping your tiles regularly loosens the dirt and gets rid of all but the toughest grime. You can use your vacuum cleaner to sweep your tiles. Avoid using a vacuum cleaner with a beater bar since this can easily scratch and dull the tiles. Use an attachment on the vacuum cleaner to suck up loose dirt along tile edges and between the tiles.

Mats

Use door mats at home to keep dirt and grime from getting inside the house. Shake the door mats often to loosen the dirt. Less dirt on your tiles not only means less cleaning, but also reduces wear on the tiles.

Mopping

Ceramic tiles are best damp-mopped using grout and tile cleaners that are recommended by the tile manufacturer. If the tiles are particularly dirty, spot clean your floor using a clean cloth or wet sponge using the recommended tile cleaners.

Heavy Cleaning

Scrub your ceramic tiles lightly using a soft brush. An electric polisher/scrubber is ideal for use on textured tiles. Use a mild detergent for cleaning. After the tiles are clean, rinse them thoroughly using clean warm water so as to remove any leftover residue. You can wipe down the tiles using a clean towel to remove any traces of film on the surface.

If you have soft water at your home, you can use an all-purpose cleaner. Apply the cleaner to your floor then let it stand for 3-5 minutes. Scrub the tiles lightly using a sponge, rinse well, and your tiles should be sparkling clean.

You can use cleaning products from your local hardware or grocery store to remove hard water deposits, mildew stains, and soap scum from your ceramic tiles. Read the instructions carefully to ensure that the product is the right one for your tile. Rinse well then wipe the tiles down to obtain a sparkling shine. 

Dos and Don’ts of Tile Cleaning

Dos

  • Do clean up any spills as quickly as they happen to avoid staining your grout.
  • Do remember that despite the exceptional longevity of ceramic tiles, they are not indestructible and can crack up if excessive force or very heavy loads are placed on them.
  • Do take proper precautions when placing heavy objects or moving them on ceramic tile.
  • Do cover your table and furniture legs with protectors before placing them on your ceramic tile flooring to avoid scratching it.
  • Do remember that if you need to replace some of your ceramic tiles, the new tiles are bound to look different from the older tiles. This should not worry you since with time the new tiles will eventually blend in with the older ones. Try and purchase replacement tiles that are closest to the existing tiles in terms of dye lot and texture.

Don’ts

  • Do not use scouring powders, steel wool, or any other abrasives on your tiles since these can easily scratch the finish.
  • Do not use ammonia-based cleaners or bleach on your tile. These substances can discolor the grout especially if they are used frequently.

Caulking and Sealing

Once the tiles have been laid and then grouted, ensure that you caulk any areas that are frequently exposed to water. Caulking keeps the tiles looking sprightly and new and prevents subsurface damage that can badly damage the tiles. You can seal your tiles and grout if you deem it necessary. Sealing the tile and grout protects them from dirt stains and spills and thus keeps them looking sparkling. Grout colorants can be used to transform the original grout color and can act as a form of sealant. Non-epoxy grout joints are best treated using a silicone sealer.

Regular cleaning and maintenance of your ceramic tile flooring will keep it looking as good as new for many years.

Pucher’s is a family-owned Home Decorating Company located in Cleveland, Ohio. We are a renowned and highly reputable home decorating company serving residents of Berea, Westlake, and North Royalton. We offer a wide variety of products and services to clients such as installation of ceramic and wood flooring, the sale of window treatments such as stylish shades, blind and draperies. Our company’s roots date back more than 85 years when Carl Pucher, the patriarch of the Puchers family, started the Pucher Paint Company. Our unwavering commitment to a strong and unmatched customer service record is our philosophy.

How Ceramic Tile is Made

ceramic tileNot too long ago ceramic tiles were hand-made. A mound of wet clay was carefully shaped using a wooden mold and then left in the sun to dry or fired in brick kilns. Although a small percentage of ceramic tiles are still made the traditional way, the vast majority are made through a process known as ‘dry pressing’ or ‘dust pressing.’ This process is highly efficient and requires far less time and labor to produce than previous methods, a factor that has made ceramic tiles very common in modern construction. This is opposed to the past when they were reserved for Eastern Kings only! Below are the various processes involved in ceramic tile making:

Drying

Every ceramic life begins its life as a lump of earth. The final product is essentially baked earth. Various ceramic tile manufacturers use different methods to make the tiles, but the common denominator is that all use clay as the raw material. Other ingredients such as feldspar, sand, quartz, and water are added to the clay. The ingredients are carefully mixed together in the right proportions into a ball mill in order to create a body slip. The body slip differentiates the tile’s body from its glazed topping. The body slip is 30% water. The moisture helps the different ingredients stick together. The body slip is placed into a hot dryer to remove most of the moisture. This continues until the moisture content drops to just 6%.

The drying process essentially reduces the body slip to a lump of dust. This is placed inside a large hydraulic or electric-powered press. The press uses enormous pressure to press the dust to a particular size and shape. When I say enormous pressure, that’s exactly what I mean; something in the range of a few hundred, up to 100,000 PSI (Pounds per Square Inch). The pressure is necessary to give the ceramic tiles high tensile strength. Presses sometimes have shaped imprints such as diamonds and ovals that correspond to the tile shape. Once the body is pressed into shape, it’s now called the ‘‘bisque.’’ It is further dried to completely remove the moisture.

Glazing

Glaze refers to the shiny substance found on top and at the sides of ceramic tiles. Glaze is either sprayed directly or silk-screened on top of the tiles. It can be finished in either high gloss or matte. Various color pigments are added to the tile to impart the desired color. Glazing is not absolutely necessary in tile production, although it’s almost always used.

Baking

All ceramic tiles undergo baking before they are complete. The tile is referred to as a ‘‘green tile’’ just before it undergoes baking. Tiles were traditionally fired in a periodic kiln for several hours. Modern kilns, however, are the continuous type, and are far more efficient than the traditional periodic ones. Continuous kilns include roller-hearth kilns and tunnel kilns. The temperatures inside kilns are quite high and reach 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (about 1,371 degrees centigrade). High temperatures are necessary for the production of high-strength tiles.

Colors and Patterns

Tiles are re-fired by baking, using a method known as bicottura. This is used to produce tiles with many different colors and patterns. The prefix ‘bi’ in bicottura does not mean that the tile is fired only twice; in fact it can be fired several times. A different type of colored glaze is applied to the tile before each firing cycle and this is repeated until the desired final product is achieved.

The type of finish applied by the manufacturer determines how slippery the tile will be when wet. Tile manufacturers use a rating system to classify their tiles for different applications. This ranges from Class 1 to Class 5.

Located in Cleveland, Ohio, Pucher’s is a family-owned Home Decorating Company. We are a highly reputable home decorating company serving residents of Berea, Westlake, and North Royalton. Our services include the installation of ceramic flooring and wood floors as well as the sale of window treatments such as stylish shades, blinds and draperies. If you need state-of-the-art ceramic tiles for your floor, just call or visit us and you can select from our great collection of top brands such as Onyx Accent Tile, Emser Tile, DalTile, Marazzi USA, Mannington Porcelain, and our classic Pucher’s DesignPro Ceramic Tile.

How To Get My Wood Floors Shiny Again

bigstock-Hard-wood-flooring-in-living-r-16224596-resized-600may162013Wooden floors have an ageless charm that can be captivating. The patina of a hard wood floor that glows and gleams with age and polished smooth, though worn out by foot traffic over the years has its own poignant tale to tell. There is no doubt that a polished wooden floor can be beautiful, but maintaining it can be quite hard. Regular polishing and elbow grease are a must, or the floor will look worn out and dull.

Though some people recommend usage of vinegar and water to bring back the shine to the wooden floors, the acid in the vinegar will ruin the wood in the longer run. If you want to get your wood floors shining again, get a wood finishing product. This is the only way to take care of your old wooden floors. There are many quality brands that are available that will help you bring back the sheen to your beloved floors.

Floor Prep

The first step is to properly clean the floor; sweep away all the dust and mop up the floor to remove grime and oil, if any. Use a wood cleaner to get satisfactory results.

Wood Finishing Product

If you want a glossy finish, refinish the wood using a water based wood finishing product.  These water based finishing products are more durable than wax based ones, and so will keep your wooden floors protected for longer periods of time. First clean the floors; then apply a minimum of two coats of One-step wood finish with a soft, clean cloth. Take care to apply the finish in the same direction of the wood grain, as it will enhance the grains and bring them into prominence. Then let dry for one hour at least, before applying another coat with a soft clean cloth.  Once this coat is dry, the wooden floor is hard-finished and should stay glossy for a long time.

Today wooden floors are available in a range of colors, textures and finishes to suit everyone’s tastes and décor. Your hardwood floors have to be strong enough to withstand the constant foot traffic, the scrape of furniture and pets moving around. Some of the sturdier woods that make ideal floor choices are oak, hickory and maple.  One of the recently added and popular wood choices for floors due to its eco-friendly credentials is bamboo. Though it has been used in the Far East for thousands of years, here in the US, it is a relatively new choice for wooden floors. Whatever wood you end up choosing for your floors, make sure that it is well-cared for. A weekly dusting and vacuuming is vital to the life of the floor and can extend the beauty of the floor about four times over. As long as you take good care of it by routine maintenance, your wooden floor will reflect your loving care.

At Pucher’s we know how much your home means to you. Founded by Carl Pucher as a small paint shop in 1928, three generations of Puchers have toiled to make it into the institution it is today in Ohio. We guarantee the quality of every product we carry; our interior designers and engineers are famous in their own right for their integrity and work ethics. We are proud to say that almost 80% of our clientele come to us by word of mouth advertising and referrals. That alone, and the awards and accolades that have been bestowed upon us should attest to our commitment to quality. We offer a complete range of home décor products and ideas, and also offer customized designs. Call us today for a free consultation and quote!

Pucher’s – Three Great Locations in Ohio

Pucher's BereaPucher’s is one of the premier interior design and decorating companies in the state of Ohio. This company has developed an incredible reputation for helping consumers and homeowners dramatically improve the appearance of their homes. It doesn’t matter what your personal style is, there is something at Pucher’s for everyone. You don’t have to be a design expert to benefit from the products and services available at Pucher’s. In fact, this company was specifically created to offer assistance to homeowners who have no design experience or interior decorating knowledge whatsoever. Many homeowners have a vision for their home’s interior, but they simply don’t know where to go or what to do to transform that vision into a reality. That’s where the professional design specialists at Pucher’s can be invaluable. With three convenient locations in Ohio, high quality design is within your reach.

Our Three Great Locations Are Here to Serve

In order to better serve homeowners in the state of Ohio, Pucher’s owns and operates three distinct locations. Each location is filled with high quality products, tools, accessories, and design ideas that can help you plan your home’s décor from the ground up. There’s no need to hop around from store to store just to find the decorating products and inspiration you need to get started. A professional home designer can discuss your current home decorative theme and your vision for adding updates to your home. Pucher’s has home decorating center locations in Berea, North Royalton, and Westlake, Ohio, and you can find Pucher’s contact information at the easy-to-use Pucher’s website.

Choose From Incredible Flooring Products

One of the simplest ways to transform your home’s interior is through the addition of new flooring. Changing outdated tile or laminate flooring to beautiful hardwood, luxurious carpet, or gorgeous ceramic tile is a great way to make big changes in your home. If you don’t have the budget for high quality hardwood, you can take advantage of incredible new laminate and vinyl flooring products that closely resemble more expensive materials.

Window Treatments, Fabric, and Drapery

Often, all that is needed to dress up a space and make it uniquely yours is a few high quality window treatments. Instead of using low quality venetian blinds and drab window coverings, you can invest in stunning drapes, fabric, and other window treatments that will enhance your home’s preexisting décor. Window treatments don’t have to mask your windows and darken a space. You can visit Pucher’s three locations to discover how window treatments can actually emphasize the windows and natural light in your home.

Paint and Wallpaper

Never underestimate the power of the walls in your home. Walls can be so much more than a boring, plain support system for your house. Walls that are splashed with rich colors or papered with unique patterns and textures can actually turn into the focal point of your entire space. With so many paint and wallpapering options to choose from, Pucher’s locations in Berea, Westlake, and North Royalton are great sources for high quality products.

Convenient Locations in Ohio

With three different locations to choose from in Berea, North Royalton, and Westlake, you always have handy access to a company that can turn your outdated or old-fashioned home into a gorgeous canvas for beautiful in-home design. Changing the look of your home can be an overwhelming process when you don’t have the experience and expertise of a professional design consultant. If you are hoping to make dramatic changes to your home’s interior, be sure and stop by one of Pucher’s great locations. Team members are standing by to evaluate your current décor and discuss options that can completely transform the look and feel of your home.

Flooring From Pucher’s

mar292013Flooring is a necessity and too often we attempt to take some shortcuts because we are sure that will save some money. One of the most common shortcuts taken with flooring is to go with a discount provider that sells and installs the project, and who often leaves the buyer with unsatisfactory results. Naturally, this can make it likely that a property owner ends up spending even more to get the job done properly, and it could all have been avoided by simply turning to a quality vendor.

Going with Flooring from Pucher’s

Since 1928, property owners in the Cleveland, OH area have turned to Pucher’s for their flooring needs. Today, it is one of the wisest choices that could be made because the firm has decades of experience, a commitment to top of the line customer service, and an extensive array of flooring options.

For instance, you can get the most popular types of carpeting from the most trusted manufacturers, but you can also explore options in ceramic tile, laminate, vinyl, wood, and cork flooring options too. They even have high-quality area rugs as well.

Additionally, Pucher’s makes design consultation options readily available. That means that anyone confused, overwhelmed, or simply new to the process of choosing flooring and having it properly installed can turn to their expertise and knowledge.

The Complexity of Flooring

This may be oversimplifying the matter because flooring is something that demands a great deal of time, thought, planning, and attention. After all, how do you begin to measure for an installation of laminate? How do you know just which type of carpet, and which colors to choose? What about choosing the right flooring for the type of traffic that makes its way through the room?

There are those questions and dozens more to consider. Thankfully, Pucher’s has a strong team of truly experienced and talented designers who ask their clients all of the right questions in order to guide them towards the ideal choices. While they get flooring that satisfies their decor and design preferences, the flooring from Pucher’s also lives up to their needs and their goals.

Just consider, you may be renovating a home to be as eco-friendly and green as possible. Some carpeting is not that earth-friendly, and you may be entirely unaware of the best brands or materials for your goals. The Pucher team can review all of their eco-friendly, renewable, or even recyclable flooring choices and make absolutely certain the client gets all that they had hoped.

What to Expect

This means that you can anticipate getting good choices and tons of support when you choose Pucher’s flooring choices, but you also get the many benefits that this firm offers. Free measures, expert design support, a remarkable “no regrets” guarantee, free quotes, and a vast array of flooring choices are what Cleveland area clients have come to expect. This is one of the reasons that around 80% of the firm’s business is from “word of mouth” instead of standard advertising and marketing.

So, if you are in need of a worry free flooring installation, but are confused by the choices, the installation process, or the wide range of options, you can turn to flooring from Pucher’s. They are the type of firm that your friends and neighbors would recommend because of their quality and expertise. Because flooring is something that takes such a high amount of traffic and wear and tear, and because it is a major component in our homes, it is best to get quality support and to go with a firm known for providing the best product and services at the best prices.

Alternatives to Hardwood Flooring – Part 2

mannington-adura-provence-resized-600This week, we look at Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) as another smart alternative to hardwood flooring.  LVT is the fastest growing category in the flooring business.  Why?  Like laminate flooring, it provides the natural, elegant look of wood, tile and stone at a more reasonable cost.  But the real story of LVT is its exceptional durability.  LVT is so durable that many of them are even recommended for light commercial use.

  • Exceptional Durability

Because LVT is constructed to withstand commercial wear and tear, it’s probably “over-qualified” for residential use and can handle high-traffic areas with ease. Warranties vary by manufacturer, but it’s not unusual to see 20-25 year warranties on brand name LVT.   Specialized wear layers (most commonly 20 mil) are engineered to be scratch-, stain-, dent- and scuff-resistant.   Then the floors are coated with urethane to enhance durability.

  • Realistic-Looking

LVT planks feature incredibly realistic photo replications of hardwood, with handsome graining, realistic knotholes, worn saw marks and beveled edges embedded in the wear layer.  This gives the floors the look and feel of real wood finishes at a fraction of the cost.

  • Naturally Water-Resistant

If  you’ve been longing for a hardwood look in your basement or bathroom – moisture prone areas that would normally be “off limits” for traditional wood flooring – this is your floor!  LVT can take water spillage and it’s possible that it may even survive flooding, provided that the floor was installed correctly and that you remove the water ASAP.  Now that’s impressive!

  • Safe & Comfortable Underfoot

Vinyl is inherently slip-resistant, making LVT a good flooring choice for folks with mobility problems, as well as kids and pets.  Plus, LVT is comfortable to walk on.  Because they contain multi-layers of vinyl as well as a resilient backing as the foundation, LVT tiles and planks have more resilience underfoot than hardwood.  It’s easier to stand on for long periods of time and it tends to be warmer underfoot than ceramic.

  • Fast & Easy to Install

LVT floors are either glued to or “floated” over a subfloor.  Although no underlayment is necessary, the subfloor needs to be secure, free of moisture, smooth and level.  This is important because roughness or unevenness of the subfloor may “telegraph” through the vinyl planks, resulting in an unsightly surface and excessive wear on high spots.  The cost and time involved in installation will depend on the condition of the subfloor.  That said, most LVT floors will be less expensive to install than hardwood.  As always, we recommend using trained, professional installers for the best long-term performance of any flooring product.  But the skilled “Do-It-Yourselfer” can save even more money by using special Luxury Vinyl Planks made for glueless installation.

  • Easy to Maintain

Simple damp mopping with a manufacturer-approved cleaner is the recommended cleaning procedure for LVT floors.  Although LVT is tough and durable, if a plank does become damaged, it can be removed and replaced.

mannington-adura-plank4-resized-600Our Favorite Luxury Vinyl Plank

Since its introduction in 2007, MANNINGTON ADURA® has been a perennial favorite of our customers.  In my opinion, it’s the most realistic-looking of the LVT products.  Mannington’s Adura collection features a nice variety of hardwood species, textures and plank sizes.  Adura Planks are available in today’s most popular 4″, 5″, 6″, and also variable width planks.  Take a look at Mannington Adura flooring in “Dockside” (pictured, above left) – a reclaimed and restored wood visual that makes a bold statement in design, color, and character.

freefit-amendoim-resized-600In a field of products known for their durability, Adura is “the best of the best” and is backed by a 20-Year Residential Warranty against wear, fading, staining, de-laminating and defects.  In fact, I can’t think of one instance where a customer has had a problem with an Adura floor.  The floor is that good (and our installers are that good)!

FREE FIT LVT Floors are new to Pucher’s.  When we learned about them, we were impressed by their innovation.   First of all, they’re totally glueless, making them really easy to install.  FreeFit planks feature a suction backing that forms an anti-skid surface between the subfloor & the plank.  FreeFit Planks are dense – the weight of the product allows it to lay flat to the subfloor. So, assuming you’ve got a good subfloor, the Free Fit floor is extremely stable and no glue required!  FreeFit claims to have the best warranty in the business – a Limited Lifetime Residential Warranty & 15 Year Commercial Warranty.  Pictured above, right is FreeFit LVT in Amendoim (Brazilian Oak).

Key Takeaway:  Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) and Planks will give your rooms a realistic hardwood look with more durability and for less money!  Now that’s a great value!

Alternatives to Hardwood Flooring – Part I

Who doesn’t love the look of hardwood flooring? 

The look of natural wood grain adds warmth and beauty to any home.  But hardwood flooring is not for everyone.  For one thing, wood flooring can be expensive, especially if you like exotic species, designer finishes or reclaimed wood floors.  Plus, families with active households, children and/or pets may need a floor with more durability.  While hardwood finishes are continuously improving, if you’ve got kids or pets, scratches and dents are unavoidable.  To spare your household the frustration, it’s worth considering some alternatives to hardwood.  With today’s advanced manufacturing techniques, “faux” wood flooring is becoming so realistic-looking, it is often hard to tell the difference between faux and the real thing!   Here are several attractive flooring options that will give you the look of hardwood with more durability and for less money.

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About Laminate

Laminate flooring is popular today in North America and all over the world, although it started as a European innovation. For households and offices which require a low maintenance flooring solution, laminate is attractive, durable, easy to install, and reasonably priced.  It’s a great choices for households with heavy foot traffic, kids, or pets.

Benefits of Laminate

Laminate is a floor you can live on.  In fact, laminates are best known for their durability.  Laminate planks are constructed of three to seven layers of material.  The decorative layer features a photographic image that looks just like natural hardwood including grain, stain color and knots.  This decorative layer is glued and pressed to a high-density core and backing board, which provide structural stability.  The photo layer is then sealed with a transparent, wear-resistant coating that gives laminates their longevity.   This layer makes laminate flooring highly resistant to scratches, scuffs, stains, fading, and moisture.  Laminate floors are so durable, many manufacturers offer 10-25 year, even lifetime residential warranties.

Another thing you’ll love about laminate is that it is fast and easy to install. Laminate flooring can be installed over floors like wood, tile, vinyl or linoleum because laminates are usually “floated” which means they are not fastened directly to the subfloor. All that is required is that the underlying surface be clean, dry and level. The easiest to install are the “Click & Go” laminates (no glue or nails required) that feature a “tongue and groove” design in which planks easily “snap” together and lock in place, making a tight seal that resists even water.  Plus, laminate planks are wider than hardwood planks, so there are fewer boards to cut and the floor can be installed in a shorter time.  So DIY homeowners can save money by installing it themselves.  But even if you use a professional installer, laminate installation costs will still be less than hardwood installation.

Speaking of cost, laminate flooring is about 25-50% less expensive than comparable hardwood floors.  So if you love the look of Brazilian Cherry or wide plank reclaimed barnwood, you can still have that look for a LOT less money!

Last, let’s talk about moisture resistance.  There are some places in your home where hardwood flooring shouldn’t go – basements, bathrooms and anywhere moisture is an issue.  Moisture will absolutely cause a beautiful hardwood floor to warp and gap.  Laminates are constructed to be moisture-resistant and are a perfect way to add the warmth and beauty of natural wood to these areas.  Please note that while laminate flooring is water-resistant, it is not waterproof.  So don’t leave water standing on your laminate floor and wipe up spills immediately.

The Underlayment

One note of caution – when installing a laminate or any other floated floor, always use an underlayment or pad underneath and buy the best pad you can afford.  The quality of the pad is just as important as the quality of laminate you buy.  A good pad or underlayment acts as a cushion between the subfloor and laminate.  It is usually made of cork, rubber or foam and accomplishes several things:

  • Evens out bumps on a poured cement slab or plywood subfloor.  This puts less pressure on the interlocking mechanism of a floating floor and improves its structural integrity.
  • Prevents moisture penetration from the subfloor below into the backside of the floating floor, especially critical in concrete slab installations.
  • Acts as a sound insulator.  All floated floors, including laminate, tend to be “noisier” than floors that are nailed to a subfloor.  You may notice a hollow sound when you walk on floated floors with hard-soled shoes or when your dog runs across the floor.  This can drive some people crazy and many learn about it only after the floor is in.  A sound insulating pad is especially important in rooms on concrete slabs and in condo/apartment buildings where there are people living above or below you.
  • Prevents heat loss, especially in below grade installations.
  • Provides extra cushioning making your floor more comfortable to walk on.

Cleaning, Maintenance & Repair

Laminate flooring is virtually maintenance-free. Routine cleaning requires you only to vacuum, use a dust mop, or a slightly damp (not wet) mop and dry with a clean, white cotton cloth. For damp-mopping, use a hard surface cleaner recommended by the manufacturer.

Laminate floors are tough, but they are not indestructible.  Dropping something heavy can dent the floor.  Dragging something heavy like a refrigerator can scratch the floor.   In the event that the floor becomes damaged, the affected plank will need to be replaced.  So make sure you save extra planks for just such an occasion.

Our Favorite Laminate Floors

I have to admit, I was not a fan of laminate flooring until a couple of years ago when my husband and I  adopted two doodles.   Within six months, our beautifully smooth hardwood floor was littered with scratch marks.  So, we went out and bought large area rugs which ended up covering most of the wood floor.  So what was the point of spending all that money on a hardwood floor?   Another reason I am re-thinking laminate is because there are some really attractive laminate floors available today.  Today’s laminate floors are so realistic-looking, you almost can’t tell the difference!

endless-beauty-laminate-edited-resized-600

Case in point – my current favorite laminate is called Endless Beauty (pictured, above).  It is made in Germany – so you know it’s a quality product.  What’s unique about this product is how the grain and texture is repeated from board to board.  This creates a unique long board visual and mimics how reclaimed wood is manufactured.  You’ll also note how the embossed surface and matte texture gives the floor a natural look and feel.  If you love the look of reclaimed flooring, but don’t want to pay $15 SF and up, stop in to Pucher’s and ask about Endless Beauty.

QuickStep is “America’s Favorite Laminate” and you can see why!  They offer an extensive selection of hardwood species, styles and colors.  You’re sure to find a QuickStep floor to complement your interiors.

quickstep-laminate-girls-bedroom-edited-resized-600You’ll find rustic looks like hand-scraped, white-washed, barnwood and reclaimed wood. In the photo on the left, Quickstep’s White Brushed Pine Planks add a charming contrast in this girl’s bedroom.  The bonus is the floor not only looks great, but it will stand up to years of sleepovers, pets and play.

Note the authentic surface texture of the Dark Wenge Planks (pictured right).  QuickStep offers a wide selection of exotic wood looks like Brazilian Cherry, Merbau and Santos Mahogany.

quickstep-laminate-dark-wenge-resized-600Here’s a more classic look, but still stunning – Quickstep’s Walnut Planks.

Quickstep offers consumers more than just gorgeous hardwood looks.  QuickStep Floors:

  • Are Made in the US
  • Feature Limited Residential Lifetime Warranty
  • Offer longer planks lengths

Key Takeaway:

I hope we’ve convinced you to take another look at laminate flooring.  Laminates give you a lot of bang for your buck.  They are:

  • Economical – Less expensive way to get an upscale hardwood look
  • Durable – Does not stain or fade like hardwood, or scratch or scuff as easily as tile
  • Moisture resistant – Great for kitchens, bathrooms, and basements
  • Fast & Easy installation – Especially with “click and lock” laminates
  • Easy Maintenance

Flooring That Can Survive Flooding

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Due to the wet weather we have had in NE Ohio in recent years, many homeowners (including us) have run into problems with flooding (usually basements).  It seems like this year has been particularly bad.  In fact, our Berea store flooded this summer for the first time due to the unusually heavy storms we had.  We can’t control the weather, but let’s look at some practical flooring options that can help homeowners who live in a flood-prone area.

Carpet

Carpeting is a popular choice for basements because it is so warm & insulating and makes your basement areas more liveable.  But carpeting can be a real challenge after a flood.  The good news is that it can be saved , IF you act quickly!  The problem is actually the carpet pad, which absorbs a lot of water.  Water underneath the carpet creates the perfect breeding ground for mold. Once mold develops, it’s over.  So, your best move is to call professional cleaners ASAP (but no later than 24 hours).  They have powerful equipment that can quickly extract water, remove the carpet pad and dry the carpet ASAP.

However, if your carpet did not make it and you still want carpeting in the basement, you might consider carpet tile.  It is easy to install and is very family-friendly.  In case of flooding (or spills, pet accidents, etc.), simply remove the affected tiles, have them cleaned and re-install them.   The great news is carpet tile is becoming more popular today and is available in a variety of styles & colors.  It’s not just for offices anymore!

Wood & Laminate Flooring

We wish we had better news for you here.  Because they are porous, wood & laminate floors are often permanently damaged in the event of flooding.  Engineered wood & laminate flooring CAN be used in basements because they are less dense and more moisture-resistant than solid wood.  However, we would not suggest installing these floors in your basement if you live in an area that is flood-prone.

Ceramic & Porcelain Tile

No problem here. Because they are made of stone, these tiles only absorb about 1-2% of standing water, making them one of the most waterproof floors available.  Plus, they are fantastic solutions in southern climates because they keep homes nice and cool.  If you live up north like we do, you might consider installing radiant heating underneath the tiles; or you can try…

Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT)

This product is one of our favorites and is especially good in any area where moisture is a concern.  They are waterproof (if installed with waterproof adhesive) and can handle standing water for a limited time.  If any of the tiles are damaged, simply cut the damaged tiles out and replace them with spares.  Plus, LVT is extremely durable, easy to clean and warmer and softer underfoot than ceramic.  If that weren’t enough, LVT tiles are gorgeous and available in a variety of realistic wood and stone looks (check out Mannington Adura, pictured above).

Key Takeaway:

Coming home to a flooded basement is no fun (we know).  Homeowners can mitigate the damage, cost and stress by choosing flooring that is not only durable and low-maintenance, but water-resistant and easy to replace.

NEW at Pucher’s – Mirage Hardwood Flooring

mirage-breza-bali-resized-600Mirage – the # 1 hardwood flooring brand in North America

One look at a Mirage hardwood floor and it may ruin other flooring for you.  They’re that beautiful!  That’s how we felt when we first saw these floors.  If you want a floor that is truly distinctive, one you won’t see everywhere, you really should make a trip to Pucher’s Westlake to see our new Mirage display. Mirage wood floors are known for uniformity, stability, durability, better air quality, added value, and lifelong good looks.

Mirage has been recognized 15 times for outstanding quality, including the following:

  • Ranked 1st in quality by Floor Focus magazine in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010
  • Ranked 1st in quality by Floor Covering Weekly in 2008, 2009, and 2010
  • Received the Floor Covering News Award of Excellence in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011

Top 10 Reasons to Choose Mirage

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To experience Mirage hardwood floors for yourself, watch this video Top 10 Reasons to Choose Mirage and take a guided tour through rooms that show off Mirage’s gorgeous oaks, maple, walnut, birch and exotic hardwoods floors.  We think you’ll agree each floor is more gorgeous than the next.

One reason that Mirage floors are so distinctive is the cutting method that the company uses in producing its engineered wood planks.  Most hardwood floors are crafted using a rotary cut, but Mirage uses the dry sawn method.  The dry sawn method preserves the color variation, uniformity and natural grain beauty of the wood.  You’ll notice the difference when you see these floors.

One More Reason We Like Mirage

Mirage features beautiful exotic hardwoods like African Mahogany, Koubari and Canadian Breza (pictured, top) and they are all Lacey Act compliant.  You probably have never heard of the Lacey Act, but it definitely affects you when you buy exotic hardwood flooring.   Enacted to protect our natural rainforests, the Lacey Act Amendment of 2008 bans the import, sale and purchase of illegally sourced timber and wood products.  I think we can all agree that protecting the rainforest is a good thing.  But, if you’re shopping for an exotic hardwood floor, the burden is on you, the buyer, (as well as us, the seller) to make sure that the hardwood you buy was sourced from a company that practices responsible and sustainable logging.  According to the law, even an innocent buyer unaware of any illegal sourcing, can be subject to imprisonment, civil and criminal fines up to $200,000 and forfeiture of goods, if they purchase such a floor.    This is why Pucher’s only carries products that are Lacey Act compliant, like Mirage hardwoods.

Key Takeaway:  NEW at Pucher’s Decorating, Mirage Hardwood floors offer stunningly beautiful, quality hardwood flooring constructed of sustainable N. American and exotic hardwoods that will last a lifetime.  Visit us at Pucher’s Westlake or watch this video to learn more about Mirage.

Luxury Vinyl Tile – A Floor You Can Live On

aduratile1-resized-600Luxury vinyl tile and plank floors offer homeowners a winning combination of style, comfort and durability. 

If you’re in the market for flooring, take a look at Luxury Vinyl Tile.  LVT is one of the hottest-selling floors right now and with good reason.  It’s a real multi-tasker – attractive, functional and low-maintenance.  You get the wood or tile looks you love, plus an unbelievably durable floor.

LVT is perfect for:

  • Rooms where moisture is an issue (kitchen, bath, laundry, basement)
  • Families with kids and pets
  • High-traffic areas

I can even give it a personal endorsement.   I installed Mannington Adura vinyl tile in both of our bathrooms and couldn’t be happier with it.  First, the tile looks just like ceramic – you can see and feel the embossed stone texture.  But, unlike ceramic, the floor is soft, quiet and warm to walk on.  It’s water-resistant, so I don’t have to worry about getting it wet when I step out of the shower.  Plus, Adura has a scratch-resistant wear layer that comes with a limited 20-Year Residential Warranty.  I have dropped all sorts of stuff on it and it doesn’t chip, crack or break.  It is easy to keep clean, requiring only light sweeping and mopping.

Luxury vinyl tiles usually come in 16″ x 16″ tiles  in a variety of realistic tile, stone and slate looks.  Mannington Adura comes in a variety of sizes, shapes and includes accent tiles to help you create a custom designed floor.  LVT can be installed with or without grout.  Most LVTs can be installed over any substrate as long as it is clean, dry and smooth.  Adhesive is required.

Luxury vinyl planks are usually 4″ – 5″ wide, just like hardwood planks.  Most vinyl planks are glued down, although some companies feature quick locking products that can be easily clicked in place without glue by the do-it-yourselfer.

mannington-adura-provence-resized-600At Pucher’s Decorating we feature and can recommend the following brands of LVT as well as other vinyl flooring:

  • Adura by Mannington ($2.19 – $5.95 per sq ft)
  • Array Luxury Vinyl Tile & Plank by Shaw ($1.74 – $5.07 per sqft)
  • PermaStone by Tarkett ($3.99 per sqft)

The sale prices listed are current through 9/3/11.  Whichever look you choose, we think you’ll be pleased with the style and performance of your luxury vinyl tile floor.   Tell us about your experience with LVT.

Key Takeaway:  Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) gives you the best of all worlds – realistic stone and wood looks in a floor that is comfortable underfoot with unsurpassed durability.  It is truly a floor you can live on. 

The Best Flooring For Pet Owners

J&B-resized-600None of us at Pucher’s would trade our pets for anything (see Jake & Bodhi, left and Jesse & Emma, below right).  But we admit, our four-legged friends can be tough on our homes.  So when it’s time for new flooring, you have to think about which floors will stand up to claws, dirt, fur and the occasional accident.  Here are some flooring options for pet owners to consider.

  • Ceramic/Porcelain Tile – certainly durable, stands up to claws and cleans up easily.  The downside is tile can be cold and hard to walk on, especially during a Northeast Ohio winter (unless you install radiant heating underneath).

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  • Hardwood Flooring – Choose hardwood species that are inherently hard, like North American Hickory and the exotic hardwoods, especially 6-year old Moso bamboo (younger bamboo will be softer).  These hardwoods will resist scratches better than others.  See how various hardwoods rank on the Janka Hardness Scale.  Take a look at the new distressed, wire-brushed or hand-scraped styles which offer a practical solution.  Any scratches will be less noticeable and may even add to the “weathered charm” of the floor.  Always clean up accidents ASAP and use a hardwood cleaner (not Murphy’s).
  • Vinyl Tile – We like vinyl tile because it’s warmer and softer to walk on than ceramic, quieter than laminate and less expensive than hardwood.  It is so tough and durable that some vinyl tiles can be used in commercial applications.  It is very scratch-resistant as well as water-resistant (assuming it is installed correctly).  Clean up is easy with a hard surface cleaner.
  • Laminate – One of the most economical choices for pet owners.  It is scratch- and water-resistant. Some of the newer laminates feature such realistic stone and wood looks, that it’s hard to tell the difference between laminate and the real thing.
  • Carpet – Nothing adds warmth and softness to your home like carpet, but it can present challenges for pet owners.  You’ll want to look at carpets that are treated to resist pet urine stains, like Shaw’s Anso Nylon and Clear Touch carpets.  It’s also a good idea to upgrade your carpet pad to one that has a moisture barrier and contains enzymes that neutralize odors.  For spot cleaning, we recommend using an enzymatic cleaner that removes stains and odors.  You also might want to avoid higher-pile styles like shags or frieze which can trap pet hair.

Key Takeaway:  Choose a floor that is inherently hard with a tough, durable finish, especially if you have large dogs.  Keep your pets’ nails trimmed and clean up accidents ASAP. 

We’d like to hear from you about your experiences with flooring and pets – what’s worked and what hasn’t.   For more information, visit our Flooring section or stop in to one of our three locations.

The Benefits of Engineered Wood Flooring

grandinroad-resized-600At Pucher’s, we’re bullish on engineered wood flooring.  We think they are a win-win for everyone – you, your home and the environment.

Engineered hardwoods are perfect for our NE Ohio  climate.  Because of their ingenious structure, these floors are more resistant to changes in temperature and humidity than solid wood flooring.  If you install a solid wood floor in your home, it is important to maintain a constant temperature and humidity level in your home at all times.  Even doing so, you should expect that the wood will expand during the warmer, humid summer months and contract in the cold, dry winter months.  We have seen some beautiful, high-quality solid hardwood floors warp and gap because of this.  The problem is even worse with solid exotic hardwoods because they tend to absorb a lot more moisture than American hardwoods.

In contrast, engineered floors are constructed of multiple layers of wood that are cross-layered, glued and pressed together.  The graining of each layer runs in the opposite direction of the layer above and below it, thus acting as a check and balance system, keeping the wood from expanding or shrinking too far in one direction.  This cross-ply construction makes these floors more resistant to higher moisture levels.  This means they can be used on any grade of your home, including the basement and over any concrete slab.  Also, engineered floors are installed differently than solids.  Engineered planks can be stapled down, glued down or “floated” – a technique in which the tongue and grooves of the boards are glued together but the floor is not glued down to the subfloor.  So, if this floor expands and contracts, it moves as one unit, preventing gapping between planks.

Another bonus – engineered floors are economical and eco-friendly.  Generally, engineered floors cost less than solid hardwoods simply because they use less wood.  Suddenly, the American walnut floor you love becomes a whole lot more affordable!  We like Shaw’s Epic hardwood floors because they not only have attractive pricing, their inner cores are made from recycled wood, using 67% less harvested wood.

We know that some people might feel better buying a solid wood floor because they believe they can refinish it if needed.  But even solid wood floors have a limit to the number of times they can be refinished because you can’t sand them down below their nail heads.  Most engineered floors can be refinished 1-3 times depending on the thickness of the top layer of wood.  Plus, the extreme durability of today’s hardwood finishes (on both solid and engineered) makes this a mute point.  Many floors today are coated with an aluminum oxide finish that is so durable, it comes with a Lifetime Warranty.  Shaw’s Epic Hardwood floors have a 2-4 mil aluminum oxide coating that can last 40-100 years.  So you’ll never need to worry about refinishing.

So next time you’re shopping for flooring, take a look at engineered hardwoods.  They are a smart solution for all of us in NE Ohio and they just might save you some money as well as benefiting the environment!  For more information, click here for our Flooring webpage -Wood Flooring or come in to Pucher’s and talk to one of our design consultants.  They will be happy to show you our wide selection of gorgeous engineered hardwoods and help you choose the right floor for your home and lifestyle.

Color Trends & Decorating Ideas

beautiful rooms 1-resized-600Much has been written over the years of the regenerative properties of spring.  So it is no wonder that your thoughts are focused on the inside of your home and the rooms that can use anything from a “nip and tuck” to a full face lift.

There is no doubt that color is in and is being used in wonderful ways today.  We are seeing more mid tone and deep colors now than we did 10 years ago and it makes spaces very warm and inviting.

One key to a great interior is to establish a flow from room to room. Many more recently built homes have open floor plans that create a natural flow, but it can also be accomplished with thoughtful wall color selections or by tying spaces together with flooring and woodwork.

Hardwood flooring is one of my favorite ways to create flow. With all of the new engineered technology and durable finishes, hardwood can be used everywhere in the home which naturally draws you from space to space and allows for the character of the room to be created with wall color, rugs and fabrics.  Plus hardwood always adds to the value of a home.

If you prefer softness underfoot, the same flow can be created with the many beautiful carpets that are available today.  Choose a color and a texture that suits your family’s needs and carry it into as many adjacent spaces as possible.  Be sure to consider texture and tone-on-tone patterns as a way to add visual interest to your rooms.

There are many colored neutrals that are on trend right now.  In the Benjamin Moore palette HC-45 Shaker Beige is one of our most popular colors because it is a mid tone color that is so easy to live with.  If you prefer a gold cast try AF-365 Amulet and for a putty color one of my favorites is 984 Stone Hearth.  I also like greens as a colored neutral because they work so nicely with other hues – 515 Baby Turtle and 494 Lewiville Green are good examples.”

Benjamin Moore’s color forecast for 2011 is out and includes a continuation of the sea glass colors with the addition of soft purples, yellow toned greens and beautiful warm grays.  A free color brochure entitled “Envision Color” is available at any of the three Puchers Decorating Centers locations.

If I have to pick just one other bit of decorating advice for this season it would be… Don’t forget the windows!  The reason that every home magazine photo includes drapery is because nothing lights up a room like fabric.  There is a style to suit every interior, from lush and embellished to smooth and streamlined, and if you feel uncertain of your approach, we’d love to help you.  Stop into one of our stores or visit our website at www.puchers.com for more information and inspiration!

Eco-Friendly Flooring Choices – Cork & Bamboo

almadacork-resized-600The interest in Bamboo and Cork flooring has never been higher and the sale of these products continues to rise rapidly. Many new suppliers and channels of distribution for these flooring products arise monthly. As beautiful and, many times, as eco-friendly as these products are, there are many reasons to become an educated consumer and protect yourself from unscrupulous business practices. Let’s take bamboo to start. Certainly anywhere on the internet you can find bamboo flooring that pricing starts as low as $2 – $3 per square foot but what are you really buying? As a raw material bamboo can be harvested in as little as two to three years, and almost all of the $2 – $3 bamboo flooring is harvested in less than three years. Trouble is that three year old bamboo is actually softer than pine which makes the durability very poor. When bamboo is harvested at six to nine years it becomes as hard as Brazilian Cherry and is very, very durable and also more expensive but well worth it.

What about the offers you see for very low priced wood flooring from leading National suppliers. You really want to make sure that the floor you are buying is not ranked as a second. You may save money initially but then find that you have to throw away half of the flooring because of warped boards, poor finishing, or poorly milled edges. Another major thing to be aware of is what is known in the industry as short boards. Sure you can get a great price on the flooring but who wants a wood floor that has boards that are two feet or less in length. Some mills sell off the leftovers from their production and they are repackaged and sold at “bargain” prices.

Purchasing a new floor is usually a major expense so it really pays to do your homework and investigate exactly what you are buying. It is a great idea to investigate the company from whom you are considering purchasing your flooring via online customer reviews.  Make sure you consider their reputation, as well as how long they have been in business, should you need help a few years down the line.

Like anything else, with flooring you get what you pay for and because flooring can add value to your home and is permanent it pays to be wise.

Radiant Heated Flooring Warms Up Your Cold Feet

Ceramic Tile BathroomDo you want a ceramic floor in your bathroom but are afraid it will be cold underfoot?  Do you have a room in your house that is always colder than every other room? Are you looking out of your window at the cold snow and rain and thinking you are tired of the arctic feeling in your room? Well, I cannot do anything about the outside conditions but I can make any room in your home toasty and foot pleasing warm.

Today we have radiant heat flooring systems available that can be installed under floor coverings such as ceramic, engineered wood, laminate and carpeting to provide that blanket of warmth we are all looking for at this time of year. These thermostatically controlled heating panels warm the floor up to 80 degrees, which in turn keeps your room at any temperature you choose.  Imagine jumping out of bed in the morning and into a bath that is being warmed by a beautiful 80 degree ceramic floor. You can even set the thermostat in your bathroom so the floors warms up 15 minutes before you get up so you can climb out of that cozy warm bed into an even warmer bathroom.

So are you considering new flooring this year? We have the installers to make that cold bathroom, kitchen or family room floor toasty warm when we install the floor of your dreams this year. Now that spring will be arriving soon remember to prepare for next winter because it will surely come back. Think how nice next winter will be as you walk on your new warm floors. And if the cold is coming through your windows stop into Puchers and let us show you new insulating window treatments that will keep your furnace from working all winter long and will save you money on air conditioning in those hot summer months as well!

Take Another Look at Laminate Flooring

laminateDesigners say laminate offers an upscale look without the upscale cost.

Laminate floors were in use in Europe long before they made their way into mainstream interior design in the States. Consumers can be glad they’re here. They offer exceptional durability and stain resistance and are easy to maintain. And these days, designers say, they even look like wood flooring!

“When laminate first came out, it only came in three shades — maple, natural, or cherry — and the cherry could be really pink,” says Jamila Wilson, Specifications Designer with Courtney Ford Design of San Diego. “It had an artificial look. Now, however, you can’t easily tell the difference between laminate and hardwood.”

Manufacturers are, in fact, producing an impressive array of traditional, rustic, and exotic woodgrain designs. Some laminate floors lock together without the use of adhesive, like Shaw’s VersaLock, allowing busy families to resume their activities immediately. And some patterns resemble natural stone, complete with mottled colors and textural shadings.

No doubt about it, says designer Debbie Gunson with JPS Surface Solutions in Westlake, CA, “laminates have improved. Some are more textured and distressed looking than they were. The benefits are easy maintenance and that this flooring is virtually stain-proof. It’s for a busy family.”

It’s also for the budget-conscious, Jamila Wilson points out. She knows that laminates can be quite cost-effective, offering a wood look that’s often less expensive than the real thing. “It’s a great choice in today’s economy,” she says, “if you want the overall look of high-dollar without the high-dollar cost.”

Designer Andrea Kaja agrees. Kaja is a Project Manager with Ryan Young Interiors in Livermore, CA. “I used to think, ‘Oh, laminate,’ but now there are lots of amazing things they’ve done with it,” she says. “Today’s laminate allows homeowners to get a more expensive look. It has a lot of potential, especially for first-time buyers.”

The look is upscale without the upscale cost — an objective that, in itself, is a recent trend. “It’s absolutely fashionable to be budget-conscious,” says Kaja. “It’s a movement back into family values. Instead of putting money into ‘things,’ people are saving for the future of their family — college, for example. They’re more concerned with making a house a home …”

Certainly, making a house a home … on a budget … is something laminate does well. If consumers want a warm wood look in their flooring, durability, and the best quality for the money, laminate is an exceptionally good choice.