Welcome to my Westchester Flooring Blog where I share articles about commonly asked flooring questions. I share info on hardwood floors and refinishing, carpeting and carpet runners, tile and natural stone flooring, laminate, vinyl, linoleum and cork flooring.
I own my own Shop at Home Flooring Store in Westchester County, NY. I hope you find this flooring info useful. Be sure to check out our FAQ page.
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Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl
Owner of Flooring Coverings International Westchester NY 914-937-2950
There’s no contest – hardwood is in baby! It is by far the preferred flooring surface in Westchester County, especially for the main living areas of the home (i.e. living room, dining room, family room and even hardwood in the kitchen! Many also prefer hardwood for the bedrooms,too. Hardwood looks great, lasts long and is easy to clean and maintain. And, of course, hardwood improves your home’s value. By having hardwood in all/most areas, it makes your space larger, more continuous and integrated. It is the preferred choice for decorators and homeowners alike.
Because hardwood is so in style, anything that looks like hardwood is the next best thing.
While hardwood is the preferred surface in most Westchester homes, there is one critical area to add carpet – the steps. Carpet runners are very stylish and super important for the safety of your household – both people and pets. You can learn more about carpet runners here – everything you ever wanted to know about carpet runners. Runners are predominantly found in homes with hardwood flooring.
Among carpets, the fastest growing segment is the tone on tone carpets (sometimes called loop/cut/loop carpets). These carpets are one color, but parts are cut and parts are looped (often different heights) to create patterns. Some patterns are geometrical (e.g squares, diamonds), some are floral/free flowing and others are abstract. These carpets add some visual intrigue to your room without adding another color. They can be used on for wall to wall carpeting, steps/runners as well as area rugs.
Large tile sizes make the room look larger. At a minimum, you should be using 12 x 12 tiles. But, if your space is larger, an 18 x 18 can look very impressive and for very large spaces, 24 x 24 can have a big bold look.
Another benefit with larger size tiles is that there is less grout to clean. And, thinner grout lines are in style too…and they are easier to clean and last longer.
The rectangular shape and a brick layout is super stylish for Westchester homes. You’ll see it in large entryways and kitchens. This trend started in upscale NYC buildings and it’s stunning. More and more tiles are being made that are 12 x 24 and this longer size and shape elongates your space so it looks larger. I also love to mirror this pattern in kitchen backsplashes with a subway tile – either a classic white or tumbled/honed natural stone. Again, this makes the space look larger helping to enhance the granite and the cabinets and the shape consistency brings the kitchen together.
As the green movement continues to grow, more and more Westchester customers are looking for environmentally friendly flooring. There are many ways to go green (or greenish) with your flooring, but the 2 types that seem to have the most staying power are 1) wool and sisal carpeting and 2) cork flooring. These types of flooring are preferred in higher end homes in Westchester county. While bamboo has been riding the green band wagon, bamboo does not seem to hold up well to scratches/dents nor water, and I continue to hear more and more issues with it, so soon, the customers will catch on to this.
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Cats are a very important part of the household, and my customers know I love cats (as well as dogs). I “own” 2 cats…or maybe I should say, they own me and allow me to pay the mortgage. Cats are wonderful, but sometimes they can do number on carpets, so it’s ideal to select a carpet that will co-exist well with your cat. What types of carpets are best for cats?
The most common issue with cats are that the carpet pulls (especially if they have claws). But,, there can also be issues with hair balls, vomit, spraying and urine. Once you have spraying and/or urine in the carpet, it’s nearly impossible to solve short of removing the carpet. That’s because of 2 things. First, cats can smell much better than we can. Second, usually, these items penetrate beneath the carpet into the carpet pad and the backing, so even the best carpet cleaning will never fully solve the issue. You need to remove all evidence of the smell and start fresh.
Cats love to play with things. They scratch and stretch and their claws can get into everything – whether intentional or by accident. With looped carpets, cat’s paws will often pull the loops out and cause the carpet to unravel in sections. And, once there is a small issue, it almost becomes a game for the cat to pull out the carpet more. This is especially true for looped wool carpet. Their backing is often latex and less secure, so by all means avoid looped wool carpets. Don’t let the price fool you. These carpets are great, but they will be a disaster with your cat. So, if you have cats, I would avoid looped carpets (like the one on the right, and instead opt for a cut pile carpet (like the one above).
Often, getting a mid toned neutral carpet will do the trick, and even better if you can find a carpet color that is similar to your cat. Also, if you have kitty litter in the area, and if this tends to get caught in their claws, you may want to consider a gray carpet.
This is actually good advice for all carpet owners regardless of whether they have cats or pets. Frequent vacuuming will get rid of dirt (which can wear down the carpet fibers), smells and also help with cats. It will really help make your carpet last longer and make your home nicer and neater. Also, getting your carpet cleaned professionally on an annual basis will also help. But, be sure to inquire about stain protection when you do this. Some of the steam cleaners extract the stain protection (same goes if you do this yourself), so be sure to reapply a topical stain protection afterwards and perform this annually.
This is really a style choice, but having multiple colors will help hide the dirt as well as any messes. Sometimes, this can be achieved by selecting a carpet that has some “flakes” of color in there. But, I know that many customers in Westchester are not crazy about this look. Sometimes, the same effect can be achieved by a solid color carpet from the way the carpet is twisted. You can also select a carpet with a pattern, but these often will cost more.
Polyester and solution dyed products hold color better. Most carpets these days come with stain protection. When the stain protection is applied before the carpet is tufted (as most are), that is ideal is it is part of the fiber and protects you from root to tip. As mention above, be careful when you get your carpet cleaned or clean it yourself. Many of these methods extract some of the stain protection.
Beaulieu has recently launched a line called Magic Fresh. It absorbs many of the odors in the air, including pet odors, so might want to give this a try.
I think this one is obvious, but yes, it helps to get stains out quickly before they settle and penetrate further into the carpet fiber.
Shaw makes a wonderful carpet pad called Triple Touch. It has a moisture barrier on both sides, so it’s great if you carpet is going in a basement where you might have some moisture and it will give you some added protection if you cat has an accident. In addition, it will provide more cushion and support, doubling the warranty of your carpet. It does cost more than a regular carpet pads, but it’s often worth it.
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If you live in Westchester County NY and you are interested in cat friendly carpets, give The Flooring Girl a call at 914-937-2950.
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If you are not familiar with Angie’s list, it’s an objective Review site where customers can select contractors (and other professions) based on the reviews provided by other customers. After you use a contractor, you can leave a review about your experiences with that contractor. It’s a great way of finding honest and reliable contractors, as well as avoiding ones that could be an issue.