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Which Direction Should You Run Your Wood Flooring?

By Rebecca Bradshaw

Gleaming wood floors in rich, natural tones enhance the beauty of any home. Choosing just the right hardwoods or laminated wood flooring to bring out the best in a room can be an art, as is the proper installation of the material. One of the most frequently asked questions from homeowners about installation is which direction should wood flooring run?  Should it be laid across the width of a room, or flow lengthwise from an entryway? What about transitioning flooring from room to room? Here are a few guidelines on how to choose the best direction to run your wood flooring.

Visual Impact:

Choosing which direction to run wood flooring can be a matter of personal taste. However, to get the most pleasing or dramatic visual impact, planking should be laid to lead the eye towards a room’s focal point, such as a fireplace or other architectural details. Light sources should also be considered; how light falls between the boards can either lengthen or shorten the perceived size of a room. Boards that run from the entrance outwards can make a space appear longer or larger, while flooring laid from side wall to side wall will shorten visual impact, but can make a room feel cozier. Flooring in long narrow rooms or hallways should run outward from the doorway so as not to create a choppy appearance.

Structural Considerations:

Experts agree that wood floors should be laid perpendicular to floor joists—across, rather than in between the joists. Perpendicular installation will make floors structurally sound and prevent boards from separating, buckling, or sagging. The type of flooring material used is also a factor when it comes to installation; engineered wood flooring and natural hardwoods should be mounted above a subfloor, while laminates are installed using the floating method—planks are glued or snapped together rather than being nailed to a subfloor. A professional installer can lay any of these materials in the direction that works best for a space.

Transitioning from Room to Room:

Laying wood flooring in multiple rooms takes some pre-planning and should be carefully thought out before installation begins. Open concept rooms can appear to flow smoothly into one large area if wood flooring is installed from the long end of the space to the other. Oddly shaped rooms or those that open off narrow hallways may not lend themselves to flooring laid along one continuous line of sight; a thin wood strip can be installed to define the threshold where flooring changes direction. To avoid transitions or to create an impactful visual statement, consider having wood floors laid in a diagonal or herringbone pattern throughout your house.

Overall, which direction to run your wood flooring is up to your personal preference and design aesthetic. In either case, natural hardwoods, engineered wood, and laminates are available in several high-quality options and in a wide range of colors and grains that are sure to enhance any home!

Sources: SF Gates Homeguides, My-Floor.com, Houzz, Joe Knows

 

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5 Home Office Upgrades to Complete Your Space

If you run a business out of your living space, or simply need a nook to work on your finances or groom your Pinterest board, the following tips can help you upgrade that home office.

Splurge on something inspirational.

Whether it’s an original piece from a favorite artist or a high-tech piece of equipment that makes working more exciting, splurge on something for your work space that makes you excited to be there.

Light it right.

The right lighting can make all the difference. While low lighting can set a romantic mood, it can also make you sleepy or unmotivated—not the right vibe for a workspace. At the same time, fluorescent lighting can lead to headaches. Set up your work station by a window for natural light in the daytime, and set up a few good lamps around the room to ensure you can light the space adequately.

Upgrade your storage.

Sick of those piles of paper that end of stacking up on your desk? Make sure you have a proper storage or filing system in place so everything can be stowed away in a place that is out of sight, but also easy to access when needed.

Create a “Do Not Disturb” signal.

Whether you have a curious spouse or a gaggle of kids, creating a signal that says you’re in the zone is key. It doesn’t need to be a literal “do not disturb” sign on a door. A ribbon tied to a doorknob or a certain type of music you listen to when you’re working can do the trick.

Support your body.

If you spend a lot of time at your desk, it’s extra important you shell out for the things that ease the strain of sitting for long hours. A kneeling desk chair can support your back, while raising your monitor to eye level can ease neck pain. You can also have a small yoga space tucked into your office where you can take a short break to stretch out before you get back to it.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2017. All rights reserved.

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10 Ways to Be More Energy Efficient at Home

We all want to save money while helping the environment, and one simple way to do that is to scrutinize your energy usage at home. Here are 10 easy, low-cost tips for making your house operate more efficiently.

1. Insulate the water heater.

Older natural gas storage water heaters can lose a lot of heat through their walls. Wrapping a heater in an insulating jacket can prevent excess heat loss and energy waste, but should be left to a professional installer so as not to accidentally cover the top, bottom, thermostat or burner compartment.

2. Seal leaks with weatherstripping.

Air sealing, specifically weatherstripping, eliminates drafts to save energy while improving air quality and comfort. Weatherstripping reduces air leakage by creating a tight seal between movable components such as doors and windows. Before application, detect air leaks and assess the ventilation. Find air leaks through a blower door test from a qualified technician, or by inspecting inside and outside the home.

3. Insulate water pipes. 

Insulate hot water pipes to reduce heat loss and keep the water from cooling off before it reaches the tap. Adding insulation also will prevent cold water pipes from freezing.

4. Replace or clean the furnace filter. 

Change the heating system’s furnace air filter on a regular basis to keep air flowing without overworking equipment. This also keeps out dust and dirt that can lead to expensive repairs or early system failure. A clean furnace filter can lower natural gas consumption by up to 2 percent.

5. Use less hot water.

Reducing hot water use is an easy, affordable way to see significant savings on energy and water bills. Run the automatic dishwasher only when full, and wash and rinse full loads of laundry in cold water. Install low-flow showerheads, and don’t forget to check for and repair plumbing leaks.

6. Use ceiling fans. 

Save on heating costs by using an ENERGY STAR® certified ceiling fan, which helps warm air circulate better and allows for setting the furnace temperature lower.

7. Install a programmable or smart thermostat. 

Programmable and smart thermostats can lower heating expenses and fit any lifestyle. Set the thermostat at 68 F, and then program it to decrease the temperature 8 degrees when no one is home and overnight. Smart thermostats are similar to programmable thermostats, but they also perform more advanced functions. A smart thermostat allows you to monitor and control the temperature in your home remotely from your smartphone or other web-enabled device.

8. Look for ENERGY STAR. 

If purchasing a new appliance, make it an ENERGY STAR rated appliance. For instance, an ENERGY STAR certified refrigerator uses less energy than a regular 75-watt light bulb.

9. Lower the water heater thermostat. 

Set your water heater thermostat to 120 F to save energy and money. For most homeowners, storage water heaters set above 120 F are simply using more energy without providing any additional benefits. One set to even 140 F can waste $36 to $61 annually in standby heat loss, and more than $400 in demand loss. Be sure to turn down the water heater when going on vacation to avoid energy waste.

10. Be smart with the fireplace.

Open-hearth fireplaces draw heated air from inside the home, sending it up the chimney. When using the fireplace, install a snug-fitting set of glass doors and crack open a nearby window. Doing so reduces the amount of heated interior air drawn into the fireplace and improves efficiency by up to 20 percent.

 

Source: Peoples Gas

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2017. All rights reserved.

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