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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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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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The She Shed Wish List

By Sarah Fogle

Do you ever wish there was a retreat where you could enjoy your hobbies without leaving the backyard? Somewhere to get a little “me time” around your home that isn’t covered with laundry, family obligations or toys? Move over, man cave– today’s new home trend is the “she shed,” a well-maintained outdoor oasis for the woman of the house to keep all of her tools or put her feet up. While a shed might not sound like a glamorous place at first, you can create a lot out of a structure that normally houses dusty rakes and rusty paint cans. Not sure where to start? Follow this guide to reimagine your shed into a bright and comfortable space of your own.

1. Write Down Your Goals

The size of your shed will be determined by both the amount of outdoor space you have and what you plan to use it for. If you can never seem to resist a decorative terracotta pot or need elbow room for a tabletop, you might want to go for as big of a shed as your backyard will allow. You can make your shed a true workspace equipped with a full potting bench, a quiet sanctuary with a tidy desk for creative writing or a relaxing hideaway more ideal for a cozy reading chair—anything goes! Write down your favorite tasks to get an idea of your expectations for the space. You’ll want ample room to fit your needs.

2. Choose Your Style

Image courtesy of At Home With the Barkers

Today’s trends include a classic barn roof, mini cottage styles, stable doors and modern angles. Plain, square boxes are certainly a thing of the past. Whether you want your she shed to coordinate with the exterior of your home or take on a fantasy quality, your personalization options are wide open. Pro tip: hang flower boxes and bring greenery inside to soften edges and add a little polish. The extra color looks great, too!

3. Pick Your Paint

Don’t let the exterior outshine the interior by leaving the walls au naturale. Set the mood of your oasis with an inspiring color scheme. Channeling your inner earth goddess? Go for a sage green or sky blue. Want to feel a surge of good vibes each time you open the door? Seek out vibrant shades of citrus or coral. Even just whitewashing the walls will give your space a clean, fresh energy, and you can warm it up with accessories.

4. Stock the Basics

Fill up your she shed with the things you need to do what you love. Gardeners may want a cute matching set of tools, several terracottas or ceramic pots of various sizes, a few packs of seeds, some potting soil, and a watering can. You may want to invest in a few plant anthologies and gardening how-to/coffee table books for reference and inspiration. For writers, a small but sturdy desk will do the trick. A classic metal bistro table can handle the elements with ease. For the lady who just wants a place to relax, a sturdy bench or chair with comfortable pillows makes a great place to kick back.

5. Have Fun with the Details

Image courtesy of Design Dazzle

The difference between a regular old garden shed and a bona fide she shed lies in the decor. Make sure your storage is visually interesting: a wooden mail organizer for your seed packets, decorative hooks to hang tools, glass canisters for birdseed and soil, and industrial metal bins for muddy goulashes and kneeling pads give a small workspace a stylish, clever purpose without overwhelming. For a cozy environment, add a lamp for soft lighting, an outdoor rug for your bare feet and some soft curtains for the windows. Give your walls interest beyond paint with artwork or reclaimed pieces from the thrift store—whatever lets your personality shine!

With just a little elbow grease and some thoughtful decorating, you can have a fully outfitted she shed set up over the span of a weekend. No matter the size of the shed or extent of your green thumb, you can carve out a special space for you to enjoy.

 

Sarah Fogle is a self-professed DIYer who believes that anyone can learn how to update their home.  From bigger projects like creating a “she shed” to smaller projects like organizing a space, she offers some great ideas. To see a large selection of shed organization products, visit The Home Depot.

 

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