Everything You Need to Know About Tile, Hardwood & Carpet Flooring

Besides the kitchen and bathroom, a home’s flooring is frequently chosen as the next home remodeling project. Over the years, new options have come to life, like cork or bamboo flooring, but one preference that remains a top choice across America is tile.

Whether it’s the abundance of tile options available, their durable nature or ease in maintenance, tile floors remain the most popular selection on the market. Despite carpet’s prominence or the sudden rise in hardwood flooring, tile flooring offers unique advantages these other flooring options do not.

Based on installation, repairs, cost, durability and design, I will show you why tile floors are better than carpet or hardwood.

Installing Tile Flooring

Tile floors work great for bathrooms, kitchens and hallways because they can withstand the everyday wear and tear that comes with these highly trafficked rooms. Installing tile may be a DIY task for some ambitious homeowners, but there is a lot of labor involved as well as materials, like a wet saw. To professionally install tile floors, expect to pay around $3,724 for 500 square feet.

Installing Hardwood Flooring

Along with it’s popularity, hardwood flooring costs continue to rise as well. The costs of materials and labor for the installation of hardwood floors will depend substantially on what type of wood is used. Solid planks are harder to install than engineered wood with tongues and grooves, so that could affect overall expenses as well. However, expect to pay roughly $4,840 for 500 square feet of materials, labor and delivery.

Installing Carpet Flooring

Carpeting adds a warm feeling to any home, but more and more homeowners are starting to associate it with a dated design. The price of carpet can fluctuate substantially depending on the quality of the material and how much carpet you need, so it can be hard to pin down the exact price. Installation is also tricky because many companies include installation in the cost of the carpet. On average, expect to pay $2,969 for 500 square feet of medium-quality carpet and installation labor.

When it comes to repairs, a homeowner can’t only look at the average costs reported. One must consider the lifetime of each flooring option, the traffic the floors sees and the extent of the damage. Despite the fact that the average cost for tile repairs ($300-$600) is more than hardwood or carpet ($150-$300), tile is more often looked as a cheaper alternative.

When repairing tile floors, you or the pro must ensure that the concrete holding the tile down is level with existing tiles, in addition to maintaining the existing pattern. The more complex this is, the more the repair will cost. Because tiles are laid one by one, a professional should be able to remove just a couple of tiles and replace them. For a simple repair of a few tiles in a floor, expect to pay about $100 in materials, depending on the amount of tiles as they are priced individually. Overall, with labor, this is a $300 to $600 job for an established, reputable business.

Hardwood Repairs

Repairing a hardwood floor usually means having the floor refinished. Expect to pay anywhere from $3 to $4 per square foot for a true professional. The end result is a floor that looks virtually brand new for a fraction of what a new floor would cost. Other types of wood floors offer other options that are more cost efficient. For example, a floating wooden floor involves no glue or adhesive during installation – the pieces simply snap together. Although it can be tedious, repairing a wooden floor of this kind is much less expensive – perhaps the cost of a box of flooring plus labor – and should not cost more than $250.

Carpet Repairs

Whether you’re removing a tough stain, patching up or repairing carpet seams, homeowners can expect to pay between $150-$250 for carpet repairs. However, despite it’s lower cost, bear in mind that cleaning carpet requires much more maintenance than hardwood or tile, driving up their total costs. Additionally, carpet can seem dated quicker than that of tile or hardwood.

No matter what flooring option you go with, there are numerous types to choose from.

Tile Flooring Types

  • Bullets
  • Ceramic
  • Porcelain
  • Terra Cotta
  • Glazed
  • Mosaic
  • Quarry
  • Stone
  • Granite
  • Marble
  • Slate

To see the full breakdown of each, please see Types of Floor Tile.

Hardwood Flooring Types

  • Oak
  • Mahogany
  • Lyptus
  • Ash
  • Hickory
  • Pine
  • Cherry
  • Brazilian Cherry
  • Walnut
  • Rosewood
  • Maple

To see the full breakdown of each, please see So You Chose Hardwood Floors.

Carpet Flooring Types

Carpet flooring doesn’t depend as much on type as it does on design. That is why I found 8 Clever and Bizarre Carpet Designs.

Maintenance

No matter what floor you go with, each will need a regular cleaning schedule to maintain it’s glossy, warm or inviting touch.

Cleaning Tile Floors

Much like hardwood, a majority of homeowners will choose to clean their tile floors themselves. After all, some good TLC is usually all you need to keep your tile floors looking as good as new. However, there are special machines that pros use to clean those tougher stains caught in the tile or grout.

By using a large steam cleaning machine and a special mix of chemicals, professional cleaners will be able to restore the luster of tiles. Other pros use their hands to get to those tough stains. Either way, if you hire a professional, plan on paying approximately $401 for cleaning tile floors.

Cleaning Hardwood Floors

Few homeowners choose to have their hardwood floors professionally cleaned. Since basic care of hardwood includes dusting, mopping or vacuuming, many choose to do it themselves. However, if you go with a professional, plan on paying a similar amount to that of tile floors.

Cleaning Carpet

One of the biggest drawbacks of carpet is the challenge of cleaning some carpet materials. Although the specific costs of carpet cleaning will vary depending on the type of cleaning needed, the severity of the stain and the size of the carpeted area, most homeowners paid $167 to have their carpets professionally cleaned.

Keep in mind, carpet demands more cleaning than that of tile or hardwood, so while the average is less, the number of cleans over the carpet’s lifetime is usually more.

Other Tile Advantages

  • Ceramic tile is not that cold. Ceramic tile reflects the room temperature and holds onto that temperature for a long time. At times it can be cold. There are products out there that can be installed prior to tile installation that can warm up a floor.
  • Floor tiles are expected to be the fastest growing ceramic tiles at an estimated CAGR of 9.4% from 2012 to 2018 (Transparency Market Research).
  • U.S. demand for decorative tile is predicted to rise approximately 7% per year through 2017, reaching over 3 billion square feet (Lori Kirk-Rolley, vice president of brand marketing for Dal-Tile).
  • Tile is waterproof. However, the grout joints connecting the tile do allow water transmission. This is where an improper installation can result in a structural problem and a costly replacement. The best thing to do for the grout is to seal it and keep any cracks caulked. Simple maintenance will give your tile a long life.
  • Tile floors do not squeak, which can occur with hardwood.

Conclusion

Tile floor has been and remains a prominent flooring option for a reason. Given its durable nature, abundance of options, easy maintenance schedule and glossy finish, I expect it to remain in its prominence for years to come.

Gutter Protection Breakdown

You may not realize the importance of keeping your gutters clear and debris free, but if your gutter system is often left neglected and abused, you can wind up with serious and costly home repairs.

Clogged and damaged gutters can lead to problems like foundation problems, structural issues, landscape erosion, basement flooding and water damage. One way to protect your home from severe damage is to invest in a gutter protection system.

A gutter protection system is a product that either attaches to your existing gutters, or replaces your entire gutter system, with the intent of allowing only debris to enter your gutters, while water is safely carried through your gutters and diverted away from your home.

From DIY solutions to professionally installed gutter protection systems, let’s face it – gutter protection can be overwhelming. That’s why, at LeafFilter, we want to educate you about the pros and cons of the different types of gutter protection systems. The following will inform you about the different type of gutter protection systems so you can find the system that meets your needs.

DIY Gutter Protection Systems

DIY gutter systems are relatively inexpensive systems that are installed by the homeowner. You can find them at the big home improvement stores. While cost-effective and convenient to purchase, homeowner solutions are mass produced and usually do not include any type of warranty. Usually, these types of systems will need to be replaced within a few years. Foam, brush, metal screen, plastic screen and small hole gutter guards are typical gutter guard options for homeowners.

Foam Gutter Guards: Foam gutter guards are a homeowner solution that is relatively inexpensive. Homeowners place the foam or sponge material that is placed inside of your gutters with the intent of allowing water to drip through (while keeping debris out). Unfortunately, foam gutter guards will trap seeds, and with the abundance of moisture, weeds, plants and trees will begin to grow where they shouldn’t – in your gutters.

Gutter Brush: Brush gutter guards are known to be an inexpensive short-term solution that homeowners can install themselves. The brush is placed into the gutters and is shaped like a giant pipe cleaner. The system is meant to repel debris. However, brush gutter guards actually attract birds and other nesting animals, and trap other debris items like pine cones, leaves and maple spinners. These types of systems will eventually need to be removed and cleaned in order to prevent home damage.Metal Screen Guards: The DIY metal screen product is made out of steel or aluminum. These types of systems are relatively low cost and easy to install by the homeowner, making them a common choice for homeowners looking for a DIY gutter guard option. It’s important to note that because of their larger openings, these types of gutter guards will not keep out smaller debris like pine needles, seeds, insects and shingle grit, so you may need to remove them and clean your gutter periodically throughout the year.Plastic Screen Guards: Plastic screen gutter guards are similar to metal screen options because they have wide openings. With the presence of larger openings, pine needles, leaves, seeds, dirt and insects will still enter and clog your gutters. So, just like with metal screen gutter guards, you may still find yourself removing and cleaning your gutters with this solution.

Small Hole Gutter Guards: With small hole gutter guards, debris such as pine needles, shingle grit, seed pods and dirt will enter your gutter, making these types of gutter guards an unreliable system. In fact, homeowners will routinely have to remove these gutter guards to clean out the debris that is trapped inside.

Professionally Installed Gutter Protection Systems

Professionally installed gutter guards are typically more of an investment than homeowner-installed options. These types of professional gutter protection systems have better clog protection and will last longer than the DIY options. Plus, when installed by a professional, you will typically receive some type of warranty for the product. The three main types of professionally installed gutter protection systems are louver, reverse

Louver Gutter Guards: Professionally installed louver systems feature a large opening that runs the entire length of the gutter guard system. Although larger debris won’t find its way into your gutters, smaller items like leaves, pine needles, seed pods, pests, insects and shingle grit can enter and clog your gutters. Reverse Curve Gutter Guards: Reverse curve gutter guards feature a rounded hood that covers your gutter with a large channel that runs along the entire front edge of the gutter guard. Some reverse curve gutter systems require the purchase of an entirely new gutter systems, since the hood will not fit to your existing gutters. Reverse curve products rely on surface tension. Water is supposed to follow the path of the curve of the hood into your gutters. If water adheres to the curve, so will pine needles, leaves and other debris. This can leave you with gutters that are full of debris. Micromesh Gutter Guards: Micromesh gutter guards are typically made of two main parts: an ultra-thin mesh material and a sturdy supporting frame. Depending on the brand and quality of the micromesh gutter guard, the supporting frame can be made of multiple materials like plastic, metal or uPVC. These types of gutter guard systems feature openings that are less than 50 microns small, keeping out all types of debris, except for water. Although these types of gutter guards offer the greatest clog protection, be sure to choose a system that does not install under your first row of shingles. Installing under your first row of shingles can damage your roof warranty and moisture can seep into your roof, too.

7 Tips To Make Your House Smell Better

When you own a house, it’s easy to get comfortable in your space and fail to notice when it’s time to make changes. You get busy working, the kids and pets are running around, and before you know it, there are smells coming from places you didn’t know existed.

Odors in the home don’t have to be a common occurrence. There are ways to prevent and maintain a home that not only looks good, but smells good too. See seven easy DIY solutions for freshening up your home so you’ve got pleasant odors roaming your space.

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1. Eliminate Garbage Disposal Odors

Your garbage disposal could be wreaking more havoc in your home than you might realize. Food and grime build up over time and start to seep through to your kitchen and beyond. Start by running some lemon, lime or orange peels through your disposal to eliminate any odors. It’s said that the acid in the fruit kills some of the odor causing bacteria.

Also, if you’re an advocate of baking soda, this cleaning tip is for you. Dump your baking soda into the garbage disposal, add a cup of white vinegar and let your disposal run. Voila! The hardest part of eliminating odors is remembering to actually run these items through your garbage disposal and not letting gunk build up in the first place.

2. Fresh Scents

Budget-friendly scents such as lavender or chamomile go a long way in the home. They’ve even been known to help people sleep better when put in and around bed pillows. Lavender is a fresh, floral, clean and calm aroma that’s the perfect for making your home smell great. Mix together a DIY room freshener using lavender or diffuse it in and around the home to banish stale odors.

Chamomile is another scent that is recommended for removing unpleasant smells in the house. The term refers to a range of different daisy-like plants and has long been known for its healing properties. The odor is sweet, apple-like and herbaceous. An easy DIY chamomile room spray can be made by diluting 12 drops of the essential oil per ounce of distilled water.

3. Deodorize Carpets

Carpets are certainly to blame for a lot of the smelly odors lurking in your house. That’s why it’s recommended that you always have a carpet freshener on deck.

Instead of purchasing products with chemicals in them, you can create your own deodorizing carpet powder using a few natural ingredients. I fell in love with Jillee’s natural DIY recipe on her blog and highly recommend you check it out! This freshener is nice for anyone with carpets and a necessity for anyone who owns pets.

4. Vanilla Extract

Sprinkling vanilla extract on light bulbs is one trick to eliminating odors. This is one tip I’ve never heard of, so I wanted to learn more! Apparently, it’s an old real estate agent’s trick. Put a drop or two of vanilla extract on a lightbulb, turn on the light and smell the magic. Your house will soon smell like you’ve been baking all day. You can also opt to burn vanilla extract or any other essential oil to quickly enhance the smell of your house.

5. Air Fresheners

Grab a few mason jars and your favorite essential oils or liquid potpourri and follow this DIY tutorial for making your own gel air fresheners. The fresheners will not only make your home smell good, but they’re pretty too.

Your other option is to create a mix of your favorite smelling sprays to distribute throughout the house. I found a great website that outlines several different options for you to try depending on your taste.

6. Potted Plants

This is by far my favorite DIY option for making your home smell fresh and clean. Natural air purifiers include palm trees, orchids and peace lilies. Plants not only bring energy and life to your home but they look beautiful too.

Besides the living room, think about bringing plants into your kitchen and bathrooms to brighten up the space and create a peaceful and calm environment. If you don’t want the hassle of taking care of real plants, then you can purchase fancy fake ones and switch them out as often as you’d like.

7. Stovetop Potpourri

Here’s a suggestion that anyone who owns an oven and a pan can tackle. It’s a quick fix too. Interior designer Rhobin DelaCruz suggests you, “Simmer water in a small saucepan and add citrus (lemon) slices and herbs, like lavender or mint.” In no time, beautiful aromas will be floating throughout your home. No need to buy prepackaged deodorizers when there’s a simple and natural DIY solution that’ll do the trick.

Conclusion

A happy home is one that not only looks put together, but smells like it too. These tips are sure to bring a delightful and revitalizing odor to your house. If you have any other deodorizing solutions that you’ve tried, please include them in the comments section below!

How Much Does A Fence Cost

Before installing a fence, the first thing all homeowners need to know is the average price. Fence installation costs vary based on the type and size of your chosen fence and therefore, makes research difficult and long. We have simplified the process and gathered the average prices for the most popular fences on the market. If you have ever wondered how much a fence costs, than this article is your answer.

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Overview of Fencing Costs

First off, installing a fence can be a DIY project, but I will warn you that it is not the easiest home remodeling job. Hiring a professional is the safer route, but as you probably expect, it is also the costlier one.

You must consider your individual needs before purchasing and choosing a fence. Higher fences will not only take longer to install, but are more expensive. The materials are heavier and more difficult to work with.

Chain link fences are the cheapest to purchase and easiest to install. Made from composed galvanized steel or aluminum wrapped with PVC, these fences not only last a very long time, but are also incredibly easy and quick to install. While a wooden fence offers more privacy and security, the costs of labor and materials will be more.

According to our fence installation cost estimator, the average price to install a fence is $2,388. No matter your preferred type, most homeowners choose a six-foot privacy fence. The average minimum cost to install a six-foot privacy fence is $3 per linear foot, with the maximum coming in at $13 per linear foot.

Security gates, for those looking for extra protection, on average, cost around $5,000. Those of you looking to keep your pets in the yard should look into electric or invisible fences, which come in at $1,070.

What Goes Into the Price of Fence Installation?

Undoubtedly, the biggest cost that comes with fence installation is materials. Whether you go with brick, bamboo, vinyl or any other fencing type, this will take up a large portion of your budget.

Next, if you hire a pro, will be labor. It takes time to install a fence and a pro has a right to charge you a fair price.

Other aspects that can fluctuate the price of your fence installation include:

  • Permits
  • Marking utility lines
  • Preparation
  • Approval from HOA
  • Concrete delivery (if needed)

Fencing Types

As you can see above, the dominant factor in fence costs is materials. In order to narrow your search, you need to know all the fence types. That is why I presented an overview of each at 9 Types of Fences, but below is an abridged version.

  • Aluminum
  • Wood
  • PVC
  • Wrought Iron
  • Vinyl
  • Chain Link
  • Electric
  • Bamboo
  • Farm

Privacy Fencing

Fences can be installed for security or aesthetics, but many homeowners install a new fence for privacy. While privacy fencing may not secure your yard or home as much as other fences, they do have a clear set of advantages potential fence installers should know:

  • Clearly shows children a safe place to play
  • Acts as a deterrent for burglars
  • Separates one space from a neighboring property
  • Keeps pets secure and contained in the yard or garden

Nonetheless, there are a few disadvantages that come with privacy fencing:

  • Generally, more expensive
  • More materials
  • More maintenance
  • Not as pretty

For more info, including material costs and average prices for DIY or fencing professionals, please refer to our six-foot privacy fence material estimator.

How to Save Money on Fence Installation

Undoubtedly, the easiest way to save cash on fence installation is by installing the fence yourself. As I said earlier, it’s not one of the easier DIY projects, but one the average to experienced home remodeler can complete. Beware that without a step-by-step guide, major damage can occur. For example, if you accidently hit a utility line as you dig your post holes, you will have some angry neighbors knocking on your door.

How To Prevent Water Damage To Your Foundation

Your home’s foundation can fail for any number of reasons, ranging from sudden tectonic shifts to gradual soil erosion. Though one of the most common causes of foundation failure is water damage, both from inside and outside your home.

Although water damage is one of the most popular sources of foundation problems, it is also one of the most preventable. When caught early enough, fixing this issue is quite affordable. In fact, many of the tips below are suggestions you can do entirely by yourself.

Preventing Water Damage Inside Your Home

Leaks are the most obvious telltale sign of water damage. If you notice any hissing pipes, clogged toilets or dripping faucets, you might have to bring in a professional to address these issues (unless you’re an experienced DIY plumber).

Less-obvious warning signs include things like:

  • Rot & mold
  • Crumbling concrete
  • Stains & discoloration
  • Backed up sump pumps & septic tanks

However, some damage remains invisible until it is too late such as busted pipes under the floor or loose valves behind the wall. However, you can assess the damage indirectly by turning off the water main for a few hours and seeing if the meter changes. If it does, you’ve got a leak somewhere and it’s time to call a plumber. Rest assured, however, that doing so is far cheaper than letting the problem fester.

  • Left unaddressed, those hidden leaks could eventually compromise your home’s foundation, requiring even more expensive intervention down the road.
  • Until the problem is fixed, expect to pay much higher utility bills. You’re essentially spending money on unused water.

Conduct all of the above inspections periodically throughout the year. Every three to six months is a safe bet. You should also run through this checklist after unusually heavy rainfall.

Preventing Water Damage Outside Your Home

Rain, sewer pipes and runoff can negatively affect your home’s foundation. So it is critical to conduct frequent inspections of your property’s exterior.

This includes:

  • Checking and fixing broken, loose or missing roof tiles
  • Cleaning your gutters, especially at the beginning of winter
  • Ensuring all downspouts eject water at least two yards away from your home. You may want to hire professionals to conduct the inspections of your home’s exterior in order to ensure the most thorough inspection is completed. Freehold roofing contractors can inspect your roof for missing tiles and make any repairs as needed.

Intelligent landscaping can also extend the life of your foundation. For example, you can slope the surrounding soil so that all rain runoff flows away from your home.

Another common strategy involves planting trees and shrubs next to your property to soak up excessive moisture. However, don’t install these plants too close to your home, since nearby roots can penetrate your foundation’s exterior over time.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, vegetation should be planted “no closer to the foundation of light building structures than the anticipated height of the particular plant.” In other words, a tree that might one day be 10’ tall should be planted at least 10’ away from your home.

Conclusion

If the above guidelines are followed, you should be in decent shape. Internal inspections of your home’s plumbing system coupled with sensible maintenance of your home’s exterior is usually enough to keep water damage at bay.

However, performing periodic checks of the surrounding soil throughout the year is the correct choice of action. If the earth is unusually dry after heavy rain, or surprisingly wet after dry spells, it’s worth contacting a licensed foundation expert in your region.