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Topics and Tips

Refinishing Hardwood Floors

We get calls all the time from people asking about having their hardwood floors refinished. Sometimes they've had a small water leak and some of the wood has "cupped." Other times the wood has been down for a number of years and just needs a little TLC.

If your floor is in good shape but the finish has worn off, you can have your floor screened and recoated. In this process, the wood is lightly sanded and polyurethane is applied.

If you have a little water damage and your floor is cupped, you will need a heavier sanding. After sanding, stain and polyurethane is applied.

First all furniture, pictures, knick-knacks, absolutely everything in the room will need to be moved out. The floor will be sanded and cleaned. The following day, the floor will be stained. The third day, if the stain is the color you expected, the first coat of polyurethane will be applied. If you want your floor a shade darker, another coat of stain will be applied. The fourth day either the first coat or second coat of polyurethane will be applied. The polyurethane will have to dry between coats. If it is humid outside, this process will take a little longer. It helps if you run your air conditioner. After the polyurethane is dry you can return to life as you knew it.

There are no words to describe how dusty your house will get during this procedure. No matter what type of equipment is used, or how well everything is covered up, you can still expect to do some heavy duty housekeeping for a few months afterwards. The good news is, with proper care, you shouldn't have to repeat this process for 20-25 years.


Water Damaged Carpet

We had a terrible storm last Friday afternoon and alot of water damage to area homes so I thought it would be a good time to post what to do if you have water damage to your carpet.

If you have carpet that has just a little bit water on it, soak up as much of the water as you can, and put a fan on it to circulate the air over it and dry it out. This may take a day or two. Your carpet may feel dry on the top, but you want to make sure that your pad is dried as well. If not, you could end up with a mildew problem. If there is alot of water, and you have a shop vac, use the shop and suck as much of the water out of the carpet as you can. Then put a fan on it and hope for the best.

Anytime your carpet gets wet for longer than a few hours, it may delaminate, (the backing will separate from the fibers). Your insurance company should be called and they will send an adjuster out to your home to take a look at the damage. Sometimes they will send in a company to clean the carpet, take out the pad, set up dehumidifiers, and reinstall the carpet and pad.

If your carpet needs to be replaced, the adjuster will most likely cut a small piece of your carpet and pad and send them to a lab for analysis. They send it to the lab to ensure that your replacement is the proper face weight and fiber. Sometimes if you have dried your carpet out quickly you might not notice delamination for a few weeks. If this happens, just call your insurance company adjuster back out and they will make sure that your home is back to normal as quickly as possible.


Get Red Wine Stain Out of Your Carpet

For the first time ever, we had a customer come in looking for CarpetAid+.

According to this customer, who was driving from Ohio to Florida, he used it on a red wine stain that had been on his carpet for over a year and it removed the stain. He saw online where the product was available at Kisers Floor Fashions and decided to stop in and pick up a few cans.

I get asked alot about red wine stains, no doubt they are difficult to remove, but I say if a man was willing to make a pit stop like this, it must be a very good product.

The most important thing to remember when removing any stain is to first blot all of the liquid you can out of the carpet. The key word there is BLOT. If you rub, you run the risk of permanently damaging the fibers in the carpet. Saturate the stain with whatever you are cleaning the carpet with and use a white towel to BLOT all of the liquid out of the carpet. Repeat the process until the stain is gone, then finish with water and a clean white towel.


Carpet Cleaning

Good vacuum habits and do it yourself cleaning methods are very effective for most dry soil and dirt. I use and recommend the Capture Cleaning Kits for spot cleaning in between professional cleaning. When I have a spot, I mist the spot with the Capture Premist, brush in the Capture powder, let it dry and vacuum. Sometimes I have to repeat the process, but most of the time it works with just one application.

Professional cleaning is recommended as needed to extract the dirt and oil particles that accumulate even with regular maintenance and care. We recommend using a hot-water extraction method only. Shampooing can deteriorate the factory applied stain resistance properties and damage the carpet fibers.

One other thing you can do to keep your carpet looking great is to place "walk off mats" at your doors. If you have a little piece of carpet left over from your carpet installation, Kiser's can bind the edges and you have a walk off mat that blends into your carpet. If you don't have a little piece of carpet left, you can visit the best kept secret in Memphis--the Kiser's Warehouse. Remnants start at just $10.00 and binding is just $2.50 per foot, all total--a bargain for the wear and tear it saves on your carpet.


Carpet Buying: Tip 1

You can save money if you purchase a full roll of carpet as opposed to purchasing a small cut of carpet from a roll. The problem is if you are only going to replace one or two rooms of carpet, you will fall way short of needing the entire roll. For this reason, my very first tip for purchasing any type of flooring is:

Always check and see what is in stock in the warehouse first!!

At Kiser's we keep rolls of carpet in stock in our warehouse. The roll pricing is passed on to our customers. In other words, we can cut 12 feet off the roll in our warehouse and still sell it at the roll price. You may save even more money if your carpet store purchased the carpet when freight rates were lower and gas prices were down.


Vacuuming Carpet

I often get asked about which vacuum cleaner I recommend for cleaning carpet. I prefer one that can suck a bowling ball out of a hall closet. There are many brands of vacuum cleaners that can perform this task. I personally own a Kenmore cannister vacuum that I am very satisfied with. I know people who swear by their Oreck vacuum cleaner, and a few that swear by their Eureka uprights. Probably more important than which type of vacuum cleaner you have, is how you use the vacuum cleaner you have. If your vacuum is cumbersome and heavy you aren't likely to use it very much.

You should vacuum regularly to keep soil from becoming embedded in the carpet pile where it is more difficult to remove. In non-traffic areas, you should vacuum at least once per week, using three passes of the vacuum. In light traffic areas you should vacuum at least twice weekly using three passes of the vacuum. Moderate to heavy traffic areas require more thorough cleaning, at least five passes with the vacuum two to five times per week. Do heavy vacuuming more slowly to allow the beating or suction action of your cleaner to thoroughly remove embedded particles.

I went out to visit with a lady a while back who had been a customer of Kiser's for 40 years. When I walked in, she said, "Ya'll put this carpet in here 39 years ago and you can see, it just hasn't held up." She worked as a housekeeper and vacuumed her carpet everyday.

Vacuuming your carpet on a regular basis will help it stay beautiful for many years to come.


Which Finish Is On Your Hardwood Floor

We have customers that come into the store all the time wanting to know how to clean their hardwood, and the first question we ask them is "do you have a polyurethane or wax finish on your floor?"

If you live in a relatively new house, chances are you have a polyurethane finish on your hardwood. It won't matter if you have an engineered hardwood or 3/4 inch nail down hardwood, after it is sanded and stained, it will have several coats of polyurethane applied. It might have a satin finish, or it might have a high gloss finish, but it's still polyurethane. For floors finished with polyurethane, I highly recommend the Bona X cleaner. It has an alcohol base and does an excellent job of cleaning polyurethane finished floors without leaving any kind of residue behind.

If you live in an older home, you could have a polyurethane finish or a waxed finish. It's not always easy to tell by looking which finish it is. The easiest way to tell is to drop a few drops of water in an inconspicuous place and let them sit there. If they turn "milky" looking, then you have a wax finish on the floor. Another way to tell is to take a small thin blade, or even a fingernail and scrape it along the grain of the hardwood. If the wax chips up, then you know you have a wax finish on the floor. With these floors, if there is a build up of old wax on the floor, you might want to strip it off. Bruce makes a product just for this purpose. They also make a liquid wax in a can, called Bruce Lite and Natural, or Bruce Dark and Rich, that you pour onto the floor, rub it in, then buff it off.


Cork Flooring

I like cork floors as a "green" floor.

Cork flooring is made from the cork that is left over from making wine bottle stoppers in Portugal.

Harvesting the cork oak for its bark is limited to nine-year cycles. The individual cork oaks must be at least 25 years old before they are harvested. The bark is harvested by hand, and the cork oak tree remains unharmed. The bark grows back, leaving the cork oak as healthy as ever. Cork flooring is one of the most renewable sources for flooring there is.

Cork flooring is resistant to pressure and impact. If you like spending time in your kitchen and have back problems, you will love standing on a cork floor. Cork flooring is like a cushion as it is made of 50% air that is locked into microscopic compartments which act as natural shock absorbers. This can be quite beneficial when you�ve dropped dishes and glasses. The cellular nature of cork flooring allows warmth to be held in, making it a very warm floor to walk on, even in the winter. It is also a great sound insulator.

The natural substance found in cork, called suberin, is a key component in the makeup of the cells found in cork. Suberin is responsible for the moisture-resistant nature of cork flooring. Suberin is also insect-resistant as well as adding a level of fire resistance.

Best of all, there are a number of cork floors that are available in a click version. They are more dimensionally stable than the tiles, and are easy to install if you are a "do it yourself" person.


Jute and Coir

Coir and Jute are two very durable natural fibers that are environmentally friendly solutions if you are trying to do your part to help our environment.

Coir, which is very coarse,is made of the outer husk of a mature coconut. Ninety percent of the world's coir comes from Sri Lanka and India. A typical palm tree can produce 50 to 100 coconuts per year. The coconuts are dehusked and soaked in water to swell and soften the fibers. The fibers are twisted and spun into yarn, then woven into carpets that are full of natural character. These rugs are often used for door mats. I did have a customer once that insisted on installing it wall to wall in a bedroom. It's so coarse that I can't imagine putting your bare feet on it first thing every morning, but to each it's own. I have to admit that it looked great.

Jute is harvested from the outer skin of the jute plant. The plant can grow anywhere from six to ten feet in height and thrives in the warm wet climates of Bangladesh and India. When used as carpeting it is softer in appearance and a lot softer on your bare feet than any other natural fiber besides wool. It does pose a problem though when it comes to cleaning. Again, I recommend the Capture Dry Powder cleaner that you sprinkle on, brush in, and vacuum up. Don't be afraid to use jute in any room in your home. It also make a perfect transitional rug between orientals.


Sisal

Sisal is considered to be the hardiest and longest wearing of the all natural fibers. The Agave Sisalana plant is grown in Mexico, Brazil and some parts of Africa. It can grow up to 300 usable leaves in it's lifetime. Each sword shaped leaf contains thousands of fibers, of which, the highest grade ones are used to make sisal carpeting.

Sisal has a life span of about 7 to 10 years as a rug. Of course, I like it because it is another renewable resource and a perfect choice for environmentally conscience consumers. It is moderately priced. We sell sisal for as little as $1.59 per square foot. We put sisal rugs in just about every room in homes. We even put them on porches and decks.

Sisal makes a beautiful rug, but if you are thinking of installing it wall to wall, you need to know that it must be glued down to the sub-floor, otherwise, over time as it shrinks, your wall to wall carpet will no longer be a wall to wall carpet. It's not easy to clean, we recommend the Capture Carpet cleaner. It's a dry cleaner that you brush on, let dry, and vacuum up. We also do not recommend putting it on steps. I've put it on steps and have noticed that the carpet that goes over the stair nosing always wears out rather quickly, otherwise, it's a great addition to any other room in your home.


Seagrass and Mountaingrass

There's no telling how many seagrass rugs we make at Kiser's. I like seagrass not just because it is a renewable resource, but it is also the perfect transitional rug. Lots of decorators use seagrass in between two oriental rugs because it doesn't fight with the patterns in other rugs. We've also installed seagrass wall to wall in rooms and put oriental rugs on top of it. Seagrass goes everywhere! You will also see it on the covers of many magazines and on the floors of multi million dollar homes, but it is relatively inexpensive.

Seagrass is made from a tropical reed that is grown in paddy like fields in China and Vietnam. The fibers are harvested by hand, dried, and woven into tough strands. The end result is a textile that is full of texture and both durable and hardy. Seagrass blends the colors of nature, greens, browns, golds, and rusty reds in endless variation resulting in hue changes in rolls and rugs. Rugs have a distinctive hay like aroma, which will dissipate to some degree, but always linger to remind you of the freshness of nature. Mountaingrass falls into the same category as seagrass, but is grown in the higher elevations of Asia. When woven, mountaingrass has a wooden like appearance. Mountaingrass is softer to touch, but is still a durable natural fiber.

As durable as they are, they aren't very easy to clean. Even water can stain them. Your best bet for cleaning a spot is to use the dry carpet cleaner, "Capture." Just brush it in, wait a while, and vacuum it up.


Wool Carpet

There are many carpet fibers on the market today. In my opinion, the number one carpet fiber in the world is wool. There's nothing wrong with most synthetic fibers. In fact, you wouldn't believe the warranties that are available on synthetic carpets. The truth is, they are making the synthetic fibers to perform like wool. Wool carpet has set the performance standard that every carpet mill strives to achieve.

The benefits of wool carpet as as follows:

Wool Carpet Looks Better Longer - It won't lose its crimp or ability to spring back in high traffic areas. With a greater life expectancy, wool will maintain its newness and original appearance longer. Remember, every antique rug in the world is made out of wool.

Wool Carpet Cleans Better - Spills and dirt are easily removed because of wool's protective outer layer. It keeps dirt and dust high on the pile surface where it can easily be vacuumed. This protective membrane also keeps most spills on the surface until they can be blotted dry.

Wool Carpet Is Naturally Flame Resistant-and will self extinguish when the source of flame is removed. Cigarette burns will not scar and melt wool carpets as they do synthetics.

Wool Carpet Has Better Insulating Capability-It's warm - it's cool - Tests show the insulating properties of wool can cut heat loss by 13%. It can also help keep you cool by its ability to absorb 30% its weight in humidity without feeling damp or wet.

Wool Carpet Is An Excellent Value- As the cost of synthetics continue to rise, (in large part because of the unstable petroleum market,)wool maintains its appearance and value long after other carpets have had to be replaced.

Wool Carpet Is A Renewable Resource and is Biodegradable! Since there are very few reclaimation facilities, if you are concerned about the environment, wool is a perfect choice.

Today, wool is still preferred by the world's leading interior designers and represents an incredible value for your home. Kiser's adds to this incredible value by buying many rolls of wool carpet. We have a huge inventory of wool carpet in our warehouse. More often than not, by shopping in our warehouse, you can purchase a beautiful wool carpet for your home for the same or less than you would spend on a carpet made of synthetic fiber. There are many styles, colors and weights available.


Purchasing Carpet Online

We had a customer come into our store today because he was having a terrible time finding an installer to install carpet that he had purchased online. The internet is a wonderful tool for researching the different types of flooring that are available.

I don't recommend purchasing carpet online. The rolls are usually pretty big. Delivery is a problem. How are you going to move a roll of carpet that may be 12 feet wide and weigh 200-300 pounds? How will you get it through your door?

We don't install carpet that is purchased anywhere else. We offer a lifetime warranty on our installation, and the only way we can do that is to know beyond any shadow of a doubt that we have installed a quality product. If you purchase the carpet from one place, and the labor from another, and there is a problem you will have the installer pointing his finger at the manufacturer saying that it is a product defect and the manufacturer pointing his finger at the installer saying it is an installation problem. You end up stuck in the middle with a problem that usually can not be resolved.

At Kiser's, whether it is an installation problem, or a product defect,we are going to stand behind what we sell and install. It's a lifetime guarantee.

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