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Flooring Tips and Tricks

Explore flooring options tips and tricks.
Explore flooring options tips and tricks.
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

The dining room is a great place to save on coverings for your floor, because the table will cover most of it. Use a less expensive rug, and add the look of luxury with a memorable border.

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When measuring any room for rugs, always take into consideration registers and floor vents so that your rug doesn't cover your air supply.

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If you have a wood-burning fireplace, take into account that fire sparks can damage carpet, vinyl and wood floor coverings. But more importantly, it can be a fire hazard. Get a well-made screen for the fireplace, and use stone or a fireproof throw rug in the area closest to the fireplace.

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If you have pets, know that some rugs (especially looped ones) are not a great choice because pet claws and collars can get caught in them. Ask your carpet retailer about the best floor covering to accommodate your furry friends. Also, choose darker palettes or patterns to hide pet stains.

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If you are environmentally sensitive, consider sisal and coir (coconut husk) floor coverings, which contain tannins — a natural dust mite repellent. Sisal and coir also absorb moisture from the air and release it when the humidity drops, which helps to stabilize your environment.

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Rotate an area rug once a year to reduce the wear and tear and to extend its longevity. In high-traffic areas, rotate the rug every six months.

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Tiles laid on the diagonal will visually enlarge a room — making a small space look bigger. Also, closely matching the grout color to the tiles will expand the look of the room.

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Dark-stained or ebonized hardwood floors are popular, but know that they show dirt and dust bunnies faster than medium- or light-stained floors.

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While wool rugs are generally the preferred choice for carpeting — because of their richness of color, relative ease of care and high durability — don't disregard the new synthetic alternatives. Great advances have been made in color, texture and durability. Choose what's right for you and your lifestyle.

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Vacuum carpets more often than not, because the dirt that lodges between fibers shortens the life span of any quality of rug.

Carpet Marks

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A wall-to-wall carpet combination of texture and pattern minimizes soil and vacuum marks.

Stain, score, faux paint or even wax concrete floors to add character and usability to something that already exists in your garage, on your porch or in your basement family room.

The trick is to use the best-quality pad you can to upgrade the feel and extend the life of even the most inexpensive wall-to-wall carpet.

Choose a large-scale, colorfully patterned, soft-to-the-touch rug or wall-to-wall carpet that will absorb sound and stand up to daily living abuse.

The easiest way to tell the difference between a solid hardwood and a laminate floor is to look for variations in the wood pattern. You'll see the same pattern repeated in a laminate floor. A solid wood floor will have unique characteristics.

Try not to be impulsive about your selection of floor covering. Sometimes it's better to forgo a trendy pattern or color and go with a neutral color and classic weave. This will allow you to redecorate without replacing the carpet.

With today's protective polyurethane finishes, hardwood floors can be used in the kitchen! It's not tiring under foot; it won't shatter everything that drops on it; and it's good sound insulation.

All-weather rugs made from polypropylene (spun plastic) can turn a deck or concrete slab into an outdoor room. They are completely colorfast and can be cleaned with the garden hose.

Wall-to-wall carpet is the biggest bang for your buck, but a Tibetan wool area rug can be a great investment. They're durable, timeless and made from a special high-lanolin wool that repels dirt and stains.

Be sure to check the density range of knots per square inch (40-1,000) of a traditional area rug. A higher knot count indicates a higher-quality rug.

Carpet remnants are an affordable way to get that plush wall-to-wall feel without completely covering your wood floors.

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