Empire Today Blog
It’s that time of year again! Empire Today is thrilled to appear at several home shows over the next few months. Don’t be shy – we’ll be in Texas, Michigan, and Colorado to answer all your flooring-related questions! Who knows… our new spokesman may even be in attendance.
Thousands of homeowners are opting for vinyl flooring—it’s a highly durable, budget-friendly way to get a wood or tile look in any room. But like any floor, vinyl can get dirty quickly. Here are a few tips on how to clean vinyl floors safely and make maintenance easier overall.
1.) Consistent Mopping Keeps Vinyl Flooring Fresh
Let’s start with the obvious—for clean vinyl floors, mop consistently. Every day if you can. However, make sure you’re not using excessive water. Using a damp mop to clean vinyl floors every day can prevent a buildup of dirt and keep your floors looking fresh.
2.) For Rust, Try Lemon Juice and Cream of Tartar
The first sign of rust may send you in a panic, but you don’t have to necessarily run out and buy expensive products. Sometimes, the best products are right in your kitchen. A mixture of lemon juice and cream of tartar is a simple solution to eliminating rust stains and reviving your vinyl floors. Be sure to rinse with water after you’re done.
3.) Isopropyl Alcohol Works Wonders
Isopropyl alcohol, also known as rubbing alcohol, is known for cleaning wounds, but it can also help you clean your floor. Pen ink, permanent marker, nail polish, or hair dye can easily be erased if you rub a little isopropyl alcohol on the stain. Rinse with water after the stain is removed.
4.) Be Mindful of How You Shine
Using “mop and shine” products or detergents can leave a dull film on your flooring. For a simple homemade solution, add a cup of vinegar and a few drops of baby oil to a gallon of warm water. You don’t need to drench the mop with the solution, either. Dampen it and you’re good to go.
5.) No Steam Mops
Steaming may be a good solution for cleaning carpets, but steam mops are a poor choice for hard surfaces such as vinyl. Exceedingly hot temperatures and moisture is a dynamic duo that can potentially warp and destroy vinyl if you’re not careful. It’s best to avoid steam mops overall, but if you’re stuck on the idea, make sure to read your floor manufacturer’s guidelines before using one.
6.) Never Use Bleach or Ammonia to Clean Vinyl Floors
These two chemicals are known for being super cleaners, but their hardcore make up and notorious fumes are not what you want on your floors or in your home. Instead, use milder cleaning products with a neutral pH to help avoid corroding your floors.
These are just a few of many tips that can help you keep clean vinyl floors! If you feel cleaning just isn’t enough, it may be time for a new look. Schedule a FREE In-Home Estimate to view our latest vinyl flooring options in your home.
Not all heroes wear capes. Some of them just come equipped with the proper supplies to protect your carpet.
Hiring professional carpet cleaners to clean your carpet every 6-12 months is the best way to avoid damaging it while maintaining its fresh look. Read 4 important reasons why it’s worth the extra care. (more…)
While some of us in colder climates may be excited for the winter scenery, others are dreading the dirty slush and slippery ice. Whether you like or disdain this snowy weather, tracking it in your home can have damaging effects on your flooring. Learn how and what you should do to protect your floors during winter.
How Snow and Salt Damage Your Floors
Tracking snow on your floor can leave standing liquid, causing not only a safety hazard, but also irreversible damage to your floors. Melted snow can seep deep into carpet’s construction and damage its backing over time, leaving a bad smell and sometimes even mildew. Hardwood and laminate can buckle when faced with excessive amounts of water. Snow isn’t the only thing you can track in, either.
Salt has its own complications: it can leave a messy white residue, fade colors, and even leave permanent stains. On top of that, hard grains of salt can scratch the surface of your floors. Follow these 4 tips to help maintain your floors’ fresh look in winter.
Place a Mat Outside the Door
One of the most essential place mats is the one before you even enter the house. Wiping your boots at the front door or on an absorbent runner mat in the garage can lessen the chance of you bringing in snow to begin with.
Remove Your Shoes
If you really want to protect your floors during winter, make it a golden rule to remove shoes at the door to stop snow before it even makes it in your home. Having a walk-off mat for your family and guests to place their shoes will make it easier to prevent the snow and salt from damaging the flooring in your entrance.
Be Prepared for a Quick Clean Up
If snow or salt happen to get in your home, make sure to wipe it up immediately. Standing water doesn’t mix well with surfaces like hardwood and laminate and the longer it sits on carpet the more it seeps down into its construction. Having a dry mop or white towel handy is a great way to make sure you’re prepared for winter’s nasty soiling.
Install Water Resistant Flooring
Even if you try to prevent snow and salt from coming in your home, 9 times out of 10 you will still track it on your floors. That’s why it is a good idea to explore floor options that are water-resistant. In addition to being water-resistant, vinyl plank is moisture-, mildew, and scratch-resistant. This makes it a viable flooring choice that is durable enough to survive winter and daily traffic in general.
Overall, this season can be harsh, but keeping your floors clean is easy if you take action to prevent snow and salt from being tracked in your home. It’s even easier if you have floors that are durable enough to withstand winter’s nasty weather and the elements that come along with it. Schedule your In-Home Appointment to explore our durable winter floors.
When updating floors, we often get asked the difference between engineered hardwood and solid hardwood. Although both engineered and solid hardwood offer an alluring sophistication to your home, they differ in several fundamental ways, including both construction and functionality. The needs of your family and lifestyle will help you determine which hardwood choice is right for you.
Engineered vs. Solid Hardwood: Construction
Both engineered and solid hardwood originate from a specific species of tree, such as oak, hickory, Brazilian cherry, or sapele. But how they are constructed is completely different. Solid hardwood is made from a single piece of wood, while engineered hardwood is made from distinct several layers of different wood. Although there is a structural difference between engineered hardwood and solid hardwood, both are considered high quality.
Engineered vs. Solid Hardwood: Which is More Durable?
The construction of any flooring has a big impact on its durability. Engineered hardwood has several layers of hardwood, plywood, and a high definition fiber core. These layers are fused together with intense heat and pressure, providing a more durable construction than solid wood. This also means that engineered hardwood is less likely to expand or shrink. However, because it has a thin protective surface layer, sanding engineered hardwood is only recommended once or twice over a couple decades.
As for solid hardwood… sand away! Since it’s made from one piece of wood, it can be sanded and stained as necessary. It doesn’t have a thin layer that can wear off, giving it a better chance of an extended longevity if properly maintained. However, unlike engineered hardwood, it’s more likely to expand or shrink depending on room humidity levels. A solid piece of wood is much more sensitive to environmental factors than a multi-tiered engineered floor.
Keep in mind that even though engineered wood is less likely to shrink and expand due to humidity, it is best to avoid putting any type of real hardwood in high moisture areas such as a kitchen or bathroom. As for standing water, keep a clean towel nearby in the event of a still.
While they may differ in durability, both types of hardwood tend to keep dust, dirt, mold, and other allergens at bay. Also look for premium surface treatments, such as Aluminum Oxide, to help protect your investment from scratches, scuffs, and stains.
Engineered vs. Solid Hardwood Installation: How and Where?
How: There are various ways floors can be installed, but it all depends on the type of flooring you’re putting in your home. Solid hardwood can only be installed using nails. However, engineered can be installed using staples, glue, or float (using the lock method).
Where: Because of its layered protection against humidity, engineered hardwood can work well over concrete in places like the basement and can even work near radiant heat. Solid, on the other hand, should be reserved for upper levels of the home. It’s a great way to enhance the look of your living room, dining room, and even bedroom areas.
What’s Your Species? Choose from a Wide Selection of Engineered and Solid Hardwood
Now that you know the technical stuff, it’s time to get to the fun details—style! Both hardwoods are available in various wood species that can upgrade the look of your home. Empire Today offers engineered hardwood in birch, Brazilian cherry, elm, oak, American hickory, sapele, and small leaf acacia. Our solid hardwoods are available in red oak, oak, white oak, and small leaf acacia. Explore our different wood species and their styles to see which would look great in your home!
In the end, there are key differences between engineered hardwood and solid hardwood, but they both can help give your home a modern and sophisticated wood look. If you want to know more about both hardwood options and examine the differences up close, Schedule a FREE In-Home Estimate!
As the new year approaches, we’re jumping for joy! While 2017 was an awesome year, we can’t wait to see 2018 trends and styles. Here are a few flooring trends you should consider before getting new floors next year:
Matte Finishes are Back in the Spotlight
Glossy finishes on hard floors have been popular for years, but look for more low-luster shines to take precedent in 2018. Matte finishes not only have a clean look and smooth surface, but can also make it easier to hide dirt, dust, dents, and other imperfections. Empire’s Sonoma series’s matte finish is the perfect example of “style meets functionality”.
Go Big with Wide Planks
Wide planks have been on trend for a few years, but in 2018 things are getting even wider. The authentic, upscale look of wide plank floors will make a welcome addition to both modern and rustic themed homes. Wide planks can also create an illusion of more space in small rooms, so they will be great for your home if you have tight spaces you want to expand. Check out Empire’s Archer Heights to see how wide planks can add style to your home.
Wood Looks are Going Lighter
While light and dark wood have both been popular this year and are expected to continue growing, early signs indicate 2018 will be a year of light, cool tones. Not only do these tones make for a clean and modern aesthetic, but they can make a space feel more open. Adding blonde, such as our Encore engineered hardwood, or even whitewashed floors to your home might be the perfect style to freshen up those interiors.
Stop Screaming Over Spills with 100% Waterproof Vinyl Plank
In love with the wood look but scared of the maintenance that comes along with hardwood? Among the 2018 flooring trends is vinyl plank, such as Empire’s Grand Junction, which comes with easy maintenance and style. Not only is it stain-, mildew-, and scratch-resistant, this flooring is 100% waterproof. This means you don’t have to worry when you have an occasional spill. Offered in a variety of styles, vinyl plank can even go in wet areas, such as the bathroom and kitchen. Modern wood look, durability, and easy maintenance? Yes, please!
Pattern Carpet is Designed to Give You a Distinct Style
Carpet is a classic flooring choice and 2018 is adding a lot of style to it. Pattern carpet is a modern carpet trend that has a distinct pattern made by its cut and looped fibers. In addition to helping the room pop, this carpet has a durability that is good for heavy traffic, making it easy to maintain. Empire’s Envision has a pattern that will surely make the room pop!
Greige: A New Neutral
Grey has been a hit this year, but 2018 is making room for a new neutral. Greige, a blend of grey and beige, is sure to surge next year. Its subtle, unique shade allows you to easily match décor while adding a sophisticated touch to your home. Gray will still be a top color, but be sure to stay on the lookout for greige, as seen on our Sidekick carpet series.
These 2018 flooring trends have us excited and we can’t wait to see them in everyone’s homes. Click below when you’re ready to Schedule your FREE In-Home Estimate and set some trends of your own.
Homeowners seeking a wood look for their floors often receive an astronomical quote on hardwood and begin to research other options. It’s no surprise that vinyl plank flooring has exploded in popularity as a worthy alternative. Vinyl plank is one of the most durable floors, period. And it closely resembles genuine wood. Want to learn more about what sets vinyl plank flooring apart?
Bathroom floors are prone to standing water, slippery surfaces, and mildew. When updating floors in your bathroom, it’s important to consider function as well as looks. Here are a few features to look for before selecting bathroom flooring.
Bathroom Flooring with Waterproof Attributes
Water in the bathroom is inevitable. However, H2O isn’t always a good thing when it comes to your floors. Certain floors (especially solid hardwood) get standing water on the surface, they can warp and lose color easily if you don’t act fast to clean it up. For bathrooms, you’re much better off with waterproof ceramic and porcelain tiles or water-resistant vinyl. Wood look vinyl plank or traditional vinyl tile make excellent choices in a wet environment, increasing the overall longevity of your bathroom flooring.
Make a Wet Area Safer with a Slip Resistant Feature
Your bathroom floors will get wet, so it’s important to minimize slips and falls as much as possible. Consider flooring with an inherent slip-resistant feature, such as Empire Today’s vinyl tile “Options”. Most hard surfaces are naturally slippery, especially when wet. Slip resistance can help make your bathroom flooring safer, so you can step out the shower with more confidence.
Avoid Messy Cleaning and Health Hazards with Mildew Resistance
Wet environments are an ideal environment for mildew to grow and bathrooms are no exception. Skin irritation, allergies, and asthma are no joke. Installing mildew resistant flooring helps protect your floors against unwanted fungus, helping prevent you from suffering its effects.
BONUS: The Easier the Cleaning, the Better the Bathroom
Our top three product categories for bathroom flooring include tile, luxury vinyl plank, and luxury vinyl tile. Each has excellent moisture, slip, and mildew resistance, and are easier to clean. There’s nothing better than a simple mop-up without having to worry about oversaturation or using harsh chemicals. And nothing beats the peace of mind you experience with a clean bathroom.
Empire makes getting beautiful new floors for bathrooms easy. For a FREE In-Home Estimate, click below.
Hosting family and friends for the holidays? It’s time to make your home look its very best before, during, and after the festivities. Here are 10 no-nonsense holiday cleaning tips to make this season more enjoyable. (more…)
The end of the year is approaching and the inevitable winter season is nearly upon us. While that means we get to sip hot cocoa and wrap ourselves in soft, warm blankets, it also means having a cold home if you’re not prepared. Did you know your flooring can affect the temperature of your home? Here are a few warm floors and other considerations when making your home cozier this winter. (more…)
You’ve probably seen the shopping guides based on seasonal demand before. Buy lawnmowers and printers in September. Gas grills in November or December. Winter coats and sports gear in March. But what about flooring? The best time to shop for new floors is right before the holidays kick in. Here’s why. (more…)
What’s the first thing you picture when you hear “family room”? Many of us imagine the entertainment center, comfortable sofas and chairs, and quality time with family and friends. But have you ever thought about how compatible your floors are with your family’s lifestyle? (more…)
Pets aren’t just animals. They’re a part of the family. This means every choice you make for your home should consider what’s best for them and their habits – including the floors. Even with all their scratching and “accidents”, maintaining carpet with your feline friend is possible. Here are a few things to consider when choosing the best carpet for cats. (more…)
As natural wood looks continue to dominate every home renovation show, one might think carpet is outdated and old-fashioned. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Here are the best modern carpet styles for 2018 to help you stay contemporary and comfortable. (more…)
So, you’ve finally decided to get new carpet and couldn’t be more excited! You’re already imagining your updated floors and can’t wait to sink your feet its comfy softness. But wait … have you considered what type of carpet is the best carpet for your home? (more…)
Comfort should never be limited to the indoors. That’s where Indoor-Outdoor Carpet enters the picture. While Indoor Carpet tends to emphasize softness and style, Indoor-Outdoor Carpet focuses on performance and versatility. (more…)
Have you ever wondered the best way to achieve a wood look for your floors? Hardwoods and Engineered Hardwoods provide an authentic, timeless feel. But your options don’t stop there. (more…)
Few things can match the look of new hardwood flooring – it adds timeless beauty and value to your home. But just like a new car, proper hardwood flooring care and maintenance is an important part of the long-term investment. Here are four easy care and maintenance tips for hardwood flooring. (more…)
Ever wonder what people with clean houses do every day? Let’s take a look at some of the daily tasks people with clean houses might do every day of the week. (more…)
When designing a room, choosing the correct carpet color to match your decor should be a first priority.
Dogs & flooring don’t always play nice together.
We get it. You love your dogs, but you also love your floors. Can the two peacefully co-exist? Here are 20 ways dogs & flooring can peacefully coexist. (more…)
This throwback Empire commercial aired in 1993. The Empire Man offers to help you dress up your home for the holidays with some new carpet products that are offered at 20-60% OFF*, with no finance charges or monthly payments until the following spring. (more…)
Wood Look Tile has become extremely popular for good reason. It provides the wood look and feel that so many homeowners crave, without the restrictions that hardwood or laminate floors might have. Let’s take a closer look at why Tile that looks like wood continues to set flooring trends year after year. (more…)
Halloween is a home decorator’s dream. The opportunity to add fun decorations to the interior and exterior of the house is like putting a little kid in a candy shop. For people that aren’t as crafty, we’ve come up with some ideas to get your house ready for Halloween. (more…)