Category: Flooring & Stairs


So, You Want to… Level a Concrete Floor

You don't have to live with an irregular or uneven concrete floor. In fact, if you're planning to install new flooring over the slab, then you shouldn't. To get the smooth, level surface you need, a leveling compound may be just the ticket—and we've got the basics for you right here.

Leveling a Concrete Floor

Photo: bobvila.com

There’s no disagreement here: Concrete ranks among the most durable, longest-lasting of all building materials. That said, particularly in spaces where moisture accumulates—the basement, for example, or the laundry room—it’s not uncommon for depressions to form in even the most expertly poured concrete. There are at least a couple of reasons to repair these dips early and often. First of all, doing so works to prevent such surface imperfections from becoming deeper, structural problems. Second, if you’re planning to install flooring over the slab, the concrete needs to be level if it’s going to function properly as a subfloor. Because leveling a floor is a common homeowner undertaking, industry leaders provide a number of products designed to make the process as easy as possible for do-it-yourselfers.

If you’re tackling a concrete leveling job in the future, start getting to know Concrete Leveler. A user-friendly, self-leveling compound from CTS Cement | Rapid Set, the Concrete Leveler spreads across uneven slabs, filling in low spots as it goes along and creating a new, level surface in the process. Once it begins to set, the product cures with remarkable speed and strength. In fact, assuming ideal conditions, you can expect to be walking upon—or installing a new floor over—your now freshly flat concrete surface within a matter of hours. Suitable for outdoor as well as indoor use, Concrete Leveler dramatically simplifies what could otherwise be a tricky, demanding job, making it an easy weekend project even for those with no special skills or prior experience. Keep reading to discover just how easy it can be!

PLANNING
Rather than jump right into the process, start by assessing the condition of the concrete surface. Your goal is to determine not only the scope of the project, but also how much Concrete Leveler you’re going to need. A key question: Are you ultimately going to install flooring over the slab, and if so, what type? Carpeting, click-and-lock vinyl planks, and engineered wood flooring tend to be forgiving of minor variations in subfloor grade. But for a successful installation of solid wood or tile flooring (particularly larger-size tiles), the slab needs to be more or less perfectly level. Here, the difference between the lowest and highest point on the floor can be no greater than a quarter inch. So, if you intend to leave the concrete exposed, or if you’ve opted for one of the forgiving floor materials, the best solution is to address just the specific problem areas with a patching compound like Cement All. Meanwhile, if you would like to prepare the slab to make way for a flooring material that requires a uniformly level base, then be sure to equip yourself with enough Concrete Leveler to cover the full square footage. At half-inch thickness, a 50-pound bag of Concrete Leveler will sufficiently cover 12 to 15 square feet. For a quarter-inch-thick application, the same size bag would cover between 24 and 30 square feet.

PREP WORK
Having taken everything out of the room—including the baseboard moldings—clean the concrete surface as thoroughly as possible. Along the way, remove dirt and loose debris, including but not limited to flaking paint, peeling adhesive, and chipped concrete. Pay special attention to stains resulting from grease and oil spills, as their residue could compromise the bond between the existing concrete and the added leveling layer. For best results, lightly shotblast the surface to facilitate proper adhesion. CTS Cement | Rapid Set recommends shotblasting to a specific degree—Concrete Surface Preparation 3, as defined by the International Concrete Repair Institute. Note that local home centers typically rent out shotblasting equipment for reasonable half-day rates. Afterward, pin the locations of any control joints in the slab. Later, after applying the leveling layer, re-cut those control joints so as to protect the concrete from cracking due to shrinkage and temperature changes.

Leveling a Concrete Floor - Rapid Set Primer

Photo: ctscement.com

Next, with a piece of chalk, mark any obvious depressions in the surface. After that, follow up with a carpenter’s level and, working section by section, let the tool reveal any low points your naked eye may have missed. Be on the lookout for mounds as well as dips. After all, leveling out a slab with especially pronounced mounds would force you to employ an excessive quantity of leveling compound. For that reason, think about using a concrete grinder to grind down the most extreme ridges. Like shotblasting equipment, a concrete grinder can likely be rented at your local home center.

PRIMER APPLICATION
After you’ve planned your approach and prepped the surface, move on to coating the concrete with an application of Concrete Leveler Primer. Specially formulated by CTS | Rapid Set to work in tandem with the Concrete Leveler, the priming agent performs one critically important function: It seals the surface of the existing concrete, preventing water loss and making it so that neither pinholes nor bubbles end up jeopardizing the leveling layer. The primer also enhances the adhesion capabilities of the leveling compound, helping it grip and hold on to the existing concrete.

Apply Concrete Leveler Primer with a soft-bristle push broom, being careful to spread the liquid evenly across the surface without creating puddles. As you go along, make sure the primer reaches and gets down into the so-called pores of the concrete. Depending on the condition of the surface, one quart of primer can cover anywhere between 50 and 100 square feet. The gallon-size container would be the appropriate choice for larger areas up to 400 square feet. Upon application, allow the primer to dry for at least three hours, but no longer than a full day.

Leveling a Concrete Floor - Rapid Set

Photo: ctscement.com

CONCRETE LEVELING
When the primer has dried, it’s time to apply the Concrete Leveler. To do so, of course, you must first prepare the compound. In a bucket or mixing bin, combine the contents of one 50-pound bag of Leveler with four and a half or five quarts of water. Mix the two with a drill-mounted paddle-type mixer. For convenience, assuming a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, Concrete Leveler boasts a 15-minute “flow life” and remains workable for virtually twice as long.

Using a long-handled squeegee, push and pull the Concrete Leveler compound across the concrete surface, getting all the way into the corners and along the edges. Though the process can be helped along with a squeegee, broom, or trowel, you can expect gravity to do most of the work in bringing the liquid to a level. Soon, a smooth wear surface will have formed. Within four hours, the material will have set up enough to be walked upon. And within 24 hours, it can accept rubber wheel traffic.

If you are planning to install a new floor over the now-level surface, you can do so in remarkably short order. For hard-surface flooring materials, such as tile, you can begin installation within four to six hours. For carpeting and other resilient, moisture-sensitive flooring materials, wait 16 hours before starting work. Alternatively, finish the floor with another CTS | Rapid Set offering—NewCrete Concrete Resurfacer—which provides a beautiful concrete floor surface that will last for years.

CTS | Rapid Set products are available at The Home Depot.

Photo: ctscement.com

This post has been brought to you by CTS Cement. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.


Bob Vila Radio: Is Softwood Flooring Right for Your Remodel?

Everyone knows that hardwood flooring comes with a hefty price tag attached. If you're on a budget, don't forget to consider lower-cost softwoods; in some rooms, species like pine or spruce make perfectly suitable substitutes for their denser cousins.

Think wood flooring has to strain your remodeling budget? Think again! Though hardwood flooring typically costs a pretty penny, softwood flooring—such as pine, cedar, or spruce—can be had for a lot less.

Softwood Flooring

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Listen to BOB VILA ON SOFTWOOD FLOORING or read the text below:

There’s a tradeoff, of course. The main drawback of softwood floors is that they are, well, soft. That means they’re more susceptible to scratches from foot traffic and dents from stuff you drop. However, much of that sort of damage can be minimized with a few layers of polyurethane. And besides, a lot of folks like for a floor to show signs of wear, feeling that it adds a dose of rustic charm to the home.

One other plus of opting for softwood floors: They’re generally more environmentally friendly than hardwoods. That’s because softwood trees tend to grow more quickly and thus can be sustainably farmed.

If that sounds appealing—and you don’t think you’ll mind a bit of natural “antiquing” over the years—then softwood flooring may be a good choice.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free.


How To: Remove Tile

Get rid of the dreary, dated tile that stands between you and the ideal space you envision. Here's how to tackle the tough job ahead.

How to Remove Tile

Photo: shutterstock.com

Though it’s not easy, removing tile is an early and necessary step in some of the most common, albeit ambitious, home remodeling projects. If you’re lucky, the tile was originally installed over a subfloor that can simply be removed, taking the tile along with it. Otherwise, you need to remove the tile in the painstaking, brute-force way. No special skills are needed, and you probably have all the right tools. The hard part is keeping at it until the job’s done. Follow these steps to do it right.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Hammer
- Chisel
- Floor scraper
- Broom
- Protective gear (glasses, gloves, dust mask)
- Wheelbarrow
- Heavy-duty vacuum cleaner

STEP 1 
Make no mistake: This is going to be messy. So before you begin to remove tile, go the extra mile to prevent dust and debris from blanketing the rest of your house. If your HVAC system involves air-circulating ductwork, turn it off for the time being and, if possible, close the vents in the work area. Open any windows in the tiled space and most important, seal off the doorways with plastic sheeting; that way, dust and debris will not escape. Of course, in such a situation, it’s only prudent to wear a dust mask. And because demolishing tile entails shrapnel-like slivers and shards, it’s also a good idea to wear gloves and protective eyewear.

How to Remove Tile - Hammer and Chisel

Photo: shutterstock.com

STEP 2
To get started, examine the area for a missing or broken tile, and begin the removal at this weak spot. If all tiles are intact, begin along a grout line. Set your chisel into the spot you’ve targeted and strike it, firmly and decisively, with your hammer. What happened? If the tile broke apart in large pieces, that suggests the tile was set with mastic—a malleable adhesive that’s going to make your life a little easier. If you put hammer to chisel and nothing much happened, that probably means the tile was set with mortar. Translation: You’ve got your work cut out for you!

STEP 3
With mastic-set tile, the job now becomes a matter of scraping horizontally, using as much force as you can muster, with the goal of separating the tile from the underlying surface. If you get stuck, go ahead and chisel again. Work from one end of the room to the other, scraping and gradually peeling up succeeding courses of tile. With mastic, the removed tiles actually ought to remain unbroken, which means you may able to salvage at least some of them, if desired. Pile the tiles into your wheelbarrow, then cart the load outside (in multiple trips, perhaps, depending on the size of the installation). Finish things off by using a brawny shop vac to clean up the residual dust and tile fragments.

STEP 4
With mortar-set tile, expect less scraping and more chiseling—a lot more chiseling! In fact, in order to generate enough force to break each individual tile, you may need to hammer the chisel onto it repeatedly. It’s laborious, and it’s even messier than the process described in Step 3. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that almost anyone can do it. The sole qualification for success is sheer determination.

To keep your spirits up as you progress, remember this: You’re saving money that you can now put toward new tile, or new fixtures, or a celebratory drink (or two) at the local pub when it’s all over.


Bob Vila Radio: Keeping Concrete Floors Clean

It's official: Concrete flooring has moved out of the garage and into the home. Though it's undoubtedly a durable material, cleaning its finish requires finesse. Here's what to know.

Concrete floors are no longer found only in garages and basements. With elegant finishes now available—like stenciling, staining, and texturing—they’re also showing up in kitchens, bathrooms, and even living rooms.

How to Clean Concrete Floors

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Listen to BOB VILA ON CLEANING YOUR CONCRETE FLOORS or read the text below:

Even though concrete itself is durable, its finish may not be so tough. So when you set out to clean a concrete floor, you need to take care. For routine upkeep, a soft dust mop or vacuum is usually fine. To get at more stubborn messes, try using a sponge saturated with water and dish detergent.

When you’ve cleared the mess, rinse with plain water and dry the floor immediately to avoid any discoloration. Cotton cloths are best for drying, as synthetics might scratch the finish.

If you need to pre-treat a particularly tough stain, use a pet stain-and-odor remover; these products contain organic compounds that will dissolve the stain without harming the finish). Before applying your chosen solution, remember to test it first in an inconspicuous spot.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free.


The Pros and Cons of Softwood Flooring

If you're in the market for a wood floor in a low-traffic room, don't ignore the rustic charm and extremely low cost of softwoods like pine.

Softwood Flooring - Kitchen Installation

Photo: kaplanthompson.com

Trees are classified as either hardwood or softwood according to the structure of their seeds. And while almost all hardwoods are, in fact, hard, softwoods are not really soft; they’re simply more susceptible to dents and dings. Impervious to such incidental damage, durable hardwoods have become virtually synonymous with wood flooring. And it’s undeniable that for high-traffic rooms, particularly in homes with children or pets, hardwood makes the superior floor choice. But due to their low cost and rustic look, there are certain situations in which softwoods—pine, spruce, and fir, for example—might be used effectively as flooring.

Take Your Pick
While the many varieties of hardwoods spoil homeowners with choice, softwoods encompass a category unto themselves. Pine is probably the softwood most frequently used in flooring, but it’s not the only one. Fir, cypress, cedar, spruce, and hemlock are other commonly available softwoods, and you will find additional options that are unique to your geographical region. Best of all, no matter which softwood you choose, it’s bound to cost less than any hardwood. For example, you can typically get pine for half the cost of oak, perhaps the most ubiquitous hardwood flooring material. And many cases, pine costs even less than vinyl flooring!

Besides affordability, another reason to like softwoods is that they’re more environmentally friendly than slower-growing hardwoods. Because many types of softwood grow quite quickly, they lend themselves to sustainable farming and harvesting. Like bamboo, softwoods can be considered a renewable resource.

Softwood Flooring - Hallway Installation

Photo: frankshirleyarchitects.com

The Cons
There are degrees of resiliency among softwoods, but it can be generally stated that in comparison with hardwoods, softwoods are more vulnerable to dents, dings, and scratches. In a kitchen where canned goods might fall from a countertop, or in a living room where the floor might be subject to a guest’s high heels, softwoods would inevitably—and sooner rather than later—begin to show wear.

That said, the durability of a floor depends not only the species of wood from which it’s made, but also on its finish. If you stain a softwood floor and then seal it properly with a few applications of polyurethane, chances are it’s going to stand up fairly well. In a room with only a modest amount of activity—a finished attic, for example—softwood flooring could be expected to last for many years.

Some folks don’t even see dents and dings as imperfections, but rather as valuable contributions to the character of a floor. Such homeowners might even purposely distress or antique a new floor, wanting it to look older than it really is. Those whose style preferences run to the rough and rugged may very well find pine more desirable than a highly resilient hardwood like hickory.

Know Your Knots
If you walk into the flooring section of your local home center, you might not actually find any softwood floors for sale. Except for certain types of pine, softwoods are rarely marketed as flooring products.

For the best deals, inquire at a nearby sawmill or lumberyard. Know that for any softwood species, there are different grades of quality. Grades 1 and 2 are most suitable for flooring, though you can save even more money by choosing a lower-grade wood, if you can live with, and love, the knottier material. If you want to conceal the nails that secure the floor, purchase boards with tongue-and-groove edges.

Finishing
Whereas hardwood floors often come prefinished, softwood hardly ever does. That can be a good thing, though, since it affords you the opportunity to finish the wood exactly as you’d like.

There are lots of options when it comes to finishing, including stains, varnish, and tung oil. Or, if you like the natural look, you can always leave the wood unfinished—after all, that’s how people did it for hundreds of years. To avoid problems with moisture, however, it’s recommended that you apply multiple coats of polyurethane, lightly sanding between each coat. After all, even though you’re paying considerably less for a softwood floor, you’re not going to save any money if you need to replace it right away!


Bob Vila Radio: Safer Basement Stairs Prevent Mishaps

This isn't anyone's favorite part of the house, but trips to and from the basement are a day-to-day inevitability. Use these tips to make those journeys as safe as can be.

If you’re aiming to reduce the risk of accidents in your home, one good place to start is your basement stairs. Here are a few ways to make all those trips up and down safer.

Safer Basement Stairs

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Listen to BOB VILA ON SAFER BASEMENT STAIRS or read the text below:

First, ensure you have well-placed lighting that fully illuminates the stairs, without casting glare into your eyes.

When deciding on paint, choose contrasting colors for the treads and risers to increase visibility. The higher the contrast in color the better. You can also add a little granulated texture to the treads, installing non-skid glue-down strips at their leading edges.

Check that the screws holding the handrail are tight. And if you have room—and especially if someone in the household has trouble walking—consider adding a second railing on the opposite side of the stairs. Be sure to check local building codes before undertaking the job.

One other option: You can install thin, lighted LEDs under the nose of the stair treads. That way you’ll have the safest, and snazziest, basement stairs on the block.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 60 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day. 


How To: Remove Vinyl Flooring

Have you had it with that dated, dirty, and dilapidated vinyl floor? Here's how to remove it, so you never have to look at it again.

How to Remove Vinyl Flooring

Photo: shutterstock.com

Let’s be clear: It’s no fun to remove vinyl flooring. Peeling up the material itself is no picnic, but the real trial is to get rid of the glue that had been securing the vinyl to the subfloor. The only silver lining here is that while tedious and time-consuming, it’s certainly not complicated to remove vinyl flooring. No special tools or advanced skills are required. It’s really only a matter of elbow grease. Follow the steps below to get the job done with a minimum of frustration.

How to Remove Vinyl Flooring - Process

Photo: shutterstock.com

The first step is to take all furniture out of the room so you can have unimpeded access to the floor. You’ll also need to carefully remove all baseboards and any other trim that meets the floor.

Next, locate a section of the floor with no glue underneath. Start here, using a utility knife to cut the vinyl flooring into 12-inch strips. Pull up each one gently. Where you encounter resistance from the glue, use a scraper tool (or even a kitchen spatula) to get the strip loose. In places where the glue is especially tenacious, you can use a hammer-and-chisel combination to chip at the hardened adhesive.

If you’re stuck with an area where the vinyl has been removed but the glue remains lodged on the subfloor, try this: Combine warm water and soap in a bucket, then apply it liberally to the glue, allowing time for the mixture to soak in. When you return, the glue will have softened and become easier to remove.

No dice? OK, it’s time to bring some heat into the equation. Buy or rent a heat gun—or in a pinch, use your hair dryer—and hold it directly over the stubborn adhesive long enough to soften the glue (but not long enough to cause any damage to the subfloor). Then go at the glue with your trusty scraper.

Finish with some cleanup: Use a broom or shop vac to pick up all the debris that now litters the room.

If the above seems like way too much work, there’s always the option of renting a power scraper from your local home center. There’s a cost attached to bringing in such a tool, but it will certainly make much quicker work of things. If you opt for the power scraper, be sure to test it first in an inconspicuous area; you will need to adjust its angle so that it removes only the vinyl-and-glue layer, not the underlying subfloor. Score the vinyl into 10-inch sections with the utility knife, then turn on the scraper and get busy.

Safety Precautions
Until the mid-1980s, asbestos often served as an ingredient in vinyl flooring products. If you know that the installation you’re dealing with has been around that long—or if you’re not certain how long the vinyl floor has been there—it’s only common sense to have the material tested before proceeding. I believe in hiring pros when it’s appropriate, and in the case of asbestos-laced vinyl flooring, it’s eminently appropriate to pay people who know what they are doing.


How To: Install Click Flooring

Thanks to click-together flooring, it's easier than ever for homeowners to put engineered hardwood underfoot. As with so many other do-it-yourself jobs, careful planning is the key to pro-quality results.

How to Install Click Flooring

Photo: onflooring.com

Over the last decade, engineered wood flooring has developed by leaps and bounds, making it more affordable than ever before for homeowners to put hardwood underfoot. That’s partly due to the fact that engineered floorboards are so friendly to do-it-yourself installation. Click-together flooring products are the simplest of all, requiring neither glue nor nails. The tongue-and-groove design allows boards simply to click together and float, so to speak, over the subfloor. Even a relatively experienced DIYer can install click flooring using basic tools and a handful of inexpensive, readily available supplies. Read on to learn how it’s done.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Click flooring
- Tape measure
- Pencil
- Moisture meter
- Moisture barrier and/or underlayment pad
- Table saw (or circular saw)
- Wood glue
- Jigsaw (for cutting around pipes)

STEP 1
Like solid wood flooring, engineered wood products are sensitive to moisture, alternately shrinking and expanding as temperatures and humidity levels fluctuate. Therefore, the first step in installing click flooring is to bring in the boards, remove any packaging, and give your purchased flooring time to acclimate to the conditions of your space. A period between one and five days normally suffices. It may be somewhat of a drag, but exercising patience here is the best thing you can do to ensure that the floorboards do not separate or cup over time.

How to Install Click Flooring - Engineered Detail

Photo: lumberliquidators.com

STEP 2
No matter the material of the subfloor, test its moisture content by means of a moisture meter to confirm that it’s not above 12 percent. Next, use a level to make sure the subfloor lies, if not perfectly flat, then within a 1/8-inch incline over any given six-foot radius. Make any adjustments necessary before moving on to lay down the moisture barrier and/or underlayment recommended by the manufacturer.

STEP 3
Now is the time to plan your installation strategy. Best practice is to install floorboards so that they run parallel to the longest dimension in the room. You may wish to dry-fit at least some of the material as a way of proving not only that your strategy is going to work, but also that you have enough flooring to get the job done. Before you proceed any further, inspect all planks for damage and defects.

STEP 4
As you prepare to install the first course of floorboards, remove some planks from at least three different boxes (typically, engineered products are boxed by length). Lay out a line of boards in random sequence, then grab the first board and place it in the corner, with the grooved side facing away from the wall. Place expansion spacers between the wall and the board edges that meet the wall. Repeat the process with additional floorboards, running them along the wall and locking together the short ends of any boards that meet (although a full lock isn’t possible until you put down the second row). It’s very likely that you’ll need to cut the last plank to size. Measure the distance from the wall to the leading edge of the penultimate plank, then cut the final floorboard to that length, leaving a little room for the spacer.

STEP 5
Now install the second row. To keep the joints between the rows from lining up, start this second run with a board whose end hits at least six inches away from the nearest joint in the initial row. Remember to place a spacer between that first board and the wall. Then slip the long tongue of this first board into the groove on the first row of flooring. To guarantee a secure connection between boards, be careful to keep dirt and debris out of the grooves.

STEP 7
Continue installing floorboards over the surface area of the room until you come to the last row. Here, you may find that the space remaining is not wide enough to accommodate a full board. In that case, measure what space is available, then rip as many boards as necessary down to the appropriate width. If you encounter a clearance issue that prevents you from locking any of these last boards against the groove of the adjacent second-to-last row, simply do this: Using a utility knife, plane the tongue off the edge of the boards that would not fit otherwise, then affix them in position by means of wood glue.

STEP 8
Remove the spacers from the perimeter of the room, and in the gap those spacers were occupying, install transition moldings directly to the subfloor. Quarter-round or baseboard moldings, installed against the wall, are also recommended (but not strictly necessary). Finally, clean the floor per the manufacturer’s guidelines and replace all furniture in the room. And you might want to put felt protectors on the legs of any chairs to protect your beautiful new floor!

It depends on the size of the room, of course, but in most cases it’s eminently possible to install a click floor within a single weekend. With proper planning, you can begin the project on Saturday and be done in time to host friends for a get-together on Sunday evening. They would never guess that you did it all yourself!

This post has been brought to you by Lumber Liquidators. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.


Bob Vila Radio: Drilling Through Tile

So long as you've got a power drill and the right assortments of bits, drilling through tile is a task every average homeowner can handle. Read on to learn how it's done.

Planning to install a new towel rack or grab bar in your bathroom? That may mean drilling through ceramic tile. It’s not a difficult job, but you do need to go about it the right way.

Drilling Through Tile

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Listen to BOB VILA ON SCREWS IN CERAMIC TILE, or read text below:

Start by using tape to make an X over the spot where you want to drill. The tape will protect the surrounding tile and also help keep your drill bit from wandering. Insert a carbide-tipped tile bit into the chuck of your drill and tighten it up. Dip the bit into cutting oil, then wipe off the excess. Position your bit on your mark and using light pressure, drill through the tape and into the tile (be careful not to push too hard; that could crack the tile). Once you feel the bit exit the inner side of the tile, remove it gently. If your tile’s mounted on drywall, switch to a drywall bit and finish the job, again withdrawing the bit carefully. Insert a screw anchor into the hole and mount your towel rack or grab bar.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.


Get the Job Done Quicker with Prefinished Flooring

Prefinished wood flooring gives you all the beauty and warmth of real hardwood in a fraction of the time.

Prefinished Wood Flooring - Brazilian Koa

Photo: Lumber Liquidators

Anyone shopping for a new hardwood floor quickly discovers that there’s no shortage of options on the market. Homeowners are confronted by a seemingly infinite variety of wood species and floorboard finishes. But before you can choose between, say, dark-stained oak or hand-scraped maple, you have to decide whether you want traditional or prefinished boards. Bear in mind that if you opt for the latter, you can complete a hardwood flooring job more quickly than you might have thought possible.

Understanding the Distinction
Installing traditional floorboards can be a tiring, time-consuming process. Even after the boards have been laid down, there’s still a fair amount of work to do. Before the floor can be finished, it must be sanded, and each coat of stain or sealant must be given sufficient time to dry thoroughly. Taking all these tasks into consideration, it might take a week, possibly more, before you’ll be able to walk on the completed floor. Also, because installation and finishing both require the kind of skill that only experience provides, many homeowners decide to hire a professional rather than risk an imperfect result. Prefinished floorboards are a whole different story. Here, the finishing process has already been done back at the factory, putting the do-it-yourselfer in a better position to achieve a professional-quality installation.

Prefinshed Wood Flooring - Pre Detail

Photo: istock.com

Get More for Your Time (and Your Money)
Opt for prefinished flooring if you want to avail yourself of the widest-possible range of floor finishes. A simple stain is one thing but with traditional floorboards, something like a hand-scraped finish would involve hours of additional labor (if it wasn’t off the table completely). Whereas you might have dismissed a highly involved finish as being too difficult to DIY or too expensive to hire out, ready-to-go prefinished flooring makes such options not only practical, but also affordable.

Access the Help You Need—Fast 
When you buy a prefinished floor at Lumber Liquidators—or any type of floor, for that matter—support is at your fingertips. Installation experts are ready to help, whether by phone or live Internet chat. With someone there to answer your questions, most jobs can be done within a day or two—a speed that’s basically impossible to match with the installation and finishing of traditional floorboards. If you prefer not to handle the installation yourself, then you can leave the installation of any floor from Lumber Liquidators in the hands of the company’s capable installers.

Prefinished hardwood flooring affords you the best of all worlds. Enjoy the warmth and beauty of real wood at a competitive price, be able to select from all the varieties offered in traditional hardwood, and benefit from installation (DIY or otherwise) that can be done quickly with a minimum of hassle. Seriously, what’s stopping you?

This post has been brought to you by Lumber Liquidators. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.