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New Years Resolutions for the Home

The New Year means new beginnings and many people find themselves signing up to live healthier, and embrace the fresh new year! Here at the Poulin Design Center in Albuquerque, we know this is often a popular time to plan out home improvement projects for the year as well. Here is a room-by-room guide to updating your home!

Kitchen

Your kitchen is an essential, central meeting place in the home; food tends to bring people together. But this area of your home also ends up being a place where you entertain guests, so it’s important that your kitchen is both functional and stylish. This year consider adding in a sleek backsplash to your home kitchen. Is it time for new countertops? And how about the flooring? Maybe it’s time to install solid hardwood flooring or choose some natural cut slate.

Bathroom

Many homeowners choose to update the bathroom first in the home.  It is a smaller room, so it can seem like a manageable first project.  Often homeowners prefer to take on a bathroom remodel in one fell swoop and replace the shower, toilet, countertops, sink and flooring.  Add a fresh coat of paint to the walls and some new towels and you will find yourself in a totally transformed new bathroom!

Entryway

If your entryway always turns into a cluttered mess it may be time to give it an overhaul.  Add in a bench to give yourself storage and a place to remove your shoes!  Consider adding in a decorative touch such as an area rug or a mirror.  Make sure your flooring choice is one that can take some wear and tear from moisture, dirt and grime. Natural stone, tile, vinyl or hardwood work well as entryway flooring options.

Guest Room

Often times a guest room can transform into a storage unit where you discard things you don’t use frequently.  Don’t let this happen to your guest room! Instead, give your guest room a fresh look that will make you excited to host!  Try adding a splash of color by adding in an accent wall, an area rug, or repainting a piece of furniture.

The Yard

It may seem like the middle of winter now, but soon you’ll be inviting friends over to BBQ once again and you’ll want to make sure your yard is ready to impress.  Consider adding or expanding a deck.  Maybe it’s time to revamp your landscaping and add some new plants.  Maybe you want to install a stone patio.  Take an inventory of what you’re working with in the yard and see what you want to accomplish this year in your yard.

Ready to get a free consultation on the books to get your projects underway?  Call the experts at the Poulin Design Center today!

Photo: Elena Elisseeva

How Long Will My Flooring Last?

One of the most important questions plaguing Albuquerque homeowners when it comes to new flooring is durability. How long will hardwood last?  How long will vinyl last? The list goes on.  Of course, there are many factors that affect the number of years your flooring will look its best, but we wanted to offer you some guidelines, so that you know what flooring is the most durable, and what flooring will need replacement more frequently.

Vinyl Flooring

Luxury vinyl flooring has revolutionized how people feel about vinyl.  These floors are incredibly durable, and they can imitate many other types of flooring such as hardwood or stone.  Depending on how much traffic the flooring receives, and the level of care, vinyl floors can last anywhere from 10 to 20 years.  It may seem like a cheaper option, but it still can be around for quite some time!

Linoleum

If you’re looking for new flooring that won’t break the budget then linoleum should be on your list of options.  This flooring option is eco-friendly and it can last as long as 30 years or more if properly cared for.  Many homeowners choose this as an alternative to hardwood or tile.

Floating Floors

Floating floors are floors that are not glued or nailed down to the subfloor.  Often floating floors refers to laminate, which offers quick and easy installation.  This flooring option can look great for 20 -30 years depending on wear.  You may find the edges on some pieces will begin to curl up after decades of use. However, this is another flooring option that’s easy on the wallet.

Carpet

Carpet is unlike any other flooring out there.  This soft, cushy flooring option offers unparalleled comfort.  It’s important with carpet to have professional steam cleaning completed annually.  With proper care most carpets will last 7 to 10 years.  It will depend on if people wear shoes in the house, the carpet pile, and the carpet fiber materials.  Wool carpets can last much longer than other polyester options, for example.

Hardwood Floor

If hardwood floors are properly maintained and cared for, then they can last a lifetime.  Of course, some species are softer than others, and certain damage may occur from moisture or humidity, but on the whole, solid hardwood flooring is going to be around for a while.  The great thing about hardwood is that you can sand and refinish the floor many times making it appear brand new once again!

Ready to get some durable and affordable flooring installed? Call the experts at the Poulin Design Center today for a free consultation!

Photo: Mr Interior

All About Floating Floors

When researching new flooring you may come across the term ‘floating floors.’  This term can be a bit misleading as the floors are quite secure; floating floors simply means the flooring is not glued or nailed down to the subfloor. So, in a sense, the flooring is simply floating on top of whatever may be underneath. Here at the Poulin Design Center we’ve got the details on floating floors!

The great thing about floating floors is that your new flooring installation process is going to be quick and easy! Floating floors require less installation time because they can be installed directly over old flooring or directly onto concrete in a basement, for example.  Floating floors work wonderfully well in bedrooms, attics, and basements alike!

Laminate is a great example of a floating floor.  This versatile flooring option often mimics the appearance of hardwood flooring or stone flooring.  Hardwood flooring can also be installed as a floating floor.  It’s best to ask a flooring professional what would be best for your particular home and situation.

So why should you consider floating floors in your home?  For one thing, if you know you are going to want to replace or change your flooring in the near future, you’ll save yourself a headache by simply installing floating floors. You’ll be able to quickly switch up your flooring, which is great if you’re planning on repurposing a room later on.  Additionally, if your home is prone to creaks and sounds, then floating floors may be a great option.  Because floating floors are not adhered directly to the subfloor you’ll hear less creaks when walking on the floor.

Still have questions about floating floors and want to see if they’re right for you?  Call the experts at the Poulin Design Center and we can help you find the perfect flooring for your Albuquerque home!

Photo: MPanchenko

Hardwood Flooring Trends

Homes have featured hardwood floors for hundreds of years. The classic style of hardwood is undeniable, which is why many homeowners choose to feature hardwood throughout many rooms. However, hardwood flooring still has some tricks up its sleeve and there are some new trends to watch for! Read on to learn some of our favorite hardwood trends from the Poulin Design Center here in Albuquerque.

Grey Hardwood Floors

Hardwood flooring can come in every tone of brown available and even some hints of red. But grey hardwood flooring is becoming a trend popular for living rooms and kitchens alike. The sleek, clean appearance gives hardwood flooring a whole new look!

Wood-Look Tile

To the untrained eye, wood look tile looks just like wood. The low maintenance benefits of tile combine with the style of hardwood to create a flooring material that is truly a unique choice for your home. Consider adding this to you entryway, your bathroom, or even the kitchen.

Distressed Hardwood Floors

Shabby-chic style has been popular for furniture in recent years, but this concept doesn’t just have to apply to a dresser! Hardwood flooring that is distressed in appearance or even painted is a trend that’s growing in popularity. This works well in bedrooms to give your hardwood floors a rustic, natural feel, or perhaps to add a splash of color.

Wide Plank Hardwood Floors

Hardwood flooring comes in lots of plank widths, but lately the trend seems to be moving towards wider planks. This simple, long-plank flooring gives your home a new, fresh look. Wide plank hardwood pairs wonderfully with area rugs in the living room, hallways, or bedrooms.

Ready to add in some new style to your home with hardwood flooring? Call the experts at the Poulin Design Center today and we’ll schedule a consultation and answer all your flooring questions!

Photo Credit: Iriana Rogova

Area Rugs in Albuquerque

There’s something about carpet. There’s just no replacing the comfort it provides and the soft, comfortable surface. However, carpet can retain allergens and absorb spills making it less than ideal for some homeowners. Luckily, you can still get the great benefits of carpet in moderation by adding in area rugs to your Albuquerque home. Here are some tips from the Poulin Design Center on how and where to add an area rug.

Hallway Runners

Make sure your hallways aren’t simply a dull, blank transition between rooms. Hallways need to have well thought out lighting, décor, and of course flooring. In many cases the hallway is a great place to feature hallway runners. It will give color, texture and provide sound insulation as well.

Bedrooms

Bedrooms are often overlooked when it comes to design. However, your bedroom can double as your favorite reading nook if you add in a chair, a small table and a nice, plush area rug. You can add the area rug over whatever flooring you have in your bedroom. Be sure to look at what colors are already accented in the room and decide if the area rug will be a focal point in the room, or simply blending into the background.

Dining Room

There are lots of options of area rugs that can work extremely well in the dining room. An area rug will help to frame the table, and differentiate the dining area from the rest of your home. It’s also a great opportunity to add in some color that can then be coordinated with things like table runners and napkins.

The Bathroom

I know that adding carpet to the bathroom in any capacity usually screams bad idea, but adding in a well placed area rug near your double sinks can provide a soft, luxurious surface for you to stand on. Area rugs can easily be removed and professionally cleaned as well, making them a sensible addition to your bathroom décor.

Contact the experts at the Poulin Design Center in Albuquerque for all of your flooring and design needs! We offer free design consultations.

Photo Credit: Iriana Shiyan

 

How to Care for Stone Flooring

Stone flooring is quite popular in the Albuquerque area. From the bathroom to the patio, this ancient flooring option still impresses today. But how can you make sure your stone flooring is properly cared for? Read on to learn some tips on how to properly care for your stone flooring from the experts at the Poulin Design Center.

Decide on a Finish

Natural stone flooring can be finished in a variety of styles that will give your stone floor a different texture and appearance. You can have the flooring sandblasted, honed, polished, gouged or tumbled. Each option will require slightly different maintenance. It’s important to consider where the flooring will be installed so that you can make sure you have enough traction in rooms prone to water like the bathroom.

Have Your Floors Sealed

Certain types of stone flooring should be sealed once they are installed to help them repel liquids and retain their natural beauty. Marble, travertine, slate, and granite flooring should all be sealed throughout the lifetime of the flooring. This can be done as often as six months, but you can also do this annually or every two years depending on how much traffic the flooring receives.

Use Proper Cleaning Products

Stone flooring may seem impermeable and strong, but it’s important to know what is safe to use on stone flooring for cleaning and what can be damaging. Avoiding cleaners that are acidic or alkaline is best to ensure the pores of your stone flooring are not affected. Before your new flooring is installed, be sure to ask your design associate what kind of maintenance and upkeep will be required to care for the floor.

Repair Damaged Tiles

Chipped or cracked tiles should be replaced as quickly as possible. You run the risk of injury from the sharp edges of the tile and the tile can also provide a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Luckily, stone is pretty strong, so cracks aren’t all that common.

Still have stone flooring questions? The experts at the Poulin Design Center know the ins and outs of natural stone flooring and can help you make sure you choose the right flooring for your home.

Photo Credit: Iriana Shiyan

How to Decide: Solid vs. Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood floors provide classic style, timeless beauty, and a warmth and charm that is hard to match with any other flooring option. There are many wood varieties to choose from that offer a range of grain patterns, differing levels of hardness, and a host of staining possibilities. This means that you have some choices to make when it comes to selecting and installing your hardwood floors. One of those choices is whether to go with solid or engineered hardwood. At the Poulin Design Center here in Albuquerque we want to help you make the best flooring choice for your needs. Here we have a breakdown of the positive and negative aspects of both options.

First, What’s the Difference?

After installation, solid and engineered hardwood floors are essentially indistinguishable. The difference between them lies in their construction, and is only obviously revealed if you can see beyond the top layer. Solid hardwood planks are just that – solid. They are cut from a single piece of wood. Engineered hardwood planks, on the other hand, are constructed in layers. The top layer (known as the ‘veneer’) is made from the same varieties of hardwood as the solid plank versions. Underneath the veneer, engineered hardwood incorporates plywood to form the middle and bottom layers. The two manufacturing processes create different pros and cons for each flooring type.

Solid Hardwood

Pros

Solid hardwood has been used for centuries to create beautiful floors. When properly maintained, solid hardwood flooring can last a very long time. Scratches, dings, and dents will tend to occur eventually, but solid hardwood can be sanded and refinished many times to keep it looking great. Due to its durability, refinishing potential, and general consumer appeal, solid hardwood flooring adds value to a home, and this makes it a great investment.

Cons

The major drawback of solid hardwood flooring is that it is susceptible to humidity and moisture damage. Wood is a porous material, and when too much moisture is absorbed twisting, warping, and cupping may occur. For this reason, solid hardwood flooring is not recommended for bathrooms, and is not at all suitable for installation in rooms that are below grade (such as basements). Solid hardwood flooring is also a relatively expensive flooring material, which is another downside.

Engineered Hardwood

Pros

Engineered hardwood flooring offers great durability, much like solid hardwood flooring. Less expensive options with fewer layers should last between 20 and 40 years, and higher-end varieties with more layers can last from 40 to 80 years with proper maintenance. Another major pro of engineered hardwood is that its layered construction makes it relatively resistant to moisture damage (certainly more so than solid hardwood). This makes engineered hardwood a suitable flooring material for almost any room in your home, including those that are below grade. And while it can be nailed down to a subflooring, like solid hardwood, engineered hardwood can also be installed as a “floating” floor, where the planks are glued or snapped together and not affixed to the surface below. This allows engineered hardwood to be installed atop existing flooring materials, such as linoleum, vinyl, or even tile, and also allows for installation on top of concrete. Engineered hardwood is also more environmentally friendly than solid hardwood. Due to the fact that it uses less hardwood overall in its construction, it requires fewer trees be cut down for manufacturing. Given its good durability and wide market appeal, engineered hardwood is a great investment in your home.

Cons

Although engineered hardwood can be sanded and refinished, this can only be done a handful of times at most because of the limited thickness of the hardwood veneer. So, although you can expect a long lifespan out of your engineered hardwood, it doesn’t quite have the longevity of solid planks. For this reason, major damage to part of the floor may require replacing individual planks rather than resurfacing the entire floor. This is really the only downside of engineered hardwood flooring, and it can be mitigated to a great extent with some basic care and maintenance.

Both solid and engineered hardwood flooring make excellent choices for your home, depending on the room where you would like them installed. Solid hardwood has been, and will continue to be, a staple of high-end flooring. Engineered hardwood hasn’t been around as long, but it is quickly gaining traction in the market and is becoming a favorite option amongst savvy homeowners. At the Poulin Design Center we have a huge selection of flooring for you to choose from. So, whatever you decide, we have you covered!

Photo Credit: Stock-Asso

Tile Layout Options

When it comes to designing a new tile floor in or around Albuquerque, you have more to think about than just which tile material you’d like. You should also consider what arrangement you’d like your tile laid in, and based on that, what size tile you’d need. Sure, you can go with the basic grid pattern. But before you fall back on that old stand-by, take a look at these other popular layout schemes available at the Poulin Design Center.

The Tile Layout - Image 2

One option is to keep the good old grid, but add some contrast. The checkerboard pattern offers classic styling and the freedom to add some color into your décor. You can go with the classic black and white that is common to early 20th Century kitchens and bathrooms, or feel free to choose any two colors that you like to really make a flooring statement.

The Tile Layout - Image 2

Another take on the grid idea is the diagonal grid. It’s the same grid layout but it’s turned 45 degrees. Again, this gives you the simplicity a grid pattern installation, but adds another dimension that makes your floor more visually appealing. Choose one tile color, a 2-color contrasting (checkerboard) layout, or even select three or more colors and create a mosaic look.

The Tile Layout Image 3

A slight variation on the grid designs is the brick pattern. We are all familiar with the offset arrangement of bricks, and we’ve all likely seen this layout on walls using subway tiles. What you may not know is that it works great on floors as well. Whether you use a square or rectangular tile, this pattern is a classic that will draw the eye’s attention and liven up your room.

The Tile Layout Image 3

The herringbone arrangement is another well known design, but one that you might not have considered for your floors. Although it is a bit more complex than the layouts above, it still uses just one rectangular tile size. The herringbone layout is a “busier” look that will really make your floor pop.

The Tile Layout Image 3

We can call this the two-by-two. It is basically a more interesting grid pattern. Rectangular tiles are used in pairs, with each pair sitting adjacent to pairs that are turned 90 degrees. This layout fits particularly well with a southwestern décor that is common in the Albuquerque area. It’s a fairly simple pattern to install that will make a big visual impact.

The Tile Layout Image 6

Here we have a version of what is referred to as the windmill layout – another Albuquerque area favorite. This is the first design mentioned that requires two different tile sizes (and it can be done with tiles of different colors as well). A smaller, square tile in the center is bordered by rectangular tiles to create another variation of the grid pattern. However, like other designs mentioned, this is a grid with way more visual appeal.

The Tile Layout Image 7

Lastly, if you really want to create a stunning look, consider the basket weave pattern. This look is also achieved with two tiles sizes, but the dimensions are a bit different than the windmill design above. When carefully done, this layout will give the illusion of a woven floor, which is sure to catch the eye and make your room look amazing. As in the image above, using a darker square tile, lighter colored rectangular tiles, and a darker grout can maximize the apparent three-dimensionality of this design. The converse is also true. A lighter colored square tile with darker rectangular tiles and a lighter color grout will achieve the same effect.

This is just a sample of the many layouts that are possible when installing a new tile floor. Again, there’s nothing wrong with the classic grid, but a little more creativity in your flooring design can turn an average floor into a spectacular one. Contact the Poulin Design Center any time to arrange a free design consultation, and discuss the many options you have for your new floor!

Photo Credit:

Checkerboard – Vinko93

Diagonal – Kamira

Brick – ExpressVectors

Herringbone – ScottMurph

Two-By-Two, Windmill – Rodin Anton

Basket Weave – naihei

Basement Flooring Ideas

Finishing your basement is a great way to add additional living space, and value, to your home. But environmental conditions in a basement will tend to be importantly different from rooms that are above grade. At the Poulin Design Center we have the experience and the know-how to ensure that you get the right floor for your basement at the right price. Here are some things to consider when it comes to basement flooring.

The #1 Consideration: Moisture

The fact that your basement is essentially a concrete box buried in the ground is important. Concrete is a porous material that will allow moisture to permeate over time, and there is plenty of moisture in the surrounding air and soil to do just that. Unless you have an older home that has cracks in the foundation or a non-existent vapor barrier, moisture issues will not be a huge concern. However, when it comes to installing basement flooring, moisture is the most important factor to keep in mind.

The Other Main Consideration: Room Usage

The era when basements were used primarily for storage is long behind us. These days your basement might house a guest room, bar, game room, or entertainment area, and your flooring should reflect your room’s unique use. Once you’ve determined what you plan to do with the room, you’ll then have a better idea of what flooring materials are the best choice for you.

Game Room, Bar, Entertainment Area

If the room you are remodeling in your basement is intended for games, a bar, or just general entertainment, it is possible that you could have high foot traffic, occasional spills, and heavy furniture on your floor. In that case, it would be a good idea to consider a hard surface flooring option. The most solid, long-lasting, and moisture resistant option in this group will be ceramic or natural stone tile. These materials are essentially waterproof and will hold up well to the abuses that are more likely in a room used for hosting. Tile is also low-maintenance and easy to clean. Its one major downside is that it will tend to be cold. This will not be a problem around Albuquerque during the summer, but in the cooler months you may want to put down an area rug or runners to keep your feet warm. Aside from tile, also consider slightly less expensive options such as luxury vinyl or laminate flooring. Both of these options offer a wide range of styles, are easy to clean, and are relatively moisture resistant, so they will work well in a basement setting. Laminate can also be installed directly on top of concrete slab, without the need for subflooring, and this makes it a good basement option.

Guest Room, TV room, Play Area

If you are thinking about flooring for a basement bedroom, TV room, or play area, then carpet is probably your best bet. Of course, you could go with something like laminate, but it will lack the soft feel underfoot and warmth that carpet provides. Most people prefer that these rooms be a bit cozier, and since they will tend to experience lower foot-traffic almost any carpet material will work well. Still, we recommend a synthetic fiber like olefin or nylon and an anti-microbial carpet pad underneath. The important thing with carpet in a basement is that it is installed over a proper vapor barrier so that mold and mildew are kept at bay. This barrier can be something like dimpled polyethylene matting, which will create air space between the concrete and the subflooring, or just a simple layer of plastic if you are confident that persistent moisture accumulation will not be an issue. Either way, you’ll then need to lay a plywood subfloor, carpet pad, and then your carpet on top. If the proper steps are taken, basement moisture should not be an issue for your carpet.

Hardwood Flooring in the Basement

If you’d like to install hardwood flooring in your basement, you should go with engineered hardwood, as opposed to solid plank. Solid hardwood has a tendency to warp, twist, cup, and split when exposed to high moisture levels. For this reason, it is not a good option for the basement. However, engineered hardwood is a layered product with a hardwood top layer (called a ‘veneer’) that is glued to two or more other layers composed of plywood. This construction process makes engineered hardwood far more resistant to moisture damage, and a more suitable option for the basement. The other benefit of engineered hardwood flooring is that it can be installed as a “floating” floor, which is not adhered to the surface underneath. This enables it to be installed over concrete slab, without the need for a plywood subflooring – another bonus of this material.

We hope this information helps you select your basement flooring. At the Poulin Design Center we have many flooring options, and our design experts will be happy to help you select the material that works best for your needs. Contact us any time to schedule a free in-home design consultation!

Photo Credit: Pic721

Vinyl – It’s Not Just For Your Record Player

At Poulin Design Center of Albuquerque we think natural materials like hardwood and real stone tile make excellent flooring options. Not only are they beautiful, they offer great durability as well. But, honestly, they also tend to be some of the most expensive flooring options. When you have to wait for Mother Nature to create your materials, you tend to pay a bit more for them. Luckily, there is another way to get these and other fantastic flooring styles without the high cost. Luxury vinyl flooring is quickly becoming a favorite flooring material in the greater Albuquerque area. Read on to see why!

Huge Range of Styles

The most exciting part about the development of luxury vinyl flooring is its ability to closely mimic the look, and even feel, of many other types of flooring. This includes many varieties of hardwood, bamboo, natural stone, ceramic, and porcelain tile. It is also available in a host of other styles, patterns, and colors. Given that luxury vinyl also comes in sheets, tiles, and planks, there really is no other flooring material that gives you the same range of design options.

Water & Stain Resistant

Another great feature of luxury vinyl is its resistance to moisture and stains. When installed as a single sheet, luxury vinyl can actually be waterproof. Even when in tile or plank form you will find that it holds up to moisture better than almost any other alternative. And staining should not be an issue. Spills will not absorb into the vinyl and so will be easily wiped away. This makes luxury vinyl a great choice for kitchens, bathrooms, mudrooms, and entryways.

Durable & Easy to Maintain

Although luxury vinyl costs a bit less, this doesn’t mean you get less for your money. With the most basic care, your luxury vinyl flooring can easily last over 20 years, and some brands offer a lifetime warranty. To maintain your floor, all you need to do is sweep or vacuum once in a while and occasionally give it a damp mopping. That’s it!

Other Benefits

An often overlooked upside of luxury vinyl flooring is its softness underfoot. It is far more comfortable to stand on than wood or tile, and you may appreciate that it gives a bit if you ever drop a dish on it. It is also a perfect flooring choice if you have children or pets, since it offers such a high level of durability and ease of cleaning and maintenance. When you also take into account its affordability, you can see why luxury vinyl is such a popular flooring option for homeowners around Albuquerque.

Photo Credit: Coprid

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Founded 38 years ago by Tom Poulin CGR, Poulin Design Remodeling, Inc., has become a mainstay of Albuquerque home renovation.

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