Why tile flooring cracks and how to prevent it

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Tile flooring is easy to work with, durable and functional. When properly installed it can offer years of problem free service. Sometimes however, tile flooring cracks. Often, the problem lies not with the material, but with what is hidden below the surface. Let's explore some common causes of tile flooring cracks and how proper installation can prevent it.

Four Common Causes

When properly installed tile flooring is a durable surface that can stand up to heavy use with few signs of wear. However, in certain circumstances tile cracks. Often the homeowner immediately believes that the cause is defective materials. While this is sometimes the case, today most tile sold is crafted to be in compliance with ANSI and ASTM testing standards. There are four common causes for tile flooring cracks, and all of them are related to the installation process.
  • Improper Subfloor Preparation– Your subfloor forms the foundation for your tile. It must not only be flat and stable but before tiling, it must also be clean. Along with vacuuming up particles, your subfloor should be mopped with a solvent such as mineral spirits to remove any oils, grease or wax that could cause the mortar to improperly set, which can cause cracking.
  • Improperly Applied Mortar – Mortar should be spread evenly and given time to properly cure. If the mortar is only adhering to a portion of the tile, or if it isn't completely hardened, your tile could shift and crack.
  • Improper Expansion Joints – Expansion joints are the spaces left between the tile during installation which are then grouted. Expansion joints absorb pressure from shifting tiles. If they are too thin, the tiles will not have room to expand and contract and this can cause cracking.
  • Tile Flooring Installed Over Concrete is Most Susceptible To Cracking – This is because concrete itself is susceptible to cracking. Hairline cracks will not generally cause problems, but if a crack forms in the concrete subfloor that is wider than 1/8” it will eventually shift to the tile. This is known as reflective cracking.

How To Prevent Cracking

For wooden subfloors, the surfaces must be properly prepared prior to installation. Make sure your subfloor is level and stable. Thoroughly vacuum and mop the surface using mineral spirits to remove any oils, wax or adhesives before applying mortar. Make sure the mortar is evenly applied and allow for proper curing before laying tile. When laying your tile, use the appropriate spacers to ensure adequate expansion joints. For concrete subfloor, use an uncoupling and crack isolation membrane with rounded square-shaped reliefs. This material solves two of the most common isolation issues that cause cracking; it ensures a stable flat surface, and isolates the tile from the concrete subfloor preventing reflective cracking. To prevent tile floor cracks, proper preparation of the surface to be tiled is necessary. Taking a few extra minutes to ensure that your subfloor is properly prepared to ensure the tile will result in years of maintenance and problem-free use!
September 14 2017 Read More

Window Treatments Can Help You Sell Your Home!

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When it comes to selling your home, window treatments may be one of the last things you consider, but the right treatments can make any room in your house look brighter, bigger and more inviting. The key to all shades, drapes, blinds, curtains and shutters is to enhance the qualities of a room without being too noticeable. Buyers will love the look of a particular room without knowing the thought you put into the window treatments.

Let There Be Light

House hunters love rooms with lots of light. That means window treatments should provide just a touch of color and style while letting in as much sunlight as possible. For example, for large bedroom window, you may want to use high hanging drapes that can be completely drawn to the side. These not only allow for maximum light exposure, but they make the windows look bigger, creating the illusion of more floor space.

Soften Your Sterile Rooms

Kitchens, bathrooms and utility rooms don't usually have a lot of upholstery or fabric, making them feel a bit sterile. You can make these spaces seem more inviting by picking a soft window treatment with warm tones. When these treatments are consistent with the decor you've used in other rooms, buyers will notice that each area of your home flows nicely together.

Frame or Hide a View

Your home likely has a lot of great views, but it may also have one or more ugly ones. Subtle, open window treatments can act like the perfect frame around a great picture while closed treatments with consistent tones can block the views you'd rather buyers not see. For example, if you have a window that provides a great view of a local hillside, using subtle, earth-toned drapes can provide appealing framing. Simple white shades, on the other hand, can block the view of a neighbor's brick wall. Hunter Douglas is the world’s biggest window blind and covering maker. Our showroom currently has over 40 of their operating displays, ranging from traditional shutters and blinds to roller shades and motorized treatments.

Create a Color Scheme

Many of your rooms will already have a color scheme, so make sure the window treatments you pick match. Buyers aren't likely to notice a matching shade and pillow consciously, but the consistent color scheme will create a sense of unity that will be highly appealing to them subconsciously. Shades and drapes that stand out will get the buyers attention, and that may be attention you don't want.

Don't Get Too Fancy

If you've always had specific tastes and like to decorate your home with window treatments with unique and fancy patterns or styles, now may be the time to take them down temporarily. There's a chance a buyer may love your sense of style, but there's also a chance they won't. The goal here is to create a generic enough look that buyers can envision their own sense of style. You'll often be able to find a window treatment that fulfills a specific purpose for your open house, but there may be times when letting your window simply speak for itself is ideal. There's often nothing wrong with letting someone see a window for what it truly is. Our design team will be happy to help you find the perfect window treatment for your home. Call or visit Speedwell Design Center to have our Design Specialists help select your Window Treatments.
September 12 2017 Read More