Hardwood floors are beautiful.  Many homes today have hardwood floors installed in them made from all sorts of materials: bamboo, oak, maple, cherry, etc.  They continue to be highly sought after as well.  Whether you currently have them in your Hendersonville home or are considering installing them in the near future, you need to know how to take care of your hardwood floors to keep them beautiful for years to come.

How to Take Care of Your Hardwood FloorsDirt – Any form of dirt, ie: sand, grit, etc, is a natural enemy of hardwood floors.  Even the smallest grains can scratch or dull hardwoods eventually.  Keep your hardwoods free of dirt by sweeping often with a broom, wet mop or Swiffer sweeper.  Laying area rugs on top of hardwood floors is smart.  But you want to make sure that they are vacuumed and taken outside to shake out any remaining dirt often, since dirt can be transferred from a rug to the wood easily.

Furniture – Anytime you move furniture around without lifting if up first, you run the risk of scratching your wooden floors.  Attach protective pads to the bottom of any furniture legs that come in direct contact with your wooden floor.  These pads can be purchased inexpensively at many home warehouse stores.  They make moving your furniture easier as well, especially if you have difficulty lifting it.

Shoes – High heeled shoes are the worst.  But, any shoes can leave scuff marks or track scratchy dirt across your home’s beautiful floors.  Set aside a place near the entrances to your home so that your family and guests can store their shoes when they enter.

Sun Damage – When wood is left in sunlight for extended periods of time, it can become discolored.  This is especially true for direct sunlight.  Make sure to hang drapes or put up shades or blinds in windows that let sunlight spill onto your floors.

Water – Why do you put a coaster under a wet glass on your wooden coffee table?  To keep it from ruining the wood.  The same goes for water on a hardwood floor.  It can do severe damage.  Anytime you spill something wet on your hardwood floor, make sure to mop it up as quickly as possible and dry the area thoroughly.

Cleaners – Stick to using cleaners that are made specifically for cleaning hardwood floors.  Products with ammonia, petroleum-based products, waxes, soaps, oils and urethane finishes are definite “No-No’s”.  They can leave a residue behind or may even damage your floors.  For a gentle clean, a damp mop may be your best choice. 

By following these simple tips on how to take care of your hardwood floors, they will stay beautiful for a very long time!  If you or someone you know is interested in buying or selling their Hendersonville home, please feel free to contact me.

Rich Cooke is your Hendersonville NC real estate specialist

Simple Tips for Living Green in 2011You’ve probably heard about “going green” at some point in your life.  That can mean everything from recycling to where you purchase your food.  However, you don’t have to shower every other day or install solar panels that cost a hefty sum up front (although, they do save money over the long run).  Here are five simple tips for living green in 2011:

1. Recycle – Many cities provide recycling programs, including the City of Hendersonville.  Contact them via pone at 828-697-3084 or email at recycle@cityofhendersonville.org to find out how you can get your own recycling bin.  Articles that can be recycled are metal cans, plastic, glass, newspaper, cardboard and mixed paper (paper grocery bags, catalogs, cereal boxes, junk mail, magazines, etc.).

In Hendersonville, yard clippings can be placed in residents’ regular trash bins.  Just make sure they are not bagged, but placed loosely in the bin.  Dried paint and tires that are not on rims can also be put out with the regular weekly trash collection.  Used motor oil and antifreeze as well as used car batteries must be turned in at appointed facilities, such as the Henderson County Transfer Facility (802 Stoney Mtn Rd) for motor oil, antifreeze, used batteries and electronics (fax machines, VCRs, steros, telephones, computers, TVs, etc).  Anywhere you buy a new car battery will also recycle the old one for you, usually for a small fee.

2. Check Your Home for Air Leaks – Check that the insulation in your home, window and door frames and window seals are all up to standard.  Any cracks around doors and windows will increase your energy consumption.

3. Change to “Green” Cleaning Supplies – “Green cleaners” use much less harsh chemicals to do the same job.  Clorox has a line of great “green” products for windows, bathrooms and toilets.  If you want to save money AND the environment, you can even make your own chemicals to clean using everyday household items, such as baking soda, cornstarch, vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice and more.  To find out how, click here.

4. Share a Ride – Using mass transit or even carpooling with other workers in your office or area can help reduce the amount of emissions and save you money.  If you live close enough, consider walking or biking to work.  It’s great exercise and reduces your carbon footprint.

5. Set the Thermostat – By lowering the thermostat by 1 degree, you will not only lower your energy costs, but you will hardly notice a difference in the household temperature.  Lowering it by 3 degrees can save approximately $74 every winter.  If you get cold, put a sweater on.  Consider lowering it even more at night.  Your body regulates its temperature during sleep, so you won’t even notice it.  Consider purchasing a programmable thermostat to help regulate when you want it higher (when you’re at home) and when you want it lower (when you’re asleep or at work/school).

Reducing your carbon footprint here in Hendersonville doesn’t necessarily mean drastically changing your life.  These five simple tips for living green in 2011 are easy enough to do and can make a huge difference in the amount of energy you consume.

Rich Cooke, your Hendersonville real estate specialist