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New floor line helps work wonders underfoot

July 01, 2006|by ROSE BENNET GILBERT / Cpoley News Service

Q: We are renting a cottage not far from the hospital where my husband is finishing his training. The location and the rent (cheap) are perfect, but I'm not sure I can handle two more years without making some improvements. The landlord doesn't care what we do, short of taking out walls, but we are short on time and money, and I will have to supply both, given the hours my husband has to work. What can I do that's easy and inexpensive? I'm thinking of painting the walls and maybe even the floors.

A: Hold that thought. Paint the walls, by all means. It's the cheapest, quickest and easiest way to cheer up the dreariest of interiors. Paint can work wonders underfoot, too, although it takes more preparation and finishing time than walls, which won't be subject to the same wear and tear.

But there are other options you may want to consider. For one handsome example, the dramatic black-and-white check in the photo we show here is a loose-laid resilient flooring called "Cubism" from the FiberFloor collection by Domco. The Canadian-based manufacturer uses Fiberglas to reinforce its sheet flooring products, which makes installation easier for a do-it-yourselfer: less floor preparation and no gluing - the goods lie and stay flat. FiberFloor also promises long wear at remarkably low prices (think 99 cents to $1.16 per square foot).

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That is, to coin a phrase, a lot of visual bang for about a buck.

For information, visit www.domco.com or call 800-363-9276.

Q: We have a two-story living/dining room that has an east-facing window. The top of the window is slightly arched and the separate window below has wood blinds. All the windows have protective film, but the amount of glare and heat coming through the window in question is substantial. I was hoping for some ideas to cover the window in a manner that blends with the existing window coverings while allowing some light.

A: Chances are you can fill the arch with a fan of wooden blinds that comes close to matching the wood blinds you already have. A good source to explore is Hunter Douglas, one of the largest manufacturers of window treatments in the world. Their expert tells me you should measure and make a template of the arched section of your window and take it to one of their dealers, who can custom-fit a wood blind to the space. Start your search at www.hunterdouglas.com.

Q: My husband wants to put an oak floor in the new master bath we are adding in the unfinished space over our garage. He says there are new kinds of finishes that make it OK to mix hardwood and water, but I'm skeptical. Who's right?

A: He is - and you are, too. You have to love modern technology for the tougher new polyurethane finishes that make it practical to install hardwood in a moisture-prone area like a bath.

But don't get too frisky. I said "moisture," not puddles. Anywhere there's a danger of standing water, you have a potentially fatal threat to wood, no matter what the finish. Wood and water are natural enemies, period. But wipe up the splashes immediately, and you're home free to enjoy the richness of a hardwood floor in your bath.

Keep in mind that indoor plumbing was invented by the early Victorians, who often kidnapped a spare bedroom - wooden floors, wallpaper and all - when they brought those first bathrooms inside their homes. If you want more proof, check out a smart little booklet called "Wood Beautiful," published by Minwax and offered free at local paint and hardwood stores and home centers, or at www.minwax.com.

Plus, there's more in-depth info available online at www.hardwoodinfo.com.

Rose Bennett Gilbert is the co-author of "Hampton Style" and associate editor of Country Decorating Ideas. Please send your questions to her at Copley News Service, P.O. Box 120190, San Diego, CA 92112-0190, or online at copleysd@copleynews.com.

Copley News Service

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