How to Clean Your Natural Stone Shower Walls and Floor

Bathroom with natural stone tile and beige walls. Glass corner shower freestanding white tub and double sink vanity bathroom. Northwest USA

Your stone tile can last for generations if you learn how to clean your natural stone shower the right way. There are some things you are going to think you should use, only to find out they pitted your stone. So, here are some general rules to follow and your tile will be beautiful for a very long time.

How to Clean Your Natural Stone Shower

Unfortunately, most people will start pouring diluted vinegar all over their stone tiles, assuming that what works great for porcelain tiles will be great for stone tiles, too. This is not how to clean your natural stone shower. It’s exactly what you should not do.

Vinegar is an acid and acids do a wonderful job on loosening and removing soap scum. Only citric acid is better. The problem is, any acid will breakdown your natural stone tiles. If you’ve been using vinegar, you are probably noticing some pitting on the top of the stones and maybe the edges are beginning to crumble. This is what acid will do to stone.

The best way to clean these tiles is by using a gentle pH-neutral cleaner like dishwashing liquid mixed into water like you’re going to wash dishes. Use a soft cloth, like sections of an old t-shirt, and clean the stone by dipping it into the soapy water and scrubbing then rinse. It helps to do this right after someone takes a hot shower. The hot water will soak the soap scum and loosen it up, making it easier to clean.

The grout can be scrubbed with a toothbrush while you’re using the cloth and soapy solution. Avoid products sold for grout cleaning as they usually injure the stone.

Rough cloths and plastic bristle scrub brushes will break down the stone over time. It is best to stick with just old soft cloths and toothbrushes.

Rinse well after cleaning. To keep your shower needing fewer cleanings, use a squeegee to remove the water from the walls and floor after every use. This will keep the soap scum from building up.

The Beauty of Reclaimed Flooring

Older is better seems to be the mantra today, especially when it comes to flooring. Reclaimed flooring is still all the rage and with good reason, it is gorgeous. But before you get excited when you see a barn falling over and you grab that barn floor to install in your own home, there are some very important things you need to know.

Reclaimed Flooring

Reclaimed flooring is repurposing old wooden floors or planks and using it for your home’s floor. People used to do this with bowling alley floors when a bowling alley or roller rink went out of business, people would purchase the flooring at auction to use as their own new floor to save some money.

In the past couple of decades or so, people have been going beyond the bowling alley floor, which pretty much looks like a regular hardwood floor. People ventured into the land of reclaiming barn wood for their floors.

As it turns out, likely the worst thing you can create a home floor from is the flooring of a barn. If you think about it, there have been horses, sheep, goats and who knows what peeing and pooping on that floor for 100 years or so. There is the matter of spilled chemicals, as well. Once in the home, there is little doubt from where that flooring was repurposed. Yikes.

The walls of the barn are another matter. That should be mostly free of animal waste and chemicals, especially from the higher levels.

If you have your heart set on a beautiful barn wood floor, there are companies specializing in reclaiming barn wood and other woods. They sanitize it, kill the bugs in it and make sure what they sell is milled properly to make a gorgeous floor.

At US Hardwood and Carpet we’ll be happy to show you some of the wood these reclaimers sell. You do have options. Just don’t try to reclaim the wood yourself.

Surprising New Flooring Makes Hardwood Floors Unpopular

Hardwood flooring has been a homeowner’s main squeeze since people finally got over carpet. It has been a very long time. But now, there is a new kid on the block and homeowners are flocking to it. So much so that it knocked hardwood out of its #1 position of the most demanded flooring.


So, hardwood floors are out. What’s the latest and greatest flooring everybody simply has to have? Engineered Flooring. This flooring has the overall look of hardwood because it is formed into planks, so it has that long offset board installation. But it is not natural wood at all.

There are several types of this new flooring. There are engineered, which is a composite material, solid vinyl planks and vinyl planks with a wood core. And of course, laminate is still a very popular choice. These types of flooring are preferred over hardwood these days. There are a lot of reasons why.

Hardwood flooring is beautiful, but so are these new manmade planks. The popularity of these new flooring materials is their lower price and easy upkeep. When your floor consists of glued down vinyl planks, water damage is no longer an issue.

But the planks can be installed in various ways, depending on the type that you choose. You can float the floor as you typically would with a hardwood floor. But some of these planks are intended to be glued down. There are advantages to both. You need to speak to our flooring expert to figure out which is best for your lifestyle.

When you’re building a new home or updating your current home, take a look at all the new flooring options there are. In 2019, things have changed. Not everyone loves hardwood so much. There are more practical and less expensive options today.

Floor Trends for the Bathrooms of 2019

Floor trends are something to look at when you’re considering an update. If you choose something that peaked years ago, you’ll be outdated before you’re finished replacing the floor. So, by checking into up and coming styles or what is just ready to catch on with homeowners as the latest and greatest look, you’ll have a floor that cashes in on being stylish for many years to come.

Floor Trends

This year for bathrooms, the floor trends are so 3000 BCE. Those tiny colorful tiles that are the ancient version of the pixel are back in a big way. The Romans used these little tiles to create masterpieces that are still beautiful even today. Now it is your turn to make your bathroom floor a work of art. Although, it’ll be a lot easier for you than it was for a homeowner in ancient Rome.

The mosaic masterpieces of today’s bathroom, era 2019 CE, tend to be a repetitive design and not depicting a god enjoying the great outdoors or his or her companion. Designs that do well in repetitive tile design are chevron, herringbone and squares. To be completely stylish, put mosaic on the floor, but use the large marble tiles on the shower walls and the walls of the bathroom.

But it isn’t all about mosaics. Vinyl planks are all the rage, especially when they mimic wood planks. You can have a beautiful waterproof floor that looks just like a hardwood floor, but without the water stain problems. Today’s vinyl has some amazing looks.


For color choices, keep it grey, but a lighter grey mixed with tints of green and light blue. Even white with accents in light greys, blues and greens are very popular right now. Think beach motif. You want to reflect the light.

When you need to find out what’s popular right now, stop by our showroom at US Hardwood and Carpet and we’ll be happy to help.

Trending Hardwood Finishes in 2019

Hardwood finish styles change all the time, but slower than other interior decorating colors for walls and fabrics. But they do change and right now using a high gloss finish on your hardwood floors might get you arrested by the home fashion police. There are some definite new color trends for 2019, so if you’re refinishing you might want to consider these new color choices.

Hardwood Finish Colors

Hardwood floors have been all about grey, grey, and more grey recently. It is a good thing if you like grey, because it is still the #1 color. However, the grey has moved to a darker, a more brooding grey: charcoal. So, take the grey down a couple of notches from the past couple of years and you’ll be spot on!

Other colors are the complete opposite, such as the off-whites! Dress things up with a little sea salt white, a semi-opaque white that isn’t stark white, but slightly on the grey side. Depending on the flooring manufacturer, this could be a light grey or an off-white. It is the whitest sea salt color that’s the new trend.

In a variety of light-ish and dark-ish, the color green is in. This is a deeper green that is rather low in the yellow content. Think various versions of an olive/forest green mix. You can go light or you can go dark with these deep greens and they both look spectacular, especially if you’re sick to death of everything grey.

The one color that is completely out for 2019 in hardwood floors are yellows. That yellowish tinge and honey this or that is not cool at all this year. When you’re picking out flooring this year stick to the charcoal to light grey, a white that’s related to the grey or a rich forest type of green. And the less shine, the better. If you go with a natural oil finish, it is perfect!

When It’s a Good Idea to Replace Flooring When Selling

There are things you should do when selling a home and things you shouldn’t do. Everyone always says it’s all about kitchens and bathrooms and that is true. But, should you make the big investment of replacing flooring when you list your home to sell?

Flooring and Selling Your Home

Flooring can make or break a sale, true. An average family doesn’t want that huge investment before they even move into their new home. But still, there are times you should not replace the flooring.

How to Decide

Your realtor should help you see your home with a stranger’s eyes. This will help get out of the space you’re using to seeing every day and think like a buyer. Just how bad is the flooring?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is the home beautifully updated except the flooring?
  • Just how bad is the flooring?
  • Are there any stains?
  • Does it show obvious deep wear?

If hardwood flooring is a little worn, a well-placed, beautiful carpet might be just the cure for showing the home. But if there are stains, missing or damaged boards, water stains, you’ll need to either fix it or install carpet over it.

If it is carpeting that is showing stains and wear, it must be replaced. Replacing it with the cheapest carpet is fine. Your buyer will likely replace it with whatever they like anyway. You are just making the home showable.

The time to do nothing, not even replacing the carpeting, is when your entire home needs remodeling. It is an investor that will be buying your home and they are not impressed by a homeowner’s changes to sell the property. Upgrading anything will be a waste of money for you.

We hope this helps you save money for your new home’s upgrades. When you need our professional opinion, stop by US Hardwood and Carpet. Our flooring professionals are happy to answer your questions.

Carpet is Trending and It Is Completely Waterproof!

Carpet is the trending floor covering for this year. And the trendsetter holdouts will be happy to hear that there is a 100% waterproof carpet now! It is everything a homeowner wants.


There are usually some big holdbacks for installing carpet in a home. Things like mold and dust allergies, pets – especially cats, children and mud season. But now all those things are irrelevant, because Shaw has invented a carpet that is waterproof. It is named Lifeguard.

Now when your cat starts urinating on the carpet instead of in the litterbox, it will sit there on the surface until you can wipe it. Once it is cleaned up there is no lingering smell from urine in the padding or subfloor, because it never soaked through the carpet.

Landlords should take note of this new carpet. It can save thousands of dollars in having to install carpet yet again after a tenant with a neglected pet. A good cleaning is all it will take for it to look and smell clean once again.

Children can no longer ruin a carpet by spilling milk in the living room. Instead of having to shampoo the carpet every month because of all the things they spill and track in from outside, a quick wipe takes care of it. Your floors will always look lovely with Lifeguard carpet.

Good news for those who love Stain master carpet. It is available with the Lifeguard backing now. You’ll be protected from liquids sinking through the carpet and from stains on top of the carpet. It is a good day for those joining in on the carpet trend in flooring. Give us a call at US Hardwood and Carpet to see when the next special on Lifeguard backed carpets will happen.

Replace Hardwood Flooring or Install Laminate?

Everyone loves that warm homey look of hardwood flooring and the fact that it seems to last forever. But laminate has a look that is awfully close to hardwood and it has other advantages, too, like it costs far less. So, which one is the right choice for your home?

Hardwood Flooring

Wood flooring is the flooring for the ages. Well, since the rough cut plank colonial era certainly, but it has evolved overtime into what we now consider the ideal hardwood flooring. Today, the finishes are less shiny than in decades past and you’ll see hardwood floors, reclaimed barn wood or bowling alley floors and just good old fashioned New England pine planks. Each has its own unique beauty and lasts for generations.

This type of flooring is considered the standard in finer homes. It is usually what sits beneath glorious area rugs in every room. Although, some opt for a warm carpet in the bedrooms and stone tiles for bathrooms and kitchens.

On the downside, hardwood flooring is expensive to install and every decade or so you’ll need to refinish it. The polyurethane will wear off and you’ll find water stains and scratches from years use. Refinishing can be a costly maintenance.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring gives you a similar look, as it has an image of hardwood flooring over the core materials. It is finished right out of the box, so your choices there are minimal. It’ll likely be installed as a tongue and groove floated floor.

The biggest difference between the two is the length of life. Laminate does hold up well these days and it has evolved into a durable, scratch resistant flooring choice. But it cannot be refinished, because the top is only a photograph, not real wood. So, it will need to be replaced decades before hardwood.

Another difference with laminate is the price. This flooring choice is far less expensive than regular hardwood flooring.

Best Flooring When Remodeling a Basement

Remodeling a basement is an excellent way to expand your living space. Basements can open up the possibilities of a rumpus room, entertainment center, game room or extra bedrooms. Or possibly a combination of all of these ideas! But, be forewarned, basement flooring needs to be carefully chosen.

Remodeling a Basement

Your flooring choice when remodeling a basement is very important. As much as you’d love to have some soft, cushy carpeting down there, it will likely be a mistake. Basements are usually moist, the poured concreted that creates the walls and subfloor like to hold moisture all the time. This is a place that tends to never completely dry out. That moisture will feed mold and mildew. The wrong flooring choice will help the mold flourish. So, what to do?

The basement subfloor will need a moisture barrier installed before the flooring is laid down. Another option is installing tile. Tile works very well in moist environments and that’s why bathrooms are usually tiled. It prevents any additional dampness adding to the already damp concrete subflooring.

There are so many interesting flooring choices from which to choose these days that you’ll be surprised at how many attractive options you have. You don’t have to have just the original concrete. While carpet isn’t likely going to work well in your basement remodel, there are a lot of comfortable and beautiful choices that will.

Luxury Vinyl Tile is a great option for a basement floor where there is going to be kids bouncing around and playing. This type of tile is a softer feel when you walk on it and is likely to soften the falls that tumbling children tend to take.

The best way to determine the best flooring choices for remodeling a basement is to speak with our sales representative. You can discuss how the basement will be used and our salesperson will show you some of the options that will work in your new space.

What is the Best Finish for Hardwood Floors for 2019?

What is the best finish for hardwood floors right now? Homeowners today are taking a completely opposite approach from the decades of highly polished, super glossy floors. The hottest trend right now is an oil finish and it is popular for more than its matte beauty.

What is the Best Finish for Hardwood Floors?

The oil finish is the finish that is being installed a lot lately making it the hottest trend for 2019. It has a very warm, homey appearance with a little bit of a weather worn look. Reclaimed barn wood has been the rage for years now and the oil finish is the next best thing when it comes to that old-timey look.

But its durability is another reason this hardwood finish is so popular. It tends to hold up far better than the shiny finishes. On the downside, the oil finish is more susceptible to water spill damage, especially when it is something that sits on the floor and continually drips like it does with a floor plant. So, you need to be extra careful about water damage.

On the bright side, if you need to refinish an area, sand it and add more oil. Refinishing this type of hardwood floor is very easy and inexpensive. That is not the case with a very shiny, polyurethane finished floor.

If you are putting in a brand new hardwood floor, the oil finish is probably the best way to go. It will give you the durability you need and it has a gorgeous look that is the look everyone wants today.

US Hardwood and Carpet

When you’re ready to change out your flooring, going with new hardwood flooring is a great choice for both beauty and durability. Stop in and we’ll discuss what is the best finish for hardwood floors for your lifestyle.