Author Archives: Lee Pelletier

Excite Your Life With Color!

When television was first introduced, all we had were black and white pictures.  When color television was introduced, everyone wanted color.  Why?  Color is exciting and interesting.  We do not see people purchasing (or even requesting) large flat screen televisions in black and white.  You can’t get a black and white television.  No one wants it.

I’ve seen a trend in decorating towards monochromatic color schemes.  Beige on beige.  Gray on gray.  Excuse me while a scream: Boring!

We have a rainbow of colors for a reason.  Use them.  And try to think beyond primary colors.  There is so much more than “blue”.  There is navy blue, royal blue, sapphire, cobalt blue, denim, azure, periwinkle, baby blue, cerulean, cornflower blue, Wedgwood blue, and ultramarine.  Given a few moments, I’m sure you can quickly add another dozen blues.

How about red?  There’s not just red.  There’s fire engine red, crimson, cranberry, cherry, cardinal, brick, raspberry, auburn.  Oh, this is fun!  Come up with some more.

Green? How about mint?  Hunter green?  Chartreuse, apple green, olive, sage, teal, forest, lime, or pistachio.

These colors are so much more exciting than beige on beige.  Color adds a mood . . . an emotion . . . to a room.  Beige is flat and emotionless.  Do we want to add sense of serenity to a room?  Which of the colors I’ve mentioned so far could do this?  How about pistachio?

Want to add some drama to a room?  How about a slash of cardinal red?

By using color to add an emotion to a room, our home (or work) becomes a refuge.  Want to change how you feel?  Just go to another room!

 

 

 

Is Your Room Upside-Down?

You want your home to be as comfortable as possible.  If the colors in your room are upside-down, your room will never feel as comfortable as it could be.  So which colors should go on your walls, and which colors should go on your floor or ceiling?

 Do Colors Have a Weight?

British psychologist Edward Bullough was lecturing at Cambridge University in 1907, when he published “The Apparent Heaviness of Colours” in the British Journal of Psychology in 1907.  Bullough’s paper was based on research where he tested people’s perceptions on color.

In one experiment, Bullough had people paint a wall.  They were given red paint and pink paint; and they were told to paint the top half one color and the bottom half the other color.  Nearly everyone chose to paint the bottom red, and the top pink.  The conclusion was that people feel more comfortable with the darker color on the bottom.  The darker color seems “heavier”.  With the darker color on top, the wall appears to be top heavy.  People don’t like it.

In another experiment, Bullough showed objects painted in different colors.  The objects were exactly the same, except for the color.  Using visual observation only, Bullough’s subjects where then asked to identify which object seemed to be heavier.

The results?  Darker colors are perceived as being heavier than lighter colors.  In addition, red is perceived as being heavier than yellow even when the colors have the same saturation level.  Some colors appear heavier, and others lighter.

Red-Yellow-Squares

The red and yellow have the same saturation, but the red square appears heavier than the yellow square.

What Does This Mean For Your Room?

Keep your heavier colors lower.  Putting heavier colors on top will make your room feel like it is “upside-down”.  It will feel uncomfortable.

Some public spaces are designed that way deliberately to discourage loitering.  But that’s not what you want for your home.  Most businesses should avoid upside-down colors as well.

So which colors are heavier?  Darker colors feel heavier than lighter colors.  Blue and red are heavier than green.  Green is heavier than yellow.  Blacks and browns feel heavy, while white and beige feels lighter.  If you follow these guidelines, you will get better results.

 

The Best Floor For Your Basement

The Right Floor for Your Basement

Moisture

The issue with basements is moisture.  Moisture comes in two types.

  1. Water can seep into the basement through cracks, poor flashing, etc.  This can cause puddles or even standing water.
  2. While concrete appears solid, it is actually quite porous.  Water vapor easily passes through concrete.  Think of this moisture as “humidity” that comes through the concrete.  Many people believe they do not have a moisture problem in their basement because they do not see standing water.  But water vapor IS a moisture problem.  When the floor is covered with a non-porous material, this water vapor can accumulate.  It can develop high water vapor pressure that is stronger than the glue holding the flooring to the floor.  Then your flooring is loose.

Testing may be necessary to be sure the amount of water vapor coming through your floor does not exceed certain levels.

Rating Flooring for Basements

    •  Excellent. Carpet is an excellent choice for many basements, as long as you don’t have standing water. Carpet breathes, so water vapor cannot develop high pressure.  This choice seems counter-intuitive to many people, but it is the right answer.

  • Very good. Ceramic tile is a very good choice, and will also handle occasional standing water.  The tile must be ceramic, not porcelain.  Porcelain is not porous enough and the tiles will come loose in environments with high vapor pressure.  The grout should not be sealed in this application.
  • Very good. Loose lay vinyl plank allows water vapor to escape from the edges of each plank.  Loose lay vinyl plank can handle vapor readings of up to 10 lbs.
  • Good.  Floating vinyl click flooring can handle vapor readings of up to 6 lbs.
  • Fair.  Glued down vinyl plank flooring can handle vapor readings of 3 to 6 lbs, depending on the product.

  • Fair. Sheet vinyl and linoleum can handle vapor readings of 3 to 4 lbs.
  • Very Poor. Wood flooring.  Wood and moisture do not mix.  Moisture will cause rot, decay, warping, and deformation of the wood.  Even wood installed with moisture mitigation systems have very high failure rates and are not recommended.
  • Very Poor. Laminate flooring. Laminate flooring is a wood based product, and has all the same issues as wood flooring.

 

Showroom Remodel

Our showroom remodel has begun!  The old, old wood floor, commercial carpet, ceramic tile, and laminate on the left side of the showroom are ALL being replaced with vinyl plank.  We chose a weathered board look, to tie in with the seaport motif we have.  Do you like it?

Weathered plank flooring.

The weathered plank flooring we are putting in our showroom.

Prepping the concrete floor.

Prepping the concrete floor. We pushed the display racks either way so we can work. We are doing the flooring in sections over several days.

 

 

Latex Rug Backing Stuck to Floor

I recently had a client call me for advice.  She had purchased a seagrass carpet (not from us).  She explained that the latex backing on the rug had disintegrated and had stuck to the floor.  My thinking was this was a relatively minor issue that might require that some dust be swept or vacuumed.  Was I ever wrong!  Here’s a picture of the damaged floor:

Latex rug backing damaged the wood floor.

The latex backing on this seagrass rug has damaged the wood floor.

The wood floor is absolutely gorgeous, except where it is damaged.  What a shame.  The rug is beyond saving.  I immediately had two thoughts:

  1. How do we fix this wood floor?
  2. What can be done to prevent this from happening.

If this should happen to you, this is what I suggested

Removing the Latex Backing that is Stuck to the Wood Floor

  1. Use a plastic scraper to remove as much latex as possible without vigorously scraping.  I have a plastic scraper we use to clean dinnerware at home that has rounded edges.  Something like that sounds perfect for this.
  2. Apply a solvent to the latex rubber to soften it.  When we find a solvent that softens a material, the material may be softened for a while, but then the solvent evaporates and the material will reharden.  So leaving a solvent on for “several days” does no good.  Usually about 15 minutes or so is good.
  3. Assuming we’ve found a solvent to soften the material, use the plastic scraper again to remove the latex material.
  4. So, which solvent should you use?  Mineral spirits are usually (but not always) safe for floors.  I’d start with that.  If that does not work, then I’d try denatured alcohol next.
  5. BEFORE USING ANY SOLVENT, always test the solvent in an inconspicuous area of the floor first, to be certain it will not affect the finish.  We do not want to remove, soften, or haze the existing finish.  Do not proceed until you are certain that the solvent you are considering will not damage your floor.
  6. Once the latex material has been removed, one last swipe with a clean rag or towel and a little of the (tested for safeness) solvent can help restore the floor’s luster.

All of this may be for nought.  We’ll know fairly soon if we are successfully removing the latex backing that is damaging the floor.  If not, then the floor may need to be sanded and refinished.

How Do We Prevent This?

The Wood Floor Covering Association (WFCA) does not recommend putting anything over your wood floor with a solid rubber or latex backing.  They don’t breathe, and condensation can accumulate under the non-porous material and damage the finish.  Non-slip rug paddings are made with ventilation so this is not an issue for non-slip products.

A quality felt rug padding would have been a small investment to protect the floor.

Our client acknowledged this and added in response: “As you see, this is an incredible mess. In reading the labeling that comes with the carpet, it recommends using padding, but it doesn’t explain why the recommendation is made. I thought padding was to make it softer to walk on and prevent slippage. Do you think the average person would expect this type of disintegration would happen without a more specific warning?”

No.  The average person would not expect that type of disintegration and damage.  I’m in the rug business, and I wouldn’t expect that either.  Even given the recommendation of the WFCA.  Even given the label on the rug that “recommends” a rug pad.  (It does not say a rug pad is required).  This is a defective product.

This seagrass rug is the type of product that is commonly sold by catalog retailers that import cheaply made Chinese products.  The initial savings can potentially cost hundreds of dollars in damages, stress, and aggravation.  Our client probably did not buy this product for price, but looks. And if she knew that there is a difference in quality, and what the difference is, the small additional cost for a quality product would be negligible to her.

So how do you, a consumer, know the difference?  You can’t be an expert in everything.  So here are some guidelines:

  • If you want to buy a rug, purchase it from someone who sells rugs.  They are specialists in that.  Catalogs and store that sell “everything under the sun” can not possibly be experts or knowledgeable about everything they sell.  This is true for any product.
  • Manufacturers of quality products are proud to put their name on it.  Cheap imports often hide behind the anonymity afforded by being in a foreign land, using a different language, and not putting the manufacturer’s name prominently on the product.  This does not mean that products that are not made in the U.S.A. are not good quality.  There are many quality manufacturers around the globe.  But see if they put their name on it.  That’s often telling.

I don’t know the brand of this seagrass rug.  I didn’t ask if it had one.  There is always the possibility that it was made by a maker with a good reputation that just had something go wrong.  But again, a maker with a good reputation will stand behind the product.  If you don’t even know who made it, it can be more difficult to get service.

Close up of defective latex backing.

Closeup of latex backing stuck to a wood floor.