Anyone who has owned a cat or dog knows it’s next to impossible to keep floors completely clean and well-kept with furry friends running around the house. But, there are simple steps that homeowners can take to extend the life of their floors. An organic fiber rug can be laid on hardwoods to protect them from cat and dog claws. Materials such as seagrass, mountain grass, and sisal are ideal for this, and they are easy on the animal’s feet. Plus, they look very stylish in the home. Carpet lovers should try wool carpet tiles, which can be replaced one at a time. They can also be pulled up and rinsed under cold water to maintain their new look. Even regular carpet can be an option for homeowners whose pets are well-behaved and always groomed with short nails, but it does require frequent vacuuming. Vinyl is one of the most resilient and durable flooring materials. It is also extremely easy to wipe clean. Vinyl is cheap, but to maximize longevity, homeowners should avoid the cheapest options available. Linoleum has a bad rap, but today’s options are sustainable, durable, and scratch-proof, so they hold up to wear and tear from critter claws. More stylish linoleum floor choices are available now than ever before. Polyurethane finishes can cause cats and dogs to slip and slide, which encourages them to use their claws to gain traction. Oil finishes, however, offer a shiny look with minimal slickness. Waxing floors has the same effect. It’s difficult to keep floors completely free from damage when pets are in the home, but there are easy ways to maximize the life of the floor. Every cat or dog owner knows dirty floors are a small price to pay for the love of an animal. [...]

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Many people have a love-hate relationship with cleaning. They love it for the result, but they hate it because they don’t know where to begin with the process. Here are the areas homeowners should focus on most with cleaning. Outside Gutters should be secure, free of leaks, and free from debris. Any soil sloping toward the basement should be evened out to prevent foundation damage, which may be indicated by cracks in the concrete structure. Chimneys should be inspected and cleaned by a professional. Shrubs and trees should be cleared of winter damage. Safety Features All smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should have their batteries tested and changed regularly. Homeowners should make sure all doors and windows open and close properly; ones that don’t could indicate a problem with the home’s foundation. Bedroom Flipping or rotating mattresses will help eliminate dust and allergens, as will washing pillows, bedding, and curtains. The homeowner should take care to wash and dry bedding before storing it because moths and insects are attracted to natural body oils. Each bedroom should be dusted thoroughly, starting with the highest points and ending vacuuming of the floor. Living Room Living areas can easily be updated with a coat of paint or a change in light fixture. New pieces of art or furniture can be found at local thrift shops at a low cost. Even adding two large mirrors on opposite walls will create the illusion of an entirely different room. Floors Carpets should be cleaned thoroughly with a vacuum and shampooer or carpet steamer. Rugs should be shaken and laid to air out on an outdoor clothesline. All sidewalks, porches, and entryways should be regularly swept to keep dirt outside. These are just a few cleaning tips that will enhance your home.[...]

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