How to Choose the Right Doormat

The front door is where guests will make their first impressions of your home. Be sure to welcome them in style by choosing an attractive doormat. While a doormat is a decorative element, it also protects your home from dirt and debris that can damage your floors, and you should use one at every entrance to your home. Here are four things to consider when choosing yours:

Material. Where you use your doormat will impact the kind of material that’s best. If you’re using the mat outside or in a high-traffic area, choose a weather-resistant textured surface, such as a coconut fiber mat that doesn’t mildew and can help remove dirt from shoes. Rubber doormats are also useful for outdoor areas, but keep them indoors during the winter when they can crack or become damaged due to extreme temperatures. For indoor use, choose a mat made of a softer material, such as sisal or wool. These mats are considered “transitional,” catching light debris after the outdoor mat has done its job. Make sure the bottom won’t damage your floors, and use a rug mat to prevent it from slipping.

Size. Doormats come in a variety of sizes and shapes, but the most important concern around size is that it fits the width of your door. A doormat should be at least 80% the width of the doorway. Rectangle or oval rugs are stylish at a front door. If your door opens to a hallway, a runner is a good choice.

Maintenance. It’s important to keep your doormat clean. Its job is to trap dirt, so maintenance is important. For indoor rugs, vacuuming will usually do the trick, and some mats are machine washable. Outdoor mats are usually cleaned by hosing it off and letting it air dry.

Style. You’ll find a doormat in any style, so it’s easy to pick one that matches your décor. Patterned or dark-colored rugs are a great choice, as they can camouflage dirt and hide stains. Stripes can help a small space feel more spacious. Whatever you choose, make sure it blends well with its surroundings and doesn’t feel like an eyesore.

A doormat is a welcome addition to your home. Make sure yours not only works hard; but adds to your style.

Caring for Your Outdoor Rug

Outdoor rugs are made to withstand the weather, but a build-up of dirt and pollen can make them look dull and dingy. Keep yours looking fresh and clean with a few easy maintenance steps:

  1. Use your hose to rinse your rug at least once a month. Be sure to clean both sides as dirt can get trapped inside and beneath.
  2. Let your rug completely dry in the sun before returning the furnishings.
  3. If your rug needs something stronger than water, consult the manufacturer recommendations for suitable detergents.
  4. Be sure to clean your rug at the start and end of the season.
  5. When storing your rug, roll instead of folding it.

Caring For Your Deck

Lovin Woven

Summer is in full swing, and your deck is probably getting a workout. Keep the good times rolling with some maintenance. Here are three things to do this month to keep your deck in great shape:

1. Check the structure. Inspect your deck for cracks or rot, paying extra attention to areas that are close to the ground or sources of water, such as downspouts and planters.

2. If you see areas that look wet check for rot with a flat-end screwdriver. If you can push it into the wood a quarter inch or more, you probably have rot. Small areas can be removed with a chisel and treated with a wood filler and preservative. Larger areas may need to be replaced.

3. Check the railings. If any area feels loose, tighten the connections. You may need to use wider bolts if the wood has weakened and the current hardware isn’t catching into the grain.


Caring For a Fountain

leaffountainThere’s nothing as soothing as a backyard fountain. Not only is it beautiful to watch; the trickling sound creates a relaxing environment. Since it’s outside, this beloved accessory can also get its share of dirt and debris. Maintain its beauty by taking a few easy steps:

  1. Use a small net to remove debris, such as leaves or insects. This will help prevent clogging the pump. You can also attach a nylon stocking to the hose, to make sure debris doesn’t get inside the inner workings.
  2. Monitor the water level. On hot days, your fountain can experience evaporation. Since the pump can overheat if the water level is too low, make sure it’s full.
  3. Once a month, unplug the pump and drain the water. Remove buildup with a solution of vinegar and water and a stiff bristled scrub brush. Wipe clean and refill. Using distilled water in your fountain can help reduce mineral buildup.


Caring for Your Patio Umbrella

Whether it’s direct sunlight that might damage your skin or an unexpected shower that disrupts your afternoon lunch, a patio umbrella protects you from the elements. When’s the last time you showed yours a little TLC? Here are four things to do to keep it in good working order:

  1. Always close and secure it when not in use. Using a cover will extend its life and reduce the need for cleaning.
  2. If severe weather is in the forecast, consider removing it from the base to protect it and the items it surrounds from strong winds that could knock it over and cause damage.
  3. Clean the frame and base with water and a soft cloth. Use mild soap as needed, but be sure to rinse it thoroughly.
  4. Remove dirt from the canopy using a brush with soft bristles. Then rinse with water. If detergent is needed, follow the manufacturer directions, rinsing thoroughly and allowing to air dry. Some models have detachable canopies; if yours does, you may choose to detach and clean it flat.