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Myth or Fact- Lead poisoning from household paint

July 14, 2014

Myth or Fact: Lead poising from house paint 

Over the past ten years there has been much talk about the fact whether or not household paints contain lead and whether or not it is of a level where lead poising is possible?

The quick answer is yes, there were paints on the market that contained a level of lead which could result in lead poisoning, but since being established, paint retailers and the Government have worked together on removing these products form the market and creating a harmless solution for household paints.

Painting

Here are the facts

Before 1970, paints containing high levels of lead were used in many Australian houses. Exposure to lead is a health hazard. Even small amounts of dust or chips of paint containing lead, generated during minor home repairs, can be a health risk.

Anyone painting a house or doing maintenance that could disturb paint containing lead should avoid exposing themselves and their families, neighbours or pets to its hazards.

The recommended amount of lead in domestic paint has declined from 50% before 1965, to 1% in 1965. In 1992, it was reduced to 0.25%, and in 1997 it was further reduced to 0.1%.

The dangers of lead in house paints

Lead in house paint is a problem only if it is damaged or disturbed. Paint in good condition that is not flaking or chalking, or is covered by well -maintained lead free paint is not a hazard in itself.

Lead can also be a hazard when it is on surfaces subject to friction or impact such as windows and doors, or on railings where children can chew it. High concentrations of lead found in garden soils in older residential areas can be due to residue from lead-based paint.

Lead-based paint is most likely to be found on window frames, doors, skirting boards, kitchen and bathroom cupboards, exterior walls, gutters, metal surfaces and fascias. It can also be found on interior walls, ceilings and areas with enamel paint. Pink and red primer both contain lead, so you should think twice before disturbing any surface which has had any of these paints applied.

People renovating their houses are in the most danger

Home renovators can create lead hazards without realising it. If old paint is not handled properly, lead dust and paint chips can remain in the home or on the garden years after the work is completed. Paint removal by blasting, burning, dry scraping, dry sanding and using power tools creates the most serious dangers because the particles are small enough to be inhaled or deposited in furnishings or carpet, making complete removal extremely difficult.

DIY Painting

What you can do if you are concerned

The simplest way to see if those at risk in your family have been affected by lead in paint containing lead is to have a blood lead test through your family doctor.

Even if the blood test shows that your child does not have an elevated blood-lead level, a paint hazard could still exist if deteriorating paint is present.

You will also need to reassess the situation as children grow. Young babies have less hand to mouth activity than toddlers, who might place dust covered toys or soil containing lead in their mouths. Children who can walk might rub their hands along the walls, collect the dust from the chalking paint and later put their hands in their mouths. Other people’s children might be put at risk when they visit and pets might be in danger of lead poisoning from eating paint chips or dust.

Avoid lead exposure

When renovating or doing maintenance that could disturb old paint, care must be taken to avoid exposing yourself, your family, your neighbours or your pets to lead residues. An experienced home handy man or woman can repaint a house containing lead if he or she takes the recommended precautions. These are outlined in this free booklet Lead Alert – The Six Step Guide to Painting Your Home.

Painting Safety

The guide provides advice on:

  • how to test for lead-based paint
  • detailed instructions for covering the paint, or removing it by wet scraping, wet sanding, chemical stripping, or heat processes
  • the right tools and equipment
  • looking after yourself – using protective clothing (coveralls, booties, hat, gloves) and a respirator (meeting the requirements of Australian Standard 1716) when the work might involve lead-bearing dust or fumes
  • how to clean up thoroughly
  • how to contain all waste
  • disposing of waste.

The guide also warns about the things not to do, for example:

  • don’t dry sand or dry scrape or use an ordinary power sander
  • don’t sandblast
  • don’t work outside on a wet or windy day
  • don’t use an open flame torch or high temperature heat gun
  • don’t eat, smoke or drink in the work area or with contaminated hands
  • don’t allow children, pregnant or nursing women in a house or area where lead-based paint is being disturbed.

If your renovation or maintenance job is big or complicated, or you cannot obtain the right equipment to undertake the work safely, call in professional help. Even if you are calling in a professional, it is worth reading the guide to ensure that the tradesperson takes all the necessary precautions

What is being done by Governments?

The Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities has produced the booklet Lead Alert – The Six Step Guide to Painting Your Home, available free by calling 1 800 803 772.

Governments have also sought to control the amount of lead going into the environment by:

  • limiting the amount of lead in domestic paints as we are more aware of the risks to our health – since December 1997 the limit has been 0.1%
  • placing controls on the disposal of lead contaminated waste
  • informing home renovators and professionals about the dangers of paint containing lead, and providing advice on the safest way to deal with it.

For more information phone the Community Information Unit on 1800 803 772.

Source: http://www.environment.gov.au/resource/

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Common myths about Hardwood floors

July 7, 2014

Our Andersens team get so many questions about Hardwood floors – how to care for them, where best they are used, what timbers are more durable, dealing with damages and so on. We thought it time to put some of the Hardwood floor myths to rest and hopefully provide you with some great tips along the way.

Myth 1 – Wood floors should not be used in a kitchen.
Kitchens are one of the most popular rooms in the house for hardwood floors. Built to withstand heavy traffic and give long lasting beauty with minimal maintenance, hardwood floors are a perfect choice.

Myth 2 – Damp mopping is the best way to clean a wood floor.
To the contrary, water and wood do not mix. Throw away that bucket and mop! Water causes deterioration of the wood itself as well as the finish. Speak to one of our Andersens consultants today about the correct procedures and maintenance products that will not harm your urethane finish but if buying general market products please ensure compatibility with urethane finishes.

Myth 3 – Hardwood floors should not scratch or dent.
Although Hardwood floors of all species are durable enough to withstand the wear and tear of daily life, top finishes and wood can still scratch or dent given enough applied pressure or resistance. Higher gloss will show more imperfections. Manufactures do not warrant against scratching and denting so be sure to think about the amount of traffic and activity in the room this flooring will be used.

Myth 4 – High heel shoes will not damage a wood floor.
High heels or spiked heels are damaging to hardwood flooring. They strike the floor with more force per inch than an elephant’s foot. High or spiked heels in disrepair are especially harmful, as the heel acts much like a tiny hammer pounding away at the floor with as much force as 10,000 pounds per inch! Perhaps introduce a no shoe in the house rule or simply no high heels please…

Myth 5 – When wood floors warp or cup, it is because the wood flooring is defective.
Cupping is due to excess moisture or over drying and is considered job site related. Improper water maintenance, a plumbing leak, or moisture from the crawl space, basement, concrete slab or high/low-relative humidity can be the reasons.

Myth 6 – If my wood floor changes colours or fades, it is because the finish or wood is defective.
No. Actually all wood floors can experience colour shade change overtime. American cherry and many exotic species like Brazilian Cherry, Tiger wood, are photosensitive and will gain a richer, darker patina. Area rugs and large furniture that cover the floor should be moved periodically to allow exposure to UV light and air on the area. Eventually, the entire floor will reach the same even shading. There are no known values established for this natural condition, therefore, Manufactures do not warrant against these natural characteristics beyond its control.

Myth 7 – I should be able to use every piece of wood I purchase.
Realistically, wood is a product of nature and not perfect. The industry allows a tolerance not to exceed 5% for defective boards, natural or manufacturer related, based on the total purchase and some 8-10% for the exotics. If board width size seems to vary during installation, place boards of the same width size together in the same row.

Myth 8 – If I find a defective board after the floor is installed, the manufacturer will replace or repair it.
No. It is the responsibility of the installer/customer to inspect the floor to be installed and be selective in choosing each board in quality, grading, and natural colour variation before installing it. Once installed, the floorboards are deemed to be acceptable to both the installer and the end-user. If necessary, individual board replacements can be accomplished.

Myth 9 – If my wood floor shows gaps between boards in the winter months, it is defective.
Nearly every wood floor endures some separation in between boards. In winter, when homes are heated and the air is dry, wood flooring gives up some of its moisture and shrinks. When that happens, cracks appear between the boards. In the spring, when the heat is off and the indoor environment regains moisture, most gaps normally close.
Wood boards become dormant with indoor humidity levels of 30-50% and extremely hot temperatures.

Myth 10 – Kitchen floor cleaner with vinegar, ammonia, or abrasive cleaners are the best products to use when cleaning my floor.                                                                     Never use these kinds of cleaners, as they can dull and damage your hardwood floors and void warranties. Use products safe for urethane finishes.

Myth 11 – All hardwood species and wood floors have the same hardness factor.
Not true. All hardwood floors can dent, mark and scratch under various conditions. The wood industries have developed a hardness rating scale that represents the resistance of wood to denting, marring, and wear. The higher the number, the harder the species, and the more resistant it is. Red Oak is 1290, Brazilian Cherry is 2890, and Brazilian Walnut is 3680. Bamboo is a grass product its hardness can be compared to that of Maple or Hard Pine, though not held to the same standards.

Myth 12 – It is always best to use my vacuum with a rotating brush to remove grit and debris from my wood floor.
While weekly vacuuming is important for removing dirt and grit, a hard bristle brush beater bar can scratch and damage your hardwood. Make sure you have a hardwood floor attachment to use.

Myth 13 – My roller chairs should not damage my wood flooring.
Roller chair wheels can damage a wood floor if equipped with hard plastic or metal rollers. The wood industry recommends barrel-type rollers made of non-marring rubber.

Myth 14 – Tables, chairs, and furniture should not scratch or dent my wood floor.
Wood is a natural material and can dent or scratch. Place adhesive felt furniture pads on the legs of chairs and all furniture to prevent damage to the floor’s surface.

Myth 15 – Wood floors require a lot of time and effort to maintain them.
Unlike other types of floor coverings, hardwood floors can be kept looking like new with a minimum amount of effort. Never damp mop your floor. Use only products designed for wood floors. Just spray and dry mop the floor.

Myth 16 – Will Wood floors increase the value of my home?
A quality hardwood floor will offer a lifetime of beauty and service and is an investment that will add considerable value to your home whether for your own enjoyment or for resale value.

Myth 17 – Wormholes, mineral streaks, and knots are defects in wood.
Because wood is a product of nature, most character marks such as pinholes, mineral streaks, and knots are allowed in most grades. If a board is undesirable to you, tell your installer not to install it or cut it out. All wood manufacturers state that the responsibility for final inspection and approval is that of the installer and consumer. Once the board has been installed, it is deemed to have been accepted by the installer and homeowner. No claim for an installed board that is visibly defective will be honoured.

For more information on how to care for your hardwood floors contact Andersens or view more hardwood flooring tips via our website.

Tips to help you sell your home what works and what doesn’t

June 30, 2014

Tip 1: Renovations can add value to a property.

Some projects do add value to a home, but others may deter potential buyers. One example of this latter scenario would be if the owner knocks out a wall between two small bedrooms to create one larger bedroom instead. If the buyer was hoping for a property with more bedrooms, they would be disappointed with this supposed improvement. Renovations do not always equal added value.

Tip 2: Use good quality materials to attract buyers.

Using high end building materials can certainly make your home attractive. Yet bear in mind that location is the most important factor for many buyers who are looking for a new home. If your property is overly done up in a suburb with less ostentatious homes, it may stand out for the wrong reasons. Buyers may be impressed with your new granite bench-tops, but they will ultimately choose the more affordable home just down the road. Over-improving can put your home out of a buyer’s price range.

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Tip 3: More square metres automatically equates to more value.

Added space can definitely be a good thing, but the new space should be usable. If you have added space to the basement but it’s not up to the same standard as the rest of the home, it could stick out like a sore thumb and detract from the rest of your property.

Tip 4: Neutral, safe paint colour tones are the best choices.

There’s a common misconception that painting your walls a standard beige or off-white colour will always help you stage your home more effectively, allowing buyers to see the property as a blank slate. This can be true for some. However, many buyers don’t want to hassle with repainting the walls after they have moved in, and may have problems with imagining anything different than what they see before them. Consulting with a professional interior designer can be useful, because they can help you add some interesting colours and textures to an otherwise bland design. This could make your home look more unique and valuable.

Tip 5: Pay attention to external renovations as well as internal ones.

Before any buyer set foot into the interior, they will get a first impression of your home from its exterior. Because this is the first thing that buyers are going to see, it’s important to fix any areas that look like they are in neglect or disrepair. This could immediately give buyers a bad vibe about your home, even if there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s helpful to discuss renovating strategies with an expert to determine where to start, but many will recommend beginning on the outside and working your way indoors. A qualified agent can look at your home with a logical eye, seeing what the buyers see and advising you from there.

Garden

Tip 6: Bedroom extensions are more valuable than bathroom extensions.

Whether bedroom or bathroom extensions make more sense will depend on the type of property you have to begin with. For example, if you have a one or two-bedroom home, it may make sense to add an extra bedroom. Yet if you have three bedrooms or more and only one bathroom, it would be more logical to add a second bathroom or toilet.

Tip 7: A new paint job will hide other problems.

A fresh coat of paint can work wonders, but it shouldn’t be used to hide rotted wood, fungal damage, holes from leaks, or cracks in the walls from the ground settling. It’s usually best to fix these problems before you sell your home, but if you decide not to be very careful when your contract of sale is written up. You’ll want to leave this in the hands of a qualified estate agent who is aware of these flaws. You may be forced to pay for maintenance after the sale has already been completed if you are not careful.

Tip 8: Don’t turn your garage into a living space over car space.

Garage space is important to many potential homebuyers, who don’t want to deal with street parking. A renovated garage can be seen as a waste of space unless it is of the same quality and size as the rest of your house. If you do decide to transform your garage, it’s better to do so on a temporary basis so that you can change it back to its original use before you put the home on the market.

Tip 9: You can always save money with Do-It-Yourself (DIY) jobs.

If you’re particularly handy or have some background in construction, you could certainly take on a few jobs around the house. Many of us can fix a leaking tap or change a light fixture. However, even these tasks can lead to disaster for others. If you try to take on more than your expertise provides, you may end up spending even more after you hire a professional to fix your mistakes. You’ll also need to take council laws into consideration before beginning any renovations. It’s a good idea to consult with your real estate agent or a licensed professional before you take on any home improvements on your own. Renovations that don’t meet council approval could lead to a reduction in valuation.

Tip 10: A swimming pool will always add value to your home.

This sentiment will be true in neighbourhoods where pools are considered a must-have facility, such as in really hot areas of the country or popular holiday destinations. However, to many buyers a pool can be seen as more trouble than it’s worth. If you can only use it during the summer months, it’s just something that must be maintained without reward for the remainder of the year.

Before you put your home on the market, you’ll want to think long and hard about which renovations will be the most viable and necessary. The goal is to get the top sale price with as little investment as possible. To this end, you’ll want to get professional advice from local real estate agents, interior designers, and building contractors before you take on any major home improvement projects. A local real estate agent can be particularly useful because they will know what comparable homes on the market look like in comparison to yours. You don’t want to burden your home with too many expensive features, or buyers may choose cheaper alternatives down the block. At the same time, a local real estate agent will know if all the other homes have a certain feature that yours is lacking.

Pool

Article Source: http://www.sellmycastle.com.au/

An Insider Guide to Renovating

June 15, 2014

DIY V2You’ve watched a few seasons of House Rules and reckon you can take on a home renovation.

But before you start knocking down structural walls to add an indoor Zen garden, experts say there are plenty of ways to give your place a Moët makeover on a VB budget.

1. Break it down

To avoid getting overwhelmed, renovation expert Barry Du Bois, from Channel 10’s The Living Room, suggests you divide each job up into small tasks.

“If you’re doing the whole house, break it up into rooms, then break it up into the jobs within each room,” he says. “Otherwise, it can become too big and you’ll lose track of where you’re headed, then lose motivation and enthusiasm.”

2. Get kerb appeal

Invest in things that give your digs the “wow” factor. To do that, head outside.

“The great Australian dream is a big back yard, but unfortunately the front and rear yards are the most neglected areas of most properties.” Says professional renovator Cherie Barber.

She’s on the money: 81 per cent gardens and outside projects are left unfinished by Aussie home improvers, found a survey by Masters Home Improvement.

“Install new garden beds and plants, rejuvenate old concrete pathways and driveways with a gurney and paving paint,”

“These are all tricks you can use to make people think you’ve spent more money than you actually have.”

3. Little things, big difference

Small jobs and finishings, such as updating doorknobs and handles and painting doorframes, can make a big difference. Give skirting boards and architraves a fresh lick of paint.

“But don’t buy cheap paint,” says Peter Bushby, president of the REIA. “You’re saving about 30 per cent by doing it yourself, so buy good quality.”

If this is your first DIY reno, Du Bois says the first room you attempt should be the laundry, rather than the kitchen or bathroom.

“Not many people see it and it’s not really an extension of your personality,” he says. “If it goes wrong, it’s probably the most inexpensive area to fix. It’s also a great way to try out all those little skills: tiling, joining, painting.”

4. Look the part 

If you want to get discounts on hardware, appliances and contracting work, don’t do it while wearing your polo Ralph Lauren, says Barber.

“Like it or not, sales people judge you on your appearance,” she warns.

“If you walk into a store to negotiate wearing designer bling, they’re going to try and extract every single cent out of you – so actually look like a tradie.”

And if online shopping is more your speed, Barber and Du Bois both recommend graysonline.com for discounted supplies for the entire house, from tools to furniture.

5. There’s an app for that

Save cash – and frustration – by downloading these popular home fix-it apps.

  • Paint My Place: Never buy sample paint pots again. Trial more than 30,000 colours from best-selling brands, by taking a photo of the area you’d like to paint and virtually changing its colour.
  • DIY Handyman Toolbox: Performs common handyman calculations; converts between metric and imperial measurements; calculates in square or cubic metres, which is useful when buying materials for floors, concreting, gardens and painting.
  • Houzz Interior Design Ideas: Find loads of interior decorating inspiration from 1.5 million design ideas that you can save to a virtual scrapbook.

We hope you’ve enjoyed these little tips!

Thanks to http://www.news.com.au/ for this great info –  click here to read the full article

A guide to: Warming up to Winter Colours and Trends

June 10, 2014

If you’re warming up to the idea of a new look in your home but aren’t sure how to use colour to create a good mood, here’s a handy little guide for you!

Seaside harmony

Winter 1

What says ‘summer’ better than a trip to the beach? While winter’s lower temperatures mean you probably won’t want to get sand between your toes or dip them into the ocean (unless of course you’re living in Tropical North QLD), you can still enjoy the warmth and relaxation of the seashore. Simply choose colours that echo the natural hues of sun, surf and sand. Cool blue-greens soothe the senses, while gentle peach and soft white evoke the warmth of the sand and revive the spirit. Then, extend the theme throughout your decor with accessories and lighting that celebrate the look of a chic modern resort.

Urban alternative

Winter Home Trends

If modern decor appeals to you but you think it might underscore the chill of winter, try an urban alternative look. The style celebrates the warmer aspects of modern decor, emphasizing wood, metal and stone tones. This natural evolution of industrial modern decor creates an effect that feels more modest, relaxed and attainable. A palette of rich browns and soft greys creates this look.

Grand reign

Winter Trends

From the mansions of the “Great Gatsby” to the magnificent homes of Newport, R.I., we continue to be fascinated with grand residences. These opulent homes carry us to another place and time, when the Vanderbilts, Carnegies and Rockefellers set the standard for luxury and elegance with their fantastic homes. You can recreate some of this effect with opulent detail, colour and ornamentation. Think rich blues, opulent golds and deep purples and reds. Choosing these colours will create a sense of romance and mystery.

Natural avocation

Winter Trends

One way to while away the cold hours of winter is with a hobby and what better hobby for winter than a little nature-watching? Explore the natural disciplines of botany, geology and astronomy with colour by choosing tones that call to mind flora, fauna and celestial bodies. Bring the vibrancy of the natural world into your home with rich greens, umbers, delicate pearls and earthy reds.

Colour’s effect on emotion and energy has been well-documented – what better time to give your mood a boost than in the winter months? When natural changes in the environment weigh down your mood, you can bolster your mental state – and create a more pleasing, warmer and welcoming environment – by strategic use of colour.

Thanks to the Hudson Reporter for some great info

Top 11 Interior Design Trends

June 3, 2014

2014 has seen some really great mix-ups in interior design. Gone are the soft neutrals of 2013, this year, it’s all about colour, texture and blending! So without further ado, here are the top 11 design trends for 2014 according to some of the most prestigious interior designers.

1. Interchangeable Accents

Interior Trends

“We’re seeing a trend towards chameleon decor. Instead of settling on one fixed look, people will opt for a versatile neutral base and use big-impact accents to easily change their decor.” — Arianna Vargas, ariannabelle.com

2. Ushering Glamour

Interior 2

“Move over white walls, in 2014 we’re seeing rooms with a lot more drama and glamour. Dark, moody walls in black will be the perfect backdrop to the metallic accessories that we’re all loving right now.” — Jeanine Hays, aphrochic.com

3. Vintage Wonders

Interior 3

“Thanks to social media, the lifespan of a trend has been cut in half. We’re all a little overexposed. Vintage and one-of-a-kind pieces are highly sought after. It’s the curiosities that make a house a home and keep your guests asking: “Where did you get that?” — Lindsay Souza,thepursuitofstyle.com

4. Say bye to Beige 

Interior 4

“Of course colour is the trend story every year in hopes of banishing the boring beige box!” — Christian May, maison21.com

5. Blossoming Prints

Interior 5

“Florals and Chintz: These tried-and-true fabrics are popping up everywhere in fashion and decor. Mix them with other graphic patterns for a modern look.” — Stacey Bewkes, quintessenceblog.com

6. Metal Mash-up

Interior 6

“Mixing and matching metallics, such as silver and gold.” — Devon Dyer, devonrachel.com

7. A need for Navy 

Interior 7

“Navy blue is a big trend for 2014. I’m seeing a lot of the shade on the runways, on the streets, in editorials, in chic interiors… I actually think everyone will get it in 2014.” — Mark D. Sikes, markdsikes.com

8. Timeless Design 

Interior 8

“A return to tradition. After the long-standing trend of modern and eclectic decor, more people will want to feel comfortable and at ease by returning to traditional styles.” — Erin Gates, elementsofstyleblog.com

9. Innovative Combinations 

Interior 9

“Lots and lots of layering: both materials and textures. We love the look of mixing different metals, woods, and fabrics!” — Jennifer Beek and Georgie Hambright, jandgdesign.com

10. A Bevy of Blues 

Interior 10

“From rich, saturated colours like navy and indigo to bright, vibrant shades like peacock blue and cobalt, blue will continue to reign supreme in 2014.” — Paloma Contreras,ladolcevitablog.com

11. A softer Black and White 

Interior 11

“Black and white is a classic home decor palette but for 2014 it’s softening and feeling more cosy. In the cooler months think Scandinavian chic, while in the summer months think French striped shirts.” — Joanna Hawley, jojotastic.com

Thanks to HouseBeautiful.com for this great information

A Guide to: Best Flooring for your Children’s Playroom

May 26, 2014

A playroom is undoubtedly one of the happiest places in your homes for your children – and it can be one of the worst places for your cleaning endeavours if you’ve chosen a poor option for the flooring! With that in mind, we’ve put together a few little options for flooring in your children’s playroom:

Wood and Bamboo

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Wood and bamboo are superb options for playroom flooring if the rest of your home has them in as it allows for a more versatile room that can be changed and re-purposed to a games room or study for when they get a little older – or any other room for that matter. Soften it up with bright rugs or foam tiles to create a softer landing for the inevitable falls and bumps. If your home has other flooring throughout however, like tiles or carpets, then there are probably better options to choose from.

Vinyl

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If it’s easy maintenance, low cost and hundreds of options to choose from you’re after, then vinyl is definitely your winner. With so many colours, styles and textures, you’ll be able to pick a floor that suits the walls, toys and any themes you may have. Vinyl will more than likely need to be replaced as your children get older and grow out of the playroom, so keep that in mind when making your final decision.

Carpet

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Carpet is a lovely, soft, warm option for playroom flooring, with one big downside… it’s not that easy to clean. Playroom floors, despite any rules you may have in place, will eventually be spilled and messed on. We recommend going for carpet tiles instead. These can be easily replaced if necessary and can also be made into a colourful checkerboard for a fun element.

There you have it, our top picks for a playroom! We hope our series on Best Flooring Options have given you a little help and inspiration to make the big decisions on flooring.

Feel free to contact us on 1800 016 016 to make a private appointment with one of our style specialists or visit our website for more information.