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You’ve completed the kitchen installation – well done! Now it’s time to plan for future maintenance and add an accessory that will really add to the room’s design

In parts one and two of this series, we’ve identified and given basic installation instructions for an engineered hardwood floor, granite countertop and subway-style backsplash. Congratulations, your kitchen is now looking great! Now, it’s time to think about simple accessories that can improve your space, as well as a plan for how to maintain each product so they last as long as possible.

Ready for a quick installation 

Once your floor has been laid down, you’ll want to identify a number of accessories that are needed to complete the job. Molding pieces, such as baseboards, are a must, and you may need stair nosings as well. A baseboard is the piece of wood which is placed at the foot of your wall. It’s best to buy it primed, as then it’s ready for a quick installation and the colour can be changed easily. Stair nosings are the horizontally projecting edges of your stairs, and are a simple yet vital component of your flooring.

‘Float’ with ease

Your engineered hardwood floor should be vacuumed thoroughly and cleaned with a soft, cloth mop. Loose dirt of soil should be removed. All base and quarter round (used between cabinets and your floor to cover gaps) moldings should be reinstalled and nailed into the wall, not the floor. This way, your installed floor can still ‘float’ with ease. Transition pieces, such as stair nosings, should be added after the molding pieces. For more information, visit our extensive Learning Center.

Cleaning and protection  

Always use manufacturer’s cleaning products, as they won’t leave a residue, and avoid oil soap cleaners. Wipe up spills with a lightly dampened cloth, and never mop your floor with water. Never use a wax finish on top of a surface finish, and keep pets’ nails clipped to avoid excess scratching, even on handscraped hardwood. Ensure all furniture legs have felt padding.

As for your subway tile, a PH-balanced cleaner should be used to clean away everyday dirt and protect against stains. Any heavy grease or oil stains should be cleaned with an alkaline cleaner formulated for ceramic tile. Any products containing bleach, ammonia or similar chemicals are not recommended. Sealant can help protect your tiles from breaking.

Your granite countertop should be cleaned every day with warm water and a few drops of washing-up liquid. Any spillages can be blotted with a paper towel and dried with a soft cloth. As explained previously, a sealer should be used every 1-2 years to maintain the solidity of the countertop.

Tie your room together 

Aside from picking the right furniture for your kitchen, an area rug represents a great addition that can really tie your room together. As well as providing a great visual impact, many area rugs are made from hard-wearing material, and are, therefore, easy to maintain. The right area rug can inject both colour and style to your kitchen, and be a fantastic starting point for any kind of design. Think about your environment when choosing an area rug. For example, if you live in a region with harsh winters, you may want to consider a shag rug for warmth on those cold mornings. Other rugs boast a classic, traditional style and still others are made from the likes of bamboo.

Your rug should be vacuumed regularly to maintain appearance, and stains should be spot-cleaned with a dry, white cloth. Make sure you move your rug periodically so UV rays don’t negatively affect your hardwood floor.

Good to go! 

Now you’re good to go! You’ve successfully selected and installed your flooring, countertop and backsplash, complemented it with an area rug and navigated product maintenance. Now it’s time to add a stylish table and chairs, and really express your own individual design flavour. Going back to school has never been so rewarding…

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Julian Fleming

Julian is originally from Dublin, Ireland, now settled in Vancouver BC. His background is in journalism, and is a part of the BuildDirect’s communications team."