Homeowner’s Manual: Ceilings and Floors (Updated for 2021!)
Minor cracks may appear in the plaster from time to time, but they can be repaired easily. To repair, fill the crack(s) with spackling compound, smooth it with fine sandpaper, then redecorate the entire surface. To prevent cracks wider than a half an inch from reopening, apply the spackling compound, then cover the crack with a strip of fiberglass mesh made for this purpose. Next, cover the mesh with another thin layer of spackling compound and sand smooth. Finally, repaint or redecorate the repaired area. Note: Some cracks are not unusual and may not be structurally significant. If you are finding ceiling cracks greater than 1/8 of an inch, you should have a qualified structural engineer or other expert evaluate them. Normal shrinking will cause nails to pop from wallboard. Popped nails do not alter the strength of the ceiling and they can be left alone until you redecorate. They should then be reset, re-spackled, and repainted.
Floors are usually made of either concrete or wood but may be covered by a wide variety of materials.
Generally maintenance free, but they are susceptible to cracking under unusual conditions. A concrete sealer will make an unpainted concrete floor easier to keep clean. Unpainted concrete floors should be cleaned with a solution of 4 to 6 tablespoons of detergent to a gallon of hot water. First wet the floor with clear water. If necessary, scouring powder may be used in conjunction with the detergent solution. A stiff brush will help to loosen dirt. Rinse with clear water. Painted concrete floors can be cleaned with plain water or a mild soap or detergent solution.
Care for your carpet with regular vacuuming using a vacuum cleaner equipped with a beater bar and adjusted to the proper height. New carpet will shed somewhat the first few times it is vacuumed. Your carpet can easily be spot cleaned with a commercial rug-cleaning product. Follow manufacturer’s label and test a small area before you proceed with cleaning the entire area.
May contract or expand with weather changes. Normal maintenance should include regular vacuuming or dry mopping to remove surface dirt and dust. If your hardwood floor is excessively soiled, it can be cleaned with mineral spirits or commercial cleaners, some which leave a protective coat of wax as they clean. Do not use water to clean hardwood floors. Water sometimes causes the grain to swell, and prolonged use may cause cracks from the swelling and shrinkage of the wood. Protect the finish on wood floors by attaching furniture rests to the bottom of furniture legs. They also help to distribute the weight better.
Occasionally wipe resilient floors with a damp mop. For daily care, remove loose dirt with a broom, dust mop, or vacuum. Some vinyl floors are designed to never need waxing, but most of them retain their beauty better with the occasional application of polish designed for today’s “easy care” floors. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation.
Normally need only a wipe with a damp cloth or an occasional wet mopping to stay clean and new looking. If necessary, a more thorough cleaning with a detergent or ceramic tile cleaner will remove grime. To remove a particularly heavy accumulation of film from glazed tile, you may need a stiff brush and mild scouring powder. To clean joint between tiles, use a fiber brush and a mild cleaner. A special sealer for grout will make it more stain resistant.
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