Just this past weekend, while selecting grout for the new ceramic tile in my laundry room, I did a double take in the flooring aisle at Home Depot. The beautiful “hardwood” flooring didn’t seem to match the sign that clearly read Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring. What?! Really? Truth.
But even the most luxurious vinyl comes with somewhat of a challenge, as evidenced by today’s first reader question.
Dear Mary: We have just installed vinyl plank flooring in our home. Instructions say to use only non rubber-backed rugs and mats on it. Is there an anti-fatigue, non-rubber mat or rug out there that you recommend? Karen
Dear Karen: This past weekend I was looking at a new line of luxury vinyl plank flooring. Not only is it gorgeous and practical, it’s amazingly affordable. Vinyl flooring has come a long way. But the problem remains that petroleum-based products like rubber can, over time, permanently stain vinyl. On light colors that stain will be an ugly shade of yellow. On darker vinyl, over time, the stain may give a dark, shadowy appearance.
This Guardian Air Step Vinyl Anti-Fatigue Floor Mat may be a good option for you. These mats come in a variety of sizes and two color choices.
Another option would be to use rugs that have no rubber backing over thick felt rug pads. As long as the pad is heavy and slightly smaller than the rug itself, it should stay in place and provide a luxurious cushion for your feet and protection for your floor.
Dear Mary: A coworker had a programmable thermostat installed in her home. She says the temperature is always perfect and her utility bills are lower. Hers cost over $200, plus installation. Is it really worth it? Martha
Dear Martha: Programmable thermostats that control a home’s central heat and air conditioning can return many times their original cost in lower electricity bills. You can set your timer to turn off the AC about the time you leave for the day, and to turn back on a half hour before you get home. Contrary to popular belief, this does not use more electricity than having the AC constantly maintain a cool temperature; it uses less. In the winter you can program your heat similarly.
Programmable thermostats online or from your local home improvement store like the Lux Products TX100E 7-Day Programmable Thermostat start as low as $27 on the low end all the way up to the fabulous Nest Learning Thermostat, which is alike a brain for your HVAC system that interfaces with your smartphone (amazing!), at about $225.
All programmables come with installation instructions, but it’s a quick job for an electrician if you’re not comfortable doing the installation yourself.
Dear Mary: I’m a stay-at-home mom with a one and three year-old. Lately, I’ve been thinking about working from home to earn some extra money. How do I go about finding legitimate work? Beth
Dear Beth: Do you knit? Make jewelry? Sew? If so, there are lots of opportunities to sell handmade wares online. As a member of Etsy (etsy.com), you will have your own online store to showcase your items. It’s free to become an Etsy seller, but you will pay a fee of 20 cents to list an item with up to five photos for four months. When the item sells, you pay a 3.5 percent commission to Etsy. There is no limit to how much you can charge. What you earn in a month is based on how sought after your crafts are.
Question: Do you work from home? What company or interesting business idea should Beth consider? Share in the comments area here. (Please no solicitations for your downline.)