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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Summertime, and the Living is Easy

The lazy hazy days of summer are here. Temps in the 90's and pop up storms.  Swim team and ice cream. Life just takes on a whole different rhythm. And moms love it as much as the kids do.  But summer will blow by before you know it--the first day of school is fast approaching!

So, what are some of the things you could (and should) do to make summertime last a little longer, and taste a little sweeter?

First, plan your meals around what is so abundant over the summer! Gorgeous tomatoes, green beans, corn, yellow squash, peaches, and blackberries- YUM!  Plan an outing with the kids to a U-Pik-Em place. There are many within an easy drive of where you live, in pretty much any direction. If your kids have a part in picking the veggies and planning and prepping the meal, they will be much more open to eating something they otherwise would decline. And it's a day in the sunshine without electronics. Win/ win.

Planning meals in the summer is easier because there's no homework, no band practice, just less demands on our time in general. My routine especially this time of year, is to make a list once a week of 6 meal ideas- real basic, like "salmon, rice, fresh green beans" and then check the list every morning, and decide which works best for that day. No hard and fast rules. I have a structure, I've done whatever shopping needs to be done, and then after I make that meal, I cross it off. This helps, too, I find to actually use what's in the fridge. I discover those old tired overlooked squash less often, because I have made myself a list that includes them, and then followed up on the list. Really, no reason this wouldn't work all year!

Dinner doesn't necessarily mean you have to "cook" either. Plan a great cold soup- we love both gazpacho and borscht- and a loaf of fresh sourdough- great way to end the day! Or a gigantic salad- I make these huge salads I call "everything but the kitchen sink". Recently I was reading a recipe for something called a Buddha Bowl, and I realized I've been making super-duper Buddha Bowls for years!   Greens, beans, cheese, nuts, something crunchy, some sort of meat if you want, and even a little fruit- some diced peach or blueberries- and then a little something to moisten- a little vinaigrette, or just some honey, or lime juice, DELICIOUS! And light, not heavy, but healthy and filling. Best part, the kitchen stayed cool, and only a salad bowl and a cutting board to wash up!

See the beautiful kitchen here? Want yours to look like that? Enhance Floors & More can help! We have had a flurry of kitchen remodels this year, and we are loving it- so fun, and creative, and it is so rewarding to see our customers in a new space that we helped them bring into reality. If your kitchen needs a makeover- big or small- come in and bring us some pictures and your wish list, and see what we can do!

What's Trending?
It is TILE! People are learning that tile is a great alternative for floors! Easy to care for, cool underfoot, and with beautiful visuals. We are installing lots of wood-look tile, and we have a lot to choose from, greys to browns to chestnuts to ebonies.

Tile in the kitchen, tile in the bathrooms, tile in the laundry room. And we recently installed a wood-look tile in the doggy room for a customer. It coordinates beautifully with the wood in her adjoining rooms. She has multiple dogs and wanted the easy care of tile floors. Aren't they great?

We also carry a huge selection of wood look vinyls. These are not your mama's vinyl! Vinyl floors are so realistic looking, and so practical. We are installing them in kitchens, basements, playrooms, and family rooms.

The colors that are selling these days are cooler-tones no reds, no yellows. Pretty mid-browns and grays. Dark floors are becoming less popular, as busy moms and dads are learning that they demand a bit more upkeep than a medium color. But if you love dark floors, and don't mind dust-mopping frequently, buy what you love!

What Comes First?
We are frequently asked this question when we are doing a kitchen remodel for customers:  Which should be installed first- my cabinets, or my floors?

While it is fine to install cabinets on top of glued down or nailed down wood floors, we still usually recommend cabinets first, then floors. Why? Well, for one thing, you will have to purchase less wood for the floors that way! Also, if you are having solid wood or tile with a cement backerboard, it will change the height of the cabinets if you install on top of the new floor.

Cabinets absolutely should not be installed on top of "floating" floors, laminate, wood, or luxury vinyl, as these floors need to be able to slightly shift and expand from time to time, and cabinets will hinder that.

Let us help you pick out your new floors and answer any other flooring questions you have! We are here 7 days a week, and we love making your home look beautiful!

School Bells Will Be Ringing Soon

Yes, school starts early these days.  The trend is more frequent breaks during the school year, resulting in a shorter summer holiday.  School is back in session in Cobb and Cherokee Counties on Wednesday August 1. Fulton County commences on Monday August 6.  

Unfortunately, some families need help getting ready.  Here's what you can do so that all children start school with all the supplies they need to succeed.  Purchase items like:
--new book bags 
-- 3 ring binders
-- colored pencils

-- college and wide-ruled paper

-- rulers
-- highlighters

There also prepackaged supplies at office supply and grocery stores. Kroger is taking donations from July 15-28 and WSB-TV is sponsoring Stuff the Bus on Saturday July 21 from 10 to 3.  Here's the link for the locations for Stuff the Bus:  Please contribute what you can!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

How Much Does It Cost?

One of the very first steps in shopping for new flooring is deciding what TYPE of product you should be considering.  Not the style or the color. Not the texture or finish. Not even what price range. The very basic starting point----do you want soft carpet for your family room?  Or super durable porcelain tile?  Or shiny elegant hardwood floors?

Sometimes knowing the price of different flooring options makes the choice easier.  And there is certainly a wide range of prices based on the type of floor you select. As an example, let's assume you have a 400 square feet family room that is currently carpeted, and that you are on a wooden subfloor (i.e., over a basement or crawl space.) If you were to choose a medium-priced product, your typical professionally installed price for each type of flooring is approximately:

Carpet                  $2000
Laminate              $2800
Luxury Vinyl Plank $3000
Hardwoods 3/4"    $4000
Tile                      $5200

The type of flooring makes a difference on your budget, doesn't it? Of course, there are many other things to consider, for instance, the average person replaces their carpet every nine years.  So, if you are in your home for twenty years, you will replace your carpet at least once, maybe twice.  But you will almost certainly have the same wood floor for twenty years.  Over time, the higher priced options tend to pay for themselves because of the longevity of the product. However, this doesn't necessarily make you feel better when you write that initial check to pay for it!

Up Up and Away
While on the subject of prices: if you are planning on adding new hardwood flooring to your home this fall, you need to be aware that we already have notices of price increases from many manufacturers effective over the next 30 days.  Demand is up, and materials are in limited supply.  These increases are averaging around 6% or more. 

Maybe you don't want to have your new floors installed until after the kids are back in school. No worries, you can purchase now to lock in your price and Enhance Floors will warehouse your product until you are ready for installation in August or September.

July Best Buys 
We are all about saving you money.  Here's a quick list of what you need to be stocking up on in July:

~~Clothing--Look for 4th of July sales and 50% off specials at your favorite stores.  If you're willing to stock up on some heavier denim and khaki for fall, jeans will sometimes be available for as little as $10.  Even summer clothes will see good discounts.  July is the midway point for the retail season, so stores are already starting to clear out the inventory for fall.

~~Outdoor Gear-- Bikes, biking gear and apparel will be on sale, plus you'll see good deals on camping and fishing equipment.

~~House Paint-- Too hot to work outside?  That's exactly why stores will be discounting house paint, as it just sits on their shelves while homeowners wait for cooler weather.  That means if you plan ahead, you can save.  And don't worry about the paint spoiling-- it can last for ten years unopened, so it will definitely be fine this fall.

~~Computer Games-- For a title from the last year or two, you can probably hope for a discount between 20% and 50% off.  Meanwhile, older hits can reliably be expected to drop to 75% off or more at some point during any major sale, and a few titles have dipped to as low as 95% off.

~~Christmas in July-- Marking the halfway point to the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, stores have increasingly tried to bring a bit of the holiday to summer.  Watch for this type of sale, plus the ever-popular Black Friday sale at your favorite retailers for big savings on a wide variety of products.

And 2 things to avoid:
~~ Laptops-- With some college students headed to campus in just a few weeks, it's true that back-to-school sales heat up this month.  However, data shows that laptop deals are much better in August-- prices consistently drop as much as 25% further.

~~Grills-- Sorry, but it's not a good time to buy a grill! You probably want to buy one for the 4th of July, but so does everyone else, which is why stores will offer minor discounts at best. Wait one more month for prices that will be 40% less than at the beginning of summer.

When You Just Can't Deal With It Anymore

We all do it.  We open that closet in the hall or junk drawer and can't believe how much stuff is crammed in there. TODAY is the day we are going to get organized!

Here are a few ideas to help you tame that closet or "catch all" room in the basement.  These tips are sure to help you detect and use overlooked corners and surfaces, especially for hard-to-store items.

The over-the-door shoe caddy
The inside of doors - the surface you see when you're inside the room - are blank slates for storing small unbreakable items. An uncannily useful piece of gear is the inexpensive over-the-door shoe caddy, which is a hanging panel of small pockets.

While it's smart to avoid heavy and breakable items on a moving surface like a door, these caddies can corral a multitude of small things in nearly every room. 
In the bathroom: Store cotton swabs, specialty combs, cotton balls, specialty towels, facecloths, unopened toiletries such as toothbrushes and razors.

In the hobby or craft room: Store interfacing, patterns, rolls of binding, skeins of yarn, bags of floss, packets of needles and small quilting templates and tools.

On the back of a pantry door: Store rags, clean towels, plastic grocery bags, specialty cleaning cloths like silver polishing cloths, new sponges, rolled-up placemats, folded cloth napkins,

On the back of a laundry or utility room door: Store folded clean microfiber floor-mopping pads; feather dusters, dust cloths, mini-blind cleaners, boxes of dryer sheets; specialty ironing supplies such as press cloths.

On the back of a coat closet door: Store gloves, mittens, earmuffs, small scarves, and winter socks.

Slivers of space in the bathroom
Declutter the medicine cabinet by finding a new home for small or rarely used items.

Slip ring-and-clip curtain rings onto the shower rod and hang small bottles of specialty products, such as shaving cream, inside the shower.

Install slide-out drawers beneath the bathroom sink to easily access cleaning and paper supplies.

Install plastic hooks inside the vanity doors and hang rarely used appliances and tools, like specialty brushes and curling irons.

Install inexpensive wire spice racks inside the vanity door and store bandages and first-aid supplies.

More space in the kitchen 
Kitchen gear can overwhelm counters and drawers. Move some of the clutter out of sight to simplify work surfaces.

Install a wall-mounted paper towel holder inside the sink cabinet and use it for rolls of trash bags.

Create note-boards inside kitchen cabinets by sticking on magnetic strips to hold pens and clips for grocery lists and freezer inventories.

To free up the junk drawer for more kitchen gear, attach magnetic strips to the insides of several cabinet doors and use small clips and bins to hold keys, markers, tape, and other useful items.

Use rollout shelves under the sink to store cleaning supplies.

Mount small bars on the exposed sides of cabinets and hang tools from the bars.

Hang it up
A rod and a hook: This simple combination can transform closets, garage and basement space. For the bars, use tension rods (as for curtains or shower curtain); inexpensive towel bars; or storage rods supported with hooks.

For the hooks, use S hooks from the hardware store; shower curtain rings; or clips.

Things to hang from utility hooks on garage or basement walls: Wreaths, umbrellas, brooms, mops, rakes, loops of holiday lights.

Things to hang from S hooks or shower curtain rings in clothes closets: Daily lingerie, tank tops, bathing suits, belts, scarves, lightweight purses and totes.

Things to hang from S hooks in the laundry room: Lingerie (by straps), hose, yoga wear - all items that should air-dry.

Book it with custom shelves
Books and decorative items add warmth and style to rooms but can quickly overwhelm. Here are three ways to merge in more shelf space for functionality and fun.

Build in bookshelves overhead: Run a single shelf around the perimeter of a room, eight to 10 inches below the ceiling. Make sure it is sturdy enough to hold books. Make sure that only unbreakable, light things are above doors, just in case an item falls when a door slams.

Triangular shelves set in corners of hallways and entryways can hold an astonishing number of things: keys, mail, lists, sunglasses, gloves, hats.

Install a shelf above the bathroom door, inside the bathroom, to hold towels.

Corral toys

Toys are only fun when you play with them, which is why they are always underfoot. Use these techniques for quick pick-up.Use large plastic picnic tablecloths (from the dollar store) as play mats. Kids can scatter Legos, blocks or puzzles across the mats; when it's time to clean up, pick up the corners of the tablecloth, folding the little pieces inside, and drop the whole thing in a plastic bin.

Store library and borrowed books in book bags that belong on the coat closet door knob; it will be easier to remember them when it's time to return them.

Lay old open-wire CD racks on their sides to organize children's picture books.

Craft creative storage
Craft and creative inventories need to be clean, easy to find and ready to use when inspiration strikes. These tactics open the way for crafting success.

Stack spools of ribbon on an inexpensive freestanding paper towel holder.

If you need to store fabric in bins where it's hard to see and access, create a quick-reference swatch notebook. Staple a swatch of each fabric to pages of the notebook and jot down how much of each fabric you have. Take this with you when you shop - so you can buy complementary fabric or yarn and won't buy more of what you already own.

Hang a tension rod in your craft closet and use S hooks or shower curtain rings to store clear ziplock bags of fragile

supplies, such as bead making wire and beads, templates and patterns, and specialty rulers.

Pick up a wine rack at a thrift or dollar store. Nestle found and repurposed containers into the rack and use them to sort and store buttons, beads, notions, markers, stickers, tools and other crafting and sewing supplies and tools.

Design Tip
Hanging a flag or two for the 4th? Here are a few rules of proper flag etiquette:

Custom says you display the flag from sunrise to sunset. Alternatively, you can illuminate the flag and leave it up all night, but it should be taken down in inclement weather.
When hanging an American flag from a staff projecting horizontally or at an angle from the window sill, balcony, or front of a building, the union (rectangle with the stars) of the flag should be at the peak of the staff.
When the flag is displayed rather than flown from a staff, it should be displayed flat, and the union should be uppermost and to the observer's left.

Bunting of the blue, white and red should be used, never the flag. There are rules of etiquette for displaying bunting, like the blue stripe should be on top.

The flag should never touch anything below it, like the ground or floor indoors

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Don't forget your sunscreen!

Summer is here, school is out, traffic is lighter, and we can all relax just a little bit in general. We love our summertime-- fewer alarm clocks ringing, more casual get togethers, hanging out at the pool with the kids, and longer hours of sunshine. Who can argue with all the wonderful things that sun and summer bring to our lives? Except mosquitoes. Nobody likes mosquitoes.

And for all the fun and comfort that sun brings us, it also can do some damage. We've known for years now that we need to protect our skin from too much exposure to the sun, and even the most devoted sun worshippers apply sunscreen at the beach or the pool. But did you ever think that you need to protect your floors from sun damage?
Damage is actually not the right word, it is really sun "reaction." The sun will change the color of your wood floors slowly but surely. How it will be discolored depends on the wood. Some woods bleach out light, and other woods darken from exposure. Some change quickly, others more slowly.  A few will become richer and bolder, and others will look dull.

The real bad guy in the process is UV light, or Ultraviolet Sun Rays. UV light releases free radicals in the wood, which allows photochemical oxidation to begin. The rate of the color change of the wood depends on the species and a few other factors. Including the temperature (too much heat will accelerate the oxidation) and moisture. Certain coatings will also change color over time, sometimes becoming milky white.

Direct sunlight can also permanently discolor carpet and vinyl flooring.  The heat that goes along with intense sunlight can cause the edges of LVP/LVT to curl.  Tile and porcelain is probably the only floor covering that the sun will not damage. So, how can you protect your beautiful new floors? Sunscreen is out of the question, so let's review some other steps you can take that will help:

~~Use window coverings. As much as we all enjoy letting the light in and allowing our furry friends to bask in those golden rays of sun, the very best protection for your floors is to not be exposed to direct sunshine. So, pull those drapes shut or let down those blinds, at least for the sunniest part of the day. This is a good time to mention that we are a Hunter Douglas Window fashion dealer. Call Robin, our certified Hunter Douglas consultant, and come in to talk with her about getting Hunter Douglas blinds,shades, or honeycombs installed to protect those floors. 

Depending on the shade you pick for Ultraviolet (UV) protection, you can block up to 88% of harmful UV rays with vanes open and 99% with vanes closed and also reflect the solar heat. The correct window treatments transform harsh sunlight into beautiful natural daylight by diffusing the light into the room, all while preserving the outside views and offering daytime privacy. Some window coverings also reflect the sun's heat, helping to keep inside temperatures comfortable.

You can also add Hunter Douglas elite operating systems, with PowerView® and the PowerView® App, to quickly create customized Scenes that control all the shades in your home to operate together or in any combination you desire. You can move your shades based on a time of day, your location, or movements of the sun, optimizing your home's energy efficiency. Use the RemoteConnect™ feature on your smartphone or tablet to adjust your shades so your floors are protected even when you are not there.

~~Have UV blocking film applied to your windows and glass doors. This is not a cheap process when done by a professional, but it certainly beats the expense of new wood floors, and is a lot less messy than having your floors sanded and refinished. Doing this may also help bring down the cost of your air conditioning, so that is another plus.

~~Move furniture and rugs around. This is not a total fix, but it will reduce the extreme effects of the sun hitting just one spot repeatedly. And take the opportunity to freshen up your look! We also have wonderful area rugs in stock and by special order. We carry Karastan, Nourison, and Dalyn area rugs, as well as a few custom rugs for sale. Any carpet in the store can be made into an area rug, so there are literally thousands of choices. Change it out with the seasons! Have a special one made for the Holidays!

We carry outdoor rugs as well. This is the perfect time of year to be outside enjoying your patio or deck, before it gets too hot. And what better way to make that outdoor space feel like a room than to give it a beautiful rug? Come and check out our great selection of outdoor (fine for the inside, too!) rugs.  
Now spend some time out of doors, relaxing with the kids or with a glass of wine, enjoying simple pleasures. Eat some watermelon, then bring out the sprinkler and play in it. Find a dry spot and plop down and read a good book. When I was small, the local library had reading contests in the summer. I still remember the pleasure of seeing my name there with the stars beside it.  Look for fireflies (lightning bugs) or meteors at night. We stop being young when we stop being young at heart. Stay young!

And you live in Metro Atlanta---there are a million things to do here all summer!  There are movies under the stars and outdoor concerts. There's every kind of festival. You name something, and we've got a festival for that! There's a Butterfly Festival, an Ice Cream Festival, a Beer Festival, a BBQ Festival. And all kinds of Arts Festivals! And Farmer's Markets all over the place. If you plan correctly you will never need to cook a meal all summer, between the festivals and the markets.

And speaking of free food, come to Enhance on Tuesday, July 10 from 4 PM until 7 PM to enjoy a dinner on us! This year, we've hired a Food Truck to come and serve hot dogs, and we'll also have drinks, chips, and dessert. There will be reps here to tell you about new products and answer questions, and there will of course be prizes. So, plan to join us--one less meal to cook!

Enjoy your summer, enjoy your loved ones, and enjoy your beautiful floors. However you do it, do take the time to protect your flooring investment, and you should be able to enjoy your floors for many many years.

How Much Does It Cost?
Hunter Douglas® window coverings (based on an average 48" x 60" window) start around $199 per window with a 3 window minimum - this is for your traditional metal or wood blinds. The top of the line Hunter Douglas® window covering is around $1,050 per average sized window for Silhoutte® window shadings, Luminette® privacy sheers or Duette® honeycomb shades. These give you more UV protection than  traditional window coverings. You can also go high tech by adding the PowerView® Motorized Operating System at $399 per window. Then use the app and you can program your window coverings opening and closing remotely, even when you are far away.  Of course, there are many style and price options "in between" to fit your lifestyle and your needs.

Design Tip
Looking for a theme for your outdoor room?  Everybody's doing nautical/beachy and you want something different?  Go tropical! Use bright colors like blue, pink, salmon and green, teamed with gold to embrace this happy trend. Tropical works well both inside and out. Layer different colored linen tablecloths and use darker shades for the tableware. Choose tropical leaf print cushions to add a decorative touch. Tropical prints really create that summer party mood, and this season there are some brilliantly bold ones to choose from. Palm motifs are always popular as well as brightly colored bird patterns. Gauzy curtains, teak and bamboo, pineapples, and huge pillar candles complete the look. Elephant ear green plants add privacy. I bet you are already feeling transported!

I Was FLOORED By Enhance

We recently installed new hardwood floors for Karen in Marietta.  She tells us:
Image result for kitchen hardwoods
"Enhance Floors was fantastic. They did a kitchen, a family room, and a hallway. They did preparation work like you wouldn't believe, and they did a phenomenal job putting it together. I had an extremely positive experience. They're an A+."
Thank you, Karen! Be sure you have the right window coverings to protect those beautiful maple floors!  Let us know if we can help you with rugs and/or Hunter Douglas sunshades.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Going Up or Coming Down?

Let's talk about your staircase.  Staircases are something that are so much a part of our homes that we take for granted. They're there, most of us use them every day, but we don't really know "what makes 'em work."

There are a surprising number of components to a staircase. Here are some of the most used parts, the name they are known by, and what role they play in the whole:

Baluster- the vertical post that fits between the handrail and either the tread or the base rails

Balustrade- The whole baluster and rail system

Cove Molding-The decorative strip that is attached under the stairnosing, which covers the joint between the riser and the tread

Handrail- the horizontal piece of the balustrade system, sits on top of the balusters and is supported by newel posts

Newel- The major support post for the balustrade system, located at the bottom and top of the staircase,  and at turns and critical support areas

Nosing- the edge of the tread that projects beyond the adjoining riser

Riser- The board that forms the vertical part of each step

Rosette- The round or oblong piece that attaches the handrail to the wall

Skirtboard- the usually decorative trim piece that fits along either side of the stairs along the wall, or the "baseboard" of the staircase

Stringer- the framework upon which the stair structure rests, usually two pieces

Tread- the horizontal portion of each step, the part that is walked on

And here's the bonus stair trivia- that space under the stairs (where most of us have a coat closet) actually has a name! It is the spandrel.

Stairs are functional, that is why they exist. Yet since most stairs are at or near our front door (sometimes the first thing one sees when they walk in), we need for them to be pretty. Stairs can be carpeted, wood, or a combination of these- stained wood with a runner.

There are a couple of good reasons to have carpet or a runner on the stairs. First, especially if you have children in the house, having the stairs covered will cut back on the noise. Nothing says teenage boy like the noise they make thundering up or down the stairs. And while wood stairs are beautiful, we feel that a covering of some sort makes them safer as well. For dogs, for children, and especially for older adults, a slip on the stairs can be tragic. A runner is a nice compromise that is safe and beautiful. Runners can be made from any carpet that we sell here in the store. Some of our patterned carpets make especially great looking runners. As a rule of thumb, a runner should cover 80 to 90% of the stair tread. Runners made from carpet can be serged or bound. Serged is somewhat like a blanket stitch, sewed around the cut edge. Bound means a piece of material (usually fabric) is sewn on to the carpet forming a new finished edge.

We do also carry an extensive selection of premade runners
from Karastan and from Stanton. They are all beautiful and easy to care for, while making a real decorating statement in your home. Some are traditional, but there is a good selection for more contemporary tastes as well.

As well as runners, we also carry a huge assortment of choices for new balusters and handrails, from simple and traditional, to much more detailed and "out there." wood, which can be painted or stained, or wrought iron, available in many finishes.

Consider coming to the store and let us show you how we can completely change the look of your staircase. We can sand and stain the treads, replace your balusters, newels, and handrails, and create a beautiful new runner for you!  And appreciate your stairs- they work for you every day!

Design Tip
Don't forget about the lighting.  The most beautifully designed staircase will not be noticed and is not safe when there is poor lighting. Many staircases are located in the center of the home, away from main windows. And if you have a back staircase and/or a staircase to your basement, chances are it has no natural lighting whatsoever.  Use artificial lighting to turn your staircase into even more of a feature and choose chandeliers and other light fixtures that offer enhanced visibility on your staircase.

How Much Does It Cost?
A typical staircase with new treads and risers will cost around $2100. A staircase (13 steps) with all new balusters will average between $1300 and $1800. A staircase TOTALLY redone (new treads and risers, new balusters, handrails, and newel posts-not including new carpet) usually costs around $5000--$8000. Adding a carpet runner will range between $600 and $2000, depending upon the cost of the carpet chosen and the details of the installation.

I Was FLOORED By Enhance
Jenny in Canton writes "Enhance Floors did incredible work. They were very courteous and kind, and they were very thorough. I think they did an excellent job. They put in wood floors and a new staircase. They're tremendous, easygoing people. I've already recommended them to others."

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

This Floor Lasts Forever!

Tile is the workhorse of flooring.  It is durable in even the heaviest traffic, virtually stain proof, and beautiful---all at the same time. It is tough and resilient, even though it looks delicate. And treated right, it will support you through anything.

Tile has been around for thousands of years. There is a great deal of it still intact in the remains of ancient construction, the earliest known from the 2nd Century- that's a super tough floor!

Tile is inhospitable to mites, mold, germs, and bacteria, and keeps its good looks through anything that bad little kids and their dirty dogs can drag through the house. Tile floors are simply the most pet friendly floors possible, as well as being hypo allergenic. They are more expensive to purchase and install, but the most cost effective over time, as they last indefinitely. Broken down in a time study, tile costs four times less, over twenty-five years, than carpet and half as much as wood!

There is a difference between ceramic and porcelain, but to most homeowners, the difference should not steer their decision about which to buy. Ceramic is less expensive, and suitable for almost all our residential uses here in Georgia. The only exception is outdoor use. Because porcelain is made from a more refined clay, it is denser than ceramic, and fired at higher temperatures. It can thus be used outside, where it will be more exposed to the elements, and possibly freeze. Ceramic cannot be used outside, because it would absorb water and crack.

Tile is easier to clean and maintain than any other flooring. It is impervious to water, so is especially well suited to use in areas that tend to get wet- kitchens, mudrooms, bathrooms, and foyers. It is more expensive to install, as it demands a more perfect subfloor than other flooring, and must be installed exactly flat and level.

If environmental issues are a priority for you, tile is great. Most tile producing factories are now "closed loop" meaning they reuse their water and scrap materials, so there is minimal effect on the environment. Tile is stain proof, almost impossible to scratch, and super-easy to clean. We recommend one of the new single component grouts, specifically we use Fusion Pro grout, because they do not mold or mildew, do not stain or absorb odors, and do not have to be sealed.

Tile can be laid in a myriad of different patterns. Google tile patterns and you will see dozens and dozens.  There is regular grid, brick, diagonal, herringbone, Versailles, and variations on all of these. You can choose a more subtle tile, and then install in a more complex pattern to add visual interest.

Of course, there are negatives to tile. It is more expensive to install. It feels colder on bare feet, but can also be installed with a radiant heat system. It can be harder to stand on for extended periods (there are anti-fatigue mats that will help.)  And if you are planning to put it on the bathroom floor, you will need to look for one with a higher slip coefficient.

Tile now comes in so many beautiful looks. Lately we have been installing a lot that looks like wood, and we have lots of wood look tiles to choose from.  There is also a strong trend towards Carrara marble looks- we have plenty of those too. Really large format tiles (24" x 24", 30" x 30") are gaining in popularity- more tile, less grout! Come in and let us show you some of the beautiful new styles, shapes and colors of tile available.

Design Tip
There's a reason tile is often the material of choice in the bathroom: it reflects light, it's durable, it's easy to clean and makes the space look polished.  Keep in mind that the grout between tiles can become  grimy if it's not cleaned properly, and regular maintenance is important in preserving an aesthetic that looks fresh and not grungy.

More clients are installing tile on their bathroom walls, not just in the shower.  Floor-to-ceiling installations on at least one wall are trending, in lieu of painting. If that is too big a commitment to tile for you, consider using tile to create pseudo-wainscoting and paint the top half of the wall the color of your choice.

It's good to think about resale value when updating your bathroom. You want your tile selection to be timeless and clean, and to not turn off potential buyers. White, off white, and grey are the most popular tile colors for bathrooms year after year.  Add pops of color with paint, towels, and accessories. That said, your powder room is a space that all of your guests will likely see at some point; so, if you want to make a statement, this is the place to do it.

How Much Does It Cost?
We recently installed tile on the floor of a guest bath for $1200.  This includes removing the existing ceramic tile, 44 square feet of new tile installed with Fusion stain resistant grout, removing and reseating the toilet, and new baseboards and shoemold.

I Was FLOORED By Enhance
Tom in Marietta writes that Enhance recently replaced the tile in his master bath and the guest bath. He adds that we "ripped out the old shower in the master bathroom and installed a new tile shower with all new hardware and glass surrounding it on two sides because it's in the corner. And then they put tile on one wall and that was all master bath, and then guest bath tile flooring and then tile up above the shower and tub. I like that the owner of the company comes out to do the estimate himself, and he's just a really nice, easy guy to deal with-Don Stubbs."  We really enjoyed working with Tom and his wife and know that they are loving their new bathrooms!