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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Summer's A Great Time To

School's Out for Summer! Well, almost
Are you counting down the days? Who is wishing harder for the end of the school year: students, teachers, or parents???
Either way, summertime will soon be here, and life will take on a more relaxed pace. We'll all take it easy, spend time at the pool, or sleep in a little later, or plan a trip somewhere fun. And BOOM! The summer will be over and we'll be talking about the three R's again.
But, while you have some downtime this summer, you may want to take advantage of the freedom to have some work done on the house: sanding and staining your current wood floors while you are on vacation, updating that staircase, new carpet, or possibly even remodeling a bathroom. Enhance Floors is booking appointments now for June, so don't delay- let's get started!
Sale! Sale! Sale!
We currently have a great sale on Mohawk wood, laminate, tile and carpeting, in addition to some wonderful introductory pricing from Versini hardwoods and Neptune waterproof luxury vinyl. In our newly remodeled Bathroom Gallery, Interceramic and Daltile both have brought in some wonderful new tiles that we are able to promote at special prices this month.
Unfortunately, manufacturers have notified us that the summer will bring price increases, so come in now and lock in your carpet, tile, or wood at today's pricing.

Wood 101
We have customers come in every day asking about "wood laminate". We know that all the different flooring materials can be confusing, so here are the Cliffnotes on solid wood, engineered wood, and laminate:

 ~~Solid wood is just that-- a solid plank of wood. Usually 3/4" thick, plank widths vary from 2 ¼" up to 5" and wider.
~~Engineered wood is ALL wood, but is several thin layers compressed to make a plank. There are different qualities of engineered wood available, mostly determined by the "wear layer" or top piece of wood, the one you actually see. Plank widths vary from 3" up to 8" or more.
~~Laminate is not wood. It is composed of MDF(Medium-Density Fiberboard- a product made by breaking down wood residuals, combining it with wax and a resin binder, and formed by applying high temperature and pressure) or HDF core onto which a digital photograph is then laminated.  A clear super tough top coat is added for durability and scratch resistance.
You can have us install pre-finished wood floors, which means that the planks have already been stained and finished with polyurethane, including an aluminum oxide coat, and will look like the sample you see in our showroom. There is limited "down time" with a prefinished installation.  Or you may opt for a site-finished wood floor, which means we deliver the raw planks to your home, install them, sand them on-site, and then stain them to the color of your choice.  Multiple coats of polyurethane are then applied over the next few days, again, in your home.
All of these products have their own specific advantages and disadvantages and best uses. Come in and let us help you decide which one best fits your needs.
Monogram Your Floor
Did you know? One of our prefinished wood suppliers will actually personalize your floor! HomerWood aspires to make every floor a work of art that's sure to make a statement. There's no better way to achieve this than by giving consumers the option to add a more personal touch to their floor. Homeowners that order a minimum of 250 sq. ft. are able to request a custom engraved plank to be installed with their floor, free of charge!
What Will You Win?
You already know that we have a new Bath and Shower Gallery. Here's what you don't know: We'll be hosting an event in June to show it off! Another fun Enhance event, with games and prizes, lots of reps on hand to answer your questions, and we'll be lighting up the grill and serving food and adult beverages! Look for an email coming your way soon with the date and details.  See you in June!
How Much Does It Cost?
Luxury vinyl is a practical choice for active families that is also beautiful.  Some of the premium collections offer such realistic hardwood and tile visuals that you will not know it's not real wood or stone.  We just installed Mannington Adura Max in a large kitchen with breakfast area, family room, foyer, and dining room (over 1200 square feet) for a little over $9000.  This included new shoemold, transitions, and moving all the furniture. 


This is a floor that will look great for years and years.  Adura Max features a waterproof core, premium Ultra-Quiet attached pad for superior sound reduction and greater comfort underfoot, and patented ScratchResist with aluminum oxide surface protection.  Adura Max offers the industry's best wear, scratch and stain resistance and is backed with a stress-free limited, lifetime residential and 10-year light commercial warranty against wear through, staining, fading, delamination and joint separation.

Design Tip
To make a room feel larger, use a round rug on the floor.
I Was FLOORED By Enhance
From LuAnn in Canton:
"It was great work. The guys who put the carpet in were very accommodating. They were clean and really nice to work with, and they did an excellent job. They put carpet in the whole upstairs. They took carpet out and put carpet in. We were very pleased with them. We'd recommend them one hundred and fifty percent. I'd give them an A+."

Friday, May 5, 2017

What's Hot? What's New?

We have been hard at work over the past couple of months. The  Design Center has been updated and remodeled, it's ready and it's beautiful!  We can't wait to show you what is new.  Here's a sneak-a-peak until you can stop by and see it for yourself:
 
Bathroom remodeling is BIG right now, and promises to continue being one of the most popular and investment-worthy home updates. In accordance, we have "enhanced" our bathroom showroom and design area. With beautiful new tile displays from Daltile and Interceramic, the design variations are almost infinite. Come and see the beautiful marble looks, the elegant freestanding tub, the vinyl wall, and the curbless shower. You'll leave with wonderful visions for your own new bathroom!
 
We have also introduced a new rug line into our Rug Shoppe. Nourison is an elegant rug and broadloom line reknowned for their customizations of almost any shape and size. Their looks are sumptuous, with embossing, carving, and hand finishing. So many choices- we are in love!
 
New wood floor introductions include Versini, a traditional look with engineered woods, and Azalea Lane, a line that features diversity and has a budget friendly focus. Mohawk Woods also has brought some new looks to us: Vintage Vintique features natural variations and character, evoking an old world look and feel. Modern Vision is an all oak line with dense, open grain looks.
 
A booming area in floor coverings is Luxury Vinyl. We carry several brands of luxury vinyl, and have recently expanded our selections in response to the demand for this versatile and beautiful performer.

In addition to Armstrong Vivero and Luxe Plank,  Floorte',  Palmetto Road Tidewater, and US Floors CoreTec, we now feature Mannington AduraMax, Mohawk SolidTech, and Neptune Rigid Core. Most of these lines are Waterproof- yes Water PROOF! and so make an excellent choice for various installations- the basement, the kitchen, the mud room, the pool house. Come in and see what the excitement is all about.
 
How Much Does It Cost?
Confession time:  we don't usually write about our high-end products, because we don't want you to think all floors are very expensive, because they aren't.  But Chalmers is one of the prettiest and most unique wood floors in our Design Center, and we all know that sometimes something is exactly what we want, we can afford it, and it makes us happy!
 
Chalmers by Palmetto Road is a gorgeous collection of custom-crafted wide plank French Oak and Hickory hardwood floors, filled with character, every board unique.  But what makes this floor really beautiful is the dual staining process:  one stain color applied to (and enlivening) the wood grain and the second tone lying underneath. Each shade stays true, never mixing, eternally
unique in clarity, transparency and hue, yet complementing one another to produce a
 stunning visual effect.
 
Our client chose Hickory Ginger, ½" thick and 6 ½" wide, installed in the Family Room, Living Room, Dining Room, Hall and Foyer.  750 square feet installed for $9100.  This includes removal of parquet flooring, carpet and pad, moving furniture and a piano, new shoemold, and floor prep.  The floor really complemented their home and décor, and is a truly beautiful installation.
 
Design Tip
Every space should have a little moment of unexpected.  A moment of weird, if you will, to keep people on their toes, and add another layer of interest.  It could be an unexpected family memento framed on the wall, or an odd sculpture that speaks to you on the bookshelf.  It doesn't have to be much, but it should be interesting and tell its own story.
 
I Was FLOORED By Enhance
Annette is Mableton tells us:
"I'm very happy with Enhance Floors. I just can't rave about them enough. They were fantastic to work with, and they had a very nice selection of materials. Their workmanship was really, really nice. They laid my carpeting and did the tile in my bathroom. I would definitely recommend them, 100 percent. They were wonderful. A+."

Friday, April 7, 2017

April Showers Bring A New Bathroom?

April Showers
Enhance Floors and More is preparing to introduce our newly created Bath and Shower Gallery.
 
In response to the recent overwhelming number of requests for Bathroom remodels, we have upped our bathroom display game, and will soon be opening to the public, for the first time, our Bath and Shower Gallery.
 
We will be showing off new ideas in bathroom aesthetics, including new and updated tile displays, a freestanding tub, a multi-showerhead unit with running water so that you can experience different showerheads, and some ideas for creating an aging-in-place bathroom.
 
Each Enhance Design Consultant was given a different section of the space to design, and we have all had fun bringing our ideas together and helping to make the different sections work well as a unit.
 
Our Tile and Stone Vendors, including Interceramic, Mohawk, Daltile, and Happy Floors, have been enthusiastic participants in the refurbished gallery, and we are showing off some new floors as well, including a gorgeous faux marble and a cork floor from US Floors.
 
We plan to reveal our "bathroom remodel" in April- with a Shower-what else? so stay in touch and we'll be announcing the exact "due date" soon!
 
Let There Be Light
In other remodeling news, there are some very quick and easy ways to freshen up a room. The absolute easiest: new lighting! Lighting can be changed as easily as placing a new lamp or even relocating existing lamps to new places. There are four basic lighting types: Task lighting, accent lighting, decorative lighting, and ambient lighting.  Task lighting, obviously, is for specific work or activity: cooking, homework, personal grooming. Accent lighting is lighting that draws the eye to an item or place, such as artwork or an architectural feature. Ambient lighting is general lighting, that fills an entire space overall. Decorative can fall into any of these groups, and fills two purposes. A chandelier, for instance, is decorative lighting and ambient lighting.
 
You always want to layer light in a room, and avoid over-lighting and glare. When you are planning lighting for a room, remember to take into account the natural light the room will receive, and plan lighting for day and night use, as needed. Mirrors are an efficient and beautiful way to increase the benefit of natural and manufactured light, by bouncing the light and multiplying it. Dimmers can also be helpful when a room has different lighting needs at different times of day.
 
Back to that natural light idea- more and more people are investing in solar power. Have you considered it? There is currently (see how I did that?) a federal tax credit available towards the installation of rooftop solar panels, but it is due to start being phased out in 2019. There are also solar water heaters, which are very efficient here in Georgia. While these changes are rather expensive, not only would you be reducing your dependency on non-renewable resources, you would be shrinking your home's carbon footprint.
 
No Shoes Please
Speaking of footprints, where do you and your family stand on wearing shoes inside the house? For many cultures around the world, shoes are never worn inside the home, and here in the US, a growing number of people seem to be dropping them at the door. There are several good reasons to adopt this habit:      
 
~Bacteria- We all know that shoes are loaded with bacteria and germs. A test conducted at University of Arizona showed that new shoes, within two weeks of first use, had accumulated 440,000 units of bacteria, including E. coli, various strains of pneumonia, and C. diff, which is highly resistant to antibiotics.
~Toxins-   Herbicides tracked in on shoes exceeded those brought into the home on non-organic fruits and vegetables. Toxins from herbicides can cause skin rashes and gastrointestinal upsets.
~Dirt- just plain old dirt. Who wants that on their floors? And grit is the major factor in damaging both carpets and wood.
~Wear and tear on floor coverings-  shoes are harder on carpets and wood than 
bare feet, again meaning they'll need to be replaced sooner than later.
~Comfort and foot health- going barefoot promotes foot health and helps develop stronger ankles, and feels better.
 
So create a place at the garage door, or just inside the main entry, where everyone can drop their shoes as they come in. You'll be surprised how quickly it can become a habit, like hanging your keys on the key rack. And ask your guests to do so as well- they won't mind, and will think how smart you are!
Design Tip
Patterned carpet is IN.  And there are lots of patterns to choose from-subtle and barely there or big and bold and attention getting (look at me!) The pattern can be sweet and delicate, or full of pizzazz. They can blend in or stand out. A large design can cut your oversized room down to size, while a minimal pattern can make your room appear to grow in size. A bright floral design can make a room that doesn't get much natural light more welcoming than before. Patterns can also hide a multitude of sins, camouflaging the little spills and mishaps that come with life at home.  Need help choosing a patterned carpet for your home?  The Enhance Floors Design Consultants are here to help!
 
How Much Does It Cost?
We recently installed a pin dot (very subtle pattern) carpet for a client in Woodstock.  Almost 1400 sq. ft. (living room, dining room, four bedrooms with closets, hall and staircase) of a Mohawk SmartStrand carpet was installed with an upgraded pad with moisture barrier for $4600.
 


I Was FLOORED By Enhance
From Susan in Woodstock:

"I loved Enhance Floors. Everything went well, and they were amazing. They went above and beyond what I signed up for. They've done some tile work, and they did my granite countertops. They did a great job. If I had questions, they answered them. They're a grade-A company."

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Home Improvement DON'Ts

If you are one of the growing number of Baby Boomers, born between the years 1946 and 1964, you are likely in a home where you have raised your children, welcomed grandchildren, and now are finding is more than you need or want. If so, you may be thinking of moving and down-sizing sometime in the next few years?  If you are like most of us, there are a few things in your home that need addressing. Plan it out, do a couple of projects a year, as your budget permits, so it is not overwhelming.
 
Some of the common issues that need work are: making sure the AC and heating units are in good condition, installing a new, efficient (tankless?) water heater, make sure sidewalks and driveways don't have crumbling and cracked areas, does the roof need to be replaced? These are all "Do's." We are also going to give you a list of a few "Don'ts" for these next few years:
 
---DON'T over-improve one area. An upgraded kitchen with everything new may be wonderful, but don't improve it to the extent that the other rooms look old and shoddy by comparison. Instead, do a minor refresh in the kitchen and all the bathrooms, with new lighting, fresh paint, new granite or quartz countertops.
 
---DON'T install a swimming pool. This never enhances the value of a home. To the contrary, many buyers exclude homes with pools from their searches. They don't want the added labor of upkeep, the expense, and/or the potential danger and liability. Instead, make sure all the landscaping is full, but not over-grown.
 
---DON'T add a sunroom. If a sunroom is not heated and cooled, it can't be counted in the home's square footage. And if you do add heating and cooling, statistics say the cost will not be recouped. Instead, be sure all the windows are clean, in good condition, and that the view to all that nice landscaping is unimpeded.

---Lastly, DON'T over-personalize. Keep any remodeling classic and neutral.  New homeowners will want to make the space theirs immediately, not be reminded of the previous owner (you!)
 
As Seen On TV
If you are going to be doing some remodeling in your home and you've been watching all the shows on TV about remodeling, you may have the misconception that these makeovers happen overnight. These guys and gals are almost magical in what they can accomplish while the commercials are on!
 
The truth is, there are teams of people working on these makeovers, and they are filming over the course of several weeks, not minutes.  There is a lot that happens that is not captured by the camera. A lot that is not glamorous or fun. A lot that will involve a lot of nothing perceptible happening. A lot that is dirty, especially the demo part of the project. You will have multiple workmen in your home over the course of the project, and it is also more than likely going to be very disruptive to your home life for most of the process.
 
Be realistic about the entire job. The timing, the disruption, it's all going to be more than you anticipate. Any contractor is going to need some lead time before he can start the job. (If he can start immediately, you need to question why.) Product has to be ordered, and sometimes it comes in wrong or damaged. If you haven't had any remodeling done in a few years, be prepared for a bit of sticker shock. And don't take the cheapest quote if you get several, as you should. Again- why is one much lower than the others? And sadly, you need to be prepared for surprises. When tile gets pulled up, or vanities get removed, sometimes there are issues that no one anticipated. Always leave a little wiggle room in your budget for just such as this.
 
In short, remodeling can be a difficult and frustrating process. Enhance Floors & More will be working to get your job done as quickly as possible, but not at the cost of quality. Be patient with the planning process as well as the actual work. As a reward, you will have a beautiful new kitchen or bathroom to enjoy for years and years to come.


Countertop Comparison
Are new countertops something your home needs? Corian is dead and gone, Formica is a thing of the past, and tile countertops never should have happened! The two best choices currently are granite and quartz.  What are the differences?
 
Granite is a natural material- it is mined, and like any natural mineral or rock, there are variations in the appearance of the slabs, even within the slabs. It can stain or crack if care is not taken, and it must be sealed periodically. It is an eco-friendly surface, and requires less energy to produce than quartz.
 
Being a manufactured product, quartz has a more consistent appearance than granite, and can come in a wider variety of colors. Quartz is made from quartz dust and resin, so it is non-porous and requires no sealing. We are also seeing a migration away from granite; some clients tell us "everyone has granite, I want something different."
 
The starting price point on granite is lower than on quartz, however there is a much wider price range on granite.  Why?  Granite pricing is generally based upon availability/scarcity of the stone. Where the stone is quarried also affects the pricing.  For example, blue-toned granite is said to come from deeper beneath the earth's surface, making it rarer and more costly.
 
You may be wondering about marble.  Marble is much more porous than most granites, and therefore requires more vigilant maintenance and sealing.  Today's quartz offers an extremely realistic marble visual and is much easier to take care of in a heavy-use area like a kitchen, so most of our clients choose quartz.
 
How Much Does It Cost?
A smallish kitchen needing one slab of granite normally costs $3500 to $4500 installed, including plumbing.  Quartz runs a little more, starting around $4000 installed with plumbing.  Of course, prices vary based upon the actual stone you selected.
 
Design Tip
New stone countertops add value to your home, but if your lighting is bad, it is hard to appreciate any selection. When choosing colors, consider the kitchen's lighting. If your kitchen has little or no natural light, select granite that has a significant amount of white or gold, or lots of light-colored specks. Dark colors like deep blue, mahogany and black look best in areas that receive substantial light. Under-cabinet and pendant lighting make good lighting options to enhance the beauty of the stone.
 
I Was FLOORED By Enhance
From one of our all-time favorite clients in Alpharetta:
"Since moving to the Atlanta area back in 1994 we have used Enhance Floors and More numerous times over the years to up-date and/or install hardwood floors and new carpeting. We've had them not only do our kitchen flooring but also coordinate an entire updating of our kitchen and kitchen dining area. While recently installing a new hardwood floor in our family room they also updated our fireplace setting. The reasons we keep coming back to them is that they: are creative in their approaches, cost conscious in not trying to over sell anything; have real talented, skilled professionals available; stayed in time frames given; personally involved themselves in all facets of the job; followed-up on the completed job; go out of their way to be sure the customer is thoroughly satisfied with the finished product. We'll be seeking them out to re-do/update our bathrooms. We would give them a 5++++ rating if available!"

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Your Questions Will Be Answered

What will 2017 look like in home décor and furnishings? Well, it depends on who you ask- one authority says metals are out, the next says metals are making a strong comeback, and so on and so forth. So: we're going to talk about trends for 2017 that were unchallenged (as far as our research went, at least.)
 
There are four rooms that are being written about. A LOT. These are
1) the kitchen (no surprise here)
2) the bathroom (also no surprise)
3) the entryway, and
4) the laundry room.
 
In the kitchen, black stainless steel is the big news. And white appliances are a thing of the past. If you've shopped lately for a new refrigerator or dishwasher, you already noticed that- it's all stainless.  And black stainless is hot hot hot! It is still silver, but toned down, and very pretty. It's a dark, matte finish, muted silver, and we love it!
 
The other news in the kitchen is that it looks less like the mechanized, high-tech kitchen of the Jetsons and more like your Grandma's kitchen- homier, more organic, less angular, like a comfy sitting room where you happen to cook. And make coffee- coffee stations are the new "must-have" in kitchens. And along with this transition, less all white, less sheen, more colors from nature- greens and blues especially. Terracotta and cork floors are trending in a big way- natural and eco-friendly.
 
Bathrooms are also looking more natural, and feeling more comfortable. Vanities are being made, if not from old furniture, then to look like furniture. Wainscoting is gaining popularity in the bathroom, as are clever storage niches, tucked into the wall between studs. Vessel sinks from natural materials, stone, wood, and onyx, are beautiful and earthy. Tiles continue to be large, with minimal grout lines, and not glossy, but matte, and looking like stone or wood planks. Window seats in the bathroom are a great look, and extremely practical, providing a place to perch while you're getting dressed or applying after-shower lotion, as well as allowing for storage for extra towels and other bathroom necessities. Alternatively, we are seeing high tech toilets becoming more popular here, after many of us have seen and loved them in other parts of the world, especially Europe and Japan.
 


Pretty front doors are everywhere! No more plain stained Colonial with 6 raised panels, oh no! Painted bright to complement the rest of the home's exterior, the front door will now be a Statement Piece. And it will open to an enhanced entry way, again with furniture, comfort, and color.  The entryway is setting the tone for the rest of the home. And the tone it is setting is "Welcome, come in and relax."
 



Lastly, the laundry room, surely the most maligned room in the home. Nothing fun ever happens in the laundry room, even though the very nature and function of the room makes it indispensable to a happy home. So, if it's no fun, at least it can be pretty, and uber-functional. Sinks, pretty cabinets, dog-washing stations are a few of the added features that are going into high-end homes' laundry rooms. And pretty tile floors, planned storage and custom features, such as pull-out sweater drying racks.
 
Overall, the picture of 2017's homes is a welcoming retreat in every room, an easy place to live and celebrate. More natural fibers and textures, like wool and linen, and more organic shapes. Lots of houseplants. Life will be more green- both in color and in idealism. Recycling is gaining in popularity, and repairing instead of tossing and buying new. We are all seeking homes and belongings that will comfort us, lend themselves to our health and wellness, and create less of a long-term impact on the earth.
 
Please Join Us
Kitchens and bathrooms are the most complicated and expensive rooms in your home to update.  There are so many decisions to make, and different specialized tradespeople needed to complete the work.  These updates also have some of the largest return on investment of all home improvement projects.  You want to do it right, and make selections that you will be happy with for years.  Where do you start?  How do you learn about all the factors that you need to consider when planning your kitchen or bathroom remodel?
 
By attending our Kitchen and Bath Expo!  Meet with the experts and learn about:
~~Kitchen Design Trends
~~Countertops 101
~~All About Plumbing and Appliances
~~What's In Style in Tile
~~Renovations and the Resale Value of Your Home

Enjoy wine, beer & appetizers at our FREE event Tuesday, January 24, from 12 pm til 7 pm.  Get all your questions answered by the Pros in a fun, relaxed atmosphere.  We look forward to seeing you at the Enhance Floors & More Design Center for our Kitchen and Bath Expo.
How Much Does It Cost?
It's funny, when we price out a kitchen remodel, our clients really don't have much "sticker shock."   We guess they know it is going to be a lot of money.  However, there is almost always a lot of surprise over how much a bathroom "gut and redo" costs. 
 
Every years Remodeling Magazine compiles the average costs by major city for various home improvement projects.  This is a great report to read so that you will know what to expect things to cost.  The 2016 numbers are in:
 

In Atlanta in 2016, a minor kitchen remodel averaged $20,612. A major kitchen remodel was $62,208. An upscale kitchen renovation averaged $123,584. These are all-inclusive prices, including new appliances, countertops, sink and faucet, flooring and paint. What is the distinction between a minor and major kitchen remodel? Primarily what is done with the cabinets. A major kitchen remodel includes new cabinets. A minor remodel does not include changing the cabinet boxes, only either refacing or painting or refinishing the existing cabinets.
 

The average cost in 2016 in Atlanta of a midrange bathroom remodel was $18,680. This includes all new fixtures, vanity cabinet, frameless glass shower doors, faucets, countertops, tile, and labor (plumbing, electrical, etc.) An "upscale" bathroom remodel was $60,014.  Most of our bathroom remodels are a little more costly than the midrange number once the fixtures are added in, but nowhere near as pricey as the upscale average price.
 



I Was FLOORED By Enhance
Julie in Marietta recently reviewed us.  Here's what she wrote:
"Enhance Floors did a great job. They did wood floors, ceramic tile, and carpet, and it all turned out great. The employees were great-they were professional and respectful. At first, I had called another company I saw on TV. They came out, and they refused to quote me because my husband wasn't on-site. So, we went to Enhance, which was right up the road from us. I'd give them an A-I had no complaints at all. I would use them again in a heartbeat."
 
Thank you, Julie, for the kind words.  Enjoy all your new flooring---it's like a brand-new house, isn't it?