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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Never Do This To Your Carpet


Five Things You Should Never Do To Carpet
Carpet isn't as high-maintenance as most people tend to think. However, it still does require some care (like anything) and must not be mistreated.  To protect your carpet and ensure that it stays looking beautiful for a long time, here is a list of the things that should NOT be done to your carpet (and what to do instead).

Do Not Scrub
When you've had a spill on your carpet, it's tempting to attack it with a vengeance.  After all, for so many other tasks we're told that a bit of elbow grease is necessary to get the job done. However, this is one instance in which fiercely scrubbing is not helpful, and in fact will likely be harmful to your carpet.  Carpet is made up of fibers that have been twisted together in order to increase their strength. The twist is then "locked in" with heat. By abrasively scrubbing at the fibers, you run the risk of undoing the lock and having the fibers come untwisted - something known as blooming. This will cause the appearance of a big fuzzy patch on your carpet, which could end up looking worse than the stain from the original spill.  So, when cleaning a spill from your carpet, it is best to be gentle, and blot at the area rather than scrub it.

Do Not Use a Non-Carpet Cleaner
This might seem simple, but it's not so obvious to some people that an "all purpose" cleaner should not be used on carpet.  The only type of cleaning product you should be using on your carpet is a cleaner that is specifically designed for carpet.  The only exception to this, if you are in a bind, is you can use clear liquid dishwashing soap to treat a stain on carpet, but only when extremely diluted.

Do Not Wear Your Shoes
Taking your shoes off at the door - every time - is one of the easiest and most effective things you can do for your carpet. Not only will you avoid tracking in dirt and soil from the outside world, you will avoid also tracking in chemical residue (think driveway sealant).  If you have pets that go outside, consider wiping their paws when they come back in, before they can roam past the entrance.  If this is impractical, use oversized door mats and runners (prints and patterns hide dirt and spills extremely well) at all your exterior doors.



Do Not Drag Furniture
Dragging your furniture across the carpet may be the easiest way to get a heavy item from point A to point B, but it's also one of the easiest ways to cause ripples in your carpet. Dragging something heavy can also create enough friction to "melt" the carpet fibers.  Always lift the item off the carpet before moving it. If the item is too heavy to be lifted, place a sheet of plywood on the carpet in front of the item and "walk" the item onto the plywood. Then, place a second sheet of plywood in front of the first, and maneuver the piece of furniture onto the second sheet from the first. When the item is fully on the second sheet, use the first piece of plywood again in front of the second, and continue in this manner until the piece of furniture has been relocated.

Do Not Use A Beater Bar On Berber
A vacuum beater bar, or power head, is designed to brush carpet fibers as it vacuums. It helps to improve the appearance of many cut-pile carpets such as saxonies and friezes, but can be harmful to looped styles of carpet such as berber.
Generally, the beater bar itself will not cause a snag in a berber. The problem occurs when there is a small snag existing in the carpet that may even have gone unnoticed. The beater bar could grab hold of the loose strand, which could then become wrapped around the rotating bar. The beater bar is powerful enough to continue to pull the strand, which can then unravel from the carpet backing, causing a run in the carpet. Not good.  To avoid this possibility, simply switch off the beater bar on your vacuum head if you have the option, or switch out the head and replace it with a suction-only vacuum head.

Bonus Tip:  Do Not Expose To Excessive Sunlight
Most indoor residential carpets are not colorfast, meaning that they can and will fade due to age, wear, and most of all, strong direct sunlight. If you have a high amount of afternoon sunlight in your room (typically rooms with a southern or western exposure) you will want to take some minor precautions against carpet fading. Generally, this can be accomplished simply by closing your blinds or curtains during the peak sunlight hours.  Another option if you are buying carpet for a space with extensive direct sunlight is to choose a carpet that is fade resistant. Nylonhas relatively poor colorfast properties, so it would likely not be your best option. Triexta has very high colorfast properties - in fact, Mohawk SmartStrand carries a 25 yearwarranty against fading, one of the longest in the industry. Choosing the right fiber type can help to keep your carpet looking its best for years to come.
  
Design Tip
Does a room in your home feel too stiff and formal? 
Try this: Swap out a hard piece for one that's upholstered. If what you want is a room that makes you go "ah," you need some squashy pieces you can sink into. Trade out a wood coffee table for a plush ottoman, toss a few big cushions on the floor or swap a stiff-backed wooden chair for a comfy upholstered version.
Or this: Add something worn and aged.  A chunky wood coffee table (with a few dings and dents) is an open invitation to kick back and put your feet up. Choose a few pieces that show their age - a vintage trunk, a hand-me-down table, a chipped painted chest - and your guests will surely feel at ease.

What's New at Enhance Floors?

It may have been a while since you have been in to see us. If so, there's a LOT that's new!  We are constantly bringing in new flooring and lifestyle solutions.  Here are some that we are particularly excited about:
 
U S Floors has introduced new Cork floor styles. Cork is the most environmentally friendly flooring. It is harvested by hand every 9 years, and harvesting does not harm the tree. It naturally resists mold and mildew, pests like termites, and handles moisture well.   Sound and shock absorbent, it is a wonderful choice for rooms with high ceilings and kitchens with master-chef-wannabe.  And the colors---you have to see them---cork floors no longer look like a bulletin board!
 
U S Floors Bamboo is another eco-friendly choice, highly sustainable and rapidly renewable, as it is harvested from managed forests, and is very fast growing. Strand woven bamboo is 2 times harder than oak, and comes in a variety of colors, textures, and widths.  If you like wood floors, but want something a little different from what everybody else has, consider bamboo.

From Interceramic come new high density ceramic styles Amalfi Stone, Burano, and San Giulio. These beautiful new tiles are produced using Lumen FX ink, which individualizes each tile, adding depth and highlights. The result is more variation and an extremely realistic stone look, without the sealing and maintenance.

Also from Interceramic, we have River Rocks, a beautifully natural addition to your bathroom or kitchen backsplash. It comes three ways: Sliced, mosaic, or in a listello. All three are polished for a smooth and comfortable feel underfoot. These are great on a shower floor, but can also be used on the walls to create a "Zen" feel in other rooms in your home.
 
American Sanctuary is a beautiful new American made engineered wood floor option from Mohawk, with several grey tones available, the new "in" color. It features gentle scraping on its 5 inch planks, and is treated with both ArmorMax and Scotchgard.   The Burnished Caramel and Antique Beige colors are proving to be extremely popular.
 
SIDEBAR:  What is ArmorMax?  An exclusive hardwood and laminate finish from Mohawk that is 5 times more resistant to wear than competitive finishes.  ArmorMax repels stains, resists wear, and makes cleaning your wood or laminate floor easy.
 
We also have Tellaro, Mohawk's new American made solid wood floor, in Oak, Maple, and Hickory. With beautiful 3 ¼" and 5" planks with lots of variation for character, it also is treated with ArmorMax for superior wear resistance.
 
If you are looking for a laminate, Mohawk has a beautiful style named Huchenson that has been very popular. It offers a variety of colors and looks, all with a very realistic woodgrain appearance. The planks are all 5 ¼ inches, some with warm distressed character.  Butter Cream Hickory, Crisp Autumn Oak, Honey Blonde Maple----one is sure to be perfect for your home!
 
QuickStep also has a new laminate look. It is Elevae, featuring an aged look in either pine or oak. At 12mm, it is both beautiful and durable.  Our favorites are Tranquil Oak, Antique Pine, and Mineral Oak. 
 
Somerset's newest introduction is the Seaside Collection. With sea-inspired names such as Driftwood, Sailor's Sky, and Ocean Mist, it features distinctive beachside looks. It is American made, and comes in random widths. If your soul belongs to the beach, this is the floor for you!
 
DESIGN TIP:  What are random width hardwoods?Flooring with the boards intentionally not all the same width. At least 2 different widths are used in the installation.  Historically, floors were laid with random width boards so as not to waste any of the wood from the log. Wide plank random width hardwood floors are perfect for today's open floor plans. The aesthetic is visually interesting but not too busy, making these wood floors a great foundation for your decorating
 
If your soul belongs to a big wet dog, then you need Vivero by Armstrong in your life. This new luxury vinyl plank is waterproof and features realistic wood and stone looks. It's Diamond 10 technology means it has an exceptionally durable surface, and is a breeze to clean.
 
Dreamweaver Carpets has introduced Solution Dyed Nylons to their line-up. The stain resistance is manufactured into the carpet fiber, so it will not wear off or wash out. These are lovely, soft nylon carpets in a variety of colors and styles.
 
Speaking of soft, Karastan Infinite Touch offers 32 timely shades for today's homes, and is so soft and touchable. It is made from Karastan's Kashmere fiber, and offers a Lifetime Pet Stain warranty, perfect for real life.
 

Also in Karastan Kashmere, we have a new soft lattice patterned carpet--Classic Couture. It is available in 20 colors, and has 25 year warranties for both abrasive wear and texture retention. Because of its great looks and durability, it is a perfect choice for the stairs.
 
Mohawk has three new introductions in carpet. The first is a PET product impregnated with a natural odor absorbent volcanic mineral called Zeolite. Forever Fresh is available in 12 styles and over 80 colors.  It is a great choice for homes with animals or kids.
 
The second introduction by Mohawk is SmartStrand Silk Natural Surroundings carpet. It offers 40 foundational colors inspired by nature. It is soft and plush, but its lower luster minimizes footprints.  Choose from traditional solid cut piles, LCLs, flecks and tonals, and even a Berber style.
 
In Case You Are Wondering:  An LCL stands for "loop cut loop" (also called a cut and loop) and is a carpet with both looped fibers and cut fibers, constructed in a pattern or design. 
 
Mohawk's newest product is Vintage Visions, a low pile cut carpet featuring sophisticated patterns. Made of 100% BCF Nylon, and treated with Scotchgard. Beautiful as a carpet, or perfect for a rug, because we all like a pretty rug to complement our wood floors!
 

So, as you can tell, we have been busy. Come in and let us show you some of these beautiful new styles in person! 

Buyer's or Seller's Market?

Are You Buying?  Selling?
If you are thinking about purchasing or selling your home, it is always good to know if it is a Buyer's or a Seller's Market.  Everything we are hearing is that Cobb County is definitely a Seller's Market.  We thought we'd share this newsletter from our friend Sean Trombetti, a local Mortgage Broker.
 
"From what I'm seeing and hearing, be ready to offer full price if you are looking at homes this Spring and Summer. As I sit hear writing this article, I can say that maybe half of the pre-qualification letters that I am writing for my clients involve transactions where it's under a "highest and best offer" situation. Homes are moving quickly and in my opinion, if you don't want to lose out on a home perfect for you and your family, be prepared to offer full price assuming the home is priced correctly and in good condition. Sellers are rejecting offers that don't come to their full or close to their full asking price and with school starting earlier this year in some counties, it has created a sense of urgency in the marketplace.

Another area where sellers seem to be reluctant is in handling repair amendments requested by the buyer's agent during due diligence. If the repair is minor and doesn't affect the home's integrity, then most sellers are refusing to address it. So all this leads me to say that currently it is a seller's market."
 
We are seeing and hearing that if a home is priced correctly based on location, condition, and the updates needed, the house will sell quickly.  Enhance Floors & More can help you update your home so that you can sell for full price.  Or if you found a great deal on a home that needs some TLC, we can assist you in getting it move-in ready. 

Design Tip
Sometimes people opt out of window treatments because they want the maximum amount of light to come through or they don't want to block a view. These are good ideas in theory but it's actually a huge mistake. Window treatments, whether it's curtains, drapes, blinds, shutters, or something else altogether, are necessary decorative elements that help a space look finished. They act as frames for the windows and they provide wonderful decorating opportunities. They can really help set the tone of a room and they should never be left out. Keep in mind there are tons of wonderful options for treatments that allow in light, and when open don't block views, so don't be afraid to include them on each and every window.
Enhance Floors & More is an authorized Hunter Douglas dealer and can help you select the right window treatment for your décor, lifestyle, and budget.  Our selection of window treatments includes blinds, shutters, and many different types of shades available in a wide variety of fabrics and woods.  Hunter Douglas window fashions have a lifetime warranty and are regarded as the highest quality in the industry.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Making Your Home Look More Expensive

Who wouldn't want to make your home look more high-end?  Whether you are planning to put your home on the market, or you are just ready to upgrade for your own pleasure, here are some tips that will help. Most are very affordable; some just require a little elbow grease. On a very few, you may want to call in a professional, depending on your comfort level with power tools.
~Frame those builder-original bathroom mirrors. There are kits to do this, or find instructions on Pinterest.
~Change out all the doorknobs into one consistent finish. If you are like many people, you have simply gone to the big box store and bought a new doorknob whenever you needed one without any concern about consistency, so that by now you have gotten a motley crew of different shapes and finishes. Simply changing them out to one style and finish will make your home look more pulled together.
~While you're in framing mode, go ahead and build a frame around your flat screen TV over the mantel. You can do this with painted molding, or get creative with pallet wood.
~And speaking of mantels- does yours need to be replaced? There are a lot of great looks out there now- a natural stone slab, a big plank, or even just bigger, can really change the look of the fireplace.
~If you don't have a TV over your fireplace, be sure you do have art in some form- and big enough to matter. Remember that your mantel is a focal point, and be sure it makes a statement!
~The art in your other spaces should be large enough as well. If you don't have a large piece you like, consider making a gallery style wall, displaying several pieces. And this can include pieces other than framed art, by the way. Consider interesting mirrors, small shelves topped by objects, decorative items that can be hung, beautiful plates, or sconces.
~Other things that can be used in gallery groupings of art are a framed piece of beautiful stationery or a great card, or a gorgeous piece of fabric.  A great idea for a baby girl's room is a shadowbox of a confirmation dress, along with the veil and gloves, and a small nosegay of sweetheart roses.
~And put some nice art and a good rug in the bathroom, for goodness sake!
~Add a small lamp any little place for ambience- in the bathroom, in the kitchen, on a small table in the hall. I especially love lamps in the dining room, with the chandelier on a rheostat and turned low.
~Does your chandelier need updating? This is one of the easiest and most cost-effective changes possible. Get a nice big one, and hang approximately 30 inches above the table.
~Keep your sights upward. Could your ceilings use a fresh coat of paint? Maybe a very very light blue. More vibrant ceiling colors are also gaining popularity recently-
~You can paint ceiling fans too! That burnished brass look is so dated! Use Rustoleum or something similar to paint the body of the fan, and either paint or replace the blades.
~Are your other ceiling fixtures outdated? Check out the wonderful drum shades that fit over those fixtures- just remove the domed glass.
~Hang your drapes higher and wider. New ones can be very reasonable, if you do a little searching, or sew a wide band at the bottom to lengthen them. And new rods can be as easy as painted PVC.
~Trim out your windows if they are not trimmed already. Buy molding at the hardware store and cut the corners to match. This is very similar to the work you'll do on framing your mirrors, so coordinate the timing and save yourself some time!
~You can also trim out flat builder grade interior doors. Use Liquid Nails, as most of those are hollow-core. In some cases, a full-length mirror (framed) would be a nice addition to a flat door.
~Still have light oak balusters and handrails on your stairs? CAREFULLY stain (lightly sand first) them a darker hue!
~Intake grilles for your AC system can be upgraded with a pretty piece of decorative metal grille, available at your hardware store.  And by now you've been there enough for them to do you a favor and cut it to the right size!
~And the old vent covers can be painted. Use Rustoleum and spray them, or if you painted your ceiling, brush them the same color and then smooth with a small roller.
~Consider painting the back of your bookshelves an accent color, or lining with a great fabric.
~Look for single accent items in marble. Use alone or as part of a vignette.
~Switch plates can be improved by embellishing them with a small store-bought picture frame, painted to match, or decorated. Craft stores and garage sales can be great sources for these.
~Outlet plates can also be spray painted to be less conspicuous, or covered with wallpaper to match your room.
~Easiest one EVER: bring home a few potted plants. Put in decorative pots, and use singly or group them.
~Pare down what you have on those bookshelves. Consider them an opportunity to highlight your prized possessions rather than storage.

We Won!

Enhance Floors & More was recently awarded the Angie's List 2015 Super Service Award.  This is an award based on superior service.  Only 5% of all contractors receive this award.  Every day we strive to provide expert assistance and top quality installations to our clients.  It is so nice to know it is being noticed!
 

The Desk In Your Kitchen
Many homes built in the 80s and 90s have a built-in desk in the kitchen.  What was once an area used to conduct business has now become a place to store books, bills and anything else that doesn't really belong in the kitchen.  If you have a desk in your kitchen, how many times have you really used this space? 

Over the years, technology has greatly changed the way that we organize and store all of our information. Consider using your kitchen desk space as a mini coffee bar or a technology/charging station, or totally remove it and repurpose the space.  Chances are your kitchen desk only takes up needed space in your kitchen that could be used for better purposes.

Design Tip 
Create a new favorite spot on your deck or patio by adding a suspended chair or seat.  Choices include traditional porch swings, hammock style chairs, and wicker "pod" chairs.  Add colorful seat cushions and pillows and a close-by table for your frosty cold drink, and enjoy your outdoor happy place!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Buyer's or Seller's Market?

Are You Buying?  Selling?
If you are thinking about purchasing or selling your home, it is always good to know if it is a Buyer's or a Seller's Market.  Everything we are hearing is that Cobb County is definitely a Seller's Market.  We thought we'd share this newsletter from our friend Sean Trombetti, a local Mortgage Broker.
 
"From what I'm seeing and hearing, be ready to offer full price if you are looking at homes this Spring and Summer. As I sit hear writing this article, I can say that maybe half of the pre-qualification letters that I am writing for my clients involve transactions where it's under a "highest and best offer" situation. Homes are
moving quickly and in my opinion, if you don't want to lose out on a home perfect for you and your family, be prepared to offer full price assuming the home is priced correctly and in good condition. Sellers are rejecting offers that don't come to their full or close to their full asking price and with school starting earlier this year in some counties, it has created a sense of urgency in the marketplace.

Another area where sellers seem to be reluctant is in handling repair amendments requested by the buyer's agent during due diligence. If the repair is minor and doesn't affect the home's integrity, then most sellers are refusing to address it. So all this leads me to say that currently it is a seller's market."
 
We are seeing and hearing that if a home is priced correctly based on location, condition, and the updates needed, the house will sell quickly.  Enhance Floors & More can help you update your home so that you can sell for full price.  Or if you found a great deal on a home that needs some TLC, we can assist you in getting it move-in ready. 


Design Tip
Sometimes people opt out of window treatments because they want the maximum amount of light to come through or they don't want to block a view. These are good ideas in theory but it's actually a huge mistake. Window treatments, whether it's curtains, drapes, blinds, shutters, or something else altogether, are necessary decorative elements that help a space look finished. They act as frames for the windows and they provide wonderful decorating opportunities. They can really help set the tone of a room and they should never be left out. Keep in mind there are tons of wonderful options for treatments that allow in light, and when open don't block views, so don't be afraid to include them on each and every window.

Enhance Floors & More is an authorized Hunter Douglas dealer and can help you select the right window treatment for your décor, lifestyle, and budget.  Our selection of window treatments includes blinds, shutters, and many different types of shades available in a wide variety of fabrics and woods.  Hunter Douglas window fashions have a lifetime warranty and are regarded as the highest quality in the industry.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Learning From Mistakes


Real Advice from Real People
The popular home improvement website Houzz recently asked its'
readers for design advice on things you should never, ever do during a remodel. Their suggestions are quite revealing, and worth considering. These are our favorites:

"Never paint a bedroom before buying the bedding."

"Never paint test swatches directly on your walls. The color and or change in finish will telegraph through the finished paint job unless you spend extra time and money to sand and prime. Paint big swatches on poster board so you can move them around to different areas and in different lighting."
 
"Never have a red, orange or harsh yellow bedroom. No matter how much you like it, those colors are too energizing/irritating to foster rest."

"Don't let yourself get talked into something if it's not right for you or the way you and your family live and function."

"Never buy furniture or appliances until you have measured all the doors the item will have to pass through."

"Never put the kitchen sink in a corner."

I recently learned the hard way to never, never buy furniture unless you can first take home a cushion or fabric sample. I ended up with a pink couch and side chair when I thought I was buying cream. Now if I can't get a sample to see how the color will really look in my own home, I go somewhere else."
  
"Never install very dark wood or laminate floors. They will only look good for about five minutes after you clean them. And you have to clean every square inch or the undone areas will be very noticeable. Trust me. I made this mistake. We kept the floors for about a year and then had them replaced."

"Never attempt to buy an area rug before you are sure you have the proper measurements."

"Never buy artwork or accessories just to fill a space. Buy what you love and find a space for it."

"Never have white floors. Trust me, I've done it more than once. I'm a slow learner."

"Never ever sign a contract/agreement without reading it. Read the whole agreement - each and every clause. Understand what you are reading/signing. If you don't, ask someone. Make sure everything you were promised verbally appears in writing."

"Never ever let someone start a job in your home or for you without a written contract. Smiles and handshakes are for the easily duped."

"Never hire relatives to help you renovate. When something doesn't go your way or if you don't like their ideas, it can be a disaster. Hire someone who can guarantee their work."

"Never take the lowest bid to save money. Go with your gut. It always knows what is right for you."
 
 "Don't do cheap. If you can't afford it, wait. You will end up saving money because when you invest in high-quality goods, you won't have to replace it."

"When you buy a house, especially a resale, don't change every single thing you don't like before you live in it a little while. You find some things are a certain way for a good reason and you are glad you didn't 'fix' it."

"Never ever do something because it is a trend. Do it because you love it."
 
"Never don't do something you like because it is a trend."

"Never design by committee. Your friends, relatives, neighbors etc. aren't paying for it. You are. Get what you love. Also, a designer isn't a personal shopper. If you are looking for the cheapest/best price/bargain, hire a personal shopper or surf the web yourself."

"Never renovate aspirationally. If your family isn't crowded around the kitchen table now playing games, they won't suddenly do it (more than once) in a new game room. If you don't have company now in your 'humble home,' odds are you won't suddenly have friends who want to visit your fancier one. You will be just as much of a slob in a nice space as in your current one. Renovations change little that is wrong with us or our relationships."

"Never tell your teenager he or she can decorate his or her own room unless you are prepared to live with black paint, plastic skulls and a coffin-shaped bed."

"Never, ever, ever buy your wife brand-new kitchen appliances for Christmas. 'They are not gifts! They are machines for doing work.' So I am told."

"One poster's 'never' is another poster's 'always.' Never assume what's right for you, your taste, your budget, your situation, is right for everyone."