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Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Everybody Else Is Doing It

I'm seeing a lot of activity around my neighborhood, and I'm not just talking about kids playing in the yard. On my street there is a new stone patio being put in, a new fence, several landscaping projects, even a new roof going on. And that's just what I can see from the outside!

People are investing in their homes right now.  Since we are spending more time at home, let's love where we live, right?  Here's a list of popular projects you may want to consider:
                 

~~Decks - new or staining. Add a pergola or canvas awning to make your outdoor space more usable when it's hot or raining
~~Bathroom updates - since most of us aren't going on expensive vacations this year, create a luxurious bathroom you actually want to spend time in

Granite Countertops in New Albany, Ohio - Distinctive Marble and ...

~~Painting (exterior and interior) And don't forget your front door!
~~Landscaping - a quick way to boost the curb appeal of your home
~~New countertops - a quick installation process limits the amount of time workers are in your home


~~Security camera installation - knowing when you have packages delivered helps keep the porch pirates away!
  
~~Garage updates - shelving, floors, new roll up doors
~~New flooring - new choices like waterproof LVP are easy to sanitize and keep clean

~~New HVAC systems - if yours is on its "last legs" don't wait til it goes out on a 98-degree day to purchase a new one
~~New appliances - most of us are cooking more, so of course we want the newest and smartest appliances
                          
~~Home office updates - some of us may never spend 40 hours a week in the traditional corporate office again!




~~New lighting - easy to shop online, YouTube videos for DIY installation         
~~Exercise spaces - if you don't foresee going back to the gym anytime soon






Come See Us!      
We are seeing clients in the Design Center by appointment to limit the number of people in the store at one time.  We are scheduling appointments Monday thru Saturday, with our first appointment at 10 and our last appointment at 4:00.  NOTE: We are not open on Sundays.  We have plenty of disposable masks and hand sanitizer available for your use.  Give us a call at 770.565.3808 to set up your time to come in.

 
What's New At Enhance 
        
9" wide planks.  Cork backing for quiet and comfort.  An industry leading 30 mil wearlayer.  Long lengths -- up to 82"  Waterproof, scratchproof, practically indestructible. 1/2" thick. Gorgeous oak colors in a variety of light to medium shades, plus a few greys.  For the ultimate floor come see COREtec Grande -- the brand new, premium, 100% waterproof, kidproof, petproof floor.  

Design Tip
Frame a map or nautical chart of your favorite vacation spot or local lake hangout for a piece of "artwork" that tells a story!


How Much Does It Cost  
Thinking about creating a home gym?  Be sure to think about what to use on the floor.  We recommend rubber gym flooring -- to protect from  damage due to dropped weights and heavy exercise equipment. These rubber floors provide traction (even when wet) yet don't absorb any moisture and thus remain easy to clean and maintain. Rubber gym floors can also provided added sound dampening and spruce up any space for a hardcore gym look. We carry the Centaur line of interlocking rubber floor tiles that are very DIY friendly and are affordable.  Each tile is 23" x 23" and is $17 per tile in the color Black.  A 10 x 12 area will need around 34 tiles (depending on your angles and cuts) and would cost $578.   Why go to the gym when you can work out at home?

I Was FLOORED By Enhance
Rachel in Kennesaw writes:"We used Enhance Floors to add hardwood floors to our house. They were helpful and very professional every step of the way. They worked well with us and even offered financing of the work. The product was of a high quality and we were very pleased."

Thank you, Rachel. We enjoyed working with you and your family. Let us know when you are ready to get started on your basement project. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

I Didn't Know, Did You

Did You Know?
We are deluged everyday with information. No one can retain it all! And when you are shopping for floors and other home improvement products, not only is there lots and lots of information, it's hard to know what's really important. This week we will feature some fun facts that you may not know, or may not remember.


~~Wool is considered the premier fiber in carpet construction, and it is also the most expensive. It is soft, has excellent resilience and durability, and is the "greenest" fiber that carpet is made from.

  
~~Prefinished wood floors ARE real hardwood floors. The floor is composed of 100% hardwood. Most engineered wood floors can be sanded at least once, except veneers and heavily scraped/distressed floors. All ¾" solid prefinished wood floors can be sanded numerous times.

~~You should always protect your countertops when using a crock pot, instant pot, or similar device Your stone countertop can crack or stain due to heat and condensation. This is particularly important with quartz, but can also happen with granite and marble. Place your slow cooker on the stovetop, a baking sheet, a silicone baking mat, or a large wooden cutting board. All of these heat-resistant surfaces can also withstand moisture to prevent damage to your countertops.



~~Carpet ounce weight (also called face weight) is a measure of the amount of fiber in a square yard of carpet. The higher the number, the more fiber is used in the construction of the carpet. As a guide, a "good" carpet is usually 18 to 30 ounces, a "better" carpet ranges 30 to 50 ounces, and a "best" is 50 to 65 ounces. "Premium" carpets are usually 65 ounces and up (ounce weights max out around 125 ounces.) Ounce weight is just one of the factors that determines the durability of the carpet. Other important considerations include twist, density (gauge), pile height, and fiber content. It is true that heavier carpet ounce weight will tend to feel more luxurious, plush and comfortable.  Heavier carpet has more fiber and yarn, so it costs more to manufacture and thus costs more to purchase. Although a higher ounce weight carpet may be more expensive, it is not necessarily more durable.
 
~~True linoleum is made from all-natural components such as linseed oil. Historically all "vinyl" was linoleum. Today real linoleum is rare but does still exist. Linoleum is limited in print and pattern capabilities and must be waxed on a regular basis. Most vinyl flooring sold today is 100% synthetic.

  
~~Site-finished hardwoods are installed raw (unfinished) and then sanded, stained, and coated with polyurethane in your home. You are able to select the stain color and the gloss level of the floor. Prefinished hardwood floors are fully manufactured and finished in the factory. A prefinished floor offers a quicker and more convenient installation, but you have fewer choices in stain color, etc. Both types of wood flooring (site-finished and prefinished) are available in solid and engineered wood.
 
~~Grout is necessary to fill the spaces between the tiles and to help to secure the tile. If grout is not used, eventually the tiles will damage each other along the edges, due to movement from above and below. Also, even if it looks perfect, the slight variation will cumulatively result in a line that runs way off true. If a small grout line is a priority for you, let us know, as each tile we sell has a recommended grout joint size, and we can help you choose accordingly. A rectified tile will be your best choice, as it requires a much smaller grout joint. Rectified tiles are mechanically ground, after firing, to an exact size, so the edges are more precise. Most rectified tile requires a 1/8" grout line.
 
~~Only a commercial loop carpet or a very low, tight Berber will not show footprints. Textured carpets, friezes, cut and loops (LCLs), and loose Berbers will only minimize footprints. Also, heavy furniture leaves indentations on all carpets.
 
~~Sheet vinyl floors are topically waterproof, meaning the product itself is waterproof, especially if there are no seams in the installation. Liquids will not pass through the vinyl. However, this does not mean that water cannot get under the vinyl via the perimeter of the room, or that water cannot be present under the vinyl (a slab with high moisture content, broken pipe in the subfloor, etc.) The same is true for most LVT/LVP. The product itself may be waterproof but in the case of standing water or flooding, the LVT/LVP will not act as a waterproofing barrier for the subfloor and/or any surrounding structure.

  
~~Quartz countertops are engineered stone. Brand names include LG Viatera, Silestone, and Cambria.) Many patterns look like granite and marble. Quartz is a blend of 93% natural quartz and 7% resin, pigments, and fillers. Quartz is one of the hardest naturally occurring materials. Second only to diamonds in hardness, quartz is highly scratch resistant. Quartz features a long-lasting, high-gloss shine. The surface is non-porous, stain resistant, and does not support the growth of bacteria. No sealing is needed. Quartz is resistant to heat, but the resin can only withstand temperatures of around 150 degrees. That means if you are taking a pan out of your oven or a hot pot from your stove, you cannot set it down directly on your quartz countertop. Be sure to always set hot objects on a hot pad or a metal trivet.
  
~~How often you refinish a hardwood floor depends on the amount of traffic in your home and how well you take care of your floors. Generally speaking, the average homeowner needs another coat of polyurethane every 6 to 8 years. You totally refinish a floor only because you either want to change the color of the floor or the floor has been abused (deep scratches, gouges, discolorations, etc.)

~~Stock bathroom vanities come in standard sizes, normally 21-22 inches deep, and in widths of 24", 30", 36", 48", and 60". You can combine widths to create a longer vanity. Some stock vanities include a top and sink, but not always. Plumbing hardware like faucets and drains are rarely included. Prices for a 60" stock vanity range from $1000 to $4500. You can also create a custom vanity from cabinet components. Specialty sizes and design features as well as an almost unlimited selection of stain or paint color choices and drawer and door styles are an advantage of a custom vanity. The cost of a 60" custom vanity starts around $2500 and can be as much as $5000 to $6000, depending on the design details.
 
~~Granite countertops are scratch resistant, stain resistant, and heat resistant, NOT scratch proof, stain proof, and heat proof. The darker the granite, the less porous and more stain resistant it is. It is possible to chip the edges by striking it with an object. A heavy pot or other blunt items "slammed down" can cause a crack in the countertop which may be able to be repaired. Never cut directly on stone countertops; always use a cutting board. Do not sit or stand on stone countertops. Do not place hot items directly on the stone surface.

  
~~Porcelain tile is similar to ceramic but is much stronger and harder. Porcelain has a fine sand base (as opposed to a clay base) and is fired at higher temperatures than ceramic. Some porcelains are glazed (the color is only in the glaze coat) while some are through-body, meaning the surface color goes all the way through the body of the tile. A through-body porcelain will not show chips and scratches as easily.
 
~~Countertop slabs are typically between 7 and 10 feet long. If your countertop is longer than that, there will definitely be a seam. The seams are joined with epoxy that is mixed with the color that matches the stone. The joined area is then smoothed, leaving only a very thin line. The visibility of seams will depend on the granularity, color, and pattern of the stone. A small, uniform grain (such as Ashen White) will not show seams as easily as a larger varied grain (for example, Carrara Mable.) The seam in a dark color will be less apparent than in a light color. A dramatic pattern with swaths of color will show more seams than a uniform pattern.
  
~~REMODELING Magazine does an extensive survey every year of recent kitchen remodels in Atlanta. In 2019, a minor kitchen remodel averaged $23,118. A major kitchen remodel was $68,090. An upscale kitchen renovation averaged $138,765. 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 refinishing or painting the existing cabinets.

  
~~Wood slowly changes color over time. It is very hard if not impossible to match a new wood floor to an older wood floor. For this reason, you can add more of the exact same prefinished flooring and no one will be able guarantee a perfect color match. If you are choosing site finished hardwoods, we will blend the stain color to match as closely as possible, but the most important thing to match is the wood (grade, species, etc.) itself.
 
~~It can take several months to complete a kitchen "gut" and reno. Custom cabinets usually take around four to six weeks for delivery.  The extent of the job, the contractor's workload and the availability of materials also have an effect.  Once the materials have been delivered, installation can often be completed in as little as two to four weeks.
 
~~The thicker the wear layer and vinyl the more durable the LVP (luxury vinyl plank) will be. Look for a 20 mil wearlayer for the very best scratch resistance.
  

~~One of the biggest cost drivers for a kitchen remodel is structural issues. Changing the footprint of your kitchen in any way will bump up your budget. Moving the kitchen or building an addition involves major construction as well as new electrical, plumbing and flooring.   Opening up to another room could require structural work and unforeseen costs if load-bearing walls are involved. Even relocating the sink or range would mean moving the plumbing or gas lines.
 
~~The average cost for a bathroom remodel in Atlanta in 2019 of a midrange bathroom remodel was $21,114, as per REMODELING Magazine. This includes all new fixtures, vanity cabinet, frameless glass shower doors, faucets, countertops, tile, and labor (plumbing, electrical, etc.) An "upscale" bathroom remodel was $66,051. You may be wondering what the difference is between midrange and upscale and why the price range is so great. The quality and cost of the materials used is the main factor to determine if the redo is considered midrange or upscale. There are many components to a bathroom remodel, and each item has a wide range in quality and price.   For example, a toilet can cost $100 or over $5,000, tub prices range between $125 to over $10,000, and even something "simple" like shower heads vary from $5 to $10,000. 

  
~~Child safety is very important, and Hunter Douglas offers a variety of options.  From cordless and motorized operating systems, retractable lift cords, cord tensioners and wand controls, we offer a wide array of lifting system options for enhanced child and pet safety. 




~~Laminate floors mimic hardwood flooring. A laminate floor is comprised of several thin layers of different materials. The visual is actually a computer-generated picture. Most laminates have a plastic backing, a wood-based core, and a heavy finish consisting of multiple layers of melamine (a hard plastic coating) with aluminum oxide added for better wear and scratch resistance.

  
~~One of the most popular bathroom design trends is the use of a free-standing tub. While beautiful and classic, expect this to add several thousand dollars to the cost of your bathroom renovation. Free standing tubs are deeper than an average tub, can be placed in different locations in a bathroom, and can give a bathroom an antique or a modern feel. One of the first things to think about before installing a free standing tub is where you would like to put it. You'll likely need a large bathroom. Because these tubs can be installed almost anywhere, you no longer have to place them against a wall.  Free standing tubs come in many designs, sizes, and materials, depending on your taste and budget. Be prepared: the price may give you sticker shock, as most are in the $2,000--$5,000 range. Of course, you will not have to spend money on material and labor to build a deck around a free-standing tub, but that will only save you a few hundred dollars. You'll also need to factor in the cost of demolition, a plumber and a carpenter (if the ceiling below the bathroom will need to be removed to access the pipes), and new flooring. Plumbing is a big factor (and cost) in changing to a free-standing tub. The plumbing for these tubs is visible, unlike that of other tubs. The drain and water pipes must be run beneath and up through the floor, so you'll have to consider how accessible and involved it is to reroute the plumbing. You should also consider how easy or difficult this will be while deciding on where to put your tub. There may be a lot of cutting and drilling through beams in order to relocate the plumbing. For budgeting purposes anticipate the cost of the plumbing to retrofit your current tub to free standing to range between $3000 and $3500.
  
~~A floating floor is one that is not attached directly to the subfloor. Panels are attached to each other and are installed over a pad. The floor is held in place by gravity, shoemold, and transitions. All laminates and most LVPs/LVTs are floating floor systems.
 
~~Natural stone countertops should be cleaned with neutral cleaners. Never clean with any product containing acid, lemon, or bleach. Acids, even a light solution of vinegar and water, will eventually etch and damage natural stone. Do not use scouring powders or creams; these products contain abrasives that may scratch the surface.   Use coasters under all glasses, particularly those containing alcohol or citrus juices. Many common food and drinks contain acids that will etch or dull the surface. Wipe up and clean with mild soap and warm water all spills immediately. Thoroughly rinse and dry the surface after washing. Use only cleaners made specifically for natural stone. Stone sealers should be applied as soon as you notice water no longer stands (beads up) on the surface. 

  
~~Without energy-efficient window treatments, as much as 50% of a home's heating and cooling energy can be lost through its windows.  Hunter Douglas Duette Architella honeycomb shades featuring a honeycomb-within-a-honeycomb design for greatest energy efficiency.  Hunter Douglas products help conserve energy at the window in these three important ways: insulation, solar heat control (allowing the sun into your home in the winter and minimizing the amount that comes in during the summer), and daylighting (lighting rooms with natural light rather than artificial light.  By drawing natural light into a room many of our window treatments reduce the need for other types of lighting, thereby reducing your energy use.)

~~Bathroom remodels can take as little as one week and as long as three to four weeks. The complexity of the tear out, installation details and size of the bathroom are all things that effect the range of time you can expect your bathroom makeover to take.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Are you Selling? Buying?


 

On The Market? 
Spring is normally the busiest time of year for home sales. But this year has been different. Home are still selling, but it's taking a little longer. 

Here are a few things you should know if you are thinking about buying or selling:
~~Buyers are currently being screened to ensure they are pre-qualified. No casual lookers.
~~Most open houses are being done virtually and are highly successful.
~~Expect few face-to-face meetings with your agent. Zoom and FaceTime are being used extensively.
~~When viewing a home, plan on wearing a mask and following extensive protocols about not touching any surfaces, cabinet and closet doors being left open, things like this.
~~Over the past few months, mortgage interest rates have been lower than we've ever seen. And experts expect that trend to continue.
~~The process will be slower, as it is taking longer to schedule home inspections and repair estimates from tradespeople.
~~A bigger inventory of homes on the market is on the horizon for buyers. Many sellers are on the sidelines, still residing in their property and not wanting strangers (agents and potential buyers) walking through their home at the moment due to the health crisis. Once it is clear the risk is minimal, we will see a big increase in the number of homes for sale.
~~Buyers are also waiting in the wings for the coronavirus pandemic to end and the economy to get back on its feet.
 

Here is the recent data on Metro Atlanta Real Estate (data supplied from FMLS includes all residential property types. ) April 2020 vs. April 2019:  9476 new listings in April 2020 which is down almost 27% from April 2019. There were 6218 pending sales in April 2020 which is down 32% from April 2019. Both of these numbers indicate that sellers have elected to stay on the sidelines a little while longer before putting their homes on the market.   However, in April 2020 homes are on the market for an average of 42 days which is down only 10% from April 2019. Another positive note for sellers is that the average home price in April 2020 is  $330,499, up from $318,340 in 2019.   This is an increase in average sales price of 3.8%. 

Our local Realtor friend Lee Ann Wynns, with Dorsey Alston, summarizes  by saying:  "Yes, it is possible to buy or sell a house right now.  While the market is down in new listings and pending sales, the good news is that prices are up!  We are seeing homes sell in a day and with  multiple offers because the inventory is so low.  Buyers who need to buy are out there."  

If you are selling, be sure to come in first and meet with an Enhance Design Consultant to discuss smart updates to make to your home to get top dollar.  And if you are buying, we can assist you with turning your new purchase into your perfect forever home.  Relax ...... we're here to help!

What We Are Doing
The Enhance Floors Design Center is open Monday - Saturday 10 til
5. We are seeing clients by appointment only. We are only scheduling one appointment at a time to limit the number of clients in the showroom. We are cleaning and sanitizing regularly, washing our hands often, and wearing masks when working with clients.  We have a "Sanitation Station" for your use, stocked with disposable gloves, masks. and hand sanitizer.


To reduce the amount of time you will be in the Design Center, call or email us to discuss your project prior to your appointment. We can send you some educational information in advance, so that you have fewer questions and know a little bit more about what you need to look at prior to your arrival.

We can also work with you virtually to view products via Facetime or Zoom and can have complimentary samples sent to you home.

Our Installers are also working, wearing masks and gloves at all times. We are avoiding close contact and following appropriate social distancing, in the showroom and in your home.

We promise to stay home if we are sick and do ask that you only come into the Design Center or allow our Estimator and Installers into your home if no one in your family is currently diagnosed with COVID19 or has been exposed to the virus.

Great Time To Buy
It is National Karastan Month, and it is the best time of the year to buy! Take advantage of sale prices on all Karastan carpets (plushes, patterns, even top-of-the-line wool carpet) and LuxeCraft LVP. What? You didn't know Karastan had luxury vinyl? You definitely want to take a look at these gorgeous wood stylings -- species like walnut, hard to find cypress, maple, oak, hickory. Even herringbone patterns for a unique installation.

And not only is all Karastan carpet and LVP on sale this month -- you can also take advantage of 18 Month Interest FREE financing on installed purchases over $2500. Now is the time to make your dream home a reality with beautiful new Karastan floors!


Design Tip
Give your bedroom a new and refreshing summer make over. Choose some vibrant colored sheets and bedding sets. Match the theme with some white lamps, fun accent rugs, and a decorative wall decoration on your bedroom wall - a collection of straw hats is fun.
 




How Much Does It Cost?
We just installed gorgeous COREtec LVP in the Family Room, Dining Room, and Hall of a Kennesaw home. The visuals of this wood-look plank are incredible, and this great looking floor could not be any easier to take care of! These areas, 490 square feet, were installed for a little over $3000.
  


I Was FLOORED By Enhance
Lori in Woodstock writes: "I would like to recognize everybody that I worked with including the lady at the store that I talked to and the owner. He was wonderful. The workers were amazing. They moved everything out of the way. I would definitely use Enhance Floors & More again."
Thank you, Lori. We appreciate the great review! We have extended the Decorating Dollars you earned until 5/31. Please give us a call to set up a time to come in and "spend" them.






 

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Our New Normal


          
  



  
  
  
Wow, what a weird past couple of months it has been. Our lives are so vastly different, aren't they? We hope you and your family are all healthy and well. It looks like the virus new case numbers are dropping and we are on the first steps of the journey back to "normal", whatever our new normal will be. It will be different for all of us. We all have to do what seems best for us and for our family.


As the shelter in place mandates are expiring and businesses are allowed to reopen, we are happy to inform you that we are increasing the staffing in the Design Center and able to offer more appointments for you to come in and shop for flooring. We are now open Monday thru Saturday, 10 til 5. One appointment will be scheduled at a time, so there will not be other clients in the store during your visit. We will wear a mask and ask that you wear one, too. We are following appropriate social distancing and, of course, no handshakes or hugging (yes, we sometimes hug our clients. Many of you are like family!) We are sanitizing the samples we handled and the door handles and knobs after each client. 

Our safety and safety of our clients is paramount. That being said, the in-store appointments are going great and everyone seems very comfortable with the protocols we are taking.

How To Diagram To Get A Ballpark Price
We are also able to ballpark pricing for you while you are in the store. The first step is for you to take accurate measurements and draw a diagram or two for us to work from. Here is some guidance on how to measure your rooms:
What you need:
           --Lined paper (notebook or graph)
--Standard metal blade tape measure, 25 to 30 feet (shorter lengths are OK, but more of a challenge to use)
--Maybe a helper to hold the end of the tape or to write down the measurements for you

You can list your measurements in all inches or in feet and inches. Do not worry about fractions of an inch, round up to the next full inch.
When measuring for carpet, measure first the length of the room. This is going from the front of the house to the back of the house.
Then measure the width of the room. This is from the side of the house to the other side of the house.

Treat a closet as a small room.

Draw a square or diagram to represent each room. If you use graph paper it helps you keep your lines straight. However, crooked lines don't really matter and your drawing being to scale is not important, what is crucial is your measurement being accurate. As you diagram, draw with the length of all the rooms going in the same direction (front to back of the house.)

You do not have to draw all the rooms touching, but it helps to have the closet connected to the room you are measuring.

When measuring stairs, we will need to know the number of stairs and the width of the stairs. Some steps will have an exposed edge (or edges) where wood is showing. Be sure to note this if applicable. If you have a landing(s), measure the length and width. Some staircases have what we call a "pie shaped" landing. Measure the widest depth of the landing and measure the width.


Measuring for hard surface flooring is very similar. The only difference is that we do not have to make sure that we keep the carpet running in the same direction. We will also need to know what type of floor covering is currently installed in each room.

If you want us to give you ballpark pricing while you are in the store, take a few minutes and draw a diagram (it's not as hard as it seems, we promise.  The key is using the right type of tape measure!)  And, of course, you don't have to.  We almost always come to your home to measure and double check everything prior to finalizing your order.

Design Tip
Now that the pollen has eased up, it's time to get outside. Want to make your great outdoors even greater? Hang some budget-friendly bistro lights. No special wiring necessary! Outdoor lighting provides just the right amount of sparkle to brighten up and add life to a blah backyard or patio. Readily available online - you don't even have to go to the store to shop!
  
How Much Does It Cost?
Wood floors always add value your home. A Roswell client had water damage in their kitchen and needed to replace the kitchen/breakfast room hardwoods and add wood in the living room, dining room, den, foyer, hall, and powder room. Our client chose Somerset Color Collection Solid Oak in the wider 3 ¼" width, color Red Oak Natural. The areas totaled 1075 square feet and the price was right at $11,000. We were on the job for a full week as there was demo to do.  The variation in Red Oak Natural blends nicely with so many different wood stain colors and paint shades.
I Was FLOORED By Enhance
Neil in Marietta writes that we did: "a beautiful job on our new den hardwood floor. Not only were they able to match the existing floor in other rooms but the two installers could not have been nicer and more professional. When they left there was no indication we had work done. They cleaned up and removed all debris. The floor is great. Thanks, Enhance and Don Stubbs."
Thank you, Neil. We appreciate you coming back to us. Let us know when you are ready for the new countertops for your kitchen. Enjoy your new floor!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

COVID-19 Cleaning Tips form the Expert

Well! Spring cleaning has a whole new meaning for us this year, doesn't it? The virus that is exploding all around is scary. We have very little control over day to day events, but to some degree we can control what is happening inside our homes. We think controlling what we can will help us all feel more hopeful and positive through the next few weeks.
 
Here are some guidelines and recommendations on the cleaning and disinfection of homes, aimed at limiting the spread and survival of the virus.
                                                 
NOTE: Cleaning refers to the removal of germs and dirt from surfaces. Cleaning does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection. Disinfecting refers to using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.
 
We should practice routine cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces throughout the day (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks, remotes, hard-backed chairs) with household cleaners and disinfectants that are appropriate for the surface, following label instructions. Be sure to follow instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.
  
Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and discard after each cleaning. If you prefer reusable gloves, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other purposes. Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.


 
If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  
For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.                               
 
With cleaning products being difficult if not impossible to find, you can make a diluted household bleach solution to use if appropriate for the surface. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date.  Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted. 

Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or
4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
 
NEVER mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.
  
For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeting, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. If you are using a disinfectant spray, check to make sure it will not permanently damage and/or discolor the fibers.  For example.  diluted bleach will alter/remove the color from most fabrics.
  







When doing laundry, use the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry, especially for family members who are ill.
 
ALWAYS be sure to wash your hands after handling dirty laundry. ALWAYS.
                                     
If possible, do not shake dirty laundry. This will minimize the possibility of dispersing virus through the air. Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people's items. Be sure to clean and disinfect clothes hampers. If possible, consider placing a bag liner that is either disposable (can be thrown away) or can be laundered.
 
All household members should clean hands often, including immediately after removing gloves and after contact with an ill person, by washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available and hands are not visibly dirty, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol may be used. However, if hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water.
 
Everyone should practice good, no GREAT, hand hygiene and avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth at all times.
                  
Key times to clean hands include:
~~After blowing one's nose, coughing, or sneezing
~~After using the restroom
~~Before eating or preparing food
~~After contact with animals or pets (NOTE:  it has not been proven that you can get coronavirus from your pets.  It is possible the virus from an infected person could be on an animal's fur.)
~~Before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance (e.g. a child)
  
Stay in touch with others by phone or email. If you have a chronic medical condition and live alone, ask family, friends, and health care providers to check on you during an outbreak. Stay in touch with family and friends, especially those at increased risk of developing severe illness, such as older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions.
 
A few days ago a gentleman on the news said "... I'm glad you used the word social distancing, because I read a blog about it two weeks ago and I said I understand the use of the word, but I think it's the wrong word. What we're looking for really is physical distancing, but we want social connection. We need to get closer to people as we pull away more from them physically". So, do not distance yourself and your family socially--do what you can to stay socially involved.
 

Keep up with family members, who may not live in town, through the telephone to find out how are they doing. And if possible, stay in contact with members of your community, especially the older folks, who are feeling especially vulnerable. What are their needs? How can we meet their needs? What can we do? What are the things that you need to be taking care of, whether it's the food shopping, if there's a medical issue - anything, just to help them feel less isolated.                         
 
Here at Enhance, we so enjoy our customers, and our contact with them. Sadly, as we have been mandated to shelter in place, the Design Center will be closed for the next couple of weeks. We will be available by phone and email, however, and continuing to work on projects. We can assist you with product education and selection and can schedule virtual showroom visits using Facetime, Messenger, Zoom, or Skype.  Also, many of our vendors will graciously mail complementary samples to your home. Most of our projects will require an in-home visit to finalize pricing, but with your assistance in measuring we can provide you with fairly accurate ballpark pricing before coming out.
 
Hopefully, a few weeks of distancing will help us all to stay well. We hope to see you all-- in person-- when this is just a memory. Stay safe, see you soon!