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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Dos and Don’ts New Granite Countertops

Thinking About New Stone Countertops?
New granite, marble, or quartz countertops are a relatively quick update for your kitchen.  In fact, many realtors advise that you not put your home on the market until you have replaced your old “builder” countertops.  Be sure to heed these Dos and Don’ts as you go thru the process of upgrading your counters”

DON’T select your new stone from a small sample.  Insist on seeing and selecting the slab(s) that will be installed in your home.

DO consider quartz.  Quartz never needs to be sealed, and is much more heat and stain resistant than granite or marble. 

DON’T select your stone without also selecting you backsplash at the same time.  A general rule is that if you want an elaborate backsplash, choose a quartz or a granite with very little movement.  If you want a countertop with dramatic veining, then select a simple backsplash, for example, solid colored subway tile.

DO make sure you understand where the seams will be in your installation.  A lower estimate may be installing the granite in more pieces.  Most clients will spend a little more money to minimize the seams and be strategic about the locations.

DON’T wait to replace your appliances after you do your countertops.  Each slab is template for your current appliances, and if you plan on changing your sink, stove, etc. you will need to know exactly what you are getting so your countertops can be templated correctly. 

DO understand the waste factor that is unavoidable.  On average, 30% of each granite slab is discarded as waste.

DON’T select marble if you are a messy cook or have a very active kitchen.  Marble is more porous than granite or quartz, and it is also softer so it doesn’t hold up as well to wear and tear.  Marble is also more prone to stains than granite or quartz.

It’s That Time Again
Mohawk Anniversary Month has just kicked off!  This great annual sale arrives at the right time to get your new floors installed before the holidays.  You can also take advantage of Interest Free til January 2018 financing----that’s 28 months!  Plus this is an “equal payments” plan, so you do not having to worry about having a balance at the end.

Mohawk has a nice variety of carpet stylings at 50% off for the sale.  Some of our favorites are:

Chaco Canyon:  This 55 ounce, textured carpet features Wear-Dated Soft Touch nylon.  This premium soft yarn creates an irresistibly soft carpet perfect for any room.  This amazingly comfortable carpet is available in 16 soft neutral colors and 4 berber fleck colorations featuring accent yarns which create a natural earth tone effect. 

Ursa Major:  This amazing carpet provides the perfect balance of silky softness, bulky plushness and extraordinary value.  Made using SmartStrand Silk Forever Clean, this carpet has three times the fiber of ordinary soft carpets.  The 18 attractive colors will remain beautiful due to SmartStrand Silk Forever Clean built-in stain resistance.

Freedom Ridge:  This beautifully patterned carpet provides a contemporary, sophisticated style to dress up any room.  The random block pattern is the boldest design available as part of a three-style collection featuring 24 warm to neutral color tones.  Each beautiful pattern is made with attention to detail using the highest quality Wear-Dated Soft Touch nylon yarn.

Visionary Cove:  One of our best-selling patterned carpets creates a clean, universally appealing visual which makes this the perfect pattern carpet for use throughout the house.  The subtle loop and cut design is part of a three-style collection featuring 24 warm to neutral colors.  Each beautiful pattern is made with attention to detail using the highest quality Wear-Dated Soft Touch nylon yarn.

Baldwin Landing:  This high bulk heavy carpet is an incredible value featuring 12 natural colors and six accent berbers with organic earth tone yarns.  This traditional texture provides deep, plush comfort and is made with SmartStrand Forever Clean; the toughest, easiest to clean carpet on the planet. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Painting Dos and Don'ts

Get Your New Floor Today, Take 30 Months To Pay
Shaw's annual 30 Days of HGTV HOME promotion is kicking off.  This year, you can choose from special financing on HGTV products (carpet, hardwood, laminate and luxury vinyl) or receive instant savings up to $500 on your purchase.

The thirty month financing runs through September 30 on installed purchases of HGTV products.  This is an equal payment plan, so you don't have to worry about paying it off by the end of the 30 months.  If you have been thinking about getting beautiful new floors but want to pay over a longer time period, now is the time to check out the designer favorite HGTV lines and get pre-approved for the 30 month financing. 
And if financing isn't something you are interested in, you will love the great sale prices and the instant savings on your new HGTV floors.

If you are looking for a unique patterned carpet, the Shaw HGTV Earthen line offers just that.  Asymmetrical shapes offer a stunning visual that isn't too subtle, but not too bold either.  With a variety of colors to choose from this is a carpet you don't want to miss.

The HGTV Norton Oak line offers a classic look in an engineered wood.  Traditional colors and an option of a wide 5 inch plank or a narrower 3 1/4 inch plank make the Norton Oak a must-have engineered wood for traditional homes. 

If you are looking for a laminate that falls into the more rustic category, the HGTV Alpine line is for you.  If you have an active household but still want the look of hardwoods, laminates are a great option.  The HGTV Alpine features a Hickory character look, which will add warmth and coziness to your home.

Is Painting On Your "To Do" List?

A bucket or two of paint is an inexpensive and quick way to refresh your home.  If painting is one of your projects to complete this fall, be sure to avoid these 

DON'T use low quality paints.  Low quality paints will produce a low quality job.  If you are spending the time and effort to paint your house, you want to invest in high quality paints that will last a long time and make the job easier.
DON'T paint over wall paper.  If possible, remove it all with a steamer or paper-removing solution and prime.  If it is old and not coming off, remove the loose pieces, repair with joint compound to smooth out the wall, then sand and prime. 
DON'T use a latex over an oil based paint and vice versa. 

DON'T stop to take a break in the middle of a wall.  It will not blend well when you come back to it, producing a botched paint job.  Paint all the way to a corner or edge to finish before you take a break.   

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

How Do You Know?

 Has your carpet seen better days? Are you putting rugs all over it to cover wrinkles and tears, or rearranging furniture to cover stains? Are your kids scared to lay on it? Matted carpet, unravelling and significant wear on the main walkways are major signs your carpet is on its death bed.  We came across this helpful article on Angie's List to help you know for sure if it time for new carpet for your home.

Its Old
Are you still using the 1970s shag carpet that came with your house? Have you had it cleaned many times? Believe it or not, carpet doesn't last forever, even with good care. The average person replaces their carpet every nine years. When signs of wear are showing on the major walkways and the carpet fibers start losing their texture and tuft, it's time. If you find yourself cleaning the carpet over and over and not getting the results you want, it's time to lay the carpet to rest. Signs of old carpet include color loss, fading, matting, ripples, wrinkles and lack of padding support.

Condition of carpet padding
Carpet padding is like the shock absorbers on your car; the carpet is nothing but a layer of fabric without the padding. Carpet padding helps support the carpet, working as a foundation and making it comfortable to walk and lay on. It buffers sounds and keeps a room quieter and even improves insulation.  However, carpet padding also absorbs many spills, and cleaning the carpet doesn't clean the padding. Signs of old padding include unevenness, wrinkles and a very hard feeling when someone walks over it.

Stinky carpet
If you own a pet or haven't cleaned your carpet recently, you may notice a lingering smell on your carpet, but the odor should be gone or noticeably diminished after a professional cleaning. If it doesn't, this means that the odor has penetrated deep into the carpet fibers, the carpet pad or the subfloor, and it may even indicate mold and mildew growth.  In cases like these, it's often more cost effective to replace the entire carpet completely in order to fully eliminate the odor or odors.

Increased allergy symptoms
Often, older carpets catch and retain more allergens and particulate matter, which may cause your allergies to act up. If you notice an increase in allergies, one source may be your older carpet.

Outdated style or color
Sometimes you are ready to get new carpet because you don't like the style or color any more.  Berbers tend to date your home and feel very 1980s.  Mauve and deep, dark greens are colors that were popular in the 1990s and aren't in vogue today.  The good thing is neutral plushes never go out of style, but maybe you are tired of "builder beige" and are ready for change.

One thing you will find as you begin considering new carpet is the tremendous improvement in clean-ability and quality.  Today's carpet is so much easier to take care of than older carpet.  And there is a huge selection of styles and colors to choose from.  There is something for every lifestyle, budget, and décor.  Stop by today and let your Enhance Floors & More Design Consultant assist you in selecting the perfect new carpet for your home!

Karastan:  Buy Only The Best
If you are ready for new carpet and want a top-of-the-line choice that will look great for years and years, Karastan is for you!  The premier brand in high quality floor coverings, Karastan is known for innovative style, quality, and craftsmanship.  And guess what----select Karastan carpets are on sale now until September 8.  Consider these beautiful carpets during the Buy Only The Best sale:

If a super soft, luxurious, thick carpet is what you're looking for, Indescribable is perfect.  It is made from SmartStrand Silk fiber, making it super soft and super easy to take care of.  The regular price per square foot is $6.40, it's now on sale for $6.07.

The Vienne line offers a very unique visual.  If you are looking for an asymmetrical pattern with bold color striations, then this carpet is for you!  The Kashmere Nylon makes it soft and durable. 

~Fashion Icon
If a geometric pattern is more your style, then Fashion Icon is a great choice.  Also a SmartStrand Silk carpet, it is a classic look that is very soft on your feet and easy to care for.  Regular price is $5.90, now on sale for $5.07.

A classic look that will never go out of style. 
Maison is a 70 oz solid color cut pile.  The KashmereNylon fiber adds extra softness, so if you want a plush, long lasting carpet,   Maison is the one.

~Worsted Weave
Wool is a timeless fabric.  It is a natural product and incredibly durable.  The Worsted Weave line offers a classic hand-knotted look in many different colors.  Nowon sale for $10.66 per square foot installed.  A great deal on a 100% wool carpet!

Fleck carpets are very popular today.  Churchill is a 55 oz Nylon cut pile with a fleck color line, offering a great price for a popular style.  Perhaps a neutral color such as Champagne Bubble would suit your taste.  If you like the greys, consider Stone Sculpture. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

To Help You Beat The Holiday Rush

 School is back in session and the temperatures are slowly getting a little cooler.  Labor Day is only a couple of weeks away and the stores are full of the newest fall fashions.  This signals that the holidays are not that far away.  Now is the time to beat the holiday rush and get started on your home improvement projects.  And so much is on sale this month!  Don't miss out on great prices on some of our very best selling products:
 ~~The Mohawk All American Sale offers great prices and instant rebates up to $500 on select carpet and hardwood floor styles.  Many of our popular carpet "blankets" are part of this sale, with prices as low as $3.15 per sq. ft. including 8 lb. pad  and installation,  plus the instant rebate.  Choose from a variety of easy-to-care-for fibers, including SmartStrand Forever Clean, Silk, and Wear Dated Nylon.  Great colors to choose from, fantastic low prices, plus all are made in America!
In wood, all of the styles with the industry-best ArmorMax finish are on sale.  Rockingham offers traditional looks in oak, hickory and maple.  The Austin Casual line features a wire brushed, rustic visual, just what you need if you have kids and pets.  Northfield is a ½" x 7" wide plank engineered hardwood floor, perfect for big rooms and open floor plans.  Sandbridge is a random width design, featuring 4", 6", and 8" widths.  And all are made in America----what's not to love?

~~Need new window treatments?  The popular Silhouette line by Hunter Douglas is on rebate this month:  buy 2 and get $100 back!  We also have a wide selection of custom window fashions for your home as low as $199 per window.  Choose from blinds, pleated shades, even honeycombs!  Come in today and see the newest styles and colors sure to update your home, and save you money on your utility bills, too.

~~Armstrong has a new luxury vinyl line called Luxe.  Luxe is 100% waterproof---perfect for baths, kitchens, basements and laundry rooms.  The durable 10 year commercial finish (yes....commercial, not residential) offers superior scratch, scuff, and stain resistance, and is $5.75 per sq. ft. with basic installation.

~~Tuftex offers a carpet perfect for pets.  The Stainmaster PetProtect carpet styles resist even the toughest pet stains and easily release pet hair when vacuumed.   Choose from a wide variety of solid and tonal colors, plus the sale prices INCLUDE a pet-proof pad with liner.

~~Ceramic and porcelain tile wood looks are not a trend, they are here to stay.  Come in and see the wide variety of looks available:  traditional wood looks, contemporary greys and whtes, rustic textures, and tiles with dramatic variation.  There is truly something for every décor.  And did we mention the great sale prices on these popular tiles, as low as $2.30 per sq. ft.!

~~If you love the exotic and varied look of an Acacia wood, the Palmetto Road Highland Park is on sale this month for $5.99 per sq. ft. installed.  It is a 5" wide knotty Acacia with a soft scraped look.  It is both rustic and beautiful, not to mention has a lot of character.
~~Maybe you don't want something different.  Mohawk Woodleigh is a traditional solid oak hardwood in popular colors and traditional widths.  Choose from Gunstock, Winchester, Red Oak Natural, Butterscotch, Chestnut, White Oak Natural, Saddlebrook, and Cherry stain colors.  This month you can have the classic hardwoods you've always wanted at a great sale price.
~~In laminates, the new Chesapeake line from Palmetto Road is a great look at an unbelievable price for a 12mm product---$4.20 per sq. ft.  Four classic colors to choose from, 5" wide planks, and heavy distressing make this laminate a "must have" for those with an active household.

Kitchens and Baths
Many clients are pursuing their dream of renovating their kitchen or bathroom.  One of the first questions is always "How much will it cost?"  REMODELING Magazine does an extensive survey every year of recent kitchen remodels in Atlanta.  In 2014 a minor kitchen remodel averaged $18,889, and a major kitchen remodel was $54,798.  An upscale kitchen renovation averaged $109,672.  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 refinishing the cabinets, or painting, faux painting, or glazing the existing cabinets. 
Every remodeling project is unique, and costs vary depending on the homeowner's budget, tastes, and priorities.  One of the biggest cost drivers for a kitchen remodel are 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.
Is your bathroom in need of an update?  REMODELING Magazine reported that the average cost in 2014 of a midrange Atlanta bathroom remodel was $15,941.  This includes all new fixtures, vanity cabinet, frameless glass shower doors, faucets, countertops, tile, and labor (plumbing, electrical, etc.)  An "upscale" bathroom remodel was $50,772.  An industry average price per square foot for a professionally done bathroom remodel ranges $175 to $225 per square foot on the low end and over $600 per square foot for a luxury bathroom. For a 5 x 8 bathroom (40 square feet) that is a range of $7,000 to $24,000. 
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.
Understanding that there are no standard costs for a remodel -- every home is unique because of its age, layout and construction type -- will help you be more realistic about the potential costs of your project.  Come in today and talk to an Enhance Floors Design Consultant about your plans for a kitchen or bathroom remodel.
Design Tip
A quick and easy room refresh is changing the color scheme of your bedding.  Shades of grey, taupe, and beige have a soft, elegant look.  Navy blue and white create a beachy, nautical look.  Pale blue and cocoa brown is another trending color combination.  Also, adding metallic embellishments is a great way to bring "bling" into your bedroom

Friday, August 7, 2015

Flooring DONT's

We had a first this past week.  We were working with a client who was using her own decorator.  The designer told us exactly what she wanted, not just the look of the carpet but the exact style and color.  We ordered the carpet based on her specification, but when we arrived to install it, the client did not like it, because it did not look exactly like the picture on the Internet.  Neither she nor her designer had ever seen the sample.  We worked through it and all is well now, but our bad, it never occurred to us to ask if they had seen the actual sample.  Lesson learned:  don't assume. 

Selecting your new floor from pictures on the Internet is definitely a flooring DON'T.  Here are some others that we have accumulated over the past 30 years:

DON'T forget to inquire about upgraded padding options.  Many times a small investment will help your carpet keep looking "brand new" for many, many years and will more than pay for itself in the added lifespan of the carpet.  This is also true for other upgrades, for example, stain resistant grout and the padding used under floating hard surface floors.

DON'T think you have to use a small tile in a small space.  Larger format tiles expand the area visually and make a small room feel larger.  This also applies when deciding the width of hardwood flooring planks, too.

If moisture and cleanliness are your big concerns, DON'T forget about good old sheet vinyl.  These seamless floors (in most rooms) are impervious to topical moisture and can be cleaned very aggressively.  We install a lot of sheet vinyl in pet rooms.

DON'T put too much emphasis on the warranty in your decision making process without requesting and reading the printed warranty.  Pay close attention to the exclusions.  If something that you are very concerned about happening, for example damage to hardwood floors from high heels, is excluded, the 50 Year warranty from the manufacturer won't be real helpful, will it?

DON'T select your new floor from a tiny sample swatch.  Ask to see the largest sample size available, or multiple small samples.  There may be a nominal charge for this, but seeing more of the color or pattern or variation always helps you know what to expect your new floor to look like once installed in your home.

DON'T put your house on the market without taking a critical look at your flooring.  If the carpet is worn or smells bad (or both), replace it with a neutral color.  Same with vinyl and hardwood.  It may be expensive, but you will get it back in a higher price and a faster sale.

DON'T paint and then try to find the perfect floor color.  There are thousands and thousands of paint color choices, but nowhere near that many flooring color choices.  Make both decisions at the same time so you do not give yourself a much harder task when choosing your new floor.

Please DON'T wait til the last minute to decide you need new floors.  This happens all the time around the holidays.  Someone decides the Monday before Thanksgiving that they want new carpet installed that week.  The best companies are already booked up and will have no installation openings, and in times of high demand, it is very common for there to be product shortages and delays in getting the floor you selected.

DON'T use just anything on your hardwood floors. Always read the label carefully before you buy a new product.  Words and phrases to watch out for include Polish, Finish, Glo or Glow, Fills in scratches, Shine, Protects from water damage, Leaves a long-lasting brilliant shine, Oil soap, Wax, Refresher, Rejuvenator.  These words and phrases are telling you the product is more than a cleaner. There is some type of wax or dressing in the product which will almost certainly cause problems. Either it will not adhere (will peel or flake off) or there will be an unattractive residue on the surface of the floor. Please only use cleaners made by wood flooring manufacturers like Armstrong, Bona, or Mohawk.
DON'T think that do-it-yourself carpet cleaning is the same as a professional cleaning. The warranty on your new carpet requires hot water extraction cleaning by a professional at least every 18 months.  And be sure to keep your receipts, as they are required if you ever need to file a warranty claim on your carpet.

DON'T use the wrong products on your granite countertops.  Do not use bleach, glass cleaner, degreaser, vinegar, ammonia, lemon or orange cleaners.  You can cause damage (etching) to the stone with these acid or alkali cleaners.  Use neutral cleaners made specifically for granite and stone.  And is water no longer beading up?  That means it is time to seal the stone.

DON'T ruin your wood or vinyl floor by moving the refrigerator out to clean behind it.  First lay down a sheet of plywood and roll the refrigerator onto the plywood. 

DON'T believe everything you read on the Internet.  There is a lot of misinformation about flooring on various websites, and also conflicting and confusing information.  We sometimes have clients come in with very strong opinions about something, like prefinished wood floors are not real wood, and when we ask why, we are told that's what it says on the Internet.  The Internet is a great source of information, but take the time to educate yourself and learn facts versus opinions.

If ease of maintenance is a concern, DON'T choose the very lightest or the very darkest color available.  It is logical that snow white carpet is hard to keep clean, but really dark colors provide their own challenges.  Dust, lint, and pet hair shows more easily, and scuffs and scratches are more visible, on dark hardwood floors.

DON'T forget to protect your flooring investment with specialized window treatments designed to protect from sun fading. 

DON'T use a steam mop on your hardwood or laminate floors, ever. Think about it---wood and steam---this combination can ruin your floor! Plus many manufacturer warranties are void if you use one on your floor.  These mops are OK to use on vinyl and ceramic tile, but never on wood.