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Monday, April 21, 2014

If You're Gonna Do It, Do It Right!

Spring is finally here:  flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and everything just feels better.  Spring is "out with the old, and in with the new."  And spring is also time for spring cleaning. 

Here are a few tips as you spring clean your home:




CARPET
Move your furniture so that you can vacuum under it.  Wipe down your baseboards and crevice vacuum while the furniture is moved.  Do not drag heavy furniture across the carpet; Berber carpet could snag and run; the heat and friction generated by the dragging of the heavy pieces can burnish the tips of all carpet fibers, leaving a permanent mark.


The warranties on most carpets require the carpet to be professionally steam cleaned (hot water extraction) every 18 months.  Many people do this in the spring to rid the home of all the winter grime that has been tracked in.  Make sure you are choosing a reputable carpet cleaner and save the receipt.  If you ever have to file a warranty claim, the manufacturer will require proof of regular professional cleanings.


TIP:  When you need to spot clean your carpet, first call the manufacturer of your carpet or the Carpet and Rug Institute to find out the appropriate product to use.
           
Mohawk Industries                         800-266-4295
            Shaw Industries                              800-441-7429
Beaulieu                                            800-918-6483
            Carpet and Rug Institute               706-278-3176

Many cleaning products can set in the stain, or worse, damage the carpet.  You will find that if you have a relatively new carpet most stains come up with just plain water.

Check your exterior door mats and replace as needed.

Also check for any wrinkles, buckles or ripples in your installed carpet.  Call to have the carpet restretched as soon as you begin to notice any ripples.

TIP:  Filtration soil is the dark or grayish lines on carpet along walls, stairways, or under doors.  Changing the filters regularly on you HVAC system and using vacuums with good filtration systems can help prevent this problem.

RUGS
Have your area rugs professionally cleaned, either at your home or at the cleaner's facility.  If you are having your rugs cleaned at your home, be sure they are moved onto your driveway, garage or deck for the cleaning so the floor underneath is not damaged.

GRANITE COUNTERTOPS
It is time to seal the granite.  First, clean your countertop thoroughly using a neutral cleaner.  Never clean with any product containing acid, lemon, or bleach.  Acids, even a light solution of vinegar and water, will eventually etch and damage the natural stone.  Do not use scouring powders or creams; these products contain abrasives that may scratch the surface.  Now apply the stone sealer.  Stone sealers will need to be reapplied as soon as you notice water no longer stands (beads up) on the surface.

TIP:  While dish soap will not hurt your granite, repeated and excessive use of soap will cause build-up and dull the shine.  Also, don't use bathroom, tub and tile, or window and mirror cleaners.  The powders and even the "soft" creams contain abrasives that will scratch and dull the surfaces.  Use only cleaners made specifically for granite and stone.

CERAMIC AND PORCELAIN TILE
Ceramic and porcelain are very easy to clean.  Sweep or vacuum as needed and mop with a mild detergent (like Spic-N-Span or Mr. Clean) or ceramic tile cleaner.  Don't use harsh abrasives.

Now it is time to seal your grout.  Sealing your grout will make the grout less porous and more resistant to discoloration.  Manufacturers recommend sealing your grout once a year to keep it looking its best.  You can purchase grout sealer at Enhance Floors and More.

Also check any caulking.  Caulking is used where the tile is exposed to water.  Caulking prevents expensive subsurface damage.  Recaulk wet areas as needed. 

TIP:  Don't use bleach or ammonia based cleaners, as these products can discolor your grout.

NATURAL STONE
Natural stone (travertine, marble, etc.) 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 the natural stone.

At least once a year you need to seal the stone and the grout.  Some products are multi-purpose, meaning you can use the same product on the stone and the grout.  Others are just for either the stone or the grout; be sure to read the instructions well to make sure you are using the proper product.

TIP:  Don't use generic cleaning products such as bleach, glass cleaners or degreasers.  Don't use vinegar, ammonia, lemon or orange as cleaners.  These products that you buy at your local store contain acids, alkalis, and other chemicals that can etch marble and degrade the sealer, leaving the stone more vulnerable to staining.  Trying to save money by using these over-the-counter products only ensures that you'll be spending a lot more time and money in the long run.
  
Thinking About An Addition To Your Family?
Don and Elisabeth are now fostering a beautiful dog for Angels Among Us Pet Rescue until he finds his furever home.  Meet Ryelee.  He is a little over four years old and is a German Shepard mix.  He is great with kids and other dogs, and is doing just fine with the cats in the Stubbs household.  Ryelee walks well on a leash, does not pull at all, and is housebroken and knows how to use a doggie door.  If you or anyone you know is considering a new dog, please let us know and we will set up a meeting.  He is a sweetheart!

Friday, April 18, 2014

How Not To Ruin Your Floor


Spring is finally here, and for many of us, spring cleaning is on our "To Do" list.  There is a lot of incorrect information about cleaning and maintaining your floor coverings, especially on the internet.  If you are the one in charge of spring cleaning at your house, please take a few minutes to review what the major flooring manufacturers recommend. 

Please be aware that most of the maintenance products and cleaners that are needed to take care of your flooring investment are available at Enhance Floors and More.

HARDWOOD FLOORS
First, check the legs of all furniture to see if the floor protectors need to be replaced and replace them as needed. 

It is now time for a thorough sweeping or vacuuming of your floors.  Do not use a vacuum with a beater bar or hard head on hardwood floors.  The plastic and/or metal parts can scratch the floor.  The vacuum head should be brush or felt; a wand attachment is preferable.

Be careful as you move furniture and appliances.  Do not drag heavy pieces.  You may need to use large pieces of cardboard or something similar to move the heavier items onto to protect the floors underneath.  Many people move the refrigerator to clean behind and under it as part of their spring cleaning.  Do not merely roll the refrigerator out.  The weight of the refrigerator can easily indent the floor.  You need to move the refrigerator onto something so you are not rolling it directly on the floor.  Use a large piece of cardboard, a thin piece of plywood or a piece of carpet with the fiber side down.  Over the years we have seen many hardwood floors damaged from moving a refrigerator.


Damp mop as needed using a hardwood floor mop and approved hardwood floor cleaner.  Do not use oil, wax, or ammonia based cleaners as they will dull the finish and performance of your floor.  These products will also affect the ability to recoat your floor.

Since wood naturally expands when it is wet, never wet mop or use excessive water to clean your floor.  Large amounts of water can cause the wood to swell and may cause your floor to crack or splinter.

TIP:  Just because something says it is for hardwood floors does not mean it should be used on the floor.  Read the ingredients carefully.  We are amazed by what various internet sources state to clean wood floors with.  Do NOT use Orange Glo, Goof Off, bubble bath, steam mops, Windex, ammonia, dish soap, Pledge, vinegar, Pine Sol, Mr. Clean, Mop and Glo, Rejuvenate, tea, Simple Green or similar products.  Only use cleaners made by wood floor manufacturers like Armstrong, Mohawk or Bona.

Use good quality doormats at all of your exterior doors and replace them as needed.

Now is also a good time to look closely at your floors to determine if it is time for another coat of polyurethane.  Start with the areas that get the most foot traffic.  Are these areas duller than the wood in areas that do not get as much traffic?  Do you see light scratches in the finish?  If you can see superficial scratches and the traffic lanes are visible, it is time to recoat your wood floors.  Most floors are in need of another coat of polyurethane every five years or so; in some homes, another coat may be needed every 12-18 months.  If you wait too long, a screen and a coat will not be effective; the floors will need to be refinished.

LAMINATE

There is not much you need to do to a laminate floor as part of your spring cleaning.  Vacuum thoroughly and clean using the product recommended by the manufacturer of your floor.  Check the felt tips on the legs of your furniture and replace as needed.  Be sure to use a large piece of cardboard or something similar when moving large items, like the refrigerator.  Replace your exterior door mats if needed, and just enjoy how easy it is to maintain your laminate floor!

EXTERIOR DOORS
At least once a year, check your exterior doors for possible water penetration.  Check the weather stripping for tears and deterioration.  Check the sills and exterior thresholds for damage.  Is caulking needed?  Can you see daylight through the door?  If you can see light through the door, water can also get through, especially blowing rain.  Sometimes this water gets under your floors without you noticing until the damage is done.  Thousands of dollars in damage can be caused by water penetration. 

VINYL

Now is the time to vacuum and thoroughly clean the floors.  Be sure to use a product that is made by the manufacturer of the vinyl, and do not use a vacuum with a beater bar.

Many people move their refrigerator to clean behind it.  If you are doing this, lay down a piece of plywood and roll the refrigerator onto the plywood.  This keeps you from tearing or indenting the vinyl. 




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Friday, April 4, 2014

This year winter has refused to go away.  We are all ready for spring!  These are some quick and inexpensive ways to freshen and update your home and banish the winter blahs!

~~~display vases of fruit (lemons, limes, tangerines) and fresh flowers
~~~add new pillows and throws in spring colors
~~~change out bedspreads and comforters for   lighter fabrics and colors
~~~how about a new set of dishes in fun colors
~~~new cushions for your patio furniture
~~~make an outdoor serving cart for impromptu entertaining
~~~small chiminea for your patio for the cool spring evenings
~~~a clean and stocked bird feeder
~~~add an outdoor rug
~~~wind chimes placed near windows that you normally have open
~~~a new wreath for your front door
~~~add accessories like candles and lanterns (indoors & outdoors) in fun new colors
~~~new shower curtain and accessories for your bathroom
 


We Are New Too
Have you noticed our new logo and the crisp clean design of our newsletter?  We were ready for a change too!  We have also launched an updated website.  Please check it out and let us know what you think.

How Much Does It Cost
We have had several clients recently having a hard time deciding what type of product is best.  Wood for the kitchen or tile?  Carpet for the stairs and hall or hardwood?  Laminate for the sunroom or luxury vinyl?  Each type of flooring has a unique look and feel, and each has its' own list of pros and cons.  Plus the costs are usually very different.  For some of us, just knowing the approximate cost helps us know which direction we need to go. 

Here is a grid of approximate prices for a typical 300 square foot family room.  All of these floors will look great in a family room.  These prices are fully installed.  As you can see, there is a wide range, based on the quality you choose.

                                 "GOOD"          "BETTER"          "BEST"
Carpet                       $750                  $1200               $1800

Hardwood                 $2000               $2600               $3500

Laminate                   $1400               $1800               $2400

Tile                             $2400               $3000              $5000

Luxury Vinyl            $1400                $1800              $2800

Meet with an Enhance Design Consultant and we will show you all of your options and assist you in making the best choice for your lifestyle and budget.  We're here to help!