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Monday, December 19, 2016

Now and Later Tips and Trends

 Holiday Survival Tips
Christmas is less than two weeks away, and we are all hustling and bustling to get everything done.  Here are a few tips to help you keep your sanity this holiday season:
~~~put all family activities on a calendar and always check it first so that you do not over commit
~~~set up a wrapping station in a low-traffic area of your home; wrap gifts as you buy them
~~~spend some time in your guest room if you are having overnight visitors.  Assess the mattress, linens, and pillows and make any needed changes.  Be sure there is adequate lighting and a luggage stand. Is there adequate tabletop and drawer space for belongings?  A place for hanging clothes?  Do your window coverings block streetlights and the early morning sun?
~~~set aside a single place to collect all receipts for returning or exchanging items
~~~buy or charge batteries for gifts, cameras, etc.
~~~guests coming over?  The holidays are all about the treats. Even if you can't bake, slice up pre-made cookie dough and stick it in the oven. The smell of cookies baking is enough to put anyone in the holiday mood.
~~~and, most important, remember that Christmas is not about things.Christmas is a day of meaning and traditions, a special day spent in the warm circle of family and friends
Design Tip
Interior colors you'll be seeing a lot of in 2017:
~~Pale blue hues
~~Warm golden colors, soft coral, peach and yellow, skin tones
~~Earthy colors that symbolize nature:  deep greens, red wine colors, all shades of light and dark brown, soft orange, peach, and pinkish-orange
~~Soft and tender light pinks
~~Greige, grey, taupe
Descriptive color names to look for include Blue Serenity, Stormy Monday, Wet Concrete, Sea Life, Rose Quartz, Sealskin, Shadow, Pink Bliss, Mountain Air, Guacamole, Grandfather Clock Brown and Brandywine.  Inspired yet?
Wool---Not Just for Sweaters
Speaking of trends- everything old is new again! We are seeing a huge resurgence in the popularity and sales of wool carpet. Of course, wool was the first carpet fiber, and remained the leader until new fibers came along mid-century. First polyester, then nylon, and later Triexta (which is still our strongest seller.)  However, wool never really went away. It had, for many years, a reputation for being high-end. And while it is relatively pricey, as the King of Carpets it is a great investment. Wool is the ultimate green carpet, as it is a renewable resource, and is extremely low in chemical processing (usually only for an anti-static treatment.) We have many beautiful wools to choose from, from manufacturers like Karastan, Fabrica, and Stanton, in Berbers, patterns, and prints. Wool is an elegant and sophisticated carpet choice, and will look beautiful for many, many years.
Buy Now, Install Later
No one ever likes to hear about price increases, but you need to know that we have received notifications of first of the year cost increases from almost every one of our product manufacturers.  This is not unusual in our industry; the New Year seems to be a clear date for price changes to be made effective.  These increases are averaging around 6%.  That is around $150 on a typical $4500 project.
The good news is we can order products and accept delivery and store your order in our warehouse until you are ready for your installation in January.  So, if you plan on making a flooring purchase soon, but just can't get it installed til after the holidays, don't worry.  All you need to do is get everything finalized by December 30 and your price is locked in, regardless of any future increases.
When You Have Some "Me" Time
Work on building your profile on Pinterest or Houzz. Both are such handy tools! On both, you can save pictures of rooms, furniture, appliances, practically everything that you like. After you have done this for a while, you'll begin to get a really good sense of your style in more than just words. Both can be accessed through our website (
Houzz is a website that focuses on home improvement projects. There are thousands of articles about decorating, remodeling, design, furniture, and more. Pinterest is a giant application that allows you to have a virtual corkboard and "pin" anything you like--- from hairstyles, to wall colors, to weddings, to remodeling. Both are also good ways to see new trends, and to conduct your own research for decorating, DIY, or remodeling projects you have in mind.
We love it when clients can show us what they like instead of just trying to describe it---a picture is truly worth a thousand words! Simply allow us to look at your board or Ideabook with, for example, the picture of the backsplash design that you like, and we will be able to take you to similar products in our store.  There are so many helpful ways to use Pinterest and Houzz as you begin your home improvement journey.
I Was FLOORED by Enhance
Becky in Marietta writes that "Enhance just put in pre-finished oak flooring for us. We had a real challenging floor to put in-it's an older home-and they put it in very nicely. Their technicians were excellent; they knew what they were doing. The owner was a really good guy too, and he seemed to know what he was doing as well. We had gotten a couple of estimates, and we liked him. Their business is very close to where we live, and they've been in East Cobb for 15 to 20 years, so we figured if they're there that long with all these major outlets around, they've got to be doing something right. We're happy with Enhance. I'd give them an A."
Thank you for the great review, Becky.  Enjoy your new floor! And please call us anytime with any questions or concerns you might have.

Before You Go To The Grocery Store

Holiday baking, cooking, and entertaining are family traditions in many homes.  Before you head to the grocery store, first spend a little time in your pantry organizing and purging the contents. We all have that item we bought and thought we'd use that's been pushed to the back, or that can that lost its label long ago, or cake mix that's long expired. Before it's time to do your big shopping trip and fill up those shelves again, clean them out, organize them, and maybe you'll be able to mark a couple of things off your shopping list!
Maybe you will find it is time to start thinking about changing some storage systems or living spaces to make your home more functional. As you climb that step ladder to reach those top pantry shelves, consider how many more years you'll want to do that. As much as we don't want to face aging, it is a reality that we are getting older and staying in our own homes longer and later in life. Making a few changes can make that so much easier---and safer! Consider adding lighting over the kitchen counters and in the bathroom, pull-out shelves retrofitted into the lower kitchen cabinets, a curbless shower with grab bars, and even tiny modifications such as lowering the heat on the hot water heater to prevent scalds.
Toys for Tots
Enhance Floors & More is an authorized drop-off location for Toys for Tots.  All you need to do is bring in a brand new unwrapped toy (or two or three!) and we'll do the rest.  And we have a swag bag for you as thanks for your generosity.  You give....and you will get!

Design Tip
Are you struggling with all the new grey colored products on the market? Ready to make a design move in that direction, but not ready to make a full-on commitment to grey? Consider bringing in some elements of greige--a cross between grey and beige. It is a great compromise--greige coordinates well with brown, black, creams, whites and greys, so it offers a lot of flexibility. You can pull greige into your color scheme in flooring, furniture, or accessories, or in the kitchen or bathroom in tile on the floor or a backsplash. Try it, and soon you'll be a greige fanatic!
We Promise
The staff at Enhance is here to help you decide which flooring options are best for you and your family. That is part of our Customer Service Commitment: to ask questions and to listen to your needs, to give you real advice and accurate information, to help you make the best purchase to fit your lifestyle and budget, so that you have confidence you have purchased exactly the right product.
How Much Does It Cost?
We recently installed new laminate floors in a large area of a Kennesaw home:  the family room, dining room, living room, master bedroom, plus the hall, foyer and closets.  Our client chose one of the floors we have installed in our Design Center, Mohawk Huchenson color Sunbeam Acacia.  The cost was just shy of $5000, which included installing the new laminate floor, taking up and disposing of the old flooring, the required floor leveling, moving the furniture, new shoemold, and transitions.
I Was FLOORED By Enhance
From Carolyn in Roswell:
"This is the third time I have used Enhance Floors to install real hardwood floors in my house. The first time they did my master bedroom, half bath and re-finished 15 year old floors in my foyer, kitchen and hallways. It was stunning. Made me think I had a new house again. The second time a few years later I had them install hard woods in my formal living room. Beautiful! Two months ago, I had them pull up the old carpet in the den and install new hardwoods and it is absolutely breath taking.  They are one of the few business I have found where they show up on time; do what they say they are going to do; clean up behind themselves and make sure you are satisfied before you give them the final payment.  I have really been impressed with the friendliness and craftsmanship of this business. Real hardwoods, installed, sanded and stained. Trustworthy workers too. They are great.  I am a delighted customer and would recommend them highly."

Thursday, November 17, 2016

You Give and You Will Get

November is the month of thankfulness.  It is also a great time to give to those in need.  Enhance Floors & More is hosting a food drive for Must Ministries.  We are also a drop-off site for Toys for Tots.  And we are giving away great prizes to thank you for your contributions.
Bring in five food items for Must Ministries or a brand new unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots and spin the prize wheel and see what you win!  
Prizes include: Restaurant and Retail Gift Cards - Area Rug - Store Gift Certificate
Come in today with food items or a toy and help those less fortunate.  Thank you in advance for your generosity!

A Hot Topic:  Gas or Electric?
From Consumer Reports:  What's better---gas or electric ranges?  Each has its advantages.  Electric ranges are more popular than gas, and the best electric models in the CR tests consistently outperform the top gas models, largely because their more powerful range top element delivers faster heat and their broilers tend to cook more evenly because they cover a larger area than those in most gas ranges. 

But fans of gas ranges argue that it's easier to control the heat when cooking on the stove.  They have a point:  when you turn down a flame on a gas range, the heat reaching the food is reduced almost immediately. On radiant smooth top ranges---the most popular electric type-it can take a few minutes for the cooktop heat to fully reduce, which can lead to burned or overdone food. 

Grates in gas range tops can stand up to any type of cookware.  With an electric range, the ceramic glass cooktop can scratch or crack under heavy pots, and you will need to use flat-bottom cookware for the best contact with the cooktop surface.
If you are in the market for a new range, you may want to go with the best of both worlds:  a new dual-fuel model, which has a gas cooktop and an electric oven.
We Need Your Help

Last year, thanks to your votes, we won Atlanta's Best Place 
to Shop for Flooring. We are nominated again this year, and wow, we have a lot of competition. Please take a quick moment out of your busy day and vote for us!
We are under Remodeling/Design & Build or on the 5th page:
Best Place to Shop for Floors
Then choose Enhance Floors, and go to the end and submit.
You do not need to give any personal information and you can vote every 24 hours until November 15.  Thank you very much.  CLICK THE RIBBON TO VOTE!
What's New at Enhance Floors?
COREtec Plus HD and Design by US Floors. This truly waterproof floor is available in beautiful wood and tile visuals, random widths, and the most realistic textures you will see in WPC/LVP. These floors are pet and kid friendly plus come with an attached cork back for added sound deadening, warmth, and insulation.

Come see these gorgeous new floors and create a beautiful new room(s) in your home that is as easy to clean as it is pretty!
How Much Does It Cost?
We recently installed a large Living Room in prefinished engineered hardwood floors to match the oak hardwoods that the client already had in his home.  We completed the job in one day and the total price was $2500, which included taking up and disposing of the existing carpet, pad, and tackstrip and installing new primed shoemold in the room.

Design Tip
We are indoors more in the fall and winter.  Now is a good time to stock up on candles. Make a simple and inviting centerpiece with a tray of flickering candles. Choose candles of different heights, and nestle them in a base of fall leaves (best to use freshly picked ones that aren't too dry), small pine cones or unshelled nuts. 

Next add seasonal throw pillows and small blankets to your sofa and chairs. There's no need to make major changes to your room's color palette to make it feel like autumn. Adding a handful of inexpensive pillows in cranberry, copper and gold and a small throw will warm up the space and make your room look more inviting.
I Was FLOORED By Enhance
Charles in Marietta writes that he found the Enhance team that installed his carpets "first class and a credit to your company.  They were courteous, worked continuously for the whole 2 days and cleaned up spotlessly.  Many thanks."  Thank you, Charles, we sincerely appreciate your business!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Need Help Getting Your House Ready for the Holidays

Thinking About New Countertops?
In one afternoon you can have brand new granite or quartz countertops installed in your kitchen.  Expect to spend $4000 to $5000 for a medium sized kitchen, including a new sink and the necessary plumbing.  Our best-selling granites tend to be lighter colors:  Santa Cecilia, New Venetian Gold, Giallo Ornamental, and Ashen White.  Quartz is another popular choice, especially for those wanting ultimate stain resistance and durability.  Daltile One Quartz and LG Hausys Quartz are both available at Enhance Floors & More. Made from real
quartz, these engineered stones can be made to look just like marble, granite, and other natural materials. Because it is nonporous, it doesn't require the sealing and upkeep of other stone surfaces.
And right now we can still get your new countertops installed before Thanksgiving.  Come in today and select the perfect new stone to update and add value to your kitchen.
It's Mohawk Anniversary Sale...AND...National Karastan Month...AND...Cool Weather, Hot Prices Sale!
You don't need to wait til Black Friday for big savings.  Three of the biggest sales of the year are happening right now, just in time to get your home ready for the holidays. 
One of our biggest sales of the year is now in progress----Mohawk Anniversary Month.  Take advantage of Instant Rebates on almost every Mohawk carpet, hardwood, laminate and tile floor, great sale prices, plus 24 Month Interest Free financing on your purchase.  Hurry, this sale ends October 31.
You can save up to $1000 during National Karastan Month from now until November 8.  24 Month Interest Free financing is also available during National Karastan Month.
Hardwood floors from Somerset and Palmetto Road, Armstrong Vivero LVP, Fabrica and DreamWeaver carpets, and Daltile and Interceramic wood-look tiles are on sale during our Cool Weather Hot Prices Sales event.  So whatever new floor you have been waiting for, it is almost certainly on sale right now!  Come by today and your Enhance Design Consultant will help make all of your home improvement dreams come true.
How Much Does It Cost?
We recently installed Armstrong Alterna Engineered Stone in an average-sized Marietta kitchen and breakfast room.  What is engineered stone?  A premium eco-friendly luxury vinyl tile floor composed of 75% limestone that offers the timeless elegance and beauty of stone and tile, but with a construction that makes Alterna tiles tough enough to handle the hardest working rooms in your home - kitchens, bathrooms, family rooms- really, any room, for a lifetime.  Alterna can be installed with or without grout and is available in a wide variety of styles including marble, travertine, slate and urban-inspired designs featuring weathered metal, concrete and linen.
Our client chose a travertine design in the 12" x 12" size with grout for their kitchen and breakfast area.  Total cost was $1830 including new shoemold and transitions and moving two appliances.
Design Tip
Is interior painting on your "to do" list this fall?  If so, you will be interested to know that Sherwin-Williams has already announced their 2017 Color of the Year:  Poised Taupe. This timeless neutral is modern, classic and a beautiful balance of warm and cool.

Sherwin Williams color experts tell us that Grey has enjoyed its assent to "favorite" status over the last five years - but 2017 will mark the beginning of a warming trend. Influences such as natural or organic materials, weathered and worn finishes and global cultural preferences have suggested alternatives to a primarily grey existence. Earthen brown combines with conservative grey and the result is a weathered, woodsy and complex neutral that celebrates the imperfections and authenticity of a well-lived life.  Neutrals are beginning a transition from the monochrome grey of the past five years to a more complex taupe and brown.
Warm Brown + Cool Grey = Taupe. Poised Taupe SW 6039

Friday, September 9, 2016

Floors Your Pet Will Not Destroy

Tile, laminate, and vinyl are all great choices for homes with pets.  But maybe hardwood floors are what you have your heart set on.  Or you want budget-friendly carpet for your bedrooms but you have an older pet that has accidents.  There are definitely wood and carpet options that are designed with pets (and kids) in mind; you just need to select the right product. 

What If You Just Have to Have Wood Floors?
There are some wood floors that are better suited for dogs. Not indestructible, but certainly more practical. Some features to look for:

~~Wire Brushed. A way to distress wood flooring by machine for an antique look. The weathered yet elegant authenticity of wire-brushed hardwood flooring uses wire bristles to remove the sapwood (soft wood) and open and enhance the wood grain, adding texture & character. The matte finish hides scratches and wear particularly well.

~~Character Grade. A natural appearance displaying the full characteristics of the hardwood floor. All color variations occurring naturally in the specie are allowed. Knots, burls, and worm holes which occur naturally in the forest and mineral streaks are not only allowed but desired in this grade. These visually less "perfect" floors help in hiding scratches and indentations.

~~Distressed Hardwood Flooring. Refers to the intentional scratching, scraping and/or gouging of a flooring surface to create an antique look. These processes may involve darkening the edges of the planks, wire brushing, sculpting, and hand scraping the hardwood floor. Doing so results in a floor with a lot of texture and character. You won't know if the dent in your floor was one that you paid for or one your dog made! Scratches can also be easily touched up with a color matched touch-up pen.  (NOTE: Don't like handscraped floors? No worries---there are many distressed floors that are not scraped.)

~~Low gloss, satin, matte finish. These sheen levels are far more practical than semi-gloss and high gloss finishes. Less sheen helps hide the normal wear and tear from walking, chair movements, pets, toys and high heels. In addition, lower gloss finishes show footprints less due to the lower luster. The glossier you go, the more light reflects off the floors. This in turn, shows more dirt/dust as well as imperfections in the floor. Dark floors also show imperfections more easily than medium to lighter toned floor colors.

~~Sliced Cut Engineered. A cutting method for the real hardwood veneer that is glued on the top of engineered hardwood flooring. It produces a veneer that looks exactly like solid hardwood and generally costs more than other engineered cutting methods. Look for a top veneer at least 3mm thick as these engineered floors can be sanded and refinished at least twice.

~~Aluminum Oxide. An amphoteric oxide of aluminum, commonly used to finish flooring because of its strength. Second in hardness to diamond, it serves as a hard protective coating for most prefinished hardwood floors. The technology does not currently exist for use in site finished flooring and refinishing.

~~Acrylic Infused/Impregnated. A process in which acrylic resins and stain are injected into the face veneer under intense heat and pressure to fill the cell structure of the wood. The boards are substantially more crush-resistant than unprotected wood of the same species, protecting against dents, dings and damage to the floor. Most acrylic infused products have commercial warranties. Because the stain is injected in the actual wood fiber, the color is more permanent and greatly minimizes wear and visible scratches.

~~Oil Rubbed Finish. A very low gloss finish typically using tung or linseed oil instead of polyurethane or wax. An oil finish tends to make the wood look old, as if it had been installed for a very long time. Prior to the use of various urethane and similar finishes, oil was the traditional finish of choice. Since an oil finish actually penetrates and becomes a part of the surface of a wood floor, it is not nearly as sensitive to scratches and wear as a urethane finish. It is easy to maintain (DIY) and, if done properly, will prevent a wood floor from ever having to be sanded. Expect these floors to be on the upper end of the price scale.

Carpet....It Just Feels Better! 
Soft, warm in the winter, comfortable to sit and lay on.  Less expensive than wood and tile floors, you don't have to buy rugs to protect it----so many reasons to love carpet.  But you have pets, and carpet is so hard to keep clean with animals, right?  You may be surprised to know that there are carpet and pad choices that keep your new carpet looking great for years, in spite of your dogs and cats (and kids!)

Mohawk and Karastan's SmartStrand Forever Clean carpets offer All Pet Protection, the only pet-friendly carpet protection system that covers all pets, all accidents, all the time.  Look for these brands:  Sorona, Triexta, Silk, and SmartStrand Forever Clean to get the carpet that is 3X easier to clean dirt, hair, and pet dander from than many other carpets.  The fibers have 0% moisture absorption to reduce pet odors in the carpet fiber and utilize Nanoloc™ spill and soil shield for quick and easy cleanup.  The stain protection is built-in and does not wear, walk, or clean off.  In fact, you will find that most stains come up with just a damp towel!  And SmartStrand Forever Clean is super durable, too, for a carpet that is as pretty as it is practical.

Another carpet fiber that you will want to consider is Stainmaster®PetProtect  It is made from Superiasd® fiber, a solution dyed nylon 6,6 polymer engineered with inherent stain resistance and built-in color that resists fading. So when pet accidents happen, you can use hydrogen peroxide-based cleaners without fear. The 6,6 nylon fiber is generally regarded as the best wearing synthetic fiber available, second only to wool.  Stainmaster® PetProtect®carpet also uses proprietary technologies and chemistries applied to the carpet that reduce the force of attraction between pet hair and the carpet, allowing the hair to be more easily removed with normal vacuuming. And anyone with a German shepherd can tell you that's a breakthrough!

Solution dyed fibers have been available for years and years, particularly in commercial products, and are available in both polyester and nylon.  Without giving you a chemistry lesson, simply put, solution dyed has the dye added to the liquid fiber solution BEFORE the fibers are extruded. This allows the color to be mixed into the solution thoroughly, bringing the color all the way through the fiber once it is extruded.  In this instance, picture a carrot:  unlike a radish, which has color only on the outside, a solution-dyed fiber has color all the way through the fiber.

What difference does the dye method make?  A lot, if you are looking for a colorfast carpet!  Solution-dyed fibers are some of the most colorfast in the industry.  Since the color goes all the way through the fiber, it is nearly impossible to fade or bleach the color out of the carpet. Solution-dyed fibers can typically be cleaned with a mild bleach solution.  (NOTE: Many outdoor fabrics are made with solution-dyed yarns.  Not only does this keep the sun from fading the fabrics almost immediately, but it also allows homeowners to clean the cushions and pillows with bleach if stains or mildew occur.) 

Solution-dyed carpets are also very easy to clean and maintain, making them great for homes with pets.  Almost every carpet manufacturer makes styles from solution-dyed yarn.  It will be declared on the product label, usually abbreviated SD, as it is most definitely a selling feature.  You will pay more for solution dyed nylon than the more budget friendly solution dyed polyester.

Now let's talk about pad.  There are many different pads designed to reduce pet odors.  Think of a typical rebond pad---it looks and acts like a sponge.  If liquid seeps through the carpet into the pad, and there is an odor (like urine), it is now in your pad, and it is very hard to remove it.  Since spills, urine, and vomit are unfortunately always a concern with pets, invest in a pad or cushion with a breathable moisture barrier that helps prevent spills from penetrating the padding and subfloor, allowing for more thorough cleaning which reduces lingering odors. 

Most of your upgraded pad choices also have antimicrobials added during the manufacturing process, providing an added level of defense against bacteria, mold and mildew that can cause stains, odors and deterioration of your carpet.

Now that you know that there are definitely some carpet choices available that are great for homes with pets, here are a few tips for keeping your new carpet looking great.  Always treat any stains and spots immediately. The longer the spill sits there, the harder it'll be to remove the stain. Keep a spot cleaning guide specific to your carpet fiber handy.  You can even call the manufacturer for instructions on particularly hard to remove stains. Don't use just anything on a spot, you could lock-in the stain by using the wrong product.  And blot, don't scrub.  Vacuum your carpet regularly to prevent soil from embedding itself in the pile. And have your carpet professionally cleaned every 12 to 18 months.

Looking For A Pet Friendly Floor?

Are you one of the 65% of homes in America with a pet? And do you struggle keeping your floor clean and undamaged by your beloved dog or cat? If so---it may be time for a new floor!

Our "Dog Days of Summer" Sale is all about floors that are designed with pets in mind. Here is everything you need to know to find your next floor:

Not Your Grandmother's Vinyl
If you have pets, you really must consider luxury vinyl.  Also called LVT, LVP, and WPC, luxury vinyl is smaller individual pieces of vinyl material available in wood looks (3" to 7" wide planks) and tile and stone visuals. The tiles can sometimes be grouted if desired, and are available in a variety of sizes, including popular 16" x 16" and 12" x 24" sizes. The technology being utilized creates extremely realistic patterns and textures.

Luxury vinyl is an extremely moisture resistant floor. There are a variety of installation techniques for luxury vinyl, including fully adhered (glued) to the subfloor, click (floating), and grip (loose lay) methods. Luxury vinyl is very durable, stain resistant, and most are rated for commercial use.

Be sure to take a look at Armstrong Flooring's Vivero Luxury Vinyl (WPC), available in dozens of wood and tile looks.  Vivero features an exclusive finish made with Diamond 10™ technology. This flooring is 100% waterproof and resists scratches, stains, and scuffs like no other Armstrong floor.  With Diamond 10 technology, Vivero flooring endures kids, pets, and today's most active homes.  This floor is designed for real life!

Laminate Floors and Pets
Go together like coffee and cream or French fries and ketchup.  You can't have one without the other!  In fact, Pergo, the company that invented laminate floors and introduced them in the U.S. in the early 1990's, uses a Great Dane in their advertising.  (NOTE:  Pergo is one of the best known of the many brands of laminate floors. Pergo has become a generic name for laminate flooring, like "Kleenex" tissues and "Xerox" copies. Pergo does not make all laminates, and all laminates are not Pergo.)
Homeowners who want the look of popular high-end flooring (exotic species, white washed looks, oil rubbed finish) but not the costs, are finding that laminate flooring can be a great option. But if you are among the skeptics who hear the word "laminate" and immediately think of hollow-sounding, imitation flooring that is easily discernible from the real thing, you may be surprised. Today's high-end laminates include authentic-looking textures, beautiful design options, and impressive realism that can make these durable floors hard to tell from the real thing. Laminates can even be manufactured to replicate distressing techniques such as wire-brushing and handscraping.
What are laminate floors and why are they so great for pets?  Laminate floors mimic wood, tile and stone. The visual is actually a computer-generated picture.  A laminate floor is comprised of several thin layers of different materials. 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 advantages of laminate is that it is very easy to maintain. Laminates are very scratch and indentation resistant and are perfect for busy, active households, especially homes with pets.
Laminate flooring is typically available in planks that range from 7 millimeters to 12 millimeters in thicknesses.  Impact resistance, or the ability of a laminate floor to withstand the impact of a falling object, is related to plank thickness. In general, the thicker the plank, the more resistant the floor becomes to fracture from a dropped object. Thicker laminate products can also help reduce noise and sound.  Naturally, the thicker the plank, the more it costs.
The European Producers of Laminate Flooring (EPLF) developed the Abrasion Ration System. They rate every laminate based on a series of tests, including Tabor Abrasion Test, impact resistance, stain resistance, burn resistance and swelling resistance. Each product is assigned an AC number. Most of the laminate floors that we carry are AC3 and AC4.  AC3 is Heavy Residential & Moderate Commercial, suitable for all residential applications, plus light commercial use, including hotel rooms and small offices.  AC4 is General Commercial, suitable for all residential plus general commercial applications, including offices, boutiques and cafes.  You want at least an AC3 for your home.
A laminate floor can be used in almost any room, including kitchens, basements and any heavy use areas of your home.  If there is a downside to laminate, it is that it can be sensitive to excessive moisture and cannot tolerate standing pools of water for long periods of time (we call it the 30-minute rule!)  However, let's be clear that neither solid hardwood nor engineered wood can tolerate standing water, either. For heavy moisture, you need a very impervious surface like vinyl or tile.  And NEVER use a steam mop on your laminate floor!
One final note--- maintenance on a laminate floor could not be any easier--just sweep, dust mop, or damp mop with the manufacturer's recommended cleaner.  Laminates are super durable, extremely stain and scratch resistant, and very pet forgiving.

Tile May Be the Best Choice of All
If you have pets in your home---tile is stain proof, almost impossible to scratch, wears well for decades, cool in the hot summer for your dog or cat to sleep on, plus there are now stain resistant grouts available.  Or use a rectified (very squarely cut) and/or large format (24" x 24" or bigger) tile for minimal grout joints.  There are wood-look tiles that have great realism if you don't want a traditional tile look.  If you want a very light colored floor, tile is the way to go for ease of maintenance.
Ceramic tiles are a popular choice of flooring due to their aesthetic appeal, as well as their durability and easy care. A properly installed tile floor will outperform and outlast any other floor covering product created for the same application. Glazed ceramic tile resists stains, odors and dirt and can be cleaned with a damp mop or common household cleaners. Additional benefits of ceramic tile include:

  • Cleanliness: Environmentally friendly, ceramic tile is manufactured using natural materials and does not retain odors, allergens or bacteria.
  • Versatility: Modern ceramic manufacturing technology has created a virtually limitless number of colors, sizes, styles, shapes and textures that can add rich beauty and character to any room in your home.
  • Water Resistance: Most glazed ceramic tile has a dense body that permits little or no moisture accumulation.
  • Fire Resistance: Ceramic tile doesn't burn or emit toxic fumes. Even hot kitchen pans or skillets can't scorch or melt the surface of glazed ceramic tile!
NOTE:  Don't get hung up on porcelain vs. ceramic tile.  They are essentially the same, with only a few slight differences, primarily that porcelain has 0.5% or less water absorption rate.  In heavy traffic installations (like a shopping mall) a porcelain will outlast a ceramic, but in a home, you will not see a difference between a good quality (PEI 3 or higher) ceramic and a porcelain.  Some porcelains are through-body (the color goes all the way through the body of the tile, making chips far less noticeable) but not all are.  You will pay much more money for a through-body porcelain.
There are a few negatives to tile:  cost, hardness, cold in the winter (get a rug!) and expensive to remove if you tire of the color or it was poorly installed.  Also look for a tile with texture and slip resistance, both for humans and your dog.  But when it comes to the most common problems with pets---accidents, scratches, stains, cleanability---tile is a clear winner.