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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

I Ruined My Floor

One of the worst feelings is when something brand new gets broken or damaged.  You worked so hard for that new car, and look at the ding in the door from some inconsiderate person in the parking lot!  Floors are the same way.  We'd love to tell you that there are indestructible floors, but unfortunately, there are not.  And sometimes the damage is our own fault........

Here are some recent situations we have encountered.  A client called that had used a "quick shine" product on her hardwood floors and did not like the way it turned out.  She wanted to know how to get the product off.  This is what it says on the bottle she used:  "Restores the richness, color and beauty of hardwood floors. Made with pure natural plant-based Carnauba. Simply squirt and spread - Quick and easy."  This product is not a cleaner, it is a wax.  And there is no easy way to remove it.
Please, don't use random products on your hardwood floors. Always read the label carefully before you buy that 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.

Another client had a big holiday party and there are now little indentions all over his new hardwood floors from high heels. He was genuinely surprised that this had happened.  Did you know that measured in pounds per square inch (psi), a car has a load of 28-30 psi, an elephant 50-100 psi, and a 125-lb. woman with high heels, when she takes a step and those heels hit the floor, 2000 psi! That's a problem for any floor -wood, ceramic, carpet, and vinyl. Indentation will occur from the heels themselves, and even more so from protruding nailheads. An exposed nailhead can exert a force of 8000 psi---high enough to pulverize hardened concrete.

Now you may be wondering what our client could have done to prevent this.  Other than inspecting the shoes of every guest before allowing entry into the home, probably nothing.  Using lots of runners and rugs to protect the hardwoods is an option, but this is an expensive solution.  If you have certain friends that love their stiletto heels, consider buying several pair of inexpensive slippers and ask your guests to change into "more comfortable" shoes when they arrive.  (Maybe you will start a new fashion trend!)

With today's technology, hardwood flooring manufacturers are able to strengthen their surface finishes with everything from Aluminum Oxide, Titanium to Ceramic particles mixed with the finishes. Quality manufacturers use 6 to 10 coats of these durable finishes on their flooring. These finishes create a very wear resistant durable surface for normal foot traffic for many years. Regardless of the brand of wood flooring or finish though, all wood flooring can be scratched or indented if something heavy and/or sharp is pushed, dragged, or rolled over its surface. This includes stiletto heels or even a pebble stuck to the bottom of your shoe.
The higher the hardness is of a specific wood species will help reduce the amount of dents caused by situations listed above, but ultimately no matter what the hardness rating of the wood species, wood is wood. Wood is made up of millions of cell structures that were once filled with water making it harder to crush or dent before the tree was cut from the forest. Once that tree becomes lumber and is kiln dried at the mill, the moisture in those cells is dried out leaving hollow cell structures that can compress when something heavy is dropped or rolled on the floor leaving dents within the surface of the wood.

Sometimes clients are surprised that their dogs are scratching their hardwood floors. Little dogs with sharp nails and large dogs that actively run in the house will dig in to get traction, possibly scratching the surface of any wood flooring.  It is important to keep dogs' nails trimmed and to possibly limit their areas. Use lots of area rugs. There are companies out there that make dog booties that will protect your hardwood flooring. Also, make sure your pets are house broken. Pet urine is an acid and will damage the natural color of the wood flooring if not cleaned up right away, leaving a black stain that does not always sand out.

Another client's dog threw up on her carpet, and her trusty stain remover did not get the spot all the way up.  Please, when something is spilled on your carpet, don't grab for any cleaner you can find.  Take a quick moment to either call the carpet manufacturer or go to their website to find out exactly what you need to do to remove the specific stain.  Some cleaning products can lock in a stain or permanently discolor the carpet.  For many of the newer carpets, most stains will come up with warm water only. And never rub, scrub or use a brush. This may damage carpet fibers. 
If you have bought new carpet recently please take a few minutes to put this information somewhere handy so that when something happens to your carpet, you know exactly where to go to find the correct cleaning information.  Also know exactly what the fiber is:  nylon, SmartStrand, solution dyed polyester, etc.  Call and ask us if you do not know your fiber.  Click the manufacturer links below to be linked to each website:
We Did It Again!
The results are in, and for the third year in a row, Enhance Floors & More was voted Best of Atlanta for Flooring. tallies the results in numerous categories and announces the winners every January.  We are so proud to be recognized for the work that we do every day to give our clients the very best service when they are shopping for new flooring and the absolute best installation experience.  

Design Tip

Shiny stainless steel appliances may finally be on the way out.  What's the new hot color?  Black.  Instead of gleaming silver appliances sleek black stainless steel is the trend of the future.  

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Purchase with a Purpose

Enhance Floors & More is honored to announce our partnership with Shaw Floors and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.  The history of this world renowned hospital reads like a fairy tale:  unsure of his life's direction, a young Danny Thomas sought guidance from St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of hopeless causes. If the saint would point to the path he should take, Danny vowed to build a shrine in his name. Success followed Danny's plea and soon after, the legendary entertainer set about fulfilling his vow to St. Jude. The result was St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
Since St. Jude opened its doors in 1962, it has changed the way the world understands and treats pediatric cancer. It is one-part children's hospital and one-part research center. Discoveries made at St. Jude hospital are shared freely so that doctors across the world can expand on protocols and treatments and help cure kids worldwide. So far, St. Jude has pushed childhood cancer survival from 20 percent to more than 80 percent. In the next decade, the research hospital hopes to push survival rates to 90 percent.

At St. Jude, no family ever receives a bill for anything - treatment, travel, housing or food. It takes close to $2 million a day to run St. Jude and 75 percent of those funds come from corporate partners and individual donors. Shaw Floors has been a corporate donor since 2011. And now Shaw has decided to kick it up a notch by creating the St. Jude Carpet Collection---a collection of 46 beautiful carpet styles. Proceeds from every foot of carpet sold from this exclusive collection support St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.  These carpets also make gorgeous custom area rugs, and your rug purchase also qualifies for a donation to St. Jude.
Enhance Floors & More has been chosen by Shaw Floors as a partner in this important initiative.  If you are planning on replacing the carpet in your home this year, please consider the St. Jude Carpet Collection and know that your purchase is helping to save the lives of innocent little children around the world.  

Winter Has Arrived
The below freezing temperatures of winter have finally arrived, and along with the cold comes the danger of burst pipes.  Be prepared by knowing where your water shut off valve is and be sure you have (and can find) your meter key.  TIP:  A meter key is a tool used to turn off the water valve at the meter in an emergency.  You can find one at your favorite local hardware store for around $10.

Not sure where your shut off valve is?  Locations can vary depending on city water or private well and type of home and arrangement of your plumbing.  Check these spots:
--near the curb or sidewalk in a pit under a metal plate in your front yard
--the basement, near the front of the foundation wall within 3 to 5 feet of the main water entrance
--in a crawlspace
--in a mechanical room
--around the water heater or furnace
--under the kitchen sink

Unfortunately, in some cases there is no shut off valve or it has become inoperable.  This is why you should find it in advance, and not after disaster strikes.   If you have a burst pipe, go to the valve with your meter key and turn the valve clockwise (usually 90 degrees) to shut off the water.  Then call your plumber to come out an assess the situation.
We Won!
We were notified by Houzz, the highly regarded web site and online community specializing in architecture, interior design and decorating, landscape design and home improvement, that we had won Best of Houzz 2016.  Less than 3% of the Pros listed on their website win this prestigious award.  We are so proud of our team!
Design Tip
Do you find yourself not loving your wall décor anymore?  Try this: Focus on one big piece of art. Lots of small frames on the wall can feel visually cluttered, especially if they are hung at different heights. Take everything down and put back just your favorite large-ish piece. One big piece gives the eye a clear place to focus on and leaves plenty of white space to keep the room from feeling jumbled or messy.

Or this:Add a crisp grid. If you don't have a large piece of art, or you want to try something different, work a number of small pieces into a grid arrangement. It's important to use identically sized frames for this and to measure carefully before hanging! A theme for the art works well for this idea - collect photos in shades of blue, a collection of photos taken in the same place, all black and whites, and so on.

What's Hot in Hardwoods

The old-world European look is becoming increasingly popular in hardwood flooring.  You may be wondering what the European look is.  Imagine the wood flooring in an old castle:  lots of character and knots, worn from centuries of foot traffic, and a patina gained from time and polishing.  These floors have a matte (no shine) finish and an earthy feel which works well with any room décor. It's warm, rough, and rustic, and most offer a wide width plank to capture the timelessness and nostalgia from decades past.
Many of the European woods are wire brushed, atechnique that uses wire bristles to remove the sapwood (soft wood) and to open and enhance the wood grain, adding texture & character. The matte finish hides scratches and wear particularly well, making it an amazing option for rooms that get heavy foot traffic and homes with children and pets.
Some of the European-styled woods are dual hand-stained.  This is a technique using highly skilled craftsmen, applying the finest quality stain by hand, twice. Dual hand staining enables two slightly different hues to join into a rich final color-enlivened by deep undertones that are beautifully complex to the eye. This two-stage process results in hardwood floors that are as beautiful as a work of art.
If you are intrigued by this European influence, a few specific styles to consider are Armstrong Artistic Timbers, Mohawk Architexture, Northfield, and Sandbridge, and Palmetto Road Chalmers Collection.  Choose from Oaks, Hickory, and Maples in beautiful new stain colors including Castlerock, Dark Forest, Medieval, Cobble Stone, Drawbridge, and Barnwood.  Come in today and fine the perfect new floor for your castle!
A Big Thank You
To our vendors for donating to our Weeksgiving Food Drive for MUST Ministries.  If you dropped off canned goods (or plan to) here's of a list of the gift cards we will be giving away and the manufacturer that donated the card for our drawing.  Many of our vendor partners also contributed food for our week-long event.  Thanks to:
Mohawk Carpet---3 $45 Kroger gift cards, cookies and pastry trays
            Interceramic---$50 Kroger gift card, big basket of snacks
            Daltile---3 $25 Publix gift cards, chicken nuggets and fruit
            Karastan---$25 Target gift card
            Somerset and Homerwood Hardwoods---$60 Honey Baked Ham gift card
            Shaw and HGTV Home Hard Surface---$50 VISA gift card
            Tuftex---$25 Publix gift card
            Mohawk Hard Surface---$50 Honey Baked Ham gift card
            CFS Hardwood Flooring---$25 VISA gift card
Our week of giving ends Saturday, November 21.  Receive a free gift for your canned good donation plus register to win a gift card.  We hope to see you in the next few days to help us fill the large container for MUST Ministries.

Before You Go Out Of Town
Many of us will be going away for Thanksgiving.  Here are some tips to make your home more burglar proof:
~~Put your newspaper and mail on hold
~~Put your lights on a timer Also leave the light over the stove on all the time, as the kitchen is one room that tends to have lights on the most.
~~Leave a stereo on a talk radio station
~~Drapes There is some debate about leaving drapes open or closed. Some maintain that by closing them you indicate that you are not at home. Others feel that by leaving them open in order to look like you are at home you invite look-ins by potential burglars. Still others recommend a combination, leaving some open (that look into rooms where there is little of value) while closing others (those that look into what should be occupied rooms.) A nice compromise is to leave upstairs curtains open while first floor drapes shut. Whatever your decision remove expensive and inviting items from view from outside the window.
~~Park your car in the drive way This is another debated tactic. Some highly recommend it to make it look like someone is home. Others maintain that a car that doesn't move is a tip off. Still others recommend offering your neighbor a place to park.
~~Padlock all gates Make your backyard inaccessible. Padlocking your gates when you are at home can be inconvenient, but the advantages of doing it while you are on vacation are great. It not only makes getting into the 
back yard more difficult (not impossible mind you, just difficult), but it seriously hinders getting out while carrying items like stereos and computers. This difficulty level serves as a strong deterrent.
~~Let a neighbor know where you are going and leave a contact number and a key
~~Make sure all doors and windows are locked before you leave.  Make sure the alarm system is armed As obvious as this may sound, quite often in the rush to get out the door this can be overlooked.