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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Home Improvement DON'Ts

If you are one of the growing number of Baby Boomers, born between the years 1946 and 1964, you are likely in a home where you have raised your children, welcomed grandchildren, and now are finding is more than you need or want. If so, you may be thinking of moving and down-sizing sometime in the next few years?  If you are like most of us, there are a few things in your home that need addressing. Plan it out, do a couple of projects a year, as your budget permits, so it is not overwhelming.
 
Some of the common issues that need work are: making sure the AC and heating units are in good condition, installing a new, efficient (tankless?) water heater, make sure sidewalks and driveways don't have crumbling and cracked areas, does the roof need to be replaced? These are all "Do's." We are also going to give you a list of a few "Don'ts" for these next few years:
 
---DON'T over-improve one area. An upgraded kitchen with everything new may be wonderful, but don't improve it to the extent that the other rooms look old and shoddy by comparison. Instead, do a minor refresh in the kitchen and all the bathrooms, with new lighting, fresh paint, new granite or quartz countertops.
 
---DON'T install a swimming pool. This never enhances the value of a home. To the contrary, many buyers exclude homes with pools from their searches. They don't want the added labor of upkeep, the expense, and/or the potential danger and liability. Instead, make sure all the landscaping is full, but not over-grown.
 
---DON'T add a sunroom. If a sunroom is not heated and cooled, it can't be counted in the home's square footage. And if you do add heating and cooling, statistics say the cost will not be recouped. Instead, be sure all the windows are clean, in good condition, and that the view to all that nice landscaping is unimpeded.

---Lastly, DON'T over-personalize. Keep any remodeling classic and neutral.  New homeowners will want to make the space theirs immediately, not be reminded of the previous owner (you!)
 
As Seen On TV
If you are going to be doing some remodeling in your home and you've been watching all the shows on TV about remodeling, you may have the misconception that these makeovers happen overnight. These guys and gals are almost magical in what they can accomplish while the commercials are on!
 
The truth is, there are teams of people working on these makeovers, and they are filming over the course of several weeks, not minutes.  There is a lot that happens that is not captured by the camera. A lot that is not glamorous or fun. A lot that will involve a lot of nothing perceptible happening. A lot that is dirty, especially the demo part of the project. You will have multiple workmen in your home over the course of the project, and it is also more than likely going to be very disruptive to your home life for most of the process.
 
Be realistic about the entire job. The timing, the disruption, it's all going to be more than you anticipate. Any contractor is going to need some lead time before he can start the job. (If he can start immediately, you need to question why.) Product has to be ordered, and sometimes it comes in wrong or damaged. If you haven't had any remodeling done in a few years, be prepared for a bit of sticker shock. And don't take the cheapest quote if you get several, as you should. Again- why is one much lower than the others? And sadly, you need to be prepared for surprises. When tile gets pulled up, or vanities get removed, sometimes there are issues that no one anticipated. Always leave a little wiggle room in your budget for just such as this.
 
In short, remodeling can be a difficult and frustrating process. Enhance Floors & More will be working to get your job done as quickly as possible, but not at the cost of quality. Be patient with the planning process as well as the actual work. As a reward, you will have a beautiful new kitchen or bathroom to enjoy for years and years to come.


Countertop Comparison
Are new countertops something your home needs? Corian is dead and gone, Formica is a thing of the past, and tile countertops never should have happened! The two best choices currently are granite and quartz.  What are the differences?
 
Granite is a natural material- it is mined, and like any natural mineral or rock, there are variations in the appearance of the slabs, even within the slabs. It can stain or crack if care is not taken, and it must be sealed periodically. It is an eco-friendly surface, and requires less energy to produce than quartz.
 
Being a manufactured product, quartz has a more consistent appearance than granite, and can come in a wider variety of colors. Quartz is made from quartz dust and resin, so it is non-porous and requires no sealing. We are also seeing a migration away from granite; some clients tell us "everyone has granite, I want something different."
 
The starting price point on granite is lower than on quartz, however there is a much wider price range on granite.  Why?  Granite pricing is generally based upon availability/scarcity of the stone. Where the stone is quarried also affects the pricing.  For example, blue-toned granite is said to come from deeper beneath the earth's surface, making it rarer and more costly.
 
You may be wondering about marble.  Marble is much more porous than most granites, and therefore requires more vigilant maintenance and sealing.  Today's quartz offers an extremely realistic marble visual and is much easier to take care of in a heavy-use area like a kitchen, so most of our clients choose quartz.
 
How Much Does It Cost?
A smallish kitchen needing one slab of granite normally costs $3500 to $4500 installed, including plumbing.  Quartz runs a little more, starting around $4000 installed with plumbing.  Of course, prices vary based upon the actual stone you selected.
 
Design Tip
New stone countertops add value to your home, but if your lighting is bad, it is hard to appreciate any selection. When choosing colors, consider the kitchen's lighting. If your kitchen has little or no natural light, select granite that has a significant amount of white or gold, or lots of light-colored specks. Dark colors like deep blue, mahogany and black look best in areas that receive substantial light. Under-cabinet and pendant lighting make good lighting options to enhance the beauty of the stone.
 
I Was FLOORED By Enhance
From one of our all-time favorite clients in Alpharetta:
"Since moving to the Atlanta area back in 1994 we have used Enhance Floors and More numerous times over the years to up-date and/or install hardwood floors and new carpeting. We've had them not only do our kitchen flooring but also coordinate an entire updating of our kitchen and kitchen dining area. While recently installing a new hardwood floor in our family room they also updated our fireplace setting. The reasons we keep coming back to them is that they: are creative in their approaches, cost conscious in not trying to over sell anything; have real talented, skilled professionals available; stayed in time frames given; personally involved themselves in all facets of the job; followed-up on the completed job; go out of their way to be sure the customer is thoroughly satisfied with the finished product. We'll be seeking them out to re-do/update our bathrooms. We would give them a 5++++ rating if available!"