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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.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Area rugs serve many purposes:  to protect the floor underneath, to define a space, and to enhance and update your decor.   Protecting the floor is a no-brainer, however, always make sure the backing of the rug and/or the rug pad will not harm the floor.  Some rug backings can permanently discolor a vinyl floor, and certain rug pads can cause significant damage to hardwood floors.  To be safe always buy your rug pads from your favorite flooring store and not at a discount or dollar store.

How does an area rug define a space? An area rug says, "This group of furniture belongs together." It unifies whatever furnishings are placed upon it. In open floor plans or multipurpose rooms, an area rug can help you designate between functional zones, as in, "this rug defines the family room and this rug defines the dining area." The size of an area rug also helps to define a space---the larger your area rug, the larger your room feels (and vice versa).
How can an area rug enhance your decor? It's an opportunity to bring in colors or patterns that coordinate with the rest of your furnishings. An area rug is one of those details that makes your room's decor feel "finished." It can also help warm up or soften hard surfaces like wood and tile flooring, which can come off looking and feeling cold underfoot.
So now that we know why you need an area rug, let's talk DOs and DON'Ts!
DON'T leave wood or tile flooring bare. Yes, having a rug makes your living room seating arrangement look better. And sound better. And feel better. As mentioned earlier, a rug is one of those don't-miss details that makes a room look finished. Rugs absorb sound and therefore make a room quieter-a hugely important factor for those of you with kiddos running around at high decibels. Rugs also feel warmer underfoot than wood or tile, and feel cushier if you're lounging on the floor. Even if you already have carpet, you can still add a rug---there are rugs pads available for rugs-over-carpet.
DO use appropriately-sized area rugs. As noted above, the size of your rug is immensely important, because it conveys the approximate size of the room. How do you know what size to get? Let's use a living room as an example. Some designers advocate having all of your furniture sitting within the outer perimeter of a rug, but most recommend having just the front legs of your seating pieces on top of the rug. By letting the rug run beneath the furniture, the implication in your mind's eye is that the rug continues indefinitely, and therefore, your space feels larger.
In a master bedroom, the typical placement of the rug is to run it beneath the bottom two-thirds of the bed, perpendicular to the bed.  You want your area rug to be large enough that you can step down onto it when you get out of bed.
TIP:  The vast majority of living rooms, dining rooms and master bedrooms will require an 8'x10' rug.
DON'T  bring home the wrong-sized rug.  Do your homework first (pun intended!).    Machine made rugs come in very specific sizes.  The generic sizes are approximately 2' x 8' (runner), 4' x 6', 6' x 9', 8' x 11', 10' x 13' and 12' x 15'.  Start by measuring your room and determine the closest rug size that is at least two feet shorter than the length and width of the room.  Next measure the size you think you need in your room and place a piece of paper on each corner.  This will give you an idea of where the rug will be placed.  If none of these sizes work for your room, you can have a rug custom made.

DON'T use a "postage stamp" rug. An area rug is not meant to anchor a coffee table. It's meant to anchor an entire living room furniture arrangement. So when you use an itty-bitty rug in a large seating group, it will look dwarfed in its surroundings.
DO think about what areas may be obscured by your furniture if you're considering a patterned rug. If you want to use a rug with an all-over repeat pattern, you're pretty safe, as there will be a consistent view of the pattern peeking out from around the furniture. The trick to using a rug with a larger, more asymmetrical design is to use it with furniture that has a more delicate or open/airy frame.  DON'T hide special parts of your rug with big, bulky furniture.
DON'T shy away from custom options. Square and round shaped rugs are hard to find, as are off-standard sized rugs. If you think you have to settle for a too-small or too-large rug in your space, think again.  We can create an area rug for you from any carpet in the showroom.
DO select your seating before your rug. As a general rule, you'll keep your sofa and chairs far longer than any rug, so they take priority in the purchasing cycle. Make sure you have those pieces nailed down before you start looking for rugs. There are an infinite number of rugs in the world but only a few sofas you will actually want in your home that fit within your space and budget. Once you know what those pieces are going to look like, you can move on to things like rugs and window treatments.
DON'T forget about a rug pad.  The rug pad keeps the rug from moving and also protects the floor underneath.  Rug pads also provide comfort underfoot and help the rug wear and perform better.
DO mix patterns of different proportions. If your curtains or a chair in the space features a print, you can absolutely still have a patterned rug. You just want to pick a rug with a pattern that is obviously different in scale than the other textiles sitting on or around it.

Need help finding the perfect rug for your home?  Come in and see the beautiful rugs that Enhance Floors & More has in stock that you can take home today.  See nothing that works?  Browse through our catalogs or website to see thousands of area rugs, or consider a custom rug designed by you.  Relax----we're here to help!
With Heavy Hearts
Many of you long-time clients will remember Sandra Smith.  She worked with us for 22 years, first as the Manager of our Maid Service and later as a Design Consultant in the showroom.  She also did in-home estimates with her "work husband" Jim Blake.  Sandra retired from Enhance Floors & More in 2011.  We are sad to tell you that Sandra passed away last week from complications from pneumonia.  She will be greatly missed by everyone that loved her----family, friends and her Enhance family.

Thanksgiving Is Fast Approaching
If you're hosting Thanksgiving dinner for family and friends this year, advanced planning is a must. Don't let a long Thanksgiving to-do list overwhelm you at the last minute; here are some things to do this week to keep your to-do list under control.

Look for sales at the grocery store and stock up on staple items like paper products and decorations. Purchase some inexpensive toys for the kids in your family (there are some great buys at the dollar store!) to help calm the commotion on Thanksgiving Day.

Assess all your cooking and serving equipment. Do you have enough serving spoons, bowls, pot holders, trivets, etc.? Buy or borrow what you'll need on Thanksgiving Day.

Create your menu, make a master grocery list and print it out. Keep in mind the amount of cooking surfaces that you have and cooking times when planning your menu. Plan a few dishes that can be made ahead of time. If any of your guests are bringing food, double check or assign food dishes during the next step.

Create your guest list for Thanksgiving dinner. Check with your invitees to find out if they are bringing guests with them and what food (if any) that everyone is bringing.

Survey your home for any needed minor repairs.

If you'll be having overnight guests during Thanksgiving, inspect your guest room and other guest accommodations to make sure you have enough pillows, blankets, etc.

Clean your house from top to bottom. Wash the serving platters, china and polish the silver. Buy a few live Holiday plants and give your houseplants a little TLC.
If you plan to have any food catered or prepared elsewhere for pick-up, place your orders this week.

Pull out and inspect all linens and guest towels that will be in use on Thanksgiving. Launder, press or dry clean if needed.  Prepare any food that can be frozen.  Sharpen all knives. Purge the refrigerator. Place a new bag in the vacuum cleaner and charge the battery on the hand vacuum. Keep your home de-cluttered.  Stock up the beverages you'll be serving and select the music you'll be playing.  Purchase inexpensive plastic food containers for leftover food or for your guests to take food home in.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Before You Remodel Your Bathroom

Are you thinking about updating your bathroom? Bathroom remodels currently are one of the most popular and value-adding home improvement projects. Maybe you want a totally new look. Maybe something is leaking. Or maybe you want to stay in your home as long as possible and your bathroom may not be aging as well as you are! Because of its hard and slippery surfaces, almost 235,000 people visit the emergency room each year with injuries suffered while bathing, showering, or using the facilities. Despite that, many homeowners resist even small changes that would make the room safer because they fear their beautiful bathroom will end up looking institutional.

But that's now changing. The very things that make your bathroom safer and easier to navigate-large, walk-in showers; higher toilets; natural lighting-are also some of the latest design trends. The newest clever innovations disguise many safety upgrades that you may be considering. For example, grab bars used to be a real deal breaker. Now the grab bar is being called a "shower rail." Higher-seated toilets are "comfort height." And easy-to-use lever handles and handheld showerheads are "ergonomic." This type of adaptable design has come to be known as "aging in place" but some remodeling pros prefer the friendlier "visit-ability," which means making your home welcoming to people of all ages and abilities. The whole idea is safety, access, comfort, and convenience.

Consumer Reports recently published an analysis of bathroom remodels. Here are some of their findings on ways you can incorporate an "age in place" design in your bathroom.

~~Create the right lighting. 
Glare can be a problem in a bright bathroom. Sconces on both sides of the mirror are easier on the eyes than overhead lights. Introduce natural light from a window or skylight. Install a night-light in the bathroom and in the hallway outside it. Rocker-style light switches are easier to use.

~~Widen the doorway.  For easiest access, remove the threshold and widen the doorway to 36 inches. Switch the handle from a knob to a lever for easier opening. If possible, hang the door to open out, not in; if someone falls against it, the door won't be blocked.

~~Enlarge the shower. A curbless shower works for someone using crutches or a walker and also for parents bathing children or the family dog. Handheld shower­heads can be anchored to an integrated grab bar. The hose should be at least 6 feet long. Add a seat (some fold up when not in use). Make sure you have good light in the shower. And hang a shelf or install a cubby that keeps toiletries within easy reach.

~~~Keep items handy.  Open shelves can be attractive if they're tidy. Putting glass-front doors on your cabinets lets you see what's inside without opening them. Look for cabinets with easy-close doors and drawers with D-shaped pulls instead of knobs.
~~Install nonslip floors.  Water and slick tile are a bad combination. Look for slip-resistant tile or vinyl. The more textured the tile, the less slippery it is. The ceramic tile industry has adopted a slip-resistance test that measures the dynamic coefficient of friction. The higher the number, the better the slip resistance. Ideally, you're looking for 0.42 or higher. Smaller tiles embedded in grout also provide more friction.

~~Re-think the sink.  A countertop at two heights is good for every member of the family. Sinks should be wall-mounted, leaving space underneath for someone seated. Faucets with lever handles are best. A full-length mirror is better for someone seated, who may have trouble looking into a medicine cabinet mirror that's above the sink.

~~Grab bars that do double duty. You can find bars that match towel racks and other fixtures-even ones that function as shelves and toilet paper holders. Place them at the entrance to the shower or tub, inside the shower or tub, and near the toilet.

~~Consider tub options.  Getting in and out of the bathtub can be tricky for anyone with mobility problems. Some bathtubs are outfitted with a wider edge that you can sit down on first, then swing your legs into the tub. Another example is the hugely popular walk-in tub, which at first might seem like a brilliant idea. A tub with a door sounds like it would be much easier and safer to access than a conventional tub.
Unfortunately, what people fail to realize is that with most walk-in tubs, you have to maneuver very carefully through a narrow door and then get out of the way as the door swings shut. And you still have to climb over a low step. So if your walking or flexibility is compromised, this unit won't be effective.

Think about how you take a bath: You generally fill the tub with water before you climb in. But with a walk-in, you enter first and close the door - then you sit there waiting for the water to fill. When you're done, you have to drain out all the water before you can reopen the door to exit. Manufacturers recognize the issue because they list speedy drain times in their advertising. But not everyone is comfortable with this arrangement.

Beyond that, walk-in tubs are pricey - around $10,000 installed - so consider the difficulties and limitations before you shell out the money. The best solution is a curbless shower, with no hurdles to overcome when entering or exiting.

~~ Built-in shower seats These are an increasingly common feature yet are often not utilized the way they were intended because most seats are placed too far from the showerhead and controls. As a result, most are typically used to prop up your foot while shaving your legs or as a big shelf. A movable seat is a better (and less expensive) solution. You can adjust the placement to your needs or remove it to maximize maneuvering space. To optimize a seat, you also need a handheld shower head that you move instead of moving yourself back and forth. This should be mounted on an adjustable grab bar, not mounted on a slide bar that won't support you.

~~Glass shower doors. Many people think glass shower or tub doors are an upgrade, but sliding doors block half the opening, making entry/exit more challenging. It also makes helping a seated bather a near impossibility. Swinging doors may block your reach to a solid (i.e., mounted) grip on the wall. Your best bet may be a good old-fashioned $20 shower curtain.
Have more questions?  Come in and meet with an Enhance Floors Design Consultant and begin planning your new bathroom---one that is as functional as it is beautiful!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Sink Options For Your New Countertop

New countertops are a quick and affordable update for your kitchen.  You will almost certainly purchase a new sink at the same time.  The sink is something you will use every day, and there are quite a few choices you have when it comes to materials.  Cost, functionality and aesthetics should all weigh in when you select your sink material. For instance, you can get a well-priced stainless steel sink, but be aware of how easily it can scratch and show water marks. White fireclay or cast iron sinks are beautiful, but may require some elbow grease to stay bright and white. Integral quartz sinks are becoming increasingly popular, but they can be expensive and aren't necessarily bulletproof.  Not sure what's right for your kitchen? Read on to learn more about these popular material options for today's kitchen sinks.

--Stainless Steel
By far the most popular material for kitchen sinks, stainless steel sinks are heat and stain resistant and are available in a variety of types, styles and sizes. Experts recommend going for a brushed or satin finish rather than a mirror finish - water marks and scratches will be less noticeable. Also, look for sinks that have sound-absorbing pads on the bottom.  Prices for stainless steel sinks run the gamut, but you can get a decent quality stainless steel sink for not a lot of money, making it a favorite pick for those on a tight budget. Cost: $100 to $800 is typical, but prices can go higher depending on gauge, size and mounting type.

--Composite Granite
Composite granite sinks are a good option for any kitchen. They are good-looking, durable and don't show water marks or scratches the way stainless steel sinks do. They come in a variety of neutral hues, but the darker grays, browns and black camouflage food filth the best.  Although these sinks are durable, they can crack if mishandled.  Always inspect your composite sink thoroughly before installation to make sure it suffered no trauma during transit.  Cost: $300 to $600

Manufactured from clay fired at an extremely high temperature, fireclay sinks are highly resistant to scratches, staining and chipping. Cleanup is easy - just dish soap on a sponge, or use a mild abrasive cleanser for tougher marks. These are a good option for anyone wanting a white sink.  Cost: $400 to $1,000

-Cast iron
Clad in a tough enamel finish, this is another highly durable sink that is recommended for white sink fans. It comes in other colors, too, but it is suggested to avoid faddish colors for items that you want to keep around for a long time, such as your kitchen sink. Keep in mind that cast iron sinks are heavy, so make sure your cabinets are structurally sound and you provide adequate support for the sink. Cost: $300 to $900

--Natural Stone
If you are putting in natural stone countertops, you may want a sink to match. Some stones are susceptible to stains, though, so get a sample of the stone you are considering and test it out to make sure you are happy with how it stands up to staining. Cost: Varies depending on the stone but typically starts around $1,000
If you're going with a quartz countertop, you have the option of installing a matching quartz sink. One thing to keep in mind with quartz, however, is that the darker, more solid-colored quartzes tend to show scratches and dings much more than lighter colors that have more aggregate or patterning to them. Cost: $800 to $1,200

--Solid Surface
Like natural stone and quartz, solid surface sinks can be integrated into the countertop for a smooth, streamlined appearance that's super easy to clean. Again, it's best to get a sample of the material you are considering and put it to the test to make sure you are OK with its durability, as some solid surfacing shows scratches. Cost: Solid surface countertops start at around $50 a square foot; there is typically an additional fabrication and installation charge for an integral sink.

In the market for something different? Copper sinks are big on charm and also happen to be rust-resistant and antimicrobial, making them a great choice for the kitchen. Just be sure to select a high-quality copper sink that is at least 99 percent pure copper - a small amount of zinc may be added for strength. Avoid harsh chemicals with these beauties and instead clean up with a mild soap and water, according to the manufacturer's recommendations.
Cost: $500 to $1,200 but can go up depending on gauge and any hand-crafted detailing.

What Is An Undermount Sink?
Undermount sinks are defined by the way the sink is installed in relation to the kitchen countertop. Rather than being dropped into a pre-cut hole in the countertop, undermount sinks are installed under the counter. Because of the way they are installed, there is no rim between the countertop and sink.
The edge lip of the sink is mounted below a solid surface countertop, so the sink effectively hangs underneath the counter, as opposed to sitting on top of it; creating a continuous flow from countertop into sink.  Undermount sinks are best suited for solid surface countertop materials like granite, marble, or concrete. Undermount sinks are NOT well suited for laminate or tile counters, which have too many weak points along seams and grout lines to support the weight of the sink.

What's New At Enhance
Just in time for "getting ready for the holidays" shopping, we have received a few new product collections.  Dixie Home is a new carpet line that we are proud to represent.  Dixie Home offers an array of high fashion, trend setting residential broadloom carpets, which include traditional velvets, contemporary patterns and a wide range of interesting textures, all in exciting, fashion forward colors.  Dixie Home carpets use premium materials throughout the manufacturing process, featuring an extensive array of Stainmaster® and Pet Protect products.  Bring beauty, warmth and style into your home with Dixie Home carpets.

Shaw's Life Happens carpets have also just arrived.  What's different about these beautiful carpets?  This new collection from Shaw is made to perform through life's messy moments. 
Life Happens carpet is treated with R2X Stain & Soil Resistance that keeps spills from setting in, and the fully waterproof LifeGuard backing keeps spills from seeping down to the floor below, so cleanup is easy and your floors stay beautiful.  This carpet is tough enough to stand up to anything you can give it, but beautiful enough to show off. See the range of colors and textures in our new Life Happens collection.
Two new Palmetto Road laminate collections are also proving to be very popular.  The Chesapeake Collection combines the beautiful realism of hickory hardwood with the rustic hand scraped texture of artisan floors. The collection so closely mirrors the look and feel of Hickory hardwood that it is hard to tell the difference! Available in four distinct colors with 12mm, 5" wide planks, Chesapeake provides warmth, character and charm to any room.
The Charlestowne line mimics the hand sculpted, elegant characteristics of vintage hardwood floors.  The random 3 ½", 5" and 6 ½" width planks offers the same unique visual and natural pattern found in real wood floors.   Available in four color choices, Charlestowne offers elegance and high end style without the high end price.

It's Been A Year
Can you believe it has been a year since we moved into our beautiful new Design Center?  September 27, 2014, was the first day we were open in the Roswell Road showroom.  It has been a great year!  Thank you for following our progress and coming to see us in our new location.