Choosing the Best Flooring Material
11th November 2016
The floors under our feet are an intimate detail in our living environments. While floors are made for being walked on, they take up a big part of the visual space in a building. How floors look, feel, wear, and clean-up can make a significant impact on our daily lives.
With all of the possible choices of flooring material available, deciding on the best type of floor for a home, business, or room can become a stressful process. While all of the available choices mean there is something out there for everyone, finding your way to the perfect flooring solution is easier when you have few guideposts.
Here are some starting points to consider if you are feeling overwhelmed by choosing the best flooring material for your situation.
Start with Where You Are
Starting where you are means considering what style of home you have. Is it a sprawling ranch-style house, perfectly appealing in linoleum and carpet? Or do you live in a compact city condo or an upscale Victorian where wood, stone, or even concrete are in-line with the existing aesthetic style?
Consider the existing or original dÈcor and aesthetics of the building and ask yourself if you want to maintain it when you install new floors. Doing so may keep your home more aesthetically appealing, which also may improve or maintain the value of the property.
On the other hand, you may want or need to make a change in materials when you re-floor a room or house, either to express your own style and preferences or to accommodate a new need or change in your life or family.
Tiled kitchen and bathroom floors can be elegant and beautiful, but they are hard and unyielding, making them a less suitable choice for families with children and for seniors. Carpeting comes in endless colors, textures, and prices, but for someone with pets or allergies, carpets can be hard to keep clean.
Another important starting point is budget. Flooring choices can range anywhere from dozens of dollars a square yard for budget-conscious linoleum and vinyl flooring to hundreds of dollars per yard for engineered hardwoods, tile, and stone floors at the top end of the pricing scale. Knowing your budget for new flooring from the start can help you narrow down choices, making decisions easier.
Reviewing Flooring Materials
After reviewing your aesthetics, lifestyle, and budget considerations for new flooring, understanding the characteristics of each flooring material gives you the information you need to make a wise flooring choice.
Vinyl and linoleum are the least expensive flooring options available for both installation labor and materials. Vinyl and linoleum flooring are also the easiest materials to work with for DIY enthusiasts. These floors are moisture resistant and easily cleaned and maintained.
Laminate products give a look and feel of wood, stone, or tile without the price tag. The grout lines in real tile can be a trip hazard for seniors and an obstacle for those in wheelchairs. Laminate flooring allows you to create the aesthetics of more expensive materials without some of their disadvantages. Installing laminate flooring is similar to the installation of vinyl.
Carpeting ranges from economical to luxury. Carpeting comes in an endless range of colors, patterns, thickness, texture, stain resistance, and other features. Carpeting is often the perfect flooring solution for bedrooms, family rooms, living rooms, and offices, and it makes rooms feel warmer, both literally and psychologically. Carpets with low VOC emissions and Green Label certification are less likely to cause allergies and reactions in chemically sensitive individuals.
There are many floor tile options available in a wide range of prices. Depending on the size of the project, there are flooring options in tile even for modest budgets. Tiled floors are extremely water-resistant and durable. Extra-large tiles reduce the amount of grout lines and make cleaning easier.
The beauty and durability of solid hardwood flooring is always appealing. Each species of wood has its own unique range of colors and grain patterns, making each solid wood floor installation truly one-of-a-kind. While solid wood is more susceptible to scratching than stone or tile, it is also the one material which can be refinished over and over.