Flooring. We love it! We dance on our floors. Run down the hall on them. Pick our children up off of them – and their toys. We spill food on them, wipe dirt on them. We race to the bathroom, or to our favorite spot on the couch on them.
Flooring is truly a part of every waking moment (even if we don’t think about it much). So it’s no surprise that choosing the best floor for your home is a big decision. One that can often take months to make, and several visits with experts and flooring suppliers.
When selecting the best flooring for your home, there are many things to consider. Looks are important. How about durability? Or how difficult it is to clean and maintain. What’s best for children? And can I use the same floor throughout my entire home, or should I mix it up?
Flooring is also a very personal choice. When shopping for a new home, a realtor will often tell you to “ignore the floor” because it’s easy to change, and one man’s dream floor can be another woman’s nightmare.
So what is the best floor for you? Since flooring is so personal there is no one answer. But if you’re getting ready to replace the floors in your home, here are some questions to ask yourself to make sure you’re making the best choice – for you.
When selecting flooring, consider the following:
- What is the most important factor for you? Style and Looks? Or Durability and Maintenance? Both may matter, but which is top priority.
- Where in your home will this flooring live, and what type, and how much traffic will the area get? Example: a hallway versus a rarely used guest room.
- Who is the floor for, and any special factors to keep in mind? Example: a household with a lot of pets or a home with someone requiring a cane or other walking aid to get around.
Now that you’ve identified what is important in your flooring, where the flooring is needed, and who the flooring will be used by, it’s time to take a look at the many flooring options and choose which is best for your needs.
Types of Flooring
Every flooring style has tens, if not hundreds of different styles and variations. Covering every type would take forever – and be quite boring.
So let’s focus on the major players. Carpet, tile, stone, hardwood, laminate and vinyl.
Ah, Carpet. The coziest of all the flooring. We love to feel it between our toes, and dislike the dizzying feeling of staring at a funky, dated pattern in a hallway of a hotel.
And the choices – there are countless. From shag, to loop. Velvet wool and nylon. Short pile and long. For your home, the choice usually comes down to what feels the nicest.
But there are some real benefits to carpet versus other flooring materials.
- Affordability. Per square foot, carpet is often the most affordable option.
- Quieter. Carpet is a sound absorber, making for a quieter home. Not to mention that walking on carpet is much quieter than any other material.
- Non-slip. Even when wet, it’s pretty difficult to slip on carpet. For those prone to tripping, or wobbly on their feet, carpet is a safe choice.
- Warming. Carpet acts like an insulator, keeping rooms, and your feet, warmer than other flooring materials.
Tile is an extremely versatile form of flooring. It comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, detailed patterns and colors. Tile can be used on walls, floors, countertops and inside showers. Designs range from beautiful mosaic patterns, to sleek sterile looks, and even disguised to look like real wood.
Tile is very versatile, and has unique traits that make it a great option for many homes.
- Durable. Tile can last for over 60 years, making it one of the strongest flooring materials. Most are impact and scratch resistant – even more than granite.
- Hypoallergenic. Tile is resistant to bacteria, mold, germs and dust-mites. While other materials can hide these allergens, and require harsh chemicals to clean them away, tile doesn’t require strong chemicals to keep clean.
- Environmentally Friendly. Making tile is a pretty “green” process, and tile does not emit VOC (harmful compounds that impact air quality, such as carbon monoxide and carbonic acid), keeping both you, and the planet, a bit healthier.
- Low Maintenance. Tile is easy to clean, and does not require harsh chemicals.
Natural stone materials are a popular flooring material for a high-end look. These materials require more maintenance and care than other materials, but they’re designed to impress, and if treated properly, will last a long time.
Popular stone materials used in flooring are:
Hardwood flooring is unlike any other. A true gem in the flooring world – you can’t go wrong. No matter the style of your home, from modern to farmhouse, hardwood goes with any style.
But, deciding if hardwood is right for you depending on cost, personal preference and traffic. True hardwood does scratch easily, but solid wood can be resurfaced for a good-as-new look many times, and daily maintenance is easy and minimal.
When looking at types of hardwood for your home, there are a few factors to consider.
- Finished Hardwood. Finished wood is pre-stained, ready for immediate, easy install and use
- Unfinished Hardwood. Stain and sealed after installation. This allows your to match a shade, or create and shade stain you want. This is also a great option if the floor is being installed in an area prone to dampness as the seal used will help keep water from seeping into the wood.
- Type of wood. Oak, Maple and Cherry are most popular due to their hard nature and abundance.
- Solid Wood. Not all hardwood is solid wood. Solid wood is – you guessed it – a solid piece of wood. Great because it can be resurfaced over and over again, not ideal for damp and humid areas as the wood can expand and contract over time.
- Engineered Wood. Engineered hardwood is a piece of real wood glued to compact particle wood like plywood. This wood is less sensitive to temperature and humidity, but can only be resurfaced once or twice before it needs to be replaced.
Laminate flooring is a common style for those wanting a hardwood look, but not the cost of hardwood flooring.
Laminate flooring is less expensive than hardwood, and more resistant to scratching, making it a pet-friendly option.
The downside of laminate flooring is that it can warp when exposed to moisture, and once damaged, it needs to be replaced, it cannot be refinished. It can also be quite noisy if not installed with a proper under-insulation layer, making for a loud, hollow sounding floor.
Vinyl flooring is a great option for any home – for so many reasons. By far one of the most underrated options, in our opinion. For an inexpensive and high-quality, durable floor, vinyl is one of our favorites.
Vinyl flooring is:
- 100% waterproof
- Easy to install. Perfect for DIY if you’re brave enough
- Comes in many designs, from natural wood looks to intricate tile patterns.
- Can be installed over existing tile flooring, saving big money and time on expensive demolition.
The Best Floors For You
When it comes to selecting the best flooring, be sure to picture the life you want the floor to have. Will it be busy? With kids and pets? Will it get wet on occasion, or treated roughly. Is it important to be able to slide great lengths wearing your socks, or cushioned and cozy for laying on the floor as you slip deeply into a great book by the fireside.
Can you picture it?
Once you know what you want, give us a call. Our Handymen are pros when it comes to installing many types of flooring. And if we don’t have the right person for your job, we’ll send you to experts we’ve worked with before and recommend highly.
At Handyman Network, we’ve got you covered. When you’re ready for new floors, we’ll be ready to help.
Schluter Systems https://www.schluter.com/schluter-us/en_US/benefits-of-tile
Granite Gold https://www.granitegold.com/stone-tiles-for-floor/