Flooring is one of the most important features of any home. But more than just aesthetics, flooring needs functionality as well. Durability and maintenance can be just as important as the aesthetics of the flooring in your home. The problem, though, is that there can be countless types of flooring to sort through. How can you decide which type is best for your personal requirements? All types have pros and cons, so lets look at a few of the most popular options.
Carpet was a very popular option for many decades. It is generally fairly affordable, comfortable year round, and helps contribute to sound proofing. Unfortunately, carpet is typically very easy to stain. It also is difficult for people with allergies, as the carpet fibers can easily cling to dust, pollen, hair and other allergens. Carpet can also date a home and doesn't usually stand up as well as other options. Carpet has gone out of style in the past few years, due to these shortcomings.
Ceramic is a popular option for high traffic areas, and areas prone to moisture, such as laundry, bath, or mud rooms, or kitchens. It is typically highly durable, resistant to scratches, water, and germs. Ceramic is easy to clean and doesn't show wear. It does, however, have some shortcomings. The grout, needed with tile, can easily be stained. If heavy items, such as cans, get dropped on ceramic, it can easily chip. Unless in floor heating is used, ceramic is cold, especially in the winter. It can also be a hazard for children as it can be very slippery. (especially when wearing socks) It's typically not a good idea to install tile in areas where a lot of standing will occur as tile does not give at all and can therefore become uncomfortable after long periods of time. Tile is usually on the more expensive side of installation, and typically requires the installation of a substrate before installation.. It can also be difficult to repair or replace damaged pieces.
This is a very popular option. Laminate flooring has come a long way and now looks very similar to real hardwood. It is one of the cheapest options installation-wise, and can usually be installed directly over existing flooring. There is no glue or nailing required so it is typically very quick to install. It is incredibly easy to clean, and can be run seamlessly throughout an entire home. There are a few downfalls to laminate, however; It is very susceptible to water damage, and can be prone to chipping. Damaged laminate boards cannot be replaced easily. It gets laid in one direction, and in order to replace a board, it must be pulled up all the way to the damaged board. this could potentially mean pulling up an entire room just to replace one board. It also can not be sanded down and refinished after it wears down, like hardwood can.
This type of flooring has perhaps the highest resale value when installed in a home. Because of this, it usually has a fairly high cost, both in materials and installation. Hardwood flooring can be broken into two categories; Standard hardwood, and Engineered.
Standard hardwood is solid wood. When it gets worn down, it can be sanded down and refinished back to its original glory, giving it a long lifespan. Because it is solid wood, however, it has a decent amount of movement to it, as wood will expand and contract according to the humidity in the environment. This can result in gaps, or cracks. It also typically comes unfinished. This means after installation, it still needs to be sanded and finished.
Engineered hardwood is much more stable. It has an engineered core that has less movement potential than real wood. Although it is faced with real wood, and finished accordingly, It can not be sanded down and refinished when it wears down. Unlike regular hardwood, the pieces come pre-finished. No sanding and finishing is needed after installation.
Both types of hardwood flooring are easily damaged by dents, scratches and sitting water. All of which can be remedied by sanding and refinishing if a regular hardwood is used. Unlike laminate, it is very easy to replace individual hardwood boards.
When people think vinyl they may get flashbacks of ugly, stained linoleum floors in the homes they grew up in. The reality though, is that vinyl has come a long way in the past few years. It is now available in planks or tiles. and these can come in a variety of designs, looking like ceramic tile or hardwood. These are known as LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile). These can be glued down, or can be snapped together similar to laminate. Installation costs may vary depending on the type of LVT being used. Like laminate, click LVT, can often be installed directly over the existing flooring. LVT is water resistant, and very difficult to scratch or dent. Unlike ceramic tile it stays warm, even in the winter. The downside, is there is no easy way to repair any damage that does occur. It is usually necessary to replace damaged areas. However, if glue down LVT is used, it can be fairly easy to replace damaged pieces It is worth noting, however, that this variety has a higher material and installation cost. LVT doesn't stain, and is incredibly easy to clean. It's definitely a personal favourite of mine.
The bottom line, is, flooring preferences will vary. Your personal needs will dictate a lot when it comes to which flooring you go with. Often, finding the right balance between function and looks can be a difficult juggling act. Some flooring options, however, seem to strike a fair balance between the two. No matter what choice you make, its important to make an informed decision. So take your time! Your floor will be with you a long time.