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Think Hard About The Flooring In Your Home

» Flooring


Overview

Published: 09/05/2012 by Neomi Shrenker

Photos

When you walk into a home, often the first things you see are the walls and floors. Your goal is for everything to flow and feel balanced, and for it to feel comfortable and up-to-date. For flooring, the current trend favors hard surfaces - wood, tile, laminates - perhaps softened with area rugs. But just because it's a trend, doesn't mean it's for you. Your flooring choice ultimately comes down to your needs, lifestyle and budget.

Hardwood Or Carpeting, Which Will You Choose?

Hardwood floors are the new standard for many rooms in the home. While just over 50% still have carpeting, the numbers are decreasing; among new homes, 17% or more use hardwoods throughout. Why? Because they are natural, durable, and beautiful, and many current hardwoods are often from sustainable forests. Though they can be scratched from pets or heavy traffic, hardwood floors can be restored with buffing or with sanding and staining.

On the other hand, many love the warmth and beauty of carpet, especially in bedrooms where they prefer the soft warm feeling on their feet first thing in the morning; or family rooms, where guests might more frequently sit on the floor to watch TV or game. The downside? Once it is worn and stained, carpet detracts from the room. It is also prone to trapping dirt and allergens so a quality vacuum is necessary to keep it clean.

Selling Your Home? New Floors Make A Big Impact

If you are thinking of selling your home and your carpet needs to be replaced, check to see if there is hardwood hidden underneath. Restoring the hardwood floors can be done at a fraction of the price of installing new ones and many home buyers love classic hardwood.

However, there might be only plywood subflooring beneath, and since hardwood floors can be costly to install, you may decide to re-carpet. For universal appeal, select a low VOC carpet in a good grade and neutral color.

Whether you decide to add a hardwood floor, refurbish one, or lay carpet, there are flooring companies who will do it for you quickly and affordably. While these can be DIY projects, they require patience, skill, and the right tools.

New Flooring Alternatives

Laminate: As an alternative to hardwood, many consumers who love the look of wood, but don't want the upkeep or expense, are choosing alternatives, such as laminate. Laminate flooring is made of resin and is snapped together or glued in place, and is advertised as being durable and resistant to scratching.

While many homeowners are very happy with their laminate floors, others find they warp or buckle if you allow liquid to sit on them, can be less pet-friendly than ads imply, and have their own extensive set of care requirements. Before selecting laminate floors, it is wise to read reviews on different products and visit a local flooring company to see the products in person and talk to an unbiased expert.

Vinyl: Another popular flooring choice is vinyl, which can resemble wood, stone, or a totally unique pattern of its own. Unlike wood or laminate, vinyl is often a solid sheet, so it is more resistant to water and today's grades are more durable than ever. Vinyl is a great choice in kitchens, bathrooms, and playrooms. When sold in tiles or planks, vinyl is very easy to install. Most vinyl is soft to the touch and lightly cushions the floor.

Other: There are many other hard surface new or rediscovered materials such as cork or bamboo, natural stone, and ceramic tile. The choices you have when selecting flooring are seemingly endless. Before selecting a flooring type consider your personal style, do some comparative online research, and consult with a residential & commercial flooring company to help you make the best decision.