What are the facts about floor covering choices? There are so many choices for flooring today and they just keep getting better and better! Basic flooring choices are discussed in this article on the facts about flooring, When considering the facts about floor covering, always give thought to the type and amount of wear and tear a particular area in the house will receive.
How Will the Floor Covering Be Used?
What are the facts about flooring and what are your flooring needs? Will the area under consideration be subject to heavy traffic? Is a sound barrier required (as in a condo)? How easy will it be to clean? Will the area be subjected to moisture as in a kitchen or basement? Does anyone in the home have allergy or asthma issues (carpeting is not the best choice)? Does the floor need to be slip resistant? What is the warranty period, cost, and durability of the material? Is the new floor suitable for the type of subfloor? As you can see, when it comes to selecting that new floor, there are many facts about flooring that you will want to consider.
Sensitivity to Chemicals?
Are you or is someone else in your family sensitive to chemicals? Chemicals are among the facts about flooring and the fact is, that many types of chemicals are used in the manufacturing of floor coverings. Ask about the types of glues and sealers that are used in the product you are purchasing as they can off gas chemicals such as formaldehyde that can affect some one who is sensitive.
The main categories of flooring available are:
1 -Resilient flooring, which is sheet or tile flooring. Common types are cushion, sheet vinyl, linoleum, rubber and cork. Some facts about this floor covering product is that it is fairly inexpensive, easy to maintain, comfortable to stand on, and easy to install. Sheet flooring is installed using adhesives. Try to get adhesives that have the lowest amount of VOC’s as possible. The negatives about tile flooring are the tiles can curl, minor scratches, holes or tears are quite visible, needing to be replaced before it gets worse.
2 – Carpeting is not a good choice for bathrooms, kitchens or basements (moisture areas). It is great for bedrooms because it is warm, soft on the feet and is good for absorbing sound. People with allergies should not have carpeting in their bedrooms because they spend eight hours of their day in this room. Carpets can trap dirt, dust mites, mold and bacteria. The harder the floor surface, the better for allergy sufferers. There are also carpets on the market today that off gas less harmful compounds, than in the past. A shorter pile (eg. Berber), is more durable and harbors less pollutants. Cost depends on the quality of carpet and pad. It is important to get a very good quality pad, as this will increase the longevity of the carpet. You can learn more about carpet at Carpets Wall to Wall
3 – Laminate flooring, once only available as standard 4″ plank with a wood grain pattern is now produced in many sizes, shapes, patterns and colors. From wood to ceramic tile appearance the selection is almost unlimited. Laminate flooring is not a good choice for wet areas such as bathrooms, especially where children playing in a tub splash water on the floor. Its selection for homes with pets is debatable for while the better quality laminates are good at scratch resistance, many of the less expensive products scratch with ease. When the finish of a laminate floor is damaged it cannot be refinished. Laminates are usually cheaper than real wood, good quality laminates wear very well and are a good alternative to hardwood when it is necessary to keep down the costs.
4 – Wood flooring comes in many widths, colors, thicknesses and grades. Some hardwoods are birch, maple, beech, and oak. Softer woods include pine, fir and hemlock. They come in strip flooring, plank, parquet. Most new hardwood today is prefinished and has UV-cured polyurethane layers to protect the finish. Prefinished flooring prevents off gassing of chemicals into the atmosphere versus unfinished flooring that can have strong chemical smells lurking in the home for months, after they are stained and varnished. Hardwood will increase the value of the home. It is easy to care for, looks beautiful and lasts a long time.
5 – Ceramic tiles come in many sizes. They can be glazed or unglazed. Glazed tiles are more slippery when wet and are not recommended for bathrooms. Ceramics are very cold and hard and can be less comfortable to stand on for long periods. Ceramics wear very well and are easy to clean. White or very light colored ceramics are not practical, as they always look dirty. They can crack easily if a hard object is dropped on them and can be noisy for anyone living below. This type of floor is an excellent choice for people with allergies. Water based sealers and grout are better as they have fewer emissions. Ceramics tiles can last a very long time resulting in cost savings.
Most people have a mixture of the above flooring types in their homes. It is worth putting a little extra money into good quality flooring as this can help prevent problems down the road. There are many other facts about flooring and we will continue to discuss them in this series.