The facts about floor covering choices? There are many choices for flooring and they keep getting better and better!
In this section we discuss floor covering basics. 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 your flooring needs?
- Will the area be subject to heavy traffic?
- Will you need a sound barrier? (as in a condo)
- How easy will it be to clean?
- Is moisture a concern? Some areas subjected to moisture are bathrooms, kitchens and 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 flooring suitable for the substrate you plan on installing it on?
As you can see, when it comes to selecting new flooring, 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? A variety of chemicals are used in the manufacturing of flooring products. Ask about the types of glues and sealers used in the product you are purchasing. Chemicals can off gas and those such as formaldehyde can affect someone who is sensitive.
The Main Categories of Flooring
Resilient floors are polymer floors. You often hear resilient associated with vinyl tile, cork and rubber flooring. Other common types are cushion, sheet vinyl, luxury vinyl and linoleum.
Resilient floor covering product is fairly inexpensive, easy to maintain, comfortable to stand on, and easy to install.
When installing sheet flooring using adhesives, try to get adhesives that have the lowest amount of VOC’s as possible.
The negatives about resilient tile flooring. Potential edge curling, minor scratches, holes or rips. These can be quite visible, requiring repair or replacement.
2 – Carpeting
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 Frlooring
Laminate flooring is produced in a variety of 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.
Unlike hardwood, you cannot refinish a damaged laminate floor 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
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.
Many new hardwood floors are prefinished with UV-cured polyurethane layers to protect the finish. Prefinished flooring prevents off gassing of chemicals into the atmosphere. Unfinished flooring can have strong chemical smells.
Hardwood will increase the value of the home. It is easy to care for, looks beautiful and lasts a long time.
5 – Ceramic Tile
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.