Choose your Floor: Essential Information for Flooring Decisions
There’s nothing like the joy that dogs can bring into our life. All of us love the feeling of a furry friend snuggling up next to us after a hard day at work. There’s not many things greater than playing fetch with them in the river. It’s not until months down the line, looking down at your floor do your realize that your pets have transformed a once beautiful floor into something that resembles your child’s recent wood carving project. Many homeowners don’t consider the variety of options that exist in regards to choosing and installing new floors in their homes. Pets, children, chores, and activities all play into the kind of floor that you should consider installing in your home. Many don’t know what works best for them. Luckily, we’ve compiled this guide to assist in evading a catastrophe below your feet.
Hardwood, Cork, and Bamboo
Hardwood flooring is a tough, long lasting option for nearly any room in your home. Adding a hardwood floor to will add elegance and character to any room.
It’s likely that hearing about hardwood invokes a sense of elegance, class, and luxury in your mind. That’s absolutely true for a large majority of homebuyers today, as well as homeowners. Hardwood flooring offers an exceptional amount of durability over other flooring options, and if it’s not engineered hardwood, can be resanded after time to bring back the original luster it once had. There’s a variety of options to take into consideration when buying hardwood.
Board Widths: When choosing hardwood options, the width of the strips you intend to use can completely change the feel of a room. Narrower strips will offer the appearance of greater space, while planks can create a rustic charm for any space. Parquet floors are almost always reserved for more formal spaces, however one can get creative and find ways to use them in any room.
Wood Type: Remember that poor floor that was nearly destroyed by your adorable German shepherd? A large amount of damage can be prevented by buying a harder wood type. Cherry, maple, and oak are amongst the most popular due to their hardness. These would make great options for families with pets or destructive boys. Other more exotic woods such as Brazilian cherry and mahogany likely won’t be as durable, but offer an exceptional appearance that would give Donald Trump himself a run for his money.
Colors: Unlike the other flooring options to be mentioned, Hardwood flooring doesn’t offer a large amount of color variation. One should expect to find shades limited from lighter blondes to dark browns.
Texture: A unique trait of hardwood is the variety of surface finishes you can find. If you want, you can have something that looks like it was just detailed by a Ferrari inspector. If shiny and over the top isn’t your thing, many manufacturers today are offering options that come pre-distressed to give your home a unique, industrial look.
Hardness: Simply, the harder the wood type, the better it’s going to be in standing up to the elements of a family home. If you have pets, children, in-laws with a knack for falling down, or teenagers that drop books on the floor, buy the hardest wood you can find. Options for this would include red oak, cherry, and maple. Softer types of flooring such as pine, cork, and exotic wood has the tendency to scratch far easier. After choosing your preferred hardness, you’ll need to take into consideration if you need engineered hardwood or solid. Solid hardwood has the benefit of being able to sanded and refinished over the years. In either case, preventative patience will make a world of difference towards the longevity of your floors.
Finish: A variety of finish options exist for hardwood that can accent luster, durability, color, and much more. Most hardwood today comes pre-finished to simplify the installation process and lower the amount of dust that typically exists. Many pre-finished wood options come with manufacture warranties as well. There are homeowners that prefer to order wood without finishing in order to customize it further and even out any imperfections that may exist.
Something to consider is that solid hardwood has the benefit of being able to be refinished many times over. Engineered hardwood, while more durable, can be refinished very little due to the layer of veneer on the top. Depending on your plans for the home, this can be a deal-breaker for your purposes.
Unique Options: Bamboo hardwood has become increasingly popular in the market today. Delicious Real Estate out of Columbus states that bamboo is like the new maple. There’s three main types: natural, stained, and carbonized. Naturally bamboo is blonde, however can be stained any color on the surface or carbonized to change the color throughout the entire floor.
There’s three separate types of bamboo flooring as well. Woven bamboo is the most durable, while offering an exotic look to any floor. Horizontal retains the look of the plant as well as the durability. Vertical offers the most traditional flooring look, however it compromises durability.
Bamboo differs from traditional hardwood in that it does not need to be sealed. That being said, it’s best to avoid laying it in rooms where large amounts of moisture will be found. Additionally it should be mentioned that bamboo shows imperfections, thus the floor below needs to be perfectly level and smooth. That being said, it’s very durable which makes it ideal for homes with pets.
Cork is another common option today. Like bamboo, cork has a wide variety of options for staining, dyes etc. Unlike bamboo, cork has similar benefits to carpets in that it both insulates and dampens sound. It should be noted that cork is not as durable as traditional hardwood, making it less-than-ideal for homes with kids or pets. It also requires some form of sealing, typically polyurethane. Cork is great for people looking to add something more comfortable than hardwood without sacrificing all of the beauty. Avoid placing it in moisture filled rooms.
These options allow for a versatile, flexible, and inexpensive option to spruce up your space. With new technology, you’ll be amazed at what can be done to your room.
Laminate flooring doesn’t have the same connotation of luxury and elegance that hardwood does. That being said, it’s evolved today into something of quality and beauty. New tech makes it possible now more than ever to find amazing patterns and stunning patterns that can replace and even supersede traditional flooring options. While it may not age the same way that wood does, its durability is unrivaled and makes it an ideal candidate for families with children and pets.
To add to this, laminate flooring is extremely friendly to the environment, and uses fewer trees than actual wood to produce. It’s also easy to recycle and has cheaper production costs. There’s tons of options for laminate flooring, let’s explore them!
Texture: Laminate floors have the benefit of being able to assume a texture of your choice. They can be made to look as realistic as wood, or as shiny as your Grandpa’s corvette. This even allows unique options to exist such as the appearance of exotic woods unable to be imported otherwise, and a variety of other materials as well. There are many manufacturers that even take this to an entirely new front, using things like wood knots, worm holes, and a tons of other unique characteristics to add character to their material.
Finish: Depending on your desire, you can find laminate in either laminate, or even glossy and matte coatings. Similar to texture, there’s many options for what you want.
Shape: Unlike hardwood, laminate flooring can exist in square shapes, planks, strips, or whatever else you desire. Finding the best flooring for a new home can be difficult, and laminate makes it easier than ever to do so.
Clean-Up: Laminate is easy to maintain, perhaps the easiest. Sweeping or vacuuming will handle most maintenance, while mopping can be done as needed. This makes it a great option for homes with children and pets.
Vinyl has become one of the most popular flooring items today. It has evolved drastically over the last decade, and offers more affordability than many conventional flooring methods. Like laminate, vinyl comes in a variety of options. While it focuses less on texture, beautiful patterns exist to replicate the look of concrete, wood, title, and just about anything else you can imagine.
One of the greatest benefits of vinyl flooring is the extensive amount of customization that exists with it.
Sheet Vinyl: Picture a giant, waterproof blanket. Sheet vinyl is great for bathrooms and other areas with a high moisture content. It’s seamless, which allows it to reflect water on flooring and a variety of other things. It even comes in styles that mimic tile and wood.
Tiles: Looking for flexibility? Vinyl comes in a variety of different shapes and styles, which include tiling. Cut it into whatever shape you need. Whether you want crosshatching, reshaping, or anything else, vinyl allows you to do so.
Planks: Similar to laminate in that it can be made to look like hardwood, vinyl planks offer a simple, affordable option for users who want the beauty of conventional flooring without the hassle.
Clean-Up: Vinyl cleanup is a durable coating. Depending on the type, vacuuming and mopping is all that’s needed. Occasional polish may be helpful. This is great for families with children, pets, or husbands with a knack for dropping things.
Vinyl is a great option for those interested in DIY home repair. It should be considered for high traffic areas such as kitchens, laundry rooms, play rooms, etc. Expect it to do well with children and pets.
Linoleum was once reserved only for the finest commercial establishments. Of course, these establishments really only consisted of hospitals and government establishments. That being said, all things vintage make a comeback, and linoleum is no exception. Homeowners today are choosing it for its vibrant colors, and unique patterns that exist. One of the most unique parts is that the color runs all the way through rather than being printed directly on top.
Sheets: Linoleum comes in sheets which allow you to implement patterns and designs of your choice. Additionally, because the color goes all the way through the sheet you’ll be able to implement a long lasting design.
Tiles: Linoleum also comes in pre-cut and DIY tiles. These allow you to choose any pattern you’d like, while also having a variety of shapes and colors to choose from.
Clean-up: Clean-Up is relatively easy to clean and maintain. Basic sweeping and vacuuming is sufficient for most areas. That being said, you should take care to re-apply finish every few months. Additionally it’s not a bad idea to keep rooms with linoleum limited to areas with lots of sunlight or artificial light as oxidation can appear otherwise.
Overview: If you’re looking for something durable, pet friendly, comfortable, and unique, consider bring linoleum into your home. You have a huge opportunity to save money and do something different in your home. To add to this, linoleum resists allergens and is environmentally friendly. Why not give it a try?
If you’re looking to accomplish a look of luxury while maintaining practicality, tile may be your best option.
If you’ve ever been to any form of semi-formal gathering you know exactly the power and elegance holds in the plans of a home. In the past tile was traditionally placed only in entryways, bathrooms, and the occasional kitchen. However, tile is spreading out to traditional areas like bedrooms, living rooms, and even garages it can be laid in tons of different ways, has multiple material options, and is environmentally friendly. What type is best for you?
Ceramic Tile: Primarily based in clay, ceramic is one of the brittle options in the land of tile types. Expect it to chip and crack more than other titles. That being said, it offers a porous texture and can be finished with a protective glaze. Typically you’ll see ceramic in areas where lower traffic and less utility is going to happen.
Porcelain Tile: One of the most common options in the tile market, porcelain is strong, attractive, and affordable. It’s made by combining clay with other materials at high temperatures to create a more durable and long lasting tile. It’s also better at resisting water and other forms of common damage. You’ll see it outdoors as well because it’s less likely to crack under cold temperatures. The downside to porcelain is that it’s more difficult to install than ceramic tile. Consider your needs for rooms and if ceramic tile can pass.
Natural Stone Tile: Just as it sounds, stone stile is made from different forms of stone around the world. It can be found in limestone, marble, granite, slate, travertine, and a plethora of other options. Stone is the by far the most durable of other tile options, and like a fine wine, only gets better as it ages. That being said, it’s not going to be cheap. Be prepared to drop serious cash to have this installed in your home.
Additionally to the various options for material, sizing is extremely important in consideration to tile purchasing.
Variation: Tires have a variety of textures and shades. You can choose from low, medium, and high variation. Lower variation tiles will lend to a more contemporary streamlined look while higher variation tile generates a rustic and traditional feel.
Size: Smaller tiles are great for smaller rooms. They offer texture, character, and an attractive alternative to vinyl and linoleum. If installing tile in a larger room, consider larger tiles to add to the character of space and openness.
Accents: Unlike many other flooring options, tile can be dressed up with mosaics, border medallions, and many other unique touches.
Grout: The adhesive between tiles is known as grout. This comes in a variety of colors. Matching grout lines with tile color helps create a contemporary look while contrasting colors emphasize tile design. Lines can be extremely thick or very thing depending on your preferences.
Porosity: This is a measure of water resistance. Non-vitreous and semi-vitreous types lend to indoor usage far better as they’re more porous. Vitreous tiles are commonly used in outdoor conditions assuming they won’t be exposed to frost conditions. Finally, impervious tiles are frost resilient and are great for outdoor usage in nearly any climate.
Durability: Believe it or not, there’s actually a system in place for rating tile durability. Class 1 tile is best suited for light traffic such as walls and basic countertops (not kitchens!) Class 2 tile serves better for low traffic floors and walls, while class 3 and 4 lend to more moderate usage such as flooring. Class 5 tile is mainly for industrial usage and is the most durable out of the other options. Scratch resistance is also another factor of tile durability. Tiles are rated on a scale or 1-10, where 10 is the hardest. Tiles with ratings of 4-6 can be used on most residential flooring while ratings of 7 and higher is rated for commercial use.
Overview: Tile is a great option for families with pets as it withstands water, scratches, and spills better than other flooring. Spills can stain grout, so clean-up should be done quickly in situations where your beautiful grout can be stained from your toddler’s grape juice bomb. Tile can be hard and cold, but transfers heat extremely well. Columbus Real Estate news mentions that heated patios are all the rage in real estate right now. Consider radiant heat to help the overall comfort of the flooring. For an idea of cost, $1-$8 per square foot will purchase most ceramic tile. Stone tile runs from $2-$15 a square foot. Installations isn’t as easy as other options. Our friends over at Home Improvements Unlimited offer this helpful advice on hiring a contractor. Check out their advice if the thought of trying this DIY seems overwhelming.
Widely used and long known about, carpet offers the most comfortable solution out of any of the other options.
Every one of us knows the feelings of stepping on plush, luxurious carpet. We also know the fear that comes when we lose our iPhone, keys, or daughter in our grandpa’s overgrown forest of shag carpet from the 70’s. Carpet can fit in nearly any living space, although not all need it. Schottenstein Real Estate tells us that rugs can be added to a cold room to add warmth and color to an otherwise dull experience. Let’s take a look at what there is to offer.
Density: The space between yarns in carpet. Higher density equals better quality carpet.
Fiber types: Carpet is made up of different types of fiber. Both manmade and natural options exist:
Acrylic: Best known as wool made by man, acrylic offers the comfort and look of wool while maintaining a lower price point. It also resists moisture, stains, and mildew. That being said, it typically lacks in durability.
Nylon: By far this is the most common type of carpet. It is both durable and resistant.
Polyester: One of the best options for families with allergies. Polyester carpet flooring resists fading, while still being able to fend of stains. That being said, it is more prone to crushing than other options.
Wool: Wool offers one of the comfiest and most luxurious looks to any room. It helps maintain air purity, servers as a bacteria and dust mite inhibitor, and is hypoallergenic. That being said, it’s the most expensive of all carpet options.
Polypropylene/Olefin: One of the best carpets for resisting natural elements like sunlight, polypropylene is a great option for if a carpet doesn’t need to be inherently durable as it is the most prone to crushing. Generally Nylon is used over polypropylene and olefin.
Pad and Pile: Every stepped on one of those carpets that make you feel like you could sleep on it? Padding is what lies underneath the surface of carpet. It serves as an insulator and prolongs durability and comfort.
Pile is the actual surface of the carpet. It’s made up of four separate types of looped fiber bunches. There’s four types of pile:
- Cut and Loop: Combines lower loops and high cut piles to create texture.
- Level Loop: Even, short, and densely packed. One of the easiest options to clean.
- Cut Pile: Consists of loops of the same height, and made up of five styles.
- Saxony: Tightly twisted piles that stand vertically.
- Plush: Closely packed all of the same length (but longer than Saxony), this creates an elegant feel.
- Textured: Consists of tufts that are twisted, mixed, and dispersed for a more unique look.
- Frieze: Consists of more twists and tangles than your sister in law’s Yorkshire terrier, frieze offers the most textured look out of all the other options.
- Shag: Taking lives since 1969- shag carpet is the thickest of all the other options. This would be an example of a deep pile carpet.
- Multilevel Loop: Takes two or three varieties of loop to produce patterns that tend to be geometric and esoteric.
Overview: Carpet is great and widely available. It offers a great compromise between beauty and comfort. That being said, carpet is prone to staining and requires occasional deep cleaning with a steam cleaner. You’ll find carpet serves its purpose best in bedrooms, playrooms, and common living areas.
It’s not the best for families with pets or children with a knack for dropping their food. That being said, if a durable style is chosen pets claws won’t get snagged and pet hair won’t be as visible. Carpet can range from $1-$10 per square foot depending on your needs.
Our personal favorite, concrete flooring is starting to make its rocky way into contemporary living spaces and man caves around the world.
Most people don’t consider concrete as anything other than a building foundation for their home. However concrete floor production has come leaps and bounds in the last 50 years. It can be modified to create a glossy, elegant epoxy floor, dyed to dazzle with color, and distressed to create a rugged industrial loft. Easily one of the most flexible flooring options, it’s often overlooked in homes today.
Surfaces: You can choose from a huge amount of surface options with concrete. Troweled, polished, smooth, grainy, and just about anything else. It can even be stamped to create patterns and tiles, or scored with a saw to add additional flair.
- Existing Concrete: Many homes already have a concrete base. For little cost, you coat your flooring with epoxy, polish it, or stain it. Get creative!
- Decorate overlay: It’s possible to install concrete as a decorate overlay to create a modern appearance in any home.
Concrete is the greenest option out of every flooring option. It doesn’t deplete natural resources, uses very little energy to produce, and is locally constructed. It absorbs both warm and cool air to help with cooling, and is easily recycled. It’s also hypoallergenic which makes it great for families with kids.
Concrete flooring is a relatively untapped market in the real estate market. It’s easy to clean, as long as light surface cleaners are used. It’s great for any room whatsoever as long as one gets creative. Above all, it’s the best flooring option for pets. It’s long lasting and durable in every single way. If you’re interested in modifying an existing concrete floor, visit our flooring page for inspiration and ideas for your garage and even within your own home.
The hunt for perfect flooring in your home is never easy. However now that you’re armed with information, take a second to plan out your future and consider the different options that exist for your home. Every flooring option yields great results if applied in the right way. We suggest visiting our friends at G Home Improvement (based out of Central Ohio!) to get more ideas on flooring options. Whatever your needs are, consider trying something different. You just might be surprised.
If you still have questions regarding flooring (especially garage flooring,) take a look at our website for information. We’re happy to help you find the perfect flooring option for your home.