From engineered hardwood to laminate, hardwood to luxury vinyl, our team has the answers to your flooring questions.
Flooring is what you’ll stand on while cooking dinner and while entertaining. It’s what your bare feet will touch when you get out of bed in the morning or step out of the shower.
Just because you like hardwood, doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for a bathroom. And you probably won’t enjoy tile in your bedroom or in a child’s playroom.
We will take a look at several of the most popular options in residential flooring, and we’ll review the pros and cons of each.
Our team is an excellent partner in this arena, with decades of experience helping homeowners select the right materials for their custom homes and remodels. Our team is knowledgeable, friendly, and courteous and is always available to collaborate or educate.
Some of the considerations our team will work through with you and that will help you decide which flooring options are right for your home include:
- Which room are we talking about? Some materials are ideal for certain rooms while others are not.
- Do you have children or pets?
- What’s your budget?
- Did you know flooring may require special installation that can drive up costs or add time to a building or renovation schedule?
- What aesthetic are you hoping to achieve? Being able to answer this question is a tremendous help in pointing you toward appropriate choices.
- Are you looking for a return on investment? And if so, long-term or shorter-term?
Engineered hardwood flooring sure looks like hardwood and is usually installed similarly. So what exactly is it?
A manufactured product, engineered hardwood was created to serve as a less expensive option to popular hardwood flooring. It consists of a layer of high-quality plywood topped with a thin layer or veneer of hardwood. In addition to versions that can be glued or nailed down, some engineered hardwood floors can be “clicked together” for what is referred to as a “floating floor” installation.
Most engineered hardwood floors will last for 25 to 30 years, but one caveat: This flooring type, because of the thin layer of real wood, is typically only suitable for sanding and refinishing once.
Long-lasting, solid hardwood flooring is a perennial favorite for myriad reasons. It’s beautiful and warm and available in many species, styles, colors, widths, and stains. Hardwood can last for centuries and can be sanded and refinished multiple times.
The most popular species for wood flooring in the U.S. is oak. Red, white, domestic, imported; if you want options, you can have them with oak. Other species commonly used in flooring include maple, walnut, and hickory.
Hardwood is a practical flooring solution for almost every part of the home. However, you should avoid using hardwood in areas that are likely to get wet frequently, like entryways, basements, bathrooms, and mud or laundry rooms, as hardwood does have the potential to warp when exposed to water.
Hardwood flooring may be purchased unfinished or pre-finished, and pre-finished is an excellent grab-and-go option that requires no onsite finishing.
There are drawbacks to hardwood flooring, of course, and those are cost and maintenance. All hardwood must be finished for moisture and scratch resistance and to protect against heavy wear and tear. They also need to be cleaned regularly to keep them looking their best.
Hardwood does offer long-term ROI, however; should you choose to sell your home at some point, hardwood flooring is always a valuable selling point.
Today’s laminate flooring is nothing like your grandma’s laminate flooring. Sure, it’s still an affordable alternative to hardwood as it’s easy to install, it’s durable, and it can be very attractive. Yet, since your grandparents installed it in their home, technology has aided manufacturers in improving laminate flooring with beveling, deeper, more precise texturing, and better graphic reproduction. Among the bestselling laminates today are those that resemble hardwood flooring and function like engineered hardwood.
The life expectancy of laminate flooring can be anywhere from 10 to 25 years, depending on the product’s quality and the traffic it experiences. It’s relatively easy to clean and maintain, but some people have too hard a time moving past their own perceptions of the “fakeness” of the product to consider using it in their homes.
Laminate is prone to damage from moisture, so not the best bet for kitchens or bathrooms, and it isn’t easy to repair.
Bamboo is a flooring option that is growing in popularity and with good reason. Technically a kind of hardwood, bamboo has a look all its own. It is one of the most durable natural flooring materials you can use, and it is entirely sustainable and eco-friendly. It’s scratch- and moisture-resistant, which makes it an excellent choice for kitchens and decks.
Carpet can be made from several different materials, including acrylic and wool, for example. Carpet is available in many colors, textures, and styles. Aside from those matters, however, carpet needs no other introduction. Some people love it as it’s cost-effective, soft, warm, and offers a degree of soundproofing. It also looks terrific when it’s new and it’s easy to install. Some people, on the other hand, loathe carpeting as it can be unsanitary, difficult to clean, absorbs odors, is a magnet for pet hair and stains, and should never be used in moisture-prone areas, like kitchens and bathrooms.
Cork is another material gaining popularity, especially among those who value renewable and sustainable building options.
Technically, the cork used in flooring is a composite product made from bark pressed into planks and installed similarly to hardwoods. Cork is also low VOC (which means it doesn’t “off-gas” like other products might), fire-resistant, and sound-blocking.
Cork flooring is often used in quiet areas, like home offices and nurseries. But cork flooring is too soft and prone to scratches and damage for use in a home with pets or in high-traffic areas.
Sadly, linoleum gets a bad rap, with many people thinking of it as a low-quality product. The perception isn’t wholly unearned; during its heyday, linoleum was churned out quickly, with substandard and faux linoleums damaging the product’s reputation
But did you know? Linoleum is a natural product made with renewal materials, including cork powder, jute, and linseed oil. It’s antimicrobial, anti-static, colorfast, durable, and moisture-resistant. It’s comfortable under the feet and easy to install.
Commonly thought of as coming in colorful and sometimes busy patterns, today’s most popular linoleums mimic the appearance of both hardwood flooring and tile.
Linoleum is considered a mid- to high-end flooring option that is particularly well suited for use in kitchens and bathrooms. The lifespan of a linoleum floor is between 20 and 40 years.
It’s hard to go wrong with a tiled floor. It’s long been a favorite option for bathrooms, and some homeowners also prefer tile flooring in their dining areas, entryways, hallways, kitchens, laundry rooms, and mudrooms.
There’s a tile for everyone; the number of color and style options is almost infinite, from the availability of tiny mosaic tiles to large format floor tiles to tiles that look like hardwood but provide more durability.
Glazed ceramic and porcelain tiles are the most durable of the bunch and require little maintenance. Sealing grout periodically is necessary to prevent staining.
Tile doesn’t have to be expensive (although, on the high end, it certainly is), but installation is labor-intensive and requires both subflooring and a cement board or tile backer base.
Tile is hard and can be cold to the touch, so it is used less often in bedrooms, dining rooms, family rooms, and living rooms. Tile is also slippery in areas that are moisture prone, like bathrooms, entryways, and laundry rooms. Non-slip tile should be used in such areas.
Tile flooring is waterproof, however, and great for high-traffic areas, but it is expensive and can chip or scratch.
Tile costs vary widely, based primarily on the de type of tile chosen.
Vinyl flooring is a plastic product, usually made from PVC, acrylic, or similar polymers. It comes in many styles and a wide range of price points and qualities, from low-end to premium. It’s another of the “everything old is new again” flooring options. It’s available in sheets or tiles and is both easy to install and maintain. Like laminate and linoleum, popular vinyl patterns mimic ceramic tile, hardwood flooring, and even stone.
Even with the Renaissance vinyl flooring is experiencing, it continues to be an affordable and versatile option.
It does have a lower return on investment than wood or laminate flooring, and like linoleum, some will not consider it at all due to preconceived notions.
There is a lot to know and even more about your lifestyle and family to consider when choosing flooring materials. Ultimately, your home should speak to your tastes and styles while incorporating building and décor materials that are durable, practical, and will last as long as you will live with them.
Whether you’re building a new home or updating an existing home, our team has the experience to help you make the decisions that are right for you and your family especially when it comes to your flooring.
For more information, call us or click here to schedule your complimentary, no-obligation consultation.