Today, there are more flooring choices than ever before. There are also a variety of finishes and installation options. Product innovation has improved over the years and people have been using more raw materials to create flooring types such as corn sugar, gin bottles, and the left overs from old wine barrels. These innovations give you a variety of choices that will fit in with your budget and lifestyle.
Hardwood flooring is known for its natural beauty and its durability. The classic appearance of wood flooring can fit in with any theme or interior design. Wood flooring is an excellent option for homes with an open floor plan. They can create continuity from room to room, which is aesthetically pleasing. Hardwood flooring comes in strips that are between 1 ½ inches to 2 ½ inches wide. They also come in planks that are 4 to 8 inches wide. It is also available in a variety of species. There are regional varieties that are not widely distributed but they contain distinctive grain patters. A few examples of these include mesquite, pecan, and chinquapin. The availability of these exotic species of hardwood flooring depends on the market. The most popular important varieties include African pedauk, purpleheart, and Brazilian cherry. If you want to be sure that the hardwood that you are using is harvested from managed, sustainable forests, you should look for the certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI).
The coating that is used for prefinished hardwoods use technological advancement that are very beneficial. Today’s finishes include additives such as aluminum oxide, ceramics, and acrylic monomers that create a very touch surface. To install solid hardwood, it needs to be nailed to a subfloor. One of the major benefits of solid wood is that it can be refinished over and over again during its lifespan.
Engineered wood contains a top layer of real wood that is backed by layers of cheaper plywood. This construction method makes the flooring more stable. It also makes it less susceptible to changes that can occur in solid wood when the temperature and humidity changes.
There are new varieties that do not use plywood backing. Instead, they use recycled wood fiber that is mixed with stone dust. This provides dimensional stability. Engineered wood is the best option for kitchens and basements. It is also great to put over an in-floor heating system.
Engineered wood can either be glued, nailed, or installed as a floating floor that is installed on a cushioned pad. Today, more engineered wood manufacturers are producing clickable or self-locking flooring that doesn’t require any nails or glue. These clickable systems are available in planks or parquet squares. This makes the installation a great DIY project. The price of engineered wood is lower than that of solid wood.
Many people believe that bamboo is a wood option, however, it is not hardwood. It is actually a grass. The bamboo strips are glued together, and it forms engineered planks or solid strips, just like hardwood. The cost of bamboo and the cost to install it are comparable to that of wood products.
The bamboo grain patterns include woven, vertical, and flat. The flat grains display the actual characteristics of the grass. The vertical grains pack the strands closely together. This creates a fine-grained appearance. Finally, woven types have sinewy patterns.
Bamboo is extremely durable and tough. Bamboo comes from plants that grow easily and they regenerate quickly. Because of this, bamboo is considered to be a sustainable material. It is also an environmentally friendly flooring option. There are some people who believe that it is not environmentally friendly due to the fact that bamboo is imported from Asia. They say that the cost of energy to transport the bamboo to the United States makes contradicts that fact that bamboo is a green flooring option.
Laminate flooring is low-maintenance and it comes in a variety of styles, patterns and colors. Laminate flooring is similar to engineered wood because it has a top layer that is backed by layers of compressed fiber of plywood, which makes it extremely stable. The major difference between the two is that is that the top layer is not make of real wood. It is made of a plastic coating that is applied over a photo. Laminate flooring uses a technology called photo-realism. This technology produces finishes that look just like real wood or other materials such as ceramic tile, stone, or stained concrete.
Laminate flooring comes as tiles or planks. Most laminate flooring are floating floor systems. This means that this flooring can be installed right over the existing flooring without the use of nail or glue. This makes the job relatively easy without the need to tear out the original flooring. Laminate is a popular DIY project. Installing the flooring around the corners and door jambs requires ingenuity and patience, therefore, you shouldn’t overestimate your skills. If you think the job will be too complicated, you should hire a professional.
Linoleum is made of biodegradable, renewal materials. These include cork and linseed oil. To create rich and vibrant colors, mineral pigments are added. Linoleum is considered an environmentally friendly flooring option because it doesn’t produce any harmful vapors.
Linoleum flooring comes in sheets and it is glued down. There are some linoleum manufactures that add a protective coating over the flooring that keeps the flooring from being stained. The coating also helps the flooring hold up against heavy foot traffic. If the linoleum doesn’t have this coating, it would need to be refinished every two years.
Cork comes from tree bark. The bark is considered a sustainable material and it can be harvested every 8 to 10 years. This means that the tree is not destroyed when the bark is harvested. It is allowed to grow back and then be harvested again and again. In order to reduce the impact on the environment, cork-producing companies regulate the production. This will ensure future harvests.
Cork has a natural, warm appearance. Also, it is comfortable underfoot. The appearance of the flooring has unusual grain patters that feature speckles and whirls. This flooring comes in planks or tiles with a construction similar to that of laminate flooring. The top wear layer is glued to a more stable core material. Cork flooring can be installed either by gluing the flooring down or as a floating floor. Cork flooring costs between $2 and $6 per square foot. The cost of installation is typically between $3 and $5 per square foot.
Most of the cork flooring products available are prefinished. However, they should be resealed every few years to keep the wear layer looking new. It will also protect the flooring from stains and it will seal out damaging moisture. The most common sealers for cork flooring are wax and polyurethane. Water-based polyurethane is non-toxic and the organic compound content is low volatile.
Ceramic tile comes in a variety of colors, sizes, shapes and textures. This makes it possible to create unique, customized patterns. The cost of the flooring varies from $1 to $100 per square foot. If the tiles have decorative trim pieces and mosaic inlays, it will raise the total price of the tile and the installation. The average fee of an experienced tile setter is between $4 to $12 per square foot.
Ceramic tile is made of a combination of shale and clay that is baked and then hardened in a kiln. Later, dry pigments are added to the mixture to give it earthy tones. The tones range from ocher to deep red. If you are going to install ceramic tile, be sure that the tile that you purchase is rated for floor use.
Ceramic flooring tile comes in one of four types:
• Glazed Ceramic: This type has a glass-like coating. It is applied before the tile is fired. This coating gives the tile an unlimited variety of textures and colors. Also, the coating makes the floor maintenance free.
• Quarry Tile: Quarry tile is unglazed. The colors come from pigments that are added to the clay mixture during production. This type of tile has a rough texture which makes the flooring slip resistant. This is a feature that glazed ceramic does not have.
• Porcelain Tile: Porcelain tile is fired at very high temperature. This makes the tile very hard and durable. This type of tile is resistant to stains, making it a great option for exterior applications. You can buy this ceramic tile glazed or unglazed.
• Terracotta: Terracotta is unglazed. The colors are earthy and rustic looking. This tile is not as durable as most other options To keep it from getting stained, it would need to be stained regularly.
There are some types of ceramic flooring that has an anti-slip finish. This creates excellent traction when the floors are wet. If you want ceramic tile that has an anti-slip finish, you should make sure that it meets the standards set by the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Carpeting is one of the most versatile flooring options. Carpeting has more colors and textures than other flooring types available. When it comes to judging the quality of carpet, there is one question that you should ask. Question the density of the fibers that were used to make the carpet. The more fibers used per square inch, the more durable the carpet will be.
To make most types of carpet, the fibers are pulled through a woven backing. Next, additional layers are added to the back and they are glued on. This provides additional thickness and strength. A carpet pad in installed to add to the carpet’s lifespan. If you choose indoor/outdoor carpeting, it can hold up to the weather and it doesn’t require a pad.
Many carpets use a rating system. This indicates the carpet’s ability to stand up against wear and tear. The rating is found on the carpet label. The rating can be between 1 and 5, with 5 being the best. A rating of 3 or 4 is considered normal.
The standard quality of carpeting is wool. Not only is is naturally durable and resistant or moisture and stains, it also has the best feeling on your bare feet. Most carpets are made of synthetic fibers, with the exception of wool. The carpeting that includes synthetic fibers include:
• Nylon: Nylon is very strong and it is resistant to wear and tear. To reduce the static electricity in the carpet, you should make sure that it has been treated.
• Acrylic: Acrylic carpeting has an appearance that is similar to wool. It is resistant to wear and tear as well as mildew and crushing. Finally, is is an inhospitable place for insects.
• Polyester: Polyester carpets come in bright colors and it is resistant to stains. The only downside is that stains can be difficult to remove from polyester carpets.
• Polyproplene Olefin: This type of carpeting is often used in indoor/outdoor carpeting. It is extremely resistant to mildew, moisture, and stains.
The ability for this type of flooring to resist moisture and stains depends on how hard the stone is. Sandstone and limestone are softer stones. They would need to be refinished very few years using a stone sealer. Marble and granite are considered hard stones and they need to be refinished every 4 to 5 years.
If the stone tile is polished or honed, it can be slippery when wet. It is best to choose a stone that is textured and skid resistant if you are going to use it in the kitchen or the bathroom where water and moisture are common.
Vinyl Plank Flooring
Vinyl sheets or tiles are known as resilient flooring. They are very flexible and soft underfoot. This flooring is durable, tough, and maintenance-free. Vinyl comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns. It is also one of the least expensive flooring materials on the market. You can pay as little as $1 per square foot, however, your won’t find as many style options if you go with the less-expensive types.
Vinyl Planks flooring is backed with a layer of felt. If the vinyl is cushioned, it is backed with a thin layer of foam making it safer and more comfortable. The vinyl flooring with a thicker surface is higher quality and costs more. It has a textured surface that can look like wood or stone.
Vinyl flooring is resistant to stains and scratches due to the water layer that is applied to the top surface. Most high-quality vinyl flooring comes with a warranty on the wear level for 15 to 20 years.