You can freshen up the appearance of your home and give it a whole new look by installing new flooring. There’s a lot to choosing a new floor covering, however, and there’s no single “best” flooring option for all use types.
Everyone’s home is unique – and yours is no exception. Durability, cost, and moisture all factor into which floor covering is right for your home.
With a little research, however, you can greatly improve the look, feel and function of your home by installing new flooring. Read on to learn how to choose the right flooring for your budget and lifestyle.
How to Choose Flooring for Your Home
It’s natural to start the process by thinking about how to choose a hardwood floor color. Before you look at colors, however, there are a few practical things that you need to consider.
For instance, if you want to install new flooring in your bathroom or basement, the high moisture in those areas will greatly influence your decision. In this case, you’ll most likely need a moisture resistant floor covering such as concrete, porcelain or vinyl. Still, moisture isn’t the only thing that you need to consider.
In addition to checking out the latest flooring trends, you’ll need to consider durability if you have children or pets. As an example, authentic hardwood floors look great, but they scratch easily.
Also, you’ll need to divide your budget by the square foot of the area that you’re going to update. The price per square foot for flooring typically falls within a few common ranges:
- $2.00 or less – bargain price laminate that looks good, but is difficult to install
- $2.00 to $5.00 – midrange, basic hardwood flooring, and higher end laminates
- $5.00 and up – exotic, high-quality woods and premium laminates
When it comes to choosing a flooring material, you should try to find the best quality – within your budget – that requires the least maintenance.
You can also save money by installing your new floor by yourself. If you’re going to go the do-it-yourself route, however, consider the fact that it’s difficult for most people to lay down carpet perfectly. It’s even harder to install flooring.
At this stage, an honest assessment of your abilities will save you time and money – not to mention the painful task of having to call a contractor to fix your botched flooring job!
Types of Flooring Materials
There are more types of flooring materials than you might think. When considering flooring choices, the first kind that typically comes to mind is hardwood. Many homeowners are drawn to hardwood floors for its durability as well as its natural look and feel.
For these reasons, many homeowners choose hardwood flooring. Still, there are other materials that are worthy of your consideration.
In the end, many homeowners choose flooring made of laminate. It’s easier to install and less costly compared to hardwood flooring.
Laminate floors are composed of wood materials that are layered together. The manufacturer then covers the top of the plywood layers with a photographic image of wood grain.
Engineered wood floors are a variation of laminate. For this kind of covering, manufacturers attach a real hardwood veneer on top of the plywood. This flooring variation costs more than standard laminate, but has a look and feel that’s closer to that of a real hardwood floor.
Many environmentally conscious homeowners choose linoleum as a floor covering. Linoleum is made from all natural materials. It’s safe to manufacture, install and use.
Also, the materials used to make linoleum flooring do not come from rainforests. Manufacturers make linoleum flooring out of linseed oil, rosins and wood flour.
Linoleum also has antibacterial properties. As a result, it’s a popular choice for hospitals.
Tiles are another popular flooring choice. This group includes harder coverings such as terra-cotta, stone, porcelain and marble.
Porcelain is the most cost-effective tile flooring. It has the attractiveness and hardness of stone but costs much less.
Also, porcelain is easier to maintain compared to marble flooring. Homeowners must periodically reseal marble to protect it from moisture. The glazed surface of porcelain, however, remains sealed and can handle heavy traffic.
Exotic Flooring Materials
Manufacturers engineer bamboo flooring with tongue and groove joints, just like hardwood boards. They make bamboo from a lightweight woody grass, rather than trees.
Bamboo grows fast, but has the strength of steel. It only takes 3 to 5 years to regenerate, while trees may take 120 years to grow to maturity. Moreover, it’s a very durable material that’s ideal for moist areas. Bamboo doesn’t contract and expand as humidity rises and falls.
Cork is another eco-friendly flooring alternative. Also, the honeycomb structure of cork offers a soft, cushiony feel. The material also absorbs sound and impacts.
Manufacturers make cork in a variety of styles and finishes. Most cork floor tiles are non-slip and work well for bathroom and kitchen areas.
Making the Final Decision
When considering flooring there is a lot to think about and your decision will, in the end, be a balance between your tastes, your budget and what works for the resale value of your property.
Also, remember that you aren’t the only person who’ll make use of the new floor. You should also consider the activities, habits and needs of your family and friends.
As an example, if you have young children, of course they don’t plan to spill drinks and drop food on the floor. Still, it’s a safe bet that – despite their best efforts – accidents will happen.
Also, if you have pets – or are thinking about getting one – your furry friend could damage your expensive new floor that’s attractive but not durable enough for your needs. Finally, you need to think about how much work you’re willing to put into upkeep.
It’s important to think about anything and everything that will affect the appearance and longevity of your new floor. By planning, you can choose the perfect floor for your budget, lifestyle and needs.
It takes quite a bit of research to narrow down your choices for the new floor. Visit PropertyTalk to find out more about the best flooring choice for your home.