Choosing the Best Flooring for Your Home
There are the different types of flooring available for kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms and living room spaces. You can choose from hardwood, stone, tile, vinyl, carpet and more.
Factors to consider when deciding what types of flooring to install in your home include the function of the rooms, your household needs, and your budget.
Naturally, the more durable, beautiful, and resilient the type of floor material, the more expensive it becomes. However, there are some less costly alternatives available that can meet your needs. It's all about being wise in your choices. Mixing and matching different types of flooring across your home can make for a streamlined look – without a big spend - all while you meet every room's needs in terms of style, resistance to humidity, the weight of furniture and foot traffic. Let’s review the advantages and disadvantages of the most common flooring types.
1. HARDWOOD FLOORING
Hardwood flooring comes from a solid piece of milled wood and contains solid wood all throughout. Popular hardwood varieties include maple, oak, walnut, or cherry. Its versatility and quality make it a desirable flooring option for many home buyers.
However, it’s one of the more expensive flooring materials on the market and needs regular maintenance, such as using a special hardwood floor cleaner once a month and applying a fresh coat of finish every three to five years, to keep them looking great.
• Increases home value
• Can be refinished multiple times
• Many options available
• Strong and durable
• Can incur scrapes, scratches, and dents in high-traffic areas
• Susceptible to moisture damage
• May not be suitable for kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms and basements
Hardwood flooring is versatile in its look and can complement all types of interiors. It's long-lasting and will withstand up to five refinishes to remove surface scratches. Many real estate experts think that hardwood flooring can increase the resale value of your home as it's such a sought-after feature for many purchasers.
Leslie Saul of Leslie Saul & Associates, Inc. agrees that engineered or natural plank wooden floors can be used everywhere in the home when properly finished. “It adds natural warmth to a space, is available in many species and many widths and lengths.” Saul also notes how wooden types of flooring can be laid in many patterns to add more style impact to a room. You can also paint or stain wood flooring to upgrade the look over time. Cleaning is easy too.
However, the cost and the upkeep that comes with hardwood flooring can put it at a disadvantage as you will usually need a professional's help to get a good finish. You should note that wood flooring can warp when exposed to moisture for a long time, which may not make them the best fit for bathrooms or laundry rooms.
In addition, installing certain hardwood floors in areas which will have prolonged exposure to UV rays is not recommended as some timber flooring is more prone to UV bleaching than others. However, installing area rugs, blinds and other window coverings can help to minimize the color changing from exposure to sunlight. Checking whether the type of wood flooring is scratch-resistant is very important as well. For example, a lacquered timber is more durable, but if it gets scratched, a large area of flooring will need to be sanded and re-lacquered. Refinishing a more localized area is easier done with an oiled floor.
2. ENGINEERED WOOD FLOORING
Engineered wood flooring offers the look of real wood at a more affordable price than solid wood. This type of floor features a thin layer of hardwood bonded over a high-quality plywood substrate. Prices vary according to the thickness of the decorative wood veneer and quality of the core. It is as durable as solid hardwood flooring and can last as long with proper care.
Engineered wood flooring is a good choice for do it yourselfers to install, which will save money on installation costs.
• Has real hardwood top layer
• Greater resistance to moisture and water than real wood
• Less likely to warp
• Multiple installation methods
• Can’t be refinished more than once
• Not fade-resistant
• Wide variation in quality
• Can sound hollow underfoot.
• Can emit Volatile Organic Compounds
The stability of engineered flooring makes it a perfect choice over underfloor heating if the guidelines are followed, plus it is easier to lay than solid wood flooring. Because of how they are made, engineered wood planks are usually more dimensionally stable and less likely to expand or contract with temperature changes or fluctuations in humidity. Unlike hardwood, it won't take to refinishing so well because of the thinner top layer. When you select engineered floors be sure to select the hardest level and the most scratch resistant one. Treat it with a high-quality coating as you would with hardwood to preserve its quality.
3. LAMINATE FLOORING
Laminate is an affordable flooring option for homeowners who prefer an alternative to carpet but want to avoid the cost of hardwood or engineered flooring.