It isn’t always easy selecting finishes for your home. For many homeowners, one of the most difficult items to choose is the flooring. There are so many options on the market, how do you know which one is right for you? How do you ensure you make the right choice for your budget, your design, and your own personal comfort? We’ve helped select and install many different types of flooring over the years, and we’ve learned a lot of the pros and cons of each. Here are a few key things you need to know about how to choose the right flooring for your home.
Tile is not only durable, it is extremely versatile. There is a wide variety of material available on the market today, from ceramic and porcelain to the increasingly popular wood plank tile (tile that resembles hardwood). Cost varies as much as selection, and additional factors such as sub-flooring and difficult installation (as in the case of intricate designs) may raise the price even more. One downside to using tile throughout the home is that it can be cold on bare feet, but this can be corrected with the installation of radiant heat underneath. Another issue is that it can be difficult to clean, especially if installed with wide grout, but this can be prevented by selecting the right material and using thin grout lines.
Pros: Durability, versatility, many options for all budgets.
Cons: Can be difficult to clean; can be cold on bare feet.
Marble and Natural Stone
This material is one of the most elegant and beautiful materials on the market when it comes to flooring. However, it can also be extremely expensive. We do not recommend using natural stone in high-traffic areas, especially if you have animals or children, because it will need to be re-sealed often since it is a natural, porous substance. Another thing to consider is that natural stone can be hard on the knees and the back if you spend a lot of time walking on it in bare feet.
Pros: Timeless beauty of natural stone.
Cons: Expensive in both material and installation; requires more maintenance and upkeep.
You really can’t beat the warmth and comfort of hardwood floors; not to mention its versatility, as it can be used with all design styles from craftsman to modern. If you have children or animals, be sure to select a material that is not too soft, as some varieties can scratch more easily than others and can be susceptible to water damage. There are a number of engineered wood products on the market today which have the classic beauty of solid hardwood, but they are already pre-sealed and are a little more durable. Most of them come with a layer of solid wood on top, which means they can be sanded down several times if your floors need refinishing in the future.
Pros: Versatility in design, budget and practicality; ease of installation if you buy engineered hardwood.
Cons: Can be more susceptible to water damage and scratching in high-traffic areas.
Vinyl and Linoleum
If you are on a very tight budget, this is the flooring for you. Luckily vinyl and linoleum have come a long way over the years, and there is a huge variety when it comes to selection. Just be aware that this material is highly susceptible to peeling and tearing, and it does little to increase the value of your home.
Pros: Great for those on a tight budget; quite a bit of variety on the market now.
Cons: Susceptible to peeling and tearing; does not increase the value of your home.
This material is comfortable and easy to manage, which makes it a popular choice for bedrooms. There are a number of styles and textures to choose from. One downside is that it can collect particles and exacerbate allergies and respiratory conditions, so we recommend selecting a high-quality, low-nap carpet in your home.
Pros: Comfortable and can be cost-effective.
Cons: Susceptible to stains, dust and allergens.
As you can see, the flooring you select will depend on a variety of factors. If you have an open floor plan, you are more limited to what you can select, because you will need to select the same material throughout the space. Alternatively, those with many different rooms in their homes have the freedom to choose a number of materials, from ceramic tile in the bathrooms and kitchen to hardwood in the living areas and carpet in the bedrooms. Regardless of what you select, be sure that you have a clear-cut design in mind so your house does not look patchwork. We recommend bringing floor samples into your home and comparing it to your appliances, light fixtures, and paint color to make sure it fits with the motif. And do not be afraid to hire a designer or a qualified design-build company to help you make your selections – in most cases, they can save you money by finding good deals, and their experience and design expertise will be an excellent investment in your home.
Nelson Construction and Renovations, a family business founded in 2006, is a design-build company that specializes in high-end remodels, home additions, and custom homes. With our headquarters in Clearwater, Florida, we serve homeowners all over Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. We are an award-winning member of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
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