Floors have a much different value in the eyes of all the different homeowners. To some they serve as nothing more than a place to wipe their shoes and toss food to pets without a care in the world about “resale value” or “not living like a vagrant”. To others the floor is a centerpiece of their design décor that really ‘holds the room together’ so to speak. Floors have a slippery slope (hopefully not literally) as they must be functional yet stylish so here are the most popular flooring types and their most common uses.
For years tile was looked at as the durable alternative. Generally made of either porcelain or ceramic, tile is ideal for kitchens and bathrooms as it is waterproof, neutral, and easy to clean. Tile is also one of the few alternatives for a basement flooring. Some of the downfalls include being cold to walk on and cracking in extreme cold or when dropping something heavy on.
Most people have a love/hate relationship with carpet. For a soft, plush feel on the feet and comfort when lying on the floor there is no better option than carpet. Unfortunately every spilled glass of red wine or muddy dog on the loose offers a forever reminder.
Vinyl is definitely the budget approach to flooring. Full sheets can be applied to a floor with nothing more than a sticky adhesive and modern design practices have emulated vinyl looking like wood, stone, brick, etc. Unfortunately the material doesn’t offer much in resale value and isn’t very durable.
Laminate flooring basically consists of a picture of wood (or other designs) covered in a protective coating with a durable barrier underneath. Laminate flooring costs much less than solid hardwood so many homeowners opt for it when renovating on a budget. In some cases, laminate is a better option than solid or engineered hardwood. For example, rooms with high humidity or moisture would destroy actual hardwood. Laminate is also more pet-friendly as it doesn’t get damaged by their nails.
Hardwood is easily the “king of the mountain” of flooring as it is a major selling point to prospective buyers. Hardwood is ideal for kitchens, bedrooms, and living areas to provide an air of richness, class, and warmth. Wood is very easy to coincide with any design décor and can be sanded and re-stained up to 2 times to prolong its life span.
Solid hardwood isn’t without its downfalls, most notably the expansion and contraction to changes in humidity. The easy solution is engineered hardwood which features a thin veneer of the actual wood on the surface but with compressed and compounded layers of more durable material (plywood) underneath. The result is less resistance to moisture and humidity and the ability to ‘float’ with changes in temperature.
Bamboo looks like a wood but is actually a grass, making it one of the most sustainable flooring solutions for eco-friendly homes. Bamboo comes to fruition in about 4-6 years whereas a solid hardwood tree might take 40-60 years. Bamboo has a natural light color which is a nice design trend, but is also available in a darker caramelized version.
Cork is a more ergonomically friendly wood floor choice as the material ‘bounces back’ to pressure. Cork is perfect for rooms where most of the time is spent standing but is also versatile thanks to its resistance to mold and mildew in addition to thermal and acoustic insulating properties.
In many rooms concrete floors are the only options – basements and outdoor rooms for example. Concrete is waterproof and virtually damage-proof to anything outside of a sledgehammer. When picturing a concrete floor, you might first think of something very minimalist or cold, but concrete can be customized to look like natural stone without the high price tag. Concrete can be stained, polished, and textured to give your room a one-of-a-kind look.