Choosing the best floor for your home can be overwhelming. What constitutes good flooring? There are many variables to consider. First of all, you must consider your budget. Where is the floor going to be installed? Is it a wet or dry location with high traffic? You must always consider your maintenance needs. But if you don’t normally like to maintain your floor per manufacturers’ instructions, then you need to reconsider your choice. Foremost, the looks and feel of the flooring is always a high priority. Oddly enough, the look of the flooring is becoming less critical as the years go by, as flooring manufacturers become more adept at reproducing the look of natural stone or wood in both laminate and resilient flooring versions. But it’s hard to reproduce the warmth of solid hardwood or the solidity of stone.
When talking about floors, tiles have to be a part of the discussion. When you look at the big picture, tile is one of the best flooring choices you can make: it is readily available, cost-effective, and offers versatile options. Tile flooring comes in different materials, from ceramic to stone varieties. The amazing versatility of tile floors comes from the sheer amount of options at your disposal. Tile size can vary from the very small mosaic types to very large tile squares. As for ease of maintenance, tile can hardly be beat. It is usually the grout that poses the problem. Even those issues of staining and chipping can be mitigated by proper maintenance, sealing, and even choosing to go with an epoxy-based system, thus eliminating the need to be concerned. Finally, if you like a warm floor in the winter for your bare feet, you can always install tile over a radiant heated floor, which comes with thermostat controls like an HVAC unit. Tile remains one of the best flooring solutions in any budget.
Linoleum is always a good option. It is beautiful and durable. Linoleum is composed of linseed oil and is therefore waterproof, as well as being environmentally friendly. Sheet linoleum is ideal for use in the bathroom and kitchen, though you will need to seal around the wet areas where water from tubs and sinks may spill with a silicone caulking. Standing water is not an issue on linoleum, unless it can penetrate to the substrate underneath the linoleum. In that case, the water damages the substrate and can also cause the linoleum to peel, so sealing the perimeters is a good caution against that damage.
Hardwood flooring is a classic example of style done right, a perfect balance of the best of all worlds. With its warmth, character, and ease of maintenance–especially when you consider that sanding and refinishing costs are minimal compared to installing new floors–hardwood flooring remains one of the best flooring options of all time.
If you are looking for flooring that is a renewable resource, then cork flooring would be a good choice. It is made from harvesting the bark of the cork oak tree. It has a sponge-like cellular structure that can be compressed and easily reverts back to its original shape. Cork flooring is excellent at dampening sound and it is quite versatile because it comes in tiles and planks and can be installed easily.
The choices are limitless. Your flooring style obviously needs to match the design and decor of your home. You have to think about your budget and your needs. List your priorities, incorporate your budget, then your style and “go with the floor”.
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