04 Jul 2012

Which Type of Flooring is Best for Your Home?

Atlanta Flooring Comments Off

Flooring options are numerous, including soft coverings like carpeting and rugs, as well as a wide variety of hard surface materials like stone and wood. Form always follows function, so ask yourself a few questions before moving forward on a flooring installation.

Is the area to be covered regularly subjected to moisture? What level of traffic is expected? What is the overall budget for your flooring upgrade? These considerations guide your flooring choices, and some surfaces provide better solutions than others, for specific areas of your home.

Never place carpeting in places that have water fixtures. Bathrooms and kitchens are crying-out for hard surfaces like tile, vinyl or wood laminate products. Easy clean-up and durability against moisture are primary considerations in these areas, so ceramic and stone tile work well.

Vinyl Options

Vinyl is applied in a few different ways. Sheet vinyl provides large sections of rolled goods that are cut seamlessly into kitchens and bathrooms before being glued into place. Skilled fitters create tight surfaces by leveling uneven areas with cement, before securing the precisely trimmed vinyl.

Vinyl also comes in 12 to 16 inch square tiles that are backed with adhesive. Placement is easy – just butt each tile to the next and press them firmly into place. Damaged areas can be repaired by removing small sections of tile flooring as needed, so the room can be kept looking fresh without replacing the entire floor.

Wooden Flooring

Wood simulations are also available as vinyl planks that are glue to one another, creating grainy patterns that mimic hardwood. The heavy vinyl planks provide durable surfaces that are said to be ‘floating’, because they are not connected to the subfloor – only to each other.

Solid hardwood plank flooring is available, but used less than in the past. The high quality wood required for floors is scarce and expensive, and installation requires a level of specialization that goes beyond the scope of handymen and do-it-yourselfers. To capture the same warmth created by hardwood planks, flooring manufacturers have created wood laminate products that have caught on among consumers.

Thin layers of genuine hardwood are applied to backers that make them durable, while keeping the product affordable and ecologically conscious. The laminated planks are locked to one another in a snap-and-click installation that ensures stability and makes the floor feel like wood.

Tile Floors Take Many Forms

The ultimate durability is found in lifetime tile flooring made from stone and ceramic materials. High traffic areas that move through a home are sensibly tiled with substances that won’t fade in appearance under heavy usage.

Bathrooms and entryways lend themselves to high-quality mosaic tile installations that use sheets of preset tiles, which are grouted to create the appearance that each tile has been hand-set individually. Geometric patterns and accent tiles are used to create dramatic effects that are limited only by the creativity of designers.

Natural stone surfaces like slate and marble are available in organic and man-made tile surfaces that immediately bring a connection to your home, from the outdoors. Cool slate surfaces are tiled into porches and entry areas to serve as transitions from the outside. In bathrooms, textured tile is used to simulate primitive natural conditions.

Tile flooring is applied extensively in commercial applications, where its durability is continually tested. Sanitation in institutional settings is furthered by hard surface tiles that can be cleaned easily and don’t retain bacteria.

High quality stone like quartz and marble are some of the most beautiful natural floor coverings, with no two installations alike. Durability is unmatched in these dense stone tiles, but the cost is higher than that of other flooring materials.

The Right Choice

Informed flooring choices should consider the general use requirements of the covered areas. If a steady stream of walking traffic is expected, a hard surface tile floor will stand up best to the wear and tear of heavy traffic. Ceramic, porcelain and natural stone tile wear like iron, but cost more than basic floor coverings.

Carpeting is great for bedrooms and living areas that need the soft touch, but never use it in areas that have water exposure. Wood and wood laminate products provide aesthetically pleasing flooring options that are easy to install.

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