Choosing the right type of flooring for your home can be tricky. The right type of flooring for your home also varies from room to room. Some spaces are best served by hardwood and others by carpet. Whether you hope to update the flooring in your walkout basement or master bedroom, there are eight questions every homeowner should ask before deciding. Follow below as we explain how to know which flooring type is right for you by outlining these eight questions.
While natural hardwoods like cherry, walnut and hickory are stunning in entryways and mudrooms, they are not the most durable flooring options. When considering which flooring to purchase for areas with lots of foot traffic, keep in mind that some flooring is prone to abrasion. Others readily imbibes dirt and water and are impossible to clean. Designers and contractors tend to recommend scratch-resistant, non-porous options like porcelain tile and laminate for high-traffic areas. In an article for Angi, Kristen Stensby notes that “tile floors are the most forgiving when it comes to clean-ability and ease of maintenance.” Whenever possible, “go for full-bodied porcelain.” If you cannot afford porcelain tiling for high-traffic areas, consider laminate, vinyl or regular ceramic.
Next, consider the climate of your space. If replacing the flooring in your basement, bathroom, laundry room or other humid space, avoid materials that easily react to moisture. For example, both hardwood and bamboo warp, cup and tent when exposed to moisture. Engineered wood, on the other hand, easily stands up to moisture. Sheet vinyl and ceramic tiling are two other options for environments with high or variable humidity.
Third, consider the wear and tear your pets might wreak on your home’s flooring. Opt for stain-resistant, scratch-resistant flooring options that are easily spot-cleaned. In a recent article for Apartment Therapy, Ashley Abramson recommends luxury vinyl tile, stone-imitation porcelain tile, bamboo, cork and stone for homes with pets. Stone, tile and luxury vinyl resist cat and dog scratches most effectively and are all water resistant. Abramson suggests cork because, while not scratch resistant, it is “comfortable to walk on.” Cork is also “a sound-absorbing material, which makes it an ideal choice if you want to avoid noise in your home.”
If you plan to install the flooring yourself, modular systems are the best flooring choices. Opt for vinyl sheets, peel and stick vinyl tiles, laminate planks or carpet tiles when installing flooring yourself. Cork is a fifth option, as it is simpler to install than hardwood.
Homeowners who have installed radiant heating systems in their houses should avoid rubber flooring. They should also avoid carpet made with adhesives or some synthetic materials and concrete flooring. Rubber could off-gas when heated, emitting a repulsive smell. Carpets with adhesive can detach when exposed to heat. Concrete floors are difficult to heat and may not prove cost-effective in homes with under-floor heating. In an article for The Spruce, Lee Wallender recommends “ceramic tile, porcelain tile, natural stone, laminate and vinyl.”
Those concerned with how their flooring choice might impact the environment or increase their carbon footprint should consider repurposed or locally produced materials. Recycled hardwood, bamboo, cork and eucalyptus are all eco-friendly flooring options.
Few homeowners consider it, but sunlight can also damage flooring. Prefinished hardwood, laminate, marmoleum and some types of engineered wood flooring are cured with UV-resistant finishes. Some carpets, especially those made with natural dyes, may not be fade-resistant. Look out for products that are treated and will not fade, crack or become brittle when exposed to sunlight over time.
Lastly, consider who in your home is prone to reactions to VOC off-gassing or seasonal allergies when choosing flooring for your home. In an article for The Washington Post, Laura Daily recommends real hardwood flooring for those with allergies. Natural hardwood flooring is unlikely to have formaldehyde (engineered wood), sawdust (particle board) or natural terpenes (natural softwoods). Homeowners should avoid shag carpeting and other materials likely to trap and emit dust.
Though homeowners can install some types of flooring, working with trained professionals is usually the right choice. The team at VanderBeken Remodel can help you choose the most appropriate material, color and scale of flooring for each space in your home. Best of all, we can install whichever you choose — from porcelain tiles to natural hardwood planks — expertly and efficiently. Contact us today to explore the possibilities and improve your home’s interior.
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