Thinking about new flooring for a room-or several? It can be expensive, so you’ll want to make the best choice possible, one that you won’t regret and will ultimately have to replace later. When choosing flooring, it’s easy to get totally overwhelmed by all the options (each type of flooring can look great in its own way). Here are some of the more popular ones:
Laminate-It’s among the least expensive flooring materials. There’s a variety of options to choose from; floating laminate flooring systems can be installed over existing floors without glue or nails. Some feel that laminate is indistinguishable from real wood, but the plastic coating that makes up the top layer of laminate flooring is often a telltale sign that the floors are indeed laminate and not real wood. Similar in construction to engineered wood, laminate differs because its top layer is a photographic imprint on the face of each board; engineered wood consists of real hardwood veneer attached to several layers of plywood.
Hardwood is a traditional and popular flooring choice. It’s durable and a homeowner favorite for a traditional look (and it’s also low-maintenance, much more than wall-to-wall carpeting). Homes with open floor plans particularly benefit from this option, for hardwood creates the feeling of continuity that homeowners hope to achieve. Various species, like oak, cherry and maple are available; price ranges can also typically vary (the more exotic, imported options will be quite pricey).
More traditional hardwood is less expensive; a solid wood flooring can be refinished several times to increase its lifespan. Engineered red wood is less susceptible to temperature changes and humidity than solid wood (some new varieties of engineered wood include substrates made from recycled wood fiber and stone dust). For those who want to install their own floors, engineered wood is now available in self-locking parquet or plank squares that can be installed without glue or nails.
Cork-This eco-friendly, sustainable material has a speckled appearance, due to the unusual grain patterns of the trees from which it is harvested (and the bark grows back every three years, so cork is always a renewable resource). Cork flooring is popular in kitchens and bathrooms because the tiles have a naturally non-slip surface; this makes wet floors safer (but cork may need to be resealed every few years to guard against stains and possible moisture issues. And it can usually be stained to suit a variety of color schemes.
Bamboo is another eco-friendly alternative (the bamboo plant regenerates quickly, therefore it’s considered sustainable material). The flooring is made of bamboo strands that are glued together, forming engineered planks or solid strips. This flooring’s strong, able to resist the negative effects of fluctuating humidity (like swelling and contraction).
Did you know that bamboo is actually a type of grass, not wood? And unlike wood, bamboo can repel water, which makes it ideal for bathrooms, mudrooms or entry ways. It’s naturally very light in color, but can be stained in many different hues and shades.(Sources: “Get the 411 on flooring” by MetroServices-The (Sunday) Vindicator, September 14, 2014 and Metro Creative Services-Spring Home supplement-The (Sunday) Vindicator, April 24, 2016)
Maintaining Clean Floors With Pets Around
For pet owners, here’s a few tips to keep those clean or new floors looking their best:
- After any walk or outdoor trip, check your pet’s feet and fur (keep a clean cloth by the door for a quick wipe-up before you and your furry beloved settle down).
- Try to get your pet (particularly the dog) on a regular walk schedule (less likely to use the flooring as a new toilet). Litter box problems? Always try to keep the box clean to encourage steady use. And maintain regular vet visits to make sure there are no health issues involved.
- Did you know that there are boots available, in a variety of brands and styles, for pets? Not only will pet boots protect their paws from pollutants, hot and cold surfaces and sharp items on the ground, it’ll also keep their feet and your floors cleaner (Source: “Advice for pet owners-Tips to keep floors in tip top shape” by StatePoint-Vindy Homes-The (Sunday) Vindicator, February 28, 2016).