How To Save on Your Floor
One of the most daunting decisions you can make for your home is choosing the right flooring. You have to combine your personal taste with careful thinking about practicality. Asking yourself a few key questions at the beginning of the process should help reduce your worry, ease your choice and increase your long-term satisfaction with your new floor.
Key Questions to Ask
- How many people will regularly use the room?
- Can it withstand the traffic?
- Are there children and/or pets?
- Will the floor be exposed to moisture regularly?
- How often is the floor likely to need cleaning?
- How long do you hope and expect your new floor to last?
Flooring for Kitchens
Ease of cleaning and durability are two top considerations for kitchen flooring. Good choices are linoleum, ceramic tile--both very common--and wood. Linoleum is inexpensive and provides an easy-to-clean surface and comes in countless designs. Ceramic tiles are even better not only because they are easy to maintain and available in a huge range but also because they offer superior durability, resisting most dents, dings and scratches.
You have to remember, though, that if installed over a floor that has structural movement, ceramic tiles are prone to crack. So if your house is very old, it's probably a good idea to replace your subfloor while you're at it. A second point that's worth thinking about, particularly if your family includes children or anyone with special safety needs, is that smooth tiles can be very slippery when they get wet, so you may want to consider ones with a textured surface.
Wood, on the other hand, might seem an unusual choice but it gets everybody a lot of time there. Hardwood floors can add more cosiness and luxury to the kitchen. At the same time, wood is also good at coping with the high traffic volume. One important reminder: When installing wood flooring in a kitchen, do make sure you apply a good protective finish, such as a polyurethane, to guard against the many kinds of moisture that inevitably make their way onto the kitchen floor.
Flooring for Bathrooms
Linoleum, ceramic tile, limestone, marble and granite are all popular and functional flooring choices for bathrooms. They come with a range of different price tags and requiring various levels of expertise to install. Working with ceramic or even vinyl tiles is relatively easy, and many homeowners should be able to successfully do it themselves. Ceramic tiles look great and provide superb durability, but they aren't cheap. And if you should elect to go with an even more challenging and higher-end material such as marble, then you're going to need to hire professionals.
Flooring for the Living Areas
It all boils down to your personal preference and specific needs. Tile offers a nearly unlimited variety of patterns and styles, from the simple to the exotic, which make it possible for tiles to give a room a very creative or exotic feel. On the other hand, tiles can feel cold and hard underfoot, so they may not be the best choice if you're looking for something a bit cosier.
Wood flooring has a natural beauty and elegance, feels warmer and is easier on your feet and back. It is stain-resistant, easy-to-clean and offers long-term versatility because it can be sanded and refinished. You have a number of options when it comes to both hard and soft flooring woods. Oak is the most popular, while maple, birch, and pine are also widely used. These woods all come in a few different quality grades, which allow some control over both the cost and appearance of wood floors, ranging from boards with plenty of irregularities right up to boards that are almost totally uniform – with prices to match.
In terms of sheer warmth and intimacy, carpet is your best bet especially if you always like to go barefoot. Carpet also provides a certain amount of sound-proofing, as well as some insulation. So it's a good choice for rooms that have no heat below them, such as over a garage. Carpet is available in a wide array of styles, piles and costs. Whether your preference is for classic wool or resilient nylon, just do your homework beforehand. And remember that the quality and thickness of the pad you use underneath is nearly equal in importance to the carpet itself in determining what its life span will be in your home.
Choosing a floor is a big decision, but it doesn't have to be overly stressful. Plan ahead, asking yourself all the important questions beforehand, including who will use the room, what atmosphere you hope to create, how much effort you want to expend installing and maintaining it, and of course, what you're willing to spend. Having done that, you'll be well on your way to picking the perfect floor.