Everybody Hit the Floor! And Tell Me If I Chose the Right Hardwood
August 3, 2015
Flooring makes the biggest statement about a room. Carpet is cozy, hardwood is elegant, tile is practical. Patterns and colors affect the mood, and a well-chosen material can span a number of rooms to pull a jumbled design into something flowing.
Here are the most important questions to consider before choosing what material will support you and your guests.
1) Moisture. Is this a basement or bathroom?
- If Yes: You need something waterproof that won’t mold or absorb water.
- If No: You get the full range of flooring options!
2) Durability. Does your household have a lot of people? Pets? Kids?
- If Yes: Hardwood scratches. Mourn your loss, then look for products that are scratch-proof, scuff-proof, and easy to maintain.
- If No: Your design goals take priority. Consider whether comfort or style is most important to you.
3) Cost. What is the square footage you need to cover, and what’s your budget?
Remember the hidden cost of installation. Installing a tile floor may look like a fun art project, but if you want guarantees quality, you may have to pay for that tile twice — once for the material and again for the labor.
It’s possible to cut cost by doing certain parts yourself. Carpet installation and repair tends to be as simple as ripping up the old and rolling out the new — but only a professional will really be able to get the smoothness you want. Still, you can easily pry up old carpets and their staples without hiring someone else to do it. The carpet installer will surely appreciate your initiative.
4) DIY. Are you willing and able to Do It Yourself?
- If Yes: Laminate flooring is the easiest to install. Vinyl, too — you just have to glue it all down. Tile will take more finesse, so you may want to practice first. Carpet installation and repair for hardwood you damage in the process is usually just not worth what you might save.
- If No: Support some local business and get someone who can to do it for you. Less work for you, and you’re sure to have a more beautiful finish once all’s said and done.
5) Maintenance. Do you want to just forget about it once it’s down?
- If Yes: You’ll want something resilient like vinyl flooring or laminate. For carpet installation and repair are similar deals, depending on the damage. Just like installing, ripping it up is easy, but putting it back down is tricky — but probably easier to do in a small area than for the whole floor. If your home doesn’t suffer too much abuse, you can probably rely on your carpet staying intact for as long as you have it. Trade a mop for a steam cleaner, and it’s just as easy as laminate or vinyl.
- If No: Wood takes work. If you’re fine with giving your floor care proportional to its cost, hardwood floors will suit you just fine. Still, it’s best to keep throw rugs over high-traffic areas to avoid the worst of staining and scuffing.