When I built my home in 1996, I chose several different upgrades for the flooring. I opted for wood in some areas, wall to wall carpeting in others, and ceramic tile in the high traffic areas. Even though I chose flooring that I felt would last for years, I am now considering changing out much of it. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, I am tired of the colors I chose. Second, the flooring is the dated and beginning to show wear. In doing the research on this, I found that there are many more options these days than there were in 1996. While the options and choices are many, the decision is simple; you should choose the best product for your particular needs and tastes.
In addition to the aesthetic considerations of new flooring, cost, durability, resale value, and the environment are important as well. Below is a brief overview of the main types of flooring available with their pros and cons.
- Wall-to-wall carpeting: This is the most popular type of flooring for the “non-wet” areas of most homes these days. This is basically due to the fact that it is the most cost effective and quickest to install. Most builders offer carpeting as a standard for the same reason. Beyond the cost and ease of installation, carpeting is preferred by most in bedrooms and living areas because it is warm, soft, and absorbs a lot of sound, making these areas much quieter. Buying an upgraded line of carpet will enhance it’s value and extend it’s life, but the grade of padding used is just as important. Even with upgrades, carpeting has a limited lifespan and there are health concerns as it is easily soiled and susceptible to microbial infestation.
- Sheet Vinyl: This is the most popular choice for the “wet areas” of most homes for the same reasons as stated above, cost and ease of installation. This type of flooring is a good choice, but certainly has its limitations. It shows wear, is easily damaged, and offers limited design options.
- Wood Flooring: There are two basic types of wood flooring, hardwood flooring and engineered wood flooring. Hardwood flooring is solid wood, usually ¾” thick, and can be refinished many times, but must be installed over a wood subfloor. Engineered wood has a variable thickness wear layer laminated over a plywood base. Engineered wood is designed for installation over a concrete subfloor. It looks exactly the same when installed, but can only be refinished a limited number of times. Wood flooring offers the best resale value, but is expensive and susceptible to wear and water damage. It is not recommended for wet or high traffic areas, or when you have pets.
- Laminate Flooring: Laminates can give you a similar look and feel to wood at a lower cost and much higher durability. Laminates are also available to mimic stone and other materials, and can be a less costly alternative as well. Laminates are also susceptible to water damage, so they should not be used in wet areas such as bathrooms and kitchens.
- Stone, Marble, & Granite: These materials have been a popular flooring for hundreds of years, they are beautiful, durable, and pretty much impervious to water damage. They also offer great resale value as long as they are not too unique or have bold or non-neutral colors. Their biggest cons are high cost and they can be very slippery in many cases.
- Ceramic Tile: Tile flooring is available in many different sizes, styles, patterns, and material composition. Tile floors are durable, impervious to water damage, and most times have a good resale value. The most durable type of tile is porcelain. It is very hard and has color all the way through (not just the glaze). This type of tile is very popular and there are many choices available. Tile falls about in the middle as far as cost (depending on the choice of material). Its main draw backs are that it can be cold, loud, and hard on the feet. It also requires maintenance of the grout lines which can stain and require regular sealing.
- Cork, Linoleum, and Bamboo flooring are the most popular environmentally conscious options. Cork is harvested without killing the tree; it is inexpensive and works with any decor, but it is also susceptible to wear and moisture. Bamboo flooring is made of a sustainable crop; it is more durable and has the look of wood flooring. Linoleum is made of pine resins, sawdust, cork dust, and limestone, attached to a jute backing. It is highly durable, but requires frequent finishing due to its porous nature, and it doesn’t look as stylish as cork or bamboo.
One of the most important things to remember when choosing flooring is to use neutral colors. Flooring can be expensive to replace, so before you choose bright or bold color flooring, consider using that color to paint your walls instead. Repainting a few walls is far less expensive and disruptive as changing your flooring when you get tired of the color and say to yourself, “what was I thinking when I picked that?”
Maronda Homes offers a wide range of flooring options in its signature concrete block homes. Whether it is upgraded carpeting, engineered wood laminate, or ceramic tile, there are many choices available to customize your new home to your specific tastes. Maronda has been building homes in Florida since 1972, and they offer plans to fit any family size. Stop in to one of the decorated models today, and see what design features these plans have to offer, or visit online at www.marondahomes.com.