Flooring Options for which you dont need an expert

December 16, 2011

hardwood flooring, hardwood care products,  Cork Flooring, Laminate, laminate cleaners

A common practice seen nowadays is that most of the homeowners have started doing repair, renovation and up-gradation of their homes on their own. Homeowners are less dependent on the experts for these jobs as the market is flooded with products that are easy to use, irrespective of the skill set they possess. A common task which has gained immense popularity among DIY enthusiasts is floor installation. Proper floor installation is vital to enhance the aesthetics and render a completely new look to the abode.

There are several flooring options available in the market, amongst which there are few that are easier for homeowners to install. The flooring options that most of the homeowners opt for while doing installation on their own are laminate, engineered wood, cork and vinyl.

hardwood flooring, hardwood care products,  Cork Flooring, Laminate, laminate cleaners

Laminate flooring is generally chosen by DIYers as it is quite simple to install. Most importantly, it does not require removal of the old flooring, which is quite time-consuming. Laminate flooring is popularly known as floating floor as it floats above the floor and is not permanently attached to it. These are available in a wide range of choices that suit the budget and preference of almost every homeowner. Besides, laminate flooring can be engineered to resemble wood or stone flooring that are quite time-consuming to install as well as expensive in comparison to the floating flooring.

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Another flooring option that homeowners often choose for their homes while doing the installation themselves is the engineered wood flooring. These come as tongue and groove installation system that is extremely easy to install and does not demand any expert guidance. Homeowners have to install this flooring over an underlayment that is mostly rubber-foam. This type of hardwood flooring is considered durable and comprises three layers. The wooden cross-band is sandwiched between the veneer bottom layer and pre-finished hardwood exterior layer.

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Cork flooring has also gained immense importance as a preferred DIY flooring option as it is not only easy to install but offers various advantages as well. It is soft, long-lasting and natural insulator, along with being resistant to irritants like mold and mildew. Besides, homeowners can render a unique look to their flooring with the help of numerous stains and finishes. Many homeowners think twice before using this flooring option as it is one of the most expensive flooring options. However, it is one of the flooring options that actually add value to the house and is thus considered as a profitable investment.

With the coming of vinyl flooring in the floating floor format, vinyl sheet flooring has become one of the preferred choices of DIYers. Homeowners just have to lay the dimensionally correct sheets and install shoe molding at the meeting point of the wall and sheets. This is so simple that every homeowner can install vinyl flooring over the old flooring without any hassle.

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Thus, homeowners who wish to change the look of their house, but do not want to spend money on seeking professional help can do this easily by installing floor on their own.

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Reasons to select engineered wood flooring

March 29, 2011

engineered hardwood, hardwood flooring, Laminate, Reclaimed hardwood

A number of homeowners prefer using hardwood flooring due to its aesthetic appeal and high durability. However, the main concern with hardwood flooring is that it can be quite difficult to install as a ‘Do-it-yourself’ (DIY) project. It is for this reason that a professional flooring installer needs to be called to install hardwood floor, thereby adding to the total cost. On the other hand, laminate flooring offers a cost effective and ‘easy to install’ alternative to hardwood flooring, but it is not real wood.

For homeowners who want a cost effective and durable alternative to hardwood, engineered hardwood flooring would be the ideal option. Engineered hardwood is a combination of real finished wood on top and non-finish plywood underneath. This additional layer of plywood is laid in a cross-way pattern, thereby providing support to the main wood top and enhancing its durability.

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The choices available in the engineered hardwood category are almost identical to those available in the solid hardwood category. Some of the most popularly engineered hardwood options include Hickory, Oak, Bamboo and Maple. This wide variety ensures that homeowners are able to select an option as per their specific requirements.

Another major advantage of engineered hardwood is that it is pre-finished, i.e. it has already been sanded and sealed. This means that the floor can be used as soon as it has been installed. On the other hand, unfinished solid hardwood requires sealing prior to being used, thereby increasing the installation time.

One area where engineered hardwood scores more than laminate flooring is that it can be sanded at a later stage. Engineered hardwood can be easily sanded a few times in case scratches or stains develop on it. However, since engineered flooring has low tolerance for any mistakes during the sanding process it is recommended to avail professional assistance.

Although, wood flooring is not recommended for high moisture areas like the children’s bathroom; engineered hardwood flooring can be easily installed in low-moderate moisture areas. This feature makes engineered hardwood ideal for areas like the basement and the bathroom. Relative to other wood flooring types, engineered hardwood flooring would offer high durability in such areas of the house.

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Hardwood flooring typically requires to be nailed to the wooden sub floor for maximum effectiveness. However, there are a number of other installation methods available for engineered hardwood flooring. Along with nailing the engineered hardwood floor, it is possible to either glue it or to use it as a floating floor. These installation options make engineered hardwood an ideal option for ‘DIY enthusiasts’.

Finally, engineered flooring is naturally warm and does not result in unwanted noise as is the case with a few other flooring options. It is also possible to install a radiant floor heating system beneath the engineered flooring, thereby providing high value.

Although engineered hardwood flooring can be more expensive than laminate, it provides high value in the long run. Not only can it be sanded a number of times, it is more resistant to moisture than other hardwood flooring options.

Copyright © 2010 FlooringSupplyShop.com

Laminate Flooring Advantages and Disadvantages

March 20, 2011

hardwood care products, hardwood flooring, Laminate, laminate cleaners

Laminate flooring is fast becoming a preferred choice of most of the homeowners. If you are contemplating to install this flooring in your home, it is advisable that you know all about it. Like any other flooring option, laminate flooring also has its share of advantages and disadvantages. Knowing about these will help you make an informed decision.

The biggest advantage of laminate flooring is its toughness and durability. Irrespective of the amount of foot traffic, it can stand all the wear and tear without any scratch. In addition, laminate flooring is also resistant to stains and impacts. Unlike wood and marble, the laminate flooring does not fade when exposed to sunlight; thereby retaining its original look. Moreover, laminate flooring is the easiest to install and can be conveniently done by ‘do-it-yourself enthusiasts’ in no time. Laminate flooring is primarily available in the form of ‘snap together flooring planks’ which can easily be installed without any need for nailing, stapling or gluing to the sub-floor.

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One of the biggest assets of the laminate flooring is its resemblance to real wood. The texture and color of the laminate flooring is of such high resolution that it is difficult to differentiate whether it is real wood or laminate. Moreover, unlike wood, laminate flooring does not contract or expand. Another important advantage of laminate flooring is its versatility. It can be installed over any substrate, be it wood or concrete. This makes it a preferred choice for homeowners, especially those who are looking for durable flooring option. It is also an affordable flooring option, compared to its other counterparts such as marble or hardwood; which can be quite expensive.

Along with these advantages, there are certain disadvantages which do not make laminate flooring an ideal flooring option. A major flaw of laminate flooring is its susceptibility to moisture. Laminate is made from ‘High Density Fiberboard’ (HDF) which can be damaged by moisture. On prolonged exposure to standing water the HDF breaks down and expands; the only solution to this problem is replacement. Once damaged, it is hard to repair and replacing the flooring in such cases is always an expensive option. Hence, if your house is susceptible to moisture, you need to avoid installing a laminate floor.

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Another disadvantage of laminate flooring is that though it is recommended for “do-it-yourself enthusiasts”, it still requires some amount of skill. Along with having all the necessary instruments and skill to install it, you need to exercise some patience. The installation needs to be done properly where the initial and the final phases of installation are the most important as well as difficult. If the installation is not done properly, the place looks untidy and unappealing. Laminate flooring also tends to be quite slippery which can sometimes result in serious injuries.

Therefore, it is advisable to gain ample information on laminate flooring before going in for it. Weighing all the pros and cons of laminate flooring will help you make a wise decision.

Copyright © 2010 FlooringSupplyShop.com

Hardwood Inlays Enhances the Beauty of your Hardwood Floors

November 12, 2010

Hardwood floor. Laminate flooring, Maple hardwood, laminate, engineered hardwood, solid hardwood, hickory, eco friendly hardwood

Hardwood is a popular flooring option, which provides a stunning and aesthetic look to your home. You can further beautify the look of the hardwood floor with the help of hardwood inlays, which are a work of art. These inlays are an array of stunning design patterns, using different finely-crafted hardwood veneers. Moreover, you can even get the designs customized by the artisans in accordance with the furniture and decor of the room. In addition, it proves to be a cost-effective option as these design patterns can be installed into the pre-existing hardwood floor. Hence, if you get bored of looking at the same hardwood flooring for years, you can choose hardwood inlays for giving it a whole new look.

The availability of a wide range of different types of hardwood floor inlays gives you ample choice to make your pick. These can be inlaid into any room in the house, whether it is the living room, kitchen or utility room. Hardwood inlays can be made from any kind of wood, providing different grain and color options for you.

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Popular choices include, ‘Oak’ having a dark tight grain, ‘Fir’ possessing large patches of dark grain and ‘Birch’, which has more knotholes. You can also opt for ‘Pine’, ‘Light colored maple’ having less pronounced grain or ‘Ash’ which has a uniform texture and grain. In case your budget is not an issue, you can choose from specialty woods, such as Teak, Cherry and Walnut, which are expensive but beautiful.

Apart from the types of wood, you can also choose from an encompassing range of breathtaking designs, borders, styles and medallions, available in different sizes and types of wood. Among these the borders are quite popular where the carefully crafted hardwood veneers can be inlayed as borders, all around the room. It can border the fireplace, foyers or any other place like the room’s center piece, to enhance the overall beauty of the room. You can even install the hardwood veneer as borders on the stairs. In addition, there are various other possibilities where you can use a combination of flowing rope style, geometric shapes or other specific images that you like, in different hardwood and stains.

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Furthermore, another popular option, increasingly being used in residential and corporate buildings, is the hardwood inlay medallions in a circular design, which is essentially used for foyers, landings and even as the center of living room or any other room. You can choose a geometric or any abstract design that you can imagine which a talented artisan can bring a reality. Moreover, with the advancement in the technology, like computer laser-cutting, has made inlay designs on hardwood floors a convenient flooring option.

Hardwood inlays are undeniably the most attractive and desirable flooring option, whether you are building, renovating or selling a property. Hence, depending upon your renovation plan and the look you want to give to your room, you can choose amongst the grain, color, design and different types of hardwood options available. It is worth all the effort as it completely transforms your room and gives it a whole new stunning look.

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Why Should you Choose Brand Name Flooring

October 30, 2010

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One of major decisions that every homeowner needs to make is to choose the right flooring material for their home. The wide variety of flooring options, make the decision all the more daunting. However, choosing brand name flooring material, over generic flooring options, proves beneficial for homeowners in several ways. Although, homeowners may have to pay little more for these branded products but it is worth spending the extra money as brand name flooring products are durable and cost effective. Once installed, homeowners can enjoy the benefit of good durable flooring, for years to come.

Branded products are beneficial in every way, as it offers better quality, guarantee and material which is durable. The leading brand names offer customers a wide range of options, including different materials such as marble, hardwood, tiles and laminate flooring. These are available in wide choices of colors, patterns and styles, which make it easier for the buyer to choose from. Moreover, the brand names ensure quality. Whatever branded flooring material you buy, would come with assured quality, which is worth all the investment. In addition, one of the biggest advantages of branded products is that all these flooring options are durable. With proper maintenance and care, the branded flooring options are long lasting which increase the overall value of the house. A company becomes a brand only when it offers quality and durable products, which eventually earns them a broad clientele. Hence, if you choose a brand name, you can be rest assured that the product is of high quality which will be long lasting.

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The leading brands in the field constantly carry out research & development, in order to produce new and innovative products. The options available to the customers increase manifold with the introduction of new & useful products. Companies also offer customized solutions to incorporate the specific requirements of their customers. Moreover, with the increasing competition, companies strive to offer better quality products at lower rates, which eventually saves customers significant amount of money.

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In addition, branded products last longer, and the flooring does not demand frequent repairs. Good quality branded products makes the flooring strong & durable to withstand greater foot traffic without fading and staining. With the use of branded products the maintenance cost for flooring decreases, which add on to the savings for the customers. An important reason why customers should opt for branded products is because these products come with a warranty. For the sake of their reputation, big brands of the industry ensure to provide quality products that prove beneficial to the customer.

Owing to all this certain companies have become household names and leading brands, whose products can be bought by customers with surety of quality and durability. Hence, in case you are contemplating with the idea of purchasing flooring for your home, consider buying brand name products. Though you may have to pay a little more for these branded products; it will save you time, effort and money as these lasts longer and offer value for your money.

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Tips for effective floor buffing

October 3, 2010

ceramic tiles, Hardwood floor. Laminate flooring, stone, marble, granite, travertine

Like other parts of the house, hardwood flooring also requires maintenance. Over the years, with constant wear & tear the floor starts losing its luster. Though, a lot of people resort to changing the flooring when it starts to wear down; this however is not an advisable option.

One of the most effective ways of dealing with worn out flooring is by buffing it. One can easily use buffing for refinishing the floor, so that it looks as good as new.

Instead of replacing the old hardwood flooring with a new one, most homeowners prefer buffing the flooring, which saves them time as well as money. Using harsh chemicals is not advisable as it will actually harm the floor by either staining it or affecting its natural sheen. Buffing on the other hand is safer and can help keep the fresh look of the floor, as if it was new. Moreover, buffing can be easily done on every type of flooring, whether it is marble or hardwood, with the help of a buffing machine. In case of carpet flooring, one can use the brush attachment instead of pads in the buffing machine; which effectively cleans and scrubs the carpet thoroughly.

It is a process, which can easily be accomplished by DIY enthusiasts. Whatever may be the type of floor you wish to buff; it should first be dust mopped and cleaned thoroughly. Next, you need to install the buffing pad and set the speed of the machine at 1-2 ft. per second. Move the machine in a straight line, overlapping each pass by 2-4 inches. You need to buff the floor till the required gloss is achieved. Similarly, repeat the whole process in other areas of the floor as well. Check the pads, and change them in case they have become dirty or worn out. After buffing is complete, dust mop the floor and follow it by wet vacuuming. Make sure to clean all the equipment, before storage.

Although it is easy, there are certain things that one needs to take care of while buffing the hardwood floor. Replace worn out pads as it can cause scratches on the floor. You need to select the appropriate pad and solution for the type of floor to be buffed. It is advisable that you evenly spread the solution over the particular section of the floor, and buff the area two to three times for best results. While buffing the floor, you must ensure to start from the end of the room, moving backwards, so that you do not step on the cleaned floor.

You will need to apply three different solutions, namely stripping, wax and polish solution. Though using a floor buffing machine is not very difficult; it is advisable to exercise caution since the buffing machine is quite big in size.

Flooring is the most essential part of any house and hence, requires utmost care. By just following some of the simple measures mentioned above, you can have a clean, shiny and durable flooring.

Copyright © 2010 FlooringSupplyShop.com

Easy solutions for hardwood floor repair problem

September 30, 2010

ceramic tiles, Hardwood floor. Laminate flooring, stone, marble, granite, travertine

Hardwood floor is increasingly becoming one of the most preferred flooring choices amongst homeowners; as it greatly enhances the appearance of the house. Along with adding to the aesthetic appeal of the house, it also increases the value of the property. Hardwood flooring is durable as well as easy to maintain and install. Moreover, this versatile flooring option easily blends with any kind of décor, whether traditional or modern. However, just like other flooring options, hardwood flooring comes with its own set of assets & setbacks. Some of these problems can easily be rectified by homeowners themselves, while others may require professional assistance.

Many hardwood floor surfaces develop cracks or splits after few years which make it unpleasant to look at. This can easily be repaired with the help of angled nails, which secures the two pieces together. In order to hide the blemishes, you can cover it with some wood putty. The DIY enthusiasts can accomplishes this task easily within no time. Another common damage caused to the hardwood floors is the development of gaps between the wooden planks. This is mainly because of the nature of wood, which tends to expand in case it gets wet and shrinks when it dries. Over a period of time, this expansion and contraction causes gaps. Generally, this process is seasonal, where the change in weather and humidity causes the opening and closing of gaps. However, in case the gap is much and does not close on its own, you can take help of a professional who can tighten up the hardwood floor and solve this problem completely.

Moisture can also lead to another problem, sagging or warped hardwood floor, which needs to be addressed immediately. Another problem which may bother several homeowners is the cupped floors, also known as wash-boarding. The edges of the planks rise up across the width of the wooden strip, while there is a depression at the center. This is also caused due to moisture imbalance and the center of the board sinks down if the humidity is more on the bottom of the wooden strip than on top. All these problems require you to solve the humidity problem and balance its level to help the surface return back to normal.

In addition, many homeowners face the problem of buckling, which happens when the hardwood floorboard warps and lifts up from the subfloor beneath. There are several reasons which may cause this; hence it is advisable that one calls a professional for opinion so that the actual cause can be identified and appropriate measures can be taken to fix the problem.

Hardwood flooring may also experience minor problems such as scratching, staining or loose planks. In case of scratching or staining, you can easily find a solution in several touch-up kits that are readily available in the market. In case of major scratching, which can spoil the appearance of the floor; it would require refinishing. In case of loose planks the problem can be rectified by nailing it to the subfloor, which is quite easy.

Hence, these simple measures along with regular sweeping and cleaning helps in easy maintenance of the hardwood flooring.

Copyright © 2010 FlooringSupplyShop.com

Difference between glued laminate flooring and non glued laminate flooring

August 29, 2010

hardwood care products, hardwood flooring, Laminate, laminate cleaners

Out of all the flooring options, laminate flooring is probably the most popular choice. Laminate offers the same visual effect as hardwood flooring, but with enhanced durability. Other benefits associated with laminate flooring are its low cost, ease of installation and ease of maintenance. Although laminate flooring was quite easy to install earlier, recent advancements have further simplified this process.

Traditionally, laminate flooring used to be glued to the sub floor of the room. Now, you can find no-glue type laminate flooring that can be installed in a much easier and timely manner. No-glue laminate flooring locks together without the use of glue, which makes it much simpler to install.

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Apart from the ease of installation there are a number of other factors that make no-glue flooring better than traditional laminate flooring. One such benefit is that the simple installation reduces the chances of anything going wrong during the process. Traditionally, installing laminate flooring required strapping until the glue dried. Furthermore, the installer also had to ensure that the flooring was being laid down in an accurate manner. With no-glue laminate flooring there is no requirement of using strapping, and the chances of the floor’s shape being disrupted are also eliminated.

Generally, the joints of no-glue laminate flooring are made to fit tightly in order to make the flooring stronger. Along with making the flooring structure stronger, this also reduces the chances of moisture seeping through the floor and damaging it.

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Although installing traditional laminate flooring was quite inexpensive, getting it repaired in case of any damage can be a costly job. Generally a professional would have to be called to cut out the damaged piece from the flooring and replace it with a new one. No-glue laminate flooring removes all these hassles. All that is required to replace a damaged portion is to unlock it from the rest of the flooring and replace it with another one. This process is quite simple and can even be undertaken as a ‘Do It Yourself’ project.

Although no-glue laminate flooring has numerous distinct advantages, a number of people still prefer the traditional form of laminate flooring. One of the reasons for this is that since no-glue laminate flooring is not attached to the sub floor it would make a loud noise when walked upon. This noise could be a cause of constant disruption in the house. Another reason is that no-glue laminate flooring is not considered to be as strong as traditional laminate flooring. The strength so achieved by gluing the flooring can add a few years to your flooring.

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All in all, both glue and no-glue laminate flooring has specific advantages and disadvantages. Prima-facie there is no difference in the cost of these two variants; however, you can save with the no-glue flooring by installing it by yourself. Furthermore, maintenance of no-glue flooring is much easier, and any repairs can be undertaken as a DIY project. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the specific advantages and disadvantages of each type of laminate flooring before selecting one.

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The impact of moisture on different flooring types

August 22, 2010

ceramic bathroom tiles, mosaic tiles, laminate flooring, hardwood flooring, bathroom accessories

The decision to install a particular flooring type depends on various factors such as its aesthetics, durability, price and effect of moisture. It is the impact of moisture on different flooring types that restricts the use of certain flooring options in high moisture areas such as the kitchen and the shower.

Hardwood flooring is highly sensitive to the surrounding moisture content since it is fibrous and absorbs and releases moisture. All wooden floors expand and contract according to temperature and humidity changes. Hardwood contracts when the relative humidity is less than the moisture content of the wood. On the other hand, hardwood expands when its moisture content is less than the relative humidity. Fluctuating moisture levels can significantly affect the shape of your hardwood flooring.

Another flooring material that is affected by the moisture levels is bamboo. Since bamboo is actually a type of grass, and is fibrous as well, it also absorbs and releases moisture. Excess moisture in the air will cause your bamboo flooring to swell and bend. In contrast, less moisture in the air will dry the bamboo flooring and cause cracks in it.

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Although laminate flooring is considered to be the most durable out of all the flooring options it is still susceptible to moisture. During the manufacturing process, a durable coating is applied on laminate flooring to make it resistant to moisture. Even after this coating excess exposure to moisture can cause laminate flooring to expand significantly.

Cork is another flooring material that is impervious to water seepage. Cork contains a natural material that makes it highly durable and ideal for use in areas such as the kitchen as well. However, since cork is a natural material it is affected by humidity changes. Although cork is not affected by moisture in the same way as hardwood is, yet it should be properly cared for to prevent damage.

Even though different flooring materials respond differently to fluctuations in moisture levels, it is important to limit the exposure of moisture to your flooring. One of the most effective ways of ensuring the relative air humidity does not affect your flooring is known as acclimation.

Acclimation is a pre installation process to ensure that the flooring adjusts to the humidity level in a particular room. Generally, this process consists of placing the flooring material in the room where it is to be installed, for a period of 2-3 days. During this time, the temperature as well as the humidity levels in the room should be controlled for maximum effectiveness.

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Controlling the moisture levels around your flooring is important for a number of reasons. One of the main reasons is that excess moisture, or lack of moisture can cause the flooring to shrink or expand. This in turn would affect the integrity of the flooring. Another reason is that unless proper maintenance of the flooring is done the warranty on it would not be valid. It is for these reasons that you should ensure that your flooring is not exposed to moisture, or excess fluctuations in humidity levels.

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Finding the right flooring option for different rooms

August 13, 2010

ceramic tiles, Hardwood floor. Laminate flooring, stone, marble, granite, travertine

Flooring is probably the most important part of a home since it can significantly affect the aesthetics of the house. Furthermore, flooring serves a number of practical uses as well; therefore it is important to carefully select the flooring for a room for maximum effectiveness. Different flooring types have their own pros and cons, and you should weigh these pros and cons according to your requirements before making the final decision.

Some of the different types of flooring options include laminate, hardwood, ceramic, stone and carpet. These flooring types generally differ on points such as their aesthetics, durability, ease of installation and cost. There is no fixed rule on which type of flooring should be installed in a particular room. Generally, a few specific features of a flooring type make it ideal for a particular room in the house.

A bathroom is a high moisture area that requires durable and water resistant flooring. It is for this reason that ceramic and stone are considered as ideal flooring options for the bathroom. Ceramic and stone are not only durable and water resistant, but are available in a wide range of colors and designs as well. Linoleum is another option that can offer similar durability and aesthetics as stone or ceramic, at a lower cost.

The kitchen area in the house is also affected by moisture, therefore ceramic or stone flooring can be installed in the kitchen as well. In case you are contemplating on installing hardwood flooring in the kitchen you should select a highly durable wood. Laminate flooring would be the ideal choice for you, if you want the look of a hardwood floor, with added durability. However, irrespective of the flooring option selected by you it is essential to ensure proper insulation for maximum durability.

Since your bedroom is your personal space, you should select a flooring option that would feel good under your feet. Plush carpet flooring would be ideal to make your bedroom more comfortable and cozy. In case you do not want to install ‘wall-to-wall’ carpeting, a carpet tile would be an ideal option. Carpet tiles will offer the same comfort as a wall-to-wall carpet, and offer ease of installation as well.

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Basement is one area of the house that causes the most worry amongst homeowners regarding the flooring to install. One of the reasons for this stress is that since this area is not used on a daily basis, people refrain from spending a lot on its flooring. However, one of the cheapest and the most effective options for the basement is concrete. Not only is concrete staining easy to install, but is highly durable and moisture resistant as well.

Although there is a plethora of flooring options available in the market, specific features of some make them ideal for a particular room in the house. You should carefully consider these features, as well as your budget and requirements to ensure that you select the right flooring option for different rooms.

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Bamboo as an effective flooring option

July 29, 2010

hardwood care products, hardwood flooring, Laminate, laminate cleaners

Bamboo flooring is fast gaining popularity as a flooring option due to the various advantages offered by it over other flooring material. Although bamboo flooring is a variety of grass and not wood it still displays characteristics similar to hardwood. Some of the factors that account for the popularity of bamboo flooring are its strength, moisture resistance, durability and environment friendly nature.

Floors made out of bamboo are generally considered to be stronger than hardwood due to their high fiber rating. Properly cured bamboo floors have very high tensile strength and offer high durability. Along with high durability and high tensile strength bamboo also offers high moisture resistance thereby enabling you to maintain your flooring without any maintenance worries.

Bamboo flooring can generally be installed more easily as compared to other flooring options. One of the easiest ways of installing bamboo flooring is by using the floating floor method. This method involves fitting the bamboo planks together like a puzzle without the use of any adhesives. This not only ensures that the flooring is installed quickly, but conveniently as well. Thus, homeowners can finish their bamboo flooring job themselves without the help of a professional contractor.

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Bamboo flooring is also ahead of a number of other flooring options, on count of its style and finish. From light colors to different grain sizes, bamboo flooring can match almost any interior décor. Although bamboo is generally found in light colors, dark bamboo flooring can also be found easily. Furthermore, bamboo flooring is found in high gloss finish, matte finish as well as semi gloss finish. Such a wide range of options to choose from ensures that different rooms can be decorated with different types of bamboo flooring.

Another benefit of bamboo flooring is that it is a green flooring material. As compared to hardwood, which takes 15-20 years to mature, bamboo matures in less than 3 years. This makes bamboo a readily sustainable flooring material. Furthermore, the entire bamboo plantation does not need to be uprooted to create flooring material. Only part of the entire structure is taken, thereby making it environment friendly.

Even though bamboo flooring is hard and durable it is more comfortable to walk on as compared to hardwood. This feature makes bamboo flooring ideal for areas such as the kitchen where you are required to stand for a long duration of time.

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Along with other numerous benefits, bamboo also acts as a highly adaptable and flexible flooring material. Bamboo can be laid over a wide variety of sub floors, thereby removing the hassles of preparing the sub floor prior to the installation.

Although bamboo offers a number of benefits most homeowners refrain from using this option due to its high cost. However, bamboo flooring is available in a wide range and in different price range, thereby making it easier for you to choose from. Furthermore, the option of self installation makes this flooring option much affordable and cost effective as compared to other options that require the services of a professional contractor.

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Hardwood floor enriches the look of your home

June 15, 2010

ceramic tiles, Hardwood floor. Laminate flooring, stone, marble, granite, travertine

Hardwood floors have remained a popular choice for years as these offer warmth and grandeur to the place. Hardwood floors enhance the outlook of the room and are considered stylish and elegant, giving an aesthetic appeal to your home. Moreover, these can be laid easily and are available in a variety of attractive options, giving the room a warm and cozy look.

In case you are planning to construct a new home or renovating the present one, opting for hardwood flooring would be a good choice. Hardwood flooring’s are available in different types of woods and are priced according to the type of wood used. Therefore, you can opt in for the hardwood flooring that best suits your budget.

This, stylish and elegant flooring option, blends well with the traditional as well as the modern home interiors. Though it requires a little maintenance, it is worth every penny as it enhances the aesthetic value of the place.

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Many people may discourage you from opting for hardwood flooring since it is expensive compared to the conventional flooring options, but there are many reasons that make it a worthwhile investment. Hardwood floor is a great option to give your room an elegant, warm and a cozy look. The biggest advantage of hardwood flooring is its high durability & long life; therefore even if it is a little expensive, it proves to be a great return on investment in the long run.

Moreover, it is easy to maintain. All you need to do is sweep off whatever dust comes in and use a recommended cleaner to remove the stains. With a little effort on your part, your hardwood floor will provide you long lasting durability.

Another important feature which makes it stand apart is its versatile finish, in comparison to the other flooring options. Every hardwood flooring has a different stain, which can be altered after a few years to give it a new look. This can be done easily, you can refinish or sand it with other stains to give it a whole new look, to match it with the renovated decor. The refinished look proves to be beneficial and a better option than spending on installation of new flooring. Hence, even though it is little expensive than its competitors, it is worth investing.

Moreover, you have a wide range of options available, in terms of sizes, designs, colors, grains and styles. In addition, you can choose from the group of hardwood flooring which includes solid wood, engineered wood, laminates and synthetic or even plastic laminates. Hardwood flooring’s are generally available in planks and strips, with beveled or non beveled edges. Easy to install, you can either opt for pre-finished flooring or can finish it at site, as per your convenience. Further, installation of hardwood floor also decreases the chances of dust mites and allergy.

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Hence, if you are looking for an elegant, stylish and durable flooring option, select hardwood flooring which will add to your home, a great design feature and give it a warm and cozy appeal.

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Wooden Flooring Nature trail

June 1, 2010

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Remember the joy of climbing those verdant oak trees in your childhood? Well, now you can bring in the same innocence in your life and relive those wonderful moments with the help of wooden flooring! It will bring all the blessings of nature right inside your home and also add tones of elegance to your interiors. Wooden floors come as a welcome break from the traditional flooring materials available in the market and lend a discernible allure to the interiors.

Wood is one of the most precious gifts from nature and has a unique appearance owing to the presence of natural grains and colors. It is perfect as a flooring material due to its sturdy nature and poetic appearance. However, it is a care intensive product and requires a proper maintenance both before and after installation. Proper care will protract the longevity of wooden floors and ensure that it keeps on shining for a longer duration giving you a shining floor that looks as if it was installed yesterday.

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One of the most popular variants of wooden flooring is the engineered wood which can be customized as per your requirements. To get the most out of a wooden floor it is important to pay attention to the installation of these floors. An inspection of the floor is the first step in installation which will ensure that the entire installation process can be carried out smoothly. If there are any problems with the acceptability of the material then you should look for proper substitution. In case there are any doubts do not hesitate to take the advice of a professional installer.

It is also equally important to ensure the condition of the sub floor before installing the hardwood floor. The sub floor should be able to meet all the requirements which a typical flooring site demands. The use of filler and putty stick is the normal procedure while installing wooden floors and hence should be accepted. Care should also be taken to ensure that an extra waste factor should be added to the square footage amount depending on the layout.

Installation of hardwood flooring will vary according to the environment and surface and hence should be carried out in the proper way. For instance, in a new construction the hardwood floor should always be the last item to be installed. Similarly while installing hardwood floor over radiant heated floors take care that the hardwood material is Oak, Hickory or Walnut etc to ensure complete safety of the heated floors.

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Following the proper installation guidelines will ensure that your hardwood floor is ready to handle all the challenges of the modern house. Proper care and maintenance of the floor will ensure that it has a long life. Caring for wooden floors is no rocket science and all you have to do is follow the basics. Keeping the floors free from spills as much a possible will maintain its natural glow. You can use a damp cloth to clean the spills as soon as they happen. Even if the stains are tough like paint, ink etc make sure to use only a soft material like a nail polish removal which won’t leave behind any residues. Clean the floor periodically with certified cleaners will also protract the life of the interior wooden floors.

A few external factors like relative humidity etc also determine the performance of ma wooden floor and ensuring proper conditions will ensure that your floor have a longer life. A relative humidity level between 45 and 65% throughout the year will minimize the natural contraction and expansion of the wood and take proper care of the floor. A shining wooden floor will blend in perfectly with your furniture and create a simply outstanding effect!

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Tips to clean laminate flooring

May 6, 2010

hardwood care products, hardwood flooring, Laminate, laminate cleaners

Laminate is a popular flooring option due to the fact that it is highly durable and has appealing aesthetics. A typical laminate floor consists of a top wear layer, a printed image of hardwood and an inner layer of fiber board. The effective composition and construction of a laminate floor makes it one of the easiest flooring options to take care of and to maintain.

One of the most effective ways of keeping a laminate floor clean is by understanding its limitations. Although laminate is a tough material that is not easily stained or scratched, there are certain items that could significantly damage your laminate floor. Water puddles, abrasive cleaning solutions and wax are some of the items that can damage your laminate flooring and can cause it to lose its finish. Further, rearranging furniture and pets with untrimmed nails can also scratch the laminate surface. Therefore, it is important to protect your laminate flooring from these items in order to ensure high durability.

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It is important to keep the laminate flooring free from dirt and other impurities; therefore you should mop it with a dry cloth, or vacuum it regularly. However, one of the common problems faced by people is that of dirt getting trapped in between the seams of the laminate floor. It is therefore advised to mop or sweep in the direction of the seem to ensure that no dust or impurity gets trapped in between. You can also damp mop the laminate floor occasionally in order to restore its shine. However, excess moisture can cause the laminate to swell so it is important to be careful while mopping the floor with a damp cloth.

In case you spill high staining substances, such as wine, coffee or orange juice, on your laminate floor you should immediately wipe it off the floor. In order to remove such tough stains you can use acetone based solutions such as nail polish remover on the laminate. However, such chemical based cleaning solutions can discolor the laminate so it is important to test the cleaning solutions on a hidden portion of the flooring first.

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Another effective cleaning idea for your laminate flooring is to use a solution of vinegar and warm water. This is an inexpensive and a natural way of removing tough stains from your laminate floor. For maximum effectiveness you can use this solution by spraying it from a bottle and cleaning with a mop.

In case of scratches or dents to your laminate flooring you can purchase a touch up to maintain its finish. A typical touch up kit would consist of either a filler material or crayons & color pencils. When used properly, such touch up material can easily hide the damage to your laminate floor, and can maintain its finish and durability.

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With a little care and effort it is easy to ensure that your laminate flooring looks like new for a long duration of time. Laminate does not require much maintenance and care, and is therefore preferred over natural wood flooring by a number of individuals.

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Eco friendly flooring solutions for your child’s room

February 13, 2010

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Whenever we think of renovating our child’s room, the first thing that comes to our mind is a safe and healthy atmosphere. This implies that everything in your child’s room, from the paint on the walls to the flooring has to be safe. Proper flooring is of utmost importance since children tend to play on the floor most of the time. Therefore eco friendly flooring materials should be the only choice for your child’s room. There are various eco friendly solutions to build a green playroom for your child.

Cork flooring is a very popular choice for kids’ playroom since it has a soft surface and prevents children from getting hurt. Moreover cork is naturally anti-microbial, tough, durable, biodegradable and does not stain easily. Since cork is derived from the bark of the cork oak tree, it can be stripped and removed several times without harming the tree. However, it is always advisable to avoid self-adhesive cork tiles since they may contain toxic chemicals.

For very small infants or toddlers natural woven carpets is an excellent flooring option. These carpets are made by weaving together natural fibers like coir, jute, seagrass or sisal and are extremely soft to touch. Seagrass grows naturally all around the world and helps in insulating houses and also acts as a barrier against sound. Similarly sisal is also a natural fiber and a sustainable resource and is grown without the use of any pesticides or herbicides which makes it highly environment friendly. These products are also appropriate for children prone to allergies or asthmatic attacks and require very little care and maintenance. Wool carpets are again a sustainable and 100% biodegradable choice and have various advantages like durability, fire resistance and are anti-static. Moreover, such carpets use only natural dyes, are not treated with harmful chemicals and are installed without the help of adhesives. All these characteristics make it a complete eco friendly product.

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Another truly sustainable eco friendly flooring solution for your child’s room is bamboo. It is a fast-growing grass which can be re-harvested every 5 years and is by far the most abundant and renewable natural resources thus making it a popular flooring choice. Moreover it is extremely hardy, durable and moisture resistant. When we talk of eco friendly flooring solutions for a child’s room, it is necessary to mention rubber flooring. Rubber flooring apart from being an eco friendly flooring solution is extremely safe, durable, soft and appealing. It is stain and slip resistant, has anti-microbial and hypoallergenic properties and has shock absorbent surface; making it an ideal flooring option for your child’s room that is not only safe but cost effective as well.

Last but not the least linoleum flooring is also a safe and eco friendly option for your kid’s room. Linoleum is resistant to fungi and bacterial growth, has hypoallergenic qualities, and is very durable and also scratch and spill resistant. Whatever the option, care should always be taken to provide your child with a green, non-toxic and environmental friendly atmosphere.

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Hardwood Care & Maintenance what and how

January 26, 2010

Hardwood Care & Maintenance

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Protect the natural beauty of your Hardwood flooring

A few simple maintenance steps will help protect your investment and keep your Hardwood flooring looking like new.

For cleaning, make sure you…

• Use a damp cloth to blot spills and spots as soon as they happen. For tough spots, such as oil, paint, markers, lipstick, ink, tar, or cigarette marks, use acetone/nail polish remover on a clean white cloth, then wipe with a damp cloth. Always avoid allowing liquids to stand on your floor.

• Sweep, dust, or vacuum the floor regularly with the hard floor attachment (not the beater bar) to prevent accumulation of dirt or grit that can scratch or dull the floor finish.

• Occasionally wipe the floor with a damp mop or cloth. Periodically clean the floor with R2X Hard Surfaces Flooring Cleaner from Shaw’s line of floor covering care products.

While cleaning is easy, there are a few things to avoid:

• Don’t use oil based, wax, polish, or strong ammoniated or abrasive cleaners.

• Don’t use steel wool or scouring powder.

• Don’t wash or wet-mop the floor with soap, water, oil-soap detergent, or any other liquid cleaning material. This could cause swelling, warping, delamination, and joint-line separation, and void the warranty. Don’t use any type of buffing machine.

Other routine care instructions:

• For spots such as candle wax or chewing gum, harden the spot with ice and then gently scrape with a plastic scraper, such as a credit card. Be careful not to scratch the flooring surface. Wipe clean with a damp cloth.

• For tough stains, use R2X Hard Surfaces Flooring Cleaner.

• Do not use any type of buffing machine.

Use protective mats

Good quality entry and exit mats will help collect the dirt, sand, grit, and other substances such as oil, asphalt, or driveway sealer that can otherwise be tracked onto your flooring. Do not use rubber- or foam-backed plastic mats as they may discolor the flooring. To prevent slippage, use an approved vinyl rug underlayment.

Use floor protectors on furniture

Use floor protectors and wide-load-bearing leg bases/rollers to minimize indentations and scratches from heavy objects. As a rule, the heavier the object, the wider the floor protector should be.

Maintain relative humidity level

• Maintain a normal indoor relative humidity level between 45 and 65% throughout the year to minimize the natural expansion and contraction of wood.

• Heating Season (Dry): A humidifier is recommended to prevent excess shrinkage due to low humidity levels. Wood stove and electric heat tend to create very dry conditions.

• Non Heating Season (Wet): An air conditioner, dehumidifier or periodically turning on your heating system can maintain humidity during the summer months. Avoid excessive exposure to water during periods of inclement weather.

Avoid sharp objects

While your Hardwood floor is one of the most wear resistant floors on the market, sharp or pointed objects can damage it nonetheless.

Watch your feet

Don’t walk on your flooring with stiletto-style heels, spiked golf shoes, or cleats. They may cause indentations in your flooring.

Watch your pet’s feet

Keep your pet’s nails trimmed to keep them from scratching your flooring.

Rearrange your rugs and furniture

Periodically rearranging your area rugs and furniture will allow the flooring to age evenly. UV sunlight will soften the tone of different species of hardwood to varying degrees.

Protect the floor when moving

Use a dolly when moving heavy furniture or appliances. But first, put down a sheet of quarter-inch plywood or Masonite to protect the floor. Never try to slide or roll heavy objects across the floor.

Installing Hardwood Floors over Radiant Heated Sub Floors

January 26, 2010

Installing Hardwood Floors over Radiant Heated Sub Floors

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Installing Hardwood Floors over Radiant Heated Sub Floors

• Oak, Ash, Hickory, and Walnut species Engineered Hardwood products, > ½” thickness normally are approved for installation over radiant heated subfloors using either Adhered or Floating installation methods if applicable for the product.

• Nail or Staple Down installation methods are not recommended for Radiant Heated Sub Floors.

•  Engineered product constructions thinner than ½” will require review by the Hardwood manufacture before installation; along with a location registration and an acknowledgment letter, verifying that the project is approved and warranted.

Radiant Heating Systems used must be designed and controlled specifically for Hardwood flooring by the system manufacturer, and include an Outside Temperature Probe, and Surface Temperature Controls.

• The end consumer should be aware that minor gaping between wood planks during the heating season is a normal occurrence with hardwood flooring installed over radiant heated subfloors.

• Proper humidity controls within the home or business will help to minimize the natural wood reaction to seasonally changing climate conditions.

• Indoor climate should be maintained between 60-80° F and a relative humidity range of 35%-65%.

Adhere to the following guidelines for a successful installation :

• Newly installed water type radiant heated flooring systems should be in operational mode with the temperature set between 64° -72°F, for a minimum of 4 weeks to insure that all sub floor moisture has properly dried.

• Older water type radiant floor heat systems should be fully pressure tested, properly maintained, and set to a minimum of 64°F, for at least 4 days before flooring delivery; acclimation, or installation processes may begin.

• All radiant heating systems must be set to room temp. (A minimum of 64°F), for at least 4 days before flooring delivery; acclimation, or installation processes may begin.

• Always check wood sub floors to insure that the moisture content is less than 14% using an accurate wood moisture meter.

• Concrete sub floors must register “dry”, using a reliable concrete moisture meter.

• The pH level of concrete sub floors should register between 6 and 9, on a fourteen point pH scale.

• Sub floors must fully comply with these “dry” requirements before proceeding with the delivery, acclimation, or installation of the wood flooring at the job site.

• Regulate the job site to insure that the relative humidity is between 35% and 65%, and that temperature is between 60° and 80° F, throughout the flooring delivery, acclimation, installation and any required curing processes.

• Deliver and acclimate the engineered hardwood flooring, for at least 48 hours before installation begins.

• Install the hardwood flooring according to the instructions that pertain to the product.

• After completing the installation, do not change the radiant heat setting for 48 hrs.

• Throughout the life of the installation, 3 to 5 degree daily increments must be used when adjusting system temperature for either upward or lower adjustments; so that the hardwood flooring can adjust to the temperature changes in a gradual manner.

• Never raise the flooring surface temperature setting above 85 degrees Fahrenheit

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Laminate vs. Hardwood: Take it to the Floor

January 19, 2010

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It is the dilemma that has taken place in millions of homes across America and the globe: “I want a beautiful look for my home, but I also don’t have tons of money to spend.” There was a time when you couldn’t have your cake and eat it too. The emergence of laminate flooring for homes over the last twenty years has made that elegant look affordable. But what is the difference between laminate and hardwood flooring? Is one really better than the other? Let’s take a deeper look and see what we can find.

Hardwood flooring is, as the name implies, made of solid wood throughout. Flooring aficionados and decorators have always dinged hardwood for its susceptibility to moisture and it’s price. The flooring industry has an answer for this: Engineered hardwood flooring. Engineered hardwood flooring has a hardwood veneer surface constructed of cross-laminated layers of wood. By contrast, laminated flooring is a “picture” of wood that is attached to a fiberboard composite. This lies beneath a clear finish of melamine. This makes it much less expensive while giving it a similar look to hardwood. Before making your choice, there are four questions you should ask yourself.

What happens to it when it gets wet?

Traditional hardwood floors are very sensitive to changes in humidity and moisture. If you have pets that are not house-trained, you would do well to stay away from the hardwoods. I wouldn’t recommend them for kitchens, bathrooms, or anything below grade either. If you have a kitchen or bathroom that you just have to have hardwoods in, go with the engineered hardwood. It requires a moisture barrier to be laid down first, which eliminates this problem. Many, but not all, laminate floors are water resistant. This provides even more protection for your floor.
Winner: Laminates!

How easy is it to install?

Laminate floors are a project that most any do-it-yourselfer can handle on their own. They are installed as a floating floor, and many varieties simply click together and lock in place. Engineered hardwoods are not as easy to install, but can still be done by someone with a degree of skill. Professionals in most cases should install hardwoods. That being said, I know people who have installed hardwoods themselves and their floors look great. I guess it just depends on your confidence in that area.
Winner: Laminates!

How long will they last?

Both hardwoods and laminates are fairly long lasting. Hardwoods do tend to scratch and dent much easier than laminates. That means the claws of your dog or house cat, ferret, tiger, or any other pet will cause damage to your new floor. Laminates however are susceptible to chipping. Hardwoods can fade if placed in areas of direct sunlight. Laminates do not fade and are stain resistant. Hardwoods can be refinished to look like new again. Significant damage to laminates may require the entire floor to be replaced. Also, laminates are usually given about a 20-year life span. Because of the ability to refinish your hardwood floors, they can last you a lifetime.
Winner: Hardwoods!

How great will they look in my home?

Let me tell you this. I have had both, I have seen both, and I have installed both. I can tell you unequivocally that hardwoods look better. Maybe this is because laminate flooring is just a picture of wood. Maybe it is the fact that hardwoods allow for a variety of wood grain patterns while laminates repeat their pattern every five boards. Maybe it is the authentic “old- timey”: look. Whatever it is I would wager that if you surveyed ten people, nine of them would say that hardwoods look better. Winner: Hardwoods! And the champion is…neither. It is kind of a draw. Laminates are cheaper, slightly more durable and offer a similar look to hardwoods. However, hardwoods last much longer, increase the value of your home more, and look better than laminates. You should probably consider your budget, and what your long-term flooring needs are and make your choice. You really can’t go wrong either way.

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The Choice is Yours-Helpful Hints for Selecting the Right Floor for Your Home

January 10, 2010

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“You can get with this, or you can get with that”. These are words to a famous rap song from the 90’s. It is also the reality of choosing flooring for your home. Depending on your style, type of home, geographical location, and size of your wallet, a myriad of flooring choices exist out there. I am here today to offer you some friendly advice from someone who has been there. I hope you learn something new, and that this wisdom helps you the next time you are searching for your flooring needs.

One thing you should consider when choosing flooring is what room you are planning to put the floor in. How many people will be traipsing through that area on a daily basis? If it is a high use area such as an entryway near your front or back door, you will probably want to go with a laminate type of flooring. For areas of comfort such as bedrooms, or a family room, carpet could be your best bet. Bathrooms do very well with tile flooring, although some laminates are also made for the bathroom. If the elegant look is what you are after, you may want to put hardwoods in most of the areas of your home. Each of these types has good points and bad. Let’s take a look at some of them now.

Laminate – The look of hardwood without all the hassle:

Laminate floors exist in many forms. They come in planks or in tiles. They can mimic everything from the look of oak hardwood flooring to that of a granite tile floor. Laminate floors are easy to install, and are very affordable. I have virtually zero handy-man skills and was able to install laminate floors throughout my home in a relatively short amount of time. Besides that, laminates are easier to care for than their hardwood brethren. You can couple them with area rugs for a great look. One word of caution of though: If your home is on a slab, laminate floors can be very cold in the winter. I live in the south so it isn’t so bad. If I lived in a cold climate I would think twice about installing these in large areas of my home. You can couple them with a radiant floor heating system and take care of this problem however. If you are looking to save time and money, go with laminate.

Hardwoods – Elegance and style to make your home beautiful:

If you want my humble opinion, there is no better looking floor you could put in your home than one made of hardwoods, particularly oak. However, with the good also comes the bad. These floors are typically some of the most expensive. They are subject to scratches and gouges fairly easily. They are not simple to install and require an advanced do-it-yourselfer or professional to install properly. However, they come in a wide array of finishes and styles that will add beauty and value to your home. So if you don’t mind investing the extra time and money, there is no better choice.

Carpet – The old standby is still great for many reasons:

Oh, I know what you are thinking. Carpet is full of allergens, horrible for the environment, and ugly. All I have to say about that is: not true, not true, and not true. Today’s new brands of carpet feature excellent styles. Carpet tile is a new phenomenon that offers versatility because it comes in squares that you can mix and match to create your own one-of-a-kind floor. Carpet tile is great as well because if you get a stain on one part of the carpet, you can just take up that tile and replace it with another one. Today’s carpet it also made from materials that are environmentally friendly including special polymers and even recycled bottles! Not only that, but the computer age has allowed for much more intricate pattern work in the design of the carpet. Carpet that keeps the allergens to a minimum is also possible. So, if you are looking for that comfy feel beneath your feet in your bedroom or when relaxing in the family room, you may want to look into some of these new carpeting options for your home.

So you see, carpet, hardwood, and laminate floors all have their high points and limitations. Depending on the size of your wallet, your handy-man skills, and even where you live, you can easily find something that will work for you. The important thing is that you pick the flooring that truly speaks to your tastes. Still, it’s good to know that lots of options exist.

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