What you need to know about flooring comes down to who and what will be walking on yours in the coming years. Different materials are suitable for different needs. Here’s a rundown of common options, their advantages, and how to recognize when it’s time to make a change.
Vinyl and linoleum are low-cost workhorses that are easily maintained and replaced. Today’s options can give the appearance of more expensive ceramics, porcelains, or even wood. Both materials are often preferred for high-traffic areas and rooms where a lot of standing will occur, like the kitchen, since they have some give to them, unlike hardwood or tile. They are also often recommended for their nonskid properties and for use in places where water may be an issue, like the bathroom.
Over time, however, water may seep through the seams if vinyl tile is used, causing damage to the subfloor. Wear and tear from pets can damage the surface. When this starts to show, the material fades, or the edges start curling, it’s time to replace.
Thanks to its padding, new carpet is heaven for tiny humans learning to crawl and walk. It also provides a comfortable surface for the rest of the family, and the traction factor makes it especially suitable for stairs. Carpet, however, has about a 10-year lifespan. It shows its wear, and literally can develop tears … as well as provide evidence of a home’s history of spills. When the annual deep cleaning isn’t sufficient to restore color or eliminate stains and matted areas, it is time to replace.
Tile offers endurance. It is easy to clean and repair and is highly resistant to water. Grout can be cleaned and resealed to resist staining and dirt. A tile can even be replaced if it cracks. When selecting new ceramic or replacing an existing floor, it is important think long term, so your new flooring won’t seem dated after a bit. It is an investment in your home’s next 50 years.
Hardwood floors are desirable for a beautiful look and easy-maintenance regime. When they do show wear, it’s usually from furniture being slid across the surface and pets running through your home. They can be refinished rather economically, but after three to five refinishing jobs, the wood can thin. This can make it more susceptible to seasonal humidity changes and diminish the ability for a refinisher to restore the original color. They are also less slip resistant than other materials.
The good news is, like all flooring materials, hardwood is benefitting from treatment technologies and engineering that result in it being more durable, resistant to scratches, easier to clean, and broadening the available looks and colors.
Finding Room for the Right Option
Ultimately, the flooring you decide upon should reflect the function of the room or area. Easy-to-clean options, including vinyls and laminates, tend to work well in entryways where dirt is likely to come in with family members and guests. Tile is a great choice in bathrooms and the kitchen and carpeting is often preferred in bedrooms for warmth, noise reduction and comfort. Regardless of what you choose, it should be something you are comfortable having under foot for years to come.