If you are thinking about having new flooring installed, it is easy to get overwhelmed with all the choices. The look of the flooring is important, and there are many choices for all our different tastes.
The first thing to consider is exactly how the floor is going to be used — which sounds like a silly thing until you really start thinking about it. The amount of traffic, type of traffic (kids, pets, seniors, etc.) should be factored into your flooring choice and will help you make a wise decision.
Here are some of the benefits and downfalls of the most popular flooring options, and an idea of what you could expect to pay:
Carpet has lots of advantages. It gives a room a soft, warm, and cozy feel and is easy on bad hips and knees. It is also the most affordable of the common flooring. It is normally sold by the yard, with padding and labor included. The cost can range from $20 to over $40 per yard ($2.22 to $4.44 per square foot). Installation is almost always just one day.
The downside of carpet and the reason it has fallen out of trend lately is that it harbors dirt. In a low traffic room without kids and pets, it’s no problem, but dirty feet and paws and a wayward red-dyed fruit drink can make a mess of it in a hurry.
Hardwood has become the floor of choice as carpet has fallen out of favor. It is the total opposite of carpet in function and cost. If a good polyurethane sealer is used, dirt and mud—and the occasional wet spot—are no problem to clean up.
The downsides are the cost, and the fact that the installation is very invasive. I suggest the homeowner find someplace else to stay during installation. There is a lot of noise, dust, and smells that go along with the time-consuming installation. However, the “wow factor” when it is finished, and the timelessness of the look, is worth the investment. The cost will be about $10 per square foot.
Engineered hardwood floors were designed to lower the cost and invasiveness of a hardwood floor installation. The flooring is composed of multiple layers of wood or composite wood. The grain in these layers runs 90 degrees from one to the next, and this gives the board strength and stability. The floor is prefinished at the factory so the installation is a few days with minimum mess.
The downside is that there are a lot of poorly-made engineered hardwood floors out there. The worst are the ones that use a composite wood for the structure that is basically cardboard. If liquid sits on the floor too long and seeps between the cracks, the composite wood swells and the floor is ruined. Most of these floors can’t be refinished because the top veneer is micro thin. The cost for a good engineered hardwood floor installed is about $8.00 per square foot.
Also known as a floating floor, the laminate floor is a low-cost alternative to hardwood floors. It is plastic with the wood grain photographed or laminated on. The floor snaps together and sits on padding—similar to one that goes under carpet— but thinner. The surface of the floor holds up well to traffic and doesn’t scratch easily. The cost is about $5.00 per square foot installed, and has the potential of a do-it-yourself installation, which would save you about $2.00 per square foot.
The downside is that like the engineered wood, standing water will ruin it. The floor is noisy to walk on, giving off an echoing effect.
Tile is very durable, withstands water and is easy to clean. There are a wide variety of looks and textures. With a little creativity, anything from a simple look to a rich and elegant look can be achieved.
The downsides are it can be hard on old knees and hips. If you have a shifting foundation, cracks and loose grout can be a problem. Tile installed starts about $8.00 a square foot and can go way up from there depending on how custom the job is.
Today’s vinyl is nothing like it was a decade or two ago. Technological advances have made the quality and appearance of vinyl much better. It is made to look like stone, wood, tile and many other things. It’s easy to walk on and affordable. You can find a wide variety of quality styles for less than $5.00 per square foot.
The downside is that it can tear, and dent. If it has a lot of pattern in it, it can be a grime catcher as well.
Flooring is a big investment. Do your homework to be sure you are putting the right floor in for the long term. Also read the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning and maintaining your new floor so you can get the most life and use out of it.
To see a wide variety of flooring and learn more about it, visit Jeff at www.prosourcefloors.com/fortworth