Types of Flooring

With the wide variety of flooring materials out there, homeowners must decide which type of flooring would work best for their home, as each type of flooring has advantages and disadvantages. Some of the factors to take into consideration are cost, durability, appearance, and life of the floor.

Hardwood Flooring
One of the most popular types of flooring, hardwood is also one of the longest lasting. Hardwood is expensive at first, but it both increases the value of a home and actually improves with age. Hardwood floors can improve with age, and can also be refinished. If the floor begins to look worn, refinishing the floor can bring it back to its original brilliance.

Hardwood flooring does have some disadvantages. It can be sensitive to humidity, and should not be used in bathrooms for that reason. Hardwood flooring can also be easily scratched. Pets' nails, moving furniture around or walking in stiletto heels can easily damage hardwood floors as they are softer than other materials.

Ceramic Flooring
Ceramic flooring is extremely long lasting, and may never need to be replaced. There are many different styles and designs of ceramic flooring, to match any decor. Extremely durable, ceramic holds up to pets and high traffic. This type of flooring is expensive to buy and install, but pays off over time, increasing the value of a home.

Ceramic's hardness makes it durable and long lasting, but is also makes it easily susceptible to cracking or chipping if something is dropped or struck against it. More than other types of flooring, ceramic flooring can cause muscle fatigue if a lot of time is spent standing on it, and bruising if someone falls. When compared to other types of hard flooring such as wood, ceramic tends to be much colder, requiring more area rugs or radiant heating installation. Ceramic flooring is much more difficult to install than other types of flooring.

Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring is made of a fiberboard core with a paper pattern that is sealed under high pressure. Laminate can be made to look like tile, wood, or stone, and is cheaper than any of those materials. Laminate flooring is long lasting and very durable when maintained well. It is also easy for do-it-yourselfers to install and adjoins well to other floors.

Unlike some other types of flooring, laminate flooring does not usually add value to a home. It lasts for somewhere between 15 and 30 years, and cannot be recoated or refinished. If laminate flooring is not installed correctly, it can lead to a hollow sound when walked on. However, using the correct floor underlayment can reduce or eliminate this problem.

Both linoleum tiles and linoleum rolls are making a comeback. Linoleum is biodegradable and non-toxic, as well as affordable. This is one of the more difficult types of flooring to install, but maintenance of linoleum is easy. Linoleum is made of natural materials, and the color and patterns go all the way through the material, so if it becomes worn down, the pattern is still visible.

Vinyl Flooring
Vinyl flooring comes in every color and design imaginable. It is available as vinyl sheet or vinyl tile. Both are relatively inexpensive, although vinyl tile is easier to install and requires less precision than vinyl sheet. Vinyl floors are very low maintenance and can be installed in any room in the house. Vinyl flooring is not very durable, however, and will not increase the value of a home.

Written by Bronwyn Harris

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