Selecting the perfect flooring for any room in your home isn’t easy. Chances are a visit to your local flooring retailer might leave you wandering through a sea of samples, evaluating them for different materials, designs and overall durability and function. How do you choose from all of the options to find the right flooring that not only will provide comfort and durability but also complement your home’s style - all within your budget?
“Your style and your budget are the first deciding factors when narrowing down flooring options,” says Gary Finseth of Tarkett Residential, a worldwide flooring manufacturer. “Determine those parameters and think about the room where you’ll be installing the flooring. What does it look like, how much is it used and what kind of traffic flow does it have? For most people, maintenance and performance concerns also factor in the decision.”
To start, set a price range and begin evaluating the design and performance features of each option. If you’re not planning to install the floor yourself, don’t forget to factor in the installation costs, which are often in addition to the square-foot cost of the floor itself.
Be sure to explore nontraditional options. Modern, stylish products like laminate and resilient vinyl flooring offer durable, affordable and easy-to-maintain surfaces that will hold up through years of everyday living.
Selecting a style for your home
Whatever flooring you choose should blend effortlessly with your home’s style, whether it’s Victorian, country, traditional, contemporary or eclectic. The size of the room where you plan to install the flooring is important for the overall design equation. Tiny tiles will be too busy in a large room, while a large-scale design will overwhelm a smaller space.
While natural materials, such as slate, stone, bamboo and hardwood catch many homeowners’ attention, consider the variety that modern flooring technology has to offer. The latest advances in resilient and laminate flooring offer the best of both worlds - fashionable colors and realistic textures, combined with unsurpassed durability, comfort, function, easy maintenance and affordability.
Comfortable and quiet
Modern flooring technology holds up to the demands of everyday living better, and more comfortably, than natural hard-surface options. Laminate and resilient floors feel soft and have insulation properties that make them warm underfoot. These modern flooring technologies are also engineered to be quiet and not carry sound.
For example FiberFloor resilient flooring from Tarkett offers special foam density for added performance and durability, as well as warmth, comfort and a quiet living space, something natural, hard-surface flooring can’t deliver. FiberFloor also features more than 200 distinctive colors and designs, including natural-looking wood grains like oak or even exotic teak, rustic tiles and earthy stone looks, which deliver the best of both worlds.
When choosing flooring, you might also want to consider how it will stand up to factors like direct sunlight, water spills, furniture scrapes, tracked-in dirt, ongoing foot traffic and cleaning. Natural materials, such as hardwood or ceramic tiles, are more fragile than many other options available in modern flooring technology.
So you love hardwood but know the room where you want to install it experiences high traffic and heavy use? You can get a true visual match to the natural wood look by installing laminate flooring.
For example, Tarkett laminates feature an AC4-rated commercial wear layer, which means this flooring protects against wear, fading and stains better than ordinary laminate flooring. The design layer replicates the beauty of natural wood grains, while the AMERICORE layer, the inner core board manufactured with only cherry and oak chips, provides superior indentation resistance. In addition, laminate floors are easy to clean and maintain - for day-to-day maintenance, all you need is a damp mop.
Easy installation and longtime warranties
Installation is another factor to keep in mind when you’re shopping for flooring, with hardwood and tile floors being among the most difficult to install. These generally require costly professional installation to look their best.
Resilient and laminate flooring can easily and affordably be installed by a weekend DIYer. And because of its layered construction, these types of flooring will not expand or contract. They lie flat and stay flat by “floating” in place, eliminating the need for glue or nails, unlike traditional hardwood or tile options. Flooring systems that don’t require glue also help the environment.
Lastly, don’t forget about warranties. Some products have at least 10- to 15-year warranties while others offer limited lifetime warranties, thus ensuring your flooring’s beauty and durability for a very long time.