Flooring often sets the tone and feel in a room, which is why choosing the right flooring option for a particular room in your new home or condo may seem like a daunting decision. It’s a process that combines your personal taste with careful thinking about practicality. After all, it is a surface you, your family and friends will walk, stand and sit on – and your kids will spill, play and grow up on.
Since each room in your home serves a different function, your floor covering should complement each room’s function and style. What’s the size of the family that will regularly use the room, and how much traffic will the floor receive? Children definitely make a difference as do pets. Will the floor be regularly exposed to moisture? How often is the floor likely to need cleaning? How long do you hope and expect your new floor to last? Asking yourself these types of questions at the beginning of the process should help reduce your worry, ease your choice and ensure long-term satisfaction with your new floor decision.
COMMON LIVING AREAS
Flooring for your home’s living space really comes down to a matter of personal choice. Some people like wood in their living areas, some tile, others carpet, perhaps all three.
Wood flooring has a natural beauty and elegance, looks warm but is a rigid surface so is less easy on your feet and back. It is however stain-resistant, easy-to-clean and offers long-term versatility because it can be sanded and refinished. Again you have a number of options, ranging from boards with plenty of irregularities or “character marks” to boards that are almost completely uniform. Oak is the most popular, while maple, birch, and pine are also widely used. These woods all come in a few different quality grades, which allows some control over both the cost and appearance.
Tile offers a nearly unlimited variety of patterns and styles, from the simple to the exotic. Because of its dense composition of clay, minerals and water – and a coating of liquid glass for colour and texture – most tiles are resistant to moisture, odour, fire, stains, scratches, allergens and bacteria, which makes this material ideal for kitchens, bathrooms and transition flooring from outdoor space to indoor space, like lobby’s or inside patio doors. On the other hand, tiles can feel cold and hard underfoot, so they may not be the best choice if you’re looking for something cozier.
Then there is carpet. In terms of sheer warmth and intimacy, carpet is probably your best choice. It’s especially appropriate for bedrooms and anywhere you may like to spend a lot of time barefoot. Carpet also provides a certain amount of sound-proofing, as well as some warmth and insulation. It is a child safe surface compared to others, and causes much less damage when kids trip and fall or play at length on the floor itself. It’s also inexpensive to install and comes in a variety of colours and textures, to easily coordinate with your decor. A key point to consider is that the quality and thickness of the underpad you use underneath is just as in important as the carpet itself.
When selecting kitchen flooring, durability and ease of cleaning should be your top criteria. Good choices are ceramic tile and linoleum – both very common – and wood. Linoleum is inexpensive and provides an easy-to-clean surface and comes in countless designs. Ceramic tiles offer superior durability, resisting most dents, dings and scratches. Something worth considering, particularly if your family includes children or anyone with special safety needs, is that smooth tiles can be very slippery when they get wet, so you may want to consider ones with a textured surface.
Then there is wood. While some feel it’s an unusual choice given that there are so many other flooring options, hardwood is also an excellent choice for the kitchen. Everyone ends up spending a lot of time there, and wood floors can add a great deal of that “homey” feeling to the area, as well as offer great decorating options when contrasted with wood or other cabinet door surfaces. At the same time, wood is also good at coping with the high traffic volume kitchens tend to attract. If you opt for hardwood in your kitchen, make sure you apply a good protective finish, such as polyurethane, or use prefinished wood to guard against the many kinds of moisture that inevitably make their way onto the kitchen floor.
While bathrooms tend to be among the smaller rooms in your house, with the proper flooring they can still make an incredible visual impact. Linoleum, ceramic tile, limestone, marble and granite are all popular and functional flooring choices. Ceramic tiles look great and provide superb durability. Should you elect to go with an even more striking and higher-end material such as marble, you’re going to need to employ a competent team of skilled craftspeople. Whatever your choice, keep in mind that like kitchens, bathrooms obviously see a lot of moisture.
Choosing your flooring is certainly a big decision, but it doesn’t have to be overly stressful. Plan ahead, asking yourself all the important questions beforehand, including who will use the room, what atmosphere you hope to create, how much effort you yourself want to expend maintaining it, and of course, what you’re willing to spend. Having done that, you’ll be well on your way to picking YOUR perfect floor.