The one component of every room in your home that requires maintenance and eventual replacement is the flooring. Unlike walls and ceilings, floors are expected to withstand traffic, movement of furniture, moisture, and impacts. Not only do floors have to maintain appearance, but they are judged based on their sound, how they feel under foot, even their smell! They are one of the first features a potential home buyer will notice when they walk into a home for sale; so much so that motivated sellers will even advertise “flooring allowance” in the listing to help dispel a buyer’s inevitable reaction to a room’s worn and weathered flooring.
There are many options for flooring materials. Some are as old as time while others are relatively new. Rather than a direct comparison, let’s look at what factors YOU should be considering when deciding between flooring options.
- Appeal – Appearance is obvious right? But today there are several options that can give you roughly the same appearance, often for less money. Vinyl that looks like marble tile, laminate that appears to be cork. Whatever look you want, you have options. But also worth considering is a floor’s other aesthetic features: sound and feel under foot, sheen, even smell, which can sometimes linger from certain types of materials and adhesives.
- Use – While you have multiple options for almost any living space, some practicality is required here. You might love the feel of carpet under your bare feet but is it really a good idea in the entryway or foyer? Few flooring options have the look, feel, and lasting value of hardwood. But will hardwood withstand the inevitable moisture of a bathroom? Do you have pets or small children? Given the price of any type of new flooring, take the time to thoughtfully consider how the floor in any given space is used and what it encounters on a daily basis.
- Cost – Speaking of price, the materials you select for your flooring will have the greatest impact on the overall cost of your replacement project. And even within each material option there is a wide range of quality (and price). While hardwood is generally considered more “high-end” than laminate flooring, you can find low-grade hardwood that is less expensive than high-end laminate. Be sure to factor in removal of your old flooring and installation when considering the cost of a flooring project.
- Longevity – Better materials equals a longer lifespan. Within each material option, a floor is more likely to keep its appearance and other qualities longer with a higher quality option (i.e. more expensive!) than with a lower grade material. And when comparing choices of material to one another, longevity has a great impact on their relative cost. For example engineered hardwood flooring, which can typically only be sanded and refinished one or two times, is understandably cheaper than standard hardwood which should outlast multiple owners of a home.
- Maintenance – All floors require some degree of regular cleaning and maintenance to look their best and extend their lifespan. The biggest question when it comes to cleaning is how much do you want that task to vary. If your home consists of tile in the kitchen and baths, hardwood in the living areas, and carpet upstairs, you could find yourself vacuuming, mopping, sweeping, scrubbing, and “swiffering” . On the other hand, installing a universal flooring option like a vinyl or laminate means cleaning all your floors with the same products.
- Installation – Finally there is installation to consider. Besides just affecting your final cost, proper installation has a long-lasting impact on a floor’s appearance and lifespan. While the learning curve on working with some materials (tile, hardwood) is steeper than others, all flooring has its share of challenges, skill sets, and specific tools needed to properly install. For example while carpet can be installed on virtually any subfloor, hardwood requires a level subsurface. Failure to properly install new floor can even result in a voiding of your material’s warranty.
You are going to live with your flooring choices for many years. Don’t take a chance on inferior products or installation. Let the professionals at Distinct Construction in Northern Kentucky handle your flooring job. We’ve seen it all and we’ve done it all! Our team will make sure your new floor is done right the first time, transforming your living space into the place of your dreams.