Choosing the right floor for you
There are numerous possibilities when it comes to picking your new floor covering. Budget, appearance, comfort, durability, maintenance. These are the largest factors when it comes to selection.
Carpet is soft, warm, comfortable, and cozy. It can add insulation to a cold basement floor, or muffle sound from upstairs. Carpeted stairs have more cushion in case of a fall. Despite many claims of increased allergens in carpet, studies have shown there is actually less allergens in the air due to it being trapped in the fibers until the next vacuuming vs being constantly swirled around into the air on a hard surface floor, especially during traditional sweeping. It can be a cheaper alternative when it comes to material, floor prep, and installation costs. It can also be a luxury expense if you have fine taste. When it comes to design there is a wide array of options: berber, plush, sculpted, loop and cut, wide varities of patterns and colours. A quality product with proper installation and maintenance can last you up to 40 years. The downsides being clumsy spills, messy kids, and untrained pets.
A quality laminate product can seem bullet proof. It gives the look of a wood floor without the expense. Can hold up to dog nails, high heels and is extremely scratch and stain resistant. It is one of the most durable floors you can get. Being a floating floor it can go over many existing floors with ease and has a variety of thicknesses to match up to existing floors. An easy to clean, cost effective floor. Water and moisture are the enemy. Standing water on laminate will wreck it real quick.
Vinyl plank/tile became the quickly adopted alternative to laminate, being sold as a waterproof floor. With advancements in printing technologies they are able to replicate woodgrain appearance and texture fairly well. Not quite as tough as laminate but some have advanced wear layers and stain resistance that come close. It has become recognized as the all around top contender for family homes. The click together floating method makes for an easier install with a small amount of tools required for installation. Subfloor flatness and deflection are important for this type of flooring due to the thinner, flimsier structure of the products and their locking systems. If you decide to go with a glue down vinyl plank, flatness isn't as much of an issue, but severe waviness can cause gapping between the planks.. it is also the easiest to replace planks in the floor. Many of the glue down vinyl tiles are also groutable. A warmer, less costly option than ceramic tile with a similar appearance.
Sheet vinyl can be the most versatile when it comes to design. You can have woodgrain planks, stone patterns, tile patterns, and a various amount of other prints. They can even have texture to match the appearance. The surface is 100% waterproof making it an ideal choice for kitchens and bathrooms. Unlike vinyl plank, vinyl sheet goods do not have seams that water can work its way into, it is one solid sheet. Even where seams are made it is chemically bonded to maintain surface integrity. Where extremely wavy and uneven subfloors are an issue this resilient flooring can flow with the rises and drops without compromising structure. However, a smooth subfloor is required. Sheet vinyl is the easiest to clean floor, some having scotchguard protection that wont allow even contact cement to stick to it. There are also some with cushion for a softer feel underfoot. Being a softer floor covering it is more susceptible to damage by compression, and gouging.
Hardwood is elegance. The beauty of natural wood is a highly sought out aesthetic, thus why many other floor coverings try to mimic its appearance. Every board is uniquely individual and adds character. Wood from different trees give each type of hardwood floor personality. Mineral streaks, knots, and divets, enhance the imperfect perfection that is hardwood. It also requires the most care. Maintaining climate and humidity in a household is a must. HVAC systems should always be operational. Despite what some may think ( the name can be deceiving) hardwood is the easiest to damage floor out there. Some engineered woods have a pretty tough surface but the majority are able to be easily dented and scratched. It is inherent with natural wood floors and to be expected. As are creaks and pops if it is mechanically fastened.