Within the industry there are four distinct "flooring" groups: Hard, Resilient, Wood and Soft. , and loads of variety to chose from... Discover what is available to find the one for you!
Each group offers a variety of different "types" of materials and a wide range of prices, colors, patterns, and quality, so you are not limited on choices!
For example: marble... there are many different kinds of marble, with as many colors and veining designs/patterns that make up a particular marble.
Granite, marble , metal, glass and terrazzo are expensive (glass being very expensive) and the most difficult to install. Because they are heavy and hard to handle, hire a professional to do the installation. You'll be glad you did...
Granite, marble and terrazzo are very low maintenance. Glass is a "high" maintenance material and metal falls in the medium range.
Limestone, sandstone, travertine (a light, distinctive yellowish form of limestone) are closely related.
Limestone (also known as sandstone) is a form of marble, but less dense than both marble and travertine.
Travertine is a form of marble, but less dense. All are created near mineral rich hot springs. It is the type of minerals that form the stones that make the difference between them.
Slate is one of the most durable and versatile natural stones there is. While not as expensive as granite or marble, it isn't cheap.
All of these natural stones are extremely durable, great looking, versatile and easy to maintain.
Brick, ceramic, porcelain , clay, Saltillo and Terra-cotta are manufactured from clay. Blending different clays together and the heat variation during "firing" creates their individual uniqueness.
The Use of Concrete is on the rise and is the least expensive of all flooring materials. It is relatively easy to install, with most of the labor involved being preparation. Concrete is very easy to maintain.
Installing radiant heat under hard, cold floors will make them warm and cozy!
Cork, Leather, Linoleum, Rubber and Vinyl.
Cork is very reasonably priced and has so many natural amenities it's hard to go wrong with this material. Because of its anti-bacteria, mold, fungus fighting abilities, it is ideal for a bathroom or kitchen. And when properly sealed and maintained, it has been known to last 100 years or longer...
Rubber Has similar characteristics as cork and works exceptionally well in damp areas. Although it can be quite expensive, it is also incredibly durable and there are many colors and textures to choose from, nothing boring about this material!
Linoleum Practical and durable, with hundreds of colors and patterns available, you can even design your own if you want. Works very well in damp areas. True linoleum is environmentally friendly.
Vinyl Practical, with many choices in colors and patterns. Can wear quickly in high-traffic areas and is NOT environmentally friendly!
Leather: Looks great and is a good sound insulator, but it is expensive, impractical and HIGH maintenance!
A big plus for resilient materials is they are comfortable underfoot, warm to the touch, resistant to denting and (with exception to leather) work well in damp areas and cleaning them is a beeze.
Vinyl and linoleum are very thin and prone to showing blemishes underneath the material.
Includes all hardwoods, bamboo (which is really a "grass"), engineered hardwood and wood laminate. Of all the flooring choices, these are still one of the most popular.
Hardwoods are timeless and can be traditional or contemporary in appearance, they are also quite expensive to own.
You have many choices of color, grains, width, length and finishes with hardwoods . When properly cared for, a hardwoods can last 100 years or longer.
While extremely durable and easy to take care of, they need regular cleaning, and every few years they will need refinishing .
Actually a grass, bamboo is pre-finished engineered boards rather than solid planks. Its appeal is a combination of an "exotic" wood that is environmentally friendly.
Bamboo is expensive to buy, right up there with hardwoods, but its redeeming quality is it makes a stronger floor than many hardwoods and does not warp as easily.
A very popular and relatively inexpensive material that can be installed by an amateur. Laminate requires very little care and maintenance... Kind of like your wash n' wear clothing.
Laminate will not last nearly as long as the real thing, but considering they also cost much less, the expense to replace laminate wood will not break the bank! If you want the look of wood but your budget doesn't allow for the real thing, laminate wood makes a great substitute.
Carpet prices range from very low to very expensive, but they all offer a wide range of colors, patterns and textures.
"Eco" (environmentally friendly) types of carpeting are made from sustainable resources and cheaper in price, they are also harder to clean and unsuitable for damp areas and too slippery for stairs. However, they do not require padding underneath.
Although warm and comfortable underfoot, the installation can be difficult, and broadloom carpeting must be laid with padding and/or tackles strips.
Cleaning carpets is far more difficult, expensive and time consuming than other types of flooring materials.
For difficult installations (glass, granite, marble, metal, terrazzo, carpet, hardwoods, leather), it is always wiser to hire a professional rather than trying to save money by doing it yourself. The price of replacing materials can cost more than the price of hiring a professional.
IMPORTANT: When purchasing ANY flooring material make sure it comes from the same lot/batch. This is especially important with natural stones because of color, veining and pattern variations.
As always, we hope this information is helpful in choosing the "right" type of flooring that suits your life style and pocket book.
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