Introduction to different types of Flooring

Today's homeowners have a wider choice than ever in flooring types, but choosing the right flooring for a room can still be difficult. A trip through the local home improvement store can leave a homeowner just as confused. With a little home remodeling planning, though, the homeowner can make that trip with the knowledge of what types of flooring are available, and some of the pros and cons of each choice.

Tile

Tile is the most durable choice for homeowners. Tile comes in a wide choice of materials, colors and patterns. Tile works well for both indoor and outdoor applications, is easily installed and can be inexpensive. A few disadvantages to tile are that high gloss finishes can scratch and the grout between the tiles can stain; however, tile stands up to regular wear and tear easily and will last for years with a minimum of care.

Carpet

Originally a covering for other flooring types, the vacuum cleaner made wall-to-wall carpeting possible, and it soon became a standard in homes and offices. From its textures, colors and lengths to its sound dampening qualities to its insulative properties, carpet has features that please the most finicky homeowner. Readily available, carpet comes in rolls or in tiles for easy installation. However, it needs constant maintenance to stay clean and is not a good choice for those with allergies. Another drawback is that wet carpet dries slowly and can mildew and rot.

Hardwood

The choice for Hardwood flooring is once again becoming common in homes and offices, thanks to their characteristic beauty and style. Hardwoods come in a variety of styles, from formal looking strips to rustic planks. Parquets place an emphasis on style with beautiful patterns, and are created by using short pieces of wood throughout the room, or in tiles that make installation simple. Hardwoods are not a wise choice for every room. They absorb water easily, so spills must be wiped up quickly to prevent warping. Hardwoods also change color as they age. Some find it part of their charm; however, owners should remember that covered areas will not age at the same rate, leaving patchy areas that may need refinishing.

Vinyl

Vinyl is often confused with linoleum, but is a different product. Vinyl floors date to the 1930s, and were a cheap alternative to the wood and stone flooring they mimicked. Vinyl floors are excellent choices for kitchens and bathrooms due to low maintenance requirements. Vinyl flooring is easy to install, reasonably priced, and available in a variety of colors and finishes. It is usually installed as 12-foot wide sheets for seamless applications, although vinyl tiles are available as well. Care should be taken to keep water out of seams, however, to prevent mildew and rotting beneath.

Alternative Flooring-Cork and Bamboo

In recent years, there has been a move to more sustainable, environmentally friendly alternatives. Cork and bamboo are two of these options. Both are reasonably priced and highly sustainable; bamboo is a grass that has a high rate of growth, while cork is the bark of the cork tree, and harvestable every nine years. They are biodegradable, leaving less waste for landfills, and provide many of the benefits of the more common flooring types. Bamboo does well in rooms where hardwoods shine, while cork makes an excellent flooring type for kitchens, thanks to its characteristic spongy texture. Cork may need more maintenance than other flooring in order to preserve its appearance, while those with bamboo flooring should follow rules regarding hardwoods.

Linoleum

Linoleum flooring was invented in 1860, as an alternative to a common rubber based flooring. It lost ground in the earlier part of the twentieth century to vinyl flooring, but is regaining its popularity thanks to its green properties. Made from linseed oil and other natural ingredients, linoleum is biodegradable and environmentally friendly. Today's linoleum does not have many of the wear and tear issues of earlier versions; however, it does require more maintenance than other flooring types to maintain its looks.

Whatever the decision made, homeowners have a wide choice of economical, easy to install and readily available flooring types suitable to any room. Colors, textures and patterns abound among the choices; only individual preference is needed for the final decision.