Monday, September 20, 2010

How to choose flooring for your kitchen or bathroom

We often start a project at home much like a baby takes it's first steps. Fearful and unsure. This article will tell you about a few of the flooring choices out there today.
Vinyl- Although not regarded as a "high-end" upgrade, vinyl flooring can be a safer choice in some instances, especially if you have young children. It is highly resistant to wear, chemical solutions and most stains. It comes in a wide variety of designs and patterns and is a common choice for many kitchens and baths. It is an ideal choice where a limited budget is in place.
Terrazzo- A popular flooring of the past, Terrazzo is making quite a comeback. Used outdoors and indoors, Terrazzo is revered for its easy care, durability, and cool feel to the touch. It does require sealing every so many years, but it does offer long wear and will withstand years of use. One word of caution, make sure to mop using a non alkali cleaner. Otherwise you maintain it much like any other floor. Terrazzo comes in a wide variety of thicknesses and is not typically a uniform material. Take this into consideration as to where you will use this floor. If you plan on going barefoot in the room often, it may not be the most comfortable choice.
Stone or Brick- Brick flooring believe it or not was very popular in earlier times. Its richness of color, wide availability, and affordable prices made it a popular choice at one time. Today it is resurfacing as reclaimed materials for those who wish to use something environmentally friendly. It gives many rooms a rustic flare and can give new construction an old feel. That being said, if you get unglazed and unsealed brick you will have to be leary of any oil based staining and the fact that it isn't necessarily "foot" friendly. Stone flooring is also an option and it is durable, beautiful, adds value to your home and can come in every color, shape and texture.
Tile- More and more now you are seeing various tiled flooring in homes. Ceramic tile has long been seen in bathrooms, but occasionally will still be seen as back splashes in kitchens, and on counter tops as a cheaper alternative to granite. For flooring it is also very nice but can be slick when wet and easy to slip on. Porcelain tiles have this same issue but new tiles are emerging every day to look like more expensive varieties. Having tile flooring installed requires a 24 hour setting time typically, so be prepared not to eat in. There are a wide variety of tiles out there. Consider the investment as this typically is a higher end upgrade but usually sees a good return in the long-term.
Laminate- Laminate flooring is basically an imitation flooring that is also called a floating floor. It can be installed right over existing flooring and snaps together. It primarily is seen as a hardwood flooring alternative. Now there is also stone/tile laminate created to imitate the look of stone. Durable and easy to clean laminate will last a long time. Drawback-pretty expensive for being a fake product and mopping it is discouraged as water seeping through the seams where it is joined can get trapped from below and cause problems. It is therefore not suitable for bathrooms. It comes in a wide variety of styles, colors and finishes and is considered an upgrade to vinyl tile, and vinyl flooring. I would recommend this type of flooring if you do not have young children that could spill fluids a lot on the floor. Even though laminate is impervious to stains and cleans easily the fact that you can not give it a good mopping earns it lower marks in my book, but still a beautiful product overall.
Linoleum- Linoleum was first discovered accidentally way back in the 1800's, by a man looking to make a fake leather material for binding books. Who would have ever thought it would end up in so many peoples homes on the floor? Yet almost everyone has heard of this flooring. It is still widely seen and used today in homes because, like laminate, it can easily go over existing flooring. Linoleum's color permeates the material through and through so scratches and cuts do not show up readily. It is not a good choice for bathrooms or basement flooring as it should not come into contact with cement, which absorbs ground moisture. Linoleum is not maintenance free though, it requires regular waxing to look its best so this type of flooring is less desirable today than it used to be for that fact alone.
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