Whether you are looking to freshen up a space, update an office, add a home addition, or design an entirely new building, you inevitably need to make some critical flooring decisions. With the wide variety of flooring materials available today, there are many elements to consider, including:
Read on for a quick introduction to some of the most popular flooring material options.
Porcelain tile is a hard, dense, water resistant, stain resistant material. Porcelain’s hardness can make for a difficult DIY job without the proper tools, materials, and experience; a professional installation job is highly recommended.
Porcelain has a PEI (Porcelain Enamel Institute) rating between 0 and 5, with “floor tiles” in the range of 3 to 5 for foot traffic. Porcelain’s durability makes it long lasting and hard wearing. It’s water resistance and stain resistance allow installing porcelain tiles in water-prone, humid areas (e.g., bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and mudrooms) both indoors and out.
Porcelain floor tiles are available in a seemingly endless array of colors and designs. It’s able to mimic the look and texture of other flooring types (e.g., hardwood, marble, granite, natural stone), but with the added benefits of durability, making porcelain tiles an optimal choice for flooring.
Ceramic tile is a more supple, less dense, cost-effective material. Ceramic’s light and pliable profile allow it to be easily cut, shaped, and installed, making it a versatile material for flooring projects on a budget.
With a PEI rating between 0 and 3, ceramic tile has the versatility of being used for moderate to light foot-traffic floor coverings. Ceramic tiles are best used in spaces such as offices, powder rooms, family rooms, living rooms, and bedrooms.
Ceramic tiles are available in a wide variety of colors and designs. Ceramic tiles can be manufactured to imitate the look and texture of other flooring types (e.g., hardwood, marble, granite, natural stone). This makes ceramic tiles an ideal material to match almost any style.
Natural stone tiles are exactly as they are described: natural. They come from natural, raw stone that are quarried and imported from various parts of the world.
Marble tile is created from natural limestone. It is one of the most prestigious of the natural stone options due to its unmatched grandeur.
Marble is best used for flooring in areas that are not prone to moist or humid conditions (e.g., family and living rooms) and in areas with moderate to light foot traffic.
Marble tiles create a look of beauty and elegance with a vast array of colors and unique, natural patterns. As an interior design element, marble tiles create an elevated look and feel of sleek sophistication.
Granite is a very popular surface material due to its durability and aesthetic appeal. Granite tile is unique in that it is made from natural igneous stone created from magma that has crystallized over time.
Like marble, granite can be used as flooring in spaces that are not subject to moist or humid conditions. Granite is best installed in areas with moderate to light foot traffic. That said, granite’s durability can withstand heavier foot traffic if properly cared for with regular cleaning and sealing.
Available in a variety of natural colors and patterns to match an array of styles and designs, granite tiles are a very popular choice to enhance or upgrade any interior space.
Classic hardwood is a timeless and versatile interior flooring option that is revered for always being in style. Derived from a vast array of solid wood species (e.g., pine, oak, maple, teak, tamarind, acacia), hardwood floors are available in a plethora of shades, stains, widths, and textures to match any interior design.
Best used in interior spaces with dry conditions (e.g., bedrooms, family rooms, living rooms, offices), classic hardwood – without fail – will add warmth and elegance to any space.
Engineered hardwood flooring is fabricated by compressing layers of plywood, solid wood, adhesive, and then coated with a top layer of polyurethane to create a more durable, versatile hardwood material. With its wide variety of available shades, stains, widths, and textures, engineered hardwood can be manufactured to mimic the look and style of any classic hardwood.
Ultimately, engineered hardwood is a more cost-effective option than classic hardwood. What’s more, certain engineered products are created in such a way as to offer durability and versatility that outperforms classic hardwood. These products can be used in a wider array of interior spaces (e.g., powder rooms, entryways, dining rooms, and kitchens). That said, similar to classic hardwood, engineered hardwood is typically recommended for spaces with dry conditions.
Laminate flooring is fabricated by compressing layers of fiberboard, adhesive, a photo-realistic image layer, and hard plastic. Manufacturers are able to use a photo-realistic image layer to create a look that mimics other flooring options (e.g., ceramic, natural stone, hardwood) and create a vast array of colors, patterns, and design options.
Laminate is a cost-effective flooring option; however, preventative measures must be taken to ensure its longevity (e.g., felt-tip furniture protectors and area rugs). Laminate flooring is best used in spaces that endure moderate to light foot traffic as well as dry conditions (e.g., bedrooms, offices, powder rooms, family rooms, living rooms).
Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT)
LVT flooring is fabricated by compressing layers of polymer of vinyl chloride (PVC), a photo-realistic image layer, adhesive, and hard plastic. Similar to laminate, the photo-realistic image layers are used to create the looks of other flooring types (e.g., ceramic, natural stone, hardwood) as well as a wide variety of colors, patterns, and styles to fit most interior designs.
LVT is a durable and versatile flooring option, which can be used in interior spaces with moderate to light foot traffic and dry conditions (e.g., powder rooms, bedrooms, hallways, offices, family and living rooms).
Carpet is created from synthetic fibers of nylon, polypropylene, and/or polyester. Carpet is made in a seemingly endless variety of colors, patterns, designs, and pile options that can match any interior style.
Hugely popular for its ability to muffle sounds between rooms and floors as well as the warmth and comfort it brings, carpet is an ideal flooring material for spaces such as bedrooms, family rooms, living rooms, and offices.
Carpet must be installed in interior spaces with dry conditions. Depending on the pile chosen, carpet can be installed in spaces with moderate to light foot traffic.
It is worth mentioning that carpet can cause issues for those with allergies, as dander and dust settle into the material. That said, frequent vacuuming and occasional steam cleaning can help minimize these issues.
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