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Choosing the Best Flooring for Your Home

Everybody cares about how comfortable their homes are, but have you ever thought of the important role flooring plays in this? 

Impact of good floors is usually underestimated, and most people don't really care about the flooring in their homes as much as their furniture. Good, durable flooring is essential not only for the comfort and look of your home, but for your overall health and well-being as well.

We walk around all day on every type of flooring material imaginable. However, we hardly ever give a second glance to the flooring beneath our feet. If you are thinking about what type(s) of flooring you want for your home, spend some time getting to know 4 of the most popular types of floors available before making what you think is the most well-informed decision.

1. Linoleum Flooring             

Linoleum is a combination of linseed oil from flax, cork, ground limestone, resins, drying agents and pigments, all on a backing of jute fiber.  Linoleum flooring is also hypoallergenic and antistatic, which helps repel dust and dirt. It is sold in large rolls or in tile form, and can be a sturdy alternative to more traditional  hardwood, stone, or tile flooring. 





Pros:

  • The most popular flooring material on the market today.
  • Natural and Biodegradable.
  • Easy to Maintain  Regular sweeping, vacuuming or washing with a mop are enough to clean linoleum floors.
  • Tough and Long-Lasting  Linoleum's design goes through all the way to a woven backing.
  • Any yellowing being hidden from light underneath a linoleum floor will “bloom,” or come back, to normal coloring when regularly exposed to light.
  • Scratch- and Fire-Resistant — Linoleum flooring has an embedded pattern.
  • Color and design choices for linoleum are abundant and cost-effective.

Cons:

  • Sensitivity — Water and acidic chemical (e.g. vinegar) spills can create irremovable stains.
  • Linoleum has to be waxed and/or polished often.
  • Warranties are limited.

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2. Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring has been popular in many different settings for years. It can be an affordable alternative to other types of flooring, and some types of vinyl look as authentic as real wood or stone. Sometimes referred to as “resilient” flooring, vinyl flooring is highly elastic, or able to return to its original form after weight is applied.









Pros:

  • Appearance — Sheet vinyl is available in an enormous variety of patterns, colors and surface textures that will match any decorating style.
  • Cost-effective.
  • Easy to Install — Vinyl flooring can be laid over a wide range of surfaces, including existing flooring. In particular, sheet vinyl is easy to lay and makes a good Do-It-Yourself project for beginners.
  • Low Maintenance — Vinyl can be swept regularly without waxing or polishing.
  • Easy to Repair — If damaged, sheet vinyl flooring can be patched quite easily with a matching off-cut.
  • Unlimited Design Options — New technology has allowed for high-resolution images and more appealing textures, such as weathered stones and hand-scraped hardwoods.

Cons:
  • Wear and tear can develop over a certain length of time.
  • Vinyl can become dated, or go out of style, after a certain length of time.
  • Bumps and bubbles may develop over time, along with curled edges, scratches, stains and holes.
  • Certain colors and patterns can fade quickly when exposed to sunlight.

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3. Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is an ultra-durable product that closely resembles a natural wood or stone floor.  Just about any surface finish is available, such as stone, cork, wood, marble, bamboo and special hand-crafted varieties. The best type of laminate flooring can be installed over most sub-floor surfaces, as long as the surfaces are flat and bump-free.







Pros:
  • Immaculate Design — Laminate flooring is a realistic blend of a variety of natural wood, stone and tile designs.
  • Cost-effective — Laminate flooring has low material and installation costs.
  • Durability — Laminate flooring is very long-lasting and harder to scratch than many other floors. The highest quality product should last about 15 to 30 years.
  • Floating Installation — Since the boards are not attached to the floor, laminate floors can be installed over nearly any surface without a lot of preparation.
  • Flexibility — Laminate floors are easy to match up to carpet, tile and other types of floors because of the variety of trims and moldings available.
  • Family-friendly — Laminate floors are great for households with children and pets.
  • Environmentally Responsible — Laminate floors release virtually no VOC emissions and contain no allergens.
  • Ease of Fitting — Laminate floors have a 'snap-together' mechanism whereby no glues or other adhesives are necessary for finishing.

Cons:
  • "Hollow" Sound — If laminate flooring is not installed with the correct underlayment, footsteps on the floor may create a distracting sound. 
  • Cannot be Refinished — Even though laminate floors stand up well to some wear and tear, they cannot be resurfaced like natural hardwood floors.
  • Lower Perceived Value — A laminate floor does not have the same perceived value as the natural material it mimics, such as genuine hardwood or natural stone.
  • Overall Short Life Expectancy — A laminate floor is not expected to last as long as more natural products like genuine hardwood or stone.

You can find more information at: 


4. Hardwood Flooring

 
Hardwood floors can add elegance and beauty to any decorating style with its old world, or rustic, finish. Many hardwood floor varieties are made of oak, cherry, pine, maple hickory, pecan, beech, birch, and walnut. All of these varieties are quite thick and can be sanded and smoothed to remove large dents before finishing.









Pros:
  • Easy to Maintain — Regular sweeping, vacuuming or washing with a mop are enough to clean a genuine hardwood floor. In case of food spills and excess deposits of dirt, a hardwood floor can be cleaned with a special wood floor cleaner (e.g. Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner) in no time.
  • Hardwood floors can be sanded and refinished multiple times.
  • Timeless Design — Hardwood floors do not go out of style quickly.
  • Versatility — Hardwood flooring fits into both traditional and modern home décor. It can also be customized by using hard woods, such as cherry, walnut and oak.
  • Environmentally Responsible — Hardwood floors are best suited for people suffering from certain allergies.
  • Durability. 

Cons:
  • Hardwood flooring is highly vulnerable to moisture and humidity.
  • Expensive — Apart from the raw materials themselves, installing and refinishing hardwood flooring can put a big "hole" in your wallet.
  • Extremely Noisy: When walking on hardwood flooring, you can easily make screechy sounds.
  • Hardwood floors cannot be installed in some rooms, especially the laundry room and bathrooms.

You can find more information at:  
Having explored different kinds of floors, you may come to the conclusion that linoleum, hands down, is the best option, thanks to its modernity and low cost. However, the type of flooring you choose all depends on what you feel fits best within the style and structure of your own home, which is not always swift and easy to determine.  That being said, always make sure that whatever type of flooring you choose helps not only the cosmetic elements of your home, but also your own specific health needs.


If you are looking for more information about what you believe is the best type of flooring for your home, contact our research specialist for more information.