The choice of materials to use for your floor, whether you are renovating or building anew, is a very important one. Not only are there the usual considerations of quality and durability, you must also think about aesthetics such as color, texture and pattern.
In addition, the “feel” of different flooring materials will also influence your choice. Your lifestyle, as well as family size and composition, must come into the equation, too. With these factors in mind, you are ready to consider the top ten types of flooring to use inside your home.
1. Hardwood is a perennial favorite and very popular for living rooms, dining rooms and other areas that are low in moisture, wood’s primary enemy in home environments. Hardwood flooring comes in many attractive colors across a great range of wood species, with a variety of grains and possible surface treatments (wet look, dry look, etc.).
2. Cork is a choice that is gaining ground for kitchens and other areas where the residents are on their feet a lot. Cork offers soft, supple support and has the additional advantage of being environmentally friendly.
3. Ceramic tile is long lasting, tough and available in many colors and sizes. Often used in bathrooms and kitchens, some home styles (Southwestern, adobe, ranch) are also amenable to its broader use throughout the residence. Tile is one of the materials that can be used on walls, too, opening up additional design and construction possibilities.
4. Laminate floors give the look of hardwood, and various other flooring materials, without the cost. The latest technology essentially produces sheet material with a “picture” of hardwood on its surface, to create the appearance of the preferred (and much pricier) wood.
5. Linoleum has proven itself over the years to be a low-maintenance option for kitchens and other high-traffic rooms. Unlike its vinyl counterpart, linoleum uses all natural materials, and can be installed as tiles or large, rolled sheets.
6. Bamboo, yet another environmentally friendly wood option, results in floors that are known for being incredibly strong and durable. The warm, natural feel of bamboo can add a stylish finish to any room.
7. Wall-to-wall carpet remains an attractive, practical choice for bedrooms and playrooms, literally imparting a “soft landing” quality to floors. With an almost endless variety of choices in both material and color, carpeting can always be made to suit a home’s construction style or décor.
8. Area rugs are, technically speaking, a secondary type of flooring, adding color on top of hardwood or giving comfort in areas like the kitchen, where tougher materials may be hard to stand on for long periods. In addition, area rugs can be important decorative elements in a room, or even a hallway.
9. Marble is the height of luxury. Marble flooring is made from natural stone, which means that it is hypoallergenic and moisture resistant when properly sealed. It will not emit any toxic chemicals or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into your home.
10. Artistic materials, like leather or brick, give an entirely different feel to a home. Some companies are even offering leather flooring for areas like media rooms, or brick for decorative walkways through the interior of the home.
The choices are broad enough to give the renovator or homebuilder a huge palette of colors and textures to work with. When seen as an integral part of the home (re)design, the choice of flooring material becomes more and more important.
Since it is among the more labor-intensive parts of a home construction or renovation plan, flooring should be decided on carefully. Repainting a room after a bad color choice is a whole lot easier than replacing a floor that not enough thought went into. Take your time, make a good decision and then be prepared to live with it. If you are careful and thorough in your decision, you will doubtless have many years of enjoyment from your new flooring.
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