So, you just bought a new house, but it needs a little work. You got it for a good price, but you know you’ll need to put some dollars into a renovation that will make you happy.
You’re especially eager to tear out that old shag carpet or to rip up those outdated vinyl tiles in the kitchen and bathrooms. But when you head to the home improvement store and browse through the flooring department, the choices are a little overwhelming. You were adamant about hardwood, but now you think laminate is okay. And what about bamboo? What the heck is that and why would you use it on your floors? And there’s always the carpet route.
Consider your Lifestyle
How you live, who lives in your house, and what you can afford will largely determine in which direction you proceed with flooring purchases. Do you have young children? Older pets that have frequent accidents? Are you looking for something that requires little care? Our floors take a beating, especially in climates with harsh weather. So, all of these are questions you should answer before you hightail it to the flooring store to choose your favorite.
You should also know a little about the options you’ll be considering after you arrive.
Though carpet isn’t very trendy right now – just watch HGTV, and you’ll find out how passé carpet seems to be – it is indeed the right choice for some.
Carpets provide excellent traction for older residents. They are warm on your feet in cold climates. For that reason, many homeowners like to retain carpets in the bedrooms but choose wood or laminate floors for the rest of the house. It also acts as insulation and feels softer to give your home a “softer” feel.
There are plenty of carpets on the market that don’t look dated, so there’s no need to worry about it making your house look old-fashioned. It can be far less labor-intensive than caring for wood surfaces as you need to have them cleaned now and then.
Caveats? Carpets stain, and sometimes those stains are difficult to remove or can’t be removed at all. It’s disheartening when that happens, especially when the carpets are relatively new, as there may be no solution other than to replace the carpet or live with the stain.
Hardwood flooring is exactly as the name indicates. It’s real wood flooring made from the wood of a variety of different trees including oak, maple, walnut, pine, and more. You’ll also find some more exotic wood types available too, but at a higher price. Truly, there are many selections from which to choose, so homeowners will likely find one that matches their “vibe” and their décor.
Hardwoods are sturdy, and when worn, they can be refinished several times. That makes them long-lasting and – for many – well worth the cost. They are easy to clean and polish.
Most homeowners don’t try to install hardwood on their own as it’s a more complicated process than installing laminates or tiles, so a professional installer is highly recommended, which will – of course – add to the cost.
Laminate floors are made of pressed plywood or compressed fibers with a top layer made of plastic, so they are less expensive than hardwoods. In many instances, they can be placed atop an existing floor, which eliminates the need for messy, costly, and time-consuming tear-outs. For that reason, many homeowners tackle installation on their own.
Like hardwoods, laminate floors are available in a wide variety of colors and textures so you can match colors and styles to the décor in the rooms you’re re-flooring. They require simple mopping to maintain them.
Usually considered the next level up from laminate, engineered wood floors are also made of plywood and recycled wood fibers, but the top layer is made from real wood. Similar to laminate, they are usually made so that pieces can “click together”, so a professional installer may not be necessary. These floors are generally more expensive than laminate and, in some cases, can be just as expensive as the cheaper hardwood varieties. Upkeep is not difficult.
Cork and Bamboo
Looking for something more eco-friendly? Bamboo and cork fit the bill. Bamboo looks very much like the above-mentioned wood or laminate floors but is actually a type of grass. It’s quite durable and is available in a variety of colors and textures. Cork is made from the bark of a tree and while it is durable, it does need to be re-sealed with a protective layer every few years.
Tiles of different types – vinyl, porcelain, ceramic – certainly aren’t out of the question and are often the choice of homeowners looking for patterns a little more interesting than what they can get with woods or artificial woods. They are quite easy to clean and maintain but can suffer from scraping (vinyl) or chips/cracks (porcelain or ceramic). They can, however, make a room quite visually appealing!
Need help making a decision? Your realtor can often provide you with contact information for good flooring retailers and installers in your area and can help you determine what kind of floors might eventually be to your advantage when it comes to getting a good price for your home if you decide to sell in the future.