Floors can be a huge investment and a lot of upheaval to install or change, so you don't want to make a mistake or change your mind after it's done! Steven and Chris offered up a primer on flooring with some great basic info and tips on choosing the flooring that works for your home and your lifestyle.
- Pros: Has been used throughout the world for centuries, can last for 100 yrs, could be sanded and refinished to renew it if it's thick enough.
- True hardwoods like oak are harder and won't dent and scratch as easily as softer woods like pine.
- Improve over time, and their gentle wear and tear adds even more warmth as they age.
- If you choose prefinished boards with factory-finished varnish, save money on installations costs. Can install yourself. Much more durable finish. And has warranty.
- Great resale.
- Can change the finish over time.
- Slim legged heavy furniture, and stilettos can dent it so use protective tips on your furniture. Can be expensive. If not prefinished may have to finish every 5 - 10 years. Needs to be very well protected if you are going to put it in areas that could get wet - kitchens, entries and high traffic areas. And these areas will look more weathered than in the low traffic areas - noteworthy for open spaces. Must be climate controlled - it will always expand or contract with humidity so should create stable environment.
- Care and maintenance: Use a top quality varnish to seal if it's not prefinished. Use recommended cleaning products - no harsh cleaners. Must acclimatize to room a few days before you install it or it may swell and warp or crack.
- Pricing: can be very costly depending on how available the wood is to your area.
Popular Alternatives to Traditional Hardwood
- Eco-friendly / renewable resource.
- Pros: extremely durable, hard and stable. Affordable. Install in any room including bathroom/kitchen
- Caution: Go for top quality supplier - cheaper product harvested before four years old, - if younger the floor planks can be soft and will dent and warp easily.
- Eco friendly / renewable resource.
- Pros: warm look and texture, great underfoot, easy to stand on, good for kitchens and bathrooms too, many shades from very light to very dark and colours, inexpensive installation, should be sealed if not already factory sealed.
- Thin strips of real wood are glued to a hard backing of mdf or plywood. Can also include wood floating floors which are thin layers of veneer adhered to hdf core. Varying types of product and quality.
- Pros: look of solid hardwood. Easy, clean installation process
- Pre finished so factory will give a warranty for the surface finish. Good resistance to moisture so some people use it in basements or over concrete, where solid wood would contract and seperate. can get more exotic species cause only using small amount of actual wood. Can have 25 yr warrenty.
- Cons: some types can't be deeply sanded or refinished
- Pricing - can be more expensive than hardwood.
- Is actually a photograph of wood or stone glued onto a backing and then finished. Very durable. New generation of quality. High gloss, lots of depth and texture to the new ones, more realistic.
- Pros: Inexpensive, super easy to install yourself. The high end ones can be quite durable, cheaper ones, not so tough. If there is any surface damage faulty board can be replaced.
- Cons: The cheaper brands aren't as convincing and wear quickly.
- Pricing - Can be same price as hardwood. Many much cheaper
- Ancient flooring material, lasts centuries, choose local stone which is more eco friendly because you're not using all that fuel to ship it and it will be cheaper than imported stone. Large range of stone from slate to marble, granite and limestone. Traditionally used in hot weather countries because it is cool to the touch.
- Pros: high value perceived in re-sale, unique , piece of art. Lasts forever. Damaged stones can be replaced, durable, withstands wear and tear.
- Cons: regular sealing because it is porous so that it won't be absorbed and stain. Seal twice a year. Try not to use light colour grout.
- Ceramic Tile: dense mix of clay, minerals and water - and a coating of liquid glass for colour and texture. White or red clay base. Knock on ceramic - if you chip the product, shows the white or red.
- Porcelain Tile: more durable than ceramic. Made in layers. Can have same situation as ceramic with chipping, but it is a lot harder to chip.
- Pros: Glazed tiles are resistant to moisture, odour, fire, stains, scratches, allergens and bacteria.
- Cons: Shiny, glazed tiles are slippery and scratch - so use those on for walls . Installation can be time consuming and expensive, Floors must be completely level, or they'll crack. Fixing discoloured grout is
- Pricing - reasonable to expensive
- Synthetic, vast array of looks from wood, to cork to stone, modern or traditional.
- Pros: Inexpensive. Easy maintenance, stains and spills are no problem. Hides scratches. Comfortable, durable, non-allergenic, good choice for kitchens. Used to be ugly but new products have lots of colours, patterns and textures. Installation: sheets or tiles glued to sub floor - some can be laid directly on old existing floor. Can cope with imperfections in underfloor, can often do it yourself if your handy.
- Cons: great fakes but will never have the same lasting elegance of the real thing.
- Pricing: very affordable
Take your time, do your research and be true to what suits your home, your lifestyle, and your budget!
All flooring samples by Carpet One Floor and Home.
Eric Adelman is the owner of Southpark Design Build and has 20 years experience in restoring and building homes. He showed us his family home - a heritage gem that was the prototype for Casa Loma.