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Flooring Buying Guide

Flooring Buying Guide

From top to bottom, you want what's best for your home. If you want to spruce up your home while adding value, consider installing new flooring. Flooring materials are more varied than ever and offers both fashion and function. But all the attractive new options may leave you feeling confused about what best suits your needs. If you want to install new flooring but aren't sure what kind, keep reading to understand some of the practical and aesthetic factors that should influence your decision.


Which Room Needs Flooring?

Flooring

Each room in the house serves a specific purpose that requires you to think about function as well as fashion.


Kitchens
  • High traffic and dirt from the outside entry door are two important factors.
  • Spills are common from cooking, so floors must be easy to clean.
  • Non-slip flooring is necessary for safety purposes.

Possible Solutions:

  • Vinyl is a good choice for kitchen floors. In the event of a dropped glass or dish, a resilient floor like vinyl has more bounce and may prevent breakage. Remember, though, a deeply textured pattern may be harder to clean.
  • Tile, laminate and wood are great kitchen floor alternatives. Rugs and mats can soften a harder material such as tile.

Bathroom
  • Occasional sink, toilet and bathtub overflows mean water is a factor.
  • Bathroom cleaning should also be taken into consideration.
  • Slipperiness is generally a big issue when it comes to bathroom floors.

Possible Solutions:

  • Vinyl has traditionally been the floor of choice for baths, but rugs are useful to help prevent slipping. It is the easiest to clean.
  • Ceramic tile is gaining rapidly in popularity and isn't as slippery as vinyl. It is slightly harder to clean, though.
  • Newer versions of laminate and wood products can be adapted to bathrooms even with excessive moisture. Make sure any rugs or mats are non-slip.

Living Room
  • This is the focal point and centerpiece of home furnishings in most homes.
  • Function varies from family room to formal receiving room.
  • Choose flooring to match the room's function and décor.

Possible Solutions:

  • Carpet offers fibers and styles that accommodate informal or formal use.
  • Hardwood also provides an attractive, durable option, especially with the addition of area rugs.

Dining Room
  • Whether the floor is used regularly at mealtime plays a part in which flooring to choose.
  • If it is used regularly for mealtime, consider if there are a lot of spills.

Possible Solutions:

  • Carpet is an option, but light colors tend to show stains more and may not be the best choice.
  • Wood, laminate or tile all work well in dining rooms.

Bedroom
  • Floors are usually overshadowed by the bed and coordinating fabrics.
  • Traffic is less of a problem here than in other rooms, so stains and wear should be minimal.
  • Consider a neutral flooring that adapts to frequent décor changes. Too many bright colors can be overpowering.

Possible Solutions:

  • Carpet is traditionally used in bedrooms.
  • Wood or laminate floors are good alternatives, especially if you add decorative rugs.

Hallways and Stairs
  • Steady traffic brings dirt and moisture, especially to entry halls and mudrooms.
  • Stains and wear are more visible.
  • Look for a sturdy material that coordinates with the rest of the flooring in the house.
  • Entry halls are the first part of your home a guest sees, so use this area to make a bold statement.

Possible Solutions:

  • Inlaid patterns of wood parquet or ceramic tile can be dramatic and still handle traffic.
  • Laminate flooring is a good alternative, especially if you add non-slip decorative rugs.


Where is the Room That Needs Flooring Located?

Where is the Room That Needs Flooring Located?

Before you make your purchase, do a little research. Each type of flooring requires the proper substrate to work, therefore some floors are not recommended for all areas of the home.

Is the existing floor above grade (suspended), on grade or below grade? (see diagram)

  • Basements are especially susceptible to ground moisture. Both grade level and below grade level floors have potential moisture concerns that need to be addressed.
  • Make sure that you buy a flooring material suited to the grade level where the floor is to be installed. A flooring sales specialist can tell you if the floor you like will work.


Preparations for New Flooring

Before buying flooring, take detailed measurements of the room and create a scale drawing, if possible. Take these with you when you go shopping. Your flooring specialist will use this information to provide you with the most attractive and economical installation solution. Got your room measurements already? Let us do the math-use our Flooring Calculator.

  • Will the new floor have continuity with the other flooring in your home? Where does the floor fit in your overall decorating theme?
  • Will you have to redecorate the whole room to match the new floor? What colors match the existing room décor? Color is a major consideration in floor selection.
    o  Light surfaces reflect a great deal of light while darker surfaces reflect little light, requiring more light sources.
    o  A room furnished in a light color scheme feels larger than darker rooms. Dark-colored flooring can make a large room feel more intimate.
    o  Stick with neutral shades to allow more colorful home decorating or choose bold colors for impact. Keep in mind that a light floor shows more soil than a darker floor.
  • Where is the room? Does it have an outside entrance that generates traffic? Will pets or children be running or playing on it?
  • Does anyone in your home have allergies? Because they harbor fewer dust mites, hard-surfaced floors, complemented with easy-to-clean rugs, are a better choice for people with allergies than wall-to-wall carpeting.
  • Do you have a heated floor? Not all floor coverings are adaptable to subfloor heating.
  • What's the cost of the new floor, and how long will the floor last? Compare how long different types of flooring usually last. For example, if you are trying to decide between hardwood and laminate, remember that hardwood can be refinished but laminate cannot. Plus, when you've made the decision on what type of flooring you want, remember it will cost just the same to have a middle-grade carpet installed as it would to have the best quality carpet installed.
  • What care will be involved in maintaining the floor? Will it be easy to keep clean?
  • Can the old floor be refinished? Some existing hardwood floors can be refinished. If you like the look of wood, explore this option.
  • Can you install it yourself? Are you able to recognize and repair inadequate subflooring and underlayment? What is the amount of preparation required? Are you able to remove and dispose of old flooring materials? Remember that some old resilient floors contain asbestos and require removal by a professional. If you decide not to install it yourself, remember, Lowe's can have it installed for you.