Flooring for Your Lifestyle
Choosing the right flooring involves much more than aesthetic appeal. Your lifestyle plays a large role in how much wear and tear your floor will endure and whether tile, vinyl, hardwood, or carpet will best suit your needs.
If you have young children, expect more wear to your flooring. Quality vinyl, laminate, and tile are the most resistant to scratching, and vinyl/laminate are more gentle on the feet- something to consider if you live with an elderly relative. Carpet, although the most comfortable, easily accumulates dust and other small particles, which can effect those with allergies. If you do choose carpet, go for a darker neutral shade to camouflage spills and accidents. Hardwood tends to scratch easily but purchasing pre-finished hardwood offers more protection.
It is generally advised to avoid carpet if you own pets. This flooring traps animal hair over time which can pose some health risks, and urine is extremely difficult to clean out of carpet- however, there are some stain guard products available to lessen the clean up. In regards to some laminate/hardwood, pet claws can destroy this flooring, but if you are set on the look, opt for Cali bamboo, oak, mahogany, or other harder woods as opposed to "softwoods" like pine or hemlock. Vinyl, tile, or laminate provide the most resilience and require little maintenance.
If you are not limited by the above mentioned situations, consider how much work you are willing to put into your flooring. Hardwood flooring requires the most care, with a recommended maintenance coat every 3-5 years and sanding/refinishing every few decades, as well as daily cleaning. However, be cautious as some newer hardwood floors are only 1/4 inch thick with a laminate coating and therefore cannot be refinished or sanded. Vinyl, laminate, and tile are extremely durable and easy to clean with a damp cloth or mop, but be sure to avoid using an heavy duty chemicals, and to only clean your tile with products compatible with grout. Carpets must be vacuumed 2-3 times a week to prevent dirt build-up, and a large doormat is recommended to reduce the amount of dirt tracked around the carpet.
After taking into consideration these recommendations, choose the flooring that best suits your style! Installing new vinyl, tile, carpet or hardwood can instantly transform your space and add value to your home.