How many of you have little or no carpeting in your house? I am raising my hand. When I was little the only rooms that did not have carpet were the kitchen and the bathroom. Now, the only room that does is the guest room above the garage.
Traditional, durable hardwood flooring options are oak, maple and cherry. Pine is less durable and will dent easier. These flooring options come in various finishes: polyurethane, wax, moisture cure and factory finish.
Tile works well in any room. I have some in my kitchen. I will say though that I would seriously rethink this next time. If you are going to put it in your kitchen, your feet will get tired of standing on it much quicker than with other flooring options.
Tile can be glazed. Glazed tile has color only in the top layer of the tile and it has a wear rating, 1 to 5. Anything 3 or higher is good for flooring.
If you see a tile that is rated 1 or 2, think backsplash, and higher!
Tile also has a coeficient of friction (COF) rating, 0 to 1. If you want slip-resistent, choose .6 and higher.
Unglazed tile has color throughout the tile and does not require a wear rating. This tile type includes quarry and terra cotta.
Stone flooring is also an intriguing option. Granite, marble, slate and limestone are the choices. Stone flooring is often highly polished though and so you might not want to put it in a high traffic area.
Linoleum was popular in the 1960s but it is making a come back. As it is porous, it has to be waxed but it is made from natural materials and thus considered “green.” Vinyl, while similar to linoleum, is made from synthetic materials.
Laminate is one of my new favorites since I took this class. As I learned in class, it is very durable. Much more so than the hardwood flooring it imitates. If you have kids and/or pets, you should seriously consider this option. I no longer want to rip mine out for real hardwood floors.
Laminate is made from multiple layers of resin, wood fiber and kraft paper that is then bonded together, compacted under pressure and transformed into planks. The surface is actually a photographic image printed onto a thin, decorative layer that is in turn protected by a wear layer.
Moving on to soft surface flooring, the most notable option in this arena would be carpet.
Wool is what is known as the “best” but you also pay for it. In addition, it is not very comfortable. Nylon would be the next best. It does not matte over time, crunch under the feet or show traffic patterns. Nylon can either be dyed before the carpet is made or after, which is known as piece dyed. Polyester, olefin and poly propylene are other carpeting options.
Some things to think about when picking out your carpet: pile height should not be over a half inch; stitches per inch – the more the better; how tight the twist of the yarn is – tighter will stand up to wear better; and continuous filament, one strand of yarn, over stapling, individual strands of yarn that are stapled.
After those considerations think plush, berber or level loop. Plush is generally cut, not looped. This is a good choice for living rooms, bedrooms and for pet owners generally so pet claws do not get caught in the loop and snag the carpet. Berber is looped but does not show traffic patters. Level loop is a commercial grade carpet and is glued to the subfloor. There is also sisal and seagrass. I like the look of these options but I think they are pretty uncomfortable on bare feet.
Finally, there are rugs. You can’t go wrong with a rug. You can choose from aubusson, braided, oriental, kilim and dhurrie. When you are trying to figure out what size rug you need it helps to consider the area where you want to place the rug.
The rug should be large enough in your living room (or other conversation area) that seating pieces will fit on top of it or at least the front legs of all the seating pieces. If you are putting it in your bedroom, you will likely want a rug big enough that it will underscore the bedside tables and you can step on it when you get out of the bed.
In the dining room? The rug should be large enough that when a guest pulls out her chair, the back legs do not come off the edge of the rug. This makes it hard for her to pull the chair underneath her as she sits as the back legs of the chair will likely get caught on the edge of the rug.
Happy flooring. Next week, furniture!