Keep More Than Looks in Mind
If you are shopping for flooring for a new or existing home, you might be overwhelmed by all of the options. The room itself will help dictate the best type of flooring for that space — moisture resistant materials in a kitchen or laundry room, for example.
But you should also keep your family’s lifestyle in mind when it comes to what’s underfoot in your main living areas. Especially if those feet sometimes run through the house in soccer cleats.
Maintenance and Durability
If you are a “shoes in the house” kind of family or live with kids and/or pets, you will need a floor that’s both durable and easy to clean. Luckily, there are lots of choices that fit the bill, and within every budget. Hardwood floors are long-lasting and beautiful, but can also be higher priced and more of an inconvenience to install and finish. Some of the engineered hardwoods and even laminate flooring options available today have finishes on them that make them a better choice if you have dogs with long nails that scratch the floor or children who have been known to roller skate around the dining room table.
There are lots of tile and vinyl flooring options these days that mimic wood, stone and other materials. Some are more durable than others — pay attention to the thickness of any vinyl flooring, in particular. Compile a list of pros and cons for the types of flooring you are considering. Hardwood floors can suffer damage from wear, but they can also be sanded down and refinished.
If anyone in your home has an allergy related to dust, dust mites, or pet dander (if you have a cat or dog), it makes sense to avoid carpeting and even area rugs in rooms where that person spends a lot of time. Wood, tile, or laminate flooring makes it easier to keep things clean and dust-free.
If you want to have the softness of carpeting in your home’s living room or bedrooms, make sure that no one in the family might be affected by the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) released from most types of carpet fibers. If you are afraid that VOCs might cause health issues, search for eco-friendly or chemical-free carpet brands.
Along those lines, if your family lifestyle leans toward “green”, focus your flooring shopping on more sustainable options. That can mean anything from recycled hardwood to eco-friendly carpet or bamboo flooring (bamboo grows quickly and is considered a more renewable resource than wood) to raw materials flooring like linoleum or cork.
Even if you aren’t that focused on sustainability, it’s good for the environment to pick a durable floor that you love and that you are willing to take care of and live with for a long time. In that respect, it might make sense to spend a little more for high quality flooring that will stand up to whatever your family dishes out.