Types of Flooring
Flooring Middletown NY is one of the most important purchases a homeowner will make. It should reflect the style and conventions of a home, the intended occupants, and the homeowner’s budget.
Some materials, like all-natural linoleum and cork, are healthier for you and the environment than vinyl and woven carpets. Wood is also more sustainable than many synthetics, but look for flooring certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and Sustainable Forestry Initiative.
The classic choice for homes with a traditional style, hardwood is both durable and beautiful. Depending on the species, it can be very light or very dark in color, and some have dramatic grain patterns. It also holds a stain very well, although it may require more frequent refinishing than other types of flooring. A good quality hardwood floor will last for generations.
Hardwoods are available both prefinished and unfinished, depending on the needs of each project. In new construction, the rough sanding is done during construction and the final coating occurs just prior to move-in. Prefinished hardwood can be installed almost anywhere in a home, and the finishes are typically cured under UV lights for increased durability. The factory finishes also tend to be much tougher than those applied on-site, and they are less likely to crack, chip, or peel.
Solid wood floors are planks milled from a single piece of timber and can be either nailed or glued to the subfloor. They are usually cut to a standard strip width of 5 or 6 inches, but they can be wider for a more expansive look. They are available in both traditional and engineered formats, the latter of which can be produced in longer and wider boards than solid wood to accommodate expansion and contraction of the wood due to changes in humidity.
While all hardwood is naturally durable, the strength of a specific species is determined by its density and Janka hardness rating. The higher the denser a wood is, the harder it is and the more resistant to damage from heavy furniture or foot traffic. Softer woods like pine and spruce, on the other hand, are much more prone to scratching and denting.
Hardwoods are generally more expensive than soft woods, but they have a timeless beauty that adds value to any home. They also keep a room warm, and they are compatible with underfloor radiant heating systems. Unlike carpet, they are easy to clean and maintain. It is important to sweep regularly, vacuum occasionally and wipe up spills as soon as they happen. Rugs at every entrance are also a smart investment to help reduce dirt and grit that will grind into the finish, and it is a good idea to use doormats and drapes to minimize direct sunlight that can bleach or fade the wood.
Laminate flooring is typically made of melamine resin and fiberboard materials. It looks more like plastic than real wood in many cases, but manufacturers have made great strides to create an image layer that can even be printed to look like stone or tile. The image layer sits on top of a durable, moisture-resistant back and core layers. It’s a cost-effective option that works well in high traffic areas and can be used in nearly any room.
Spills, dirt, pet hair and dust easily wipe away from a laminate floor, and its water-resistant surface prevents moisture damage. Moisture can seep between the planks and cause swelling, but it’s not as big of a problem as it would be with natural wood floors. Water-resistant laminate can be used in kitchens and laundries, though it’s important to keep an eye on the amount of water that comes into contact with the floor.
The image layer gives laminate its beautiful appearance, but beneath that is a tough plastic sheet that’s impervious to scratches and stains. It’s a good choice for messy or active spaces, and it’s available in a wide range of colors and designs. Manufacturers can also produce laminate that mimics the look of ceramic or stone tiles, and they may be embossed to add texture to a floor.
Most laminate is produced with low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) materials, and it’s possible to find laminate that has no VOCs at all. These options are becoming more common, as consumers are more aware of the dangers of harmful chemicals in their homes.
VOCs can emit a strong odor, which is why it’s important to shop for non-toxic laminate flooring at local flooring stores and not major box chains that often carry products made from questionable ingredients.
Like solid hardwood floors, laminate requires a subfloor. Foam or felt underlayment resides between the laminate and the subfloor, creating a barrier that decouples the two surfaces and dampens noise levels. Laminate floorboards are either snapped together or glued in place, depending on the type you choose. A snap-together method known as fold-and-lay is more popular than the tongue and groove joinery used with solid hardwood flooring. This system has the board’s outer grooves positioned so they’re slightly angled to the adjacent boards, allowing them to be folded together with friction holding the pieces in place and preventing moisture migration.
Unlike carpets and laminates that can be cookie-cutter in appearance, tile offers an array of colors, patterns, and materials to make your flooring uniquely yours. You can even find textured and slip-resistant options for use in high traffic areas. Additionally, since tile is a hard material, it doesn’t harbor dirt, dust, and pollen the way other floors might.
Tile is also a great option for environments with a lot of moisture. The ability to withstand water spills and splashes without becoming stained or deteriorating makes it ideal for kitchens, bathrooms, and porches. Plus, it is easy to clean and requires no harsh chemicals or cleaning products.
Many types of tiles are made from raw, eco-friendly materials that are locally available, or recycled. They are also manufactured in a closed loop, meaning that no waste is sent to landfills. Many of these tiles also have regional availability, meaning that they don’t need to be shipped thousands of miles to reach you, which reduces energy consumption and air pollution.
The majority of tiles are made from clay, which is a renewable resource. Many ceramic tiles are also manufactured using recycled glass and other materials. Quarrying natural stone such as granite, marble, and slate, which are used to make some tiles, is often done in an environmentally friendly manner, too.
A major benefit of tile is that it can add significant resale value to your home. It’s also a long-lasting material that can last a lifetime when properly maintained. It can withstand the stomping of snow boots, soccer cleats, and children’s toys, while looking beautiful for years to come.
However, a downside of tile is that it can be cold to the touch in the winter and hot in the summer. Adding area rugs and underfloor heating to your home can help to alleviate these problems, but this does increase the initial cost of installation. Additionally, some tile is not slip-resistant and can pose a safety hazard when wet. This is especially true for glazed, smooth tiles. Textured tiles, and glazed, textured tiles that are made with a non-slip additive can help to prevent this.
Stone flooring is a beautiful and durable choice for any home. Typically offered in tile form, stone floors add natural beauty to living areas of the house and can also be used outdoors. When properly maintained, this is a floor covering that will last for years and can increase the value of a home.
The type of stone flooring you choose will depend on its intended location and what abuse it will be subjected to. Some types of natural stones are more prone to scratching and require more maintenance than others, so it is important to consider how much you want to spend and what you can afford before you decide on a specific type of stone flooring.
Most types of natural stone require regular resealing, which should be done about once every year or so. The more porous the stone, the more frequently it will need to be resealed. Sedimentary stones like sandstone and slate are very porous and should be sealed more often than granite or unique slate types, which are less porous and require less frequent sealing.
All natural stone materials contain traces of iron, which can turn the surface of your floor tiles into a dull grey or even rust over time. This can be a problem when you install these stone flooring materials in an outdoor environment, since the rust will create a slipping hazard during rain and snowstorms.
The look of stone flooring can be enhanced by choosing a particular finish for it. For example, a brushed finish is created by metal wire brushes that are run over the surface of the tile to create a slightly textured appearance. Brushed finishes are a good option for homeowners who want the durability of a tiled floor but would prefer a slightly more forgiving and casual look. This type of finish can help hide dirt and stains from the stone and make it easier to keep clean. It is best to avoid a glossy finish for your stone flooring, as it will highlight dirt and staining more readily than other types of finishing techniques.