Designers often say the floor is the “foundation” of decorating. It is a large area our eye is drawn to therefore, if possible, your floor is where you should start your decorating theme. Today there are numerous types of flooring and styles to choose from, here is a brief description of some of your choices.
HARDWOOD The most common types of hardwoods used for floors are oak, maple, hickory, ash & birch. Are you looking for wood that shows a lot of grain such as Red Oak, or do you want a closed grain such Maple or White Oak? If you are shopping for hardwood you may want to consider the style you think would perform and look the best in your home – smooth, hand scraped, wire brushed or oil finished. Consider the grade of the wood, the wear layer, how the wood is finished, are the boards of good length? What grade is the wood – is it clear – meaning very few knots or is it cabin grade – meaning numerous knots or is it a grade in between? The wear layer is very important – how thick is it? Has aluminum oxide or pulverized ceramic been added to the wear layer? Are the majority of boards 3 to 4 feet long or are they “shorts?”
Traditional hardwood is solid hardwood ½” to ¾” thick. Hardwoods can be finished on site meaning the hardwood planks are installed in your home, sanded, stained a color of your choosing then one to three coats of a wear layer (varathane) are applied. Hardwood also comes prefinished – the stain and often a much harder surface than can be applied on site is applied at the mill. Years ago many people preferred site finished but with the many advances in coatings, prefinished hardwood is a floor that is harder to scratch or damage making prefinished more popular.
ENGINEERED HARDWOOD Engineered hardwood is a hardwood veneer of varying thickness on top of a base of plywood, pine or birch. Engineered hardwood is more and more popular due to the fact engineered hardwood can handle changes in humidity much better than solid wood. When it comes to hard surface flooring, you may also want to consider laminate, luxury vinyl plank, engineered stone or tile.
CARPET Many people choose carpet because of the warmth and cozy ambiance carpet provides. Carpet is an excellent buy as numerous advances in manufacturing technology has made carpet more affordable than ever. Carpets made from man-made fibers far out sell carpets made from natural fibers due to the numerous improvements made in man-made fibers. Carpets are more durable and stain resistance than ever and most important, they will keep their appearance longer. There are many styles of carpet to choose from; short shag, velvet plush, berbers, cut and loop, solid colors, tone on tone and multi colors.
There are numerous choices when it comes to flooring. If you are thinking of remodeling or changing some of your flooring, visit a store that specializes in flooring. It is a good idea to check reviews of flooring stores before you purchase.