Monday, April 18, 2011

Comparing Flooring

There are several good choices for floor finishes.  In a residential home the use of the room, installation requirements, and costs are major determining factors in selecting the floor finish.  In this blog I will review the most common non-wood options.  In the next blog I will review the wood options.

Carpet - It is soft, warm, and offered in a broad range of prices and selections.  There are a variety of fiber type {nylon, polyester, wool, etc} with varying degrees of wear and stain resistance.  In general carpet is better suited to low traffic areas such as bedrooms and living rooms.  It also a good choice for basements as a carpet with a good pad will provide a warmer basement floor than many other choices.  Carpet is also a good money-saving alternative.  With such a variety of carpet available it is hard to generalize but a mid-range carpet installed can be one-third the cost of a traditional oak floor installed and finished.   Moisture and wear are the enemies of carpet.  With that in mind carpet is rarely the choice for kitchens, baths, mudrooms, or basements that do not stay dry.

Area rugs - They are the cousin of carpets.  They can bring instant warmth to hard surface floors, cut down on noise, and may protect and enhance décor.  Similar to carpets, they are available in a wide range of sizes, color, patterns, textures, etc.

Ceramic tile - Tile is the traditional choice for kitchens, baths, foyers, and mudrooms.  Tile is a good choice for high traffic areas.  Tile supplies an elegant look, is durable, moisture resistant, and is offered in a variety of textures and colors.  Costs installed are typically in the $10.00 to $20.00 per square foot range including the required subfloor. 

Vinyl - Vinyl flooring is easy to maintain and clean, durable, and fairly inexpensive to install.  Sheet vinyl is available in 6 foot and 12 foot widths of any length.  Vinyl tile are typically 12” squares. Vinyl, like tile, is a good choice for kitchens, baths, and mudrooms.  Typical installed costs are $2.00 to $10.00 per square foot in good, better, and best categories.  At the top end of selection with unique patterns and colors installed cost can exceed the $10.00 per square foot installed cost.

Stone - Stone is the Cadillac of  flooring options.  Installed costs can easily be in the $15.00 to $30.00 per square foot range.  Stone is a classic look, natural, elegant, moisture resistant, and easy to maintain.  Besides the cost other negatives are stone can be cold, slippery, difficult to install, and can chip.  Typically stone is used in foyers or formal entries.

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