How to choose the right flooring
Photo courtesy of MODA Floors & Interiors / MOSAIC Group [Architects and Remodelers], www.modafloorsandinteriors.com, www.mosaicgroupatlanta.com
There is a lot to think about when it comes to flooring, including durability, maintenance and style. But there are some basic considerations to help homeowners narrow down the pool of options.
Kathy Smith, vice president of Focal Point Flooring & Cabinets, helps clients choose flooring by talking about their lifestyles. “We ask them questions about how often they entertain, if they have pets or children, or even how much they use the house—are they home or do they go out?” she says.
The answers to these questions help Smith’s clients understand what they need. For example, if the clients have a Great Dane or young children, they will most likely be happier with a laminate flooring or ceramic tile because of the durability and low maintenance. On the other hand, if the clients are empty nesters who travel frequently, they are probably open to more choices like high-end carpeting or wood flooring.
Smith says that not all warranties are made equal, either. Fiber type in carpeting impacts the longevity of warranties from manufacturers. “A Stainmaster nylon will always outperform a polyester carpet,” Smith says. Therefore, it has a longer warranty.
When it comes to color, homeowners again need to think about their lifestyles. Darker colors hide stains better than lighter carpets, and nylon holds up against professional cleaning better than polyester.
It’s also important to consider exposure to the sun. Fading of any floor type can occur under high exposure, so homeowners should consider which direction their house faces (north or south), whether windows are covered, type of windows (low-E glass) and again, warranties.
2012 flooring trends
Tile that resembles wood has become more popular in kitchen and great room areas because it provides the look of wood but doesn’t require the maintenance that real wood requires.
➤ Dark staining on wood floors continues to be a popular choice with homeowners.
➤ Ceramic tile and carpeting shades trend toward whites and lighter grays.
➤ Heated flooring in basements or bathrooms is popular for its comfort and heating components, which reduce energy costs.
Smith says that homeowners should follow manufacturer’s instructions for optimal maintenance, but here are a few general maintenance tips to live by.
Carpet: Vacuum carpet regularly. Professional cleaning should take place once a year. Do not use home-maintenance machines or steamers, because they can cause damage.
Wood/laminate: Cleaning should be handled with the manufacturer’s cleaning supply—definitely do not use water. Surface cleaning dirt from the floors is best using a dust mop or vacuum with no beater bar. High heels should be avoided on wood flooring.
Ceramic: Clean regularly with basic over-the-counter cleaning products. Never use bleach on any type of flooring because it will discolor everything.