Flooring Options that Fit Your Lifestyle

Carmen NatschkeDecorating Diva U

Tile can be made from either ceramic, glass, stainless steel or stone. The more exotic the material, the higher your cost. For example, glass is a beautiful tile for bathrooms but the overall cost is much higher than for regular tile. A more affordable approach to using glass tile for your bathroom floor may be to create a border of the glass tile around the regular ceramic tile. You still get the benefits of the classy glass without the drain on your pocketbook.

Ceramic tile is great for use in specific heavy-traffic areas such as bathrooms, entryways, and kitchens as well as through out the home. Ceramic tiles can be found in thousands of colors, patterns, shapes, and sizes. Ceramic tiles can either be mass created or hand made, the difference is seen in the price, originality and at times quality of the tile. A custom designed tile that is created by an artisan will tend to cost more, but as is the case with the glass tile you can use a small amount to achieve an impressive decorative impact. Stone tiles are a beautiful alternative to ceramic tile, however you will find that there are color and pattern variations between each tile even it is cut from the same boulder or stone.

Stone tiles can either be highly polished like a marble or granite or more matte like a slate. The current trend in the last five years has been to “recycle” stones or stone tiles recovered from old European homes or streets and use them in homes here. It affords a since of history to your home that is unique and definitely a conversation piece.

Wood flooring comes in either natural or man-made material. Natural hardwood floors are popular and can be expensive but it is the only flooring material that can be refinished. Some popular and trendy wood floors include cork ( my personal favorite – it feels like walking on soft fluffy clouds- it is very kind to your joints!), bamboo, exotic brazilian wood, cherry and maple among others. Natural woods are not recommended for moist areas such as bathrooms or kitchens.

Engineered (laminates) wood floors are easy to install and come in various “natural wood” finishes. Some “faux woods” are actually almost impossible to distinquish from the real thing. Thereby making engineered woods a great alternative to natural woods. I don’t recommend engineered woods for moist environments.

For kitchen or baths I recommend vinyl tiles, ceramic tiles or stone tiles.

Carpet tends to be synthetic, comes in many styles, colors and patterns. Carpet is the least expensive flooring option – in the short term. Unlike tile or wood, carpet has a shorter life span and is more difficult to clean and maintain. That being said carpet also has some nice features which work well in children’s rooms and other rooms in your home.

Carpet is easier on your joints than stone or ceramic tile, when you drop a fragile item on carpet it stands a very good chance of surviving and when your child takes a fall, carpet will “cushion” his or her fall better than tile or wood.

Vinyl flooring has come a long way since those hideous 1960’s and 1970’s Brady Bunch type floors. Some vinyl floors can be as beautiful as ceramic tiles or stones and can be equally expensive. Vinyl is a resistant material and works perfectly for bathrooms and kitchens.

To determine the best flooring for your home you need to ask yourself the following questions:

Are allergies a problem in your household?

Do you have pets?

What is your budget?

Who will be installing the flooring?

Of course your preferences will drive your flooring selection but the above questions will help guide you to the best selection for your home and family.

If allergies or asthma are a problem with a member of your household then carpet may not be the best choice. Carpet contains certain dyes and chemicals that can aggravate asthmatic conditions. Allergic reactions can be heightened due to carpet being difficult to keep clean from accumulating dust and other allergens such as pet hair.

If you have pets tile is probably your best choice. It is easy to clean and can withstand animal scratching. Wood and carpet can become damaged if your cat or dog decide to use them as scratching posts.

Your Budget

Knowing your budget for flooring is very important since it will dictate what you can afford. A large portion of flooring cost is in the installation, if you can install your own wood floors or tiles you maybe able to afford the more expensive natural wood as opposed to an engineered wood. Some great do-it-yourself flooring includes click together laminate tiles and wood. They are scratch resistant, look like the real thing, can be installed in as little as a few hours and best of all come with a pleasantly affordable price tag.