Tips on How to Choose the Perfect Floor
My head has been spinning lately from trying to choose a floor for my own project. The choices are endless and there are many factors to consider. I’ve spent hours weighing the options for flooring for my new four seasons room. One benefit of this is that it’s helping me to be more fully informed when I’m working on your project.
The floor is one of the largest elements in a room design. It needs to be attractive, durable, and easy to clean. Here’s a summary of my findings.
Way back when I designed my kitchen, I chose Mexican tile. It was a terrific choice at the time, but it’s lasted almost too long. Now it looks like an antique tile floor, which is great, but it’s not easily removed. It doesn’t matter if I’m tired of it. It’s not going anywhere. If I drop something breakable on it, it’s likely to break. That said, it has survived many dogs, cats, parties, people etc. It passes the durability, easy to clean and attractiveness test. And as tile goes, it was, and still is, relatively inexpensive.
For that reason, some type of tile was one of my first choices for my new room. There is tile now that actually looks like wood which would not either match or compete with the existing old Mexican tile floor. You see, one of the things you must think about when installing a new floor is what it will come up against with existing flooring. I wanted a completely different look and feel and I thought this was the perfect option. I still have 4 dogs. That’s a lot of toenails. So it did meet the durability, easy to clean, and attractiveness criteria.
However, I did not end up choosing wood-look tile because: I discovered that although it did come in random width planks, the planks were too short. The longest planks were only available in 48” lengths max. There is also the installation factor – expensive. And apparently the tiles can be slightly bowed in the center which make for a tricky installation.
The next thing I investigated was vinyl flooring that looks like wood. I must say this product has come a long way. The color choices were excellent and it was difficult to tell that it was vinyl. There was only one time of day where the sun was hitting the sample piece at a certain angle that I detected plastic. This is also a very budget friendly option – good for a bathroom, mudroom, basement, office, kitchen. Keep in mind, this can scratch, or develop mold if water gets trapped under it. Some brands have a pad that prevents mold that can be installed under the flooring.
For public spaces such as living room, dining room, or four seasons room I prefer something more organic. So I’m choosing wood for my project.
It sounds so simple doesn’t it? Well, it’s not. Read on…
Engineered wood: Engineered wood comes in many different finishes, species and thicknesses. There is a full range of products on the market that are a good fit for many budgets – or investments as I like to say. It is available in random widths, and pre-finished. The planks are long and easy to install. The thickness of the real wood finished layer varies, and I would recommend choosing one that you can refinish at least once.
Finish-in-place solid wood or pre- finished solid wood: This is the most expensive option. It can be re-finished, and it can be stained in exactly the shade that you like. You can choose the grade of wood, character, with more knots, or select, which has more of a solid look.
Color-wise, I like to stick to more of a medium to lighter shade. Dark stains will require more cleaning. White Oak, Red Oak and Hickory are the most durable. Wood imparts a warmth that the other options can’t deliver. I think I can live with the occasional scratch. If the finish is right, they shouldn’t be that noticeable.
As you can see, there are some tradeoffs with every choice. You must pick your battles. I must say this was a fun one to research!
Now on to the fireplace surround!
Thanks for reading. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with all the choices, get in touch. We can help!