How to choose the right flooring for your home - tips and tricks

How To Choose The Right Flooring For Your Home

November 15, 2016 by Michelle

Figuring out how to choose the right flooring for your home can be a challenge. Thankfully, there are experts out there. Thank you to Sears Home Services for sponsoring this post so I can share my – and their! – expertise with you.

How to choose the right flooring for your home - tips and tricks

When we moved into our house a little over two years ago, I liked it. This isn’t the perfect house, but we chose it for a reason. This house was built in 1925, and some aspects of the house show that, even though it was “fully” renovated in 2005. The flooring? That’s one area we need to upgrade throughout the majority of the house.

The first thing we did when we moved into our last house was replace all the carpeting. This house has none, so changing the floors isn’t as easy – or inexpensive. Carpeting has its benefits, one of which is how easy it is to replace. It doesn’t last as long (looking good, anyway!) as tile or hardwood, for example. It retains heat well for those cold winter mornings, and its softness makes it comfortable to kids to lay on while playing.

Hardwood Flooring

Personally, I’m a fan of hardwood flooring in most areas of my house. I love the rich shine it adds. The fact that it doesn’t hide dirt has its pluses and minuses, of course. If I don’t vacuum near daily, I have cat hair tumbleweeds rolling across my floor. But with carpet? That hair just hides there!

When I added hardwood floors to my townhouse fifteen years ago, they installed raw planks, stained it, sealed it, and wow was it a process. I couldn’t use my main floor for almost a week, and the scent of the stain and sealer was rough. While many floors are still installed that way, you can now install prefinished wood. This reduces the time it takes to complete your project and can be less expensive, as well.

Hardwood floors are durable when you care for them properly. They don’t show wear and tear as easily as many other types of flooring. Even high traffic areas can stand the test of time. But if you damage an area – pro tip: don’t drop a knife point down in your kitchen – repair isn’t simple, though it can be done.

Don’t install hardwood where moisture can be an issue, particularly bathrooms. Once wood is damaged, you have to replace it. It also tends to be a slippery surface, and many don’t like it on stairs for that reason, though I have no issues with it.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring used to be a cheap knockoff of wood. It often looked and felt like a subpar replacement. Walking into a home, you knew it was laminate. Things have changed, and laminate has improved significantly. It looks more like wood from its texture to its variance in each piece.

If you drop a knife and gouge your laminate flooring, it shows the cheaper base of your flooring. That can’t be repaired. However, laminate is cheaper than hardwood floors and a great alternative to wood. We have laminate on the first floor of our house, and it wasn’t until earlier this year when I said something that my husband realized it wasn’t “real” wood. Can you tell?

Laminate can look great in a house

Tile

Tile tends to be my flooring of choice in bathrooms. It stands up to moisture and cleans easily. The tile in my main floor powder room? This isn’t the kind I go for, however. Do you see all that grout? That’s a lot of grout to clean and maintain. The larger the tile, the less group to deal with. Larger tile also tends to be more expensive per square foot, but the tradeoffs can be worth it.

Tiny tile can be hard to clean

Porcelein and ceramic tiles don’t need to be sealed, which reduces long term maintenance, as well. They are designed for wet areas and repel moisture from the get go – assuming you install your floor properly. Remember the tiles we chose when we remodeled the master bathroom in my last house? That’s the way I like to use tile!

Options have grown exponentially when it comes to tile in the last several years. If you love the look of wood, you can find wood grain tile that looks like wood but doesn’t absorb moisture. Many tiles have the look of stone, and you can find a style that matches your own, whether it’s ultra-modern or Italian villa or anywhere in between.

Vinyl

Growing up, we had vinyl everywhere. It’s the most budget friendly option, and it requires little maintenance. There’s no grout, no sealing, and no waxing. You can often add a layer of vinyl atop existing flooring in good condition without removing the first layer, which helps reduce the cost further.

As with any flooring, it needs to match your house. This isn’t a high end finish, but that’s ok. We have vinyl only on the steps by our back door that lead to the main floor. For us, it isn’t a fit, and when we redo our basement, this flooring will also go.

Old linoleum vinyl floor

It’s incredibly easy to clean, however, and it’s hard to damage with water. Don’t forget the budget friendliness of this option!

Design Considerations

My house is not ultra modern. If I chose ultra modern flooring, it wouldn’t fit. It would just feel wrong. Whatever you choose, make sure it fits with your house.

Additionally, take a look at the rooms surrounding each space. You want a flow. If my smaller kitchen is tiny tile and the dining room it feeds to is a dark, heavy wood, it breaks up the flow of my house and can easily clash styles. Using different flooring types can help to create differentiation between rooms, however. Depending on your goals, you can figure out what works best in your own home.

Watch what’s trendy. You want something you’ll be happy with, but floors aren’t cheap, no matter what you choose. Be careful about choosing something too trendy that you won’t be happy with in a couple years. You don’t want people to talk into your house and know to the year when you last updated your home – unless you have the budget to update regularly! If you have a trend you absolutely adore, however, go with it. Just make sure you consider the long term impact of your choice.

Starting with How to Choose the Right Flooring

Not sure where to start? Chat with the experts at Sears. They install a variety of flooring, and consultations are always free. You can request a free in-home consultation online or call them at 800-495-2705. They have a great flooring offer right now, too. You can get special financing for up to 12 months on installed flooring purchases over $1,500. This lasts until 1/31/2017 and isn’t valid on previous purchases.

Sears is always my go to. Why? They stand behind their work. I know that I won’t be forgotten tomorrow if an issue arises. They have written product and labor limited warranties. Sears also provides public liability protection and worker’s compensation protection. And of course, they have property damage insurance.

We’re focusing on other home improvements right now (hello exterior house painting now that our roof is done!), but flooring will be a huge part of our next update. I’m glad I know how to choose the right flooring for a basement remodel from our currently gutted basement. You know I’m not putting wood or cold tile down there! And the next major renovation of pushing out our family room into our current side porch impacts floors, too. That will be my excuse to redo the floors on the first floor to have those wood floors I dream about – just like we do upstairs!

What are your steps when you think about how to choose the right flooring?

Figuring out how to choose the right flooring for your home can be a challenge. Depending on the room and your budget, here are tips to consider so you end up happy with your choice.

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