What Flooring Goes with Hickory Cabinets?

Whenever you update an area in your home, you have to ask yourself whether it complements your existing décor. This is especially true when it comes to renovating your kitchen cabinets. The best flooring for hickory cabinets creates a cohesive look without being overstated or monochromatic.

What Do Hickory Cabinets Look Like?

Hickory is a popular wood for cabinets because of its strength and durability. Although it has a neutral tone, hickory is not boring. The wood has a distinctive grain, which provides visual interest.

Because of its informal nature, hickory is often used in rustic kitchens. However, it is versatile enough to work well in modern, minimalist, traditional and eclectic homes.

When pairing hickory cabinets with flooring, you should take into account the finish on the cabinets. Hickory is typically left natural. The lighter tones range from beige to gold. The darker areas can have orange, red or chocolate notes.

Sometimes, hickory cabinets are coated with a pale finish that is similar to a whitewash. This minimizes the dramatic variations in tone and provides a neutral backdrop for many flooring styles.

Identifying Warm or Cool Tones

Identifying whether your hickory cabinets contain warm or cool tones can guide you toward the right flooring selection. Warm tones are sunny and vibrant. They have an overall gold, yellow, orange, pink or red vibe. Cool hues have less of a honey or pink undertone. If your hickory cabinets are a cool shade, you might describe them as white or grayish.

Flooring With Warm Hues

Choosing flooring in warm tones will bring a cheery, sunny atmosphere to your kitchen. This is especially true if your hickory cabinets contain strong yellow, peach, pink or orange notes. However, you should avoid choosing flooring that matches your cabinets exactly. Too much of the same color will overpower your kitchen. If your flooring leans toward the warm side, make sure that it is either lighter or darker than the cabinets to break up the monotony.

Flooring With Cool Hues

Cool-toned flooring is usually a safe choice with hickory cabinets. If the cabinets are warm, the complimentary color of the flooring will provide the perfect contrast to balance it out. If the cabinets are cool, you’ll create a neutral palette that can be tweaked with accents and accessories.

Should Your Hickory Cabinets Match Your Floors?

While some interior decorators will tell you that your cabinets and floors should not match exactly, many people choose a uniform palette for their kitchen. You can match the finish of your cabinetry and floors as long as the rest of your décor breaks it up. A warm honey tone across the floors and cabinets can make your kitchen glow without dominating the space if your walls and furniture remain simple and neutral. White countertops and dining furniture with stainless steel appliances would complete this look.

If you can’t help but try to match your cabinets and flooring, you’ll be hard pressed to do so with hickory. The wood grain offers plenty of variation. It may have spots that are quite light and patterns that are very dark.

One piece of advice is to isolate one hue from the cabinetry and find flooring to match. If your cabinets are generally light with chestnut streaks running through them, you could go with chestnut flooring to draw out the design. On the other hand, you could select flooring that corresponds with the lighter beige tones.

Tone on Tone

Instead of matching the exact tones of your flooring and cabinets, consider a tone-on-tone look. This incorporates varying colors from the same family. However, the finishes can be markedly darker or lighter than one another. Depending on the undertones in your cabinets, you can go with a cream, yellow, orange, red or chocolate tone-on-tone aesthetic.

It doesn’t matter whether your floor is darker or lighter than your cabinets, though. Just try not to make it the same shade. You can also vary the type of material in the same color to break up a monochromatic environment with plenty of texture.

Add Some Drama

The more monochrome your kitchen is, the less dramatic the effect will be. Creating contrast will draw the eye to distinct areas and add interest. For example, you can punch up the prominence of the knots in the wood by choosing flooring with similar dark qualities.

You can also add drama by using shadowy colors for your flooring and accents. Consider installing a dark brown floor and black countertops. Alternatively, you can choose deep gray for your floors. This is an excellent way to generate a modern or cozy atmosphere in an otherwise rustic or informal kitchen.

Remember that you don’t have to stick with brown, white or gray for your flooring. Blue and violet hues contrast well with yellow-tinged hickory. Red or terra-cotta ceramic adds spice.

Consider the Pattern

Unless it has been painted, hickory wood generally has an obvious pattern. You don’t want the configuration of the wood to contrast with your floor. Therefore, you may want to select a flooring option with minimal patterning.

That doesn’t mean that you should install floors with a completely flat hue. In fact, monochrome flooring is difficult to come by unless you’re looking at vinyl or tile. Plus, totally flat color on the floors can be more eye-catching than the interesting design of the cabinets.

Look for flooring with a pattern that’s slightly more subtle than the grain on your cabinets. If your cabinets have minimal patterning, you can showcase a more dramatic texture on your floors. One way to do this is to create a monochromatic mosaic design using tiles. This will create a neutral backdrop for your cabinets without being bland.

What if Your Flooring Isn’t Wood?

Don’t assume that you have to stick with wood flooring if you have hickory cabinets. Vinyl, bamboo, tile and concrete are valid options for kitchen flooring.

No matter what material you choose, keep the warm/cool question in mind. Even white tile features a temperature variance. If you go with white flooring, hold it up to a piece of paper. If the flooring looks yellower than the paper, it is warm. If it looks grayer, it’s cool.

Marble and concrete look great with hickory cabinets because they highlight the neutral tones in the wood. Marble adds a sense of luxury to hickory cabinets, moderating the cottage vibe. Concrete ranges from rustic to modern, and it’s an edgy, unexpected way to underscore the cool colors in the cabinets.

When pairing hickory cabinets with flooring, you don’t want your kitchen to match so well that it looks flat. Still, you have a wide range of options, from tone-on-tone to high contrast. The best flooring stands up to your aesthetics and lifestyle and makes your home look and feel great.

Types of Carpets and Rugs

We listed some classifications of carpets and area rugs last time.Today we will look into the rest of those classifications and more samples starting with synthetic fibers.

Synthetic Fibers

  1. Nylon.Nylon has a soft and luxurious feel and comes in a variety of colors that has great resiliency and abrasion-resistance making it an ideal choice in high-traffic areas. Its flexible and easy to maintain.
  2. Polyester.This synthetic material is another great alternative since it has great stain-resistance not to mention the variety of colors they come in. It is easy to clean and won’t fade off that easily.
  3. Polypropylene.Also known as olefin, this material resists water-based stains and static electricity. This is a popular choice for outdoor carpeting.

Classified according to manufacture

Depending on what particular region they originated, the manner wherein carpets and rugs are made as well as the materials they are made from will vary greatly.

Before we proceed, in order to better understand these constructs, its best we go back to the piles mentioned in the previous post: the cut and the loop. As mentioned earlier, the cut loop is still popular today because it is durable and well-suited for high traffic areas.

Cut loop can be further classified into:

  • Textured Plush — the texture adds to aesthetics as it covers up footprints and marks which makes it an ideal whole-house carpeting choice. Its decorative, casual and versatile that it can be put just about anywhere.
  • Saxony — reflects traditional elegance and refinement, this is best suited for interiors with moderate traffic and ideal for places for entertaining guests like the kitchen or dining area and the living room.
  • Friezé — this is a curly and richly  textured surface because yarns are extremely twisted and while it may appear informal, this is great in concealing unwanted marks like vacuum lines and footprints.
  • Plush — is best for low traffic areas and formal rooms since its velvety texture easily shows footprints and vacuum marks though it comes with a luxurious feel.

Loop piles can be either of the three:

  • Level loop pile — generally suited for high traffic areas. Loops are of the same height and its informal appearance makes it ideal for contemporary and cottage furnishing.
  • Multi-level loop pile —  with its two to three different loop heights to create pattern effects, this type offers durability and a casual flare.
  • Cut-loop pile —  a mix of cuts and loops, this one brings in variety and a more sculpted appearance that’s equally unique and stylish.

Now that we have a basic description of the different piles, we can now look further into the different constructs of carpets and rugs.

  1. Woven– these piles can be berber or plush and are produced in big looms that usually involves colorful and intricate patterns. Due to its ornate details the requires a lot of labor, it is generally the most expensive kind of carpets and rugs.
  2. Needle Felt– this is a stylish and modern technique that uses electrostatic attraction of fiber strands to create a more durable sheet for area rugs or carpeting. The compression of fibers use needles and this type is generally employed for high traffic, commercial grade use.
  3. Tufted– for this type, piles injected into the backing material and then bonded to a second backing to make the area rug or carpet more stable durable. Tufted rugs are arguable the most popular type of floor covering used around the world.
  4. Embroidered– produced by application of stitches on a base cloth. Tedious and time-consuming, the process requires some degree of skill and craftsmanship in order to produce a detailed and richly designed product.
  5. Braidedthis type features a distinct weaving texture.Braids are arranged in such a manner that braids of yarns appear as if they have been woven together. Depending on the material used, these types of area rugs and carpets can work best both indoor and outdoors.

Types of Carpets and Rugs

In our last post, we talked about carpeting essentials or the things you need to know before buying carpets. Today we will talk about the different types of carpets and area rugs so you can choose one that will specifically suit your need.

Before we go any further, we shall distinguish between wall-to-wall carpeting, carpet tiles and area rugs.

As the name implies, wall-to-wall carpeting refers to traditional sheet carpeting that literally covers a room from one end to another.

Carpet tiles are cut into squares or other specific sizes and are either made with tongues and grooves on the edges, has suction backing or are pre-applied with adhesives to hold them into place. Each carpet tile can have one or all of these features for better installation.

Area rugs on the other hand were initially intended to protect certain areas where there is high traffic that poses threat to the flooring. These days however, area rugs are used more to create little secured spaces that offers not just protection to the flooring but warm, comfort and aesthetics as well. Imagine a warm-looking sitting area accentuated an area rug in a living room that is laid with rustic wide plank hardwood flooring? Or one on an elegant dark granite?

Now that we have that cleared up, its important to understand that in general there are only 2 types of carpets: the loop pile and the cut pile. While loop pile carpets are the more longer-lasting one between the two, cut piles are equally popular because they offer more comfort being softer and fluffier that loop pile ones.

Carpets and area rugs can be further classified according to fiber

Area rugs, carpets and carpet tiles come in various forms and are made up of different fibers – some even from recycled materials and synthetics fibers. Below are the common types of fibers used for area rugs:

Organic Fibers:

1. Wool. Known for its durability and elegance, wool carpets are ideal for high moisture areas since it can be easily dyed and has excellent piling quality. Generally suited for tough areas, this natural fiber not only has great wear resistance, being a natural fiber also makes it more less prone to allergens.

2. Silk. Another natural fiber, silk is known for it high tensile strength that has been used since the olden times in oriental cultures. Compared to wool carpets, silk are high maintenance and are recommended for use only in even and dry areas owing to the delicateness of the fiber.

3. Jute. Commonly used in weaving area or accent rugs, jute is very economical and comes in various patterns. It is highly flexible and can either be woven, knitted, sewn and braided though it does not go well in high moisture areas.

4. Bamboo. As an abundant evergreen and being highly sustainable, bamboo fibers are now also being used in making area and accent rugs. Having a gorgeous natural shade, bamboo’s honey-tones and light browns are really a favorite choice for interiors. Its hypoallergenic, resistant to molds and water.

5. Coir. This loose and leathery fiber is extracted from coconut shells making it an environmentally-conscious choice for an area rug or carpeting material. Initially smooth and fine strands these brown and white fiber becomes strong and durable after weaving. Its cheap, hypoallergenic and cleverly traps dirt and dust making rooms tidier and neater.

We will look into the synthetic fibers and other classification of carpets and area rugs in our next post.

The VOC Connection

VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds have caught the attention concerned individuals and organizations alike. These are carbon-based compounds which are generally invisible – neither seen nor smelled but is a widely-recognized pollutant associated with a variety of health risks.

Studies have shown that these compounds are related to allergies and several illnesses in infants, small children and adults alike. Headaches, respiratory problems and skin diseases have all been linked to VOCs.

These chemical compounds are used in the manufacture of flooring products, underlays or carpet tiles’ backing, flooring adhesives, finishes and cleaning materials.

Since they seem to be present in almost every stage and aspect of flooring, it will be very difficult to make our homes or establishments VOC-free. What’s important is to be mindful of the products you’re going to use and make sure it has the minimum amount of VOC on it.

A commonly used example of VOC is formaldehyde which is commonly used in sealants, finishes and adhesives not just in flooring products but also in furniture. Some also use formaldehyde to cure flooring materials like bamboo.

Here are some points to keep in mind when shopping for flooring products:

  • Bamboo. In general, bamboo flooring is an environmentally-sound flooring material. However, the process of manufacturing bamboo flooring makes it sometimes a health hazard to consumers. Be sure to choose bamboo flooring that is formaldehyde free and has acceptable levels of VOC – it should have low-to no-VOC content in them.
  • Carpet. Earlier carpets used to have a high volume of VOCs in them. Nowadays, The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have worked on lowering levels of harmful compounds on carpets as well as their backing materials. When you have low-levels of VOCs on your carpets, be sure to keep the room well-ventilated and open by opening up windows.
  • Cork. Cork flooring uses highly toxic materials like phenol and melamine though these become non-harmful once the product has been processed. This is a truly green product. What you should keep in mind however specially when installing cork flooring glued down is to check the adhesive and finishing materials.
  • Hardwood and Engineered Hardwood. While no VOCs are used in making both solid and engineered hardwood flooring, sometimes the finishing and cleaning materials are the ones that contain the harmful compounds.
  • Linoleum. Made almost entirely from natural materials, linoleum is an excellent alternative if you want to make your floor VOC-free.
  • Vinyl. While most people confuse between vinyl and linoleum flooring, vinyl is made up of chemical compounds. The main component is: PVC which is believed to contain certain chemicals that can cause serious illnesses.

If you believe that you’re flooring has high VOC content and would want to lower if not remove the compound’s presence in your room, here are a few tips you might find useful:

  1. Look around and check existing high-VOC materials in the room. After checking, its best to have them removed – flooring, subfloor or underlayment and even furniture to make sure all possible sources of VOCs are eliminated.
  2. Choose products which are no- to low- VOC levels. That involves the flooring solution itself, the underlayment and adhesives that would be used.
  3. Finish it off with a non-VOC sealant or finish and be sure you are using maintenance and cleaning materials that are entirely VOC free.

Some Things You Need to Know About Bamboo Flooring

In one of our previous posts, we looked at some of the possible disadvantages of buying so-labeled green flooring products. Here, we take on some things we think you should know before deciding if you want and need bamboo on your living or working space and if it is indeed the appropriate material.

Bamboo Flooring in the Making

Two things everyone should consider before buying bamboo flooring because they are thinking green are these: producing bamboo flooring takes major chemical and energy inputs.

What chemical and energy inputs?

From its natural state, it takes a series of energy-consuming processes to convert bamboo into flooring boards:

  • shoots are sliced into strips;
  • strips are boiled with a solution of water and Boric acid to remove starch and sugars;
  • to add some color to bamboo flooring, it undergoes a carbonizing process through steaming under controlled heat and pressure;
  • bamboo flooring products will then undergo a laminating process to create solid boards and added with chemical adhesives like urea-formaldehyde (a reported carcinogen);
  • these bamboo boards are then cut into standard flooring planks w/ their tongues and grooves and finished with chemicals to protect the top layers;
  • before it is shipped or transported for distribution to local markets.

If you think of all that, you say to yourself: then its not really “green” after all. However, we are not saying that all bamboo flooring manufacturers are irresponsible and is not concerned with the welfare of the environment, we are advocating that we check out who are we buying from and how the products we’re buying from them are made. Buying from people engaged in unsound practices means we are supporting the ways they might be damaging the environment and risking our families or friends in the process.

5 Important Bamboo Facts Every Consumer Should Know:

  1. Bamboo expands…in length.

Hardwood which normally expands in width, hence flooring installers normally leave spaces on the side of each board to make room for expansion. Sometimes however, bamboo expands in length. Consumers should be advised to be mindful of this to prevent the ends of their bamboo flooring from buckling or warping.

  1. Hardness matters.

While bamboo ranks relatively high in the Janka Hardness scale, keep in mind that the flooring material is made for different bamboos pressed together so how it ranks in the scale may vary or may even be inaccurate. Another think to keep in mind is that carbonizing leaves bamboo flooring products softer than untreated ones.

  1. Reactions to humidity.

Moisture changes causes bamboo to react differently: fibers on each strip will naturally expand or shrink away from each other unlike in engineered hardwood where fibers are held together by plywood as its stabilizing layer. This behaviour of fibers in bamboo flooring can cause the wear layer to crack.

  1. It doesn’t automatically add up in LEED.

Just because you chose bamboo, it doesn’t mean that you automatically earn multiple points in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification system. The type of bamboo flooring you use will determine how and where you can earn the credits you get.

  1. Acclimation is still important.

Most consumers assume that bamboo flooring doesn’t need to acclimate since it is made up of many joined fibers. Contrary to this is the fact that since bamboo is made up of different bamboo fibers, it required varying acclimation times.

Bamboo has many great benefits however not all bamboo flooring are created equal. If sellers don’t give you the complete score on the bamboo flooring product you are interested in, go the extra mile and do some research. Green bamboo flooring created in an unsustainable or environmentally degrading process isn’t exactly green flooring at all.

Solid Hardwood or Engineered Hardwood Which is Best to Use

While both are made of genuine hardwood, solid hardwood and engineered hardwood  been so closely
compared that there is now some sort of rivalry between these two excellent flooring choices. Homeowners and homebuyers, especially those first time ones are often baffled between the similarities and differences of the tow and can hardly tell which one would be more appropriate for their needs and best suits their requirements.

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To help you with all your woes and questions, below are some basic things worth knowing about solid and engineered hardwood flooring and the advantages of one over the other:

What is solid hardwood?

Solid hardwood are famous to use until the earlier part of 1900 when there are plentiful hardwood trees and the world population is not so lush. Solid wood is ¾ inches thick. It is made from a single trunk of a good and matured solid trunk. It is seasoned well to avoid it from expanding when installed on your floor. Sometimes, contractors leave a little gap between the wood planks if ever it expands.

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What is engineered hardwood?

It is a solid wood plank made by 100% wood. However, it is composed of three to five layers of wood which are glued together. Each layer is arranged criss-crossed over the other so that it can support the other layer. The criss-cross arrangement makes the engineered hardwood stronger and less prone to expansion even when humidity is high.

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Which is better to use?

There is a thin line between solid hardwood flooring and engineered hardwood flooring. It is difficult to tell which one is better in performance. To know how each one works, here is a close comparison for you to reflect upon:

  1. What are they made of?

    • Solid hardwood: Pure wood and no cuts from top to bottom, side to side.
    • Engineered hardwood: Three to five layers of 1/6” thick wood arranged in layers. The topmost layer is finished while the underlying layers are high density fibreboards which make the floor stronger.
  1. How thick is each type?

    • Solid hardwood: It is between 3/8” or ¾ “.
    • Engineered hardwood: You can pick sizes from 3/8” to ½” only.
  1. How wide is each type?

    • Solid hardwood: It comes in a minimal width of 3.25 inches to 11 inches. You can also get 5 inches from the store.
    • Engineered hardwood: Same as the solid hardwood, it is also 3.25” to 5” wide. You can request for wider size such as 11 inches in the floor store.

  1. What types of wood are available?

    • Solid hardwood: There are many varieties of solid hardwood. But, the most preferred species are Cherry, Pine, Oak and Mahogany.
    • Engineered hardwood: Almost all of the species of solid hardwood are available.
  1. Is it ready to use?

    • Solid hardwood: There are some stores that sell pre-finished. Most of the time, they are not yet finished that makes the installation difficult.
    • Engineered hardwood: They are always pre-finished. You can install and walk on then readily.
  1. Can you resell it?

    • Solid hardwood: Yes. The value can be higher than how much you bought it if you sell it a decade from now.
    • Engineered hardwood: Excellent. It has the same value as the solid hardwood.
  1. Can you sand it anew?

    • Solid hardwood: Yes, several times.
    • Engineered hardwood: You can sand it only once.

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Choose well. Pick the floor that suits your lifestyle and will be with you for almost all of your lifetime.

Small Interiors Flooring Tips

We all know than in any space, flooring is essential. Indoors or outdoors flooring pulls together the look of any room. Installing different flooring materials will have different impact and effects on the rooms or surfaces where they are installed.

In today’s decorating small interiors series, we’ll look at the different flooring choices available to small homes and spaces.

There are certain elements to consider when choosing flooring for small spaces. The most common of these is color. For small interiors, it is generally recommended that the color of the flooring is light. However, that’s no longer the norm. Light or dark will both work, depending on your preference. Light colors give that open and airy feeling while dark colored ones gives the space more definition.

The different light colors in this small kitchen may have highlighted the small space but it did make it appear light and easy. The color of the kitchen cabinets doors and drawers also helped, there is an illusion of openness and continuity.

Another neat trick is to choose your flooring pattern well. Like what this diamond wood parquet did to the narrow entryway.

If you want to define open space, simply use area rugs to set the mark.

Pros and Cons of Flooring Choices

In our previous post, we gave you popular flooring and the pros and cons of each. Today we continue with the list together with their respective advantages and disadvantages:

4. Carpets and Area Rugs

Carpets – whether in form of wall-to-wall carpeting or carpet tiles, carpet runners and area rugs has always been the top choice in terms of comfort. Carpets and area rugs tend to rank on the higher side of the scale and in general can be a bit expensive but there are also those that range from $2-3 per square foot and you can even get a fair deal with installation for $50.

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Most people favor carpets be it wall-to-wall, area rugs or carpet tiles mostly because of the warmth, softness and comfort that it brings. They are good for minimizing sounds and also looks amazing even with uneven subfloors. The number of materials have also grown from the traditional wool to involve more variety of fibers including some recycled materials. There has also been significant growth in variations of colors, patterns, shapes and sizes which sustain the appeal of carpets and area rugs for both residential and commercial users.

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Technological advances have made carpets and area rugs more resistant to its constant enemy – stains. It does was however unable to make them stain-proof. So there is always that risk of having your beautiful flooring ruined by some stubborn stain. Next to stains, the second greatest disadvantage of having carpets and area rugs covering your floors is that no matter how much you sweep and vacuum, dirt tends to cling to the fabrics and pile up underneath. This dirt and dust is often a major cause of allergies among kids as well as adults. This means that aside from frequent cleaning, carpets and area rugs should be regularly steam-cleaned to ensure that it is safe and fresh.

5. Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood is probably the most popular and the most common choice when it comes to home improvement for flooring. It comes in many different varieties and adds value to the home. It may cost a little more expensive than expected especially those exotic hardwood varieties but in the long run, hardwood flooring is a worthwhile investment.

Aside from the warmth and sturdiness of hardwood flooring, it’s greatest strength as a material of choice for homeowners, designers and builders lies in the fact that it increases the resale value of the property. Once installed, hardwood flooring is very easy to clean and maintain.

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Solid hardwood flooring is prone to expanding and contracting because of changes in the weather so it doesn’t work okay with moist or is appropriate for places that normally gets wet. Since it costs more that laminate flooring, installation is almost often done by a professional. Finally, at least once a year, this type of flooring requires staining and refinishing, especially those who are in high traffic areas.

6. Natural Stone and Ceramic Tiles

Natural stone and ceramic tiles are sturdy and adds that touch of elegance to any room they are installed in. Natural stone like marble, slate and granite come in distinctive colors while ceramic tiles are available in an ever wider color palette.

Aside from the quiet elegance people pick stone tiles over natural wood or carpet because it’s durable and is easier to maintain. It is suitable for places that normally gets wet or is in general, exposed to moisture.

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The major disadvantage with both kinds of flooring is the cost – especially for natural stone flooring like granite and marble and in general, the cold hard surfaces of both, including the ceramic and porcelain tiles. Next is installation and repair since this will definitely require the experience and tools to be able to pull it off DIY.

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In the end, there really is no single best flooring solution that will work for the rest of your property, no single piece of tile or plank of wood can single-handedly give you everything you need in a house. Based on some category, one will always be better than the other, we just have to know which so we can use it correctly and to our advantage.

Pros and Cons of Flooring Choices

Earlier, we gave you the best flooring choices for each room in your house. Today, we’d like to take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each flooring solution so you can better understand how each can help you identify which ones will best meet your needs.

1. Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is a popular choice among DIYers and other home improvement enthusiast. There are a number of reasons why designers, decorators and home improvement have this on the top list of their favorite flooring choices: cost, design and durability are just some of a few.

Now, don’t be fooled. In terms of course, yes, laminate flooring can come in really cheap but this does not mean that it is indeed cheap. The price range for this type of flooring can go from 50 cents to $3 per square meter. In some cases, the best kinds of laminate flooring can even cost more than real hardwoods. Whether or not you are decided that this is indeed the best flooring that suits your needs, be sure to consider installation costs.

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Laminate flooring comes in a wide variety of shades and textures, some mimicking the actual feel and appearance of real hardwood or natural stone tile flooring without the common sensitivities of hardwood – like expanding and contracting when climate changes, being prone to scratch and low tolerance of water and moisture. It’s also not as cold and slippery as stone and tile flooring. Another advantage is that it is easier to clean laminate flooring and virtually needs to maintenance, unlike hardwoods that requires refinishing.

Downside: well, its not the real thing. No matter how much it looks like granite tiles, at the end of the day, laminate flooring will not add even a fraction of the cost having granite flooring does to a property. Since you will not be able to refinish it, when the laminate flooring begin to look like worn and old, well, you eventually have to replace it.

2. Vinyl and Linoleum Flooring

Vinyl and linoleum flooring are entirely different flooring solutions that fall into the same categories which sometimes leave people confused on  which is which. Vinyl is sourced from synthetic materials while linoleum is made up of natural components. Both comes in sheets and are highly flexible and durable while vinyl flooring is also available in planks and tiles.

On the price scale, linoleum and vinyl flooring can go from somewhere between $1 to $5 per square feet and having it installed can cost a few hundred dollars more.

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Aside from the price advantage, vinyl is easy and comfortable underfoot. It requires no maintenance and can be made to tool like either wood or stone tiles. In general, vinyl is flexible and can very much tolerate water and moisture. Its polymer core also does not permit the growth of bacteria and microbes that causes allergies and infections. If you prefer something more environmentally sound, linoleum is a great contender. Its as durable a vinyl and also required very little maintenance. Just a once a year waxing to keep it shiny and buffed.

Looking like another flooring material really doesn’t add any monetary value to the property and some of these “look alikes” well, they don’t look and feel alike that much. Also be sure to check your brand and the quality of the vinyl flooring you are going to buy because there are some that tears and dents easily. As for linoleums, the most challenge shoppers and designers face is the limited designs.

3. Cork Flooring

Cork flooring has been around for a couple of decades. Resilient and quiet, it is prefered by those people who wants comfort and warmth. Each square feet of cork can go from $2 to $8 per square feet.

Cork is an excellent insulator and provides a very warm and comfortable feet under foot. It’s also great at muffling sounds and hypoallergenic which is why it is very ideal for families with small children. It is also the flooring of choice for the environmentally conscious since it is sourced from the bark of a cork oak tree which does not cause any harm on the tree when the raw materials are harvested.

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Some disadvantages of using cork flooring is that unprotected constant exposure sunlight may cause fading. Also, since cork is made up of numerous air sacks, it has a tendency of retaining its shape over time. Having heavy equipment and furniture might leave marks on the surface. This sensitivity also makes it a not so good of a choice for homes with pets since their paws and claws can easily damage the cork flooring surface.

Read more about the advantages and disadvantages of other cork flooring solutions in our next post.

Prefinished Hardwood Flooring the Proscons

Because they are value adding, more and more homeowners are installing hardwood flooring in their properties.

However, over the years, most homeowners have chosen to installed prefinished hardwood flooring instead of having one done onsite.

So what is the difference? Simple, as the term implies, prefinished hardwood flooring is already sanded and sealed. All you really need to do is get it locked or nailed down on the subfloor and you’re good to go unlike those ones that are finished on site after installation which requires some waiting time for the finish to dry up and for the smells to tone down.

The Pros

  • Durability. Aside from convenience, this is perhaps one of the greatest advantage of prefinished hardwood flooring. Its not uncommon for prefinished hardwood flooring to have about 5 layers of urethane or 8 layers of aluminum oxide baked onto the surface making it more durable than those finished on site.
  • Consistency. Factory prefinished hardwood flooring are coated with greater consistency and leveled or even appearance.
  • Easier to purchase. For some reason, it is easier to buy prefinished hardwood flooring than those that requires on-site finishing.
  • Less mess. Since there is no more sanding, staining and coating required, it is definitely easier to install and would require lesser cleaning up once the installation is completed.
  • Less maintenance. Since the coating is thicker, it is more resistant to moisture, scratches, staining and discoloration. The factory grade in flooring’s finish also makes it suitable for most over the counter cleaning products, though be cautious enough to read the labels.
  • 25-Year Warranty. Yes, that’s right 25 years!This is evident of the product’s durability. Manufacturers are confident that prefinished hardwood flooring can live up to its promise.

The Cons

  • Beyond repair. One thing to be careful for with the installation and usage of prefinished hardwood flooring is that any damage on the surface of the flooring is irreparable. This is simply because we cannot manually recreate the coating that was applied by the manufacturer.
  • Delicate installation process. The installation is a critical point in getting your prefinished hardwood flooring. All that work sometimes causes unwanted damage on the flooring planks. So, if you don’t have that much DIY knowledge or experience better leave it up for the contractors to do.
  • Seal the seams. Since seams won’t exist until the prefinished hardwood flooring has been laid out and installed, it can only be sealed afterwards. Be sure that you use a product recommended for your flooring and be sure it dries up well to ensure that your prefinished hardwood flooring is completely protected.
  • Refinishing is a challenge. I think most contractors would agree. The downside of having prefinished hardwood flooring comes in when the floor covering has run its course and everyday use and foot traffic as well as exposure to the elements has taken its toll. The layers and layers of protective material is really tedious to remove.

Prefinished hardwood flooring gives us the best of both worlds: the convenience of having hardwood flooring minus the fuss how long you get to keep it depends on how you are going to take care of it.