Flooring Options

Flooring Options: Carpet, Tile, Hardwood, Laminate, Vinyl

Top 5 Flooring Options for New Room Addition

According an article on NewHomeSource.com, combining with info from local room addition contractor HK Construction, and from me (your fav carpet guru), here are the Top 5 Flooring Options for a home or new room addition. In this article they claim “One of the most important decisions any new construction or custom built home owner will face is what type of flooring materials to install.”

The goal is selecting a flooring that holds up to the primary use and amount of foot traffic the area receives. So we’ll explore five of the most popular flooring materials to help you better narrow down your choices.

FYI, of the Top 5 below we at Sweet Carpet Care do not service Hardwood or Laminate. We do however service and clean Carpet, Tile, and Vinyl flooring options.

1) Carpet (clearly our favorite choice! 🙂

Carpet Choices

Overview: 

Carpet remains one of the most popular flooring options of all time; either wall to wall, or area rugs.

With so many styles, colors and patterns to choose from the flooring options with carpet are plentiful. In addition to being one of the most comfortable flooring surfaces to walk and stand on, carpeting also excels at helping to insulate a room because carpet fibers are able to retain heat and insulate from cold. Carpeting can help to quiet a boomy room by absorbing sound.

Benefits:

Carpeting comes in your choice of natural fibers or synthetic fibers. Each have their own unique benefits and drawbacks; although exploring all the benefits and drawbacks are outside the scope of this simple and quick flooring options primer.

The most common natural fiber is wool because of it’s ease to acquire. And it dates back 1,000s of years. Early area rugs were (and in some craftsman case still are) woven into ornate area rugs.

The most common synthetic fiber carpet flooring options is nylon. Nylon fiber offers durability, stain protection properties, and ease of maintenance. Other popular and durable synthetic fibers are polyester and polypropylene/olefin. Polyester shares many of the same positive attributes as nylon and is a good choice for those with allergies.

A carpet’s top surface is referred to as “pile,” which consists of either loops or twines. These tops can either be cut or uncut. With so many different pile options, you should have little problem selecting the correct thickness and visual style you are seeking. Thanks to its ability to reduce sound carpet is an ideal choice for rooms with sound issues such as echoing or hollow sounding open space.

Carpet in high-traffic areas should have more durable fibers in order to handle the wear. Going with a Teflon coating or some other soil/stain resistant/repellent is always a good idea for easy clean up and longer lasting appearance. Compared to other more permanent flooring options such as tile and glue down laminate, carpeting is relatively easy to remove and replace should the need or desire arise.

A large area rug over a bare floor is a classic design theme. It’s a great way to warm up a room while helping to match other colors, furniture, and decorations. For high-traffic areas, select flooring options that don’t need constant cleaning or frequent replacement. Choose water-resistant materials when selecting flooring for high-moisture areas, such as kitchens and bathrooms.

Challenges:

Not all carpet fibers are the same when it comes to longevity, stain resistance, and ease of maintenance. Be sure to explore the differences before buying that pretty carpet with the perfect color or pattern. Because, “it might not be the carpet you are looking for” (said in a Jedi voice – yes, I’m a closet nerd and Star Wars fan :).

Carpet can be harder to keep clean than other flooring options and may require a professional carpet cleaner like me to come in and do the job right.

2) Hardwood

Hardwood Flooring in New Room Addition

Overview:

Hardwood is a timeless classic that provides style and durability. With a wide variety of woods, patterns, and stain colors to choose from, hardwood is a great flooring option for the right application.

Benefits:

Since hardwood flooring materials are available in many different textures and styles, this allows creating everything from a bright contemporary look to a rustic antique theme simply by the type of wood and patterns selected.

Hardwood, particularly harder varieties, is an ideal flooring options choice for higher traffic areas that demand flooring durability; especially if you have kids or pets, who will put your flooring surface to the test.

With hardwood floors you can enjoy different patterns such as thin strips, wider planks, or formal parquet style squares. Oak, maple and cherry are some of the most popular hardwoods on the market today as they are prized for their looks, grain patterns, affordability, and durability.

However if you have a limited budget you might want to look away from expensive exotic woods such as teak, mahogany and Brazilian cherry. In general, to the casual eye, they don’t wear or look any better but they do cost a whole lot more! So maybe not the best value in your flooring options. But really, life is short, so splurge if it makes you feel good and buy what makes you happy!

Challenges:

Hardwood is not a good choice for rooms that become overly humid such as a sunroom, or get a lot of moisture such as bathrooms or laundry rooms. And watch out for softer woods because they are prone to dents and dings from falling objects. Soft wood also requires more periodic sanding and refinishing to remove scratches and minor dings.

Hardwood floors, says Marc Gieselmann of HK Construction, require professional installation. Due to the high cost of materials and risk involved this task is best left to a pro. So make sure your budget can accommodate the extra fee.

3) Laminate

Laminate Flooring Options

Overview:

Laminate flooring is a synthetic alternative to hardwood flooring. Sort of a hybrid between natural wood and vinyl. It consists of four layers of melamine-based materials (plastic) fused into a usable section. One of these four layers is a detailed high-resolution image of the surface that it’s supposed to represent, such as a wood grain for example. In this way, laminate offers a wide range of visual options such as hardwood, tile and stone.

Laminate is extremely durable and, depending on the type you select, is suitable for use in all rooms. This is why, according to HK Construction, laminate flooring is the primary flooring option of choice for their San Diego new room addition clients.

Benefits:

Laminate is a designer’s dream because of its ability to mimic a large variety or materials, textures and surfaces in a low cost way. Laminate is durable and good in rooms with high humidity or exposure to water sources such as kitchens and bathrooms. Difficult to stain, most laminates are easy to clean with periodic sweeping and vacuuming or a damp mop.

Challenges:

Similar to vinyl, areas with damage are nearly impossible to repair so then replacing all of it become necessary. However, if you have left over sections then matching is not a problem so replacing sections is an easy option.

4) Tile and Natural Stone

tile natural stone flooring options

Overview:

I remember back in the mid 1990s people started replacing their carpet with tile. Sure tile has been a flooring option for 1,000s of years. But it was then that it was becoming more popular than carpet in Vista and in the greater San Diego County region. Seeing the need from my clients for quality tile cleaning, that is when I first began expanding into that area.

Tile is ideal for high moisture environments and perfect for heavy traffic areas.

Benefits:

Primarily available in ceramic, porcelain and natural stone, tile offers more visual design options than ever before. Flooring tiles are available with completely smooth and highly textured rustic surfaces, and all variations in between. The grout can also add to the appeal with various colors and textures available. Extremely durable and water resistant, tile is a great flooring choice for high-traffic areas and for kitchens and bathrooms.

Challenges:

Grout lines in between tiles are prone to deep soiling and can be a lot of hard work to clean. Broken tiles are difficult to repair and sometimes impossible to match for a quick replacement. Tile adds to the boominess of rooms and can make them acoustically louder.

Tile surfaces are cold and hard, making them a uncomfortable to stand on for longer periods of time. Additionally, delicate items such as glass, dishes, electronics, and decorations break more easily when dropped on tile flooring.

5) Vinyl / Linoleum

sheet vinyl linoleum flooring options

Overview:

Due to low price, ease of installation, durability, and ease of maintenance, vinyl is one of the most popular flooring options available today. Sheet vinyl flooring, also known as Linoleum, is especially good in high traffic areas. Even better in rooms with frequent moisture such as bathrooms, kitchens, and entry ways. Unlike in years past, vinyl can now visually mimic a large variety of surfaces making it a popular choice with designers on a budget.

Benefits:

Vinyl comes in sheets, tiles or planks. Various shades of matte or gloss finishes are available for even more design options. Vinyl can help to acoustically soften a room compared to hardwood, laminate or tile, but not by much.

It provides a softer than surface to walk on than tile, which makes it ideal for rooms such as kitchens where standing for a long time may happen. The soft cushioning surface also helps keep dropped dishes and glasses from breaking, but again, not by much when comparing to tile.

With proper preparation, a pro can install vinyl over almost any flat and dry surface thus making it adapt to any flooring curves or slope. Cleaning vinyl flooring is easy and no longer requires waxing as it did back in the old days. Because of its ability to repel moisture, vinyl is a frequent choice for bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.

Challenges:

Even higher end vinyl surfaces will not be able to completely visually mimic other materials as well as other options such as laminate. When exposed to long periods of direct sunlight, vinyl may fade, crack, or dry and curl up over the years. Damaged areas are nearly impossible to repair so then replacing all of it become necessary.

Conclusion

So there you go. Personally, I love carpet but it does have some drawbacks. For example, my house has carpet in the rooms I want to be warm; such as bedrooms, living room, and office. I have Mexican paver tile throughout the house in the kitchen, dining room, hallways, 1 bathroom. In two other bathrooms there is sheet vinyl flooring. This mix works well for me.

What works best for you? Hopefully this article helps guide you into making wonderful personal choices for your home’s flooring options.

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