Are you contemplating new floors and find yourself unsure of what to choose? The following are my personal & professional observations for you to consider.
Popularity of flooring material varies throughout the country. Northerner’s love their hardwood floors; they enjoy the warmth and character. In the South you will find more tile floors; the coolness is welcoming under foot on a hot, summer day.
Wherever you go, one thing is certain: solid surfaces are a must. Here are a few reasons for their popularity: easier to clean, hypo-allergenic and they will last many years (this is not a renovation you want to repeat). Hardwood flooring has tipped the scales as the material of choice for a while now. Hardwood comes in a solid wood as well as an engineered wood option. The engineered hardwood has a top layer of real wood, over several layers of high-quality plywood. This alternative has less warping/bowing issues. They also have less impact on our forests. Make sure you get a decent wear level (my recommendation is 4mm or higher). This allows you to sand & refinish at a future date, if desired.
Tile plank flooring is worth considering. Porcelain is best when you combine cost, durability & style options. The selection is endless, and from a distance, it does a good job mimicking wood. While you don’t have to worry about scratching, warping, or water, the challenge of this product come with the size limitations. They are making wider, longer pieces so that you can lay it out to resemble a real wood floor, but the weight of these longer planks causes issues with cracking during shipping and installing, which adds to your material cost. They also require greater skill to install in order to maintain a level floor. The 6”x36” plank is the best go-to size. Just know that this size does not allow for a pattern layout variation; that and the grout lines are giveaways that you have a tile floor.
Laminate flooring debuted for a while as a lower cost, scratch & dent proof alternative to hardwood. However, it didn’t take long to discover the downsides, such as the hollow sound while walking on them and that they could not stand up to water. You can cross these off the list.
The next engineered wonder: LVP-Luxury Vinyl Plank. This option mimics real wood, does not dent or scratch and is fearless in the face of water. Here is where they fall short: the pliable nature of the vinyl can buckle or tear under heavy furniture or appliances. Further development and enhancements were made, and now we have the next generation of LVP products: Rigid Core and SPC luxury vinyl planks as seen in the photo.
Let’s take a closer look:
Rigid Core Vinyl Flooring is an engineered vinyl floor that has an enhanced rigid core construction for dimensional stability. It is a solid plank with less pliability, giving it a sturdy feel under foot. SPC Vinyl Flooring stands for stone plastic composite vinyl flooring and is engineered to combine limestone and stabilizers to create an extremely durable core.
Budget is the next consideration; Tile will have the lowest starting material cost per square foot options. Exotic hardwoods and natural stone will come in at the top. The majority of tile, wood & LVP options will fall into a similar price range of $3.50-$10/sqft. The notable cost difference comes in the installation. Tile is the most expensive to install because it requires a solid surface underneath such as concrete or cement board. They also require more skill to install. Engineered or solid hardwood requires a glue or nail down installation and also requires a solid, level base. The rigid core & SPC vinyl planks are easy to work with, have a click locking system and can install over most existing floors. When you add up the savings on floor prep and install costs, the LVP options are the best bang for your buck.
Solid & engineered hardwood are by far the most desirable floor choices because nothing can replace the inherent beauty found in nature. However, if you have pets, small children or need to be budget conscience, check out the Rigid Core or SPC luxury vinyl plank materials. You will be surprised by the variety of colors, styles and sizes available.
Are you still overwhelmed? Let me help. I will assess the best flooring option for your home balancing function, style, color and budget. Together we’ll make your home, your sanctuary!