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Quick overview of hardwood-laminate-tile-vinyl-carpet flooring materials.

by in Floor materials
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If you don't know what floor will fit your house better, here is very brief, but useful, overview of the most commonly used flooring materials. 



There are several different options:

 A) Hardwood - A durable material which can be buffed or sanded to renew its look. After being sanded, hardwood can be stained to add color to it. Hardwood darkens with time (5-10 years) though the darkening is gradual and mostly unnoticed. Hardwood floors are considered a long lasting investment since it increases the value of the house by an average of 6%. While hardwood is a long lasting product, it's pretty easy to scratch; although with proper care it can stay unscathed for a long period of time. Additionally, the material moves during the warm and cold seasons (mainly because of a humidity), which might create some gaps between boards, or alternately, cupping or buckling. If the floors are maintained properly, however, neither gaps nor buckling or cupping appear.

 B) Laminate - A product made of particle board with a picture imprinted on it. Laminate is more scratch resistant than hardwood, graded with AC (abrasion class) from 1-5; grades 1-3 given to average residential and grades 4-5 reserved for heavy residential and commercial use. Laminate CAN NOT be sanded under any circumstances, but sometimes can be recoated with polyurethane to allow for a fresh top coat (this is not always possible, please consult with your flooring professional before adding any finish to your laminate flooring). Laminate comes in both hardwood and tile looks, however it's versatility does not add, nor detract, value from a home.

C) Tile (ceramic or porcelain) - Tile is an extremely durable material, it is hard to scratch so it maintains very well but can be cracked if something very heavy is dropped on it. Tile will last virtually forever, unless cracked. It increases a value of a house similar to hardwood, on average by 6%, if in good condition. It can be installed over a radiant heat system installed on your subfloor which is impossible for other types of flooring. Lastly, while it's perfect for areas with high moisture levels, the material itself is cold, which might be uncomfortable for some people and/or pets.

D) Vinyl - Vinyl is a hard to scratch, water resistant, product similar to tile, and a perfect option for bathrooms, kitchens, basements and laundry rooms. It does not expand or shrink due to moisture or humidity levels, however, similarly to tile, the material itself is cold, which might be uncomfortable for some people and/or pets. House value is not affected by this material, however it allows for many options including both hardwood and tile looks.

E) Carpet - The softest and warmest material on this list; impossible to scratch but easy to stain it. Carpet collects dust, sand and dirt which filters through the fibers and can hide under the carpet. After this happens it cannot be vacuumed up, even with commercial cleaners. Carpet keeps moisture in, which can create mold and can lower the value of a house. It can be good for bedrooms, but avoide bathrooms, kitchens, basements, and high moisture areas.


The more you know! For more information, check out other articles in our flooring blog!