Flooring Educational Content
Oak is one of the most popular choices for hardwood floors. Exotic woods come and go in terms of popularity. Brazilian cherry, a popular exotic option, has a rich, russet hue and is very durable. Cork is technically the bark of cork oak tree. Cork is an environmentally friendly flooring product with a supple feel. It comes in a wide range of shades. In addition to the type of wood, there are other factors that influence the look of hardwood flooring. Pay attention to plank size, grain, and gloss. Depending on the style you’re looking for, distressing methods like wire brushing or hand scraping might appeal to you.
Just like other types of flooring, hardwood floors need to be cleaned and maintained. Don’t use water to clean hardwood floors. It’s OK to use a damp cloth to wipe up spills, but regular cleaning should be done with a neutral-pH cleaner. To reduce wear on your floors, use mats and rugs to reduce the amount of dirt, sand, and other grit that gets tracked in. Vacuum hardwoods regularly with a soft-bristle brush attachment. Felt protectors or furniture coasters will keep furniture from damaging the floor. Use blinds and curtains to protect the floors from too much sunlight. Over time, exposure to the sun’s UV rays can fade and age hardwood floors.
If cork flooring isn’t quite right for your house, bamboo is another eco-friendly alternative. Bamboo behaves like wood for flooring purposes, but it is technically a grass. It grows more rapidly than almost any other plant in the world. In fact, bamboo fully matures in only four years, compared to forty or fifty for most hardwoods. This means that harvesting bamboo can be sustainable. Not all bamboo producers are environmentally friendly, especially in countries without industry oversight. Choose a supplier endorsed by a reputable environmentalist organization. The Forest Stewardship Council is a good example of an organization to look for. Also inquire about the amount of formaldehyde glue that is used in the planks. Bamboo flooring should not emit over 0.01 parts per million of formaldehyde.
Vinyl flooring has only improved in durability over the years. It’s one of the most affordable flooring options on the market. Vinyl is easy to maintain and highly resistant to mildew and mold. This makes it a popular choice for kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. Luxury vinyl plank (LVP) is a high-end, thicker vinyl flooring option. Vinyl flooring comes in a wide variety of colors and styles, including some that mimic textures like stone or wood.
Linoleum has seen recent resurgence due to its environmentally friendly composition. Unlike vinyl, which is made of plastics and other synthetics, linoleum is made of natural materials. Linoleum production also releases fewer toxins and requires less energy. Forgiving of spills and grimy shoes, linoleum is an easy-care and cost-effective flooring option.
Tile is another largely maintenance-free option. Ceramic tiles don’t need to be sealed. Natural stone tiles should be sealed every few years, depending on how much foot traffic the floor gets. Whether you opt for ceramic or natural stone tile, be sure to have the grout sealed approximately every three years. Tile flooring doesn’t hold heat well. Strategically placed rugs can help. If your area has especially tough winters, look into an underfloor radiant heating system.
TYPES OF CARPET
Cut pile. Plush carpet and some types of frieze carpet are considered cut pile. Cut pile carpets have exposed carpet ends. As a result, they tend to be softer (but a little less durable) than loop pile carpets. Cut pile carpet is one of the most popular carpet types on the market.
Loop pile. This type of carpet has fibers that are sewn into the backing, creating an uncut loop. These carpets are durable, which makes them good for high-traffic areas. Loop pile carpets don’t show vacuum tracks or footprints. Berber is a common type of loop pile carpet. Keep in mind that carpets with large loops are prone to snags, which are often difficult to repair.
Cut and loop pile. Cut and loop pile carpets combine cut and uncut fibers for texture and visual interest. Different fiber heights can be used to create more texture. This type of carpet is good for areas that get low to moderate traffic.
CARPET PERFORMANCE RATING
Some manufacturers and retailers put a number between one and five on the carpet’s label. This is the carpet performance rating. On a scale of one to five, it denotes how well the carpet can withstand extended wear. The higher the number, the more durable the carpet should be. A rating of two to four suggests average durability. A carpet with a rating below two is best for areas like bedrooms, where traffic will be the lightest.
Nylon. Nylon is soft and resilient, making it one of the most common synthetic carpet fibers. Nylon carpets come in a wide range of colors. Nylon carpet can stain even if it’s treated with a stain repellent. Clean up spills on nylon carpet as promptly as possible.
Polypropylene. Also called olefin, polypropylene carpets resist stains and are easy to clean. These types of carpets will, however, show traffic marks. Because of this, polypropylene is often used for Berber carpets and other loop pile carpet styles.
Triexta. Triexta is a synthetic carpet fiber with some similarities to polyester. Triexta is stain resistant and soft, but it isn’t as resilient as nylon.
Polyester. Polyester carpets are made of recycled plastics. They have great stain resistance and are moderately priced. Polyester carpets aren’t very resilient, so they do show foot traffic marks. They’re a great choice for low-traffic areas of your house.
Wool. Wool is soft and luxurious. Wool carpets wear well over time, but it can be hard to strike a balance between quality and price. High-quality wool carpets are expensive. Wool-acrylic blend carpets are a common alternative to pure wool.