Most people automatically opt for wall to wall carpeting when choosing floor covering for their home. However, there are several alternatives to carpet that are very appealing and easy to maintain.
As you might expect, carpeting comes in a variety of types. The most common types are cut-pile (smooth), frieze (textured), level loop (loops are same height), and multi-level loop (uneven loop heights for patterned look).
Berber carpet, which is made of large, loop-type woollen strands, has also become popular over the years.
Typically, the durability of a carpet is in proportion to its density, or “face-weight.” The denser the carpet, the more durable it will be. If cost is an issue, choose a carpet with a lesser face-weight for a lower-traffic area, such as the bedroom. You’ll also want to find out what the fibres are made of as well as the level of built-in stain resistance.
You may want to consider wood flooring. It is becoming increasingly popular in kitchens, hallways, living rooms, and dining rooms. You can choose between the real hardwoods, such as oak, ash and natural maple; and laminated flooring such as Pergo. Hardwood is beautiful, durable, can be made fully waterproof with appropriate coatings, and can be refinished if necessary.
The downside of hardwood is that it can be scratched and is very expensive. Laminates are somewhat more reasonable in price and offer great stain and scratch resistance, but generally won’t tolerate refinishing. If you decide to go with real hardwood floors, hire a professional to do the work.
They will either do a “nail-down” or “glue-down” installation, depending on what kind of underlying floor they’re working with. Laminated flooring is installed on a thin piece of foam without nails or glue, which makes installation fairly easy but can create a noisy floor.
If you have a moisture problem, leaving the old vinyl flooring down and laying the new vinyl over the top will act as a barrier and will prevent the new floor covering from discolouring. In most cases a vinyl floor can be repaired with excellent results.
It is important that the seams are sealed with the correct sealer after the repair is made. Whenever you buy new flooring material, be sure to keep some scraps on hand for this purpose.
Ceramic Tile Flooring
If you want to a room to feature ceramic tile flooring, you’ll choose from two types: unglazed tiles (such as quarry tiles) that get their colour either from the clay or by pigments added to the clay, or glazed tiles that get their colour from the glaze itself.
Both kinds of tiles come in an amazing array of colours, sizes and patterns. As a general rule, glazed tiles should be used in areas where there’s a probability of the floor getting wet, such as a bathroom or kitchen.
In other areas, selection is largely a matter of personal preference. Most homeowners opt to have tile professionally set, but if you are handy you can do it yourself.