There are many options when it comes to choosing a floor for a room. Hard surface flooring options are discussed.
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Hard Surface Options
Hardwood flooring is typically the option by which all others are compared. From a domestic standpoint, you start with red and white oak, and then go to hickory and maple. Some of the more exotic domestics potentially are ash, American walnut and American cherry. A little bit of elm is also utilized in wood flooring.
There's different hardness of woods as well. Walnut is considered the hardest, and even though cherry is considered one of the most beautiful, it's a little softer. The harder the wood the more durable it is.
A common hardwood flooring product is engineered wood, which is a composite made with glue, lumber and veneer.
A traditional use of hardwood is in parquet floors, and then there is hardwood that is sold as distressed wood -- a type of wood that looks like it's beaten up a bit. It's a great floor for families because it already has the nicks.
The most important thing with hardwood flooring is that you don't want to get moisture on it, which means the best way to maintain it is to actually dust it. There are also hardwood cleaners on the market that you spray on and dry mop up. Avoid putting water on hardwood at all cost.
The price range is approximately double that of carpeting; however, the life expectancy of the product is indefinite while carpeting is usually five to seven years.
Constructive Advice: Look at your flooring choice on a larger scale. Seeing it on a small scale won't give you the best idea of what it will look like.
Tiling is another popular hard surface flooring option. Tiles come in a vast array of materials, sizes and price range. There are ceramic tiles, glazed tiles, porcelain and more. Tile can even be made to resemble stone.
In addition to these common tiling choices, there are a number of manmade, hand-painted, metal and natural options. Tiling materials vary in price based on what region they come from, but ceramic would be the least expensive and porcelain would be on the high-end range with stones being the priciest.
Tiling Tip: If you want to take on tiling yourself make sure the tiles are consistently level throughout the floor. You can achieve this by using a straight edge such as a level or piece of wood. Lay it on top of the tiles and lightly tap for consistency.
Tiles are comparable to hardwood floors, but tiles can cost a bit more if you need to prepare the subfloor. If you are covering an area that will get wet, and you like the natural look of stone, then marble is a good way to go.
Marmoleum is another great hard surface choice, especially for an area that will be exposed to moisture. This is a natural linoleum product that is made from linseed oil, resin, wood chips and coloring. This is a resilient surface that won't break and it cleans up well. It won't stain and it handles moisture beautifully, which is why it would be a perfect fit for a bathroom or kitchen. Formal marmoleum comes in a wide variety of unusual colors.
Concrete is an option you may not have thought about, but you may want to reconsider due to its cost-effective nature. Concrete can be painted and made to look like cobblestone, for example.