Selecting the Right Type of Floor for your Home

Carpet

  • Usually constructed of nylon. Polyester, wool, acrylic and polypropylene are also used.
  • Styles include level loop pile (Berber), multi-level loop pile, cut and loop pile, cut pile and sisal.
  • Quality of carpet depends on the density of construction (the denser the better) and the twist, or how many fibers have been intertwined to make the yarn (the tighter the twist, the better the carpet).
  • Use with carpet padding to extend the life of the carpet.
  • Installation products will include tack strips, a sharp razor-type knife, a chalk line and a straight edge.
  • Usually comes in 12’ widths.

Carpet Padding

  • Installed underneath the carpet.
  • Prolongs the life of the carpet and adds to comfort.
  • Usually made from felted cushion, urethane, foam rubber or sponge rubber.
  • Weight, density and thickness vary by type and the amount of traffic in the area to be carpeted.
  • Typically available in 36”, 54”, 72”, 108” and 144” widths.

Vinyl Flooring

  • Generally available in large, 12’ rolls in varying lengths, or in square tiles.
  • Available in a variety of patterns and colors.
  • Most floors have a no-wax surface, although most manufacturers recommend specially formulated floor finish to enhance or restore shine and provide added protection.
  • Quality depends on the thickness of the material. In general, urethane floors last longer than vinyl.
  • Installed by gluing to the subfloor with an adhesive made for the material.
  • The square tile type often has an adhesive backing that makes for easier installation.

    Hardwood Flooring

  • Available in planks or parquet tiles.
  • Some types install with nails, others with glue.
  • Popular types of wood are oak, maple, beech, birch and pecan.
  • Has tongue and groove joints for a tight installation.

Engineered Flooring

  • A popular alternative to solid hardwood flooring.
  • The surface veneer is made of hardwood such as maple or oak, while tongue-and-groove strips underneath are constructed of plywood.
  • Easy to install because it can be installed without a subfloor and requires no sanding or finishing.
  • Usually installed by gluing to the subfloor, although some types snap together and do not require glue.
  • The size of the veneer will determine the floor’s durability. High-quality engineered floors feature surface veneer of 5/32” to 1/8”.

Laminated Flooring

  • Consists of thin layers of wood or paper products adhered to a resilient foam core.
  • Designed to look like wood, stone or marble.
  • A coating of aluminum oxide provides hardness for the flooring.
  • Easy to maintain and resists scratching, denting or staining.
  • A glueless, interlocking design offered by some manufacturers makes it easy to install.
  • Not recommended for bathrooms since it can swell when exposed to water.

Ceramic Tile

  • More durable and easier to maintain than vinyl or wood flooring.
  • Glazed tile is made of clay that has been single fired at a high temperature, a process that makes color and shape permanent and a surface that is resistant to stains, burns and scratches.
  • Comes with a durability rating from 1 to 4+.
  • Class 1 is the least durable, while 4+ is intended for commercial applications with heavy traffic.
  • Available in a variety of colors and patterns.
  • Comes in sizes 12” x 12”, and accent pieces can be 2”x 2”, 4” x 4” or 6” x 6”.

Marble Tile

  • Made of natural marble. Slick and easily scratched, although scratches can be buffed out.
  • Tiles should be sealed after installation.
  • Types include travertine (for exterior use), while (translucent) and green (usually installed with water-free epoxy mortars.

Granite Tile

  • Made of solid granite.
  • Similar to marble, but harder, denser and more durable.
  • Must be sealed after installation.
  • Commonly used on countertops.
  • More difficult to harm than marble, but also more difficult to restore when damaged.

Slate Tile

  • Made of shale with a natural cleft finish.
  • Must be sealed after installation.

Quarry Tile

  • Has a shale body, extruded then cut to size with edges ground smooth.
  • Can be glazed, but is usually sold unglazed. Must be sealed after installation.
  • Very durable, and often used in institutional settings.

Source: DoItYourself.com