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Let's Start At the Very Beginning...

Okay. So you're sitting around at home a lot more recently because...well, you're quarantined. You find yourself noticing things about your home that you've never noticed before. For example, you discover that your floors haven't been changed out since 1969 when shag carpeting and linoleum floors were still all the rage. ”But how on earth do I even begin to figure out how to change my floors?” you ask. “What do I want? Where do I go?”


When it comes to making a decision about your new floors, there are actually a lot of options and it's easy to feel overwhelmed. The purpose of this post is to hopefully give you some insight on where you can start and how to answer some basic questions.


What do I need? The answer to this question will automatically help you eliminate some options and hone in on the basic requirements that you have. If you know that you need something waterproof and that can handle getting wet, you can then eliminate the options that don’t meet that requirement. For example - you need a new floor for your bathroom. You can immediately eliminate carpet as it is definitely NOT waterproof and will get moldy if it gets wet, which is just gross. Unfortunately, I've seen it done before, and it’s not pretty. This is a perfect example, however, of why the need should be answered before moving on to the next questions. In order to figure out what you need, ask yourself the following:


  • Where is the floor going? As I previously mentioned, location plays a big role in the type of floor that you will choose. Will the flooring be used inside (Interior) or outside (Exterior)?

    • Who will be using it most? Brazilian Cherry may be the dream floor for your library or study room, but maybe not the best for your 4 year old son’s room. While you'll be doing little moving while reading books, he'll be dragging toys and driving hot wheels all around the floor. The main use of the space matters.

    • Is it a high traffic area? Areas that see a lot of coming and going will need a sturdier flooring that is resistant to scratches, dirt and wear. Vinyl or porcelain tiles stand up well to this kind of traffic.

    • Does it see a lot of moisture or spills? Hardwood or natural wood flooring doesn’t do well for kitchens or bathrooms, as the wood can warp and buckle with time when exposed to high amounts of moisture or water.


Once you’ve properly answered these questions, you will be ready to move on to the next considerations:


What do I have already? This might sound like a strange question to answer, but honestly, it is absolutely key to making a new selection. You see, unless you are doing a complete remodel, most likely you are going to have existing colors and materials in your home that your new floors are going to have to compete with. I say “compete” because, if you don't take what you already have into consideration before making your new material selection, that is exactly what your new floors will be doing. So, take stock of your home. What is the primary palette that you already have? Is there a cohesive theme? If not, you may want to consider some redecorating tips that may help you create one. With that being said, consider the following items as well to ensure that your flooring will suit your current color palette and overall look.


Built-in-Cabinetry ֍ Wall Treatments ֍ Furniture


As these items are costly and unlikely to be changed regularly, it is wise to consider them when making your selection. Obviously, if you are planning a full remodel, then you are going to want to get samples and swatches of all these materials together to help with the visualization process. But for homeowners who are just changing out your floors, take a look at these items and get a sense for the palette that you have going on. This will help you to be consistent and make sure that your new floors won’t clash and feel out of place. The selection process does not have to be rushed! You can take your time. Ask other people that you trust for their opinion. Of course, the ultimate decision will have to be yours, but as with any major decision, it's always wise to get feedback and advice from friends and family. Answering these two questions gives you a great starting point to start looking at materials.



What kind of Material? Your basic options are going to be Carpet, Hardwood, Tile, and Vinyl. There are a many, many types of Vinyl, but for the purposes of this post, any time I refer to Vinyl it will be in reference to Vinyl Planks. I could write an entire post about each of these materials, and in the future I will definitely be doing so, but for now, I am going to give just a brief description of each so that you can get started.




Carpet


  • Recommended Locations - Bedrooms, Hallways, Stairs, Living Room, Studies/Offices

  • Not Recommended Locations - Bathrooms, Kitchens

  • Pros - Relatively inexpensive to install, very comfortable and gives great noise reduction.

  • Cons - Difficult to repair. Cleaning and spot treatments have to be kept up with or you will end up changing out your carpet much more frequently than you would like to. Not good for allergies or people who struggle with dust aggravated breathing disorders. Susceptible to water damage.


Hardwood

  • Recommended Locations - Bedrooms, Hallways, Stairs, Living Room, Studies/Offices

  • Not Recommend Locations – Bathrooms and Kitchens

  • Pros - Timeless material that brings added value to your home. Properly maintained can last for 20-30+ years.

  • Cons - Repairs can be expensive, and if your floor does get excessively scratched, you will need to sand and refinish the whole area. Susceptible to water damage.


Tile


  • Recommended Locations - Bedrooms, Hallways, Living Room, Studies/Offices, Kitchens, Bathrooms, Showers

  • Not Recommended Locations - Stairs

  • Pros - Timeless material, gives the most added value. Will last the lifetime of your house when properly installed.

  • Cons - Most costly installation and repairs can be challenging.



Vinyl


  • Recommended Locations - Bedrooms, Hallways, Stairs, Living Room, Studies/Offices, Kitchens, Bathrooms

  • Not Recommended Locations - Exterior Use

  • Pros - Relatively Inexpensive material and labor costs. Easy to maintain and repair. Waterproof!

  • Cons - Sub Floor must be very well prepped, patched and leveled for a proper installation that will last.


So, armed with the answers to the above questions and this simple knowledge I shared, I hope you are able today to start deciding what your next flooring will be. If you have any further questions, or would like more information regarding materials and installation, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me via any social media outlet.


One final parting wisdom – Measure Twice, Cut Once!


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