Hardwood flooring comes in three varieties: strip, plank and parquet. Strip flooring is usually 1½ - 2¼ inches wide, plank flooring is wider at 1 ½ to 8 inches wide, and parquet floors are composed of individual squares that make up a geometric pattern. Hardwood floors are durable and will work well with any decorating style. A homeowner may choose from several types of woods which can be sanded and stained to look traditional or modern. Wood floors generally are a more costly option but provide great value to your home.
Laminate floors are a good alternative the hardwood floors because they cost less and are easy to maintain. Several manufacturers of laminate flooring offer a glue-less tongue-and-groove system with interlocking planks which are easy to install. Much like hardwood, floors laminate flooring is available in a variety of styles to fit any household decor. Laminate floors work well in high traffic areas and homes with pets.
Vinyl flooring is usually the least expensive option and comes in a wide range of designs including those that mimic stone, slate and ceramic. Vinyl flooring can be purchased in either 12-inch square tiles or sheets (6 feet or 12 feet). "Peel n' stick" square tiles are glue-less and are one of the easier floors to install. Vinyl sheet flooring requires more preparation with the sub-floor but still rank highly with easy installation. Once installed the completed project delivers a practical flooring option that is budget friendly.
Linoleum is often referred to as a "green" flooring option because it is created using natural and renewable ingredients. This is a highly durable option and is extremely long lasting. Linoleum must be treated with a protective coating and requires periodic polishing. Since this material is difficult to install it may need to be installed professionally to avoid damaging and bending the edges. Once installed linoleum will resist against scuffs, scratched and high traffic use.
Concrete flooring is extremely resilient and is easy to maintain but must be sealed or waxed every 3-6 months. Most homeowners will not need to install a concrete floor since a concrete sub-floor already exists below most flooring surfaces. This makes the installation process simple by uninstalling the current flooring. Once the concrete floor is exposed you can either acid stain the surface or paint over it with a water proof latex paint to give it color and depth. If you are having the concrete floor poured coloration can be mixed directly into the concrete before the slab is placed. Concrete floors can be a focal point in a room and may become a conversation piece at your next dinner party.
Flooring installation can be a fun project or it can be a difficult chore. The degree of difficulty for this project will depend on the floor type you choose and the skill level needed for the installation. If you need help with your next in-home project gets out of hand, Mr. Handyman is always there to help. For professional advice, contact your local Mr. Handyman here.