Ask These Questions Before Hiring Charleston Flooring Installation Services
Are you ready to hire flooring installation services? Maybe you've done your research and are completely confident about what type, style and material is ideal for your Charleston home.
Or, maybe you thought you were ready to hire flooring installation services, but haven't actually taken the time to carefully map out what you want.
Updating your home can be exciting, and it's easy for homeowners to jump the gun. However, it's important to consider a few different factors before calling your local Charleston handyman service providers to install your new floors.
Renovating your floors is a big investment—so it's best to carefully think about your needs and wants before moving forward with the project. A few key considerations to keep in mind include:
Your family's needs and personal taste
The Charleston climate
Be sure to consider all your options before you make a commitment. To help you make the right choice for your home, the pros at Mr. Handyman of Charleston and Summerville have put together the following resource.
What Does Your Family Need?
The best part of being a homeowner is that you can do whatever you like with your space, and you should feel like it's perfectly tailored to your unique style and needs. Every family is different. Perhaps you're a bachelor living with your German shepherd. Or, maybe you have a bustling family with toddlers and small children running about. Perhaps it's just you and your partner, and you don't want to spend a lot of time maintaining your floors, so you'd prefer an easy material to keep in good shape.
Whatever the case may be, use the following questions to figure out exactly what type of material is best for you, your family and your home.
Where Will My Floors Be Installed?
Different areas of your home have different flooring installation considerations. For example, certain parts of your home will be exposed to more moisture than others. Living in Charleston, you're accustomed to the humidity that accompanies being in a subtropical climate. So, a key consideration may be choosing a material that won't warp easily when exposed to moisture. A good option could be luxury vinyl plank or luxury vinyl tile.
Another consideration is that some materials, like hardwood, are prone to fading in the sunshine. So if you're considering installing floors in an area of your home that gets a lot of sun, perhaps choose a UV and heat-resistant material. Most synthetic options, like laminate, are made to be fade resistant.
Lastly, consider how much foot traffic different parts of your home get. Bedrooms tend to have much less foot traffic than communal areas like the kitchen or front entrance, so they wear down less easily. For high-traffic areas, you should install more durable materials. Tile is a great choice for kitchen remodeling projects.
Do I Need Low Maintenance Materials?
Certain materials take more work to keep looking their best. For instance, quarried tiles tend to take more work to keep looking nice. Slate is one such material. While it's considered a luxury tile, slate needs to be sealed annually to prevent wear. Contrarily, ceramic or porcelain tile are both great options for homeowners who want an easy flooring installation option—and, these materials tend to be a lower price point as well.
Another material that requires routine maintenance is hardwood. Hardwood does scratch overtime, so it needs to be refinished occasionally. The good news is, pure hardwood floors (as opposed to engineered hardwood) can be refinished multiple times over the course of its lifetime—which can be as much as 100 years, given the right level of care.
Do I Need Pet-Friendly Floors?
If you have pets, you're likely familiar with the pitfalls of certain materials. Hardwood gets scratched very easily. While it's still possible to have pets and hardwood floors, they will need to be refinished frequently—as mentioned above. Meanwhile, cats and carpets are a disaster waiting to happen—especially if your cat likes to scratch.
If you're a pet owner, perhaps consider lower-maintenance options like laminate, luxury vinyl plank/tile or ceramic tiles. These materials tend to be more scratch resistant and easy to clean—which helps limit the amount of hair and dander present in many pet owners' homes.
Does My Family Have Allergies?
Speaking of pet hair and dander, if your family has allergies then you have special considerations when it comes to what material to choose for your flooring installation project. It's best to opt for smooth surfaces that are easy to clean—which essentially rules out carpet. Dust, dander, and all sorts of allergens are attracted to carpet.
What's My Personal Style?
Your unique design vision will impact what kind of flooring you choose. In fact, this may be what sparked the idea to update your floors to begin with! A good tip is to collect samples and take photos before making a purchase. That way you can test out what colors and materials match what you presently have in your home, and suit the aesthetic you're aiming for.
Pro-Tip: Traditional VS. Contemporary
Most homeowners tend to lean towards either a more contemporary or traditional look. Even if you prefer, say, a rustic or minimalist look, these aesthetics still fall under the umbrellas of contemporary or traditional styles. If you prefer a more traditional look, then opt for smaller tiles and more narrow planks in darker tones.
Alternatively, if contemporary style is more appealing to you, wide planks and larger tiles evoke a more modern feel—particularly in light colors. This creates a bright and clean aesthetic.
Structural Integrity is a Key Consideration
Aside from what materials work best for your home based on your style and your family's needs, naturally there are numerous logistical factors to consider when planning a flooring installation project.
Are My Subfloors Ready?
Subfloors are the layer that goes below the top floor (the area you walk on) and that sits above the joists. It's absolutely essential that they are in good condition before the top layer is laid. If damaged or uneven subfloors are not repaired before your flooring installation project begins, you could wind up making an existing problem worse. For example, if the subfloor is sagging in some areas because the joists were laid too far apart, anything you put on top of it will also sag. Or, materials like tile laid on top of a wood subfloor may cause cracking and bending. Tile floors need a cement fiber board as an underlayment.
Since there are so many considerations, and because the bottom layers need to be structurally sound before you can place anything on top, it's always best to hire a qualified handyman service to handle flooring installation on your behalf.
Is My Home's Foundation Stable?
Just like a pyramid, the strength of the base impacts the structural integrity of the top. It's not just your subfloors that need to be sound, but your home's foundation as well. It's natural for foundations to shift over time, and some will shift more than others as homes settle. If your home is prone to settling, it's best to invest in more flexible materials, like laminate or luxury vinyl tile.
Will My Floors Expand?
An expansion gap is important for preventing damage in certain materials, as temperature changes and moisture could cause cracks. Roughly 1/4-inch of space should be left for tile, which may crack if it doesn't have enough “breathing” room. This is the same for both laminate and vinyl, which also need roughly 1/4-inch of expansion space.
Best Options for Charleston Flooring Installation
There are numerous materials available to choose for your Charleston home. Each has its own merits and drawbacks.
Made out of four synthetic layers that are fused together in a lamination process and covered in a photo applique to create the look of wood or tile, laminate has come a long way over the years. While previously laminate didn't look as nice as hardwood or tile, new technologies have enabled laminate to look just as good. Additionally, laminate is very durable and resistant to scratches from pets and furniture. However, this material does warp when wet. It lasts anywhere between 10 and 25 years depending on the level of care and foot traffic it receives.
Luxury Vinyl Tile/Plank
Invented in the 1930s, by the 1950s vinyl had quickly become one of the most popular materials for kitchen and bathroom floors. Vinyl is completely made out of plastic, unlike laminate which includes wood content. This makes it an inexpensive, low-maintenance, and durable flooring installation option. Historically, vinyl didn't look as nice as other materials. But like laminate, it's come a long way. Particularly, newer materials like luxury vinyl tile/plank look absolutely stunning and wear well over the years. Luxury vinyl tile is highly durable, flexible, and even water resistant and emulates ceramic tile. Luxury vinyl plank is designed to look like wood.
Tile (Porcelain or Ceramic)
Ceramic and porcelain tiles are a very popular flooring installation choice. Tiles are especially popular for high-traffic areas like the bathroom, kitchen or front foyer. Both of these man-made materials are composed of clay, however porcelain tiles are made with a denser variety. Both ceramic and porcelain tiles are very strong and durable, water resistant, available in a range of colors and are relatively easy to repair.
Tile (Natural Stone)
In addition to man-made tiles like ceramic and porcelain, there are many types of natural stone tile that can be installed on floors, backsplashes and countertops. Generally, natural stone tiles are sourced from a quarry.
Natural stone tiling is a very luxurious flooring installation option, and tends to have a higher price point than ceramic or porcelain. The main benefit of natural stone is that it’s very elegant and stylish. Some varieties are very durable, like slate, whereas others are not, like marble.
A few commonly used types of natural stone tiling includes:
Hardwood floors are a very popular flooring installation option because they’re aesthetically appealing to many Charleston homeowners and last a very long time. In fact, many of Charleston's historic homes have hardwood floors that have lasted through the centuries. While hardwood floors are durable and easy to clean, they do scratch easily and can warp when wet. An easy fix is to refinish your hardwood floors from time to time.
If you are considering installing hardwood flooring, there are a few options to consider:
Solid: Solid hardwood is wood all the way through. It comes in slats that are 5/8” to 3/4” thick. It is very durable and can be sanded and refinished multiple times. However, solid hardwood can also warp when exposed to humidity.
Engineered: Not technically hardwood, engineered hardwood is a veneer of real wood glued to several layers of plywood. This makes it very durable and stable. However, engineered flooring can only be sanded and refinished once or twice since it only has a thin layer of hardwood on the top.
Finished: Finished hardwood comes from the factory, sanded and sealed. It can be installed and is ready to walk on.
Unfinished: Unfinished hardwood is a great option if you want a custom stain applied, or if you are looking to match an existing floor color in your home—say if you're updating a historic Charleston property.
Choose the Pros at Mr. Handyman of Charleston and Summerville for Your Flooring Installation Needs!
After reading this guide, you should be fully equipped with the information you need to get started on your flooring installation project. If so, reach out to Mr. Handyman of Charleston and Summerville today. You can reach our friendly customer service representatives at 843-940-7525 . We look forward to assisting with your next home improvement project!