Since humans first began to upgrade from dirt/earthen floors, some type of flooring has been underfoot.
Stone, tile, concrete, and even carpet have been around for thousands of years. Obviously, the quality and craftsmanship has improved over time as technology and manufacturing processes evolved.
Hardwood flooring did not get its start until the 1600s, but it has remained one of the most popular floor coverings since then.
And, over the past two hundred years, newer types of flooring such as linoleum, laminate, and vinyl were developed. With the wide array of flooring choices, it is easy to find a material that will fit your needs, style, and budget.
Questions to keep in mind while selecting your new flooring are:
- Is this type of flooring suitable for the room? You’ll want to base your flooring selection(s) on the function and use of each individual room. You won’t want carpet in the bathroom or kitchen because both of those rooms are subject to moisture and spills. Also, certain types of flooring are not suitable for basements.
- Will the new flooring be installed in a high or low traffic area? What is the average amount of wear-and-tear that the flooring will be subjected to on a regular basis?
- Do you have kids or pets who will cause additional wear-and-tear to flooring? Kids and pets are tough on floors. Pet dander and hair will get caught in carpet fibers, but claws and toys can scratch certain hard surfaces.
- Are you elderly or disabled? Or do you have any elderly or disabled relatives who live with you? Carpet and grout lines can make maneuvering a walker or wheelchair more difficult.
- Do you or anyone who lives in your home have asthma, allergies, and/or sensitivity to certain chemicals? Pollen and allergens can get trapped in carpet fibers. And certain types of flooring have higher VOCs than others. VOC stands for volatile organic compounds. These are organic chemicals that have a high vapor pressure at ordinary room temperature.
- Do you have or are you considering installing a radiant heat system? Radiant heat – also known as underfloor heating – will not work as well with certain flooring types.
Another factor to keep in mind is maintenance and upkeep. There is no such thing as a maintenance-free floor. All types of flooring will require cleaning with either a broom, a vacuum, and/or a mop. For some types of flooring, that is all the maintenance that is required. Other types require periodic sealing, polishing, or waxing.