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Choosing Flooring for Your Home


Today’s choices in flooring are more varied than ever, running the gamut of styles, finishes and installation options. Product innovation is clearly blurring the lines between many flooring categories, and the raw materials used to create flooring types include gin bottles, corn sugar and the staves from old wine barrels. Whether you're doing yoga in the den, hosting a dinner party in the dining room, or entertaining the neighborhood kids in your kitchen, you need a surface underfoot that's comfortable and durable.

The meticulous process that is turning a “house” into a “home” is a series of careful decisions regarding comfort, style, color, and, of course, cost. And few decisions are as crucial to this home building process as what type of flooring you choose.

Choose your style. What colors and patterns do you like? Think about which floor textures appeal to you: the rich grain of hardwood, luxuriously thick carpet or the sleek lines of tile. And take into account your current décor, too. Unless you plan on redecorating on the entire room, you'll want to choose floors that complement the furniture and accessories you have now.

Ceramic or porcelain tile, floating wood tile, carpet, hardwood, engineered wood, bamboo, cork, stone, and vinyl flooring. Each of them has a lot of advantages and disadvantages. Make sure you decide on a flooring option that is right for you using this handy buying guide.

Crunch Numbers. Calculate your budget. Keep in mind that along with the cost of the floor material, you may need to incorporate the cost of underlayment, delivery, and installation, as well as removal and disposal of your previous flooring. Don't forget to factor in any additional materials such as baseboards, stains, or adhesives.

Consider Your Lifestyle. Think about how you use the room. Are you an avid cook who spends hours standing at the stove? Then you may want to skip the tile, which can be uncomfortable to stand on for long periods. Do your kids leave puddles of water on the bathroom floor? You may want to go for that tile, which stands up to water. Do you have pets who track mud into the front hall? Think concrete, Your floor will need to be able to stand up to the wear and tear your family dishes out and accommodate your activities.

Installing flooring can be an incredibly difficult task to take on, but it helps to know what you're getting into—and whether the flooring type you like is actually worth it. One type might be easy to install, but is hard to clean. Another might be durable and easy to install, but is more expensive.


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