Choosing the Right Flooring

Choosing appropriate flooring is an essential step toward creating your own stylish space.

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Laminate floor covering has been around for 25 years and is increasing in popularity every year. It's a high-pressure composite with a very dense wear layer on the top.

According to Dave Sulkin, Jr., each flooring material, from vinyl to laminate to cork, has its own advantages and personality. He explains how to choose between these innovative flooring trends by discussing differences in durability, color, price and maintenance:

  • While you can still buy tile, wood and stone, there are some great new materials that still offer these same great looks, but are easier to install and care for.

  • Vinyl has come a long way and it's still a very popular product for kitchens, bathrooms and laundry areas. It now comes in wider widths to eliminate some seams and there are innovative patterns that have become popular such as leather, aged wood and stone.

    An eco-friendly choice is a floor that's a mix of natural materials including linseed oil, wood flour, cork and limestone. Let your creative side have fun with this product!
    Another hot trend is cork--durable warm flooring with a hi-tech finish that's harvested directly off of the tree bark after the wine industry is done.

  • Laminate flooring is extremely scuff and indentation resistant, it won't fade and has an incredibly broad color range. This product is installed in planks and is designed to go right over an existing floor covering in a floating fashion with a foam layer underneath it to soften the walk. It typically costs 25 percent more than vinyl.

  • The trend in flooring these days is high performance. A limestone and vinyl composite that's available in about in 30 different colors and patterns has a great durability range. It's very convenient because you can go over existing flat and smooth floor coverings and has a lifetime wear and stain guarantee. Since it's more difficult to install than a laminate, Sulkin suggests hiring a professional.

  • Cork is installed piece by piece over an adhesive so the sub-floor needs to be smooth and clean (again, a professional is recommended). It costs about twice as much as a vinyl floor and will last forever. Cork is very strong and the urethane finish provides a clean look.

  • The great thing about some of these floors is that they're easy to install, so it may be tempting to do it yourself. However, some manufactures won't cover the warranties unless the floors are put in by a certified installer so check with a salesperson before you buy.

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