Wood Floors for Bedrooms
Wood floors are a good investment in your home and can add beauty to any bedroom.
Hardwood floors add beauty and value to a home, and they can complement any style of bedroom. Whether you are choosing a floor for your master bedroom or a child's room, you'll have a wide array of products from which to choose.
Any type of floor covering will work in this area, since most people wipe their feet off on a mat before entering the house. "If it's a high-traffic house with several kids and pets, I'd be more concerned with scratching (the flooring) than moisture," Jennings says. "Hardwood's still a good look for many homes, as well as ceramic tiles."
The most private room in the house is still the domain of carpet, which dampens sound and feels softer underfoot than other floor coverings. "Carpet is textile for the floor," Jennings says. "The construction of the fiber itself dictates how it performs underfoot. Choosing plush pile versus Berber is a cosmetic choice. Someone older, who's more tentative on their feet, wants a firm feel underneath, so a harder finished carpet is best to avoid slippage." Image courtesy of Shaw Floors
While carpet is a popular choice for the bedroom, wood flooring, whether hardwood, engineered or laminate, can be a great alternative for a guest bedroom if you're looking to add style. Choose a warm color and a defined texture to up the coziness factor. Add a premium underlayment for maximum sound reduction. Image courtesy of Pergo
Water splashed from the tub or shower and the high humidity in this room require flooring that won't be affected by moisture. Laminates and hardwood floors, which absorb moisture, aren't recommended, but ceramic tile is a good choice. And if you use natural stone or marble, seal them with a protective coating. Image courtesy of Daltile
When watching television and movies or listening to music, the acoustics of a room are a factor. You don't want to disturb others in adjoining rooms, and at the same time you want to enjoy hearing what you're listening to. Carpet and cork are good choices where acoustics count. Avoid hardwood.
Basement and Below Grade
Before installing any flooring option, make sure there are no moisture issues with the concrete slab. If there are, laminate and wood wouldn't be good choices, because they tend to absorb water. Resilient vinyl floors are often used in basements because vinyl is unaffected by moisture and is low maintenance. Engineered wood or laminate flooring, above a moisture barrier, will also work. If moisture isn't an issue, carpet will help keep the room warm.
Wood flooring and tile are popular choices for the kitchen, which may be affected by liquids hitting the floor during cooking, but Tom Jennings, technical adviser and former chairman of the World Floor Covering Association, recommends cork for those who cook a lot. "Cork has a similar finish to laminate but has resiliency, which matters if you're going to be on your feet a lot," he says. Cork is virtually nonabsorbent and moisture-proof, and it won't burn. It comes in many patterns, making for a unique look. Jennings says the problem with using ceramic tile in the kitchen is that it adds weight and thickness to the floor, which can cause clearance issues with the refrigerator or stove areas.
Hardwood floors are a good choice for a master bedroom suite; if you like, you can also lay the wood floor in your master bathroom for a unified look. In a child's room, hardwood provides both beauty and durability, withstanding high foot traffic, spills and the wheeled toys kids love to push across the floor. In a guest room, hardwood floors add a touch of luxury that will make your guests feel like they're staying at a bed-and-breakfast.
Wood floors come in many types. In addition to traditional woods such as oak, birch, cherry, walnut and maple, many homeowners are now choosing bamboo and eucalyptus for their durability, sustainability and affordability. While technically not a wood but a grass, bamboo cures to a hardness that rivals oak, and grows quickly, making it an environmentally sustainable product. Eucalyptus has the appearance of mahogany and is extremely durable, as much as 20 percent harder than some oak floors, while costing as little as half the price of traditional wood flooring.
If luxury is what you're after, consider koa wood, from Brazil. It's very durable as well as beautiful, but it's among the priciest woods available. Also known as tigerwood, koa is harder than oak and has a reddish-brown grain with dark brown markings.
Once you narrow down your wood choices, you'll need to decide whether you want to buy unfinished wood planks or wood that is factory finished. You can customize your stain and finish by purchasing unfinished flooring and having your installer apply the finish to your specifications. Factory-finished wood flooring is quicker to install because the sanding and finishing process has already been done.
Hardwood floors hold up well and do not need to be replaced as often as carpet. They may, however, need to be sanded, buffed and refinished, particularly in high traffic areas.
For the look of hardwood without the cost, you may want to consider a laminate floor. Laminate flooring is available in a wide range of finishes. It's fairly easy to install compared with other types of flooring, which makes installation a good do-it-yourself project if you have a tight budget. Laminate is easy to clean, but it cannot be refinished if you decide you want a different look. Ask your dealer for a chemical-free laminate in order to avoid formaldehyde and other toxins.
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