By LAUREN ODDO
When making a flooring selection, application is going to be the first and arguably the most important issue to address. While commercial applications like medical offices and retail spaces may require certain flooring features, a residential application may call for completely different specifications. Even certain areas of a residential application can lend themselves to different requirements than other areas – for example soft materials like carpet in areas where peace and quiet are valued like bedrooms and hard, waterproof surfaces for wet areas such as kitchens and bathrooms.
That said, the most common trend nowadays is to run the same flooring throughout the home. That’s right! – Living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms and even bathrooms are receiving the same floorcovering. This creates a little bit of a challenge for those selecting or specifying the floors. Not only does the floor need to meet the softness and sound dampening specifications you’d want in a bedroom, but it also must withstand the moisture of a bathroom and have the durability of an entryway. Going along with this trend, for the sake of this article, I am going to shy away from what type of flooring works best in what area of the home and focus on a product that works best throughout.
While wood flooring has been recognized for hundreds of years as the most sought-after type of flooring, and it may very well still be, there is a newer type of flooring that has recently taken over the market called luxury vinyl. It checks all of the boxes customers have on their list of requirements – especially here in Florida where water and moisture resistance are high up on the list.
As mentioned above, for centuries, wood has been used as a floorcovering in homes. This is because, while considered a hard surface, wood flooring is actually fairly soft underfoot and dampens sound quite a bit better than tile or natural stone. That said, wood doesn’t preform quite as well in moisture ridden environments as it tends to expand and contract significantly with heat and moisture changes. That’s where floating luxury vinyl plank and tile come in.
While glue down luxury vinyl is used more in commercial applications, floating or click-lock luxury vinyl is more suitable for residential environments as it provides a bit more cushion underfoot and has noise reduction properties built in. It also installs a bit quicker, is open to foot traffic instantly after installation and has more relaxed subfloor requirements than its glue-down counterpart. Oftentimes, luxury vinyl can even be floated over your existing flooring!
Once your luxury vinyl is installed, it’s extremely easy to care for. A dry sweep and damp mop is all you will need to keep your floors looking as good as they did on day one. Because these products are fairly non-porous, they do not like to hold onto dirt and thus clean up very well.
Like luxury vinyl, porcelain tile is also non-porous, stain and water resistant – probably even more-so. So why not go with tile throughout your home? Well, you can! You will just want to take into consideration that it is much harder underfoot than any other option.
Think of all flooring as fitting somewhere on the scale of soft to durable. Carpet is going to be further toward the soft side, tile closest to the durable side with luxury vinyl and wood flooring falling somewhere in the middle. The question is, where do your needs put you on that scale?
If you’re still at a loss for the best type of flooring for your home, a consultation with a flooring professional is the best way to clear things up. Give us a call and schedule one today!
Lauren Oddo has been with US Design Source for six years managing sales and specifying products. Upon graduating from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor's degree in entrepreneurship, she sought a career that would allow her to combine her love for home design and education in entrepreneurship into one passion. The owners of US Design Source, Michael and Ginny Hill, have been part of the Orlando flooring and building industry for over 50 years. As a company, we've installed hundreds of thousands of square feet of flooring throughout Central Florida.