Tips & Advice
What is cork flooring?
Cork flooring is manufactured from the bark of trees (usually oak), and usually made in squares that can be glued to the ground, or left unglued. Cost-wise it averages about $5 a square foot and is generally pretty inexpensive to install. Cork is naturally water resistant, but to ensure total water resistance, cork floors should be finished and sealed to prevent leaking into cracks, as well as scuffing or wear and tear. It’s not going to be as nice or stylish as hardwoods or tile, but is great in outdoor areas and work spaces. It is comfortable to walk on and a great sound insulator.
As you might suspect, bamboo flooring is made from actual bamboo and is usually manufactured in bamboo plants. It is ecologically friendly and very water resistant. It is also considered one of the sturdiest types of ‘wood’ flooring (even though it’s really a grass). In fact, on the Janka scale (an industry standard system that ranks the hardness of different woods), it is ranked in the top three strongest available wood floorings). Its price point is near wood flooring at roughly $3-$10 a square foot. While generally easy to maintain, bamboo can be susceptible to scratching or scuffing, which can be a problem in high traffic areas. Although it is very water resistant, it is not 100 percent, and humidity can affect it so it’s not ideal for bathrooms or humid environments. Overall bamboo is a viable option for flooring in most areas of the house and is affordable and durable.
Where you live and the type of room you are covering, not to mention your budget and aesthetic preferences, are all factors in finding the right flooring to fit your needs. Vinyl, vinyl plank, laminate, hardwood, bamboo, tile (ceramic and porcelain), stone, marble, cork, and carpeting are the most popular types of flooring available. There are more than a dozen options just for wood alone. If you want a pure industrial look you can always go with straight cement floors.
What is the best type of flooring for a kitchen?
When considering kitchen flooring, think durability and water resistance first, and style second. Quality vinyl (don’t go cheap, get a quality product – there are differences between brands) is durable, fashionable, and completely water resistant--making it a top choice. Wood is visually appealing, but not 100 percent water resistant. Tile (porcelain tile, not ceramic) is a great choice for style and durability and is completely water resistant. Laminate is a great option - especially on a budget (ceramic tiles and wood are cost more). It is durable and easy to clean, but not 100% water resistant. As with all man-made products, be sure to skip the low quality products and shoot for at least a mid-range product.
What is the cheapest type of flooring?
The most inexpensive flooring options are going to be laminate, vinyl plank, and bamboo flooring. Each of these options will give you durability and variety, and can even be found for less than $2 a square foot if you shop around.
What is the most durable type of flooring?
Well, it may surprise you, but bamboo flooring is considered one of the most durable flooring available. It’s increasing in popularity, so prices are beginning to reflect that. Porcelain flooring tile is right up there with bamboo. Fired at high temperatures, it produces a tile that is completely impervious to water and nearly unbreakable, in fact it can be used outdoors as, well. Do not confuse it with common ceramic tiles as those are different - and much less durable. Standard wood floors, made from durable wood like oak, are very durable and a great accent to just about any home.
What is the difference between laminate and vinyl flooring?
The primary difference between vinyl and laminate is that vinyl is made of 100 percent plastic while laminate is nearly 100 percent wood product. A rule of thumb is vinyl in the bathroom, laminate everywhere else. The prices, appearance, and value are all comparable. Now if you use laminate in your bathroom, you’re still going to be OK, just know the water resistance levels are a fraction lower than in vinyl.
What is the best type of flooring for a house?
The best type of flooring for your house will depend on what rooms you are covering and your personal tastes. The most common floorings are wood, ideal for living rooms and bedrooms; tile, whose durability and water resistance makes it ideal for kitchens and bathrooms; laminates, whose durability makes it ideal for high traffic areas; carpeting, which is ideal for bedrooms, due to its softness and style; vinyl, which is great for laundry rooms, kitchens or bathrooms, due to its noise deadening quality and it’s durability; and cork, which can be good for bedrooms due to its softness.