Solid Wood

A solid hardwood floor will provide decades of extraordinary beauty, durable service and flexibility. Remember, solid hardwood flooring can be refinished for changing tastes or excessive wear. It may initially cost a little more, but as trends evolve, it can too.

Hardwood floors are non-toxic and trap no allergens such as mold spores and dust. Simple maintenance - dust mopping, sweeping or vacuuming - will keep hardwood floors looking great and allergen-free.

U.S. hardwoods are truly sustainable. The US Forest Service, in a 2008 report, verified that the average annual net growth for hardwoods is greater than average annual removals. The volume of hardwood timberland in American forest is almost double that of 50 years ago.

U.S. hardwoods are an all-natural, carbon-negative material. They have no emissions for methane, nitrogen oxides and other particulate matter and they are homegrown. Being regionally sourced further minimized their carbon footprint.

When considering a particular U.S. hardwood species, pay attention to its hardness rating scale, referred to as the Janka Scale. For high traffic areas, consider Oak, Maple, Cherry and Ash, species with higher hardness ratings.

Engineered flooring, consisting of a plywood base that's covered with a 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick layer of wood, wordks well in bathrooms and basements where light moisture might be a concern. It is almost always pre-finished. Because the top layer is so thin, it can't be sanded mote than one to three times and usually requires a professional to do it. Keep in mind that the less expensive choices cannot be sanded at all due to the very thin layer. 

The least expensive flooring option is laminate. It looks like wood, but it's really a printed paper that is affixed to a wood-chip base or high-density fiberboard, covered with a clear surface layer to absorb daily impact. Its issue is that it can't be repaired or sanded when scratches or dings occur.


Carpet

Good carpeting can add warmth and color to a room. It can also add class and style. Weather it is woven by hand or mass produced the intricate patterns, the feel of the materials and the colors used can transform what was a bare, cold structure into a true home. Carpets are the base on which many households are built. They set the tone and many inspire the choice of furnishings used to create the character of the home or business. But carpeting also has many disadvantages. They can be magnets for dust mites, bugs and germs and they are also expensive to keep clean, Cleaning up spills, removing stains and keeping them hypoallergenic can be a nightmare.

Carpets provide excellent insulation. Weather it is hot or cold carpets can help to maintain the temperature in the home and cut down on the power bill. While hardwood floors or tile may look impressive and stylish, they invariable allow heat or cold to radiate through the floors. That can become a problem especially when the winter chill settles over the building during the colder months. carpeting can make getting out of bed and walking to the bathroom a lot more pleasant on cold winter mornings. It can also help prevent colds because children and adults don't have to play or walk on ice-cold floors.

The beauty of the right carpeting can also make a dramatic difference in a home. They can add life to the home and create a unique look in each room. The design, color or thickness of the carpet can really make a statement in each room. One need not pay exorbitant prices for imported carpets to set the mood and atmosphere. A good carpet in neutral tones can make any room look and feel warm, rich and inviting no matter the season.

Carpeting is also great for helping to insulate against sound. Carpet tends to absorb the sound and keep it isolated into specific rooms. It also cuts down on the echo effect. Often people with teenagers or adolescents choose carpeting for their rooms for just this reason. There are some down sides to carpeting your home. One of the most devastating ones is the effect carpeting can have on the health of people with respiratory ailments. Carpets hold dust and other allergens. These allergens can cause major problems for people with asthma, bronchitis or other respiratory challenges. Carpeting can also cause breathing problems for infants whose respiratory systems are very sensitive. The elderly can sometimes be negatively impacted by the dust mites and other pests that sometimes make their homes in the carpet. These problems can be exacerbated if the carpet is very old or has not been thoroughly cleaned for some time. Carpets can also hold moisture. Over time this can allow mold to grow and lead to serious health issues. People with asthma may be especially susceptible. Another problem associated with carpets is the keeping of pets. Pets have 'accidents'. Removing the results of these accidents from carpeting can be a challenge. Ticks, fleas and other pests can also go from the pets to the carpet and back again. This can sometimes lead the people living in the carpeted home to have to be concerned about these pests getting into their hair, clothes and furnishings.

Cats can be particularly troublesome. If the cat urinates or defecates on the carpet, removing the stains and the smell can be near impossible. Cats also sometimes use the carpet to sharpen their claws. This can lead to serious damage to the carpet and may force the homeowner to have to continually repair or replace it.

Carpeting can make a building look warm and can enhance the look of any home. If one buys carpets in classic colors and textures they can look and feel great for years to come. However one must also consider the effect pets, people and pests can have on the carpet and how those elements will affect the health of the occupants and the appearance of the home.


Tile

Tile is a fantastic flooring choice for virtually any room. It not only looks clean and elegant, but it is easy to maintain and very durable. However, while the material is suitable for use in all locations, this flooring option may not be for everybody. Before you decide on what type of flooring to have installed in your room, you should consider the pros and cons of tile to confirm, or rule out, this classic flooring selection.

Ask any real estate professional and they’ll say that tile flooring significantly increases a home’s resale value. The reason for this is that the beauty and allure of tile flooring lasts for a very long time when it is maintained properly. Much like hardwood, tile has a timeless appeal, especially when earth tones are used.

Tile flooring is also one of the best surfaces to install over a radiant floor heating system and as these types of heating systems become more popular in American homes, it makes sense that this type of flooring will grow in demand.

If the tile used has been glazed, its beauty will last for years with very little extra maintenance. In fact, other than routine vacuuming and dusting, a tile floor requires very little cleaning unless something is spilled on it. In addition, as long as the tiles and the grout are sealed, this type of flooring can withstand water with the best of them, which is why tile floors are so popular in kitchens and bathrooms.

Tile floors are non-toxic (as long as non-toxic grout is used) and excellent for those who suffer from allergies. They are also great for homes with pets as accidents can be cleaned up easily while the hard surface is easy to clean and capable of withstanding a dog’s nails. There are also several different types and styles of tile to choose from, including ceramic, porcelain, quarry, marble and many others. The sheer amount of color schemes available is staggering and because of the wide variety of tile to choose from, a homeowner can easily find a flooring solution that meets their design needs and their budget.

While a popular choice in millions of American homes, tile flooring is not for everybody and nor is it without its own share of drawbacks. For instance, tile that is not installed over a radiant floor heating system offers a cold, hard walking surface. If you live in a cold weather climate and you are not installing radiant floor heat, you will need to slip on a pair of slippers on those cold winter mornings.

Tile floors are also one of the more difficult flooring surfaces to install for the typical do-it-yourselfer. Special saws are needed to cut the tile and once the mortar starts to dry, it is very unforgiving, so it takes a skilled hand to make the floor look its absolute best.

Unlike carpet or cork flooring, tile does nothing to dampen the sound in a room. It has no insulation properties and therefore it does not soften the ambiance in a room like carpet does. This problem can be solved somewhat by strategic placement of area rugs and runners.

Glazed tiles, while easy to maintain, can prove to be slippery if they happen to get wet. This is mostly evident with older tiles as new innovations have produced an anti-slip surface to help reduce this problem. In addition, while tiles are durable to heavy foot traffic, they can be easily chipped or cracked if something heavy is dropped on them and the repair is not that simple for the average homeowner.

Consensus

Tile flooring will always be a smart choice for American homes because of its timeless appeal and durable nature. For the most part it is a cost-effective means of adding value to the home while providing a life-long flooring solution. Installation may prove more challenging to the homeowner than other types of flooring but it can be installed DIY-style if proper installation instructions are followed. Taking the time to learn as much about the proper care and maintenance required for tile floors will also add to the floor’s lifespan and the enjoyment of the homeowner.