Wednesday, March 7th, 2018 by Hannah Lagaly
Linoleum is very tough, and durable and with adequate care, it can last years. It is made of renewable materials and is biodegradable which means it won’t take up space in landfills. Linoleum flooring maintains it’s pristine looks because the pigments are integrated throughout the entirety of the material, and not just on the surface like vinyl and laminate floorings. This also helps mask scratches and dings. Linoleum is virtually maintenance free because it only needs occasional sweeping and mopping.
Linoleum flooring can potentially be dented by sharp objects like high heels and furniture legs. When exposed to sunlight linoleum flooring can darken or turn yellowish which is called ambering. Fortunately, if a protective coating is applied, it can slow this process. It is recommended that linoleum not be installed in areas like bathrooms, laundry rooms, or other areas that have spills, splashes, and high humidity because linoleum is susceptible to moisture.
Hardwood flooring requires a minimal amount of maintenance and just needs a light sweeping or vacuuming and an occasional cleaning with a hardwood cleaner. The flooring is also extremely durable, some of the older homes in Charleston that were built hundreds of years ago still have the original flooring. Hardwood flooring usually increases the value of homes, and when they are on the market homes with hardwood floors sell quicker than homes with wall-to-wall carpeting. There are also many different styles of flooring that work with all forms of decorating. The flooring is available in different types of wood, colors, and sizes that will complement the style of your house.
The most significant drawback of hardwood flooring is its cost; materials can range from $3 per square for basic hardwood flooring to $12 for more exotic materials. The process of installing hardwood flooring is also more complicated than most flooring materials because it has to be installed over sub-floor. Hardwood has to be refinished ever so often due to its susceptibility to stains and scratches. Hardwood flooring is noisy when it is walked on and can be a nuisance to neighbors.
Laminate flooring comes in planks or tiles, the edges and ends are designed to snap together, so there’s no need for nailing, making installation a good do it yourself project. The laminate composition gives the pieces stability and prevents seams from opening up during fluctuations in humidity. The lightweight, snap-together laminate flooring is installed over a thin foam cushion underlayment which makes it a good candidate for installations over most existing flooring (excluding carpet). The top layer of laminate floor is extremely solid, which makes cleaning it, and maintaining it a headache free!
Even top of the line laminate flooring is susceptible to water damage and should not be installed in laundry rooms, rooms with sump pumps or floor drains. If it is going to be installed in basement areas a moisture barrier must be installed. If laminate flooring is going to be installed in the kitchen spills and splashes must be cleaned up immediately. Laminate flooring cannot be refinished so when the material is damaged it has to be replaced. Laminate flooring is not natural, and the wear layer contains plastic that will not deteriorate in landfills.
Porcelain tile is highly resistant to damage and tends to last longer than standard ceramic tile does. Porcelain tile has fewer air pockets; it’s denser, more uniform in construction and tends to be harder and thicker than most other tile variations on the market. Porcelain tiles don’t require any special sealing to keep out water. In colder climates, porcelain tile is much less likely to suffer from freezing and cracking.
Again, porcelain tile is denser than ceramic tile, that’s a good thing for all the reasons listed above, but in certain applications it's weight is a huge downside. Porcelain tile is also expensive and isn't for the homeowner working on a tight budget. Porcelain tile is difficult to repair and more challenging to work, this means that professionals will usually quote you higher.
Cork has a soft, cushiony surface and one of the best things about this material is how soft and cushiony it feels beneath your feet. Cork flooring is perfect for small children and older people who are prone to falling due to its forgiving cushiony properties. The inside of cork is composed of millions of tiny air-filled chambers that act as barriers against the transmission of noise, efficiently insulating any room. The air-filled chambers in cork flooring can also help you save money on heating and cooling bills, the component that protects the floor against noise will also reduce heat getting into the room in the summertime or getting out in the winter. Cork floors can be refinished periodically to give it a fresh new look continually. Unlike carpet, cork repels hair, dust, and other tiny particles from its surface. The material is also easier to get perfectly clean, and because of this, cork floors tend to support higher indoor air quality. Cork is environmentally friendly and is completely natural, recurring, and easily replenishable material. Since cork is naturally occurring, it is biodegradable and will break down into the environment at the end of its life cycle. It is very easy to install and maintain. When installed correctly with multiple layers of a quality water barrier sealer applied to the surface, It requires only regular sweeping or vacuuming to remove small grit and dirt particles.
Since cork is so soft, it is very susceptible to damage and is not the right flooring if you're looking for something that is going to remain pristine. If any sharp object is dropped on the flooring, it can severely damage it. Even the smallest dirt particles can act like sandpaper and tear the surface of the material. Placing heavy furniture or appliances can leave permanent damages in the flooring but, can be offset by setting a plywood platform over the cork.High humidity and moisture can cause the cork material to curl or plump, which may lead to tiles popping out. Exposure to sunlight can cause the cork to fade with time.
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