HammerZones Thoughts On Flooring Materials

HammerZones Thoughts On Flooring Materials

Flooring Thoughts

  • Same benefits as ceramic tile without the man-made look.
  • Expensive.
  • Timeless beauty.
  • Will almost certainly add value to the home.
  • HammerZones Thoughts On Flooring Materials
  • Financially one of the best decisions, because it should never need replacing. There is no further expense beyond simple sealing every 10 to 15 years.
  • Many natural stone products are porous and will absorb some stains, such as red wine or grape juice. But sealing the floor should minimize this problem.
  • Natural stone may be brittle. I’m always afraid of dropping a hammer on the marble floor I installed last year. But if you buy a little extra, a broken tile can be replaced.

Real Hardwood:

  • Expensive, about $3.50 to $4.00 a square foot for material here in Northern Michigan. Installed cost is about $8 to $9 a square foot here.
  • Feels slightly cool to bare feet, but not objectionable.
  • Modern premium finishes (such as so-called «Swedish Floor Finishes») are very scratch resistant.
  • There are «No-Sand» types of hardwood flooring. These have a small bevel around the perimeter of each board so your feet don’t snag any raised edges. This might be a good choice for an existing house where the sanding dust would create a problem.
  • Hardwood can be dented or gouged, but these can be repaired.
  • Hardwood floors last forever. When they become scratched badly, you just have to rent a sander and grind off the top layer and refinish. I’ve seen houses built 50 to 100 years ago that still have their original hardwood floors. This fact alone speaks volumes about wise flooring material choices.

Simulated Hardwood / Plastic Laminate

  • Sounds appealing… you can have a new floor in a few hours with no sanding and no odor from oil-based finishes.
  • The finish layer is essentially countertop material, and very thin.
  • I’m afraid that a few small flaws in installation might leave gaps that water could enter. Since there is no finish applied over the entire surface, as with real hardwood, any small gap will let water behind the protective surface, which will affect the substrate wood in some way. Avoid any flooring with particle board backing.
  • I have been in several houses and businesses with laminate flooring, and I can detect them by the time I’ve taken my first step onto the floor. They have a thin, hollow sound, especially when installed as a «floating» floor with no staples. I personally don’t like that tinny sound. It sounds cheap to me.
  • While Pergo claims to have been around for 25 years… I’ve been around longer, and I’m skeptical.
  • 25 years is a blink of an eye in the building materials industry. I put my faith in products that have stood the test of centuries. I’ve seen laminate countertops that have worn through in less than a decade. When I have seen several laminate floors that are more than 20 years old, and holding up very well, THEN I will be convinced.

F looring takes a beating. Americans wear their shoes in the house… and who blames them? I don’t want to spend half my day tying shoe laces. I don’t remember where it was, but once I got some spiral steel shavings stuck in the treads of my shoes. It made a lot of tiny slices in the vinyl kitchen floor of my first house. It is so easy to get small stones stuck in your shoes… and then you are dragging rocks (or razor blades, as I once did) all through your house.

I’ll tell you what I would do with my own house. If the house was below average in price and I was on a low budget, I would install good quality vinyl flooring (not vinyl peel-and-stick tiles) in the «wet and wear» areas… kitchen, bath, entry, and hallways. I would do good neutral carpeting (no pattern or texture), as dark a color as I could tolerate, in the other areas.

But what I would prefer, and what I would recommend to anybody who owns a house that is above-average in value, is natural stone (marble, slate, granite) in the «wet and wear» areas and real hardwood in the living room, dining room, and bedrooms. And then buy some nice oriental rugs. You’ll pay more up front but will probably get the money back when you sell (flooring finishes are often reported on appraisals, I’m told). And if you stay for a long time, you won’t have any major expense of flooring replacement. You might be farther ahead financially to borrow the money for good flooring (assuming it doesn’t out-class the rest of the house) and pay it back over 5 to 10 years.

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