Home Flooring Guide Basics

Home Flooring Guide Basics

Guide to home flooring

Choosing the right floor covering wood, stone, laminate, engineered wood, cork, bamboo, vinyl, linoleum, carpet, ceramic, porcelain — isn’t easy; there are many elements to consider — price, quality, wear and water-resistance, and so on. This guide is a brief introduction to each product.

Wood Flooring

When selecting wood flooring, consider carefully the hardness of the wood, but also features like the finish and the treatment of the wood, or its moisture-content.

Cheap and Discount flooring options

Bamboo Flooring

Bamboo is a great alternative to wood. Bamboo flooring has the same warmth and beauty of wood flooring, and is harder and more wear- and water-resistant than most woods.

But be cautious with discount bamboo flooring. Problems like cupping and warping are common in products made with soft and young bamboo, harvested before maturing.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate is a cheap alternative to wood flooring. Its easy to find laminates at prices between 1/3 and 1/6 of solid and engineered wood flooring.

Laminate is made from wood fibers and vegetable wastes, and has a special wood-look decorative surface.

But laminates aren’t all created equal. Laminates vary in their wear-resistance and overall quality. Some look and sound like wood, but others are poor imitations.

There are two different manufacturing technologies — the High-Pressure Laminate (HPL) and the Direct-Pressure Laminate (DPL) and the core of the laminate varies in its density and water resistance. And you should consider these issues, and look for a seal of quality (NALFA. in North America).

Engineered Wood Flooring

Which is best: laminate or engineered wood?

Engineered wood has a real top layer of wood, contrary to laminate flooring. Laminate looks like wood but it isn’t wood, but that doesn’t make engineered wood necessarily better. The quality of laminate and engineered wood varies. And laminate costs a small fraction of engineered wood

Engineered wood flooring involves a top layer of real hardwood, and a core of thin sheets of vegetable materials glued together much like plywood. That is, engineered wood involves a layer of solid wood at its top, but not at its core.

And though many people dismiss engineered wood because of its core, that same core makes engineered wood more structurally stable and more water-resistant than solid wood.

Anyway, engineered wood is not a cheap alternative to solid wood, like laminate. High-quality engineered wood is almost as expensive as solid wood, and should be selected carefully.

The best flooring materials

There isn’t a best flooring material. It will always depend on preferences, goals, price, climate. Wood and stone flooring are highly valued by homeowners, but they are expensive, and they require more maintenance than most other flooring alternatives. Porcelain flooring can imitate stone and be harder and more impervious. But some ceramic tile can also be a good alternative to porcelain, etc. And the same happens with the wood group: solid wood and bamboo flooring are in direct competition, but laminate, or engineered wood or even cork or linoleum can be in some cases excellent alternatives.

Cork Flooring Guide

Cork flooring has moderate prices and excellent thermal and acoustic insulation properties. It adds warmth and comfort to rooms, but its low density and weight makes it less resilient than most other flooring materials.

Cork is prone to scratching, indentation, wear and water problems. In other words: it requires careful maintenance and proper use.

Stone Flooring

Stone flooring is a wide category, with very different types of stone and grades. Contrary to what many people think, quality varies a lot within each type of stone. And most stones are softer and more porous than people imagine — which can turn stone flooring into a headache.

Be aware of potential pitfalls and low-priced stone. Low prices often mean low-grade stone with defects, faults, high filler, non-uniformity or high porosity. Also think twice before installing stone. Use it selectively.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile can be an excellent and cheap alternative to stone. But all depends on the type of ceramic Ceramic tile is a wide category that includes traditional unglazed tile terracotta, quarry tile — but also several types of glazed tile.

Glazed tiles come in wide variety of colors and patterns, sometimes imitating stone (and even wood) and have excellent wear- and water-resistance. But there are also low-quality and low-priced products.

Which is best :glazed or unglazed ceramic?

Unglazed ceramic (terracotta, Saltillo, quarry tile) has a natural and rustic look. Glazed ceramic comes in a much wider set of patterns and colors and is more stain and wear resistant, and is mostly maintenance-free.

Porcelain Flooring

Porcelain flooring is a special type of ceramic tile, extremely hard and impervious. Like ceramic, it can also be glazed or unglazed (full-bodied).

Porcelain tile is excellent for rooms and areas of the house where there is a high risk of moisture penetration, and also for some outdoor uses.

Porcelain is now much more cheaper than some years ago: you can buy porcelain tile at prices as low as $1,5-$2 per square foot, though average prices are a lot higher.

Vinyl Flooring Guide

Vinyl is a low-cost and flexible flooring choice, with good wear- and water-resistance, mostly used in bathrooms and kitchens.

But vinyl is an environmentally-unfriendly plastic (do not confuse vinyl with linoleum) and in some cases a source of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) and indoor air quality contamination.

Linoleum Flooring

Often referred to as vinyl, linoleum is in fact a very different product, made from natural elements: linseed oil, wood flour, cork dust, tree resins, ground limestone and mineral pigments

Linoleum is inexpensive, easy to clean and a healthy flooring product, largely used in center cares and hospitals due to its natural bactericidal properties. A popular flooring some decades ago, linoleum is now regaining market share with its new colors and patterns.

The problem with linoleum is its moderate wear-resistance and maintenance requirements. Though water-resistant, linoleum is porous and excess water can be a problem.

Carpet Flooring Guide

Is carpet flooring doomed?

For those who still love carpet, there are now some new and healthier carpet products (and area rugs). Just do not forget the reasons why carpet has fallen out of favor: it may be a cause of allergies, has a small lifespan and is prone to stains and water problems.

Carpet flooring has fallen out of favour with most consumers, but there are still people who love carpeting. For them there are now new environmentally-friendly and healthy carpet choices that do not release harmful VOC’s or other chemicals and are recyclable — solving the problem of billions of pounds of carpet disposed of each year.

You just have to choose carpet and rugs — made from natural wool, sisals, jutes, sea-grass, vegetable-dyed yarn, and to avoid products with vinyl backing.

These sustainable and healthier carpet and area rugs come at competitive prices and with multiple colors and patterns.

Guide to home flooring

Choosing the right floor covering wood, stone, laminate, engineered wood, cork, bamboo, vinyl, linoleum, carpet, ceramic, porcelain — isn’t easy; there are many elements to consider — price, quality, wear and water-resistance, and so on. This guide is a brief introduction to each product.

Wood Flooring

When selecting wood flooring, consider carefully the hardness of the wood, but also features like the finish and the treatment of the wood, or its moisture-content.

Cheap and Discount flooring options

Bamboo Flooring

Bamboo is a great alternative to wood. Bamboo flooring has the same warmth and beauty of wood flooring, and is harder and more wear- and water-resistant than most woods.

But be cautious with discount bamboo flooring. Problems like cupping and warping are common in products made with soft and young bamboo, harvested before maturing.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate is a cheap alternative to wood flooring. Its easy to find laminates at prices between 1/3 and 1/6 of solid and engineered wood flooring.

Laminate is made from wood fibers and vegetable wastes, and has a special wood-look decorative surface.

But laminates aren’t all created equal. Laminates vary in their wear-resistance and overall quality. Some look and sound like wood, but others are poor imitations.

There are two different manufacturing technologies — the High-Pressure Laminate (HPL) and the Direct-Pressure Laminate (DPL) and the core of the laminate varies in its density and water resistance. And you should consider these issues, and look for a seal of quality (NALFA. in North America).

Engineered Wood Flooring

Which is best: laminate or engineered wood?

Engineered wood has a real top layer of wood, contrary to laminate flooring. Laminate looks like wood but it isn’t wood, but that doesn’t make engineered wood necessarily better. The quality of laminate and engineered wood varies. And laminate costs a small fraction of engineered wood

Engineered wood flooring involves a top layer of real hardwood, and a core of thin sheets of vegetable materials glued together much like plywood. That is, engineered wood involves a layer of solid wood at its top, but not at its core.

And though many people dismiss engineered wood because of its core, that same core makes engineered wood more structurally stable and more water-resistant than solid wood.

Anyway, engineered wood is not a cheap alternative to solid wood, like laminate. High-quality engineered wood is almost as expensive as solid wood, and should be selected carefully.

The best flooring materials

There isn’t a best flooring material. It will always depend on preferences, goals, price, climate. Wood and stone flooring are highly valued by homeowners, but they are expensive, and they require more maintenance than most other flooring alternatives. Porcelain flooring can imitate stone and be harder and more impervious. But some ceramic tile can also be a good alternative to porcelain, etc. And the same happens with the wood group: solid wood and bamboo flooring are in direct competition, but laminate, or engineered wood or even cork or linoleum can be in some cases excellent alternatives.

Cork Flooring Guide

Cork flooring has moderate prices and excellent thermal and acoustic insulation properties. It adds warmth and comfort to rooms, but its low density and weight makes it less resilient than most other flooring materials.

Cork is prone to scratching, indentation, wear and water problems. In other words: it requires careful maintenance and proper use.

Stone Flooring

Stone flooring is a wide category, with very different types of stone and grades. Contrary to what many people think, quality varies a lot within each type of stone. And most stones are softer and more porous than people imagine — which can turn stone flooring into a headache.

Be aware of potential pitfalls and low-priced stone. Low prices often mean low-grade stone with defects, faults, high filler, non-uniformity or high porosity. Also think twice before installing stone. Use it selectively.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile can be an excellent and cheap alternative to stone. But all depends on the type of ceramic Ceramic tile is a wide category that includes traditional unglazed tile terracotta, quarry tile — but also several types of glazed tile.

Glazed tiles come in wide variety of colors and patterns, sometimes imitating stone (and even wood) and have excellent wear- and water-resistance. But there are also low-quality and low-priced products.

Which is best :glazed or unglazed ceramic?

Unglazed ceramic (terracotta, Saltillo, quarry tile) has a natural and rustic look. Glazed ceramic comes in a much wider set of patterns and colors and is more stain and wear resistant, and is mostly maintenance-free.

Porcelain Flooring

Porcelain flooring is a special type of ceramic tile, extremely hard and impervious. Like ceramic, it can also be glazed or unglazed (full-bodied).

Porcelain tile is excellent for rooms and areas of the house where there is a high risk of moisture penetration, and also for some outdoor uses.

Porcelain is now much more cheaper than some years ago: you can buy porcelain tile at prices as low as $1,5-$2 per square foot, though average prices are a lot higher.

Vinyl Flooring Guide

Vinyl is a low-cost and flexible flooring choice, with good wear- and water-resistance, mostly used in bathrooms and kitchens.

But vinyl is an environmentally-unfriendly plastic (do not confuse vinyl with linoleum) and in some cases a source of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) and indoor air quality contamination.

Linoleum Flooring

Often referred to as vinyl, linoleum is in fact a very different product, made from natural elements: linseed oil, wood flour, cork dust, tree resins, ground limestone and mineral pigments

Linoleum is inexpensive, easy to clean and a healthy flooring product, largely used in center cares and hospitals due to its natural bactericidal properties. A popular flooring some decades ago, linoleum is now regaining market share with its new colors and patterns.

The problem with linoleum is its moderate wear-resistance and maintenance requirements. Though water-resistant, linoleum is porous and excess water can be a problem.

Carpet Flooring Guide

Is carpet flooring doomed?

For those who still love carpet, there are now some new and healthier carpet products (and area rugs). Just do not forget the reasons why carpet has fallen out of favor: it may be a cause of allergies, has a small lifespan and is prone to stains and water problems.

Carpet flooring has fallen out of favour with most consumers, but there are still people who love carpeting. For them there are now new environmentally-friendly and healthy carpet choices that do not release harmful VOC’s or other chemicals and are recyclable — solving the problem of billions of pounds of carpet disposed of each year.

You just have to choose carpet and rugs — made from natural wool, sisals, jutes, sea-grass, vegetable-dyed yarn, and to avoid products with vinyl backing.

These sustainable and healthier carpet and area rugs come at competitive prices and with multiple colors and patterns.

Guide to home flooring

Choosing the right floor covering wood, stone, laminate, engineered wood, cork, bamboo, vinyl, linoleum, carpet, ceramic, porcelain — isn’t easy; there are many elements to consider — price, quality, wear and water-resistance, and so on. This guide is a brief introduction to each product.

Wood Flooring

When selecting wood flooring, consider carefully the hardness of the wood, but also features like the finish and the treatment of the wood, or its moisture-content.

Cheap and Discount flooring options

Bamboo Flooring

Bamboo is a great alternative to wood. Bamboo flooring has the same warmth and beauty of wood flooring, and is harder and more wear- and water-resistant than most woods.

But be cautious with discount bamboo flooring. Problems like cupping and warping are common in products made with soft and young bamboo, harvested before maturing.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate is a cheap alternative to wood flooring. Its easy to find laminates at prices between 1/3 and 1/6 of solid and engineered wood flooring.

Laminate is made from wood fibers and vegetable wastes, and has a special wood-look decorative surface.

But laminates aren’t all created equal. Laminates vary in their wear-resistance and overall quality. Some look and sound like wood, but others are poor imitations.

There are two different manufacturing technologies — the High-Pressure Laminate (HPL) and the Direct-Pressure Laminate (DPL) and the core of the laminate varies in its density and water resistance. And you should consider these issues, and look for a seal of quality (NALFA. in North America).

Engineered Wood Flooring

Which is best: laminate or engineered wood?

Engineered wood has a real top layer of wood, contrary to laminate flooring. Laminate looks like wood but it isn’t wood, but that doesn’t make engineered wood necessarily better. The quality of laminate and engineered wood varies. And laminate costs a small fraction of engineered wood

Engineered wood flooring involves a top layer of real hardwood, and a core of thin sheets of vegetable materials glued together much like plywood. That is, engineered wood involves a layer of solid wood at its top, but not at its core.

And though many people dismiss engineered wood because of its core, that same core makes engineered wood more structurally stable and more water-resistant than solid wood.

Anyway, engineered wood is not a cheap alternative to solid wood, like laminate. High-quality engineered wood is almost as expensive as solid wood, and should be selected carefully.

The best flooring materials

There isn’t a best flooring material. It will always depend on preferences, goals, price, climate. Wood and stone flooring are highly valued by homeowners, but they are expensive, and they require more maintenance than most other flooring alternatives. Porcelain flooring can imitate stone and be harder and more impervious. But some ceramic tile can also be a good alternative to porcelain, etc. And the same happens with the wood group: solid wood and bamboo flooring are in direct competition, but laminate, or engineered wood or even cork or linoleum can be in some cases excellent alternatives.

Cork Flooring Guide

Cork flooring has moderate prices and excellent thermal and acoustic insulation properties. It adds warmth and comfort to rooms, but its low density and weight makes it less resilient than most other flooring materials.

Cork is prone to scratching, indentation, wear and water problems. In other words: it requires careful maintenance and proper use.

Stone Flooring

Stone flooring is a wide category, with very different types of stone and grades. Contrary to what many people think, quality varies a lot within each type of stone. And most stones are softer and more porous than people imagine — which can turn stone flooring into a headache.

Be aware of potential pitfalls and low-priced stone. Low prices often mean low-grade stone with defects, faults, high filler, non-uniformity or high porosity. Also think twice before installing stone. Use it selectively.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile can be an excellent and cheap alternative to stone. But all depends on the type of ceramic Ceramic tile is a wide category that includes traditional unglazed tile terracotta, quarry tile — but also several types of glazed tile.

Glazed tiles come in wide variety of colors and patterns, sometimes imitating stone (and even wood) and have excellent wear- and water-resistance. But there are also low-quality and low-priced products.

Which is best :glazed or unglazed ceramic?

Unglazed ceramic (terracotta, Saltillo, quarry tile) has a natural and rustic look. Glazed ceramic comes in a much wider set of patterns and colors and is more stain and wear resistant, and is mostly maintenance-free.

Porcelain Flooring
Home Flooring Guide Basics

Porcelain flooring is a special type of ceramic tile, extremely hard and impervious. Like ceramic, it can also be glazed or unglazed (full-bodied).

Porcelain tile is excellent for rooms and areas of the house where there is a high risk of moisture penetration, and also for some outdoor uses.

Porcelain is now much more cheaper than some years ago: you can buy porcelain tile at prices as low as $1,5-$2 per square foot, though average prices are a lot higher.

Vinyl Flooring Guide

Vinyl is a low-cost and flexible flooring choice, with good wear- and water-resistance, mostly used in bathrooms and kitchens.

But vinyl is an environmentally-unfriendly plastic (do not confuse vinyl with linoleum) and in some cases a source of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) and indoor air quality contamination.

Linoleum Flooring

Often referred to as vinyl, linoleum is in fact a very different product, made from natural elements: linseed oil, wood flour, cork dust, tree resins, ground limestone and mineral pigments

Linoleum is inexpensive, easy to clean and a healthy flooring product, largely used in center cares and hospitals due to its natural bactericidal properties. A popular flooring some decades ago, linoleum is now regaining market share with its new colors and patterns.

The problem with linoleum is its moderate wear-resistance and maintenance requirements. Though water-resistant, linoleum is porous and excess water can be a problem.

Carpet Flooring Guide

Is carpet flooring doomed?

For those who still love carpet, there are now some new and healthier carpet products (and area rugs). Just do not forget the reasons why carpet has fallen out of favor: it may be a cause of allergies, has a small lifespan and is prone to stains and water problems.

Carpet flooring has fallen out of favour with most consumers, but there are still people who love carpeting. For them there are now new environmentally-friendly and healthy carpet choices that do not release harmful VOC’s or other chemicals and are recyclable — solving the problem of billions of pounds of carpet disposed of each year.

You just have to choose carpet and rugs — made from natural wool, sisals, jutes, sea-grass, vegetable-dyed yarn, and to avoid products with vinyl backing.

These sustainable and healthier carpet and area rugs come at competitive prices and with multiple colors and patterns.

Guide to home flooring

Choosing the right floor covering wood, stone, laminate, engineered wood, cork, bamboo, vinyl, linoleum, carpet, ceramic, porcelain — isn’t easy; there are many elements to consider — price, quality, wear and water-resistance, and so on. This guide is a brief introduction to each product.

Wood Flooring

When selecting wood flooring, consider carefully the hardness of the wood, but also features like the finish and the treatment of the wood, or its moisture-content.

Cheap and Discount flooring options

Bamboo Flooring

Bamboo is a great alternative to wood. Bamboo flooring has the same warmth and beauty of wood flooring, and is harder and more wear- and water-resistant than most woods.

But be cautious with discount bamboo flooring. Problems like cupping and warping are common in products made with soft and young bamboo, harvested before maturing.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate is a cheap alternative to wood flooring. Its easy to find laminates at prices between 1/3 and 1/6 of solid and engineered wood flooring.

Laminate is made from wood fibers and vegetable wastes, and has a special wood-look decorative surface.

But laminates aren’t all created equal. Laminates vary in their wear-resistance and overall quality. Some look and sound like wood, but others are poor imitations.

There are two different manufacturing technologies — the High-Pressure Laminate (HPL) and the Direct-Pressure Laminate (DPL) and the core of the laminate varies in its density and water resistance. And you should consider these issues, and look for a seal of quality (NALFA. in North America).

Engineered Wood Flooring

Which is best: laminate or engineered wood?

Engineered wood has a real top layer of wood, contrary to laminate flooring. Laminate looks like wood but it isn’t wood, but that doesn’t make engineered wood necessarily better. The quality of laminate and engineered wood varies. And laminate costs a small fraction of engineered wood

Engineered wood flooring involves a top layer of real hardwood, and a core of thin sheets of vegetable materials glued together much like plywood. That is, engineered wood involves a layer of solid wood at its top, but not at its core.

And though many people dismiss engineered wood because of its core, that same core makes engineered wood more structurally stable and more water-resistant than solid wood.

Anyway, engineered wood is not a cheap alternative to solid wood, like laminate. High-quality engineered wood is almost as expensive as solid wood, and should be selected carefully.

The best flooring materials

There isn’t a best flooring material. It will always depend on preferences, goals, price, climate. Wood and stone flooring are highly valued by homeowners, but they are expensive, and they require more maintenance than most other flooring alternatives. Porcelain flooring can imitate stone and be harder and more impervious. But some ceramic tile can also be a good alternative to porcelain, etc. And the same happens with the wood group: solid wood and bamboo flooring are in direct competition, but laminate, or engineered wood or even cork or linoleum can be in some cases excellent alternatives.

Cork Flooring Guide

Cork flooring has moderate prices and excellent thermal and acoustic insulation properties. It adds warmth and comfort to rooms, but its low density and weight makes it less resilient than most other flooring materials.

Cork is prone to scratching, indentation, wear and water problems. In other words: it requires careful maintenance and proper use.

Stone Flooring

Stone flooring is a wide category, with very different types of stone and grades. Contrary to what many people think, quality varies a lot within each type of stone. And most stones are softer and more porous than people imagine — which can turn stone flooring into a headache.

Be aware of potential pitfalls and low-priced stone. Low prices often mean low-grade stone with defects, faults, high filler, non-uniformity or high porosity. Also think twice before installing stone. Use it selectively.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile can be an excellent and cheap alternative to stone. But all depends on the type of ceramic Ceramic tile is a wide category that includes traditional unglazed tile terracotta, quarry tile — but also several types of glazed tile.

Glazed tiles come in wide variety of colors and patterns, sometimes imitating stone (and even wood) and have excellent wear- and water-resistance. But there are also low-quality and low-priced products.

Which is best :glazed or unglazed ceramic?

Unglazed ceramic (terracotta, Saltillo, quarry tile) has a natural and rustic look. Glazed ceramic comes in a much wider set of patterns and colors and is more stain and wear resistant, and is mostly maintenance-free.

Porcelain Flooring

Porcelain flooring is a special type of ceramic tile, extremely hard and impervious. Like ceramic, it can also be glazed or unglazed (full-bodied).

Porcelain tile is excellent for rooms and areas of the house where there is a high risk of moisture penetration, and also for some outdoor uses.

Porcelain is now much more cheaper than some years ago: you can buy porcelain tile at prices as low as $1,5-$2 per square foot, though average prices are a lot higher.

Vinyl Flooring Guide

Vinyl is a low-cost and flexible flooring choice, with good wear- and water-resistance, mostly used in bathrooms and kitchens.

But vinyl is an environmentally-unfriendly plastic (do not confuse vinyl with linoleum) and in some cases a source of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) and indoor air quality contamination.

Linoleum Flooring

Often referred to as vinyl, linoleum is in fact a very different product, made from natural elements: linseed oil, wood flour, cork dust, tree resins, ground limestone and mineral pigments

Linoleum is inexpensive, easy to clean and a healthy flooring product, largely used in center cares and hospitals due to its natural bactericidal properties. A popular flooring some decades ago, linoleum is now regaining market share with its new colors and patterns.

The problem with linoleum is its moderate wear-resistance and maintenance requirements. Though water-resistant, linoleum is porous and excess water can be a problem.

Carpet Flooring Guide

Is carpet flooring doomed?

For those who still love carpet, there are now some new and healthier carpet products (and area rugs). Just do not forget the reasons why carpet has fallen out of favor: it may be a cause of allergies, has a small lifespan and is prone to stains and water problems.

Carpet flooring has fallen out of favour with most consumers, but there are still people who love carpeting. For them there are now new environmentally-friendly and healthy carpet choices that do not release harmful VOC’s or other chemicals and are recyclable — solving the problem of billions of pounds of carpet disposed of each year.

You just have to choose carpet and rugs — made from natural wool, sisals, jutes, sea-grass, vegetable-dyed yarn, and to avoid products with vinyl backing.

These sustainable and healthier carpet and area rugs come at competitive prices and with multiple colors and patterns.


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