By now, you’re no stranger to the world of flooring installation. If you’ve watched even one episode of HGTV, the DIY Network, or any “home improvement” show, you probably fancy yourself a bit of an expert in the world of flooring. But the truth is, those shows only show you about one-third of what really goes on in a “home improvement,” and only about one-tenth of what really goes on in a “flooring installation.”
We’ve come up with this list of four commonly misunderstood things about the subject. Whether you want to install new hardwood floors, porcelain tile, or even modern composite laminate flooring, there’s no shortage of common misconceptions that need to be dispelled.
With that in mind, here’s our list of 4 things you didn’t know about flooring installation.
Did You Know #1: Not All Tile Flooring is The Same
When people come to us and say they want “tile flooring,” they often don’t know that there are actually three different types of tile flooring that can be installed in the home.
The first type of tile flooring is made of natural stone. That natural stone is either made of travertine, limestone or marble. This is the most expensive type of flooring, and it’s also the most difficult flooring to take care of. This type of flooring needs to be sealed, periodically, and deep-cleaned from time to time as well.
and can completely ruin the entire look. Because of this, natural stone flooring is recommended for people who don’t live in a high-traffic home — and it’s certainly not recommended for people with children and/or pets unless it’s placed in an area where neither the children nor the pets frequently go.
The second type of tile flooring is made of porcelain. This is the second-most popular type of tile flooring, and it’s moderately priced. Made of a blend of clay and feldspar that hardens into a glass-like substance, porcelain floors often look “shiny” and are popular in kitchens and bathrooms. Because it’s durable, porcelain floors are recommended for people who live in a high-traffic home.
The third and most popular, type of tile flooring is made of ceramic. This is the most popular type of tile flooring because it’s the least expensive. Made of clay that’s hardened in a kiln, ceramic tiles don’t have the same “glossy” look that porcelain tiles have, but they’re popular in bedrooms and utility rooms because they’re durable and easy to clean.
So, when calling us up to request samples for a tile floor, it’s important to be specific about which type of tile floor you prefer above all others.
Did You Know #2: Hardwood Flooring Requires A Lot of Maintenance
Many people make the mistake of believing that all a good hardwood floor needs is a quick installation — just put it in and forget about it. But the truth is, while hardwood flooring looks good, it requires a lot of work to keep it looking as good as the day you first installed it in your home.
The popular hardwood cleaning product, Arboritec, has come up with a list of things you shouldn’t do to your hardwood floor, and the fact that they needed to put this out there says a lot about the number of things they’ve encountered over the years.
- Don’t use abrasives — whether liquid or powdered — to clean your hardwood floor. It’s also not recommended to clean the floor with furniture polish — many people make the mistake of thinking that they can dust their floor with the same product they use to dust their armoire. But not only does furniture polish dull the floor, but it will also ruin the wood over a period of time.
- Steam mops have become all the rage — but they’re the worst thing to use on your hardwood floors. The use of water — especially steaming-hot water — will, over time, destroy the protective coating that’s on your hardwood floors, and that will lead to irreparable damage to your floor. Additionally, water “warps” the boards, and that will lead to the planks bending, cracking, and eventually separating from the rest of the floor.
- Don’t wear high heels on a wood floor (they lead to dents), don’t leave your furniture legs unprotected on a hardwood floor (they lead to scratches), and don’t drag anything across the hardwood floor for whatever reason (they lead to both scratches and dents). No matter how well-protected the hardwood floor is, it’s still made of a porous — and natural — substance that can be damaged very easily if proper precautions aren’t taken. Therefore, it’s essential to take as much care as possible to be soft and gentle on your hardwood floors.
- Even the best-behaved and best-trained pets have accidents. So, if Fido or Fluffy makes a mess on the hardwood floor, it’s imperative to clean it up immediately. Urine is an acidic substance that “eats away” at a hardwood floor, and not cleaning up a “pee-pee puddle” when it happens will lead to dark marks and holes all over your hardwood floor.
Depending on how often accidents happen, and how often they’re left on the hardwood floor without quick cleanup, the “pee-pee puddle” can penetrate through to the subfloor, causing thousands of dollars in damage. And if the accident should happen on a throw rug that’s placed over the hardwood floor, be sure to clean up both the throw rug and the hardwood floor. It may seem annoying to do at the moment the accident happens, but it will be more annoying if you have to shell out thousands of dollars to replace an entire hardwood floor — and a subfloor — because you couldn’t clean up a pet’s accident at the moment it happened.
Did You Know #3: Today’s Laminate Is Not Your Grandmother’s Laminate
There was a time that people thought of the stereotypical 1970’s kitchen when they heard the word “laminate.” Avocado-colored appliances, metal kitchen doors, and a laminate floor was the “standard” kitchen during the Nixon era. The laminate floor was found in a large roll and was cut with a utility knife to meet the needs of the client. And while this was certainly a convenient way to get a floor put in your home, it wouldn’t take long for the laminate floor to lose its luster, peel, and get irreparably damaged.
For a long time, laminate flooring fell out of favor. Then, in 1984, Perstorp AB Flooring created the first type of “modern” laminate flooring that was designed to resemble a more realistic looking floor than the one found on the jumbo utility roll “back in the day.”
Of course, it was a long way away from a “realistic” looking floor, but it was certainly better than the one that came out in the 1970s. And, best of all, there was no formaldehyde in this laminate floor!
The modern-day laminate flooring — which surged in popularity beginning in about 2004 — has come a long way from the laminate flooring of the 1970s. In addition to being low-maintenance, durable, and much more realistic looking than the laminate floors of the 1970s, The North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA) has developed a certification method that passes certain tests on how they withstand the stress provided by water, heat, light, and human usage.
That said, there are still a few things you need to keep in mind when looking for a laminate floor that’s right for you. For example:
- The AC Rating Guide will tell you which types of laminate floors are right for different rooms in the house. Ranging on a scale from 1 to 5 — with 1 being for light traffic areas and 5 being for heavy traffic areas in commercial areas — the AC rating guide will tell you which laminate floor is best for your bedroom (with a 1 rating) or your kitchen (with a 3 rating — floors with a 4 and 5 rating are often reserved for commercial applications).
- Choose the right underlayment for the right room. It’s not just enough to get the right laminate floor — you need to get the right subfloor (known as an underlayment) that can either make the floor sound hollow (as in, it reverberates when a golf ball is dropped on it) or — more popularly — quiet.
- Finally, make sure that the laminate flooring is in the proper thickness, especially if you’re not laying the floor throughout the entire house. If you’re joining this laminate flooring to either tile or carpet, especially, you need to have what’s called the proper threshold molding. If you’re not sure what that is, feel free to ask us — we’ll be happy to help you!
Did You Know #4: Today’s Carpet is Much More Versatile Than the Carpet of Years Past
Everything old is new again, and people who enjoyed carpeting back in the 1970s can take comfort in knowing that a good carpet is now back in style. And, today’s carpeting is much more versatile — and offers many more benefits — than the carpeting of years past.
- Today’s carpeting is waterproof. Gone are the days when the 1970s-style shag carpeting would get various spillages and accidents, thus leading to a moldy growth and smell. Today’s carpeting uses technologies such as LifeGuard to make water “bead up” and not get absorbed. That not only means easy cleanup, but it means no mold and mildew buildup, either!
- Today’s carpeting is safe for your home’s air quality. In the “old days,” carpeting was blamed for a home’s poor air quality. And it’s easy to see why that was so — carpets back then trapped dirt, fluids, and other things of questionable origin and cleanliness, not to mention quickly caught mold and mildew. Today, though, carpeting is easily cleaned (though it’s recommended to vacuum at least once a week for optimal cleanliness), and it’s actually better for your home’s air quality than other types of flooring!
- Today’s carpet enhances insulation. One of the most under-rated qualities of today’s carpet is that it improves a room’s insulation. Cold rooms remain cold, and warm rooms remain warm. And, best of all, today’s carpeting is much plusher than it was from all those years ago — which is ironic, considering that so-called “shag carpet” was supposed to be “super plush.”
- Today’s carpet reduces noise. Carpeting is such that it “absorbs” the sound in the room. When you walk on a carpet, it doesn’t make a loud “clicking” sound like tile, hardwood, or even some types of laminate makes. Rather, it’s a soft padding sound. And what’s more, carpet absorbs the other sounds in the room, as well. For instance, do you have a television in your room? Do you notice how much “louder” it sounds when it’s a room with tiles or hardwood, versus when it’s in a room with carpeting? That’s because carpeting absorbs sounds, while tile and hardwood do not. Because of this trait, carpeting is best for rooms like bedrooms, where you want the noise to be at an absolute minimum (for, perhaps, obvious reasons).
- Finally, today’s carpet is recyclable. With so many concerns about the safety, and the future, of the environment, it makes sense that people want to reduce their so-called “carbon footprint” as much as possible. To that end, a carpet that can be recycled falls right in line with today’s environmentally conscious consumer, who is looking to get involved with the preservation of the Earth, the recycling of materials, and the repurposing of other materials when possible. In this regard, carpeting has also come a long way from the days when they couldn’t be recycled at all, and took up extensive landfill space.
Contact Express Flooring For All Your Installation Needs!
This is certainly a lot of information to take in, as far as flooring installation is concerned. And we understand that the average person can’t take it all in at once. But that’s where we come in — as a locally-owned and operated Arizona business, Express Flooring prides itself on delivering the best in-home sales shopping experience. Serving all metro areas of Phoenix and Tuscon, Express Flooring deploys our professionally trained design consultants to bring large flooring samples to your home. We aim to make your shopping experience as pleasant, and as comfortable, as possible. And, when you finally pick out the floor of your dreams, you don’t have to worry about flooring installation at all — our licensed, insured contractors will install your floor for you!
Don’t delay — contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, and find out what Express Flooring can do for you!