Flooring 101

Choosing flooring is a big decision. That’s a big surface area you’re trying to cover and what you choose will have a major impact on the look, feel and use of each room in your house. 

Laminate Flooring:

Laminate flooring is made from composite wood pressed together at high temperatures. The image of hardwood or other patterns it is then placed over the composite wood, covering it to form the laminate and a wear layer with a total thickness depending on styles and price points between 8 mm to 12 mm. This process creates a sturdy laminate construction that resists warping and provides a tough plastic wear layer that shrugs off scuffs, dents and scratches. It can mimic almost any other type of flooring (wood, ceramic tile) and can also be installed over some existing floorings. Laminate flooring is notably the # 1 choice for using in a remodel or new build with product cost and installation being on average 50 % less then other options available. 

Cost: $2 to $7 sqft

Hardwood Flooring:

Hardwood is considered the gold standard of flooring surfaces and can add to your home’s value. It’s classic and durable. Hardwood species due vary in durability, grain patterns, and colour. Oak, maple, and cherry are among the most common species due to their hardness. Exotic woods like mahogany, and Brazilian Cherry aren’t as durable, but are prized for their striking appearance. Most hardwood is graded into 4 categories : Clear, Select, Number 1 and Number 2 Common.

Clear:

Is very uniform in colour, with very few small character marks. Its average board length is 3 ¾ feet.

Select:

Has more colour variation and more natural character marks such as small knots. The average board length for Select oak is 3 ¼ feet. 

# 1 Common:

Has a much more varied appearance, with mineral streaks, greater colour variation, and more character marks, and average board length is 2 ¾ feet.

# 2 Common:

Has a “rustic” appearance, with just about any natural character mark, including large knots and very dark boards.

Another factor that can affect the appearance of your hardwood floor is the way the flooring was cut from the log itself. Plain sawn flooring will show great variation in grain patterns on the surface of the floor. Rift or Quarter sawn flooring will have a relatively uniform grain pattern.

Keep in mind that hardwood floors can become dented or gouged, and they’re susceptible to water damage. Pros: It’s beautiful, warm, long-lasting flooring goes with any décor. Solid wood flooring can be refinished multiple times.

Cons: Hardwood flooring is susceptible to moisture — it’s not for bathrooms, laundry rooms and basements. It requires constant maintenance to retain its looks.

Best for: main living areas, hallways and kitchens

Cost: $5 to $12 per square foot; exotics run as high as $14 per square foot

Engineered Wood Flooring:

Pros: The laminate construction of engineered wood flooring provides good stability. The top veneer is real wood and so has all of wood’s natural warmth and beauty. It can be installed in basements, and the click-together type is DIY-friendly. Many Styles and varieties

Cons: The real wood surface of engineered wood flooring may scratch and dent, and it can’t be refinished more than once.

Best for: living areas, hallways, kitchens

Cost: $2 to $7 per square foot

Bamboo Flooring:

Although not really a wood flooring (bamboo is a grass), bamboo flooring has similar warmth and beauty. It’s a hard flooring but look for the best quality to ensure durability. As a grass, bamboo is a renewable resource and has some green credibility.

Cons: 

The cheaper varieties are prone to dents and scratches. It’s imported from Asia, so it’s green credibility takes a hit when you consider the energy required to ship it.

Best for: main living areas, kitchens, family rooms

Cost: $3 to $8 per square foot

Vinyl Flooring / Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) 

Pros: Tough vinyl flooring is impervious to water and its resilient construction feels good underfoot. It’s relatively inexpensive. Vinyl plank flooring can mimic real wood and tile.

Cons: Vinyl can’t quite shake that synthetic look. Vinyl flooring manufacturing is not eco friendly.

Best for: kitchens; bathrooms; basements; hobby rooms

Cost: $1 to $5 per square foot

Ceramic Tile Flooring:

Pros: Ceramic tile flooring comes in an enormous array of colours and styles — it’s a designer’s favourite medium. Glazed ceramic tile flooring is durable, impervious to moisture and resists stains and scratches.

Cons: The hardness of ceramic tile underfoot isn’t to everyone’s liking, grout lines require periodic maintenance, some tiles may need to be sealed depending on location. 

Best for: kitchens, bathrooms, sunrooms

Cost: $1 to $20 per square foot

Cork Flooring:

Pros: It’s a renewable resource that’s harvested from trees, so cork is an eco – friendly flooring. It has a warm, vibrant look and is naturally resilient, so it feels good underfoot. It comes as tiles or planks 

Cons: Sharp objects can tear it and high heels may dent it, and it may need to be refinished with sealers. It’s susceptible to moisture, so keep it out of bathrooms and laundry rooms.

Best for: living areas, kitchens, bedrooms, playrooms

Cost: $2 to $6 per square foot

Linoleum Flooring:

Pros: Linoleum flooring is made with biodegradable materials including cork powder and linseed oil. It produces no harmful VOCs and is an ecofriendly choice. It’s a tough flooring that resists stains and wear, and it comes in many vibrant colors.

Cons: It can be dented by high heels and furniture legs, and it can turn yellowish if repeatedly exposed to sunlight. It’s susceptible to excessive moisture, so it’s not recommended for laundry rooms and bathrooms.

Best for: playrooms, family rooms, kitchens

Cost $2 to $5 per square foot

Carpet:

Though numerous carpet options are available, there are basically only two styles of carpet — loop pile and cut pile.In the loop-style pile each of the ends is connected into the backing so there’s continuous loop. 

In the cut-style pile, the loops are actually cut so that there are individual ends sticking up through the backing. If you ran the same pin through there the pin would lift right up. It is like a sheer cut pile.

Fibre is a critical area when it comes to carpet. There are three basic fibres used today in the carpet industry:

Polypropylene, such as the loop-style pile.

Polyester, which is made from recycled beverage containers.

Nylon, the most popular and durable fibre by far.

In addition, the natural fibre of choice today is wool. Wool is a traditional carpet fibre, but its high price makes it less common. 

Cut pile carpet can go throughout the house. It is comfortable underfoot and makes for a very attractive floor. Loop pile styles are used in heavy traffic areas. Areas where children are or where there is a lot of activity. It will perform and last for a long time.

This topic is quite large and have only touched briefly on the basics. Luckily most people understand what would works best or have a good idea for their area and situations, but the task can still be daunting. Feel free to contact us or some of our local retailers in our area that can help guide and narrow down some of the products that best suits your needs.

Local Suppliers:

Design Building Centre.

Zegils Floor Mart.

Intercity Ceramic Tile 

More Info:

D.I.Y Network.

Torlys Flooring.

Mercier Harwood.