Choose a flooring company that supplies its own labor, because it’ll be accountable for your project’s outcome. “Find a shop that has in-house installers,” says Bret Lowder, vice president of The Floor Store. “That allows you to control the overall experience and quality of the job.”
Mr. Lowder suggests choosing a local flooring company with a proven track record. Consider how long it’s been in business, its standing in the community and whether it has a local showroom where you can view products before you purchase them. “You don’t want to do business with a company that doesn’t have ‘brick and mortar’ in the community,” he says. “There are a lot of small operations that are just dabbling in the industry. They’re not truly committed.”
If you’re thinking of installing or upgrading flooring in your home, consider these popular options:
Hardwood: There’s a wide variety of woods and grains to choose from, such as oak, pine, maple, cherry and bamboo. Once you choose a wood, it can be stained any color, from a light natural hue to a deep, rich mahogany. A well-maintained hardwood floor can literally last a lifetime.
Laminate: Laminate flooring is designed to look like real wood, but it costs less and is easier to install and maintain. Some laminates are glued down, while others simply click together to create a “floating” floor.
Vinyl: Vinyl floor covering either comes in one large sheet or individual tiles. Sheets require special adhesive and will often produce at least one seam. Tiles typically offer easy, peel-and-stick installation.
Ceramic and stone: There’s an endless variety of ceramic and stone floor coverings available, but they’re difficult and time-consuming to install. They require a proper sub-floor and must be affixed with mortar. A ceramic or stone floor should be installed by an expert.
Carpeting: Wall-to-wall carpeting almost always has some kind of padding underneath it. Get the best quality padding you can afford; it’ll contribute more to the life of the carpet than the carpet itself.
Concrete: Concrete is a newer material for residential flooring that gives an industrial look to your décor. It’s ideal for areas that receive hard wear and can be painted or stained to improve its appearance. Concrete can even be permanently colored.
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