Buying Guide: Laminate

armstrong-laminate

Low-maintenance laminate flooring offers an enormous variety of styles, colors, and patterns. It’s similar to engineered wood in that a top wear layer is backed by layers of plywood or compressed fiber backing that is extremely stable. The big difference is that the top layer is not real wood but a plastic coating applied over a photograph. The photo-realism technology that’s used produces look-alike finishes indistinguishable from real wood and other materials such as stone, ceramic tile, even stained concrete. It is amazing how far we’ve come and can replicate other materials so well! Textures are also mimicked, making them look and feel like the real thing more now than ever.

laminate-tile-effect-for-bathrooms

Laminate comes as planks or tiles. Most are floating floor systems, meaning they can be installed directly over old existing flooring without glue or nails — no tear-out is necessary. Laminate is a popular DIY flooring, but it’s wise not to overestimate your skills as installing around corners and between door jambs takes patience and ingenuity.

laminate-floor

Constructed of dense fiberboard with a photo beneath a clear-plastic protective layer, laminate flooring can mimic nearly anything. Laminate is low-cost and a great value, as the best laminates resist scratching and discoloration from sunlight better than most wood products. It is also incredibly low maintenance, it is easy to clean and stain-resistant.

Buying Guide: Carpet

room_41312

Carpet is one of the most versatile of all floor covering options, featuring more colors and textures than any other type of flooring. When judging carpet quality, a simple rule of thumb is to ask about the density of the fibers used to make the carpet. The more fibers per square inch, the more durable the carpet.

Most carpet is made by pulling the fibers through a woven backing, then additional layers of backing are glued on to provide strength and thickness. Carpet pad adds cushioning and helps prolong the life of the carpet. Indoor/outdoor carpeting withstands weather and usually is installed without a pad.

Wool carpet is the standard of quality. It’s naturally durable and resistant to moisture and stains, and it’s considered to have the best feel against hands and bare feet. With the exception of wool, most carpets are made of synthetic fibers. Various types include the following:

  • Nylon – exceptionally strong and resistant to wear. Make sure the carpet you buy is treated to reduce static electricity
  • Acrylic – has physical properties that approximate wool. It resists wear, crushing, and mildew, and it’s inhospitable for insects
  • Polyester – produces bright colors and is highly resistant to moisture, but stains can be difficult to remove
  • Polypropylene olefin – used for indoor/outdoor carpeting. It’s extremely resistant to stains, moisture, and mildew

Some of the benefits of carpet include:

  • Soundproofing qualities make it the quietest flooring choice
  • Insulation properties may lower energy bills
  • Comfortable for bare feet and creating that cozy, right-at-home feeling
  • Cushions a fall with toddlers or seniors
  • Creates style flexibility courtesy of countless colors, styles, and piles
  • Affordable
  • Covers uneven subfloors and adjusts to uneven walls easily

General Floor Buying Guide

Today’s choices in flooring are more varied than ever, running the gamut of styles, finishes, and installation options. Product innovation is clearly blurring the lines between many flooring categories, and the raw materials used to create flooring types include gin bottles, corn sugar, and the staves from old wine barrels. The winner in this underfoot mash-up is the consumer, who benefits from an astonishing array of choices that fit any lifestyle and budget.

High Res botania h

Sampling is Smart
Before you buy, bring home samples of your top flooring choices. Compare them side-by-side where they’re going to be installed. Getting an opinion from a salesperson, who is trained in interior design, is always ideal.

Measuring Avoids Mistakes
To determine how much flooring you’ll need, a member of our sales staff will measure the room’s square footage (at no charge!). We recommend that you buy 7 to 10 percent more than what is measured. This allows for possible mistakes and bad pieces. Plus, a little extra flooring on hand is great for repairs down the road.

Location
Carefully consider the location of your new floor. Is it below-, on- or above-grade? Basements are susceptible to ground moisture, so your flooring choice may be different from a bedroom on the second or third floor. Likewise, kitchens and bathrooms are prone to water damage and humid conditions, which should be a heavy factor in your decision-making process.
Also, be sure to observe the space throughout the day. Does it get a lot of direct sunlight? UV light can fade or darken certain flooring, so look to purchase resistant products for these spaces.

Function
Common high-traffic areas are entryways to rooms and to the house itself. If you have pets or kids, the family room can also be a busy place. These spaces require flooring that can stand up to the wear.

Ways to Save
Cooperatives work together to gain buying power and scale. This allows independent, family businesses, like Dalton Carpet One, to provide the most competitive pricing and value. Together, our cooperative of over 1,000 member store owners is the largest buyer of floor covering in North America. This means that we can negotiate great prices and pass those savings on to our customers- you.

Questions to Ask Yourself

A number of flooring choices are available for every room, so it pays to ask yourself the right questions:

  • How long will you live in this space?
  • What is the look you want to achieve in the room:  rustic, traditional, contemporary, elegant, cozy, chic?
  • Will this floor be installed on, above (second floor) or below grade (basement)?
  • Do you have or plan to have children or pets?
  • Are seniors or those with physical disabilities living in or regularly visiting your home?  What sort of modifications will you need?
  • Does anyone in your home have allergies?
  • Is this a floor you’re willing to repair or replace over time?
  • What type of routine cleaning are you willing to do?
  • What is the room’s function:  the first stop from outside, catchall, family night, entertaining?
  • Have you factored trim, thresholds, padding, waste, etc. into your budget?
  • Have you factored installation costs into your budget?