Family Friendly Flooring Options - 3 Things to Consider

If you are selecting a new floor for your home, there are three key considerations to determine if you are considering the right options:

  • Durability & Longevity
  • Ease of Cleaning and Maintenance
  • Health, Safety & Comfort

Some of the most common floor covering options today are hardwood floors whether it is solid wood or engineered wood flooring, tile/stone and carpet.  Let's look at the three key considerations as they relate to these flooring options:

Hardwood Floors

•Durability & Longevity

High quality hardwood flooring can be a timeless addition to any home; after all wood flooring has been installed in homes, and survived, since the first homes were built in America.   Learn more about the Carlisle SlowCraftTM process to understand the steps that going into building the best quality wide plank hardwood floor

•Ease of Cleaning and Maintenance

The ease of cleaning and maintenance for your new hardwood flooring will depend on the finish being used.   We'll look at the three most common finishes:

  • Aluminum Oxide Prefinished flooring is one of the worst finishes for a residential environment.  Despite the perceived "hardness" of this finish, floors finished with aluminum oxide will get scratches and they cannot be touched up so their beauty deteriorates rapidly! 
  • Tung Oil is a "softer", penetrating finish that works great on pine floors and antique wood floors, as it has a very authentic hand-rubbed look, but it may require more regular maintenance, but is easy to touch up. It has a very strong odor as well.  If you are going to use Tung Oil see if you can order a prefinished wood floor to save time on site (and eliminate the odor) or allow ample time onsite for offgassing once the Tung Oil is applied.  A good tung oil product is available through Waterlox, or if you are a Carlisle customer we can ship it with your floor.
  • Polyurethane is a hard flooring finish.  This is very appealing to customers.  Be sure to understand how easy or difficult it is to touch up (this will vary by manufacturer) and whether the polyurethane is oil based on water based.  Oil based polyurethane tends to yellow over time.  Waterbased polyerethane can sometime leave a thin white film on the floor (again depending on the manufacturer and quality of the finish).  One polyurethane that you may want to consider is available from Loba-Wakol.
  • Prefinished Wood Flooring (non-Aluminum Oxide) are very common today, and naturally appealing, because they eliminate the need to finish the floors on site!  This saves time and can save money too!  But be sure to completely understand how the finish is applied to the floor, how much finish is applied and how you will need to clean the floor.  Also make sure you know IF your floor can be touched up.  Learn more about prefinished wood flooring.

•Health, Safety, and Comfort

Hardwood floors are one of the best choices if you want a healthy home.  It is easy to pick up dog hair, dirt and other allergens so they are easy to care for.  They are more comfortable under foot especially when compared to stone or tile in your kitchen and living areas. 

Tile/Stone

•Durability & Longevity

Tile/Stone flooring is a great option for exterior spaces, or interior spaces like a mudroom or entry way.  They are very durable and easy to care for especially when you have wet feet, sports equipment, back packs and other items scraped across it every day.   They may also be suitable for pool rooms, outside sauna's, and bathrooms, where the flooring may be exposed to a higher level of moisture.


•Ease of Cleaning and Maintenance

Tile is normally very easy to care for with a mop and a bucket.  Keep in mind overtime some tile, and the grout in between the tile, will discolor which could be annoying, and difficult to fix.

Stone flooring may require a little more special attention as the cleaning products you need may vary depending on the type of stone you use, so be sure to check with the retailer/manufacturer. 


•Health, Safety & Comfort

Stone and tile flooring is much harder underfoot than wood flooring and therefore has been known to be more uncomfortable especially in areas like a kitchen where you may be standing more frequently and for longer periods of time.  This type of flooring can also cause more damages during slips and falls.  From a health perspective tile and stone tend to be healthy options because they are a natural product.

Carpet

•Durability & Longevity

The durability and longevity of your carpet is going to depend on the quality and the manufacturer, so be sure to do your homework to understand this aspect of the options you are considering.  Carpet tends to wear much quicker than hardwood floors, and tile or stone.  It also stains easily (depending on the type of carpet).  But all carpet will need to be replaced at some point no matter how good the warranty sounds.  This will increase your overall cost of ownership when compared to hard surface flooring that will last longer and cost less over time.


•Ease of Cleaning and Maintenance

When compared to tile and hardwood floors, carpet is definately one of the least favorite floor coverings when it comes to clean - just image your dog walking across the carpet with wet paws, or your son spilling his juice cup.  If you are consdering carpet, it is best left in the secondary areas of the home where it is less exposed to those harmful elements.  Carpet does require more frequent cleaning, and a more labor intensive cleaning process - when compared to hardwood flooring or tile.


•Health, Safety & Comfort

Carpet can provide a very comfortable surface underfoot, but while its nice to walk on carpet on a cold day, how comfortable will it be on a hot day.  More importantly aside from the chemicals that go into the carpets for productions, carpets themslves can trap allergens, dust, debris, mold spores, dust mites...the list goes on.  This can cause allergies, expore your family to pollutants and chemicals. Hard surface flooring like tile or hardwood floors is recommended to elminate this concern and create a healthier living environment.

If you like the idea of carpet but don't want it to cover the entire flooring area area rugs are a great compromise and much easier to keep clean so you can support a healthy environment in your home.

What type of flooring do you prefer - hardwood, tile or stone, or carpet?  Is there one you would never use?

Looking for more ideas to create a family friendly home check out this great article from HGTV.


Filed Under: Do-It-Yourself | Green Building | Hardwood Flooring | Planning for your New Floors | Residential Spaces |

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