WHAT KIND OF FLOORING ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
Ceramic and Porcelain Tile
Ceramic is primarily made of clay mixed with various minerals and water. This composition is then processed with heat to create the solidified product. Since ceramic material is porous, the top surface is usually sealed with a glaze. The glazed surface is referred to as the design layer since it determines the tile’s finished color, design and texture.
The primary ingredient in the composition of true porcelain tile is finely-ground sand. Unlike ceramic, processing of the porcelain composition involves pressure and extremely high temperature. The end result is a very dense, glass-like material with a water absorption rate of less than 0.5%. Because of its density and composition of natural ingredients, porcelain tile has all the same excellent qualities of glazed ceramic.
Pros: durable and long lasting; low maintenance; unlimited designs; increases home value
Cons: can be expensive; can chip or crack if heavy object is dropped on it
BEST USE: floor; back splash; shower or bathtub surround; decorative trim.
Glass tile provides a contemporary look and a high end finish to any kitchen or bath. Even though glass tile is relatively easy to clean, glass is one of the most expensive tiles you will choose.
Pros: large variety of colors; modern and clean looking; very durable.
Cons: very expensive; not recommended on floors or counters due to slippery surface and ability to easily crack or scratch.
BEST USE: back splash; shower or bathtub surround; decorative trim.
Both ceramic and porcelain tiles have their positive and slightly less positive points, but they tend to offset each other. For example, since porcelain is a denser material, it is stronger than its ceramic counterpart. By the same token, porcelain’s hardness makes it a little more challenging to install. Porcelain tile requires special tools for cutting and shaping. The average do-it-yourselfer would not typically have these tools and may not be experienced enough to use them if they were rented or purchased.
When comparing durability, there is little difference between ceramic, porcelain and glass tile. Expensive and inexpensive styles are available in both types, and under normal circumstances, there would be no noticeable difference in wear between the three.
The bottom line is that it doesn’t really matter which type of tile you select. Ceramic, porcelain and glass are exceptional materials. The only problem you’ll have is deciding which size, color and texture will suit your needs.
Granite is one of the most popular stone tile because it combines good durability and bolder colors and textures at an affordable price. Few natural stones are able to offer this kind of quality and practicality.
Pros: holds up to heat; comes in a range of almost 3000 colors; looks permanent and substantial; will last a lifetime; new sealers are almost maintenance-free; 2nd highest hardness rating after diamonds; has a high value to home buyers.
Cons: expensive, but becoming more affordable; requires some maintenance; some stones absorbs stains if not sealed; knives can become dull if you cut on it; can crack if stressed or improperly installed.
BEST USE: counter tops; back splashes; bathroom vanities; shower or bathtub surrounds; thresholds; accents.
A good durable natural stone, slate is also extremely versatile. You can find almost any color or texturing from slate. This also makes it a great choice for accent installations. In your kitchen, for example, you might have a granite countertop and a slate wall tile.
Pros: they are hard; naturally slip resistant; do not react with acids and resist staining without sealers.
Cons: tendency to show scratches (can be minimized with light coat of mineral oil). Use honed slate for countertops as natural clefts can be a nuisance.
BEST USE: floor; back splash; fireplace; shower or bathtub surround.
As great as granite is, marble is still the unparalleled champion of stone texture and appearance. Many forms of marble have contrasting vein and base colors that make this stone synonymous with high-end, chic décor. Keep in mind, though, that not only is marble more expensive, it’s also less durable.
Pros: waterproof; heatproof; beautiful.
Cons: expensive; porous; stains easily unless professionally sealed; can scratch; may need resealing periodically as per manufacturer.
BEST USE: floor; vanity; shower or bathtub surrounds;
You may love the look and texture of natural stone, but this doesn’t always mean you want your stone tile to jump out at you. Travertine is dominated by beige, neutral colors. Travertine is part of the limestone family, making it durable but also more susceptible to staining than granite or marble.
Pros: ageless appearance, its resistance to extremes in temperature; non-skid qualities.
Cons: high reactivity to weak acids making it less ideal for kitchen use; its natural imperfections which would affect the uniformity of color and pattern.
BEST USE: flooring; shower and tub surround; kitchen.
Another stone susceptible to staining, sandstone’s softer texture and beautiful appearance still make it a reasonable and popular choice if you’re willing to take care of it.
Pros: reasonable price; natural appearance.
Cons: limited color options; porous and absorbent; has a tendency to chip; not ideal for counter tops; may require a sealer every few years to maintain the color and luster.
BEST USE: floor; bathrooms.
A combination of quartz and resin, this stone isn’t a true natural stone, but it creates a more durable and cheaper alternative. It can offer similar appearances to natural stone but tends to lack their more definitive grains.
You might read about these natural stones and think you’re set, but once you talk to your service professional and actually see and touch your options, you might change your mind.
Pros: resistant to stain and acid; non-porous; easy care.
Cons: moderately expensive.
BEST USE: kitchen counter; fireplace surround; bathroom vanity.
For a simple, classic look, larger stone tiles are generally preferred. Mosaic tiles are most popular for wet floors, but they can also act as a nice, contrasting border for your tile. Mosaic tiles are best used with a creative design or even more elaborate murals. The most common place for a mural is the back splash in your kitchen. Many kitchens are designed with a naturally-framed area above the range and a creative mural can create a stunning accent for your kitchen.
Pros: colorful and decorative; resistant to stains, mold and mildew; non-porous and resistant to chemical damage; easy to clean.
Cons: usually expensive; can easily scratch, break or chip.
BEST USE: Decorative borders; bathroom; back splash.
Natural Stone Finishes
Nearly as important as the stone itself, there are just as many finishes for stone tiling project. Honed and polished are among the more popular and will give your natural stone tile a smooth, glossy look. Other finishes also include aged, filled, rubbed, brushed, antiqued, sandblasted, tooled, broached, droved, and sparrow-pecked. Each type of stone can also be put into a tumbling machine to create a softer, more rustic texture.
There are so many types of hardwood flooring, and choosing the right one for you is no easy task. Most popular hardwoods include oak, maple, cherry and walnut. Style and colors can vary based upon the stain used or grain of the wood. Hardwood floors are beautiful and can add value to your home. Although they are not perfect for every home, here are some pros and cons to consider before choosing to install a hardwood floor.
Pros: Easy to maintain, increases value of home, many styles and colors available
Cons: Can be somewhat expensive, not good in homes with dogs, may need refinishing, can be noisy, can warp and discolor from moisture
BEST USE: In living and family rooms, bedrooms, hallways and stairs. NOT recommended in bathrooms or kitchens.
Laminate floors can offer the look of hardwood and tile floors, without the high maintenance or expense. Laminate floors are made from high-density fibers or wood particles with a clear hard overlay to protect them. People will choose laminate for it’s realistic look and ease of care.
Pros: Very low maintenance, affordable prices, long durability, huge selection of design options
Cons: Can be noisy and sound hollow when you walk on it, can warp from moisture
BEST USE: Ideal for hallways & foyers, living areas, bedrooms and kitchens. NOT recommended in bathrooms.
Home and Commercial Carpeting
Carpet adds warmth, quiet, and style to any home. It comes in an unlimited number of colors, textures and density, but overall there are basically three types of carpet. CUT PILE results when the loops that are formed are cut off across the top at the same height. Saxony, textured, frieze, and cable carpets fall into this category and are ideal for residential. LOOP PILE is actually how all carpet starts out and is left uncut, also known as Berber which is very popular for high traffic areas in your home and in commercial offices. CUT and LOOP carpet can provide beautiful patters and designs by mixing these textures.
Pros: Carpet insulates your home from sound and provides warmth. Large selection of colors and textures. Prices vary to meet almost any budget. Feels good to walk on, sit on, lay on.
Cons: Carpet attracts dirt, bugs, and odors and can be work to keep clean. Not ideal for homes with pets or people who have asthma or other respiratory disease.
BEST USE: In living rooms and bedrooms. Not recommended for kitchens or bathrooms where spills and moisture are present.
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