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The pros and cons of various residential floor coverings

The type of flooring you have can affect how hot or cold you feel, your overall health, and even your ability to think on your feet. Additionally, homeowners can instantly change the mood in certain rooms of their homes with different floors. Here’s a rundown of the most popular residential floor tiles and the best surface protection products to protect them during construction and remodeling.

1. Bamboo: Key feature: Made from the fastest growing tree in the world.

Advantage: Sustainable; ideal for condominiums. “Green” matter. It has antimicrobial properties. Generally good for homeowners with allergies to man-made materials. Available in planks, strips and tiles.

Con: Cannot be finished again. Everything from tiny dust particles to high-heeled shoes can damage the surface.

Maintenance: Sweep regularly with a soft broom. Entrance mats can keep dust at bay. Protective pads on furniture limit teeth. Wipe up spills immediately to avoid staining. Install window blinds to limit sun damage.

Surface protection: Protection made of breathable natural textiles such as Surface Pro.

2. Linoleum: Key feature: The most popular is Marmoleum, a marbled pattern.

Pro: Naturally repels dust and dirt, ideal for homeowners with respiratory disorders; Durable, long lasting and low maintenance. Laminate products are recommended, not tiles.

Disadvantages: Difficult to install. It has to be heat welded using equipment that is not readily available. More expensive than vinyl.

Maintenance: Wax once or twice for a superficial surface. The linseed oil in the linoleum oxidizes when it is installed and the floor becomes more durable and lustrous. Wash with slightly soapy water.

Surface Protection – Various surface protection products will work, including floor protection films, textiles, and paper-based products like Ram Board.

3. Cork: Key feature: Renewable and ecological option.

Pro: This durable flooring has become all the rage for residences. Glued down cork tiles are ideal as they maximize this flooring’s ability to reduce sound and heat loss and retain softness. Naturally keeps mold and insects away; Ideal for homeowners with allergies or arthritis. Cost comparable to bamboo.

Con: Does not conduct heat well and could expand in radiant heat.

Maintenance: Dust mopping regularly.

Surface Protection – Avoid floor films and choose textile-based products like Surface Liner Pro that will adhere smoothly to cork and won’t leave marks.

4. Wood: Key feature: Large dance floor.

Pro: easier on the back than tiles or stones. 3/4″ allows for multiple finishes. The way a tree is cut determines the appearance of the grain.

Cons: Not good for radiant heating systems. Maple is difficult to stain; white oak is the most versatile. Cherry and walnut are among the most popular. Elm, though tough and durable, is rare. Wider planks, which require fewer nails, are more susceptible to moisture.

Maintenance: Area rugs limit gouges and scratches. Polish before recoating polyurethane. Dust regularly.

Surface protection: Choose padded floor protections if the budget allows it. Glue down floors need to be breathable, so Surface Liner Vapor or Surface Pro is recommended for padded protection or Ram Board for non-padded protection. Unglued hardwood floors can be protected with a leak-resistant floor protection, such as Clean & Safe.

5. Rug: Key feature: Classic, comfortable.

Pro: The wool variety is excellent for homes and feels wonderful underfoot. It’s also sound-absorbing, easy to clean, and generally durable, as long as you buy good quality carpeting and yarn.

Con: Avoid nylon varieties, which usually have a latex backing, which crumbles easily. The choice may not be environmentally friendly. Natural trap for dander, dirt and dust particles. It tends to retain moisture, a breeding ground for mold.

Maintenance: Steam clean annually. Vacuum twice a week.

Surface Protection: Short Term Carpet Cling Film is available for up to 45 days.

6. Ceramic Tiles: Key feature: Long lasting.

Advantages: low maintenance; ceramic holds up well in high traffic areas. Great investment, many design options available. The most common and effective floors for radiant heat systems.

Con: Not an ideal surface for homeowners with arthritis. Difficult to install. It can easily crack and chip. Sometimes it feels cold to the touch.

Maintenance: Although expensive, professional installation is highly recommended. Use a mild cleaner to clean the grout and retain the mildew resistant caulk.

Surface Protection – Various surface protection products will work, including floor protection films, textiles, and paper-based products like Ram Board.

7. Decorative Concrete: Key feature: Modern, popular in condominiums.

Pro: Economical, easy maintenance. It absorbs the sun’s heat in winter, reducing the need for heating and keeping interiors cool in summer. Does not harbor dust moths; Ideal for owners with allergies or asthma. Long lasting; never needs to be replaced.

Con: Tough on the joints. magnificent sounds. Installation requires professional expertise, which can be expensive.

Maintenance: Reseal every two years. Clean with a mixture of vinegar and water or a mild floor cleaner.

Surface Protection: New concrete protection products include EZ Cover or Tuf-guard, which provide impact protection and allow concrete to cure.

8. Natural Stone: Key Feature: Beautiful.

Pro: Covers granite, marble, travertine, limestone, soapstone, and slate. Lasts centuries. Great value and eco friendly too. Stain resistant. Expensive installation. Options include matte, glossy, and textured finishes.

Con: Tough on your joints. You may need a substantial subfloor. Marble absorbs dirt; slate and limestone collect it. It feels cool underfoot, which can make it a great option in hot weather, but less so in cold ones.

Maintenance: Needs stain resistant sealer. Avoid chlorine on marble.

Surface Protection – Various surface protection products will work, including floor protection films, textiles, and paper-based products like Ram Board. It also protects the grout from stains.

9. Leather: Key feature: Luxurious look.

Pro: A homeowner can install leather tile; they go in like linoleum. Smells wonderful, feels great, patinas with age and use. Ideal for sound insulation; It does not conduct heat or cold.

Disadvantage: do not install it in a place of high foot traffic; They are best in extremely dry rooms, such as bedrooms, studies, libraries, and even recreation rooms with lots of sunlight. Expensive.

Maintenance: Some leather tiles are treated with wax and a waterproof solution. However, any mistake comes at a cost, so a professional may ultimately be cheaper.

Surface protection: Choose a cushioned textile floor protection, such as Surface Pro or Surface Liner Vapor, to allow the leather to breathe.

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