How you can cover your floors

Cleaning is important when it comes to the appearance of any type of flooring, especially carpets. Your carpets should be shampooed and completely cleaned at least once a year. A dirty carpet not only looks terrible but can also become a health concern for all occupants living in (or visiting) your home.

Maintaining the appearance of hardwood floors can potentially be more difficult than carpet. Hardwood floors tend to collect and show dust and dander more than carpets and need to be swept at least once every other day.

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When looking to replace your floor, the possibilities are practically endless:

  • Carpets and rugs

    can be warm on your feet in the winter and slow the mid-day heat from entering your home in the summer. Carpets are categorized by the way the fibers are woven, and include loop pile and cut pile weaves.
  • Hardwood

    is a popular flooring choice because of the way it looks and its durability. However, its high price may deter some homeowners.
  • Linoleum,

    also known as vinyl flooring, is one of the most popular options for kitchens and bathrooms because of its high durability and because it is easy to clean.
  • Laminate

    is the most popularly purchased flooring option because it looks like hardwood, but doesn't have the same expensive price tag, and it has the durability of a vinyl floor.
  • Ceramic tiles

    are another popular option for kitchens and baths, again, because they are easy to keep clean and relatively durable (though they can crack when heavy objects are dropped on them or if they aren't properly installed). Ceramic tiles can be cold on your feet in the winter, but they can be warmed up either through the use of rugs or the installation of a radiant heating system.
  • Bamboo

    is a hot new trend in flooring. It has the durability, look and feel of hardwood flooring (with a distinct grain effect). The advantages are that bamboo is not only cheaper but also a greener choice, because it is an easily renewable resource.

What is Subflooring?

A subfloor is the structure below the floor you walk on and, together with the underlayment, is fundamental to a level, stable floor. Usually made up of diagonal or straight planking in older homes, newer homes have plywood subfloors to protect your floors from moisture, which can cause stains, warping and even rotting.

Flooring Tools

Weekend warriors looking to install their own hardwood flooring should be aware of the flooring tools they'll need and what they are used for.

At the top of the basic flooring tools list is a hammer for pulling up old nails and hammering new nails. Secondly, nail guns are needed for different flooring uses. For example a pneumatic nail gun is recommended for nailing solid hardwood planks when a flooring stapler won't reach. A finish nailer installs shoe molding professionally without leaving messy nail holes.

Additional flooring tools include circular saws for installing a plywood subfloor, chalk line for marking straight lines, a jig saw for cutting around irregular corners and fixed objects, and a level and measuring tape for accuracy.

Floor Coverings & Accessories

The floor covering you choose can drastically change the look and feel of a room. For example, small rooms with fixed furnishings - such as a kitchen island or bar - should never feature a large-patterned carpet for fear of dividing the room. But a solid carpet or a carpet with a small pattern will draw the room and its furnishings together.

Another way to spruce up the look of your home without completely re-doing the tiles, hardwood or other existing flooring material is to paint the pre-existing design.

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