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5 Excellent Flooring Choices For Your Home’s Main Floor
Sunday, July 24, 2016

The main floor of your house experiences the highest traffic volume, which is why flooring selection is so important. The wrong choice will result in flooring that looks shabby, worn or perpetually dirty, resulting in an expensive and labor intensive replacement sooner, rather than later.

The right materials selection yields flooring that will last for decades to come if installed and maintained correctly.

Within every flooring medium, there’s a style, color and/or pattern available for every taste, another reason why focusing on function before form makes sense. Focus on selecting a flooring option that is durable, easy to maintain, and can go for a while between sweeping or mopping without showing every last remnant of dirt, debris, pet hair or scuff marks. With the wide range of products available, you’re guaranteed to find something you’ll love.

We put these in our personal preference order, but they’re more or less equal in performance, depending on your tastes, needs and lifestyle:
  1. Engineered Hardwood. Not too long ago, hardwood floors were our #1 choice, but engineered hardwood floors have come a long way and have taken the lead. There are several reasons for this.
  2. Instant usability. With traditional hardwood, you have to sand and finish the floor and then wait for it to dry before the floor can be used. Since engineered hardwood is made and pre-finished beforehand, planks are installed and ready to go. No need to wait for drying, or worrying about smudges or marring of any kind.
  3. They’re hard. When you combine the hard layers of plywood and white wood that comprise the main plank, and a wood with a high-hardness factor for the final veneer layer, plus an ultra-durable finish, you have a very strong product on your hands.
  4. Easy maintenance. Engineered hardwood floors are more resistant to moisture and are typically more stable than solid wood planks, so you don’t have to worry as much about spilled water or rogue bath splashing. That being said, never leave standing water on a wood surface, regardless of the finish. Consider that engineered wood can last up to 100-years if you select a high-quality product with a thicker exterior veneer.
  5. Affordability. Even long-time hardwood flooring experts can have a difficult time determining whether a floor has plank wood or engineered wood at first glance. Engineered wood is more affordable – especially when you factor lifetime maintenance costs into the equation. If you’re a fan of hardwood, money saved by going the engineered route can be channeled to other parts of your remodeling budget.
  6. Hardwood planks. Of course, with hardwood planks, you’re choosing a classic flooring choice. Wood floors add warmth to any interior. Make sure to choose products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council or the Sustainable Forestry Initiative to ensure wood was grown and harvested sustainably (the same is true for engineered wood flooring). Do keep in mind that with this option, installation costs are higher to accommodate for sanding/finishing – and wood floors need to be sanded/re-finished about every 10-years to look their best and maintain their integrity. Also, the most durable wood floors are those made from the hardest wood species so be smart in your selections. Popular choices, from hardest-to-softest are: hard maple, white oak, ash, red oak, heart pine, black walnut and black cherry. You can review the Wood Flooring Hardness Chart from the World Floor Covering Association for a more complete list of wood species – the higher the number, the harder the wood.
  7. Ceramic Tile. Ceramic tiles have been used for more than 5000 years, which is certainly a vote as to their durability and success as a flooring product. Like wood, ceramic tiles have a hardness rating, the hardest versions being the most durable. The wonderful thing about ceramic tile is its versatility. There are seemingly infinite colors and patterns to choose from, including products that do an incredible job mimicking natural stone and even wood planks. Keep in mind that larger tiles mean minimal grout, which is a good thing in terms of maintenance.
  8. Stone Tile. Natural stone tiles are also a popular option, but keep in mind that hardness and porosity matter. Softer and more porous stones have a difficult time looking their best when applied to main living areas with high traffic volumes.
  9. Laminate floors. Like engineered wood, laminate floors have come a long way. The top-shelf products do an amazing job at looking like real wood and they are more affordable than hardwood or engineered options, with installation costs that are 50% of hardwood installation costs. With laminate, you definitely get what you pay for. If longevity is a goal, choose higher-end products that will do a better job at resisting scratching, moisture and wear-and-tear.
You’ll notice carpet was left off the list. Carpet is great in formal living rooms, bedrooms or lesser-used areas of the house but hard surface flooring is our recommendation for main living areas. Contact Midwest Property Pros if you’re having a tough time choosing the best flooring option for you upcoming remodel or renovation.



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