Flooring Fairfield NJ is one of the most important home improvement projects and requires a substantial investment. It is also a long-term investment that will affect the look and feel of your home for years to come.
New floors can keep your house warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, depending on the material you choose. It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of each type before making a decision.
Laminate is an engineered floor that is a popular choice for homeowners. It consists of four layers that are fused together with heat and pressure to form a tough plank. The base is made of pressed wood particles, while the top has the appearance of real wood thanks to a photographic image layer that has been carefully crafted and encased in a clear protective wear layer.
The decorative layer allows for a variety of designs, and manufacturers can even create the look of cork or stone. The wear layer is designed to protect the floor from abrasions that might damage the lower layers. It also shields the decorative paper from harmful ultraviolet rays that might fade the color.
Because of its durability and versatility, laminate is a good option for high-traffic areas. However, it can still be damaged by excessive moisture.
When cleaning a laminate floor, water spills should be wiped up promptly to prevent the liquid from seeping into and damaging the lower layers. It is also important to use felt pads under furniture legs and other abrasive items that could scratch the floor. Abrasive dust, dirt, and grit can damage the surface, so it’s important to sweep frequently.
Some manufacturers offer special laminate floors that are more resistant to damage from abrasion, impact, and sunlight than others. These floors have higher abrasion-class ratings and are usually less expensive than their counterparts.
When selecting laminate flooring, consider the room’s light source and décor. A light laminate will brighten the space and make it appear larger, while a dark or stone-textured laminate can make a small room feel more cozy.
The core layer of a laminate floor is typically made from medium-density fiberboard (MDF) or high-density fiberboard, which adds strength to the board. A balancing layer is often added to the bottom of the core to keep the laminate boards from warping during installation. Some brands have a foam underlayment attached to the backing that provides extra cushion and limits the impact on the subflooring underneath.
Hardwood flooring is a timeless choice, complementing many styles from traditional to contemporary. Durable and renewable, it’s a great choice for areas that see lots of activity. But choosing the right wood species, cut, and finish is crucial for long-lasting beauty.
Wood floors come either unfinished or prefinished. Unfinished hardwood needs to be sanded and stained at home after installation. That allows for testing of multiple stain colors and a look that can be modified to suit the room. It also makes for an easy repair if you need to touch up a small scratch or ding. Prefinished hardwood is finished at the factory and has a more consistent look, but it may be less durable as it’s subjected to environmental stresses such as temperature and humidity changes.
When choosing the type of wood, consider color, grain pattern, and hardness (measured on the Janka scale) to determine if it will hold up to wear and tear. Red oak, for example, is dense and resists dents and scratches well. Maple is softer and has a finer grain, but it’s still highly durable. Cherry is another soft wood that has a beautiful grain and can be used in lower-traffic areas, including bedrooms. Oak, maple, and cherry are domestic species, while hickory and Brazilian walnut are considered exotic hardwoods.
You should also take your local climate into account. Hardwood will swell in high humidity and shrink in dry climates, so it’s important to work with an experienced flooring professional who can advise you on how to mitigate potential problems.
There are many types of solid wood to choose from, but domestic ash is becoming more common as it’s a tough, resilient species. This is the same tree that baseball bats and axe handles are made from, so you can be confident it’ll hold up to heavy use. It also stains well and has rich coloring that will complement most decor styles. Other popular domestic hardwoods include maple, birch, and hickory. Exotic hardwoods like eucalyptus and ipe are also good choices for homeowners who want natural, sustainable floors.
Tile flooring is the broad term used to describe any tough floor covering cut into tiles and then joined together with grout. Tiles can be made from a variety of materials, including stone and man-made materials like ceramic or porcelain. Natural stone floor tiles are hard and tough but can be more expensive than man-made alternatives. They’re available in a huge range of colors, textures, and designs.
Most of the time, tile flooring is used in areas of the home that experience a lot of wear and tear, such as bathroom floors and kitchens. It’s also a great option for hallways and living spaces where the floor is likely to be exposed to light foot traffic.
The most common types of tile flooring are ceramic and porcelain. They’re cheaper than other types of tile flooring and come in a wide range of designs. The difference between the two lies in the type of manufacturing process: porcelain is harder and more durable than ceramic. Both are designed to be water-resistant and can withstand the pressure of heavy footfall.
When choosing a ceramic or porcelain tile, it’s important to find the right “grade.” This refers to how resistant it is to wear and tear, based on its thickness. Class 1 tiles are the thickest, able to withstand high levels of footfall with little abrasion. They’re most suitable for homes, although they can be used in some commercial spaces.
Class 2 and 3 porcelain tiles are a little thinner than class 1 varieties but still work well in most homes, even those with children. They can be used in some commercial spaces but aren’t recommended for kitchens, entryways, or stairwells. Class 4 and 5 tiles are a little thinned out but still work for most rooms, except kitchens.
The main advantage of tile flooring is how easy it is to clean. Regular sweeping and a dust mop or vacuum cleaner will remove any immediate spills and dirt, while a tile sealant can be applied every five years for extra protection.
Before any mortar is mixed, the surface on which the tile will be laid needs to be prepared. This means the floor needs to be level and free of cracks, dampness, or other damage. Concrete, wood, and existing floor tiles are all suitable as long as the substrate is completely dry and firmly fixed. Once the tile membrane is in place, a tile backer board can be added over concrete and wood floors to help with stability.
Vinyl is an affordable and durable way to mimic more expensive materials and flooring styles. It is available in sheets, tiles, or planks and can be installed in rooms throughout the home. Like other resilient floors, vinyl is resistant to scratches and dents and can hold up well under heavy furniture. It also resists water and moisture better than many other floors, making it a good choice for kitchens and bathrooms.
Sheet vinyl comes in a variety of widths but is usually sold in 6- to 16-foot rolls that require few seams. It is designed to cover large areas and may even feature textured slip-resistant finishes and beveled edges to create the appearance of stone or wood flooring. Vinyl rolls can be found in an almost limitless array of designs, from traditional and classic to more playful patterns. Many vinyl rolls are 100% phthalate-free and have low VOC, formaldehyde, and UK allergy certification, contributing to healthier indoor environments.
Vinyl planks (LVT) have the look and feel of laminate but are composed primarily of PVC. As a result, they are 100% waterproof and can be used in any room of the house, including wet areas such as bathrooms and laundry rooms. LVT is a great alternative to laminate and can be cut with an ordinary utility knife using a score mark, followed by bending back the plank to make a second cut from the rear.
While vinyl is durable and versatile, it’s not without its downsides. Phthalates are chemicals used to make vinyl soft and flexible; they can leach out of the material over time and cause health problems such as reproductive issues or cancer. Vinyl can also emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can cause respiratory irritation or even asthma if exposed for prolonged periods of time.
Lastly, vinyl is not as hardy as natural materials such as wood or ceramic. It can crack or break if exposed to direct sunlight for long periods of time, and it may be less resistant to impacts or pressure that could damage the base layer underneath.