Hardwood floors are not for everyone. Sometimes your budget doesn’t allow for it, sometimes your floor is too elevated, sometimes you’re worried about possible flooding and moisture, perhaps you’re concerned about the environmental impact. There are many, many reasons to avoid a hardwood floor. But you must admit they are beautiful.
So what can you do when you want the look of hardwood without using hardwood? Well, we’re here with 4 cheap alternatives!
Over the years the quality of vinyl has increased tremendously. High-quality vinyl is still cheaper than hardwood but will give the same effect and the best part? It’s waterproof! This little feature can save you thousands in case of a flood or if you’re in a high moisture area like Northern Virginia.
Bamboo’s a grass. It’s a little more versatile than hardwood, has less environmental impact, looks nice, and is cheaper! It does have some drawbacks though. They scratch easier than hardwood floors and the scratches are more noticeable. They also don’t last nearly as long and they don’t hold up to water (after all, it’s technically a floor made of grass). But if you love the design, which is both pleasant and unique, it may work in some apartments, especially if you don’t have pets or wear shoes inside.
Cork is another one that has been gaining popularity lately. The cool thing about cork is that it’s not as hard as the other option, there’s a little bit of shock absorption. That makes it great for places where you’re always walking around like the kitchen, or if you have a little one in the home. It does look slightly different from hardwood, some folks don’t like it, but many say it’s trendy.
Tile is one of the most conventional alternatives to hardwood. By now there are thousands of designs you can choose from to give the illusion of hardwood on your floors. The good news is that this is also waterproof, and highly versatile. We highly recommend this type of floor for basements.
We hope this list proves that you can have the floor you want even with financial and practical implications. What you don’t want to do to save money, however, is do the floor yourself. Investing in a qualified professional will make sure your floors are installed properly and efficiently, otherwise, you risk making a very expensive mistake, and not saving that much money after all.
Allergies can be terrible this time of year, especially in Northern Virginia where it seems the trees are boundless. Seasonal allergies can become a huge hindrance for those who are mildly affected down to those who have a severe case. These people not only have to pay special attention to the outdoors; they need to pay special attention to the indoors too. Take these flooring tips to help alleviate allergy symptoms.
In choosing flooring you first must consider what not to have in your ideal home. Stay away from carpeting with deep piles where allergens can gather. Carpeting may not be the most ideal choice for allergies, seeing as the presence of moisture from shampooing can increase mold growth, as well as it being a pure magnet for dirt, dander, and mites. We understand there are some rooms you would prefer carpeting in, which is why we suggest a good quality carpet. The denser the fibers are, the more likely they are to trap dirt, and to clean as well.
Hardwood flooring is a far better choice for allergy sufferers. Just be sure to stay away from hardwood floors with deep grooves where dirt and allergens can get trapped. Mold and mildew are hardly ever a concern with hardwood flooring except in extreme cases. Just clean the floors with an allergen free cleaner (one part white vinegar to one part water works best!) once a week at least to keep those allergens at bay!
Tiling is also an excellent option for allergy sufferers. Tile is great in areas that experience wetter conditions like the basement, kitchens and bathrooms. Tile resists mold and mildew more effectively than hardwood, and truly the most hypoallergenic option there is!
Allow us to help you choose a style that will fit your budget, your style, and your allergies! Whether you’re looking to improve your home or business, or to simply make a lifestyle change, we have the expertise and experience to give you exactly what you need!
The best commercial flooring for your business depends a lot on the line of business you are in! Your business needs and style play a large role when making your decision.
Some questions to ask yourself as you make your choice are:
-Does the area receive heavy foot traffic?
-What is my budget?
-What is your subfloor made out of?
-Will you need to frequently clean the floors?
-What impression are you hoping to create for your clientele?
-Are you looking for durability or elegance?
Keeping these questions in mind, there are many flooring options which may work for your business. Popular options include wood, tile, carpet, or vinyl but a flooring specialist could have another suggestion to fit your needs.
Wood floors are classic and never go out style, as well as durable and easy to clean. With the right finish, wood floors can last a very long time while also providing an elevated interior look. Hardwood floors however can be very vulnerable to moisture, scratches, and dents so if your space receives heavy foot traffic or is right inside an entryway where people may be coming in with wet shoes, you may prefer a different option that will show less wear and tear.
Tile offers many styles and colors to choose from, as well as durability and stain resistance. Tile can easily be used in high-traffic areas although it may not be comfortable for employees to stand for long periods of time on tile floors. You may also wish to consider a different material if your business is a noisy environment, since tile will not dampen sound.
Carpet is a common choice since it is budget friendly, adds insulation and comfort, and lowers noise levels. Carpet does require more maintenance in terms of cleaning and can be difficult to keep clean if the area is prone to spills or stains. You may also wish to avoid carpet if your business involves high moisture levels or high traffic doors since dampness lead to staining and mildew.
Vinyl flooring is versatile and can be installed in a variety of colors or designs. It is budget friendly and low maintenance, holding up well to high foot traffic without scratches or dents. Vinyl may not give your business the wow factor that another material might and can be difficult to remove when it is time to change your flooring again.
Work with a flooring specialist to make the right choice for your business!
Sealing grout is an important detail when installing tile that is often overlooked. Many professionals and DIY’ers overlook sealing grout lines after a tiling job, but this step can ensure the beauty of your tils as well as maintain the integrity of your tiling job.
Many people believe that grout lines are simply a decorative margin that helps define the borders of your tile, but they are also part of the structural assembly of the tile floor. The grout secures the tile matrix together with a hard and inflexible filler between the tile gaps. Although grout is extremely strong and resistant to expansion or abrasion, it does have the limitation of porosity. This is a problem that will get worse over the lifetime of the grout, particularly in areas with repeated exposure to moisture such as a bathroom.
When unsealed grout is exposed to moisture, the grout lines absorb water and become pitted over time. This problem usually happens first but is not highly visible to the untrained eye. Grout is also very susceptible to bacteria growth within the grout, which causes staining and discoloration. This is particularly apparent in a shower, when water enters and stays within the grout constantly, never drying out completely. Water from a shower or bath is particularly harmful since the water tends to be at a warm temperature which when combined with the low pH of soaps and shampoos causes chemical changes in the structure of the grout. In extreme situations, particularly inside a shower, this grout can deteriorate to the point that the bacteria growth spreads into the entire grout matrix, allowing bacteria and moisture to grow behind the tile and penetrating all through the drywall.
Floor tile grout gently suffers less abuse than shower tile, but it is also easily stained and can become difficult to clean due to frequent water exposure as well as a build-up of dirt and grime. When cleaning a tile floor, most people are simply wiping water across the tiles, which allows the dirty water to stain the grout lines between the tiles. Interestingly, the more you clean your floors the more stained the grout lines become since you are more consistently spreading dirty and discolored water into your grout lines.
Tile floors are beautiful and an investment in your home, so keep them in good condition by simple grout sealing. The cost varies depending on the product, but a flooring specialist can recommend an option that will work with your budget and needs. Grout sealer will need a few extra days to dry and will need to be reapplied as often as once per year. You will know it is time to reseal the grout when water exposure begins to slightly darken the grout lines, but keeping up with reapplication can preserve your tile floors for years to come.
Another newer option is to use a tile grout which is made with an acrylic compound within the grout. Usually the traditional bonding agent used is Portland cement, but the addition of this plastic-like compound helps to solve some of the problem with traditional tile grout. Look for grouts which are advertised as being “pre-sealed” or an “epoxy grout” as an indicator that they contain acrylic components. As a recent product, it can be hard to predict the longevity of this type of grout but it is highly water resistant, dries hard, and resistant to staining and discoloration.
Having kids or planning to have a family is something to keep in mind when choosing a type of flooring. Floors generally endure a lot of wear and tear with kids in the household and it is helpful to recognize the pluses and drawbacks of your flooring options.
Carpeted floors are comfortable for crawling babies and toddlers, soft under foot, and provides a no-slip surface as well as cushioning for frequent baby and toddler falls. As a natural insulator, carpet reduces the noise of children’s toys dragging across the floor. Carpet comes in many styles and colors which are sure to match your tastes and home décor.
The main drawback of carpet is that it requires a lot of upkeep. Carpet needs to be vacuumed at least once a week or more depending on your family to clean up dust or dirt, as well as deep cleaned at least every 12-18 months. Carpet harbors dust and allergens and may be detrimental for children with allergies or asthma. Carpet can also harbor volatile organic compounds ( VOCs); families with children should choose a carpeting material that is low VOC emissions, particularly if anyone has allergies or asthma.
Hardwood floors are not comfortable for crawling babies or toddlers and do not cushion falls, but they are much less maintenance than carpet. Hardwood floors are easier to clean with regular sweeping and wiping up any spills enough to maintain their cleanliness and appearance. Hardwood floors can be scratched and chipped by children’s toys but can easily be refinished without needing to be replaced.
Hardwood flooring is also a great option for families with children who suffer from allergies or asthma, since hardwood floors do not retain pet dander, mold, pollen, or dust.
Popular, durable options include oak flooring, with red oak in particular having a stronger grain that hides dents and imperfections well. Australian cypress and Brazilian cherry are other very hard woods with strong grains that hide imperfections well. These woods also hold up well under moisture and are a great option in the kitchen where children may spill food or drinks, although it is still important to quickly wipe up any spills.
Laminate flooring has the look of hardwoods for a lower cost. They consist of compressed pieces of veneer that have the image of a wood species stamped on top. They do not require much upkeep and are also a great option for children with allergies or asthma since they will not retain dirt, dust, and animal hair. Laminate flooring is extremely slippery when wet so it is important to be cognizant and clean up any spills to prevent any injuries.
Bamboo is an eclectic choice that is becoming very popular for its durability. Technically a grass and not a hardwood, bamboo is environmentally friendly since it is very quick to grow and replenish. Bamboo floors are very hard and naturally stain resistant, making them a very durable choice for families.
Our flooring specialists are here to help you choose the right option for your family. Contact us today!