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Flooring 101: Understanding Your Options

Table of Contents

Flooring Basics

At Floor Action, we believe when it comes to designing a home or commercial space, choosing the right flooring is paramount. It’s not only about aesthetics; the right flooring can also enhance functionality and comfort.

This post will focus on four popular types of flooring: luxury vinyl, laminate, Pergo, and tile. We’ll delve into their features, advantages, disadvantages, and best use cases, helping you make an informed decision for your space.

Luxury Vinyl Flooring

Luxury vinyl flooring, made from several layers of PVC vinyl, offers a high-end look without the hefty price tag. It mimics natural materials like stone and wood that nowadays has a level of detail that is often surprising.

Vinyl Pros and Cons

Luxury vinyl flooring is a popular choice among homeowners and commercial property owners due to its many beneficial features. One of the most notable advantages of luxury vinyl is its impressive durability. Constructed from strong materials, it can withstand daily wear and tear, making it an excellent option for high-traffic areas such as hallways, kitchens, or commercial spaces.

Luxury vinyl, while visually appealing, doesn’t carry the same value as natural materials like hardwood or stone. If you plan on selling your property, keep in mind that prospective buyers may be more attracted to natural flooring options.

Water Resistance

Another major selling point of luxury vinyl is its resistance to water. Unlike other types of flooring that can warp, discolor, or even harbor mold when exposed to moisture, luxury vinyl maintains its shape and appearance, making it a practical choice for bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements.

In order to obtain full water resistance vinyl flooring needs to be properly installed. An uneven or bouncy subfloor can cause the locks to open and take in moisture.

Wide Range of Styles

In terms of aesthetics, luxury vinyl flooring does not disappoint. It’s available in an extensive range of styles, colors, and patterns. Whether you’re aiming for a rustic look with faux-wood planks or a chic, modern style with stone-like tiles, there’s a luxury vinyl option to match your decor.

Ideal Vinyl Uses

Vinyl flooring is best suited for areas where water and moisture are frequently present. The inherent water resistance of vinyl makes it a practical choice for kitchens, bathrooms, and basements.

  • Kitchen Floors – Resilient and easy to clean, suitable for areas prone to spills and stains.
  • Bathroom Floors – Water-resistant and comfortable underfoot, ideal for moisture-rich environments.
  • Living Rooms – Offers a warm and comfortable surface, available in various designs to match decor.
  • Basements – Excellent for below-grade installations due to its moisture resistance.
  • Playrooms – Soft and warm for children to play on, easy to maintain and clean.
  • Home Gyms – Durable and able to withstand heavy equipment and foot traffic.
  • Commercial Offices – Provides a professional look with practical durability and comfort for high-traffic areas.
  • Retail Spaces – Versatile for various design themes, withstands heavy customer foot traffic.
  • Healthcare Facilities – Hygienic, easy to clean, and provides a quiet walking surface, suitable for hospitals and clinics.
  • Restaurants – Combines durability with aesthetic appeal, can handle frequent cleaning and heavy foot traffic.

Vinyl Use In Kitchens

In the kitchen, spills and splashes are commonplace, and a floor that can handle such incidents without damage is a significant advantage. Vinyl’s water-resistant properties mean that spills can be easily wiped up without seeping into the material, preventing issues like mold growth or warping that can occur with other types of flooring.

Vinyl Use In Bathrooms

Bathrooms, given their high moisture environment, require flooring that can withstand constant exposure to water. Vinyl flooring is not only resistant to water but also offers a certain degree of comfort underfoot, making it a popular choice for bathroom installations.

Vinyl Use In Basements

Basements often suffer from dampness due to their location below ground level. Traditional flooring options like hardwood or carpet can absorb this moisture, leading to potential damage over time. However, vinyl’s resistance to water can help to mitigate these issues, maintaining its integrity even in potentially damp conditions.

High Traffic Areas and Vinyl Flooring

In addition to residential use, vinyl’s ease of maintenance makes it an excellent choice for commercial spaces. In high-traffic areas like offices, restaurants, or retail stores, floors need to withstand heavy usage and still be easy to clean. Vinyl flooring can be swept, vacuumed, or mopped to maintain its appearance, and it doesn’t require special cleaners or wax to keep it looking its best. This combination of durability and low maintenance makes vinyl a cost-effective and practical option for various commercial settings.

A Luxury Choice

Luxury vinyl flooring is a versatile and practical choice that marries aesthetics with functionality. Its ability to mimic natural materials allows it to blend seamlessly into any decor, providing the high-end look of stone or wood without the associated costs.

The durability and water resistance of luxury vinyl make it an ideal choice for various spaces, from kitchens and bathrooms to commercial areas. It’s designed to withstand the rigors of heavy foot traffic and resist water damage, ensuring it maintains its appeal over time.

Woman walking barefoot on toes at warm laminate floor close up rear view. Sunny light bedroom good morning welcome new day, modern comfy apartments with under floor heating system, footcare concept

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is a popular choice among homeowners due to its ability to mimic the appearance of hardwood at a fraction of the cost. This synthetic flooring product is made up of multiple layers, with a photographic applique layer that captures the look of various wood species under a clear protective layer designed to resist wear and tear.

Affordable, Easy To Maintain (Sounds good to us!)

One of the main advantages of laminate flooring is its affordability. Compared to natural hardwood or stone, laminate offers a cost-effective solution for those wanting the aesthetic appeal of these materials without the hefty price tag.

In addition to being budget-friendly, laminate flooring is also easy to clean and maintain. Its smooth surface can be swept, vacuumed, or mopped, and it doesn’t require special treatments or finishes to keep it looking its best. The clear protective layer on top of the photographic applique is designed to resist scratches, making laminate a good choice for households with pets or children who may otherwise damage more delicate flooring materials.

Drawbacks of Laminate Flooring

However, despite these advantages, laminate flooring does have its limitations. One of the main drawbacks is its poor performance in areas with high moisture levels. Unlike vinyl or tile, laminate can swell and warp when exposed to water for extended periods, making it unsuitable for use in bathrooms or basements where leaks or flooding may occur.

Ideal Laminate Uses

Ideal use cases for laminate flooring include living areas, hallways, and bedrooms – spaces that don’t typically see high levels of moisture but still require a durable flooring option. Its wide range of styles and finishes allows it to complement any decor, making it a versatile choice for many homes. 

However, due to its susceptibility to water damage, it’s recommended to avoid laminate in bathrooms, basements, or other areas prone to moisture.

Pergo: Laminate Flooring's Big Bro

Pergo is a highly recognized brand in the laminate flooring industry, renowned for its superior durability and extensive variety of styles. The brand has become synonymous with quality and innovation in the world of laminate flooring, often considered a notch above standard laminate options.

High Durability

One of the key features that set Pergo apart is its exceptional durability. Pergo floors are designed to withstand heavy foot traffic and resist scratches, stains, and impacts that can damage other types of flooring. This makes them an excellent choice for busy households, commercial spaces, or any area where the floor needs to stand up to a lot of use without showing signs of wear and tear.

Huge Range Of Styles

Another highlight of Pergo flooring is the vast range of styles it offers. From the warm, rich tones of traditional hardwood to the cool elegance of stone and tile, Pergo’s laminate floors come in an array of designs to suit every taste. This variety allows homeowners and designers to achieve just about any look they desire, whether it’s rustic charm or modern sophistication.

Standard Laminate? Or Pergo?

In a nutshell, while Pergo may be a more significant investment compared to standard laminate, its superior durability, vast style selection, and advanced features make it a value-for-money proposition for those seeking long-lasting beauty and performance in their flooring. We would recommend Pergo if your budget allows!

Tile Flooring

Ah tile flooring, a classic. Often crafted from ceramic or porcelain materials, is a popular and versatile choice among homeowners and designers alike. Known for its durability and wide range of designs, tile flooring can accommodate various styles from traditional to contemporary.

The Pros Of Tile: Resistance and Longevity Especially In Wet Places

One of the primary advantages of tile flooring is its longevity. When installed and maintained properly, tile floors can last for several decades without showing significant signs of wear. This makes them an excellent investment for those planning to stay in their homes for a long time or for commercial spaces with heavy foot traffic.

Another major benefit of tile flooring is its resistance to water. Unlike certain types of flooring materials that can be damaged by moisture, ceramic and porcelain tiles are virtually impervious to water, making them an excellent choice for areas prone to spills or high humidity levels, such as bathrooms and kitchens.

The Downsides: Tough On The Toes and A Time Consuming Install

However, tile flooring does have its downsides. For one, it can feel hard and cold underfoot, which might be uncomfortable, especially during colder months. Some people find this hardness uncomfortable when standing for extended periods, as well.

Installation of tile flooring can also be complex and time-consuming, often requiring professional help. The process involves preparing the subfloor, laying the tiles with precision to ensure they’re level, and applying grout—a task that can be messy and challenging for beginners.

Best Places To Use Tile In Your Space

Ideal use cases for tile flooring extend beyond bathrooms and kitchens. It’s also excellent for entryways where dirt and moisture are commonly brought in from outside. Moreover, with the right design and finish, tile flooring can also create a stunning impact in living rooms and dining areas.

  • Kitchen Floors – Durable and easy to clean, perfect for high-traffic areas.
  • Bathroom Floors and Walls – Water-resistant, ideal for wet environments.
  • Backsplashes – Adds a stylish and practical element to kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Entryways and Mudrooms – Handles dirt and moisture well, easy to maintain.
  • Laundry Rooms – Resistant to moisture and heavy appliances.
  • Outdoor Patios or Pool Areas – Excellent for outdoor use due to its durability and slip resistance.
  • Commercial Lobbies and Reception Areas – Offers a professional and clean look, withstands high foot traffic.
  • Restaurant Kitchens – Hygienic and easy to clean, can withstand commercial cleaning products.
  • Spa and Sauna Areas – Handles humidity and heat well, offers a luxurious aesthetic.
  • Showers and Tub Surrounds – Ideal for wet areas, wide range of design possibilities.

Comparing The Options

When choosing between luxury vinyl, laminate, Pergo, and tile flooring, consider factors like cost, durability, maintenance, and aesthetic appeal. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, so it’s essential to choose based on your specific needs and preferences.

Aspect Vinyl Laminate Pergo Tile
Comfort High Medium Medium Low
Ease of Installation Easy Easy Easy Challenging
Added Value Medium Medium Medium High
Ease of Cleaning High High High High
Overall Wear Good Good Good Excellent

Consult Your Local Flooring Expert

Consulting a local flooring professional can provide invaluable assistance in your flooring journey. They can offer expert advice tailored to your specific needs and circumstances, ensuring you make the most informed decision. If you’re located in Ocean and Monmouth County, NJ, we at Floor Action are more than ready to lend our expertise. With our passion for flooring and commitment to customer satisfaction, we’re confident in providing a service that meets your expectations.

However, if you’re outside these areas, it’s essential to know how to find a reputable flooring contractor:

  • Start by asking for recommendations from friends or family who have recently had their floors done.
  • Check online reviews and ratings on various platforms.
  • Look for contractors who are licensed and insured. This protects you in case of any issues during the installation process.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask potential contractors about their experience. Ask if they can provide references or samples of their work.
  • Finally, get a few quotes to ensure you’re getting a fair price. Always remember that the cheapest option is not necessarily the best one.

Always remember, quality workmanship and high-grade materials are worth the investment for a floor that will last for years to come.

We hope this starter guide to flooring has given you some useful information, guidance and tips when it comes to flooring and finding a local professional.