With today’s technology, laminate flooring is a strong alternative to hardwood. While the look of laminate and hardwood flooring may be similar, knowing the differences between laminate and hardwood flooring will help you make the best choice for your home and budget.
When many of our clients think about vinyl flooring, it brings back images of their mother’s inexpensive linoleum or vinyl floors. That is not the case anymore. The newest generation of vinyl products are now referred to as Luxury Vinyl. This product category has experienced explosive growth and is currently the fastest growing flooring product in our industry.
The growth of Luxury Vinyl can be explained by its amazing combination of Appearance, Durability, Comfort and Affordability. Let’s examine each of these areas:
Appearance: Manufacturers use high-definition printing to create hardwood and tile looks that are highly authentic. Rather than sheet goods, Luxury Vinyl comes in size options that replicate hardwood and tile. Some models can even emulate wire brushing and light scraping found in real hardwoods. You can get the look of hardwood and stone – minus the maintenance.
Durability: A durable top layer protects against excessive wear from kids and pets. The wear layer is chip resistant and offers superior stain resistance and is very cleanable. In my opinion, the most amazing feature of this product is its water resistance. It can be installed in areas that experience some moisture without worrying the product will swell or delaminate. This makes the product ideal for kitchens, laundry rooms and lower level recreation areas.
Comfort: Luxury Vinyl is more soft under foot versus typical hard surface products, making it easier to stand on for extended periods of time. These floors are typically quieter and warmer than other flooring options and do not require additional underlayment.
Affordability: The total cost of materials and installation of Luxury Vinyl is significantly less than tile and hardwoods. There is typically less floor preparation required for this product, and it can be installed over many existing substrates. In addition, a number of these products come with locking systems that allow for a “floating” installation, which eliminates the need for costly adhesives.
The future looks bright for Luxury Vinyl. There is so much to like about these products. I fully anticipate that our suppliers will continue to bring more innovation to further enhance this category of exciting products. We hope you will visit one of our stores to allow us the opportunity to show you some of the many options available in Luxury Vinyl.
Source: Dean Howell, owner, MODA Floors & Interiors
Choosing a new floor is very exciting. You probably already have some ideas about the style you would like, but the following tips will help ensure you get the floor you want and need.
Floors can be installed over a variety of different surfaces:
- Concrete, tiles, stone and marble – vinyl, laminate and wood
- Wooden floor – vinyl, laminate and wood
- Very short-pile carpet – vinyl, laminate and wood
- Embossed vinyl – laminate and wood, but must be removed or covered for vinyl
- Long-pile carpet – must be removed for all new floors
Which Floor for Which Room?
Entrance and Hallway – People coming and going will bring dirt and dampness into your home, putting special demands on this part of the floor. Choose a hard surface that can stand up to moderate dampness and is easy to clean.
Office – If keeping your office quiet for concentration and comfort is a top priority, you should consider floors with good acoustic properties. If you expect a lot of visitors, you’ll probably want a tough surface that won’t be easily damaged by office furnishings or heavy use. Floors with anti-static properties can be a wise investment if you use a lot of electrical equipment.
Kitchens –Spills and dropped food and equipment are a fact of life no matter how careful you are as a cook. Choose a floor that not only has good stain and traffic resistance, but that will also stand up to light moisture and repeated cleaning.
Bathrooms –Water makes the bathroom a challenging environment and you must be careful to select a floor that is water-resistant. In addition, for safety you’ll need to be sure that the floor won’t be slippery when it’s damp and that it will be easy to clean.
Bedroom –Your bedroom is often a very personal space so you’ll be looking at a wide range of decorative finishes. Don’t forget that looks are just part of the equation and that you’ll also want to be sure that it’s comfortable and warm for bare feet.
Kid’s Bedroom/Playroom –These bedrooms often have to accommodate a wide variety of play as well as sleep. To cope with active youngsters you’ll need a tough, practical floor that’s comfortable but also easy to look after and clean, and that will also help to keep noise levels down.
Living Room – You need a multi-purpose floor that reflects your style but can stand up to the challenge of a variety of activities. A tough surface that’s easy to clean and look after will reduce the time you need to spend keeping your living room looking good.
No one wants to spend every minute worrying about stains and cleaning. By choosing a floor that suits the area, you’ll cut down on the cleaning and general care you have to provide. You should also select a floor with the best possible surface protection.
Whether you’re planning a major remodel or just want a few ideas to freshen a space, attending a home tour this fall will help get your creative juices flowing. Here are four places to start.
Historic Brookhaven Candlelight Tour of Homes and Gardens
Thursday, Oct. 1 (5:30-8:30 p.m.)
This tour will offer an intimate look into older homes in sought-after Brookhaven, a community located just inside the perimeter.
Cost: $50-$70 (armhc.org/BrookhavenTour)
Roswell Woman’s Club home of distinction
Oct. 2-11 (10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays; noon-5 p.m. on Sundays)
This new home is a 6,700-square-foot structure with seven bedrooms and nine baths. It was inspired by Old World architecture and materials, including General Shale brick and James Hardie shake siding and cornices.
Cost: $20 (homeofdistinction.com/15Atlanta/index.php)
Candler Park Fall Fest Tour of Homes
Sunday, Oct. 4 (Noon-6 p.m.)
You will find an eclectic mix of homes and outdoor spaces, including treehouses and gardens.
Cost: $20 (advance) or $25 (tour day) (fallfest.candlerpark.org/tour-of-homes)
NARI Atlanta Tour of Remodeled Homes
Saturday, Oct. 24 (10 a.m-4 p.m.)
Eight private homes transformed throughout Atlanta’s northern suburbs by members of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry Atlanta Chapter will be open to the public. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit CURE Childhood Cancer.
Cost: $20 (advance) or $25 (tour day) (atlantaremodelingtour.com)
What other tours would you add to this list? What’s the best idea you have picked up on a home tour?
Here’s some helpful advice on how to keep your laminate floors looking new.
- Entry mats will help collect the dirt, sand, grit and other substances such as oil, asphalt or driveway sealer that might otherwise be tracked onto your floor.
- To prevent slippage of area rugs, use an approved vinyl rug underlayment.
- Use floor protectors and wide-load bearing leg bases/rollers to minimize the chance of indentations and scratches from heavy objects. As a rule, the heavier the object, the wider the floor protector.
- Maintain a normal indoor relative humidity level between 35 percent and 65 percent throughout the year to minimize the natural expansion and contraction of the wood.
- Heating season (Dry): A humidifier is recommended to prevent excess shrinkage due to low humidity levels. Wood stove and electric heat tend to create very dry conditions.
- Non-Heating Season (Wet): An air conditioner, dehumidifier or periodically turning on your heating will help to maintain humidity during summer months.
- Avoid excessive exposure to water during periods of inclement weather.
- Keep your pet’s nails trimmed to prevent them from scratching your floor.
- Never try to slide heavy objects across the floor.
- Use a protective mat for furniture or chairs with castors.
Source: Shaw Floors
- Do not use steam cleaners or wet mops, which may cause irreparable damage to your floor.
- Use a damp cloth to blot up spills as soon as they happen. Never allow liquids to stand on your floor.
- For tough spots, such as oil, paint, markers, lipstick, ink or tar, use acetone/nail polish remover on a clean white cloth. Then wipe the area with a damp cloth to remove any remaining residue.
- Sweep, dust or vacuum the floor regularly with the hard floor attachment (not the beater bar) to prevent accumulation of dirt and grit that can scratch or dull the floor finish.
- Periodically clean the floor with cleaning products made specifically for laminate floor care.
- Don’t wash or wet mop the floor with soap, water, oil-soap detergent or any other liquid cleaning product. This could cause swelling, warping, delamination, and joint-line separation, and void the warranty.
- Avoid using steel wool, abrasive cleaners or strong ammoniated or chlorinated type cleaners.
- Don’t use any type of buffing or polishing machine on your laminate floors.
- For spots such as candle wax or chewing gum, harden the spot with ice and then gently scrape with a plastic scraper, such as a credit card. Be careful not to scratch the flooring surface. Wipe clean with a damp cloth.
- A more frequent dust-mopping or vacuuming schedule may be required in very sandy areas such as a beach-side home.
Source: Shaw Floors
MODA Floors & Interiors recently donated 10 pallets of tile, hardwood and laminate to the Atlanta Habitat for Humanity ReStore, a nonprofit home improvement outlet store and donation center that sells new and gently used furniture, home accessories, building materials and appliances to the public at a discounted rate.
Net proceeds from ReStore sales support Atlanta Habitat for Humanity’s mission of building quality, affordable, green homes in partnership with working families. Since December 2001, the ReStore has diverted more than 7,700 tons of materials from landfills by offering them to others for purchase and reuse.
By donating to the ReStore, individuals, companies and organizations support affordable homeownership and community revitalization in Atlanta. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.
To make a donation, contact the ReStore at 404.525.2114 (Extension 155). They have a pick-up service for large items that you can’t easily transport.
The Atlanta Habitat for Humanity ReStore is located at 271 Chester Ave. S.E. Additional information is also available at www.atlantahabitat.org/restore.