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Home Matters

Finding your footing in flooring

Listen to All about flooring on Home Matters

From carpet to tile, choosing a new floor covering can be a bit overwhelming. This week on Home Matters the guys are talking all things flooring with Lyle Morris from Seattle's Interior Floor Designs.

"Flooring is probably one of the most common things that needs to get installed or should be cleaned or should be updated and one of the best returns for investment," Pete says.

Carpet is the most common floor covering with a dizzying array of choices. The biggest considerations are price and quality. The higher the quality and durability, the higher the cost. Olefin, a common synthetic, can run you between $10 and $15 per square yard, $15 to $20 for polyester and $20 to $36 for nylon. The more expensive carpets also tend to come with much better warranties and stain protection as well.

Lyle tells us there are also plenty of choices when it comes to pads, from the most basic to a memory foam that springs back like a Tempurpedic bed.

For the do-it-your-selfers, the guys say it's probably best to leave it to the pros.

"Just to give you guys a heads up. If you want to do this yourself, by the time you get done with the kicker bar and stretching the carpet you will wish, your knees will have wished you never did it," Pete says.

Pete says he's not a big fan of carpet because of all the stuff we tend to track in from outside in our often wet climate.

"If you are going to do install carpet I would not suggest you do it in front of your front entry way or any exterior door going out to a deck. There should be a little mud room."

Instead, Pete prefers a solid floor covering like vinyl, hardwood or tile. And Lyle tells us there are no shortage of choices these days for all budgets and floor types.

Vinyl remains popular for places that get high usage and intermittent water like bathrooms, kitchens and utility rooms. And what's known as luxury vinyl continues growing in popularity.

As with all flooring, the better the quality, the higher the price.

"It's all about durability. The more durable the product the more expensive it's going to be. And it's that surface wear layer."

Lyle says the up front investment can often pay off in the long run. Many of the upper grade materials can come with lifetime warranties versus three to five years.

A popular trend these days is hardwoods. Lyle says many homeowners are turning to solid wood instead of laminates. But even though they're beautiful, they're not for everyone.

"I think the hardwoods really add value to a home, laminates have their place for say a concrete floor like a basement den or something," Lyle says.

Engineered hardwood can be floated on concrete floor, while solid wood is usually nailed in over a wood sub-floor. And as with all flooring, the guys warn the do-it-your-selfers it's far harder than it looks.

"You have to have the tools, expertise, it's a lot of the details for somebody who doesn't work with it all the time ," Lyle says.

"I tell people yeah that's fine you want to tackle that, one nail out of place and your tearing out lumber that's going in the dumpster. When you get into these hardwood floors, what would take Lyle's crew maybe a day is going to take you like three months and it's not going to look as good," Rob warns.

The guys also warn many manufacturers won't honor warranties by do-it-your-selfers.

Tile remains a popular option as well. It's more expensive and difficult to install than other flooring types, but still a great addition to entryways, kitchens, bathrooms and utility rooms, wherever there's moisture and high foot traffic.

It can all be overwhelming, so listen to this week's Home Matters to help find your footing in flooring.

Josh Kerns, MyNorthwest.com
Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter/anchor and host of KIRO Radio's Seattle Sounds (Sunday afternoons 5-6p) and a digital content producer for MyNorthwest.com.
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