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Home Matters

Interior flooring options

If you're realizing that it's time to update your floor, bear in mind that "One size material does not fit all," says Pete. Lyle Morris from Interior Floor Designs offers his advice on flooring options for your home with Pete and Rob.

Vinyl It's "very functional [for] kitchen [and] bathroom," Lyle says. Rob points out that "it's not your grandmother's linoleum. It looks like a slate floor." Lyle says that Interior Floor Designs carries hundreds of kinds of vinyl, giving you a multitude of options for your home. Pricing can vary from $1 to $5 per square foot - the main difference in price, Lyle says, lies in durability.

If you're looking to install vinyl flooring, Rob says the material is very forgiving, compared to, say, a stone floor. But, he says, you'll need to make sure the surface is even to avoid casting odd shadows on your floor.

Vinyl stone "It looks like a real stone," Lyle says, "but it's only 3/16 of an inch thick." It holds heat like stone, and comes in two options to suit your needs: glue-down or floating. Depending on the surface that the vinyl is going over, for example wood, glue-down might be your best bet. If you're going over asbestos, on the other hand - a health hazard to tear out - floating might be your best option.

Vinyl stone is often grouted, which is made from an acrylic mixture. This means that, unlike stone, you don't have to seal the grout to keep out mold, mildew, or moisture.

Marmoleum Marmoleum is the classic '50s flooring material that Lyle said has been used for more than 150 years. It's made out of "wood pulp, linseed oil - all-natural ingredients," he says. It comes in a wide color palate, and comes in various installation styles: sheets ($4 per square foot) or floating clicks ($6.50 per square foot).

Marmoleum, Lyle says, has two distinct advantages: first, it can fit the character of the house, and second, it doesn't have a pattern, giving it a very uniform look. Rob adds that it's durable, and would make an excellent child's playroom floor.

Cork "You can get cork planks, which is the most common nowadays. It's a click-together floating [floor]," Lyle says. It's very stable, Pete points out, and carries passive heat, meaning your floors stay warmer in winter.

Although Lyle says they don't get much call for cork flooring, Pete says it's one of his favorite flooring materials, running between $4.50 and $10 per square foot. Cork is actually waterproof, he adds, as it's impregnated with resin. This makes it a particularly good material for bathrooms rather than wood.

Hardwoods Hardwoods are one of the most popular, perennial flooring materials, Pete says. It's a more labor intensive process, says Lyle, requiring planks being nailed in, and then sanded and finished. One of the more popular finishes, a Swedish finish, makes the floor incredibly durable, but you'll want to be out of your home during the process. If you're looking to save some time and money, however, you can go with a pre-finished hardwood, and "get more bang for your buck," Pete says.

Hardwoods also expand and contract based on the moisture content in the air, which, Pete says, is something you'll want to keep an eye on.

Oak and Brazilian cherry are the most popular species of wood, followed up by walnut, teak and bamboo.

Hardwood is slightly more expensive than other materials, running at $10 per square foot (including labor), says Lyle.

Engineered floors If you like the look of hardwood, but would like to save some money, you may be interested in engineered floors. These generally consist of a MDF core with hardwood over the top; if you go this route, Lyle recommends checking the hardwood content. A cheaper version, photoresist floors, tend to chip and don't last as long.

Engineered floors run, on average, around $4.50 per square foot.

Tile Tile, Lyle recommends, you should install in areas where durability is a significant factor: kitchens, bathrooms and entryways. Although typically not an excellent heat conductor, you can always install heated mats underneath to keep your floors warm in the winter. Material costs, Lyle says, run from $3 per square foot to extremely expensive depending on the design.

Stone Slate and marble are some of the original flooring materials, dating back to the Romans. There's not much of a difference in terms of hardness, Lyle says, between the two. Bear in mind, however, that marble scratches easily, so you may want to avoid installing it in high-traffic areas.

Carpet "The one thing about carpet is that you can put it everywhere," Pete says. It's also a cheaper material, starting at $1 per square foot. All you need to know about carpet, however, is that Pete hates it.

Listen to the whole story.

Interior Floor Designs is a proud sponsor of Home Matters.

Home Matters with Pete and Rob can be heard on KIRO Radio every Saturday at 8 a.m. and Sunday at 6 a.m. or anytime at KIRORadio.com. Like Home Matters on Facebook.

Cait Walsh, MyNorthwest Writer
Caitlyn Walsh is a regular lifestyles contributor for MyNorthwest. She enjoys reading and hiking, as well as perusing all the cat videos the Internet has to offer.
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