These days, the "new normal" is constantly changing as we navigate life amidst a global pandemic. Many of us have traded in our dress clothes and brief cases for sweats and house shoes. While working from home does have its advantages, it can also be filled with distractions. If you're carving out a home office space to give you some solace from the chaos, make sure you choose the right flooring.
Hardwood is a warm and inviting choice that never goes out of style. Engineered wood is your best bet. It's more durable and resistant to moisture/humidity changes than solid. While you should shop for products with an aluminum oxide finish to protect against scratches, it's a great idea to buy furniture protectors and desk chair pads to help minimize damage. Engineered hardwood is also available in a variety of colors ranging from blondes to ebonies and also comes in various plank widths and textures to suit any decor. Hardwood is also easy to keep clean with regular sweeping and damp mopping.
Looking for a beautiful, durable, and healthy choice for your work-from-home space? Tile is an excellent choice. It's hypoallergenic (doesn't harbor allergens), doesn't scratch, and is easy to clean with regular sweeping and mopping. Tile has so many beautiful designs and styles from which to choose. Want wood without the worry? Get wood-look tile! Want stone without the stress? Get stone-look tile. There are even vintage and decorative choices. The possibilities are endless. Whether your style is modern or classic, vintage or trendy, there's a tile for you.
Looking for a space that's a little more cozy? Then of course, you want carpet! You can choose a neutral shade that provides a calm canvas for your work area, or opt for a patterned carpet that exudes style and energy! Brands like Mohawk's SmartStrand are excellent choices because they repel stains and dirt; great if you've got kids and pets underfoot. Carpet's soft surface is also ideal for pacing during those important conference calls, and it's easy to clean with regular vacuuming.
Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP)
One of the hottest flooring categories today is Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP). LVP is a fantastic floor that is waterproof and comes in a wealth of wood and tile looks. It's an excellent home office choice, especially if you're prone to spilling your coffee when you're just not quite awake for that early Zoom meeting. LVP is very durable, but we do recommend having a pad under your office chair to minimize scratching.
Still not sure which choice is best for your home office? Give us a call! We'll be glad to come out for a free estimate, free samples, and design advice. Call today: 256-231-0008.
The word “waterproof” is one hot topic in the flooring world today. Along with that label comes the acronyms LVT (luxury vinyl tile), WPC (wood plastic composite), and SPC (stone polymer core). This leads customers to ask a lot of questions: What does that mean? What's it made of? Is it wood or plastic? Is it waterproof? Let's take some of the mystery out of these flooring categories.
Good: Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT)
LVT is a vinyl-based plank flooring that mimics the look of stone and wood and consists of several layers. The top layer consists of a finish that protects from light scratching and shoe scuffs. Next is a clear film that protects against rips and tears. Then comes the design layer--this is your stone or wood print. Under all that is a flexible PVC core and then the backing. The PVC core makes LVT waterproof, but there are a couple of drawbacks. Because of its thinner, flexible nature, LVT can often reveal any imperfections in a subfloor. LVT is also more susceptible to dents or damage from heavy objects like furniture. For installation, LVT can be glued down or “floated” with a click-together locking system over an existing hard surface floor or subfloor.
Better: Wood-Plastic Composite (WPC)
WPC is also a vinyl-based flooring that mimics stone and wood. Like vinyl, WPC consists of a protective wear layer, decorative layer, vinyl layer, and core. The core is made of a wood-plastic polymer, making it stronger and denser than LVT, and also waterproof. The stronger core found in WPC makes it more rigid and less susceptible to dents and damage. Another advantage of this type core is that it conforms less to a subfloor, making it softer under-foot while concealing subfloor imperfections. WPC is usually installed as a click-together locking system and can also easily be laid over an existing hard surface or subfloor.
Best: Stone Plastic Composite (SPC)
SPC definitely comes out on top for durability in the waterproof flooring category. The core is literally made of a stone (usually limestone) and plastic composite. This hardy core makes it highly impervious to dents and damage and hides imperfections in subfloors. SPC also consists of a wear layer, style layer, core, and some products come with an attached backing. Like its LVT and WPC cousins, SPC is waterproof and comes in a variety of wood and tile looks. It too can be installed with a click-together locking system over existing hard surfaces.
Whether you choose LVT, WPC, or SPC, they’re all easy to clean and relatively easy to install if you’re a do-it-yourselfer. They all come in a wide variety of realistic tile and wood looks to suit any décor. Our flooring professionals can help you decide which one is right for you.
Rugs are often the icing on the cake of your space. They add so much style and personality to any room, not to mention they protect your floors! While classic Moroccan and Oriental rugs never go out of style, there are trends emerging in 2019 that not only take your design to the next level but offer function as well.
One thing you might never have considered before is layering—that is area rugs on top of carpet, or even rug upon rug! Before your discount this idea, hear us out. Let’s say you have a large, neutral area rug or even carpet in your space. What better way to spice it up than by throwing down some color and texture? Maybe you have an open concept house and want to delineate space? A rug is perfect for that.
Check out this article on how to layer rugs over carpet.
The Bohemian look is also big this year, consisting of warm, earthy colors mixed with bright hues. Think eclectic mixes of pattern, texture and design throughout your space. And, don’t forget fringe. The Bohemian is the free spirit!
As far as prints, geometric and chevron patterns continue to reign big. Shapes mixed with colors, or shapes in neutral patterns add depth. Chevron print can also be mixed with a myriad of design schemes from florals to stripes. Let’s not forget about animal prints. You can either go bold with a large area rug, or throw a faux cowhide or sheepskin rug down in a sitting nook.
Jute, jute, and more jute! Jute rugs are becoming wildly popular for any room of the home. They provide a textured look, are allergen friendly, and help disguise dirt. It’s a good idea, though, to have a rug pad underneath to keep it from shifting since the raw fibers might have a tendency to scratch the floor. Jute rugs come in a wide variety of sizes, and some even have chevron patterns, stripes, borders, and tassels to make it interesting.
Once you get that perfect rug, you’ve got to find the perfect location. While it goes without saying that most people love an area rug in the living room, let’s think outside the box. Rugs in the kitchen are a great way to add a comfortable place to stand at islands and sinks or set apart your breakfast nook from the rest of the space. Entryway rugs are excellent ways to not only add a welcoming touch, but also to catch dirt and debris from traveling father into the house. It’s a good idea to look for rugs that are easy-clean if you’re shopping for either of these areas.
Finally, we frequently have clients who have hard surface flooring throughout their home, but they still want carpet or at least a runner on the stairs. This is a great place to really shake things up by incorporating a patterned or colored carpet that plays off your décor theme. It’s also an excellent way to keep your stairs slip-resistant.
Whatever style rug you choose, remember: we can customize any piece of carpet into a bound rug, just for you! Come by and see our selection of designer carpets!
Muddy shoes and backpacks with overflowing school supplies--is this what you see when you walk into your house? Entryways and mudrooms can get messy and cluttered, especially with school back in session and kids coming and going. In this blog, we’ll look at what you can do to make either your entryway or your mudroom stylish, durable, and functional.
Mudrooms are usually a small room or area near an entryway where people generally tend to discard their items in a hurry. So, how can you foster tidiness in this space? Functional storage is the key, one of the most useful mudroom items is a bench with cubby storage. A bench makes it easy for all to remove their shoes, and hooks and cubbies are perfect for hanging back packs and helping keep items off the floor. You can really express yourself in these little areas of the house because they are generally separate from the rest of the living spaces. Use your imagination and make a fun and welcoming space with lots of color, accessories, and even a fun rug.
Not every home has a mudroom but still has a need for a functional entryway. Just like mudrooms, your entryway needs storage too. You can use a small bench with decorative storage baskets underneath and hooks on the wall above to create useful storage in a smaller space.
In addition to storage, both entryways and the mudrooms need durable flooring because these areas are subject to a lot of foot traffic and outdoor elements. A favorite flooring option for these spaces is tile because it’s durable, easy to clean, and comes in many styles.
Tile is not your only option though. There are so many flooring types now that can handle heavy traffic and even water, just as well as tile. Two very popular alternatives are WPC (waterproof or rigid core flooring) and luxury vinyl or luxury vinyl tile. Both of these options come in wood and even tile looks. If you do decide to use hardwood, consider investing in a stain-resistant or outdoor rug to protect your hardwoods from damage in this area of your home.
If you’re ready to give your mudroom or entryway an overhaul, stop by our showroom, and one of our flooring advisors can help you pick out the perfect flooring for your space!
If you own rental homes or apartments, you likely understand the struggle of maintaining these properties. Apartments and rentals often take a lot of abuse, so how can you make your property both durable and appealing? In this blog we will discuss some flooring options that are durable, appealing, easy to install and maintain, and cost effective.
We realize these apartments or rental houses are your income, so the main goal is for them to make money and to be cost effective. The most widely used flooring for rentals is basic carpet and VCT (vinyl composition tile). Both a basic carpet and VCT is easy to install and easy to replace (as well as cost-effective) when damaged. Something to keep in mind, though, is that although these flooring options may be more affordable, they often have to be replaced frequently and are not always visually appealing to most renters.
When you pick a lower quality flooring, you will likely have to replace it every time a renter moves out or even more often than that, which means more money and more work. In the long run, the flooring that will save you more money, time, and get you better renters is flooring that is both durable and appealing.
Here are some flooring options that are cost effective, durable and stylish:
The above flooring options will bring style and lasting quality to your rentals. They are available in many modern wood and tile looks and are easy to install and replace.
Buying a home is one of the biggest investments you will make in your life, so making sure you've found the right home for you is important. Many people buy homes that need either a lot or a least a little renovating. Often the main areas that need improvement and that can increase your investment value are flooring, kitchens, and bathrooms.
Good floors and subfloors provide safety, style, and durability to a home. Some homes may have outdated or worn flooring that is no longer functional or appealing to the eye. In kitchens and bathrooms, it’s important to check for water damage and make any repairs or renovations promptly. The same goes for the rest of the house. Make sure you have solid subfloors as the foundation for your renovation projects. Consider whether carpet needs to be replaced or cleaned. Also inspect your hard surfaces for any repairs if you’re keeping them or evaluate what will go into replacing them. (Don’t forget we offer free estimates!)
Kitchens and bathrooms are also big selling points for homes. Maybe you found a home that’s move-in ready, but a lot of us look for that diamond in the rough that we can make our own. Updating tile, redesigning a kitchen or bathroom, adding granite countertops and blacksplashes; these are all custom touches that make your home reflect your style and increase its value.
Remember that flooring provides the foundation not just for the style of your home but for the memories you and your family will make there. They say the kitchen is the “heart of the home,” so make it a fun and functional space the whole family can enjoy. After a long day, you deserve a bathroom that gives your family a place not just to get clean, but to unwind. By putting your personal touches on your new home, it will soon become your dream home.
Open floor plans continue to remain a popular interior design element. They allow for a seamless flow throughout a home and lend themselves well to a feeling of unity, conversation, and fellowship with family and friends. Whether you have a home with a large, open space or a smaller home that is cozier, the right use of flooring can open up your design.
One way to achieve this is by installing the same flooring throughout your space. For some, this may seem unusual because we are often accustomed to tile in the kitchen and bath, hardwood in the living room and hall, and carpet in the bedrooms. Good flooring choices to take throughout the whole house are LVT (luxury vinyl tile or plank), WPC (wood polymer composite), and sheet vinyl. These flooring choices, depending on brand, are either waterproof or water resistant and very durable, making it possible for them to be installed anywhere in the home. Each of these products are also able to be installed without transitions, thus creating a continuous flow. In addition, these products all come in wood or tile looks, perfect for whatever design you’re going for.
Tile is also an excellent flooring choice that can literally be installed anywhere in your home. Today’s gorgeous, stylish wood-look varieties go with any décor from rustic to modern. The options are pretty much endless with tile, whether you’re looking for a natural stone look, classic design, or something sleek and bold. Tile is easy to clean and maintain, no matter where it’s installed.
Laminate and hardwood also lend themselves well to open, common areas of the home, with certain considerations. Engineered hardwood is a better choice than solid if being installed in potential wet areas like kitchens. Any spills or leaks should be cleaned up quickly, and you should only use a damp mop when cleaning. Many types of laminate now come with water resistant properties, but care should also be taken in not exposing laminate to large amounts of liquid. We do not recommend laminate or hardwood for bathrooms, but they’re great for the main living areas of a home.
So, our takeaway tips are:
Most of us are familiar with shag carpet, characterized by having a deep thick pile, giving it that shaggy look. Shag carpet has been around longer than most realize, dating back to Ancient Greece. Of course, this style of carpet was very popular in the 60’s and 70’s, then it experienced a sort of “fall from grace.” Now, once again, shag carpet is experiencing a new birth in the design industry. So, what happened?
Shag carpet got a bad reputation thanks to the design trends of the 60’s and 70’s. During that time, everyone was experimenting with their artistic, adventurous side which brought us many cool things but not so much in the interior design world. You've probably been in or seen a home from that era with hideous, bright-colored shag carpet, maybe even in rooms it should not have been in like the bathroom. Unfortunately, this is what people often think of when they hear the words “shag carpet.” In addition to these pre-conceived notions working against it, shag carpet also has a fairly high pile and not a high twist level in strands (long strand carpet is very durable with high twist levels, not so much with a lower twist level). Its thick strands make it easily crushed and damaged and very hard to clean. Do these facts mean you have to give up on the plush softness, comfort, and texture shag carpet brings to your home? No. While you can still purchase shag carpet in today’s styles and colors, another option to consider is frieze carpet; it’s basically the new shag.
Frieze carpet is generally constructed of thinner fiber strands than traditional shag carpet. Frieze is characterized by long fibers that have high twists, contributing to its durability. A standard carpet strand is most durable on its side not its top, so frieze’s long, high twist strands that lay on their sides make for a very durable carpet. The long, loose strands also help to conceal stains which make it perfect for high traffic homes.
Frieze carpet comes in just about any color you can think of. It’s commonly found in multi-colored designs which heightens its ability for hiding stains, making it perfect for homes with kids, pets or high traffic areas. Frieze carpet adds a plush warmth, texture, and style to any home, whether you have it wall-to-wall or as an area rug. Also, frieze is great for stairways because it's long fibers hide seams and also give added traction underfoot for safety.
The “shag” or frieze carpet look is enjoying a massive resurgence in home design. Carpet manufacturers continue to up their game with gorgeous patterns, designs, and colors in this style. Stop by our showroom today to see our selection!
Textures are an important element in home décor. Accent pieces, artwork, throws, pillows, and even flooring can provide texture, warmth, and style, helping to transform your house into a home. When it comes to textures in flooring, most people immediately think of hardwood or tile. Today though, other flooring options like vinyl and laminate are engineered with distressed and hand-scrapted looks that make it hard to tell the difference from real hardwood or tile.
Most people think of laminate, vinyl tile, sheet vinyl, and vinyl plank as being smooth with little to no texture and limited patterns. What you may not realize is that today’s vinyl and laminate are very realistic with looks that make it hard to tell they’re not the real deal. Depending on the look you want to achieve in your space, you may want more or less texture. Wood and tile looks with more grooves and textures tend to look more realistic and are often used in rustic design schemes. For a modern, streamlined look, go for less texture.
Some examples of textures are:
When you’re looking for a wood or tile look in vinyl or laminate, remember smoother and lighter textures lend themselves well to an open, modern designs with clean lines. More textured planks or grout grooves will add realism and complexity to your décor for a rustic look. There's a whole new world of vinyl and laminate, come see what we have in store for a beautiful look in your home.
Many homes have tile somewhere, whether it’s in the kitchen, bathroom, basement, or whole house. Tile has many benefits and adds value to your home, making it an excellent flooring choice for just about any space. Many people choose either porcelain or ceramic tile, but today we’re going to look at the features and benefits of natural stone.
Natural stone tile is quarried straight from the earth, and is nonpolluting and eco-friendly, whereas porcelain and ceramic tiles are man-made and mimic natural stone and other materials. There are pluses and minuses to both materials, but what are some reasons you might consider natural stone tile? One of the more obvious reasons is for its beauty. Natural stones such as slate, marble, limestone, travertine, granite, and sandstone are all beautiful and each piece is unique, giving you a one-of-a-kind look that will never go out of style.
Natural stone is easy to maintain and clean, thus making it a very hygienic flooring option. If you live in a warm climate, natural stone will help keep your home cool. However, if you live in a colder climate, natural stone is a great candidate for an underfloor heating system.
One thing to consider when thinking of natural stone for your home is that like all-natural materials, it is porous and can absorb moisture. Be sure to ask your flooring representative about the absorption level of whichever natural stone tile you are interested in. In general, sandstone is the most porous. Travertine, limestone, and slate have medium absorbency, while granite is relatively waterproof. While natural flooring options are at times not as durable as man-made products, if installed and sealed correctly and in the right environment, they can bring value and unique beauty to any home.