Material Market: New Floor Materials
Wall to Wall Choosing and Installing New Flooring What’s Available, What’s Affordable and What’s Avoidable? Installing a new floor can be a serious undertaking, but the right product and guidelines will help you tackle the project with relative ease. Floors can account for about a third of a room; their visual impact is important and should be considered when creating the perfect space.
Woodn’t You Love It? A timeless option for enhancing just about any room in your home is a wood floor, and many new installation systems now offer this classic look at a very reasonable cost and with easy-to-manage maintenance requirements. New to the market are several inexpensive laminate flooring options, as well as several new installation methods that literally will make your project a snap to complete. One of the latest innovations is the Uniclic system from Pergo. This system allows you to install your floor glue-free. A tongue-and-groove system with a mechanical click-locking joint is used to secure and hold the planks in place. For weekend warriors, this flooring will install in half the time of a regular wood floor, and will require much less cleanup along the way. The durability of this type of system allows Uniclic products to come with a 25-year warranty against wear-through, stains, fading and water damage from everyday spills and damp mopping. Available colors include pine, beech, cherry, oak and maple. Plus, this system includes a special underlay system that helps emulate the sound of a real wood floor.
No More Glue Blues Floors with pre-applied glue offer another installation option. The Certain Seal system uses a glue activator along the long and short tongues of each plank to activate the glue. The planks can then be simply tapped into place. This system is designed to offer three times the joint strength of a typical click-together floor, allowing little moisture, dirt and gapping. If you have that artistic flair we all desire, modular floor tile and strip components may be the choice for you. These tile components come in a variety of shapes and colors, allowing you to create your own original designs. However, this type of floor requires glue for installation. This, coupled with the added time it will take to lay out a specific pattern, will definitely increase the time it will take to complete the project. However, the finished product will certainly add much more visual interest than your typical wood floor. When it comes to maintenance, caring for laminate floors is actually pretty simple. A dust mop or vacuum with the hard-floor attachment can be used, or it can be wiped occasionally with a damp cotton cloth or mop. For deeper cleaning, a spray cleaner can be used, or a mixture of a half cup of ammonia and a gallon of warm water. Nail polish remover with acetone can be used on heavy stains without fear of damage. You should never use detergent or wax-based products. Thus, your floor will never need to be waxed or refinished. To help keep your floor looking its best, a few basic guidelines should be followed. Mats should be used near exterior entrances to protect against dirt, gravel and other abrasive substances. You should also use felt dots on chair legs and other movable furniture. If minor damage does occur, it can usually be repaired with a finishing putty.
Time to Tile If you’re ready to let your creativity run wild, grab your trowels and pick a product. The design possibilities are endless when it comes to tile. And the best part of all is that cleaning and maintenance is virtually effortless. Many companies offer countless options when it comes to tiles. Today, many ceramic tiles are available that give your floor a more natural stone look. Your choices include a wide array of colors, patterns and textures, allowing you to create a room with great visual interest. Floors laid in a strong directional pattern can make a room appear longer, while a tile laid in a crosswise pattern will make the room appear narrower. Tile patterns can also be used to direct the eye to a certain area of the room, unify two rooms or create separate areas within one space. Glazed tiles, such as American Olean’s Mix and Matchables, are solid tiles that come in a wide variety of colors. They are best used for creating simple diamond designs and patters. Background octagon and pentagon tiles are also available. A coordinating tile, Accent Dots, can be used to coordinate with the basic Mix and Matchable tile. Tiles reminiscent of the earth’s natural formations are another popular pick. Color names such as polar, desert, canyon and ocean are suggestive of the tiles’ inspiration. These tiles come in several sizes and also include decorative borders and corners. This choice will allow you great flexibility in creating the perfect design. Borgo Antico is a porcelain tile that resembles the beauty of natural slate. As with natural slate, each tile will vary in texture and color. However, it is this blending and variation that give the floor its most natural appearance. Field tiles come in a variety of sizes, and the line also includes decorative tiles. When installing, most tile flooring can be applied directly to wood surfaces, over vinyl or linoleum, ceramic tile backerboards or onto concrete slabs. As for maintenance, ceramic tile is simple to maintain. Glazed tiles should be cleaned with a non-oil-based cleaner. They should also be vacuumed regularly and then wiped with a damp mop. For heavy cleaning, you should use a commercial tile cleaner or scouring powder. Unglazed tiles can be cleaned with water and a soapless detergent. Scouring powder can also be used for heavy cleaning of unglazed tiles. You should never use any product with ammonia on glazed or unglazed tiles, as it will discolor your grout. For the greatest stain protection, your grout should be sealed at least twice a year.