How to Choose the Right Floor for You | 5 Questions to Ask

A new floor can be a big investment, and with so many options, how can you be sure you’re getting the right floor for you? Here are some questions we recommend you ask to get you headed in the right direction.

1. What is my budget?

This question should be your first question when venturing into any renovation project for your home or business. Prices for flooring material vary from less than $1/square foot to $15/square foot, and that can add up quick. Here is the general price range for resilient vinyl (sheet, LVP, LVT, and VCT), carpet, tile (ceramic & porcelain), natural stone, and hardwood (engineered and solid).

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Depending on the amount you’re looking to spend on your new floor, this price range can give you an idea of what works for you, so start there. And to help our customers with the cost, we offer free financing for 6 and 12 months.

2. Who should I trust to install my floor?

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Depending on the nature and scale of the job as well as the quality of the finished product you’re looking for, you’ll need to decide between a highly skilled professional, shopping at a big box store, or calling your brother-in-law to borrow his tools! 🙂 In most cases, you get what you pay for. You might save some money with DIY-ing it or shopping at a chain store, but are you getting an expert installer? Quality professionals take great pains to ensure straight edges, smooth transitions, properly installed cove base, and provide patches and puddy work that looks sharp. If these things matter to you, you’ll want to make sure your installer is qualified and willing to stand behind his work, even if that installer is you.

In addition to material warranties supplied by our manufacturers, we offer a 1 year service warranty, guaranteeing all of our labor. If your flooring fails because of poor installation on our part, we will take care of that.

3. Where will my new floor be installed and how will it be used?

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There is flooring for all kinds of applications. From commercial to residential, interior to exterior, to floors, walls, and backsplashes, the options are seemingly endless. Remember the 70’s when people installed carpet on their walls? You get the idea. Make the best selection by understanding the benefits and drawbacks of each type for your application.

Take residential kitchens, for example. You’ll want a durable floor that is able to withstand high traffic and is waterproof. Stone and tile would be your top choices. Hardwood, especially engineered hardwoods are a popular choice found in many kitchens today while other recommended options include linoleum, cork, and vinyl for their durability, water-resistance, and sound deadening qualities.

Do you have pets and kids? Opt for a stain-resistant and durable flooring type like stone, tile, hardwood, or vinyl. There are also high quality nylon carpets on the market with stain-resistant treatments that hold up well with proper maintenance. Speaking of carpet, did you know that berber (loop pile) tends to stand up better against traffic over time than a cut pile (plush) carpet? Do you have an outdoor space you’d like to beautify with flooring? Natural stone, porcelain tile, ceramic quarry tile, and exterior carpet are great options. Read about each of these options in our 8 Outdoor Flooring Options article.

Knowing the material, their strengths and limitations, is critical to making the best decision for flooring in a particular space. Our sales team loves walking customers through all these options to help them make the best decision for their needs.

4. What look do I want?

After you’ve narrowed your flooring selection based on price and utility, it’s time to have some fun with style. What do you want your room to look like? Thanks to modern printing techniques, realistic (not cheesy) natural stone and hardwood looks are available in ceramic, porcelain, vinyl, and laminate materials. Varied colors and patterns can also be found in these products, styles that are in step with current trends but subtle enough to endure the world's ever-changing interior design preferences. There’s a myriad of options in neutral tones of beige or gray. Certain colors and looks have the added benefit of hiding dirt. Carpet offers tons of colors and patterns as well. Additionally, you get to choose the finish of your hardwood, stone, or tile, making a selection between high gloss or matte finish as well as a rough feel created by various preparation and finishing methods. Overwhelmed yet?

Here are some more options to consider. With hardwood, tile, or lvp, instead of installing along the longest wall, you can lay it out on a 45 degree angle. Fancy! A herringbone pattern is a popular style with a lot of visual appeal. Have you ever heard of parisian chevron? You can also install in a pattern of squares or even frame your room with a border. Carpet tiles offer the option of getting creative with where you place your accent color should you choose one. Get creative. Have fun!

5. How much cleaning and maintenance am I willing to put into it?

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Maintenance.

Unfortunately, there is no super floor out there that is completely damage resistant. In fact, the more expensive natural stone and solid hardwood flooring still need regular care to keep looking amazing. Natural stone should be resealed every 1 to 3 years to prevent staining. Hardwood floors typically need to be refinished every 7 to 10 years. With natural stone, hardwood, and quality tiles, you’ll go longer between new installations, but regular maintenance is a must.

Carpet is amazing and just so soft, but it needs a lot of TLC (not the music group). To remain stain-resistant and clean, carpet is recommended to be professionally cleaned every 12 to 18 months. But let’s be real - who does that? If effectively cleaned, however, carpet can actually trap allergen and microbial particles, making them less available to become airborne, thus improving indoor air quality.

Resilient vinyl and laminate boast the least rigorous maintenance program. Daily dust-mopping to remove loose dirt and debris to avoid scratches, cleaning up spills immediately, and using some quality hard surface cleaner like Shaw’s R2X solution pretty much takes care of your floor.

For more maintenance tips for indoor floors or maintenance tips for outdoor floors, check out our other articles.

7 Indoor Flooring Maintenance Tips

clean, maintain, and protect your hardwood, tile, resilient vinyl, and carpet flooring

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HARDWOOD

Whether engineered or solid, these insights will help you keep your hardwood floor in good shape.

  1. Sweep, dust and vacuum your floors. If using a vacuum, attach the proper hard floor adapter to avoid scratching the finish of your wood.

  2. Use the right cloth. Microfiber is best. It kind of goes without saying, but especially avoid steel wool, scouring powders, or abrasive cleaners. Also avoid using a buffing machine. You know, the ones designed to remove floor finishes...

  3. Use the right cleaner. Choosing the proper cleaning solution depends on the finish of your hardwood (surface finish or penetrating finish), not so much the wood itself. Using oil-based, wax, polish or strong ammoniated products can dull your floor’s finish, and that would not be cool. We carry Shaw Floor's hard surface cleaner in our showroom. (You may have noticed Josh demonstrating it.)

  4. Wipe up spilled water immediately. Dry any standing water as soon as possible. Even surface finished hardwood can suffer water damage.

  5. Don’t mop (in the traditional sense where you're soaking your floors with lots of water). Mopping your hardwood floor introduces way more water than you’d ever want to spill onto your floor by accident. This excess water could seep into the wood fibers and cause swelling and warping, and that would be sad 😢

  6. Use entry mats and floor protectors. Implementing the use of entry mats in high traffic areas and floor protectors underneath heavy furniture can increase the lifespan of your floor. Ask us for some felt floor protectors, and we'll hook you up.

  7. Rearrange Your Furniture Periodically. Let your flooring share the load as evenly as possible by redirecting high traffic each time you move your furniture around.

    1. BONUS. So here’s another cool tip: If you drop gum or candle wax onto your floor, you can remove it by first hardening it by rubbing it with an ice cube and then scraping it off with a plastic card.

TILE

Keeping your ceramic, porcelain, or natural stone tile at its best.

  1. Sweep or vacuum first. Before using any cleaning solutions on your tile, remove dirt and debris with a soft-bristled broom or vacuum with a hard surface attachment to avoid putting scratches in your glazed tile.

  2. Glazed tile cleaning. Mmmm… glazed. After sweeping or vacuuming, clean your tile with an all-purpose (non-oil-based) household cleaner. Mixing some water with a mild detergent also works. If you’re feeling creative, you could introduce an acidic ingredient like fresh lemon juice to your cleaning solution, effective for removing soap scum and alkaline type stains. Don't add an acidic solution to your cleaner if you're cleaning marble or other natural stone flooring. The pH balance in your cleaning solution needs to be neutral or it will break down your material. Read more about caring for your natural stone flooring in this article.

  3. Unglazed tile cleaning. Unglazed ceramic or porcelain (man-made) tile lacks the melted glass coating of its glazed counterpart. It’s a lot less slippery when wet but more porous which means you need to be more gentle when cleaning it. Hot water and white vinegar mixture is recommended. The vinegar mixture is great especially if you have kids and pets since it’s chemical-free and safe if ingested.

  4. Cotton, microfiber, or chamois-style cloths. Avoid using sponges or sponge mops as they tend to push dirt and grime into cracks and grout joints.

  5. Grout Joint Cleaning Tip. Mix baking soda and water together, forming a paste, and rub it onto your dirty grout joints. After letting it sit overnight, scrub the grout with a stiff nylon brush. Repeating this step to get your desired results may be necessary.

  6. Reseal your floors. If you want your tile installation to keep looking good and remain mostly impervious to stains, seal them after installation then reseal them every year to 2 years. If water doesn’t bead on the grout lines, it’s probably time for the resealing regimen.

  7. Protection. Tile is strong, but it still suffers wear and tear. the use of mats in high traffic areas and floor protectors underneath furniture is recommended.

RESILIENT VINYL

Follow these tips to keep your resilient vinyl flooring (Sheet/LVP/LVT) in tip top shape.

  1. Immediately following installation. Keep foot traffic to a minimum. And for glue down vinyl, avoid putting furniture on the floor until after the first 24 hours.

  2. Clean Daily. (Or at least make that your aim) Clear your floor of potentially damaging dirt and grit by dust mopping or sweeping every day. Having good entry mats can cut down on the amount of dirt and oil tracked inside from the great outdoors.

  3. Clean spills immediately. Vinyl is waterproof but leaving a spill standing on your floor for a long period of time increases the chance of staining.

  4. Protection. Hopefully you get this by now. Protective mats (without rubber or latex backing) at high traffic areas and pivot joints (like in front of your kitchen sink) can increase the longevity of your floors and prevent visible wear spots. Floor protectors (plastic or felt) that are non-pigmented and at least an inch wide are recommended.

  5. Avoid direct sunlight. This is a tip for all flooring and furniture, really. Lower the blinds during bright times of the day to minimize direct sunlight on your floors. Over time, it can cause discoloration. Excessive temperatures can also cause expansion of the vinyl material. While some companies are coming out with dimensionally stable options, it's still a good tip!

  6. Do not use vinegar or soap or detergents. Soaps and detergents can leave a dulling effect on your floor's finish. Use an approved resilient vinyl cleaning solution like Shaw Flooring’s R2X Hard Surface cleaner or Mannington Flooring’s Rinse-Free Cleaner.

  7. Do not use a vacuum with a rotating beater bar. It could scratch your beautiful floor, and again, that would be so sad.

CARPET

Whether cut pile, loop, or the cut and loop carpet combo, follow these maintenance and cleaning care tips for your maximum carpet satisfaction.

  1. Install the Right Pad. During installation, get it right from the beginning with the proper carpet padding, especially on stairs. Check the carpet's warranty recommendations and explore your carpet pad options.

  2. Don't Track Dirt Inside. This is so obvious it's almost funny. But seriously, make your life easier and make your carpet's life longer by having good walk-off mats to keep the dirt, grit, soil, and asphalt outside and off your carpet.

  3. Vacuum Regularly. This is stated by one of our main supplier's as the most important maintenance tip. In light of this and the myriad of vacuum cleaner options on the market, we've included a link below to help you make an educated vacuum cleaner decision! We recommend that you then use that educatedly purchased vacuum cleaner to clean your carpets thoroughly, especially in high traffic areas.

  4. Treat the Affected Area Immediately. The sooner you can get at it, the better. The longer spilled foods or liquid stands on your carpet, the more likely they are to leave a stain.

  5. Clean Your Carpets Regularly. Using a hot water extraction method, clean your carpets every 12 to 18 months. It's recommended to hire a professional cleaning service and one that follows the Carpet and Rug Institute Seal of Approval. A poorly cleaned rug can actually increase the rate at which your carpet breaks down. So make sure you don't cut corners here.

  6. Minor Repairs. Use scissors to cut back snags or loose piles. If the there are small burn spots on the carpet, you can use a pair of curved nail scissors to cut back the burnt tips.

  7. Spot Cleaning. When spot cleaning, completely remove the detergent or solution used to avoid any residual sticky residue that just attracts more dirt. Derry, our owner, would highly recommend using Shaw Flooring's R2X Stain & Soil Remover, which doesn't need to be rinsed out. Bonus!

Here are some links to super helpful resources by two of our main carpet suppliers:

Shaw Flooring's Website of All Things Cleaning and Maintenance

Vacuum Recommendations: Mohawk's + Shaw's

UPRIGHT MODELS