Flooring Choices

Decisions, decisions - that's what you're faced with remodeling or redecorating a kitchen and bathroom and deciding on what type of flooring to use. A material calculator helps you know how much flooring to buy.

By Gene And Katie Hamilton

Flooring Choices

The floors in a kitchen and bathroom take more of a beating then any other surface in a house so choosing what the flooring material is an important decision. When remodeling these rooms with high traffic areas, the best advice is to choose a material based on the function of the room. Keep in mind that the floor will most likely outlast other changes in a room, like paint on the wall or its furnishings, so selecting a new floor is a long-term decision.

You'll truly be "floored" by the variety of today's flooring materials. The four most popular floors for a kitchen or bathroom are made of wood, ceramic tile, vinyl and laminate. All of these add flexibility and personality to a room while providing a long lasting and durable surface.

Wood

A wood floor brings an appealing natural warmth and style to a room. The two most popular types of wood flooring for kitchens and bathrooms are oak and pine finished in a rock hard polyurethane finish that gives it protection. These materials are installed in random strips as unfinished boards or planks and then finished and sealed in place. There are also available prefinished. Oak flooring finished in light or dark finishes, creates a traditional look and can be customized with a contrasting border around the perimeter of a room for an elegant look. To complement both contemporary and country décors, consider the wide planks of a pine floor which give it a warm Old World charm.

Ceramic Tile

This ageless flooring material keeps reinventing itself with new styles and colors making it a popular choice for almost any kitchen or bathroom. Sizewise, the 8- and 12-inch tiles are most often used. Consider the size of a room when selecting tiles. For example, an 8-inch tile is a good choice for a small bathroom because they are more in scale with the dimensions of the room. For larger rooms, consider the new larger tiles that mimic natural stones. The mind-boggling selection of tiles can be daunting, but choose from collections of tiles designed to mix-n-match. For some interesting effects, tiles can be set on an angle, and laid in patterns using different contrasting tiles as a border around the room.

Vinyl

For many years the traditional material for kitchens and bathrooms has been a vinyl resilient floor and it continues to be the most popular choice. Only today it's improved with age as a more durable surface that's easy to clean and soft and comfortable underfoot. There's an endless selection of styles, colors and patterns, including marble, stone and wood look-alikes.

Don't want to tackle a flooring job? Click Home Advisor, a free online referral service that connects homeowners with prescreened local flooring contractors.

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