Flooring in My Home

Experts always say the best way to design a home is from the ground up. That means you have to start with your flooring. Your floor can make or break your home, both structurally and aesthetically. If you’re designing your first home, start with a stable floor-it’ll set the tone for the rest of your décor. Here are some of the most popular choices.

Hardwood: Classic and elegant, hardwood is the floor of choice for most first-time homeowners. It adds instant warmth to a room and makes it more inviting. Most hardwoods will last a good 10 to 20 years, maybe even longer if it’s well-made and well-maintained. They may be prone to scratches and stains, so keep them clean at all times and seal with a urethane coat every year or so.

Laminate: This is known as the poor man’s hardwood because it gives you the same look for a fraction of the price. Laminate consists of several layers of kraft board pressed together, attached to a fiberboard backing and sealed with a urethane coat. The top layer is a photographic print, usually of a wooden surface. It won’t last as long as hardwood, but it’s fairly durable for everyday use.

Concrete: Concrete floors are hard and dense, making them a great choice for high-traffic areas. The only drawback is that they’re very porous, making them prone to stains. This is usually solved by sealing with urethane, a clear coating that keeps liquids from getting absorbed. Concrete looks good on its own, but many people choose to set it off with area rugs and carpeting.

Cork: The recent green movement has led to the popularity of this soft, eco-friendly material. Cork floors are “floating,” which means they’re not permanently attached to your floor. Rather, it’s made of individual planks or tiles that you can remove and replace anytime. Cork has the look and feel of wood but with a softer texture, making it warmer and more comfortable.

Marble: If you have the budget and want a floor that lasts, marble should be on top of your list. Known for its elegant Victorian look, marble flooring can withstand heavy abuse and requires little to no maintenance. In most cases, all it needs is a little polishing and sweeping once in a while.