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Cork: Due to naturally occurring air pockets, cork flooring features very low impact noise and is soft to stand on for long periods of time. It is also easy to clean, hypoallergenic and highly resistant to mould, mildew, rot and invasive insects such as termites. These qualities make cork a great choice for kitchens, but it is also making its way into other residential and commercial settings. As with any wood floor you do need to be mindful of moisture so installation in bathrooms or laundry rooms is not ideal. You will also need to invest in some foot pads if you have heavier furniture since constant pressure can cause permanent dents in cork.
Carpet: With a variety of colours, patterns and thicknesses, carpet has been an affordable flooring choice for years. Most carpets also have the benefit of stain and wear resistance and are generally thick and warm underfoot. These insulating properties come back as winter energy savings if you like to keep your home warm during the colder months. Plus, it is cushioning and not as slippery as hard floor surfaces which helps cut down on noise and injury from falls, making it great for kid’s rooms and the elderly. The main drawback of carpet is that it is more susceptible to wear and tear, so it needs to be replaced more often in high traffic areas. Also, carpet does not fare well in damp conditions, so it’s better to keep it out of rooms where moisture and wet spills are common.
Vinyl: Vinyl flooring is one of the least expensive flooring options for your home. It is resilient, available in a wide variety of colours and styles and is water resistant, which makes it an ideal choice for kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms and other spaces which are subject to moisture. Vinyl is easy to clean and maintain and depending on the surface coating, it can be used in low to high traffic environments. It can also be easily installed over cement, old tile or even old vinyl which is great for DIY-ers. You do, however, need to make sure that your floor surface is prepared correctly and a proper adhesive used, otherwise the vinyl will start to lift or irregularities in the floor underneath will start to show. You also can’t put off repairs because once vinyl tears or lifts it just keeps getting worse.
Laminate: This durable, mid-price flooring solution gives you the look of hardwood without the expense and maintenance. It is very easy to clean with a broom or damp mop, is highly resistant to UV rays and replacing damaged pieces is a snap since they just click into place. Due to the fact that they are pre-finished and require no glue for installation, laminate floors have very few emissions which mean fewer health considerations when installing them in your home.
Hardwood: When it comes to warmth, quality and classic good looks nothing beats hardwood floors. Wood types range from traditional oak floorboards to environmentally-responsible bamboo and there are also a wide variety of stains available to match any type of décor. A lot of the newer floors have factory finish coatings which are consistent, easy-to-care-for and resistant to staining and scratching for durability in heavy traffic areas. The downside of wood is that it does not fare well in moisture-heavy environments and it can be very labour intensive if you ever need to refinish it.
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