Choosing the Right Flooring: Information & Picture Gallery

view through doorway to kitchen sink

Of all the surfaces in a room, floors take the most abuse: a constant parade of feet -- some wearing dirty or wet shoes, the occasional sink or tub overflow, misdirected shower sprays, and spilled food and drinks. Fortunately there are plenty of flooring materials that can stand up to abuse and do so with style.

Projects in Choosing Floor Materials

Installing new flooring is often the most rewarding aspect of a remodeling job. Floors almost always set the tone for a room, as either the dominant design feature or a neutral backdrop for the furnishings and the rest of the decor. The right choices also make a room look truly finished.

The materials you choose affect the comfort of a room, so you'll need to pay attention to more than aesthetics when selecting materials. Tailor your choices to your needs, just as you would when selecting finishing materials for any room in your home.

Carpet, for example, is very comfortable underfoot. It makes a great surface for a bedroom. If you have children, a material less prone to staining might be a better choice for the family area or dining room. In the bathroom you'll want a watertight surface. If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, durability and comfort will also be considerations.

As you plan your flooring, you'll need to think about the subflooring below. If you are certain it is in good shape, you may be able to just lay the new material over it. If however, you are considering making a surface change, from carpet to laminate for example, you may need to shore up the subfloor by either replacing sections of the floor or by pulling up the entire underlayment and replacing it with a product designed to complement your new surfacing selection.

Even if the subfloor is in good shape, ceramic tile and stone call for an extra measure of caution and typically require a layer of backerboard installed between the subfloor and the finish material.

One Hour or Less

Three simple projects to cross off of your to-do list -- just print these instructions and begin!