Tag Archives: flooring

Kitchen remodel Part II of IV: Choosing the best flooring

Pearwood flooring installed in kitchen remodel

Kitchen remodel included pre-finished, 1 by 6 T&G Pearwood flooring.

OK, so you’ve decided to remodel your kitchen; the reasons can be any of the following:

  • Outdated or worn out appliances, countertops, flooring, cabinetry
  • The arrangement doesn’t work well
  • Need to expand a tiny kitchen
  • Kitchen is too dark

The last posting discussed “How to Choose Countertops”. This one will be reviewing flooring options. Kitchens are high traffic areas; are subject to liquid spills and crumbs, everything from popcorn kernels (hard to round-up all the little rolling things) to bits of veggies that escape during prep work. A floor that tends to resist stains and is easy to clean is important. Dishes and glasses get accidentally dropped as well. Some materials are more resilient than others.

So, what are our material choices? Here we go:


One of the most inexpensive flooring options, it comes in a wide range of designs and finishes. It is available in sheets or tiles and is made to look like stone, wood, ceramic tile and more. It is easy to clean and comfortable to stand on. The best choice for kitchens is sheet vinyl, as every seam is a potential failure point and will wear faster. It is recommended to select vinyl with less embossing, as the texture tends to trap and hold dirt, making them hard to clean. Strong sunlight can fade it, and moving heavy objects such as refrigerators can tear the material; protection must be used. Cost for installed vinyl is comparable to longer lasting materials. Uninstalled costs are about $1 to $5 per square foot.


An all natural material made from linseed oil, resins, wood flour and more, it has green credentials and a retro-look. It is affordable, durable, and easy to maintain. It can wear and fade with time and use. It is better to get linoleum that the manufacturer has added a protective coating; without this, the floor will need periodic waxing and polishing. Cost is about $4 to $7 uninstalled.


Made of linseed oil and natural materials, the colors tend to be earthy to retro bright. It is much more resistant to damage than vinyl. It is an extremely long-lasting floor. It does need to be waxed and periodically stripped to maintain a cleanable shine. Two Forbo production facilities in the Netherlands and Scotland produce Marmolem, and Armstrong is making it as well. Cost is about $3 to $8 per square foot, uninstalled.


Select material with no grooves for an easy to clean wood floor. Grooves catch spills and hold things like sugar and are very difficult to maintain. Hardwood flooring can be either pre-finished or finished after installation. Pre-finished flooring wears longer and the installation is quicker, plus the cost of installation is much less. Liquids can cause damage if they’re not wiped up right away. Wood dents and scratches easily, so it will need periodic refinishing. The cost is about $5 to $12 per square foot, uninstalled.

Ceramic tile and stone

Tile and stone floors are beautiful in the right setting and appropriate on the right substrate. Color and texture choices are endless. Most tile floors are installed with a substantial grout line that creates a cleaning problem and an uneven surface. This can be a safety issue. Items dropped on a tile or stone floor will break if they are breakable and the hardness of the materials make them uncomfortable for standing any length of time. If you like to walk about barefoot in the kitchen, they will feel cold. Tile flooring runs between $3 to $8 per square foot, and stone about $15 to $30 per square foot.


Concrete is virtually indestructible and it can be stained, stamped, scored or acid etched for added style. However it must be sealed to prevent stains, and as with tile and stone, it is uncomfortable to stand on for long period of time. It stays cool even in hot climates, so it great for that; not so much here in Bellingham! Costs for uninstalled range from $2 to $15 or more per square foot depending on the finishing you want, and you will need professional installers for this product.

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What is the best material for your bath flooring?

This homeowner really liked the look of white, glass tiles!

There are a great many options for flooring, most of them OK, but some are better than others, based on cost, comfort and appropriateness for a wet environment.

I came across an excellent article in CASE Handyman & Remodeling that compares pros and cons of 7 bathroom flooring types. I’ll list them here, and you can go to the website to get full details.

Tile (ceramic and glass): Durable, inexpensive and water resistant. They can be slippery, pick a tile that has a textured surface.

Stone: Also durable, water resistant and beautiful. To avoid slipping when wet, look for the textured stone. This material is the most expensive.

Vinyl: Comes in sheets or tiles, lots of colors and patterns. Very inexpensive. Beware of tiles, as moisture can get between them.

Laminate: Made of layrs of resin-impregnated paper and compressed wood chips. Can be printed to look like stone, slate, wood or whatever.

Hardwood: Must be treated with layers of polyurethane. Engineered wood is lower maintenance.

Bamboo: Durable and attractive, mold resistant. Is susceptible to damage if heavy objects are dropped on it. (What heavy objects do you carry around in the bathroom?)

Cork: Soft and warm feel. Repels water and is naturally mold resistant. Again, don’t drop heavy things on it. (How much does your hair dryer weigh, anyway?)

Warm colors, tile flooring

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Bamboo flooring

Bamboo has been recommended as an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional wood flooring. It grows far faster than trees and so can be harvested far more frequently than the 40 year span most trees require to mature.

Natural Strandwoven Bamboo Floors

I especially like the textured, darker coloring  of the Carbonized Strand Woven Bamboo:

Cabonized Strand Woven Bamboo by Yanchi


 Here is a close up of the darker bamboo flooring:

Close up of Carbonized Bamboo flooring

Close up of Carbonized Bamboo flooring

 Build Direct  is the website where this information can be found in greater detail, and with more selections of colors to choose from for bamboo flooring.

Why consider bamboo flooring? Here are some great reasons, borrowed from Build Direct:

“Bamboo flooring is a highly durable flooring choice for any location subjected to extensive usage and can stand up very well to the abrasion caused by children and pets. It is tough enough to resist the impact of falling objects in the kitchen as well as in high traffic areas such as the living rooms and hallways.”

“Bamboo flooring provides a warm environment through its natural growth patterns. While many solid wood flooring materials create beautiful floors, some flooring contractors and homeowners seek a unique look that offers the type of look that could be described as “outside the box”. But, they also need a type of flooring that still adds a level of coziness to an interior. Bamboo flooring gives your room a homey touch, providing comfort and warmth with a really good flooring finish.”


Environmentally friendly:
“Bamboo flooring is one of the most environmentally friendly wood flooring options, because it is made from a highly renewable source. It is actually a grass that re-grows after it is strictly monitored and harvested. Bamboo does not require any chemicals for its cleaning and maintenance.”


“Bamboo flooring is available in two colors. One is a natural blond color that shows the unique growth patterns that matches every décor. The other color is a rich amber color, a stunning darker shade achieved by a boiling process that carbonizes the starches found naturally in the bamboo. It is therefore called carbonized bamboo.”


Cutting edge:
“Bamboo flooring is among the newest flooring options to appear on the market in the recent years. It is widely preferred by many and is highly appreciated by those who install it. Bamboo flooring provides a unique style to your home or office with a beautiful appearance all of its own.”

There you are!


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Tile or hardwood for the bathroom floor?

Tiled flooring with pattern

Tiled flooring with pattern

Things to consider when making bathroom flooring decisions:

  • Will it stand up to kids?
  • Is it durable?
  • How does it look?
  • How does it feel with bare feet?
  • How does it stand up to moisture?

A nice comprehensive list of flooring and their applicability in bathrooms: 

  1. Ceramic tile. Provides a rich, solid feeling; waterproof and not too expensive; it cleans up well and resists small pools of water.
  2. Sheet or tile vinyl. Waterproof, inexpensive, easily installed. Comes in sheets or tiles.
  3. Stone. No moisture problems; is great, but very expensive. Must be textured or can be very slippery.
  4. Engineered wood. Has a plywood base that stands up well against moisture, and the top layer is real wood. It is best for the wood look.
  5. Laminate flooring. Red Oak laminate is most popular for wood or wood-look flooring. Pine laminate is also a good choice, as it reflects light well and has a cleaner look. Tuscan stone terra laminate will give your bathroom a richer look. Another pattern is Travertine laminate, a lighter colored stone product.
  6. Solid hardwood. This product looks good and feels warm on the feet, however unless it is perfectly installed, there is danger of moisture getting into cracks and causing problems. Must hire a professional to install.
  7. Carpet. The worst possible choice for a bathroom, for obvious reasons!  That said, there are a lot of carpeted bathrooms out there. Select water, mildew and stain resistant carpeting.

 The website, hgtv has an excellent article on bathroom flooring selection:


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Selecting flooring for your basement remodel

Materials include, but are not limited to carpet, tile, laminate and engineered wood. Selection of the best material must include the amount of traffic you expect and moisture.  Basements are notorious for moisture problems.

Basement Ideas – how to select the best flooring for your basement” is an excellent article that reviews the pros and cons of the basic types of flooring available.

The author recommends “a short napped carpet with lots of darker colors in it. This stuff is rather indestructible. The new stain repellant products built right in do a great job of protecting the carpet from damage by spills and other “topical” issues.”

“Laminate and engineered flooring are very beautiful and look great in a basement. The material and installation is more expensive than carpet but usually cheaper than using a ceramic tile.”  The basement floor must be very level and smooth for proper installation of laminate and engineered flooring.

“Ceramic and vinyl tile are the most durable choices for your floor. If water happens, no problem. Just mop up and you’re done. Ceramic and vinyl are more forgiving on wavy floors. Less or no leveling may be needed. Should a tile be damaged one can pull out the necessary tile and replace it.”

There it is – check out the full article for mor pros and cons on the materials.

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Flooring can make or break a room!

Beautiful and unique flooring for bath remodel

Beautiful and unique flooring for bath remodel

The above photo is from Lynden Floor Design – they have an incredible array of flooring materials and expertise.

Here are a few of our projects:

Antique style floor tiles match the bathrooms style

Antique style floor tiles

The small patterned floor tiles blend well with the classic style of this bathroom.

Below is another bathroom floor tile layout. The warm colors make this particularly inviting on a cold Northwest winter!

Master Bath floor tile

Master Bath floor tile

The last photo shows a unique blend of 3 tile patterns to achieve an overall look of an white-on-white bathroom!

Wall, floor & shower tile

Wall, floor & shower tile

You are only limited by your imagination when it comes to flooring and walls! Don’t forget the beauty of natural wood floors – my personal fav when it comes to halls and living rooms.

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There are a number of wonderful blogs and websites out there to find inspiration for remodel. I came across two posts today that I thought our readers may enjoy.

The first post, at Curbly, a DIY community, is called Bright, Cheery Glam Details to Make your Kitchen Pop. I wanted to share this because of all the little details they used that made a real difference. If you like the look of glass front cabinets but don’t like the idea of having to always keep your cabinets organized, you can always try mirrors instead. I’ve never seen it in person but it looks wonderful in the photographs. It really looks much better than it sounds! My favorite aspect of this kitchen is the paint color. Yellow walls with white cabinets help a space pop and really help create a cheerful space. Who know, perhaps it’ll be so cheery you may no longer need your morning coffee!

Though I referenced the Curbly post above, the original post is from Cococozy. A few days ago she posted a beautiful dining room featuring an intricate wood floor and a lot of white: white walls, white ceiling, white windows and white fireplace. Interested? Check out Dining Right in White.

There are many, many sites out there to find inspiration. What are your favorite inspirational sites?

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One of our clients is interested in Forbo Mormoleum (in the color Donkey Island… how fun is that?!). We’ve installed it before and it’s truly a fun and interesting product:


If you’re considering a resiliant floor, this is a great option. Some people initially dislike that Marmoleum is linoleum simply because they’ve seen so many bad examples of other linoleum products. However, Marmoleum is a great quality product that happens to be eco-friendly and anti-static (resulting in less dust and dirt). It is available in sheets, tiles and even with inlaid designs (check out their inspiration galleries!). Considered a 40 year floor, it is a great option for families with children or even people who just happen to stomp a lot (just teasing…).  So, if you’re in the market for some resiliant flooring, consider Marmoleum. And if you’re searching that market, chances are you’ve already heard of it.

© Rose Construction 2009

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