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FlooringFlooring has often been called the fifth wall of a room. Variant flooring, which combines more than one flooring material, can be used for a dramatic identification of space; to add color, texture and style to a room; and comes in a huge variety of price ranges.  Here are a few latest ideas in variant flooring.

  • Variant flooring has been around for hundreds of years--think of different woods used together in parquet flooring, inlaid borders and medallions, and the combination of tiles in mosaics. Variant flooring can also be used to modern effect, combining metals, glass, stones and tiles.
  • Variant flooring is an excellent way to delineate spaces in an open floor plan. Different colors of the same material or a combination of different materials in matching or contrasting colors can achieve the desired effect. 
  • Laminates provide one of the easiest ways to give the illusion of combined materials. They come in a variety of price ranges, patterns and colors.

Making the right Flooring Choices

  • The floor you choose impacts every other element of your design and with the variety of materials, colors and textures available today, your choices are nearly endless.
  • Stone or tile is an excellent choice for heavy traffic areas. Ceramic tile is durable and available in assorted colors and styles with the option for decorative borders and designs.
  • Limestone is a natural stone that offers an Old World look. It`s a porous material that must be sealed upon installation and then twice a year.
  • Cork is a durable, versatile material available in a variety of colors. It is water resistant and reduces impact noise.
  • Wood is a popular choice for today`s kitchens. It feels good underfoot and creates a warm look. Today`s pre-finished wood floors withstand heavy traffic and water stains. High-pressured plastic laminates are an alternative that provides the same look for less money.
  • For those on a budget, resilient flooring (vinyl) offers a variety of styles and colors in either tiles or sheets.

Types of Floorings

[ Laminate Flooring | Carpet Flooring | Bamboo Flooring | Tile Flooring ]

Laminate Flooring
Laminate FlooringIn recent years, laminated wood flooring has soared in popularity. Laminated flooring has a 1/8-inch layer of hardwood bonded to two layers of less costly wood backing, reducing the amount of expensive hardwood needed. Almost all laminate floors have a triple warranty against wearing, staining and fading; a 15-year warranty against all three isn`t uncommon. Some companies are now adding moisture warranties for their products.

In addition to wood floor specalists, many carpet, tile or vinyl flooring professionals can help you install laminate floors. Laminated wood flooring is easy o install because, unlike conventional solid wood, it`s pre-finished and may be glued down or applied over a thin foam pad laid on the subfloor. Some types are adhesive backed.

Another advantage of laminated flooring materials is that they`re less likely to suffer from the expansion and contraction problems that often occur in moisture-prone areas, such as bathrooms and kitchens.

Its thickness gives solid-wood flooring an advantage over a laminated one. Solid-wood flooring may be sanded and refinished numerous times. Laminated floors have a surface layer that`s no more than 1/8 inch thick. Once this goes, the floor goes. Most of today`s hardwood floors are coated with urethanes and acrylics that are durable, water-resistant and require very little care.

Shades and patterns of ever-popular oak continue to be top sellers; but a wide range of maples and a surprising number of ash, pine and birch designs are often exactly what a space needs. Tile patterns include a random cobblestone look, colored concrete abstracts, rock designs in warm earthtones and cool slates. They have a patina feel, which evokes all sorts of design inspirations.

What started out as a simple laminate flooring line with a handful of basic woodgrains has burst into a multi-line family available in 40 woodgrain and tile patterns.

Laminate Designs : Tile Look-a-Likes
The grouted tile looks are also very popular. Customers love having the look of grout without having to scrub it to keep it presentable. Shaded edges add dimension and interest to a number of slate patterns. Perhaps the most compelling design aspect to Wilson art Flooring is the compatibilities that run throughout the lines. Subtle but unifying color and texture families make it extremely easy to mix and match patterns to create custom looks. In addition, the width of two planks is exactly equal to any square edge of a single tile. This makes it simple to create unique tile/wood combinations, borders and one-of-a-kind patterns.

Durability of laminate floors
Laminate flooring used to just be considered a substitute for hardwood, now, it`s a legitimate medium in and of itself. The durability is often what initially interests customers.

Laminate damage
Let your service professional know exactly what kind of damage has been done to your laminated floor. There are tools to repair laminate problems -- scratching, discoloration, scuff marks, cracks and burns. If too much glue was applied to the floor, the planks could come apart. They might also not fit together well if the tongues have been damaged. Planks also might be loosened because of irregularities in the subflooring.

Matching laminate material
If you have extra laminate materials left from the original installation, the service professional might be able to make the repair without having to try and match up new material with the original laminate.

The support layer between the floor joists and the finished floor. It serves as a platform during construction and then provides a base for the finish flooring.

Most laminated floors are installed over plywood subflooring, but they can also be applied to a smooth concrete slab or a sound existing vinyl floor.

Carpet FlooringCarpet Flooring
A carpet is any loom-woven, felted textile or grass floor covering. The term was also used for table and wall coverings, as carpets were not commonly used on the floor in European interiors until the 18th century.

Carpets are generally used wall to wall most often in 12 foot widths but sometimes in up to 15 foot widths.

The global carpet market for domestic and industrial end use is dominated by three manufacturing processes:

The carpet is produced on a loom similar to woven cloth and is a cut pile. Normally many coloured yarns are used and this process is capable of producing intricate patterns from pre-determined designs. These carpets are normally the highest value on the market.

The carpet is produced on a tufting machine using a single coloured or sometimes non coloured yarn. If non coloured yarn is used the carpet will be dyed or printed with a design as a separate process. Tufted carpets can be either cut pile, loop pile or a combination of both. Tufting machines produce many more metres of carpet per hour than weaving does and normally are at the low to medium end of the market. Modern tufting technology now enables the production of mainly basic geometric patterns.

These carpets are more technologically advanced. Needlefelts are produced by electrostatic attraction of individual synthetic fibers forming a unique carpet with extremely high durability. These carpets are normally found in the contract market such as hotels etc. where there is a lot of traffic.

Care and use of Carpets
Carpets in a house help to reduce noise levels and minimize heat loss through the floor. They are also more comfortable to lie on or to sit on than a hard wooden floor.

Carpet cleaning
Carpets are easier to maintain than bare floors. Notice airports always use carpet for their interior space. They should be vaccumed regularly to prevent the accumulation of dust. Carpeting can also be dry-cleaned or steam-cleaned to clean up stains or odors. Dry cleaning methods are often insufficient to properly clean a carpet. Truckmount hot water extraction, with a reputable technician, produces excellent results. Many companies use a "bait and switch" advertising program to get inside the door, then start adding on extra charges for such things as using detergent instead of plain water. it is best to avoid these coupon companies if you want quality cleaning done. They often use portable equipment, which is cheap and unable to extract all of the detergent and dirt. It is equivalent to washing your hair in the shower and then rinsing it out half way, leaving it dirty, crusty and weird for the rest of the day. Dust mites can survive very well in dirty carpets, which can be problematic for sufferers of asthma who are allergic to them. Carpet manufacturers have made carpet cleaning easier over the years by adding stain protection during the manufacturing process. Popular types of protection include Stainmaster, Teflon, Stain Guard, etc. These can be re-applied after cleaning to help slow resoiling.

Bamboo Flooring
Bamboo FloorsBamboo floors are manufactured from the bamboo plant. The majority of today`s bamboo flooring products originate in China and other portions of Asia. The species of bamboo used for flooring is commonly known as `Moso`.

The bamboo is split and flattened, before being laminated together with glue under high pressure. Known for its resistance to insects and moisture, bamboo flooring has made a considerable impact in the North American marketplace. Its popularity is also rising in Europe, Asia and other parts of the world with increasing awareness. Despite being technically a grass, bamboo is highly durable and hardy. The two major colors are natural (similar to beech) and carbonized (similar to oak), with the latter being softer in the way they achieve the color through pressure steaming.

Another unique point is its eco-friendliness, as bamboo is a highly renewable source of material. Bamboo flooring has gained popularity with the green building council and others. Typically each plant or tree can reach maturity in five to six years whereas other more common hardwoods used for flooring can take upwards of 50 years and more.

Tile Flooring
Tile FlooringAll types of tile are being used throughout the home as a flooring option today--from inexpensive glazed ceramic to tumbled natural stone. Host Sherry Ruggieri shares how to incorporate the many different kinds of tile into your decor by following these design basics:

Choose the Right Tile for the Application
All tile is not created equal--therefore, choose durable ceramic or porcelain tile for high traffic areas, like the kitchen and foyer. Natural stone tile works best in a kitchen backsplash or as a chair rail border. Be sure to check with the tile manufacturer to determine the recommended application.

Plan your Pattern
Create an interesting tile pattern by mixing different sizes, colors and textures. Take samples and rearrange them to determine which pattern works best. Most importantly, whether creating a symmetrical floor pattern or an irregular wall border, remember to measure to make the best use of the materials.

Use Tile with Style
Tile can be used in all types of design styles, from rustic to contemporary. Use it on walls, floors, countertops, backsplashes and tabletops and create artwork with mosaics and relief tiles. Inject personality into a basic white tile floor with a broken tile border or liven up an ordinary vanity mirror with an intricate mosaic pattern.

Designers Secret
When working in a small space, install larger tile to make it seem larger. Not only will it open up the room, its also less grout to clean!

Lighting Interiors
Different types of lighting can create a particular mood in a room. Lighting just isnt mood though, functionality must also factor into the equation. Our lighting section will help you determine the function of each room is, determine what mood you want to create, and figure out how the different lighting types will harmonize in any given room.

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