Today’s flooring options have never been more diverse, offering distinctive looks and textures in a myriad of materials and constructions, each with unique attributes that make them a potential ideal fit for your project.
This breadth can pose a new level of complexity for those unfamiliar with the differences, some nuanced, some dramatic, between different types of floors.
We provide some valuable insights below to help you begin your journey. From there, we recommend contacting a flooring professional. There is no substitute for the expert advice of an experienced professional, especially one in your region who will have insights into the unique conditions of your region and how that may impact your decisions.
Overview of Flooring Types
Hardwood: There is something unique and timeless about a floor surface of natural wood that makes hardwood flooring still the choice for most. Choices between species, sizes, finishes and constructions make this category the most expansive and diverse segment of our flooring offering. Our hardwood flooring category covers such a large gamut of designs we have developed a page dedicated to helping you find the right hardwood flooring for you. *Though not officially “hardwoods”, we include Cork and Bamboo in this section.
Rigid/Composite: The fastest growing segment in flooring, this category is sometimes referred to as “rigid”, “SPC” or “WPC”. Regardless of names, it continues to evolve as new technology elevates the quality of the appearance and resiliency of flooring within this category. Defining characteristic of flooring in this category are:
Waterproof: Allows it to be used in areas unsuitable for hardwood floors
Resistant to dents and scratches: A popular attribute for areas expected to endure rugged use
Minimal Expansion: Requiring less environmental consistency then natural flooring
For additional details we suggest visiting our GemCore Information Page.
Luxury Vinyl Tile: Commonly referred to as “LVT” is a popular flooring choice as it can provide a beautiful appearance at a very economical price. Similar to real hardwood, LVT flooring comes in pieces that are laid in succession to create a floor. Some designs require glueing downhill others snap together and can be floated (no glue required).
LVT flooring is made from multi-layer synthetic materials fused together with a lamination process. LVT flooring is designed to simulate a natural material, (commonly wood). This is achieved by printing an image of a desired surface (wood) before applying a clear protective layer. LVT is generally less expensive to purchase and install, offering decent durability.
Rubber: As the name suggests, this flooring provides a distinctly softer surface commonly used for sports flooring or other areas where comfort and safety are key considerations. Rubber is naturally slip resistant and shock absorbent. Easy to maintain and durable.
Other Flooring (not currently carried)
Laminate: Like LVT, laminate is a popular flooring choice as it can provide a beautiful appearance at a very economical price. The construction is slightly different, the surface is a hard plastic laminated over a printed design layer which has been applied to a rigid fiberboard.
Porcelain/Ceramic Tile: Clay-base ceramic tiles are extremely hard and durable making them popular choices for kitchens, baths, basements, and other moisture-prone areas. From classic rectangular shapes to dramatic shapes and pattern offered in a myriad of different colors and surface textures, the range of options in this category are staggering. Ceramic floor tiles are installed by adhering the tiles to a well constructed substrate before grouting the edges to create a waterproof seal. They are considered one of the most durable and wear resistant flooring options and are relatively easy to care for with exception regarding some extra maintenance required to maintain the grouts appearance.
Natural Stone: Generally a more expensive option, Natural stone remains a popular materials for flooring due to its unique no-two-pieces-look-alike character, and the diverse range of stone types and finished looks offered. Natural stone is sourced throughout the world and tile designs cover the gamut, from classic tiles built from some of the most accessible stone to premier designs sourced from exclusive quarries in exotic locales. Like ceramics, natural stone tiles are installed by adhering the tiles to a well constructed substrate before grouting the edges to create a waterproof seal. Common natural stone categories include Marble, Travertine, Granite, Slate and Limestone. These names reflect the molecule makeup of the stone, but more importantly as relates to flooring, reflect what type of surfaces the stone can be offered in and the tiles relative durability and resiliency. These attributes can vary dramatically between stone types and even within each type making it integral to only utilize natural stone tiles that have been designated as appropriate for the intend area.
Carpet: The softest of common flooring materials, carpet remains popular for the distinct designs, feel and warmth it can provide a room. Often installed with a pad that offers additional cushioning, carpet also provides sound dampening. The most common types of carpet are made from either nylon, polyester, olefin or wool, each material offering a unique balance between look, feel and durability. Built using diverse manufacturing methods, carpets come in virtually any color and pattern one can imagine.
Concrete: Unique techniques have extended the finished looks achievable on a concrete floor, broadening the appeal of this relatively new consideration for interior flooring. Concrete floors are extremely hard and durable and if smooth are easily maintained. Skilled installers can create unique color, textures and even patterns that are sometimes reminiscent of natural stone.