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Floors

PUT THE RIGHT FLOOR IN THE RIGHT PLACE - If you install the right floor in the right place properly you will enjoy it for years. Check and double-check the manufacturer's instructions and recommendations before you begin. Following is a list of various types of floors and where you can install them.

• Solid wood floors can be installed above grade (ground level), but not below. The preferred subfloor is 3/4-inch CD grade exterior (CDX) plywood. You can also use 3/4-inch Oriented Strand Board (OSB) underlayment, 5/8 inch CDX, or tongue-and-groove subflooring.

• Parquet floors can be installed above grade, but not below. The preferred subfloors are 3/4-inch CDX plywood or 3/4-inch OSB. You can also apply parquet over 5/8 inch CDX or existing solid wood flooring.

• Engineered wood can be installed above or below grade. Recommendations on use in bathrooms varies by manufacturer. This cannot be installed on moist or damp floors. If it is applied over a crawlspace, there must be at least 24 inches between the bottom of the joists and the ground.

• Laminate floors can be installed above or below grade and over radiant heat. Recommendations on use in bathrooms varies by manufacturer. Laminate can go over almost any subfloor, including concrete slabs, ceramic tile, stone, vinyl sheet and tile, chipboard, particleboard, and terrazzo. If installed over a crawlspace, there must be at least 24 inches between the bottom of the joists and the ground.

• Sheet vinyl can be installed above or below grade over existing sheet vinyl, linoleum, tile, new plywood, concrete, ceramic tile, or marble. Do not apply over lauan. Some plywoods are made especially to be used as underlayments for vinyl.

• Vinyl tile is not recommended below grade. Install over smooth, single-layer vinyl floors that are firmly attached, dry concrete, and wood floors with a plywood overlay. Do not apply over lauan.

• Ceramic and stone can be installed above or below grade and over radiant heat. Suitable subfloors include cement backerboard, or concrete. They cannot be installed over moist or damp floors.

• Carpeting can go over almost any subfloor. If planning to use it below grade, make sure the carpet you have in mind is suitable.

Flooring materials

Flooring materials are available in a wide variety of colors, styles, sizes, types, and prices. Whether you choose ceramic floor tile, hardwood strips, vinyl tiles, carpeting, or sheet vinyl, each has many grades and costs. Do your homework before you purchase your flooring. The real test of the cost-effectiveness of the flooring comes when the flooring is installed and used day after day. Inferior-quality flooring materials will become evident after a fairly short period of use; you’ll just have to repeat the process— this time with a removal.

Professional flooring installers use a number of specialty tools, which will be introduced as they come up in various projects. You can use simpler and cheaper tools but for professional-grade results, use professional-grade tools. If this is the only time you’ll ever need a pneumatic nailer, rent one instead of buying. But get one. If the pros have decided that tile cuts more cleanly and quickly with a power wet saw, trust them. While you’re investing in the materials to put down a new floor, spend a few extra bucks to help yourself do it right.

   

 

SELECTING THE RIGHT MATERIAL

     

Material

Ceramic Tile

Carpeting

Vinyl Tiles

Sheet Vinyl

Parquet Tiles

Hardwood

Stone

Laminate

Installation

Labor-intensive

Somewhat difficult to handle and install

Easy to handle and install

Somewhat difficult to install

Relatively easy to handle and install

Relatively easy to handle and install

Labor-intensive

Relatively easy to handle and install

Durability

Extremely durable

Durability depends on grade

Fairly durable

Fairly durable

Fairly durable

Fairly durable

Extremely durable

Extremely durable

Water-Resistant

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

Cost

Moderate to high

Moderate to high

Low to moderate

Low to moderate

Moderate to high

Moderate to high

Moderate to high

Moderate to high

Maintenance

Easy; damp mop

Easy; vacuum, steam cleaning

Easy; use manufacturer's recommended products

Easy; use manufacturer's recommended products

Moderate to difficult; sweep and damp mop, refinish

Moderate; sweep and damp mop, refinish

Moderate to difficult; clean with damp mop; use sealer

Easy; sweep, damp mop

COMMON FLOORING MATERIALS INCLUDE: adhesive-backed vinyl floor tiles, sheet vinyl, wide-plank flooring, parquet wood floor tiles, prefinished hardwood floor planks, unfinished hardwood flooring strips, prefinished hardwood flooring strips, carpeting, snap-together laminate flooring, bamboo flooring strips, ceramic tile, slate tile, marble tile, glue-together laminate flooring, and cork flooring.

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