Popular Types of Flooring
Flooring varies greatly in price and design. Here's what to know about each type.
The appeal of hardwood floors stands the test of time. With options including oak, cherry, maple, walnut, and more, it can fit any design without sacrificing durability. However, it's among the priciest of flooring materials and requires consistent maintenance. At a minimum, you'll need to use specialty cleaning products regularly and restore its finish every few years. Since it's susceptible to water damage, it's also not suitable for laundry rooms, basements, or bathrooms.
Engineered Wood Flooring
Engineered wood offers you the resilience and timeless design of hardwood without the extra maintenance. Typically, it uses a layer of real hardwood bonded over a plywood substrate. While it's less likely to warp than true hardwood, it can sound hollow to walk on and can't be refinished more than once.
Laminate is another more affordable flooring option, consisting of a particleboard base, wood or tile finish, and protective plastic coating. It's easy to clean, scratch-resistant, and available in many different colors and styles. However, it's more susceptible to water damage and chipping.
Maintenance with vinyl floors is a breeze. You can purchase them in luxury vinyl plank (LVP) or luxury vinyl tile (LVT) styles, with each option equally long-lasting. They also come at a budget-friendly price point, somewhere between laminate and engineered wood.
Tile flooring is excellent for bathrooms, kitchens, and other moisture-prone areas. It offers years of life with minimal maintenance needs, and is available in many materials, colors, and patterns. However, it requires intensive prep work before installation and can be cold and sleek to walk on. Pricing relies on the material you choose, with porcelain being more expensive than ceramic.
Stone floors are among the most waterproof available. You can choose from a variety of bold design options, including sandstone, marble, travertine, and granite. Despite its unique flair, it's not easy to clean, and long-term maintenance could be a bit more expensive.
With attentive maintenance, linoleum floors can last for decades. It is a budget-friendly choice with various possibilities for adaptation. However, it can easily get dented or scratched and has been known to fade when exposed to the sun's rays. The sun's rays also lead linoleum to fade over time, and it may not be suitable for areas with excess moisture.
Of all flooring options, carpet is one of the most affordable. It lends a homey feel to a room and absorbs noise effectively. Unlike hard floors, carpet removes concerns about scratches or dents, and the extra padding is much safer for young children. However, carpet requires time and effort to keep clean, especially if you have pets. The fibrous material holds onto stains, dampness, smells, and allergens.
How to Choose a Birmingham Flooring Company
Choosing the proper installer significantly affects your new floor's quality. We recommend evaluating different companies using the following criteria.
Reputation and Reviews
The first thing to note is whether a company is known for good service and high-quality work. You can learn more about previous clients' experiences from review sites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Trustpilot, Yelp, and Google. Even the best flooring installers will have both positive and negative reviews. Look for how a business handles complaints and interacts with others. If it strives for a satisfactory resolution and acts in good faith, that's an encouraging sign. However, if it's argumentative or has a high negative-to-positive review ratio, it's wise to avoid working with it.
Portfolio and References
A trusted flooring company will be eager to show you portfolios of its previous work. Take a careful look at each listed project and ask questions as you have them. Portfolios might also include references from past customers. Ask for their contact information so you can discuss their interactions and thoughts about the company.
Specialization and Services
No two companies have the same experience or product offerings. You should find one that specializes in the material or type of floor you're interested in. An installer's service offerings can also make a difference. At the very least, you should choose a provider that offers to haul away your old flooring materials. However, companies can also offer refinishing services or design consultations.
While cost shouldn't be the most important factor when choosing a flooring installer, it's still important to find one that honors your budget. We recommend getting quotes from at least three companies to compare labor costs. You can do this fully online or by requesting free in-home estimates.
Warranties and Guarantees
You should look for two different warranties in your company search. A manufacturer's warranty protects you in case of a product defect, while an installer's warranty covers workmanship. While a few manufacturers and contractors have lifetime warranties, most are still tied to a specific time period (often ten years.) If you'd like additional coverage, you might be able to pay extra for an extended warranty.
Time management is essential for a successful flooring job. Before you sign a contract, ask for an estimated timeline and inquire about what issues could impact the project. If a company guarantees it'll finish the job by a certain deadline, get that guarantee in writing and state your expectations clearly as the work progresses.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Flooring in Birmingham
What are the best flooring installation prices?
See our guides to how much each flooring type typically costs:
What are some of the most popular types of flooring in Birmingham?
Do Birmingham flooring companies need to be licensed?
What flooring manufacturer is the largest?
If I'm replacing a kitchen floor, what material should I buy?
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