Yay — Carpet wins! It’s a fact. Carpet is our favorite flooring here in America. Carpet and rugs have been around for thousands of years. Experts estimate the first-hand knotted rugs were made over 10,000 years ago at the dawn of the Neolithic Age. Archeologists have found one hand-knotted oriental rug in Siberia that’s 2.500 years old, and the colors are still vibrant and the patterns and designs easy to see.
The origin of today’s carpeting
Erastus Bigelow, an American, was instrumental in making carpeting the number one choice in America. Before him, carpet was made in Europe, and the production was slow and tedious.
The sizes that were available were also very limited. If you wanted a carpet to cover a room, you would have to stitch many runners together to create one carpet. This took a lot of time and a lot of money.
Enter Erastus. In 1839 he invented the power loom. This machine more than doubled the speed of production. It worked so well that in 1877 he created the first broadloom with which we are so familiar today. Eventually, we could produce almost endless length rolls of carpet 12 feet “broad” or wide. Hence the name broadloom.
Faster, better, cheaper
The invention of the power loom led to new styles, patterns, and carpet types. New weaves and new types of construction were also developed. Eventually, new, high-performance synthetic fibers were introduced alongside more traditional, natural fibers like wool carpet. All these advancements and improvements could be accomplished at an increased speed, making everything more affordable for everyone.
The variety is mind-boggling
Just about anything you can imagine is available in carpeting. Colors, textures, patterns, materials, fibers, weaves, sculptures, depth of pile. Then, of course, you can combine your favorite with different borders or different shapes. All of this can be accomplished with invisible seams by professional installers.
High tech – high-performance carpet fibers
Of course, one of the most sought-after fibers is also one of the oldest – wool. It’s beautiful as it is expensive. Over the years, some clever scientists and imaginative entrepreneurs have provided us with many different types of carpet fibers with various advantages. The carpet made with these fibers is stronger yet softer, water-resistant, resistant to fading, easy to clean, and easy to install.
Room size, wall to wall, and carpet tiles
When it comes to carpet installation, your choices are endless. Many people choose wall-to-wall installation in one seamless design from room to room. Other people prefer a room-size carpet with a finished edge that allows their wood flooring to appear as borders.
This look can be stunning, and it can show off your hardwood floor and preserve it. Of course, the installation cost will be a bit higher for something like this, but it’s well worth it when you see how it highlights your home.
DIYers can also get into the carpet installing action. Twelve-foot-wide broadloom may be more than you can handle, but carpet tiles are easy to install. Before you know it, you will have brand new flooring in a bedroom and brand new garage flooring if you so choose.
Review your flooring options
Even if carpeting is your first thought, you may want to review what else you have available. You know, and I know – most Americans know carpet is what they want, but it’s always good to double-check what’s out there for you. See below for a review of flooring choices.
Types of flooring materials
Vinyl plank flooring
In the last few years, the popularity of vinyl flooring has exploded, and for good reason. New formats, new textures, new designs, and new materials have transformed vinyl flooring into an excellent choice for cost-conscious shoppers.
Gone are the days of unruly giant sheets or bland square vinyl tiles. Today, there’s no sticky glue mess to deal with either. Instead, the tongue and groove-like construction of vinyl plank flooring are perfect for the do it yourselfer. It really could not be easier.
Vinyl plank flooring is easy to keep clean. You can mop up spills in a jiffy. The flooring itself is impervious to moisture, and if for some reason you manage to damage a few planks, you can quickly and easily replace them.
The only real downside is that vinyl flooring still has a bit of an image problem. Many people still think of it as “low-end,” but this is changing quickly.
There are dozens of wood species to choose from. Each one has its characteristics and properties. Different hardwoods also have different levels of hardness. The harder the wood species, the less likely it will dent and mar.
In addition to the different species, you can choose your preference of stain colors. There are more traditional shades as well as some striking new shades to choose from.
The level of sheen is also something you can choose. Some people prefer a high gloss finish, while others prefer a more matte, satin finish. Lately, a distressed look has become a popular preference in hardwood flooring.
Different thicknesses, different plank widths and different construction methods are some of the many advantages of hardwood floors. From a more traditional ¾ inch solid plank to a much thinner engineered plank of hardwood flooring are available. An experienced DIYer might be able to handle a small room but for anything larger, we recommend a professional installer.
Laminate flooring is also known as a “floating floor .” The installation involves attaching each piece of flooring to another piece, versus attaching it to the wood or concrete subfloor. Once the installation is complete, the laminate flooring performs as one continuous surface from wall to wall.
Generally, laminate flooring is cost-effective and durable. Some choices are well suited to various rooms, including rooms where spills often happen. Please carefully review the ratings from the manufacturer if you’re thinking of using laminate flooring in high moisture areas.
Ceramic tile, porcelain and natural stone
All three of these are considered timeless and traditional. Although the colors can be somewhat limited, they make up for it with excellent durability and wide popularity. Professional installation is a must, and be sure to have someone examine the subfloor before you are quoted a price for installation.
The durability and performance of these choices depend heavily on the specified preparation of the subfloor. As you would expect, ceramic tile, porcelain, and natural stone are at the higher end of the price range – although you can find the occasional bargain.
Take your time
Please don’t rush your decision. There have been many advances in the last few years, and so it’s good to take your time to review what’s available.
No matter where you are in the process, we highly recommend you speak to a local flooring expert from Flooring Direct. We can help guide you through your project from start to finish. Replacing your flooring is one of the most significant opportunities to create a beautiful and lasting environment for yourself and your loved ones.