At 266,807 square miles, Texas is the second-largest state by landmass and one of the most diverse states in the country. So when you say “Texan,” you’re saying a whole lot. Whether you’re a native or new to this state, it’s not long before you figure out we value independence, self-sufficiency, and country. We say what we mean, and we mean what we say.
So, in this article, we’re not going to tell you what to do. Instead, we’re going to give you the lay of the land so you can figure out for yourself what works best for your home.
Why climate matters when you pick your floor
To people who don’t know better, Texas is just hot. They don’t know that Texas is so big; it spans everything in between the cooler and hotter zones of North America. It borders on Oklahoma to the north, Mexico to the south, New Mexico to the west, and Louisiana to the east. That’s enough to encompass three primary climate types: modified marine because of the Gulf of Mexico; the continental steppe known as Texas High Plains; and the cooler mountain climate of the west.
Knowing the climate, you live in is important because relative humidity can do a number on your home. For example, black mold can start from too much humidity. In contrast, too dry a climate can cause shrinking and warping of wood, whether it’s your floor or your subfloor. So if you want your floor to last, it’s not a bad idea to know which climate you live in before you make your final decision on a floor for your home.
How moisture and dryness affects solid hardwood floors
Equilibrium Moisture Content (EMC) is the level of moisture at which wood is considered stable. This means the wood in your home, whether it’s the framing, the subfloor, or the hardwood floor, is less likely to shrink and check or swell and warp.
Both dry climates and humid climates can affect the ability of your wood flooring, vinyl floors, or other flooring choices to withstand wear and tear. There’s quite a bit of science involved, but no worries, a local, long-standing flooring retailer will know exactly what type of floor will best stand up to the climate in your area. Big box stores are great, but you’re less likely to talk to an expert, and it can be like rolling the dice.
How to test the moisture in your home
If you’re reading this, you’re definitely an independent thinker and a Texan no matter where you were born.
There are two straightforward ways to test the moisture in your home: a moisture meter and the old reliable mat test. Click here to see an easy-to-use moisture meter.
The mat test is even cheaper and easier. Here’s how to do it.
Find a piece of clear plastic sheeting about two feet by two feet. Check to make sure the plastic sheeting does not have any holes so it is water resistant. Then, place it on the concrete subfloor to install a new floor and use duct tape to seal all four sides of the concrete.
Leave it there overnight, and in the morning, check to see if there’s any condensation collecting on the underside of the plastic. If you see any moisture, take a photo and show it to the flooring expert you trust. If you don’t see any moisture, chances are you’re ok to use any flooring you like.
Acclimate, acclimate and acclimate
No matter where you live, and no matter what research you’ve done, you must acclimate your new flooring materials BEFORE they are installed. You’ve done your homework, you’ve grilled the experts, and you’ve made your choice of flooring.
The most important next step is to make sure all the flooring materials you purchase are sitting on-site, acclimating to the place they’re going to be installed. Plan on having the flooring materials sit in the area where they are to be installed for at least three days – unless special instructions are pertinent.
A Texan sense of style
If you think Texas is all about cowboy hats and boots, you’ve got another thing coming. Texas is home to the best lifestyles and elements of culture from all over the country – if not the world. So a truly Texan floor can really just depend on your personal preferences. But, of course, it is your home we’re talking about here. So here are the ten most popular home styles in Texas.
German immigrants who first came to Texas brought their very functional and practical home style with them. As a farmhouse, this type of home featured wide plank floors. Of course, you could always put in an extravagant and frilly ceramic tile, but hey, at least you know what to expect.
This home style harkens back to one of England’s most famous and powerful names in the 15th and 16th centuries. Chances are they didn’t use wall-to-wall linoleum back them, but who are we to say.
These homes incorporated the best of mass production both inside and outside to create a homey, artisanal environment. Wood and stone were both popular.
Dare we say “modern”? In a sense. These homes reflect the homes built between the 1900s and the 1960s. Open floor plans enhanced the ability of the right flooring choice to create an amazing sense of style and comfort.
Technology and the promise of flying cars influenced many aspects of these homes. As a result, we see geometric shapes and a sense of minimalism dominating the décor. Flooring added to the expansive and flowing design.
This look is from the seaside communities in Italy and the south of France, and everyone loves it. Stucco exterior walls, tile roofs and multicolored tiles on the floor, and rich hardwood were de rigueur.
Need we say more? It continues to be one of the most popular styles of homes in the regions where you can stretch your legs a little between neighbors. The sprawling floors create a unified look throughout the home.
A home fit for a Queen. Queen Victoria, to be exact. Full front porches, turrets, and a multitude of rooms provide a vast palette for you to express your English sensibilities.
Now we’re talking. These homes celebrate the Spanish and Native American influences in this part of the country. Your floor is a great way to honor this.
Comfy and cozy. These homey homes are very traditional in all their rustic charm. Keep this in mind when choosing your floor.
Different flooring types
Once you’ve considered the climate where you live and the style of your home, it’s time to decide on what type of flooring best suits your needs for your home improvement project. High quality for the money is your goal, no matter what flooring you consider. Please keep in mind there are dozens of flooring manufacturers and even more brands to choose from. Many of them use different names for the same flooring.
Marble, travertine marble, slate, and granite dominate this category.
Porcelain tile and ceramic tile
They are both tiling flooring, but the differences can be significant depending on price, performance, and design.
Solid hardwood and engineered hardwood floors
Both are beautiful, and both can enhance the value of your home. However, engineered hardwood can be a more stable product in high humidity zones, depending on where you live.
Vinyl tile and luxury vinyl tile plank
In just the last few years, there have been extraordinary improvements in quality, variety, and look in the vinyl category. Some vinyl tiles mimic natural stone so well it’s difficult to tell the difference. They are also incredibly easy to install.
Good luck with your search, and let us know how it worked out for you.