Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) & Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT)
LVP and LVT can be used pretty much anywhere in the home and are great products if you’re looking to save on money but still get an elegant look. They are a top choice for Weekend Warriors because they are readily available, easy to use, and not as expensive as traditional hardwood flooring. This type of flooring can typically be installed on top of existing flooring that is structurally sound and in good shape. Many people will use luxury vinyl plank or tile on top of existing hardwood because it is much cheaper than refinishing unless you do it yourself.
Ceramic & Porcelain Tile
Ceramic and porcelain tiles are some of the most durable products out there if installed correctly. They are typically used in residential spaces, but commercial spaces are starting to adapt to it. There are some differences between porcelain and ceramic. Porcelain is the same color throughout while ceramic tile has a coating on top. Porcelain is one of the most expensive and labor intensive flooring installations because of all of the prep and steps that go into it. That being said, ceramic is typically less expensive because it is usually used only as a wall tile, whereas porcelain can be used as a wall or floor tile as long as it is labeled as a 'fully-body porcelain'. Porcelain is very sturdy and can be used in a wide range of temperatures, as it expands and contracts without cracking. It is a great fit for outdoor applications because it is frost-proof. Porcelain is mostly utilized in pool areas, decking, and large formats such as exterior commercial applications. The hard surface flooring industry is very much in favor of porcelain tile but ceramic is up-and-coming, especially for wall applications, because of its lower cost.
The supply of natural hardwood has been decreasing over the years due to wildfires and deforestation. As a result, engineered hardwood came along to solve that problem. Engineered hardwood gives all of the advantages of a traditional wood floor but also gives extended lifetime, lower prices, and a wider range of applications. Both floors can be re-finished, but in many cases, homeowners opt to install an LVP or LVT floor over top, as refinishing wood is extremely expensive unless you do it yourself. Engineered wood can be used where traditional can’t: in below-grade applications such as basements, over concrete, and more. They work exceptionally well in climates such as Pittsburgh where you really do get all four seasons. Engineered wood can withstand those changes and look good for a very long time. It is less expensive than traditional wood because it costs less to manufacture it is a lighter material, saving on freight costs.
Carpet & Custom Area Rugs
Carpet has come a long way in the last several decades. It was typically used in high-traffic areas such as living rooms and bedrooms but now is typically found as runners on stairs or area rugs on top of a hard surface. In general, people are trending away from carpet because it has a tendency to trap daily pollutants: dander, hairsprays, dead skin, etc. The industry has introduced combatants to keep pollutants and soil stains on the surface, but ultimately carpets can still hold odors, stains, and show wear. In addition, carpeting is not the best flooring solution for asthmatics. There are carpets coated in products that can help with airborne particles, but those are also the carpets that are very expensive because they are treated from fiber to finish. In this case, you may opt for a hard surface floor instead.
Here at Wilmac Flooring, we offer custom area rugs and runners in addition to traditional carpet. A custom rug or runner is a great way to add a bit of design and flair to an area. Custom rugs need to be measured, cut, and bound before installation, meaning they can sometimes take a bit of time depending on the complexity of the project.
Laminate is the originator to LVP and LVT. The problem with laminate is that the surface/top layer is very hard and durable, but if any moisture gets to the under layer/core, it disintegrates and the floor will pull apart. New “hybrid” laminates have a thicker top layer, but water can still get into the core. In addition, laminate is very rigid, allowing little flexibility with installation. It is not as flexible as LVP and LVT. When working with laminate, the floor underneath has to be completely level. Overall, we do not recommend laminate, as LVP and LVT are much better products that are also cheaper.