Proper flooring installation procedures vary with the large array of products available on the market. Here's a list of the most popular flooring choices, as well as a few tidbits on installation procedures of each.
Hardwood flooring is without a doubt one of the most beautiful flooring options out there. It gets better looking with age and can be refinished for a brand new look after years of use. As for installation procedures, hardwood is a time consuming one. You'll need to prep the floor, install the hardwood, then go through an extended series of sanding, buffing, treating and varnishing steps before the floor can be used. But before any of this, you'll need to store all of the new planks in your home for a few days (maybe even a couple weeks) before the install. The wood needs time to acclimate to the humidity in the home before being put down.
Laminate flooring has swept the nation as a homeowner favorite for a number of reasons. It's available in a variety of wood, stone, and tile looks, and it's incredibly durable, making it perfect for homes with pets and children. The other reason it's so popular is that when it comes to flooring installation, there isn't an easier, more cost effective option on the market. Laminate flooring snaps together over a padded subfloor, then it's ready to go. No glues, grout, or nails are necessary.
Ceramic and Stone Tile
When it comes to durability and sheer beauty, these tile products are hard to beat. Whether you choose polished marble or Spanish terra cotta, you're guaranteed to end up with a stunning floor. When it comes to flooring installation, however, laying tile is a time consuming, meticulous job. It involves prepping the floor, applying mortar, laying the tile, and then grouting the tile. Each step requires the previous one to dry sufficiently (up to several days) before moving on to the next, and the floor is off limits during installation if you want optimal results.
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Carpet remains one of the most popular flooring materials because it's so darn comfy. Nothing feels better on your feet on a cold winter morning. When it comes to installation, most carpet can be put down using a power stretcher and accompanying materials. If the carpet is going to experience heavier use (i.e. rolling office furniture, etc.) you might need to glue it down as well to prevent buckling and stretching in the future. Regardless, after your installation is complete, be sure to vacuum up loose fibers and ventilate the room for 48-72 hours, until that "new carpet smell" is gone.
A Hodge Podge of Final Thoughts
As with any major home improvement project, it's wise to hire, or consult with, a flooring installation professional to ensure your job is done right. Flooring installation is one home improvement project where improper procedure is sure to result in costly repairs down the road. Beyond that thought, think about other home improvement projects you might want to complete in concert with your flooring installation. If you're thinking about painting, putting up wallpaper, or any other project that causes a significant mess, do them before your new floor goes in. You'll be cursing yourself otherwise, every time you pass that big paint splotch on you brand new hardwood floor.