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Homework: Choosing flooring

A worker places new marble tile on a

A worker places new marble tile on a bathroom floor Photo Credit: iStock

Thinking about redoing your floors? You are not alone. At this time of year, many people start to get cabin fever and begin dreaming about how to make their "cabin" a better place.

So, with that in mind, let's explore various floor-covering possibilities and consider what might suit you best:

1. Create a master plan. Will you be redoing all the floors in the house, or only those that need the most attention? How much are you willing or able to spend? When you've answered those questions, you can start your shopping list.

2. The next step is deciding what covering would be best for each room. Unless you have strong allergies, carpet is a good choice for any room, since it gives comfort underfoot. There are many colors and types to choose from. It is wise to go shopping for carpet wearing slip-on shoes. Why? You will want to take your shoes off and feel the sensation the carpet gives your bare feet. After all, you will most likely be walking on it without your shoes on most of the time. Also, walking on the sample carpet, either with or without shoes, gives you an idea of how much of an impression of your foot will show on the carpet with each step. Some people don't want footprints or vacuum lines visible on their carpet, while others don't mind so long as the carpet is really cushy.

3. The next-most-popular choice for flooring is tile. Again, the choices are many -- both in color and size. Most popular now is large tile or marble flooring, in sizes such as 24 inches by 24 inches. The size of the room will help decide the size of the tile. If the room is large, by all means select a large tile. You have more flexibility in a smaller room -- but don't think a small tile is the only choice. You can still select a tile larger than 12 inches by 12 inches.

4. Hardwood floors are classic. They are beautiful and durable, and give a feeling of welcome and warmth to any room. If you are planning to install a wood floor in your kitchen, make sure your choice of wood does well when wet, so that it can withstand spills and splashes. There are many wood floor choices recommended for kitchen use, so just ask your salesperson for help.

5. Consider less typical choices What about a brick floor? This choice gives a rustic feel to the room, though it isn't as comfortable underfoot as, say, tile or marble. But some people like that rough feeling when they walk. A cork floor is beautiful and wonderful to walk on. It is best used in rooms that don't get a lot of wear and don't get wet, though some types of cork floors can be used in the kitchen.

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