Durability, design and comfort all factor into the purchase decision when choosing a floor. With many different flooring options available today, with some flooring types gaining popularity in recent years, it may be difficult to choose the right fit for your budget, lifestyle or building’s overall goals.  Doyle Dickerson Terrazzo will break down some of the popular flooring options on the market today to help you find the the perfect match.

Epoxy Terrazzo

Terrazzo has been around since the 15th century but new technologies have allowed epoxy terrazzo to flourish today. Doyle Dickerson Terrazzo specializes in all facets of terrazzo with epoxy terrazzo taking over cementitious terrazzo as the new trend in flooring. Terrazzo is a composite material made out of chips of marble, glass or other aggregates and then polished for a smooth surface.

George Mason University Epoxy Terrazzo Flooring

Key characteristics

Durability: Terrazzo flooring is extremely durable, making it a great floor for areas that deal with a high levels of traffic. Over time in these areas, the floors will not fade away or wear down. With minimal repairs and replacements needed for epoxy terrazzo, this flooring material usually lasts longer than the building itself. Expect epoxy terrazzo to last up to an average of 75 years.

Sealers help prevent stains and scratches from damaging the floor. In fact, terrazzo is resistant to chemicals, stains and even bacteria growth.

Design: The design options are limitless. Epoxy resins can be tinted to match any color imaginable and there are unique aggregates to choose from. Aggregates range from recycled glass, seashells and marble stones, with each chip offering its own unique color and texture, which can be available at any size. Epoxy terrazzo can embed any logo or graphic in the floor as well, adding a personalized touch.

Sustainability: Epoxy terrazzo has many sustainable features, such as its low amounts of VOC content and its use of recycled materials in the terrazzo mix.

How to Clean: Terrazzo is simple to clean. All you need is a bucket of warm water, a mop and a neutral cleaner. We recommend cleaning the floors daily to remove dust particles. It’s also a good idea to re-seal the floors occasionally.

Best Applications: Terrazzo can be used in almost any residential or commercial building. Epoxy terrazzo works best in indoor areas such as schools and hospitals. Terrazzo goes beyond flooring to create wall panels, countertops and stairs.

Disadvantages: Epoxy terrazzo is not common for outside spaces. Consider rustic terrazzo instead. Terrazzo also is best installed by a professional company.

Cost: Despite the high initial cost per square feet of terrazzo, terrazzo has the longest life cycle cost of any flooring material available today due to the minimal repairs and refinishes required.

 

Carpet

Carpet has been a popular flooring material for decades. People consider carpet when safety and noise levels are important factors in the buying decision. Carpet is a ‘comfort material’ that adds a feeling of warmth and softness. Today many carpets are made from different materials such as polyester, nylon or wool, with new technologies advancing the floor to include soft fiber materials.

Carpet Flooring

Key Characteristics

Comfort: When a space calls for relaxation, then there is no better floor material than carpet. Carpet is softer than most flooring options, thus making it a much more safe material to use than harder surfaces. The material is also warm in nature.

Design: Today there are different colors and patterns to choose from. Also, there are different carpet materials to choose from as well. Nylon, polyester, polypropylene and wool are some of the common fibers used in carpet today.

How to Clean: Carpet requires a bit more effort when it comes to cleaning. Carpet requires vacuuming on a daily basis to remove dust particles. The main concern with carpet is the risk of stains. Stains can be problematic for carpets, which will require deep cleaning.

Best Applications: Carpet is common in many homes, filling up space in bedrooms and living rooms. It is also a common option for hospital and offices lobbies, classrooms and in corridors.

Disadvantages: There are some carpets that release VOC content. The main disadvantage is the floor’s high maintenance. The risk of carpet tears, mold and mildew, and stains calls for more frequent replacements overtime.

Cost: Carpet is inexpensive compared to harder surface materials; however, with frequent replacements over the year, carpet has a low life-cycle cost.

 

Hardwood

When hardwood floors are installed, the floors are often as prestigious or high-end compared to other flooring materials. The floor materials adds a warm, timeless look for any space. People have the option of choosing between oak, maple, pine and wood types for their floors. Even today, people are turning to reclaimed wood or engineered wood as alternative options.

Hardwood Flooring

Key Characteristics

Durability: When properly maintained, hardwood floors can last for decades. Even when the floors start to wear down, it only takes a quick touch-up to add new life into the hardwood.

Design: Hardwood is inviting in nature. There are many different wood finishes to choose from. Common wood types include oak and maple but homeowners can also side with more exotic wood types such as cherry to give their floors a unique look. Most hardwood floors come in a wide range of colors, from a light brown to black.

Refinishing: Hardwood floors tend to scratch or dent more than other hard surfaces. But hardwood floors can be made to look new again. This is all done by sanding the floors and applying a new finish. No matter how many times a hardwood floor is damaged, it can always be revitalized.

How to Clean: Hardwood floors are easy to clean. It is recommended to vacuum or mop daily to prevent scratches and surface damages.

Best Applications: Hardwood floors are best used in residential buildings

Disadvantages: Hardwood floors may not be the best flooring option in areas with high traffic. Water and fire can easily damage hardwood floors, needing replacements. Also, while hardwood floors are finding ways to be sustainable, there are some adhesives that could lower the indoor air quality.

Cost: To get this timeless look, hardwood floors cost more to buy and install than other traditional flooring options. However, because of the refinishing option for hardwood floors, the material can last for generations when properly cared for.

 

Vinyl

Vinyl is one of the most resilient flooring options available on the market today. New technologies have added more depth and texture to the material today to look identical to other materials like hardwood, tile and stone. Vinyl is notable for its soft comfort and its warmth.

Vinyl Flooring

Key Characteristics

Comfort: For those seeking a stylish yet comforting floor, vinyl is a soft material and stays warm all-year long.

Durability: Vinyl is a highly durable flooring material. When maintained properly, it can last up to twenty years. The material is also water and stain resistance, making it easy to clean.

How to Clean: The best way to maintain vinyl flooring is to sweep and vacuum regularly. If a vinyl requires a sheen look, applying a polish occasionally will help maintain the floor’s appearance.

Best Applications: Vinyl is often applied in areas like kitchens and bathrooms, but they are also being considered for classrooms, corridors and entrance ways.

Disadvantages: Although manufacturers are testing new ways to make vinyl more sustainable, the chemicals used in vinyl flooring releases VOC content. VOC content can lead to respiratory problems and other health effects. Vinyl is not easily recycled neither. Expect to see vinyl headed to the landfills. Another disadvantage is the floor’s susceptibility to rips and tears. Once a vinyl has been damaged it is difficult to repair.

Cost: Vinyl is inexpensive. There are some higher-end materials but the cost of those do not exceed the amount of other traditional flooring materials, making it a good choice for anyone looking to stay within a budget.

 

Tile

Tile is a versatile flooring choice. From ceramic tile to porcelain tile, these materials can come in all shapes and sizes. Today, large-format tiles is the new trend.

Tile Flooring

Key Characteristics

Design: Tiles comes in all types of shapes and sizes. When using larger format tiles, there are fewer grout lines. This is beneficial when cleaning the material. From simple designs to intricate mosaics, tiles can be cut into any geometrical shape that can vary in shades and textures.

Durability: Ceramic tiles are tough and difficult to crack. If tiles do happen to crack, a single tile can be replaced easily. Glazed ceramic tiles can withstand heavy foot traffic.

Sustainability: Tiles are made from natural materials like clay and quartz, using up to at least 10% of pre-consumer recycled content.

How to Clean: Clean tiles daily. Grout lines come with tile flooring, so make sure to do light scrubbing occasionally to remove any residue.

Best Applications: Traditionally, terrazzo is used in areas like bathrooms, kitchens and entryways.  But tile can be placed in any space.

Disadvantages: Tiles are cold especially in the winter months. Although tiles are durable, any heavy item that is dropped on top of the tile flooring can form cracks within the floor, leading to more replacements. Damaged tiles can have long-term costs.

Cost: If you are seeking a durable floor, tiles are moderately priced, usually costing less than hardwood floors but priced higher than most carpets.

 

Marble

Marble, known for its timeless and elegant appearance, offers many different styles to choose from. It is a great material if your space is looking to make a statement.

Marble Flooring

 

Key Characteristics

Polish: One of the key attributes of marble is its high polish. Unlike many hard surfaces, marble can achieve a smooth and shiny finish which can really have people take notice when walking through a room.

Design: Marble is extracted from quarries around the world. With a variety of different colors and appearances, marble is clearly unique.

How to Clean: When it comes to cleaning marble, stains are its worst enemy. When accidents happen, spills should be cleaned up immediately. Because the material tends to scratch easily, it is best to use a soft cloth to wipe down countertops. For marble flooring, mop regularly to remove dust particles. In certain instances, it is also beneficial to reseal the marble surface if needed.

Best Applications: At the moment, marble is a leading choice for countertops. Marble is suitable for most kitchen and bathroom designs.

Disadvantages: If you do plan to install marble, watch out for the floor’s slipperiness. A high polish can be a slipping hazard in most cases. While marble floors can be maintained properly overtime, cleaning up stains is a burden. Because marble contains a alkaline composition, interaction with chemical substances can alter the material’s appearance.

Cost:  Marble floors are durable enough to last for many years; however, the cost of the material and installation can be quite expensive.

 

Polished Concrete

Polished concrete is a stylish choice for indoor flooring. The flooring system is newer compared to the more traditional flooring types, but it is highly sought after for its durability, design and low maintenance

Polished Concrete Flooring

Key Characteristics

Durability: It is difficult to damage polished concrete. The material is extremely strong and resilient to high amounts of pressure.

Design: With polished concrete, there are flexible design options available. Dyes help add a unique color or textured look to the floor.  Also, graphics can be included in the floor design.

Sustainability: If you are seeking green building materials, polished concrete is one material to consider.  Let’s not forget about the material’s impact on indoor air quality. Polished concrete contains low amounts of VOC content.

How to Clean: Polished concrete is easy to clean. To give this floor the longevity it needs, all you need to do is mop the floor regularly using a damp mop and a neutral cleaner.

Best Applications: Polished concrete is often seen in industrial buildings such as warehouses, parking decks and basements.

Disadvantages: Although polished concrete is suitable in areas with high levels of foot traffic, it is not ideal for areas that require safety precautions. Also, polished concrete is cold in nature. This type of flooring can feel a tad uncomfortable in low temperature weather.

Cost:  Polished concrete is a cost-effective flooring option. In fact, if a building has a pre-existing slab to work with, it can have cost saving benefits.

 

Bamboo

You may not have imagined that a type of grass could be used as a flooring material; however, bamboo has emerged as new floor trend that offers durability and sustainability.

Bamboo Flooring

Key Characteristics

 

Sustainability: Bamboo is recyclable, biodegradable and rapidly renewable. In fact, bamboo grows at a faster rate than trees, which can help preserve our natural resources drastically. The factor that you need to watch is the material’s emission of VOC content. Many bamboo floors have adhesives, which will emit these harmful content into the air overtime.

Durability: Bamboo is quite strong and durable. There are some bamboo that are manufactured with a compressive strength that is greater than concrete.

Design: With bamboo flooring, one can get a similar appearance resembling hardwood floors. Today manufacturers are coming up with a variety of stains, colors and looks to make bamboo more distinct in design.

How to Clean: Bamboo floors do not need a sealer, but they do require the occasional cleaning using a damp mop.

Best Applications: Bamboo can be used in commercial or residential spaces such as office lobbies or living rooms. It is best to avoid wet areas.

Disadvantages: Aside from the amounts of VOC content in bamboo, other drawbacks include humidity levels and scratches. Bamboo is resistant to water damage; however, moisture is a key concern for the material. Moisture can expand a floor while dry environments can cause the material to shrink in size.

Cost:  Bamboo is priced around the same amount as hardwood floors

 

Cork

Cork is a flooring material gaining popularity today. It is a natural material consisting of the ground bark of the cork oak tree, which is then molded to create planks and tiles. Cork is favored for its natural insulation and warm underfoot.

Cork Flooring

Key Characteristics

Insulation: Cork is great for insulating a floor. This helps keep noise levels down.  It also helps in heating or cooling down a room, which can help you save in energy costs.

Sustainability: Cork is natural and replenishable. It is also biodegradable. Because the material comes from the bark of the tree, it does not hard the tree itself.

Safety: The material is soft, making it ideal in areas where standing up for long periods is frequent. It also stretches across a room, providing protection to everyone especially children or the elderly who are more likely to trip and fall.

How to Clean: Cork scratches easily so it’s a good idea to sweep and vacuum regularly. On occasion, wipe down the surface with a damp mop. On the plus side, cork repels dust particles making the material easier to clean.

Best Applications: This type of flooring can be used in commercial or residential spaces such as office lobbies or living rooms. It is best to avoid wet areas.

Disadvantages: One of the downfalls of cork flooring is its damageabilty. It is a soft material that is easily punctured, scratched, or dented. As a result, refinishes may be required. Another thing to note is discoloration. When encountering direct sunlight, a cork floor can start to change colors.

Cost:  Cork is typically more expensive than other flooring options