Flooring 101: How to make the choice that’s right for your lifestyle

Selecting new flooring for your home or condo appears to be an easy task at first, but once you begin the process, it becomes apparent that there is an endless assortment of choices and factors to consider.

So, how do you determine where to begin?

When a customer walks into Exclusive Floors, they have a staff with more than 600 person-years of experience waiting to help them through the entire process.

“The first question we usually ask is, ‘How busy is your home?’” says general manager Trevor Boyd. “It’s our job to help them understand the challenges that can come up and still get them all the things they wish for.”

Do you have a toddler who’s learning how to climb stairs or an older pet that struggles to get up to the second floor? On a rainy Saturday, is there a flood of young soccer players racing to get from the driveway to the fridge as quickly as they can? Does your dog excitedly scramble to greet you when you get home from work or are you recently retired? What are your strata’s noise reduction requirements?

Your answers lead to the choices that are best for you and your lifestyle. Here is Boyd’s Flooring 101:

• Hardwood floors: Nothing is more beautiful than real hardwood. It’s a natural, renewable and re-finishable option that looks great in every room except bathrooms and doesn’t need regular maintenance. It’s not scratch or dent proof and you should be aware of moisture concerns in the house.

• Laminate: A digital picture of wood, laminate can look very realistic. Some are available with textures that line up with patterns of the wood. It’s very scratch resistant and you can get colours not available in real wood. The traditional downside is it’s not water resistant. If you spill a glass of water and don’t mop it up, the water will be absorbed and cause discoloration or warping. However, new laminates are available now that water resistant warranties are offered.

• Vinyl: This is the fastest growing segment in flooring. People like the perception that it’s very strong and you don’t need to worry about water exposure. That’s true. But not all vinyl floors are created equal.  There are many different versions and it is important to pick the right one for you and your lifestyle.

• Wall-to-wall carpet: Nothing is as soft, comfortable and warm as carpet. Nothing is safer on stairs. Typically it’s installed in bedrooms, basements and stairs. There’s a myth that carpets are dirtier, however carpet contains the dust rather than let it move around. By vacuuming once a week, you remove the dust and dirt, whereas with hardwood floors, the dust blows around every time the door opens. Wool carpets are hypoallergenic, naturally stain resistant and 100 per cent biodegradable. If you want an area rug, Exclusive Floors can cut it into any shape or size you want.

• Tile: Typically used in bathrooms and kitchens, or as backsplash, there are three categories: natural stone, porcelain and ceramic. The cool thing about tile is it’s almost impossible to wear out. You can put it in areas that get a lot of abuse and you don’t have to worry about scratching it or getting it wet. It’s very customizable with unlimited design possibilities. People sometimes have concerns that grout will look dirty, but with the Fusion Pro grout system that is stain proof, anti-microbial and doesn't need sealing, grout stays protected. If you think tile is too cold to the touch, you can easily put heating systems under it too.

A design professional can walk you through Exclusive Floors’ vast product offerings, including numerous top-end manufacturers and countries of origin. You’re encouraged to take samples home before returning to continue the conversation about what’s right for you. After you make your choices, an Exclusive Floors professional will do an in-home assessment to address issues such as delivery accessibility, how the furniture can be moved to accommodate the installation process and just what to do with that grand piano in the interim. Your house will be measured for square footage and the detailed proposal will include the scope of work involved.

“All of our staff, from our design professionals to our installers are helpful, caring and kind individuals,” Boyd says. “It’s part of working with a family-owned business that’s been in the Lower Mainland for 40 years.”

There are three Exclusive Floors showrooms in the Lower Mainland: 1100 Lansdowne Drive in Coquitlam, 5550 Panorama Drive in Surrey, and 31667 S. Fraser Way in Abbotsford. For those in Coquitlam, Trevor Boyd will be happy to start the conversation about what’s right for your home. You can email him at trevor@exclusivefloors.com or call him at 604-942-4109.

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