Carpet will let you know when it needs to be replaced. It soils quicker (even after having been cleaned), and it just doesn’t look like it used to. In fact, the overall wear and tear of the carpet in the high-traffic area at the front door is a true indicator that it needs to be replaced.
“Carpeting is being removed for any number of reasons, but the two most common are the carpet is just simply worn out and because of allergens and dust,” said Clara Napolitano, co-owner of InStyle Flooring and Design. “And when homeowners do change, it’s always something cleaner such as tile or waterproof planks.”
She said the most popular rooms where homeowners are removing carpet are the front room, dining room and any high-traffic areas such as the family room, laundry room or hallways and entryways.
Several years ago, the design of having tile planks that looked like wood combined the best of two worlds: the look of wood without the maintenance (repairing scratches and restaining). Tile is also waterproof. This flooring has become a favorite for those with large families, a busy lifestyle, various allergies and pets.
Wood tile works great in bathrooms and kitchens, where it can take wear and tear and is not susceptible to damage from water spills.
While some do-it-yourselfers can do click-and-lock tiles or lay a vinyl floor, Napolitano thinks it is best to have a professional lay the floor.
“A professional who lays floors is someone who understands floor leveling, waterproofing and the necessary steps involved to make it long-lasting and live up to the product’s warranty,” she said. “Within older homes, floors need more preparation. The floor needs to be flat and level, and while carpet can cover up an imperfect floor, it can’t be done with tile or vinyl.”
Joan Kuptz is the owner of RE/MAX Advantage, a real estate company. She owns a number of homes herself and is always remodeling them. When it’s time to get rid of the carpet, she replaces it with luxury vinyl planks.
“Luxury vinyl planks look like wood, fit together like wood, are moisture-proof and, therefore, can extend into the kitchen,” she said. “Laminate wood is nice, but it isn’t moisture-proof.
“At the same time, I still use carpet but only in bedrooms. Carpeting absorbs sound and makes the room more soundproof. That’s why it’s so nice for bedrooms. And no matter what anyone says, people still like carpet in their homes. The other factor with carpet is climate. This is a hot climate and tile and vinyl cool the house. Back in the Midwest and up north, carpet is found in all family rooms where kids can lie on the floor and play or sleep.”
Kuptz said homebuilders are using many of the new hard surface flooring products because they are easy to maintain and don’t hold dirt and allergens like carpet. Vinyl planks are becoming popular around the country and are even popular in office environments.
“All of us are watching these television shows where homes are being bought and sold and remodeled,” she said. “We watch and listen and then want to do what we just saw. If tile is put in, then that’s the answer. If it’s vinyl planks, then we do that. We are influenced by what we see and hear.”
When looking at vinyl plank flooring, brands and types may seem to blend together. But when it is installed, the best rises to the top.
The main points that differentiate the better vinyl plank flooring from inexpensive flooring are factors such as thickness, core, wear layer, quality of register embossing and the quality of the visual layer. Peripheral qualities that help boost a type of vinyl plank flooring include the size of the selection, the company’s reputation and the flooring warranty.
“Tile is still a popular flooring choice for homes,” Napolitano said. “Ceramic and porcelain floor tile is versatile, durable and fashionable. Whether classic or contemporary, tile comes in hundreds of colors and varieties and can elevate the look of any room.
“You can get a tile floor that looks like wood, is highly polished or has the timeless look of stone. Floor tiles come in a variety of sizes including the traditional 12 inches by 12 inches. They can be mosaic sheets, rectangular subway tile or even large format.”