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New year, new look, new floors

Projects: Many prices, options available for tile, wood, carpet

Posted: February 25, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 25, 2012 1:55 a.m.

The tile section of Marty’s Flooring America showroom. Tile offers many options and is the most durable flooring material.

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Whether your old flooring is looking a bit worn, you want to upgrade or just need a new look or feel, now is a good time to install new flooring. According to Dustin Downen, one of the owners of Marty’s Flooring America in Valencia, tough economic times have actually caused flooring prices to become more competitive.

And, while you can cover your floors with anything, here we’ll focus on the pros and cons of carpet, engineered hardwood, laminate and tile.

Downen said that the most important thing in choosing your flooring is personal preference.

“Once that’s out of the way, the facts are the facts,” he said.

Comfort of carpet
“If comfort is key, carpet is king,” Downen said. “With the soft yarns available and the highly cushioned padding, carpet is always the best for overall comfort.”

He added that, with the new treatments, “stains don’t stand a chance.”

As an example of that, he said a child dumped a large cherry Slurpee on the light tan carpet at Marty’s Flooring — and all that was required was to blot it up. There was no stain at all.

Downen said carpets can be purchased and installed for as little as $1.50 per square foot and for as much as “your imagination.” But he said that with most quality carpets, in the $3 to $5 per square foot range, you can expect a good return on your investment.

He said that carpet pricing is based on three things: the type of yarn, the density of the yarn and the backing. He added that nylon is the most common yarn.

“It has the best track record for durability and clean-ability.”

He explained that denser carpets have a higher wear rating, which leads to longer life of the carpet. And “really good backing helps with seaming and texture retention.”

“Some backing even comes with a ‘soft back’ that helps prevent scratches and nicks on the walls during installation,” he added.

When it comes to durability, Downen noted that most people will change out their carpets every seven to 10 years, though this can be for a variety of reasons, and not always because they are worn.

Timeless tile
“If forever is the goal, then tile is the choice,” Downen said. It doesn’t wear out or fade or scratch. And it is easy to clean.
Unlike wood floors, with tile, you can use a mop.

“With the exception of the grout, tile is the most ‘forever’ floor you can put in,” he said. But he added that the grout often needs maintenance and tile feels cold and walking on it can be hard on your joints.

He said installed tile prices range from $6 to $15 per square foot.

Wonders of wood
Contrary to what many people think, wood is actually a good insulator. It isn’t “cold” like tile, Downen said. “And It’s naturally beautiful and durable,” he added. As an example this durability, he noted that some of the oldest buildings in America still have their original wood floors.

“With wood there is a huge variety of colors, textures and widths of planks, which can add a very custom look without having to pay a custom price,” Downen said. And he added that wood is great for high traffic areas.

“Assuming you are not abusive, wood will not wear out like carpet,” he said. Wood is more expensive than carpet, but, with wood, “you are one and done.”

“With carpet you are guaranteed you’ll have to change it.”

Assuming you are in a position to do your floors in a “wood look,” Downen said you have two common, overall choices — engineered hardwood or laminate.

And while laminate costs less, the difference between the two is less than it used to be. Downen said laminate flooring might cost from $3.99 to $8 per square foot, and wood might begin at $6.99 per square foot and go on up “to the sky” from there.

“Wood used to be double the cost of laminate,” he said.

Laminate
“The universal plus of laminate is that it is value-oriented,” Downen said. It costs less and offers easy maintenance — with that maintenance being only sweeping and Swiffer-ing.

“A lot of people think you can clean your floor with water, but it will void your warranty (with laminate or wood),” he added. “We don’t recommend using water on either.” He said for any spill out of the ordinary, homeowners should use a “floor-specific cleaner and spot-cleaner.”

“Laminate doesn’t dent as easily and get the fine scratches that wood does,” Downen said. “Pet owners, especially, prefer laminate.”

Engineered hardwood
“Wood is the real deal,” Downen said. “No matter how hard they try to replicate it or synthesize it, nothing looks as good as real wood.” According to Downen, not only do people say laminate floors never look as good as wood floors, they also say laminate floors never “sound” as good or “feel” as good as real wood, either.

He explained that this less-pleasing sound and feel comes from the fact laminate floats on an underlayment, whereas wood is glued directly to the concrete.

“Some woods insulate as well as 18 inches of concrete,” Downen said. And he explained that you may notice a savings on your heating and cooling costs when you install wood — compared to laminate “or anything.”

Marty’s Flooring America is located at 23360 W. Valencia Blvd., Suite F, Valencia, CA 91355. Call (661) 252-2522 or visit the website at www.martysflooringca.com.

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