Eleven things all Torontonians should know before buying new flooring
Shelley Alexanian shares her tips of the trade
The Alexanian family has been in the flooring business since 1925, so it’s safe to say they know a thing or two about the industry. They’ve seen flooring styles come and go, and products improve over time thanks to technological advancements. They’ve also come across tons of misconceptions and myths about flooring products (A big one? Solid hardwood is always better than engineered hardwood). Here, a few helpful tips from designer and Alexanian spokesperson Shelley Alexanian, which will help you make best flooring choices for your lifestyle.
1. Choose colour and tone over everything else, as it’s what contributes most to a home’s overall style. These days, achieving your desired colour, style and look is possible in almost any floor surface.
2. No flooring is maintenance-free—regardless of what some manufacturers may tell you. All flooring will wear, so we always recommend choosing the flooring you have your heart set on to avoid any regret.
3. The National Association of Realtors says that homes with wood floors sell faster and for more money than homes without wood floors. However, if you plan on living in your home for a while, it’s not always smart to choose resale value over your lifestyle needs. You have to think about what will contribute to your overall enjoyment of the home.
4. High or low-quality hardwood, laminate or vinyl flooring can be made in any part of the world. The country of manufacture does not necessarily mean good or bad quality. We recommend trusting the experience of a retail professional to help you choose the best value for your budget.
5. One major myth in the flooring biz is that solid hardwood is better than engineered. In fact, engineered hardwood will soon eclipse solid wood in new installations because it’s so flexible. It has numerous style options, installation capabilities and most can be sanded and re-stained however you like.
6. Flooring is a large investment, so you should always rely on a professional retailer to install your floor. This will keep the warranty intact, and ensure your floor will perform to its maximum performance.
7. Proper subfloor preparation is critical to a floor’s performance—a.k.a. it’s no place to take shortcuts. To avoid any future headaches (think: squeaking floors, softs spots, gaps between planks and tiles), trust a professional installer.
8. When purchasing a carpet, most people know that decent under-pads provide comfort and better performance. What they might not realize is that hard-surface flooring—like laminate, luxury vinyl and engineered hardwood—also needs specialized under-pads. They help with sound insulation, protecting the moisture barrier and prolonging the life of the floor.
9. Like your furniture, flooring always needs protection from the rays of the sun. If you do not have UV-blocking window coverings, we recommend choosing flooring that has built-in UV protection. Otherwise, your carpet or flooring can fade, change colours or experience delamination in areas that receive excess sunlight.
10. Residential flooring is not always designed to perform in commercial settings. If you have a high-traffic office or commercial space, always select a carpet or floor that is rated and warrantied for commercial use.
11. Don’t buy into every advertised technical feature. For example, hard maple is harder than red oak, which means you’d think it should be more durable. However, even though oak is a softer wood, it’s actually far more forgiving in an active household. It’s just another reason it’s always best to rely on professional advice to help you make the right flooring choice to fit your budget and lifestyle.
To learn more about the right flooring for your home, visit alexanian.com.