Houston's Top Choice in Hardwood Floor Installers and Floor Refinishing is Ultimate Flooring  

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Discover different flooring options for your home

For years, carpeting was the top choice for many homeowners. Recently, though, people have been trending towards more creative flooring options. While hardwood flooring still retains its classic appeal, other variations have now become more popular and even more affordable than ever before.

Because many types of flooring are expensive, and any mistakes you make will be virtually irreversible unless you plan to spend a lot more money, it's vital that you take the time to plan the job right. You should start by familiarizing yourself with the various flooring materials, patterns and textures available on the market. 

Flooring Materials to Consider:

If you're looking for an alternative to hardwood flooring, bamboo flooring has some unique features to offer. It has a tropical appeal, shines brighter than pine and is lighter than oak. The grain of bamboo flooring is highly detailed, and it's strong enough to last for decades.

For GREEN clients the number one choice is Cork flooring.  Cork flooring is available in a rich and diverse palette of colors, and it offers comfort and resistance to wear. Because cork can be harvested and trees do not have to be cut down to obtain it people with environmental concerns tend to favor cork flooring.

On the other hand, if you're seeking discount flooring options, laminate floor is a low-maintenance and cost-effective alternative. Laminate flooring is available in literally thousands of widths colors and textures, giving you the freedom to mix and match with the rest of your decor with unparalleled freedom. Tile is also economical depending on your choice of tile.  Ceramic tiles are the most common choice offering durability and economical value.

Laminate Flooring

What you need to learn about laminate flooring:

If you want the look of hardwood without the cost and maintenance, consider laminate wood flooring. Renowned for its exceptional durability, ease of installation and low cost, laminate flooring is an excellent alternative to expensive, high-maintenance hardwood. As you'll soon see, it's hard to go wrong with laminate flooring, whether you're an experienced home renovator or just an ordinary homeowner looking for an easy way to upgrade your home's floor.

What Is Laminate Flooring?

Laminate flooring is a synthetic flooring material that is specially designed to have the exact look and feel of hardwood. Most laminate materials are partially composed of wood or wood products, as well as other natural components such as plant-based resin, but composition may vary.

Why Choose Laminate Flooring?

Laminate flooring is also more durable than hardwood, and it's easier to clean and maintain. Hardwood requires regular varnishing and special cleaning materials to keep it looking good, and it can be easily damaged by furniture, high heels, animal claws or dropped objects. Laminate stands up to these hazards better and does not require the level of care that natural hardwood does. It can generally be cleaned with regular floor cleaning products and does not require regular waxing or varnishing to maintain its shine.

Laminate Flooring Brands

A few brands are worth considering for beautiful, high-quality laminate flooring. Pergo offers a wide range of extremely realistic wood types, including beech, maple, asian mahogany, applewood and antique oak, making it easy to pick the perfect flooring to suit your home's style and decor. Most Pergo laminate flooring includes the company's patented LusterGard Plus surface protection to keep your floors looking shiny and new, as well as a 25-year limited warranty.

Bruce and Wilsonart laminate flooring allows you to select not only your wood type and color, but also a number of special features that replicate the look of hand-scraped, bleached, whitewashed, grain-matched or blocked wood floors. Not only do these features enhance realism, but they also make it much easier to match the decor of your home or achieve a beautiful unique look.

Hardwood Flooring

What you need to learn about hardwood flooring: 

There is nothing like real, natural hardwood flooring to beautify your home and enhance its style.Hardwood lasts for decades with proper care and will not crack, peel or buckle like cheaper flooring types. Although it can be more expensive initially and take a bit more work to install and finish, you will more than recoup your costs over time thanks to its incredible durability. And if you change your mind about the finish of your flooring years down the line, or if you just want to restore it so that it's exactly like new, wood floor refinishing is easy and inexpensive.

 Types of Hardwood Flooring

You have some options available to you when selecting hardwood flooring. First, of course, you'll want to select a type of wood. Not only is wood type an aesthetic choice, but it's also dependent on your climate type, which can make some types of wood more or less suitable. Select dark mahogany or golden oak hardwood flooring for a classic look that complements any traditional home, or choose light maple or pine for a more contemporary look.

In addition to wood type, you'll need to decide how and when to finish your flooring. For convenience, many people choose prefinished hardwood flooring, which is exactly what it sounds like the tint and finish are applied at the manufacturer before the flooring is shipped. Prefinished flooring can be a bit more expensive than unfinsihed flooring that will need to be stained and sealed.

Engineered Wood Flooring

What you need to learn about engineered wood flooring:

Laminate is melamine-infused paper on top, wood chip composite on bottom. Not exactly what you would call real wood. Solid hardwood is real wood, from top to bottom.

Engineered wood, too, is real wood. It is a sandwich of 1/16" to 1/8" of finish wood on top and non-finish plywood underneath. So, what you're looking at is 100% genuine wood.

But did you know that it's actually better to have plywood underneath? That's right: the middle layer of plywood is laid cross-ways to the finish layer, providing additional strength to the flooring.

Engineered Flooring Species Options

Whatever specie of solid hardwood, there is an equivalent specie of engineered wood flooring.

  • Hickory - Rich, hand-scraped hickory gives your house a timeless feeling.
  • Oak - Traditional red oak is inexpensive and always looks great.
  • Bamboo - Bamboo engineered flooring? Well, all bamboo flooring is engineered. Bamboo flooring is cheap and "green."
  • Maple - Maple is an elegant finish, appropriate for dining, living, and family rooms.

Engineered Wood Floor is Pre-Finished

The top finish layer is pre-finished, which means that it's already sanded and sealed. As soon as the floor has been laid, you can walk on it.

By contrast, unfinished solid hardwood must be sealed, and this requires waiting time before use. Note: solid hardwood is available pre-finished, as well.

Engineered Wood Flooring Can Be Sanded

The advantage of engineered wood flooring versus laminate is that engineered wood can be sanded after scratches and dings develop. Two catches, though:

  • Limited Sanding - Engineered flooring cannot be sanded more than 1-3 times (depending on the thickness of the finish layer).
  • Professional Sanding Recommended - Because of the low tolerance for failure with sanding engineered wood, I seriously recommend that you have a professional do the sanding. It is very easy to gouge your engineered wood floor, revealing the plywood underneath.


Looking for the right tile for your floor or wall can become confusing when confronted with the many types and grades of tiles. Learning the basics about the differences can help you come to a reasonable decision about what type of tile you are looking for.

Types of Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile is made primarily of clay. There are nine categories of ceramic tile based on how the tile is manufactured, its performance characteristics and special considerations. The nine categories are unglazed ceramic mosaic, glazed ceramic mosaic, unglazed quarry paver tile, glazed quarry tile, unglazed paver tile, glazed paver tile, glazed wall tile, decorative thin wall tile and special purpose tile. The Glaze is a special coating that is placed over the tile. Glazes come in matte, high-gloss and abrasive slip-resistant finishes.

Types of Porcelain Tile 

Porcelain tile is primarily made of finely-ground sand. It is made using pressure and extremely high temperature, which results in a material that has qualities similar to glazed ceramic tiles. It can have either a glazed, an unglazed, a high-polished or a matte finish. Some porcelain tile is referred to as being "through-body" which means that its composition is consistent.

Types of Natural Stone Tile

Stone tile is made out of marble, granite or slate. They may be polished so they have a shiny surface or honed, which provides a duller but less-slippery finish. Natural stone tile is not recommended for areas where grease or water will accumulate. However, once it is installed, stone tile is capable of lasting forever

Other Types of Tile

Other types of tile include terrazzo and agglomerate. Terrazo tile is made by mixing marble or granite chips with either portland cement or epoxy matrix. Agglomerate tile is made by mixing marble or granite chips with portland cement, polyester resin or epoxy. They may have surfaces that vary from honed, which is smooth but not reflective, to polished.

Grades of Tile

Tile is rated and placed in one of five grades or groups based on its relative hardness, ability to stand up to wear and percentage of water it will absorb. Group I is for area of light traffic such as a residential bathroom floor. Group II is for most areas inside the home except the kitchen and entry ways. Group III is for anywhere within a home. Group IV is for homes and light to medium commercial areas. Group V is for extra heavy traffic areas and can be used anywhere

Tile Function

While most tile is square, some special purpose tile will come in other shapes. Bullnose tile has rounded edges and are used to finish off a section of tile on a wall, bathtub or countertop. Double-out bullnose has two rounded edges and is used to finish off corners. Edge tile is designed to fit over the edge of a countertop. Base tiles are flared at the bottom and are used to finish off the bottom row of tiles