Lots of options when it comes to flooring


— The options may floor you.

There's no short supply of flooring alternatives for the homeowner who wants to invest a little time and money in sprucing up a room or two.

From hardwood and vinyl to tile and marble, local flooring experts are happy to oblige any taste.

Many people know what they want when then come to Jerimy McPherson, owner of McPherson Hardwoods. Those who aren't so sure about the best fit for their kitchen or living room can choose from pre-finished, unfinished and solid wood flooring. Pre-finished wood flooring has already been sanded and finished in the factory and only needs installation. Unfinished flooring, which requires sanding at the job site, is finished upon installation. Solid wood flooring, which comes pre-finished and unfinished, is available in varying thicknesses, widths and geometrical patterns.

Hardwood floors, while not in the glory days of the 1950s, have found a niche in today's flooring market, McPherson said.

Hickory wood is a favorite with customers right now, he said.

People who would rather feel thread between their toes than wood beneath their feet should consider carpet. Carpet lays the groundwork for decorating projects. Its array of color and style sets the tone for any room. Catie Camilletti of Carpets Plus said customers are choosing to spruce up their rooms in sage green.

Cut pile carpet, which features cut loops that leave individual yarn tufts, remains hugely popular. One of the newer variations of cut pile carpet is catching on with buyers, Camilletti said. The twisted yarns of frieze carpet give floors a curly look. It's not quite shag, Camilletti said.

But it promises to be a low-maintenance investment because its texture hides footprints and vacuum marks. The uncut fibers of level loop and multilevel loop pile carpets provide durability and a more informal look than plush/velvet carpet. Cut and loop pile carpet, which combines cut and looped yarns, comes in an assortment of textures and patterns.

Carpet, which often demands less attention than bare floors, promises buyers plenty of bang for their buck.

Maintenance is simple -- frequent vacuuming and a professional cleaning every 12 to 18 months can ensure the life of carpet.

But an overwhelming number of shades, styles and textures to choose from can make the head spin. That's why Camilletti recommends doing a little homework before deciding on carpet.

Many people feel crunched for time when picking out carpet, she said. A hurried decision, however, could leave buyers with something they regret.

People who want to walk on real rock should expect to pay more. The labor-intensive process of extracting slate, limestone and granite ups the price.

But ceramic tile creates the same appearance for less, said Tom Coleman of Old Town Interiors.

"There's a lot of ceramics that will pull that look off without bringing the cost up," he said.

Ceramic tile also requires less upkeep than natural stone, which is porous and demands regular -- and costly -- maintenance


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