Written by Patricia Skinner
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More and more home decorators are moving away from the wall-to-wall carpeting trend and towards the use of one of the many different types of stylish and practical flooring we now have to choose from. In addition to the traditional floor coverings of years gone by, we now have a choice of materials that have only been made possible by modern technology. In fact, many of today's manufacturing techniques give us synthetic floor coverings that have the combined desirable properties of good looks and durability, but they are also easy-care, as well as being easy on the pocket!

But still many of us love the thought of natural stone or wood to adorn our homes with. There is no doubt that flooring made of natural resources does have a certain something that synthetic material can never acquire! Wood in particular can impart a great deal of atmosphere to our surroundings.

However, picking the right type of flooring for your home involves asking some questions and giving some honest answers. You need to pick what's right for you, your finances and your lifestyle. Finding a floor covering that is suitable for every aspect of your circumstances is key to getting the equation right.

Popularity of Wood Flooring

Wood is perennially popular with homeowners everywhere. As well as adding atmosphere to your home, you will find that it copes with the structural movement so common in older homes pretty well (whereas tile or slate would crack), and it is pretty resistant to a great deal of family traffic. The drawbacks of a real wood floor are that it can take some looking after, and may be affected by a very damp atmosphere. If you live somewhere that's frequently exposed to flooding, or any other type of moisture, you may not want to go for the expense of installing hardwood flooring only to find you have to replace it after the first flood!

Slate tile is another natural flooring material. It's more hardwearing than wood, although it can be porous. In addition, slate can be spoiled by oil if there is a spillage. Also, if you drop anything heavy on a slate floor it will likely crack or chip. However, it is highly moisture resistant and so makes a good choice for a kitchen or bathroom. Linoleum, ceramic tile and marble are also popular choices for a bathroom because they are moisture resistant.

Easy-Care Floor Coverings

If you lead a busy lifestyle, there really isn't much point in going for flooring that's going to require a lot of cleaning and care. Easy-care floor coverings should be the order of the day for you. No need to skimp on style and beauty; as we've already mentioned, many of the new easy-care synthetic floor coverings are uniquely stylish and very beautiful!

Choosing flooring for a kitchen requires particular care and thought. The best choices include ceramic tile (highly washable), linoleum (very affordable) and wood. Remember that oil can mark your wood floor if it is not very carefully sealed. Linoleum is a good choice for many people. It can be ripped out and replaced in very short order if you decide on a change of decor, it's very inexpensive, and a quick wipe will keep it looking perfect. This is one example of a great modern flooring innovation!

Back to Carpet!

For some of us, wall-to-wall carpet is still the only practical choice for a living room which is used by small children as well as adults, especially in cooler areas. Carpet can make a room much more cozy in the winter months. As a final thought, unless you're preparing a building for sale and hoping to add to its value as well as its attraction, it's probably not worth picking really expensive flooring for a home you're not planning to stay in! Save your lifetime choices for the home of your dreams, once you find it!

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