Choosing Flooring for Dining Rooms
The best choice of flooring for your dining room depends largely on your use of this space. In some homes, the dining room serves as a formal area, used only for special occasions. In others, this room functions as a place where the family meets for daily meals. If your dining room gets daily traffic, you’ll want to consider flooring that is resistant to wear and will stand up to an occasional spill.
Following are a few great options to consider for your dining space.
In formal dining rooms, the rich beauty of hardwood flooring can be a real show-stopper. To add depth and dimension to a dining room with light-colored walls and furnishings, consider a dark, rich hardwood with subtle variations in graining. Choosing a neutral gray-stained wood is also a great way to give your dining room a modern update. Or for something truly luxurious, you may want to go with a rich-toned exotic wood such as Brazilian Cherry, Ipe, or Tigerwood, which can set the tone for the whole room. A hand scraped hardwood can also add visual interest. And distressing techniques can help hide possible scuffs and scratches – a plus if your dining room gets daily wear. Adding an accent wood border is another great way to show off your design personality in this room.
Hardwoods are available in solids and engineered planks. Generally, either option will work well in a dining room. However, if your home is built on a concrete slab, or if you are concerned about possible damage to flooring from spills, you should probably go with an engineered wood, as these are more dimensionally stable and better able to withstand moisture than solid woods. High-quality urethane finishes help protect woods from scratches and stains. Many high-end engineered wood floors include a durable UV-cured polyurethane wear layer that can add years of wear. Hardwoods can be a bit expensive, but when you factor in their long wear life and the value they add to your home, they can be a sound investment. Don’t forget to factor in the added expense of removal of an existing floor or installation of a subfloor, if needed.
Looking for something even more uniquely beautiful than hardwoods? Bamboo flooring could be your answer. Bamboo has the look of wood and can be installed and maintained in the same ways as wood, but it is actually a grass that regenerates much faster than wood, making it a great environmentally friendly flooring option. But what truly makes bamboo magnificent flooring is its rich tones and exceptional durability. When harvested at its peak, bamboo is extremely strong – often harder and more resilient than popular oak and maple woods. Bamboo is resistant to fire and will repel mold, mildew, and moisture, especially when a protective topcoat is applied. And the decorating options include a large variety of colors and finishes that will definitely set a distinct tone in any dining room. Bamboo can be installed in many different locations and climates, but not all bamboo floors are of the same quality. It’s important to discuss your specific needs with your flooring retailer to help ensure you choose the correct bamboo product for your use and application.
Carpet is one of the most cost-effective and versatile flooring choices for dining rooms. Generally, carpet can cover any surface and won’t require the costly subfloor preparation that can come with the installation of hard surfaces like hardwood or ceramic tile. Of course, carpet also adds warmth and softness to a room that is unmatched by other flooring types. And a carpeted room will transition more easily to adjoining rooms, especially ones that include hard flooring surfaces. But perhaps the biggest perk is that with today's tremendous selection of styles, patterns, colors, and textures, you’re sure to find a carpet that fits your lifestyle, decorating tastes, and budget.
To help narrow down your choices, consider the overall theme or color tone of your dining room. If your room décor is fairly busy, a safe bet is to go with a solid-colored carpet, or tone-on-tone carpeting. If you’re looking to add a more dramatic look, consider a bold geometric pattern or animal print. For an elegant, timeless style, a plush saxony carpet can be a great choice. P.E.T. polyester carpets with inherent stain resistance, solution-dyed nylon carpets, or nylons with advanced stain resistance are all good options for dining rooms, where occasional soiling from spilled food and beverages is a concern. Products that feature anti-microbial and other topical treatments will also help protect against spills. To avoid traffic patterns appearing in your new carpet, choose a high-density carpet. And keep in mind, the tighter the carpet’s yarn twist, the less likely it will be to matt and crush.
Laminate flooring is a great low-cost alternative to hardwood flooring, stone, and tile. New technologies are producing laminate flooring with more realistic looks and textures than ever before. And with a tough, clear melamine wear layer, laminate floors are extremely resistant to fading, scratching, and scuffing and hold up well to the occasional spills that can occur in a dining room. Laminate’s durable wear layer also makes it very easy to maintain.
Laminate floors are available in various surfaces types from smooth to textured and/or embossed. Embossed laminate often closely matches the grains of actual wood and appears very authentic. Distressed or hand scraped laminates also give flooring an antiqued appearance. Generally, the better the realism, the more costly the floor. Like real woods, laminate floors also come in different gloss levels. High-gloss finishes typically show scratches more than low gloss finishes. A great option for DIYers, laminate flooring often uses a click-and lock technology that is easy to install over most existing surfaces.
Luxury Vinyl Tile
Offering the durability and easy maintenance of vinyl coupled with the designer looks of real stone, wood, and ceramic tile, luxury vinyl tile (LVT) impressively replicates the look and textures of high-end flooring such as ceramic tile, limestone, marble, slate, parquet, and hardwood. And while some high-end LVT products are practically indistinguishable from real stone and woods, a durable wear layer (often 20 mm) makes this flooring far more durable, easier to maintain, warmer, and more dimensionally stable. Often less expensive than the real surfaces it replicates, LVT offers endless design options. Many tiles and planks include beveled edges and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Tiles can be laid with grout or without – for a sleeker look. And wood looks feature rich colors, finishes, and textures, for even more realism. Typically thinner than other hard surfaces, LVT can easily be installed over most existing surfaces and it works well when floors transition to adjoining rooms. LVT is also moisture-resistant, slip-resistant, and easy to maintain.
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Different flooring products are designed to withstand different levels of foot traffic, usage, and abrasion. So it’s important to discuss your specific use with your flooring retailer to help ensure the product you choose performs best in your situation. To get expert flooring advice for your dining room renovation, contact your local flooring store.