6 common flooring mistakes to avoid

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The flooring in your home is really the unsung hero. If your floors are doing their job, they get hardly any attention. But when floors look bad, they stick out like a sore thumb!

From the material you choose to the way it is installed, your floors can have a huge effect on the look and feel of your abode. Avoid these six common mistakes when it’s time to choose new floors for your home.

1. Choosing flooring before function

Stop right there—before you choose that gorgeous wool carpet or intricately patterned tile, decide which room it will be in. You need to know the function of the space before you can decide what type of flooring to install.

For example, a mudroom shouldn’t have high-maintenance marble tile. Bathrooms aren’t a good spot for hardwoods. An entry hallway or kitchen shouldn’t be covered in carpet that will get ruined from heavy foot traffic.

In a 2022 Homes and Gardens article, Manhattan architect Anastasia Harrison warns against putting style before function. “I see so many clients installing delicate flooring materials like beautiful wool and hand-made rugs in high traffic areas, and as a result, the material is stained, destroyed, and requires lots of maintenance,” Harrison says.

Beautiful rugs or natural fiber carpets should be saved for bedrooms or lower-traffic areas. Luxury vinyl and more durable flooring options are best in high-traffic areas like the kitchen, living room and hallways.

2. Poor subfloor

Most every home has a subfloor — the layer of flooring beneath the luxury vinyl, hardwood, tile or other coverings. According to the Spruce, this could be (and usually is) about a one-inch thick layer of plywood on top of joists. Your choice of floor covering is then placed and secured on top of that plywood. Some floors have concrete subfloors instead of plywood.

When it comes time to install flooring, your subfloor should be in good shape first. If your subfloor is wet, cracked, or uneven, you are likely to experience major issues with the flooring as time passes. Tom Scalisi writing for Bob Vila says you might need to replace your subfloor if it has sinking sections, cupping floorboards, cracked and popping tiles, and even squeaking.

3. Cutting corners during installation

There are a million little tasks that go into the installation of your new floors, which also means there are a million little ways to cut corners!

For wood or laminate flooring, a few rows on the outer edge of each room should be glued down. This ensures the floor stays tight and secure to prevent shifting or buckling in the future. For tile floors, you’re going to need some patience. In an article for Family Handyman, contractor Laurent Billaud explains the importance of not trying to rush the process.

6 common flooring mistakes to avoid
Photo: Maleo/Shutterstock.com

“In tile, there’s a lot of curing time,” Billaud says. “And you’ve got to be a stickler for the rules. If a product calls for 24 hours, then wait a full 24 hours. That doesn’t mean finishing the application at 5 p.m., then coming back the next morning and continuing the installation. That’s not 24 hours.”

Depending on climate conditions, you may even need to increase the curing time in cooler, wetter environments.

4. Not following the pattern

Since you’re picking a floor to last for years, make sure it’s installed properly and aesthetically. Wood, tile, and laminate floors can all look wonky if they’re installed straight across a room—or worse, if the lines are crooked. And certain carpets have patterns that need to be lined up properly. A professional installer should know where to start the installation and follow a consistent pattern so your home’s flooring has a seamless flow.

5. Improper cleaning and maintenance

Maintaining floors is a necessary part of upkeep that is often overlooked. Different floors have different needs. Laminate is the most laid-back of the bunch, but materials like hardwood, tile (especially marble), and carpets all need a little extra love.

One common mistake is not cleaning them often enough and letting dirt and grime build up. Another misstep is using harsh chemicals on surfaces where you could cause damage and discoloration. Using too much water can also cause water damage on hardwood floors.

6. Forgetting about the future

Remember that your flooring is typically a long-term commitment. Don’t pick anything too trendy that you’ll be sick of in a few years. Madeline Buiano for Martha Stewart recommends flooring options like black walnut or northern white oak hardwood, travertine tile, or marble for timeless hard flooring. For carpets and rugs, choose neutral colors and patterns that work with your existing décor.

Visit the flooring experts at Giant Carpet One

Giant Carpet One has knowledgeable experts to help you sort through all the types of flooring out there to find the perfect fit for your home. Visit your local Utah Giant Carpet One to see, touch and feel your options — from carpet to luxury vinyl, hardwood, tile, and more.

Whatever your budget, you’re sure to find something you love that works for all members of your family. For more information or to find a showroom near you, visit Giant Carpet One.

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