Bakersfield Magazine: Personal Spaces

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During the design phase of a project, we are faced with numerous decisions. However we all look forward to
the selections of the finish materials and color scheme. This is because our dwellings are an extension of ourselves; we express our personality, tastes and likes with the design of our living spaces.So what are the main style defining elements? The style of an interior of a house is defined by the type of cabinets and wood trims, and the floor finish. Floors are the foundation of a space and the surface that take the most wear. Not only do floors have a major impact on the design, but also on the budget and the resale value of your home.What are the interior floor finish options?

Wood: Warm, elegant and durable, wood is fairly easy to maintain in residential applications, and easy to refinish or replace when damaged. Allow for the wood to acclimate to the room’s conditions for a minimum of two weeks prior to installation.

Tile:hard, durable, and very easy to clean. Select slip resistant tile for wet areas.

Stone: Very elegant, durable and permanent material. Considerations include its heavy weight, thickness and finish surface. For safety from slippage, polished stone should not be installed in wet areas or stairs.

Resilient flooring: Provide a good economic solution for durable, ease of maintenance and nonabsorbent material. It is also more comfortable for underfoot, sound absorbing and easier to install and replace
than tile.

Laminate: hard, durable and easy to install, a less expensive alternative to wood flooring. Not recommended in wet areas. A vapor barrier is required when laid over concrete floor.

Terrazzo: Very durable, permanent, water resistant, and fire resistant. It is a mix of granite, marble and quartz chips in a matrix that is poured, cured, ground and polished. You can mix any color, texture and design with terrazzo floors. Terrazzo also comes in tile format.

Concrete: Can be a finish flooring surface if smooth and well leveled. To resist stain and grease, it should be sealed. It comes with a variety of colors when cast and can be painted or stained.

Carpet: Warm, durable and soft material that is great for acoustics. Carpet is often the most economical type of flooring. Both carpet rolls and tiles are easy to maintain, though tiles are convenient to accessing subfloor when needed or to replace the damaged pieces only rather than the whole surface.
What are the driving factors for selecting a floor finish?

Safety, comfort, fire rating, maintenance, cleaning, acoustics and allergies. Flooring can present a number of hazards including slipping and tripping. In wet areas, it is important to select a material that is slip resistant. Tripping points are the result of adjacent surfaces that were not leveled properly. Consider the maintenance aspect and durability of a product in high traffic areas. How will the product maintain its original form after usage and how feasible it is to replace. Research the acoustic qualities in relation to the other finishes of the room. Keep in mind the effect that materials have on the environment and your health, how it was made, the VOCs ( Volatile Organic Compounds) it gives off to the environment during its lifetime and the way it is disposed.

Aesthetics: Style, pattern and texture. The textures, colors and the installation of a material will determine the overall look of the room and can alter our perception of the room’s proportions; Light-colored floors will brighten a space and add to the light levels whereas dark-colored floors will absorb the light and add more weight to the room. Cool colors add spaciousness and warm colors give a sense of security. A single neutral colored floors act as a background to the overall space while patterns create a dominant element that defines spaces with non-physical boundaries.

If the intent is to use patterns or curves, then it is important to specify products that are easy to cut through different shapes and forms. Consider the character that a flooring material has when making your selections and assess whether it is in line with the overall concept.

Cost: Initial cost and lifetime cost. For proper budgeting, account not only for the cost to purchase and install the product but also for the cost to upkeep and replace it. Flooring materials have evolved and improved in quality, physical appearance and installation techniques. If your design requires the wood look but you cannot install real wood for functional or budgetary reasons, it is available in ceramic or vinyl. Some manufacturers have perfected its look to make it impossible to tell its material just by looking at it. Whether your desired look is pearl, wood, stone, concrete etc.., you will find it in an alternative material. The commercial grade products are being highly used in residential applications for their durability and wide variety of selections. No matter what the application is floor finish material should be specified carefully and without any compromises.