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Laying Down Flooring? Here's a Straightforward Guide To Get You Started


Putting down your own floor can be an extremely rewarding project for new homeowners. Many modern flooring materials are designed for ease-of-application. Transforming your old laminate or carpet into a fresh hardwood or luxury vinyl tile makes your home comfortable and easy to maintain.  


When you choose the right flooring for your house, you’ll know with your heart (and your feet) that you are home. At Keim Home Center, we’ll help you each step of the way to get the job done right. From inception to installation, Keim is here for you.  


First, consider what your lifestyle needs are. For instance, how much traffic will your floor receive? How many square feet is the project area? What type of subflooring is in place and is it structurally sound? Additionally, consider your budget and personal style. A great place to start researching these questions is at the FAQs page of our Flooring Project Guide.   


Hardwood Flooring

For many, hardwood flooring is the industry standard for appeal, resale value, durability and aesthetics. But, not all hardwood flooring is created equal, which is where consulting our friendly and knowledgeable staff comes in handy.  


Hardwood flooring comes in solid or engineered options, where engineered hardwood is bonded layers with a hardwood top layer. This design helps to prevent normal wood expansion and contraction. High-quality engineered hardwood will have a thick enough top-layer to allow for as much re-finishing as solid hardwood. Both solid and engineered hardwood are designed for tongue and groove installation. 


Both can also be used over a radiant heat matt, but solid hardwood has more restrictions, such as board width and total flooring height. For instance, solid hardwood requires more plywood subfloor when used on top of concrete, as in a basement. This can become a hassle for doorway heights, wainscoting and other tricky areas.  


But regardless of modern advantages of engineered hardwood flooring, some say that solid hardwood offers the luxury of a quieter, more solid step. Consider your area and environment closely before selecting your material.  


When looking at finish types, most common are oil and polyurethane. Oil is softer and more permeable to stains and scratches, requiring more frequent refinishes. To its benefit, you can touch up a small area, whereas with Polyueathane’s harder top coat, scratches are more noticeable and usually require a full recoat.  


Now for the fun part: picking out wood type and grain. It’s best to see for yourself at our Keim Home Center, but many homeowners value oak and walnut for their high level of durability and attractive qualities. When looking at grain, you’ll find plain-sawn, rift-sawn, and quarter-sawn. This just means at what angle the board went through the saw and what distinct grain patterns it will offer.  


Pro-Tip: You can stick with your favorite for a consistent look or mix it up with all three for a variety of figuring.  


Lastly, boards are available in two-inch through custom (6, 7, or even more inch) width planks. Wide planks look attractive and are widely popular but can develop more prominent seams as the wood contracts and expands over time.  


Luxury Vinyl Tile 

This modern material is the simplest for DIYers to install, while some professional experience will benefit those laying down tile or hardwood flooring. Also available in planks mimicking wood veneers, vinyl tile is affordable, durable and oftentimes waterproof. Vinyl flooring is designed to float above the subfloor, allowing for contraction and expansion without creating seams. Designs, colors, and styles vary greatly to match any home’s look and feel.  


Pro-Tip: Carefully consider thickness for durability and whether you will need a floating-floor mat above the subfloor. 


Tile Flooring 

Common in bathrooms or other moist environments, tile requires little maintenance and offers lasting beauty. Tile variety includes ceramic, which is the most cost efficient, porcelain, terra cotta, encaustic and natural stone. All of these are ideal when installing a heated floor below for high heat efficiency and a warm, cozy environment.  


Heated Flooring 

In-floor heating can be designed as electric or hydronic and is very low-maintenance while providing significant heat efficiency. It can be installed under all flooring types and is very safe. Consult an industry professional before finalizing your plan.  


Whatever your ideal floor looks like, we can help you match the needs of your home with a comfortable, fresh flooring material. Stop by the Keim Home Center to discuss your project ideas and learn more about available options!