Most popularly used in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry areas and entryways are vinyl sheet, or linoleum floorings. This type of flooring cones in a vast array of colors, textures and patterns, in sheet sizes of 12 foot widths with varying lengths, and made from a vinyl composite, covered with a surface coating. It is installed by applying covering over the sub-floor, usually mahogany or particle core sheets 4`x4` in size, to which the vinyl is glued to. It can also be installed directly onto concrete floors, in areas such as basements. Joining two sheets together is a standard practice when the room width exceeds 12`, or under doorways. Sheet vinyl is a good flooring in areas where water tends to accumulate, like around bathroom fixtures or at entry ways. It is fairly durable, and often maintenance free. Linoleum is one of the cheapest types of flooring to install.
Ceramic tile is probably the most durable types of flooring and is typically installed in entry areas, where sand scuffing and water accumulations are the norm. Bathrooms and kitchens often get this type of floor treatment as well, but due to the high cost of installation, homeowners tend to not include these areas. Ceramic tile are typically a square tile, although interlocking units are on the market, in standard square measurements of 4", 6",8" or 12". They are installed by one of two primary methods, either set into a thin mortar bed (called "thinset adhesive"), which also acts like glue, or a heavyset bed of 1-1/2" normal mortar base. For all ceramic tile installations, the floor must be built up to ensure the strength required to prevent tile or joint cracking. Often, installers put down a material called "cement board", which is much like drywall, but is made of glass fibers and cement. In any case, ensure that your installer will offer you a guarantee against future cracking or uplift of tiles. Ceramic tiles require little maintenance, but beware, water on glossy floor tiles can be very slippery, and many a time, a homeowner has resented the installation of a high gloss tile, over a bathroom floor area.
So, a top quality oak engineered flooring will look the same but will it actually last as long?. How long a floor will last is mostly down to something called its `wear layer`. The part of the floor that is classed as the wear layer is from the surface of the board down to the tongue and on a solid oak board this would be around 5-6mm. Now, the wear layer on engineered wood flooring is the top layer of oak. So if you purchase an engineered oak flooring which has a 5-6mm solid oak top layer it will result in the flooring lasting just as long. In conclusion if you want an engineered flooring that is going to last as long as a traditional solid oak floor then make sure it has a nice thick top layer of wood, ideally 5mm+.
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