You and your spouse both work eight hours a day, at least five days a week. After work, you’re taking the kids to soccer practice or piano lessons, before spending the evening at a meeting for one of the dozen or so clubs, groups, or committees you’re a part of. Then on the weekends, you’re going camping, rehearsing for that play, or any number of other activities.
It’s great that your family leads such an active lifestyle. But it doesn’t leave much time for cleaning. And with everything your family does, your house gets a lot of foot traffic, too, both from you and from guests, who tend to dirty things up even more. Your floors in particular are starting to show a lot of wear and tear, and look filthy to boot. It’s probably time to replace them. But what kind of flooring would accommodate your family’s busy lifestyle, hold up to wear, and stay looking bright and new for years to come? Here are a few options.
1. Natural Stone. Certain types of hard stone like granite and slate make great flooring for your kitchen. They have antibacterial properties, so spills clean up easily without leading to mold growth. They’re durable, resisting damage and heat, and easy to clean with a quick sweep or mop—and when you don’t have time to clean, a speckled color design helps hide the dirt. Furthermore, you can install matching countertops as well, to give your counters all the same properties, for a kitchen that’s low maintenance all around.
2. Vinyl. Perfect for almost any room, vinyl is incredibly versatile. In the living room, it can look like hardwood. In the bathroom, it can look like ceramic tile. But vinyl is much cheaper than either, and easier to install on any clean and dry subfloor. It’s also easy to keep clean, with a quick sweep or vacuum now and then, and wiping up spills as they occur. Finally, vinyl is durable and long lasting. Designed for heavy foot traffic, vinyl flooring will remain viable anywhere from 10 to 20 years—or even more, if you take good care of it.
3. Laminate. Another material that can be made to look like various high end types of flooring, for a fraction of the cost. While it’s best known for being able to imitate the look of hardwood flooring, it can also provide the aesthetic of ceramic tile or even stone. And not only is laminate cheaper than those other types of flooring, it provides other benefits as well. For one thing, installation is much quicker and easier. While a couple of decades ago, installing laminate used to be a long and painstaking process, today it’s something you can do yourself, if you have an afternoon to spare. Or if not, a professional installation can be completed much more quickly than the installation of hardwood or tile, without inconveniencing you as much either. But most importantly, laminate has a protective layer over it that’s water resistant, stain resistant, and can withstand heavy wear, making it easy to keep clean with the occasional mop, and able to last you for a long time to come.
4. Carpet. For your bedroom and other places where comfort is important, some form of carpeting is a necessity. But carpets are high maintenance, aren’t they? They stain. They take a lot of effort to keep clean. How’s a busy family supposed to keep a carpeted floor looking presentable? Well, it depends on what kind of carpet you get. First, go for a low pile. That means the carpet fibers are shorter and closer to the ground—the opposite of plush or shag carpets, which are high pile. Low pile is much easier to keep clean, as dirt doesn’t build up between the fibers. As for material, get carpet made of wool. Not only is it stain resistant (and fire resistant!), but it’s strong and durable, retaining its overall shape under heavy foot traffic.
Life is too short to spend all your time cleaning, or worrying about how your floor looks. You and your family have a myriad of more important things to do. With the right kind of flooring in each room, you can reduce overall maintenance, increase their durability, and make sure your floors look great and last you for years, even if you don’t have the time to spend taking painstaking care of them.