Category Archives: flooring

Find the Perfect Bathroom Laminate Flooring

Maybe your bathroom doesn’t need a complete makeover, but it needs something more than a new set of towels. If you want to update your bathroom easily and affordably, install a new laminate floor. Armstrong laminate flooring is easy to install and maintain, offers long-term durability and comes in an array of innovative designs.

You’ll find flooring designs in realistic-looking wood and stone patterns that are hard to tell from the real thing. Plus, there are many other styles with dramatic visuals and rich colors. Nothing competes with bathroom laminate flooring when it comes to decorating options!

Bathroom Laminate Flooring Options
Wood-look laminates are a great option for a bathroom since you shouldn’t install real hardwood in this room. Oak laminate flooring is one of the more popular styles of laminate wood. This classic wood species with an open grain pattern, accented by dark swirls, can be stained in a variety of colors and works well with any bathroom décor. Pine is another popular choice for bathroom laminate flooring. Its light color brightens a room and can make a small bathroom appear bigger.

Go for the look of natural stone with stone laminate flooring. The Weathered Way design offers the look of subdued and weathered elegance with random blocks and tumbled stone. The Stone Creek pattern in soft neutral colors looks like tile and creates a soothing environment, perfect for a bathroom spa.

An eye-catching floor color can change the entire look of your bathroom and boost your mood. Browse Armstrong laminate in butterscotch oak, candied cherry or earthen copper colors to make you feel good all over the minute you step on the floor. Want to experience an exotic escape without leaving the house? Puesta del Sol laminate flooring will remind you of an ancient street in an old Castilian village. If you long for a day at the beach, try a white washed boardwalk look.

With such a range of design options available in laminate, you can find the perfect bathroom laminate flooring to quickly and easily create that fresh new look you want.

Bathroom Flooring Design Ideas

Designing a bathroom that fits your unique style can be an exciting project. Whether you’re looking to create a relaxing adult sanctuary or a safe and playful bathroom for kids, we have thousands of bathroom flooring products, one of which is sure to make a splash in your home.

Many styles offer both durability and aesthetic appeal, but it’s equally important to find one that can stand up to a high-moisture environment. Below is an overview of the Armstrong flooring options that meet moisture resistance, performance, and design needs in a bathroom setting.

If your design demands bathroom flooring with the look of natural stone or ceramic tile, consider Alterna™ engineered stone tile. Like stone and ceramic, Alterna tile is beautiful and durable, but Alterna offers a more comfortable surface that is kinder to your feet.

Vinyl flooring is prized for its versatility. It can be installed anywhere in your home, but with its superior resistance to moisture, vinyl is an excellent choice for your bathroom.

Duality™ Premium vinyl flooring is engineered with a fiberglass structure for long-lasting performance. This floor also offers superior visuals including enhanced dimension, depth of color, and stunning definition.

Luxe Plank® luxury vinyl is an innovative, water-resistant flooring that captures authentic hardwood and stone looks.

Laminate has come a long way from what you remember at your grandma’s house. Known for its easy maintenance and durability, laminate is a smart choice for your bathroom design.

From rustic, hand-scraped wood to natural stone and tile looks, you’re sure to find a laminate floor that blends seamlessly with your style and colors.

When designing a half bath or powder room, engineered wood flooring is a viable option. This real-wood flooring is highly resistant to changes in temperature and humidity.

Armstrong offers a wide range of wood species including red oak, smoky hickory, and creamy light maple. Due to the higher moisture content in full baths, we recommend choosing engineered stone, laminate, vinyl, or luxury vinyl flooring for baths that include a tub or shower.

There are countless bathroom designs that can make your bathroom your own. Spanish mission? Country farmhouse? Tropical oasis? Whatever style you choose, we have bathroom flooring ideas that can pull it all together beautifully.

Kitchen Flooring Design Ideas

5 Kitchen Flooring Options

Hardwood – A premium choice, hardwood flooring is durable enough to last a lifetime, while adding real value to your home. Most homeowners prefer hardwood floors for their striking natural colors, richly detailed grain patterns and their one-of-a-kind elegant style. Hardwood alone contributes a variety of unique kitchen design ideas – exotic tropical and traditional domestic species, wide-plank, authentic hand-sculpted and distressed planks – all with the richness and character you demand for your home.

Luxury vinyl – Achieve high-end looks with two kitchen design ideas in luxury vinyl. Luxury vinyl tile in our Alterna and Alterna Reserve collections captures the realism of beautiful, natural stone and ceramic, while providing a soft surface that feels warm and comfortable underfoot. Luxury vinyl plank accurately represents real hardwood colors and textures in a vinyl product that’s easy to install and waterproof.

Vinyl sheet – Innovative print technology in our Duality™ Premium Plus and Duality Premium vinyl sheet floors captures realism so true to nature that floors look like actual stone and hardwood. When you factor in excellent durability and superior stain protection, it’s no surprise that vinyl ranks high among great kitchen design ideas.

Laminate – If low-maintenance and durability are important in your floor-buying decision, then explore the many options available in laminate floors. Not only is laminate highly durable, it offers real wood and stone looks at a fraction of the cost of the real thing.

Vinyl tile – a DIY favorite, vinyl tile comes in an amazing assortment of patterns and styles that make it easy to customize the floor you want. Vinyl tile has a long-lasting finish that resists scratches and scuffs, plus a protective layer that guards against rips, tears and gouging. It’s affordable and easy to maintain, making vinyl tile a great value.

In all of these kitchen design ideas, you’ll have no trouble finding the perfect floor to complement your cabinetry, countertops, appliances and, most importantly, your lifestyle and budget.

Basement Flooring Options

Remodel Basement

Ready to remodel your basement? Finishing your basement can add both extra room and value to your home. Regardless of what your vision is for this untapped space – guest room, home office, exercise gym, family room – we offer basement flooring options best suited to your lifestyle.

 A Few Things to Consider When Choosing a Basement floor

With the exception of solid hardwood, nearly every type of flooring can be installed in your basement. However, to complete the project you may have to deal with an uneven subfloor or problematic moisture. If your basement is out of level, you can use a self-leveling cement to create an even subfloor or purchase a flooring product that “floats” above the subfloor.

The vast majority of basements are constructed using concrete, one of the most durable materials available to home builders. One of concrete’s few weaknesses is porousness, meaning it allows water to seep through the slab floor and foundation walls. Particularly in older homes, moisture can also enter the basement through cracks in the foundation or at the joint between the foundation and exterior walls.

The easiest solution to combating moisture is to install a waterproof underlayment above the subfloor to ensure your new flooring doesn’t suffer from water damage. You can also opt to raise or “float” your floor off the concrete. The air gap between the installed flooring and foundation slab encourages moisture to dissipate.

Here are a few of your best basement flooring options:

 Luxury Vinyl Tile with Stone Visuals

The cool floor that is warm underfoot. Luxury vinyl tile comes in a variety of stone designs in slate, marble, ceramic and travertine that reflect the coolness of a sub-level space. Unlike traditional stone and ceramic flooring, luxury vinyl resists breakage when items are dropped. It also absorbs sound to give your basement a quiet, peaceful vibe.

 Luxury Vinyl Plank with Wood Visuals

Get the beauty of natural hardwood that is both waterproof and easy to install. Luxury vinyl plank is an ideal choice for those seeking a rustic, classic look for their basement. Choose the installation option that “floats” above your subfloor to avoid adding a protective underlayment. The great advantage of luxury vinyl plank is that it molds to the floor underneath and is very forgiving to uneven surfaces.

 Laminate

Durable, resilient laminate can be placed anywhere in your home, including basements. Laminate maintains its beauty even in high-traffic areas and through normal changes in temperature, light and humidity levels. Choose from a variety of striking visuals including hand-scraped wood, stone and other natural designs. DIY-easy laminate boards simply lock and fold together directly over concrete with no special tools or adhesives.

 Engineered Hardwood

Engineered hardwood allows you to enjoy the beauty of wood flooring in your finished basement. The multi-ply construction of genuine wood over a stabilized core makes engineered hardwood less susceptible to shrinking and expanding. Like all Armstrong hardwood floors, engineered hardwood flooring comes in a wide variety of domestic and exotic wood species, stains and surface treatments.

 Vinyl Sheet/Tile

Versatile vinyl sheet flooring is an ideal option for finished basements. It performs beautifully in both high-traffic and moisture-prone areas. Vinyl sheet with fiberglass backing lies perfectly flat over a concrete slab without adhesive. Out cutting-edge print technology produces beautiful vinyl flooring with realistic-looking designs that replicate woods, stones and other natural materials.

 Want more basement flooring ideas?

Not sure what flooring type is best for your basement? Use our Floor Finder tool to help you choose the best flooring based on your lifestyle. Answer a few simple questions about durability, design, installation and budget and we’ll match you with the flooring that’s ideal for your basement remodel. With these basement flooring ideas, you’ll love entertaining family and friends in your beautiful, new lower level room.

Hardwood Edge Styles

Edge Types for Hardwood

Before selecting a hardwood floor it’s important to understand the various edge styles, which will help determine which one is ideal for your space. Edge treatments refer to the shape of the edge on the floor board and the appearance that’s achieved once the planks are together. There are four common of styles of hardwood edges that influence the overall style of a hardwood floor.

 Square Edge

Square edge flooring gives rooms a traditional, upscale look. The seamless edge treatment resembles hardwood flooring that was finished on-site. Square edges also blend well with other flooring pieces and help direct focus to the overall pattern of the floor. This is also the easiest of the edge styles to maintain since dirt and moisture will not fall between the boards.

 Micro Edge

Hardwood flooring with a micro-edge has a more pronounced edge treatment. This popular edge style “frames” the individual wood pieces emphasizing the texture of each plank while creating a more relaxed, casual style.

 Beveled Edge

Beveled edge flooring has very distinct grooves that impart a casual, rustic appearance. Beveled edge flooring typically has a urethane finish that allows dirt to be easily swept or vacuumed out of the grooves. A floor with a beveled edge can also be more forgiving when installed over irregular subfloors or uneven plank heights.

 Eased Edge

Eased edge flooring – also known as micro-beveled – features a mini-bevel (about half the depth of a beveled edge), but with the same benefits of beveled edge flooring. Each board has a slightly beveled edge to help hide minor irregularities. Eased edge treatments are a bit less casual compared to flooring with a completely beveled treatment.

The Differences Between Hardwoods and Softwoods

What Makes Hardwood Different From Softwood?

You might think that hardwood is more durable than softwood simply because of the contrast in their names. But the truth is the terms “hardwood” and “softwood” actually refer to a tree’s structure and origin, not its density – although most softwoods are more pliant than hardwood..

The differences between hardwood trees and softwood trees begin with a tree’s origin and its structure.

 Wood Origins

Hardwood comes from angiosperm trees – or trees with enclosed seeds, like apples or acorns. These are also called “flowering plants”. Examples include ash, aspen, balsa, birch, cherry, elm, mahogany, maple, oak, and walnut.

Softwood comes from gymnosperm trees – or trees with uncovered seeds. Think of cedar, pine and spruce, with exposed seeds that blow away to germinate and needles they keep year-round.

 Differences In Structure

A primary difference between hardwoods and softwoods is the presence of pores. Hardwoods have pores ranging in size and shape. The pores allow water to travel from the roots to nourish the wood. They also contribute to a hardwood’s grain pattern. The hardwood’s structure also makes it more dense and more resistant to fire

Softwoods have a system of straight, linear tubes (tracheids, not pores), which transport water and produce sap and provide strength to the stem.

 Appearances

Every wood species has something unique to offer in color and grain pattern. Hardwoods typically can be white, dark red, rich brown, and variations of those colors. Most softwoods tend to be yellow or reddish in color.

Grain patterns can also vary and have nothing to do with a wood being hard or soft. For example, fir is a softwood and has a very pronounced grain, but so does oak, which is a hardwood.

 Hardwood and Softwood Uses

Hardwood species provide wood used for durable construction projects, hardwood flooring, decking, and high quality furniture.

Softwood trees generally produce a less expensive wood used for timber, paper, Christmas trees, and mineral density fiberboard.

 Hardwood or Softwood Floors?

When it comes to wood flooring, hardwoods are typically more durable and more expensive than softwoods. Hardwood flooring tends to be better suited to withstand heavy foot traffic and last longer overall.

When choosing a species for your hardwood floor, there are many factors that will play a role in your decision. If you’re not sure which hardwood floor is right for you, contact our Customer Care reps for assistance. They can help you find a wood flooring option that matches your decorating style and lifestyle.

Wide Plank Flooring Options

We often associate wide plank flooring with rustic cottages or colonial-era farmhouses, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be stylish in today’s modern homes too! With so many options available in terms of size, color, species, finish, and construction, virtually any design aesthetic can be complemented with wide plank flooring.

Wide Plank Flooring Options

Sizes – “Wide plank” usually means boards that are 5” in width, but they can go up to 7”- 8” or even wider. Plank lengths tend to be longer, too, creating a more seamless look. It’s in these broader widths and longer lengths that wide plank flooring gains its drama and distinction over narrow strip floors. Mixed width planks offer a rustic feel, while single-width floors lend themselves to a more contemporary environment.

Species – Traditional domestic species such as oak, maple, walnut, hickory, and pine are versatile wide plank flooring options that complement most cabinetry and home furnishings. Exotic species have a richness and excitement that “pops” in any space, so wider planks show off more of their great features.

Finishes – Hand-scraped and distressed wide plank flooring shows denting and scooping reminiscent of boards carved with hand-held tools. They also show a gentle, natural wear that includes knots, dents, and nails, but they have a durable finish that preserves the look and protects the floor.

Construction – Solid hardwood floors can last for generations with the option for refinishing throughout their lifetime, but they’re not recommended for every room in the house. Engineered hardwood is real wood flooring, but it’s more stable than solid wood and less susceptible to shrinking and expanding. You’ll find lots of options in engineered wide plank flooring.

Use wide plank flooring as the centerpiece of your space. The width of the individual boards will have a dramatic influence on the look of your floor and the overall design of your home.

Go Green with Sustainable Flooring

 With qualities like natural beauty, durability, lasting value and comfort, there are so many great reasons hardwood flooring makes a smart choice for your home. You might be surprised to learn that hardwood flooring is also a smart choice for the environment.

With today’s growing awareness of how energy consumption and waste build-up impacts the planet, many of us look for ways to “green” our homes with materials that are not only beautiful but environmentally friendly. Hardwood flooring meets those expectations perfectly!

What Does “Green” Mean?

Going green at home means considering several factors when choosing materials for our homes, like hardwood floors:

Outside the Home

Energy savings – Natural wood products are among the most energy-efficient to produce with manufacturing limited to running a saw blade and kiln drying. Advances in manufacturing technology and processes also make efficient use of wood waste and by-products. For example, tree bark is shredded into mulch, and sawdust becomes animal bedding or fuel used to operate kilns.

Water conservation – Forests naturally provide filtration and storage systems for our water supply, and they don’t require mechanical irrigation to regenerate. Responsible forest management selectively thins mature trees to create openings in the canopy that allow more precipitation and sunlight to reach the forest floor. Not only does this provide a thriving eco-system where seedlings and saplings grow, but sustainably managed forests can release slightly more water for a decade or so following timber harvest.

CO2 emissions reduction – Wood is carbon neutral. Growing trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and separate the carbon and oxygen atoms. The oxygen is released back into the atmosphere, while the carbon is used to grow roots, trunk, branches and leaves. Sustainable management creates healthier forests that serve as a “carbon sink” to clean air of greenhouse gases and purify drinking water for wildlife and municipal water systems.

Preservation of natural resources – Armstrong is strongly committed to supporting sustainable forest management practices globally, including planting trees to replenish what we harvest. Learn more about Armstrong’s Responsible Forest Management Policy.

Inside the Home

Better indoor air quality – Hardwood flooring doesn’t collect dust or allergens that can become trapped in other materials and contribute to health problems. Plus, hardwood flooring is easy to clean and maintain, which means you can keep your home allergen-free with little effort.

Recycle, reuse – The lifetime of a solid hardwood floor can be more than 100 years. Additionally, a hardwood floor can be refinished several times to bring back its original luster. At the end of its useful life, a hardwood floor can be repurposed into other wood products, from furniture to combustible fuel, or returned to the earth where it will naturally decay. Although a hardwood floor is strong and durable, you can trust that it won’t be found sitting in a landfill indefinitely!

From its sustainable source to its healthy qualities indoors, clearly, you can live green with hardwood flooring without sacrificing style, comfort or peace of mind.

Engineered vs. Solid Hardwood Flooring

 Solid hardwood floors are just that — they’re made from solid wood. Each board of solid hardwood flooring is made from a single piece of hardwood that’s about 3/4 of an inch thick. Because it’s so thick it can be sanded down and refinished for however long the flooring is in the house.

Engineered hardwood is a versatile and resilient flooring option that can be installed in most areas of your home. Made of genuine wood, this flooring gives your home an updated look and feel. Engineered hardwood is made of a core of hardwood or plywood with a layer of hardwood veneer affixed to the top surface. It’s more resistant to moisture and heat compared to solid hardwood.

 Where Can I Install Hardwood Floors?

Solid hardwood expands and contracts in reaction to changes in moisture and temperature, so solid wood floors are only recommended for rooms at ground level or above.

The unique construction of engineered wood creates a structure that is less likely to buckle, gap, or react to fluctuations in humidity and temperature. You can install engineered flooring on any level, including below ground. It’s a great choice for finished basements and bathrooms.

 Solid vs. Engineered Performance

Both solid and engineered hardwood floors are designed for beauty and durability. Their tough surface can stand up to active homes. However, both solid and engineered hardwood flooring have different performance attributes.

Solid wood flooring is permanently nailed to the subfloor. Because of expansion and contraction issues, installers will normally leave a gap between the wall and the floor to accommodate swelling. This type of flooring should only be installed in parts of the home above grade and only over plywood, wood or oriented strand board subfloors.

Engineered floors have enhanced stability, which provides slightly more resistance to everyday wear- and-tear and also to buckling or rippling. Solid hardwood floors are more prone to shrinking or expanding based on humidity levels.

Engineered wood floors can be more resistant to moisture and offer a bit more stability than solid hardwood. While no wood product can tolerate water laying on it, the increased moisture levels over concrete aren’t a problem for most engineered wood floors. Unlike solid hardwood, engineered hardwood can go over concrete under the right conditions.

 DIY vs. Pro Installation

Solid hardwood flooring can be glued, nailed or stapled to a wood subfloor. These types of installations are best left to the pros, since they can challenge even experienced DIYers.

Engineered wood floors can be either nailed down or glued down, like a traditional hardwood installation. They can also be installed as “floating” floors, in which the boards attach to each other and “float” above the subfloor.

Whoever installs your solid hardwood floors must have enough experience to leave the right amount of space for hardwood’s natural expansion and contraction. The individual boards can’t be too tight or too loose. If they’re too tight your floor will buckle. If it’s too loose the gaps between the boards will get too wide in the winter.

 DIY Hardwood Installation

Solid hardwood flooring installation is perhaps the most challenging of all flooring types. However with the right tools and planning skilled DIYers can handle the job with stunning results. If you’re unsure if you’re up to the task, review our DIY skill assessment, so you know what to expect.

Engineered hardwood flooring is an easier and faster DIY installation. Armstrong engineered hardwood flooring comes with a Lock&Fold™ installation system. This simple two-step process eliminates the need for messy glue or nails.

 Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Both engineered and solid hardwood flooring can be refinished. Solid hardwood can be refinished up to 10 times depending on the board thickness. Engineered boards requires less refinishing over its lifetime – typically only one or two times.

Refinishing your hardwood floors can be a DIY project, but it requires some skill and a bit of patience. Equipment rental can range between $200-$300 dollars. If you’re not completely confident in your skill level, you may want to consider hiring a professional.

 Hardwood Flooring Costs

The cost of solid vs. engineered hardwood is typically dependent on the quality and species of the wood. Exotic or highly-coveted hardwood, such as maple, may be more expensive than engineered flooring. For more common hardwoods, solid wood flooring may be cheaper overall, although it will take longer to install.

The layers in the buildup underneath the top layer of engineered hardwood also play a role in the final price. There can be anywhere between three and 12 layers of plywood and unfinished white wood, depending on the thickness and quality of the finished product. Armstrong’s price estimator is a helpful tool to get an estimate for the cost of buying and installing a hardwood floor.

All You Should Know About Hardwood Flooring Cost

 After deciding to purchase a hardwood floor, you’ll want to put together a detailed cost estimate. Typically, hardwood flooring costs relate to two key factors – the cost of the flooring (per square foot) and the labor for installation. Now what else do you need to know to get an estimate of your complete hardwood flooring costs?

Materials and services for a hardwood installation:

Materials:

  • Pre-finished hardwood boards*
  • Hardwood trims and moldings
  • Subfloor/underlayment
  • Installation materials (adhesives, underlayment, etc.)
  • Additional materials required to complete the installation

Services:

  • Furniture removal/replacement
  • Removal/disposal of old flooring
  • Subfloor preparation
  • Product delivery
  • Installation

* Allow 10% extra in your square foot calculations to make sure you have enough material.

Project Estimator Online Tool

Armstrong Flooring’s project estimator is a great tool for getting an approximate hardwood flooring cost. For each flooring product you select, you’ll be prompted to answer a few questions. The project estimator will guide you through the sometimes overlooked hardwood flooring cost factors, such as the removal of existing flooring, subfloor replacement and installation costs.

You will also be asked if you’re planning to hire a professional installer or do it yourself. Unless you’re a very experienced DIYer and completely comfortable using hardwood installation tools, we recommend hiring an Armstrong certified installer. If you decide to complete your own installation, be sure to visit our DIY Flooring Installation area to learn about the skills and tools needed.

After you answer all the questions, you’ll get a project estimate that you can print out. With your hardwood flooring estimate in hand, you can then visit your local flooring retailer to get a quote. Keep in mind, there may be additional costs based on local conditions that may affect the price.

If you invest the time now to understand hardwood flooring cost factors, you’ll know exactly how to plan your budget to get the hardwood floor you really want.