Flooring Basics 102 (By Chad Vankoughnett)

In this second installment of our examination of flooring, we want to take a look at three other popular floor covering options: Tile, Vinyl, and Carpet. As stated in our Flooring 101 blog, considering the primary uses of each room you intend to finish will greatly affect the choice you make for flooring. So far, we have examined Hardwood, Engineered Hardwood, and Laminate, and each of these can be an excellent choice when replacing the flooring in your home. Now let’s look at three more flooring options for your home.


Vinyl flooring is some of the most versatile flooring available today. It is crafted to look like tile, wood, steel, paint, abstract art, you name it. It comes in a variety of thicknesses and can be purchased as a sheet or as tiles depending on your style choice and preferences. Vinyl flooring is often used in commercial applications, but can look very nice in the home as well. Many people will use vinyl flooring at an entrance to the home, in bathrooms and laundry rooms, playrooms and basements…pretty much anywhere in the home, although usually not as frequently in living rooms or bedrooms. Vinyl is a very hardy product, and is perfect for high traffic and high moisture areas of the home. Many people will use vinyl flooring in their nursery and pre-school play areas, as it is very easy to keep clean.

Vinyl flooring is very easy to install, although installation can depend on the type of vinyl flooring you buy. Many vinyl products simply “float” on the floor, meaning they are not glued or attached to the floor directly, but are held in place by their own design and the wall trim. Other applications include glue which needs to be spread on the floor with a notched trowel, and some vinyl tiles come with an adhesive backing…you remove a paper backing and simply stick the tile to whatever surface you are covering. A well maintained vinyl floor will last for years, and it is easy to repair and/or replace whenever you wish.



Tile is one of the hardiest and most versatile types of floor coverings available today. There are places in the Middle East where you can see tile floors that are over 2000 years old! Tile handles wear very well, and can easily make a bland room look elegant and beautiful. Tile is made from a large variety of materials, such as plastic, stone, ceramic, wood, carpet, vinyl, glass…you get the idea. While you can glue down almost any piece of material and call it a tile, using a tile manufactured specifically for the purpose to which you are putting it is always your best bet.

When it comes to styles, tiles provide you with a virtually unlimited selection. From whimsical to elegant, Chuck Norris to the Queen of England, you will always be able to find a tile to match the design. Tiles are very adaptable as well, and can be used in virtually any application. They are especially well suited to high moisture environments, which is why they are used so predominantly in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.

Along with being made from a wide variety of materials comes a wide variety in cost. Tiles can cost anywhere from $1/foot to $35/foot and more, depending on the tile. Tile also requires some expertise to install well, so if you are buying more expensive tiles, you might want to have a professional install them for you to limit wastage and other potential problems. With a cheap tile, you might be willing to take the time to experiment, knowing that if you get it wrong you can always tear it up and start over, but if the cost for doing so is several thousand dollars, you may not want to go that route.


Carpet is probably the most dominant floor covering in Canada. A well installed carpet is comfortable and warm, an ideal floor covering for living areas and bedrooms. Carpet comes in a wide variety of colours and styles, and quality makes a real difference in how well the carpet handles wear. A high quality carpet with a good underlay will feel great underfoot, will resist staining and pilling, and will last for years.

Carpet is not suitable for high moisture areas, and although there have been trends in the past to put carpet in kitchens and bathrooms, these are really not the best applications for carpet. Moisture sensitivity notwithstanding, carpets are more prone to staining than other types of flooring, and care must be taken when choosing colours and styles to offset this tendency. It would be foolish, for example, to put a white carpet in your child’s nursery…children are MESSY, and your carpet will be very stained in no time at all (I admit I am speaking from experience here). As with all your flooring choices, the first consideration must be what the primary use of the room is.

Carpet must be installed correctly or it will lose its beauty very quickly. It is best to have a professional install your carpet in order to best protect your investment. A poorly installed carpet will show its seams, buckle and fold, and generally create a hazard for anyone who drags their feet when they walk. Carpet is generally designed to be coupled with an underlay, which is a pad of foam designed specifically for this use that goes between the carpet and the subfloor. This not only makes the carpet more comfortable, but will help it handle wear better, ensuring that your floor will look beautiful for years to come.


No matter what kind of flooring you are thinking of installing, whether hardwood, engineered hardwood, laminate, vinyl, tile, or carpet, once you have decided on the materials there are a few things you need to do in order to make sure you get what you need and get it installed properly. In the next edition of our flooring series, we will explore some of the practical things you need to know when replacing your floors, such as accurately measuring your area, choosing the right products, and knowing what questions to ask. As always, if you just want the answers right now, call J&H Builder’s Warehouse and speak to one of our flooring specialists. We would be happy to help you!

– Chad Vankoughnett