4 Reasons Why Hardwood Floors Are Unmatched

At Professional Installed Floors, we stock a wide range of flooring options for our Atlanta area customers. And while we offer the entire gamut, from laminate floors to stone tiles, we still hold a special place for true hardwood floors. We truly believe it’s unique, and while Bob Villa’s website recently made a statement about how hardwood floors may have better alternatives, we believe otherwise.

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Hardwood Flooring: Still Our Choice Over Laminates

Of course, things like budget and personal circumstances factor into it, but if we could borrow an analogy from the car industry, it’s basically like saying a luxury car may have better alternatives in an economy sedan — which is a fallacy, comparing apples to oranges. Both will get you from A to B without an issue, but one is a notably smoother, more comfortable ride with better features.

That’s how we feel about hardwood flooring, and here are four specific reasons why:

#1 There’s Nothing Like It

Many laminate and vinyl products mimic hardwood floors. They may use a layer of wood in their engineered design or they may have some sort of visual imitation to have the same appearance as hardwood. Yet for each of those instances, most people can simply tell the difference between true hardwood and a manufactured product.

That’s not to say that the latter doesn’t have its merits; there are reasons why laminate and vinyl products work better for many customers. However, hardwood is simply what some people want, and when that is the case, there’s simply nothing that matches the real thing.

Why is that? It’s a number of things. The look of hardwood is distinctive — to use a food comparison, you can usually tell when you’re drinking a real Coke versus a store-brand’s cola. The latter is just off a little bit. Hardwood just looks like hardwood, and technology still hasn’t been able to perfectly replicate it.

At the same time hardwood feels much more distinctive than laminate or vinyl. Now, this does ultimately come down to personal preference — in many cases, hardwood isn’t necessarily better or worse when it comes to feel. But much like the look, it simply is unique and some customers want that for their home.

#2 It’s Customizable to Any Taste

Engineered flooring comes out of a catalog, both in terms of size and look. So while you have a choice, that choice is ultimately limited to existing inventory. Hardwood flooring opens the door to much greater flexibility. This works in a number of ways.

The most known technique is staining. With staining, even old hardwood floors can be revitalized with a new look — no replacement necessary. It is, of course, also possible to paint hardwood floors with things like borders, and the great thing about the material is that it can be sanded and stained later should you decide to change your interior design.

Other customizable elements with hardwood flooring include incorporating mixed media elements (stones, tiles, or other textures), unique borders, or even visual designs integrated into the overall presentation. For example, if this is for a commercial enterprise, an expert hardwood floor designer may even be able to incorporate your company logo into the floor. While there is some customizability available to people using engineered flooring, it doesn’t match what is possible with true hardwood materials.

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#3 It’s a Lifetime Floor

Hardwood floors can last a lifetime after you install them. That’s one of the big differences between true hardwood and any engineered option. As a start, hardwood surface seal is tougher and lasts longer, and in general, hardwood is more durable when it comes to stains and discolorations. Repair is also feasible.

You could, of course, remove the damaged plank and find a replacement — the nice thing is that a good professional will be able to recommend a similar match to your existing floor, then stain the piece to seamlessly fill it in.

The other option is to spot-repair where there’s damage. Through the use of a filler, sanding, staining, and some careful installation, anything from cracks to divots to missing chunks can be handled to smoothly match and restore the flooring. And even if there’s no damage, you can still remodel hardwood flooring without tearing the whole thing apart. The ability to sand, restain, and reseal hardwood flooring means that your floors can be with the home across its entire lifetime.

#4 It Adds Value to a Home

A hard-surface floor has been the floor of choice by home buyers (and thus, realtors) for the past decade. As the trend is to move away from wall-to-wall carpeting, any sort of hard surface — be it laminate, hardwood, or stone tile — instantly adds to a home’s resale value. But hardwood in particular adds to a number of resale elements.

As mentioned above, hardwood has a unique look that many people simply prefer. It’s the inherent unique quality that is inherent in the material — many people simply see and feel something different with true hardwood flooring. And that comes across when talking about buyer interest, much like having a pool or solar panels.

It’s hard to actually quantify it, but it’s a luxury that people will actually pay for. This has been documented in surveys and studies, so while there’s no specific way to provide a dollar or percentage value, the pulse of the industry definitely agrees with this idea.

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The Cons of Hardwood Floors

Of course, hardwood floors are not perfect for every situation. There are reasons why specific traits are engineered into laminate and vinyl flooring — in fact, it’s safe to say that a number of those are specific responses to the limitations of hardwood floors, such as:

Moisture: Hardwood floors are much more susceptible to damage from moisture and water exposure, even with sealant. On the other hand, many vinyl/laminate floors are designed specifically to maximize water resistance, and some even go far enough to call themselves waterproof. In a bathroom or kitchen environment, there is simply less overall concern for any impact from water exposure with water-optimized laminate/vinyl pieces.

Scratches: Engineered flooring usually has a protective layer to protect against dings, scratches, and other forms of impact. This can be anything from a big dog’s nails to stiletto heels to children’s toys. True hardwood is durable and can be repaired from this type of damage, but it doesn’t come with that specific type of impact protection made possible by engineered materials. 

Heavy foot traffic: As with above, hardwood floors are durable but don’t necessarily provide the type of protection that laminate does against wear and tear. Of course, you can always resurface and restain hardwood floors, which also opens up other types of flexibility. But for high-traffic areas — especially in commercial environments — hardwood flooring may not be the most practical choice.

We Can Help You Decide

Still not sure which flooring choice is right for your situation? Contact the experts at Professional Installed Floors. We offer a free initial consultation, including driving out to see your home or office. Or we invite you to drop by our Marietta showroom, where dozens of samples await you — along with our friendly expert staff ready to help you make the right flooring pick.

Home Flooring Renovation: Hiram, GA

Professional Installed Floors is well known in the Atlanta region thanks to our decades of satisfied customers and stellar review history. But for people who’ve recently moved to the area, what do they think?

Mary W. of Hiram is one such person, and her story is something that we hear frequently in our showroom — someone who is new and needs a major home overhaul, then ultimately chooses our company. We recently talked with Mary about her experience and why she would recommend Professional Installed Floors to anyone in the future.

Mary’s Full-Home Flooring Overhaul

Mary was new to Georgia, having previously lived in Florida. She moved into a home that was severely dated: original linoleum flooring in the kitchen and bathroom, hardwood in the dining room and entryway, and wall-to-wall carpeting in the rest of the house. The bathrooms in particular were a real mess.

The bottom line? “I wanted it all replaced,” she said.

Such a task would mean understanding the specific needs of the house as well as her own personal preferences. Mary went on to explore her options while being sure to express what she wanted.

“I interviewed several companies and felt that (Professional Installed Floors owner) Lee was the most knowledgeable and had the type of product that would work for me. We talked about the different laminate and hardwood options and I decided to go with a waterproof LVT throughout the house.”

Lee soon mapped out an entire project scope for Mary. This included the general selection of waterproof LVT for the entire home to replace the wall-to-wall carpeting and linoleum, staining the hardwood in the foyer/dining room to match the LVT color, and adding new baseboards.

From the Living Room to the Kitchen

The bulk of the installation took several days, which is generally expected when Lee and his team scope out a project. Flooring projects can often be turned around in less than a week as long as inventory and accessibility both meet expectations.

In the case of Mary’s house, the Professional Installed Floors team finished most of the rooms first. Then a different team came to remove the kitchen cabinets as part of a larger kitchen overhaul. Once that team finished, Lee’s team returned to handle the kitchen flooring. As the kitchen is being completed in several stages, once the remodel is in its final stages, Lee’s team will finally return to finish the quarter round and baseboards.

Even with the kitchen still pending completion, Mary loves what she sees.

“I love the finished product; it makes the house feel warm and look beautiful.”

Using the Best Flooring Company

When it comes to the products and functional installation, Mary gave Professional Installed Floors top marks. But what about customer service — an area that Lee and the Professional Installed Floors holds to a high standard?

Mary started with her intuition — she simply got a good feeling about Lee during their initial conversations. “I moved here from Miami and didn’t know anyone, so I was really trusting my feeling about Lee and his installers and hoping it would all work out.”

As the process moved along, Mary found Lee was always available for updates and answers, easing her mind whenever questions popped up. “Lee educated me on the process, kept to the schedule, updated me as necessary, and answered all my questions.”

What’s Mary’s final verdict on her Professional Installed Floors experience? “I will recommend Professional Installed Floors to anyone who asks,” Mary says. Anything else? “Lee’s wife Brenda is terrific!”

Free Hiram New Flooring Consultation

Whether you have a complete overhaul like Mary or you’re only looking at a single room remodel, we invite you to get in touch. We offer a free flooring consultation at our showroom in Marietta or we will gladly come to your Hiram home with samples for you to see.

It’s easy to get started. Call us at 770-627-4343 or click here to send to fill out a form that will send us an email. We’re confident that you’ll understand why we’ve quickly earned the trust of customers like Mary countless times over.

Schonox: Our Choice Of Sub-Flooring

At Professional Installed Floors, the bulk of our work in Atlanta-area homes involves installing beautiful new solid flooring. But what about the prep work that goes underneath the laminate and hardwood flooring? For some of our customers, the work actually starts with the layer below the main flooring — that is, the sub-flooring.

This work is critical, as without level and stable sub-flooring, you’ll experience all kinds of difficulty with your flooring. Risks involved including anything from slight tripping hazards (non-level flooring) to additional element exposure (uneven connections between pieces). This can be annoying, as dust, dirt, and crumbs can get into the subfloor, or it can be dangerous when moisture gets in.

Why We Use Schonox For Atlanta-Area Projects

Thus our job is to ensure that the subfloor is ready and prepared when the main project starts. We actually just completed two major projects where our competitors could not take them on; they didn’t have the skills or capacity to repair the sub-flooring. However, the experienced team at Professional Installed Floors was able to handle the sub-flooring situation, then complete the job into a beautiful remodel.

What Is Sub-Flooring?

When we talk about sub-flooring, don’t get it confused with a home’s underlayment. Underlayment is a layer of softer material that goes between the sub-floor and the actual flooring material. The underlayment provides a number of functions: it cushions for a more comfortable walk (consider how your back feels after hours of standing on concrete or pavement versus being in a home; there’s a noticeable difference) and it also absorbs things like thermal properties and sound. Underlayment is often constructed from foam, felt, or similarly soft and durable materials.

Beneath that is the sub-floor, which provides two primary functions. First, it acts as a structural layer to support activity within a home. Second, it keeps things level and stable so that flooring materials can be cleanly installed. A home can actually feature multiple sub-floor layers depending on a variety of needs; this is often decided by the architect during a home’s initial construction, though flooring experts can easily be brought into consult during a major repair or remodel project.

The most common types of sub-floor materials include:

  • Wood: Sturdy and traditional, wood sub-floors are made from planks and installed using a nail-down method, typically over concrete.
  • Plywood: Perhaps the most typical sub-floor currently used by home builders, plywood is affordable and flexible. Plywood is created through a manufactured process that uses an epoxy to adhere wood strands and fibers together.
  • Oriented Strand Board (OSB): OSB materials cost more than plywood but in terms of strength, it is the preferred sub-floor of many home builders. OSB is fabricated in a similar fashion to plywood but the overall material is denser. The result is a stronger sub-floor that is less susceptible to moisture.

We mentioned underlayment, and that’s certainly a critical part of it — not just for the initial installation but also for patching and repairing subfloors. For those projects, we like to work with Schonox.

Why We Choose Schonox

Our preferred vendor for sub-flooring materials is Schonox. In fact, we use it almost exclusively for leveling and sealing both slabs and wood sub-floors. The projects mentioned above that required repair prior to installation? Both of those used Schonox sub-floor. This is why we trust them:

Experience: Schonox was founded more than 125 years ago in Germany, so it’s a trusted name in European construction and flooring for a long, long time. In the late 1990s, a flooring-industry veteran named Thomas Trissl helped usher in the Schonox brand to North America. Together, Trissl and Schonox have maximized distribution and reach on this continent, and the result makes Schonox a leading trusted provider of sub-floor solutions in the industry.

Products: Schonox’s product line spans the need of all sub-flooring solutions. This includes primers, repair mortars, floor leveling compounds, and adhesives. These products are designed from decades of hands-on experience — and Schonox’s experts aren’t just tucked away in an office; they go out to the field, see how others in the flooring industry use their products, and constantly receive feedback to push their products to greater heights. Longevity only comes with quality, and the fact that Schonox has been around for more than a century demonstrates this commitment to continuous improvement.

A Green Commitment: Schonox is dedicated to environmentally friendly practices on all levels — energy-efficient production processes, preventative planning to maximize green practices, waste avoidance at all stages of production, and saving critical resources (energy, water, and raw materials).

The Cutting Edge Of Technology: For professionals in the flooring industry, Schonox makes it easy for assessing needs on the job with the company’s app. The app offers two critical types of calculations. First, entering the layout of a space will calculate how much of a specific product must be purchased to finish the project. Second, if you’re considering how much inventory you have of a specific product, entering that into the app will tell you how much potential flooring you can cover with it. Speaking strictly from experience, this makes assessing budget and time for a job significantly easier. It doesn’t just cut down on guesswork; this type of precision ensures more accurate and faster assessments by eliminating manual interpretations and number crunching.

Schonox’s sub-flooring materials range from underlayment materials to tools used for repair/patching to primers and moisture systems. These materials are key, regardless of whether you use wood, plywood, or OSB; without quality materials, you could wind up with flooring that’s not level or tightly fit, which opens the door to many issues. Schonox helps this come together faster, better, and at a more affordable price.

What is Possible?

If you’re considering a floor remodel project and have damaged sub-floors, we’ve got good news for you. Our experienced team at Professional Installed Floors knows how to handle sub-floor repair situations, and our reputation with Atlanta-area customers has exceeded expectations time and again.

There are three ways to get started:

  1. Send our team an email through our contact form.
  2. Drop by our Marietta showroom at 3372 Canton Road, Suite 102, Marietta 30066.
  3. Schedule no obligation, free in-home estimate by calling us at 770-627-4343.

5 Questions for Marietta Hardwood Flooring Installation

While it’s true that solid flooring can be a DIY project, the truth is that in nearly all cases, you’re going to want to hire a professional hardwood flooring installer. There are many variables at play here, from knowledge of the product to the efficiency that comes only with decades of experience. Of course, there is the cost required from any professional installation, but the trade off for that is speed and expertise, along with saving yourself the heartache (and probably backache) of doing this yourself.

The Inside Scoop from Professional Hardwood Flooring Installers

With that in mind, we’ve put together five of our most frequently asked questions at Professional Installed Floors (after “Why shouldn’t I do this myself?”). These answers will help you get a head start with your flooring project:

1)   Why do you need to come out to our house for a quick quote?

At Professional Installed Floors, we insist on visiting our Marietta neighbors before committing to a quote. We’ll listen at the in-store discussion, review photos, check the requested materials, and other further preparatory work. However, given the nature of our job, it’s imperative that we see for ourselves exactly what we’re working with. This allows us to assess variables such as furniture, existing flooring, sub-floor condition, door height (clearance), trim selection, color stain selection, and existing moisture content. Those are details you simply can’t get from photographs or descriptions.

2) How long has your crew been together?

We often say that we are more than coworkers, we are family. Our newest crew member joined Professional Installed Flooring in 2011. Buddy and Lee (owner) grew up together and have been involved with the company full-time since 1986. Johnny has been part of the team since 1988. The team has seen zero turnover since 1986 and the notion of family isn’t taken lightly; crews are paid and respected at high levels, and that feeds into the quality of work.

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3) Why does wood need to sit in my home prior to installation?

The key term to learn is acclimation. Acclimation is something every wood manufacturer requires prior to installation, even though some installers claim they can go without it and accomplish one-day installation. However, even engineered products should sit for an acclimation period, thus allowing the materials adjust to the space’s natural temperature and humidity levels. The only floor type that can bypass acclimation are luxury vinyl tiles (LVTs) and rigid core products.

4) Can I stay in my home while my floors are re-finished?

The refinishing process requires strong polyurethane products. This has both a drying period and a chemical odor, which essentially renders the floors as unwalkable during the project. There are, however, latex polyurethane products that allow you to stay in the home; they are relatively odorless and dry within a few hours. However, in our experience, they simply don’t have the sharp look that comes with the traditional oil (our preferred choice).

5) Another company has given us a room for free. Can you match it?

Our first job is to evaluate the home for specific needs, along with the requested flooring materials and any unique elements in the project. We ask that you simply read over our base quote created from that visit. After that, we do invite a discussion regarding quotes — though to be totally honest, many customers are pleasantly surprised that our total is less than other quotes, even with bonuses such as free rooms.

infographic-5-questions-marietta-hardwood-flooring-installationGet More Professional Flooring Installation Answers

If you have further questions about what’s possible with professional flooring, we invite you to come visit the Marietta showroom of Professional Installed Floors. When you arrive, you can see dozens of samples and stain color swatches, along with a friendly staff ready to discuss your project with you — and if you want us to come to you, we offer a free mobile consultation for first-time customers.

Eagle Creek: Affordable Quality Flooring

Eagle Creek may be one of the newer names in the flooring industry, but the brand has quickly become well-known for its combination of quality and price. Launched in 2015, Eagle Creek is technically a division of Home Legend. However, as a standalone organization, Eagle Creek has earned a reputation for delivering a wide range of options, all with numerous features and specifications while offering competitive prices.

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Discover Why Eagle Creek is a Top-Selling Product

Built from a leadership team featuring a combined 90 years of industry experience – ranging from production to sales to operations – this collective of perspectives has helped Eagle Creek keep an eye on both the marketplace’s needs and the latest in manufacturing and engineering possibilities.

What sets Eagle Creek from the competition? It’s a combination of things, really:

  • First, the company knows its target market – many home buyers and remodelers are looking for high-quality budget materials, something that they can comfortably use for decades without the overwhelming cost of hardwood floors. Eagle Creek designs start by understanding that fundamental goal.
  • Second, by offering a large range of materials (including laminate, wood, vinyl, and more), sizes, and colors, Eagle Creek customers can feel comfortable knowing that they can find a product that fits nearly any situation.
  • Finally, Eagle Creek has a core set of values that ensure an inclusive and progressive way of doing business, including sustainable practices (Greenguard Gold and Greenguard Certified) and a commitment to environmental and social responsibility endeavors.

All of these things help deliver the message that, despite its relatively short existence in the industry, Eagle Creek is a company that truly makes a difference in the world of flooring. But the products themselves offer the best examples of this.

Let’s take a look at products that have become favorites among both customers and staff here at Professional Installed Floors.

Eagle Creek Product Spotlight

Eagle Creek offers a full range of solid flooring products. From vinyl to laminate, engineered to true hardwood floors, Eagle Creek has something for everyone. What’s the common denominator with all of their products? After working with Eagle Creek products for several years, it’s clear that they have an overall commitment to quality as well as truly understanding the market’s needs for competitive pricing. Here are some of the products we commonly recommend to Professional Installed Floors customers:

SyncoreX: At Professional Installed Floors, the SyncoreX line may just be our top-selling product. There’s a good reason for that too. While all Eagle Creek products come with a high level of quality, SyncoreX is their top-tier selection. An engineered vinyl product, SyncoreX goes beyond the standard water-resistant nature of most Eagle Creek products for a more durable design. This provides 100% waterproof hardware, in addition to strong impact resistance and longevity, even in high-traffic areas. In general, luxury vinyl flooring tends to have more give due to its natural compression and expansion, making for an overall more comfortable step.

The result is what Eagle Creek has dubbed Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) – engineered to be both beautiful and durable while also ensuring competitive prices for an eager marketplace. SyncoreX LVPs come in a range of colors and sizes, bringing top-of-the-line choices within reach, even for budget customers.

A perfect fit for:  Customers that need an extra level of durability and liquid resistance, such as pet owners, families with multiple small children, or in homes featuring a significant amount of foot traffic.

Laminate: Engineered with a durable, dense fiberboard core and classic wood-grain visuals, Eagle Creek’s laminate flooring collections represent some of the company’s most popular products. While not as durable as SyncoreX, the laminate collections tend to be a little more cost-efficient. The tradeoff is the big picture.

Laminate materials work best for homes experiencing lighter traffic or for households that may consider remodeling in about 10 years rather than 20 or more. Water is also a factor, as laminate flooring upholds Eagle Creek’s standards for water resistance but not to the level of SyncoreX’s 100% waterproof capabilities. In exchange for those traits, the laminate flooring collections are easier to install and offer a lower per-plank price. When combined with options for species appearance and stain options, laminate floors are sensible and effective choices for busy homeowners that don’t have to cater to special durability needs.

A perfect fit for:  Customers on a budget that don’t have to worry about regular spills/water exposure or extreme foot traffic conditions.

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Hardwood: In addition to engineered products, Eagle Creek offers traditional hardwood flooring. With five different collections to complement a range of sizes, styles, and needs, Eagle Creek’s hardwood products still offer the unique budget-conscious value that the company has become known for, but in the realm of true hardwood flooring.

The result is, as Eagle Creek says, a “world without limits”: contemporary to traditional styles, distressed to hand-scraped finishes, unique patterns to rustic looks, all in a wide range of colors. Eagle Creek’s hardwood floors are simply one of the easiest and most affordable ways to bring the luxury of hardwood flooring into your home or business.

A perfect fit for: Customers that want true hardwood floors and aren’t limited by the various factors that generally require engineered options (extreme heat/cold, exposure to moisture, etc.).

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Need To Know More About Eagle Creek?

All of the info above should make one thing abundantly clear: Eagle Creek products offer a diverse range of cost-effective products, all designed to meet just about any situation. In fact, there’s little that we at Professional Installed Floors don’t love about Eagle Creek; there’s a simple reason why they’ve established themselves in the industry so quickly. (However, we wouldn’t recommend their bamboo flooring — but it’s nothing against them. In general, we don’t recommend any bamboo flooring regardless of manufacturer, though that’s a discussion for another time.)

So whatever your situation — whether you have a quiet life or you frequently entertain, whether you have animals or not, whether your children are young or only visit as adults for the holidays, Eagle Creek has a product for you.

If you’re looking at remodeling the floors in your home — whether it’s just one room or the entire home — it’s worth your time to consider their wide range of solid flooring options. We invite you to visit our Marietta showroom to see for yourself. Come with your questions about your budget, space, or any unique constraints you might have. Eagle Creek’s products are versatile enough to satisfy just about any space, and we’re happy to pass our expertise onto you.

Find the Right Engineered Flooring for Your Budget & Situation

When evaluating your flooring options for a remodel, you’ve probably already come across the terms engineered hardwood floors and solid hardwood floors. What’s the difference between the two and which one is right for you? One isn’t necessarily better than the other; they both have their pros and cons in terms of specific traits, flexibility, availability, and cost. The most important thing is finding the right fit for your particular situation rather than assuming something is by default what you should purchase. Read more

Client Case Study: Refinishing the Anderson Home

Background: Restored & Revitalized by Professional Installed Floors

Mr. and Mrs. Anderson have lived in the Atlanta area for quite some time — enough to see major life milestones come and go. Along with those good memories comes wear and tear on the hardwood floors of their home, including a major leak in the home’s downstairs bathroom. Read more

Hardwood or Vinyl Tile and Plank: Which Should You Choose?

For Atlanta homeowners looking to upgrade, it’s likely that it’s time to move away from wall-to-wall carpeting and invest in hard surface flooring — that’s been the trend over the past 10-20 years as people started preferring the many benefits of a hard surface over carpet. Or it’s possible that you’re a homeowner that already has a hard floor and simply want to replace it; perhaps it’s faded, damaged, or you just want a change. Read more

Best Pet Friendly Hardwood Floors

For many pet owners, one thing they often don’t consider when they adopt their furry pals is the impact on their flooring. In these cases, the wall-to-wall carpeting in their home can turn out to be a worst-case scenario. Carpeting not only is hard to clean with potty and vomit accidents, it also is difficult with the subtle messes: gradual shedding, snagged nails, and dander that gets embedded all the way down to the pad. Even pet-specific vacuums can’t get everything out (though they certainly help). And cat owners know how cats can use any patch of carpet as a scratching post, pulling out threads. Read more

A Choice for Every Room: Palmetto Road Flooring

Available in Waterproof, Solid, Engineered, and Laminate Flooring Choices   

If you’re looking at transforming different elements of your home — or even your whole home — going from carpet to a hard surface can fulfill that need and more. Read more