Flooring: Top Floors, Best Choices - Page 3

What's the best flooring for you...and for your mid-century modern home?

8. The colors and patterns you choose for floors have a huge effect on the overall mood of a home. Light colors make rooms appear larger, but are harder to keep clean. Darker tones absorb light, hide dirt, and create more intimate environments. Large patterns can expand a room visually.

9. Different types of floor covering can function as a room divider, effectively defining two or more different areas in a single space.

10. The fastest way to change a mood or character of a room is to add an area rug. Using the appropriate pad, area rugs can go on top of any kind of flooring, usually with dramatic results.

Retro Is Back

The style of the 1950s and '60s is back stronger than ever. Vintage materials, colors, and imprinted patterns are preferred options of homeowners who want to capture the original aesthetics and historical significance of their homes. Here are four flooring materials that are experiencing a resurgence in popularity.

Rubber: ($4 per sq. foot and up) Known for its commercial applications, rubber flooring tile is made of recycled tires, post-industrial waste rubber, and virgin rubber, rubber is designed for high-traffic areas where durability and easy maintenance are desired. Manufacturers offer palettes of neutral, primary, and black colors. Some can be custom colored to suit personal preferences. Others are similar in look to original Eichler patterns. Resources: Reztec and XCR3 by Expanko; Flexco Flooring.

Linoleum: ($3 to $4 per sq. foot) Remembered as the flooring of post-World War II kitchens, and the original flooring material used by Eichler, linoleum is made of natural ingredients like linseed oil, cork, and tree resins. It comes in a rainbow of hues, and the color in linoleum goes all the way through the material.. Genuine linoleum has maintenance characteristics similar to wood, and needs regular waxing and buffing. It is tough and durable but susceptible to moisture and alkalinity. It must be professionally installed and needs a sealer. Resources: Armstrong; Forbo Flooring; Tarkett .

Cork: ($5 and up) Cork gained popularity in the early 1900s and became one of the most widely used resilient flooring materials. Even Frank Lloyd Wright chose cork for use in many of his residential designs. Natural, durable, and warm to the touch, cork resists mildew. It does often suffer fading from sun exposure, however. It's available in tiles and sheets and comes in a variety of natural hues and patterns. Usually treated like wood, waxed cork needs occasional buffing and rewaxing. Resources: IFloor; Nova Distinctive Floors; Infinity Flooring; Expanko.

Shag carpet: (starts at $4 per square foot) Some homeowners who like the retro vibe are breaking up their hard surfaces with shag carpet. Soft underfoot, it comes in a wide variety of loop lengths, colors, sheens, and textures. New introductions involve weaving small metallic yarns into the shag to make it shimmer. Check into having regular wall-to-wall shag carpet cut down and hemmed to the size of an area rug for the ultimate in flexibility. Resources: Karastan; Modern Rugs; Shaw.

Photos: Michael Greene, John Eng, Carol Bua, Joe Barthlow, Ernie Braun (splash); and others courtesy Sue Olson Designs, Glenn Rogers/Flooring Broker, Doyle McCullar, Glenn Sennett, Renaissance Man Construction, Expanko, and Flexco

Seven Choice Options

For direction and inspiration, check out these flooring materials. They may be a good fit for your renewal project. Prices quoted are for materials only.

Concrete: (25 cents per sq. foot for do-it-yourself staining to $12 for custom work) Whether a home has new or old concrete surfaces, the flooring material can be customized to suit décor. It can be textured, colored, and imprinted to mimic tile or stone. Acid stain treatments help to achieve a warm, natural feel by giving the concrete a honed (or rough-textured) look. Concrete can also be polished to a high gloss finish that never needs waxing. Worn or aged concrete might also be topped with a fresh, level micro-topping of concrete that can be stamped or etched with a design. Resources: Bomanite; Newlook Coatings.