Most people never give a thought to what is underfoot when they walk around their home or apartment unless they have to find a mop to clean up a spill. For years, the idea of wall-to-wall carpet was the ultimate in luxury living for many, but today, as new choices appear and old choices improve, what goes on the floor is an important question for home owners.


Roberts Decorating Supply Co. owner Mike Goolsey answered that question.


“Hard surface has taken over the market because it’s easier to live on, easier to take care of,” he said. “There are still people who like to have carpet in the bedroom for example; they like to get up in the morning to feel of a warm, soft carpet under foot, and there are those who want hard surface everywhere. That’s the biggest thing people have to figure out. What do they want to live with?”


Once you decide what you want, you are faced with a myriad of choices, and that is where other factors come into play.


“Wood floors can be used anywhere, but if moisture is a concern, such as in a kitchen or a bathroom, wood might not be the best choice,” he said. “But if you prefer the look of wood, there are products that replicate the look and feel of wood but that are moisture proof.”


Goolsey said that tile is still a favorite for bathrooms and kitchens, although it comes with its own pluses and minuses. Grout, a necessity in any tile application, will get dirty over time and is hard to clean, and tile on the floor can be hard on your feet if you are standing, as you would at a kitchen counter, for long periods of time.


In days past, manufactured flooring such as sheet linoleum was the most popular covering in high moisture, high traffic areas, but since the arrival of polyvinyl chloride in the 1950s, linoleum has largely disappeared from the market. Then came laminates, and now vinyl plank is often the way to go.


“The vinyl plank market has taken over the laminate business,” said Goolsey. “You could take a piece of vinyl plank and put it in your bathtub and it wouldn’t hurt it. We use a lot of vinyl plank, often in every room in a house. The clear finish on the vinyl plank is the same kind of finish found on a hardwood floor, so it is extremely durable and pretty much moisture resistant.”


Whatever sort of floor you choose, to keep it looking its best, you have to keep it clean. Today, for most surfaces, about all that is needed is a broom and an occasional swipe with a damp mop. And Goolsey was quick to point out that manufacturers include detailed instructions on what and what not to do to keep your flooring in top shape.


Even modern hardwood floors are engineered products. Not just a piece of wood cut from a tree and laid down as flooring, modern wood floors are carefully constructed of layers, much like plywood, to improve its durability and stability. The days of cupped and puckered floor boards are long past.


Bringing it down to brass tacks, or carpet tacks one supposes in this case, Goolsey offered four areas of consideration in choosing flooring.


1. The type of area: “You wouldn’t want to put carpet in the laundry room.”


2. The type of wear: “In a bedroom that is not going to have a lot of traffic, carpet is wonderful. In a den or family room, hard surface would be a better choice.”


3. Decorating aspects: “What kind of look do you want and what fits that design? You wouldn’t want a vinyl plank that looks like it belongs in a cabin in a formal space, for example.”


4. Budget and price: “What fits your budget, and how can you spread your budget over your choices to get the best for your money? If you are only going to use carpet in a few areas, perhaps you can go with a higher grade, more luxurious product, for example.”


Interestingly, the rise in the use of highly realistic wood vinyl planking and other hard surface materials has given rise to a renewed use of area rugs to add warmth and variety to decorating considerations. Goolsey said that any style of carpet, any color, any pattern, can be cut to any size and bound into an area rug to fit the most meticulous needs.


And what about those magic carpets that fly? Sorry, you’ll have to look elsewhere for that version.


Edward Southerland is a feature writer for Best of Texoma. For more information, visit BestofTexoma.com or www.facebook.com/BestOfTexoma.