One of the biggest decisions to be made when building your custom lake home is selecting the flooring. It can feel very overwhelming with the number of options to choose from. Not only are you choosing between wood and tile, laminate and concrete, but you then must select the type of wood, shape of the tile, colors, widths and more! You must also take into consideration what flooring works best in what room and what type of wear and tear the floor will take. Living in southeastern Wisconsin, on a lake, there are factors like the snow and salt coming inside in the winter, and the dripping of lake water from swimsuits in the summer.
Hardwood floors are a traditional favorite and stand the test of time due to their durability and beauty. Hardwood floors have a warm, natural look and feel that makes them a popular choice for most homeowners. The decisions begin with selecting an engineered hardwood or solid wood, then there is the type of wood, oak, Brazilian cherry, maple, hickory and more. Your builder can help you select the right species and plank width. You will want to select a stain color that works with the look and style of your new home. Once you have selected the type of hardwood or engineered hardwood you like, you will want to stay consistent with that throughout the house. The engineered material is a good choice for lake homes, due to the changing temperatures and humidity often found at lake properties. The most common areas to use hardwood are; foyers, kitchens, family and living rooms and dens.
Tile flooring is a great choice in a lake home. Tile can withstand heavy traffic, water, pets, kids, spills and doesn’t absorb odor. Tile choices are plentiful and once you select a type and style you like, you then have all the possibilities of patterns. You can choose from porcelain, terra cotta and natural stone, such as marble, granite, travertine or slate. When selecting tile on a budget, porcelain is the most cost-effective and allows for many options, combining the beauty and hardness of stone, but costs considerably less and is much easier to maintain than marble. Glazed porcelain tile is durable enough to handle heavy traffic areas and is available in a wide range of hues, textures and finishes. Tile gives you the flexibility and creativity of combining of various sizes, colors and textures to create a one-of-a-kind floor. Tile is a perfect choice for foyers, mud/laundry rooms, kitchens and bathrooms. Lakeside entrance areas are another perfect place to select tile.
Concrete is one of the hottest trends in flooring right now. With the wide range of sealers and specialty stains available, plain and gray concrete can be stamped and stained to resemble polished marble, tumbled stone, brick pavers or really anything you would like to create. There’s no limit to the design possibilities, which makes concrete floors a desirable choice. Durable, long lasting and low maintenance are also all advantages, but concrete is cold, so in Wisconsin, radiant heat is a must. A lower level lakeside foyer and family room is a perfect place for a concrete floor.
Green Alternative Flooring
For custom homeowners wishing to select a green option for their residence, there are a few different choices. Bamboo, cork and linoleum are the best green options. Bamboo floors are not created from a tree, but materials from a lightweight woody grass. This fast-growing, regenerating plant has the tensile strength of steel, which makes for a highly durable floor that resists swelling and contraction with changes in humidity. Cork flooring is available in pre-finished tiles and comes in a variety of finishes. The natural, nonslip surface of the tiles makes cork ideal for wet areas like kitchens or bathrooms. Linoleum’s current popularity is primarily due to being eco-friendly because it’s made from all-natural materials and does not deplete forests. It’s made primarily of linseed oil, rosins and wood flour. Because linoleum is composed of natural materials, it creates no adverse health issues during production, installation, use or disposal. The bactericidal properties of natural linoleum stop microorganisms from multiplying, so you often see natural linoleum floors in many hospitals. It is not used as often in custom homes, but it is certainly an option.
With so many options to choose from that are both functional and appealing for your flooring, be sure to really figure out the material, texture, color, style and patterns that fit your personality and your family’s lifestyle. You will walk on these floors in your custom home every day so you will truly want to love them.