Updated: Oct 3, 2022
What Are The Best Flooring Options For Your New Custom Home?
Typically, homeowners will be given a lump sum budget for floor covering work. It will be up to the homeowner how they allocate that money. Many customers will purchase upgraded items in the high traffic areas while using lessor quality products in the low traffic areas.
What Are The Best Flooring Options For Your New Custom Home?
Beware Of Custom Home Floor Covering Budgets
Competition in home building is fierce. There are many different home builders in each town/city that want your business. Deciding on what builder to hire can be a difficult task. Many different factors will help you make that decision.
One of those factors is the cost of the home. Let's face it: if you take the same floor plan into three different builders, and one of them is significantly cheaper than the other two, that might get your attention.
However, why is that one builder so much less expensive? Could it have to do with product allowances? A common trick that builders use to get customers is material allowances. In the floor covering world, it usually works this way:
A customer is building an expensive custom home. Homes should have flooring that matches the price of that home. The homeowner was given a lump sum flooring budget from the builder. As homeowners start to shop, they soon realize the budget for flooring is way too low, and they either have to settle for lessor-grade materials, or they end up spending money above their budget for the flooring they want to get.
It is almost impossible for a homeowner to know they have been given an inferior floor covering budget, based on a lump sum number. Home buyers really need to take the time to analyze each budget number, by breaking it down into square foot pricing.
As a new home buyer, it is always a good idea to take your floor plan intoof a store, and have a professional salesperson work up some budget numbers for you. This way, you can at least get a good idea on what a good budget number should be for your custom home.
How To Start The Custom Home Shopping Process
Custom builders usually have floor covering stores they work with. In many cases, the builder will direct a customer to a particular store. However, keep in mind that it is your money. It is your house. You can go wherever you want to go. Just because a builder recommends store ABC, does not mean you are stuck with that store. It could be, the only reason they recommend a certain store, is because they have a financial arrangement with that store, and will get a commission for sending that store customer.
As you start the shopping process, bring the blueprints of the home with you. It makes no sense to look around at product displays if you have no idea what sort of materials you can afford.
One of the best ways to start is to call a store (ask to speak with a commercial salesperson), and set up a meeting. Bring in the house blueprint. Sit down with the salesperson, give them your overall budget, and walk them through what type of material you want in each room of the house. Ask the sales representative to scale out the prints and put together a budget number.
Once the overall budget number has been established, you can begin the shopping process. In most cases, customers will upgrade in high-traffic rooms, and then pick lessor quality materials for those rooms that are going to be used less frequently.
Start the process, room by room, going through the store samples and creating a "maybe pile." Make sure the store salesperson is only showing you products that are within your budget. Take samples home with you, and use them to match up kitchen cabinets, furniture, paint colors, etc...If you find a winner...great! Move on to the next room. If your maybe pile does not work, start the process all over again.
Keep in mind, picking out a floor covering products for an entire home can be exhausting and frustrating work. There have been many family disagreements in the middle of a floor-covering store over colors and products.
Don't plan on this process is quick and fast. Selecting materials could take you several trips to the store.
Popular Types Of Custom Home Flooring...
Hardwood Flooring: Many custom homes continue to use hardwood flooring in the main floor area of their home. This would include hallways, living rooms, kitchens, and great rooms. Hardwood flooring comes in both a 3/4" solid form, or in an engineered format. Both types of products are very beautiful and durable. Picking out what type of product you want, comes down to a personal choice. There are no right or wrong products. Each manufacturer has good, better, and best products. Simply find a product that you like and that fits your budget.
Luxury Vinyl Tile and Plank: Taking the flooring world by storm, luxury vinyl tile & plank is one of the fastest growing products in the market. These products are waterproof, very easy to clean, and very durable. They have wonderful looks, colors, and styles, and they are suitable for every type of home. Many customers are putting vinyl tile and plank in bathrooms, mudrooms, and in living spaces.
Ceramic: Over-sized tiles seem to be the popular trend. Ceramic is used in mudrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens. One of the more popular trends for ceramic is in the master bedroom shower. Ceramic walk-in showers are extremely popular and add quite a bit to the value of a home. With all of the options available in ceramic, picking out materials for a shower can either be quite fun, very exhausting or both.
Carpet: Carpet continues to be the product king when it comes to bedrooms. While hard surface flooring is growing in popularity, carpet remains the most popular choice for most bedrooms and basements.
Don't forget about these areas of the home:
Kitchen Backsplash: Picking out a color and style of the ceramic to go on your kitchen wall can be a little overwhelming. There are a ton of options, styles, and colors. While the area itself is not a lot of square footage, it is an important area of your kitchen.
Fireplace: Many customers forget about their fireplaces. In many cases, you will need to put ceramic tile on the wall and on the floor. To save money, some customers use leftover tiles from other rooms for this area. Stacked stone is also a popular choice for the walls around fireplaces.
When To Order Custom Home Flooring Materials
Just when you thought you have everything picked out, and your problems are over, in many cases, it does not work out that way. Products going out of stock, products being back-ordered, products arriving damaged, it can all happen.
Imagine spending 2 weeks picking out a ceramic color for your master bedroom shower, only to get a call from the flooring store, saying your product has been dropped, and you need to pick out a different product. It happens.
One of the main discussion points you need to have with your builder is: who is running the schedule? Do you have a builder that will be at the house every day, and is on top of the schedule, and calling all of the trades to get them ready to work? Or, as the owner, are you going to be the one responsible for making things happen?
In the floor covering world, there are a few things to keep in mind: for custom homes, once you give the marching orders for a store to order materials, in most cases, those materials are special orders. Once they order them, you are stuck with them. There is no changing your mind. So, be ready to make a decision, and live with that decision. You don't want to order 3,000 square feet of hardwood, only to tell the flooring store (2 months later) that you don't like the color. They will say...too bad.
Having said that, as mentioned above, sometimes bad things can happen in the ordering process. Once you make up your mind, the sooner you can order, the better. It is much better to have material sitting in a floor-covering store local warehouse (ready to go), than waiting for it to arrive on a truck.
One final note on ordering materials: make it a point to check up on the order status of everything. Just because you gave the approval to order the materials, does not mean the store actually ordered it. Call to check. Make sure your store has ordered materials in a timely fashion.
Who Will Be Installing Your Custom Home Flooring?
Many custom homeowners will use the installation services offered by the floor covering store. In some cases, customers can save money by hiring their own installer, or having a family member install the flooring.
There are no right or wrong answers to installation. However, there are a few things to keep in mind:
If you have a store perform the installation, your installation warranty will be with the store. If you have a problem, chances are the store will still be in town. You simply call the store, and they will come out and fix the problem. Likewise, in new home construction, the construction schedule is usually a big concern. Certain things need to happen in order, so the other trades can perform their portion of the work. By having your flooring store do the installation, the coordination of picking up the materials and the installation are in one place.
If you have your own installer perform the work, that is perfectly acceptable. It just creates a little more communication. Someone will need to call the store to make sure materials are in, arrange to pick up, etc... Someone will need to call the installer to coordinate installation times and get access to the home. Your installation warranty can be q little shaky as well. For example, unlike calling a store, if you ever have an installation issue, if your installer has moved out of the area, you will probably be out of luck.
No matter who does the installation, communication is the key. Regular visits to the home, to make sure things are being done the way you expect, is critically important. Don't assume things are getting done correctly, verify the installation yourself.
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Conclusion - What Are The Best Flooring Options For Your New Custom Home?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Pick out materials that you like, and pick out products that fit within your budget. Understand the selection process for new flooring for an entire home can be a long and exhausting ordeal. Plan on problems happening. Work with the builder to make sure all trades have the proper marching orders and understanding of your construction project.