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Technology creates product options

By JOE VANDELAARSCHOT

jvan@conleynet.com 262-306-5054

Whether you are building a new house or making upgrades on your current home, there is a lot to consider when it comes to choosing the right flooring. It’s important to keep in mind that the choices available have changed in recent years.

Before you choose you need to talk to a flooring expert — like Schnorenberg’s Floor Covering which has been a fixture in downtown Hartford for decades. Gerry Schnorenberg said the first thing he does when a customer walks in the door of his business is ask them many questions. “We ask about kids and pets, is it a high activity area or not so much? We just want to get an idea of what durability they want and the look they want,” Schnorenberg said. “Do they want something rustic or a little more formal?” Schnorenberg said he then starts showing customers the different types of flooring and advantages and disadvantages of each.

“Like, this product looks really nice, but you have three active dogs and two kids. That maybe isn’t the floor for you,” he said.

Schnorenberg said the hottest type of floor covering today is one probably many people are not familiar with — luxury vinyl planking.

“It replicates the look of a wood floor, but it’s all vinyl. It’s very waterproof so when pets and kids spill things on it the floor is much better protected,” he said. “With a wood floor if you have a puddle of water on it for a long time it starts to swell or the finish gets damaged. Vinyl planking has gained a lot of popularity with all age groups. It’s easy to take care of.”

Schnorenberg said in terms of wood floors, the most popular floor now, instead of the 3/4 inch wood solid floor, are the engineered floors. It has a veneer that is on material similar to a plywood base. He there’s two real good advantages.

“It’s much more stable. You don’t have the expansion and contraction during the different seasons with an engineered floor versus a solid 3/4 inch floor,” he said. “The other big advantage is that its much more environmentally friendly because you are only using an eighth-inch basically of the premium wood and then the base is made of a less expensive wood.” Schnorenbergsaid the three most popular floorings today are wood, then vinyl plank and then there’s laminate which is a hard wear surface.

“Its on a chip board kind of base. That was one of the original types of floating floors. It’s lost a little of the popularity because of vinyl planking, but it’s very durable, very scratch resistant,” he said.

Schnorenberg said sheet vinyl is also still used today, but technology has made changes in it.

“With the new printing processes, digital photography, they can really replicate a lot of things - many that weren’t possible before,” he said.

If a customer is interested in carpeting, Schnorenberg said they go through the same process to determine their needs.

“We have carpeting today that has a vinyl waterproof back on it. So if you do get a spill it literally stays on top of the carpet instead of saturating the back of the carpet and going down into your pad,” he said. “It is very much easier for cleanup.”

Schnorenberg said ceramic tile is not as popular in Wisconsin, and other northern states, because it is a cold floor.

“That’s used around here more for tub and shower surrounds and back-splashes in kitchens,” he said. “That’s a lifetime floor. You put in a ceramic floor you are really committed to a lifetime floor.”

Schnorenberg said area rugs make a great accent piece for homeowners, especially now with all the wood and vinyl planking that’s being used.

“People like to sometimes define an area or soften up the look of an area with an area rug,” Schnorenberg said.

Schnorenberg and other flooring experts advise customers that before making flooring decisions they gather information and weigh all the options. These days, it is possible to find flooring products that combine style, durability and low maintenance.

“With the new printing processes, digital photography, they can really replicate a lot of things — many that weren't possible before.”

– Gerry Schnorenberg

Schnorenberg's Floor CoveringDave Nitzsche with Spee-Dee Delivery carries in a roll of vinyl flooring Thursday afternoon at Schnorenberg Floor Covering in Hartford.

John Ehlke/Daily NewsGerry Schnorenberg, co-owner of Schnorenberg’s Floor Covering in Hartford, stands near a display of vinyl flooring samples Thursday afternoon.

John Ehlke/Daily News

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