Publication

Natalie Wood

In 1956, Natalie Wood became a major star with her Oscar-nominated turn as a rebellious teenager in the film Rebel Without a Cause. She would earn two more nominations, for the period drama Splendor in the Grass and the romance Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Natalie Wood

In November 1981, she was shooting her final film, the sci-fi thriller Brainstorm. She and her co-stars, husband Robert Wagner and boat captain Dennis Davern, took a weekend trip to California’s Catalina Island.

Natalie Wood was born Natalia Nikolaevna Zacharenko in San Francisco to Russian immigrant parents. Her mother, Maria Gurdin, a housewife who had multiple aliases, and her father, Nick, a janitor and prop builder, moved to Santa Rosa when she was three or four. In 1942, she and her family bought a home in the city, where she was noticed by members of a crew during a film shoot downtown. The film’s producer, Irving Pichel, helped her get a screen test. She made her first film at age five in Happy Land (1943), playing the role of a girl who drops an ice cream cone and gets blamed. Her scene lasted 15 seconds.

Wood’s dark ethnic beauty helped her stand out in the film business. She began to receive leading roles, beginning with her Academy Award-nominated performance in Splendor in the Grass (1957). As she entered her teenage years, she became a star with her appearance in Rebel Without a Cause (1955). In 1961, she appeared as restless Puerto Rican youth Maria in West Side Story.

The sixties were a productive time for Wood, both professionally and personally. Her films often reflected the times, such as West Side Story, which dealt with racial prejudice; Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, about middle class housewives; and Gypsy, in which she played burlesque entertainer Gypsy Rose Lee.

Wood’s volatile personal life also garnered media attention. She dated actor Dennis Hopper, hotel dynasty heir Nicky Hilton and other high-profile men. She married director Richard Gregson in 1957 (divorced 1962; remarried 1972) and had a daughter with him, Courtney. She also had a daughter from her second marriage, to actor Robert Wagner.

Early life

A young Natalie Wood grew up in the shadow of her mother’s unfulfilled dreams of stardom. Mary Tatuloff, who had danced professionally in the Russian city of Ussuriysk before emigrating to America with her husband Alexander Zacharenko, passed her passion for film acting onto her daughter. Despite a skewed moral compass, she used her talent to manipulate her daughter’s life.

Wood’s early career was marked by child roles and by her mother’s maniacal obsession with her image. She feared losing her audience once she outgrew the child actor stage and tried to control every aspect of her daughter’s public image. She also manipulated her daughter’s dating and marriage choices. Ultimately she caused her daughter great heartache with her constant need to curry favor with powerful men in order to further her career.

The film West Side Story was a pivotal point in Wood’s career. Her role as the restless Maria portrayed an important cultural phenomenon for young Americans at the time, and her performance earned her an Oscar nomination. Wood’s next significant role was in Gypsy Rose Lee, which gave her the opportunity to showcase her witty dialogue and deeper emotional range.

Throughout the 1960s, Wood was cast in a number of “girlfriend” films that she found less gratifying. But in 1970, she starred in the well-received melodrama Intimate Strangers. It was the first film to show that she could handle adult roles.

In the last decade of her life, Wood acted on occasion in television shows such as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Cracker Factory and Hart to Hart. She remarried British producer Richard Gregson and had a daughter with him before her death in 1981.

Education

Natalie Wood’s acting career started at age five with a brief scene in the 1943 film Happy Land. Her performance in that film earned her media attention, and she received a contract from 20th Century Fox. Her film roles became more numerous after that, usually playing the daughter of star actors such as Fred MacMurray, Margaret Sullivan, James Stewart, and Joan Blondell. California laws at the time required child actresses to attend three hours of school each day. Wood took her lessons on the set of her films, and she was considered a straight-A student.

By the time she was 16, Wood was a teen idol. She starred with James Dean in the 1955 film Rebel Without a Cause, and the movie earned her an Academy Award nomination. She followed it with the box office hits West Side Story and Gypsy. She also appeared in the movies Splendor in the Grass and Love with a Proper Stranger, receiving Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for her work in both of them.

In 1957, she married actor Robert Wagner, eight years her senior, and their relationship attracted media attention. In her later years, she struggled with depression and sought therapy. She reportedly was influenced by her mother and her husband, and she made some movies that were not to her liking. She was a fashion icon of her time, and she influenced many trends in dressing. She was an avid reader, and she enjoyed cooking and hosting parties for her friends and family. She was also a vegetarian. Her untimely death at the age of 47 while on vacation with her husband and co-star Christopher Walken off the coast of Santa Catalina Island, California in 1981 was ruled a suicide. However, in 2018, fresh evidence prompted authorities to reopen the investigation into her death. Wagner was named a person of interest in her case.

Career

After making her screen debut in the 1943 film Happy Land, Natalie Wood appeared in a few more films before moving into teenage and young adult roles. Her work in these early films earned her critical praise and the attention of 20th Century Fox studio chief Irving Pichel, who signed her to a contract after she made a minor appearance in the 1947 Christmas classic Miracle on 34th Street.

In 1955, she starred with James Dean and Sal Mineo in Rebel Without a Cause, the groundbreaking depiction of teenage rebellion and angst that cemented her as one of Hollywood’s top young stars. In the next several years, Wood’s work in a variety of films won her two more Oscar nominations—for Splendor in the Grass (1961) and Love with a Proper Stranger (1963)—and numerous Golden Globe nominations.

While she often found herself cast as the girlfriend of her male co-stars, Wood made a few exceptions to play a more substantial character. In the 1956 Western The Searchers, she played abducted Native American girl Debbie Edwards, the daughter of John Wayne’s character, a role that broke ground for its use of a white actress in a Native American role.

Later in her career, Wood portrayed Maria in the Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise musical West Side Story, which was also a box office success. As Tibbetts writes, Wood “represents a modern allegory on the themes of Romeo and Juliet—in particular, youth gangs and juvenile delinquency, rock and roll music and its sexual freedom, private restlessness and public alienation.”

Wood also had more serious dramas to her credit, including This Property Is Condemned (1966) and Inside Daisy Clover (which was based on a true story). After finding herself in demand as an older actress, she turned down many roles—including that of a woman seeking emotional stability in Bonnie and Clyde opposite Faye Dunaway—and pursued professional therapy. Toward the end of her life, Wood was cast in four more theatrical films, including the mystery comedy Peeper (1975), science fiction film Meteor (1979) and the comedy The Last Married Couple in America (1980).

Death

Natalie Wood was a popular actress and the object of intense media attention. Her first marriage to Robert Wagner, eight years her senior, in 1957 made headlines and she was a regular feature in fan magazines. The fairy tale union didn’t last long, however, and by 1962 the two were separated. By that time, she had begun dating Hollywood heartthrob Warren Beatty.

When she died in 1981, the mystery surrounding her death grew even more complex. The official cause of her death was listed as accidental drowning, but in 2012 the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reopened the case, citing new information that called into question the original ruling. Bruises found on her body were a key piece of the new evidence.

On the night of her death, Wood, Wagner, and her Brainstorm co-star Christopher Walken were cruising on their boat Splendour off California’s Catalina Island. They stopped for dinner at Doug’s Harbor Reef, where the manager later testified that all four were drunk. After the meal, they were drinking ashore when Wagner became agitated and jealous of Walken, who was flirting with another woman.

Wagner then broke a bottle over Walken’s head, and the rest of the night turned violent. The couple eventually separated, but they were back together by the end of the filming for Brainstorm.

Despite her turbulent personal life, Wood continued to act in films like West Side Story (1961), Gypsy (1962), Inside Daisy Clover (1965), Pepper (1975) and The Last Married Couple in America (1980). She also appeared in two TV series, including the critically acclaimed Western The Big Valley (1984) and the less successful The New Frontier (1989). In 1969, she married British talent agent Richard Gregson, with whom she had one child before they divorced in 1972.

Landscaping

Landscape Lighting – Elevate Your Yard’s Curb Appeal

Landscape Lighting Harrisburg PA is an essential part of any outdoor design. Whether you’re looking to create a welcoming pathway or illuminate a safety hazard, the right fixtures can elevate any landscape.

From bold feature lights to soft, radiant highlights, landscape lighting has the power to transform any outdoor space into a mesmerizing wonderland. But where do you begin?

Using landscape lighting to highlight a statue, pond, flower garden or any other feature in your yard can boost the curb appeal of your home. It’s also an ideal way to set a festive mood for evening entertaining. But before you invest in this type of lighting, think about the goals you want to accomplish. Safety – Illuminating walkways, patios, gazebos, fountains and other gathering spaces will keep guests safe from tripping hazards and other dangers.

Curb Appeal – Illuminating your driveway, walkways and entryways can help you greet visitors and guests with a warm and welcoming glow. It’s easy to accentuate your favorite features, like a statue, flag pole or centerpiece tree, with the right lighting fixtures.

Uplighting focuses the light upwards, making it perfect for highlighting focal points like trees and other tall objects in your yard. It also draws attention to a tree’s branches or leaves, creating dramatic visuals. This technique can be used on any type of foliage or hardscaping element, and varying the distance and angle can change the effect.

When uplighting a large feature, like a stone wall or hedge, it’s important to choose a fixture with a wide beam to “wash” the area with light and avoid creating shadows. The lumen output you choose should also be based on how bright or dark you’d like the feature to appear.

Downlighting focuses the light downwards, which can be an effective way to illuminate walkways and other outdoor surfaces. It’s also an effective way to highlight a driveway or doorway, helping to make it safer for people to use at night.

As you can see, there are many different ways to highlight your Memphis property with landscape lighting. It’s a good idea to lean on the expertise of a professional when it comes to selecting the best techniques for your yard. But there are some basics that every homeowner should know. Uplighting and downlighting are two of the most popular options, and knowing when to use each will make your project a success.

Silhouetting

Landscape lighting transforms outdoor spaces into enchanting settings for relaxing and entertaining, adding beauty, curb appeal, safety and security to your home’s exterior. A range of styles from traditional to contemporary and techniques like uplighting and silhouetting can elevate the look and feel of your yard. The specific areas you want to light and their intended purpose guides your selection of lighting fixtures and techniques.

Silhouetting is a technique in which a light is placed directly behind a plant, fountain or medium-sized tree to create a silhouette effect at night. It’s particularly effective with subjects that won’t benefit from being lit directly from the front, such as dense shrubbery or arbored trees with close branching structure. The soft light washing from the back of a silhouetted object produces an intriguing set of shadows on walls and other surfaces, creating a magical look.

Accent lighting is often used in the form of spotlights or floodlights. These lights are generally hidden from view, allowing you to highlight features without them causing glare in the eyes of your guests or disrupting the aesthetic of the outdoor space. These types of lights are also ideal for illuminating steps and other obstacles, helping ensure safety in high-traffic areas after dark.

Path and step lighting are generally short, downward-facing lights that line one or both sides of a walkway, sidewalk or driveway. They’re usually installed with safety in mind but can also add a functional element to your landscape design. Path lights help guide visitors safely to your door and can be combined with other landscape features like planters, flower beds and even water features to serve as focal points.

Spotlights and other similar light fixtures aimed at architectural features, plants and other landscape elements illuminate the details of your home’s exterior to showcase its charm after dark. They’re a great option for highlighting the detail of trim, columns and other architectural features as well as the shape of your home. Spotlights can also be used to frame a walkway leading to your front door and to accentuate the detail of an interesting wall or other vertical surface.

Shadowing

One of the most overlooked functions of landscape lighting is how it can elevate your home’s curb appeal. Your yard can take on a whole new personality at night, and the play of light and shadow can make your space look even more appealing. There are multiple techniques you can use to add depth and dimension to your landscape design, transforming it into a piece of functional art that will wow your friends and neighbors.

Highlighting is a simple and effective way to bring attention to your landscape features, especially those with interesting textures or shapes. You can use this technique to draw attention to retaining walls, water fountains, statues, or any other feature with a unique silhouette that you want to highlight. It’s also a great way to create safety by illuminating stairways and pathways so that your family and guests can navigate them safely.

Another popular form of landscape lighting is shadowing, which is used to create intrigue and contrast on your property. This technique involves placing the fixture behind the feature, aimed towards an adjacent wall. This creates a dark outline that showcases plants and other dense features, and it looks beautiful in the evening when the sun is setting. Spotlights and well lights are ideal for creating these types of shadowing effects.

Grazing is a similar technique that uses two or more lights to cross over the surface of the feature you’re trying to illuminate. This reduces the harshness of the light and gives a more natural, softer look to your landscape. This type of landscape lighting is ideal for highlighting stucco, brick or stonework, as well as flagpoles, trellises, and pergolas.

Washing is a different type of landscape lighting that uses a wide-beam light to illuminate a larger area with minimal hot spots and density. This is ideal for illuminating walkways, patios and garden beds, as well as landscaping elements like trees, fences, and walls. Washing is also a great option for illuminating larger areas of your home, such as a pool deck or outdoor kitchen.

Whether you’re looking for a dramatic effect, a subtle glow, or a combination of both, our team at Unique Outdoor Illumination & Mosquito Pros can create the perfect lighting setup for your property. Contact us today to learn more about our services and get started on your backyard transformation!

Washing

In some cases, less really does say more when it comes to landscape lighting. A subtle wash of light can be used to highlight a waterfall in a pond without taking away from the natural look of the feature. It can also be used to highlight rocks and other landscaping around the water. This type of transitional lighting is also a great option for highlighting a focal point such as a trellis or a piece of sculpture.

Another landscape lighting technique, grazing emphasizes the texture of a surface by lighting it from close up or at a low angle. It can be used to highlight a tree trunk, stone wall or climbing ivy and create a dramatic effect. This is often seen in hotel or restaurant design and adds a touch of upscale style to the outdoor space.

While shadowing, silhouetting and washing are all lighting techniques that help to define, accentuate or highlight your landscaping features, they all have one thing in common: creating an atmosphere. The right combination of these lighting effects can make your landscape feel unique and special, transforming it from a yard into an evening gathering place for family and friends.

Adding landscape lighting to your home is an investment that not only shows your neighbors and visitors that you care about the beauty of your property, but it can also boost your home’s curb appeal and resale value. Our team of experts can help you choose the best lighting options to illuminate your favorite landscape features and draw attention to your property’s distinctive architectural elements.

If you want to keep your landscape lights looking their best, it’s important to regularly clean them. This can remove dirt and grime that could affect brightness and performance. It’s also a good idea to invest in a lighting system that can withstand the elements and avoid corrosion. Choosing fixtures that are weatherproof and have an IP rating of at least 68 can help ensure your landscape lighting system is safe in all conditions.

Landscaping

How to Make Your Backyard Better

Creating a well-maintained landscape encourages you and your family to spend more time outdoors. This translates into more mental and physical health benefits.

landscaping

Choosing an environmentally-friendly landscaping company means avoiding equipment and lawn treatments that are harmful to the environment. It also involves planting species that require minimal additives to thrive. Contact Landscapers Baltimore for professional help.

A backyard is the perfect place for family and friends to gather, play games and relax. If you’re not using your backyard to its full potential, consider making some upgrades with the help of a landscape design professional. It doesn’t matter if your backyard is big or small — there are always ways to make it better.

Make a list of your household’s hobbies and interests, then find ways to incorporate those into your backyard design. For example, if you enjoy entertaining, create a patio complete with seating and a fire pit for chilly nights. Or, if you love to cook, a backyard kitchen makes it easier and more fun to prepare food for friends and family.

Backyards can also be a haven for those who enjoy gardening. Planting a variety of plants in your backyard helps ensure that you’ll have fresh herbs and flowers to use throughout the year. Choosing plants that thrive in your region’s climate will save you a lot of time and money on garden maintenance. Xeriscaping is a popular choice in desert regions, but it’s beneficial for anyone who doesn’t want to spend hours mowing and weeding their yard.

If you’re looking to transform your backyard into a peaceful oasis, try creating a sitting area that’s enclosed by flowering bushes and vines for a cozy, insulated feeling. You can even add a soothing water feature for added tranquility.

Another way to relax in your backyard is to entertain with a backyard bar, which will allow you to enjoy drinks and snacks without leaving the comfort of your own backyard. Whether you choose to set up a bar on a raised deck or in a corner of your backyard, you’ll find that having an outdoor space to host parties and gatherings will make your backyard feel like an extension of your home.

The key to a great backyard is making sure you have plenty of comfortable seating areas. Investing in the right patio chairs and lounge sofas will keep everyone happy, especially if you’re hosting an event. You can also create a cozy seating area around a fire pit with benches and a side table for drinks and snacks.

Hardscaping

If you’re a homeowner, you know that landscaping includes a lot of work. Mowing, weeding, planting and bedding are just some of the tasks that come with keeping your yard looking great. Fortunately, hardscapes help to reduce the amount of time and effort needed to keep your outdoor areas looking their best. Hardscapes are the non-living components of your landscape and can include everything from brick to concrete. They’re usually designed to add a decorative touch and can enhance your overall landscape design.

The most common types of hardscapes are patios, walkways and driveways. These are usually built using brick, flagstone or concrete pavers. They can also include retaining walls and custom outdoor lighting. Other hardscape features include sitting walls, water features and grill surrounds. Depending on your preferences, hardscapes can be functional or decorative.

When used correctly, hardscapes can make your yard feel like an extension of your home. They can also increase your usable square footage and create unique outdoor living spaces for entertaining friends and family.

A well-designed hardscape can also complement your architectural style and tie the whole landscape together. For example, brick patios are a classic choice for homes with traditional architecture, while a flagstone walkway can be used with a variety of styles.

Hardscapes can be a great way to add a sense of privacy to your backyard. Fencing, walls and other dividing elements can help to cut down on noise and light pollution from nearby streets or neighbors. They can also increase your privacy when entertaining guests or spending time with loved ones.

Adding hardscapes to your backyard can be a great way to enhance your curb appeal and boost the value of your home. However, it’s important to remember that hardscapes can be damaged by exposure to the elements. Taking steps to protect your hardscapes and ensuring that they are installed properly can help them last longer. Regular maintenance such as a protective seal can help to prevent damage from sun, wind and rain.

If you’re considering installing a new hardscape feature on your property, be sure to contact a professional. They’ll be able to advise you on the best material for your needs and create a design that will suit your personal tastes.

Trees

Trees are one of the most important elements of any landscaping plan. They offer a wide range of benefits that improve the overall look of your commercial property. Adding trees to your landscape can also increase the value of your property. The following tips will help you choose the best place to add a new tree.

Framing a view

Trees can frame a view without the expense and limitations of structural boundaries like walls, fences, or built-in seating. They also create outdoor living spaces, separating one part of the yard from another and defining a space without blocking views or creating visual clutter.

Privacy screening

Evergreen trees provide a cost-effective and attractive solution for blocking neighbors’ views from homes, decks, and patios. They can easily extend above fencing and are a good choice for blocking upper-story neighboring views as well. They can even serve as a windbreak to help shield yards from winter winds.

Seasonal color

Trees add beauty to the landscape through blooming flowers and foliage that change with the seasons, enhancing the beauty of your property throughout the year. They are also a focal point, attracting birds and other wildlife.

Sound barrier

Trees help to reduce noise pollution in urban areas by absorbing and deflecting sound waves. They can also help to filter air pollutants, such as carbon dioxide, and promote soil stability to prevent erosion.

Accentuating the base of a tree

To make the most of the space under your trees, add landscape accents such as flowering shrubs or ornamental grasses to fill in gaps and keep weeds from growing. Alternatively, use large rocks or garden art to create silhouettes and shadows under the canopy of the tree.

Be sure to plant your trees properly, ensuring they are not planted too close to structures or buried utility lines. Check with your public works department to see if they offer free flagging services and to find out where underground utilities are located before planting. Make sure your tree is planted at least a half of its mature height away from buildings or paved surfaces to avoid damage or staining.

Outdoor living spaces

When you’re planning for outdoor living spaces, lifestyle is a key element to consider. Whether it’s curling up with a book in the morning sun or hosting friends for late-night drinks, you want your yard to feel like a comfortable extension of your home.

One way to help your backyard become more inviting is by creating a central space for dining and entertaining. You could create a cozy nook around a fire pit, add a dining patio or even transform your front yard into a social garden.

Focal points make the best backyard entertainment areas, and a fountain can serve as an eye-catching centerpiece for any landscaping project. Water also appeals to all five senses, providing a soothing sound and a dimension of cool tranquility that’s sure to enhance any gathering. For an affordable focal point, try adding a small store-bought fountain or opting for something more unique, such as a cascading waterfall or an elegant sculpture.

To define a seating area in your backyard, consider using paver stones or bricks to create a floor that sets it apart from the rest of your lawn’s grass. This simple design element gives the illusion of a defined room and helps separate the area for dining and relaxing from the rest of the garden. If you have the budget for it, a wall provides an even more effective separation, while also offering a sense of privacy and security.

When it comes to outdoor furniture, choose pieces that can endure a range of weather conditions and temperature fluctuations. Properly waterproofed wood or metal chairs and couches can resist rain, wind and sunlight for years without fading or becoming damaged. If you’re considering a pergola, look for one that features screens that can be opened or closed to keep mosquitoes and other pests away when you’re enjoying your outdoor living area at dusk or dawn.

The right lighting will also help your backyard be a welcoming gathering place at night. There are many ways to brighten up a space for outdoor living, including sconces, pendants and Edison-type bulbs strung overhead. You can also add a softer touch with candles, lamps and lanterns.

Flooring

Exploring the Pros and Cons of Hardwood Flooring: Beauty and Durability Combined

Flooring Middletown NY is one of the most important design elements in your home. The right floor can bring your interior together and create seamless room-to-room continuity.

Consider how much you’re willing to spend and the level of maintenance needed. Site-finished solid wood floors require more work than factory-finished laminate and engineered hardwood.

Wood

Flooring

Wood flooring brings a natural, warm and classic look to your home. It is longlasting and a timeless choice for most homeowners.

It can be installed in a wide variety of patterns and styles to suit different decors from modern to classical. Wood floors can also be sanded and refinished over time to keep your floor looking fresh and new.

Different species of wood have their own characteristics. Some are harder and more durable, others have a beautiful grain pattern or are more colour variant. Oak, for example, has a strong character and a gorgeous grain, with an elegance that only gets better with age. Other wood species such as birch are softer and more colourful with a rich golden hue that changes with the seasons. Hickory is another hard wood with a varied grain and rich hue that can lean red or orange depending on the stain used. Pine is a softer wood with a traditional look that has beautiful grain and characteristic knots that get even better with age.

A wood floor’s sheen level determines how easy it is to maintain and the amount of light it reflects. The options are matte, satin, semi-gloss and glossy.

The installation method for wood flooring can be either click fitting or tongue & groove, with the latter being more traditional. The tongue on the plank fits into the groove on the other side of the board to create a tight fit and no visible gaps between the boards. The tongue and groove system can be fitted over underlay which provides insulation against sound, heat and moisture.

A wood floor’s dimensional stability is affected by humidity. Too much moisture in the air can cause the wood to swell and crack. In extreme cases the flooring can even delaminate. It is therefore important to keep a good level of humidity in the home, which can be done by installing an efficient dehumidifier or by using underlay with a built-in dehumidifier.

Tile

Tile is a classic flooring material that can be used in many different ways. Its most common use is in kitchens, but it also works well in mudrooms and entryways as an alternative to expensive hardwood. Tile is a durable option that can handle heavy foot traffic, and it can stand up to years of wear and tear. It is naturally water-resistant and is an ideal choice for bathrooms and laundry rooms.

Tile comes in a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes. It is an ideal material for achieving a custom look, and its versatility allows homeowners to find the right style to complement their design aesthetic. The layout and installation process also have an effect on the appearance of a tile floor. For example, using smaller mosaic tiles in between the primary tiles can create a distinctive pattern that adds visual interest to the space.

Another advantage of tile is that it is easy to clean. It won’t harbor dirt, dust, pet dander and other allergens like carpet fibers, and it is resistant to mold and mildew growth. Furthermore, most tiles are fired at high temperatures, reducing the production of Volatile Organic Compounds that can contaminate indoor air quality.

The disadvantages of tile flooring include its hardness, which can make it uncomfortable to stand on for long periods of time and make dropped items more likely to break. Additionally, grout lines can collect dirt and stain over time, requiring regular cleaning and occasional regrouting. Finally, tile can be more expensive than some other flooring options.

With the right planning and professional installation, tile is a great option for any home renovation project. It is an especially good choice in high-traffic areas, as it will withstand the stomping of boots, the kicking of soccer cleats and other daily wear and tear. In addition, it is a good choice for bathroom and kitchen areas because of its durability, resistance to moisture and ease of maintenance. However, for bedrooms and living spaces, other flooring options may be more comfortable and offer better sound absorption.

Vinyl

Vinyl is a versatile flooring material with an attractive blend of aesthetics, durability, and affordability. It can mimic materials like wood or stone, and is easy to install and maintain. However, it can be scratched by heavy objects and may fade under intense sunlight, and some types produce high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) — although there are low-VOC alternatives available.

The production of vinyl is an interesting story, starting with the discovery of the chemical PVC by a German chemist named Eugen Baumann in 1926. He had left a flask of vinyl chloride out in the sun, and when he returned, a white solid polymer had formed inside. He had no idea that he had stumbled upon an incredibly useful new product.

In the following years, researchers developed various processes to mold this new polymer into different products. One such process was to add carbon, which gave the vinyl a distinctive black color and improved its electrical properties. This was used in the production of vinyl records, which were colored black to reduce the amount of static electricity generated by their rotation and playback.

The most common use for vinyl today is as a floor covering. It is durable and relatively inexpensive compared with other flooring options, but it is not inherently water-resistant and must be sealed to protect against moisture damage. Some varieties of vinyl are made with a protective top layer that is resistant to stains, making it easy to clean.

It is important to note that most vinyl products are manufactured to look the same so that one section will look the same as another coming out of the boxes. This means that when installing the floor, it is best to work out of 2-3 boxes at a time and pay close attention to placement or you may end up with a section that looks identical to the rest.

When properly cared for, vinyl is extremely rugged and can last for decades if not longer. It is also easy to clean, requiring little more than a broom and mop. It can be damaged, though, so it is important to protect your vinyl by using rugs or mats in high-traffic areas, and placing felt pads on the bottom of furniture legs.

Carpet

Carpet is a popular flooring choice for many homeowners and builders. It is comfortable and warm underfoot, provides sound-absorbing qualities, and comes in a wide variety of textures and colors to match any decor. However, it is also prone to staining and requires regular upkeep and cleaning. As a result, it may not last as long as other types of flooring.

When choosing a new carpet, it is important to consider the room in which you will be installing it. Typically, heavy use areas like stairs and hallways require a higher face weight or “pile” of fibers per square yard. This helps the carpet resist flattening caused by foot traffic and furniture over time. It is also important to keep in mind that the type of fiber used in a carpet has an impact on durability.

Aside from fiber type, the way a carpet is constructed also impacts its durability. Tufted carpets have an upper layer of pile that is attached to a secondary backing. This backing is made of either a tough, woven material or a durable plastic. This material is used to reduce the risk of the carpet becoming soiled or damaged by moisture, odors, and mold.

While many homeowners choose carpet for its versatility and style, it is not ideal for every room in the home. If not maintained properly, it can harbor dirt and allergens deep within its fibers. These contaminants can trigger hay fever and allergies in sensitive family members. Additionally, if water or other liquids seep through the carpet and its backing, mold and mildew can grow, which is not only unsightly but can pose health risks for your family.

If you’re interested in installing carpet, speak to your local Flooring America sales professional about the various options available and how each type of carpet performs in different environments. They will be able to help you choose the right carpet for your needs and advise you of any additional maintenance requirements.