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Choosing the Right Flooring for Your Lake House

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Anyone buying or remodeling a lake home has a myriad of decisions to make. Many times, flooring is one of the last things you want to think about. Even so, lake home flooring is a very important decision!

If you are buying or remodeling a lake home, chances are you are already familiar with the effects of the elements. Lake homes withstand a huge amount of moisture, humidity and wear and tear.

Here are the most common flooring types and how they stack up against those elements.


Best for: Bedrooms, living rooms, upstairs hallways

Worst for: Kitchens, bathrooms, entryways

Many people think carpet is an automatic no-go for a lake house. Far from it! If your heart (and your soles) are set on carpet, never fear. Just keep a few things in mind.

The main worries for carpet on the lake are water, mud and humidity. Those muddy footprints can add up pretty quickly!

But if your property isn’t waterfront, this might not be a serious problem. Many builders compromise by using hardwood or synthetic flooring in main entryways and kitchens, then carpet in the main living areas.

Carpet also gives comfy insulation during the winter months. Having a soft, comfy floor is a big plus on those chilly winter nights!

One hidden drawback is carpet’s absorbency. Carpet absorbs moisture, pet hair, dust, pollen and mold. Many of these are in abundance at a lake house! If you are buying a previously owned lake house, be sure to clean the carpets when you move in.

Hardwood Flooring

Best for: Living rooms, dining rooms, foyers, hallways, bedrooms

Worst for: Basements, bathrooms, kitchens, wet areas

Many lake homes have hardwood floors. There is a wide range of hardwood flooring options, from bamboo, to pine, to oversea exotics such as mahogany and rosewood. These can be attractive, durable, and increase your home’s value.

The two primary concerns with hardwood on the lake are cost, and the chance of water damage. Hardwood can be extremely expensive, depending on the wood chosen. Water damage from flooding, the elements, or just years of wet feet can be expensive to replace.

Hardwood is also vulnerable to humidity, especially in basements or other “below grade” areas. Many builders only use hardwood on or above the ground floor. Or you can use engineered wood. This uses a top layer of finished wood over multiple, thin layers of plywood or fiberboard. Amy Matthews, host of HGTV’s Sweat Equity, says, “depending on the thickness of the veneer, engineered wood can be finished once or twice.”

Laminate / Vinyl Flooring

Best for: Entryways, hallways, living rooms

Worst for: Bathrooms

Lake homes often sport vinyl or laminate flooring in parts. These are more affordable and durable than carpet or hardwood. Better yet, they have advanced greatly since the 1970s, when vinyl flooring, floral wallpaper and lava lamps went hand-in-hand.

Laminate is a synthetic flooring with the appearance of hardwood. Vinyl is a synthetic flooring with far more options and can have the appearance of tile, wood, stone or other materials. Both come in panels of various sizes.

Many of these can beautify a home at a fraction of the cost used by hardwood or tile flooring. They can easily shrug off spilled drinks and muddy footprints, too.

Remember that these flooring options are not perfectly waterproof. They typically require a perfectly clean, level floor. Seams between the panels can let water in, as well, that could soak into the underlayment or subflooring. Be careful when using these in a bathroom, where small puddles of water are almost a daily occurrence.


Best for: Entryways, kitchens, bathrooms­­­

Worst for: Sunrooms, bedrooms, rooms with rough concrete flooring

Another flooring that has seen a resurgence ­is linoleum. This synthetic flooring can come in either glue-down sheets, panels, or tiles.

The main difference between linoleum and laminate is the materials used. Linoleum is made from natural products, including linseed oil and sawdust.

Linoleum is more waterproof than laminate or vinyl tile. Because of this, it is more commonly used in areas like kitchens where spills happen frequently. When installing linoleum, be sure to waterproof the seams and edges.

Avoid installing linoleum flooring in any room with direct sunlight. The flooring will fade with time, and could even peel or warp. Install linoleum flooring in a sunroom, and you will most likely need to replace it in a few years’ time.

Ceramic or Stone Tile

Best for: Entryways, outdoors, kitchens, bathrooms

Worst for: Bedrooms

Many homeowners on the lake solve these water damage issues with ceramic or stone tile. Tile flooring is attractive, easy to clean and completely waterproof. It also comes in a wide range of textures and colors. A tile floor can give your home a warm, old-world charm; a crisp, clean surface; or any other look you desire.

Tile floors are more durable than nearly any other finished flooring. You can use it in entryways, kitchens, patios or anywhere you like.

The only true drawbacks to tile are cost, hardness and temperature. Depending on the type, tile can easily cost more than hardwood. Tile can also be very unforgiving if you plan to stand for long periods of time, or if someone slips and falls. This is especially true for gloss finish tile.

Tile gets very cold in the winter, too. This is why builders rarely use tile in bedrooms or hallways.

Location, location, location

Whatever your preference, a mix of flooring types will probably work best for your lake home.

Many builders use grading to determine what type of floor to use. “Grade” refers to ground level. Rooms at ground level are “on grade,” above ground level are “above grade” and below ground level is “below grade.”

Most builders never use hardwood, or other flooring susceptible to water damage, in below grade rooms such as finished basements. Due to the proximity to the lake and the water level, this can bring persistent dampness, or even water seepage. Any flooring susceptible to damage from moisture (such as hardwood) should not be used below grade.



Fall 2017 Market Report is Now Available

Lake Homes Realty - Lake Market Report - CoverLake Homes Realty has just released the Fall 2017 update to the firm’s proprietary Lake Real Estate Market Report.

Covering more than 550 lake real estate markets across 12 states through the Southeast, Southwest, and Northeast United States, the report is the nation’s most comprehensive look at these markets.

This edition of the report has data from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. In addition, this is the first time the report includes trending data showing how markets compared to the fall of last year!


A Must Read for Lake Home Buyers and Sellers

Lake Homes Realty - Lake Market Report - Texas Infographic

Lake Homes Realty’s Director of Market Engagement Brian Cauble shared,

“Regardless of where they live now, anyone considering buying or selling a lake home or land in these states should find this to be ‘must read’ information.”

Cauble, along with Tom Wofford, is a co-author of the report, which includes 55 pages of rankings for market sizes, most expensive home and land markets, and most affordable home and land markets.

Previous editions of this report have been a valuable resource for lake home and land buyers and sellers. The report has also been popular with a number of local and regional news outlets.

The full report is available at no charge for lake real estate buyers and sellers, as well as media use.

To obtain a free copy of this report, visit




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Lake Homes Realty Earns FastTrack 30 for Third Straight Year

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For the third consecutive year, The Birmingham Business Journal has named Lake Homes Realty among the 30 fastest growing businesses in Birmingham. Lake Homes Realty was ranked number 28 on the list, released on Sept. 1, 2017. The company was the highest ranked real estate company on the list, also for a third straight year. “I’m excited […]

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You have the rod and reel packed. The morning sun is shining across the water. Bait is in the bucket, drinks are in the cooler and the boat is officially in the water. Your cell phone is set to “do not disturb,” and it is Time. To. Fish. You’re only missing one thing: the perfect […]

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Lake Homes Realty makes Top Tier of Inc. Magazine’s List of 5,000 Fastest-Growing Companies

August 16, 2017

Lake Homes Realty was the highest-ranked Birmingham-area company to make the 2017 Inc. 5000, the prestigious annual ranking by Inc. Magazine of the 5000 fastest-growing companies in the U.S. Lake Homes Realty landed in the top fifth of the 2017 list, at number 927, courtesy of its three-year growth of 473 percent. To be eligible […]

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More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Most of these are from harmless outdoor plants. But good luck trying to tell your sinuses that! If your allergies are keeping you indoors at your lake house, they can all but ruin your summer. […]

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July 6, 2017

Do you love boating but have trouble speaking the language? Are you sunk when people throw around boating jargon, terms and lingo when boating? Do you look around lost when someone says there are “fish jumping off the starboard bow”? We’re here to help! Here are 40+ of the most common nautical terms on the […]

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Water Safety for Kids on the Lake

June 23, 2017

Every parent wants their children to stay safe while having fun at the lake. Just a little preparation can help your kids have a fun time on the lake, and build memories you will cherish for a lifetime. Whether they are toddlers or teenagers, water safety can start right now! Here are some water safety […]

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Lake Homes Realty Expands into New York and Connecticut

June 22, 2017

Birmingham, Alabama-based Lake Homes Realty is now licensed and operating real estate brokerage services in New York and Connecticut. This expands the company’s brokerage operations footprint to 13 states in just four years. “Our team has done a great job of expanding our business footprint, while still focusing on great service for all our buyers, sellers and […]

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