Traditional Eichler flooring consisted of cork or tile. This material was originally utilized in Eichlers for aesthetic, cost and functional reasons.
As Eichler owners look to replace or upgrade their flooring, there are many options now available (which work well with all Eichler floor plans!) including tile, stone, concrete, concrete-staining or painting, hardwoods, bamboo, cork, linoleum and carpet.
Below are a few flooring option pictures to inspire fellow Eicher and mid-century modern homeowners. If you have flooring pictures that you would like to share with fellow owners of Joseph Eichler homes, please e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cork Flooring Originally utilized in many Eichler homes, natural cork flooring continues to be one of the most popular flooring options for Eichler owners because of its aesthetic appeal, walking comfort, good heat-transfer and retention capabilities, and easy maintenance. One disadvantage to cork is its tendency to fade over time, especially in a sun-drenched environment which is common with Eichlers. The picture on the lower right illustrates this effect as a dark cork floor has lightned considerably over time.
Bamboo Flooring While probably not the preferred material for Eichler or mid-century modern 'purists', Bamboo is an en vogue flooring material which has increased in popularity over the last few years because of its aesthetic appeal, reasonable cost and reputation as an eco-friendly, "green" alternative to hardwood floors. Some of the potential disadvantages of bamboo flooring include durability, compatability with in-floor radiant heat systems, and also fading over time (as illustrated below in the picture to the right). A few San Francisco Bay Area resources for general bamboo flooring information are Smith+ Fong Plyboo and EcoTimber.
Concrete & Concrete-Stained or Painted Flooring "Going back to the basics" with a concrete floor can present Eichler homes with a very clean and industrial (yet still cozy) minimalist feel. In recent years, there has been a surge in the number of products available to soften and enhance a concrete floors appearance, including concrete-friendly paints, stains and dyes. Some of the potential disadvantages of concrete floors include its hardness on the feet and knees, as well as its unforgiving nature since anything semi-fragile you drop on it is likely to break. Concrete floors also show cracks and other slab imperfections, however some people feel that this adds to the floors "personality" and uniqueness.
Tile & Vinyl Composition Tile (VCT) Flooring
Hardwood Flooring Installing harwood floors in an Eichler can provide the home with an updated, contemporary look. Special care must be taken when choosing and installing a hardwood floor because of the in-floor hydronic radiant heat system & the moisture level content of the concrete slab found in Eichlers. For additional information, see Harwood Flooring & Radiant Heat Systems.
Prior to selecting and installing hardwood flooring, make sure that you are working with a vendor experienced with these specific types of installations. Also make sure that adquate moisture level testing is performed prior to the installation since it may impact the manufacturer's warranty on these types of installations.
Carpeting Installing wall-to-wall carpeting throughout an Eichler home is rare however many owner choose to install carpet in specific rooms of their homes. Carpet is often seleted for use in rooms where comfort and acoustic dampening is desired. One signficant disadvantage of carpeting an Eichler home is that it can dramatically reduce the effectiveness of an in-floor radiant heat system. For additional information, see Radiant Floors & Carpeting.
Fortunately, there are carpeting materials and padding/underlayment materials that exist which can provide a good balance between comfort and function. Additionally, there are newer "modular" carpeting systems, such as the FLOR™ product, which can quickly and easily be installed and removed in Eichlers by anyone.
IMPORTANT: When evaluating flooring options, you should work with a flooring company that is experienced with Eichlers since there are nuances involved in both selecting and installing a new floor in a Joseph Eichler home. Each of these flooring options have their own unique set of advantages and disadvantages (as well as installation options), so you should work with a vendor knowledgable about Eichlers with recent customer installation references.
Please remember to share your flooring pictures, regardless of your Eichler floorplan. You can email them to email@example.com.