The amount of flooring options on the market is enough to make anyone’s head spin. It’s hard to know what flooring is a fading trend and what flooring will complement your style and stand the test of time. Are all flooring types created equally, and what are the most important factors for choosing the right flooring for your home? We’re here to ease the headache of choosing your flooring; cutting through the sales pitches and trends to give you the information to choose the right flooring in your home. Not only will we see if all flooring options can hold up to the same standard, but we will go through the questions to answer when picking the best flooring for you and your family.
The first major decision when you choose flooring for your home is whether you would like the same flooring throughout your home or different types of flooring in each room. Some people say having the same flooring throughout can give the illusion of a larger, more open space. On the other hand, spending your money on higher quality flooring in your more heavily used areas and then getting something more affordable for the bedrooms can be a good way to get the flooring you want at the price you need.
Because this step can impact your budget, establishing those numbers early on will greatly benefit you in your decision making. Knowing your budget before you even start looking will guide your options and may narrow your search range to a more manageable amount of flooring types.
Measures of Good Flooring
For each flooring, we will discuss the trends associated, the benefits of that flooring, the drawbacks, and the ultimate price of the flooring installation and upkeep. Before going through the list, we recommend making a list of what is most important to you. Do you wish to have sustainable, earth-conscious flooring? Consider the upkeep you are willing to put in and the budget for cleaning supplies. What type of weather do you deal with yearly, and what will that mean for your flooring? Consider these things when going through the options to find what will work best in your home and within your budget.
Types of Flooring
Wanting to bring a retro feel into your home? This carpet from the 60s will transform any room to a cozy lounge setting. Shag carpet is not recommended for households with pets or younger children as it collects dirt and dust quickly, and can stain easily.
This lux flooring material is available at mid to high range prices, between $5 to $8 per sq. ft. It does require routine cleaning to keep it looking fresh, but is great for anyone that enjoys vintage styles. If you are looking for a fresh and fun feel, look into the more colorful palettes this carpet comes in.
Concrete flooring came into popularity in the early 2010s with the industrial trend. While this floor comes out very affordable ranging between $4 to $8 sq. ft., it can be a little cold and hard to walk on, especially during the winter months when heating your home with concrete is difficult to achieve. There has also been some speculation that concrete flooring is not good for the environment due to the chemicals manufacturers add to help it dry faster. These chemicals can be released from the concrete in some cases after installation.
Unlike Concrete flooring, this unique flooring choice is a more sustainable option and comes in a variety of looks. Cork varies in price anywhere from $5.00-$14.00 per sq. ft. for materials and installation. Cork is good for homes that have minimal amounts of furniture as it is very soft and may not withstand heavy traffic and the weight of large furniture pieces on top. Over time, Cork flooring can develop divots where furniture or other heavy materials sit. Despite Cork flooring’s tendency to get small dings and scratches, Cork flooring needs minimal cleaning and maintenance.
Bamboo flooring was popularized in the early 2000s and offers a very clean and modern look for your home. Bamboo flooring is a mid-range flooring option, costing anywhere from $5-$7 per sq ft for install. This flooring is easy to clean and pretty durable unless it is exposed to water as it is highly sensitive to water damage.
While bamboo sometimes experiences water damage, it commonly comes with 50-year warranties because of its durability. Bamboo flooring is harder than most other hardwood flooring making it a highly scratch resistant surface perfect for high traffic areas.
This flooring is classic and has been around for many hundreds of years. Hardwood floors offer clean lines and great durability for any home. However Hardwood often comes at a premium price averaging $8.00/sq ft, putting it out of range for some home renovators.
Hardwood floors are easy to clean, but need protection against water that can warp and damage the wood if not taken care of properly. Although the cleaning consists of simple sweeping, and polishing, it’s important to have a consistent cleaning routine for this flooring option to avoid permanent discoloration or damage. On top of routine cleaning, hardwood floors need to be recoated for their protection every five or so years depending on wear and tear. Around every ten years, hardwood floors need to be sanded, screened, and resealed to keep them in prime condition.
While hardwood floors take a lot of care, it often comes down to a labor of love. Beautifully maintained hardwood floors give a house life beyond its years and improves property value.
Tile has been around even longer than hardwood flooring and is known to be one of the most durable flooring choices on the market. Tile flooring is easy to repair if any cracks occur overtime and a simple cleaning routine maintains its quality. With it’s affordable price ranging anywhere from $7.00-$14.00 per sq. ft. and easy to clean surfaces, it’s often a great option for family homes. However, parents should consider the risk of installing tile in a home full of rambunctious little ones as it is a very hard and slippery surface. As far as sustainability goes, Ceramic tile is an excellent choice due to its renewable material and manufacturer’s ability to use recycled materials in the making process.
The best advantage for choosing tile in your home is the variety of styles and colors that are available to fit your design aesthetic. While traditionally tile is seen in kitchens and bathrooms, it can create a dynamic look across your entire home with proper planning. During the winter months, tile can be cold if not heated properly, which may not be ideal for some homes.
Vinyl and Laminate
Vinyl and Laminate flooring came out in the 70s as cheap and easy to install flooring options for the everyday family. Vinyl and Laminate options start around $3.00 per sq. ft. and range to around $8.00 per sq. ft. Both flooring options are great for their endless choices of designs and patterns as well as their easy to clean and durable surfaces. The trouble with vinyl flooring comes when you need to remove or replace it; it is very difficult to remove. Vinyl and Laminate flooring, like many other man-made materials, are not sustainable options.
Popularized in the 60s, Engineered Hardwood flooring is much more eco-friendly than regular wood floors at similar price points ranging from $3.00-$13.00 per sq. ft. Its main purpose, when created, was to reduce the moisture problems that hardwood floors have, developing a lower maintenance option.
Engineered Hardwood floors are made of a top layer of a real hardwood species and a core, typically consisting of multiple plywood layers laminated together to form a durable plank, or in some cases HDF (high density fiberboard). The stacking of the layers is designed to counteract the natural tendency of hardwoods to expand, contract, warp, or cup when exposed to different environmental factors. It is an affordable alternative option to hardwood floors.
First popularized in 1866 and then again in the 1950s, Linoleum is often confused with Vinyl, but is made of a different, natural material called Linseed Oil, making it a little more sustainable as a flooring option. Linoleum floors are affordable at around $3.00 per sq. ft. and come in a lot of different styles and colors! Linoleum is easy to maintain and durable, it can however retain moisture which can be an issue if not taken care of properly and needs polishing up to twice a year.
Although there are a lot of benefits to Linoleum, such as, the price point, durability and natural material used to create it, Linoleum gets a bad reputation for its difficulty to install. Be sure to consult a professional if you are interested in Linoleum in your home.
Marble is a beautiful and lux flooring option that comes at a very high cost per unit ranging from $20.00-$50.00 dollars per sq. ft. While it can add tremendous value to your home, marble is not recommended for homes with children or pets as it can be very easily scratched or stained. An added cost of marble is the necessary addition of a non-slip coating on marble’s naturally slippery surface.
Marble, like other natural products can become discolored over time, through common aging or heavy use. Marble requires routine maintenance, that should be considered in the budget as it is a repeated cost. While marble has its flaws, it is truly a unique and beautiful option for floors that will add value to your home for years to come.
Natural slate is durable, stain resistant, and relatively low maintenance. It provides texture and is versatile throughout all the rooms in your home. Slate flooring, like anything else, will have different grades of quality and ranges in price from $4.00-$10.00 per sq. ft. The finest slate is found underground and must be mined, while lower quality slate is located on the ground’s surface; it costs less because it is less expensive to extract. The difficulty of slate flooring installation can vary depending on the cut of stone you want to put in. Some slate floors are installed in much the same way as ceramic tile. Slate is one of the most expensive flooring materials on the market. Purchasing good quality slate is costly, but its performance is, without a doubt, a worthy investment.
All natural stone surfaces need to be sealed periodically. This is because stone is a naturally porous material and can absorb bacteria, food particles, and liquids that we use throughout our home. Coating on all natural stones and tiles for slip resistance is needed as well.
At the end of the day, it comes down to what you are comfortable spending, how much time you want to spend cleaning, and what matches your design and lifestyle the best. Each flooring type has its own set of pros and cons. It’s all about knowing which cons you can live with and which pros are worth your investment.