The sheer variety of flooring types can seem overwhelming—especially if you’re in the market to build a new home or renovate your current home. The flooring you choose for your home can have a huge impact on its overall atmosphere, appearance, livability, and comfort level for your entire family. Installing new flooring is a biggest money and time investment than simply changing the color of your walls, so it’s important that you make the right decision before you start spackling.
Because every type of flooring has its own strengths and weaknesses, Blindster created this list to help you choose the right flooring for your home.
Wood floors bring an elegant, warm, and timeless look to any room in your home. Mostly commonly used in living rooms and bedrooms, hardwood floors can range in appearance from light cedar to dark mahogany, and each can be stained to create even more dramatic colors and hues. Wood floors are also great for complementing wood furniture, and a freshly waxed wood floor can create a brilliant shine in direct sunlight.
Unlike many other types of floors, wood floors are highly susceptible to scratches that can be extremely difficult to remove. In addition, wood floors are also vulnerable to water damage, as any standing water or liquid can quickly cause problems-meaning spills must be cleaned up immediately to avoid damaging the wood. Dark wood floors also hide dirt, which can make it more difficult to keep them completely clean.
Laminate is a common substitute for wood floors, as it can be designed to look almost identical to wood from a distance. It’s also much easier to install than wood flooring, as it can often be installed directly on top of existing flooring. Laminate flooring is traditionally cheaper than other types of flooring, it’s also easily cleaned and scratch resistant. Inexperienced DIYers can often install laminate flooring with minimal construction or home repair skills, as it only requires precise cuts and a strong adhesive.
This type of flooring is synthetic and doesn’t have the same shine or sturdiness of wood. Depending on the type of laminate purchased, it can also look synthetic and unnatural when viewed up-close or in certain types of lighting. High-quality laminate looks more like the real thing, but the price for this type of flooring can reach the same levels of actual hardwood. It also has a tendency to warp over time.
Most commonly used in bathrooms and kitchens, tile flooring is available in a wide variety of colors, shapes, sizes, and patterns, which makes it quite versatile for your home’s décor and color schemes. In addition, tiles also holds up well to repeated exposure to liquids, including spills and humidity from kitchens and showers. Finally, tile is easy to install as a weekend DIY project and can be laid with very little experience in home repair or improvement projects.
Tile can get cold in the winter and is a hard surface, making it less than ideal for families with small children. It also has a tendency to become extremely slippery when wet, making it a hazard for trips and falls. Tile is susceptible to chipping, cracking, and breaking over time, and it can be difficult and expensive to repair or replace broken tiles. Initial costs for purchasing tile can also be higher than other types of flooring.
Carpet is the flooring of choice for most homes and is widely used in living rooms, dens, hallways, and bedrooms for its warmth and comfort. Its softness makes it ideal for homes with small children, and modern carpet is often highly stain-resistant and more easily cleaned than older carpets.
Wall-to-wall carpeting can be harmful for people with allergies, as it can trap dirt, dust, and other irritants deep inside for long periods of time that vacuuming may not remove. Carpeting installed in locations with high humidity is also susceptible to developing mold and mildew. Animal stains and certain liquids can permanently stain, discolor, or ruin carpet, and thorough cleaning requires heavy-duty machinery or the help of a professional carpet cleaning service.
Vinyl flooring often looks like tile but can be purchased at a much lower cost. Like laminate flooring, it is designed to provide the same appearance as more expensive types of flooring while being easier to install and maintain. Installation of vinyl flooring can be done in tiles or by laying down large sheets cut to fit your kitchen, bathroom, or any other room in your home. And like tile, vinyl flooring is water and stain resistant, making clean up a quick and easy process.
Because of its thin design, it is prone to major dents, tears, scratches, and even cuts when exposed to rough surfaces of edges. Once damage, vinyl flooring is difficult to repair and may need to be completely replaced. In addition, this type of flooring is also susceptible to detaching from the baseboards when exposed to moisture.
Stone (Marble, Granite, Slate)
Stone flooring is incredibly durable and resistant to nearly any type of damage, as it doesn’t scratch, break, warp, or crack in most circumstances. In addition, its natural patterns and colors make for a beautiful and striking appearance in any room in your home. Stone flooring can also be finished to increase traction to make it easier to walk on.
Stone is one of the most expensive types of flooring available and can cost magnitudes more than other types of flooring. In addition, it’s also cold and hard on your feet and isn’t ideal for homes in cold climates, as it doesn’t retain any heat. Because of its weight, stone flooring shouldn’t be installed in homes that don’t have strong subfloors or baseboards.