When buying new flooring for your home, your first consideration might be appearance. Do you want to see rustic, weathered wood under your feet? Stylish imported ceramic tiles? Smooth and shiny stone? Checkerboard vinyl tiles or herringbone pine? Or something simple and unassuming to put under your rugs?
Once you have your dream floor in mind, it’s time to take stock with reality. Installing new flooring is one of the most expensive home improvement projects you undertake, so make sure you have the budget for the flooring you prefer.
Also consider foot traffic, sunlight, and the wear and tear on your flooring. For example, some engineered woods, as well as a few types of solid wood flooring, are not as moisture resistant as vinyl or laminate, a serious drawback in a busy bathroom or kitchen. . If you are looking for durability, porcelain tiles would be a better choice. The good news is that some new porcelain tile designs closely mimic the look and feel of wood. But tiles can be expensive and require labor-intensive installation.
It is also wise to have a backup choice. In this age of supply chain disruption, the availability of building products like flooring is bound to fluctuate.
A lot of hardwood, marble and porcelain is produced in Europe or comes from European forests and quarries, says David Steckel, a home expert at the Thumbtack website, which connects consumers to home improvement service providers. and others. “It may be more cost effective to ship cars and appliances than flooring, which decreases supply [of flooring] available,” he said.
To help you make the best choice under your feet, we put the most common types and brands of flooring, including Armstrong, Lumber Liquidators, Pergo and Tarkett, through a series of rigorous tests. Use our ratings to select the type that best suits the room or rooms you are renovating.