Hardwood floors are a popular and durable option that is always visually appealing. Oak and cherry give off a natural feel in any home. Hardwood floors often come in planks, parquet, or prefinished planks that can be expensive and difficult to install. They’re prone to moisture damage, so it’s best to install them in parts of the house that don’t get wet often from showers or kitchen sinks.
Over time, they can get scratches or dents that can be expensive to fix, but these floors can be refinished every year and last for decades.
Laminate floors are a less expensive alternative that seeks to achieve that parquet look. The material is made of wood-based materials that are laminated together and then layered with a print that mimics the grains of wood.
Besides the grain of the wood, laminate floors come in a variety of colors and styles. They are durable and easier to install than hardwood. Although laminate is useful in high traffic areas, it is prone to moisture damage in kitchens or bathrooms where the floor is often wet.
Engineered wood floors
Engineered wood floors are made of plywood boards covered with a real but very thin hardwood veneer. They are a great option for those who want something between laminate and hardwood. Because they’re covered in real hardwood, they look more like real hardwood floors at a fraction of the cost. Unlike hardwood, refinishing these floors usually requires replacing the surface.
Tile is a popular option for many homeowners. Materials range from porcelain, terracotta, marble, granite to slate. Porcelain enamel is the most cost effective. It’s non-porous, waterproof (making it ideal for kitchens and bathrooms), and sturdy enough for high-traffic rooms in a home.
Tiles are available in a wide range of textures, shapes and finishes allowing a homeowner to be creative with tile selection. Overall, tile floors are durable, but they can be expensive and difficult to install. Chips and scratches can damage tiles and are difficult to repair.
Vinyl flooring is easy to clean and has a softer underfoot than tile or stone. Vinyl is a popular choice for basements, bathrooms or kitchens where moisture can be an issue. It’s usually affordable and comes in self-adhesive sheets or tiles, making vinyl a great DIY choice. Vinyl flooring is sold in a range of widths and thicknesses. Choose a thicker vinyl for high traffic areas.
Concrete floors have become popular, offering long term durability and low maintenance compared to other popular flooring types. Gray concrete can be stamped or stained to look like other expensive materials like marble, granite, stone or brick.
Carpet is a common type of flooring in colder climates, especially in bedrooms. Carpeting is economical and soft and warm underfoot. Rugs come in a myriad of colors and styles and some are stain resistant which is best in homes with young children or pets. Carpets can be difficult to maintain; it is best to have the carpet professionally cleaned at least once a year.
Bamboo is an extremely durable type of flooring made from a light woody grass. It can withstand the swelling and shrinking that often occurs on hardwood floors in hot, humid climates. Bamboo is also moisture resistant, making it a good option for wet areas like kitchens and bathrooms.
Cork floors are an ecological alternative. They have a light, plush feel that absorbs vibration and sound. If cork floors are bumpy, they can often bounce back over a short period of time. Its natural, non-slip surface is ideal for wet areas like kitchens and bathrooms.
Linoleum is another eco-friendly flooring alternative. Linoleum is made from all-natural materials that make it antistatic and resistant to water, knocks or scratches. Linoleum floors are often found in commercial buildings, such as hospitals, because they are easy to clean, comfortable underfoot, and available in a variety of colors.