What Type of Flooring Should You Get?

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Whether your house is under construction or undergoing a major renovation, the type of flooring you choose can be one of the bigger points to consider. In addition to the fact that it will significantly affect the overall look of your home’s interior, it also will be subjected to daily shifts in weight from constant movement and consistent pressure from furniture, appliances and large decorations. You also need to consider how regularly you want to have to clean and/or polish the floor.

Here are some great options to consider when picking flooring from your home:

Ceramic or Porcelain Tiles

Tile flooring can be a good option for a number of reasons. When it comes to color and overall style, tiles are versatile. And when it comes to durability, ceramic tiles don’t bend, bulge, break or be out of shape even after several years of regular use. In terms of maintenance, tiles require very little. Grout on floor tiles just needs to be cleaned and sealed periodically to avoid staining. Choose a glazed tile if you will be cleaning the floor using a mop or wipes. If you intend to use tile flooring in the living areas that get a lot of foot traffic, choose ones that are non-slip for safety.

Hardwoods and Bamboo

When it comes to aesthetics, hardwood is considered one of the best-looking flooring options. It is attractive to renters and buyers, so it is a solid choice if you know you’ll eventually sell your home or you desire to rent it out. Plus, it is a great flooring option for living areas due to its comfortable underfoot feel. It is, however, not recommended for areas that frequently get wet, like bathrooms, laundry rooms, and mudrooms. You can also opt for sustainable hardwoods that are reclaimed or otherwise FSC certified.

Bamboo flooring is a good alternative to hardwood. It has similar performance, cost, installation, and maintenance. It is also an eco-friendly option because of its highly renewable source material – bamboo.
Both types of floor installations are relatively easy. You can either do the installation yourself or let the professionals do it for you.

Polished Concrete

Another contender in the aesthetics category — particularly if you like a modern aesthetic — is polished concrete. Specifically known as the polished concrete overlay system, this type of flooring is the go-to choice of commercial and retail establishments. The smooth surface, customizable colors and low-maintenance surface make it an attractive option not just in commercial settings, but also at home, where there is a growing demand for this type of flooring.

Laminate

Engineered wood floor installation with subfloor membrane in condo. Maple hardwood flooring planks closeup showing composite plywood layers. Remodeling home improvement concept.

A low-cost alternative to hardwood, laminate flooring is a good option for a budget-friendly wood look in your living area. Laminate is made of wood pulp and resin and can look like real wood. Laminate is easy to install, as almost all types are designed for floating-floor installation. However, it can also be glued down to the floor, but this is rarely necessary. Unlike hardwood, most laminate flooring cannot be refinished, so if the finish is worn or damaged, it is impossible to repair. The good thing though is that its finish is tough and highly moisture- and chain-resistant, but the joint between planks has to be maintained with extra care because it is vulnerable to moisture and can swell and chip if allowed to soak in water. This hardwood alternative is great for living areas and for properties in the low and intermediate price range. Plus, there are sustainable options made from wood waste and other manufacturing castoffs.

Vinyl and Linoleum

These two types of flooring are both highly durable, though they are made of vastly different materials. Vinyl is made from plastic, usually PVC, or acrylic and similar polymers. It is a long-lasting choice, but not a sustainable one. Linoleum, on the other hand, is made of natural materials, usually a combination of jute, cork and linseed oil, making it the better option when sustainability is important to you. Both come in tiles, planks and sheet forms, which are very easy to install. Both types of flooring are moisture-resistant, highly durable and come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. They are great for high-traffic areas such as dining rooms, kitchens, mudrooms, laundry rooms, basements, and bathrooms.

When it comes to price range and product flexibility, vinyl offers a wider range of options compared to linoleum. Vinyl can offer choices for low-end to premium quality, more style options, and wide price range availability. Linoleum has a great selection of vibrant colors and offers mid- to high-end quality variants. But when it comes to price, there is no real “budget” price range for linoleum. Still, its eco-friendliness gives it an edge that you just won’t get with flooring made from plastic.

Carpet

Needless to say, carpet is probably the most popular flooring choice for many builders. It offers a wide variety of colors and styles, is easy to install and generally looks great because there are almost endless color and pattern options available. Carpet is also warm, soft and quiet, which makes it a preferred option for living spaces such as living rooms, bedrooms and family rooms. However, carpet is not suitable for areas with frequent moisture or liquid drips, such as bathrooms, kitchens or laundry rooms. Then there’s the fact that moisture, spills, and stains can quickly ruin carpets. In terms of eco-friendliness, while you can find carpet made of natural materials like wool, or recycled materials, as a general rule, carpet negatively affects indoor air quality because it tends to trap dust, dirt, and allergens that are tracked in from outside. So if air quality is a factor on your list of considerations, you may want to take carpet off your list.

The great thing is that there are tons of solid flooring options to choose from, depending on your needs. Busy areas and rooms with high traffic need durable and water-resistant flooring. You’ll probably want more comfortable and attractive floors for living areas that are highly used and visible. Plus, there’s the consideration of budget, not just for the initial purchase and installation, but for the long-term cost of maintenance and replacement. But if you weigh all these factors, you should be able to find a flooring choice that meets your needs for most of the lifetime of your home.

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