You have a lot of options when you decide to install new flooring. It all depends on what you’re looking for. Something durable? Inexpensive? Easy to clean? Environmentally friendly? Plus the aesthetic is a factor as well. How do you choose the right one? Here are our picks for the five best flooring options, and what they have to offer your home.
1. Hardwood. The classic, elegant look of a hardwood floor goes with almost any décor, and never goes out of style. It’s also extremely durable. If you take good care of your hardwood, it can last for generations, and increases the value of your home over time. Finally, it’s easy to install and easy to maintain. There are a few drawbacks, the main one being their cost. They also tend to scratch, and are prone to both water damage and termites. However, with a little bit of extra care, you can avoid these problems and keep your hardwood floor in great condition for years to come.
2. Vinyl. Vinyl is great for heavy traffic areas, and can survive a lot of wear and tear. It’s waterproof, scratch resistant, easy to clean, and very affordable. Vinyl planks fit together like a puzzle, making it easy to install—you could do it yourself on a Saturday. One drawback is that it’s difficult to repair when damaged. Particularly if you get the kind that sticks directly to the floor, it’s very difficult to remove and replace, and scratches are difficult to hide as well.
3. Laminate Flooring. Laminate flooring is similar to vinyl, only instead of synthetic materials, its core is made of pressed wood, which makes it a more environmentally friendly option. Durable and low maintenance, it’s great for heavy traffic areas, and homes with pets. Perhaps best of all, laminate flooring can be made to look like anything. On top of the core is a photorealistic printed design that can look exactly like hardwood, tile, granite, etc.—for a fraction of the cost. In the con column, it doesn’t hold up well to prolonged moisture, so it’s not a great option for the kitchen or bathroom. In other rooms, however, as long as you clean up spills quickly, it should do fine.
4. Ceramic Tile. Durable and elegant, ceramic tile ranges in price from fairly cheap to very expensive. But it’s a high quality material that can be well worth the cost. Tiles of different colors and textures can be cut into all different patterns, to fit any aesthetic. It’s nonporous, which makes it waterproof and glazed to make it stain resistant. It also stands up to heavy foot traffic but be aware: it can crack or chip under high pressure. It’s also not easy to install, and should be done by a professional. However, once the tile is in place, it will serve you well for a long time.
5. Stone. Similar to ceramic tile, stone is also heavy and durable, and comes in a variety of different colors, patterns, and designs. Stone floors have great insulation, making them great at retaining warmth and ideal for radiant floor heating. They stand up to a lot of wear and tear, making them great for active households with kids and pets. The drawback is, if it does crack or break, both the materials and repairs are fairly costly.
What kind of floor you get depends on your household and its needs, as well as the area where you want to install it. Talk to your local flooring experts and see what kind of floor is best suited to your home.