A Comprehensive Guide to Flooring Options For Your Home

Are you in the midst of designing or remodeling your home?

It can be a lot of fun picking out furniture and paint colors. But have you thought about all of the flooring options available to you?

The type of floor you choose is going to have a huge impact on the design of the room.

For example, if your bedroom is currently carpeted, how would it feel to install laminates instead?

Of if you’re looking to really update your kitchen, imagine how concrete floors will look with those stainless steel appliances.

There Are Many Flooring Options to Consider

We’ll take a look at the pros and cons of some of the more common choices here so you can start making some informed choices.

1. Hardwood

Hardwood continues to be the gold standard of flooring surfaces. It creates a classic look that can also add to the resale value of your home.

While solid hardwoods are relatively easy to clean, they can become dented, scratched or gouged. They’re also susceptible to water damage. Once damaged, they can be difficult to repair.

Walking on hardwoods can be noisy. Of course, you can use a rug to muffle that noise a bit.

If you’re considering hardwoods, you’re better off avoiding high traffic areas – like a foyer. Otherwise you’ll have to refinish them a lot more.

Hardwoods will cost anywhere from $3 to $12 per square foot, depending on the type of wood you choose. Engineered wood will be on the lower end of that spectrum.

On top of the cost of materials, you should plan on paying hundreds – possibly thousands – of dollars to have it installed by professionals.

2. Laminates

Laminate flooring is constructed of four synthetic layers of material fused together. The top layer is actually a high-resolution photo of the surface it’s emulating, such as wood or tile.

This is one of the most affordable and durable solutions for flooring. It’s resistant to stains, mold, mildew, and allergens.

And it’s great for households with pets because it doesn’t easily scratch. Even if it does, a little vegetable oil rubbed on the scratch will eliminate it.

Like wood, though, standing water will ruin laminate flooring. And it can’t be refinished. You’ll have to replace it.

Its durability makes it great for high traffic areas though such as a foyer or a well-used family room.

Another big plus?

Laminate flooring typically costs between $.50 to $4 per square foot. Although that’s the price before installation, laminate flooring can easily be done by do-it-yourselfers because the planks are designed to lock together for easy installation.

3. Tile

Tile is extremely versatile. It comes in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors and materials, such as marble, porcelain, travertine, slate, and granite.

But there are newer styles too that mimic the textures of leather, linen and even grasscloth.

Tile is among the most durable flooring options. It’s resistant to water, stains, scratches, bacteria, and odors. It’s also fairly easy to clean and, like wood, can increase the resale value of your home.

Since tile is water resistant, it’s ideal for a kitchen or bathroom. It could be beneficial in a dining area too where drinks might be spilled.

It is loud to walk on though, and can be uncomfortable to stand on for long periods of time. In addition, tiles can crack and are not easy to repair.

Ceramic tiles can run anywhere between $1 and $8 per square foot, while stone tiles run between $2 and $20 per square foot. Installation is moderately difficult though, so you may have to add a few hundred more for installation.

4. Carpet

Carpet is cozy.

It gives a soft look to a room and is available in a wide variety of colors, patterns, and textures. And it’s a great thermal and acoustic insulator – keeping homes quiet and warm.

With carpet though, there’s the maintenance side. Although advancements in fiber technology have enabled it to be a bit more stain-resistant, it’s impossible to avoid stains altogether.

And it must be regularly vacuumed, and occasionally steam-cleaned to keep it fresh.

Ultimately, carpet is not going to last nearly as long as harder surfaces. As such, it’s best to use it in low-traffic areas such as bedrooms so that you won’t need to replace it as often.

The cost of carpet can range anywhere from $1 to $10 per square foot, depending on quality and durability. While you’ll have to pay additional money for installation, you can often find good deals from the carpet retailer.

5. Vinyl

Vinyl has come a long way.

With improved printing and embossing techniques, you can get vinyl that looks like wood, slate, even leather.

Like carpet, vinyl is quiet and easy on the feet. It comes in a wide variety of colors and designs. It also withstands water and doesn’t easily dent, scratch, stain or fade.

Vinyl is an excellent choice for rooms that get a lot of traffic, and where water can be an issue. It’s a particularly good choice for laundry rooms because it will also muffle the sound of noisy machines too.

Compared to other floorings, vinyl is inexpensive. It can go for less than $1 per square foot – although it does run as high as $5 per square foot. And installation will usually only run a couple hundred dollars.

6. Concrete

When it comes to establishing a sleek and contemporary look, concrete is a great choice. It’s durable, waterproof and stain proof.

It’s impossible to scratch, easy to clean and you can customize its design. Since it’s not full of synthetic materials, it also contributes to good air quality, and could reduce your energy bills.

Concrete floors do need to be resealed regularly though. And they can develop hairline cracks over time.

There will also be a noticeable echo effect with this flooring material – though once again, a rug or two can soften this.

Concrete typically costs between $2 and $20 per square foot, but that’s the price once it’s installed. So depending on which kind of concrete you choose, it could be a cheaper option than some of the other flooring options.

Bring Your Design to Life

While the list above is comprehensive, it’s not an exhaustive list of all the flooring options available to you. They are just the most conventional.

You could always kick up the decor of a special room by using glass tiles or even cork, for instance.

Good luck! And keep checking back with us for more great tips and advice on decor.