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7 Types of Flooring and How to Choose the Right One

By Dustin Montgomery July 16, 2021, 5:14 pm

When you're renovating your home, choosing the right flooring is a critical decision to make. However, with all of the flooring types to choose from, the task can be quite overwhelming.

Selecting the suitable flooring material will dictate how the rest of your home renovation project goes. It will also determine the installation method and future maintenance.

Fortunately, we've created this neat little guide explaining the different flooring types. By the end of this post, you'll be well on your way to choosing the best flooring for your home.

Things to Consider When Choosing a New Flooring

Floors are one of the most critical aspects of your home. Whether you're having friends over for dinner, working out in the basement, or creating a play area for the kids, you'll need a floor that's both stylish and durable.

The floor covers the majority of your home's surface area. So, the color, material, and design will dictate the rest of your home's design. If you already have a design in place, take the existing colors and materials into account also. Since buying new flooring is a considerable investment, you want to make sure you're choosing one that's built to withstand the test of time.

Some critical factors to consider are:

  • The Room. The floor in your kitchen will likely not be the same as the one in your den. Each material is more ideal for a specific room.
  • The Design. If you're looking to improve your home's aesthetics, some styles will work better than others.
  • Your Family. Whether you have pets or small children, you'll need to find a flooring type that's durable and stain-resistant.
  • Your Budget. Find high-quality flooring that's within a reasonable budget so you can get a good return on investment.

Let's look into the seven most popular choices for 2021. Continue reading below to learn more about each flooring type.

Carpet Flooring

Dog chewing on a bone on the carpet

Many homeowners prefer carpet because it's soft and cozy, especially during winter mornings. Carpets can also come in several colors, making them easier to blend in with the rest of your home's interior. As a result, carpet can be the perfect choice for your home's flooring.

Advantages

Adds Style

Carpet is extremely versatile, so it can easily match whichever style of home you have. Whether you have a traditional or contemporary interior, there are plenty of designs available. If you find that there's "something missing" in your home's decor, carpet can add a nice finishing touch.

It's Comfortable

If you've ever been in a home with lovely soft carpet flooring, you can tell the difference between hardwood or tile. Hard surfaces are continually putting your joints under stress, where carpet makes your feet feel nice and comfortable throughout the day.

It's Quiet

Are you tired of hearing squeaking from a hardwood floor? Then carpet may be the best option. Carpets naturally drown out sounds, making them a viable choice for large families. People can run up and down the stairs all day with minimal noise.

Disadvantages

Shorter Lifespan

While carpet flooring is typically more affordable than tile or hardwood, it doesn't last nearly as long. Carpet flooring is susceptible to stains, water damage, and it can retain moisture that causes toxic compounds.

It's Difficult to Clean

If you're looking for a challenging task, try cleaning a red wine stain out of a carpet. While several cleaning solutions are designed to clean carpets, it can still be daunting to clean them thoroughly.

How Difficult Is It to Install?

Installing carpet may seem challenging on the surface, but it's surprisingly simple with the proper technique. However, there are several steps involved that do require a reasonable amount of time and patience.

The most significant chunk of work is removing the existing carpet (if you have one) or floor padding. Next, you'll need to give the floor a thorough cleaning before you begin installing the new rug. Most carpet flooring comes in individual strips you need to staple down.

After laying down all the pieces, the new carpet flooring will require cleaning to remove any debris.

Maintenance Tips

One of the downsides of carpet floors is they require a rigorous maintenance routine. To make your life easier, make sure to:

  • Vacuum at least once a week
  • Tend to spills right away
  • Take out furniture dents
  • Clip any snags

Cork Flooring

Cork flooring being installed

Over the years, cork has become an increasingly popular flooring option for its style, comfort, and durability. Since cork is renewable, it's an eco-friendly choice for those with environmental concerns.

Humans have been using cork in construction for centuries, and there are several reasons why.

Advantages

It's Durable

Cork is resistant to cracking and scratches and also bounces back. As a result, you can expect little to no long-term damage from your furniture. On average, a well-maintained cork floor can last for over four decades.

It's Versatile

While the natural cork coloring is gorgeous, you can also get it in several different shapes, sizes, and colors. If you choose cork flooring, you should have no trouble finding a design that matches the rest of your home's decor.

It's Healthy

Unlike carpet flooring, cork is resistant to bacteria, mold, mildew, and various other harmful compounds that make their way into your house. As a result, cork is a safe and healthy flooring option.

Disadvantages

It's Sensitive to Temperature

Cork reacts strongly to humidity, causing it to expand. While this may not have any drastic effect right away, it can morph the shape of your floor over time. However, cork is far more stable than hardwood as it moves evenly in all directions.

It Retains Liquids

Although cork is resistant to mold and mildew, water can still leave unsightly stains throughout its surface. Therefore, a cork floor may not be the best option for a basement, kitchen, or anywhere liquid is present.

How Difficult Is It to Install?

Cork flooring is much easier to install than hardwood. Fortunately, most manufacturers provide valuable tools and resources to take some of the weight off of the installation process. Most of the time, you can snap the panels together without the need for tools or glue.

Maintenance Tips

Above, we mention that regular maintenance can drastically extend your cork floor's lifespan. Some maintenance tips to consider are:

  • Regular cleaning (vacuum, sweeping, etc.)
  • Block out the sun as much as possible to prevent the cork from expanding
  • Use furniture pads to avoid dents

Linoleum Flooring

Linoleum flooring in multiple colors

Linoleum has been a viable flooring option for homeowners since the 1860s. Recognized for its strength and design, there are various reasons why linoleum is the way to go when selecting a new flooring type.

Advantages

It's Affordable

Since linoleum contains renewable materials, it's far more affordable than other flooring options. Homeowners looking to get a bang for their buck in durability and style linoleum should consider linoleum for their renovation project.

It's Easy to Fix

The color is present in each layer, so it's easy to buff out any scratches or cuts. You can also seal up any abrasion, and nobody will notice any difference.

It's Healthy

One of the reasons why linoleum became such a popular choice during the early 20th century is because it's resistant to bacteria. You can rest assured knowing you and your family are safe from any diseases prevalent in other flooring types.

Disadvantages

It Can Dent Easily

If you don't take precautions like adding pads to your furniture or high heels, you'll find your linoleum floor littered with dents.

It's Slippery

You'll need to be extra careful when you first install your new linoleum flooring since it can be quite slippery, especially when waxed.

How Difficult Is It to Install?

The installation process for linoleum is pretty standard. You'll need to lay down each piece and glue or staple them down. Like with most flooring projects, removing the old flooring will be the longest part of the project.

Maintenance Tips

One significant aspect of linoleum is that there are numerous ways to clean it. We recommend the following:

  • Find a cleaning solution designed explicitly for linoleum
  • Clean your floor at least once a week
  • Make sure to use warm or cool water to prevent moisture damage

Tile Flooring

Marble tile flooring in a bathroom

When you weigh out all of the aspects of a good floor, tile seems to check most of the boxes. It's affordable, stylish, and effortless to clean. Here are a few things to consider before choosing tile flooring.

Advantages

It's Water-Resistant

Manufacturers use a ceramic over layer for tile flooring to make it water-resistant. The ceramic also makes the tile more resilient to stains, making tile flooring a suitable choice for bathrooms, kitchens, etc.

It Has a High Resale Value

Good flooring can help increase your home's value if you ever decide to put it back on the market. Tile flooring is a popular choice among buyers, so it can help give the price of your home a big boost.

It's Eco-Friendly

Tile floors contain renewable compounds like clay, glass, and sand. Several manufacturers use recycled materials, so you can walk around your beautiful tile floor without feeling guilty.

Disadvantages

It Gets Cold

Unlike carpet flooring that will keep your feet nice and warm during the winter, tile can become incredibly cold. However, the cold tile can feel nice and refreshing during a hot summer day.

It's Heavy

If you've ever worked with tile in the past, you know how heavy it can be during installation. Therefore, it's not recommended to use on upper-level floors.

How Difficult Is It to Install?

When installing tile, you need to start from the center. Most manufacturers will recommend an adhesive solution so that your pieces stick together easily. Once you lay out the tiles, all you need to do is apply the adhesive solution and mix up the grout.

Maintenance Tips

Cleaning tile is straightforward. However, there are a few things you can do to make sure your new tile flooring lasts as long as possible.

  • Always remove dirt and other debris right away using either a broom or vacuum cleaner
  • Use a soft-bristle broom to reduce scratching
  • Use a cleaning solution specifically designed for tile floors

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring being installed

Vinyl flooring is trendy for bathroom or kitchen settings. Similar to linoleum, vinyl is known for its durability, low-maintenance, and stunning design. Thanks to advancements in modern technology, vinyl has numerous outstanding benefits.

Advantages

It's Affordable

Considering its quality, vinyl flooring is one of the most affordable options for homeowners. It's far cheaper per square foot than carpet, hardwood, and laminate. Since it's so durable, you don't need to worry about costly repair work either.

It's Low-Maintenance

Compared to other flooring types, vinyl requires the least amount of maintenance. It's easy to mop since it's naturally water-resistant. You can also use a wide range of cleaning products without having to worry about damaging your floor.

It's Safe

A big concern when installing new flooring is bacteria. Vinyl doesn't retain enough moisture to produce any mold or mildew. As a result, it's a safe choice for rooms with liquids.

Disadvantages

It's Easy to Puncture

Vinyl is exceptionally soft, so it's easy to puncture with heels and furniture. Even dropping a kitchen knife by accident can leave a pesky dent in your floor.

It's Not UV Resistant

While it does a fantastic job of keeping water out, it stands no match to the power of the sun. Vinyl floors in the kitchen that are near big windows are susceptible to fading and discoloration.

How Difficult Is It to Install?

Installing vinyl is relatively straightforward and doesn't require many tools. All you need is a crowbar, level, and some chalk. We recommend setting aside 48-hours for this project as the preparation phase may be slightly time-consuming.

Most of the timely tasks are removing your old floor and making measurements.

Maintenance Tips

Here are some handy maintenance tips to help preserve your beautiful vinyl floor.

  • Clean regularly (at least once a week)
  • Use a neutral detergent
  • Always use lukewarm water when mopping

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Engineered hardwood flooring in a dining room

Hardwood floors are a fantastic investment for homeowners as they are high-quality, add a rustic feel, and are built to last. Whether you're looking for a modern luxury feel or something more traditional, hardwood has a design for you.

Advantages

It's Stable

Engineered hardwood is designed with heavy resistance to moisture, temperature, and other elements. While it still reflects the look of natural wood, it comes with unique qualities, such as durability, flexibility, and long-lasting colors.

It's Easy to Install

Hiring a professional installation team would be your most straightforward route. With that being said, the actual installation process is incredibly straightforward (see below).

It's Affordable

Unlike natural hardwood flooring, engineered wood is exceptionally affordable. If you have a tight budget for your renovation project, it may be the best solution.

Disadvantages

It Scratches Easily

Whether you're moving your furniture around or just have a lot of foot traffic, engineered hardwood is easy to scratch. Therefore, it's not suitable for rooms with pets or children.

It Retains Moisture

Homeowners need to be careful about the growth of bacteria, mold, and mildew when they install engineered hardwood, especially in places where it's humid.

How Difficult Is It to Install?

Since engineered hardwood is a popular choice, manufacturers make it incredibly easy to install. Once you remove your old flooring, all you need to do is lay out the tarp and place your pieces. Then, staple each piece in place and add the finishing baseboards.

Maintenance Tips

Here are some helpful tips for maintaining your engineered hardwood floor.

  • Deep clean your floor regularly
  • Dry out your mop until it's damp before cleaning
  • Make sure to sweep your floor at least once every week, if not more

Traditional Hardwood Flooring

Traditional hardwood flooring in a dining room

There's no doubt that hardwood flooring is a fantastic choice for residential and commercial renovation projects. It can add a pleasant touch to any room and lasts for ages if you keep it well-maintained.

Advantages

It Looks Amazing

If you want to make your home look more luxurious, traditional hardwood is the way to go. Humans have been using wood flooring for centuries, and it doesn't look like it's going out of style anytime soon.

It's Easy to Clean

Unlike carpet or other flooring options, traditional hardwood doesn't collect as much dirt and debris. Therefore, it takes far less energy to keep it clean.

It's Strong

Hardwood flooring, in general, is built to last for generations. You can find numerous old buildings that still have their original hardwood floor, especially those that are well-maintained.

Disadvantages

It Has a High Upfront Cost

Unlike vinyl or carpet, hardwood flooring tends to be pricey. With that in mind, hardwood floors can be an excellent long-term investment if you ever plan on selling your home.

It's Easy to Damage

While it's incredibly durable, hardwood floors are easy to damage in certain situations. Most people have noticeable damage when they're moving furniture around.

How Difficult Is It to Install?

Installing a hardwood floor is easy if you have the right tools. Most manufacturers will provide you with information on how to install your new hardwood floor quickly and effectively.

Maintenance Tips

Here are some tips on how to keep your new hardwood floor looking fabulous all year round.

  • Sweep and mop regularly
  • Use a cleaning solution specifically made for traditional hardwood
  • Put padding on the legs of your furniture

Ready to Choose a New Floor?

We understand that all the options can be overwhelming. However, it always helps to consider your goals and future living situation before selecting a floor type. We hope this guide was helpful and you're well on your way to choosing a new floor for your home.

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