Your choice of flooring is one of the most important decisions you have to make when it comes to improving your home. The material is an integral part of your interior design. It also determines use, difficulty of installation and maintenance. Before you select, it’s wise to educate yourself on what’s available as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each.
How to Choose Flooring
To choose flooring, it’s best to start by determining what you need. Consider these factors:
- Room: Some types, like carpet or hardwood, aren’t ideal for every space
- Family Situation: Young children or pets need spill-proof and scratch-resistant flooring
- Budget: Price varies widely, so you need to know what you can afford
- Installation Requirements: Some materials need an underlayment or pad, which may cost extra
- Style: Certain types work better than others to create the right aesthetic
- Return on Investment (ROI): Higher cost or quality often means a better long-term investment
Types of Flooring Materials
1. Hardwood Flooring
Hardwood continues to be the top choice for its great appearance and long-term ROI. The cost to install wood flooring ranges from $2,500 to $7,000, making it one of the most expensive options. It’s best for the shared living spaces of the main floor.
It will develop crapes, scratches and dents over time. Refinishing hardwood flooring costs $1,100 to $2,400, and you can do it every 3 to 5 years.
2. Laminate Flooring
The pros and cons of laminate flooring include these benefits:
- lower price
- ease of installation
- variety of colors and styles, like natural wood
As a disadvantage, this material can be prone to moisture damage and difficult to repair. Homeowners prefer to install it in high-traffic areas that aren’t the kitchen or bathroom.
3. Vinyl or Linoleum
Vinyl flooring isn’t the cheap alternative it used to be. These days, this synthetic flooring for the home is durable and effectively mimic wood, ceramic and stone. Since it is so versatile and meant for high-traffic, you can put it almost anywhere. Installation and maintenance are a breeze.
4. Porcelain or Ceramic Tile Flooring
Ceramic or porcelain tile is a durable, non-porous and beautiful flooring choice. Since it’s waterproof, it’s great for kitchens, bathrooms and entryways. It is more difficult to install, and it can chip and scratch under heavy use. Unlike hardwood or carpet, you can replace individual parts instead of the entire surface if necessary.
5. Natural Stone Tile Flooring
Natural stone tile is a classic flooring that includes granite, marble, travertine and sandstone. Some materials, like travertine, are more durable than others. Keep in mind that finishes require different amounts of care. A polished marble surface will show scratches and scuffs more easily than a tumbled one, for example.
Carpet remains a favorite for many homeowners, especially for bedrooms. It’s soft, warm and helps cut down on noise. Carpet installation costs $3.50 to $11 per square foot, making it one of the cheapest materials. The expense to install a carpet pad averages $3.75 per square foot. It does require more upkeep, though newer stain-resistant varieties make it easier. To maintain an attractive and sanitary surface, you should hire a pro to clean it at least once a year.