Choosing the best flooring materials for your home renovation project doesn’t have to be a burden as long as you know your aesthetic preference, budget, and objective. As you plan for other home maintenance projects including painting, plumbing, and electrical services, paying attention to your flooring is essential to make sure it fits your property needs and lifestyle.
Before you make an abrupt decision and take that money out of your pocket (or from the bank), it pays to have some knowledge of how high-quality flooring benefits your property value and your family.
- Makes the house stable (good foundation)
- Reduces the risk of accidents
- Provides optimal comfort from seasonal changes and external elements
- Increases the visual aspect of the house
- Gives aesthetic inspiration to guests
Even without a sight of furniture, a well-built floor can have a huge impact on the outlook of your home interior and exterior. Here are different types of flooring to choose from:
1. Bamboo Flooring
Aesthetics: Bamboo is naturally beautiful like hardwood. Most home renovators invest in this type to bring the natural beauty in and create a traditional-looking appeal.
Properties: Bamboo has three main types namely natural, stained and carbonized. These variations affect some qualities such as the hardness and color of the bamboo. For instance, natural bamboos appear to be blond while carbonized ones can have a range of yellowish-brown and light-brown color surface.
Durability: Although bamboo is prone to moisture and scratches, it is eco-friendly and naturally harder than hardwoods. For instance, un-carbonized or natural bamboo floorings are more durable than the other construction types.
Maintenance: It only requires low maintenance as opposed to other types like carpet and tiles. A regular sweeping or vacuuming will do to keep it dirt and debris-free. Using a bamboo cleanser or a damp cloth is also a cleaning alternative when the need arises.
Cost: As for the average cost, bamboo materials can range from $2 to $8 per square foot (price range is almost similar to hardwood flooring materials). Labor costs are yet to be included depending on the expertise of the installer and the complexity of the job. In this case, the installation cost is between $7 and $12 per square foot.
However, the overall cost may vary depending on the size, thickness, and quality of materials. Other aspects to consider are subfloor and waterproofing materials needed along with professional and shipping fees (if applicable).
2. Hardwood Flooring
Aesthetics: As with bamboo, hardwood evokes a classical charm of timber. It can either be shiny, stylish or antique in appearance depending on the homeowner’s aesthetic purpose. Hardwood floors can also be refinished more than twice so you can expect a fresh look.
Properties: Hardwood came from various trees such as mahogany, oak, and maple. Its color may vary from blond to black, not to mention the product used for finishing touches.
Hardwood floors can be categorized into solid or engineered, and they differ in terms of underlayment requirements, hardness and form of usage. For instance, solid hardwoods may require attachment with wooden subfloors for a more durable top surface.
Durability: It may be damage-prone or susceptible to scratches, but this type of flooring is hard-surfaced and sturdy. As with bamboo floors, hardwood is versatile and can be an option for any space around your home. In terms of stability and weather resistance, engineered hardwoods are more reliable than solid floors.
Maintenance: Water and pets are the greatest challenges of hardwood floors, so you have to ensure proper care and cleaning. Mopping or wiping the floor with a cloth can be done to dry up the surface.
Cost: Regardless of the type, hardwoods typically cost between $3 and $14 per square foot, with installation costs running around $3 to $12 per square foot. For instance, solid hardwood floors are less expensive than engineered ones.
The price is relatively higher than bamboo flooring materials, but you can be assured of its quality.
3. Laminate Flooring
Aesthetics: Laminate promotes a sophisticated look as it has the capacity to imitate the appearance of tile and stone floorings. It has an authenticated color surface that doesn’t easily fade and stain. Laminate flooring offers homeowners with glossy or matte finish options.
Properties: Laminate is made out of high-pressured wood particles that can form into thin, plastic sheets. These materials have stone and wood combined textures. Laminate flooring manufacturers offer a variety of styles and types depending on your preference.
Durability: Long-exposed water can permeate through the subsurface of this material which can mar its quality. But in terms of durability, laminate flooring is stain and scratch-resistant. Its surface quality doesn’t easily wear out when exposed to sunlight compared to hardwood and carpet flooring. It is extremely sturdy and pet-friendly.
Maintenance: Laminate floors are stain and moist-resistant. A damp cloth or a vacuum can be used to clean the top surface, leaving it dirt-free to prevent scratches due to accumulated grain particles.
Cost: Laminate is less expensive than stone and hardwood floors, ranging from $0.50 to $7 per square foot.
However, the price range of high-end ones can be relatively close to different types like vinyl floorings. A laminated floor doesn’t need to be firmly attached to the subfloor. Thus the installation can add up to the material cost around $2 to $5 per square foot (variably lower than those that require staple attachments).
4. Concrete Flooring
Aesthetics: Concrete exudes a stylish look and is a popular choice for indoor floors. It evokes a contemporary appeal to a room especially when polished.
Properties: Concrete has texture variations such as smooth and polished, and comes in two main types namely existing and decorative. For instance, concrete polishing and staining can enhance its current appearance when applied to an existing slab.
Durability: Concrete flooring is mostly seen in public places and used for driveways, roads, and entryways. It is extremely weather-resistant, stain-proof and environmental-friendly.
Maintenance: This type requires easy maintenance. Wiping the surface area with vinegar or a regular cleaning solution can be used to remove long overgone stains from concrete floors.
Cost: Concrete flooring materials can cost around $2 to $6 per square foot. The price range can increase up to $20, including the finishes and installation.
5. Carpet Flooring
Aesthetics: Carpet floors appear to be soft and subtle when used in rooms. It also helps in making the area look cozy and sophisticated with its features.
Properties: Carpet has a variety of patterns and styles such as velvet, Berber, cut pile and shag that go beyond a simple carpet flooring.
Carpet tiles are also an option if you want a product on a budget. Its easy-to-install specification allows homeowners to lay out the material (even in uneven subfloors) with less hassle.
Durability: This flooring material easily acquires stain, but production advancements have enabled it to resist stains, making it a reliable option for homeowners.
For instance, a stained carpet tile is easy to replace if you want some alterations.
Maintenance: Occasional steam cleaning is recommended to keep it looking new and dirt-free.
Cost: Carpet floors cost around $2 to $12 per square foot. Additional costs for installation range from 50 cents to $2 per square foot.
6. Tile Flooring
Aesthetics: Floor tiles come out as chic and stylish. It can appear to have a coordinated feature of porcelain, marble, and pebbles. Floor tiles also offer many sophisticated options in terms of its surface appearance.
Properties: Tiles are available in various colors and finishes as well as shapes and sizes. Floor tiles can either be ceramic, slate, stone or porcelain.
Durability: As with laminate floors, tiles are water and scratch-resistant.
Maintenance: This type of flooring is easy to clean. Regular scrubbing can be done to remove any form of grease and stains present both on the surface and gaps.
Cost: Generally, floor tiles cost around $1 to $20 per square foot, with installation costs ranging around hundreds depending on the quantity and professional fee.
For instance, if you choose ceramic tiles over other types, the cost is between 75 cents and $8 per square foot. The price increases as the specifications pile up.
7. Vinyl Flooring
Aesthetics: Vinyl has a common feature similar to wood and tile in terms of appearance.
Properties: Vinyl has different color and pattern variations, and it comes in two categories mainly sheets and tiles. For instance, vinyl tiles are more appropriate to use in areas where water and moisture are mostly present.
Durability: Vinyl flooring may be susceptible to chemical stains and resistant to damage, but it has a distinct feature that makes it durable like of fiberglass-reinforced vinyl sheet.
Maintenance: Cleaning a vinyl floor is easy as long as proper care is observed. Long-exposed dirt can be hard to remove so it’s important to clean regularly. Av vinyl floor cleaner and a damp mop will do.
Cost: Vinyl flooring materials run around $1 to $5 per square foot. Additional costs for installation can range around $1 to $2 per square foot.
8. Cork Flooring
Aesthetics: Cork flooring is aesthetically versatile and imbues a natural appeal like bamboo and hardwood. It naturally exudes a cushioned surface that’s becoming an option for homeowners.
Properties: Cork is an eco-friendly flooring material and can be an alternative to hardwood flooring. It is produced through the process of pressing and baking barks to form sheets. Cork flooring comes in planks, sheets, and tiles.
Durability: Although this type of flooring can easily wear out and fade (in direct sunlight), cork flooring is sustainable and a good insulator.
Maintenance: This flooring material is mold-resistant and has antimicrobial properties. However, the need for regular sweeping or vacuuming is essential to keep it dirt-free.
Cost: Cork flooring ranges from $2 to $8 per square foot, and can increase up to $11 per square foot for installation costs.
9. Linoleum Flooring
Aesthetics: Linoleum flooring materials are versatile and can complement any indoor style. In terms of style, it gives a soft touch of a contemporary look with glossy features.
Properties: Linoleum is composed of oil, tree resins and cork that largely contributes to its durability. It comes in different patterns and colors, giving homeowners a variety of options.
Durability: Although linoleum is prone to scratches, it is highly durable and water-resistant.
Maintenance: Like with other types such as bamboo, linoleum requires low maintenance.
Cost: Linoleum costs around $2 to $5 per square foot, with additional cost for installation ranging around $7 to $12 per square foot.
Note: The pricing details mentioned are just the average amount. Cost varies depending on the brand, type, and feature of the flooring material.
What works for living rooms may not go well with bathrooms. One example is hardwood as it is susceptible to excessive moisture. That being said, it’s important to determine the strong and weak points of each flooring material to know what type is best suited for every room around your home.
Have the following tips as your guide when looking for a suitable flooring type per room:
Living room. It’s the place where you entertain your guests so it has to look elegant and sophisticated to create a cozy ambiance. Although rugs are placed in the entrance, it still has to create a good impression among the visitors.
Recommended floor material(s): Bamboo, hardwood, carpet, ceramic
Kitchen. Needless to say, the kitchen space (whether indoor or outdoor) should promote safety and convenience since it’s prone to food and water spills, grease and stains. A non-slip floor would be appropriate to use for busy areas to prevent accidents such as slips and trips. Becoming familiarized with different floor materials appropriate for your kitchen can help you in your decision-making.
Recommended floor material(s): Hardwood, tile, cork
Bedroom. A bedroom is a safe haven for house members. It’s a place of comfort and relaxation so the type of flooring used in this area must promote a soothing feeling underfoot.
Recommended floor material(s): Bamboo, hardwood, cork, carpet (popular bedroom floor surface)
Bathroom. Like with kitchen floorings, a bathroom with waterproof and non-slippery tile flooring will help to guarantee safety among the house members.
Recommended floor material(s): Tile, vinyl (tile)
Make the Best Choice
Flooring is not a piece of furniture that you can replace anytime you want to. Once it’s installed, there’ll be no changing minds.
Choose wisely before you see yourself spending beyond what you expect. Give some time to do your research and make the above list your guide when doing your reno project.
Author BIO: Maddison Smith is a published writer from Australia who specializes in Home Improvements and Gardening topics. During her free time, she keeps herself busy by reading books (fiction and non-fiction), cooking, traveling, starting new DIY projects, or simply enjoying tending her garden. You can follow Maddison on Twitter.