How to Choose the Right Type of Flooring for your Home
11:47 21 October 2019
With over half a dozen different options to choose from, choosing the right type of flooring for your home is not as easy as you think.
There’s no one-size-fits-all flooring option that can work best in all areas of your home. Each type has its own share of pros and cons. What works in your living room might turn out to be a poor choice for your bathroom. So, you can’t just head to town, pick up one of these options incautiously, plump it down in any space and expect it to work just like that.
Before you go running to the big box retail store, do some research on the different types available, their costs, advantages and disadvantages. After you narrow down your choices, pick a flooring that is functional and durable, but also matches your budget and design requirements in terms of style, finish, and overall aesthetics isn’t easy though.
Flooring is a large investment and can be hard to decide on. But help is here. In order to make your decision making process simpler, we’re going to cover some of the key things that should be duly considered.
First off, let’s look at some helpful questions to think about.
- Is it your own home? Or are you planning on giving your rental property a flooring makeover? Will this influence your decision in any way?
- Is it a new build or a renovation project?
- What areas or rooms are you planning on covering?
- How many people are going to live in the house? Are you willing to choose based on the amount of traffic the area is likely to receive?
- What type of floor do you want or like?
- What will you not compromise on- looks, design, finish, color, comfort, performance, ease of maintenance, price?
And now that we have got you thinking about how to choose the right flooring, let’s look at some of the different types available in the market and their pros and cons in brief.
Extremely popular, solid wood flooring provides a warm and classic look, and comes in a wide assortment of styles that suit both modern and traditional decor equally. But the best part is, it has one of the simplest constructions of all; it typically comes in boards or planks that are nailed to a subfloor. They can be made from different species of wood, ranging from red oak and hard maple to Brazilian cherry and Douglas Fir. The hardest doesn’t necessarily mean the most durable, as softer woods such as oak seem to be more forgiving in a high traffic setting.
As far as finish is concerned, you can choose between pre-finished and unfinished wood flooring. The former is economical, factory-installed and offers more durability, whereas the latter needs to be sanded, stained and finished right after installation to suit the owner’s taste, which comes at a cost.
Wood flooring in general, absorbs moisture and can warp when subjected to it. It is prone to swelling and shrinking, and can develop scratches and dents, especially in high traffic areas like the kitchen or moisture-prone areas such as bathrooms, making it not suitable for families with pets or children. Damaged wood flooring needs refinishing as often as once a decade, which might prove to be costly in the long run.
Best for use in halls, living rooms and bedrooms.
Guaranteeing the good looks of solid wood at a lower cost and with great stability, Engineered wood is a cheaper flooring option that’s not as reactive to heat and humidity as solid wood. A layer of veneer made from solid hardwood sits on top of a plywood base to create the engineered wood, which, owing to its flexibility and style options with unique patterns and deep appearances, is now the preferred choice for many home buyers. Installation is easy, whether it be the convenient clickable type or the type that’s glued to the subfloor. You can also install it as a floating flooring with a foam under layer.
As a moisture-friendly alternative to real wood, it supposedly stand up to moisture better than its counterpart; but, then again, it is a natural product, which makes it less ideal for use in wet areas. Although not as pricey as solid wood, it’s costlier than other types of flooring. And it can be sanded only a certain number of times before the veneer layer starts wearing thin.
Highly recommended for basements and enclosed front porches that are well-protected from the elements.
Laminate flooring is manufactured much like the engineered wood, except that there’s a thin veneer layer on top of several layers of compressed fiber or plywood. A photographic applique printed with a design and covered with a plastic coating makes the top surface, which means you can find laminate that imitates wood, ceramic tile, stone or nearly any other material you can think of.
It comes in tiles or planks and can be installed over your old flooring without any nails or glue. It costs less and is easy to clean and maintain. It holds up well to scuffs and scratches than wood, making it perfect for high traffic areas. When water seeps through to the layers of the laminate, it can cause warping. When it wears out, it can only be replaced not refinished.
Most appropriate for kitchens, playrooms and foyers where there is a lot of traffic. Best avoided in wet areas.
Don’t let the soft underfoot comfort of a vinyl tile deceive you. Made of a flexible material, vinyl is actually one of the resilient types of flooring out there that gives you great comfort and protection against moisture or regular wear and tear. It is relatively inexpensive and comes in many forms, namely sheet vinyl, click-style plank vinyl and the peel-and-stick backing type which is easier to install. Available in a range of patterns and unique tones, vinyl flooring can be used to simulate the look of wood, tile etc. If you’re looking closely at installing vinyl tiles, browse these options from this professional retailer that has a successful track record of giving their customers the best vinyl flooring for their needs.
It is a good choice in kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms, and can work well in basements thanks to its good moisture resistance properties.
Tile is a versatile flooring option that comes in many patterns, colors and shapes so it can blend seamlessly with any style. Produced by firing a mixture of shale and clay at high temperatures, the ceramic tiles are mainly classified into glazed and unglazed. While glazed ceramic and porcelain come in many colors and are essentially maintenance free, unglazed quarry and terracotta provide better grip thanks to their slip-resistance properties. Porcelain and glazed ceramic in particular are durable and resistant to moisture, dents and scratches, but need special treatment for that anti-slip finish.
Durability of tiles varies from one type to another. Fixing the floor when a single tile cracks open is hard.
Suited for high traffic areas and spaces that get wet such as laundry rooms and bathrooms.
It’s an eternal favorite for living areas and bedrooms. It’s made by pulling the yarn of fibers of synthetic and durable materials like nylon, polypropylene through the primary backing material, then piling on more layers to make the carpet material stronger. Some of the popular materials other than the ones mentioned above are wool, acrylic and polyester. Although it’s soft underfoot, easy to install and highly resistant to moisture, carpet is a dirt catcher and is generally hard to clean. And, it’s a no-no if you have someone who is allergic to allergens.
Great choice for the living room and bedroom and those areas where dirt doesn’t settle and nothing is likely to stain the carpet.
To conclude, flooring is one area of construction you simply can’t afford to mess up. If you’re still unsure what your options are, it is highly recommended that you trust the experience of a professional retailer to help you choose the right flooring for your needs.