When trying to choose flooring for your home, there are a few key considerations to make from the start. Moreover, you need to know your style so you can match and complement it.
For instance, what patterns and colors do you prefer? Are there particular textures you do or do not like? What is the current decor of the room, including walls, furniture and accessories? Does your flooring of choice complement your tastes and current décor?
Furthermore, the flooring in a room must also suit and support your lifestyle. How do you utilize the room? Do you plan on standing and walking around in it a lot? Or do you mostly sit in the room? When sitting, are you mostly seated on furniture or on the floors as well?
The last key consideration to make before you start comparing different flooring types is your budget. How much can you spend on this project? Be sure to account for delivery and installation, including underlayment, along with your previous floor’s removal and disposal.
Wood flooring is among the most popular types you can buy. They come in a variety of types and finishes, all of which provide some degree of warmth and a natural feel. Some of the most common types of wood flooring to choose from include:
- Hardwood – One of the most popular wood floorings, as well as one of the most popular floorings overall, is hardwood. In general, this type of flooring gives a natural, warm feel and is immensely durable. The hardwood of choice tends to be oak, although cherry and more exotic imported hardwoods like Tasmanian oak and Brazilian cherry are also nice. You can buy hardwood flooring in plans, prefinished boards or parquet, among other forms. Hardwood can get scratched, however, at which point a buffering can restore much of the smoothness and shine.
- Laminate – Even more popular than hardwood flooring is laminate, as it is easier to install and costs less. In general, laminate floors are made of many materials. More specifically, this flooring is made from a wood base that is laminated or layered together and then topped with a photographic imprint of a type of wood grain on each board’s face.
- Engineered / Composite Wood – A variation on laminate flooring is engineered wood, otherwise known as composite wood flooring. Overall, it is made of several plywood layers compressed with a thin layer of actual hardwood on top. Composite or engineered wood does not cost as much as hardwood, but it also does not provide quite the same natural feel. It can also bow easily, forcing you to clean spills the instant they occur and avoid damage from sharp objects. Obviously, engineered or composite wood flooring costs more than laminate but less than hardwood. Likewise, it provides a level of authenticity and effect somewhere between the two.
- Cork – Cork is another green flooring option, alongside bamboo. Unlike bamboo, however, the cellular structure of cork produces a soft, cushion-like feel beneath the feet. Cork is also revered for its ability to absorb sound and vibrations, making the floors helpful in urban and active households. Cork flooring is typically sold in tiles pre-finished in a variety of types and styles. The surface of cork flooring prevents slipping, making them useful in areas with lots of water present, like bathrooms and kitchens.
Bamboo is not actually a tree, but rather a grass. Lightweight yet woody, it provides an affordable alternative to hardwood floors. Like hardwood, bamboo flooring is known for its durability.
It resists expanding and contracting in response to shifts in the humidity. Bamboo flooring is manufactured with tongue-and-groove style joints and it comes prefinished.
Linoleum is considered a green flooring option as well, due to its composition of entirely all-natural materials. Like bamboo, linoleum can be sustainably forested. Linoleum is made mainly of wood flour, rosins and linseed oil.
Many hospitals have linoleum floors because they create no negative health effects during production, disposal or installation and have properties that kill bacteria and prevent microorganisms from proliferating. As such, linoleum can also be a healthy choice of flooring for kitchens and bathrooms.
Carpet flooring comes in a wide range of types, colors, styles and thickness. Carpet flooring can be useful in homes with children, pets and seniors to keep them safe in the event of falls. They also make sitting on the floor much more comfortable.
If installing wall-to-wall carpeting in a room seems too unwieldy, however, you can install a different type of flooring and use area rugs judiciously for a similar effect. Carpet is not the easiest flooring to keep clean because the fibers can stain easily.
Concrete is an immensely versatile type of flooring, as you can stamp it with any design you like. You can make a concrete floor look like brick pavers, tumbled stone or polished marble. Concrete flooring is also renowned for its durability and ability to be cleaned easily.
You can create almost any feel you want in a room with tile. Known for its strength and sturdiness, tile flooring is useful in high-traffic areas. Tile comes in a wide array of materials such as:
- Terra cotta
Whatever material you choose, you can find tile in an equally wide range of sizes, textures, hues, finishes and styles. For a more natural feel, leave the tile unglazed. For a sturdier and more finished look, glaze it. While tile is relatively easy to clean, however, the grout between the tiles can attract stains, dirt and mold.
Vinyl is one of the most practical and economical choices of flooring to use. Produced from synthetic polymers with pigmentation added, vinyl resists moisture, is soft beneath the step and cleans easily. It is also easy to install, sold either as self-stick tiles or sheets.
On the other hand, vinyl can chip, dent and get abraded, all of which is hard to repair. Therefore, the greater the traffic you intend for your vinyl floors to bear, the thicker the vinyl you must install. Its features make vinyl a smart choice for kitchens, bathrooms, basements, mudrooms and laundry rooms.