Choosing a new floor is a huge decision, once you decide on what you want and install it there is no going back. We have compiled a list of the most popular types of flooring for homes along with the pros and cons of each type. Before diving into all the different options available to you, here are a few things to consider…
What room will the flooring be going in?
It is best to use waterproof hard surface flooring for kitchens and bathrooms. Bedrooms are typically carpeted or at least have area rugs.
Do you have kids and pets?
No matter how much you clean up after them, they leave messes. It’ll be wise to go with something that can remain durable over time.
How much money are you going to be investing in this?
Are you going to get a good return on your investment? There is a huge range of pricing options to choose from. Which one works best for your budget? Keep in mind you do not want to get the cheapest flooring possible, if so you may find yourself needing to replace it more often.
What do you want your style to be?
Darker flooring is cozy and can be better about hiding stains and scuffs but can make the room seem smaller. Light-colored flooring can start looking dirty pretty quickly but can make a room seem bigger.
What other materials am I going to need to buy?
Along with tile, there is grout, carpeting requires padding, and hardwood floors need refinishing periodically. Considering the cost of maintaining your new flooring is always a good idea.
So what type of flooring is going to fit your style, budget, and lifestyle needs? Let’s see!
Hardwood flooring is beautiful and ageless, it cleans up easily, and there is a large variety of woods and stains to choose from. Wood flooring can last a lifetime if maintained properly.
Wood flooring tends to swell and shrink depending on the humidity of the home. It scratches easily so homeowners need to be careful with dining room chairs, moving couches, or dropping anything on it. It’s also a good idea to get your wood floors refinished every 5 years to keep it looking nice.
Concrete is becoming more and more popular in residential homes because it is durable, cost-effective, and requires less maintenance.
There are a variety of different types of concrete finishes. It can be polished, sealed, or waxed all of which have their own maintenance requirements. Wax for example needs to be stripped and reapplied every so often depending on the foot traffic and if you have it sealed, the sealant needs to be reapplied. Concrete is also prone to cracking due to it settling or the building shifting over time.
Tile is a great choice for kitchen and bathrooms because it is water-resistant and does not harbor germs. There are endless patterns you can create with tile flooring, it is easy to match backsplashes, and the tiles are easy to keep clean. The main problem with ceramic tile flooring is not the actual tiles, it’s the grout. Grout is very porous and stains easily. It’s a good idea to get it professionally cleaned and sealed on average every 18 months.
Wood Plank Tile
Less expensive than hardwood flooring, wood plank tile flooring is becoming more and more popular. With it’s increased demand there are more varieties of it now, it’s easy to maintain, extremely resilient, and waterproof.
One of the major downsides again is the grout because of its porosity and being susceptible to staining. Tile is also significantly louder to walk on than any other type of flooring and just like all other tiles it can crack and chip. Some people decide to put wax on their tile flooring but it is not recommended as the cost of stripping and re-waxing outweighs the benefits of having a wax coating.
Also, floor cleaning companies (such as Zerorez®) will be unable to clean your waxed wood plank tiles because the wax would actually melt during the cleaning process and clog up the machines.
If we are talking about durability, this flooring tops the charts. Luxury Vinyl Plank, or LVT, is scratch-resistant, often water-resistant, and pet-resistant.
Planks are made of 3 layers: one is a solid vinyl core, a print layer, and a wear layer. It doesn’t have to be planks, it can look like just about anything wood, slate, granite, whatever your heart desires! A mojor upside is it can go where hardwood can’t! Bathrooms or kitchens and it is budget-friendly, not to mention it’s more comfortable to walk on.
The downsides of vinyl flooring are that it can be susceptible to sun staining or UV damage, it can emit fumes called “off-gassing” over time causing headaches, fatigue, and nausea. It also is made of plastic so when it is replaced it won’t degrade in the landfill.
With proper care a linoleum floor can last 40 years or more, it is very durable, however, over time, the edges do tend to curl up so it needs to be re-sealed every so often. Another pro for linoleum is that it is made of environmentally friendly materials and doesn’t take up as much room in the landfill after you replace it. Unlike vinyl flooring, linoleum does not emit volatile organic compounds and the surface doesn’t fade due to traffic wear because the pigments are throughout the entire sheet instead of just stamped on top.
Some of the major cons of linoleum are that it is very soft flooring and can be damaged by things like chair legs or high heels. Like vinyl flooring, it can also yellow over time due to overexposure to UV light.
Laminate floors were the first alternative to natural wood flooring, the planks have 4 layers: the backing, base, print, and wear layers and are made of a wood byproduct. There is a huge variety since it more closely mimics stone, wood, or ceramics than other materials and is widely regarded as a fairly inexpensive alternative.
Unfortunately, laminate is not waterproof and is not recommended for bathrooms or kitchens. If water pools up on the surface it is prone to warping and water damage. Also like wood flooring, it is prone to scratching and dents but unlike wood floor, it can not be resurfaced.
We decided to add bamboo in here because it is not technically a “hardwood” it is actually made up of grass. Strands of grass are sliced and shredded, then pressed back together with heat and glues to form the flooring boards.
Bamboo is a fast-growing plant and it is considered a renewable resource unfortunately its not as “green” and it seems. The glues used to hold it together can put off volatile organic compounds causing off-gassing, it is also mostly made overseas and the shipping can add to the flooring’s carbon footprint along with its cost.
Unlike other wood-type floor and its contemporary look does not match all home styles. There is not much of a variety in the look of bamboo flooring. The most major downside is that it is very absorbent and is prone to easily being damaged by water. It is cellulosic so when it becomes damaged it has a tendency to turn brown.
Compared to cheaper flooring types like vinyl floor or tile, travertine is expensive but when compared to the more expensive types of flooring like marble or other natural stone travertine is the cheaper option. Timeless, like wood flooring, and since the tiles are usually a variety of different colors it can be easier to replace a damaged tile.
It is a good choice in kitchens and bathrooms especially since it looks great in the shower or on the wall too! Some of the downsides of travertine are that it is very porous and can be prone to staining if it is not sealed. Also, like other natural stones, it is prone to etching and it is sensitive to acid cleaners (such as toilet bowl cleaners).
Above everything else, marble is elegant, it can make any room look more upscale. If you prefer natural materials over man-made ones this is the way to go. Marble is relatively easy to care for just a regular sweep and mop. Be careful not to use any extreme chemicals on it. It is sensitive to high alkaline and low acid cleaners.
Marble also conducts heat well and is great for radiant heating. A major downside of marble of course is the cost. Of repair, maintenance (like repolishing and resealing), and the cost of the actual floor itself. If it is not properly maintained it can be very easily stained.
You may have future difficulies with replacement tiles, since stone of the same color and design is hard to find. After a few years the pattern might not be on the market. Marble is not suitable for colder regions since it can crack in cold weather.
As you may have already guessed, there is no “perfect” floor. But with the options available to you, it should be easy enough to find something to suit your needs and style. For most of these options, Zerorez® can help you maintain the beauty of your flooring with regular professional cleanings. If you have questions about which flooring types we are able to clean just give us a call. One of our friendly customer service representatives would be happy to answer all your questions. (480) 507-2419.