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11 Flooring Types and How to Choose the Best One for Your Home

colour chartsWhen it’s time to build or renovate your home, you have so many choices to make. That’s the beauty of homeownership: every single detail is entirely up to you. And while it might be easy to get overwhelmed, it’s important that you take a minute to consider every option available to you, so that you make the right choice that will last you a lifetime.

This is especially true with flooring types. You don’t want to spend a lot of money on a costly flooring renovation just to find out a few years down the line that you made the wrong choice.

If you’re starting to think about what kind of flooring you want to put in your home, keep reading.

We’re going to give you the rundown on each different floor type, what they’re good for, and then we’re going to show you how to choose the best one for you.

The Different Flooring Types Make a Difference

When you think about the different types of flooring out there, you have a lot of options and a lot of different things to consider. You want to have something that matches your decoration and the vibe of each room, sure, but it goes a little deeper than that as well.

Each material comes with its own list of pros and cons, and not every flooring option is right for each room. So for every flooring decision you have to make, look at what the function of the room is, what use you need it for, and then consider how to design the flooring around the decoration.

Hardwood

Manufacturers create hardwood flooring out of a single piece of hardwood. They typically come in cherry, walnut, or oak. However, the options are relatively endless, including some interesting looking exotic hardwoods.

For the most part, each plank of hardwood flooring is three-quarters of an inch thick, but the widths vary depending on personal choice, need, and style of wood. Most standard planks sit between three and five inches wide, but wider ones exist and create a stunning look for larger rooms.

You can also get hardwood finished in two different ways. If you want, you can have your wood planks finished before you install them, or you can take the time to sand and finish them after installation. This increases their resistance to moisture.

And while all hardwood is technically hard, even individual hardwoods come in different hardness levels. You need to consider what your flooring needs are so you can select a hardness level that’s appropriate for your room.

Engineered Wood

This is a more affordable option than traditional hardwood. Manufacturers create engineered hardwood by putting a thin layer of real hardwood with other layers of ply plank. These are less expensive and they resist moisture better.

True hardwood tends to warp easier in high-moisture areas of the home, so engineered hardwood is a good option for bathrooms or a basement that gets damp on occasion.

The specifications of engineered hardwood and traditional hardwood are pretty much the same, it comes in the same variations. However, you can’t sand down engineered hardwood floors as often as you would traditional hardwood, because the veneer on top is very thin.

But if you’re looking for a less expensive, more durable option, engineered hardwood is a great option.

Bamboo

Technically, bamboo is another sort of hardwood. However, it’s typically classified in a different way. This is because of bamboo’s eco-friendly nature.

Most bamboo comes imported from China and because it’s technically a grass and not a tree, it can grow incredibly tall in a very short amount of time. And the best part is that it doesn’t require water or pesticides to succeed.

Also, because of its grass-like nature, it doesn’t require lengthy replanting processes or messy runoff that ruins the environment.

On its own, bamboo creates a light finish for flooring, but there are a number of different treatment options you can use to darken the wood if that’s more to your liking.

The cost of bamboo flooring is on par with traditional hardwood, if not a little less expensive as well. And it qualifies for LEED Certification.

Laminate

Laminate flooring allows you to have the gorgeous look of hardwood without the punch to your budget. It’s created with a top layer piled on top of layers of plywood and compressed fiber to make slats.

However, laminate flooring doesn’t have a real wood finish. Instead, it uses an image that creates the look of various finishes. You can get laminate flooring that looks like stained concrete, stone, ceramic tile, and wood.

These images look almost identical to the real thing and they cost a lot less.

Linoleum

Linoleum floors have come a long way since the 1970s. Nowadays, we manufacture them in an eco-friendly way and give them many different, beautiful finishes.

Linoleum comes in a sheet and you can install it with glue on your floor. These sheets can have a wide variety of different colors and patterns.

When you choose linoleum floors, look for ones that come with a special protective coating to protect them from staining, otherwise, you’ll have to refinish your floor frequently to keep it looking nice.

Cork

Cork is another beautiful, eco-friendly option. It’s harvested from bark and it doesn’t harm the tree.

Another huge benefit is the warm feeling cork has. It has a similar look and feel to wood, but the grain patterns are unique and engaging.

Cork comes in tiles or planks, and usually, they come pre-finished. Keep in mind that you’ll have to reseal your floors over time so that they continue to be moisture resistant.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile is the perfect flooring type for a lot of different room styles. The options for color, texture, shape, and size are endless.

Manufacturers create ceramic tiles by mixing clay and shale and putting it in a kiln to harden it.

There are a couple of different kinds of ceramic tiles.

Glazed tiles have a glossy finish, but you can also choose something like quarry tile that has a rough texture. There’s also porcelain and terracotta.

Make sure that the ceramic tile you choose is created for flooring, otherwise, it won’t be able to stand up to the pressure of the foot traffic.

Carpet

Carpet is another great option that comes in many styles and colors. It can also be made from a variety of different materials, like wool, nylon, acrylic, and polyester.

Most carpets use a grading system to tell you how well they will stand up to the traffic of your home. They’re graded on a 1-5 scale and anything between a 3-4 is a good option.

Also, if your carpet has a high fiber density, it’s more likely to be able to withstand high traffic areas.

Stone

There’s no doubt that stone adds a beautiful, elegant, and luxurious look to any room. However, stone floors come with a pretty hefty price tag.

If you choose stone flooring like granite, marble, and slate, you can expect to finish it every few years in order to maintain their luster.

Vinyl

Vinyl tile is very resilient. It’s flexible and cushioned and easy to maintain, so it’s a simple choice for a fix-it-and-forget-it sort of solution.

Another huge benefit of vinyl flooring is that it’s the most affordable of all the options.

They create vinyl flooring by attaching a top layer to felt and foam, and the thickness of the tile determines the price point.

Polished Concrete

Polished concrete is new in design and you can most often find it in modern, updated homes.

It’s a little pricier, but the finished product is gorgeous. You can even add different colors and dyes or stains to the concrete before the polish is added to the top.

How to Choose the Right Floor for Your Home

Now that you know the most popular options for flooring types, you need to know how to select one for your room. You do this by first taking a look at the room you want to update the flooring in and going from there.

You wouldn’t want the same floor in your bathroom as you would in your living room, right?

Durability

The first and most important thing you need to consider when thinking about the types of flooring to put in your home is how durable they are. Each room has its own durability requirements. Your kitchen is going to be a high traffic area, so you’ll need something that can stand up to a lot of foot traffic. But something like a guest bedroom or a bathroom might not need something so sturdy.

Cleaning

Another thing you need to consider is cleaning. You want your floor to last as long as possible, and in order to do that, you have to be able to commit to keeping it clean.

Some things, like carpets, need a little more maintenance and consideration than something like vinyl does. So consider the cleaning needs your flooring choice needs and whether or not you can meet them.

Other Considerations

Other things to consider when it comes to flooring types is how easy the installation is, how much they cost, and whether or not they’re a good fit for a room.

Carpet in your bathroom isn’t a great idea. The moisture gets trapped and could create a serious mold issue. And you might not want a slick surface like polished ceramic tiles in your kitchen, because it could pose a slipping hazard.

Choose the Best Flooring Types for Your Home

At the end of the day, there are many different flooring types out there. Whichever one you choose is up to you. No matter what your choice, there are flooring types to meet everyone’s needs.

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