Floors are an unavoidable part of the home, and it’s important to know exactly which kinds of flooring would work best in each room. You also have to factor in things like kids or seniors, budget, contractor availability and quality of materials, so we take a look at some of the best types of flooring out there.
This is a classic choice for many homeowners because of its aesthetic appeal, durability and timelessness. And if you keep it polished, it can also be fairly straightforward to clean.
Advantages: Hardwood is super easy to maintain, with just about all that’s required is a sweep or vacuum. They will need to be polished periodically, but it’s definitely not something you have to do on a monthly basis. Just pay attention when it starts to look dull or scuffed up.Disadvantages: It can be expensive to buy and install ($3-12 per square foot, and then hundreds to thousands to install), and is highly susceptible to water damage, even when finished.Where to put it: The living room is a great place for hardwood, as are bedrooms.
It’s warm, padded, soft and comes in a variety of colors — carpeting has long been one of the most commonly popular choices in the last couple hundred years. It has a wide price range, making it an easy choice for the budgets of all kinds of homeowners.
Advantages: It’s super cheap ($2-5 a square foot), can be bought anywhere, is easy to install, and has a quiet, padded feel to it that greatly muffles noise. And if you have uneven floors, carpet covers that up beautifully.Disadvantages: It’s incredibly tough to clean thoroughly, and a steam-cleaning is often the only way to really get at it. It has to be vacuumed every couple of days, but that’s not even considering stains.Where to put it: If you don’t want to deal with constant vacuuming, then installing carpeting in a low-traffic area is key. Otherwise, it can go just about anywhere but the kitchen or dining room (because of food and the risk of staining).
This type of flooring is growing in popularity because of its low maintenance and huge eco-friendly factor. It looks fairly similar to hardwood but once you step on it, you can immediately tell the difference.
Advantages: It’s relatively affordable — $2-8 per square foot — and is a good insulator because it’s so warm, soft and sound-absorbing. It’s also a natural material, which makes it antimicrobial and resistant to mold.Disadvantages: Cork has a tendency to…change. It can fade and turn yellow in direct sunlight, bend to accommodate the heaviness of furniture over top of it, and swell if it’s consistently wet.Where to put it: Bedrooms have typically been the place for cork floors, although you can use it in the living room, too. Just be careful of the above points.
Forget what everyone else tells you — vinyl didn’t have its heyday in the ‘50s only to be gone now. It’s like the tofu of flooring: very economical, easy to make look like other materials, and really straightforward to put in.
Advantages: The cost is pretty low — as low as $1 per square foot, or as “high” as $5 per square foot for the high-end stuff — and installing it is only a couple hundred dollars. It behaves like carpet, too, in that it’s easy to walk on and muffles sound.Disadvantages: As easy as it is to clean, vinyl dents and tears easily, which can make cleaning it a lot harder. Plus, no matter how high-quality it is, it’ll never be an exact replica for wood.Where to put it: You probably don’t want it in your bedroom, but the kitchen, laundry room or bathrooms are all good spots to install vinyl in for the softness and warmth.