Types of Flooring
Learn about different flooring materials and which ones work best in specific areas of your home.
Every room in your home serves a different purpose so it’s important to know what the best flooring options are before you choose your selection and make a big purchase. Each area also comes with its own challenges so keep in mind that best flooring for kitchens may not be ideal for a living area or a high-traffic area. Fortunately, you won’t have to choose between form and function as most flooring that’s engineered today has advanced in structure and printing technology and manufacturers have created types of flooring such as vinyl that can appear as authentic reclaimed wood and other materials.
The type of flooring you decide on will depend on the room you’re choosing it for, your home and family’s needs, and your budget. It’s essential to work with a contractor that can not only help you choose the best flooring option, but who is also professionally skilled at installing the flooring correctly. Some of the most popular flooring types include:
- Ceramic Tile – One of the top kitchen flooring options that’s waterproof and can also be installed in bathrooms and used for countertops. Choose kitchen floor tiles with an unglazed finish as opposed to ceramic tiles with a high gloss finish, as they tend to scratch. Unglazed models are more durable when it comes to standing or pooling water. The best flooring for kitchens includes ceramic tile finishes that are matte, glazed, embossed or textured.
- Laminate Flooring – Laminate is one of the best flooring options for high-traffic areas such as entryways, at the bottom or top of stairs and kitchens. Choose laminate flooring materials that have a layer of melamine resin. Laminate is less expensive than hardwood floors and consists of a laminate wood base with a replicated image of wood, stone or tile flooring. Keep in mind that laminate does not perform well in high-moisture areas; if you are installing flooring in an area that is prone to moisture or you are replacing flooring in an area that has experienced water damage, consider another flooring option.
- Vinyl – Vinyl is one of the best flooring materials for very high-traffic areas. It comes in a variety of textures and colors that are designed to look like stone, tile or hardwood flooring and is more versatile and cost-effective than hardwoods. Different grades of vinyl range from commercial sheet vinyl to high-quality luxury styles. If you’re considering vinyl, be sure to choose a material that has a slip retardant.
- Hardwood Flooring – Wood flooring options include both solid and engineered hardwoods. With solid hardwood flooring materials, select a species of wood that will be very strong/resilient with a thick wear layer and a durable finish, such as a polyurethane finish. Pre-finished wood flooring has a natural wood finish and is comprised of a bottom layer of wood and a core of five to seven layers of plywood. Similar to laminate, wood flooring also does not perform well in high-moisture areas.
- Carpet – Available in both natural and synthetic fibers, carpet is the best flooring material for a soft, cushioned surface and, when installed correctly, it can be effective in high-traffic areas. Certain types – including nylon, polypropylene, wool and some made of blended materials – can be very durable and even help with noise reduction in a room.
Areas of the Home
If you need to choose a flooring option for areas such as bathrooms, kitchens or laundry room, you may opt for a tile or laminate selection over hardwood flooring, which might be more suitable for foyers/entryways or living and dining rooms.
KITCHENS AND BATHROOMS
Ceramic tile and vinyl are the top choices for kitchen and bathroom flooring options. Both types are durable and are resistant to scratching and denting. Kitchen floor tiles are low-maintenance and require little more than mopping and cleaning. Tile comes in a variety of styles and price points to fit any décor or budget. While hardwood and engineered wood flooring are the most popular choices among homeowners, they don’t perform as well in bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms – dropped items can leave dents and even a splash of bleach could blemish a wood finish.
Hardwood flooring and engineered wood flooring are commonly found in living rooms, dens and blended areas (such as living room/dining room combinations or open kitchen/living room areas). Some homeowners may choose to put large area rugs in the living areas for more comfort, or choose to go with all carpet in the living room or den. Nylon, polyester, Polypropylene and wool are popular choices for carpet; however, some may be better choices than others.
There are many choices for high-traffic areas so, whether you’re looking for durability or style, you can have both. Tile, hardwood, vinyl and carpet are all good choices for flooring material in areas that have a lot of foot traffic. These flooring options are all durable (as long as you choose the correct type, as some are more resilient than others – especially for carpet) and can handle a lot of wear and tear.
The information and advice contained in this article is intended as a general guide for informational purposes only. It does not take into account your personal situation. While we at Resolve have significant experience and history operating in the home restoration industry and working closely with construction contractors, we are not licensed as a general or specialty contractor. We encourage you to consider the information we’ve provided but urge you not to rely upon it in place of appropriate professional advice from a licensed, experienced construction contractor.