How to Choose the Perfect Flooring

The flooring you choose has a major impact on the overall style, look, feel, and atmosphere of your home. There are many options for flooring available on the market including:

  • Hardwood


  • Engineered Hardwood

    Engineered Hardwood

  • Laminate


  • Vinyl


  • Linoleum


  • Cork


  • Bamboo


  • Stone


When trying to decide which type of flooring you should get, there are four key questions to ask yourself.

  • What is my lifestyle? If you have a bustling household full of kids, children, and heavy foot traffic, it would be wise to consider resilient and long-lasting flooring options like hardwood, tile, or vinyl. If you live alone or have minimal foot traffic, you may want to look into carpeting or rugs.
  • Where am I putting this flooring? Different rooms of the house have different requirements when it comes to flooring. For example, the bathroom will need flooring that can stand up to humid and wet conditions. The hallways, where there is usually the most foot traffic, require resilient flooring. Living rooms and bedrooms may want a softer touch with some carpeting or rugs. Think about what each room needs in terms of flooring before making a decision.
  • What is my budget? Defining your budget before you purchase any type of flooring is a necessary step. Some types of flooring, like stone, cost far more than others, like linoleum. Be sure to including some extra money into your budget for any unexpected issues.
  • Do I want eco-friendly flooring? If you're passionate about leaving as small a carbon footprint as possible and taking care of our planet, you may want to have eco-friendly flooring installed. Options like cork and bamboo have their own pros and cons, so be sure to talk to a professional and discuss the best option for you.
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Types of Flooring

Each type of flooring has its pros and cons. What works for one person's home may not work for someone else's. With that in mind, here are some of the most popular types of flooring options available and their pros and cons.

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Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood floors are one of the most sought-after amenities that home buyers look for when considering purchasing a house. Having hardwood floors can even increase the resale value of your home. That's due to its beauty, durability, and long-lasting nature.

Hardwood flooring requires minimal regular maintenance - sweeping, vacuuming - but will occasionally require refinishing if the hardwood gets scratched, repair if it gets too damaged, and floor waxing to keep it shiny and beautiful.

Hardwood floors can be installed on any floor of a house except for the basement (1). Having hardwood flooring installed can be a costly project. Installation for solid-strip hardwood flooring averages $8 per square foot and can cost as much as $12 per square foot or more.

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Engineered Hardwood Flooring

While engineered hardwood flooring does have real wood in it, it also has many complex layers of plywood, hardwood, and high density fiberboard. These layers make engineered hardwood more stable and durable than regular hardwood, however depending on the thickness of the layers, engineered hardwood may only be sanded and refinished only once - maybe twice if it's thick enough (2). The layers also make it more resistant to moisture than regular hardwood. However, it is not normally less expensive than hardwood flooring. It's actually roughly the same price at an average of $8-$12 per square foot.

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Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is one of the most affordable flooring options available with an average cost of $0.90-$2.00 per square foot. It is easy to install and comes in a variety of styles and replications of materials. However, laminate flooring will most likely affect the resale value of your home. If you'll looking to sell your home soon, laminate may not be the right choice. If you're planning on staying in your home for a while, you may want to consider getting laminate flooring installed.

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Vinyl and Linoleum Flooring

While vinyl and linoleum flooring are similar in many ways, they do have some major differences. For one, linoleum is incredibly eco-friendly while vinyl is made with non-renewable resources (3). Both types of flooring are very easy to install, though linoleum requires a surface sealer treatment after installation to protect it from moisture. They're both very similar in price - vinyl flooring costs an average of $2-$5 per square foot where linoleum costs an average of $3-$4+ per square foot.

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Tile Flooring

Tile, like hardwood, can increase a home's resale value (4). It is very durable and easy to clean, making it an excellent choice for homes with pets. Tile requires little maintenance, but one of the biggest drawbacks is that if it's not installed over radiant heating, it is cold to walk on with bare feet. It can also be a bit pricey depending on the type and style.

  • For glazed ceramic tiles, the cost ranges drastically from $1-$20 per square foot.
  • Porcelain tiles average a cost of $2-$4 per square foot.
  • Artistic tiles that are custom made can cost as much as $25 or more per square foot.
  • Stone tiles, such as granite, start around $2 per square foot but can cost much more for special orders or custom designs.
  • Mosaic tiles also have a drastic range of $3-$25 per square foot depending on material and whether it is a custom design or not.
  • Be sure to talk to a professional about the cost of installation. Most installation costs run about $5-$10 per square foot on top of the cost for materials.
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Cork Flooring

If you're looking to install an eco-friendly flooring material, cork is worth considering, since it is made from sustainable and renewable sources (5). It's also a great choice if you don't like walking on cold surfaces since cork can stay at room temperature instead of always being cold like tile. It also has sound insulation properties, making it an excellent choice for dampening the sounds of an upstairs room or music room. However, cork is a very soft flooring material. It can scratch and dent easily, and probably isn't the best choice for homes with pets. The price of having cork flooring installed, including materials and labor, is around $5-$12 per square foot. For materials only, it can run $2-$10 per square foot.

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Bamboo Flooring

If you're looking for a clean, modern flooring, you might want to look at bamboo flooring. Bamboo is actually a type of grass that grows very quickly, making bamboo a very fast, renewable resource. However, there are some types of bamboo flooring that are not considered eco-friendly because of certain additives and adhesives used in the manufacturing process (6). Be sure to purchase bamboo flooring from a Forestry Stewardship Council certified company (7) if you want properly harvested and manufactured bamboo flooring.

Bamboo flooring is not considered water-resistant, so be sure to keep it away from water-prone areas like the bathroom and kitchen. If you want your bamboo flooring to last a long time, be sure to get top-quality - it can be as durable and long-lasting as traditional hardwood flooring. The cost of bamboo flooring ranges in price. For top-quality bamboo, expect to pay $7-$12 per square foot. For mid-range bamboo, you can expect to pay around $4-$7 per square foot. For low-end bamboo, it can cost as little as $1.50-$3.50 per square foot. Having your flooring professionally installed can add on another $3-$6 per square foot.

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Stone Flooring

Stone creates some of the most beautiful and stylish floors around. However, that beauty comes with a steep price tag.

  • A granite floor can cost $6-$22+ per square foot.
  • A marble floor can cost $9-$20+ per square foot.
  • A travertine floor can be installed for around $6-$13 per square foot.
  • For a limestone floor, expect to pay around $5-$17 per square foot.
  • A slate floor that is installed professionally can cost you $6-$20 per square foot.

When having a stone floor installed, be sure to only have an experienced professional do it for you. Installing a stone floor requires absolute precision and is very labor-intensive (8).

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  1. "Solid Hardwood Flooring". FloorFacts Flooring Guide. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  2. Riha, John. "Your Guide to the Different Types of Wood Flooring". DIY Network. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  3. Lewitin, Joseph. "Resilient Vinyl Flooring Vs Linoleum Tile Installations". The Spruce. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  4. "Tile for Flooring: Pros and Cons". Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  5. Hueston, Marie. "Is Cork Flooring Right for You?". Bob Vila. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
  6. Riha, John. "The Pros and Cons of Bamboo Flooring". DIY Network. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  7. "Forestry Stewardship Council". Forestry Stewardship Council. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  8. "Your Guide to Stone Flooring". Better Homes & Gardens. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
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