There is no renovation challenge physically demanding as laying the right flooring. Choosing the best types of flooring for your home requires a full assessment of the space and its capability of withstanding certain impacts.
Given the copious surface they cover, floors play a pivotal role in the aesthetics of your home, resulting in a huge difference in the visual impact. Some flooring decisions, such as installing tiles in a bathroom, are no-brainers. Others are subjected to the interior décor and value of your home.
To rouse you a little, here’s a quick guide to the most popular flooring options and their pros and cons.
How to Choose Flooring?
The best flooring is based on your unique situation, living environment and determining what you need for considerably long period. Consider these factors:
- Location: No one type of flooring is ideal for every room. How will the selected flooring react to the environment it’s installed in?
- Multi-family: Homes with active young children or pets need easy-to-clean, spill-proof and scratch resistant flooring
- Budget: Price varies widely; Select viable options for your budget
- Installation: Some materials may require underlayment, which will add to the cost
- Maintenance: Any flooring, even the least durable, can be used for decades if properly maintained
- Appearance: Below the more pragmatic issues is the look and feel, certain types work better than others to create the ideal style
Types of Flooring
1) Wooden Flooring
Its natural beauty, character and indisputable versatility makes solid wood one of the most popular flooring option for homes. Whether solid or engineered, its construction is as simple as it gets.
- Warm underfoot
- Economical: Extended lifespan of hardwood; Can be refinished or replaced in sections to restoration
- Retaining its elegance, structural integrity and character, wood flooring can raise the value of your home, making it a good investment
- Great for people with allergies, easy to remove anything to keep floor clean
- Vulnerable to rough handling, scratches, and impacts (eg: onslaught of dragging chairs)
- Crack and swells when exposed to moisture
- High-end engineered/ veneer floorings and installation can cost more than hardwoods
In family areas, like living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms. Avoid installing where standing water (eg: Bathroom, Laundry rooms) and high traffic (eg: Kitchen) is common.
Although advised against, wood flooring is currently trending in today’s kitchens. Hence, before committing, be vigilant of your family habits, especially household with children and pets, to make an informed decision. Adding a rug can help absorb moisture and break up the space.
2) Bamboo Flooring
Considered to be an eco-friendly alternative to wood, bamboo is one of the world's fastest growing plants that can produce the look and feel of hardwood. Its fibres can be conditioned to be as tough as the hardest woods.
- Relatively impact-resistant due to its tensile strength and durability
- Beautiful overall finishes and inexpensive
- Simple to install, easy to clean
- Sunlight can cause it to fade
- Susceptible to water and spillage damage
- Usage of adhesive glues high in harmful formaldehyde, poses risks to health, especially in asthmatics
Bamboo flooring works in all the same places as wood. Suitable for living areas, hallways, and bedrooms but may not be sturdy enough for kitchen or bathroom.
3) Laminate Flooring
Designed much like engineered wood, laminate flooring composes of primarily melamine resin and fibre board material, topped with a photo layer and a clear plastic coating. This allows laminate to emulate variety of attractive styles, from almost any wood grain styles, stone, tile and metal finishes - at least at a distance. Flooring manufacturers have become adept at even reproducing texture and effects, like deep embossing, to add to the illusion.
- Most convincing look of real wood and other natural materials for a fraction of the cost
- Versatile and easy to install over an existing flooring, saving time and money
- Boasts UV protection and requires minimal maintenance
- Resistant to stains, moisture resistance and easy to keep hygienically clean
- Hard and cold underfoot
- Can be slippery when wet
- Extra cost for a slip-resistant layer, under-floor heating or sound- dampening foam underlayment
- Unlike real wood, laminate is impossible to refinish and repair, only replaced due to its synthetic property
- Like bamboo, laminate flooring uses resins and glues that chemical-sensitive individuals may have reactions to
- Does not improve resale value
Laminate is a good material for high-traffic areas, such as kitchens, foyers, and playrooms. Although moisture resistant, laminate is not waterproof, hence avoid wet places like bathrooms and laundry rooms.
4) Vinyl Flooring
Vinyl is a type of resilient flooring, usually consisting of acrylic, PVC and similar polymers over a layer of felt. It’s flexible. As with laminate flooring, vinyl flooring can be manufactured in various profiles to simulate the appearance of other materials. Cushioned vinyl can also be created with thin layers of foam and thicker vinyl for a textured surface.
- Available in various styles, thickness and texture to suits any room or lifestyle
- Budget friendly
- Flexible and cushioned floor surface
- Extremely durable and relatively inexpensive
- Easy to install directly over most floors
- Cleanup and maintenance are easy
- Unlike laminate, vinyl has a warmer, quieter and softer underfoot, making it more comfortable to walk on.
- Polyurethane coat makes it waterproof, scratch and stain resistant
- Impervious to water damage
- Not eco-friendly
- Prone to scratching
- Varies in quality, Less choice of colour and pattern with cheaper types
- Often have a fake look appearance
- Hollow echoey sound when installed directly over a subfloor without an under-layer
- Most vinyl flooring is not compatible for underfloor heating
Suitable in most active homes with children and pets, vinyl flooring is perfect for high-traffic areas, like your kitchen, bathrooms and laundry room due to its water resilient construction. Vinyl is the best choice for a basement as it can tolerate moisture and doesn’t feel as cold as tiles.
6) Natural Stone Tile Flooring
Natural stone tile is a classic flooring that includes granite, marble, limestone travertine and sandstone. Used to create a sense of space, it is highly valued for its infinitely variable style and renowned uniqueness. Whilst, marble tiles create a classic luxurious look, slate tiles create a more rustic look. Highly polished limestone tiles execute a contemporary feel. Some materials, like travertine, are more durable than others. Keeping in mind that each natural tile has different characteristics and properties, it is important to determine which type of natural stone is best for your flooring.
- Its natural beauty adds value, elegance and sophistication to your home
- Every piece of stone floor is unique and never identical
- Hard wearing, easy to clean and maintain
- Robust, sturdy and durable floor covering
- Compatible and low maintenance
- Keeps the climate cooler in your home
- Provides an ideal hygienic floor surface
- Varying porosity—some types of stone need to be treated with a sealing agent regularly to prevent damage from liquids
- Scratches and scuffs are easily prominent without treatment
- The cost can run higher than your budget allows
- Prices depend on the size of the tiles (the bigger the more expensive)
- Some stones are more brittle and can chip easily
- Tiles may be uneven from quality of tile layering
- Harder to replace
- Heavy option of flooring, requires proper support
- Dropping fragile items (expensive glass or porcelain objects) will almost always result in breakage
- Falling down can result in serious injuries
As stone can stand up to spills and high traffic, it is typically ideal for kitchens, bathrooms, hallways, conservatories, living areas, and for exterior paved areas floors. Because of its durability, it can be used indoors or outside, and for any room in the house!
6) Porcelain Flooring
Porcelain is a type of ceramic, made from clay, and other natural materials blended together, that is fired at high temperatures in a kiln. This creates a harder, less porous surface than achieved by standard ceramic tiles. This makes it better for spaces with fluctuating temperatures and a more reliable option for radiant heating solutions.