9 Types of Floor Options for Your Home

Few options within the residence mix kind and performance fairly like flooring. You actually stroll throughout it, but it’s additionally an important design ingredient, each bit as visually impactful as paint colours and furnishings. Then there’s the dimensions of the funding, particularly in case you’re redoing the flooring all through your complete residence. “It’s not far behind the price of a brand new automobile or all new kitchen home equipment, however most individuals aren’t armed with practically as a lot data,” says Carol Swedlow, President of Aronson’s Flooring Masking, which has been promoting all method of flooring out of its New York Metropolis showroom since 1867.

The Good Housekeeping Institute has been round since 1900, and our consultants have lengthy appreciated the significance of flooring to a house’s look and performance. We’ve rigorously examined timeless supplies like wooden and stone, together with newer options like vinyl and engineered wooden flooring, each of which took place within the Seventies. Extra lately, our consultants have adopted the rise in recognition of much more supplies, together with concrete and wood-look porcelain.

Our final flooring information walks you thru all of the choices, together with professionals, cons and fundamental pricing data for the greatest kinds of flooring to your residence. Understand that most homes characteristic a number of flooring supplies, relying on the room and your wants. Our recommendation on that entrance hasn’t modified in over 100 years: Spend extra on the high-traffic, high-visibility areas of your own home, and select lower-cost, sturdy supplies all over the place else.

Hardwood Flooring

Stable wooden flooring confers heat and authenticity.

Getty Pictures

There are two essential kinds of hardwood flooring: strong wooden flooring, which because the title implies consists of a one strong piece of wooden, and engineered wooden flooring, through which a skinny veneer of actual wooden is bonded to layers of structural plywood. Each sorts are available as much as fifty species, with a few of the hottest choices being oak, ash, maple and walnut.

  • Professionals: The heat and fantastic thing about hardwood flooring explains its enduring enchantment. Because the materials might be sanded and refinished a number of occasions (particularly strong wooden variations) a well-maintained hardwood flooring can final for many years, and even centuries.
  • Cons: The largest draw back is value. Although some species are inexpensive than others, wooden flooring tends to be the costliest. It’s additionally topic to dents and scratches, plus strong flooring specifically will broaden and contract with modifications in humidity ranges, resulting in cracks, splinters and squeaky boards (engineered flooring does a lot better with moisture, making it appropriate to kitchens and basements).
  • Price: Stable wooden flooring, $5 to $10 per sq. foot, put in; Engineered wooden flooring, $4 to $9 per sq. foot, put in.

    Laminate Flooring

    a professional install planks of laminate flooring with a wood pattern

    Laminate flooring adheres simply to subfloors.

    Leo Malsam / EyeEm

    Laminate is one other engineered product, although as a substitute of a veneer of wooden on prime, it makes use of a photograph of wooden (or stone or some other materials) and provides a protecting plastic coating. The substrate of laminate flooring sometimes consists of dense fiberboard.

    • Professionals: The plastic topcoat is extraordinarily immune to scratches and dents, making laminate one of the vital sturdy flooring choices. It’s additionally among the many least costly and it usually comes as a DIY-friendly “floating” flooring system, with planks that snap collectively, as a substitute of getting to be nailed or glued down.
    • Cons: Not many individuals will mistake laminate flooring for actual wooden or stone. It tends to have a plastic really feel and sound underfoot, and the repetition of patterns can provide away its fakeness. Laminate can by no means be refinished, so it’s not a perpetually flooring. And using formaldehyde and different chemical substances within the manufacturing course of makes it a much less wholesome and fewer sustainable alternative.
    • Price: $3 to $7 per sq. foot, put in.

      Vinyl Flooring

      luxury vinyl planks use pictures of real wood to make them almost indistinguishable from the real thing

      Luxurious vinyl tiles are laborious to inform aside from actual wooden.

      Artinun Prekmoung / 500px

      Also referred to as resilient flooring, vinyl is the fastest-growing class of flooring. It ranges from cheap, DIY-friendly peel-and-stick tiles to so-called luxurious vinyl tile (or LVT, for brief) which consists of a number of layers, together with a design layer with a high-definition printed picture, a sturdy prime layer and a number of other cushion layers.

      • Professionals: Entry-level sheet vinyl could be very inexpensive. All vinyl resists stains, scratches and dents, plus its waterproof, making it protected for basements and bogs. Set up is straightforward, significantly for adhesive tiles and floating planks. LVT is a thick, sturdy tile that has the appear and feel of actual wooden. In actual fact, our product consultants usually have bother distinguishing LVT from strong wooden in exams.
      • Cons: Although patterns and shade choices have improved, even LVT continues to be a far cry from actual wooden or stone, so it’ll by no means move muster with the purists. It might probably’t be refinished, that means as soon as it does start to wear down, the one alternative is a full alternative. LVT can be surprisingly costly, usually rivaling the price of actual wooden.
      • Price: $2 to $6 per sq. foot, put in.


        a blue area carpet adds color and softness to a living room

        Carpet softens any room, within the shade of your alternative


        Although carpet has been dropping market share to resilient flooring, it’s nonetheless the largest flooring class within the U.S. Most carpet bought on this nation is tufted, with small, often nylon fibers poking up by way of a backing that is sometimes made from polyurethane. Then there’s woven carpet, which is extra frequent in Europe and is made by weaving lengths of yarn that’s often made from wool. Woven carpet is a number of occasions dearer than tufted carpet.

        • Professionals: Carpet is essentially the most comfy and cost-effective flooring materials and it’s accessible in a variety of colours and patterns. It installs simply and carpet is straightforward to take care of, requiring simply common vacuuming. Stain-resistant variations are even simpler to maintain clear.
        • Cons: The primary knock in opposition to carpet is that it holds dust and dirt, which might be significantly disagreeable for allergy victims. Woven carpet is a lot better at resisting this, since its development doesn’t create locations for dust to cover. Wool can be anti-static, so it doesn’t appeal to mud the best way nylon tufted carpets will.
        • Price: $3 to $10 per sq. foot, put in.

          Stone Flooring

          large format stone tiles lend a contemporary feel in a bedroom

          Stone flooring can add worth to your own home.


          Like wooden, stone is one other timeless flooring materials that just about all the time provides worth to the house. Three kinds of stone are used for flooring. Sedimentary stones like travertine and limestone are fashioned by layers of dissolved minerals and marine organism. Igneous stone like granite is the results of excessive warmth and volcanic motion. Metamorphic stone like marble and slate has modified from one state to a different beneath excessive warmth and strain.

          • Professionals: As a result of no two stones are the identical, stone flooring has tons of character and uniqueness. Stone can be a sturdy materials that may face up to heavy foot visitors and fading beneath intense daylight. It additionally retains the mud and allergens at bay.
          • Cons: You’ll pay a premium for many stone flooring and it requires skilled set up. Stone flooring aren’t comfortable underfoot and dropped dish ware is sort of sure to interrupt when dropped on it. Many kinds of stone flooring require sealing to withstand stains.
          • Price: $3 to $7 per sq. foot, put in.

            Concrete Flooring

            a living room with a polished concrete floor

            Concrete flooring with a cultured end have a singular look.

            Andreas von Einsiedel

            This fundamental constructing materials has been seized by high-end builders and designers as a fashion-forward materials for flooring, in addition to kitchen counter tops. A poured-in-place concrete flooring might be the anticipated shade of institutional grey or it may be coloured with dyes. It might probably additionally tackle completely different floor remedies, from acid stains to rubber-stamp stencils, creating a really one-of-a-kind impact.

            • Professionals: Apart from its uniqueness, concrete flooring are sturdy and straightforward to take care of, assuming they’re correctly sealed throughout set up. The fabric conducts warmth properly, so concrete flooring are a very good choice in case you’re planning on radiant heating, whereby scorching water tubes are embedded within the flooring in the course of the set up course of.
            • Cons: Because it’s mainly a customized product, concrete flooring are dear and require skilled set up. The rock-hard materials can be unforgiving, and it must be resealed yearly or so to forestall stains.
            • Price: $3 to $8 per sq. foot, put in

              Tile Flooring

              water proof ceramic tile flooring with a mosaic pattern is used for a bathroom floor

              Water-proof tile is right for bogs.

              Oscar Wong

              There are two essential kinds of tile flooring: ceramic and porcelain. Ceramic is often made out of a mix of water and sand, making it softer but extra inexpensive. Porcelain is made out of a finer, denser clay and fired at the next temperature, so it’s naturally tougher and fewer porous.

              • Professionals: Tile flooring have a traditional look and so they’ll accessible in numerous colours and design configurations, from mosaic to large-format tiles with minimal grout traces. All tile is water-proof and low-maintenance. Porcelain tile is extraordinarily hard-wearing and immune to scratches and dents.
              • Cons: Tough set up is the largest disadvantage. The tiles are sometimes laid in mortar over a easy, steady substrate; except you’re a really skilled DIYer, the undertaking is greatest left to knowledgeable. Porcelain tile can be on the dear aspect, ab0ut the identical as strong wooden flooring.
              • Price: $4 to $15 per sq. foot, put in.

                Cork Flooring

                a boy plays with magnetic constructor in children room sitting on cork floor

                Tender, forgiving cork flooring is nice for teenagers.

                Olga Khorkova / EyeEm

                One other area of interest flooring product, cork is a renewable materials that’s made out of harvesting the bark of cork timber. It has its followers (Swedlow calls it “the most effective stuff on earth”), but it surely’s a class with a very big selection in high quality, so it’s greatest to supply it from a specialised flooring seller who will help steer you to a top-performing line.

                • Professionals: Cork’s mild, ethereal high quality makes it one of the vital comfy flooring supplies. It’s additionally waterproof and doesn’t turn out to be slippery when moist, making it appropriate to kitchens and bogs. Cork is non-toxic and eco-friendly.
                • Cons: The fabric is vulnerable to fading beneath intense daylight. Cheaper variations will injury simply, exhibiting scratches from heavy foot visitors, furnishings and pets.
                • Price: $5 to $14 per sq. foot, put in.

                  Linoleum Flooring

                  a linoleum flooring with a checkerboard pattern has retro appeal

                  A linoleum flooring with a checkerboard sample has retro enchantment.


                  This all-natural flooring is made out of linseed oil and wooden merchandise. Like vinyl, it’s bought in tiles or sheets, although it’s not practically as frequent as its resilient cousin. “It tends to be a extra refined buyer who’s placing linoleum of their kitchen, rest room, or possibly a brand new residence fitness center,” says Swedlow.

                  • Professionals: The sustainable enchantment is a big promoting level, together with linoleum’s uniqueness and retro appeal. The newest variations are available many extra kinds and colours than years previous. Linoleum additionally has a softness underfoot that makes it very comfy, and it resists fading from daylight.
                  • Cons: Linoleum shouldn’t be as sturdy as vinyl. It’s vulnerable to sporting beneath heavy foot visitors and it might scratch and dent simply. Making use of a wax end will assist defend the floor, however that provides to the upkeep.
                  • Price: $3 to $7 per sq. foot, put in.

                    How we selected the most effective flooring

                    Our consultants are all the time taking note of {the marketplace} to establish the flooring supplies you’re most definitely to search out at residence facilities, unbiased showrooms and on-line. We additionally frequently attend commerce exhibits and business occasions, together with Surfaces, the Kitchen & Tub Business Present (KBIS), and the Worldwide Builders Present, to maintain up with all the most recent developments and improvements.

                    a good housekeeping expert performs stain testing on a variety of flooring samples

                    To measure stain resistance, we apply mustard, chocolate, wine and extra, depart them in a single day, after which see how simply the stains wipe up with a cleaner and material.

                    Philip Friedman

                    Relating to hands-on testing, we give attention to manufacturers with a confirmed observe document for efficiency and reliability. In our Labs, we run stain exams to find out how properly a cloth resists mustard, wine and the like. We additionally run abrasion exams to ensure supplies can face up to scratches and drop exams to measure their resistance to dings and dents. Our engineers assessment technical information from the producers associated to efficiency, security and sustainability. Lastly, every time potential, we use the flooring supplies for precise installations at client testers’ properties to see how they carry out beneath real-world circumstances.

                    an expert at the good housekeeping institute uses an abrasion machine to test flooring's scratch resistance

                    Our consultants use an abrasion machine to check flooring’s scratch resistance.

                    Philip Friedman

                    What to think about when selecting flooring to your residence?

                    Many owners give attention to the look and value of flooring, with out considering by way of what it is going to be wish to dwell with the fabric over the long run. Listed here are the elements it is advisable weigh to make the good move.

                    ✔️ Consolation: What is going to or not it’s like standing on the ground for lengthy stretches of time? Flooring supplies that provide a softness underfoot, like cork and vinyl tile, will probably be rather more comfy than these which are rock laborious, like concrete, stone and porcelain. Particularly in rooms the place you do a variety of standing — assume kitchen and laundry room, for instance —consolation is essential.

                    ✔️ Upkeep: Most flooring look fabulous once they’re first put in. How laborious are you going to need to work to maintain them wanting that method for years and even many years? Vinyl, laminate and engineered wooden are extraordinarily simple to take care of. Supplies that must be sealed, like stone and linoleum, are a lot larger upkeep.

                    ✔️ Well being and sustainability: Some flooring are higher for you and for the planet. As a rule, the less artificial supplies they include, the higher. That’s why strong wooden flooring is a greater choice than engineered or laminate. Likewise, all-natural linoleum and cork are superior to vinyl. Wooden flooring licensed by the Forest Stewardship Council and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative comes from responsibly managed forests. Resilient flooring with the business’s FloorScore certification will off-gas comparatively low ranges of unstable natural compound, or VOCs.

                    What’s the most effective place to buy flooring?

                    Flooring in all its numerous types is primarily bought at residence facilities and specialty flooring retailers. For those who’re working with a contractor or installer, it most likely is sensible to buy your flooring by way of them, since they’ll get it at a decrease skilled price. Make sure you depart loads of lead time. “Like most issues today, the flooring business is experiencing some challenges with the provision chain,” says Brett Miller of Nationwide Wooden Flooring Affiliation (NWFA).

                    Inflation and provide chain points are making it tougher to cost out the undertaking. “Prices for hardwood flooring like oak and maple are nonetheless elevated, with producers dealing with costs 38% larger than firstly of the pandemic,” explains Mischa Fisher, chief economist at ANGI, the house companies supplier. “Due to the worth volatility, it is all the time a good suggestion for customers to buy round for a number of costs and quotes from installers. Durations of excessive volatility could produce a variety of potential costs out there.”

                    Listed here are the highest locations to buy:

                    ✔️ House Depot: With some 2,300 areas nationwide, the largest residence middle carries a variety of flooring supplies at aggressive costs. Whether or not you need strong, engineered, laminate or faux-wood flooring, you’ll discover it on the House Depot, together with numerous financing choices and set up companies.

                    ✔️ Lowe’s: The nation’s second greatest residence middle is one other protected wager for all types of wooden flooring. Its service choices are much more sturdy, together with in-home flooring measurements, design consults, skilled set up and free delivery on flooring samples.

                    ✔️ LL Flooring: Previously often called Lumber Liquidators, LL Flooring has greater than 400 areas throughout 47 states, plus a wonderful web site that makes it simple to search out the correct flooring and obtain as much as 4 free samples. In 2015, the corporate introduced that it will cease promoting vinyl flooring with phthalates; at present its distributors are required to fulfill stringent GREENGUARD Gold or FloorScore certification requirements for indoor air high quality.

                    ✔️ Flooring & Décor:Although LL Flooring has essentially the most areas, Flooring & Décor sells essentially the most flooring, so that you’re assured to search out a big selection of flooring in any respect value factors. The location has an in depth library of digital how-to clinics, for these trying to save by putting in their flooring themselves.

                    ✔️ Impartial sellers: Specialty retailers like Aronsons are inclined to have very educated salespeople, together with a community of installers, to allow them to information you thru each step of the method. Nonetheless, they have a tendency to cater to higher-end prospects, making them much less perfect for price range shopper.

                    ✔️ Native mills: For those who’re out there for wooden flooring, shopping for direct out of your native lumber mills cuts out the intermediary, resulting in doubtlessly higher costs. Additionally, most mills will allow you to see the manufacturing course of, so you already know precisely what you’re getting and in addition the place the wooden is sourced.

                    Why belief Good Housekeeping?

                    The Good Housekeeping Institute House Enchancment Lab gives knowledgeable critiques and recommendation on all issues home-related, together with the most effective paints for cupboards, decking supplies and extra. Because the director of the House Enchancment & Outside Lab, Dan DiClerico brings greater than 20 years of expertise to the Institute, reviewing hundreds of merchandise for Good Housekeeping and beforehand for This Previous Home and Shopper Reviews. He has additionally helped set up and restore many flooring over time — most lately, the hardwood flooring at his own residence in Brooklyn, NY.

                    For this report, Dan labored carefully with the Institute’s Chief Technologist & Director of Engineering Rachel Rothman, who oversaw the testing protocol for flooring. For greater than 15 years, Rachel has put her coaching in mechanical engineering and utilized arithmetic to work by researching, testing and writing about merchandise throughout the house enchancment area. Like Dan, she has loads of real-world expertise, each along with her personal initiatives and people she advises on on the properties of client testers.

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