Choosing the flooring for your new home affects all aspects of the process: budget, upkeep, resale value, and much more.
We’ve gone deep on the 5 most popular types of flooring, and the pros and cons might surprise you.
1. Tile and Natural Stone
Natural stone tile is one of the most popular types of flooring – probably due to its affordability, durability, and versatility.
It’s also easy to clean, and aesthetically pleasing tile can handle high traffic and high moisture areas making it great for those with children and pets.
The tile itself ranges from inexpensive to high-end pricing, and installing tile can be among the most difficult of all flooring options, which can mean higher labour costs. (But it doesn’t need replaced or maintained much, so that tends to even out in the long term.)
Tile is also heavy, meaning that those with multiple stories would be better off using it only on the first floor. Natural stone, as one would imagine, is also very hard and cold, meaning that standing on it for long periods can be uncomfortable. It can also be slippery when wet, so those who are older or have small children should be cautious about where and how they use tile.
Everyone loves hardwood, and for good reason. It’s a classic best known for its durability and visual appeal.
Stained hardwood adds natural warmth to any room, and can be integrated into any style from farm house to ultra modern. That style does come with a downside, however, when floors start to creak or need retaining to match decor changes.
Some types of hardwood can be inexpensive, however staining and sanding hardwood racks up costs quickly, and the higher end look of exotic wood is not cheap.
Hardwood is best for living areas and bedrooms, as it is sensitive to moisture (and therefore not ideal for kitchens and bathrooms.) If you have small children or pets, hardwood may also not be the best choice – scratches and dings can be difficult to sand out and can make your floors look dull before their time.
If style is your top priority, your hard-wood floors can be one of the bragging points of your home.
3. Engineered Wood
Engineered wood (or composite wood) can be a less expensive alternative to hardwood that is also easier to install and still gives the same warmth and style – without the extra care. Engineered wood is mostly plywood, compressed with a thin layer of hardwood on top.
One of the main benefits of composite wood is its easy installation. Hardwood is complex. It needs to be fitted, can’t be laid on certain surfaces, and requires active maintenance.
Engineered wood can be glued or even nailed down, and only needs semi-annual cleaning – and even more importantly it can be used in areas with some (but not a lot of) moisture, like a kitchen.
The biggest drawback with engineered wood is how prone it is to warping and other damage, and that it usually can’t be sanded or refinished.
If budget and style are competing priorities, engineered wood can be the best of all worlds.
Most people have carpet somewhere in their home – even if it’s just a stair runner. The range of colours, styles, and textures makes it a good choice for most rooms, and it adds warmth and comfort to living areas.
One frequent complaint against carpet is that it holds onto dirt and allergens. To avoid this, regularly clean carpets. Also, carpet can be difficult to clean and may even need to be replaced if stained.
Weekly cleaning can be done through vacuuming, and bimonthly steam cleaning is recommended. For those with pets or allergenic family members, a carpet may not be ideal.
If cozy comfort is your top priority and you don’t mind regular maintenance, carpets are a fantastic choice.
5. Vinyl Tile
Vinyl tile is one of the most affordable options for flooring overall, and it requires no special care or consideration for general care.
It’s a good flooring choice for homes that have children, pets, and a lot of traffic. Areas that require frequent cleaning are good candidates for vinyl tile, since mopping and sweeping are a breeze on vinyl.
Vinyl tile is stain resistant and waterproof and isn’t as heavy as natural stone, and as it is still relatively new, it is not seen as valuable as natural stone or hardwood – making it affordable.
For those on a budget, vinyl tile is an effective alternative that can be used to simulate either.
Which Is Right For Me?
At the end of the day, the type of flooring you choose should go beyond aesthetic appeal. Practicality is the primary concern when choosing your flooring. How well does it suit your living space and the room it’s in?
After that, flexibility is a follow-up concern: How do you envision this room changing in the next ten years? Will you want to change a bedroom into a study? If you want to convert your guest bedroom into a home gym, would carpet or tile make that problematic?
Talk to our design experts today to see how your floors can be the first step to building the home of your dreams, from the ground up!