Flooring: How to Choose the Best Quality Home Floor Material

by Purvin Arshad

Regardless of whether you want quality floor covering in one room or more the task is overwhelming. The choice of designs, colors, textures, and materials seem endless. Let’s face it, the floor makes up a vast amount of space in any room. The kind of flooring used is going to make a gigantic impact on its optics. But remember it is not just about the aesthetics.

There are many other factors you must consider before making the final decision. For example,

  • What kind of traffic will the floor have to handle? How much maintenance will be required?
  • Are there pets and children in the house and if so how scratch-resistant should the flooring be?
  • How long do you expect the flooring to last?
  • What kind of budget are you working with?

All these factors must be considered before shopping for the perfect quality floor covering. This is why it is important to learn of the most common types of quality floors available.

Hardwood Flooring

hardwood flooring

It is undeniable that hardwood floors have that time-tested appeal. Flooring like linoleum or patterned tiles tend to go out of fashion but wood is for all times. But let’s not overlook other benefits of quality wood floors.

The day-to-day cleaning is easy, simply lightly vacuum or sweep, and you are done. If you spill something just wipe. The most important reason homeowners prefer solid wood flooring is that with proper care they last for ages. Homes with hardwood floors sell faster than other types of flooring.

Another advantage of quality hardwood floors is that they look good with every design theme.

Hardwood floors have a lot going for them however it is also important to consider the other side. The most important one being they can be expensive. Depending on whether you buy finished oak or unfinished, the cost can run from $3 to $12 a square foot.

Then there is the installation on top of the materials. Floors made from softer woods tend to scratch more easily and will show wear and tear. While refinishing is an option again there are labor costs involved. More than that the sanding creates a lot of dust and the polyurethane coating releases fumes.

Finally, they are noisy. If installed in the upstairs rooms, the people downstairs can hear all the squeaks and creaks.

Porcelain Tile Flooring

porcelain tile flooring

These tiles are made out of clay that is blended with other materials and fired at high temperatures. They are non-porous so they can better withstand temperature fluctuations without the risk of cracking. A lot of people choose them over ceramic because they are available in more styles. They are very durable can withstand heavy traffic, and still look good for years. They are easy to clean and resist stains.

The problem with these tiles is that they are very dense, making them hard to work with. Not something one would choose for a do-it-yourself project. While they are the same thickness as ceramic tiles, they are heavier, so additional weight is put on the floor.

Transporting the extra bulk requires hard work and installation is best left to a professional. All this will add to the cost. While the tiles themselves are not outlandishly expensive, they are more costly than ceramic tiles. The need to replace worn-out tiles is rare, if needed, it is more costly than other floorings.

Laminate Flooring

laminate flooring

Before we get into greater detail, let us understand the difference in the best quality laminate flooring.

There are two main types, engineered wood, and plastic.

Engineered wood uses sheets of actual wood and is put together in a way that provides better stability. The topmost layer is made of very good quality hardwood that is finished off with acrylic.

The plastic laminate is totally artificial. The bottom sheet is melamine, the middle is fibreboard and the top is wood-grain print. It is topped off with a layer of hard plastic. Engineered wood costs about twice as much as plastic laminate.

Other than ease of installation and infinite design options, laminate flooring offers a lot of benefits for busy families. You can now get moisture-resistant laminate flooring that resists stains and fading. It requires little effort to maintain and can last anywhere from ten to twenty-five years. Plastic laminate floors are environmentally friendly as they can be made from recycled material.

The cost of plastic laminate runs between $1 to $3 for a square foot. If you fancy something designer then it can go as high as $12 per square foot. The best part about quality laminate flooring is that installation is minimal, at only about $5 for a square foot. Whereas installation of quality hardwood flooring can easily run you up to four times that. Do not forget the fact that, unlike hardwood, laminate flooring will not add any value to your home.

Vinyl or Linoleum

vinyl flooring

A lot of people think vinyl and linoleum are the same and use the names interchangeably. Actually, they are very different.

Linoleum has been around for more than 150 years when it was discovered accidentally. It is made by combining linseed oil with wood and cork dust and pressed into sheets. Linoleum is all-natural, making it 100% recyclable. This is the major difference between the two.

Vinyl was not discovered until the 1920s and its major ingredient is polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The PVC makes up the core of the flooring and has a fiberglass or felt base. The strong surface layer protects a photographic print. Vinyl is not environment friendly, which is a problem in today’s environment-conscious setting.

Price is another huge concern for those on a budget. High-quality vinyl flooring costs between 1 to 10 dollars per square foot for tiles while sheets cost $7 to $45 per square yard. The cost of linoleum tiles is $4 to $10 per square foot, whereas sheets run $23 to $50 per square yard.

Being a natural product, linoleum is more prone to water damage. This means it requires a sealant after installation which has to be reapplied periodically. Being sensitive to water damage makes it a poor choice for places with moisture.

Vinyl flooring, particularly the sheet, is waterproof. Since no sealant is needed, there is no ongoing maintenance either. Vinyl flooring has a life of up to 40 years whereas linoleum lasts a decade or little more.

Natural Stone Tile Flooring

stone flooring

Stone floors add natural beauty and give a warm inviting feel to your home. As stones are excavated from the earth each piece is unique, with its natural disparities. They provide long-lasting beauty and can withstand heavy traffic. Stone floors are easy to maintain and naturally resist allergens. The best part they add value to your home.

Five types of stone floors are most common.

Granite

Granite is available in a wide variety of colors and patterns. It is one of the hardest flooring stones, meaning children or pets will have a hard time scratching it. It works great as counter tops in addition to flooring. Granite bathrooms look luxurious and are in great demand.

Slate

Slate is another great stone for flooring due to its durability. It is available in purple, red, green, black and brown. Combinations of these colors are also possible. You have to be careful when purchasing slate as it comes in variable hardness. Some types of slate are so tough that it resists even chemicals other not so much. In case the base flooring is uneven a slate slab may crack.

Marble

Marble is the time test king of stone flooring. There is no arguing the opulent elegance it gives a space. But marble flooring is porous and requires sealant to be applied every so often. It is not stain-resistant. More than that anything mildly acidic like orange juice or vinegar will damage it. The spill must be cleaned immediately to avoid permanent damage.

Travertine

Travertine is the stone used in the building of the Coliseum in Rome. While it has been around for ages, it is porous. This makes it susceptible to moisture and stains. Thank God for sealants. It is also much softer than other stone flooring and will show wear and tear over time. It looks beautiful around the pool area or pathways but requires proper protection.

Limestone

Limestone is similar to travertine in terms of being porous and open to water retention. So again homeowners have to be prepared for reapplications of sealants over time. Being a soft stone, it is prone to erosion in heavy traffic.

Natural stone flooring is eco-friendly and perks up any area. But laying it takes up a lot of time, making it labor-intensive hence costly. Most stone flooring requires periodic maintenance after installation. Natural stone is heavy so it may not be suitable in every room. Finally, being a natural material environmental change will impact its texture and if not looked after leading to breakage.

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