Today’s homeowner has a wide selection of types of flooring materials. As homeowners compare options, they can look at factors like cost, durability, and maintenance requirements. Additional factors to consider are ease of installation, water-resistance, and whether the material is appropriate for the room.
Different Types of Flooring Materials
Hardwood Flooring Materials
Hardwood is popular among homeowners and builders due to its natural beauty. Hardwood is durable, improves the value of the home, and can be refinished several times during its lifespan.
Common domestic species of wood for flooring are oak, maple, cherry, walnut, and hickory. Exotic species like Brazilian cherry and African mahogany are also available. Hardwood flooring reacts to humidity levels and is not waterproof so it should not be installed in bathrooms or basements.
Another disadvantage is that hardwood flooring is more expensive than other types of flooring materials. Costs vary by species, however, homeowners can expect to pay about $6 to $14 per square foot for the material. Installation requires skill, so you’ll pay more in installation costs than with other types of flooring.
Carpet for Your Home
Homeowners choose carpet for its broad selection of colors, patterns, and textures. Other types of flooring materials aren’t as soft and comfortable underfoot. Another benefit of carpet is that it muffles sounds.
Carpet needs regular vacuuming and should be professionally cleaned at least once a year. Durability can be an issue with carpet. A high-quality carpet usually needs replacing in 10 to 15 years. A lower quality carpet may only last about five years. Carpet is not an appropriate choice for moist areas such as kitchens, bathrooms, or basements. Installing it is relatively easy, yet many homeowners choose professional installation because they don’t have the specialty tools needed to install carpeting.
Carpet is an inexpensive flooring choice. Prices begin at less than a dollar per square foot for synthetic carpet. Wool carpet prices start slightly higher, at around four dollars per square foot.
Vinyl Flooring is an Inexpensive Option
Today’s vinyl flooring isn’t the same as the low-quality flooring material of the past. Modern vinyl is sold as waterproof or water-resistant, which makes it an excellent choice for bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. Vinyl flooring is easy to clean and needs weekly mopping. Depending on its thickness, vinyl flooring lasts 10 to 20 years.
Vinyl flooring comes in many styles, colors, and patterns. Luxury vinyl plank realistically mimics the look of hardwood at a much lower cost than the real thing. Vinyl plank is relatively easy to install since the planks simply snap together. Homeowners can put it over most existing floors.
Vinyl flooring is a very affordable choice. Prices begin at less than a dollar per square foot and top out around four dollars per square foot.
Laminate flooring is primarily fiberboard or plywood with a photographic design on top that’s covered by clear plastic laminate. Although this flooring material can mimic almost any other types of flooring material, it most often resembles wood or stone.
Laminate is water-resistant making it suitable for kitchens and half baths. Full baths may get too humid for laminate because it is not completely waterproof. Maintenance involves regular sweeping and occasional cleaning with a damp mop.
Laminate flooring is very durable and typically has a lifespan of 15 to 25 years. It’s an easy flooring option to install. This budget-friendly flooring choice costs from two to eight dollars per square foot.