Types of Flooring: Guide to Common Flooring Types

Flooring makes up a major part of your home renovation. When installing new flooring in your home, it can be a tricky decision. There are many factors that go into deciding, including pricing, colors, patterns, durability, installation costs, maintenance, and more. If this process of choosing has become overwhelming, look no further!

Here is a guide to common flooring types found in homes, including the benefits, limitations and price estimates of each.

Hardwood

Hardwood floors are a great investment for any home. They have a strong resale value and a classic look that adds warmth to any room. It’s easily customizable to your taste, match to your furniture, and come in numerous neutral colours to help tie a whole room together.

Hardwood act as a good insulator to keep the floors feeling warm year-round. It’s long-lasting, easy to maintain, and doesn’t trap dust and other allergens. Refinishing the floors is an easy process, as hardwood can be easily sanded and refinished numerous times. It comes in many different materials and styles, including maple, white ash, hickory, red oak, Brazilian cherry, and many others. Hardwood flooring typically requires an underlay for extra stability. Being a more popular flooring option, it is also easy to come by.

While hardwood floors can be a desired floor textile, it can be an expensive installation. Once hardwood is installed, if done incorrectly, may bend or pop out of place. Some finishes may scratch easily or develop creaks if not well taken care of. It is not recommended that hardwood be installed in rooms that are prone to water damage, including bathrooms or laundry rooms. Although it can be easy to damage, it’s a great flooring option for any home.

The average cost of hardwood, including product and installation, is $8.00 to $10.00 per square foot.

Tile

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile is one of the most common tile choices for flooring. It is a highly durable flooring option that works great in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, entryways, mudrooms, and any other room you desire. It comes in numerous designs and colors. This tile is incredibly family-friendly and is perfect for homes with children and pets. It won’t scratch easily and shows no wear and tear in your busy day-to-day life. It’s easy to clean, and is highly resistant to germs and bacteria, making ceramic tile a safe choice for any family home. Ceramic tile is an available option, and easy to find in-store.

Something to keep in mind with ceramic tile is that over time, it may suffer damage from sunlight exposure, causing the coloring of the floor tiles to fade over the years. Because it’s so smooth, it can be slippery when wet. It isn’t much of a conductive flooring material, making temperature regulation less probable in colder climates. As well, it’s not the most comfortable flooring type to be standing on for longer periods of time.

The average cost of ceramic tile, including product and installation, is $4.50 to $7.50 per square foot. 

Stone Tile

Stone tile is tile that is made of natural rock, making it an extremely durable option for any home. Examples of stone used in floor tiles include limestone, granite, travertine, onyx, marble, limestone and sandstone. Because marble can be a popular choice, we will talk about marble tile on its own later on in the article.

Coming in a wide variety of colors and patterns to choose from, choosing a stone tile for your home will give you a unique look, as no two stone tile floors will look the same. It can enhance the look and value of your home and is suitable for all locations in your home. It’s low maintenance, making it last longer. Not only that but manufacturing the tile is environmentally friendly, helping you lower your ecological footprint. For this kind of tile and others, a waterproof underlayment may be a good thing to think about if the tile will be placed in a room where there is a risk of water damage.

Stone tile comes at a price, quite literally: It’s a more expensive option as well. Some types of stone you may choose can be porous and can suffer from water damage, so keeping this tile dry is an important thing to keep in mind. As well, using a stone tile may make it more difficult to get a uniform look in your home due to imperfections there may be in the rocks. It can be heavy, and create stress on the subflooring, making the subflooring less level. Installation can be more time-consuming and more difficult, depending on the type of stone you’re dealing with.

The average cost for stone tile, including product and installation, is $12.00 to $17.00 per square foot. The price will vary depending on the stone you choose.

Marble Tile

Marble tile flooring is usually found in the form of countertops, tiles, or backsplash; however, it can be used as a flooring option, too. It comes in a wide variety of colors and styles and has a unique appearance. It’s a natural material that brings the beauty of the environment into your home. It’s easily polished, and is a great conductor of heat, making the space in use cozy and refined.

Before choosing marble, it’s important to note that marble floors can scratch and scrape easily, which can be more noticeable on a polished surface like that. It’s also susceptible to water damage and can be slippery. Marble is a more expensive material to come by, and ceramic tile may want to be used as a cheaper alternative if cost an important factor. As well, marble can be difficult to install. If you have a busy household with children and pets, marble is not a realistic choice.

The average cost of marble flooring, including product and installation, is $10.00 to $20.00 per square foot.

Carpet

Most homes probably have carpet somewhere in the home, and for good reason. The temperature of carpet textures is uniform throughout the year and is soft on your feet. Many agree that carpet flooring is the coziest option. This is why it’s common in bedrooms and family rooms.

Carpet comes in a variety of styles and colors and is sold at a variety of pricing levels, depending on the luxury or quality of carpet you’re choosing. It’s easy to clean with shampooing and vacuuming and can reduce noise, making it a good choice for bedrooms, playrooms, or other living spaces. An underlayment is of the utmost importance when installing carpet because it will act as a cushion for the floor, and allow it to stretch properly. As well, it can help to further reduce noise, and act as a second insulating layer.

While it is a comfortable choice, spills can easily stain the carpet, and be quite difficult to remove. It’s a less modern look and doesn’t last as long as other flooring options because it is prone to get worn over the years. If someone in your home has allergies, a carpet may want to be avoided. It accumulates dust, pet hair, and other allergens that may make allergy symptoms worse. In cases with water damage, when left untouched, carpet can trap moisture and create mold underneath.

The average cost of carpet, including product and installation, is $3.50 per square foot.  

Vinyl Plank or Vinyl Tile

Luxury vinyl plank is an easy to clean flooring that is an affordable option for any home. It stays warm in the colder temperatures, is more difficult to damage. Luxury vinyl plank is water-resistant, and stains can be easily removed from it.

Many renovators are choosing luxury vinyl plank because it mimics the look of real hardware flooring. You can achieve the same warm, classic aesthetics at a much lower price.

It can be installed DIY to save money and has an easy installation process to get it installed quickly, and cheaply. When installing luxury vinyl plank, it’s important to make sure that the floor is level before placing, otherwise the pieces may pop out of place. Luxury vinyl plank does not require an underlayment, helping with cost reduction.

Even though luxury vinyl plank is easy to install, it can gauge and dent easier than other materials. If poorly maintained can show its age. As well, manufacturing this material in some circumstances can be harmful from the chemicals it was made from.

The average cost for vinyl plank or tile flooring, including product and installation, is $2.50 to $3.30 per square foot.

Laminate

Laminate flooring is a common substitute for hardwood, as it has a similar look for a fraction of the cost. Installation is an easy and inexpensive process; the flooring snaps together in place, with no nails and glue needed. It can even be placed over existing floors, but an underlayment is necessary. Laminate is easy to keep clean, durable and is available in a large variety of colors and patterns to easily match any furniture pieces within your home.

While laminate is water-resistant, like other flooring options, it can suffer from water damage and shouldn’t be installed in rooms where water damage is more likely. Laminate doesn’t have the same resale value as hardwood, being that it is a cheaper material. It cannot be sanded or refinished as hardwood does, and may need replacement if it gets worn down. As well, it can release chemicals as a part of the manufacturing process.

The average cost of laminate flooring, including product and installation, is $5.50 per square foot.

Linoleum

If you are looking for a flooring textile that is built to last, linoleum is the floor for you. It can endure for decades and is easy to clean. It’s a thick material, and comes in a broad selection of colors, and is soft on your feet, as it has some give to it as you walk, with a more cushioned effect.

Linoleum is installed with glue-down sheets and snap-together tiles, making it less of a hassle to DIY in your home. It may require an underlayment unless you are putting the new linoleum on top of the old. It doesn’t emit harmful chemicals, because it is made with biodegradable material, making it safer for the environment.

Although linoleum is very durable and a lot cheaper, it can be damaged with sharp objects; it can be easily cut or nicked. It’s not recommended to have linoleum in rooms with heavy water usage, such as in laundry rooms. Sunlight can be hard on pigment, and the coloring of the floor can fade over time if it’s exposed to too much sunlight.

The average cost of linoleum flooring, including product and installation, is $3.30 to $4.20 per square foot. 

Cork

Cork flooring is less commonly found in homes, but shouldn’t be counted out as an option. It’s a very soft material and can be stood on comfortable for long periods of time. It’s commonly found in kitchens, bedrooms, and basements. Cork can be resurfaced much like hardwood, which can be done by adding a stain or new finish. It will require an underlayment to retain its soft feel. A bonus to cork flooring is that it’s hypoallergenic, and won’t accumulate dust, hair and other material, making it a good choice for people with allergies.

Cork, however, is very easy to damage. Sharp objects can puncture the flooring, along with heavy furniture leaving marks where it’s kept. Too much sunlight can damage cork and cause the color to fade, and it can buckle in more humid climates. It’s also important to keep the floor dry and avoid water damage.

The average cost of cork flooring, including product and installation, is $5.00 to $14.00 per square foot. 

Bamboo

Bamboo flooring is another less common flooring textile. It has a similar make to hardwood and gives any room a modern look. Bamboo flooring will enhance the resale value of your home and is easy to repair because it can be easily sanded and refinished to change the look. Underlayment is required to keep the floor stable and acts as soundproofing as well. It’s a very durable option and can last for years to come.

Bamboo material can suffer water damage like the rest and doesn’t work as well in more humid climates. When purchasing bamboo material, it is important to research the quality of the product you’re buying, because cheap bamboo can appear similar. The cheap bamboo isn’t made to last as long, so getting the right kind will be easy to spot.

The average cost of bamboo flooring, including product and installation, is $7.84 per square foot.

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