With such a wide variety of flooring materials available, it may become confusing, or even overwhelming, once you start browsing all your options.
Here are some of the pros and cons so you can be clearer on the 10 best flooring options for you.
1. Vinyl Flooring
Vinyl is a fully synthetic polymer flooring option with pigmentation added for color. It is very flexible and non-porous.
For adding warmth to any kitchen or bedroom, vinyl is a great material. It is also a popular choice for laundry rooms because of its ability to drown out noise emanating from laundry machines.
Pros: Vinyl flooring is available in both tile and sheet form with a huge selection of colors. It offers one of the lowest price ranges as a flooring option with little maintenance required. It also comes in a double-thick option perfect for damp places such as bathrooms.
Cons: Vinyl flooring is vulnerable to scratches, tears, stains, and wears over a long period of time. Moisture can also get into the seams
2. Linoleum Flooring
Linoleum is made from linseed oil, wood flour and/or cork dust, and even sometimes pine rosin, jute, and limestone.
Modern linoleum doesn’t wear down like it did in the ’50s.
Pros: Linoleum comes in a huge selection of styles, colors, tiles, or sheets. Its biggest appeal is arguably the fact that it’s biodegradable and hypo-allergenic. It is composed of 2 different types of resins so as to not trap dust or bacteria. This type of flooring is also low maintenance, durable and mildew-resistant.
Cons: Does not suit every home’s styling or décor features. It’s porous and may need to be waxed or polished over time. Difficult to repair too.
3. Ceramic or Porcelain Tiles
Hard glazed squares made from ceramic or porcelain have been used for centuries to provide a durable coated surface that’s hygienic and easy to clean. Tiles are suitable for both interior and exterior environments.
Pros: Wide variety of colors, shapes, styles, and sizes. Easy to maintain due to stain and moisture resistance. Can easily be coordinated with a backslash.
Cons: Can cause discomfort to legs and back after prolonged standings due to them being cold and hard. Not all tiles are equally wear-resistant. It has a chance of cracking and chipping and must be placed down on a level subfloor.
Porcelain is a ceramic material made by blending clay with other substances and firing it at high temperatures until it achieves vitreous, or glasslike, quality.
Pros: Featuring the look of stone for less, porcelain is available in a wide variety of colors and designs. It is stronger than ceramic, low maintenance, and extremely durable.
Cons: Cold and hard on the feet and legs. Grout can discolor and is hard to maintain. Also runs the risk of cracking or chipping.
4. Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring is constructed in layers whereby synthetic flooring is fused together with a lamination process.
Pros: Can be found with ease in a variety of styles and colors. Mimics the look of wood, stone, and ceramic. Laminated flooring is stain, scratch, dent resistant, and easy to maintain. Can be installed on an existing floor.
Cons: Does not fare well in bathroom conditions as it is prone to mold, mildew, and rot.
Hardwood floors are made of planks milled from a single piece of timber.
Pros: Found in both maple and oak. Pre-oiled exotic woods are available with semi-gloss and gloss finishes. Wood flooring is more comfortable for legs and back than harder surfaces. Durable if properly sealed.
Cons: Hardwood flooring requires resealing every few years. Dirt can accumulate in too-wide joints between the boards.
6. Engineered Wood Floors
Engineered hardwood flooring is a product that has a core of hardwood, plywood, or HDF and a top layer of hardwood veneer.
Pros: A great alternative to hardwood, laminate, and also a more versatile option. Does not expand or contract with temperature changes, and can be bought pre-finished.
Cons: Less durable than hardwood and cannot be sanded more than twice.
7. Bamboo Flooring
Flooring is made from the bamboo plant mostly imported from China and other parts of Asia.
Pros: Gives your home décor an exotic feel, can be found in different shades, and carbonized further to deepen the grain and color.
Cons: Irresponsible forestry practices. No quality control in China and other areas where the product originates. Formaldehyde-based glues and finishes make bamboo flooring unsafe. A dented, scratched, or otherwise, the damaged floor must be replaced as bamboo cannot be refinished.
8. Cork Flooring
Made from the bark of the cork oak tree, cork is a material that is ground and processed into sheets after which it is baked in a kiln to produce tiles fit for flooring.
Pros: Can be found in a good variety of colors and styles, allowing for the creation of patterns. Cork flooring is warm and cushions bare feet, is hypo-allergenic, and resistant to mildew and dents, making it even suitable for certain bathrooms with the application of an extra sealant.
Cons: Does not suit all décor styles and is less popular than wood. Also does not hold up well with heavy furniture, cat and dog claws, or other sharp objects. Cork also tends to discolor when exposed to sunlight and spills should be cleaned up quickly before it absorbs.
9. Natural Stone
Comes in many popular varieties including:
A very hard rock consisting of quartz, mica, and feldspar.
Pros: Comes in many different styles and unique patterns. It is durable, and low maintenance, and its appearance is very appealing.
Cons: Can be heavy and hard to install while the subflooring may cause tiles to crack if not completely straight and free of bumps. It is also cold and could be slippery.
A hard sedimentary rock, composed mainly of calcium carbonate or dolomite.
Pros: Offers a rustic, earthy, and timeless look. More affordable than most natural stone flooring.
Cons: Softer and less rugged than marble. Susceptible to staining.
A hard crystalline metamorphic form of limestone is very popular as an elegant flooring option.
Pros: Available in a wide variety of colors while each tile has a unique pattern.
Cons: More porous than granite and susceptible to staining. Hard to install and labor costs to remove could be expensive.
A fine-grained rock composed of clay or volcanic ash.
Pros: Waterproof, stain resistant, and able to handle plenty of traffic. No special effort is required for maintenance.
Cons: A cold surface which not good at absorbing noise. Also does not cope well with harsh chemicals for cleaning purposes and is susceptible to staining.
10. Concrete Flooring
A mixture of broken stone or gravel, sand, cement, and water.
Pros: Provides an industrial look that has become increasingly popular. Concrete flooring has a good selection of colors and finishes. Has energy savings capabilities.
Cons: Needs professional installation. Hard and cold. Areas with high traffic need to be sealed every few months.
It is up to each individual to ensure you do your research and decide what the best option is for your unique flooring situation. All prices are rough estimates and subject to change depending on the manufacturer.