Flooring dramatically affects the look of your home, and it also affects each room’s usability, comfort level, and ease in cleaning. Let’s discuss ten different types of flooring: their advantages, disadvantages, appropriate uses, and how they could ultimately affect the look, style, usability and comfort of your home.
Tile Flooring — Tile flooring is often used in kitchens and bathrooms. It can withstand getting wet, and it’s relatively easy to clean. Tile allows for a vast array of customization; there are tiles available to coordinate with every imaginable theme and color.
In the shower area of the bathroom, tile makes a huge difference in the perceived value and beauty of the room. If you tile the whole shower, it can look richer and more elegant than if you opt to install a fiberglass shower pan that doesn’t require tile.
If you’re remodeling, be sure to buy an extra box or more of tile, in case your tile is ever discontinued. It’ll come in handy later if you need to repair cracked tile or do any other repairs that would require the addition of tile to the room.
Disadvantages: Tile can feel cold to walk on. Some homeowners are dealing with this challenge by installing radiant electric heated flooring.
Tile can be expensive and tricky to install. Unless the tiles are just the right size, installation may require the use of a wet tile saw.
Linoleum Flooring — Linoleum flooring can withstand water and moisture. It’s an appropriate flooring material for high-traffic areas and get-wet areas such as kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, mud rooms, pool areas and garages.
If you’re remodeling, and you want to replace your linoleum flooring, it’s important to properly remove every last bit of the old linoleum by scraping it away with a scraper, putty knife, wide chisel or razor blade.
Vinyl Flooring — Vinyl flooring is appropriate for kitchens, bathrooms, mud rooms and pool areas. Vinyl flooring is a less-expensive alternative to tile. It’s easier to apply, and less labor intensive.
Vinyl flooring comes in two classifications: with self-adhesive backing, or without a backing, so that you have to glue it down. We recommend no backing, so that you can pick the quality of glue you want to use, and you can also choose how much glue to apply.
Either way, vinyl flooring can be tricky to apply; the vinyl comes packaged in large rolls, and it usually resists any other configuration. This can result in a minor battle to keep each sheet of flooring from rolling back up onto itself before you can get it stuck down where you want it. Also, it takes some patience and expertise to achieve precise, perfect alignment.
Hardwood Flooring — Hardwood flooring is rich, elegant, beautiful and luxurious.
Solid hardwood flooring comes in different lengths and widths, which can give different looks and styles. To apply, you will usually run framing and then nail it down.
Hardwood flooring’s main disadvantage is its high cost. Another disadvantage: since it’s a natural material, solid hardwood flooring can expand and contract, particularly if its installed without a substrate below it. This can result in a creaky floor that makes noise when you walk on it.
Laminate Flooring — Hardwood laminate flooring is available in different thicknesses. It often has a glue backing, which requires a substrate such as plywood to attach it to. It requires much less wood than solid hardwood flooring, and is therefore initially less expensive to install. With a higher quality, thicker laminate, you can get at least one sanding and sometimes as many as two sandings if you can’t refinish it with a stain and varnish stripper (assuming the glue holds.)
Bamboo Flooring — Bamboo flooring is beautiful, but it is not as sturdy, practical or long-wearing as hardwood flooring. While some flooring purveyors give the impression that bamboo is a wood, biologically, it’s actually classified as a grass. In many areas, bamboo flooring is in decline as of 2018. There are now bunches of flooring experts who refuse to install it due to its poor performance.
Bamboo’s two main advantages are its attractive appearance and its relatively low upfront cost. It has been touted as a sustainable material — although its status in that capacity is controversial, with some environmentalists saying it is sustainable, and others claiming that it isn’t.
Concrete Flooring — Concrete flooring is appropriate for use in garages, driveways, pool and patio areas, basements and basketball courts.
Concrete flooring designs can be more creative than you might think. There are color additives available, and you also have the option to paint it.
Concrete flooring may be beyond the skill level of some do-it-yourselfers, because is challenging to level it correctly. If you’re flooring a large area, you’ll probably need the help of a truck to accomplish the task. Be sure to budget for the labor costs as well as the cost of materials; when you add in the labor costs, a concrete flooring project may not be as inexpensive as it would initially seem.
Rubber Flooring — Rubber flooring is popular for use in weight rooms and home gyms. It’s also useful for inclusion in soundproof rooms like music studios and recording studios. Some homeowners include it in their garages, wood shops or work areas. Rubber flooring is also useful for playgrounds, children’s rooms and any areas where kids might be playing rough.
Rubber flooring is available in either rolls or tiles.
Carpeting — Wall-to-wall carpet used to be popular in many homes, but its popularity is now trending down. As of 2018, carpeting is now mostly being installed in bedrooms.
Carpeting’s main advantage is that it is comfortable to walk on. In cold climates it often feels warm underfoot, whereas a tile surface would feel cold when you walk on it.
Carpeting’s has two huge disadvantages. The first is the difficulty in keeping it clean. It’s prone to getting stained. Dust, mold spores and pet hairs have a way of lodging themselves in the carpet. When many homeowners remodel their homes, they find piles of dirt and debris underneath the carpet.
You can spot clean carpet using carpet shampoos and stain removers; periodically, you’ll probably also want to give it a thorough cleaning, either by hiring professional cleaners or by renting a rug cleaning machine.
Another disadvantage of carpet is that it is most often made from synthetic materials that can have toxic chemical backings and finishes applied. The backing materials typically used on carpet are comprised of suspected or known cancer-causing subsances. Many carpets are prone to off-gassing unhealthy vapors. If you want to install carpet in your home, you’ll probably want to research your options carefully to find non-toxic options — but expect to pay more for them.
Residential-grade carpet is what homeowners choose for most purposes in the home. However, some people use commercial-grade carpet in high-traffic areas, particularly music studios or garages.
If you’re remodeling on a budget, it’s sometimes possible to find good deals on carpet remnants that are left over from other projects. This is particularly true if you’re decorating small rooms.
Carpeting’s main disadvantage is that it’s easy to soil, and not so easy to clean.
Area Rugs — Unlike carpeting, area rugs are not a permanent part of the flooring; they can easily be moved, removed, rolled up and taken to the cleaners.
Area rugs are useful in most rooms in the home. They can add color, pattern, texture, dimension, softness and visual interest to any area. They come in many different shapes, sizes, and thicknesses. Popular shapes include square rugs, rectangular rugs, round rugs, oval rugs, and novelty shaped rugs such as clouds, butterflies, hearts or half circles.
Further Reading About Flooring and Rugs:
So now you’re a bit more educated about 10 different popular types of flooring, plus a few of their uses, advantages and disadvantages. If you’d like to research flooring and rugs further, we invite you to dig deeper into the following related resources available on our website:
- The Hottest Flooring Trends You Need to Know About in 2018
- All About Hardwood Flooring
- All About Rugs
- At the Home Innovation Website — Under Foot: Trends in Single Family Flooring
- At the Remodeling.hw.net Website — Vinyl, Ceramic and Hardwood, Oh My! Today’s Popular Flooring Trends
- At the Healthy Happy Tot Website — Natural Non Toxic Carpeting and Area Rugs
This page was last updated on 3/12/2018.