With such a large variety of different options to choose from, determining the best flooring for a room or space in your home can be difficult… and a bit stressful. Each type of flooring has its advantages and disadvantages – and not every type of flooring is best for every room in your home. Researching the costs and benefits of each flooring will help narrow down your options to determine the best flooring that fits your budget, lifestyle, personal tastes, and space.
Hardwood floors are a popular choice because they are high-grade and versatile, although they are a bit expensive when compared to other flooring materials.
They are made of planks milled from a single piece of timber that can be manufactured in almost any width and come in strips that range from 1.5 to 2.5 inches wide or planks that range from 4 to 8 inches wide. Hardwood floors can be made from many kinds of wood; popular types include maple, oak, walnut, or cherry and exotic varieties such as Brazilian cherry or purpleheart are also available too.
Hardwood floors require regular maintenance to keep them in good condition. They should be cleaned with a specialty hardwood floor cleaner once a month and should get a fresh coat of finish every three to five years to keep them looking good.
- Great appearance
- Can be sanded and refinished many times
- Increases home value
- Variety of different options available
- Strong and durable
- Easy to clean
- High ROI
- Vulnerable to scratches, scrapes, and dents in high-traffic areas
- Can warp due to moisture damage
- Can shrink and swell due to changes in temperature
- Not ideal for bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements
Average Cost: $3 to $14 per square foot.
Best For: Shared living spaces that don’t get lots of foot traffic such as living rooms, halls, dining rooms, family rooms, and bedrooms. This type of flooring is advised against being used in kitchens because wood floors can’t handle the dragging of chairs, dropped cans, or grit-covered shoes.
Learn more about our hardwood flooring installations and repairs.
Engineered Wood Flooring
Engineered wood flooring offers the look of real wood, except at a more affordable price. This type of flooring material is as durable as solid hardwood flooring and can last as long with proper maintenance and care.
Engineered wood flooring comes in a wide variety of wood types, patterns, and board widths, just like solid wood flooring. It is made of real wood but includes multiple layers. The top layer is a thin veneer of high-quality wood that shows the grain, and underneath are layers of less expensive but high-quality plywood substrate.
Engineered wood flooring can be installed in a handful of different ways. It can be glued down, installed as a “floating” floor on top of a foam or cork underlayer, or nailed down the same way hardwood flooring is installed. Some types come with a special tongue and groove system that clicks into place and forms tight seams.
- Real hardwood top
- More resistant to moisture and water than hardwood flooring
- More dent and scratch-resistant than hardwood flooring
- Less likely to warp from moisture damage
- Multiple installation methods
- Cheaper than hardwood floor
- Can be installed directly over a concrete subfloor
- Wide variety of wood types, patterns, and board widths
- Can’t be refinished or sanded as many times as hardwood flooring
- Less durable over a long period of time than hardwood flooring
- Not fade-resistant
- Sometimes sounds hollow
Average Cost: Midrange - $5 to $10 a square foot and high-end - $8 to $13 a square foot.
Best For: All the same places as solid wood flooring, including living rooms, dining rooms, halls, and bedrooms. It is also suitable for basements since it is more stable and resistant to moisture than solid hardwood flooring.
Vinyl flooring is an inexpensive type of flooring that comes in a wide range of colors and patterns. This flooring option can effectively mimic wood, ceramic, and stone. Vinyl is a tough and durable material that can stand up to moisture and heavy foot traffic. It is extremely water-resistant which makes it ideal for multiple rooms in your home.
Vinyl flooring is a resilient flooring that is composed of plastic; it is made from a layer of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic over a layer of felt and comes available in plank, tile, and sheet form. It feels slightly softer compared to walking on wood or tile.
- Extremely water-resistant
- Long-lasting and durable
- Variety of styles available
- Easy to install
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Great for high-traffic areas
- More expensive than laminate
- Lower ROI than wood or laminate
- Quality varies
- Cheaper options have a fake look
- More vulnerable to scratching and gouging than harder types of flooring
- Can’t be refinished
- Not eco-friendly
Vinyl flooring comes in several forms and can be installed in several different ways. It can be installed over an existing vinyl floor that only has one layer. Sheet vinyl is a large sheet of flooring that you unroll, cut to your desired size, and glue to your subfloor surface. Another option is a clickable luxury vinyl flooring that clicks into place and creates a tight seam. Vinyl tiles are also available and can be glued into place or put into place if they have an adhesive peel-and-stick backing.
Average Cost: $0.05 to $5 per square foot.
Best For: Kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements, and mudrooms. It is one of the best flooring choices for a basement since it is water-resistant and doesn’t feel as cold as tile.
Laminate flooring is an affordable flooring option that comes available in a variety of different textures and color options. It can look like wood, stone, tile, or just about any other type of material.
These floors are available in either planks or tiles and many of them are floating floor systems which means they can easily be installed over old flooring without needing any glue or nails. The base layer of laminate flooring is composed of plywood or compressed fiber and the top layer is a photograph under a clear plastic protective layer.
- Inexpensive compared to wood
- Available in a variety of different colors and styles
- Easy to clean and require low maintenance
- Resistant to scratches, dents, and stains
- Easy to install
- Can be installed over existing floor
- Good for high-traffic areas
- Prone to moisture damage
- Hollow sound
- Chips easily
- Can be slippery when wet
- Can’t be refinished – only replaced
- Difficult to repair
Average Cost: $1 to $2 per square foot.
Best For: High-traffic areas such as kitchens, foyers, and playrooms. This type of flooring should not be installed in wet rooms or spaces such as bathrooms and laundry rooms. Laminate flooring could also be a good choice in your basement if it doesn’t suffer from leaks or standing water.
Learn more about our laminate flooring installations and repairs.
Tile flooring is water-resistant and durable which makes it a popular choice for moisture-prone spaces such as bathrooms and kitchens. It comes in a variety of different colors, styles, and materials.
Ceramic tile used for tile flooring is made from a combination of clay and shale that is fired in a kiln, like how pottery is created. Although these tiles can be created with a variety of different materials, the four main types of ceramic tile are glazed ceramic, porcelain, quarry tile, and terracotta.
Tile flooring comes in many different colors, shapes, and patterns and can even mimic styles of other materials. These tiles can be printed with the look of natural stone or wood, though it won’t feel like wood underfoot.
- Variety of different colors, styles, and designs
- Available in many shapes
- Certain tile types require very little maintenance
- Scratch and dent-resistant
- Hard installation process
- Can chip or scratch under heavy use
- Some tile types can be slippery
- Not easy to fix if a tile cracks
Average Cost: $2 to $15 per square foot. (Some tiles can cost less than $1 per square foot and some specialty tiles can cost as much as $100 per square foot.)
Best For: High-traffic areas such as kitchens, mudrooms, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. This flooring material is also a good option for enclosed porches and sunrooms. Learn more about how to install tile over existing tile.
Learn more about our tile installations and repairs.
Carpet is a popular flooring option due to its versatility and the large variety of colors, materials, and textures it is available in. Modern carpets also have stain-resistant qualities which makes this flooring option an ideal choice for bedrooms. Carpet is the most cost-effective flooring option on the market.
Carpet flooring can be made from a handful of materials. Wool is a durable carpet flooring material that naturally resists moisture and stains. Nylon is a strong, water-resistant, and long-lasting synthetic carpet flooring material. Acrylic is a synthetic carpet flooring material that is resistant to mildew and insect damage. Polyester is a moisture-resistant synthetic fiber that can be dyed to produce bright, vibrant colors however, this material is vulnerable to staining. Polypropylene is a plastic carpet flooring material that can be used both indoors and outdoors due to its high resistance to moisture, mildew, and stains.
It is installed by nailing it down over a layer of padding, which ultimately adds cushioning and prolongs the life of the carpet.
- Soft, comfortable, and warm
- Variety of colors, materials, and designs
- Easy to install
- Stain-resistant options available
- Great for soundproofing
- Difficult to clean
- Vulnerable to staining
- Shows wear
- Not ideal for allergy sufferers
Average Cost: $2 to $7 per square foot.
Best For: Areas where less dirt gets tracked in and spills are less likely to occur, including bedrooms and living rooms.
Let My Handyman Help You Choose
Choosing the right flooring can be difficult, but our team here at My Handyman is here to help! Learn more about our flooring services including flooring installations and repairs, or, if you’re moving into a new home, check out our blog for helpful tips like 5 Easy Ways To Give Your Bathroom An Affordable Upgrade or Painting or Staining Your Deck To Make It Last Longer.