Types of Flooring

11 Types of Flooring That Will Upgrade Your Home Instantly

Homeowners sometimes turn to real estate agents for advice on home renovations – especially on large projects like flooring. If they know they will sell their homes in a few years, homeowners may want to ensure that their renovations will increase the resale value and make their homes more attractive to buyers.

As a local area expert, it’s up to you to guide your current and potential clients on design trends in your area. As an additional resource, feel free to bookmark this article and share it with your clients with questions about flooring. We’ll describe each of the most popular types of flooring materials and the pros and cons of each.

11 Types of Flooring Materials to Consider for Your Home

As we discuss each type of flooring material, it’s important to remember that the quality of the materials and installation significantly affect the return on investment. Get to know the best flooring installers in your area so you can share their contact information with homeowners.

Here’s a list of popular flooring options, with the pros and cons of each.

1. Hardwood Flooring

kitchen in newly constructed luxury home

Classic and durable hardwood floors offer warmth and beauty. Various wood types can be used, including oak, maple, cherry, and walnut. 

Hardwood floors are installed using a few different methods. Generally, the process involves preparing the subfloor, laying down the underlayment, placing the hardwood planks, nailing or gluing them, and finishing with sanding and sealing.

Hardwood Flooring Pros

Hardwood floors add warmth, elegance, and character to any room. Here are some additional benefits of hardwood floors:

  • Come in a variety of colors and finishes
  • Durable
  • Long-lasting
  • Can withstand heavy foot traffic
  • Can increase the resale value of your home
  • Easy to maintain
  • Allergen free
  • Can be refinished

Hardwood Flooring Cons

Hardwood floors aren’t great options for every family. Here are some of the drawbacks to hardwood flooring:

  • Expensive compared to laminate or vinyl
  • Susceptible to water damage
  • Can be scratched or dented
  • Noisy

Even though hardwood floors can be refinished, that process is time-consuming and costly and often requires homeowners to be absent for some time.

2. Engineered Wood

Stack of the three-layer engineered wood flooring boards with white oak face layer, pine core layer and glue-less locking joint system, fragment of butt-end parts close-up

Engineered wood flooring is a popular alternative to solid hardwood floors. It’s made by bonding several layers of wood, typically consisting of a thin top layer of hardwood veneer bonded to a core of plywood or high-density fiberboard. 

Engineered wood floors are installed by preparing the subfloor, laying down the underlayment, clicking or gluing the boards, and finishing with sanding and sealing. 

Engineered Wood Pros

It’s important to read product reviews when purchasing engineered wood flooring. Here are some of its benefits – especially in comparison to hardwood.

  • More moisture resistant than hardwood
  • Less prone to scratches and dents than hardwood
  • Can be installed in a variety of environments, including kitchens and basements
  • Easier to install than hardwood floors
  • Attractive
  • Less expensive than hardwood
  • Hypoallergenic

Engineered Wood Cons

While engineered wood is less expensive than hardwood, it is still more costly than other flooring options like vinyl or laminate. 

Here are some other drawbacks to engineered wood floors.

  • Limited refinishing capabilities
  • Shorter lifespan than solid wood floors
  • Quality of material can vary by product
  • Can be damaged if exposed to prolonged moisture or flooding

3. Laminate Flooring

A woman installing laminate flooring in her home.

Laminate flooring is a synthetic product designed to mimic the look of natural materials like hardwood, tile, or stone. It’s constructed with several layers fused together through a lamination process. 

Laminate floors are installed by preparing the subfloor, laying down the underlayment, clicking or gluing the planks, and finishing with trim installation. 

Laminate Flooring Pros

Laminate flooring is a cost-effective option for homeowners who want to mimic the look of hardwood, tile, or stone – without the high price tag. Here are some other benefits of laminate flooring:

  • Versatile designs
  • Easily installed
  • Affordable
  • Resistant to scratches, stains, and fading
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Low maintenance

Laminate Flooring Cons

Like engineered wood, the quality of laminate flooring varies by manufacturer. Here are some drawbacks to laminate flooring.

  • Cannot be refinished or repaired
  • Susceptible to water damage
  • Not as attractive as natural materials
  • Sounds and feels different than natural materials

4. Vinyl Flooring

Man laying professional PVC-floor, close up

Vinyl flooring is made from synthetic materials, primarily PVC (polyvinyl chloride), and additives like plasticizers, stabilizers, and pigments. The materials are pressed and heated to create vinyl sheets or tiles. 

Vinyl flooring can be installed using different methods, including peel-and-stick, floating, or glue-down installation. Again, the quality of vinyl varies by manufacturer.

Vinyl Flooring Pros

Vinyl flooring is especially popular in kitchens and bathrooms. Here are some advantages of vinyl floors:

  • Durable
  • Resistant to stains and water damage
  • Affordable
  • Easy to maintain
  • Comfortable to walk on
  • Variety of styles

Vinyl Flooring Cons

Vinyl flooring has several drawbacks, including the following:

  • Prone to gouges, cuts, and tears if heavy objects are dragged across the surface
  • Susceptible to fading
  • Limited repair options
  • Not as luxurious as natural materials

5. Tile Flooring

Interior of a contemporary white / blue bathroom with washstand and bathtube.

Ceramic and porcelain tiles are popular flooring options. Porcelain tiles are made of a more refined clay mixture and fired at higher temperatures than ceramic tiles, meaning that porcelain tiles are denser and less porous.

Tile floors are installed by preparing the subfloor, applying mortar or adhesive, laying the tiles, grouting the joints, and finishing with sealing and caulking. 

Tile Flooring Pros

Tile for floors comes in a variety of shapes and styles. Here are some of the other benefits:

  • Durable
  • Water-resistant
  • Easy maintenance
  • Variety of styles
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Long-lasting

Tile Flooring Cons

There are some drawbacks to tile flooring.

  • Not comfortable for extended periods of standing or walking
  • Cold
  • Requires skill to install
  • Susceptible to cracking
  • Reuires grout maintenance
  • High cost
  • Slippery when wet

6. Stone Flooring

Gray sett bricks - texture or background, pavement.

Many different materials can be used for “stone” flooring, including marble, granite, slate, travertine, limestone, sandstone, flagstone, and quartzite. 

Stone flooring is installed by preparing the subfloor, applying mortar or adhesive, laying the stones, grouting the joints, and finishing with sealing and polishing.

Stone Flooring Pros

Stone flooring offers a timeless and natural aesthetic to any space. Here are some additional benefits:

  • Durable
  • Unique beauty
  • Variety
  • Longevity
  • Low maintenance
  • Have a natural cooling effect

Stone Flooring Cons

No flooring type is perfect – even those made with natural materials. Here are some drawbacks of stone flooring.

  • Expensive to purchase and install
  • Porous if not properly sealed
  • Not comfortable for extended periods of standing or walking
  • Slippery when wet
  • Requires periodic maintenance
  • Susceptible to scratching, chipping, or cracking

7. Linoleum Flooring

Professional contractor removing an old linoleum flooring: home renovation concept

Linoleum flooring is made with natural materials, primarily linseed oil, wood flour, cork dust, and natural resins. The materials are mixed and pressed onto a backing like jute or canvas. 

Linoleum is typically installed using a glue-down method, although some modern options may include click-together floating floors. 

Linoleum Flooring Pros

Even though it is not considered a luxury material, linoleum floors have many benefits.

  • Environmentally friendly 
  • Durable
  • Water-resistant
  • Comfortable for walking and standing
  • Variety of colors and patterns
  • Antimicrobial properties
  • Easy to maintain

Linoleum Flooring Cons

Even though linoleum is known for being relatively durable, the material does have its drawbacks, including the following:

  • Can be damaged by sharp objects, heavy furniture, and abrasive cleaning agents
  • Prone to staining
  • May require sealing

8. Carpet

Man cleaning carpets in home

Wall-to-wall carpeting rose in popularity in the 1950s. Most American homes have at least some carpet. 

Carpet is typically professionally installed. It involves preparing the subfloor, laying down padding, stretching and securing the carpet, trimming excess material, and finishing with edge trim.

Here are some pros and cons of this common household feature for you to consider.

Carpet Pros

Here are some of the benefits of carpet:

  • Comfortable
  • Provides warmth underfoot
  • Noise reduction
  • Soft
  • Non-slip surface
  • Versatile
  • Cost-effective

Carpet Cons

There are some obvious drawbacks to carpeting. Here are a few:

  • Stains are hard to remove
  • Allergen retention
  • Wear and tear
  • Moisture retention
  • Limited lifespan

9. Concrete Flooring

3d rendering of empty room with grid line for background.

Concrete flooring has traditionally been associated with industrial and commercial settings. However, it has recently gained popularity as a residential flooring option. Homeowners can achieve a variety of effects with stained, stamped, and polished concrete. 

Although installing concrete floors varies by the desired effect, the concrete is poured and leveled. After it cures, it is finished with polishing or sealing.

Concrete Flooring Pros

Although concrete doesn’t sound like a good flooring option for a home, modern concrete floors have many benefits.

  • Durable
  • Low maintenance
  • Versatile
  • Energy efficient
  • Long-lasting

Concrete Flooring Cons

Like tile and natural stone flooring, concrete is uncomfortable for prolonged standing or walking. Area rugs or floor mats may help alleviate this issue. 

Here are some other drawbacks of concrete flooring for homes:

  • Hardness
  • Cold
  • Labor-intensive installation
  • Susceptible to cracking
  • Cost

10. Cork Flooring

Master picks a series of cork floor cork flooring with a hammer

Cork flooring is made from the bark of cork oak trees. It has gained in popularity as a sustainable and eco-friendly flooring option for homes due to its unique properties. 

Cork flooring is typically manufactured as tiles or planks designed with an interlocking tongue and groove system. 

Cork Flooring Pros

Cork flooring has increased in popularity in recent years. Here are some of the reasons:

  • Comfortable
  • Has insulative properties
  • Environmentally-friendly
  • Durable
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Comes in a variety of styles

Cork Flooring Cons

Before you install cork flooring in your home, you must be aware of these drawbacks:

  • Vulnerable to moisture
  • Not durable
  • Fades over time
  • Requires regular maintenance and sealing
  • More expensive than vinyl or laminate

11. Rubber Flooring

Although rubber flooring sounds like a perfect option for a playroom, it’s versatile for various residential areas. Rupper flooring is made from synthetic or natural rubber materials. 

It can come in large rolls, installed with adhesive. Homeowners can also buy rubber tiles with interlocking edges.

Rubber Flooring Pros

Considering rubber flooring? Read reviews – and this list of benefits:

  • Durable
  • Comfortable
  • Reduces noise
  • Water-resistant
  • Slip-resistant
  • Low maintenance
  • Eco-friendly

Rubber Flooring Cons

Rubber flooring has an impressive list of benefits. However, no flooring option is perfect. Here are some of the cons of rubber flooring.

  • More expensive than vinyl or laminate
  • Fewer design options than other types of flooring
  • Vulnerable to staining from oil-based or acidic liquids
  • Shows indentions from heavy items

While there is no such thing as a perfect flooring option, a few come close. Remind your clients to consider the pros and cons of each type and their lifestyle when deciding the best choice for them. Also, encourage them to read reviews of specific brands, as the quality of some of these flooring options varies greatly depending on the manufacturer. Finally, if your client will be selling their home soon, advise them on the type of flooring that is popular in your area – and in their style of home.

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