Lowe's Home Improvement

Flooring Buying Guide

Today’s flooring provides myriad options for your home, which creates even more questions about the best flooring for living, kitchen and bath areas. Our guide helps you explore the benefits of each selection for your home.

Choosing Flooring

Features & Benefits

Improved technology and manufacturing means that flooring options are better than ever, with multiple colors, patterns and textures available in every material.

Solid Hardwoods

Solid Hardwoods
  • Can be sanded and refinished, so you won’t have to worry about replacements
  • Considered the best of the best in flooring
  • Add to a home’s value for a higher resale price 
  • Offer a variety of colors, finishes and species to suit your style
  • Varying levels of durability to support your home's activity level
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Easy to clean – no more embarrassment over carpet stains
  • Some insulation properties reduce drafts and may lower energy bills

Shop hardwood.

Engineered Hardwood

Engineered Hardwood
  • Expands and contracts less than solid hardwood, allowing installation on all levels of the house, including the basement  
  • Available in a variety of colors, finishes and species
  • Costs less than solid hardwoods
  • Easier installation than traditional solid hardwood
  • May be installed over a concrete slab
  • May be used with radiant heat

Shop engineered hardwood.


  • Scratch-resistant and durable
  • Click-together installation makes installation quick and easy
  • Low-cost
  • Low maintenance – it's easy to clean and stain-resistant
  • May be installed over most existing floors
  • Resists fading from UV light

Shop laminate.

Ceramic, Porcelain and Stone Tile

Ceramic, Porcelain and Stone Tile
  • Waterproof – so it's good for use in kitchens, bathrooms and basements
  • Low-maintenance
  • Natural stone tile increases a home’s value for improved resale
  • Natural stone tile offers consistent color throughout the tile, not just on the surface
  • New styles, colors and textures, like wood-look tile, make it an attractive option for every room
  • Relatively easy repair – only replace damaged pieces, not the entire floor
  • Easy installation

Shop tile.

Sheet Vinyl/Vinyl Tiles

Sheet Vinyl/Vinyl Tiles
  • Attractively affordable
  • New production processes create a wide variety of colors, as well as realistic-looking patterns and textures
  • Quiet
  • Water-resistant
  • Durable
  • May be installed over most existing floors
  • Vinyl layers make the floor more shock-absorbent – important when standing for long periods or accidentally dropping dishes

Shop vinyl.


  • Soundproofing qualities make it the quietest flooring choice
  • Insulation properties may lower energy bills
  • Comfortable for bare feet and creating that cozy, right-at-home feeling
  • Cushions falls in homes with toddlers or seniors
  • Creates style flexibility courtesy of countless colors, styles and piles
  • Affordable
  • Covers uneven subfloors and adjusts to uneven walls easily

Shop carpet.

Before You Buy

Carefully consider the location of your new floor. Is it below-, on- or above-grade? Basements are susceptible to ground moisture, so your flooring choice may be different from a bedroom on the second or third floor.

Likewise, kitchens and bathrooms are prone to water damage and humid conditions, which should be a heavy factor in your decision-making process.

Note whether the area you’re placing the flooring has (or will have) radiant heat. Some flooring materials aren’t compatible, so make it known early in the shopping process.

Also, be sure to observe the space throughout the day. Does it get a lot of direct sun? UV light can fade or darken certain flooring, so look for resistant products.

Take detailed measurements and create a drawing (on-scale is preferable, if possible) including doorways, fireplaces, built-ins or other structure that change the floor’s flow.

To calculate your room’s square footage, multiply length by width. If you have an irregularly shaped room, divide the area into smaller squares and rectangles, calculating the square footage of each, then add the square footage of each area together for the room’s total square footage.

But, don’t rely completely on this calculation. It’s always smart to buy 10% more flooring than what you think you need. This allows for mistakes and bad pieces. Plus, a little extra flooring on hand is great for repairs down the road. Keep a few cartons of your product in a place where the temperature and moisture will not damage the flooring, like under the bed or in the top of a closet. This keeps the product readily acclimated and available should you need it.

Whichever flooring options you choose, buy coordinating mouldings, transitions and accessories to complete your project. Look for quarter rounds, t-mouldings, thresholds, reducers, wall base, four-in-one molding, underlayment and care / maintenance accessories.

Ready to get started? Learn how to choose flooring.