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How to Choose Flooring

Add style and value to your home with new flooring. With all the flooring options today, you have a lot to choose from. Asking yourself the right questions up front makes it easier to select the right one for your home. Explore basement flooring ideas as well as options for your kitchen, bathroom or living room.

Introduction

Few renovations can immediately change the look and feel of a room like new flooring.  Flooring adds instant style and value.  And, with so many flooring styles available at every price point, there are perfect options for every home.

Ask Questions

A number of flooring choices are available for every room, so it pays to ask the right questions. 

  • How long will you live in this space?
  • Do you rent or own?
  • What is the look you want to achieve in the room:  rustic, elegant, cozy, chic?
  • Will this floor be installed on, above (second floor) or below grade (basement)?
  • Do you have or plan to have children or pets? 
  • Are seniors or those with physical disabilities living in or regularly visiting your home?  What sort of modifications will you need?
  • Does anyone in your home have allergies?
  • Is this a floor you're willing to repair or replace?
  • What type of routine cleaning is involved? 
  • What is the room’s function:  catchall, first stop from outside, family night, entertaining?
  • Have you factored trim and thresholds into your budget?
  • Are you installing the new flooring yourself or having it installed professionally?
  • Have you factored installation costs into your budget? 

Kitchen

The kitchen is the epicenter of your home. Choose flooring that's practical and durable enough for daily living, yet is stylistically aligned with the rest of your home. Kitchen flooring should be able to withstand moisture and staining.

Tile / Stone
Tile and stone have the strength to stand up to active households. They’re water-resistant and available in a variety of colors, finishes and textures – some even mimic the look of hardwoods.

Solid Hardwoods
Solid hardwood flooring can be prone to scratches and dents. It's also susceptible to moisture. However, it's easy to clean and adds warmth and value to the home.

Engineered Wood
Engineered hardwood is made of compressed layers of wood. Although it is actually more durable than solid hardwood, the floors can still scratch, dent and suffer water damage. Engineered wood flooring is available in locking or traditional tongue-and-groove applications in a variety of colors and finishes. Homeowners may install engineered hardwood on all grades.

Laminate
Laminate flooring isn't actually wood. The décor layer is a printed image that recreates the natural looks of any wood, tile or stone. High-quality laminate is scratch- and dent-resistant, making it an excellent and affordable choice for busy kitchens. Quality varies, so research the options that lend to the most realistic look, feel and sound.

Vinyl
Affordable vinyl is the go-to for kitchens and for good reason – it’s scratch- and dent-resistant and waterproof. Some vinyl flooring mimic's wood and stone in tiles, planks and sheets.

Living Room

Think about the life your living room sees. Is this where the kids crash for movies? A formal space for receiving guests? Or, a cozy space where friends and family members find refuge from the world?

Carpet
Soft and warm, carpet is a standard in U.S. living spaces. The cost varies by quality, with beautiful choices available at every price point. It’s easy to install and works well with all subfloors. However, carpet is not stain-resistant and requires routine vacuuming and regular steam cleaning.

Solid Hardwood
Hardwoods have a cozy, warm feel and have the highest resale value. It makes cleaning easy because you can wipe up spills without worry. Plus, you can personalize and re-energize your space often with area and throw rugs.

Engineered Wood
Because it is real wood, engineered hardwood offers the same variety and aesthetic in the home as solid hardwood. Since it consists of layers of hardwood bonded together, however it's actually stronger than solid hardwood. Engineered wood may be installed directly over concrete – a bonus for homes built on a slab or living rooms on the basement level.

Laminate
Laminate is an attractive choice for living spaces that see a lot of activity. It is scratch-and dent-resistant and comes in a variety of colors and finishes. Higher-price, premium-quality laminate looks, feels and sounds more like real wood than value options.

Bathroom

Moisture is the predominant concern regarding bathroom flooring. Your choice should be water-resistant, easy-to-clean and suited to your personal style. Thankfully, today’s manufacturers put all of these qualities within reach.

Vinyl
Budget-friendly vinyl is an outstanding option for the bathroom. It’s easy to clean, waterproof, stain-proof and available in myriad styles and colors to complement your interior. It’s available in sheets, planks and tiles and is easier to install than tile.

Tile
Tile delivers a clean and classic look to the bathroom. Durable, waterproof and stain-resistant, tile is an affordable flooring option that’s designed to last. If a cold touch is a concern, consider adding radiant heat to your floors.