Flooring can completely transform a home's visual appeal and increase the overall value of a house. There are many different types of flooring, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Check out some flooring options you can get for your home.
Hardwood is a classic option for flooring. Beyond pure value, hardwood is the first choice for many homeowners because it's timeless, there are a wide variety of options and it can last a lifetime. It's relatively durable and can be refinished when its condition begins to decline.
Unfortunately, hardwood flooring is one of the most expensive options for flooring -- the average price range is $3-10 per square foot on the low-mid range products and around $15 per square foot for the high-end, exotic varieties. Another factor to keep in mind is that it's not ideal for every room -- rooms that get high levels of moisture, such as bathrooms and laundry rooms, are not desirable for hardwood flooring.
Laminate flooring is much more affordable than other options, costing between 50 cents to $3 per square foot. It can be made to look like wood or tile flooring and it's also quite durable. If you're looking to attempt installation yourself, the laminate flooring is a great DIY option, so long as you install a good subfloor for support and stability.
But laminate flooring has its drawbacks -- it can't be refinished and can feel very artificial. Poorly installed laminate flooring tends to have a "bounce" when you step on it as well.
Although bamboo is a type of grass it has the visual appeal of hardwood flooring. Bamboo is famously durable and is a popular choice for environmental enthusiasts because of its renewability. Bamboo has to be shipped from Asia, which adds to its price factor -- bamboo typically runs from $5-8 per square foot range, although it's worth investing in the higher quality bamboo, as cheaper varieties are not as durable and scratch easily.
Vinyl has recently grown in popularity due to its versatility and affordability. It can be printed in many ways to suit your specific tastes, including having 3D textures imprinted into it. It's also a great option to have in water-heavy areas. Unfortunately, vinyl flooring still doesn't feel quite as authentic as actual wood or tile. Vinyl flooring will typically run you between $1-5 per square foot.
Tiles have been around for hundreds of years and have a reputation as easy-to-maintain, hygienic and versatile in most situations. Tiles are fairly durable, and if one tile gets chipped or cracked you can simply pull up that tile and replace it without having to redo the whole floor.
The tiles themselves are easy to keep clean, but the grout in between tiles is another story -- it attracts stains, which can be difficult to remove. They're rigid and tend to feel quite cool, which makes them less ideal for warm areas like living rooms or bedrooms. Tile flooring is ideal for kitchens, laundry rooms and bathrooms because of its ability to withstand water. The cost of tile is fairly moderate, with an average price of $3-8 per square foot. Between porcelain and ceramic tile, ceramic is generally the cheaper option.
Cork is another popular option if you're installing flooring yourself. It typically comes in planks or tiles, which makes it relatively straightforward to install. Because cork is extracted from trees, it's a very eco-friendly option.
Although it's relatively tough, it can be damaged by sharp objects or having heavy objects dropped on it. Similar to hardwood, cork requires sealing and refinishing over time and doesn't do well in high-moisture areas. Cork is reasonably priced in the $3-8 per square foot range.
Engineered wood is a sort of compromise between hardwood and laminate in that there is authentic wood on top of a laminate style material, so the surface is wood while the composite material makes up the base. It's relatively durable, but when it is scratched or dented, it can only be refinished once because only the surface is real wood.
This type of flooring is great for basements and can be installed easily because the pieces just click together. Pricing is pretty decent, running about $4-8 per square foot.
Linoleum combines various materials such as linseed oil and cork powder to make a durable flooring that is very eco-friendly. Avoid choosing this flooring for areas that get lots of sunlight, as it can yellow the material and dilute the original color. The materials are also not great for rooms with high-moisture. Linoleum is relatively affordable and typically can be purchased for $.50-5 per square foot.