How do I choose the right flooring for my home?

How do I choose the right flooring for my home?

The flooring you choose for your home will impact not only the aesthetics of your living space but how you maintain and clean your house for years to come. There are lots of new solid flooring products on the market ranging from natural woods and stones to durable man-made materials, so which one is right for you?

Natural stone tiles—like marble, limestone, or granite—are elegant and timeless. However, they have to be sealed regularly to protect the stone from stains, and they are easy to scratch since they are soft rocks. Additionally, stone tiles cost roughly two to three times more than man-made ceramic flooring tiles, and the installation will cost about twice as much too–bringing your total to $15 to $60 or more per square foot for natural stone (versus around $10 to $15 for ceramic).

Ceramic tiles are extremely durable and stain-resistant if they have been grouted and sealed properly. Today’s ceramic can replicate the look of numerous types of stone, including marble, and can even be made to look like hardwood floors. They offer consistent colors too, so if a tile is broken or chipped and must be replaced, finding a match is simple.

Solid wood flooring is beautiful and creates a classic style. Available in countless colors and wood varieties, solid wood is a luxurious flooring option, but the price tag can leave you with sticker shock at $6 to $22 per square foot installed. Plus, they are easy to dent or scratch and may need to be resealed or refinished periodically, which is costly.

Engineered wood flooring, on the other hand, has a near-identical look to natural wood but costs significantly less: $3.50 to $11 per square foot installed. The product is made from a hardwood core, high-density fiberboard or plywood, and topped with a hardwood veneer, making it highly durable—often more so than solid wood.

Vinyl and laminate are cost-effective alternatives to natural wood flooring with an average price of about $4 to $6 per square foot installed. But this isn’t the linoleum in your grandmother’s house. Today’s products closely mimic the appearance of hardwood or natural stone, but they are much less expensive, extremely rugged—even in high-traffic areas—and require little to no maintenance.

Natural stone and solid wood flooring were once the gold standards for flooring, and while they often are the more expensive choice, their price tags have in fact come down in recent years. Today’s man-made flooring materials are both cost-effective and well-made. Many are styled to look like natural materials, expanding your decorating choices without sacrificing quality.

What’s your preferred flooring material for your home? If you have had new flooring installed, what did you choose and are you happy with your selection? 

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