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Flooring 101: How To Choose The Right Material

The materials you choose for your home flooring offers not just an aesthetic value, but it could also be critical in providing comfort and in fulfilling you and your family’s needs. Choosing the best flooring option for your home—whether you opt for vinyl, carpet, or hardwood—requires creating a great balance of form, style, budget, and function.

Regardless if you’re constructing a new home or renovating your living space, you have to be certain that your choice ticks all the boxes. That said, here’s how to know if your flooring material is indeed “the one”:

1. Consider Your Budget

In any home building or remodeling project, it’s imperative to create a budget and stick to it as much as possible to ensure that your plan sees completion. Leave a bit of elbow room by allocating at least 10% of your total estimated project cost for contingency expenses. 

As expected, prices of different flooring materials vary, with hardwood being the most expensive. According to, new flooring installation can cost homeowners as low as USD$3 to upwards of USD$18 per square foot.

The cheapest in the lot are laminates and tiles, while resting in the middle of the pack are materials such as engineered hardwood. The most expensive materials, if you have the budget, are high-quality laminates, premium vinyl, and rare hardwood.

You’ll find out more about the qualities of each material in the succeeding sections.

2. Who’s Taking Charge Of The Installation?

An experienced do-it-yourself enthusiast may find installing the flooring on their own as easy as cake. This is especially true for laminates and plank vinyl flooring, as they tend to be the easiest to install. Comparatively, porcelain and ceramic tiles are harder to complete, but experienced handy workers are capable enough to get the project together.

On the other hand, carpet, engineered wood floors, and hardwood floors are best left to professional flooring contractors.

3. Check Your Lifestyle Needs

If you’re living with children and pets, you need a sturdier, wear-resistant, and scratch-proof floor material. Hardwood can be a good choice in terms of durability, but they do get scraped easily. Fortunately, refinishing hardwood flooring is easy and enough to restore the wood to its old glory.

Ceramic, porcelain, and laminates, as well as carpeting, offer resilient flooring too. They may work best if you’re living alone or are considering to have your property rented out.

4. High Or Low-Maintenance

Installing the right flooring for your home isn’t a onetime thing. As with other fixtures in your home, some level of care is required to ensure your flooring lasts a long time.

Reflooring is one of the essential home improvement projects you need to do every few years. Depending on the material used, you may need to do it more often. Of the most common flooring items, vinyl and laminate flooring requires the least maintenance. On the other side of the spectrum are hardwood floors, which needs extra attention and care to get the most of it for years.

5. Get Familiar With Your Choices

Each flooring material has its own advantages and downsides. Knowing these can help you arrive at a more gratifying decision.  Consider the flooring materials and their features below:


This material offers high levels of durability, sometimes lasting for several years or as long as the home itself. Oak, walnut, and maple are the most preferred choices for this heavy-duty flooring surface.

Unlike other materials, though, hardwood requires frequent polishing. They’re quite sensitive too. However, once damaged, you don’t need to replace them right away, as sanding and refinishing can make them look like new once again.


They’re often preferred by homeowners because of its affordability and ease of installation. Besides being budget-friendly, laminates come in diverse styles and designs. If you want to get the traditional look of wood floors but can’t afford to have hardwood floors installed in your home, this is a great alternative.

Laminates are easy to maintain. Vacuuming and sweeping are recommended for homes with laminate flooring, as fluids from a wet mop can seep into the boards or planks, causing the material to detach from the surface and get deformed. With proper care, laminates can last for more than a decade.

Ceramic And Porcelain Tiles

Tiles aren’t only meant for the kitchen and the bathroom. They do have a space on your floors too. Tiles are great for places with high underground moisture. They’re also favorable in places where it could get really hot, as they’re quite heat resistant and remain cool for longer.

Ceramic and porcelain tiles are cost effective since when a section gets damaged, you can buy a few pieces from your local hardware store to replace it. They’re easy to wipe clean and are relatively durable. With appropriate use, it may even last a lifetime.

Concrete Flooring

Like laminates, concrete floors also have a vast array of designs, colors, and finishes. They’s also one of the most resilient materials available, which make them ideal for places in your home that get really high foot traffic.

Choosing a concrete surface means hiring professionals as installation typically consists of three phases—preparation, treatment, and topcoat. To maintain its good looks, concrete flooring needs to be polished and waxed every now and then. This material can last a lifetime too.    


This material is undoubtedly one of the most preferred choices not only in residential but on commercial settings as well. It’s easy to know why. Carpets are easy to maintain and replace.

Like other materials, they’re comfortable to use and come in a wide array of designs, textures, and colors too. On the downside, they’re quite hard to install and require special tools. However, be warned that carpets aren’t known for their durability. Get ready to replace them after several years to keep your flooring presentable.


This material is highly flexible and comes in the form of planks, tiles, and sheets. Vinyl can be used to imitate the look of hardwood and tiles. They’re relatively cheap and, like tiles, offer high resistance to damp environments such as kitchens and bathrooms. There’s even a more affordable option called vinyl composite tile (VCT).

Apart from being the cheapest option, vinyl is easy to put together and requires little maintenance. They’re quite sensitive to rubbing and strong movements, however. As such vinyl flooring is prone to scuffing and abrasions. Make sure to be gentler on vinyl when cleaning it!

Final Thoughts

To come up with the best flooring option, you need to consider a few factors—most of which are discussed in this article.  Of all the factors, cost may be the most important consideration for some.

But don’t jump at the cheapest option right away. Never sacrifice quality over cost. In the same manner, there’s no stopping you from going for the overall look you want to achieve for your home or your project.

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