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Types of Flooring Materials

There are six popular flooring materials used in residential homes, from classic hardwood to eco-friendly laminate. Additionally, there are several other lesser-used types that come with their own benefits. Use the below guide to choose which type or types are best for your space.

1. Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood continues to be the top choice for its great appearance and long-term ROI.

Pros:

  • popular for its visually appeal
  • many varietals available to vary color and style
  • high ROI
  • can be resurfaced every 3-5 years
  • best for shared living spaces

Cons:

  • expensive compared to other top flooring materials
  • can develop scrapes, scratches and dents over time
  • can incur moisture damage
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2. Laminate Flooring

There are several pros and cons of laminate flooring to consider when researching this material.

Pros:

  • lower price than hardwood
  • ease of installation
  • durability
  • variety of colors and styles, like natural wood
  • good for high-traffic areas

Cons:

  • prone to moisture damage
  • difficult to repair
  • not ideal for kitchens or bathrooms

3. Vinyl or Linoleum

Vinyl flooring is not the cheap-looking alternative it used to be. These days, this synthetic flooring for the home is durable and effectively mimics wood, ceramic, and stone.

Pros:

  • affordable
  • versatile
  • great for high-traffic areas
  • easy to maintain
  • DIY installation possible

Cons:

  • lower ROI vs. wood or laminate
  • less popular due to appearance

4. Porcelain or Ceramic Tile Flooring

Ceramic and porcelain tile flooring are beautiful options for high-traffic and moisture-prone areas in the home.

Pros:

  • come in a variety of looks and designs
  • durable
  • non-porous or waterproof
  • great for kitchens, bathrooms and entryways

Cons:

  • one of the most expensive options
  • difficult to install
  • can chip and scratch under heavy use

5. Natural Stone Tile Flooring

Natural stone tile is a classic flooring option that includes granite, marble, travertine, and sandstone. Some materials, like travertine, are more durable than others. Keep in mind that finishes require different amounts of care. A polished marble surface will show scratches and scuffs more easily than a tumbled one, for example.

Pros:

  • durable
  • insulated for warmth
  • comes in many styles, colors and shapes
  • great for radiant heating
  • eco friendly
  • good for homes with kids and/or pets

Cons:

  • one of the most expensive options
  • can easily chip or scratch
  • some stone tile types are porous
  • expensive repairs

6. Carpet

Carpet remains a favorite for many homeowners, especially for bedrooms.

Pros:

  • cost-effective
  • soft and warm on feet
  • multiple colors and designs available
  • great for soundproofing
  • stain-resistant varieties exist

Cons:

  • difficult to maintain – professional cleaning recommended at least once a year
  • can absorb smells
  • not great for homes with pets
  • not recommended for moisture-prone areas: kitchen, bathroom