Flooring Do's and Don'ts Flooring Do's and Don'ts

As much as you may want to, you can’t always choose flooring based on what you like best or what you think you know about floors. Learn the do’s and don’ts before you choose flooring, and pick the right material for your home based on the design you want, where you live, and your family's lifestyle.

Hardwood

Hardwood floors immediately get attention and look beautiful when used with any style of home decor. Hardwood can look traditional or modern, and works well in multiple rooms of the house. Hardwood is an especially good choice when working with homes that have open floor plans because the flooring can seamlessly flow from one room to the next. Having the same flooring throughout an open floor plan is important because you don't want to lose that wide-open feeling with a bunch of flooring transitions.

While it's beautiful, hardwood flooring isn't always practical. It can be difficult to maintain and requires regular cleaning and polishing. And living in a damp environment will have a negative effect on all that beautiful flooring. Hardwood warps in damp and humid weather, which means you could be replacing your floors every few years—a huge expense.

Laminate

Used as a more affordable option than hardwood floors, laminate flooring is tougher in many ways than natural hardwood. It's resistant to burning, scratching, and even chipping, so it will stay beautiful even in heavily-used, high-traffic areas of the home. Laminate is made to look so much like real wood, sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between it and real hardwood floors. The only problem is, laminate flooring can't be refinished. If there is any damage to your laminate flooring, you have to completely replace your laminate flooring.

Concrete

A trowel spreading out a concrete floor.

You'll see concrete floors in many modern home designs. Concrete is very hard-wearing and durable. It's resistant to scratches, stains, odor, and even water. Unlike carpeting and other types of flooring, concrete doesn't harbor mold or mildew. The best part may be that it can be painted to look any way you want. You can even paint concrete to make it look like hardwood. However, there are some downsides to this durable material. Concrete gets cold in winter and if there is any home repair that needs to be done to the substructure or infrastructure of your home, your concrete floors may need to be removed and replaced entirely. A leaking water pipe under a concrete floor, for example, may require you to get new concrete floors.

Tile

Ceramic and porcelain tile options have become incredibly sophisticated. They can be made to look like marble or any other natural stone and come in a variety of colors and textures. Tile is water-resistant and very easy to clean, but it also has its drawbacks—it can be difficult to keep tile grout lines clean, and tile can be chipped and damaged.

Marble

Natural stone tiles like marble are incredibly beautiful and work well in multiple areas of the home. Marble floors make an instant impression in an entrance area, and they look luxurious in the bathroom. Natural stones are extremely durable and available in a huge array of colors and patterns. The cost of natural stone can be prohibitive, though it will add value to your home that may pay off in the long run.

Bamboo

Bamboo flooring with a vacuum on it.

For those who want a green option, bamboo floors are a great solution. It comes in a wide range of natural color shades and wears well against foot traffic. However, bamboo is sensitive to light and can lighten or darken over time. It will also become damaged if it stays wet for too long.

Carpet

Carpet has a bit of a bad reputation in the home design game, but today's newer carpets are way more advanced than older styles. Because it's made with fabric, carpet is an insulator that keeps floors warm in winter. It can also trap dander and debris, and actually improves air quality. With regular vacuuming, carpet can stay beautiful for years and years. It's available in a huge array of colors and styles, and it's made from a wide variety of materials. There are also many allergen-free and green-friendly carpeting options.

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