Flooring
Whether you’re updating your flooring out of necessity or choice, learn more about flooring options, when to DIY, and how to find the right contractor.

The Best Flooring Options for Your Home

When renovating or building a home, homeowners have several flooring options to consider, including hardwood, laminate, vinyl, and tile. Each type offers distinct pros and cons based on your home's needs. This guide gives an overview of popular flooring materials to assist in making an informed decision.

Top Pick
fci logo

4.7

Complimentary post-installation follow-ups

Provides convenient in-home consultations

Hundreds of flooring showrooms nationwide

GET QUOTE
Limited Time:
10% off all floors during the Twenty-Twenty-FLOOR-Event
Best Shop-At-Home Experience

4.8

Offers next-day installations on certain flooring options

Multiple financing options

Mobile showroom option for convenient at-home shopping

GET QUOTE
Limited Time:
Currently offering a 1/2 price sale
Best Flooring Options

3.8

Natural and engineered hardwood options

Offers augmented reality visualizer tool

Provides free samples online and in-store

GET QUOTE
Limited Time:
20% Off Select Flooring

Hardwood Floors

With its natural beauty and timeless appeal, hardwood may be the most coveted flooring option for many homeowners. But before choosing it, weigh the pros and cons carefully.

Made from real wood, hardwood flooring — including oak, maple, cherry, and exotic species — provides a classic, timeless aesthetic. It is extremely durable and can last over 50 years with proper maintenance. Hardwood suits living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, and entryways beautifully. Expect to pay $6-18 per square foot installed. The top brands are Bruce, Armstrong, Shaw, and Mohawk.

It has a natural beauty
Has longevity with the proper care
Increases home value
Expensive up-front cost
Prone to dents and scratches
Damages easily from moisture

Laminate Flooring

For homeowners who love the look of hardwood but seek a more budget-friendly option, laminate flooring provides an attractive solution. Discover its key benefits and drawbacks.

Laminate flooring mimics the look of real hardwood using a photographed top layer fused to a synthetic core. The man-made materials make it more affordable, durable, and water-resistant than solid wood. Laminate works well in most rooms, especially basements, kitchens, mudrooms, and bathrooms. Costs range from $1-5 per square foot installed. Leading brands include Pergo, Shaw, Armstrong, and Mannington.

Laminate Flooring
Replicates wood aesthetics
Budget-friendly option
Easy do-it-yourself installation
Resists scratches
Not as valued as real wood
Appears fake up close
It cannot be refinished

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring comes in sheets or planks made of PVC or composite wood pulp. It is inexpensive, waterproof, and easy to install and clean. Luxury vinyl tiles convincingly mimic the look of stone and wood. Vinyl works well in kitchens, bathrooms, basements, laundry rooms, and high-traffic zones. Expect to pay $0.50-$4 per square foot installed. Leading brands include Armstrong Flooring, Shaw, and Mannington.

laminate flooring
Cost-effective
Waterproof
Low maintenance
Stands up to heavy use
Shows wear over time
Limited high-end looks

Tile Flooring

Ceramic and porcelain tile options excel in bathrooms, kitchens, entryways, and laundry rooms. Tile is stylish, easy to clean, and water-resistant but can feel cold and hard underfoot. Prices range from $5-20 per square foot installed. Top brands include Daltile, American Olean, and Marazzi.

Tile flooring installation
Trendy aesthetics
Resists water
Low maintenance
High durability
Uncomfortable hardness
Grout needs resealing
Cracks under heavy objects

Other Flooring Options

Beyond the most common choices like hardwood, tile, and laminate, some homeowners seek unique flooring alternatives. Materials like concrete, natural stone, cork, and bamboo each offer distinctive benefits and striking visual appeal.

For industrial chic loft-style homes, stained and polished concrete floors provide an ultra-durable blank canvas to show off your decor. Natural stone like marble and travertine makes an unparalleled statement with upscale elegance perfect for bathrooms and kitchens. Cork deserves more attention for its natural water resistance and comforting warmth underfoot in bedrooms and baths. Bamboo merges renewable sustainability with the beauty of real hardwood.

With its blank canvas look, concrete creates a modern, industrial aesthetic perfect for basements, garages, and contemporary spaces. Staining and etching offer affordable ways to add interest to the monochromatic appearance. Concrete also provides unmatched durability. Remember that advanced DIY skills are needed for proper pouring and finishing.

concrete flooring inside a nice home

For a look of pure elegance, natural stone slabs like marble, travertine, and slate deliver visual impact. Each stone boasts unique veining and patterns for one-of-a-kind sophistication. Resistance to moisture makes stone an excellent choice for bathrooms and kitchens. However, natural stone ranks as one of the priciest flooring options. Special equipment is also required for proper installation.

natural stone flooring

Thanks to its sound-dampening and naturally water-resistant properties, cork excels in spaces like bathrooms, laundry rooms, and bedrooms. Cork adds warmth underfoot, too. Harvesting cork bark is also eco-friendly since the trees are not cut down. Just note that dents and scratches can be an issue with soft cork. But its affordability makes it a budget-savvy choice overall.

man laying cork flooring

For homeowners who like the look of hardwood but want a greener alternative, bamboo flooring fits the bill. Bamboo is a highly renewable grass that matures rapidly. It costs a bit more than oak or maple but mimics the look while reducing environmental impact. Durable and easy to install, bamboo works in most rooms. Just watch for some products with lower-quality laminate construction. Opt for vertical grain bamboo for the highest quality.

bamboo flooring in a nice home

The prices of home mortgage loans are determined by the lender, who investigates your FICO score with three main credit bureaus. Then, they calculate your loan-to-value ratio — this is the amount of the requested loan compared to the home’s appraised value.

Lenders also use this ratio to decide whether you need to pay for private mortgage insurance. PMI protects the lender by sharing a part of the risk with a mortgage insurer. If an LTV is higher than 80 %, meaning that you own less than 20 % equity in the home, most lenders will require a PMI for the loan.

For many people, a home loan is the biggest financial commitment they’ll ever make, so it’s important to learn and understand all the options before making decisions.

First-time buyers are at a slight advantage, as the federal government often offers incentives such as reduced deposit requirements.


Key Factors to Consider

With so many flooring options, narrowing down your choices can seem overwhelming. However, focusing on a few key factors makes the decision more manageable. Carefully consider what's most important for your home regarding budget, room function, eco-impact, and installation. This clears the clutter so you can zero in on the perfect floors for your needs.

Budget

When selecting new floors, budget is often a primary concern. There is quite a wide range when it comes to flooring costs. Hardwood, natural stone, and tile fall into the premium category, starting at $5 or more per square foot installed. Their higher up-front investment delivers classic style and longevity, though. More budget-friendly options like laminate and vinyl replicate the look of pricier materials at a fraction of the cost. With realistic wood and stone looks starting at around $1 per square foot, these floors provide serious style without breaking the bank. Just be aware that lower-cost flooring may not last as many decades as the premium varieties. Overall, set a realistic flooring budget based on your goals, then explore options in your price range for the perfect balance of affordability and quality.

Room Use

The way you use each room should guide your flooring choices. High-traffic areas like kitchens, entryways, and kids' rooms need durable, water-resistant options that withstand daily wear and tear. Luxury vinyl and porcelain tile are great choices here. For bedrooms and formal living spaces, look for warm, inviting textures underfoot, like carpeting or solid hardwood. Make sure flooring in moisture-prone areas like basements and bathrooms can resist water. And pick smooth, easy-rolling surfaces for spaces like dining rooms. Match flooring to each room's unique needs.

Sustainability

Eco-conscious homeowners may want to explore sustainable flooring options like bamboo, cork, and recycled rubber. These materials have less environmental impact than wood, ceramic, and vinyl during production. They offer comparable looks and durability, too. However, sustainable floors tend to cost a bit more up-front. Another green option is to refinish existing wood floors rather than replace them. Ultimately, choose flooring that aligns with your environmental values while meeting your home's needs.

DIY Skills

Installing new floors yourself can save substantially on labor costs. But some flooring types prove much more DIY-friendly than others. Materials like vinyl tiles, laminate planks, and resilient sheet flooring often feature user-friendly click-lock systems for easy floating installation. Just make sure to prep the subfloor properly. Solid hardwood and natural stone require advanced skills like precision cutting, extensive subfloor prep, mortar, and grout work. Tile and hardwood are best left to the pros unless you have remodeling experience. Realistically assess your abilities before deciding on do-it-yourself versus professional installation.


Learn More From Top Flooring Articles

Get Flooring Estimates in 30 Seconds
Connect with local experts to help with your project.

The Bottom Line

The ideal flooring provides the aesthetics, durability, and functionality your home requires. Hardwood offers timeless beauty. Laminate provides affordable hardwood looks. Vinyl withstands water. Tile excels in wet areas. Consider all the pros and cons along with your budget, lifestyle, and goals to choose new floors confidently. This guide equips you to make the perfect flooring decision for your needs.


Frequently Asked Questions About Flooring Options

What is the most durable flooring?

Porcelain and ceramic tile are extremely durable — resisting moisture, stains, scratches, and heavy impacts for 50+ years when properly installed. Hardwood is also very long-lasting.


What is the most affordable flooring?

Vinyl tile and laminate are generally the lowest-priced options, starting at around $1 per square foot installed. They offer a good appearance for the cost.


Which flooring increases home value most?Which flooring increases home value most?

Refinished hardwood typically provides the highest return on investment, potentially increasing resale value 2-3 times your upfront cost.


[adinserter block="23"][adinserter block="24"]

Read Flooring Reviews

Meet the Contributors

Danny Lipford

Founder

Joe Truini

Contributor

Jodi Marks

Contributor

Elisabeth Beauchamp

Elisabeth Beauchamp

Staff Writer

Alora Bopray

Alora Bopray

Staff Writer

Sam Wasson

Sam Wasson

Staff Writer

Alexis Curls

Alexis Curls

Staff Writer

Amy DeYoung

Amy DeYoung

Contributor

Sean Donnelly

Sean Donnelly

Contributor

Sarah Horvath

Sarah Horvath

Contributor

Jonathon Jachura

Contributor

Sharon Lord

Contributor

Coty Perry

Coty Perry

Contributor

Dan Simms

Dan Simms

Contributor

Dani Straughan

Dani Straughan

Contributor