Selecting the right flooring can sometimes be a battle. There are many considerations such as the slew of pros and cons of each floor type, the room the flooring is being installed, flow of traffic and price. This guide explains nine of the most popular types of flooring materials and their pros and cons.

Ceramic and porcelain tile

Hard glazed squares typically made of ceramic or porcelain. Tile has been used over a long period of time to provide a durable coated surface that is hygienic and easy to clean for indoors and outdoor use

Pros

Strong, durable, wide variety of colors and designs
Stain resistant
Easy to replace sections if chipped and cracked
Easily cleaned and sterilized

Cons

Grout can be attract stains and can be difficult to clean
Very rigid, hard underfoot, not suitable for comfortable living area

Carpet

Designed for warm, dry application. Comes in many colors, patterns and styles.

Pros

Acts as insulation to retain warmth in the cold months
Also acts as a noise dampener

Cons

Can stain relatively easy compared to other flooring types
Can be difficult to clean
Carpet can wear out in high traffic areas

 

Hardwood

Any flooring that is milled from a single piece of timber.

Pros

Extremely durable
Hardwood floors can be sanded and refinished many times over their lifetime
They are also extremely easy to clean, sturdy and very wear resistant
Hardwood floors give a house a very warm feel

Cons

Hardwood floors is on the higher cost scale as opposed to other flooring types
Can be a bit tedious to install. Hardwood floors don’t retain heat and will not dampen sound
Hardwood floors may expand and shrink due to the temperature and seasonal changes

Engineered Wood

Also called composite wood. Engineered wood differs from hardwood in that it is a veneer of hardwood on top of several wood layers underneath. It is processed or machined to have a specific look and feel and often comes pre laminated.

Pros

Engineered wood is much more resistant to the effect of moisture than hardwood
Extremely fast install and can be installed over subflooring type with relatively easy application

Cons

Quality and durability can vary greatly depending on the brand
There are limited refinishing options available as engineered wood can typically only be sanded and refinished once
Engineered wood doesn’t last as long as hardwood flooring

Bamboo

Much like hardwood flooring, bamboo is an ultra durable natural option that utilizes bamboo reeds installed over sub flooring. Bamboo flooring is an eco-friendly and highly renewable option for flooring in modern homes.

Pros

Bamboo is hypoallergenic
It is easy to clean
Extremely durable
Relatively easy install
Green alternative

Cons

The coloration of bamboo is vulnerable to sunlight and may fade overtime
The adhesive used to create the flooring can release volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) into the air over time
Bamboo can be susceptible to water damage

 

Stone

A flooring option that makes use of different types of natural rock carved out off a quarry then cut for a flooring application. Limestone, marble, slate and granite are common stones used for flooring.

Pros

Appearance is usually enhanced with age
The most durable of all flooring options

Cons

A comparatively expensive option
Labour intensive installation
Some stone types absorb dirt and stains
Can be slippery when wet

 

Vinyl

Vinyl flooring is a fully synthetic polymer flooring option with pigmentation added for color.

Pros

It is flexible and non-porous
Vinyl is inexpensive and easy to install
Can be glued or nailed over a sub-flooring
Durable and flexible,easy to clean and highly water resistant

Cons

The process and chemicals needed to make vinyl flooring can emit VOC’s into the air over time
The soft quality of vinyl flooring means sharp objects can easily tear it

 

Cork

A flooring derivative from the bark of cork oak tree, a material which is ground, processed into sheets and baked in a kiln to produce tiles that serve as flooring in offices, residences and light commercial locations.

Pros

Adds an earthy, natural look
Cork is highly sustainable, eco friendly, durable and springs back from wear in high traffic areas
Stain resistant and resistant to mildew
Green alternative

Cons

May absorb water if poorly installed
Durability depends on the type of finish used
Cork is typically more expensive than other flooring options

 

Concrete

Concrete is one of the hottest flooring options today.

Pros

Can be stamped and stained to resemble polished marble, tumbled stone, brick pavers
Extremely durable
Low maintenance
Perfect flooring for radiant heat

Cons

May be easy to stain or dirty
Very rigid, hard underfoot

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