Different Types of Flooring and When to Use Them
Updated: Feb 9
Flooring is a great starting point for any material selection as it covers a large area of your home and is usually right up against most of your other finishes. The price, size, colour and durability will be important factors to consider when comparing options for your reno (Main Floor, Kitchen, Bathroom, Basement, etc.). Installation time and price can be another important deciding factor to consider. Your choices can have a positive affect on the resale value of your home as well as its overall style and comfort (and your happiness) while living there. This article covers the main different types of flooring as well as factors to consider when choosing flooring for your renovation.
Vinyl Flooring is a synthetic material (usually made from PVC, acrylic or similar polymers) that is favoured for its durability, easy installation, and price. The most popular vinyl currently is a Luxury Vinyl Plank (or LVP) but there are also options for vinyl tile or sheet vinyl. Vinyl can imitate the look of wood or stone/ tile and is waterproof.
3-6$ / Sqft
Pros: Waterproof, durable/scratch resistant, good for high traffic areas (Kitchen, Main Floors, Bathrooms, Basements, etc.), easy to clean, cost-effective, many styles and colours to choose from.
Cons: Some styles can look as cheap as they are, vinyl floors will have lower return on investment than a more expensive floor like hardwood, synthetic.
Carpet is a soft type of flooring that comes in different materials and lengths. It can also come in tiles or sheets. When a carpet goes from wall to wall in a room it is called broadloom and can create a cozy/warm and more quiet environment. High-end carpets will be made of wool but there are also many other options such as polyester, nylon or acrylic. Despite the fact that carpet can hold more allergens in them, these allergens are lessened in the air you breath by doing so.
5-7$ / Sqft
Pros: Helps with soundproofing, warmer on the feet (especially in basements), feels soft, catches breathable allergens out of the air
Cons: Holds those allergens in your floor, harder to clean, easier to stain, shows wear and tear.
Hardwood flooring now comes in two varieties, solid or engineered. Solid hardwood is a fully intact piece of milled wood and engineered is a wood layer upon a piece of plywood. Engineered can sometimes be more durable and easier to install. Both come in popular varieties such as oak, maple or walnut. Hardwood flooring has been a favourite choice for main floor renovations for many years as it was around first, it is natural and “home-y” feeling and it is very beautiful. Standard plank widths for hard wood range from 3-5 inches and wide-plank hardwood is seen in sizes ranging from 5-10 inches.
Solid 6-12$ / Sqft Engineered 4-10$ / Sqft
Pros: Hardwood increases the value of your home, it can be re-finished many times and it is strong and durable. It is well-suited for main floor renovations, bedrooms, dining rooms, kitchen renovations (if it is not likely to see major spills and leaks). Engineered wood is more water resistant then solid and may be less likely to warp. Engineered hardwood can be used in basement renovations.
Cons: Expensive materials and most expensive install, may scratch or dent (although some modern floors will have a scratch resistant coating), less water-resistant. Engineered wood can only be refinished once, can feel hollow underfoot and can fade faster..
Laminate flooring is a great option if you like the look of wood but you would like to spend less money and/or are installing into a basement renovation. Although laminate looks like a wood floor it is an image of wood, stone or ceramic printed upon a plywood base with a plastic coating over it. Laminate has increased in quality over the years but still is better in low moisture environments (not good for bathrooms).
3-6$ / Sqft
Pros: Laminate flooring is good for main floor and basement renovations if you are dealing with a lower budget
Cons: Not suitable for bathroom renovations, not able to refinish.
Tile flooring is generally made from ceramic or porcelain. It comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and prices. Tile is durable and waterproof which makes it great for main floor renovations/mudrooms/entryways, Kitchen renovations, and Bathroom renovations. Tile will generally come in four finishes; polished, honed, matte and non-slip. These finishes will affect the overall look of the renovation as well as how slippery or easy to clean they are. Tiled projects will also require a grout selection and installation pattern.
4-15$ / Sqft +
Pros: waterproof, long-lasting, durable in most cases, many styles to choose from.
Cons: cold, hard and slippery, expensive to purchase and install.
Stone flooring is a type of tile flooring that is cut from slabs of natural stone, such as; marble, granite, limestone, sandstone, travertine and slate. It is a pricier option (for both material and install) that will need to be refinished every 4-5 years. Stone can be a good investment in certain homes and will create a beautiful high-end look that is durable if properly cared for.
20$ / Sqft +
Pros: Luxurious, long-lasting and waterproof, great for bathroom renovations, kitchen renovations and main floor renovations.
Cons: Expensive/ difficult to install, cold, hard and slippery and needs to be resealed.
Concrete flooring has long been the popular choice for garages, basement renovations and sheds but has more recently become popular on main floor renovations (if you have a floor on a slab foundation). Concrete floors come in polished, etched or stained and can give a very modern/ industrial look.
6-40$ / Sqft +
Pros: Durable, easy to maintain, good for basement renovations, garage renovations and main floor renovations.
Cons: Cold, hard, slippery, can be water damaged over time.