When it’s time to remodel, think with your feet first!
Want to dramatically reinvent your living space and prioritize the remodeling projects on your to-do list? Don’t think top-down; think bottom-up by devoting dollars to new flooring in key areas of your home.
Flooring is very important—it’s everywhere in the house and really impacts how you interact with your home. The floors are also one of the first things people notice about your home when they walk in, and it sets the tone for your entire living space.
Investing in a new floor for one or more of your rooms is a smart way to freshen up the look of those interiors. It creates a cleaner, more polished appearance and design and may make the room feel larger.
The latter goal can be accomplished by using a single flooring material continuously throughout one or more levels or a series of connected rooms.
And choosing the right flooring material can eliminate the stress caused in a busy family by muddy paws, spills, and heavy traffic, reduce the time needed for cleaning floors, provide sound absorption, improve safety with slip resistance, and help you express your style.
Today, the most common flooring materials remain wood, tile, carpeting, laminate and vinyl. Each has its pros and cons.
Wood floors—whether it’s solid hardwood or engineered wood made of multiple layers, including a top layer of high-quality wood—are durable, attractive, and easy to clean and offer a great return on investment,” explains Brett Miller, vice president of technical standards, training, and certification for the National Wood Flooring Association. He says wood floors work well in nearly any room, especially entryways, living and dining rooms, and bedrooms. “Species like oak, hickory, or maple are best for homes with heavy traffic or pets.”
Tile remains a top choice among today’s homeowners, too, particularly sturdy and scratch-resistant porcelain tile and natural stone. Tile is normally the material of choice for kitchens, baths, and even entryways.
Tile provides a clean and attractive appearance when the tile and grout are regularly cleaned, sealed, and maintained. But an unfinished or unattractive transition between a tile floor and an adjacent floor of another material can give the perception of poor workmanship, so make sure you hire a qualified contractor.
Carpeting still holds a sweet spot among many consumers. However, it’s less popular nowadays because it wears and dirties quicker than other materials and traps dust and allergens that can trigger sensitive noses. The good news is that carpeting is among the least costly flooring options.
You can’t go wrong with traditional plush carpeting thanks to its timeless look, especially in neutral shades like beige or gray.
Carpeting is cozy and comfortable in bedrooms, walk-in closets, and nurseries. But spring for a thick and durable pad underneath, which can make a significant difference in the feel and quality perception.
Laminate and vinyl can be a good choice for those on a tighter budget, and it mimics the look and feel of wood or tile.
Laminate is extremely durable but is easily damaged with water, so you want to avoid areas like bathrooms and mudrooms. Waterproof vinyl flooring, including luxury vinyl tile or luxury vinyl planks, is usually a better choice, although a little more expensive.
If you select laminate, try to purchase an option with at least 12 mm thickness for better durability.
Whatever material you settle on, take time to find the right flooring installer/contractor, and provide a buffer zone in your budget, as unexpected costs often arise with flooring projects. Be mindful that you may need to relocate while the project is happening, too, as flooring replacement can be invasive.