Top Home Bathroom Flooring Options

Choosing the most suitable bathroom flooring can be daunting. You want your bathroom flooring to complement the rest of the home yet still withstand high moisture levels, humidity and heavy foot traffic. The sheer number of bathroom floor designs, colors, textures and material types further complicate the process. To help cut through the clutter, we’ve narrowed down the best flooring for bathroom areas as well as the pros and cons of each.

Best waterproof bathroom flooring options

There are many bathroom flooring options on the market today, with many of them claiming to be waterproof. But are they? Waterproof flooring means that no water or moisture will penetrate it no matter how long the floor is exposed. In genuinely waterproof flooring materials, the waterproofing product is baked in rather than just being used as a coating. By contrast, water-resistant floors are usually not resistant to moisture under the top layer of the floor. 

While the flooring material may be waterproof, the subfloor is usually not. As such, water can seep through cracks, between floorboards or along the wall and cause damage to the bathroom’s structure. Bathrooms often need a silicone sealant around bathtubs and toilets no matter what flooring type you choose. 

Waterproof bathroom flooring is easier to clean and maintain, but it also protects. Because water will always find its way down through cracks on the floor or in walls, this leakage can manifest itself in the form of damp ceilings or walls, especially if the bathroom is on an upper floor. As waterproof flooring is watertight, there’s little risk of leakage.

Waterproof vinyl flooring

Gone are the days when vinyl was perceived as flimsy or cheap. Today it is one of the most popular flooring options for its durability and comfort. Vinyl planks and tiles come in virtually any color and style imaginable.

Waterproof vinyl flooring’s core is reinforced by additional layers to enhance its rigidity. When shopping for waterproof vinyl flooring with rigid core construction, you are likely to come across wood plastic composite (WPC) and stone plastic composite (SPC).

As the name suggests, WPC incorporates fine sawdust or other wood-like materials, a thermoplastic resin, fiber and a foaming agent. Sometimes referred to as wood polymer composite, this type of flooring material is lightweight, resilient, warm and comfortable when you are standing for long periods.

SPC vinyl flooring material uses ground limestone, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and stabilizers. SPC is thinner, denser and heavier compared to WPC flooring. Due to its thin nature, there’s little padding underfoot, which makes it less comfortable.

Types of waterproof vinyl flooring for bathrooms

Waterproof vinyl plank

Waterproof vinyl planks are perhaps the most popular WPC vinyl flooring option on the market today. Made to mimic hardwood floors, they are available in several shapes and sizes.

Waterproof vinyl tile

The top surface of waterproof vinyl tiles is glazed, preventing moisture from seeping through it. Most mimic natural stone, but there are a few that look like wood.

Pros and cons of waterproof vinyl

Pros:

  • Affordability: Vinyl is relatively inexpensive as compared to other flooring options such as porcelain tile or hardwood.
  • Ease of installation: Because vinyl is lightweight, you can cut and adjust it to fit your bathroom floor exactly.
  • Waterproof: Vinyl floors are water-resistant, making them practical for bathrooms.
  • Versatility: Vinyl flooring is available in many shapes, textures and colors.

Cons:

  • Impossible to repair: Once damaged, vinyl flooring cannot be repaired. You have to replace the entire tile or plank.
  • Prone to wear and tear: Compared to other flooring materials such as hardwood that can last a lifetime, vinyl flooring has a maximum lifespan of about 20 years.
  • Tough to remove: If installed using a vinyl adhesive, vinyl floors are challenging to remove.

Porcelain and ceramic tile bathroom floors

From the appearance, it’s difficult to tell porcelain and ceramic tile apart. Both are made from a clay mixture that’s heated in a kiln. However, porcelain flooring is made of refined clay and is heated at higher temperatures making it denser and more durable than ceramic. Porcelain and ceramic are often the best tile for bathroom floors for durability and affordability.

Types of tile floors for bathrooms

Porcelain and ceramic planks

Technology has made it possible to achieve the appearance of a hardwood floor while maintaining the features of porcelain or ceramic floors through planks that mimic real wood.

Porcelain and ceramic tile

Homeowners are particularly fond of porcelain and ceramic tiles for their bathroom floors due to their versatility and durability. Porcelain tiles are harder, denser, tougher and less porous. On the downside, they are more expensive than ceramic tiles. Ceramic tiles are more affordable because they are less refined, but are also less durable.

Thin-gauged floor tiles

Gauged porcelain tiles (GPT) measure 36-by-36 inches or smaller. These tiles offer superior porcelain features that are only available from natural stone or marble. Gauged tiles are available in a wide range of styles, textures and colors.

Pros and cons of tile flooring

Pros:

  • Easy to maintain: Tile floorings are normally coated with liquid glass which protects them from stains.
  • Chemical and heat resistant: Tiles made of porcelain and ceramic do not corrode when exposed to chemical agents or extreme temperatures.
  • Diverse colors and styles: Tiles are available in a wide range of colors, patterns, sizes, styles and textures to fit most decor.
  • Durable:  Porcelain and ceramic tiles are rather long-lasting. And water-resistant.

Cons:

  • Hard surface: This type of flooring can be uncomfortable to stand on for long periods.
  • Professional installation is required: Even slightly uneven tiles can result in breakage, so the installer needs to be skilled and knowledgeable.
  • Cold: This type of floor gets cold during colder months.
  • Grout lines: It’s impossible to prevent grout lines entirely. Tiles need some maintenance to keep grout lines clean and mold-free.

Natural stone tiles

When used on your bathroom floor, natural stone tile adds warmth and depth to the bathroom. The tiles are uniquely textured and colored, and can be made of marble, granite, limestone, slate and travertine, among others.

Pros and cons of natural stone tile flooring

Pros:

  • Enhances your bathroom’s elegance: Natural stone flooring can be beautiful and enhance your decor.
  • Aesthetic value: While the tiles may be the same material, each has a different coloring or grain alignment, which adds depth and texture to the space.
  • Increases home resale value: Natural stone flooring is as expensive as it is unique, thus improving the home’s value.
  • Durability: Natural stone is long-lasting when compared to other flooring materials.

Cons:

  • Expensive: Compared to other flooring materials such as vinyl, natural stone is quite costly.
  • Uncomfortable: Like ceramic and porcelain tile, natural stone adapts to existing weather conditions. The floor could become uncomfortable to walk on in cold weather.
  • Difficult to maintain: Soaps and detergents can lead to floor discoloration.
  • Porous: Unlike glazed porcelain or ceramic tiles, natural stones are quite porous and prone to water damage.

Water-resistant laminate floors

Laminate flooring came up as an easy-to-install and more affordable option to hardwood flooring. Since its inception, laminate flooring has undergone tremendous improvements. Today, it is difficult to tell hardwood and laminate flooring apart. There are also laminate flooring styles that resemble natural stone, vinyl and even tiles.

Pros and cons of water-resistant laminate floors

Pros:

  • Easy to install: Laminate flooring is lightweight, so it’s easier to install and ideal for a DIY bathroom floor remodel.
  • Waterproof: Laminate flooring is water-resistant, especially when silicone-sealed around tubs and toilets.
  • Affordability: Laminate flooring is an affordable alternative to hardwood and other flooring types.
  • Durability: Waterproof laminate is long-lasting and practical for a high-traffic bathroom.

Cons:

  • Difficult to repair: While it is durable, laminate flooring has to be replaced when damaged.
  • Less versatile: As it is a relatively newer material, there are fewer options when it comes to design and style as compared to other flooring types.
  • Appearance: While laminate may mimic natural stone or hardwood, it can look less realistic up close.

Engineered wood floors

If you are keen on getting long-lasting hardwood floors for your bathroom, go for core engineered wood floors. Unlike traditional hardwood floors, core engineered wood has several layers, with the outermost layer being hardwood veneer. The inner layers are made of hardwood, fiberboard or plywood.

Pros and cons of rigid core engineered wood floors

Pros:

  • Water-resistant: Compared to traditional hardwood, engineered hardwood does a better job of reducing moisture problems.
  • Easy to install: Real wood flooring is rather difficult to install, unlike engineered wood flooring which can utilize click-lock installation.
  • Easy to clean and maintain: As engineered wood is coated with wood veneer, it is easy to clean and maintain, holding up well against dents, fading, scratches and stains.

Cons:

  • Price: Compared to conventional wood, tile vinyl and laminate, engineered wood is considerably more expensive.
  • Health concerns: Some people have allergic reactions to the adhesives used to bind the various layers of engineered wood together
  • Prone to damage: The outermost surface is not scratch-resistant and needs more care than other types of flooring.
  • Fewer chances of refinishing engineered wood: Unlike traditional wood flooring which you can re-sand numerous times, engineered wood cannot be sanded (or only once) due to its thin top layer of hardwood.

Frequently asked questions

What are some bathroom floor tiles for a high-use bathroom?
Porcelain tiles are great for high-use and high-traffic bathrooms as they are denser, harder and less porous than other types. Ceramic tiles have the same benefits as porcelain tiles but are more affordable. Vinyl is the most affordable option for a high-use bathroom.

What are the best cheap flooring ideas?
Laminate and vinyl are both affordable flooring options for a bathroom. Both come in various styles, designs and colors and are two of the more easily installed flooring types.

What are some small bathroom tile ideas?
A small bathroom should have small- or medium-sized tiles in neutral colors. It is not a good idea to install large tiles in small bathrooms. Apart from disrupting proportionality, large tiles may need to be cut off, resulting in waste, which can also interrupt any patterns. 

What are the best bathroom flooring ideas for households with kids?
Porcelain and ceramic flooring is great in a kid’s bathroom. These tiles are scratch-, stain- and water-resistant. They are also more durable than bathroom vinyl flooring and can withstand splashes from exuberant playing in tubs and sinks.

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All about laminate flooring: Understanding your options

Laminate flooring buying guide

Laminate flooring has come a long way in recent years. Rather than just a cheaper alternative to natural wood or stone flooring, laminate flooring is available in a spectrum of styles to offer a beautiful and durable complement to any decor.

When purchasing laminate, there are a lot of variables to keep in mind, like the surface on which the floor will be laid, in what room it’s going, cost and the look of the space. Read on for the ultimate guide to laminate flooring, including what to consider when buying and laying the floor in your newly designed space.

What is laminate flooring?

Laminate flooring is sometimes called a “floating floor” or “floating tiles” because it can be laid right on top of existing linoleum, subfloor or on any hard surface, including concrete, without gluing it or fastening it to the floor. It’s made by bonding four layers of materials together, coated by resin on the top and bottom. 

Laminate flooring consists of:

  • Wear layer: The wear layer is the top layer of flooring that gives the whole floor a shiny, finished appearance. It also gives the floor much of its strength and durability. It protects the flooring from pet’s claws, chair legs, kids’ toys and all other daily wear. It also protects the printed layer from the sun’s rays, which could otherwise discolor it over time. 
  • Printed layer (or decor layer): The printed layer is the look of the flooring — the pattern or markings you see. It can look like natural wood flooring, stone or marble, and comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
  • Fiberboard layer (or core layer): High-density fiberboard (HDF) is made up of processed softwood, which is mixed with resin and wax. This layer is formed with both heat and pressure, creating panels. The panels are then cut so that they “click” together, eliminating the need to attach each board with the floor or another board.
  • Backing layer: This layer helps to keep the flooring straight and even, and is sealed to keep out moisture, so your flooring shape and stability won’t be compromised from underneath. Some higher-end laminates also include foam padding, eliminating the need for a separate underlay for the flooring.

Where to install laminate flooring

Laminate is manufactured to be tough and sound regardless of where it’s installed. Still, extra steps may be necessary when it’s installed in basements, bathrooms and kitchens. When installing below grade (below ground level like in a basement), a moisture barrier should be installed between concrete and laminate to keep natural humidity away from the flooring. 

In bathrooms, laminate can outperform hardwood for ease of cleaning. But particularly in full baths where moisture is common, glue should be used between laminate planks to make sure any drips or leaks in the bathroom don’t make their way in between floorboards. For kitchens and baths, silicone sealer is also recommended where the floor butts up against walls, tubs and toilets.

How to buy the best laminate flooring

Now you know where you can install laminate flooring, but how do you choose the best laminate flooring to buy? There are a few factors to consider:

Types of laminate flooring

Laminate flooring can resemble anything, but it most commonly mimics the look of stone, tile or wood. Though the patterns can be relatively convincing, their repeating nature often gives away their manufactured origins. 

Laminate flooring also comes in glueless “click” format, while other types need glue applied during installation. Others still come “pre-glued,” but may need the glue to be moistened when the floors are laid. 

Laminate flooring thickness

Available in thicknesses of 6 to 12mm, a laminate plank’s thickness will determine its sound insulation, its resistance to warping over time and how well it masks imperfections on the floor beneath. A smooth subfloor will allow for a thinner plank, while a thicker plank will be necessary for more uneven floors. Generally speaking, thicker planks are more expensive to buy.

Laminate flooring width

Just like many other flooring types, laminate comes in planks of various widths, ranging from 3 inches wide to 7 inches or more. Which you choose will depend on price, the size of the room and personal preference. Smaller spaces often do well with narrower planks, both for looks and for ease of installation, while a big, wide room may look better with wider planks.

Texture of laminate flooring

While many laminate floors offer a smooth, even surface, others are textured or embossed to more realistically imitate natural materials. Some have wood grain-embossed textures or are bumpy like natural stone. Laminate floors are also available in a distressed-look to mimic antique floors. Patterns and textures may hide wear and tear on the floor, and testing shows deeply textured floors don’t suffer damage as quickly as smooth ones. Personal preference and ease of cleaning will be deciding factors in which texture you choose.

Read laminate flooring reviews

Any new flooring is a big investment in a home, so get as much information as possible before making any firm choices. Reviews and ratings are a great way to determine the right flooring for you. In particular, seek out AC (Abrasion Criteria) ratings which determine the durability of the flooring. It is especially crucial to consider AC ratings when flooring a kitchen, a well-used hallway or an entryway of a home. 

AC ratings range from AC1 to AC6. Lower-range AC ratings are manufactured using direct pressure laminate, while AC5 and higher are created using high-pressure laminate. Generally speaking, higher-traffic areas of a home should do well with an AC3 or AC4, while lower-traffic areas like bedrooms can use a lower AC rating.

Installing laminate flooring

One of the reasons laminate floors are so popular is because of their ease of installation. Panels are manufactured to fit tightly together, so DIY installers can easily put the floor down themselves, sometimes completing a whole room in a day. To install a laminate floor, you will need the following tools:

  • Circular Saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Hammer
  • Tapping block

Depending on the space, a mitre saw might also be useful for cutting the wood panels into shape.

Professionals can also install the flooring at minimal expense because the panels go in very quickly. Generally speaking, installation can cost about $2 to $3 per square foot.

Compare laminate flooring cost

Laminate flooring ranges from $3 per square foot to around $7 installed, while flooring alone can range from $1 to $5 per square foot. Factors that go into pricing are thickness and the AC rating of planks, whether the flooring has pre-attached underlayment or no underlayment and by brand name. Pergo and Mannington flooring, for instance, will generally set you back more than laminate flooring from Shaw.  

Top laminate flooring brands

Pergo 

Pergo manufactures laminate, rigid vinyl and hardwood floors that are widely available. Pergo’s floors are known for being extra tough, with superior wear, scratch and water resistance. The company has been making laminate for over four decades, and their top lines are:

  • TimberCraft
  • Outlast
  • Portfolio

TimberCraft is a realistic wood-look panel that’s completely waterproof, making it well suited to the areas of the home at risk of getting wet. 

Mohawk 

Mohawk is a flooring brand that’s been around since 1878. Their RevWood Plus series of flooring is coated in Hydroseal, a waterproof and scratch-resistant coating. You can opt for the All Pet Plus protection (an extra available warranty) to cover pet accidents and damage. Mohawk’s best-known laminate lines are:

  • RevWood 
  • RevWood Plus

Mannington 

Mannington takes a step into more environmentally-aware flooring manufacturing. I laminates are made from 70% recycled materials, and the company also gives its floors FloorScore® certification for better air quality inside the home. Its laminate lines are:

  • Restoration
  • Revolutions Plank

Mannington’s Restoration collection comes in a huge selection of colors and features SpillShield®Plus waterproof technology. 

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Patio Flooring Buying Guide

Patio

A well-designed patio can become a second living room for your home, so it’s important to make smart design choices. One of the biggest decisions you will need to make is what to use for your patio flooring. With so many patio flooring options, it can be tough to decide which is best. Here’s a detailed guide to your options.

What is patio flooring?

As the name implies, patio flooring is any flooring option used on an outdoor patio. Choosing the style and color for your flooring is an opportunity to show off your personal expression. The best flooring for an outdoor patio is structurally sound, resistant to weather events and comfortable to walk on year-round.

How to buy the best patio flooring

Outdoor patio flooring ideas run the gamut from cozy wood to elaborate natural stone motifs. To choose the best flooring for your patio, consider the pros and cons of each type, as well as their costs and installation options.

Types of patio flooring

There are many different types of patio flooring. Some of the most popular types include:

  • Wood: A wooden patio floor is timeless and is unlikely to go out of style. Wood flooring is an extremely versatile material, providing an excellent backdrop for patio themes ranging from coastal to rustic to modern. It can also be sanded down and refinished numerous times, making it an excellent long-term investment. If local hardwood is available, this can also be a highly eco-friendly option.
  • Natural stone: If you’re creating a high-end patio with a luxurious feel, natural stone is tough to beat. Its inherent color variations add a touch of artistry to any design. Choose irregularly shaped stones for a meandering appearance, or cut modular stones for a more pulled-together look. Popular natural stone options include slate, travertine, granite, and even marble. Though natural stone is reasonably maintenance-free, it’s not as durable as other materials, so it may not be the best choice for homes with kids or pets.
  • Ceramic Tile: Ceramic tile is a classic flooring material. Patio tile flooring should not be glazed, as the smooth finish on glazed tile could become slippery in rain or snow. Tile is especially popular in warmer climates, as it remains cool to the touch even in extreme heat. Consider adding a sealant to protect the tile from wear and the grout from cracking.
  • Brick: A brick patio can be as simple or as elaborate as you like, depending on the pattern you select. Brick is low maintenance and slip-resistant, and it imparts an old-world feel to any patio. However, it may not be the right choice for locations that receive a lot of snow, as natural shifting and settling can create an irregular surface that is difficult to shovel. If you want the look and feel of brick without the investment, brick pavers are an excellent DIY alternative that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle without mortar.
  • Concrete: Concrete is a wonderful, time-tested choice for those who want to let their imaginations run free. It can be molded to fit almost any shape, and there are plenty of options to personalize it including, coloring, stamping, brushing, painting, scoring, and patterning. You can even use concrete as a base for textural elements such as pebbles. When painting or otherwise detailing a concrete patio floor, be sure to use only materials that are designed for both concrete and outdoor applications. Also, consider adding a sealant to protect your work.

Choose the right size patio flooring

Sizing your patio flooring has three basic steps. First, you will need to decide how big you want your patio to be. Patio sizes run the gamut from spaces that can accommodate a single bistro table to massive areas that can truly function as an alternative living room. Base your decisions on the amount of room you have and the furniture you want to place.

The next step is to determine the size of the material you want. For example, ceramic tiles are available in sizes ranging from 1 inch to 24-inch squares. Hardwood flooring planks maybe 2 1/4 inches to 6 inches wide, 5/16 inch to 3/4 inch thick, and 12 inches to 84 inches long.

Finally, determine how much flooring you need to cover your chosen area. While many flooring materials are sold by the square foot, you will need a different number of pieces depending on the size of each piece.

Compare patio flooring costs

The cheapest patio flooring options vary depending on whether you will do the work yourself. Wood, concrete, and tile are among the cheapest patio flooring materials, but paying a skilled contractor to lay them can reduce the savings.

Pricing also varies depending on the exact item you choose. For example, basic untreated lumber may cost as little as $8 per square foot, but higher-end woods can run $20 per square foot. Natural stone is among the most expensive choices, at $25 to $35 per square foot.

Read patio flooring reviews

Reading patio flooring reviews can be more complex than anticipated. Since the majority of patio floors are professionally installed, it’s important to separate commentary on the installation from commentary on the material itself. Reviews are certainly important when choosing an installer, but don’t let a poor installation experience deter you from a product that is actually of excellent quality. Look for comments on durability, ease of cleaning and maintenance, and the complexity and cost of installation. Also, pay attention to whether any specific issues, such as fading or popping up, are mentioned by multiple reviewers.

Installation

Installing a patio floor is generally a job for the professionals, but handy DIY enthusiasts can often manage some materials. Wood is generally considered the most DIY-friendly patio flooring option. Brick pavers are also relatively easy to install. More experienced DIYers may try their hand at installing ceramic tile, especially if the selected design is fairly simple. Concrete, real brick and natural stone are trickier to install, and professional installation is highly recommended.

Patio flooring brands

Armstrong

With more than 150 years of experience, Armstrong is one of the best-known names in flooring. Under the Armstrong label, engineered tile flooring is an excellent choice for patios. The Bruce line offers 361 different types of solid and engineered hardwood, most of which are suitable for patio flooring.

Engineered Tile

  • $3.59 to $7.09/square foot
  • Durable – scratch and stain-resistant and not prone to cracking
  • Easy to install

Solid Hardwood

  • $2.99 to $10.99/square foot
  • Domestically sourced
  • Long-lasting and durable

Engineered Hardwood

  • $2.99 to $8.22/square foot
  • More stable than solid hardwood
  • Five to seven-layer construction

Lumber Liquidators

Founded in 1993, Lumber Liquidators has one of the biggest hardwood flooring inventories in the industry. The company has also branched out into other types of flooring, including porcelain tile. Both hardwood and porcelain tile are popular materials for patio flooring.

Porcelain Tile

  • $0.98 to $6.89/square foot
  • Stone look or wood-look options

Hardwood

  • $1.39 to $9.99/square foot
  • Sourced directly from mills with no middleman
  • Only use sources with sustainable practices

Shaw

Since 1946, Shaw has been known as an innovator in carpeting. Today, the company has expanded into numerous other flooring lines and has won awards from all three top flooring publications.  The company’s tile and stone products, as well as its engineered hardwood, are appropriate for patio floors.

Engineered Hardwood

  • $2.99 to $7.36/square foot
  • Sustainability and ethical sourcing

Tile and Stone

  • $1.49 to $19.99/square foot
  • Options range from ceramic and porcelain to slate and travertine

Also, consider locally sourced products from your area. While the top brands are reliable and worth considering, local materials may be just as high in quality.

 

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Hardwood Floors: Understanding Your Options

Hardwood Floors Buying Guide

Hardwood floors are one of the most popular types of flooring, increasing the resale value of homes and beautifying them in the process. But there are many considerations to make when choosing and installing hardwood floors, such as type, species, size, cost, and brand. This guide covers everything you need to know about hardwood flooring so that you can make the best choice for your home.

What is a hardwood floor?

Hardwood floors can be comprised of a variety of wood species, such as bamboo, oak, or teak. Regardless of the species, all hardwood floors are stained to bring out their rich color and grain, as well as sealed to prevent nicks, dents, and other damage. Hardwood floors are rated from soft to hard, but the softest hardwood is still pretty tough. Over time, however, even the hardest species begins to show wear. Instead of having to replace it, as you would with carpeting, you can refinish a hardwood floor and restore it to its original appearance. The cost of refinishing a hardwood floor is much less than purchasing and installing a new one.

How to buy the best hardwood floor

To find the right hardwood floor for your needs, you need to weigh factors like cost, foot traffic, and type. For example, the harder the wood, the less likely it is to be damaged, but harder woods are also more difficult to work with during installation, which may mean higher installation costs. Another factor to consider is the location of the flooring and the type of traffic you expect in that area. A high-traffic area is better served by a very hard species of wood, for example. The following sections outline the primary considerations you should make when choosing hardwood flooring. 

Types of hardwood floors

You can choose between two types of hardwood flooring: solid and engineered.  Solid flooring features a single species, while engineered flooring is constructed of layers of wood, usually at right angles. Consider the following factors when choosing between solid and engineered flooring. 

  • Solid flooring can be refinished many times, while engineered flooring, depending on the thickness of the hardwood layer, may only stand up to two or three refinishings. Therefore, solid flooring can last for several decades longer than engineered flooring.
  • Engineered flooring can be installed in more environments than solid flooring. While engineered flooring can be floated over many surfaces, glued to concrete, or nailed to a subfloor, solid flooring must be nailed or stapled to a subfloor and should not be installed below the grade, such as in basements, due to fluctuations in humidity.
  • Solid flooring is slightly more expensive than engineered flooring, but the price difference is small in most cases. 

Choose the right size

Board size is another important consideration. Narrow boards are less expensive, but many people prefer the aesthetic of wider boards, which reduce the number of seams in the floor. The same idea applies to shorter versus longer boarders. The wider and longer a board is, the more expensive it is per square foot and the larger percentage of extra flooring you need to ensure it fits your room. A standard measure is to purchase 10% more square footage than you need, but this may increase depending on the shape of the room.

Compare hardwood floor costs

Costs can range from $1.75 per square foot up to $9 or more, depending on factors like species, width, and type. While engineered hardwood flooring is typically less expensive, the cost compared to solid flooring of the same species is usually just around $1 less per square foot. Additionally, prefinished wood may add another $1 per square foot compared to unfinished wood, but it also means you won’t need to finish it after installation.

One of the most popular species, Red Oak, runs about $4 per square foot unfinished and $5 prefinished, with additional costs for wider boards. More exotic woods or those that are harder and more resistant to wear are more expensive, while softer woods are typically cheaper.

Read hardwood floor reviews

Be sure to investigate the suppliers of hardwood floors, reading reviews and comparing different qualities. Some suppliers specialize in inexpensive flooring, while others offer a wide range of prices. You should also look for reviews on issues like warranties, shipping costs, and available widths. In addition to customer reviews, you should read reviews from contractors who can offer the perspective of someone who handles hardwood floors frequently.

Installation

Solid hardwood flooring is installed by nailing or stapling it to a subfloor, which is more limiting than engineered floors, which can be nailed, glued, or floated on a variety of surfaces, including concrete. Once you decide between solid or engineered flooring, you need to figure out whether you want to install it yourself or enlist a professional to do it. While there are substantial cost savings to installing a floor yourself, it may invalidate your floor’s warranty. Additionally, professional installers usually guarantee their work, giving you the confidence that it will be done right. Installation costs vary depending on many factors, including the species of wood and its hardness, with mid-range hardwoods, like oak, costing between $4 and $8 per square foot to install, according to HomeAdvisor

Hardwood floor brands

There are many brands of hardwood flooring available. We outline three popular options below. 

Bruce

A brand offered by AHF Products, Bruce is one of the best-known hardwood flooring companies. They provide value and easy installation as well as wide distribution through big box stores. Limiting their species to only the most common — Hickory, Maple, Red Oak, and White Oak — Bruce provides a variety of finishes and widths.

Kennedale Prestige Plank – Maple

  • Solid hardwood
  • 3 ¼” width
  • Up to 84” length
  • ¾” thickness
  • Color: Cappuccino (dark brown)

Turlington Lock & Fold – Cherry

  • Engineered hardwood
  • 5” width
  • 10” – 48” lengths
  • ⅜” thickness
  • Color: Natural (tan)

Hurst Hardwoods

Hurst ships nationwide and offers a variety of solid and engineered flooring, which comes in a range of domestic and exotic species.

European French Oak Matterhorn

  • Engineered hardwood
  • 10 ¼” width
  • Majority 87” lengths
  • ⅝” thickness
  • Color: Brown tones and hues

Tigerwood Clear Prefinished

  • Solid hardwood
  • 5” width
  • 1’ to 7’ random lengths
  • ¾” thickness
  • Color: Tiger striped

Mannington 

Mannington specializes in engineered hardwood floors with two main collections: Hand Crafted and American Classics. With a strong environmental stance and a wide variety of woods and finishes, they offer many customization options. 

Mountain View Hickory

  • Engineered hardwood
  • 3 ¼”, 5” and 6 ½” widths
  • Lengths up to 45”
  • ⅜” thickness
  • Color: Autumn

American Oak

  • Engineered hardwood
  • 3” wide
  • Lengths up to 45”
  • ⅜” thickness
  • Color: Old Bronze

Summary

When deciding on hardwood flooring, take your time and walk through your decision step-by-step, considering what you want from the flooring, what you are willing to pay for it, and how you plan to install it. Hardwood can last a lifetime, so consider your choices carefully.

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Best Kitchen Flooring Ideas

There are so many kitchen flooring options available that it can feel difficult to find the right one. When making your decision, you’ll want to consider two factors: function and durability. Whatever it’s made of, your kitchen floor should be easy-to-maintain and long-lasting. There is a beautiful option for you, no matter your style or budget. Follow this guide to understand the expected costs and the pros and cons of some of the most popular kitchen flooring options.

The kitchen is often one of the most popular rooms in the entire house. For this reason, you’ll want a material built to withstand lots of foot traffic over time. And due to the high number of spills — whether it be wine, sauce, oil or any other liquid and food that tends to stain — you’ll want kitchen flooring that’s easy to clean and maintain.

The top durable flooring options include:

-Concrete
-Rubber flooring
-Stone
-Tile
-Vinyl
-Wood laminate

Besides durability, cooking usually requires long periods of standing and walking back and forth. Flooring that has some cushioning is helpful, especially if you suffer from back issues.

The most ergonomic flooring options include:

-Bamboo
-Carpet tile
-Cork
-Rubber flooring
-Vinyl
-Wood
-Hardwood laminate

Let’s look at the materials available for your kitchen flooring ideas (in alphabetical order) and weigh their pros and cons.

Bamboo Kitchen Flooring

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If you like eco-friendly products, bamboo is great for kitchen flooring. Bamboo grows extremely quickly, making it a sustainable source for flooring. In addition to being eco-friendly, bamboo is one of the strongest natural materials on the market, so it will withstand lots of use. Be sure to go with a reputable brand with a long warranty, should you choose bamboo flooring. The quality of the bamboo flooring is reflected by the length of the warranty.

Pros: Durable, beautifully grained, eco-friendly, long warranty available.

Cons: Some bamboo flooring can dent easily.

Cost: $2.09 – $5.91 per square foot, installation averages at $8 per square foot.

Carpet Kitchen Flooring

carpet 1

Since carpet is often difficult to maintain and clean, as it can absorb stains and spills, it has not always been one of the more popular kitchen flooring options. But the latest carpet tiles are a modern kitchen floor solution. Designed and tested to be industrial grade for high traffic areas, made of durable, easy to clean materials and easy to install, they now make a unique kitchen flooring idea. The best part is that a carpet tile can be removed for cleaning or replacement. Choose a carpet tile from a company like Flor, designed for the modern, DIY consumer. Be sure to buy an extra box of tiles and keep for future replacements. For a modern look, use carpet tiles selectively in certain areas of your kitchen like the image above, instead of wall to wall.

Pros: Durable, modern colors and textures, soft and padded, recyclable.

Cons: Needs frequent cleaning and vacuuming.

Cost: $1 to $3.60 per square foot

Concrete Kitchen Flooring

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Concrete has a contemporary look and tone that is hard to match. It not only looks great; because of its durability, it can stand up to the busiest kitchens. There are various finishes you can give concrete to customize its look. Freshly poured concrete can be stamped, while all concrete can be stained, polished, stenciled and waxed. If you like concrete flooring and live in a colder climate, consider adding radiant floor heating beneath the concrete to warm up the material’s cold surface.

Pros: Durable, versatile, moisture resistant, contemporary looking.

Cons: Hard if standing is required for prolonged periods, cold, needs resealing, can stain.

Cost: Depending on the level of preparation required to install and finish concrete, cost averages range widely between $2 – $30 per square foot installed.

Cork Kitchen Flooring
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Cork is a good kitchen flooring idea that offers a unique texture and a padded feel underfoot. Cork is a natural insulator, and can help with both temperature changes and noise. It’s also naturally antimicrobial, as the waxy substance in the cork repels insects and pests. On a budget? Cork tiles are a great DIY solution that’s easy to install. Choose a quality cork that like wood, can be sanded and refinished periodically. Confirm that the cork has a durable finish that will repel water and moisture. If choosing to install cork tiles, buy a few spares that can serve as future replacements should the tile flooring become damaged.

Pros: Earth friendly, anti-microbial, soft, padded feel, attractive texture options.

Cons: Can dent or scratch easily, creating imperfections on the surface that may bother some cork flooring owners.

Cost: $5.24 – $7.24 per square foot.

Laminate Wood Kitchen Flooring

laminate fllors

Laminate wood flooring is an affordable and durable kitchen flooring idea. The top layer can withstand most abuse. If you add padding beneath, it’s a soft, ergonomic flooring solution. Easy-to-install and available in a wide variety of styles, laminate wood flooring is a simple, modern solution for kitchen floors. Choose laminate flooring with the longest warranty possible. Many come with a 25-year guarantee. For extra cushioning when standing, install a manufacturer-recommended thin foam sheet layer underneath.

Pros: Durable, cost effective, wide variety of options, easy to install and uninstall.

Cons: Is not as valued as real wood flooring, may be slippery, noisy, not refinishable.

Cost: $2.00 – $4.00 per square foot.

Rubber Kitchen Flooring
rubber

Rubber has similar properties to cork, but comes in a larger variety of colors and textures. It’s both easy-to-install and doesn’t require an adhesive, thanks to its high-grip properties. This makes it a good temporary flooring upgrade if you’re in a rental apartment. It’s cushy underfoot, durable and has a non-slip surface, so it’s perfect for busy kitchens. And it’s available in sheeting or tiles so it’s easy to customize. Choose richer, darker colors which hide oil stains better. As an added bonus, rubber tiles are easier to install than sheeting. For an earth-friendly kitchen floor, choose recycled rubber flooring, which is also less expensive.

Pros: Recyclable, naturally water and fire-resistant, durable, easy to clean, soft, padded feel.

Cons: Some people are sensitive to the initial smell, oils may stain the rubber’s surface.

Cost: Approximately $3.50, including installation.

Stone Kitchen Flooring

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There’s a great variety of stone flooring available including the most popular marble, travertine and slate. Because of the natural pattern and color variations found in the material, stone is a great kitchen flooring idea that gives each kitchen a unique, earthy look. Stone flooring is also naturally cool, which is perfect in hotter climates. If installing stone flooring in a cold climate, consider adding subfloor radiant heat to warm the floors in the winter. Purchase at least 25% more than you need and save your receipt to return the rejected stone. Look through all your stone tiles before having them professionally installed. It’s likely that the grain and coloring of the stone will vary dramatically and you’ll want to hand select the pieces you want installed for a similar texture and tonal match.

Pros: Hard, durable surface, easy to clean.

Cons: Certain stones may stain, requires routine sealing, some fragile stones like slate may chip easily.

Cost: Depending on the material, $17.91 – $27.53 per square foot.

Tile Kitchen Flooring

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Tile flooring is a great, low-maintenance solution for a kitchen. It’s easy-to-clean, durable and has a reflective quality that expands the appearance of space in a kitchen. The latest tile designs mimic wood and other textures and patterns. Know that tile no longer comes exclusively as a 12” square, so you can customize your design more easily. Some of the latest modern designs are large, rectangular shapes. Hire a professional to install the tile flooring, especially if the subflooring is not perfectly level. For ease of maintenance, install tiles with grout lines that are as small as possible.

Pros: Durable, moisture resistant, easy to maintain, available in a large assortment of styles, shapes and colors.

Cons: Grout lines may be difficult to keep clean, dropped items like glassware and dishes will likely shatter.

Cost: $11.34 – $17.38 per square foot.

Vinyl Kitchen Flooring

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Vinyl is affordable, comes in a variety of textures and styles and is one of the most water-resistant kitchen flooring options. While tiles are easy to install, sheet vinyl requires professional installation. Consider the latest wood-look vinyl flooring planks. Easy to install, water resistant enough to be used in a shower, kitchen or wet area and textured to mimic wood grain, it takes a careful look to see if the wood plank vinyl flooring is actually wood or not.

Pros: Easy to install, water resistant, certain styles look just like wood.

Cons: Offgasses potentially harmful chemicals in your home, requires a flawless subfloor to install on, can gouge easily.

Cost: $2.83 – $3.82 per square foot.

Hardwood Kitchen Flooring

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Hardwood has traditionally been on the top of buyer’s lists for flooring choices. Hardwood has a high-end, warm look that’s unique, according to grain and age. But hardwood in the kitchen requires special protection from excess moisture. Add an extra coat of finish in the kitchen to keep the wood sealed. If living in a high humidity or coastal region, avoid wider planks, which will cup and warp over time.

Pros: Adds resale value, attractive, durable, can be refinished.

Cons: Can be noisy, needs periodic refinishing, may dent or scratch easily.

Cost: $6 – $18 per square foot, including installation.

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Kid-Friendly Flooring Guide for Parents

Reflooring your home can be a challenge when you have young children. You want a floor type that not only looks great but also keeps your kids safe and stands up to all their little messes. Check out this graphic to discover how you can reconcile these goals and how each type of floor could satisfy your family’s aesthetic and functional needs.

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All About Bamboo Flooring — Understand Your Options

Bamboo Flooring Guide

Whether you’re looking to improve the appearance of one room in your house or hoping to install a durable, eco-friendly flooring option throughout your home, bamboo floors combine the resilience of hardwood flooring with the easy maintenance of laminate.

Dog sleeping on bamboo flooring

SeaRick1 / Shuttershock

Like any type of flooring, bamboo floors bring with them a range of advantages and a couple of drawbacks. Though they are more vulnerable to being scratched, they are easy to maintain and restore. And while some bamboo floors are constructed with VOCs that can reduce air quality, you can find chemical-free options on the market as well.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks associated with installing a bamboo floor and help you find the best resources for pricing and bamboo floor reviews. Read on to discover more about the different types of bamboo floors currently on the market, as well as which homes can benefit from this type of flooring.

Your Guide to bamboo flooring

Bamboo is a quick-growing grass, the shoots and stalks of which are processed to create bamboo flooring. In fact, this process takes place without even destroying the plant itself. After undergoing a range of processes including boiling, fusing, and pressurizing, bamboo materials are formed into wood-like planks.

Bamboo flooring overview

Bamboo flooring is more water-resistant than some types of hardwood flooring, making it an appealing option for areas in the home that may incur light moisture. This is especially true if the bamboo floor is laid over proper sub-flooring or underlayment.

There are three types of bamboo flooring: vertical, horizontal, and strand-woven.

  1. 1. Vertical bamboo floors are developed by fusing stalks in a vertical manner, which produces consistent, vertical lines that yield a modern look and feel.
  2. 2. Horizontal bamboo floors utilize alternating layers of the plant to highlight the bamboo’s growth joints. This type of processing allows for a more organic impression.
  3. 3. Strand-woven bamboo flooring is created from shredded bamboo fibers, which are fused under intense heat and pressure to deliver the most durable type of bamboo floor available.

All of these bamboo flooring options can be made to resemble various types of hardwood flooring to fit the aesthetic you have in mind for your living space.

Bamboo Floor Pros

Eco-friendly – This type of flooring is derived from natural vegetation – the bamboo plant. Bamboo is a renewable resource that can be grown much faster than other types of trees used for hardwood flooring. Bamboo reaches maturity in as little as three to five years, while other trees like maple and oak can take between ten and twenty years to be fully grown.

Easy to maintain – You can keep your bamboo floors maintained with regular sweeping and vacuuming and periodic damp mopping. Though bamboo flooring is more susceptible to scratches, it is very easy to maintain. The restoration process simply includes being sanded down and refinished, leaving you with bamboo floors that are as good as new.

Durable – Certain types of bamboo flooring are just as durable as some hardwood floors such as red oak. Durable forms of bamboo flooring are made from properly processed un-carbonized bamboo. Floors made from strand-woven bamboo are even tougher.

Trendy – Bamboo floors are currently very trendy in the interior design industry. They provide a sense of luxury to any living or corporate space and have an alluring appearance similar to that of hardwood flooring.

Bottom Line: Which types of homes would benefit from bamboo flooring?

If you’re looking for flooring that offers a hardwood-floor-like appearance but that is easier to maintain, bamboo floors are a great option. Since bamboo can be grown more quickly than hardwood trees, it’s also a more eco-friendly option.

Bamboo Floor Cons

Volatile organic chemicals emissions – Although bamboo flooring comes from natural products, the adhesive used with it can produce volatile organic chemical (VOC) emissions, which impact air quality. However, the Environmental Protection Agency asserts that “engineered wood flooring and bamboo flooring must be certified under the UL GREENGUARD or FloorScore indoor emissions testing programs.” Some engineered bamboo floors are constructed without the use of toxic chemicals and may be available for special order

Vulnerable to scratches – As mentioned above, bamboo flooring is more likely to incur scratches than some other floor types. From shoes to pets to furniture, bamboo floors can be damaged on the surface level by a variety of culprits. However, despite this fact, the floors can be easily maintained and restored with proper care.

Vulnerable to water damage – Though bamboo is slightly more water-resistant than its hardwood counterparts, significant water damage can cause floorboards to become warped and/or stained.

No standardized grading system – Bamboo floorboards differ from piece to piece, and there is currently no standardized grading system for consumers to consider. Though some retailers sort bamboo into A or B grades based on materials used, this system is not verified by an independent assessor, and therefore may not be completely reliable.

Bottom Line: Which types of homes might not be best-suited for bamboo flooring?

Bamboo flooring should not be used in areas that are likely to be vulnerable to water damage. Therefore, forego adding a bamboo floor to your bathroom, kitchen, and other moisture-prone areas within the home.

Bamboo flooring pricing

Bamboo flooring is typically affordable, although prices range depending on the exact look and type of bamboo you prefer.

Prices for bamboo flooring can be as low as $1.99 per square foot and increase to upwards of $9 per square foot, according to the type of bamboo floor you select. For example, EcoTimber’s Natural Skin bamboo planks cost $9.76 per square foot and consist of a surface layer made from a sole bamboo stalk that has been cut and then compressed flat.

On the other hand, Home Decorators Collection bamboo planks feature “classic natural horizontal bamboo with ‘knuckles’” and cost $1.99 per square foot. You can find various types of bamboo floors that fall between those price parameters as well.

Bamboo flooring reviews

When weighing your options for bamboo flooring, be sure to read a variety of reviews to determine which floor is best for you. Review the Consumer Reports Floor Buying Guide to see how bamboo floors compare to other flooring options.

Additionally, you should research industry-leading critics and professionals who can offer detailed insights into the best bamboo flooring options currently available.

Before having your preferred bamboo floor installed, it’s also crucial to read over reviews from contractors in your local area. Look for reviews that discuss the professionalism and quality of the contractor, as well as the warranties and packages they have to offer. Shop around to find the best quality for the best price.

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