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What type of flooring is right for me?

If you’re on the hunt for new floors, finding different options is probably not going to be a challenge. Narrowing down those options to find a type of flooring that fits your needs can be a bit more difficult. 

We get it – floors make up the base layer of your home’s interior. As a company that specializes in personally curated home remodel designs, Lamont Bros. works with homeowners every day to help them find the right kind of flooring for their homes. 

This article will discuss 5 of the most popular types of flooring, along with the pros and cons of each. Once you’re comfortable knowing the difference between them, you’ll be better prepared to choose a flooring type that fits your lifestyle and looks great in your home.

What are the 5 main types of flooring? 

There are dozens of different types of flooring options available, but the five most popular are:

  • Sheet vinyl
  • Laminate plank
  • Luxury vinyl plank (LVP)
  • Tile 
  • Hardwood

Below, you can read more about each type of flooring and what kind of environment they are most well-suited for. 

Sheet Vinyl – $1.00-$2.50/sq.ft.

Because of its water resistance, sheet vinyl is often used in bathrooms and laundry rooms.

As you might have guessed, sheet vinyl flooring is exactly what it sounds like: a single massive sheet of vinyl plastic. 

Unless the room is unusually large, it is typically cut from a large roll to the dimensions of the floor and installed in one continuous piece. As a result, this type of flooring is inexpensive and easy to install.  

In addition, because it comes as a single piece of flooring, vinyl sheet floors have excellent waterproof qualities.

Aesthetically, sheet vinyl is not considered to be the most attractive floor covering, but it does have a wide range of available patterns, textures, and designs. It is most commonly used in kitchens, laundry rooms, and utility rooms because of its durability and water resistance.

However, it becomes a challenge to install sheet vinyl in large rooms that exceed the dimensions of the roll. The patterns must be aligned at the seams, and using multiple sheets compromises the water resistance.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Easy and fast installation
  • Waterproof

Cons

  • Visually underwhelming
  • Limited size options

Laminate Plank – $2.50 – $4.00/sq.ft.

Laminate planks have a durable printed photo surface over a wood particle core.

If you want a wood-floor look without paying for the high price of actual wood, a laminate plank might be for you. Laminate flooring is made with a scratch-resistant protective layer over a printed wood-image veneer and composite wood core underneath. 

Laminate planks are especially durable against scratches and come in a variety of wood and stone-style surfaces. Some of the veneer prints are convincingly realistic, while others are clearly, well, a printed picture of wood. 

Almost all laminate flooring uses a tongue-and-groove click-together system, which means no flooring nails or glue-down. 

However, because it comes in planks and has a wood-based core material, laminate flooring is especially susceptible to water damage. Exposure to moisture may cause laminate planks to bubble up and expand, permanently damaging the material. However, some higher-end laminate floors have excellent waterproof qualities, so long as you’re willing to pay for them. 

Damaged laminate planks are nearly impossible to repair and must be replaced. This presents its own set of challenges as the tongue-and-groove system effectively locks each plank into place. Replacement involves cutting out any damaged planks, cutting off the tongue and groove of the new one, and gluing it into place.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Looks like wood
  • Easy installation
  • Scratch-resistant

Cons

  • Not natural material
  • More susceptible to water damage
  • Cannot be refinished

Luxury vinyl plank (LVP) – $4.00-$5.00/sq.ft.

LVP has a printed photo surface over a vinyl core. Note the tongue and groove click-together planks.

LVP is like a combination of vinyl sheet and laminate. Visually, it is very similar to laminate floors – it has a printed veneer cover over a click-together plank. However, instead of a wood-composite core, it has a vinyl plastic core. 

Though typically more expensive, LVP tends to last longer than laminate and, due to its vinyl core, is also less prone to water damage. In a scratch test comparing vinyl to laminate floors, the LVP was slightly less scratch-resistant than the laminate. However, LVP is still relatively scratch-resistant, as well. 

In regions where temperature and humidity fluctuate dramatically, LVP has been known to expand and contract more than other flooring types. As a result, LVP floors may buckle or cup if exposed to extremely high or low temperatures. 

Like laminate planks, LVP is nearly impossible to repair and difficult to replace. 

Pros

  • Scratch & dent resistant
  • Water-resistant
  • Looks like wood
  • Easy installation

Cons

  • Not natural material
  • More expensive than laminate
  • Sensitive to temperature
  • Difficult to repair

Tile – $2.00 – $12.00 + Installation

Tile flooring is classic and durable, but requires a professional to install correctly.

Timeless and durable, tile flooring is a tried and true option if you’re willing to shell out the cash. Because tile requires greater skill and experience to properly install, the cost per square foot is much higher. 

Sealed tile flooring is remarkably waterproof, which is why we often see it on bathroom and kitchen floors. They also have an incredibly long lifespan; if maintained well, tile can last over 100 years. 

However, some people would complain that the cold, hard surface is uncomfortable to walk on. Furthermore, it can be very difficult to remove and replace broken or damaged tiles. 

Pros

  • Classy and timeless
  • Durable
  • Waterproof
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Requires professional installation
  • Very expensive
  • Cold to walk on

Hardwood $6.00 – $21.00/sq.ft. + Installation

Engineered hardwood features a finished wood surface over wood plank core.

Considered the gold standard of flooring, true hardwood is in many ways its own art form. Mainstream hardwood flooring is offered in two main categories: natural and engineered.

Natural hardwood is made up of planks of solid wood that are nailed down to the floor, sanded, and finished with a sealant. It is generally the most expensive type of plank flooring because it requires many hours of skilled labor to install, sand, and seal. 

Natural hardwood flooring is not as durable as most other types of flooring and is more prone to wear and tear over the years. However, once installed, hardwood floors can be re-sanded and re-finished several times throughout their lives. 

The price for hardwood flooring usually runs at a minimum of $6.00 per square foot, but can get more expensive from there. 

Engineered hardwood flooring is similar to natural hardwood in that it must be nailed down to the floor. However, instead of a solid plank of wood, engineered hardwood usually has a plywood core with a 2-3mm thick hardwood veneer on top. The veneer comes factory pre-finished, meaning that post-installation sanding and finishing are not required. 

Engineered hardwood can usually be re-sanded and finished at least once before wearing through the outer veneer. 

Pros

  • Real, natural wood
  • Can be re-finished
  • Unfinished and prefinished options

Cons

  • Requires professional installation
  • Very expensive
  • Prone to dents/scratches

Want to replace more than just your floors?

Now that you’re an expert on all the different types of flooring, do you have an idea of which one would work best for your home? If so, great! Finding the right type of flooring for your needs is an important step in the process of any good home remodel. 

But don’t stop there! Check out our work portfolio to see how a great floor can enhance a remodel, whether it be a kitchen, bathroom, addition, or a whole home! Or, if you’d like to talk directly with one of our home design experts about an upcoming project you have planned, click the button below and we’ll contact you soon!