Which type of flooring you choose to install in your home can be one of the most important and stressful questions you ask yourself during a remodel. With so many options for flooring available, how do you know which one is best? Which one will bring your desired look together?
More importantly, which flooring will stand the test of time? There are cheap flooring options out there, but it’s worth considering whether they wiill last through your time in the home.
If these questions have crossed your mind, you’re not alone. As a homeowner, you naturally want the most durable flooring possible. However, finding the most durable flooring you can install is not as easy as it seems. It isn’t simply which one will take the most hits (though that’s part of it). It’s also asking yourself what room needs the durability, and how you want that room’s aesthetics to come together.
Which Rooms Need Durable Floors?
Not all rooms need highly durable floors. These floor types are really only relevant for high foot traffic areas. Think of areas where your family will frequently come together or where guests are most likely to enter and stay to visit.
This means that bedrooms are usually not classified as high traffic areas. There are usually only one or two frequent visitors to a bedroom, and they are usually more private spaces. That means the flooring in these rooms do not need to be as heavy duty as other rooms.
Kitchens, mudrooms, and bathrooms are considered high traffic areas. Everyone in a given house will use the bathroom multiple times a day, and the kitchen usually sees the highest amount of foot traffic in a given day. This is especially true if your kitchen doubles as your dining room.
Mudrooms are where your family and guests will likely leave their shoes, and they are usually the first room a person will walk into. That definitely makes them a high traffic area.
Now that we have identified which rooms will get the most traffic, we can now determine which floors will be best for those areas.
Tile: The Undisputed King of Durability
If you want the toughest thing around, then you definitely want to install some sort of tile floor. Tile floors are resilient to scratches and can handle any level of foot traffic. Modern technology allows tile to also look like just about anything, including wood.
There are several different types of tile flooring. Terracotta has an unparalleled earthy look to it, but it requires more maintenance than other tile types. Ceramic tile is the most flexible aesthetic wise, which is why it’s really popular in kitchens and bathrooms. Porcelain is rated as the most durable floor around, and it requires next to no maintenance. That means it is great for outdoor areas or places with high foot traffic such as mudrooms.
While tile floors are incredibly resistant to scratches and moisture, blunt force can be a problem. Porcelain fairs better, but anything heavy dropping on these surfaces risks chipping at them. A few cracks may be fine here and there, but if they take too much damage the floor will need to be replaced.
Tile floors are also incredibly slick when wet. That’s not a big deal in a mudroom or even the kitchen, but it can make your floor potentially dangerous in the bathroom. You’ll want to coat any tile flooring with an anti-slip coating just for safe measure.
Hardwood: Meant to Last
If you’re looking for long-term durability, hardwood floors are likely your best option. Not only do hardwood floors look great, but they are also meant to last for a very long time. Even if the floor is scuffed or damaged, one simply has to re-sand the surface to get it back to tip-top condition.
However, that long-term durability comes with lots of maintenance. Hardwood floors don’t stand up well to rough handling, and they can easily warp when they are exposed to moisture. Even if you don’t have to do a full reinstall, keeping hardwood floors in peak condition can be a chore.
It’s common to see hardwood floors cover an entire house, but they aren’t particularly ideal for kitchens or bathrooms. These are best for living rooms and other dwelling areas, namely because they are so easy to vacuum. Their durability comes from their value as a long-term investment.
Vinyl: The Affordable Alternative
Vinyl is incredibly popular for a reason. For one, it is more affordable than a lot of other flooring options, and it is also resilient to scratches and moisture.
Unlike tile, vinyl is also soft and warm, so it is more comfortable to walk on bare-foot. This makes it an ideal alternative for bathrooms.
Vinyl flooring also comes in a ton of different styles. That means you can make vinyl work in just about any room and match any aesthetic. Since it is moisture resistant, that makes it great for kitchens as well.
Vinyl’s real drawback is its varying quality. The cheaper you go, the lower quality the vinyl will look. If you want a wood look, for example, you may have to shell out a decent chunk more to make it look authentic. It is also not the most environmentally friendly-solution around.
Still, for an affordable alternative that looks and feels great, vinyl may be one of your best options.
Choosing the most durable flooring you can install ultimately comes down to what you are hoping to get out of your floor.
If you’re looking for something spill and scratch-resistant, tile flooring is one of your best options, just be prepared to replace it when it cracks.
Hardwood floors are great for long-term value but require a lot of upkeep to maintain quality.
Vinyl floors are cheap and feel great, but their varying quality makes it difficult to find what is right.
When you are choosing which flooring to install, always ask yourself questions about the floor’s durability, what conditions affect it, and how easy it is to maintain. Resources–Money Crashers, The Spruce, Home Flooring Pros