Flooring takes up a lot of visible space in your home. It’s only natural that you want it to look great, but you also want it to withstand your family’s lifestyle for years to come. Each type of surface comes with its own advantages and disadvantages, and the function and location of the room will bear weight on the best flooring material to use. For example, carpet in the kitchen and hardwood in the basement will cause more problems than you’re ready to handle.

One of the most common debates when remodeling or designing a custom home is which type of floor to use for each room. Laminate, luxury vinyl tile and hardwood all offer distinct qualities with pros and cons. Below are five things to consider when you’re trying to determine which type of flooring to use:

Look and Style

Studio flooringHardwood floors are timelessly beautiful and are considered the top option for flooring. However, while hardwood comes in many colors and dimensions, it has its limitations on style, availability, design and customization.

New technology has emerged to make luxury vinyl not only look like real hardwood but feel like real hardwood, at a fraction of the price. Manufactured to appear as natural hardwoods or other surfaces, there are few limitations on the look or style available for LVT.

Laminate does not have the same look as solid hardwood. In a dining room or master bedroom where style is your main concern, you may want to consider the high-quality of hardwood flooring. Laminate is perfect in a practical room such as a child’s playroom, a den, or a mudroom. It’s attractive, easy to clean and hard wearing.

Durability and Stability

Johnson Styve flooringA well-kept hardwood floor requires maintenance. Wood is a porous material that is susceptible to liquid and climate changes. Hardwood flooring in a bathroom, or any room where spills and moisture are common, will weaken the durability and stability of the flooring. The only hardness that hardwood provides is in a polyurethane coating. If it is damaged by moisture or high-traffic, it will need regular removal and reapplication to maintain its durability.

Luxury vinyl floors are a synthetic material and are resistant to moisture and climate changes, as well as wear and tear, and require minimal upkeep. These types of flooring work well throughout the entire home, but basements, bathrooms and kitchens are where the most foot traffic and moisture levels are found.

Finally, laminate offers some moisture resistance but can swell over time if it stays consistently damp. However, laminate floors are an extremely low maintenance flooring option.

Custom Cabinet Wall-flooringEnvironmental Impact

Hardwood flooring is a natural, renewable resource. However, deforestation rates are on the rise and outweigh the efforts to re-grow new trees.

Laminate flooring is primarily made from low-cost synthetic materials that are easy to mass produce.

Most luxury vinyl flooring is made from recycled content and PVC.

Application

Laminate flooring is a floating-floor system that is not nailed or glued to the subfloor. Most styles use a click-and-lock assembly, and it can often float directly over existing sub-floors.

Generally, luxury vinyl tile installs as a glue-down system with the application of adhesive tape or peel-and-stick tiles or planks. There are some LVT product lines offering floating-floor approaches to installations.

Hardwood flooring requires rooms to be vacant for several days to allow sanding, staining and finishing if it is done onsite.

CostMaster Bed flooring

Average hardwood flooring costs between $8 and $25 per square foot, while luxury vinyl costs between $2 and $5 per square foot. Prices for laminate generally run from $1 to $5 per square foot depending on the quality and overall thickness, making it the least expensive option of the three.

If you get stuck in the process of trying to decide which floors are best for your home, don’t worry. Our ABD team is here to help! Contact us and we’ll give our expert advice on the type of flooring that best suites each room in your home.