Flooring Materials

The best flooring for your home will depend on your budget and style. (Photo: Dreamstime)

Choosing flooring can be intimidating. Not only are there dozens of options to choose from, but there are also a number of important factors to consider with each material. This summary of the pros, cons and costs of popular flooring types will help you choose the best option for your home and lifestyle.

Hardwood
You can’t beat the beauty, durability and versatility of hardwood flooring and its engineered counterparts. Not only is hardwood flooring easy to maintain and restore, but it can also be styled and stained to complement every taste. The downside to solid hardwood is it’s highly susceptible to water damage. Also, softer varieties may scratch easily, making them less practical for households with dogs and kids.

Perhaps the greatest downside to hardwood flooring is its cost. According to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide, homeowners report spending an average of between $2,545 and $6,480 to install hardwood flooring. The cost of your hardwood installation project will depend largely on the type of wood you choose and the square footage of your flooring area. The good news is that, in most cases, hardwood flooring will also increase the resale value of your home.

Carpet
Carpet is comfortable and easy to care for, making it a popular choice for bedrooms and living areas. One benefit of carpet is there are many styles, colors and textures to choose from. Another is it provides increased insulation and helps to minimize sound. Disadvantages of carpet include its vulnerability to stains and water damage (it’s best not to install carpet in bathrooms), as well as its tendency to collect particles known to aggravate allergies and respiratory conditions.

The average national cost to install carpeting is $1,595. The cost of your carpet installation project will depend on the quality of the carpet you choose and the square footage of the carpeted area. Another (often overlooked) cost consideration is carpet padding. While installing new padding will add to the overall cost of your project, it will also add to the comfort and longevity of your floor.

Ceramic and porcelain tile
Ceramic and porcelain tile are well suited for any space. In fact, with the introduction of wood plank tile (tile that resembles hardwood), they’ve become increasingly popular for use in main living areas. The upside to ceramic and porcelain is most options require little maintenance (apart from regular mopping and occasional repair). The downside is they can be cold on bare feet. Fortunately, the installation of radiant heat below ceramic and porcelain tiles can make them a warmer and more comfortable flooring option.

The cost of your tile project will depend on the tile you choose and the square footage of the flooring area. Additional factors, such as subflooring and the inclusion of intricate patterns or designs, may also affect your project cost. The average national cost to install ceramic and porcelain tile flooring is $1,757.

Natural stone
Natural stone flooring – including granite, marble, travertine and limestone – is as classic and stunning as it comes. Unfortunately, natural stone is also as high-maintenance as it comes. While extremely durable, natural stone is also both soft and porous, making it susceptible to scratching and staining. But well-maintained, natural stone materials will preserve beautifully for decades.

The cost of your natural stone installation will depend on the square footage of your flooring area and the material you choose. Like ceramic tile projects, natural stone projects may require strengthened subflooring and consideration to extras such as intricate patterns or designs. It’s also a good idea to consider the cost of ongoing upkeep when considering natural stone. The average national cost to install natural stone tile flooring is $1,588.

By HomeAdvisor. HomeAdvisor is an online marketplace connecting homeowners with trusted service professionals to complete home projects. Visit HomeAdvisor.com.