“What types of flooring materials should I put in my home if I’m planning to sell?”
Oh, boy…that is a loaded question. There’s usually not one right answer. And there are most definitely some wrong answers.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to types of flooring materials. Wood, vinyl, laminate, tile, carpet (just to name a few) — it’s overwhelming!
Every option has its own set of pros and cons. Whether you’re staging your home to sell or planning to stay put for a while, choosing the right types of flooring for the space is an investment that requires careful consideration.
The first step in choosing the best types of flooring is determining the specific needs of your space. Do you get a lot of foot-traffic? Is it a high moisture area? (e.g., don’t install carpet in the kitchen or bathroom — that’s just mold and stains waiting to happen). After that, you’ll want to balance what works best with your style and budget.
To get you started, we’re going to walk you through the benefits and drawbacks of some of the most popular types of flooring for each room of your home.
Hardwoods are classic, durable, and ageless. Available in a variety of colors and types of wood, it can be refinished (in some cases multiple times) and re-stained as needed. Typically, hardwoods are not recommended for areas prone to moisture, but many brands now claim to have scratch and water-resistant options. Though expensive, hardwoods are popular for their timeless elegance, durability, and high return on investment. They also look great when paired with one of these gorgeous rugs! There are generally two types of hardwood flooring:
- Solid hardwood flooring is constructed from one solid piece of 100% hardwood. Because of this, it can be sanded and re-finished many times over its lifespan. It is milled with interlocking tongues and grooves on opposite edges and is always nailed down to a sub-floor. This means that if your room has a concrete slab, you probably won’t be able to use solid hardwood as an option. Solid hardwood is generally considered the “gold standard” in flooring.
- Engineered hardwood flooring is comprised of a top layer of hardwood veneer over a plywood, hardwood, or HDF (high density fiber) core. It’s quite durable and can even be re-finished once or twice before the top veneer layer is exhausted. Engineered hardwood is usually less costly than solid hardwood. It’s also easier and less expensive for DIYers to install.
If you want a flooring product that looks like real tile, wood, or stone but has a more affordable price point, take a look at laminate. Laminate flooring mimics the look of other flooring materials, but its interlocking tongue-and-groove assembly makes the installation process far simpler. Laminate can’t be refinished like hardwood flooring; however, the higher quality stuff is durable enough to hold up to wet areas and wear and tear and typically requires less maintenance than other types of flooring. This makes it a popular choice with homeowners. Pro tip: if you’re planning to sell your home soon and want to use laminate, invest in high-quality boards. Low-quality laminate tends to look more artificial and can be a turn-off to potential buyers.
Good old vinyl has come a looooong way, baby! Made out of synthetic materials, such as fiberglass, PVC, and plasticizers, vinyl flooring is stain and scratch-resistant, waterproof, and highly durable.
Vinyl is available in tiles, sheets, or planks in a variety of styles and colors. It’s also easy in to install directly over most existing floors, making it a beautiful and economical choice for many homeowners. A popular option, luxury vinyl plank or LVP, imitates the look of hardwood floors. Vinyl tile, another homeowner favorite, mimics the look of more costly stone, like travertine.
When comparing vinyl flooring, take note of the top surface, or wear layer, of the flooring, typically a clear coat of polyurethane. This layer generally has a thickness ranging between 4 and 40 millimeters. It’s what makes the flooring scratch-resistant or waterproof. A thicker wear layer is generally more sensible for high traffic or high moisture areas.
When it comes to a room that gets wet often, like a kitchen, laundry room, bathroom, or basement, tile may be the winner. A durable, low-maintenance option, tile is available in an endless variety of colors and textures.
- Porcelain tile is the most durable and longest lasting. It’s higher density makes it more water-resistant than ceramic tile, but it also tends to be more expensive.
- Ceramic tile is a mixture of water, sand, and clay, and is tough enough for most interior spaces. Compared to porcelain, ceramic tile is more porous and has a higher absorption rate. This means that it may chip or damage more easily than porcelain tile.
- Natural stone tile is beautiful, elegant, and expensive. It’s a bit less slippery than other types of tile and offers a reasonable amount of insulation, helping your home stay warmer in winter and cooler in summer. While durable, some types of natural stone are quite brittle and scratch or chip easily. Other types of natural stone are porous and require regular maintenance to prevent water damage or staining.
Other Types of Flooring
There are a few other popular types of flooring you may want to consider when updating your home to sell or stay:
- Carpet is popular with many homeowners in spaces where they want to add a bit of coziness or comfort. It’s available in a wide variety of colors, textures, and piles. Consider the amount of foot traffic a room has and the durability needed when making your selection.
- Cork is a renewable material that offers a comfortable, resilient surface. It’s great for high traffic areas, water-resistant, reduces noise, and absorbs shock, making it a great choice for home gyms.
- Bamboo flooring is technically a grass but often categorized with the hardwoods. Bamboo is renewable, extremely durable, and exceptionally scratch resistant.
Selecting the best flooring type for your home should be based on a combination of your goals (are you selling soon or staying long-term?), the way you live in and use the space, and your budget.
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