3 Great Choices but Which One is Right for You?
When it comes to flooring, many homeowners have a tough time coming to a decision. Do they go for the durability of tile, the classic beauty of real wood flooring, or the lush comfort of carpet? Like most choices, there are both good points and bad with any type of flooring.
In today’s wood-flooring market, there are plenty of choices. Traditional wood planks made of oak, maple, and other types of hard woods are still popular although more affordable laminate products are making headway with many consumers looking for the beauty of wood on a shoestring budget. Both options are durable, but require a little work to maintain the beautiful, shiny finish.
With a tile floor, the choices are virtually limitless. By mixing and matching a variety of patterns, creative homeowners can easily turn any idea into a custom design that makes their floor a unique work of art. Ceramic tile is close to disaster-proof; many people with homes in flood-prone areas choose this type of flooring for its durability. Other types of tile, including vinyl and porcelain, are also great choices, but they may not last quite as long as ceramic. The one drawback of tile is that it’s very durability makes it hard on the human body; hours of standing on ceramic tile can lead to aching feet and backs.
With the right type of carpet, homeowners can enjoy an affordable option that adds a warm touch to any home. Because carpeting comes in thousands of different colors, textures, and patterns, shoppers can find soft flooring that fits their sense of style perfectly. It’s the most effective option for anyone who likes to change their home decor every few years due to the ease of installation and lower price compared to other types of flooring. Although new carpet can feel luxurious on bare feet, it takes real care to maintain both the look and feel of this product. Stains can easily set in while food spills and repeated carpet cleanings can leave a sticky residue.
Making the Decision
Before making a final decision, consumers should compare this list of features to make sure they pick the flooring type that fits their individual needs and budget:
- Price – For a quality product, expect to pay at least the following amounts per square foot for each type of flooring: $3.00 for carpet, $4.00 for laminate, $4.50 for tile, and $5.00 for hardwood.
- Installation – Although it will be a big project, almost any do-it-yourselfer can install carpet or laminate if they take their time and follow directions. Tile can be self-installed, but special power tools are required to cut the tile and care must be taken to create a level floor. Because of the expense and special skills needed, hardwood floors should always be installed by professionals for the best result.
- Maintenance – All types of flooring require some form of maintenance. Tile flooring and laminate look good as new with a basic sweep and mop, but hardwood floors require sealing, waxing, and, eventually, refinishing. Carpeted floors should be vacuumed on a regular basis, spot-treated as needed, and shampooed at least twice a year. If dust or allergies are a concern, carpeting should be avoided.
- Comfort – Nothing quite compares to the soft, plush feel of new carpet. Hardwood floors can be cold on bare feet during the winter, but the organic materials do provide enough give to allow hours of pain-free standing and walking. Of the three choices, hard, ceramic tile provides the least comfortable surface.
- Durability – When properly installed, ceramic tile will last for a lifetime. Hardwood flooring offers the next level of durability, but it can buckle or warp with water damage or become scratched with wear. Laminate flooring should last for years, but it’s not designed for a lifetime. Even with proper care, most carpeting will last for up to 10 years, but not much longer; high-traffic areas may wear out much sooner.