Decoding Flooring: Handy Guide to Selecting the Best Flooring Material

When it comes to renovating your home, choosing new floors can make a dramatic difference in the look and feel of the space. With so many flooring options to pick from, it can get overwhelming to decide what’s best for your lifestyle, aesthetic preferences and budget. This comprehensive guide takes you through all the popular types of residential flooring along with their pros and cons that you need to guide your flooring installation or replacement decision.

In addition to this guide you can find more tips, inspiration, and insights on flooring projects to make your house feel like home, if you click here.

Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors never go out of style – the timeless material adds warmth and value to any home. With proper care, hardwood floors can last over a hundred years. The wood brings rich texture and grain patterns that look elegant in both traditional and modern decors. Popular options like oak, maple, cherry etc. come in a diverse range of stains from light to dark hues.


  • Beautiful and durable with appreciating value
  • Varied shades and wood species to choose from
  • Can be repeatedly refinished and maintained.


  • More expensive upfront costs
  • Easily dented and scratched, requiring extra care
  • Moisture sensitive, so not ideal for some areas

Laminate Wood Floors

Laminates recreate the aesthetic with a durable and affordable alternative for hardwood looks on a budget. These engineered wood floors have a composite wood base layer topped by image layer mimicking real hardwood textures. The protective coating resists scratches, stains and fading over long use. Easy DIY installation options make laminates a versatile and wallet-friendly choice.


  • Affordable wood flooring option
  • Very realistic wood visuals and textures
  • Highly durable and scratch-resistant surface


  • Can appear obviously “fake” on close inspection
  • Not refinishable
  • Moisture damage risks without proper underlayment

Luxury Vinyl Planks (LVP)

Through high-definition imaging, luxury vinyl flooring replicates visuals of premium materials like wood and stone. LVP clicks together without glue for DIY-friendly installation. The completely waterproof construction holds up well against spills, pets etc. LVP comes in tile and plank formats with textured surfaces mimicking finishes like hardwood and slate. Budget pricing makes this an ideal pick for heavy traffic areas.


  • Waterproof, kid/pet-friendly flooring
  • Affordable yet luxurious visuals
  • Easy DIY installation, no glue needed


  • Lacks richness and depth of natural wood/stone
  • Heavy objects can dent planks over time
  • Poor quality LVP fades, stains easily

Ceramic & Porcelain Tile Floors

Introduce long-wearing stone visuals indoors through ceramic and porcelain tiles. From subtle marbles to bold patterns inspired by terrazzo/cement, tile crafts one-of-a-kind floors. Glossy or matte finishes determine light reflection. Both porcelain and ceramic offer durability, but porcelain grades are denser and more impervious to moisture. Easy care through sweeping and damp mopping makes tile idea for kitchens, baths, etc.


  • Extremely durable, built to last
  • Huge variety of textures/patterns/colors
  • Stains less than other materials


  • Hard, and cold underfoot so consider radiant heating
  • Dropped items like glass can crack tiles
  • Challenging DIY installation, expect professional help

Natural Stone Floors

For unmatched luxury, natural stone slabs like marble, travertine and slate create artisan floors, bringing the elegance of nature indoors. Every stone surface has distinct veining and tones for fully unique floors. Soapstones and slates stand up excellently to heavy foot traffic. Reactive stones like marble may etch/stain and need resealing over time. Professional installation is a must to achieve perfectly level floors.


  • One-of-a-kind elegant floors
  • Certain stones are very hardy and durable
  • Keeps resale value high


  • Very expensive, especially for large spaces
  • Etching, and scratching risks for softer stones
  • Extensive yearly upkeep

Concrete Flooring

Modern minimalists and industrial-style spaces showcase the structural beauty of concrete floors. The muted gray palette anchors the space to let décor shine. Stains like acid washes introduce extra visual drama. Dyes also color concrete in bold hues from blue to green. Easy maintenance boosts concrete’s everyday liveability. But concrete requires significant prep work, crack repairs etc., before installation.


  • Versatile blank canvas for design ideas
  • Stands up to heavy impacts
  • Cost-effective floor for large spaces


  • Very hard underfoot, not for everyone
  • Appearance inconsistent over large areas
  • Major prep work before installation

Cork Tiles & Planks

Sustainably harvested cork forms moisture-resistant tiles perfect for kitchens, living rooms etc. Available in natural earthy hues and a rainbow palette, cork adds soft cushioning that’s gentle underfoot for standing comfort. Cork naturally repels bugs, mold, and mildew despite humidity and moisture exposure. Fast DIY installation coupled with sound and heat insulation makes cork floors an excellent eco-conscious choice.


  • Naturally renewable, eco-friendly material
  • Comfortable, ergonomic cushioning
  • Moisture/mold/bug resistant


  • Prone to indentations from furniture
  • Sealants eventually wear off
  • Appearance inconsistent across tiles

Bamboo Flooring

For exotic eco-friendly floors, stranded woven bamboo boards make captivating floors full of natural variations. Bamboo is a highly renewable grass species that achieves maturity rapidly without replanting. Durable bamboo floors handle heavy foot traffic gracefully. Impressive stability means minimal expansion/contraction, so gaps don’t appear between boards over seasons. Modern finishes and tints customize the signature bamboo visuals.


  • Made from renewable, fast-growing grass
  • Great durability and stability
  • Resists moisture, insects and rot naturally.


  • Prone to scratches and dents
  • Unfinished bamboo stains easily
  • Color fade risks faster than wood

Linoleum Flooring

Linoleum crafts natural floors from renewable ingredients like linseed oil, cork dust, and wood flour placed onto jute backing. Antimicrobial properties inhibit odor/stain-causing bacterial growth. Flexible sheets soften underfoot for ergonomic comfort quieter than hard surfaces when walking over it. Vivid marbled colorways blend artistically across the floors for one-of-a-kind visuals.


  • Made from predominantly natural materials
  • Has innate antimicrobial properties
  • Soft, flexible, and comfortable


  • Avoid abrasive cleaners that can dull the finish
  • Not as durable as vinyl, laminate
  • Challenging DIY installation

Now that you know the pros and cons of popular flooring types, assessing your space requirements, priorities, and constraints will lead to the ideal material choice to install at your home. 

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