Replacing old flooring can be quite an undertaking. There are many factors at play.
Do you choose DIY versus hiring a contractor?
One section of the home versus the entire house?
And, of course, you’ll need to decide which flooring solution is right for you. With so many options out there, this part of the process can be stressful and time-consuming. If you’re reading this guide, you’re likely already researching which option is right for you. Well, you’ve come to the right place!
Take a look at this complete list of home flooring options to inform your decision.
A timeless classic, hardwood flooring is a highly sought-after option many homeowners prize. And for good reason! It has a stunning look and a worthwhile return on investment. This flooring comes in either 1.5 - 2.5 inches strips or 4 - 8 inches wide planks. Homeowners can choose popular options such as oak or opt for a more opulent material such as bocote.
Hardwood is one of the most popular flooring options. It undoubtedly comes with a great number of benefits. Here is what you will love about wood flooring:
- Matches an array of interior styles
- A long-lasting flooring solution
- Can be refinished for even further longevity
- Can increase the value of your home
- Easy to clean
Wood flooring does come with its fair share of disadvantages as well. If you’re sold on this option, be sure to consider the drawbacks before moving forward with your project:
- Vulnerable to damage, can scratch easily
- Can be pricey to install
- Can expand with temperature
- Will need refinishing every 10 years to look its best
- Can be noisy upon stepping
If you have your heart set on hardwood flooring, be prepared to shell out around $2,492 - $6,759 for labor and material fees. Most installations will be around $6 to $12 per square foot. Higher-end jobs might climb up to $13 to $25 per square foot.
If you love the idea of wood flooring but don’t love the price tag, engineered wood floors might be a good fit for you. This type of flooring is created by placing a thin layer of natural wood on top of a base of manufactured material that’s usually composed of stone dust and wood fiber.
It comes in a variety of colors and plank sizes so they can fit seamlessly into your unique interior design aesthetic.
There are a number of reasons why you may choose to install engineered wood over other options. It can be a great fit for someone looking for a beautiful flooring solution for less than actual hardwood. Here are some more benefits:
- Offers an expensive look (i.e. mahogany) with a lower cost
- More dent and scratch-resistant than regular hardwood
- Doesn’t shift with temperature and humidity
- Possible to install directly over a concrete subfloor
While there are many benefits of installing engineered wood there are some definite drawbacks to keep in mind as well:
- Can usually only be refinished once or twice
- Does not last as long as real wood
- Doesn’t hold up to water damage well
- Low-quality engineered wood can off-gas VOCs
- Can fade when exposed to the sun for long periods
The average cost of engineered wood flooring is roughly $3.05 per square foot – significantly less expensive than traditional wood flooring. Installation cost of labor will be comparable to solid wood. Keep in mind that some more high-end types of engineered wood will be more expensive than cheaper, natural wood.
A tried and true classic, carpet is another popular choice. Often found in bedrooms and living areas, this flooring solution provides a cozy underfoot feel. It comes in a range of colors, textures, and materials. Some popular materials include wool, polyester, nylon, and acrylic. Within each of these categories, there are tons of different styles and colors to choose from.
Carpet can be a great flooring option for several reasons. Many homeowners come back to this flooring solution time and time again. Here are some reasons why:
- It’s an affordable option
- Soft and warm underfoot feel
- Provides some sound-proofing between levels
- Many colors and materials for different styles
- Provides a non-slip grip
As many benefits there are for carpets, there’s an equal number of cons. Here are some considerations to keep in mind before installing this type of flooring:
- Won’t look fresh and new for long
- Requires frequent maintenance (i.e. vacuuming, deep conditioning)
- Can hold allergens
- Shorter lifespan than other flooring types
- Starting to fall out of vogue
- Stains easily
You can expect to pay anywhere from $2 to $4 per square foot for carpet. Labor cost for carpet flooring for a 16x20-foot room will be around $960 to $1,920. Pricing will depend on the material quality and pattern of the carpet you choose.
Epoxy is a popular flooring option for both residential and commercial building owners alike. This sturdy, long-lasting flooring has certainly earned its reputation as an incredible floor option for houses. Comprised of a two-part combination of polymer resins and hardeners, it dazzles with a vast collection of color options and textures. While it’s widely known to be a garage flooring solution, epoxy is great in basements, kitchens, bathrooms, and more too.
You’ll come to find that there are many positives to choosing epoxy flooring. Here are some qualities you’ll love when you choose to go with epoxy flooring.
- Easy to clean
- Solvent and acid-resistant
- Can easily be installed with underfloor heating
- Comes in a variety of colors and textures
- Can be installed quickly when done professionally
- Can be DIY-friendly
- Extremely durable
Of course, there are some considerations to be aware of when you decide to give epoxy flooring a try. Keep these drawbacks in mind when you are weighing out the options:
- Can be susceptible to cracks and scratches
- Can be slippery without added grip
- Installation can be complicated
- Some epoxy can give off an ammonia smell
- Replacing and removing epoxy is challenging
Epoxy flooring will run you anywhere between $4.33 to $8.68 per square foot depending on the quality and if you decide to add texture or color chips. Since this flooring can be installed directly on top of concrete, labor costs are lower than say wood flooring where an underlayment needs to be installed as well.
Polyaspartic Floor Coatings
If you’re looking for a flooring solution that’s a step above epoxy, polyaspartic floor coatings might be a good option for you. While it has a similar resinous finish to epoxy flooring, polyaspartic floor coatings are comprised of ester and various other materials rather than polymer resins. It hardens to create a more abrasion-resistant finish than traditional epoxy.
There are many benefits to choosing polyaspartic floor coatings for your home. Here are some qualities you’ll love about it:
- Doesn’t yellow when exposed to UV rays
- Can be installed in -30°F to 140°F temperatures
- Can last up to 20 years
- Able to withstand heavy weight 24 hours after installation
- Eco-friendly and low VOC emission
This flooring system isn’t going to be a great fit for all homeowners. Keep these considerations in mind while vetting polyaspartic coatings as a possible option:
- More expensive than traditional epoxy
- It’s complicated to install
- Can dry before fully installed
- Can’t be applied if there’s high moisture
- Tough to remove and repair
You can expect to pay around $5 – $7 per square foot. You can expect to pay around $2,000 – $2,800 for a two-car garage. These prices will vary depending on the size of the room, the number of layers applied, and the addition of any color or textured chips.
Elegance is embodied by the ceramic tile floor. Made from shale and clay, they come in a vast variety of colors and patterns. There are four types of ceramic tiles to choose from: glazed ceramic, terracotta, quarry tile, and porcelain. The tiles themselves can be cut into many different shapes. While they have a stunning look, they are notorious for not being very durable when under heavy use.
Ceramic tile can be a great choice for certain homeowners. Here are some of the benefits you will enjoy if you opt to choose this flooring:
- There are a variety of styles to choose from
- Ties a room together nicely
- Great for high-moisture areas
- Fairly low maintenance
- Durable under light use
Tile can come with its fair share of downsides as well. As beautiful as this option is, some of these cons might dissuade some homeowners from choosing it as a floor option:
- Not durable in high-use areas
- Can make footsteps louder
- Certain types of tile are slippery
- Can be pricey
- Complicated to install (not always DIY-friendly)
With such a vast variety of options when it comes to tile, there is a wide range for how much it will cost to install. According to Home Advisor, it can run you anywhere from $0.50 to $35 per square foot. Since it can be so expensive, many homeowners opt to install it in a small area of the house such as a bathroom, kitchen, or mudroom.
If you're searching for a budget-friendly flooring option, laminate flooring might be a good choice for you. Laminate flooring is essentially a printed photo of a traditional flooring option such as wood, stone, or tile placed on top of a layer of plywood or compressed fiber. It usually comes in planks or tiles. This versatile option is great for a variety of rooms.
Laminate flooring has garnered a lot of popularity for a reason. Many thrifty homeowners are drawn to these benefits:
- Can mimic other popular flooring options like wood and tile
- Budget-friendly option
- Very low-maintenance
- Resistant to scratches, dents, and stains
- Can be installed in larger areas for a small price
While the price tag for this flooring option is compelling, there are some downsides as well. If you’re considering laminate flooring, you should be aware of these drawbacks:
- Vulnerable to moisture damage
- Not easy to repair
- Can be slippery
- Not great for kitchens or bathrooms
- Must be replaced regularly
Expect to pay somewhere between $2 and $8 per square foot for laminate flooring. Since this flooring is so simple, it is fairly DIY-friendly. If you choose to tackle this project on your own, you might be able to shave down the cost even more. Just keep in mind that poor installation will lead to shorter longevity.
Flexible and soft, vinyl flooring is another option on the cheaper end of the floor material spectrum. It’s made by adding a layer of polyvinyl chloride plastic on top of a layer of felt. Some people choose to add another layer of foam for an even more comfortable underfoot feel. Similar to laminate, vinyl can mimic tile, stone, wood, and more.
There are quite a few reasons why someone might choose to go with vinyl flooring. Here are some pros to this flooring choice:
- Can withstand heavy use and moisture
- Comes in many colors and patterns
- Affordable alternatives to classic floor choices
- Closely mimics wood flooring
- Easy to install
While vinyl flooring will be a great choice for some, it won’t be compatible with all homeowners’ needs. Here are some drawbacks to be mindful of:
- Cheaper vinyl flooring will have less color and patterns to choose from
- Can get scratched easier than harder floor types
- Not an eco-friendly option
- Can emit high levels of VOCs
- Must be replaced regularly
- Can be damaged easily by heavy objects
As we mentioned, there’s a lot of variance between the lowest and highest quality vinyl flooring. With that being said, there’s also a wide range for how much you might pay. Most projects will cost somewhere between $2 and $14 per square foot. It will all depend on how high the quality of the vinyl is and if you get professional help or not.
A long-time favorite, linoleum has been around since the 1880s. It took off in popularity around the 1940s. Once vinyl came around, it lost some popularity. But this old-school option is being seen in a new light now that sustainability is in the mind of more and more homeowners.
Unlike vinyl, it is made from renewable materials such as cork powder and linseed oil. Linoleum comes in a variety of colors and has a distinct look from other types of flooring.
There are plenty of reasons to jump back on the linoleum flooring bandwagon. Here are a few reasons to consider this option:
- It is more durable than vinyl
- Eco-friendly flooring solution
- Doesn’t emit VOCs
- Easy to install
- Can last up to 40 years
Of course, there’s a reason this flooring hasn’t regained its former popularity quite yet. Here are some qualities you might not like about linoleum flooring:
- Can tear and dent when met with a sharp object
- Gets discolored when exposed to UV rays
- Not as water-resistant as vinyl
- Can give off a smell for weeks after installation
- Not DIY-friendly
There are several types of linoleum options available such as sheet or tile linoleum. The cost will vary depending on which type you choose but you can generally expect to pay anywhere from $3.50 to $8.00 per square foot when installing linoleum.