Home Owner’s Guide to Choosing New Flooring
Congratulations on purchasing your new home. It’s an exciting time filled with a lot of potential and possibilities, both in future events and in interior design. Determining the interior design of your new home involves many aspects, but the flooring serves as the base of everything in your design. It is important to spend some time deciding which flooring is best for your home.
Why is it Important to Choose the Right Flooring?
- Flooring is Expensive
Even the most economical flooring is an investment. Buyer’s remorse is not something you want to have after making such a large purchase.
- Flooring Influences Design
Choices made today regarding color, texture, material, etc. will be in your home for many years, which will ultimately influence the design of the rest of your home. Making a bold color or texture choice now may conflict with design elements you wish to implement in the future should you wish to change up the design of the room.
- Flooring Offers Practical Functions
Did you know that carpeting aids in heat insulation as well as noise reduction? This kind of functional information is very important to have when comparing flooring options. Sometimes the purpose of one style of flooring is worth the price, while others may cost less and serve you better than another option you were initially considering.
- Flooring Can Affect Resale Value
More economical flooring options may be cheap now, but may negatively affect your selling price when it comes time to sell your home down the line. On the other hand, hardwood floors increase the selling price of your home. An added investment cost now could yield dividends in the future.
- We’re Here to Help
The following guide will walk you through various flooring options, pointing out their various features, as well as pros and cons of each. Even if you have an idea of what you wish to go with, we suggest reading this guide in full, as there are many pros and cons to each flooring option, some of which you may have not considered or even known about. Take in all of the information that you can, so you can make informed decisions. We hope you find this information helpful. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to Naffco. Happy hunting!
Types of Flooring
Naffco Floor & Interiors has been flooring homes since 1937. It’s safe to say that we’ve seen designs and tastes come and go over the years. Many homes today utilize one of a few materials for their flooring, depending on factors such as homeowner taste, room usage and budgetary constraints. Our guide is going to cover five different options.
Carpeting is an economical option that is fast and easy to install. It also provides sound dampening and heat insulation for the rooms it is placed in. Carpeting can help hide dirt so it can be cleaned less often than other floors. However, carpeting is easy to stain, so avoid situations that will cause spills. Certain carpet fibers can become crushed and matted over time; carpeting traditionally will only last 10-15 years in a home, which is far shorter than other options.
Hardwood flooring provides long-lasting quality and a timeless look, though many homeowners may be surprised to find out how versatile a hardwood floor can be for interior design. Different species or colors of wood can give a room an entirely different look. While oftentimes the most expensive, hardwood is regarded as a valuable option, as it is durable, classic in appearance and increases the property value of your home.
Initially viewed by many in the industry as a “cheap” replacement option, laminate floors have grown and become their own category in the world of flooring. Panels are comprised of fused synthetic floor layers, with a clear protective layer covering a detailed photographic layer. The photographic layer can often appear like wood, tile or stone, giving a natural look at a fraction of the cost. Laminate flooring is also generally low maintenance and easy to clean, but may not hold up well against excessive moisture.
Luxury Vinyl Flooring
Luxury vinyl (sometimes referred to as luxury tile) flooring is similar to laminate flooring but is composed of thicker, more solid pieces. Luxury vinyl flooring often has higher detail in its photographic layer, giving a more realistic appearance. Some luxury vinyl tiles utilize 3D printing or mixing with natural stone to provide added realism. Luxury vinyl provides a large variety of design compositions and offers superior durability and a competitive price point.
Tile flooring is a broad range of flooring materials, which consist of the shape and application of the flooring piece. Tiles come in many materials, including ceramic tile, glass, porcelain and natural stone. Tile flooring comes in a variety of colors and shapes, which can create interesting and unique patterns for any room in your home. Tile is ideal for bathrooms, kitchens and other rooms in your home that have a lot of moisture. A beautiful and long-lasting option, tile flooring is relatively easy to maintain and can be repaired easily by replacing individual broken tiles instead of the entire floor.
While wall-to-wall carpeting is more involved than simply throwing down a rug to cover a portion of your flooring, it is still among the most common options for household flooring.
Pros of Carpeted Flooring
Cost – Carpeting is among the least expensive flooring options, making it an easy choice for many homeowners needing to cover many new expenses at once.
Insulation – Carpeting can aid with heat insulation, keeping your rooms warmer in the colder months.
Noise Reduction – Due to the fibers and the padding required beneath, your carpeting can help to control noise spreading into other rooms in the house.
Color & Style Variety – While other flooring options provide a range of colors to choose from, none are as diverse as carpeting. Different carpet fibers also play a role in creating diverse looks for rooms, or providing diverse levels of softness.
Hiding Dirt – Carpets can be very good at hiding trace amounts of dirt or dust between fibers. Hard floor surfaces have nowhere for these elements to hide. This can give the appearance of a “cleaner” looking carpet.
Cons of Carpeted Flooring
Stains – Many traditional carpeting fibers are prone to staining if exposed to spills, stains can set in very quickly.
Maintenance – In order to keep a fresh appearance and get rid of deep-set dirt, carpeting will require the occasional shampooing or deep cleaning on top of regular, traditional vacuuming.
Lack of Longevity – Carpeting tends to last only 10-15 years, meaning new carpeting (or new flooring) may be required a few times over during the time you own your home.
Things to Consider
Lifestyle can play a great factor in deciding if carpeting is the right choice. Wearing shoes in the house tends to bring in dirt and other elements from outside, which may stain or set into a carpet. Families with pets may find their paws do the same, or that animal hairs can quickly get set into carpeting as well. Families with young children may find that spills and stains can occur more often.
Not all carpet fibers are the same. Many synthetic fibers or coated fibers are tougher against stains. Many natural fibers provide soft and natural looks to rooms. There are also a variety of ways the fibers are attached to the carpeting mat, which can greatly affect the look and feel.
Carpeting is typically the least expensive option for flooring when it comes to upfront costs, though there are added costs that come into play later on, including higher maintenance with cleaning and multiple replacements over the course of a lifetime. Knowing that a carpet may only last 10 to 15 years, it may be wise to consider the cost of several carpet replacements when making comparisons to the cost of a longer-lasting option such as hardwood, vinyl or tile flooring. Not every homeowner may be in a position for the upfront costs of a more expensive option, though others may be willing to work out paying for a higher cost upfront to not worry about reinstallations for new carpeting down the line. The choice will also depend on how long you plan to live in your home.
Carpeting’s relatively short lifespan is not all bad – it can provide a reason to “freshen things up” or to modernize a room’s interior design. What’s considered current today could very well be seen as “dated” tomorrow, and replacing the carpeting can lead to a redesign that your future self will love.
Hardwood flooring is one of the oldest and most respected styles of home flooring. It is regarded as a stylish and durable option that leaves a lasting impression. While often expensive, it is one of the only flooring options that can actually increase your home’s property value. And, to the surprise of many, hardwood can be incredibly versatile to interior design.
Pros of Hardwood Flooring
Longevity – With proper maintenance, hardwood flooring can outlast a homeowner’s time in a house.
Property Value – The benefits of hardwood flooring provides market value, increasing the potential selling price of your home.
Design Variety – With many species of wood, board shapes and stain & finish colors, there is a wide spectrum of design choices utilizing hardwood flooring.
Stain Resistance – Finished hardwood offers protection against stains so long as spills and liquid messes are cleaned up in a timely manner. Spills can easily be mopped up.
Cons of Hardwood Flooring
Cost – Hardwood flooring is among the most expensive options on the market.
Excessive Moisture – Hardwood floors are often not recommended for bathrooms or the laundry. These rooms tend to have a lot of extra moisture compared to other rooms in the home. While hardwood stands up well against normal humidity, the excess water in the laundry or in bathrooms could leave hardwood floors prone to damage over time.
Natural Movement – Wood expands and contracts with changes to humidity and temperature, like most natural materials. If not maintained, you may see the hardwood boards shifting slightly over time, which can cause damage to the boards or leave gaps in between boards.
Things to Consider
The best way to combat hardwood’s natural movement is to keep a consistent temperature in your home year-round. This will prevent the boards from expanding and contracting as much, helping to keep them in place.
Every 10 years or so, you will want to redo the floor in order to get the finish back to its original look. This is also the perfect time to take care of any damage repairs. This occasional maintenance keeps the floor protected and looking fresh for decades.
Hardwood often features far more design variety than most homeowners expect. With over 1,000 species of wood, there is a lot of variety in color, wood grain and overall appearance.
If you plan on selling your home eventually, hardwood flooring is one of the only flooring options that would increase the value of your property. The expense of investing in hardwood today could be recouped when you sell.
Laminate flooring is made up of many layers of high quality synthetic flooring material. These layers are fused together to create a flooring board or tile, which is topped with a photographic layer set beneath a protective top coat. The photographic layer creates the look of the top of the laminate panel. These layers emulate the look of wood or stone, providing a homeowner a natural look at a fraction of the cost of the natural materials.
Pros of Laminate Flooring
Cost – Laminate flooring provides a high quality product which gives the appearance of a natural material at a fraction of the cost.
Uniformity – Unlike their natural counterparts, the appearance of the laminate panels are manmade, which creates a uniform look from panel to panel. There is no worry of visual imperfections or blemishes; the final look is flawless.
Durability – Laminate panels can take a lot of wear and tear, and still look brand new. Panels are hard to scratch, chip or dent, and hold up against such abuse far better than natural materials such as stone or wood flooring.
Low-Maintenance – Laminate flooring is among the easiest of flooring options to clean up after a spill. The protective top coating is stain resistant, so there is no risk of the flooring absorbing a new color from a spill. The cleaning process is simple; household cleaners are often all you need.
Cons of Laminate Flooring
Stigma – Some homeowners and contractors tend to view laminate flooring as “fake” flooring since it is made of synthetic materials but designed to look like natural ones. IT also has a stigma of simply being a “cheap” option, though the market for laminate flooring has increased greatly over the years.
Appearance – While many may appreciate the uniformity that comes with laminate boards, that uniformity can make the floor appear “fake” to some who compare it to the irregularities from natural building materials. Some panels may look impressive or attractive, while some may not appear quite “realistic” to suit the taste of every homeowner.
No Added Resale Value – Laminate flooring will not increase your selling price compared to a home with hardwood flooring, all else being equal.
Things to Consider:
If you’re a homeowner who only likes to use natural materials in their home, laminate flooring may not be a suitable choice.
Laminate flooring boards will need to be replaced if damaged. There really is no way to repair a laminate flooring tile if it has worn down or become damaged. Unlike hardwood floors which could be sanded and refinished to get them looking new again, laminate simply needs to be replaced. Thankfully, it takes a lot to damage a laminate board. And due to laminate flooring’s lower costs, even replacing a few boards will keep total expenses below the cost of a hardwood floor. Make sure to purchase a few extra panels when ordering your floor to replace any damaged panels in the future. This will keep you from having to find a matching panel design later on.
Laminate’s stigma has lessened a lot over the years, slowly becoming more widely accepted. If you are not planning to sell your home for many years, there is a chance that laminate will be considered valuable enough to offer an increase in property value, though there is no guarantee what the trends in interior design will be in the future. Any prospective buyer will bring their own preferences into the homes they consider purchasing, and your taste now won’t please everyone later, and that is okay.
Luxury Vinyl Flooring
Luxury vinyl flooring takes the elements of vinyl tile flooring and build on them in both quality and realism. The “luxury” classification puts this style of vinyl flooring in a category all its own, offering an increased amount of quality and detail in appearance. Luxury vinyl is also referred to as “Luxury Tile” on occasion. This usually pertains to square-shaped panels of luxury vinyl.
Pros of Luxury Vinyl
Superior Quality – Luxury vinyl panels are significantly thicker than laminate panels, and can be created of even more durable materials to provide a flooring panels that can stand up to even more damage than before without breaking.
Superior Appearance – While laminate flooring crates a good facsimile of wood and stone, luxury vinyl usually features higher detail in their photographic layer. This practice crates photorealistic appearances of the materials the luxury vinyl panels are emulating, giving the most natural look possible to a synthetic material.
Low-Maintenance – Just as with laminate flooring, luxury vinyl is hard to damage and easy to clean. Simple household cleaners will keep your luxury vinyl looking fresh for years to come.
Cons of Luxury Vinyl
Higher Prices – Superior quality comes with its cost. Compared to regular laminate tiles, luxury vinyl panels will cost more.
No Increased Value – Despite the superior quality, luxury vinyl will not increase the property value of your home like hardwood flooring. However, the greater appearance may offer a better value than normal laminate.
Synthetic Stigma – Not every homeowner wishes to use synthetic materials, which will disqualify luxury vinyl for many. Even with its “luxury” status, the material may simply be passed over as “cheap plastic”.
Things to Consider
Luxury vinyl’s price point will be higher than typical laminate flooring, but it still incredibly competitive to natural building materials. A luxury vinyl floor will cost significantly less than hardwood.
Even though it is sometimes regarded as “tile”, luxury vinyl flooring is not tile when it comes to application. Most luxury vinyl panels are laid in place like traditional flooring boards, and not adhered to a cement or similar substance like traditional tile.
Some luxury vinyl flooring panels are blurring the line between synthetic and natural by mixing natural stone into the photographic layer for the most realistic look possible. Others still utilize modern building technologies such as 3D printing to create realistic wood and stone textures.
When designing your rooms, material and structure are not the only factors. The overall visual appeal for each room is also incredibly important. While one flooring material may be more practical for a budget, another may be a closer fit to the look you wanted your room to have. Different colors and textures will set the tone for the room. For example, smooth dark hardwood floors may give an air of sophistication, while medium-colored and highly textured hardwood may offer a “folksy” or welcoming appearance.
Most flooring options come in a neutral color spectrum. It is not uncommon to look through flooring options to see a sea of whites, browns, tans and grays. These neutral colors create a stable base from which to design off of with other accessories such as wall coloring, window treatments or furniture.
Light colored flooring can open up a space and make a room appear larger. This may prove useful in smaller houses or in rooms that you wish to add the appearance of size or space. Medium color tones offer a lot of versatility, and can provide a bold color choice in cases such as carpeting. Carpeting and tile will give you more color choices than most other flooring options.
Dark colored floors can provide a classic appearance and an aged elegance to the room, especially with hardwood. Be careful not to pair dark flooring with too many other darker pieces, as the room may become difficult to light.
Texture is going to be a very important factor in your interior design. Most flooring options come with some visual texture, whether it is the appearance of wood grain, the uneven surface of natural stone, or the fabric twists of carpeting. Considering the other pieces in the room, you want to pick a texture that will not contrast with the other design elements. These elements can be other parts of your flooring, especially if you opt for tile flooring. Choosing tiles that complement one another will bring the room together and not have different colors tiles fighting for the attention of your eyes. If you choose two different tiles with very different textures, they may contrast when put next to one another, losing their overall appeal. Placing samples of your proposed materials side-by-side will help you determine if texture will clash with one another.
Many species of medium colored hardwood boards tend to feature a lot of wood knots, which are a wonderful way to provide additional texture to a room. If you don’t like knots, another option for added hardwood texture is finding a hardwood board with a distinct wood grain pattern. Laminate and luxury vinyl boards can also provide a detailed wood grain texture, many of which do not feature wood knots. If you opt for this kind of textured hardwood look, it will be key to find accessories for the room that do not contrast the wood grain and knots with similar but different bold patterns or designs.
So, you have an ideal version of what you would like your new floor to be, but now reality sets in. How much is all of this going to cost? Is it even worth it? Should I just go with a cheaper option? Here are some factors that will determine your potential flooring budget, as well as how to determine a rough estimate of your floor’s budget.
Things to Consider
How long do you plan to stay in your home?
It’s easy to look at home improvements as investments if selling is on the horizon. It may feel like a wise choice to pick a flooring option that would add home value if you are not planning on staying long, even if it something you don’t necessarily love. However, if you are not selling in the next few years, you want to spend quality time in your home, the biggest investment of them all. Pick the option that makes you happiest or one that makes your life the easiest. It’s not always about the bottom line, after all.
What is the lifespan on your flooring option?
Carpeting doesn’t last as long as hardwood or other options. While something like hardwood may cost a lot upfront, it will typically only have to be done once. If you plan to stay in your home for roughly 15 to 30 years, you will need to put in new carpeting at some point. If you plan to stay longer than 30 years, you’ll likely have to do this one more time as well. While those costs will not be upfront, knowing what sort of investment you’re getting into over the life of your home will help you decide between options.
Are you planning on professional installation?
Professional installation is often viewed as expensive, and while it does cost less on paper to perform a DIY installation, make no mistake: both options are expensive. There are perks and drawbacks to both options. DIY installations provide an added sense of accomplishment and can be done on your own time, around other commitments without having to be home to let a contractor in to do work. However, working around other commitments can cause a project to drag on longer than desired. Additionally, most installations will require renting some specialty tools, typically at a daily rate, which will add to the cost of the DIY project. Professional installation provides peace of mind in knowing that the work is being handled by an expert with their own specialty tools, and will be done according to a contract which ensures end dates, giving you no extra work or costs. Granted, the costs can increase a budget by a bit and there is the inconvenience of being home to let contractors in. The key is finding the right solution that works best for you.
How to Determine Material Costs
Knowing the square footage of your floor is going to help you here. For rooms that have extensions or closets, or any other area that sticks out beyond a typical rectangle or square, you can separate those into different areas for the time being. Measure the length and width of each area (in feet). Multiply the length times the width to determine the square footage of that area. Write down your square footage of each area. Add each area’s numbers up to determine the total square footage to your floor.
Armed with these numbers, you can visit your Naffco retailer to find out the cost of the flooring you wish to install. Multiplying the cost of your proposed flooring by the total square footage will give you a rough idea of the material cost. You will likely need to buy a little more material to accommodate any areas with irregular shapes or curves. Additional tiles or boards can always be stored to be used as replacements in case of damage down the line. Carpeting may require a larger cut depending on how it is installed; since carpeting is often one large piece and not broken into sections, you may need to buy the largest length and width to accommodate most (or all) areas at once. Your local Naffco center can advise you on the best measurement for carpeting in your home.
You’ve looked over materials. You’ve estimated a budget. You’ve considered a number of designs. Consider yourself an informed flooring shopper. Now all you have to do is decide on which flooring options to go with. So which do you pick?
How to Make your Decision
Consider Your Lifestyle
Every flooring option comes with pros and cons that work for some homeowners and are intolerable to others. The key to finding the best flooring for a new home is finding the option that suits your lifestyle. This will change from room to room, so keep this in mind as well. Certain flooring options work better in some rooms over others, and there is no rule that states you need to pick one flooring option for your entire home. If you prefer shoes on when you are inside, carpeting may be limited to rooms without a lot of foot traffic. If you are worried about slipping on a wet ceramic or glass tile floor, you may want to look into stone tiles for a little extra grip.
Consider Your Personal Preferences
Choosing a flooring option that you enjoy is one of the most important aspects of selecting new flooring. It is a choice you will literally have to live with, and see in your home every day. You may love the idea of one flooring material, but not want to look at it every day. For example, you may love the durability and lower price of laminate flooring, but not be too fond of synthetic flooring materials. If you don’t love it, don’t buy it.
Consider Your Budget
No matter how wise an investment it may seem, hardwood floors may just not be in the cards. If it costs so much that you look at your new floor every day asking yourself “how will I afford this?”, then what’s the point? There are many expenses that come with a new home. Choose a flooring option that won’t break the bank and risk you losing your brand new home.
Consider Your Future
Flooring is going to last a long time, but some options may only be temporary. If a more affordable, temporary solution works for the time being and you exercise proper financial planning, you may be able to redo your floors with a different flooring option down the line. This is not the most economical choice overall, but it is not outside the realm of possibility.
No matter what you decide, we hope you love your choice, both in its beauty and quality, and in knowing you took the time to discover the best possible option to floor the rooms in your new home.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this informational guide to flooring. We look forward to serving your flooring and interior design needs over the course of your home ownership.