From wood, stone and tile, to laminate, vinyl, rubber, carpet and many more – here are various floor materials for your different rooms at home, with advantages and disadvantages of each.
Choosing flooring materials for your home can be difficult. It depends on a lot of things, like which room you’re thinking of, your design preferences, capacity to clean and maintain, and of course your budget.
Normally, the more durable and better-looking flooring type you choose, the price can be higher.
So, to select flooring materials for your home you need to be clever, go through the advantages and disadvantages of each type and mix and match based on your needs.
To help you, we are publishing this blog post on different flooring types for your home along with advantages and disadvantages of each and our designer’s insight and pro tips on how to best use them.
Hardwood flooring (also known as timber flooring) is one of the most popular types of flooring, found in many houses with different kinds of interior design styles.
It adds cosiness and can be laid in various patterns to suit different design styles.
There are various grains, tones and finishes that you can apply to hardwood to change its appearance and make it suitable for various home design settings.
Finally, you can paint and/or stain timber floors to change and improve its look.
Try it out in your kitchen, living room and hallways.
Designer’s insight: Exposure to moisture can spoil the flooring, so you should not use it in your bathroom. Talk to a bathroom design expert for better flooring options for your bathroom.
- Versatile: It can be used in living spaces of various styles.
- Durable: Hardwood is resilient and long-lasting, provided you treat it properly.
- Cleaning: Cleaning timber floors is quite easy.
- Home value: Many interior design and real estate experts say it can increase home value.
- Maintenance: Maintenance of hardwood flooring can be a bit expensive and difficult. You may have to hire an interior design contractor to do it for you.
- Moisture: Timber flooring materials are susceptible to moisture damage.
- Bleaching: Prolonged exposure to sunlight (UV light) can bleach some kinds of timber flooring.
Engineered wood flooring
The first question to be answered is: What is engineered wood flooring and how does it differ from hardwood flooring?
Well, engineered wood is made of layers of different kinds of wood, each of which give it a distinct feature (like resistance to being deformed by heat).
For example, engineered wood material can have:
- A top layer (called a veneer in interior design jargon) of real wood, followed by…
- A core of heat-treated wood, and…
- A base of bend-resistant material (to deal with problems like shrinkage and warping).
This design gives engineered wood stability and makes it a great choice for places where the floor can become heated.
Designer’s insight: A high-quality coating can preserve its quality for a longer period of time.
- Stability: It is more stable than hardwood; it does not bend or warp easily with changes in temperature and/or humidity.
- You can talk with your designer about using it in your kitchen design.
- Moisture-resistant: Engineered wood resists getting warped due to changes in moisture levels.
- DIY: With proper guidance, you can install it yourself.
- Refinishing: It is more difficult to refinish than hardwood because the top layer is quite thin.
- Scratches: Unless it is maintained (refinished, sanded and so on) properly, it can develop scratches over time.
Stone is a really good flooring material that can be practically useful and long-lasting. It suits both traditional and modern homes. It has a natural beauty that is unmatched by any other kind of flooring.
There are several types of stone flooring like limestone, marble, slate and terracotta.
You can go for stone flooring in your living room design.
Designer’s insight: If the base on which you lay marble floors is not stable, it will cause movements and cracks in the floor.
Pro tip: Use stone flooring in your hallways to make them look elegant.
Pro tip: Stone flooring can add luxury in bathroom interior design.
- Long lasting: It lasts for a long time, in some cases for decades.
- Home value: Stone floors can boost your property value significantly.
- Ambient temperature: Stone is porous which means it cannot trap heat or cold, and so it matches the room’s ambient temperature.
- Dirt: It doesn’t allow dirt germs, dust and pet hairs to collect.
- Maintenance: As stone is porous, you will need to re-seal periodically.
- Needs to be well-laid: If not laid correctly by an expert contractor, it can develop cracks.
Did you know? Every experienced interior designer develops a network of contacts (including expert contractors) through our work in the industry. We can refer you to them if you consult with us. It’s one of the things your interior designer won’t tell you.
Marble flooring adds a premium and timeless look to your living space that few other flooring types can do.
On the other hand, marble is a soft stone and somewhat prone to cracks and breakage.
Designer’s insight: Marble stones are less porous which makes them a great choice for bathrooms because they won’t allow water to seep through.
Ceramic tile flooring
Ceramic tiles are made of clay, sand, water and some other materials. They are lighter in weight than floor types like stone.
They are good for kitchens, bathrooms, utility rooms and so on.
- Scratch-resistant: Ceramic tiles won’t get scratched easily.
- Stain-resistant: Their resistance to getting stained is what makes them useful as kitchen flooring.
- Moisture-resistant: Ceramic tiles won’t get damaged by changes in moisture levels and/or humidity.
- Not hardwearing: Ceramic tile floors can crack and chip quite easily.
Porcelain tile flooring
Porcelain tile flooring is made from natural white clay, with sand and some other substances added.
How does porcelain flooring differ from ceramic flooring? Both are made from natural clay, but with different materials added.
Porcelain is a good flooring type for kitchen interior design.
- Low maintenance: They are easy to maintain.
- Durable: They are more durable than many other flooring material types.
- Cost: They are a bit on the costly side, certainly more expensive than ceramic tiles.
- Installation: They are hard to install. Installation requires extensive preparation.
Many people think concrete flooring should be chosen only for less-visited and less-important places in your house like the garage.
That is not true.
- Easy to clean: A thorough scrub will be enough to clean the floor.
- Noise-absorbing: Concrete flooring can absorb noise and ensure you have a peaceful time in your room.
- Waterproof: It doesn’t allow water to flow through and remains undamaged even if water collects making it a good option for bathroom design.
- Difficult installation: It can be quite costly and time consuming (up to 5 days or more) to install.
- May scratch: It may scratch, You can lower chances of scratching by applying a sealant periodically.
So, the first question is, what is laminate flooring?
Well, a laminate is a protective layer (of plastic or some other material) on top of a surface.
Laminate flooring is that concept, applied to flooring:
- A core or substrate of high density fibreboard (or some other wood byproduct), below a…
- An image layer of some aesthetic material like wood or tile, which is below a…
- A top layer of a tough protective coating.
Pro tip: Laminate flooring can be a great choice for basement interior design.
- Appearance: As there is a photographic layer in laminate flooring, you can get your floor to look like fancy material of your choice (like timber flooring).
- Resilient: The protective layer on top and the core substrate make laminate flooring more resilient than the types of flooring it looks like (due to the photographic layer).
- Maintenance: Generally, laminate flooring is easy to maintain.
- DIY: With proper guidance, you can install it yourself.
- Feel: Some kinds of laminate flooring can feel cold and hard on your feet.
- Clumsy: If not laid properly, laminate flooring can become noisy.
- Breakage: It can chip quite easily, especially in high-traffic areas.
To avoid such problems, get in touch with a house design expert to discuss them and make a good choice.
First question: what is vinyl flooring?
Remember laminate flooring – a core of fibreboard (or other wood byproducts) with a protective coating?
Vinyl flooring is similar – it’s made of a core of fibreglass or PVC vinyl with a coating of plasticizers.
It is available in many forms (like planks and tiles) and is comfortable to walk on.
It is a good substitute for wood flooring.
- Water-resistant: It won’t be damaged if water sits on it for a longer time period.
- Weight-resistant: It can resist weight which makes it a good flooring option for high-traffic areas like your living room.
- Durable: If maintained well, it can last for years.
- Comfortable: It is comfortable to the feet and to walk on.
- Difficult to repair: If damaged, vinyl floors can be very difficult to repair. You may have to completely replace your floors.
- Difficult to refinish: Unlike some other flooring types, vinyl is difficult to refinish, which limits its longevity.
- Not very good looking: Despite decorative touches, it can have a fake look. It definitely won’t enhance your property value like stone flooring does.
Want to discuss flooring types for your home? Contact an interior designer today for options and pricing!
Luxury vinyl flooring
As the name suggests, luxury vinyl is a premium kind of vinyl flooring option that has a much better look than plain vinyl.
They typically have the look of hardwood and timber, and their design makes them resemble those flooring materials closely.
On the flip side, it can be a little expensive.
You can use it in bathroom and kitchen flooring.
As you are no doubt aware, carpets are available in many materials like wool, fibres and so on.
There are many options – from both aesthetics and price levels – for you to choose from.
Being soft and comfortable, it’s a good flooring material in bedroom design.
Designer’s insight: Wall-to-wall carpet flooring is one way to make a small room look bigger.
Pro tip: If you want to go for eco-friendly home design, search for carpets made of natural materials like jute and sisal.
- Reduces sound: It can maintain quietness in rooms, which would be beneficial in baby room design, study room design and so on.
- Comfortable: I think you know that carpets feel comfortable on the foot.
- Easy to clean: A simple sweep with a vacuum cleaner should be enough. Washing can be done periodically.
- Affordable: You can get carpets of good quality at a highly affordable price.
- Dirt collects: Carpets do collect dirt and dust but a vacuum cleaner should be able to deal with that.
- Can be torn: They may not be suitable if you have a pet at home.
- Wear: Over time, they will show wear patterns, especially in high-traffic areas.
If you are looking for eco-friendly interior design, you can’t go wrong with bamboo flooring. Bamboo plants are very fast-growing which means you can get more and more bamboo material quite fast.
- Affordable: As bamboo plants regenerate quickly, there is a good supply of the material, which makes bamboo flooring quite affordable.
- Humidity: Higher humidity levels can cause bamboo materials to warp and shrink.
Natural rubber is made from material that is harvested from rubber trees. Whereas synthetic rubber is made from petroleum byproducts.
Most rubber flooring that is available today is a mixture of natural and synthetic rubber.
Next question: is rubber flooring the same as vinyl?
The answer is NO. While rubber and vinyl are both made from petroleum byproducts, rubber flooring lasts longer and looks better than vinyl.
Consider using it in kitchens, kids’ rooms and utility rooms.
Pro tip: You should use rubber flooring for your home gym if your home has one.
- Colours: Rubber flooring is available in a number of bright colours, which makes it a good choice for modern design homes.
- Affordable: It is a lot more affordable than flooring materials like tile and stone.
- Waterproof: It doesn’t allow water to sink below to the base.
- Oils and fats: Rubber will get stained easily from oils and fats, so it’s important to avoid rubber type flooring in kitchen interior design.
What is cork flooring? Cork flooring is made by extracting cork from the cork oak tree and grinding and processing them into sheets and tiles. Usually a resin is used as a binder.
Coming to use as a flooring material, it has a slightly unusual finish for your home, but you can always check it out, and use it in kids’ room design and home office design.
- Reduces sound: It can maintain quietness in rooms, which would be beneficial in baby room design, study room interior design and so on.
- Resilient: Cork type flooring can resist damage and warping.
- Natural and renewable material: If you’re looking for eco-friendly interior design, you can choose cork flooring.
- Slippery: Cork flooring can become slippery if water collects on it.
- May get impressions: Heavy items can leave impressions on cork flooring.
Again, the basic question: what is linoleum flooring? Linoleum flooring is a natural flooring material made of linseed oil, mixed with substances like cork dust, sawdust and pine resin, with mineral fillers and a canvas backing.
You can try it out in kitchen and bathroom flooring.
- Eco-friendly: Linoleum is made of all-natural materials.
- Affordable: It’s quite affordable for most budgets.
- Maintenance: It is very low-maintenance.
- Breakage: It can easily dent and be cut.
- Sunlight: It can darken if exposed to direct sunlight for long.
Want to discuss whether linoleum flooring will be suitable for your home? Contact an interior designer and schedule a consultation now!
How you can select flooring – a brief guide
- Step 1: Set your budget and make measurements of how much material you need. This way, you can straight away eliminate those materials that are unaffordable.
- Remember to include installation costs in your calculation.
- Step 2: Consider which room you’re selecting flooring for. Think about what people will do in the room, what kind of atmosphere is needed, and what aesthetics are required.
Types of flooring for your home – concluding notes
From materials with natural beauty to those with an industrial vibe, from materials that are DIY-friendly to those that are low-maintenance, and at various price levels…
There are many flooring options that you can use for your home.
Which one will you go for?