Is Wood Flooring, Vinyl, Tiles or Carpet Best for Your Home?

You just bought a new home and you want to redo the floors. Which flooring is best? Should you go with wood, vinyl, tiles, or carpet?

To figure this out, you need to compare the price, upkeep and durability. While this list will simplify the choices, there’s one other complicating factor: That is the many types of “hybrid” floors, such as wood-like tiles or tile-like vinyl. So, if after you read all the info and you still can’t decide, look at hybrids, they may solve your dilemma.

Price

When it comes to pricing, parterrflooring.com says, “Cost is comparable when weighing vinyl vs. carpet. Carpet costs on average $3-4 per square foot, but has been known to increase to $4.50-5.50 per square foot when installation is factored in. Luxury vinyl can be priced from $2-$5 per square foot including the cost of installation for commercial products. However, when factoring in long-term maintenance costs of both flooring solutions, the lifetime cost of luxury vinyl flooring is actually less expensive compared to carpet.”

Porcelain and ceramic tiles cost about $1.50 to $5 per square foot, but if you get stone tiles, you may be paying multiples more. It depends on where the stone comes from and how rare it is. But the most expensive flooring is solid hardwood. A square foot costs about $15. If you get engineered hardwood from common trees, then the price is lower, ranging from about $3 to $10 per square foot.

Installation

The easiest type of flooring to install is vinyl flooring. Some are like wood planks that you can fit together. Others are even easier stick-em tiles that you just need to layout and stick onto a clean surface. Carpet can be done by an amateur if you have the right tools and are up for a challenge. However, why do it yourself when some places, like Home Depot, will install the carpeting for you for free if you buy from them?

Unless you’re a skilled contractor, it’s best to leave tile and hardwood installation to the professionals. According to Home Advisor, for hardwood floor installation, materials aside, you can expect to pay $8,000 for 1,000 square feet. For tile floors, depending on the size/shape of the tile, the price range for 1,000 square feet can range between $6,000 and $20,000. While this is a large chunk of money upfront, hardwood floors add value to your property. And depending on the type of tile you choose, it can also help with resale value.

Upkeep

Photo: iStock

Carpet flooring requires cleaning every now and then and vacuuming often. And if you have allergies and pets, beware that carpet fibers are great at trapping dander and therefore, may cost more to keep clean. Plus, getting stains out of carpet is a lot more work than wiping something off a vinyl floor. They are by far the easiest to live with. You don’t have to worry too much about damaging them. And even if you do, they’re relatively easy to fix.

Tile flooring is next easiest to maintain. They’re waterproof and great for bathrooms and kitchens. Drop anything on them and you can easily wipe it up. However, chipping and cracking a tile floor can be a big expense, especially if your tiles are already pricey. Buy an extra quantity to store for this kind of damage.

Then there’s hardwood, which is probably the most high maintenance of your choices. You’ll want to keep the wood in good shape by polishing it and by making sure not to have water seep in it from an old radiator or plumbing leaks. Since wood reacts to moisture, it’s also a good idea to keep an eye out for mold or rot in places that have a higher chance of getting wet. It is possible to patch hardwood floors, and depending on the square footage, this can be a manageable cost or it can be one that soars into the thousands.

Don’t Forget the Hybrids

If you love the look of wood or tile, but want the easy installation of vinyl, you can always purchase tile-like or wood-like vinyl flooring. “Hybrid” floors can give you the look you want along with affordable installation and low maintenance you may need. Could be a winner.

Sources: Porcelain and ceramic tiles, Home Depot, Home Advisor, Home Advisor