Posted on July 23, 2015
Choosing flooring is far more complicated than just finding the best-looking product and installing it. Several factors at play will influence your decision--factors you may not immediately consider
Yes: You need flooring that is suited for a high- or medium-moisture environment
No: Great! Any type of flooring, including the ones above, may be used. Go to the next step
Yes: Remarkably, some flooring that seems durable really isn't--at least not under the strain of Golden Retriever nails and children. Solid hardwood seems to invite scratches, though its saving grace is that scratches can be sanded out
No: Go to the next step
Installation is the hidden cost for most flooring. Even the $0.99 Pergo at Lowe's needs to be installed by somebody--you or an installer. Prices below are materials-only. Expect to double the cost with professional installation
DIY work halves the cost of more flooring installs..
Yes: Good for you. Laminate flooring and glue-down wood engineered flooring are putty in the hands of most DIYers. Vinyl tile--same. Tile, as previously mentioned, does have a learning curve (got a spare room to practice a small tile installation? pantry, anteroom, mudroom?) Wall to wall carpet is tough for DIYers to lay down perfectly flat. Solid, tongue-and-groove hardwood is best installed by pros.
No: No problem. Even if they do not do in-house installation, most flooring stores maintain lists of local installers.
Yes: Then go the resilient (vinyl) flooring route. Tile vinyl is easy to maintain, and sheet vinyl even easier. Concrete? If you can stand its coldness, concrete is low maintenance. Laminate flooring is easy to maintain, too--damp mop is all you need to keep it clean.
No: With wood, you trade beauty for maintenance. I don't care what the manufacturers say: solid or engineered wood is work, but it's worth it. One major task: keep high-traffic areas covered with throw rugs and runners.