Pros and Cons of Different Types of Flooring
By: Danny Lipford
There are a number of different options available when choosing flooring for your home, including carpet, tile, hardwood, and laminate. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of each type of flooring.
- Installation: Installing carpeting requires specialized tools and is often glued down, making it not a very do-it-yourself friendly project for homeowners.
- Durability: While carpet can last for a number of years, dirt and allergens filter down into the fibers, making it harder to keep clean. Pets can easily cause damage to carpet, and carpeting can absorb pet odors.
- Installation: Standard, solid, unfinished hardwood flooring is labor intensive and difficult to install – requiring sanding, staining, and finishing. This makes installing hardwood flooring not a very do-it-yourself friendly project. Engineered wood flooring, which has a plywood type construction, can be purchased prefinished, making it a better choice for DIY projects.
- Durability: Hardwood and engineered flooring are both durable and easy to keep clean, though the surface finish can become scratched or damaged over time. While solid hardwood flooring can be sanded and refinished several times, engineered wood flooring has a thin veneer on top that makes it difficult or impossible to sand and refinish.
- Installation: Laminate flooring is a floating floor that requires no adhesive to install. It comes in prefinished pieces that snap together, making for a DIY friendly installation. Since laminate flooring is a floating floor that’s not attached to the subfloor, it’s also very easy to remove and replace.
- Durability: Laminate flooring is fairly durable and easy to clean, though the thin finished layer on top can show wear over time.
Ceramic Tile Flooring
- Installation: Ceramic tile requires a fair amount of expertise to install, but it can make a good do-it-yourself project if you take the time to learn the proper techniques. Most ceramic tile is glued down, though floating tile floors that lock together are available.
- Durability: Ceramic tile is very durable and easy to clean, though tiles can crack over time, and grout lines may become stained or dirty.
Watch this video to find out more.
- How to Install Commercial Carpet (video)
- Installing Engineered Hardwood Flooring (video)
- How to Install Laminate Flooring (video)
- How to Lay a Tile Floor (article)
Danny Lipford: Carpet is one of the least do-it-yourself friendly options. Plus, it’s difficult to keep clean, and the fibers hold dust and other allergens which make life miserable for people with respiratory problems. And if you have pets, well, let’s just say everyone will know you have pets before they see them.
Hardwood flooring is a great alternative to address the issues of cleaning and allergens but isn’t necessarily DIY friendly. Traditional hardwood is nailed down to the subfloor and sanded, stained, and finished in place. That requires a lot of work, a lot of time, and some very specialized tools. Some hardwoods can be glued down, which makes installation on concrete subfloors easier. And in many cases, these products are pre-finished, which reduces some of the time and tools required. But these installations still demand skills and tools that not all homeowners have.
Laminate floating floors offer a similar look, but are much more friendly to the do-it-yourselfer because they require no adhesives and very few tools. The fact that they are inexpensive makes them an easy choice.
Ceramic tile can also be inexpensive, and even though installation is a little time consuming, it’s very popular with do-it-yourselfers because it can deliver a high-end look on a modest budget.