Wood flooring may be the most coveted flooring option as far as many homeowners are concerned, but that doesn’t mean that hardwood is the perfect solution for every room in your house. Beautiful though it may be, hardwood might be your last choice compared to vinyl or porcelain tile depending on the room (a conclusion many of you may have come to on your own, if you’ve ever spilled bleach on wood). Below is a list of rooms that may be in need of new flooring in your home. Let’s take a look at the best option for each one.
Kitchen & Mudroom
Kitchens and mudrooms see a ton of foot traffic and wear and tear in general. Rocks, sand, water, and other detritus brought in from the outdoors, along with the constant pushing and pulling of chairs can wreak absolute havoc on your floors. Wooden floors are also particularly prone to denting so any room where heavy cans could potentially roll off of a counter, is a room that is perhaps not conducive to hardwood. All this begs the question, what type of flooring is ideal for your kitchen and/or mudroom? Given the dangers outlined above, you’ll want something durable that can stand up to the rigors of everyday life. For that, porcelain tile gets the nod.
Porcelain tile is resistant to scratching and denting, won’t allow water to permeate the surface, and doesn’t provide small crevices for dirt to collect. Beautiful and robust as tile is, it may not be in everyone’s budget; a suitable alternative is vinyl flooring. Vinyl flooring is popular for high traffic areas because of its relative low cost and the ease in which it can be replaced (something you can do if you want to make a stylistic change or if the surface has been marred by damage). Vinyl is not as durable as tile, but will stand up better than hardwood. Modern vinyl flooring can also be purchased in planks meaning that if damage occurs only a segment will need to be replaced.
Bathroom & Laundry Room
These rooms don’t tend to see as much action as the others on this list, but they do face a very specific foe: moisture. It’s not uncommon for kids to splash water onto the floor while taking a bath, nor is it out of the realm of possibility that you may drip some water as you get out of the shower. As with the kitchen and mudroom, bathrooms and laundry rooms (or anywhere else with flowing water) are not conducive to expensive wood flooring. It may not surprise you that again, porcelain tile is regarded as the material of choice for these rooms. Standing water can warp wood surfaces, but won’t have a similar impact on tile. Simply put, tile that’s installed well works as an impenetrable barrier between the water and the underflooring. Tile can be slippery when wet, so a good option is to select a textured tile that can provide more grip for walking.
Not to be outdone, vinyl flooring is also an acceptable choice for these rooms. It’s cheap, easy to replace, and will provide a similar barrier to moisture as tile. Aesthetically, vinyl flooring options include those that mimic other materials, even wood, so you can get the visual you want without compromising on the protective qualities of the materials.
Dining, Living & Family Rooms
In the rooms where you tend to want to relax and spend some quality time with family and friends, it’s hard to beat a quality hardwood. Even though these rooms see a lot of foot traffic, they tend to be far removed from water sources and outdoor footwear. Solid wood offers a warmth that simply can’t be matched by other materials, which is why it’s an ideal choice for your living room, dining room, or family room. If you need to select something slightly more modest in price, engineered wood flooring is a good alternative in any of these rooms. Though perhaps not considered to be authentic by some, there are some definite benefits to choosing an engineered product. Specifically, engineered flooring is often low-profile enough that it can be installed directly on the concrete subfloor. It is also less prone to seasonal shrinking and swelling compared to solid wood. Solid wood, to its credit, can be refinished upwards of five times whereas engineered wood might only be able to be refinished one to three times.
Enclosed Porch or Sunroom
Porches and sunrooms, like mudrooms are often the gateways to your home. As such, its safe to say that a fair amount of dirt and moisture will find its way in from the outside. Again, porcelain tile wins the day as the material of choice for these rooms located on your home’s periphery. As previously stated, porcelain tile will stand up quite well to most of the abuse it will encounter over the years. Remember, however, that if your porch or sunroom is not completely enclosed, you’ll want to select a tile that is rated for outdoor applications.
Regardless of what you’ve got going on in the basement (whether it’s a rec room, man cave, guest bedroom, etc.), the danger to flooring is clear: flooding. Pervasive dampness can warp and damage most flooring materials as well, so you need to ensure you select a flooring option that is specifically designed to be installed over below-grade concrete. This part of your home is where vinyl is the most useful (with porcelain a close second). Vinyl flooring in particular stands up well against moisture and will survive some minor pooling just fine. In short, avoid installing hardwood in your basement.
Hopefully this guide has made selecting the right flooring material for your next reno project a little easier. Knowing which material is optimal in which room will help you choose something that will last for many years to come. Be sure to check out Sarana Tile for all of your flooring needs.