As I’m sure you are aware, there are many types of flooring materials. Many clients are turning to vinyl or laminate flooring materials because they are typically less expensive than engineered wood or site-finished, solid wood plank.
There are some differences between vinyl and laminate that may help you decide which is best for you:
|Vinyl Flooring||Laminate Flooring|
|– 100% plastic |
– Superior resistance to moisture
– Best to use in bathrooms and
other damp areas
– Easy to install
– Moderately priced
– Cannot recycle
|– 99% wood product|
– More natural looking than vinyl
– More comfortable to walk on due
to thickness and warmth
– Custom installation using a saw
– Can get pricey
The ability to stand up against moisture is the chief difference between vinyl flooring and laminate flooring. Moisture resistance, then, dictates areas where laminate flooring may or may not be installed. Vinyl flooring may be installed anywhere within the home.
|Recommended Install Areas|| Vinyl Flooring ||Laminate Flooring |
|Bathroom, Full or Partial||Yes||No|
The next tier of flooring material is engineered wood flooring vs solid, site-finished wood flooring.
|Solid Wood Plank||Engineered Wood Plank|
|— Cut from one piece of wood|
— 3/4″ thick
— Many wood choices
— Can be sanded/refinished
— Better durability
— Needs time to acclimate
|— Thin slice hardwood on top of plywood|
— 3/8″ to 1/2″ thick
— Limited wood selection
— Easier to install
— No refinish options
— Flooring is ready for use once it is
installed because it is typically pre-
You can also choose ceramic or porcelain tile or natural stone flooring. The major difference between porcelain tile and ceramic tile is how it’s made. Both tiles are made from a clay mixture that’s fired in a kiln, but porcelain tile is made from more refined clay and it’s fired at higher temperatures. This makes it denser and more durable than ceramic tile. In addition, ceramic and porcelain tiles are easier to install and they are more easily cut.
Natural stone is much more porous than ceramic or porcelain tiles so that is something to consider. Natural stones like slate, granite, limestone and sandstone are prone to hard-water deposit and soap build up and it is imperative to keep these floors sealed to better protect them. Generally speaking, natural stone flooring will bring a higher resale value than ceramic tile but it is a toss-up when compared to porcelain tiles. Typically natural stone flooring is set with a very thin grout line so it looks more like a slab when installation is complete.
Travertine is another natural stone option but I very rarely spec it except for kitchen backsplashes. It is extremely porous so the holes in it can fill with particles, water and potentially mold. Even when an epoxy filler is applied, it can eventually wear away and expose the small holes so this stone takes a good bit of care.
Terrazzo is making a huge comeback due in large part to the fact that it is eco-friendly. It is made from recycled bits of many different materials. Patterned and stained concrete is also very popular. The important thing to remember with concrete is that the staining process can be tricky and sometimes uneven depending on the formulation of each batch of concrete that was poured to make your floor.
There are a plethora of options from which to choose and your interior designer will definitely help with the best product to solve your needs. Don’t forget to discuss tile size and layout, stone and grout color and order before your contractor does any demo of your existing flooring. The last thing you want is to be waiting on a backordered item when your room has already been torn apart. That would add a lot of stress to your renovation project!