Your Guide To Different Types of Flooring

Updating your floors can be an intimidating process but there are lots of reasons that make it worth it.

A home with updated flooring has a higher resale value. Plus, an updated, easy to clean floor can also save you time and money from costly carpet cleaning.

If you’re doing a home renovation, it’s a good idea to do some research on the different types of flooring available. Our visual guide covers 9 different types of flooring and how they rate with regards to cost, strength, difficulty of installation and ease of cleaning.

Hardwood Floors

Image Credit:  Bigelow Flooring Inc.

Image Credit: Bigelow Flooring Inc.

Hardwood flooring is made from real wood cut from a tree of your choice. The most common types of hardwood are oak, cherry and walnut. The standard width of hardwood flooring is between 3-5”, what most retailers will call a standard sized plank although you can also get strips which are 3” or less. Wider boards are better suited for large, open spaces and can feel overwhelming in small rooms.

The look of your hardwood flooring is largely determined by the species of wood, though stains and finishes can change this colour. You can choose to add a gloss to your flooring which will make the wood look brighter but show scratches easier. Low gloss wood will hide damages better.

Common hardwood textures include smooth, hand scraped, distressed or wire brushed. Wire brushed floor types will exaggerate the grain of the wood. The right texture is purely aesthetic preference, but keep in mind it will change the feeling of the flooring beneath your feet.

Different species of hardwood have different levels of hardness as you can check in the Janka wood hardness scale. Keep in mind that areas with higher foot traffic may benefit from a harder type of wood.

Typically, your options for hardwood flooring are pre-finished or site-finished. Pre-finished hardwood comes with the finish already applied and dried, while site-finished requires sanding and finishing by yourself or a contractor.

Hardwood flooring can also be re-sanded and refinished multiple times in its lifetime


Bonus: Scandinavian-Style Hardwood Floors

Image Credit:  Reclaimed Flooring Co.

Simplicity and understated elegance are keystones of Scandinavian design. Floors in the ‘Scandi-style’ are typically hardwood floors in pine, fir or oak with a light coloured, faded finish, achieved usually by using a white flooring oil, oil wax or a white matte varnish. The result is a beautiful palette of white-gray that does not too dramatically dull the grain of the wood

Pros:

  • A light-coloured floor reflects light, making a room feel larger and brighter.

Cons:

  • The lighter tone generally shows dirt easily and needs to be cleaned more often.

Engineered Wood

Engineered wood is a more affordable alternative to solid hardwood. It’s a combination of a top layer of real, solid hardwood and an under layer of multiple layers of ply plank that run in different directions underneath. This type looks like real hardwood but has the added benefit of moisture resistance. Plus, you are able to apply the same high quality finishing to engineered wood, making them very resistant to wear and tear.

You can choose a variety of types like oak, cherry or walnut, just like hardwood.

Pros:

  • Engineered wood is moisture resistant.

  • It is more cost effective.

Cons:

  • You are not able to sand down and refinish engineered wood because of the thin top layer, perhaps lessening the lifespan of this type of flooring.


Laminate Flooring

Image Credit:   Lowe's

Image Credit: Lowe's

There is technology that exists to create flooring that looks nearly identical to the flooring type of your choice at a fraction of the cost. Laminate flooring, like engineered wood, has a foundation of layers of plywood. However, instead of a top wooden veneer, the top layer is an image captured using photo-realism technology of wood, stone, ceramic tile and covered in a plastic coating.


Carpet

Image Credit:  Delta Carpets

Image Credit: Delta Carpets

Carpets are a flooring type that don’t need too much clarification. They are an appealing alternative because they bring about feelings of calmness and warmth to rooms that call for it, like a living room or bedroom. Carpets are also commonly used in upper levels of multi-storey homes.

Needless to say, carpets must never be used in restrooms or kitchens where they easily fall victim to dampness, spills and stains.

To find the quality of carpet, look for the fiber density count. The more fibers per square inch, the more durable the carpet will be.

Carpet can be purchased in a variety of materials:

  • Wool is the most common material carpets are made of. It is naturally moisture resistant, making it durable and less likely to stain.

  • Nylon is a synthetic fibre known for its strength. However, nylon can build static electricity so make sure that the product you purchase has been treated to reduce these effects.

  • Acrylic is another synthetic option that mimics the qualities of wool. It stands up to moisture and wear.

Pros:

  • Carpets create a comfortable atmosphere and acts as insulation, dampening noise and retaining warm air in colder months.

Cons:

  • Carpets can stain relatively easily compared to other flooring options, becoming difficult and costly to clean. Poor quality carpet wears out very quickly.

Reclaimed Wood Floors

Image Credit:  Roshak

Image Credit: Roshak

Reclaimed wood is simply wood that has been recovered from previous uses in the past, like old buildings. The wood is recycled and reused, meeting today’s standards for environmentally conscious decision making. It must not be confused with salvaged wood, which is wood that has been cut and stored for several years but not used for construction.

Because this wood has had a history and may not be perfect out of the box like new wood, special attention must be placed. Keep an eye out for cracks that need repair.

Reclaimed wood can give your home a very beautiful, unique look. You can adapt them to fit your style, whether lightened by blanching or darkened by ebonizing.

Pros:

  • Highly versatile aesthetically

  • Because the wood was already imperfect, you can stress less about the effect of high traffic on your flooring. In fact additional distress on the flooring may even improve its appearance.

Cons:

  • Depending on the style and finish, reclaimed floors aren’t necessarily less expensive than new flooring.

Ceramic or Porcelain Tile

Image Credit:  Florim

Image Credit: Florim

Ceramic tiles are made from a mixture of shale and clay formed into tile shapes and heated in a kiln at high temperatures to harden the ceramic. Ceramic tiles come in both shiny and matte finishes and are commonly used in kitchens and bathrooms.

Types of Ceramic Tiles:

  • Glazed Ceramic tiles have a glossy, glassy finish that make them easy to maintain.

  • Quarry tiles are unglazed tiles that get their colour from pigments added directly into the clay mixture.

  • Porcelain tiles are available in both glossy and matte finishes. These are heated at a very high temperature, making them harder and more durable than other tile types.

Pros:

  • Ceramic and porcelain tiles are highly durable and come in a variety of different designs and colours. The tiles are easy to clean, high resistance to germs and rarely show any wear and tear. It is perfect for homes with children or pets because they don’t get scratched or stained easily. The tiles are generally found in high-traffic areas like the kitchen and bathrooms. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to replace if tiles chip or crack.

Cons:

  • Tiles are very rigid and hard underfoot, therefore not suitable for a comfortable living area. The grout can attract stains and can be difficult to clean.

 

Vinyl and Linoleum

Image Credit:  Mannington

Image Credit: Mannington

Vinyl flooring is flexible, cushioned, low cost and low maintenance. They are made of a top layer of felt and foam which is stain and scratch resistant.

Linoleum flooring comes in sheets and is glued onto the floor.

Pros:

  • Extremely inexpensive and easy to install. Can be glued or nailed over a sub-flooring. Durable and flexible, easy to clean and highly water-resistant.

Cons:

  • Chemicals are used to manufacture vinyl flooring and those chemicals release volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Due to the type of material, it can be difficult to repair a damaged section of vinyl flooring. The section must be ripped out and new flooring has to be installed.

We hope you found our guide on different types of flooring to be interesting and informative! 


Tandem Construction is a general contracting, project management and carpentry company delivering luxury home renovations in Vancouver and the North Shore. From kitchen, bathroom or living room renovations, creating an income producing suite or a total home renovation,our team of project managers, carpenters and a network of trades professionals are focused on making your dream home from vision to fruition. It all starts with a free consultation so we can determine your goals.