10 Different Types of Flooring

Do you know what is the first thing I notice when visiting someones home? That’s right. The floor. Picking the right flooring type is an important decision. A great looking floor will raise the resale value of your home and be the foundation of your interior design. They vary greatly in cost, installation and cleaning difficulty. Some types of flooring materials can take more punishment of everyday use than others, lasting much longer without the need for repairs. To help you choose the right indoor floor type I have made a list of different flooring styles and materials you can pick from.

Scoring Info
I have given each material a score that might help you visualise the gist of their properties. When it comes to cost and durability lower rating translates to less durable and less expensive. Installation and maintenance is scored on difficulty; meaning higher score equals higher difficulty.

Hardwood Flooring

One of the most popular flooring solutions that have been around for a long time. Prized for its long lasting durability and a natural luxurious look, hardwood proves to be a great investment for any home. Hardwood planks are usually milled from a single piece of timber. Wood hardness determines if the hard floor is susceptible to scratches and other damages. Red Oak, White Oak, Maple, and Hickory are the most prevailing by wood type used; readily available, affordable, and hard enough for an active household.Hardwood Properties Grading


  • It’s possible to sand and refinish numerous times.
  • Exceptionally easy to clean.
  • Wear and tear resistant.

  • Might darken with age.
  • Not appropriate for rooms with high quantities of moisture.
  • Installation takes time, precision, and experience to get right.
  • Does not absorb sound well or retain heat efficiently.

Best for: main living areas; hallways; kitchens

Cost: $3 to $9 per square foot; rarer types of wood run as high as $14.

Engineered Wood

Flooring made out of engineered wood has the appeal of hardwood floors.

Often mixed up with laminate, engineered wood also tries to mimic hardwood flooring. It incorporates a thin veneer of actual natural wood on top of several layers of plywood. The result is a prelaminated stable flooring solution that has a warm look and feel of wood. You can expect to pay nearly as much as hardwood. It can only be refinished a few of times until you come to the plywood support, then it needs to be replaced. It can hold up to moisture better than hardwood, but still, it is not suitable for bathrooms or other high moisture rooms. Usually engineered wood needs to be glued or stapled to the subfloor, but DIY-friendy interlocking planks and parquet squares are available.

Engineered Wood Type of flooring properties grading


  • Good moisture resistance.
  • Real wood look.
  • Simple to clean & easy to install.

  • Can’t be refinished many times.
  • Veneer prone to scratching damage.
  • Does not last as long as hardwood.
  • Cost comparable to hardwood.

Best for: main living areas; hallways; kitchens, basements

Cost: $2 to $8 per square foot


Cork Flooring

Many people think that cork is new, in actuality it has been used for over a thousand years. It is a natural harvested product that comes from trees in Portugal and Spain. Cork is retrieved only from mature trees and can only be harvested every 9 years, so it is a very eco-friendly material. Naturally a durable and resilient material, it feels great underfoot. It adds a warm, vibrant look with its speckled grain patterns. Available as prefinished tiles or planks ideal for DIY installation, but you should reseal them every few years to avoid moisture buildup and stain absorption.

Cork Floor Durability, Installation, Maintenance and Cost Grading


  • Eco-friendly & hypoallergenic material.
  • Very durable.
  • Can be easy to install with tongue and groove system.
  • A warm, natural and vibant look.

  • Sharp objects can cut it.
  • Needs to be refinished with sealers on a regular basis.
  • Susceptible to moisture when not sealed properly.
  • Color may fade under sunlight.

Best for: main living areas; hallways; kitchens, bedrooms, playrooms

Cost: $2 to $6 per square foot

Bamboo Flooring

Bamboo flooring has that warm wooden look and feel but is, in fact, a type of grass. Similar to the hardwood, bamboo flooring is extremely durable. You can choose one of these three variants: horizontal, vertical or strand woven. Because bamboo strips are laid flat next to each other, the horizontal style has more prominent joint lines; providing the recognizable natural bamboo look. Vertical alignment forms a tighter pattern which shows fewer bamboo features. Strand woven technique includes shredding the bamboo into strands, then in combination with adhesive molded into planks and tiles. It has the most consistent look with few joint lines. This flooring material is usually available in different colors ranging from light brown to light tan.

Grade for bamboo style floor.


  • As strong as hardwood but more water resistant.
  • Hypoallergenic and eco-friendly material.
  • Unique and recognizable aesthetic.
  • Simple to maintain and clean.

  • Quality grading not standardized.
  • Color vulnerable to sunlight and can fade.
  • Cheaper variants are highly vulnerable to scratches and dents.
  • Susceptible to water damage.

Best for: main living areas; hallways; kitchens, rooms

Cost: $2.00 per square foot – $8.00 per square foot

Laminate Flooring

Laminate is a great DIY project on the cheap side of floor types.


With laminate flooring, you can get that luxurious look and feel of an exotic wood or high-end stone without the associated cost. Laminate floors are the fastest growing choice for flooring solutions today because they are cheaper than hardwood but also quite easier to maintain. The durable laminate flooring is virtually resistant to burns, scrapes, chipping which makes it great for high traffic areas. Laminate is created by adding layers of plywood or compressed fiber on top of each other. The top layer is not actual wood but a decorative layer or print film which is adhered to give it that hardwood look. Besides wood grain, the laminate can successfully mimic natural stone and ceramic tile pattern. However, laminate flooring cannot be refinished nor sanded. If you are planning to use it in rooms with high moisture, try selecting appropriately designed laminate for this use.

Laminate Floor Grading of different properties


  • Damage, surface spills, staining and fading resistant.
  • Great DIY weekend project (fast installation)
  • Adhesives not necessary for installation.
  • Can be added on top of existing flooring.

  • Can’t be refinished.
  • Feels very hard under your feet.
  • Cheaper versions have an artificial look.
  • Very slippery when wet.

Best for: pretty much anywhere: bathrooms, kitchens, dining rooms, living rooms, family rooms, and bedrooms.

Cost: $1 to $7 per square foot.

Linoleum Flooring

Linoleum and vinyl are commonly confused; however, genuine linoleum is a classic that was invented about 150 years ago. Linoleum is made only from raw, naturally biodegradable materials and as such is a top selected flooring choice environmentally-wise. Linseed oil is commonly the main ingredient but materials made from wood resin, cork or jute are used as well. Mineral pigments are responsible for the beautiful rich colors of the linoleum. You can choose to install linoleum as a sheet material that is glued down or as a tile in a floating floor system. If you opt for linoleum consider putting a protective coat that will render further refinishing unnecessary but also save it from fading and staining. Without the coating, it should be refinished every couple of years.

classifying Linoleum flooring in different categories.


  • Extremely durable material with anti-bacterial properties.
  • Material masks any scratches or cuts.
  • Quick and easy to clean.
  • Fading and staining free with protective coat.

  • May darken or go yellow on sunlight without protective coat.
  • Heavy furniture can leave dents and marks.
  • Quite slippery when wet.
  • Susceptible to moisture buildup.

Best for: playrooms, family rooms, kitchens

Cost: $2 to $5 per square foot

Ceramic or Porcelain Tiles

Room floored with large ceramic tiles proves tiles don't have to be ugly.

When in need of waterproof flooring, look no more. Ceramic or porcelain tiles are typically installed to provide a durable surface that is hygienic and easy to clean. They can be used on floors, walls or countertops, indoors and outdoors. The two main types are glazed and unglazed tiles. The difference is in thickness, style, finish and resistance to slipping, scratching and staining.

Tiles with glaze finish are more prone to scratching damage but the liquid glass layer on top prevents staining. The additional finish process allows a wider range of colors and styles like matte, embossed, satin, or textured ones but is, in general, a bit thinner and therefore less durable.

If you plan to put tiles outdoors, you should pick the slip-resistant unglazed finish which helps with the standing water issue. Unglazed tiles come in more earthy coloring tones. It is smart to use a sealant and wax after installing them.

Both glazed and unglazed tiles have unique properties you need to consider in choosing the right tile type for space and the look you are after.

How Ceramic and porcelain tiles compare to other flooring options. See the grades.


  • Strong and durable.
  • Stain resistant, Slip-resistant, Scratch resistant
  • Large array of colors and styles.
  • Easy to replace cracked  tiles.

  • Grout lines may be difficult to clean.
  • Very hard underfoot, not for comfortable living area.
  • Lower quality tiles may crack and chip.
  • Glazed tiles can be slippery when wet.

Best for: kitchens, bathrooms, sunrooms, mudrooms,

Cost: anywhere from $1 – $10o per square foot with high-end tiles

Stone Floors

When it comes to flooring materials, none is more elegant and luxurious than natural stone.

Rare are the types of flooring materials that can stand up to the beauty of a natural stone floor. By far the most durable flooring option provides quality, but usually at a premium price. First they gather different types of rocks from a quarry, then cut them into various shapes and styles that can bring a touch of luxury into your home. Common stones used are granite, travertine, marble, limestone, and slate. They all have different hardness and porousness properties that determine the ability to resist moisture and staining. Depending on the type of the stone used, a stone sealant should be applied to preserve the flooring every few years.

We can see how Stone compares in varying properties. to other


  • Wide range of colors and style variations.
  • Most durable flooring option.
  • Timeless appeal.
  • Every floor entirely unique.

  • Polished stone tile can be slippery when wet.
  • Very hard to install.
  • Certain stone types can absorb stains without the sealant applied.
  • Depending on the stone type, can be slippery when wet.

Best for: main living areas; hallways; kitchens;

Cost: From somewhat cheap $2 per square foot to a ludicrous $100 per square foot.


Designed to create a more comfortable atmosphere, a carpeted floor adds a warm feel to any room. Definitely the most versatile option design-wise; the combination of colors, textures, styles, and materials are endless.

Carpeting gives a warm and comfortable feel to a room.

Carpets are made by sewing fibers on a woven base, after which extra backing layers are glued on for additional durability. The more fibers are used in a square inch, the more strength and quality it provides. Natural material used in production is typically wool which obviously has the softest feel when touched. It’s quite durable while also stain and moisture resistant. Other material types are mostly synthetic and include nylon, acrylic, polyester, and polypropylene.  All have different properties but are strong and wear and tear resistant in general.

Carpet Flooring Quality Grading


  • The most comfortable option.
  • Great sound and temperature insulator.
  • Usually cheaper than most other flooring materials.
  • Don’t need to worry about slipping.

  • Highly prone to damages if made of cheap materials.
  • Very hard and expensive to clean.
  • Can stain easily, retains odors and moisture.
  • Susceptible to retaining allergens.
  • Shorter lifespan when compared to the rest.

Best for: main living areas; hallways; stairs,

Cost: $2 to $30 per square foot with luxury carpets

Vinyl Tile & Sheet

Vinyl plank mimicking the look of a hardwood floor.

Vinyl floor is very similar to linoleum but there is a number of differentiating characteristics that separate them apart. Flexible, durable and resilient but with a soft feel underfoot. It is an alternative for homeowners who want the look of natural stone, ceramic tile or even hardwood, but much want to take it easy on the pocketbook. An excellent choice for a fast do-it-yourself installation. Peel-and-stick vinyl tiles are easier to install, while sheet vinyl set-up takes more precise measurements and cutting.

The underside of vinyl products is covered with felt and a light sheet of foam that provides extra cushion to the floor. If you want a textured surface on your vinyl sheets that look like real stone or wood you must pick thicker vinyl which often comes at a greater price. The top layer has a hardened surface that helps with the wear and tear.
You can see how vinyl compares to simmilar flooring options.


  • Durable and flexible.
  • One of the easiest floors to keep clean.
  • Can mimic real wood and stone.
  • Generally inexpensive.
  • Simple to install even atop existing flooring.
  • Soft underfoot & water-resistant.

  • Cheaper materials have that synthetic look and may wear down faster.
  • Sharper objects can cut the floor.
  • May release chemicals used in production into the air overtime.
Best for: playrooms; bathrooms; kitchens; basements; hobby rooms

Cost: $0.50–$5.00 per square foot


What types of flooring are appropriate for your home?

Deciding on the kind of flooring you want to use throughout your home can be an incredibly daunting task to take on. It definitely helps to know what you’re getting into. Some might be really easy to install, but quite difficult to clean. Other might be durable and luxurious, but too costly for the room you intended to put it in. With the ever-growing range of new flooring solutions presented you can be sure to find something that fits your needs.


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