A Definitive Guide to Different Types of Flooring Options
Ready to choose unique flooring types for your home? From gorgeous hardwoods to affordable laminates to durable vinyl plank and tile, there are countless options available. With so many options, many homeowners often don’t know where to start.
To make it a bit easier and straightforward, Twenty & Oak has broken down each type of flooring for you to peruse and discover. That way, you can make the ultimate decision on the best flooring to install in your home so that it looks beautiful and lasts for many, many years.
Here’s a definitive guide to the different types of flooring options you can choose from.
Hardwood flooring is the look most homeowners prefer, and it’s clear why. Hardwood floors are strong and durable enough to withstand high-traffic areas and, when properly maintained, can last decades in your home. Hardwood floors are also a fantastic investment and can even increase a home’s resale value.
Hardwood flooring also adds a timeless elegance and comes in a variety of wood species, stain colors and plank sizes to suit any interior decor style. You can choose from the classic hardwood styles that appear in homes with an old world charm to the more modern hardwood styles such as a low gloss matte and rustic wire brushing or saw mark surface treatments.
However, when choosing between solid and engineered hardwood, there are distinguishable differences and a variety of factors to consider, such as your home’s climate and even subflooring materials.
Solid hardwood is constructed of a solid plank of lumber, milled to a uniform thickness and width, with tongue and groove edges to interlock during installation.
Solid hardwoods are wonderful for milder climates and, while they can be installed on the ground level with a crawl space, they are better suited for upper levels of your home. However, it’s important to note here that you must use HVAC or humidity controls. Otherwise, in high humidity environments, solid hardwoods could cup or crown, which may result in buckling.
Unlike solid hardwoods, engineered hardwood is suitable for any climate and can also be installed on any level in your home.
The reason engineered hardwood is more versatile is because it offers a more durable construction. With multiple layers of wood veneers, topped with a stained species coated in a protective urethane layer, engineered hardwood offers a cross-layer veneer construction that is designed to reduce expansion.
Waterproof hardwood flooring is a new hybrid flooring type that blends the best of both worlds. These gorgeous floors bring together the durability of waterproof rigid core flooring with the beauty of genuine hardwoods through revolutionary advanced technology. Because waterproof hardwoods are so durable and versatile, it works in every single room of the house–even wet bathrooms!
Waterproof hardwoods will increase your home’s resale value the same way as solid hardwoods because they are true hardwoods! Not to mention they offer a complete worry-free flooring for busy households with kids and pets.
Palmetto Road Brunswick in Marshwalk
Laminate flooring is much like engineered hardwood in that it has a finished top layer and seal covering compressed fiber materials. The only distinctive difference between laminate and engineered hardwood is that laminate doesn’t have that authentic top layer of wood. Instead, laminate offers a wood-like appearance through a photo-captured image taken of the real thing.
And laminate’s photo-realistic images can resemble much more than wood. It can mimic the look of stone, ceramic tile and even stained concrete. Did we also mention that laminate is much more affordable than the real thing? At a fraction of the cost, laminate flooring can make a room appear like it has original heirloom wood plank floors or offer the more upscale look of exotic stones and marbles.
Standard laminate flooring is a nice option for homeowners who desire the beautiful look of hardwoods but prefer more worry-free maintenance. It’s excellent for busy households with kids and a perfect pet-friendly flooring option, capable of withstanding stain, fading and indentations.
Of course, these are all features of regular laminate. Take it up a notch with water-resistant laminate and you’ll find even more advantages. Palmetto Road’s Brunswick and Hearthwood's Living Tree laminte collections are water-resistant options that offer high performance and fashionable style.
Luxury Vinyl Planks and Tiles
Luxury vinyl plank and tile flooring, otherwise known as LVP and LVT, make a great alternative to hardwoods, stone and ceramic flooring. Constructed of a vinyl core with a printed film and wear layer, it’s a more flexible vinyl.
LVP and LVT make a favorite option among homeowners as they can be easily installed using a glue down or click version method. They can also be installed on any level of the home, even the moisture-prone and high-traffic areas. In fact, luxury vinyl flooring can be installed in bathrooms, kitchens and even dirt-capturing mudrooms and laundry rooms. They’re also perfect for unfinished basements and are capable of being installed over concrete subfloors with slight irregularities.
It’s important to note, however, that not all LVP and LVT promote themselves as waterproof or water-resistant. So, when searching, be mindful of each manufacturer's specifications and durability.
Beauflor Parkway Pro in Arctic
Luxury vinyl flooring is also quite easy to clean and maintain. Plus, when exposed to water, they don’t swell or buckle the same way hardwoods do. They’re also scratch- and stain-resistant, which is another reason they’re perfect for families with kids and pets.
Check out Beauflor’s Parkway LVP, which can be installed using both a locking method and glued down method. The Beauflor Pure collection features a 360° locking system that allows homeowners to create a unique pattern for to fit their home design style.
Waterproof flooring is ideal for kitchens and bathrooms, as well as laundry rooms, mudrooms and basements. Unlike most hardwoods, waterproof flooring will never buckle or swell from damage if a puddle lingers too long. Waterproof flooring also makes an excellent option for landlords of rental units and owners of beachside condos that see lots of moisture and wet bathing suits.
No longer do you have to install stone tiles in these rooms to combat the moisture. You also have a variety of choices in looks and styles from distressed hardwoods to exposed stained concrete. Waterproof flooring is also a breeze to install right out of the box.
Stone plastic composite (SPC) has many names, some of which are solid polymer core and stone polymer composite. But whatever the manufacturer calls it, it’s a vinyl flooring made up of a sturdy and dense rigid core blend of powdered limestone, polyvinyl chloride and stabilizers.
Rigid core flooring is a quite durable flooring option, offering dent resistance against dropped cookware and the ability to withstand high-traffic areas. It’s also completely waterproof, which means that rigid core planks will not swell or buckle.
Rigid core flooring can be installed in many rooms of your home–from high-traffic areas like kitchens to bathrooms with high moisture levels. With realistic hardwood designs, it will make a living room look stunning as well.
One main feature and advantage of SPC flooring is that it is quiet and warm underfoot. Many SPC flooring options include an attached underlayment pad that softens noises in a room and is even able to be installed over under-floor heating.
Wood Plastic Composite (WPC)
Like SPC, wood composite flooring (WPC) is constructed of a similar rigid core, but with some differences. WPC is manufactured with either a recycled wood pulp and plastic blend or an air-expanded polymer composite, often referred to as wood polymer composite flooring. Unlike SPC and rigid core, WPC lends a less dense construction and is also a more lightweight material as a whole. WPC does offer the same warmth and soft underfooting, however.
Wood plastic composite is also a completely waterproof flooring option. These engineered luxury vinyl planks and tiles can also resemble anything from natural wood to stone, while offering a low price point for homeowners on a budget.
They’re also exceptionally easy to install. WPC offers a simple DIY solution for homeowners to be able to tackle a project in a few days' time. Laying down the planks or tiles, each piece connects together through an interlocking system. If you have a kitchen or bathroom with outdated flooring, you don’t have to remove it first. With WPC, you can install right over the existing floors. The same goes with an unfinished basement with uneven concrete floors.
Beauflor BlackTex HD in Impressionist Spice
Vinyl sheet flooring has come a long way from its outdated reputation and is no longer the garish patterns and plastic-like floor you remember from your grandmother’s house. Much more modern and stylish than the mock pebbles and brick patterns of 30 years ago, today’s vinyl sheet can resemble anything from hardwood to stone to tile.
Vinyl flooring is also an exceptionally affordable option for homeowners on a budget and comes in a large roll, which has a seamless visual that you can cut to whatever custom size you need for a room. Vinyl sheet offers a single solid surface and thicker construction with a foam-like core and fiberglass base, which makes both a quiet as well as warm underfooting. It’s advanced top wear layer also resists scratches and scuffs from pet’s feet and stains from the accidental spill at a party. It even offers indentation resistance for something like the occasional dropped pot in the kitchen or high heels.
Typically, vinyl sheet flooring is not completely waterproof–only water-resistant. Should you install vinyl in a bathroom, it would be wise to line the edges with a ceramic tile barrier. However, there are the occasional waterproof exceptions. For example, Beauflor’s BlacktexHD is a waterproof vinyl sheet and has many advantages–such as noise reduction through a felt textile backing and 30 designs with an ultra-matte finish–to suit any home design.
Carpet is another flooring option and is still preferred by some homeowners–in bedrooms, especially. It lends a soft and cushioned flooring against bare feet, adds some acoustical sound absorption and offers a warm thermal insulation, especially when installed with padding.
Carpets are made with fiber loops in varying cuts, angles and lengths, which makes what’s referred to as the carpet pile. A carpet’s cut pile can be made of a variety of fibers, but more common fibers are nylon, polyester or polypropylene, acrylic and wool. Some homeowners prefer a natural fiber such as wool over synthetic.
Ceramic and Porcelain Tile
Ceramic tile is a quite versatile type of flooring, offering numerous colors, textures and sizes.
Ceramic tile is made of a combination of clay and shale, typically glazed and then fired, which offers an easy to maintain finish that works for bathrooms, kitchens and generally areas that see a lot of moisture.
A more durable tile option is porcelain tiles, which come both glazed and unglazed. Their durability is due to their manufacturing process in which they are fired at a high temperature.
However, it’s important to ensure and verify that your ceramic or porcelain tile is made for floors, as opposed to a backsplash or shower wall. You need it to be rated for floor use to withstand everyday foot traffic as well as offer a slip-resistant coating.
Looking for the Best Flooring?
If you’re looking for the best flooring for a particular room or space in your home, be sure to explore all our options. Take our Floor Genius quiz to help you choose the best floors or contact a dealer using our dealer locator. Additionally, our Virtual Showroom is a great way to browse flooring options from the comfort of your home.
For more personalized help with your flooring selection, you can also schedule a free consultation with our Flooring Pros. Appointments are available by phone, email, or video platform. Learn more about this service here.