We are in the process of building our home, and one of the most difficult decisions we have had to make is the type of flooring. There so are so many options to choose from: tile, laminate, hardwood, vinyl, etc.! This was such a big decision for us. We know this will be our forever home, so we want these floors to last a long time. In addition, we are NOT lovers of carpet (even in the bedrooms) so we knew we would pay extra to have hard flooring throughout the entire home. So, this decision was really, really BIG! Because of that, I did a lot of research into all of the available options. Here is what I found out:
I did not research this option at all because we had it in our previous home. While we did not build that home from the ground up, the previous owners did, and we bought it at only 5 years old. We had a dark wood-look tile that was nice & rich in tone. We definitely liked it, however there were some seriously downfalls with this option! After only 5 years, there were several tiles that had cracked. In addition, there was a grout line that ran along the entire house, and the grout was falling out. This was due to the house settling into the ground/foundation during those first few years after the build. If your home is brand new, you cannot avoid the settling. It will happen no matter where you live. This is the main reason why we did not choose the wood-look tile. While it's beautiful and popular right now, we did not want to deal with the hassle of floor repairs in just a few years. I would not recommend this option for new-builds, but WOULD recommend it for renovations on older homes. Pros: easy to clean, keeps the house cooler
Hardwood flooring is the best flooring you could put in your home because it is considered quality and has a high resale value. But they are not always cost-efficient, so engineered hardwood flooring has surfaced recently (and it's cheaper!). Unlike real hardwood floors, the engineered version is made of multiple layers of compressed material to create a more durable product. This includes many layers of plywood or fiberboard topped with a thin layer of natural wood on top. While this is more durable than real hardwoods, it is not waterproof or scratch-proof. This is ultimately the reason why we did not choose this option. While engineered hardwoods offer a higher resale value, they cannot be installed in bathrooms due to the moisture and humidity. In addition, our interior designer told us about another client whose dog puked directly onto the flooring, which left a permanent stain. We also wanted the same flooring throughout the home (common areas, bedrooms, AND bathrooms) so we ended up passing on this option because it could not be added to the wet areas. PROS: higher resale value, looks very similar to real hardwood but easier to maintain and cheaper CONS: requires special cleaners, more maintenance required for upkeep, can rot or mold, scratches easily with active pets or moving furniture
(top is engineered hardwood, bottom is luxury laminate)
Luxury Vinyl Tile
This option was highly recommended by my followers on Instagram! It is the cheapest of the 4 options listed here, but it also has the lowest quality and resale value (although the quality is still good, just less than the others!). When installed, it has the appearance of hardwood floors, but vinyl is 100% synthetic material (while the other options include some amount of real wood) and the top layer is printed vinyl. A closer look can reveal the plastic vinyl top layer. That is ultimately why we did not choose this option - it looked too fake for me. In photos you would never be able to tell, though! Because this is a plastic-based (and not wood-based) material, it is the most durable option. It can easily be installed in any room of your home, included wet areas such as bathrooms and the kitchen. It is vastly popular due to the cheap price and its durability! But note that the resale value is less with this option. It just depends on what is most important to you: high resale and quality, or cheap and durable!
Finally, the option that we chose!!! This was another highly-recommended option as there are so many pros to this type of flooring (as compared to the options above). Luxury laminate is composed of multiple layers of material: a bottom waterproof barrier, several layers of wood composite, a visual textured layer that looks similar to wood, and a protective laminate layer on top (clear). While luxury vinyl is 100% plastic product, luxury laminate is 99% wood product. It is waterproof, scratch-proof, looks more realistic than vinyl or tile, and is overall very durable and long-lasting. I loved that this option could also be added to bathrooms and kitchens! And I won't need to worry about my dog's nails damaging the flooring. While it does claim to be scratch-proof, I do plan to add furniture padding underneath our couches and tables just in case. You can never be too careful, and prolonging the life will help the resale value! I also thought this looked extremely similar to the engineered hardwood flooring (although engineered hardwood has a higher resale value). I had a hard time picking between the two, but ultimately went with this option due to the durability.
1. Luxury Vinyl
2. Luxury Laminate
3. Wood-look tile
4. Engineered hardwood
1. Engineered hardwood
2. Luxury laminate
3. Wood-look tile
4. Luxury vinyl
1. Luxury vinyl
2. Wood-look tile
3. Luxury laminate
4. Engineered hardwood
Will I regret choosing luxury laminate flooring? Only time will tell! I'll be sure to update this blog post after we move into our home (expecting November 2020). I hope you found this information useful in your journey to find the perfect flooring!