A Practical Room by Room Flooring Guide

by Sam Ferris
If you're buying new flooring, you might be wondering which type to put in each room of your home. It's true that some types of floors work better in certain rooms than other types. Durability, slip resistance, moisture resistance, and resale value are just a few factors you should consider when you're deciding which floor to buy. This guide takes a look at each room of the home and explores the most practical flooring options for each space.?
Porcelain tile flooring in a kitchen
Photo courtesy of Wellborn Cabinet.
Kitchens are the hub of the home. All roads lead to the kitchen.

That said, your flooring needs to be durable. It has to survive heavy foot traffic and offer superior scratch resistance.

You also want floors that can handle moisture. They can?t get easily damaged by spills and leaks. Since the kitchen is a wet zone, you want to avoid floors that are slick or have poor slip resistance.
Last, because kitchens can get messy, low-maintenance floors are ideal. You should look for a style that?s easy to clean and requires minimal upkeep.
The best fits
  • Tile: Porcelain tile doesn?t absorb much moisture, so you won?t have to worry about water damage. Styles that have textured,?
grooved surfaces provide excellent slip resistance. Tile will last for decades. It doesn?t require any extraordinary maintenance ? you can clean it with water and a mop. Wood look tile is a viable alternative to hardwood.?
  • Vinyl: Both scratch and slip resistant, vinyl can handle just about anything your kitchen throws at it. It?s nearly as easy to clean as tile is. It may not always last as long as tile, though.?
  • Travertine: Natural stone doesn?t chip or scratch easily, especially tumbled travertine. Tumbled travertine in particular offers high slip resistance in comparison to other flooring styles. However, travertine can stain when you spill a dark substance like wine on it. It also has to be sealed consistently.?
Think twice about these floors
  • Hardwood: Hardwood is a popular choice for kitchens, and many homeowners don?t regret installing it. It?s a high maintenance floor in general, but is certainly so in kitchens. It can scratch and scuff easily, is harder to clean, and will warp when it?s exposed to too much moisture.?
  • Laminate: The drawbacks to laminate are similar to the drawbacks of hardwood. More maintenance, less scratch resistance, and its inability to withstand moisture make the kitchen a tough spot for laminate to thrive.?
Living and dining rooms
Hardwood floors in living room
Photo courtesy of Mannington Residential.
?Like kitchens, living and dining rooms are high traffic areas. But they?re also intended to be comfortable spaces, so the challenge is finding a floor that is both practical and inviting. ?

You need a floor that won?t succumb to wear and tear from foot traffic and furniture. It has to last for years so you aren?t remodeling every decade.
Since you may be dining or entertaining in these spaces, it isn?t a bad idea to find stain resistant flooring either.?
The best fits
  • Tile: Tile is harder to stain, harder to scratch, and easier to maintain than any of your other options.?
  • Hardwood: Even though it scratches easily, hardwood makes any room feel inviting and welcoming, which is what you want your living and dining rooms to feel like. It also sells homes.
  • Vinyl: Its durability allows vinyl to thrive in just about any space. It won?t get scratched by furniture, but furniture imprints can show on softer styles.?
Think twice about these floors
  • Carpet: It?s soft on the feet and relatively easy to lay on, so what?s the problem when you?re aiming for comfort? A few things, actually. It stains more easily than other flooring types (though there are carpets that perform well with stains, such as Mohawk?s Smartstrand Forever Clean). And, with a shelf life around 10 years, it doesn?t last as long as tile, hardwood, vinyl, or laminate do. In short, it lacks two properties you need in a living room floor: stain resistance and longevity.?
Tile flooring in bathroom
Photo courtesy of Marazzi USA.
Bathrooms don?t necessarily receive the highest volume of foot traffic, but they?re right up there with kitchens in terms of how often you use them.

The considerations for bathroom flooring are nearly identical to those of kitchens. You want a durable floor that isn?t susceptible to moisture. Easy to clean is certainly a plus.

Unlike kitchens, you don?t have to worry as much about scratch resistance in bathrooms. While it?s a perk, it isn?t as critical because there isn?t as much foot traffic in these spaces.
What is just as critical ? if not more ? is slip resistance. Your bathroom floors will consistently get wet. A textured floor is a must to avoid accidental falls.?
Your best bets
  • Porcelain Tile: It lasts for ages. It?s easy to clean. It isn?t susceptible to moisture. Certain styles have good slip resistance ratings. Rectified porcelain minimizes grout joints, which makes cleaning all the more easy.?
  • Travertine: It, too, will last an eternity. Tumbled travertine generally doesn?t get slick when wet. The one downside? It needs to be sealed every 1-2 years. This is one task you might not want to add to your to-do list.?
Think twice about these floors
  • Laminate: The upkeep with laminate can be tremendous in bathrooms. You can?t let any moisture sit. Its relatively smooth surface may not provide the best slip resistance either.?
  • Hardwood: Can hardwood work in bathrooms? Absolutely. It?s just not something we recommend. Maintenance can be tricky when you install a water-sensitive floor in the wettest room in your home. The upkeep should be a factor in your decision.?
Bedrooms and home offices
Vinyl flooring in bedroom
Photo courtesy of Mohawk Flooring.
These areas are personal spaces, so maximizing comfort tends to outweigh function. Still, you want something that gives you a bit of both.

Keep in mind that you?ll have furniture in both rooms. Furniture can scratch floors like laminate and hardwood and leave marks on vinyl and carpet.
You can also afford to spend less on floors in these rooms without sacrificing resale value. You don?t need tile or hardwood in your bedroom, for instance, to sell your home.?
Your best bets
  • Vinyl: It?s softer on the feet than tile or hardwood. It?s also less expensive than hardwood and often less expensive than tile. It can mimic hardwood or natural stone.?
  • Laminate: It can also give bedrooms an authentic wood finish at less than half the price. Sure, it?s not the best with moisture, but there isn?t much to worry about when it?s installed in a bedroom.?
  • Carpet: You can?t go wrong with carpet in your bedrooms. Unless you eat in bed, you won?t have to worry about crumbs and food stains. Buyers don?t mind it (some prefer it). Its plush surface is a welcome touch when you step out of bed in the morning. It?s also relatively inexpensive when compared to tile and hardwood. The drawback to carpet is that it shows furniture marks.?
?As for tile and hardwood, they?re well-suited for bedrooms and home offices (hardwood can suffer scratches from furniture, however). Whether or not you go with one of these options will be a matter of personal preference and budget.?
Laundry rooms
Vinyl flooring for laundry room
Photo courtesy of Mannington Residential.
Laundry rooms are another area that is prone to moisture. They?re also used often by just about every homeowner.
Needless to say, a floor that doesn?t easily absorb moisture, isn?t slippery, and can make it through daily foot traffic should be your top priority.?
Your best bets
  • Vinyl: Vinyl is our pick for a laundry room (unless you?re installing flooring throughout your entire house, in which case you should stay consistent). It?s durable, uber affordable, and can survive moisture from a washer or sink.?
  • Tile: Its hard surface is no match for your endless loads of laundry. Textured tiles won?t get slick.?
Think twice about these floors
  • Hardwood and laminate: Again, these two flooring styles can get damaged by moisture. You?d hate to ruin your investment with a washer leak.?
Click here for our guide to home gym flooring.?

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