What are the Different Types of Flooring?

Even though it’s always below our feet, the kind of flooring in a home is one of the most noticeable things when someone enters a home.

Whether it’s shag carpeting or marble tiles, understanding the kind of flooring a room or home has and if it is a good fit for their personal style and lifestyle is important for homeowners. 


Most common in kitchens and bathrooms, tile is known for being easy to clean and long lasting. It is important when looking at tile to consider the grout, as that will be the most difficult part of the flooring to keep clean. 

porcelain-tile-5Ceramic and porcelain are the most cost effective and the most common. The clay used to create these types of tiles can be made to have a variety of colors, shapes, and even textures (even wood look-a-likes). These tiles can be made to have the look of other more expensive tile, such as onyx or marble. Typically when a homeowner is looking to tile a large space they choose ceramic or porcelain over a more expensive flooring.

sb-stbrwtcr2x8Marble is considered a higher-end floor tile. The classic white and grey colored marble is instantly recognizable, but the stone comes in nearly every color. It is extremely durable and has a classic look but can be expensive to cover an entire space.

slate-floor-tile-and-slate-tiles-elstow-ceramic-tilesStone tiles such as travertine, slate, granite, and quartz have a natural look, with unique patterns, colors, and shapes. Most of these materials are used in a smaller space, such as a shower or a featured section of flooring. They have a unique look that the eye is instantly drawn to but they aren’t always a good fit in certain homes.

The condition and material of the tiles can affect a home’s value. Like many other home trends, popular styles of tile change and can quickly look dated. Large, neutral colored tiles have the best staying power.


Wood is one of the most classic and common type of flooring in the U.S. With a variety of different colors, plank sizes, and finishes, there is a wood floor to fit just about every home style, lifestyle and budget. Though there is a huge variety of types, wood can be put into two categories, solid wood flooring, and engineered wood flooring.

Solid Wood  floors can come either unfinished or finished in strips, planks, or parquet squares. It is relatively simple to change the look of most wood floors by sanding off any finishes and re-staining and sealing the floor. While wood floors have a long lifespan, certain factors can cause the planks to crack, warp or shrink.

The difference between solid and engineered wood flooring. (from fashion-carpets.com)
The difference between solid and engineered wood flooring. (from fashion-carpets.com)

Engineered Wood floors are a big hit for DIY homeowners. They come in pre-finished and sealed planks that simply “snap” together and float over a thin rubber layer. While not actually cut pieces of wood, the planks are created from layers of wood sealed with a veneer. Often engineered flooring isn’t susceptible to the same problems traditional wood flooring faces and can be more cost effective than certain types of solid wood flooring.

Wood floors, especially wide, antique boards in good condition, can often increase the value of a home. Damaged wood floors may require refinishing or replacement in order to attract more buyers.


Homeowners looking for a quick, cost-effective change to their floors often turn to vinyl or other manufactured materials. Smaller areas such as a bathroom, mudroom or laundry room often have vinyl due to the fact that it’s easy to clean and cheaper to replace.

Vinyl flooring can be made to look like a variety of other materials. (from armstrong.com)
Vinyl flooring can be made to look like a variety of other materials. (from armstrong.com)

Vinyl can come in either sheets or tiles. The sheets come with patterns printed on them to look like other materials or to have fun patterns. While vinyl used to look cheap and easy to spot, new manufacturing techniques can replicate wood or tile nearly perfectly with different coloring and textures. Often homeowners can get the look they want without spending too much money.

Vinyl is not often as desirable as wood or tile. Stained tile is difficult to truly clean, and warped tiles should be replaced. If using vinyl flooring, be sure to keep a few extras around! 


Carpeting is simultaneously one of the most loved and loathed types of flooring. While it can be found throughout the home (even the bathroom), carpeting is most common in bedrooms, playrooms or offices. Carpeting is available in a variety of textures and colors. 

Low-pile-carpet-costLoop (or low-pile) carpeting is considered easier to maintain than it’s high pile counterpart. Made from short, looped strands that are densely put together, low pile carpeting is great for homeowners with allergies that still want the cozy carpet look. It can also be easier to clean than high-pile.

feet-on-thick-carpetHigh-Pile carpeting is the soft, fluffy carpeting that is used when homeowners are looking to make their home feel warm and cozy. High-pile is also less likely to flatten over time, maintaining it’s soft look for many years.

Aspen Square 52818 Taupe RepeatSwatch-uncPatterned carpeting is mixed of low and high pile to make a visual pattern on the floor. It adds depth to the floor but can be more difficult to maintain than the other varieties of carpeting.

The most important factor in whether or not carpeting affects home value is the condition. New carpets can be appealing for buyers looking for a turn-key home. Dated, fading carpet can potentially lower a homes value, and replacement or removal may become part of the negotiation. 


Understanding the different kinds of flooring and their best uses can make the home buying or renovation process easier, just remember certain kinds of flooring are best installed by a local professional.

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