Flooring Comparison and Buying Guide
If you are building a new custom home, then one of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make is what type of flooring to install.
The floor is one of the biggest surfaces in your house, so deciding if you prefer laminate vs vinyl flooring or laminate vs hardwood can make a big impact on the final look and feel of your home.
In this guide, we’ll review the pros and cons of the most common flooring options for custom homes and offer tips and advice to make the decision-making process easier.
Pros and Cons of Different Types of Flooring
There are lots of factors to take into consideration when making your flooring choices.
This list of the pros and cons of the most popular flooring choices for new build homes is a good starting point.
A timeless favourite, these solid wood planks can be made from various types of wood each with its own characteristics.
Attractive, warm, rich and classic looks that complement all décor.
May increase the resale value of a home.
Long lasting – can be resurfaced multiple times to maintain the look.
Can be scratched, dented and damaged easily depending on the type of wood.
Susceptible to moisture and humidity damage.
Needs refinishing every few years.
A thin veneer of wood bonded to layers of plywood to create a very stable and durable product that looks just like hardwood.
Can withstand humidity so ok for use in bathrooms and basements.
Available in a wide variety of wood types, colours, grains and widths.
More affordable than hardwood.
Surface layer can scratch and dent.
Harder to repair – can only be resurfaced once in its lifetime.
Layers of melamine and core board fused together with a printed surface layer that can emulate hardwood, stone or tile finishes.
Durable – resistant to stains, fading, scratches and mold.
Easy maintenance - vacuum and damp mop to clean.
Cost-effective alternative to real wood.
Needs moisture barrier for use in damp rooms.
Can scratch and planks may separate over time.
Resurfacing isn’t possible, damaged plank or tile needs to be replaced.
A type of resilient flooring that is available in a variety of finishes. Consists of PVC layered over a felt or foam backing with a textured top layer.
Tough and durable - stands up to heavy use.
Very resistant to moisture – good for bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms and basements.
Soft and comfortable underfoot. Can be used with radiant heating.
Some vinyl is poor quality. Choose vinyl with solid (SVT) or luxury (LVT) labels.
Vulnerable to scratches and gouges.
Can’t be resurfaced. Although individual tiles or planks can be replaced.
Regaining popularity as a natural, renewable alternative to vinyl. Made with linseed oil and cork, linoleum is environmentally friendly and very practical.
Very durable and long-lasting – up to 40 years.
Soft and comfortable underfoot.
Hypro-allergenic – repels dust and dirt.
Comes in a wide range of colour options.
Requires regular refinishing to prevent discolouration.
Susceptible to expansion in damp environments.
Vulnerable to denting.
A classic floor covering that comes in different forms including ceramic, porcelain and natural stone options.
Endless colour and shape options.
Durable to scratches and dents.
Waterproof and easy to clean – great for wet rooms.
Hard and cold underfoot unless used with radiant heating.
Items dropped onto tile may break (it and/or the tile).
Grout requires regular cleaning and maintenance.
*A note when it comes to deciding between porcelain tile vs ceramic tile. While both are hardy, porcelain is stronger and more durable, making it the best tile flooring for high-traffic areas.
Other flooring types that are also popular include:
Concrete – Very modern and ideal for damp environments and spaces
Bamboo – A popular eco-friendly alternative to real wood with distinctive grain patterns. Is more easily scratched and dented than hardwood flooring
Cork – Sustainably sourced compressed bark, naturally resistant to mildew and mold but requires regular resealing.
Carpet – Many colour and texture choices for this comfortable option. Stain-proof and hypo-allergenic options are available.
What is the Best Type of Flooring for Different Rooms?
Each flooring type has properties that make it more, or less, suitable for some rooms in the home. We suggest the following:
Bathroom / laundry – best options are engineered hardwood, vinyl or tile.
Family / Living room –hardwood, engineered hardwood or carpet are classic and cozy choices.
Basement – Concrete, ceramic tile and vinyl will work well in cold and damp conditions.
Bedroom – Choose hardwood or carpet for a touch of luxury.
For more guidance see this ‘Essential guide to choosing flooring in every room’ from Good Housekeeping magazine.
What to Consider When Choosing Flooring for Your Custom Home.
Consider the following factors to ensure you choose the right flooring type:
Budget – Flooring costs can vary greatly. Choose the best quality you can afford and consider alternatives that offer the same look for a lower cost.
Design and Style – Choose floors that suit your personal taste as they will match the rest of your décor.
Functionality – Consider your lifestyle and any specific requirements. For example, you may require dog-friendly flooring that can handle the wear and tear from your pets.
Return on investment – Higher-end options such as hardwood will add value to your home and make it more appealing to buyers.
Local environment – Do you live in a humid or damp location? Choose flooring that won’t warp if it gets wet.
Comfort – Remember, this is your future home. Choose options that will be comfortable and welcoming for your family and visitors.
These considerations will help you to identify the flooring options that are right for you. Then comes the fun part of choosing finishes and colours.
If you are looking for some inspiration for classic or modern flooring ideas, check out this guide to flooring trends by Housebeautiful.com.
Get Designer Advice for Custom Home Flooring
When you build a custom home with White Wolf Homes, we work with you every step of the way to ensure your finished home is exactly what you want.
Our team takes into account your personal preferences, taste, lifestyle requirements and the architectural style of the home, to recommend trendy but timeless flooring options that are both attractive, functional and on budget.
Want to build a custom home in the Victoria, BC region? Contact White Wolf Homes today to get the conversation started.