Choosing the Best Flooring for Your Home Renovation Project


Flooring plays a dual role in your home, part functional and part decorative. Choosing the best flooring for your home renovation project can be tricky and often depends on preferences, placement and budget. Think about the different factors at work in the room and opt for a flooring type that offers durability and beauty in one package.

Best Flooring for a Kitchen Renovation

Kitchen flooring needs to ring several bells. It must be:

  • Safe - a fair amount of traffic passes through this room, and you want to ensure the floor remains level and free of obstructions. Stay away from slippery floors.
  • Low Maintenance - floors with a slight pattern or darker grain hide dust and dirt, keeping daily clean up tasks to a minimum. You also want to choose flooring that cleans easily and can handle moisture. Solid hardwood floors may not be the ideal choice for kitchen renovations, as spills and exposure to moisture tends to warp wood and damage the finish.
  • Durable - people move in the kitchen, and this movement creates wear on a soft flooring type. Consider tiling, quality vinyl or laminate. These materials provide a heavy finish that lasts against typical kitchen traffic.
  • Attractive - several building materials come together in your kitchen, including cabinetry, countertops and wall color. Flooring texture and pattern should complement all of these aspects and bring them together to create a cohesive look. Remember that darker flooring creates a cozy feeling, while lighter colors tend to brighten up the space and reflect light to create an open atmosphere.

Consider your options for kitchen flooring and bring several samples into your home to get a better view.

Best Flooring for a Bathroom Renovation

Moisture is a constant in the bathroom, and your flooring should be suited to those conditions. Solid hardwood makes a poor choice for the bathroom, although quality made exotics may offer some protection against water damage. Wise contractors suggest products with better durability.

Laminate provides an inexpensive option for your bathroom renovation. Durability varies and is most often based on installation. Seams and edges may present problems, and good quality glue must be used to attach the flooring in place.

Tile remains one of the most popular options for bathroom renovations. Look for tiles in a wider variety of shapes and sizes, from small mosaic styles to larger flooring tiles. Made from natural stone, porcelain or ceramic, tiles provide something for every decor taste and room style.

Solid tiled floors require a secure, level subfloor and are mortared into place. Certain designs carry tiles up the wall or around the shower, either with a uniform tile size or by using complementary, smaller tiles.

Tiled floors are often cool to touch, but impervious to puddles and condensation. Consider installing a radiant heated flooring system under the subfloor to warm up the space. This type of bathroom floor is also low maintenance and extremely durable, with quality products lasting for generations.

Best Flooring for a Basement Renovation

A basement renovation presents many challenges, as outlined in a CMHC resource here and the best flooring option must address unavoidable conditions like high moisture levels. Some homeowners have success with reducing moisture by using a dehumidifier or installing waterproof membranes on foundation walls. But moisture stubbornly returns through the floors and walls, wreaking havoc on all building materials found below-grade.

Plan to use a waterproof underlayment. Carpet requires a closed cell underpad to block moisture from soaking into the fibers, and wood flooring or laminate should be installed on a plywood subfloor with poly underneath.

Solid hardwood floors are not recommended for basement renovations. Moisture causes the planks to expand and contract, often resulting in serious warping, splitting and cracking. Even with a dehumidifier to regulate the temperatures, solid hardwood doesn't offer a good return on your investment.

Engineered wood flooring works, due to a layered construction that allows for more expansion and contraction. Be sure to purchase a brand made for below-grade installation and hire an experienced contractor for installation.

Tiling and laminate are often used in basement renovations, and some homeowners opt to paint the concrete floor to create a decorative, yet entirely functional surface. Browse the latest ideas and trends before deciding on the ideal basement flooring, always keeping in mind the issue of moisture.

Best Flooring for a Family Room Renovation

Family rooms focus on relaxation and comfort. You need to choose flooring that reflects the room's style and decor, but also creates a cozy atmosphere. Top choices include:

  • Solid hardwood - durable and highly attractive, hardwood flooring comes in a broad range of appearances and styles. From exotic species like Tigerwood or Ipe to popular domestic styles like maple and walnut, every homeowner will find a brand of hardwood to suit their home.
  • Engineered wood flooring - almost identical in appearance to solid hardwood, engineered wood flooring is manufactured to withstand temperature changes and provide years of durable use at a lower price point than hardwood. It comes in many of the same styles and can be sanded down and refinished at least once.
  • Carpet - this traditional style of flooring is on the decline in recent years, although a good quality berber offers years of life in a busy home. Look for well made carpet containing natural fibers and low VOCs for an eco-friendly option in your home.
  • Cork - a modern choice for family homes, this renewable material provides an environmental solution for family room renovations. Cork is comfortable and highly durable, and comes close to the price point for engineered wood floors.

Think about how you use the room when choosing the best flooring for your home renovation. Shop at your local flooring retailers and research flooring types through industry associations like the National Floor Covering Association be sure to bring samples home to get a look at color, texture and scope in the actual jobsite conditions. Flooring brings home decor together and deserves to be chosen with care, whether for a kitchen renovation, bathroom remodel, basement renovation or family room makeover.

Posted by: TrustedPros
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