So you’ve decided to build your dream home, but now you’re faced with the hard decisions – what color paint, cabinetry, countertops and more. Flooring is another big decision to make and one that does not come easily for most as there seems to be an ever-changing supply of options. In addition to green friendly flooring options, we’ve seen spin-offs of what we traditionally think of as our standard vinyl, tile and hardwood choices. Most recently, we’ve seen dramatic improvements to the variety and quality of vinyl and laminate options.
When most people envision a laminate flooring for the main floor, I think many have flashbacks of Pergo flooring from the 90’s. However, today what we are seeing is a close resemblance to hardwood floors. In fact, many people now have a hard time telling the difference between a high-end laminate and hardwood. The benefit of going with a laminate over a hardwood is that it can be a more affordable option. Generally speaking, laminate is going to be more durable and weather resistant than a hardwood. Most hardwood floors need to be refinished every 5-10 years depending on wear, and few hold up well to hard heeled shoes, pets, etc. On the contrary, most laminates will not show marks from every day wear and tear, and hence, do not need to be refinished. They also hold up better to moisture, which here in the Midwest is something every homeowner must take into consideration with our harsh, snowy winters.
Hardwoods have their benefits too. They generally have a warmer feel to them and depending on price points, may be much more visually appealing. While they do need to be refinished from time to time, they do offer the benefit of being repaired more easily than a laminate. If a couple boards are damaged, they can be replaced and the floors refinished to match. This may be possible to replace with a laminate if they snap together, but would not offer any type of color matching solution from sun-fading etc.
Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT)
When it comes to bathrooms and mud rooms, we often see a vinyl or ceramic tile. Recently, Luxury Vinyl Tile, or LVT, has made its debut and with great popularity. It looks and feels more like a ceramic tile, and can even be grouted to give it more of that individual tile look. However, it installs like a breeze and will not break like a hard ceramic tile can. There is more flex in the material to withstand heavy objects being dropped on it. On the same note, it is more durable than a vinyl that will likely rip or tear if a heavy item is dropped or pulled across it. LVT is also a less expensive option than ceramic tile, and while it is not as affordable as a rollout vinyl, the additional durability and longevity of the LVT far outweigh any additional cost.
As you start making selections for your new home, weigh the pros and cons of different flooring options. What may be beneficial for one family may not be as important to the next – if you don’t have indoor pets and remove shoes, hardwoods may be a better fit for your family. However, if you’re like many of today’s families with pets, shoes and who knows what else going across your floors, a nice laminate and LVT may be great options!