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Installing New Flooring in Your Home

Your home is your castle. The flooring in that castle is one of the most visible design elements of the entire home, and is constantly on display.

Years or even decades of daily foot traffic can make even the toughest carpet or hardwood look dingy and worn. Perhaps you simply want to modernize the outdated tile in certain parts of your home. Whatever the reason, if you are tired of your flooring’s appearance, materials or finishes and you have decided it is time for an upgrade, you have a tremendous range of options when installing new flooring.

Aesthetics aside, new flooring can increase the value of your home, the National Association of Realtors reports. Flooring replacement is also one of the preferred renovation projects for bringing homeowners additional comfort and enjoyment in their residences, the association adds.

Modernize created this comprehensive flooring installation guide to help homeowners form a game plan for their flooring renovation projects. We’ve included helpful information about flooring costs, types of flooring, full versus partial flooring replacement and much more. Read through this page to answer any questions you might have about your flooring installation. When you are finished strategizing your renovation plans, Modernize can help you find a contractor in your area to install new flooring.

How to Choose the Right Type of Flooring

Flooring is a crucial element of interior design and homeowner comfort — there is rarely a moment spent at home where flooring goes unnoticed. There are lots of different types of flooring that homeowners can choose from during renovations and installations, including:

Keep in mind that there are countless style options within the above flooring categories. When you begin your flooring project, your contractor can help you decide on which type and style is best for your home.

Let’s break down several main flooring types individually to help you gain a better understanding of the pros and cons of each type of flooring and how it might fit into your flooring renovation plans.

Carpeted Floors

Most homes have carpet installed in at least a few rooms. The Carpet and Rug Institute says carpet’s main benefits are beauty, style, improved air quality, warmth, comfort and noise reduction. On the flip side, carpet can show wear after a few years of hard use, and is known to trap and hold troublesome allergens such as dust and dander. Carpet also requires routine maintenance such as vacuuming and the occasional shampooing. It also can be stained by spills or pet mishaps.

Hardwood

A few of hardwood’s main benefits include rich natural beauty and ambiance, a huge variety of styles and materials, durability, and little day-to-day maintenance. Cons include a rather hefty price tag for materials and installation, it’s prone to dents and scratches, and it’s not the best option for certain rooms, such as kitchens or bathrooms.

Porcelain and ceramic tile

Porcelain tile shares similar base materials as ceramic tile, but it’s typically stronger, denser and more durable since it’s fired at higher temperatures. Tile is extremely wear-resistant and requires little maintenance, making it a great option for high-traffic areas such as hallways, entryways, kitchens and bathrooms. It comes in a wide range of visually appealing sizes and styles. Potential drawbacks include a significantly higher price for materials and installation than other flooring solutions, and tile also can feel quite chilly underfoot in colder climates. Some homeowners also choose to routinely seal their tile and grout lines to help protect it.

Natural stone

Natural stone flooring adds unmatched visual appeal and elegance to just about any interior space. Common materials include marble, limestone, travertine and granite. On the one hand, natural stone is incredibly durable and also boosts your home’s R-value (insulation) during warm summer and cold winter months. On the other, natural stone is among the costliest flooring solutions. And since stone is permeable, this type of flooring requires routine sealing.

Laminates

Laminate is a popular flooring solution because it provides durability, style and low maintenance combined with more affordable price points compared to other flooring solutions. Laminate flooring typically consists of four-piece construction: base, core, design and wear layers. It’s moisture and stain resistant, easy to clean and comes in a huge variety of styles, including natural stone and hardwood. However, it can’t be sanded and refinished like regular hardwood — scratches, dents and the like are there to stay.

Engineered vinyl

One reason engineered vinyl plank flooring has grown in popularity is because it can visually mirror more expensive flooring options. You can choose planks that look like wood, marble, natural stone, tile or parquet flooring. Engineered vinyl flooring consists of a tough vinyl top layer covering an engineered wood core. These durable, waterproof planks are perfect for high-traffic areas since they don’t easily scratch or stain and are easily cleaned. Potential cons include costs that are comparable to hardwood and laminates, poor- or inconsistent quality in manufacturing, and little to no ROI at resale.

Linoleum

We’re all likely well-acquainted with linoleum flooring, and inexpensive floor covering that’s been used for decades in residential tract homes. Linoleum is sold in sheets or tiles that fit snugly together and are glued down with a spread adhesive. It’s durable, easy to clean and requires no routine maintenance such as sealing. On the flip side, linoleum can be dented from drop impacts, it can fade in direct sunlight, and it just doesn’t offer the same visual appeal as other flooring options.

6 Factors to Consider When Choosing a New Floor

Now that we’ve covered common types of flooring, let’s dive into some of the most common considerations when choosing new flooring. Primary concerns include cost, style and durability. However, other factors you should consider when choosing new flooring include its location (use), maintenance and potential return on your investment.

Here’s a closer look at each factor:

1. Cost

Perhaps the most important factor for the majority of homeowners. We’ll take a deep dive into new flooring costs in the next section.

2. Style

Certain types of flooring will match your home’s décor and personal taste better than others. Also, when styling new floors, it is important to consider the room’s use and activity level – is it a high-traffic area, or a part of the home that’s a bit quieter? Is it a common gathering place? Will it need frequent cleaning, with kids playing or due to spills while cooking dinner?

For instance, according to Living Spaces interior designer Shelby Greene:

Rugs, and rug-pile height, or the length of a rug’s fibers, can make a dramatic difference in the look and feel of a home, especially with brand new floors. High-pile rugs, like shag, bring coziness, while low-pile rugs that sit close to the floor are best for high-traffic areas and bring in color while being easy to clean.”

Consider consulting with a design professional to help you make flooring choices that you’ll be happy with today as well as years later.

3. Maintenance

Some types of flooring are more difficult to keep clean and appealing in appearance than others. Hardwoods and laminates, for example, typically show dirt and dust more than carpet. Consider how often you prefer to vacuum and mop before choosing your new flooring.

4. Durability

Have kids or pets? Both can be exceptionally hard on flooring. Tile and stone flooring are more expensive than other options but offer exceptional durability and scratch resistance. Laminates, meanwhile, typically straddle the middle ground between expensive and durable. Carpet is easily cleaned, but it can show stains and wear over time. Think hard about potential uses — and mishaps — before choosing new flooring.

5. Location

Certain rooms lend themselves to certain types of flooring. Tile and hardwood floors are visually pleasing, but they aren’t much fun to sit or lay on. Carpet with a nice, thick underpad may be a better — and more comfortable — option for high-use areas such as living rooms and bedrooms.

6. ROI

If your floors need a makeover, consider whether you’re living in your forever home or you might move in the next 5 or 10 years. Hardwood and engineered flooring offer visual appeal, durability and could be an attractive amenity for future homebuyers. It also could provide a modest bump to your asking price at sale time. Carpet, on the other hand, could be a less expensive option upfront but might need replacing down the road. If you don’t plan on moving, a longer-lasting option might be the wiser choice since you won’t have to re-address the problem.

New Flooring Costs

We’ve provided a high-level overview of the different flooring options available. Now it’s time to crunch some numbers to get an idea of budgeting for your new flooring project.

Costs are roughly lowest-to highest, although room size, where you shop and who you hire can greatly affect the total price of new flooring and installation.

Carpet. National home improvement retailers typically offer carpet for $1 to $4 per square foot with no extra cost for installation. Carpet padding, meanwhile starts at $.61 a square foot. Pro tip: don’t cheap out on carpet padding! Thick, high-grade carpet padding is worth every penny, especially if it’s covering a concrete slab foundation. Carpet costs rise exponentially depending on the type of fiber you choose. Polyester and olefin fiber are budget-friendly options, while wool and nylon fiber are the next step up in quality. Triexta carpet fiber sits at the high end of the price spectrum.

Sheet vinyl and vinyl plank. Expect to spend about $2 to $3 a square foot for sheet vinyl and click-lock vinyl plank flooring. Installation can run another $1 to $2 a square foot or more.

Linoleum. Depending on where you shop, expect to pay between $4 and $8 per square foot for sheet linoleum or linoleum tiles for materials and installation combined. Thicker, more durable material will cost you more.

Laminates. Installation typically costs $2 to $3 a square foot. Materials and underlayment, meanwhile, average about $1.80 a square foot.

Hardwood and engineered wood planks. The average cost for engineered hardwood planks is about $2.40, with another $.50 for underlayment. Installation costs average $3.50 a square foot for a rough total cost of $6.40 a square foot. Real hardwood, meanwhile runs about $7.80 a square foot for materials and installation.

Porcelain or ceramic tile. Prices for tile and stone flooring can vary dramatically depending on your choice of materials. Tiles can cost anywhere from $3 to $10 a square foot (one 12×12 tile), with additional costs for setting materials. Installation, meanwhile, can average about $6.50 a square foot.

Natural stone. This is one of most expensive flooring options. Figure around $7 per square foot for installation. Materials costs, meanwhile, depend on what type of stone you choose. Granite, marble, travertine and limestone can cost between $6 and $20 per square foot. 

It’s worth nothing that national home improvement retailer centers typically offer many cost-conscious options, while dedicated carpentry, tile/stone or hardwood flooring contractors typically charge a premium for their years of hard-won expertise and use of top-of-the-line materials. Also, flooring installation contractors typically charge for demolition or tear-out and disposal of your existing flooring.

Final Thoughts

Installing new flooring is a great way to increase the daily enjoyment of your home. It also can attract potential buyers by boosting the “wow” factor if you are considering putting your house on the market. If you’re staying put, updating your flooring can provide improved ambiance, livability and functionality to your home.

We hope you’ve found the information in this guide helpful in figuring out what type of flooring works best for your renovation project. Modernize can also help you find contractors in your area to ensure the job gets done correctly. Your home is your castle, and you’re in it nearly every day of the year. Installing new flooring is a great way to enjoy your castle all the more.

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