If your wood floors are discolored and scratched, your tile chipped, or your laminate worn, you may need an upgrade! But what’s the best flooring option? That all depends on the purpose of the area to be refinished, your budget, and your style.
The following sections will outline some of the key differences between wood, tile, and laminate.
Since there are pros and cons to each type of flooring, your decision should reflect the needs of the space and your family. Do you need your floors to be durable, beautiful, easy to install? All three?
Take a look at these pros and cons to help you find your best flooring match:
Tile can be made of cement, ceramic, glass, porcelain, marble, or other stones. It comes in all different interlocking shapes (not just square and rectangular!), and the style options are vast. Some tiles are painted with designs or installed in mosaic patterns. Some are shiny, and others matte. Is tile right for your home?
- Durable – the solid nature of tile holds up well to everyday traffic. Tile doesn’t tend to show wear for many, many years.
- Water-resistant – depending on the type of tile you choose, it will be more or less impervious to drips from your faucet or discarded wet shoes in a mudroom. Overall though, you won’t have to worry as much about spills or drips on your tile floors as you would with laminate or wood.
- Chips – despite being durable to foot traffic, tile is prone to chipping if you drop a heavy object on it.
Wood brings warmth to your home. It harkens back to cozy farmhouses or the minimalist, natural accents in Scandanavian design. You can install finished or unfinished planks, hardwood or engineered, dark or light, and wide, thin, or patterned. Is wood flooring right for your home?
- It’s gorgeous – most people would agree that wood floors can be absolutely stunning, especially when properly maintained and thoughtfully accented with wall colors and rugs.
- Can be refinished – while wood does stain or discolor and become scratched, the surface can be refinished to achieve the same glossy sheen it had when you first installed it. Solid hardwood, in particular, can be refinished again and again.
- Warmer than tile – wood is not as sensitive and responsive to cold, so it feels warmer on your feet than tile does.
- Scratches – do you love dragging your heavy furniture around to rearrange every season? Without furniture glides, you might dig gouges into your gorgeous wood floors. Not only very heavy objects will leave scratches, though – so can toys, kitchen utensils, or even shoes.
- Water damage – wood can suffer water damage if exposed to long-standing spills, leaks, or even humidity. These may result in staining, swelling, and buckling.
Laminate flooring can look just as beautiful as true wood or tile floors, with just as many styles and color options but at a significantly reduced price point. These synthetic floors are durable and can replicate the look of not only tile or wood but allow you to install patterned designs without extra effort.
- Looks like wood planks or tiles – there are so many options in the design, color, and “grain” of the “wood” planks of your laminate floors, all for a much lower cost than hardwood (the same goes for the options for tile designs).
- Easy to DIY install – you won’t have to use grout, mortar, or glue to install your laminate floors. The pieces simply snap together.
- Durable – this is the floor for homes with kids and pets! Laminate is the most scratch-resistant option, and dry messes sweep up easily.
- Can suffer water damage – similar to wood, laminate is susceptible to water damage and should not be installed in bathrooms, laundry rooms, or kitchens.
- Buckling – laminate floors may buckle if exposed to water or if supporting extremely heavy furniture.
- Eventually shows wear – especially in high trafficked areas, it may be obvious when your laminate has been around a few years. However, laminate comes with an AC rating that can help you determine if you’ve found one durable enough for the traffic you expect in that area of your home.
Ultimately, the choice to go with tile, laminate, or wood should be made based on the needs of the space. If your flooring area will likely be splashed with water, tile is your go-to. If the space calls for warmth and beauty, try wood flooring. And if you need something to hold up against the wear and tear of everyday life, laminate could be your best friend.