Pros, Cons and 6 Alternatives

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Get to know how vinyl flooring has become a homeowner’s favorite since the 1950s and how it edges most of the flooring alternatives past and present.

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Vinyl flooring is the second most popular choice of flooring in the U.S., next only to carpet. It made its first debut in 1933 during the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago. But it was only after the World War II that production of vinyl took off, making it a strong alternative to other well-known resilient flooring at that time.

Vinyl became a favorite among homeowners during the 1950s, 60s and 70s. It’s still one of the top choices today especially for the kitchen and bathroom.

Get to know more about vinyl flooring and other flooring options available today.

Vinyl sheet with a contemporary oak appearance.Source: Home Depot

Pros

  • This is one of the most low-maintenance flooring options available and cleaning it usually only involves vacuuming and mopping with a special floor cleaner specifically for vinyl floors.
  • Standing water won’t damage the floors as they are waterproof, making them the best choice for a messy bathroom or kitchen.
  • This flooring is generally very easy to install and since it is so inexpensive, it’s a great option for homeowners who want to complete quick update projects in their homes without going over budget.
  • During the winter when the floors are generally very cold, vinyl will stay warmer than some other flooring options.
  • More expensive options are made to resemble wood grain and even stone and can instantly improve the appearance of your room without costing most of your budget.

Cons

  • If your vinyl snags or tears, there is unfortunately no easy way to fix it and you will have to rip up the floor and replace the whole thing.
  • Dragging furniture across vinyl will easily damage it and rubber can cause a chemical reaction that will permanently stain vinyl.
  • Old vinyl can only be thrown away, not reused, and since it is not biodegradable it is not good for the environment, leading many people to search out other options.

Alternatives

1. Carpet

Stylish carpet with a soft texture.Source: Home Depot

Carpet floors are always a classic and with so many types, designs, and colors to choose from, this flooring looks great in any home. Indoor-outdoor options can be used in sunrooms and on the porch, making this part of your home feel more connected to the inside.

Pros

  • Carpets will last for a very long time as long as they are properly installed and maintained. You will want to make sure that you have a quality pad underneath to help the carpet keep from becoming worn.
  • You can easily match the colors and designs in your home as carpet comes in many colors and patterns. From neutral to bold, there really is a choice for everyone.
  • This comfortable flooring will help keep your home warmer during the winter and also keeps noises from traveling down the hall and from level to level. This makes it ideal in a home with loud family members.

Cons

  • It can be difficult to get carpets perfectly clean as they tend to trap debris and dust, making them a poor choice for homeowners who suffer from bad allergies.
  • Professional cleanings are often required to get them nice and clean; this cost can add up.
  • They do not add to the resale value of a home the way that other flooring options, especially hardwood, will.
  • If the flooring pad underneath the carpet is not thick enough or in good condition, then you will begin to see paths where people have walked wearing into the carpet itself.

2. Bamboo

Engineered bamboo flooring in a dark brown shade.Source: Home Depot

This sustainable flooring is gorgeous and bright, instantly updating modern homes. When you install a high-quality option you will be able to easily mop it without special cleaners and won’t have to worry about it warping or buckling.

Pros

  • It’s easy to refinish this floor, allowing you to get a lot of life out of it as long as you choose a quality option that will allow it to be sanded and refinished.
  • This is a strong flooring choice and you won’t have to worry about it being stained or damaged by water.
  • Bamboo floors can be cleaned with soapy water and don’t require special cleaners.
  • This flooring is less expensive than hardwood floors but still looks great, allowing for home improvement projects on a budget.
    Because it is available in many styles and colors, it’s easy for homeowners to choose flooring that matches the aesthetics of their homes.

Cons

  • Lower-quality bamboo floors can be dented or scratched so owners have to be careful when moving furniture or if they have pets.
  • While it stands up to water, puddles left on the floor can allow mold to grow.
  • Quality flooring will be left to harden after harvest so that the floor will be strong. If installed too quickly, it tends to be softer and more easily damaged.

3. Laminate

Laminate flooring in a gray oak finish.Source: Home Depot

Laminate flooring has come a long way in recent years and some of the better designs will look exactly the same as high-quality wood flooring. This is a great way to get a high-quality look at an affordable price and without worrying about the environmental impact of your flooring choice.

Pros

  • You never have to wax laminate and it cleans easily with a damp mop.
  • Laminate flooring generally comes with a tough surface on top that will help it to resist dents and stains. Homeowners who have pets or kids will love this benefit as it ensures that the floor will look great for years without a lot of expensive upkeep.
  • In general, it’s fairly easy to install laminate flooring due to its click-and-lock installation process that involves simply snapping pieces together.
  • Optional underlayment attached to the floor will dampen the noise that is associated with this flooring.

Cons

  • This flooring can sound a little hollow when you are walking on it because of the installation process.
  • Unlike hardwood flooring, laminate will not greatly increase the value of your home and you are unlikely to recoup the cost of having it installed when you do sell your home.
  • There is no way to refinish laminate and if it gets damaged badly enough, then the only way to repair it is to replace it. While this is a fairly simple process, it is one that many homeowners don’t want to have to deal with.
  • Water that’s left on the floor can damage it and cause the boards to swell, leading to buckling at the seams.

4. Hardwood

Solid hardwood flooring in neutral tones.Source: Home Depot

This is universally one of the most appealing kinds of flooring that is available to homeowners. It not only looks timeless but will last for decades if taken care of and will greatly increase the value of the home. In addition, gorgeous wood grain can become a focal point of your home when installed and stained by a professional.

Pros

  • Most homeowners find that they can recoup the cost of having hardwood floors installed in their homes because they improve the appearance of the home.
  • Hardwood floors are easy to clean and keep in great condition. Wood soap is generally recommended to help them stay looking their best.
  • No matter what style you are interested in, there is a flooring that will meet your needs. From lighter pine to dark oak, and thin to thick boards, you can create a style that is all your own when you have hardwood floors installed at your home.

Cons

  • It may become necessary to refinish your floors so you can be sure that they are in the best possible condition; to have this done by a professional can be expensive.
  • Not only are these floors expensive to buy but since the process of installing them is more complicated, homeowners will also have to factor in the cost of having them professionally installed, which can break the budget for some people.
  • You may find that you have to put down rugs to dampen any loud noises that will easily carry in your home when you have hardwood floors. While it won’t bother everyone, in a busy home or room it can be very loud.

5. Tile

White and gray marble tile.Source: Home Depot

While not commonly used throughout an entire home, tile is a great option in certain rooms such as the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room. It’s a very sturdy floor that is easy to clean but also to crack if you accidentally drop something heavy on the tile.

Pros

  • Tile floors have such a hard protective surface on them that you won’t have to worry about stains from spilled items such as coffee or red wine. With a simple mopping, the floor will look as good as new.
  • This floor is not only easy to clean but it will not retain dust and dirt the way that other floors will.
  • You can easily create a one-of-a-kind floor with patterns and bright colors or opt for neutral colors that won’t detract from the beauty of your home.

Cons

  • In general, tile floors are cold and many families find that they need rugs to keep their feet warm in the winter.
  • The grout between tiles can get very dirty, even with regular washing, and may need to be scrubbed or bleached from time to time to look its best.
  • Due to their weight, you have to make sure that your home can structurally support tiles before you try to have them installed.
  • Most homeowners can’t complete this installation by themselves as you not only want to make sure that the tiles are neat and straight but will also need specialized tools to complete the job.





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