Delineate your desires
Are aesthetics your most important consideration? And if so, what are you looking for, aesthetically? Is it also important that the material be easy to clean? Or what about to stand on for long periods of time—for example, do you cook for hours? Do you need something cushy to lie on in front of the fireplace? So many questions…the first step in choosing the correct flooring is determining
1) the room you’re re-flooring, and what its major purpose is
2) how the purpose of the room affects what you want from the flooring (looks, cleanability, comfort, durability, etc.)
Decide on a budget
How much you’re willing to spend will affect what materials are available to you. When you’re laying out the limit for your spending, consider also how long you want your floor to last. If you’re a temporary tenant, you might not care. But if you plan on sticking around for years, it might be more economical to install slightly pricier but more durable floors. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of installation, either.
Determine whether you want to go eco-friendly
Our standard plug for green living: every choice you make affects the environment. Are you committed to greener options? If so, steer clear of vinyl and traditional carpeting. Choose flooring that requires minimal processing and comes from renewable resources (bamboo is a popular choice these days, but is far from the only one). And remember, what’s good for the environment is usually good for you—conventional flooring sometimes includes toxic chemicals or fabrics, and can off-gas a long time after installation.
Deliberate your options
ApartmentTherapy recently did a run-down of flooring options for kitchens, although they apply to other parts of the house, as well. Check out their article for more details, or do additional research, but we’ll summarize here:
-Tile: durable, easy to clean; a bit hard on feet and fragile objects when dropped
-Wood: beautiful and easy to clean—with the right sealer; has more give than tile
-Cork: cushy and environmentally-friendly; not good for regularly wet areas
-Linoleum: easy to clean; now available in natural materials
-Concrete: durable and easy to clean; only good for building, not remodeling, and hard on the feet
-Hybrids: can take several forms, and may maximize the benefits of more than one type of flooring