Finding the perfect flooring can be downright daunting. Not only are there dozens of options to choose from, but there are also a number of important factors to consider with each material to use. Do not let the decision-making get you down. Ultimately, the best flooring for your project will depend on your budget and lifestyle. Give careful consideration to how you will use the room in which you are installing flooring, as well as to how much effort you are willing to put into ongoing maintenance. With so many options available, you will be able to find the perfect flooring for your project. Hardwood You can not beat the beauty, durability, and versatility of hardwood flooring and its engineered counterparts. Not only is hardwood flooring easy to maintain and restore, but it can also be styled and stained to complement every taste. The downside to solid hardwood is that it is highly susceptible to water damage. Also, softer varieties may scratch easily, making them less practical for households with dogs and kids. You could choose bamboo flooring, which is more durable than regular hardwood. Perhaps the greatest downside to hardwood flooring is its cost. The cost of your hardwood installation project will depend largely on the type of wood you choose and the square footage of your flooring area. The good news is that, in most cases, hardwood flooring will also increase the resale value of your home. Carpet Carpet is comfortable and easy to care for, making it a popular choice for bedrooms and living areas. One benefit of carpet is that there are many styles, colors, and textures to choose from. Another is that it provides increased insulation and helps to minimize sound. Disadvantages of carpet include its vulnerability to stains and water damage (it’s best not to install carpet in bathrooms), as well as its tendency to collect particles known to aggravate allergies and respiratory conditions. The cost of your carpeting project will depend on the quality of the carpet you choose and the square footage of the carpeted area. Another (often overlooked) cost consideration is carpet padding. While installing new padding will add to the overall cost of your project, it will also add to the comfort and longevity of your floor. Tile Ceramic and porcelain tile are well suited for any space. In fact, with the introduction of wood plank tile (tile that resembles hardwood), they have become increasingly popular for use in main living areas. The upside to ceramic and porcelain is that most options require little maintenance (apart from regular mopping and occasional repair). The downside is that they can be cold on bare feet. Fortunately, the installation of radiant heat below ceramic and porcelain tiles can make them a warmer and more comfortable flooring option. The cost of your tile project will depend on the tile you choose and the square footage of the flooring area. Additional factors, such as subflooring and the inclusion of intricate patterns or designs, may also affect your project’s cost. Natural Stone Natural stone flooring — including granite, marble, travertine, and limestone — is as classic and stunning as it comes. Unfortunately, natural stone is also as high-maintenance as it comes. While extremely durable, natural stone is also both soft and porous, making it susceptible to scratching and staining. For this reason, keep your natural stone free of dirt and spills. Wellmaintained, natural stone materials will preserve beautifully for decades. The cost of your natural stone installation will depend on the square footage of your flooring area and the material you choose. Some natural stone is exceptionally expensive compared to other varieties. Like ceramic tile projects, natural stone projects may require strengthened subflooring and consideration to extras such as intricate patterns or designs. It is also a good idea to consider the cost of ongoing upkeep when considering natural stone. Linoleum Vinyl and linoleum have come a long way in the last 20 years. They are still the most affordable flooring materials, but they no longer look the part. One upside to vinyl and linoleum is that they wear well and are resistant to water and stains. Another advantage of vinyl and linoleum is the variety of modern and stylish options to choose from — many of which are easy to install and repair. The downside to vinyl and linoleum is their susceptibility to peeling and tearing. Also, while highly practical, the materials will do nothing to increase the resale value of your home. The cost of your installation will depend on the material you choose, the condition of any existing subflooring and the square footage of your project area.