The type of floor finish you choose contributes significantly to the overall aesthetics of your home’s interior. From classic options like hardwood and ceramic tile to contemporary choices like luxury vinyl planking and epoxy on concrete and rubber, there are floor finishes to suit every taste and requirement.

Let’s explore the different types of floor finishes in this article.

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What Is a Floor Finish?

A floor finish, also known as flooring, is the top layer of the floor. It’s the surface you walk on and look at. Flooring is crucial for both functionality and aesthetics. 

Types of Floor Finishes

Here are the different types of floor finishes and the pros and cons of each type. 

1. Hardwood Flooring

 

Hardwood floors come in different types- Some of the common wood, such as oak, maple, birch, and hickory, as well as, exotic woods such as acacia, Santos mahogany, Brazilian cherry, walnut, etc. There are many different finishes as well from polyurethane to oiled finishes with matte, semi-gloss, and high-gloss topical coats. Regardless of the type of wood you choose, they give your home a classic, elegant, or contemporary look. Hardwood floors are durable and easy to clean. If you have older floors and would like to sand, stain, and finish them again, most of the time you can do so.

Average lifespan: 30-100 years (depending on the type of wood)

Average price per square foot: $4-$20 (for materials)

Pros:

  • Aesthetic appeal
  • Durable
  • Lasts long
  • Variety of styles
  • Easy to clean
  • Increases home value
  • Hypoallergenic

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Susceptible to moisture damage
  • Hard underfoot
  • Can cause an echo in the house

 

2. Laminate Flooring

 

Laminate flooring is a cost-effective alternative to hardwood. Laminate floors have improved to the point where it’s nearly impossible to tell they’re not hardwood. Besides the wood plank look, you can also choose laminate floors that replicate natural stone. Laminate floors are durable and resist scratches and stains. They come in many colors and designs. Unlike hardwood, if a laminate floor loses its color, you have to replace it. But it takes over 15 years to lose color, so you don’t have to worry about it much. Laminate is a floating floor, which means that it does not adhere to the substrate. They are clicked together and gravity holds it down. This makes for an easy installation but you will be able to hear a slight hollow sound if it is installed over concrete.

Average lifespan: 15-25 years
Average price per square foot: $2-$12 (for materials)

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Variety of styles
  • Durable
  • Easy to clean
  • Consistent appearance
  • Hypoallergenic

Cons:

  • Shorter lifespan than wood
  • Susceptible to moisture damage
  • Hard underfoot
  • Can cause an echo

 

3. Vinyl Flooring

 

Vinyl flooring didn’t have a good reputation among homeowners before, but it has evolved and become a practical and stylish flooring option. Vinyl floors come in sheet, tile, and plank formats. High-end vinyl floors replicate hardwood while being significantly less expensive. Vinyl floors are water-resistant topically and come in various designs. They are also an excellent choice for kitchens and bathrooms, as they resist moisture, easy to clean, and warm. Vinyl planking is a floating floor, which means that it does not adhere to the substrate. They are clicked together and gravity holds it down. This makes for an easy installation but you will be able to hear a slight hollow sound if it is installed over concrete.

Average lifespan: 15-20 years
Average price per square foot: $2-$10 (for materials)

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Variety of styles
  • Durable
  • Water-resistant
  • Easy to clean
  • Hypoallergenic

Cons:

  • Susceptible to underneath substrate moisture
  • Vulnerable to direct heat
  • Can scratch easier than laminate floors

 

4. Ceramic Tile Flooring

 

Ceramic tiles are made from fine clay fired at high temperatures to form a dense tile. The durability and water-resistant capability of ceramic tiles make them a popular choice among homeowners across the world. They come in various colors, sizes, and designs, so you can choose one that best fits your home. Ceramic tiles are versatile. You can go for an elegant design for your hall, a simple or colorful design for your kitchen, and a patterned design for your bathroom. The grout lines between ceramic tiles collect dirt and grime over time, so regular cleaning is necessary to keep them in good shape.

Average lifespan: 30-100 years
Average price per square foot: $2-$20 (for materials)

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Variety of styles
  • Water-resistant
  • Heat-resistant
  • Lasts long
  • Hypoallergenic

Cons:

  • More costly
  • Feels cold underfoot
  • Requires regular cleaning

 

5. Porcelain Tile Flooring

 

Porcelain tiles are manufactured similarly to ceramic but are denser and more water resistant because of the differences in clay composition and firing process. Porcelain tiles are elegant and are available in various designs and sizes. They are durable, easy to clean, and suitable for use in the hall, kitchen, and bathroom. Porcelain tiles don’t crack or warp in extreme temperatures, making them ideal for outdoor usage.

Average lifespan: 30-100 years
Average price per square foot: $3-$30 (for materials)

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Water-resistant
  • Heat-resistant
  • Variety of styles
  • Lasts long
  • Hypoallergenic

Cons:

  • More costly
  • Feels cold underfoot
  • Requires regular cleaning

 

6. Concrete Flooring

 

Concrete floors come in various finishes, such as polished, stained, and stamped. Polished concrete offers a sleek and minimalistic look, while stained or stamped options introduce texture and pattern. Concrete floors are highly durable and require low maintenance. They were previously only used for industrial spaces. But now, they have evolved and have become another option for many homeowners. They seamlessly blend with classic and contemporary interiors. Concrete floors are easy to clean but require regular sealing to prevent staining from spills.

Average lifespan: 20-30 years
Average price per square foot: $2-$15 (for materials)

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Lasts long
  • Eco-friendly
  • Variety of styles
  • Hypoallergenic

Cons:

  • Prone to cracks
  • Feels cold underfoot

 

7. Cork Flooring

 

Cork is made from the bark of cork oak trees. This harvesting process doesn’t harm the trees, making cork flooring an eco-friendly option. Cork flooring looks attractive and comes in various colors, patterns, and finishes, so you can choose a design that matches your home’s interior aesthetics. They are softer, making them more comfortable to stand on for extended periods. Cork flooring is prone to scratches and fades over time. It resists water, provided you seal it periodically. Cork is not as commonly used, but it is another great option.

Average lifespan: 15-30 years
Average price per square foot: $3-$12 (for materials)

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Lasts long
  • Variety of styles
  • Soft to stand and walk on
  • Eco-friendly
  • Absorbs sound
  • Hypoallergenic

Cons:

  • Susceptible to moisture damage
  • Susceptible to scratches
  • Fades over time

 

8. Natural Stone Flooring

 

Natural stone flooring, such as marble, granite, and slate, gives your home a luxurious appearance. Each natural stone has its own color and pattern, creating unique floors. If you want an elegant interior and are willing to put in the effort for regular maintenance, such as sealing, natural stone flooring should be your go-to choice. Most natural stone floors are prone to scratches and cracks.

Average lifespan: More than 100 years
Average price per square foot: $4-$50 (for materials), depending on the stone

Pros:

  • Aesthetic appeal
  • Durable
  • Variety
  • Increase home value
  • Hypoallergenic

Cons:

  • More Costly
  • Prone to scratches and cracks
  • Difficult to maintain
  • Feels cold underfoot

 

Verdict: What’s the Best Floor Finish for Your Home?

Choosing the best flooring for your home involves considering the aesthetics, price, maintenance, and requirements. Typically we encourage our clients to take their time and ask plenty of questions to determine which flooring is best for you. If you still need help choosing the right flooring for your home, get in touch with Family Interiors. Our pros offer free in-home installation estimates and also provide floor maintenance services.