What is the most durable type of flooring?

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12 April 2024 - 11:44, by , in epoxy flooring, No comments

Creating a durable floor for a home or commercial space involves selecting materials that can withstand high traffic, moisture exposure, and daily wear and tear. Here’s an overview of some of the most durable flooring options available:


Vinyl Flooring for high-traffic areas

Vinyl flooring, often referred to as resilient flooring, stands out as a robust, multi-layered flooring choice that’s quickly becoming the most popular in the market. It spans from cost-effective, easy-to-install peel-and-stick tiles to luxury vinyl tile (LVT), which is composed of several layers, including a high-definition printed design layer. Vinyl is available in a wide range of colors and patterns, mimicking materials like wood, natural stone, and concrete.

This type of flooring is suitable for any area of a home, including high-traffic zones, basements, and bathrooms. For areas prone to wear, such as small rooms, hallways, and kitchens, sheet vinyl is advantageous due to fewer seams which can prolong flooring life.

Maintaining vinyl flooring is straightforward thanks to its water-resistant and spill-resistant properties. Additionally, many vinyl products are designed with thick wear layers and protective coatings to enhance stain and scratch resistance, along with UV protection. Rigid core LVT is especially robust, capable of withstanding heavy furniture and high heels without damage.

Once vinyl flooring reaches the end of its life, it cannot be refinished but must be replaced. If only a small section is damaged and it’s a click-and-lock vinyl tile or plank, it’s relatively simple to replace just the affected pieces. For complete replacements, sheet vinyl offers an economical choice, though it might limit design options. Luxury vinyl tiles and planks provide more design choices but can be as costly as hardwood floors, with installation prices generally ranging from $2 to $6 per square foot.

Laminate Flooring for high-traffic volume

Laminate flooring is an ideal choice for bustling homes that experience a lot of foot traffic. It combines durability with affordability, making it suitable for various areas including bedrooms, hallways, kitchens, and laundry rooms. Laminate is particularly attractive for those seeking the appearance of hardwood without the associated cost.

laminate flooring

Laminate flooring, an engineered material, is crafted from high-density fiberboard or a plywood core and features a photographic layer that simulates the look of hardwood or stone. This is topped with a protective plastic coating that is highly resistant to scratches and dents, establishing laminate as one of the toughest flooring choices available.

Laminate is also resistant to sunlight and fading. While waterproof versions are available, finding the right type may require some research. It’s important to note that laminate cannot be refinished, so it is not considered a permanent flooring solution.

The installation cost of laminate flooring is generally lower than other flooring types, and it is user-friendly, often designed as a “floating” floor system where planks easily snap together. The typical installation cost ranges from $3 to $7 per square foot.

Hardwood Flooring for High-Traffic Areas

Hardwood flooring remains a popular choice among homeowners for its natural warmth and aesthetic appeal. There are primarily two types of hardwood flooring: solid wood flooring, which is made entirely of one piece of wood, and engineered wood flooring, which consists of a thin natural wood veneer bonded to structural plywood layers.

wood flooring

Hardwood floors can be used throughout the home but they are susceptible to scratches and visible wear, especially in high-traffic areas where there might be better alternatives.

The durability of hardwood also depends on the type of wood. Softer woods, such as pine, are more prone to dents and scratches. They also expand and contract with changes in humidity, which could be a consideration for rooms like kitchens and bathrooms where moisture levels fluctuate.

Modern hardwood flooring often includes additional features such as UV protection to prevent fading, microbial protection to resist mold and bacteria, and enhanced compounds to improve scratch resistance.

Unlike vinyl and laminate flooring, hardwood can be re-sanded and refinished periodically—every 3 to 7 years depending on traffic and wear—allowing it to last for decades, or even centuries, if well-maintained.

In terms of cost, wood flooring is typically the most expensive option. Solid wood flooring ranges from $5 to $10 per square foot, while engineered wood flooring costs between $4 and $9 per square foot when installation is included.

Ceramic Tile for high traffic volume

Tile flooring is a timeless choice for high-traffic areas, offering a range of colors and designs, from intricate mosaics to large-format tiles that minimize grout lines.

There are two main types of ceramic tiles: glazed and unglazed. Glazed tiles feature a protective topcoat that makes them resistant to stains and water damage, while unglazed tiles, though generally less expensive, are more porous and more likely to absorb water and stains, often requiring additional sealing.

Ceramic tiles are durable but can be prone to cracking if subjected to heavy impacts or if installation is substandard. Variations in temperature and humidity can also lead to cracking.

Tiles are resistant to scratches and spills and are considered low-maintenance. Should a tile become damaged, it is relatively straightforward to replace just that piece without having to redo the entire floor. The cost of tile flooring typically ranges from $5 to $15 per square foot, including installation.

ceramic floor tile

Natural Stone Flooring for High-Traffic Areas

Natural stone flooring is a premium choice that can enhance the value of a home. It comes in various types including:

  • Sedimentary stone like travertine,
  • Igneous stone such as granite,
  • Metamorphic stone including marble or slate.

Stone floors are hard and might not be the best choice for kitchens where dropped dishes are likely to shatter. While stone is inherently durable—lasting thousands of years in nature—it can show signs of wear depending on the type and treatment. Proper sealing and installation are crucial to prevent stains and cracks. The cost for professional installation of stone flooring averages between $3 to $7 per square foot.

Bamboo Flooring for High-Traffic Areas

Bamboo flooring is a sustainable alternative to traditional hardwoods, made from a type of grass yet surprisingly tough, often harder than many hardwoods. It’s suitable for kitchens, hallways, and dining rooms. Though more moisture-resistant than traditional wood, bamboo is not ideal for bathrooms where prolonged moisture exposure is common. High-quality bamboo flooring, coated with multiple layers of a tough aluminum oxide finish, offers significant scratch resistance, whereas cheaper options with fewer finish layers wear out more quickly. Prices for quality bamboo typically range from $6 to $8 per square foot.

Concrete Flooring for High-Traffic Areas

Concrete flooring has become increasingly popular, not only for industrial settings but also in residential spaces like kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms, where durable, moisture- and scratch-resistant surfaces are needed. Concrete can be poured and set in place, available in its natural gray or dyed for a custom look. It can also be treated with different surface techniques to achieve a unique finish. While concrete is highly durable, it might not suit every area of a home due to its hard nature and industrial aesthetic.

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Nelson is passionate about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and deeply understands sustainable business practices, in built-environment. His commitment to building a better future for current and future generations is evident in his career. He is constantly exploring innovative solutions to make a positive impact.

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