For most homeowners, choosing the flooring is a significant decision. A new floor will last years or decades depending on the material and is one of the largest contributing factors to the overall look and feel of the room. Between color, style and material, there’s so much to consider for each room in your house.
Additionally, aside from those factors, the flooring you choose will have many practical implications to consider, such as scratch resistance, comfort and ease of cleaning. The qualities that matter most to you will depend on your family’s lifestyle, and your needs will likely change over time. Here’s a look at how to pick the right flooring solutions for your family.
3 Questions to Evaluate Your Family’s Needs and Wants
Before committing to a major flooring project, you need to evaluate the needs of your family. Flooring types have different qualities, making them better suited for some situations than others. When choosing the best flooring for your household, consider how heavily trafficked the area will be, how often you want to clean it, the atmosphere you want to create and how susceptible the area will be to outside dirt and moisture. Your list will likely include different critical features for each room.
Here are three questions to keep in mind when choosing family-friendly flooring.
Who’s Living in Your House?
The people living in your house may have additional needs to address. For example, families with young children may want softer floors to play on, and families with pets will likely prefer a surface that’s easy to clean. For older adults, mobility concerns may be an issue to consider. If someone in your family has allergies, you’ll want to avoid thick carpets so allergens don’t get trapped inside the house.
What Furniture Do You Have in Your House?
Some people have significantly heavy pieces of furniture in their homes. For example, a piano calls for more durable and scratch-resistant flooring. Alternatively, your kids may use one area of your home, like the basement, to play games like basketball and roller hockey. Think about the furniture you have and how that furniture functions when making your flooring choice.
What’s Your Budget?
Perhaps the most crucial factor to consider when planning to refloor your home is the budget. When comparing prices, it’s essential not to overlook the long-term costs. Consider both the initial installation and the expected lifespan of the floor.
For example, carpet is one of the most affordable flooring options, but it also has a significantly shorter usable life than other flooring solutions. In contrast, the great quality of wood floors means you can keep them for decades, offsetting the cost in the long term. Solid hardwood flooring can periodically be sanded and refinished, making it a premier option for long-term value.
Let’s take a closer look at different scenarios, like whether you have kids or pets, to see which types of flooring will work best for your family.
Flooring for Families With Small Children
If you have smaller children, you’ll want to think about a few specific factors when it comes to flooring. After all, your kids likely spend a lot of time on the floor playing with toys, reading books, drawing pictures and doing other activities. When you factor in messes, you’ll need some pretty durable flooring to keep up with your young ones.
Messes and Comfortability
To hold up against all of this action, you want floors that are quick and easy to clean so you can save time and avoid hassles. Keep in mind that frequent cleaning impacts the floor’s lifespan, so choose a durable surface that can withstand regular scrubbing over several years for common spill areas like the kitchen. Alternatively, if you have toddlers or infants in the house, you may choose to install carpet flooring, which is both inexpensive and comfortable. Then, you can replace it with a more expensive and long-lasting option once the children have aged out of their messiest and most accident-prone years.
Noise and Allergies
Flooring can have a considerable impact on the transfer of noise throughout the house. As a result, a bit of soundproofing is particularly beneficial if your children’s rooms or play area is upstairs. Consider a carpet with padding to help cut down the noise upstairs and go with an easy-to-clean option downstairs where your kids will be eating. This way, you get the best of both worlds.
Allergies are another concern for many families. Some flooring options trap common allergens such as pollen, dust and pet dander, making them a poor choice for families with sensitive allergies. Therefore, carpets with longer fibers are a poor choice for parents with allergy concerns — but that doesn’t mean you have to rule out carpet altogether. High-quality, low-pile carpets are allergy-friendly and still offer the warm, gentle softness that only carpeted floors can.
Best Flooring Options
There are multiple choices available that are excellent for families with children, each with strengths and weaknesses compared with one another. Your preference will depend on what you feel is most important for your kids and your house. Feel free to consider installing more than one option since you and your kids likely use different parts of the house for various reasons.
Carpet floors are great at providing a soft surface for your children to walk, jump and play on. They also excel at insulating noise and are relatively easy to clean with a vacuum. Carpet is less ideal for areas like kitchens where spills are common, and thicker carpets will trap allergens if you don’t vacuum them frequently. Many people like using carpet in their kids’ bedrooms so they have a soft place to play.
Hardwood, tile and laminate floors are resilient to wear. They’re also water-resistant and easy to clean, making them great for dining areas and other rooms where your children may make a mess. These surfaces don’t hold onto dust and pet dander, which helps reduce the severity of indoor allergies. These surfaces aren’t as soft as carpet floors, however. If you choose hard surfaces for your house, consider purchasing a rug to provide a soft floor covering for your children.
Vinyl is another fantastic option, especially when it comes to flooring design. Vinyl comes in various colors and textures that offer flexibility when creating an aesthetic for your home. For example, vinyl planks are a popular choice for mimicking the warm, unique appearance of wood. It’s resistant to wear and easy to clean like tile or hardwood, but it’s softer than most other flooring options, making it more comfortable for children.
Flooring for Families With Teenagers
Many of the features you’d desire in a floor for young children apply to teenagers, as well. Older children may not run around the house as much, but durability is still a valuable trait, especially if you have student-athletes who bring their equipment into the house or student artists who may be a bit messy with their paint. Additionally, privacy is a considerable factor to keep in mind when picking new flooring for your house.
Everyone likes to have their privacy, but teenagers need it most. Like with noisy children, you may want to go with flooring that simultaneously offers noise protection. As a result, your teens will have a quieter space to complete school work and hang out with friends. Noise control doesn’t just have to be for their bedrooms, either. Consider carpeting your basement if your teens like to spend time down there.
Best Flooring Options
If you’re concerned about scratches, tile, laminate and vinyl are resilient options. They’re also easy to clean and less prone to stains than carpet. While a toddler may be more likely to throw their food on the floor, teenagers still make messes, so selecting a durable option is essential. If your kids play sports, you may want to choose waterproof flooring options for entryways and mudrooms where they take their gear off and store their equipment.
Similarly, teens spend less time on the floor, but comfortable floors are always something to consider. Carpet and vinyl floors are great options when it comes to comfort. An extra layer of comfort could be a major selling point if your family frequently walks around barefoot, especially in colder climates where other flooring materials would be cold.
Flooring for Families With Aging Adults
There’s a surprising amount of overlap in the flooring needs of older adults, teens and children. Whether you’re taking care of an elderly parent or planning on aging in place after your kids are out of the house, you’ll still want a comfortable and easy-to-maintain floor. Additionally, slip-resistant flooring is vital for many older adults.
While not all older adults have mobility issues, many have an easier time walking on certain types of flooring. If you or a loved one has arthritis, softer flooring like padded carpet or vinyl will feel better on their joints. Additionally, padded carpets help trap heat, making them warmer than materials like tile that can be uncomfortable for bare feet during colder parts of the year.
You may need a material that works well with wheelchairs, canes and walkers. Low-pile carpet or harder flooring surfaces like laminate and hardwood floors work best for wheelchairs. Avoid thicker carpets with longer fibers as they can be difficult for wheelchairs and walkers to roll across. If you or a loved one has other special health considerations, think about navigation and the types of flooring that will make getting around the easiest.
Furthermore, slip-resistant flooring can lower the risk of injury from falls. It’s crucial in areas where the floor is likely to get wet, such as the bathroom or kitchen. Slip-resistant options include engineered hardwood, luxury vinyl tile and waterproof laminate. It may be best to install this type of flooring in all high-traffic areas so you don’t risk a fall anywhere in your house.
Best Flooring Options
Ultimately, vinyl may be your best bet for high-traffic areas, as it’s a bit more flexible than hardwood but offers similar durability and ease of cleaning. If people in your household find removing footwear difficult, a smooth flat surface that doesn’t trap debris may be a preferable option, especially if they also have allergies or other respiratory problems that can be aggravated by breathing in such particles.
Carpet is a top pick for bedrooms and living areas, as it’s soft on the joints and stays warm no matter the time of year. That said, it can also be hard to navigate with a wheelchair or other mobility device, so be sure to consider your or your loved one’s needs before installing carpet. It may be best to opt for a rug instead, as they’re generally easier to navigate and you can roll them up to improve accessibility whenever necessary.
Flooring for Families With Pets
Homeowners with pets will have some special considerations when selecting the best flooring option for them. Even the best-behaved pets will dirty and wear your floors down faster than a petless household. After all, your dog can’t just take off his shoes after running outside in the mud. Shedding and accidents compound the mess further.
Clearly, the best floor for a pet is one that’s easy to clean. Carpet will require frequent vacuuming to manage pet dander if you have multiple pets that shed a lot, though choosing a low-pile carpet over one with longer fibers will mitigate the need to vacuum somewhat. If you do choose carpet flooring, consider a darker color that won’t show dirt or stains as easily. Tile or hardwood floors are great alternatives that are easier to keep clean.
Another concern for homeowners with pets is the floor’s durability. Your pet’s nails will scratch and prematurely age your floor, even if they’re trimmed. Protect your investment by choosing scratch-resistant flooring that will withstand years of use. Ceramic tile stands out as an excellent choice, as it’s durable and waterproof and can come with a slip-resistant finish to help your senior pets move around more easily.
If you love the aesthetic of hardwood flooring but worry about the damage your pet may cause, you’ll be pleased to know hardwood floors are more durable than you probably think. Different varieties of hardwood have different hardness ratings — harder woods are more resilient and will wear less quickly, making harder woods like Brazilian cherry better for pet owners than softer hardwoods like oak. When your hardwood floor does show signs of wear, you can sand and refinish for a fresh new look.
Ultimately, when it comes to pets, a long-lasting, traditional choice like tile or hardwood will likely be your best bet.
Flooring for Families Without Kids or Pets
If you don’t have the special considerations that come with having children or pets, even more flooring options open up to you. The decreased traffic in a childless, pet-free home means floors will last longer. Durability and ease of cleaning become less of an issue, as well. Consider the following options:
- Carpet: Carpet provides a soft and warm flooring option that comes in a variety of colors. Without animal fur and muddy shoes tracking through the room, you can maintain even thick carpets with occasional vacuuming and annual deep cleaning.
- Laminate: Laminate is another option that offers a range of cosmetic choices. The decorative layer of laminate flooring can emulate the appearance of wood, tile or ceramic in a multitude of colors. The benefits of laminate flooring go beyond just aesthetic features, as these floors are durable and easy to clean and maintain.
- Hardwood: If you’re looking for a stylish choice with the added benefit of maximizing your home’s value, hardwood flooring stands out as the winning choice. Houses with hardwood floors sell more quickly and for a higher price than houses without hardwood floors and come in a variety of different textures and shades. The wood can even be stained for even more color options, giving you plenty of opportunities to find the perfect pairing for your home’s decor.
Essentially, you’ll want to consider your personal wants and needs when choosing flooring for just you or you and your partner.
Flooring Solutions for All Ages
Durability, ease of cleaning and comfort will have some degree of importance for all ages. No matter the age of the people in your family, you’ll want to install flooring that meets these standards so it’s easy to care for and lasts as long as possible. The best flooring solutions have benefits that make them suitable for nearly any situation.
Vinyl flooring stands out as an excellent all-around option. It’s durable, water-resistant and easy to clean and maintain and softer than most flooring. Vinyl can also fit multiple aesthetic preferences, as it can look like wood or tile flooring. Carpet is another standout choice for the warmth and comfort no other surface can offer. Authentic hardwood flooring offers tremendous appeal and long-term value. In short, you have numerous options to consider.
If you’re having a hard time choosing just one flooring option, rejoice in knowing you can always pick more than one. You can use different flooring in different rooms of your home. In fact, doing so can give your home a unique custom style. Mixing flooring options also has the practical benefits of tailoring your flooring to the specific needs of each room. For example, you might install carpet in your children’s bedrooms upstairs and water-resistant laminate flooring in your kitchen and entry rooms.
Even though well-cared-for carpet can last several years, and other floor types will endure decades longer, flooring doesn’t need to be a permanent fixture. You can replace it to suit your needs, whether that means installing new laminate floors to match your newly painted walls or replacing thick carpets with hardwood floors to better accommodate a parent who uses a wheelchair.
Shop Flooring Solutions for Your Family at 50 Floor
If you’re ready to install new flooring in your home, schedule an appointment with 50 Floor today. We offer the most convenient floor shopping experience available, where you can shop from the comfort of your home. During our free in-home consultation, we provide flooring samples to let you see how each style complements your walls and furniture — an opportunity you miss out on when choosing in a store.
We carry the best flooring solutions for all ages at competitive prices. Trust our experts to guide you through making the right choice for your home.