Flooring: Selecting the Best Material for Your Home

The flooring you choose has a huge impact on the overall feeling, functionality, comfort, and resell value of your home. The three most common residential flooring options are carpet, hardwood, and tile. Here are some pros and cons of each material for you to consider when selecting the flooring for your home.


Carpet is a standard choice for home flooring—it offers inexpensive comfort and boasts a variety of colors and types to choose from.


  • Insulation – Carpet provides more insulation than many other types of flooring and can help keep your home warmer in the winter.
  • Variety – Carpet offers a huge range of options, as carpet comes in nearly every color and in several kinds of fibers.
  • Least expensive – On average, carpet costs $3.00/square foot, compared to the $4.50 for tile and $5.00 or more for wood.


  • Tougher cleaning – Carpet requires frequent vacuuming and steam cleaning treatments.
  • Subject to staining – Carpet fibers can be instantly stained by spills, and will stain with normal wear over time.
  • Shorter life – The average lifespan for home carpet is 16-25 years, but it can be as short as 10 years, while hardwood can last for 35 years and tile can last for the life of the house.

If you are planning to resell your home, choose neutral carpet colors and medium thickness. Be wary of carpet that is too light, however. White, cream, and tan carpets stain most easily and show wear earlier. If you go with these colors, you may need to have the flooring replaced before you resell.


Hardwood floors can add sophistication and functionality to your home. Natural wood color choices can match nearly any décor style, which makes redecorating simple.


  • Beautiful – Hardwood floors are an aesthetically pleasing flooring option that complement nearly any style of home.
  • Easy to clean – Dusting, mopping, and periodic vacuuming are enough to maintain hardwood floors.
  • Sturdy – Hardwood flooring is a durable option that holds up well under most usual wear.


  • Subject to scratching and warping – If exposed to moisture, or extreme dryness, hardwood floors may warp. Hardwood floors are also subject to scratching and gouging.
  • Needs to be refinished – In order for hardwood floors to keep their aesthetic appeal, they should be sanded and refinished every 7-10 years. The refinishing process can take up to three days to complete.
  • Most expensive – Hardwood costs more per square inch than either carpet or tile.

Properly maintained hardwood floors can increase your home’s resell value. However, if your hardwood floor has extensive cosmetic or structural damage, you will need to repair or replace the flooring when you put your home on the market.


Tile flooring is increasing in popularity due to its low-maintenance nature and styling possibilities.


  • Easy to clean – Tile flooring only requires sweeping and mopping to keep it clean.
  • Help regulate summer temperatures – Tile stays cool even during the summer, which can help regulate indoor temperatures.
  • Longevity – Properly installed tile floors can be expected to last the lifetime of the house.


  • Subject to cracking – Tile flooring may crack or even shatter if heavy objects are dropped on it.
  • Unforgiving – Tile flooring not be the right choice for families with small children. Tile can be slippery and is less forgiving to little elbows and knees than carpeting.
  • Light-colored tile may stain – Spills may stain light-colored tile and grout permanently.

Whether or not tile flooring will increase the resale value of your home varies based on the location of your home, which rooms you tile, and the kind of tile you use. However, real estate experts report that tiling your kitchen is a great resell investment (Realtor.com).

Keep in mind that you can mix flooring materials to best suit your family’s needs. Most homes have carpeted bedrooms, even when the rest of the house has hardwood or tile flooring, to better insulate those rooms during the winter months. If you are planning to resell your home in the future, you may have a harder time finding a buyer if the bedrooms aren’t carpeted. Potential buyers may be concerned that uncarpeted bedrooms will be colder and may be unsafe for small children.

Consult with your home builder on your flooring options.

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