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Cost Effective Flooring Options (Strengths & Weaknesses)

June 23, 2020
There are many different flooring options that are used commonly in homes today, and most of them will work well even if you don’t have a huge budget to work with. No matter what type of room you want to re-floor in your home, there is likely a good solid flooring solution for you to rely on. Before paying for the materials and the flooring installation, take the time to get to know the most popular flooring solutions to find out which is the right one for your own needs.

Though some of these flooring types work better than others, each has its own strengths and weaknesses, and it’s that information that you’ll need to use to help you choose your final flooring solution. Only after learning about all these different flooring types should you move on to picking one and having flooring installation done.

Carpet Flooring

Carpet flooring is one of the most common types of flooring used in North American today, and it’s found in many homes around the country. It’s known for its cozy feel and the wide variety of looks and styles that it comes in.


  • Carpet flooring is exceptionally good for sound reduction, which is why it’s used heavily in movie theaters and apartment buildings.
  • It’s also one of the softest and most comfortable flooring types available.
  • Carpet flooring is also long lasting and highly durable, making it a good option for high traffic locations when it’s chosen appropriately.
  • It’s a really diverse flooring solution that comes in many different types, which helps it be good at many different jobs. It’s also one of the safest flooring options for really young children that are prone to slipping and falling frequently. This makes it an excellent option for playrooms, nurseries, daycare centers and living room spaces where children will be running around.
  • It’s also simple to install and can be put in quickly and easily making it very affordable to have installed in your home compared to other flooring solutions.


  • While carpet has a lot going for it, there are some key weaknesses to this flooring type as well.
  • Carpet flooring is a poor option in damp environments and will mold and take on mildew smells over time. This makes it unsuitable for bathrooms and most kitchen installations.
  • Carpet flooring is also more work to maintain than some flooring solutions and requires regular vacuuming to keep in good shape.
  • This flooring solution is a poor option for people suffering from allergies because it can hold allergens much more than other flooring solutions do.
  • That’s why many pet owners decide to remove their carpets and swap them out for a hard flooring solution that’s easier to keep clean over time.

Tile Flooring

Tile flooring is a natural solution that’s often made from clay that’s been hardened in a kiln. Both porcelain and ceramic tile are very commonly used in homes, and both offer most of the same pros and cons.


  • Tile flooring is a cost-effective solution that’s highly water-resistant and works exceptionally well in kitchens and bathrooms.
  • This flooring is very hard and holds up well to pet claws, moving furniture, and other tough situations that would damage other flooring materials.
  • It’s highly durable and can be relied on for decades in most instances.
  • Tile flooring is also available in a wide range of looks and styles and is simple to get in the appearance that you want.


  • Though tile flooring is highly versatile, it’s also very heavy.
  • It must be installed with care and can’t be used on upper levels of many homes that aren’t designed to withstand all the added weight that they put on the floor.
  • Tile flooring is also more difficult to install and more expensive to install than many other flooring varieties. That’s an added cost that many people don’t think about when having it put in.
  • It’s hard to the touch and uncomfortable to stand on for extended periods.
  • The flooring is also very cold unless radiant heat is installed underneath.

Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring is a favorite solution for many homeowners today, and it’s been in use for hundreds or maybe even thousands of years in one form or another.

This flooring solution is characterized by its natural appearance, its brilliant shiny finish and its variety of colors and styles. Hardwood flooring is a very common flooring type and often found in luxurious homes and businesses today.


  • The biggest strength of hardwood flooring is its appearance.
  • It has a nice classy look that most people love, and it’s the main reason that hardwood flooring is used so frequently. It has a warmth to it that can brighten a room, and hardwoods are often neutral and match with a wide range of furniture pieces well. This makes your home look more stylish if you make use of hardwood flooring.
  • Another major benefit of hardwood flooring is its long-term durability. Hardwood flooring is known for lasting decades with ease and can even last for centuries.
  • If you go with a thicker hardwood flooring solution, after that initial flooring installation you’ll be able to keep your floor in excellent shape for decades or even more than a century without a problem.
  • The floors can be kept protectively coated to minimize scratches and wear, and when the hardwood flooring finally looks old and worn out, you only need to sand down a thin layer of it to restore it to its original appearance.
  • Hardwood flooring also helps prevent allergens from collecting and becoming an issue, and it’s relatively affordable to install compared to something like tile.


  • One of the biggest weaknesses of hardwood flooring is that it’s very high maintenance. Not only must the top coat be protected and refreshed regularly, but the floor itself should be sanded down protectively coated several times throughout its life as well.
  • This is much more time-intensive than other flooring solutions than you might choose to go with. Hardwood flooring is also very susceptible to moisture and can be damaged by water leaks and even smaller levels of moisture over time.
  • It’s pretty easy to scratch and mar, and owners must take great care to keep the floors in good shape over time, or they will take on a worn look that’s not very attractive.
  • Many people are also annoyed by the sound of hardwood flooring, because it puts off a lot of noise, especially when people walk over it with harder shoes. Of course, this issue can be reduced by laying area rugs over your hardwood flooring, but it’s something to think about.
  • Hardwood flooring is also expensive and will set you back more than an option like laminate or carpet flooring will.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring has a reputation as a low-quality solution compared to hardwood flooring, but it’s improved over the years and offers a very strong alternative to hardwoods as a more affordable, but comparable option.



  • Laminate flooring has a very durable top surface that isn’t as prone to scratching or damage as hardwood flooring generally is, this makes it a decent solution for homes with pets.
  • The flooring is lightweight as well, making it a good solid solution for the upper floors of a home or for floors that aren’t designed for heavier flooring options like tile.
  • Laminate flooring is also very affordable in terms of material costs and installation.
  • It’s a cheaper option compared to hardwoods, and often just snaps in place making it faster, easier, and more affordable to install than many varieties of flooring, including hardwood flooring.
  • Laminate flooring also stands up better to direct sunlight than hardwood flooring does, because it benefits from built-in UV protectants.


  • While laminate flooring has a lot of strengths, it also has plenty of weaknesses that you must consider.
  • The first and foremost is durability. While the outer layer of laminate flooring is tough and pretty scratch-resistant, it’s also thin.
  • If you do get a scratch in this flooring, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to sand it down and refinish it like you would with a wood flooring. This means that you’ll have to replace laminate flooring much sooner than hardwoods.
  • Laminate flooring is quite hard to replace if a piece becomes damaged and it doesn’t look as nice as actual hardwoods in most instances.
  • Even the highest quality laminates don’t offer that same glow that real hardwoods do.

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring is a common cheaper flooring solution that’s characterized by its thin composition; it’s soft feel and its plasticky appearance. It’s known for being affordable but offers plenty of additional benefits as well worth consideration.



  • Vinyl flooring is completely waterproof, making it one of the very best flooring solutions for use in a damp environment.
  • This is why it’s heavily used in kitchens and bathrooms and in entryways.
  • The flooring is also reinforced with fiberglass and highly durable to regular wear.
  • While it can be ripped and torn from sharp objects, it will stand up to blunt pressure well again and again. It even works in environments like weight rooms pretty well.
  • Vinyl flooring comes in a wide range of prints and styles, and it’s simple to install. It’s also highly affordable and one of the cheapest solutions that you’ll find today.


  • While vinyl flooring is tough and affordable, it can be ripped and punctured by sharp objects easier than many other flooring solutions.
  • While a hardwood would be gouged or scratched, the vinyl would be torn completely.
  • It’s not biodegradable either, making it a less earth-friendly solution than options like hardwood, tile or cork flooring is. It’s also pretty tough to pull up if it’s been glued down to the floor by the installers.

Cork Flooring

Cork flooring is one of the most natural flooring solutions on this list along with tiles and hardwoods, and it’s well-known for being pretty environmentally friendly.

It’s a solution made from bark, and it has a very distinctive look that many people find absolutely charming when used in kitchens and bathrooms.




  • Cork flooring is an environmentally friendly flooring option that’s completely renewable as long as it’s made carefully.
  • It’s harvested from the bark of Cork Oak trees and is then pressed into a flooring solution.
  • Cork flooring has a distinctive look to it thanks to the thousands of tiny pockets of air, and it also offers a springy feel when you walk on it that makes it better for your back than most other flooring solutions and far more comfortable.
  • It’s a natural sound proofer as well and is excellent for use in upper stories. Cork flooring also happens to be naturally resistant to depressions and is pretty difficult to deform.


  • Though cork flooring is a pretty strong solution available today, it does have its share of weaknesses.
  • It is water-resistant and does well in damp environments, but standing water must not be left on its surface, or it will be discolored.
  • This flooring solution depends on a polyurethane coating, and it must be cared for carefully to avoid damaging the surface.
  • Cork flooring can also become scratched or deformed by heavy furniture if it isn’t moved with care.
  • This flooring is also pretty light sensitive and will fade with too much direct sunlight.


After going through all the different flooring options that you are most likely to encounter, it’s time to think about which is going to be the right one for you. Look at the pros and cons of each, and decide on the flooring solution that you like the best. If you aren’t sure about what one to get and which flooring installation will work best, take some time to talk with professionals on the matter.

Get in touch with a local flooring solution like us at Express Flooring, and talk about the different flooring options you have to choose from and which is going to work the best out of the bunch. It may take some time to look at your options, but eventually, you’ll decide on the solution that you like the best out of them all. Be sure to schedule your free in-home consultation today.