This article was crafted with the help of Dobson Floors.

When it comes to choosing flooring for a home, we are all familiar with the battle between carpet and hardwood. The pros of carpet include being warm under your feet, absorbing more sound, having a comparatively lower cost, and offering an endless variety of styles and colors. But hardwood flooring is classic. Good hardwood can turn heads. It does tend to be more expensive than carpet, but if it is properly cared for, hardwood floors can last for the lifetime of a home. So what’s a homeowner to do? Instead of getting caught up in a pros and cons list, consider selecting flooring based on your lifestyle. You may find that the best type of flooring for your particular household has little to do with the “Berber or oak?” debate.

Homeowners with pets

Coming home to your cat or dog at the end of the day can be a wonderful feeling, but pets present their own unique challenges when it comes to maintaining your flooring. According to Suzanne Brown of Dobson Floors in Dallas, the best kinds of flooring for pet owners are resilient and ceramic tile. “Resilient flooring is designed to be durable and resistant to stains, and tile can easily be wet mopped,” she explains. “It would be wise to avoid any kind of flooring that contains wood when you own a pet,” Suzanne says, citing hardwood, laminate, and cork as examples. “Wood flooring can be permanently damaged by pet accidents as well as scratched up by pets’ nails.”

Carpet can also be a difficult flooring choice for people with pets. If you are going to go the route of carpet, Suzanne advises choosing a carpet with built-in, odor-reducing enzymes and avoiding carpets with looped pile, which can be badly snagged by claws. It is also best to do research on the best ways to clean accidents on your particular kind of carpet, as different materials require different cleaning techniques. If one kind of carpet is more durable or easier to clean than another, it may prove a wiser purchasing decision in the long run.

Homeowners with kids

Parents know all too well the kinds of beatings household floors can take from kids. However, it is in fact possible to tailor your home’s flooring to accommodate both toddler and teen—and minimize cleanup headaches. “If you’ve got a toddler, you’re going to want to install a few different kinds of flooring in your home. In the spots where babies will be crawling and learning to walk, a soft carpet is miles above a hard floor in the safety department. However, it can be difficult to remove spots and stains from carpet,” Suzanne says. “In areas where children will be eating or more likely to make messes, I advise homeowners to choose resilient floors or ceramic tile. It will be much easier to clean these types of flooring. They are also extremely durable, so they work best for households with teenagers as well.”

Some homeowners may not even know about the latest advances in resilient flooring. “The current variety of resilient flooring is amazing,” says Suzanne. “Due to new technology, luxury vinyl planks and tiles that look like wood or natural stone are so realistic that they are often mistaken for the real thing.” These floors marry the stylish look people want with the ease of care that having children may make necessary.

Homeowners who like to entertain

Hardwood flooring, natural stone, or luxurious and patterned carpets are elegant and will surely be admired by your guests. But these types of flooring readily wear with traffic and can also stain from food or drinks. If you’re a homeowner who throws large galas, you might want to consider the hard surface floors that our homeowners with kids and pets are gravitating toward. “Tile is easy to clean, won’t scratch or dent easily, and is not sensitive to moisture,” says Suzanne. And while it is true that “by choosing a more elegant flooring option, you run the risk of damaging it,” the great thing about current options in ceramic tile is that homeowners can get a supremely elegant appearance with shading, texture, and patterning—even inlaid mosaics—without risking their investment in a beautiful floor.

Senior homeowners

Once the kids are grown and the parties have slowed, a change in flooring for older homeowners can actually make a big difference in safety, comfort, and enhanced mobility. “Ceramic tile can be easier to slip and fall on, and polished floors, such as marble, should be avoided altogether,” Suzanne says. “For senior homeowners, it is recommended that they choose low-pile carpeting, which is soft and also works very well with a wheelchair or walker.”

Homeowners in cold climates

Nothing shocks the system quite like stepping out of a warm bed and putting your bare feet on an icy floor. For homeowners who want their toes to stay toasty, a floor that lends itself to radiant heating might be a good choice. According to Suzanne, hardwood floors and ceramic tile are the best types of flooring for a radiant system. Depending on the kind of installation and a few other variables, radiant floor heating systems can actually be a highly cost-effective, energy-efficient way to heat a home.

Homeowners who want to stand out

If you want a stand-out floor, your first thoughts may be, “Tigerwood? Acacia? Brazilian cherry?” But even beyond the latest in hardwoods, Suzanne has one last surprise for homeowners who want a change of pace from traditional flooring—and this option offers enormous potential for playing with color, pattern, and unconventional design. “Besides the many exotic species of wood flooring that are available, many people are not aware of the beautiful varieties of cork flooring that are in today’s market,” she says. “It comes in a vast array of colors and styles from tiles to planks. For people who are environmentally conscious, cork is an excellent choice because it is a rapidly renewable product,” perfect for homeowners who consider conserving resources a part of their lifestyle.

Don’t get caught in the carpet versus hardwood box. Consider all your options, including tile, resilient flooring, natural stone, cork, and vinyl, before selecting a flooring material. Thinking through how you will use each room and determining which type of flooring lends itself to your lifestyle will save you hassle down the road.

This article was crafted with the help of Dobson Floors, a Dallas expert in Flooring. While we strive to provide relevant information to all homeowners, some of the material we publish may not pertain to every area. Please contact your local Best Pick companies for any further area-specific advice.

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