There are many floor styles to choose from these days that are healthy alternatives to the old options of vinyl and poorly managed hardwoods. With so many choices around, it can be hard to know what options are best for you. Some things to consider are:

1. The purpose the flooring will serve. Is it’s main purpose to be durable or comfortable? What is it’s secondary purpose?
2. What foundation system do you have? Raised floor or slab on grade?
3. Will the floor get wet often?
4. Will you be standing on the floor for long periods of time, like when washing dishes?
5. Do you want a refined look or a weathered look?

Of course there are more questions that could be asked. The point is to consider the whole gamut of options available to you before you start making decisions. Have a plan of action, for sure, but run it past the above questions first to make sure your choice will actually fit your needs.

List of Flooring Options:


Cork Flooring : 100% natural and sustainably harvested. Mold resistant.


Advantages
– Good sound and temperature insulator.
– Very resilient.
– Does not conduct heat or cold
– Very soft to stand on
– Easy to install
– Naturally hypoallergenic
Disadvantages
– Fairly high maintenance.
– Requires frequent sealing
– Not as durable as other flooring.
– Susceptible to water/moisture damage


Rubber Flooring : 100% recyclable. Hypoallergenic. Mold and bacteria resistant.


Advantages
– High Durability
– Water and heat resistant
– Insulates against sound well
– Comfortable underfoot
– Great for wet areas
Disadvantages
– Relatively expensive
– Can be slippery when wet
– Needs to be maintained regularly
– Impacted easily by sharp objects

Linoleum Flooring: 100% natural. Made from linseed oil, wood fibers and other plant bi-products. Hypoallergenic. Mold and bacteria resistant.


Advantages
– Very durable: minimum 15-year lifespan
– Low maintenance
– Lots of patterns and styles
– Hypoallergenic and bacteria resistant
– Highly resistant to water/moisture
Disadvantages
– Installation can be difficult
– More expensive than vinyl flooring
– Can look dull if not cleaned regularly

Wool Carpeting: Natural. No off gassing. Durable.

Advantages

– Very hardwearing and durable
– Fire resistant
– Very warm underfoot
– Easy to clean yet does not absorb moisture easily
– Resistant to wear by abrasion

Disadvantages

– Relatively expensive
– Harder to find at average retailer
– Limited color and texture choices


Wood Flooring : Sustainably harvested flooring available.

Advantages
– Very durable: minimum 15-year lifespan
– Relatively low maintenance
– Lots of wood styles and colors
– Natural product

Disadvantages
– Installation can be difficult
– Relatively expensive
– Can look dull if not maintained

Bamboo Flooring: Sustainably harvested flooring available. Renewable resource. It’s a grass!

Advantages
– Very durable: minimum 15-year lifespan
– Relatively low maintenance
– Natural product
Disadvantages
– Installation can be difficult
– Relatively expensive
– Limited colors and textures

Tile Flooring: Thermal Mass. Can be natural materials.

Advantages
– Very durable: minimum 15-year lifespan
– Relatively low maintenance
– Lots of styles and colors
– Can be a natural product
– Thermal mass storage

Disadvantages
– Installation can be difficult
– Relatively expensive
– Tiles can break if under stress


Stone Flooring: Natural Material. Durable.

Advantages
– Very durable: minimum 15-year lifespan
– Relatively low maintenance
– Many styles and colors
– Natural product
– Thermal mass storage

Disadvantages
– Installation is difficult
– Very expensive
– Hard underfoot

Concrete Flooring: Sustainably harvested flooring available.

Advantages
– Extremely durable
– Relatively low maintenance
– Lots of styles and colors
– Can be stained or stamped
– Lots of thermal mass
– Doubles as foundation system

Disadvantages
– Installation is difficult
– Finishing well (staining, stamping, polishing, etc…) is very difficult
– Can look dull if not maintained
– Very hard underfoot

Laminate Flooring: Engineered to be more stable than traditional wood floors.

Advantages:
– Looks realistic
– Easy installation
– Extremely cost efficient
– Huge range of colors and styles
– Easy to maintain
Disadvantages:
– Not suitable for very damp areas.
– Not as durable as wood or some other products like vinyl or linoleum
– Can sound “hollow” underfoot
– Not as warm as real wood

Compacted Earthen Flooring: 100% natural, local materials.

Advantages
– Very comfortable under foot
– Natural materials gathered locally
– Lots colors available
– Very Inexpensive
– Lots of thermal mass

Disadvantages
– Installation is physically laborious
– Relatively high maintenance
– Can fail and delaminate if not maintained
– Relatively non durable