Choosing the right flooring can be a difficult process. Unfortunately, there is no single type that is better than all the others. Each style has its own benefits and drawbacks. Deciding which one is right for you depends on many different factors of the specific room you are considering. Let's take a look at some of the larger factors to weigh and which style best fits those needs.
How often will the room be used, and will it be used by a lot of people or just a few? Kitchens and living rooms tend to have higher traffic volume than bedrooms or bathrooms. For a kitchen that sees a lot of people, of course you want attractive flooring, but it is just as important for it to be a very durable material as well. Whether protecting against scuff-marks from feet or dents and scratches from dropped pans, your kitchen needs to be able to withstand a beating.
Tile and linoleum are two of the most popular choices for kitchens because they come in countless designs and are incredibly easy to clean. They both hold up very well to wear and tear, with the exception being that tile can crack if the subfloor is unstable. Living rooms tend to do well with wood because of its attractive, homey feel. One recommendation for wood is to have it factory-finished instead of finishing it on site. Pre-finished wood holds up better and is usually under warranty; wood finished during installation may not have a warranty, and the process can be time consuming and messy.
If traffic were the only consideration, it would be easy to determine the best option. It's not that simple though. Moisture plays a huge role in selecting the right floor material. Bathrooms and kitchens, for example, obviously need to withstand water better than your bedroom. Determining how much protection from moisture you need will go a long way to selecting the most appropriate option.
Basically, all of your choices near wood work best in damp environments. Because wood is porous, it tends to trap and collect moisture, which can lead to mold and rot – definitely not what you want in your bathroom. Sealing it will offer some protection, but it is better to go with tile, marble, or granite.
One aspect that is sometimes forgotten is how much sunlight enters the room. If you have ever left something in the rear windshield of your car for too long, you know just how much fading can be caused by exposure to the sun. The same thing will happen to spots on your floor if sunlight shines through a window directly onto the surface. It is not always direct sunlight to blame either. If you cover part of the area with furniture or a rug, the area underneath will retain a brighter hue than the rest of the room.
Tile holds up best again fading. Wood can quickly change color when exposed to sunlight for long periods of time. The redeeming quality about wood, though, is that it can be sanded and renovated a number of times compared to other options that always require replacement.
Again, what makes choosing the right floor difficult is that any combination of these factors can direct you to a different material. That is why it always pays to speak with a professional about the specific conditions of each room. There is no single perfect choice, so make sure and pick a style that you love.