If you’re ready to replace the floors in your house, you’ve likely looked at the big three options: wood, vinyl, and ceramic. While each has its merits, some fare better and last longer in specific locations within the home. Here’s a quick overview of each.

Wood: Wood always looks so timeless, and because of its long-term appeal, it may be tempting to put it all through the house. While wood is a great choice for family rooms, hallways, bedrooms, and even kitchens, it shouldn’t be used in areas that are frequently wet or damp. Bathrooms are a big no-no for wood, which can swell and become discolored if exposed to consistent moisture. Same goes for the areas where your wood floor meets up with an outside doorway. If your wood floor abuts a door, be sure to put down a waterproof rug or mat to keep the wood in those areas safe. One major bonus of wood floors—they can be sanded down and re-stained multiple times during the floor’s lifetime, depending on how thick the flooring is.

Vinyl: Vinyl plank flooring (sometimes known as laminate, like Pergo) has come a long way since the press-on sticky versions of the 1990s. Higher-end versions of it look very similar to real wood and are very durable. Vinyl is moisture resistant and easy to clean—it doesn’t have fussy cleaning requirements like wood can. But vinyl is also not a natural product, so if you’re looking for eco-friendly flooring solutions, vinyl might not make your short list.

Ceramic: Ceramic is a very strong material, which can be a good or a bad thing. You probably don’t want to put ceramic down in an area where you plan to sit on the floor (unless you purchase a very comfy area rug) but you can be sure that ceramic flooring will hold up to almost anything in the kitchen or bath. One downside is that tiles can crack, and since they are held together by grout, replacing just one can be a little tricky. Grout can also change color over time if not sealed. But rest assured that a ceramic floor will resist stains and water. And ceramic comes in a number of styles–some products look amazingly similar to wood.

Have more questions about flooring in your home? Give us a call and we can provide you with insight into the successes (and failures) that we’ve seen while showing clients’ homes.

Image: Home Stratosphere