When exploring floor materials for your home, it is always necessary to consider every room’s activity level. With the help of a Maryland flooring contractor, one of the first things you must understand is to determine the needs of the space. Which rooms do you use the most? How many people walk through that room every day? Do you love entertaining guests at home? Your hallway, kitchen, and living room normally receive high foot traffic. These are the busiest places in your home, and they are going through a lot every day. It is, therefore, important to know the kind of treatment and the gravity of damage these areas can endure. Hence, it is smart enough to look for high-traffic flooring options that can withstand wear and tear, scratches, and hard impacts over time.
Luckily, with so many floor coverings available in the market today, it is much easier to narrow down the list of the best high-traffic flooring options for your home. Let’s get to know them and find out what makes them stand out amongst other flooring materials.
How to Choose the Best High-Traffic Flooring Options
When finding high-traffic flooring options, it is not just a matter of installing the most durable material. Although durability stands as a major deciding factor, there are other attributes you must consider before you hire a Maryland flooring contractor and start your flooring makeover.
Low-Maintenance. High foot traffic areas need a lot of maintenance to keep them in great shape. With proper maintenance and care, these flooring materials can stay longer than expected. While regular cleaning is part of the preventive process, you don’t have to spend a whole lot of time on that. Hence, you must choose a material that is easy to clean and maintain.
Durable. High-traffic flooring options should be equipped to hold up so well with any challenges of beating and hard impacts. Areas like kitchens, living rooms, or hallways suffer from wear and tear over time, so you need a material that won’t easily get worn out or look too old. The best high-traffic flooring options must have resistance to scratches, and other surface damages.
Comfortable. When we talk about durable flooring materials, most people associate it with being cold and hard. However, there are some ways to mitigate this. Some high-traffic flooring options don’t have to be tough underfoot or uncomfortable to walk on.
Visual Appeal. It’s not all about durability and practicality. You may also need a material that offers visual appeal and elegance.
Water-Resistant. If you’re looking for high-traffic flooring options for your kitchen or other moisture-prone areas, you need a material that is resistant to water or moisture. This floor covering should not warp or stain easily when exposed to moisture.
Cost. Budget is another major deciding factor. You need a floor that suits your budget and lifestyle. Consider the resale value of the flooring material as well.
Option 1: Tile Flooring
The most scratch-resistant and hardest flooring material, tile flooring is ideal for entryway or hallways. It is an incredible flooring material for high foot traffic areas because it is extremely durable. Both porcelain and ceramic tiles are great high-traffic flooring options, although porcelain tile is more durable. Porcelain tile has more resistance to wear and tear because it is much denser. This type of tile flooring can also hold up so well in drastic temperature changes without even cracking.
Tile flooring is also versatile in terms of designs. Due to digital printing techniques, you can have a wide selection, from neutral to intricate tile designs. It can even mimic the look of marble, hardwood, and natural stone. In addition to this, tile flooring is allergy- and eco-friendly. It does not emit any harmful chemicals like volatile organic compounds or VOCs that can be harmful to human health. So, if you have family members suffering from asthma or allergies, tile flooring is a perfect choice.
When it comes to ease of maintenance, tile flooring is the best choice. You don’t have to worry about spills and splashes because it is water-resistant, making it a good choice for the kitchen and mudroom. However, tile can be slippery at times. It is not also the most convenient flooring material to walk on because it can be hard and cold underfoot. If you have a cold climate every time, you will need a heating system to balance that off.
While it is durable enough to withstand high foot traffic, tile floors may chip and crack if a heavy object drops on them. You need to be extra careful when transporting furniture and hefty objects across the tile flooring to prevent chipping or cracking.
Option 2: Hardwood and Engineered Wood Flooring
Hardwood flooring is probably not the first material that comes to mind when we talk about high traffic areas. This is because hardwood flooring is susceptible to moisture damage. It can expand and contract when exposed to water for a long time. However, if you look at the resale value, durability, and lifespan, hardwood flooring is one of the best choices. If maintained properly, it can last for 50 years or even more. It is a substantial investment in the long run as it can increase your home’s resale value.
If you love a timeless and stylish appeal on your flooring, hardwood is the best material. It never goes out of style because it has a wide array of choices in terms of designs, texture, and pattern. Also, wood flooring has fewer maintenance requirements, so it is ideal for high foot traffic areas like the kitchen or living room. Just make sure to wipe up spills and standing water to prevent water damage. However, if you want the look of genuine hardwood but less prone to water damage, you may opt for engineered wood. This type of hardwood flooring has a veneer top layer that can resist water or moisture for a certain period of time. A high quality engineered has a thicker veneer layer for added protection. Just simply ask your Maryland flooring contractor for samples and design options.
While it is true that wood flooring is notoriously sensitive to scrapes and scratches, it is still dependent on the kind of wood species you choose. High-quality wood species are much harder and more durable. They are less susceptible to scratches as well. These wood species including oak, maple, hickory, and Brazilian hardwood have higher Janka ratings, which are very appropriate in high traffic areas.
Option 3: Laminate Flooring
Laminate is an excellent flooring material to consider for high foot traffic areas because it is durable, cost-effective, and comfortable underfoot. It is another versatile flooring option that offers a great variety of colors, designs, and patterns. Laminate flooring can mimic the look of hardwood and other hard surface materials to provide visual appeal and unique character to your home.
As one of the best high-traffic flooring options, laminate is exceptionally durable because it has a protective top layer. High-quality laminate floors can withstand wear and tear and maintain their great shape for years to come. It does not scratch easily and can stand up against children’s toys and pet’s claws. Not to mention that it is one of the most inexpensive floor coverings in the market these days.
Although laminate flooring is highly durable, it should not be installed in moisture-prone areas like the kitchen or basement room. This flooring material has a bad reputation when exposed to water. It can warp and buckle due to moisture damage, the reason why you need to wipe up any splashes or spills quickly to mitigate this. It may be easy to maintain, but laminate flooring is prone to staining. So, make sure not to let standing water on the floor for a long time.
Another drawback of laminate flooring is that it contains harmful chemicals called VOCs. These substances can contribute to indoor air pollution and are detrimental to human health. With this, laminate is a bad choice for a family with members suffering from allergies and asthma.
Option 4: Vinyl Flooring
If you’re looking for a versatile floor covering that can blend well with any décor inside your home, vinyl flooring is the right choice. This material has a wide variety of designs, patterns, textures, and colors that provide opportunities to personalize your flooring style. But aside from visual appeal and versatility, vinyl flooring is an incredible choice for high traffic areas because it has a protective wear layer against stains, scuffs, and scratches. High-quality vinyl is waterproof, making it a good choice for moisture-prone areas such as the bathroom and kitchen. Plus, it is a cost-effective and DIY-friendly material because it can be installed easily.
Good quality vinyl is comfortable to walk on and soft underfoot. It can alleviate leg and foot fatigues even when you’re standing for long hours. An ideal choice for colder climates, vinyl flooring allows heat to remain inside the room. It is very much compatible with a radiant heating system because it won’t buckle or warp despite temperature changes. Not to mention that it is easy to maintain. Just simply use a damp mop or static broom for regular cleaning. No need to use chemical cleaners, wax, or steam cleaners to restore its look.
While vinyl flooring has myriad benefits as one of the best high-traffic flooring options, it has downsides too. Even high-grade vinyl flooring has a relatively short lifespan as opposed to hardwood and other flooring materials. It is expected to last for over 15 years. And unlike hardwood flooring, it can’t be refinished when damaged. Most of the materials used for vinyl flooring are non-biodegradable, so it will only belong in the landfill for a lifetime. It also poses hazards to human health because vinyl can release VOCs, making it a bad choice for anyone with asthma or allergies.
Option 5: Concrete Flooring
Concrete flooring is a good choice for high foot traffic areas because of its extreme toughness, durability, and fewer maintenance requirements. It won’t easily leave marks and scratches. It can hold up so well against sharp and hefty objects. Since concrete flooring is scratch-resistant, cleaning and maintenance are not an issue. You don’t need to hire a specialist to clean or maintain it. You may simply need to wax or seal it at least every six to nine months to keep it in great shape. If cared for properly, a concrete floor can last for a lifetime.
The biggest drawback of concrete flooring is that it does not stand up well enough against moisture or water. Prolonged exposure to water may lead to cracking, which in turn will result in further cracks and expansion. Sitting water on your concrete floor can also cause mold and mildew formation, which look unsightly. In addition to this, concrete flooring is a cold and hard material. Hence, it is tough underfoot and not convenient to walk on. It could rather be painful when you stand long hours on it. This makes it a bad choice for a family with young kids or mobility-challenged individuals as it does not have good traction when falls or slips occur.
Option 6: Berber Carpet Flooring
It may sound unusual to include carpet flooring as one of the best high-traffic flooring options in the market. Carpets are soft and easily mashed down due to heavy foot traffic, the reason why some homeowners typically refrain from choosing it. This floor covering is also susceptible to water damage and stain because it can easily absorb spills, moisture, dust, and dirt. However, if you’re looking for a soft floor material that can withstand high foot traffic, you need to choose Berber carpet flooring.
Berber or loop pile carpet flooring is exceptionally durable and very ideal in hiding dirt, making it a perfect choice for high traffic areas. It has good resistance to stains and does not show any indentations due to vacuum marks or footprints; hence, it is so easy to clean.
How to Maintain High-Traffic Flooring Options
Even the sturdiest and toughest flooring option needs proper maintenance and care. Here are some useful tips to maintain flooring material for high traffic areas in your home.
Be it vinyl, hardwood, or laminate, your flooring should be cleaned regularly. This prevents all kinds of grimes and grits to remain on your floor, which may cause surface damages. If left unattended, these superficial damages may turn into irreversible issues, leading to the entire replacement of your floor. Make sure to check the best cleaning methods and products depending on the type of flooring material in your room.
Place Entry Floor Mats and Rugs
You want to prevent any grit and dirt that may track in your home from the outside. These grimes and debris may come in contact with your flooring and potentially cause scratches or dents. Hence, you need to place floor mats on your entryway.
Avoid High Heels or Shoes With Spikes
Pointed and sharp objects rubbing against your floor could cause surface damages. If possible, try not to wear any shoes with spikes or heels inside your home.
Use Protectors or Furniture Pads
Every time you sit down on your couch or chair, it slides a bit on your floor that may cause damage over time. With this, you must always place felt floor protectors or furniture pads on the bottom of your furniture. Without protectors, you can expect a lot of scrapes and scratches on your floor.
Talk To Your Maryland Flooring Contractor Today
If you want to explore the best flooring options not just for high traffic areas, but also for some other areas of the house, the specialist from Carpet Ready is more than willing to help you out. We can schedule a free in-home consultation and provide cost-effective flooring options without affecting quality and aesthetic appeal. If you are interested to speak with our experts, don’t hesitate to contact us today!