What Flooring Types Are The Best Option For My House?

Remodeling your flooring in Phoenix is very popular right now because of the age houses were built in the valley.

A lot of homeowners are asking us questions like: "What is the best flooring option for a house?", "How much does it cost to remodel floors?" and "Whats involved in the flooring demo and install?"

Due to homeowners need for answers, we created this flooring buying guide.

The most important aspect isn't what flooring you pick, as you might think, it's actually who installs it...

What To Look For In A Flooring Company

From our experience, there are some homeowners who do not take flooring that serious because it seems so simple.The fact is, flooring is not only risky, but there is very limited recourse a homeowner has if the quality is subpar.

It Can Be Difficult To File a Complaint About Smaller Floor Imperfections

The Arizona Registrar of Contractors (ROC) is a great government agency that provides contractor licensing, handles homeowner complaints against contractors and provide resources for all parties. Their mission statement is "Protect the health, safety and welfare of the public through a regulatory system designed to promote quality construction by Arizona contractors."

While the ROC is a fantastic group of people, the challenge is they can't ask the contractor to change it if it meets guidelines.  If your floor tiles have lips where the edges are at different levels, if it isn't really bad, it meets the guidelines. If you look at flooring company complaints, you will notice a lot of them are issues a homeowner is unhappy with, but they meet within the acceptable parameters.

phoenix home remodeling licensed contractor

If you file a complaint with the ROC, they will come out and advice to the contractor what needs to be done if anything. That means the homeowner does not get to tell the contractor what needs to be fixed.  This is done by the ROC which has many benefits. One downside, is if it meets guidelines but looks terrible, you can't do anything about it besides leave a bad review. You can't hold payment and don't have legal rights.

Imagine all of the imperfection that can show up in home flooring, like mismatched grout color, tile grout cracking, uneven floors, baseboards poorly installed, baseboards look odd because the flooring underneath is uneven, etc.

So that is why it is important to choose a good flooring company!

Licensed, Bonded and Insured

Don't take this for granted!!

Just like other types of contractors, you need to make sure the flooring company you pick is licensed, bonded and Insured. Some homeowners don't think this is a big deal, but as shows above, it's really easy to have issues with flooring. 

If you choose a floor remodel company that is not licensed, you are creating a huge liability for yourself. It is illegal for a flooring company to not be licensed.

If they are not licensed, you have no recourse with the ROC because they don't have a license with them.  Why wouldn't they have a license? It's not difficult to get a license if the company is experienced. The question you want to ask yourself is: If they don't have the required license, what else are they cutting corners on?

If they are not insured, and one of their employees gets hurt, you are liable.  That means your insurance company is involved and depending on your policy you may owe the employee's hospital bills.  What if they damage your house and don't want to fix it because they don't have insurance to cover it?

Construction has one of the largest workers comp amounts of any industry because of the liability.  Construction is risky, especially with flooring they have to grind the floor, use power tools, use wet saws and other things that pose risks in your home. 

It is not worth risking your money, time or the stress level you'll deal with choosing a flooring company who is not licensed, bonded and insured.

Do they Care?

This may seem simple, but you want to ensure there are signs that the company cares about you, your home and their reputation.  

There are a ton of flooring companies and construction companies that do not care enough about the homeowner, their experience or their own reputation. I unfortunately hear it from  homeowners who have had numerous issues from other companies. It's all over the news, just google "issues with contractors"

There are so many things you need to avoid in a flooring contractor. We suggest reviewing the below guide on how to avoid choosing the wrong contractor.

Here is a guide to avoid the common contractor nightmares and analyze if they will care about you and your project.

Risks Of Using Phoenix Flooring Companies

Drugs in the Flooring and Construction Industry

Did you know there is a huge drug and alcohol problem in the Phoenix construction industry?

It's actually nationwide, but there is a huge opioid crisis in the home construction industry.  No one wants someone on drugs or alcohol to be working on their house, let alone inside their home. It is not a stretch to consider someone on serious drugs, could steal from your home, get injured or make a poor impaired decision that negatively impacts you.

E-Verify Employees

E-Verify is an Internet-based system that compares information from a person's Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) records to confirm that they are authorized to work in the United States.

It is well known and documented that construction companies use employees that are not e-verified.

If you hire a company that does not E-verify their employees you are increasing your risks with little to no recourse.  

Unorganized with No Process

Many construction companies are unorganized and have very little processes in place to ensure a good homeowner experience.

It is one of the reasons construction companies have the 2nd most consumer complaints, only beaten by used car dealerships.

I've noticed some homeowners think processes are not important or they don't see the risks involved. As the article above mentions, it is a huge problem and many homeowners become one of those statistics.

If you would like to see an example of what the process should entail, why it is important and what to look for in other companies, check out our process.

Questions to Ask A Flooring Contractor

I cannot stress the importance of asking flooring companies or contractors questions before you meet them face-to-face.  It doesn't matter if it is a referral from a friend or family member, you want to vet them before taking the time to meet them.

We have compiled a list of questions homeowners need to ask a contractor, along with what to look for in a company before you waste time reaching out to them, so instead of adding it on this page, you can find all of the questions here.

Here is a checklist we created with the questions to ask contractors, along with why the question is important and why you need to ask it

Home Flooring Pros & Cons

We found the easiest way to show a comparison is to put the results in a table for you to pick which flooring option is best for you.


Tile

Vinyl Plank

Laminate Plank 

Engineered Hardwood

Hardwood

Cork

Carpet

Natural Stone

Durability

Excellent

Good

Excellent

Fair

Fair

Good

Fair

Fair

Fading

Excellent

Mediocre

Good

Fair

Fair

Good

Fair

Fair

Scratching

Excellent

Good

Fair

Fair

Mediocre

Good

Fair

Fair

Denting

Excellent

Good

Fair

Fair

Fair

Good

Excellent

Good

Moisture

Excellent

Excellent

Good

Good

Mediocre

Fair

Fair

Fair

Insulation

Fair

Fair

Bad

Fair

Fair

Fair

Good

Fair

Allergy Friendly

Good

Good

Good

Good

Good

Good

Bad

Good

Maintenance

Good

Good

Good

Fair

Fair

Good

Bad

Bad

Installation

Extensive effort

Basic effort

Fair effort

Fair effort

Extensive effort

Fair effort

Basic effort

Extensive effort

Repairing

Good

Fair

Fair

Mediocre

Mediocre

Fair

Fair

Fair

Avg Cost per SF

$2-$7

$2-$7

$2-$7

$3-$10

$10-$20

$3-$10

$1.5-$20

$9-$40

ROI

Good

Good

Fair

Good

Good

Good

Good

Fair

Other Pros

If you’re craving a flooring solution that allows for endless possibilities and easy maintenance, tile is a great option.

Vinyl flooring stays room temperature.


It costs less than real wood.


Repairing a section is easier than real wood.

Laminate isn’t as soft as carpet, but it usually has a padded underlayment.

It has a nice wood look without as much maintenance has hardwood floors

Hardwood flooring is visually pleasing. The natural tones, textures, and grains work together to enhance the atmosphere of your home.

Unlike tile and other hard surface floors, cork doesn’t allow heat to escape. Its cellular structure holds the temperature of the room.

Carpet helps absorb noise and is soft to touch.

Adding precious stone material to your home can increase your home’s value but it also costs more so the ROI is questionable in certain circumstances.

Other Cons

Grout gets dirty and needs to be professionally cleaned every few years depending on traffic and other factors

Some vinyl flooring emits gasses and volatile chemicals into your home called VOCs. There are reports of health issues that trace back to vinyl flooring.


Vinyl doesn't feel quite as comfortable to walk on if barefoot.


Vinyl won't look as luxurious as natural hardwood.


Vinyl wood plank floors are not able to be refinished.


LVP flooring if glued down can be hard to remove if you ever want to replace.

There is easy locking / interlocking options that make this easier but some manufacturers recommend glueing down.


Some vinyl plank floors have a very thin wear layer and can be scratched, scuffed, dented or scraped causing lasting damage.


If you want to avoid, go with a 20 mil wear layer or higher. Light commercial starts at 12 mil and goes up to 30 mil for industrial strength.


Most top coatings of LVT flooring are not UV protected which can cause the wood look to fade or have discoloration over time.

Especially if exposed to sunlight.


Consult with the manufacturer to see if the material is resistant against ultraviolet rays.

As with all resilient floors, laminate can’t be refinished. Once it’s ruined, it must be replaced. If you’re planning on staying in your home for the next 30 years, laminate may not be the best choice.

Some manufacturers try to cut production costs by using low-quality core material such as oriental strand board or fiberboard. This action results in flooring that is unstable and prone to damage.

Hardwood isn’t the best choice for wet areas like bathrooms, laundry rooms and kitchens. That’s because liquid can seep between the boards and cause discoloration and warping.

Cork is the newest product of these options and it varies greatly.  Some are great near moisture and some are not.  It's best to ask your contractor or flooring manufacturer before purchasing.

Those with asthma or other allergies, may find carpet is not a good option

With the exception of granite and some slate, natural stone is quite porous and needs to be treated with a sealing agent periodically to protect its surfaces.
Some polished materials such as marble can scratch easily.
Some stones are very brittle and will chip easily.

Types of Flooring

There are more and more types of new flooring popping up everyday.  The 8 types mentioned here are the most popular and the ones we would suggest considering since most of them have been around for a while and are proven.  

Tile

We like tile because it is time tested and there's many benefits to tile flooring. Tile has more design options than any other type of flooring because of how popular it is. This means it is easier for homeowners to find something that meets their design tastes.  

Tile isn't impacted if you spill most liquids on it, it is good for allergies and pet hair.  Tile is strong and if one were to get cracked from something heavy hitting it, you can cut out that tile and replace with a new one. (many wood or engineered woods, it's not that simple)

Most tile doesn't fade or scratch easily which is a huge plus. Because tile is popular it is a good option if you plan to sell your home in the next 10 years.

Maintenance is pretty simple on tile.  A regular vacuum and mop does the trick.  You may want to have it professionally cleaned every few years depending on the foot traffic and other factors.  Most floors need to be professionally cleaned every few years regardless if wood or carpet.

The average cost per square foot for tile is well priced, which really helps when you want to redo all of your floors.

Vinyl Planks

Vinyl planks are nice in terms of durability and moisture.  They have started to become more popular but many of the products haven't been around as long.  So you can have a lot of inconsistency between products.  An example is your neighbor might mention how they love their but if you get a different brand, it may not hold up the same.

Some vinyl planks do a good job of insulating which helps with your floor not being cold.  In Phoenix summers, I prefer the floor to be cooler. 🙂 

Vinyl planks provide a good investment because the price per square foot is good on most selections and the labor is not too bad.

Laminate Planks

Laminate plank flooring has become more popular in the past 4-6 years.  Laminate is pretty durable and it doesn't fade easily. It handles moisture pretty well too.

Laminate is thin and doesn't insulate much.

Laminate is pretty easy to install overall and it is well priced per square foot. Laminate planks usually have a padded underlayment underneath since they are thin and they also need something to rest on.

Engineered Wood

Engineered hardwood provides a nice wood look without the price of regular hardwood floors.

Engineered hardwood is popular compared to regular hardwood because it isn't as expensive and it is a little more durable on average than hardwood floors.

It can still scratch pretty easily, although not as easy as hardwood floors.

Engineered hardwood is often glued down so if you need to replace a couple scratched pieces you may have to remove a lot of planks to get to the scratched pieces.  This can be time consuming and costly.

Another thing to consider is the cheaper versions of engineered hardwood often have a mediocre core made of fiberboard. This can cause a lot of issues that make it unstable and prone to damage.

If wood looking tile isn't close enough to the real hardwood for you, then engineered hardwood may be the next best choice.

Hardwood

Hardwood floors are for those that don't have a budget for their project, especially when you are talking about redoing all of your homes floors.

Hardwood floors are nice because they show all of the woods grain and texture.  It provides a unique and sophisticated look.

Natural Hardwood floors are a lot of maintenance and have are more susceptible to issues.

Cork

Cork flooring is the newest of these mentioned options. Therefore, you want to be careful with choosing which one to go with. 

Cork is good for durability but many shouldn't be used in a bathroom.  You'll want to check with the manufacturer.  These types of floating floors are especially susceptible to water damage at the gaps where the planks click-together

Cork does a good job with allergies like most of the flooring mentioned here.

Repairing can take a little work but it usually isn't too bad. .

The price per square foot is usually around what nicer tile or carpet costs so it is in line with what many homeowners are willing to pay. It is a good ROI since the cost for the cork and installation is about the same as tile.

Carpet

Everyone is familiar with carpet because it has been around for so long.  Carpet is a great option for bedrooms because it is soft and it does a good job of insulating temperatures.  

It can also help with noise since there is a pad underneath and the carpet is thicker than vinyl and laminate.

One of the downsides to carpet is it holds dirt, pollen, pet hair and other allergens. 

If you or your family members have bad asthma or other types of allergies, removing your carpet can help. Carpet is less expensive to install and the price per sq ft is about the same price as tile so it is a good option to get your return on investment.

The only other downside to carpet is it often doesn't last as long as tile. You will want to get your carpets cleaned every 18-24 months.

Natural Stone

Natural stone is beautiful and you can often spot it right away.  The beauty of natural stone can come with some drawbacks.

It is much more expensive than tile, carpet, vinyl and laminate. It also needs to be sealed every few years and the maintenance is more expensive.  

Natural stone flooring can scratch easily and it is often brittle which causes cracks or chips.

If it is a small area or budget is not a main concern, then natural stone flooring is a beautiful option.

Disclaimers About Flooring

It is important to know that there are always exceptions to the rule, such as the same type of flooring could cary in how easy it scratches depending on the manufacturer.

There are new flooring products coming out everyday and they all have different claims.  Flooring varies greatly and it is important to research newer products like cork, vinyl planks and laminate planks.

It is always good to ask your contractor for advice.  You can also visit flooring companies to pick your favorites and ask the pros and cons.  Luckily tile is the most popular flooring option and has been around a long time.

We Are Not The Cheapest Flooring Company

I can't tell you how many flooring companies we know that do mediocre work.  There's a lot of reasons for this but I'd rather not badmouth others.

The simple fact is flooring is a lot more work than most people realize, and to use someone good costs more.  

Some homeowners will choose another company for flooring when there is a lot of it and have use do everything else, while many homeowners have us do everything.  So depending on the company you choose, we can work to coordinate the timing with the other flooring company.

If you are looking for the cheapest flooring company, I would suggest focusing on the best companies and then choosing which ones of those are properly priced.

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