How to Choose the Best Flooring Materials

August 8, 2019

Choosing the type of flooring for your home is a BIG decision! It has to hold up to the wear and tear of your family, and not all flooring is created equally. On episode 24 of From the Nest Podcast, Chris and I review “flooring 101” and cover what you need to know when choosing carpet, hardwood floors or other flooring options available. Thanks for listening!

What to Know When Purchasing New Carpet:

Carpeting can be a touchy subject – some people love it and some hate it! Personally, I enjoy cozy carpeting in the bedrooms. I think it welcomes snuggling on the ground with kids, stretching and wrestling with the pups. Here are some basics that are important to know when considering a carpet purchase:

Carpet flooring at Flip 4

The thicker/denser the carpet, the better the quality.


Polyester and Nylon are the most common fiber types.

  • Polyester fiber can wear more easily than nylon, so I would not recommend this type of carpet for really high traffic areas like stairs. You will find that polyester is usually cheaper than nylon. For bedrooms, I am ok with using this fiber but would think twice if I were installing it in hallways/stairs.
  • Nylon fiber is the most common used and is more durable and stain resistant.

Many people say that this is your most important purchase when buying carpet. You want to get moisture resistant padding to be able to soak up any spills or animal accidents. A good pad will help prevent smells from sticking in the carpet. Also, the thicker the pad, the more cushion under your feet.


The surface of the carpet. There are a few varying types of pile but the most common is the cut pile that features loops cut at the same height.

Average pricing:

Obviously it varies based on the type of carpet you purchase and can range anywhere from $1-$10. I usually buy our carpet at Home Depot (and put it on the 2 yr. no interested CC, of course!) and we end up paying around $3/sf for carpet, pad and installation. Home Depot often offers specials where they include moving your furniture and carpet haul away into the full package!

How to determine total cost:
  • LxW of your room =Total Square feet
  • ex: 10×10 room is 100 SF – If the cost is $3/SF, the total cost would be $300

What to Know When Choosing Hardwood Floors:

Hardwood floors are always a fan favorite. They look great, are durable and easy to clean!

Hardwood flooring at our first flip house
  • Common hard woods: Red/White oak, Cherry, Maple
  • Common soft woods: Pine, fir and cedar – softwoods are more prone to scratching and denting but tend to be less expensive than hardwoods

Each type of wood has a varying color. For example, a red oak pulls more red tones and a white oak pulls more yellow tones. You can get different colors by using stain, however, you can see how wood color differs by putting the same stain on each wood type and see what colors pull from it.

Solid vs. Engineered:
  • Solid woods can last forever and can be refinished many, many times. They are milled from a single piece of wood and are more susceptible to water damage and buckling if there is a lot of moisture in the air
  • Engineered hardwood is layered with many plies of wood and gives the floor greater durability. It is much more resistant to moisture than solid woods and can be refinished less since it is not made of a solid piece of wood.
Finish in place vs. pre-finished:
  • Finished in place: This is when raw wood is installed and a stain is applied in your home. This is generally more expensive but allows for more customization with colors.
  • Pre-finished: You have a select amount of hardwood colors to choose from and they are stained at the factory. Once the floors are installed they are ready to go.
Average Pricing:

While the wood can be generally inexpensive, the installation per square foot is what really increases the price of this type of flooring. The installation rate will depend on the type of flooring – engineered hardwood is easier to install so it will cost less than solid wood that is finished in place. This will cost you anywhere from $5-$20/SF.

Additional Flooring Options:

There are so many other affordable flooring options for you to choose from!

Pergo flooring at Flip 3

This type of flooring is coming back into style and has lots of fun design options. This type typically comes in one sheet that you roll out to install. This is a fun example from home depot here.

Laminate flooring:

We have used laminate wood flooring in many of our homes. Two great brands that we have used are Pergo and Home Decorators. When buying wood floor substitutes, look at the samples and try to avoid wood that looks like a sticker. There are some brands that look more realistic than others and I would recommend finding those. Laminate is a great alternative to wood flooring if you have a smaller budget and want durable floors.

Vinyl plank flooring:

New composite flooring that tends to be made with plastic is another durable and affordable options. If you have uneven floors, these floors can be challenging to snap together or you can risk the tiles unsnapping if there are low spots on your floors. We have used the brand Life Proof for a rental and while it looks nice, the floors are uneven and the seams are not as tight as I would like. Here is another example of a fun pattern on a vinyl tile.


This is an option many people are familiar with. Tile is not super expensive, but the installation is where the high cost comes in. If you can install it yourself, you will save a good chunk of money BUT you risk having floors that may look like an amateur installed them.

Show Notes

This Week…
  • We are 90% complete at our rental property!
    • The carpet was professionally cleaned and it was so amazing to watch! I can’t believe how clean they got it.
  • We ran into challenges at our new house but have found solutions! Everything is Figureoutable! – Marie Forleo
    • The last week has been spent pulling up the 2nd layer of subfloor (for some reason there was 2 and one needs to be removed for the hardwood to be put down)
    • We discovered a header in the center of the kitchen that totally messed up our design plans but we came up with a solution that will keep the integrity of the structure and allow us to remove the beam – wahoo!
    • Kitchen plans are getting finalized with Home Depot
There is a header hidden in the soffit in the center of the kitchen.
There is a header hidden in the soffit in the center of the kitchen.

Tips of the Week…

Lindsey: If you are installing floors and new kitchen counters, be aware of which product should be installed first. Hardwood floors will be installed prior to cabinets in the kitchen. If you have a laminate or vinyl plank floor, you will want to install the cabinets first and THEN the floors. Any flooring other than hardwood floors should generally be installed after to avoid issues with the expansion and contraction of the floors if they had the weight of the cabinets on top.

Chris: If you are considering hardwood flooring, familiarize yourself with the Janka hardness scale. This will help you determine the type of wood that is best for the lifestyle lived in your home. Check out this resource to learn even more about the Janka scale and why it is important to understand.

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply