More than any other part of your home, your floor takes a beating. Between spilled food, daily traffic, and pets, carpeting shows off the wear and tear. If you're ready to make a move from carpet to hard flooring, here's a starter session on what to look for:
Laminate is one of the lower cost materials in the world of hard flooring. Many people love laminate floors because their easy to install on your own and they're laid above the existing floor, so there's no need to tear out what you have, aside from the carpet and pad. Laminates come in a variety of colors and textures, made of pressed plywood or compressed fibers, with the top layer being made of plastic.
Engineered woods are a step up from laminates for pricing and quality. The top piece of the plank is made of real wood, while lower layers are made of recycled wood fibers and plywood. There are some engineered woods that "click" into place as they're installed, making them a DIY-friendly option.
Of course, most of us think of hardwood flooring when we think of moving away from carpet. Just as the name says, they're made of real wood. And there's a hardwood for everyone. Oak, maple, pine, and black walnut are just some of the woods that are readily available in the United States. More exotic floors are available as well. Hardwoods are definitely not DIY-friendly! Each piece must be nailed to the floor beneath it.
Bamboos and Cork
Cork and bamboo flooring are growing in popularity. Bamboo has a similar look to laminates, engineered and hardwood flooring, but it's actually a type of grass plant. Bamboo is very durable and comes in many different colors and textures. Cork comes from the bark of the tree and is harvested every few years, leaving the tree intact, and thus, being a very eco-friendly, sustainable choice.
Sources: HGTV.com, flooranddecor.com