Fall is a time of change— going back to school, starting new projects, and redoing the décor in your home. With holiday parties just around the corner, autumn is the most popular time to reevaluate the floors in your home. So how do you know if you need to redo your flooring? And how do you go about a floor makeover?
Do I need to redo my floors?
Oftentimes, you don’t need to completely redo your floors. You can refinish them or replace certain parts to save large costs. But other times, your floors need a renovation to make your house feel homey again. How do you know when you need to redo your floors?
When not to redo
Most hardwood floors can be spruced up by sanding and refinishing. Hardwood floors can be highly expensive and time-consuming to replace, so we always recommend trying to refinish first. Sanding can sometimes wear away at the grain patterns of the wood, though, so you need the right equipment to maintain the integrity of your floors.
If there’s a portion of your wood floor that’s warped, cut, or damaged, you may be able to replace just those few planks. If not, you’ll need to redo the whole flooring. It can be a serious liability if your hardwood floors are broken or loose.
Your floor may also just need a good cleaning. Tile can start to look old and worn if the grout is dirty or mildew-y. Rather than replacing the whole floor, first try redoing the grout. Check out our article how to DIY apply grout.
When to redo
If it’s a health risk
Carpets can harbor mold, insects, and allergens. If your carpet is old or smelly, it’s time to replace it. Also, if you discover that your home has asbestos, you’ll want to strip all your floors and redo. Broken tile or floors can also be a safety liability.
If the floor is beyond repair
If the floor is severely damaged, you’ll need to replace it. It’s time to redo if you have cracked ceramic tiles, curling asphalt in the basement or garage, irremovable stains, or even dented laminate floors. Engineered hardwood can break easily and it cannot be refinished, so you’ll often have to replace entirety floor of engineered wood floors when they get damaged.
If you want to update the look of your house
Older homes can have older styles that may need updating. It might be time to get rid of the 1970s shag carpet. You also may be doing a total makeover that calls for a new floor to match your décor.
If your lifestyle changes
Sometimes a new occupant in your house can change your floor needs. Children and pets need durable, wear-resistant floors. If you’re taking care of an elderly family member, you may want to replace any slippery tile. When possible, you want your floors to accommodate your life.
If you’re selling your house
It’s common for sellers to update their floors to make the home look more contemporary and appealing to homebuyers. Outdated or damaged flooring is one of the top reasons that great houses sit on the market for months.
If you’re buying a house
If you’re moving into a new house, you may want to redo some of their flooring because it is damaged or doesn’t match your style. We also recommend changing all carpets when buying a new house, because bacteria and mold could be festering inside.
How do I redo my floors?
So you’ve decided to redo your flooring. What do you need to consider before choosing and installing floors?
Location of floor
The basement and lower levels are more susceptible to moisture and water than higher floors. In this way, you’ll want to choose flooring that can handle the potential wetness. Good examples of wet-resistant floors include vinyl or tile.
Additionally, high-traffic areas like entryways or play areas should be able to handle the appropriate amount of wear. Carpet and vinyl are great options for children’s rooms, and tile or luxury vinyl are ideal for entryways.
Climate of home
If you live in an environment with extreme temperatures, you’ll want to stay away from wood (which can warp and expand in the heat and crack and shrink in the dry). Carpet can also grow mold more often in humid temperatures. For hot climates, tile is easiest to maintain.
Additionally, if you plan on installing subfloor heating systems, be sure that your flooring is compatible. Tile usually conducts heat best.
Consider who will be using the floors. Kids and pets need more durable, wear-resistant flooring. This includes ceramic or porcelain tile, laminate flooring, plank vinyl, and carpet. Babies’ rooms should have soft flooring. Elders need flooring with appropriate traction to help prevent falls.
Consider how much upkeep your new floors will need. What is your tolerance for maintenance and cleaning? Low maintenance floors include vinyl and laminate. High maintenance includes carpet, which needs to be steamed often, and wood, which need to refinished and sanded occasionally.
If you or your family has any allergies or asthma, you’ll want to pick appropriate flooring. Carpeting tends to hold the most allergens like animal dander, dust, mold, and mildew. Tile can also harbor mildew in the grout if not properly cleaned. Hard surfaces like wood and vinyl collect fewer allergens.
What is your budget per square foot? Take into account not only the cost of the flooring but also possible installation and additional costs (like replacing trim, grout, sanding materials, etc.)
Below is the general cost of different types of flooring (though this is variable):
Less than $2 per square foot: bargain laminate; sheet and tile flooring
$2 to $5 per square foot: engineered wood flooring; most laminate; tile
More than $5 per square foot: hardwood, luxury laminate, some luxury vinyl
We’ve also included the national average costs of total installation per material according to Home Advisor:
Vinyl or linoleum = $357
Carpeting = $1,498
Ceramic or porcelain tile = $1,588
Natural stone = $1,830
Laminate = $2,816
Wood = $4,240
The floor can impact the look of the entire room. It’s harder to change floors than other parts of your décor, so often the floors become a major contributor to the look of a room. Lighter floors make rooms feel larger, but they show wear and tear easily; darker floors are cozy but show pet hair and dust. Neutral colors tend to be a favorite because they are easy to match with and simple to maintain.
You’ll also want to consider how your new floor material will look with the nearby rooms’ floors. Consider a transition space to blend the two together.
If you want to save money and install the floors yourself, some materials are easier for DIY than others. Certain floors, like carpet and wood, usually require a professional removal and application. The easiest to install are laminate and plank vinyl. Learn how to install vinyl flooring here.
The Bottom Line
Redoing your floors can help better meet the needs of your home and your life. Choosing the right floor based on the above criteria will ensure that your floors enhance your lifestyle in every possible way.
If you’re redoing or refurnishing your floors, contact Onfloor for a consultation. Our expert team will be able to help you find the perfect floor and equipment for your home.