Installing or replacing the floors in your home can be an expensive endeavor.
The cost is generally accepted because of how long our floors can potentially last.
However, with less durable flooring, you may be spending that money all over again, very soon.
Finding an attractive floor is easy, finding an attractive floor that is also durable and can stand up to heavy foot traffic, though, can be hard.
Top Flooring Choices Based on Durability
- 1 Top Flooring Choices Based on Durability
- 2 Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Right Durable Flooring for Your Needs
- 3 Review: Most Durable Floors for Your Home
- 3.1 1. Natural Stone/Travertine
- 3.2 Best Features
- 3.3 Notable Concerns
- 3.4 2. Ceramic/Porcelain Tile
- 3.5 Best Features
- 3.6 Notable Concerns
- 3.7 3. Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP)
- 3.8 Best Features
- 3.9 Notable Concerns
- 3.10 4. Engineered Hardwood
- 3.11 Best Features
- 3.12 Notable Concerns
- 3.13 5. Bamboo Flooring Planks
- 3.14 Best Features
- 3.15 Notable Concerns
- 3.16 6. Wall to Wall Carpeting
- 3.17 Best Features
- 3.18 Notable Concerns
- 4 Most Durable Floors At A Glance
- 5 Professional or DIY Installation?
- 6 Where to Buy Your New Flooring
- 7 Frequently Asked Questions
- 8 Conclusion
There are literally dozens of flooring options out there. Everything from stone or rock to laminate sheeting. Below are the best of the best when it comes to strength and durability.
- Natural Stone/Travertine. Natural stone floors are among the most durable and longest lasting. They have a few negative marks, but not in the durability category.
- Ceramic/Porcelain Tile. Tile is second in strength and durability only to stone. The hard flooring option provides a strong, sturdy base for your home.
- Luxury Vinyl Planks (LVP). LVP is one of the most popular choices for many reasons, durability being one of them.
- Engineered Hardwood. Wood is strong, but engineered hardwood flooring is even stronger.
- Bamboo Flooring Planks. Bamboo has a lot of benefits and while it may be expensive it is also comfortable and durable.
- Wall to Wall Carpeting. When talking about durability, we often overlook the softer flooring choices, but the right carpet can stand up to just about anything.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Right Durable Flooring for Your Needs
Coverage Area/Project Size
Everything you need or will end up buying for your new floor revolves around square feet. The square foot of your project is the one thing you must know. If you don’t know how to measure for square feet, it is quite simple.
Measure the length of the room and the width of the room. Multiply these two measurements together and you have your square footage. This measurement is needed for knowing costs, installation needs and almost every other aspect of the project.
Tools & Equipment
Depending on the flooring you choose, you will need various tools and equipment to perform the installation, clean up, maintenance and other situations. The cost for purchase or rental of these tools will vary as much as the tools you will need.
Many new floors will require a flat, level subfloor in good condition. Before you start laying your new floor, you need to inspect the subfloor and make any repairs or replacements. Failure to do so can cause problems with the finished look and even the performance of your floor.
If a subfloor does cause damage to your new flooring, it may void the warranty. Most subfloors are plywood, however there are also concrete subfloors, too. If you do have concrete, you may need to install plywood on top. Finding the best options for you is a big part of the new floor process.
Installation Options & Methods
Another huge concern for many is how to install the floor when it is time. With carpet and natural stone the answer is almost always professional installation. If you need help finding a local professional you can use our free finder tool.
However, with more modern flooring options, you can easily install the floor yourself. LVP and laminate planks are among the most DIY friendly options out there. Engineered hardwood and even tile can all be installed as a DIY project or by a professional. Your flooring choice and budget will help you decide.
Aside from the actual flooring, you will also need to purchase some additional materials. For carpeting this will include carpet padding, tack strips and bevel bars (also called transitions). You may also need adhesives, tape or nails.
Designated Floor Usage
Not all rooms need floors that are extremely durable. Low traffic areas can get away with less durable flooring to save you time or money. However, entry ways, or rooms with heavy foot traffic need more durable flooring.
It is important to know how the floor will be used, what will be on the floor (pet claws, food and drink messes, etc.) so that you can purchase the right flooring for the space.
Warranties on flooring range from 90 days to lifetime coverage. Aside from the length of the warranty, you also need to know the coverage terms. Read through the warranty paperwork to find out if registration is required, if there is a registration time limit and what is needed from you to initiate a claim.
Finally the cost of the project is easily the biggest concern. Floor prices can range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands. The size of the project area and the flooring type purchased will be the biggest cost factors.
You also have tools, equipment and additional materials to think about. Finally, saving money with a DIY install is not a bad idea, but it costs you in other ways (time, effort, lack of labor warranty, etc). When you know the range of your budget you can search for the right flooring for your exact needs that fits your price range.
Review: Most Durable Floors for Your Home
1. Natural Stone/Travertine
One of the most durable floors comes in the form of stone. Natural stone has been used for flooring for centuries and many of the original floors are still around. While it may take eons for wear and tear to show any signs on a stone floor, that doesn’t mean they are impervious.
However, one of the biggest draws is that even with some damage, the floors still hold up and can even add more appeal with additional cracks or chips. This, by no means, should suggest that you start throwing heavy objects on your floor to “add character,” but if it does happen by accident it may not be the end of the world.
As far as strength and durability go, though, there isn’t anything much tougher than stone. It is naturally scratch and dent resistant, can be cleaned with chemicals (in most cases) and looks great in kitchens, bathrooms and entryways.
Natural stone has a lot of allure. It is stronger than most flooring options in all categories and tends to last virtually forever. You don’t have to worry about the actual stones or stone tiles getting scratched or worn by heavy foot traffic or pet claws.
Cleaning stone is relatively simple as well. A simple sweep a few times a week and a vacuum once in a while will take care of most dirt and debris. For wet messes, or stuck on grime a mop will do well. The warranties for stone flooring tend to be closer to the lifetime range than not, too.
As with any flooring, there are downsides. Natural stone and travertine flooring is expensive from the start. The material for the flooring itself is more costly than most other flooring options.
Of course, your price will vary from brand to brand and stone type to type. On average, though, for a standard sized room you should expect to pay a minimum of $10,000.
Best For: Entry ways, kitchens and bathrooms.
2. Ceramic/Porcelain Tile
Tile floors come in two basic types. Porcelain is the preferred option, but there is a case for ceramic tiling as well.
With tile, though, you aren’t limited to just your floors. Tiles make great accents, back-splashes and decorative options, too. The best part is that tiles are fairly cheap. In many cases you can find individual tiles for less than 50 cents and when you buy in bulk the price drops even further.
With tiles, you get a durable flooring that is naturally scratch and dent resistant. It also is easy to maintain and clean, with the grout being the most difficult part. However, even shoddy grout can last 8 to 10 years, so with minimal effort your new tile floor can last decades.
Obviously tile has a lot of benefits and a lot of negatives. It is up to your individual needs or desires to figure out if the good and bad are worth it.
Tiles are also cheap. You can get enough tiles to cover your entire home for about the price of a carpet installed in a single room. With a DIY install you can save even more.
Of course, there are some major downsides. For example, with tile, you need to be precise when installing. Everything needs proper spacing and measurements and you need to adhere every tile to the floor individually. It is a time consuming process.
You also need to grout and seal the tile and that sealant may need to be reapplied annually. This is an added cost, but adds to the durability of the tiles. Tiles are strong, thick and durable, but they are also fragile.
Best For: Halls, kitchens, bathrooms and laundry areas.
3. Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP)
LVP is ranked 3rd on our list, but could easily be number 1. Not only is LVP one of the most popular flooring choices for homeowners today, it is resilient, durable and tough. However, strictly based on durability, it doesn’t rank as high as stone and tile.
This is because LVP is a softer material, completely synthetic and susceptible to denting, scratching and damage more than the top two. This doesn’t mean it will always happen, though.
Unlike tile, if you drop a heavy object on the floor, you probably won’t have to replace a board. There may be denting, of course, but depending on how bad, it can usually be overlooked. LVP won’t splinter or crack because of the drop damage, though.
LVP has a lot of great features. Not only is it 100% waterproof, but it is designed for use in any room of the home. There are commercial grade vinyl options as well. While there are different levels, or grades of LVP, higher-end products can come with a lifetime warranty. Generally, though, you will find a 235 to 50-year warranty, which is still plenty long enough for a floor.
You can wet mop, sweep or vacuum LVP and there isn’t a need to seal or coat the flooring once it is installed. With minimal maintenance and a little care, a new LVP floor can remain looking new for decades.
As with any flooring, there will be downsides. LVP does have a lot of benefits. However, it can be difficult to find the right style, size and color. Locally, you will need to do research and in-person shopping to find the right fit.
It is also important that heavy furniture uses felt pads to prevent damage, scratches or gouging.
Best For: Any room in the home, living areas and bedrooms, specifically.
4. Engineered Hardwood
Hardwood floors are one of the most sought-after and beautiful floorings on the market. However, they are expensive, difficult to install and require a lot of care. The answer to those problems is engineered hardwood.
These planks and boards offer a top layer or real hardwood with a pressed word core and underlayment bottom. They install easily with a click-lock system and are a fairly simple DIY installation.
While they won’t add to the home’s value like solid hardwood, they look, feel and act like the real thing. Because of the construction of the boards, they are also quite durable. This will, of course, depend a lot on the brand, quality and wood species you select.
White and red oak are popular choices, along with mahogany and the ironwoods Ipe and Cumaru. If you do select one of the ironwoods, you are getting a durable floor with a natural beauty. They also cost a lot more.
Engineered hardwood has many benefits, but when it comes to durability, it all depends on which type of wood you buy. The harder the wood, the more durable the boards will be. Almost all hardwood is susceptible to dents and scratches.
But, the good news is that most can be sanded a few times to remove these imperfections. With high-quality boards, you can stain, seal, sand or buff any mess or eye-sore away.
As the flooring is made from wood, there are a few concerns. Cleaning and maintenance are the top issues, though.
Wood and water don’t mix well. So wet mops are strongly discouraged. If you do have a mess that requires a mop to clean up, you need to spot clean with a damp sponge on your hands and knees. You also need to dry the area completely and work in small 2-foot sections at a time.
This added concern isn’t much for most homeowners, but it can be a large hurdle if your home has pets or small children. Daily cleaning with wet sponges or mops is not something the floor can handle very well.
Best For: Living areas and bedrooms.
5. Bamboo Flooring Planks
If you want a sustainable floor that is naturally resistant to mold, mildew and pests, bamboo is your answer. However, there are a lot of different types of bamboo flooring options and only a few of them rank high on the durability scale.
Strand woven bamboo is, by far, the most durable flooring option out there. However, compared to the other options on this review list, the durability is second to the other benefits of the flooring.
Bamboo floors easily have the longest list of beneficial factors of any floor type. They are eco-friendly, repairable and mostly affordable.
On top of all that, bamboo is naturally resistant to termites, mold and mildew. It is also anti-allergen and repels dust mites. Because bamboo is a grass, it also naturally repels dust and pollen, making it the go-to flooring for homeowners with allergy concerns.
The biggest drawback is that bamboo is a hardy, strong and durable floor surface. This is a good thing, but you can easily overlook the main problem. With all the strength and benefits bamboo is easily scratched. Even small cat claws can make large marks if not properly cared for. Gouges and scratches can be sanded out, but only so many times.
Best For: All areas of the home except wet areas.
6. Wall to Wall Carpeting
When it comes to durable flooring you don’t often think about carpet. However, carpet is about the only flooring option on the market that can claim it won’t get dented or scratched.
Because of these innovations and carpet manufacturers producing higher-quality materials, carpet is easily one of the most durable flooring solutions out there.
Carpets are popular and have been for over a century. It has come a long way in that time and today offers a lot of benefits. Not only does carpet insulate your home it also acts as a sound dampening, which is great for those that work from home with conference calls or Zoom meetings.
Carpets do have a few drawbacks. First, carpet should always be installed by a professional. It adds to the overall cost, but installing carpet yourself is difficult, tedious and not something many people can do without proper training.
Second, carpet requires a well maintained subfloor. Any holes, cracks or damage to the subfloor must be repaired before installing the carpet pad and carpeting. Unlike floating floors like LVP and engineered hardwood, carpet install must be adhered to the subfloor.
Best For: Halls, living areas, bedrooms.
Most Durable Floors At A Glance
In the chart below we compare all 6 top durable flooring options on various criteria. While quality, durability and options will vary from brand to brand, we look at the overall average. Once you have chosen a floor type, you can read one of our many reviews to find out more about specific brands or features of that type.
|Floor Type||Foot Traffic||Scratch and Dent Protection||Average Warranty Length||Average Cost (per sq. ft.)|
|Stone||All||Yes||50 years||$9 – $12|
|Tile||All||Most||50 years||$2 – $3|
|LVP||Heavy||Some||25 years||$3 – $4|
|Engineered Hardwood||Light, medium, some heavy||Some||50 years||$4 – $9|
|Bamboo||Light, medium||Few||20 years||$3 – $6|
|Carpet||All||N/A||10 years||$2 – $5|
Professional or DIY Installation?
One of the biggest decisions (aside from the flooring itself) that you need to make is how to install the floor. There are two options: do the install yourself, or hire a professional.
As a DIY project, many hard floor types can easily be installed in a day or a weekend. Floating floors use a quick-lock system that allows you to snap the boards together fairly easily. With a few cuts to change the board lengths and align the planks correctly, you can complete a room quickly.
From start to finish (including the mandatory acclimation time), a standard 10×12 room (120 square feet) can have laminate or LVP installed in about 72 hours. The actual install process should only take 6 to 8 hours.
However, this will require you to have the knowledge, tools, equipment, all materials and desire to install the floor yourself. Tool and equipment rental can get expensive and you may need more than a YouTube degree to finish the floor with professional results.
Professional installation has one major drawback: it is expensive. On average, you can expect to add between $2 and $6 per square foot to your total cost. However, with professional installation, you don’t need to do any of the work, clean up or supply tools or equipment.
You also get (usually) a labor warranty that will last a couple of years to help if anything goes wrong with the install. In almost all cases, professional installation is recommended. In the case of natural stone, travertine, carpeting and hardwood it is all but required.
Where to Buy Your New Flooring
When you have made your final decision for your new floor, it is time to make a purchase. But, where do you go? Many flooring companies are specialized. This means that they only sell through certain store fronts or locations.
High quality flooring will usually be found only in dealerships that are local to larger populated areas. These brands will have a dealer locator app on their website that will allow you to find a dealership by zip code.
Some brands, like LifeProof, only sell through Home Depot. These specialty brands will be available in your local store, but usually in limited styles and quantities. You can also purchase through special order in the store to get the style, color and amount you need. If all else fails, you can also use the online store for more choices.
If you have decided on a flooring type and a brand, search through our flooring guide section to find that brand. We try to list the best places to buy in each brand review.
Frequently Asked Questions
In this section we will answer some of the common durable flooring questions. If you have other questions of a more specific nature, feel free to use the comment section below the article.
Q. Is hard flooring more durable than carpet?
- This depends on your idea of durability. Carpet won’t dent or scratch when you drop something on it or scuff when you walk over it. However, hard flooring won’t matt over time and can be deep cleaned much easier. Carpets can unravel or snag, but hard flooring can peel or lift. Depending on what you need a durable floor for, either is a good option.
Q. What maintenance is required for highly durable floors, are they easier to clean?
- Durable flooring can be easier to clean because you don’t need to worry so much about leaving scratches or marring surfaces. However, wood flooring, laminate and even bamboo are not made to handle constant strokes from a vacuum’s brush roller.
Sweeping and a damp or dust mop are preferred for almost all hard flooring surfaces. A vacuum can be used if it is designed for hard flooring. For carpet, of course a vacuum is your best option. When the carpet is deeply soiled you can use a carpet shampooer, as well.
Q. How much does a durable solid floor cost to install?
- The actual costs will vary greatly and depend on many factors. You will need to account for the floor type, additional materials and even if you are having the floor installed professionally or as a DIY project. Of course, the amount of flooring is also a cost factor.
On average, though, for a standard sized room (12×12 or 10×10) with professional installation of a mid-grade flooring product, you can expect to pay between $1000 and $5000. Higher quality materials, different types of flooring (hardwood for example) and prices can easily get over $10,000.
Q. Is there a way to tell how durable a flooring is?
- For hard flooring, such as wood and bamboo, there is. The Janka Hardness Scale measures the hardness of wood species, including bamboo. The higher the Janka number, the harder the wood planks are.
However, for stone, tile and carpeting (as well as LVP) there isn’t a durability standardized test. The best option for these flooring solutions is to note the thickness of the boards or tiles, as well as the type of wear layer and its thickness. Thicker boards, tiles and wear layers are a good indication of durability.
Finding the most durable floor for your home can be a tricky thing. Besides deciding on a material, you also need to decide on a brand, type, color and style. This massive undertaking can be fun when done right, though.
With the right foresight, searching for your new LVP or tile floor will lead to a durable, long lasting floor. However, if you prefer more comfort underfoot carpet and bamboo make great choices.
Regardless of your selection, whether stone or vinyl, carpet or tile, you will have a durable floor that meets your needs, matches décor and is easily installed.