Guide to the best types of floors for your home

grandma and grandkids playing inside


Posted May 20, 2024

From carpet, laminate and tiles to timber and bamboo, discover the best types of flooring for different parts of your home.

Whether you're considering a complete overhaul or a subtle enhancement, flooring plays a pivotal role in both the aesthetics and functionality of your home, influencing the overall look and feel. 

Different areas in the home often require different flooring solutions. You need to think about design, comfort and safety, especially in wet areas like the bathroom and laundry. 

Adam Jory, Operations Trade Manger for Home Trades Hub Australia, and a carpenter by trade, says it's imperative to do your research and consider the look and finish you want to achieve. There are many flooring showrooms around Victoria with displays of the final product to guide and inspire you.

"Always consult the experts or suppliers before making big decisions about the materials or finish," Jory advises. Follow this guide, then find a qualified professional to help you make an informed choice about the best flooring for your home.  

couple sitting in the kitchen

Your choice of flooring will be influenced by your budget and lifestyle. Image: Getty

What to consider when choosing the best flooring for your home

What's the size of your project?

Are you renovating parts of your home or doing a new build? Jory says there can be hidden costs associated with renovations that don’t occur with new builds, especially if structural changes are required.

“When renovating, it can be more difficult to install certain floor finishes on preexisting substrates, and you need to discuss this with the contractor who provides a quote,” he says. 

Top considerations include budget, the look and finish, and the type and grade of the flooring you are looking to install. “There are many options, pros and cons associated with these decisions,” Jory says. 

Weigh up functionality, durability, value and safety

It can be expensive to make changes once a project is under way, Jory advises, so take your time to investigate the following: 

  • Functionality: The right flooring can enhance comfort, provide insulation, and improve indoor air quality. If you have children, for example, Jory says timber floors are durable, resistant to heavy foot traffic, can make rooms look more spacious and are great for people with allergies. 
  • Durability: Quality flooring materials, such as tiles, have what Jory calls a “great finish”, and can withstand daily wear and tear in heavy foot traffic areas, ensuring longevity. 
  • Value: Well-maintained flooring can increase the value of your home, making it a worthwhile investment. 
  • Health and safety: It’s important that your home is safe. Consider replacing flooring that is sloping, slippery or that has unexpected small steps. While rugs can look great, they can also be trip hazards, which is why you might decide to have carpet instead. If you have allergies or are concerned about indoor air quality , be aware that both carpets and rugs may trap pollutants and allergens like dust mites, pet dander, mold spores, and dirt.

Define your vision, styling and lifestyle needs

You may want the same flooring throughout the home, or different materials for specific areas, such as carpet in bedrooms, tiles in wet areas, and hardwood floors in common spaces. Do you have pets or children? Jory suggests taking your family or household’s lifestyle into consideration to ensure the flooring can withstand daily wear and tear. 

Your personal style will be another factor to consider. Are you aiming for a cosy and rustic look, or a sleek and modern feel? Do you want durability and easy maintenance or are you willing to put in the extra care for a natural finish?

You can follow the latest trends, but if you’re looking for a classic finish that doesn’t date, Jory recommends timber flooring because it is durable and looks great in almost all circumstances. 

“Make sure you do your research and consider the look and finish you want to achieve,” he says.

Establish your budget

Your budget will need to include the cost of materials, installation, and added expenses, such as underlays or subfloor repairs.

“The time it takes to lay your chosen floor can be a big factor in the final cost,” Jory says. “Generally, engineered and laminate floors are prefinished and have a faster installation time. However, it can be more difficult to repair scratches or possible damage.”

These are some factors that could affect your installation time and cost:

  • Fitting wood flooring straight to the joists.
  • Waterproofing the substrate.
  • Floor levelling before new material is laid.
  • Changes to skirting boards, door jambs, or doors because the floor height has changed.

Once you have a budget, you can choose the flooring that fits both your vision and finances. It’s also worth noting that investing in quality flooring can potentially add value to your home.


dog on the carpet

If you have a pet, hardwood floors may be easier to maintain than carpet. Image: Getty

Types of wood and wood-look flooring options

It’s advisable to select your flooring materials with the help of a professional. “Not only to help you with the installation, but to help with selecting the finish of your flooring to ensure the best result,” Jory says. 


Crafted from natural wood, timber flooring provides a timeless aesthetic and durability. It generally comes in three grades: select, standard, and rustic, with the latter having the most features and character. 

As for the timber finish, each product has its pros and cons: 

  • Solvent-based polyurethanes have a high-gloss finish, and are scratch and water resistant.
  • Water-based polyurethanes are more environmentally friendly, and dry faster.
  • Natural penetration oils are non-toxic and allow for movement in timber, but require more maintenance. 

Overall, Jory recommends timber flooring in the home. The upfront cost can be higher, but timber can “save you in the long run because of its durability and ability to be sanded and finished multiple times without affecting its structural integrity". 

Laminate, vinyl, hybrid and bamboo

Jory says laminate, vinyl, hybrid and bamboo flooringcan be cost effective for those on a budget.  They are all versatile, and easier to install than timber flooring because they're prefinished. The downside is they can be harder to repair.

“They don’t have the same resistance against high foot traffic as natural timber floors,” Jory says.


Carpet flooring consists of soft fibres woven or tufted into a backing, providing warmth, comfort, and sound absorption. Although it might not suit those susceptible to allergies, carpet can be great for bedrooms, as it gives a warm feeling to a room. 


Concrete flooring involves pouring and polishing concrete into a flat slab. It is typically used in basements, garages, and modern interiors. Jory says polished concrete has a great look that is popular in houses that have many design features and textures. But a note of caution. 

“It can be difficult to rectify water stains and there is the possibility of cracking over time,” he says.


Tile flooring includes ceramic, porcelain, or natural stone tiles, and is best suited for kitchens, bathrooms, and entrances.

Jory’s tip is to always keeps some spare tiles in your garage, if possible, in case of breakage.


Cork flooring is made from the bark of cork oak trees, and known for its natural insulation and comfort underfoot. Jory says it can be sensitive to sunlight and moisture sensitivities, but it “is a great natural product with a very distinctive look that complements a lot of wall colours". 


Pink and black bathroom

Consider your safety and choose tiles with a lower slip risk when it comes to bathroom flooring. Image: Getty

Consult a qualified professional

Flooring experts can give you valuable advice on material selection, installation techniques, and maintenance for specific areas of your home.

One size does not fit all, and the choices you make will be unique to your home.

For example, laminate flooring can be affected by high moisture and water, while carpet may not be appropriate if you have a dog that sheds.

"It’s always best to make an informed decision on your floor finish and let professionals guide you in the right direction,” Jory says.

Finalise your decision and plan the installation

Once you've weighed up all your options and have clear pricing and timeline expectations, finalise your decision, and make a schedule. If you are doing more than one room, find out the order in which the rooms will be re-floored. Will everyone in the household need to move out?  Does all the furniture need to be removed from every room, or can it be done room by room? Some timber floor finishes require several coats and days to completely dry.

“Some floor coverings take a lot longer to install, especially depending on the substrate, and it’s best to be guided by professionals in these circumstances,” says Jory. 

Remember to find out what warranties and guarantees are offered by manufacturers and installation teams to ensure peace of mind and long-term satisfaction with your chosen flooring.


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