Besides the kitchen and bathroom, a home’s flooring is frequently chosen as the next home remodeling project. Over the years, new options have come to life, like cork or bamboo flooring, but one preference that remains a top choice across America is tile.
Whether it’s the abundance of tile options available, their durable nature or ease in maintenance, tile floors remain the most popular selection on the market. Despite carpet’s prominence or the sudden rise in hardwood flooring, tile flooring offers unique advantages these other flooring options do not.
Based on installation, repairs, cost, durability and design, I will show you why tile floors are better than carpet or hardwood.
Installing Tile Flooring
Tile floors work great for bathrooms, kitchens and hallways because they can withstand the everyday wear and tear that comes with these highly trafficked rooms. Installing tile may be a DIY task for some ambitious homeowners, but there is a lot of labor involved as well as materials, like a wet saw. To professionally install tile floors, expect to pay around $3,724 for 500 square feet.
Installing Hardwood Flooring
Along with it’s popularity, hardwood flooring costs continue to rise as well. The costs of materials and labor for the installation of hardwood floors will depend substantially on what type of wood is used. Solid planks are harder to install than engineered wood with tongues and grooves, so that could affect overall expenses as well. However, expect to pay roughly $4,840 for 500 square feet of materials, labor and delivery.
Installing Carpet Flooring
Carpeting adds a warm feeling to any home, but more and more homeowners are starting to associate it with a dated design. The price of carpet can fluctuate substantially depending on the quality of the material and how much carpet you need, so it can be hard to pin down the exact price. Installation is also tricky because many companies include installation in the cost of the carpet. On average, expect to pay $2,969 for 500 square feet of medium-quality carpet and installation labor.
When it comes to repairs, a homeowner can’t only look at the average costs reported. One must consider the lifetime of each flooring option, the traffic the floors sees and the extent of the damage. Despite the fact that the average cost for tile repairs ($300-$600) is more than hardwood or carpet ($150-$300), tile is more often looked as a cheaper alternative.
When repairing tile floors, you or the pro must ensure that the concrete holding the tile down is level with existing tiles, in addition to maintaining the existing pattern. The more complex this is, the more the repair will cost. Because tiles are laid one by one, a professional should be able to remove just a couple of tiles and replace them. For a simple repair of a few tiles in a floor, expect to pay about $100 in materials, depending on the amount of tiles as they are priced individually. Overall, with labor, this is a $300 to $600 job for an established, reputable business.
Repairing a hardwood floor usually means having the floor refinished. Expect to pay anywhere from $3 to $4 per square foot for a true professional. The end result is a floor that looks virtually brand new for a fraction of what a new floor would cost. Other types of wood floors offer other options that are more cost efficient. For example, a floating wooden floor involves no glue or adhesive during installation – the pieces simply snap together. Although it can be tedious, repairing a wooden floor of this kind is much less expensive – perhaps the cost of a box of flooring plus labor – and should not cost more than $250.
Whether you’re removing a tough stain, patching up or repairing carpet seams, homeowners can expect to pay between $150-$250 for carpet repairs. However, despite it’s lower cost, bear in mind that cleaning carpet requires much more maintenance than hardwood or tile, driving up their total costs. Additionally, carpet can seem dated quicker than that of tile or hardwood.
No matter what flooring option you go with, there are numerous types to choose from.
Tile Flooring Types
- Terra Cotta
To see the full breakdown of each, please see Types of Floor Tile.
Hardwood Flooring Types
- Brazilian Cherry
To see the full breakdown of each, please see So You Chose Hardwood Floors.
Carpet Flooring Types
Carpet flooring doesn’t depend as much on type as it does on design. That is why I found 8 Clever and Bizarre Carpet Designs.
No matter what floor you go with, each will need a regular cleaning schedule to maintain it’s glossy, warm or inviting touch.
Cleaning Tile Floors
Much like hardwood, a majority of homeowners will choose to clean their tile floors themselves. After all, some good TLC is usually all you need to keep your tile floors looking as good as new. However, there are special machines that pros use to clean those tougher stains caught in the tile or grout.
By using a large steam cleaning machine and a special mix of chemicals, professional cleaners will be able to restore the luster of tiles. Other pros use their hands to get to those tough stains. Either way, if you hire a professional, plan on paying approximately $401 for cleaning tile floors.
Cleaning Hardwood Floors
Few homeowners choose to have their hardwood floors professionally cleaned. Since basic care of hardwood includes dusting, mopping or vacuuming, many choose to do it themselves. However, if you go with a professional, plan on paying a similar amount to that of tile floors.
One of the biggest drawbacks of carpet is the challenge of cleaning some carpet materials. Although the specific costs of carpet cleaning will vary depending on the type of cleaning needed, the severity of the stain and the size of the carpeted area, most homeowners paid $167 to have their carpets professionally cleaned.
Keep in mind, carpet demands more cleaning than that of tile or hardwood, so while the average is less, the number of cleans over the carpet’s lifetime is usually more.
Other Tile Advantages
- Ceramic tile is not that cold. Ceramic tile reflects the room temperature and holds onto that temperature for a long time. At times it can be cold. There are products out there that can be installed prior to tile installation that can warm up a floor.
- Floor tiles are expected to be the fastest growing ceramic tiles at an estimated CAGR of 9.4% from 2012 to 2018 (Transparency Market Research).
- U.S. demand for decorative tile is predicted to rise approximately 7% per year through 2017, reaching over 3 billion square feet (Lori Kirk-Rolley, vice president of brand marketing for Dal-Tile).
- Tile is waterproof. However, the grout joints connecting the tile do allow water transmission. This is where an improper installation can result in a structural problem and a costly replacement. The best thing to do for the grout is to seal it and keep any cracks caulked. Simple maintenance will give your tile a long life.
- Tile floors do not squeak, which can occur with hardwood.
Tile floor has been and remains a prominent flooring option for a reason. Given its durable nature, abundance of options, easy maintenance schedule and glossy finish, I expect it to remain in its prominence for years to come.