Keep It Clean

By Diane Schlindwein

June 30, 2017 4 min read

The entryway of your home requires some thought, as it is the first impression of your home and a high-traffic area. Flooring should suit your personal taste and lifestyle. What flooring can best survive years of dripping wet outerwear, dirty sneakers and muddy paws? Surely not carpet, especially for those homes located in areas with harsh weather conditions. Hardwoods, laminate and ceramic tile are the three most widely used materials. Consider the pros, cons and costs of each.

Many homeowners desire a more formal entryway look. Given its good quality and simplicity, hardwood is often seen as the elegant choice. Woods vary in cost but are generally more expensive than laminate. The Home Advisor website breaks down the cost: "Some of the most popular flooring options include mid-priced varieties such as teak, American cherry and oak, which costs $5 to $10 per square foot for materials and another $4 to $8 per square foot for installation. ... Some of the most expensive wood floors are made of exotic woods such as Brazilian walnut, tigerwood, mahogany and cypress. Costs tally $8 to $14 per square foot on average, with installation costs running around $4 to $8 per square foot."

The practical benefits of hardwood floors are numerous. They have a warm look and feel. They are resilient. And cleaning and maintaining them is fairly easy. The biggest issue is their vulnerability to moisture, humidity and scratches.

Ceramic tiles offer as much practicality as versatility. Casey Slide writes on the Money Crashers personal finance blog that tile is great because it's water-resistant and fairly easy to clean, and it comes in a variety of materials, such as marble, granite, porcelain and slate. This diversity promotes creativity with design, as you are free to brighten and liven up a room with different colors, sizes and patterns. On the down side, ceramic can be pricey depending on the material, and the installation can cost thousands of dollars.

Slide believes laminate is a solid choice for price and durability. She writes: "My favorite thing about laminate is that it does not easily scratch. And if it does, a little vegetable oil rubbed on the scratch will get it right out. ... It's also great for pets because they can't scratch or stain it." This material is well-suited for high-traffic areas, and Slide says it usually costs anywhere between 50 cents and $3 per foot. It may not be as strikingly beautiful, but by saving on cost, your wallet will think so.

Take care when considering soft floorings, such as bamboo. If the floor is too soft, you could be asking for trouble. A heavy object, or even a pair of spiky high heels could dent it. And though there are products to cover up scratches, the weathered look will detract from the floor aesthetic and could be a sticking point for buyers should you decide to sell your home.

Safety is another important consideration with flooring, especially if there are children or elderly people in your home. Certain materials are naturally more slippery than others, but other precautions can be taken. Place a welcome mat outside, so people can wipe their shoes clean and dry before stepping inside. Place an additional rug inside the door with a nonslip mat underneath during particularly harsh weather days or high-traffic times. As an added bonus, the floor will be protected from dirt and grime.

It's critical to get organized and weigh the options carefully. Decide the look you want and the qualities you need, and then contact various flooring companies for price estimates to find one within your budget. With this approach, you are sure to come out on top.

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