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What is the Most Durable Flooring?

Durable flooring is easy to find these days if you know where to look.  Manufacturers have responded to the demand, producing floors that can last a decade or more.  Still, you have to look for the best quality if you want results.  Let’s talk about what is the most durable flooring. 

What does durable actually mean?  Homeowners and business managers are looking for something that looks about as good at five years as it did when it went in. That means it shouldn’t dent or scratch easily. It should be hard to make a deep gouge. You know, the kind you make when you move furniture. 

Here are some ways to look for the most durable floors.

  • Don’t buy from a discount flooring warehouse without checking the exact specifications against the quality products elsewhere. Cheaper is sometimes simply cheap.
  • Look at the Janka ratings, when applicable.
  • Look at Abrasion Class, when applicable.
  • Find out why it is called waterproof or scratch resistant by the manufacturer.
  • Get a decent thickness when choosing engineered, vinyl or bamboo.
  • Ask about waterproof qualities.
  • Find out about underlays and make sure the correct one is used, where applicable.
  • Make sure your installer knows how to lay your flooring product correctly

Now let’s do a run-down of some of the most common flooring types and the level of durability. You could say bamboo flooring, hardwood and natural stone take the top spots.  However, there are reasons to trust vinyl, laminate and engineered hardwood.

Bamboo Flooring, Hardwood and Janka Ratings

Extremely hard, bamboo makes excellent flooring.  To get the best, you want to look at bamboo quality and stalk placement.  Cross-directional bamboo is tough. However, strand bamboo flooring may well be the most durable you can buy.   On the Janka scale, cross-direction rates at 900 to 1300.  That’s a good as many traditional hardwoods.  Strand-woven bamboo rates at 2000 to 3200. That’s as good as the best hardwoods.

The difference between bamboo and hardwood is, first and foremost, cost.  Bamboo is much more affordable.  It does not add to home values the way that hardwoods do. Nor can it promise to be here for your great-grandchildren. 

Still, bamboo is the most durable material on this list. Perhaps it’s because bamboo flooring is a combination of natural material and manufacturing ingenuity.  Hardwood floors can scratch more easily and can fade over time.  Sure, they can be sanded and restained some day, but many home owners don’t want that responsibility.

Natural Stone

Whether its Travertine or another natural stone, you can’t go wrong. These rocks weathered in nature for many thousands of years (or more). They can certainly withstand wear and tear.  Of course, they are excellent in the kitchen and bathroom.  However, if stone seems to hard for living rooms, you may want to go with bamboo.

Ceramic and Porcelain

Ceramic tile is extremely durable. Porcelain tile is even higher quality.  These cannot be scratched or dented.  The biggest danger is chipping a tile. This only happens if something heavy is dropped from a height.  Then it might crack or chip the tile.  Homeowners often keep extra tiles in storage just for this eventuality.

The major important factor here is installation.  If the installer is inexperienced or sloppy, they may not properly grout the tile.  This allows moisture up under the tiles, destroying the otherwise waterproof quality of the material.  Furthermore, installers may not prepare the subfloor correctly.  Voids can be left between the tiles and subfloor.  This makes tiles more vulnerable to cracking. 

Vinyl Sheet, Plank and Tile

Don’t let the name fool you. Vinyl isn’t like some cheap raincoat you bought when it poured at the amusement park.  This product is also called resilient.  When properly installed, it has a moisture resistance that is desirable in many locations.  For durability, it is best in smaller rooms where there are one or no seams. 

If the sheet application isn’t what you want, you can turn to resilient tile or plank.  These vinyl products are long lasting floors that share most of sheet vinyl’s good qualities.  It is important to discuss waterproofing due to the additional seams.  As with ceramic tile, it is essential to install them correctly. 

Laminate

Laminate can be very durable in the right settings.  You absolutely want to avoid areas such as bathrooms, kitchens and basements where moisture may be an issue. 

Manufacturers have made it hard to scratch laminate.  This means that you can move chairs or have a dog running around.   Those things won’t affect it.  To find the best, look at the Abrasion Class rating.  This ranges from a low of AC 1 to a top score of AC5.

Engineered Wood

Less expensive and easy to install, engineered wood often wins out over hardwood.  However, much engineered wood sold today has a very thin veneer on top. It is important to get the maximum thickness to ensure the longest lasting product. Our sales staff can guide you when shopping for the right quality.

Installation

We cannot stress enough how important installation is to the durability of your flooring.  For one thing, improper installation can void your important warranties. Our installers are often replacing floors early because it wasn’t done right the first time by another installer. This is often due to the contracting out of flooring jobs.  At Peeks, we both sell and install the floors. We have to be responsible every step of the way!

Check out our many durable flooring choices and find out which one is right for you.  Please share your questions with our staff.  They can tell you about each product’s pros and cons and about valuable warranties.

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