November 24, 2017

Tips for Picking Out New Flooring


Am I the only one who gets paralyzed when making home decor decisions?

It’s the oddest experience because when it comes to parental decisions, business decisions or a host of other things, I am clear, concise and the person that others come to if they need help in zeroing in on the pros and cons of something.

But watch me walk into the paint store to pick a color and I just might walk out two hours later still not knowing what I want. It’s like the cereal aisle; please give me a few to pick from not 300 choices.

That’s a bit how I felt when deciding on my final flooring option.

With so many styles, colors, finishes, and sizes to choose from, the decision felt a bit overwhelming. Then take into consideration your overall preference on appearance, comfort, warmth and final function of the floor and it’s brain overload.

I took a lot of time looking at all my choices and asking others for their opinions, so I thought I would share some of the things that helped me narrow down my decision when picking out new flooring.

With a family of seven, who continually has a house full of people, the overall function and practicality of the flooring were of primary importance. If I was making this decision as an empty-nester, I might have approached it very differently, but I wanted to make sure that my floors would hold up under abuse.

Knowing that my flooring choice is a key design element, the appearance was something that took me a long time to finally narrowed down. I spent hours looking at pictures on line, but there is no comparison to getting the samples in your own hands, taking them home and laying them out in your own home.

When I was looking at the samples in the store, I thought I knew what I wanted, but when I took them home and left them out for 24 hours, saw them in different lighting, received input from my very opinionated daughter, I changed my mind. The flooring I ended up going with was actually my third choice. My dream was something even darker, but once I lived with those for a day and noticed our yellow labs hair showing up on just one, small sample piece, I knew that would be a mistake.

I am SO glad I decided against them because I can’t imagine a choice that I love more than our hand scraped laminate.

Here are some of the basic questions I first asked myself when making my flooring decision:


How much wear and tear will the floors receive? Is it a room with lots of foot traffic? Personally, what kind of flooring do you like to walk on? Are you a barefoot in-the-home kind of family? How often will your floors need to be cleaned? Are spills and stains something to consider? Will there be much moisture in the room? How often do you anticipate replacing the flooring?  Initially, I was going to go with varying flooring based on rooms, but decided for ease to just put the same floor throughout.


What color or luster are you thinking? Do you want something solid or with patterns? If going with hardwood or laminate, width and finish is a key decision. Wider planks give a more rustic feel, whereas narrow strips make an area appear larger. Decide if you want textured or a more shiny/glossy finish. Textured flooring gives time-worn character and a more rustic appearance.


Flooring can be an investment, but one that dramatically increases the value of one’s home. With such advances in technology, there are beautiful flooring options for everyone’s budget, but one thing I’ve learned with renovations to a home is it pays to think long term. Determine your budget, but don’t cut corners. Begin with just one room and do it well.

Before the partnership with Mohawk came about, I had been looking into all my flooring options. While I know that hard wood is the number one choice for resale and long-term home value, as well as the fact it never goes out of style, I knew that was a not a factor for me to consider since we will never sell this house.

With our five kids, dogs and cats, there will be a lot of people using our floors, so narrowing down the perfect balance between practicality, budget and appearance is how I finally made my decision.

My brother installed laminate 12 years ago, long before all the many variations came about, and they still love their laminate, so I knew that it was a great option for our family. It can take heavy foot traffic. While I considered hard wood, I knew that eventually, we’d have to refinish it, and with our dogs, the scratches that they would put in it would drive me crazy. I wanted a no-maintenance flooring and so many recommended a high grade quality laminate.

Mohawk offers so many choices from tile, carpet, laminate and hardwood. When I finally narrowed down my decision to laminate, the design center recommended considering the thickness of the laminate.  He advised picking something that is at least 8 mm thick, which is what I went with in our hand scraped laminate.

Also, no matter if you choose carpet or hard flooring, the padding or underlayment is a critical component. Always select high quality carpet padding or underlayment.  I think one of the reasons our carpets lasted so long  was because our contractor told us that if we needed to save money, to do it elsewhere. Getting the highest quality padding is crucial to sound, durability and appearance. I am so glad I listened.

Yes, picking out the perfect flooring for your home can be overwhelming, but once you ask yourself a few of these questions it really helps narrow down the decision.

Our home looks like a completely new house with just the changing of the flooring.

It’s an investment that is well worth the time and money.

I know many of you gave me great advice when I was deciding, so help my readers out as well.

It’s an investment well worth the time and money.

Based on your experience, what are some of the best tips you can give for those picking out new flooring?

I’ve partnered as a Mohawk blogger and received my choice of laminate, but all installation and labor was at my own expense.


  1. Laura Freeman says:

    I totally agree! I am looking for wood look tile since we are building near the ocean and I have spent so many hours looking for tile and I am more confused than ever with tile samples from countless tile companies!! Its CRAZY!! Any thoughts on a color tile for a coastal look?


    Jen Reply:

    I asked my friend that writes a coastal living design blog if she had input on your question.

    Here is response, but I totally misread and didn’t ask her about color tile, just about the wood tile. Sorry.

    “I have seen somewhere on the web, tile that looks like wood. Doubt I would ever really want that though. Every beach house I know has some tile in it and everyone usually chooses a natural sandy color or soft creams. Living with sand is a given at the beach, but so many homes also have hardwood. Regardless of tile color choice, I suggest tile in the areas where people are entering the home from the beach (for durability and easy clean up) but hardwood and carpet for upper levels.”

    Check out her site for lots of coastal type of looks. Hope this helps.


    Jen Reply:

    To add onto my reply earlier, one of her friends responded with this.
    “We have bleached “wood” tile in our bathroom. Love it. Looks whitewashed, got it at Lowes but Tile Shop has them too.”


    Laura Freeman Reply:

    @Jen, Thanks for the reply. We are going stained concrete on the lower floor, something that is big here in Florida. Our builder just did his entire new home this way and it looks awesome (scored concrete). Our bedrooms are all downstairs. Our living area is upstairs which is where we want to do wood look tile. Between the pool and beach (our beach is coquina which is not only sand but tiny shells that stick to you like super glue!). I am tired of carpet, especially having 2 young kids at home although I plan to have plenty of area rugs.

    Was thinking of going almost black but after your comment may go with more of a gray. Thanks for your time!


    Coleen Reply:

    You should try ” Marciano” a wood look tile by Mohawk, it is perfect for a beach atmosphere.

    @Laura Freeman,


  2. I’m thrilled for you that you received a deal on the flooring. What a savings! We’ve had a light colored laminate for 13 years and it still looks terrific. Lighter floors were the trend back then and I’m glad that is when we bought it because it hides the dirt and lint. I know on HGTV shows and some design blogs the real hardwood seems to be the trend, but I choose low maintenance (and I am happy with the look of it) over trend. I hope you have seen some progress with your dog today.


    Jen Reply:

    So glad to know that you’ve had your laminate 13 years and still love it. That is exactly what I am counting on as well because I was so with you on the low maintenance aspect. 🙂


  3. I have a question since we are going to have new flooring put in. Have you had anyone mention the impact of quality flooring and/or underlayment a factor into your energy bills? We currently only have subflooring in our hallway, dining room and one bathroom. Our energy bill almost doubled last month! The only thing I can think of is we don’t have that extra layer of floor in those rooms and we’re heating more than we thought. Our bill has always been higher than average IMO and beforehand we had 20 year old “trailer carpet”.



    Jen Reply:

    I am giving advice with no statistics to back it up but I would definitely think it would impact the heating because they act as insulation. It’s beeen crazy cold so our bill is drastically higher as well and the first thing we are doing is upping our insulation in areas where we are feeling drafts. I bet the same factor would impact just having sub flooring and no higher padding.


  4. Rochelle Phillips says:

    I really dislike making decorating decisions…usually they are expensive and I know I won’t be able to change them on a whim so I think the commitment to one thing is hard. Paint colors are the worst….I can never decide and then it looks different once it is up. What’s a girl to do:o)


  5. We just went through all of this….exhausting process if you’re going to spend the money and do it yourself too. You just don’t want to pick something you know won’t last. We have a energy-filled dog & plan for kids soon, so we decided on laminate as well. It’s so the way to go. It’ll look brand new for a looong time. We already had to replace a piece b/c a saw got dropped on it. You can’t even tell…whew. We went with a Shaw laminate & really studied how close the grooves locked in place. The cheaper Chineess product doesn’t fit as tight & will cause issues down the road the installer told us. I almost feel that after so much time researching the best option to cover our main floor with one laminate & then use rugs to define spaces that going with a brand name like Mohawk or Shaw will guarantee your floors are going to last & hardly wear in the high traffic areas. I love the Bona laminate floor cleaner system we use. It’s inexpensive too.
    Looking at carpeting the upstairs next….wonder if brand matters there too. Oh, the research seems to never end! 🙂 if you have any tips, let me know!


  6. Great tips. I’m bookmarking this for when we replace our dining room floor.


  7. I think I’m the opposite…I know exactly what I want for flooring, and no idea where to get it. I want wide-plank distressed wood.

    I currently have cheap laminate in our 7-year-old house, and it is not holding up well. I know laminate can be great if you get quality stuff, but this is not it 😉 The good thing about it is that it has a variegated dark and medium wood pattern, so it hides most scratches and chips and bubbles. What it doesn’t hide though, is the place where the finish is wearing off.


    Jen Reply:

    I wish I was more decisive in my decision making. I would check out the Mohawk website. They have a lot of wide planked options. That is exactly what I chose, but in a hand scraped laminate so I know it’s out there and beautiful!!


  8. In my first home, we had hardwood flooring and it took a real beating with the heavy traffic, kids and pets. Now we have a wood-look laminate and it is fantastic. It was budget-conscious and it is so easy to clean. We couldn’t be happier, I think you made a great choice


  9. My husband and I are renovating our living room…we added a sun room and opend up the wall…we are gonna redo all our floors with engineered laminate…but our foyer and hallway to the bedroom is wood…as far as selling it is it a bad option to have different floors or should we go all the way…


  10. I want to use laminate – grey – to replace flooring in kitchen, dining room, living room and game room – all flow together. I just do not want to hear any “hollow” sounds when walking on it that I’ve heard in other places that have laminate. My contractor says he will glue it down. I know the laminate store says to “float it.” Any thoughts on this?


    Jen Reply:

    Ours are floating. I don’t think I’d want it glued, but can’t speak to that. I haven’t had any problems with hollow sounds. I have heard of that happening, but I assume the higher quality and how well it’s installed makes a big difference. We also upgraded the barrier underneath, which is what was recommended and I think that took care of the issue. Good luck. It’s always such a big decision.


    Traci Reply:

    @Sandi, I think I like the idea of floating better because of the floor expanding and shrinking during different seasons.


  11. These are some great tips, and I appreciate your advice to consider the practicality of your new flooring. My husband and I are doing some renovations to our kitchen, and I need to find some good flooring to install. We have five kids, so the kitchen gets a lot of use, so I’ll definitely look into finding a good floor that is durable enough to handle all of the traffic. Thanks for the great post!


  12. My husband and I are going to be renovating our kitchen in the next few months and our flooring is something that we really want to change. We have been thinking about getting timber tiles but we haven’t made a decision yet. We will have to keep these tips in mind, thanks for sharing!


  13. Danni Black says:

    I really like your tip “decide if you want textured or a more shiny/glossy finish.” My husband and I are thinking about getting some new flooring for our kitchen so we will have to keep these tips in mind. I think that this information will be really helpful to us so that we can find what we are looking for. We are really excited to get new flooring!


  14. Olivia Nelson says:

    I agree that practicality should be a big factor when looking for flooring. In addition to this, I would imagine that you would need to consider where in the house the flooring will go as different areas need different materials. I’m redoing the flooring in my home so I’ll have to consider the practicality of different materials before I choose anything.


  15. Yilliang Peng says:

    I really like the idea of putting hardwood floors in my home! I think it adds a great amount to the home and gives it a more classic professional look. My wife and I have been thinking about doing it for quite some time since we are eventually going to sell our home. Thanks for the post!


  16. Aria Wellington says:

    I really like how you said that your flooring could be an investment and that it can dramatically increase the value of your home! That is definitely something that we have been thinking about doing because we are going to be moving when our kids are done with school. Installing some stone flooring would really help with the value of our home so we will be sure to keep these tips in mind, thank you for sharing!


  17. gloria durst says:

    Practicality is a really important consideration when you are looking for flooring for your home. If you really like the flooring but it is really hard to maintain you wold have to balance out the cost and benefits of this. My husband and I are looking for a flooring contractor to help us pick out flooring so we’ll have to consider the practicality of each material before we choose one.


  18. Kyle Winters says:

    I think it is awesome that the first thing you encourage your readers to consider when choosing new flooring is practicality. After all, depending on factors like whether you have kids or not, or whether you have pets or not can really effect the type of floors you get. For example, a tiled floor might be able to stand up to the wear and tear of kids playing on it more than a wooden or carpeted one might.


  19. I like how you say that a wood floor can be practical.This makes sense because they are fairly durable and can be cleaned easily. My sister is looking for new flooring, so she’ll have to consider wood flooring.


  20. Jane Ambrose says:

    My husband and I are finally thinking about redoing the floors in our kitchen, but now that the time has come neither of us are quite sure what direction to go in regarding the color or style of it. It is so true that flooring is an investment, and it is really cool to me that the proper flooring can really increase the value of a home. In my opinion, finding the right flooring may take some time but in the end, it’s worth it. I’ll be sure to share this information with my husband.


  21. Scott Adams says:

    I’m glad that you talked about making a decision based off of how often spills might land on your floor. I have been looking for flooring to put in my new house, and I wasn’t sure how to choose one. I can see how it would be smart to get something spill resistant, because my kids usually spill drinks once a week.



  1. […] Are you struggling with choosing the right flooring for your home? Don’t worry! Jen, our newest Mohawk Floors Me blogger from Balancing Beauty and Bedlam is back with a handful of tips for picking out your home’s perfect new floor. Check out her advice or give some of your own here: […]

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