A person's hand holding a variety of flooring type samples above a floor with four different materials in each corner of frame.

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What’s the Most Durable Flooring?

March 2, 2022

Hardwood floors have long been the most beloved flooring type in real estate. But they may not be the best choice for high-traffic areas in a home, according to a new Consumer Reports analysis. Hardwoods are prone to scratching and they can show a lot of wear and tear, testers there say.

Instead, in areas of the home that see a lot of traffic, such as family rooms, kitchens, halls, and mudrooms, wood-look porcelain tile is the best option, according to Consumer Reports’ tests. This is a relatively newer type of flooring.

“Tile is the highest-rated flooring among the categories we test,” says Enrique de Paz, who leads flooring testing at Consumer Reports. “It doesn’t wear out, scratch, or stain. Its color doesn’t fade, it’s waterproof, and it is surprisingly slip-resistant, even when wet. Porcelain tile is the best choice for bathrooms, mudrooms, laundry rooms—and probably kitchens.”

In kitchens, de Paz warns, tiles can crack, if something heavy is dropped on them.

But tile options beat out hardwood flooring, which showed wear and tear more than other flooring types tested in busier areas of the house, the study notes. Laminate and vinyl products often performed better than hardwood flooring too. The report notes that “you can get both durability and good looks from many types of flooring, including engineered wood, laminate, porcelain tile, and vinyl.”

Still, hardwood flooring is often a favorite of homeowners and could add value to a home.

View the analysis at Consumer Reports of the different flooring types.

Source: 
Most Durable Flooring for High-Traffic Areas,” Consumer Reports (March 1, 2022) and “Best Flooring for Your Kitchen, Bathroom, Mudroom, Family Room, and More,” Consumer Reports (March 1, 2022)