You always want your floors to look their best for as long as possible—but the durability of your flooring depends on two, very important factors: the material and the amount of foot traffic. When choosing a floor stable enough for high-traffic environments, consider that “high-traffic” is a relative term. In most cases, floors with a proper finish can withstand your everyday scuffs and scratches. But if by “high-traffic” you mean you have three dogs and kids that run around the house with cleats after their soccer game, then certain materials—like hardwood—may not be your best bet.
In instances like these, we’d recommend porcelain tile: a fine-grained, dense and smooth material with a sharply formed face. Tile is classified by Porcelain PEI ratings, which help customers determine the best places in the house to use it. PEI ratings are expressed on a scale of 0-5, 5 being the hardest and 0 the weakest. On that scale, porcelain scored between 4-5. These qualities make it one of the most durable flooring options, suitable for heavy foot traffic and able to withstand the impact of dropping a dish or two.
After porcelain tile, laminate is your next best bet. Scratch-resistant and durable, easy-to-install and even easier to maintain, laminate boasts a long list of benefits, making it a great choice for an active family or a furry one. Its multi-layer composition makes this material one of the most durable out there.
Vinyl comes in just slightly below laminate, in part because it depends on the type. Sheet vinyl offers similar benefits to laminate. Its water-resistant composition and rugged versatility allow this surface to handle moisture, heavy traffic and pets and children. Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) is also durable and is made up of protective layers which resist scratches, scuffs, rips, tears and gouges. Additionally, it’s easier to install and to repair than sheet vinyl. Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) has an extremely hard wear-layer and is a more durable alternative to hardwood floors. Not only do they mock the look of hardwood, they also go for a fraction of the price.
Although the gold-standard for style, hardwood floors aren’t as well-equipped for high-traffic areas. But, if you have your mind set, we’ve got some strategies to help you maintain your hardwood floors, even in high-traffic environments. Your first line of defense should be against your little ones: kids and pets alike. Long nails on your pup’s paws and strong studs on your kid’s cleats are a nightmare for hardwood. But by simply trimming your pet’s paws on a semi-frequent basis and keeping cleats in the mud room, you can prolong the life of your hardwood floors and keep the wooden finish from wearing away.
Beyond preventative strategies, it’s important to understand the difference between types of damage you can cause your wooden floors. Scuffs, wear and small scratches are types of damage that won’t permanently alter the look of your floors, but dents, gouges and hard impacts can. The finish layer on your hardwood floor functions to stop smaller impact damages—the scuffs and scratches—but the only thing standing between deep, structural damage and your floor is the hardness of the wood itself. For high traffic, the best solution is to have the best of both worlds—a strong finish layer and harder, and therefore more durable hardwood material.
The Floor You Choose Is Important, and We’re Here to Help!
Deciding which floor is right for you is important because it will serve as the foundation of your home for years and years to come. At Malkin’s, we understand there’s a lot to consider when making this decision, luckily our experts have all the information you need to make it an easy one.