Condo Renovator’s Dilemma: What Type of Flooring to Pick?

In your own condo, every part counts. From the floor to the ceiling, you want to have everything right. One of the most visible improvements you can make is to redo your floors – nothing upgrades your place faster than changing the dingy, cheap-looking wall-to-wall carpeting that came with your condo to nice new floor. Let’s look at some of the common flooring options and evaluate the pros and cons of each type.


Hardwood is milled from a single layer of timber, which is what makes it stand out from other types of wood floors. The most popular types of wood flooring include oak, hickory, maple and walnut.

Hardwood floors are extremely durable and very easy to clean. In addition, they can be sanded and refinished several times to have a sleek and updated look. They can give your home a luxurious and earthy feeling and they can be a powerful selling point if you ever want to move.

The negative aspects of hardwood floors are that they are very costly and require a lot of time and effort to install. They are not DIY-friendly because this flooring can expand or shrink during the warmer and colder seasons, so correct  installation is a must.


Cork is derived from the barks of cork oak. It adds an earthy feeling to the floor and has earned some comparison with wooden flooring. Its eco-friendliness has given it an edge over non-natural materials.

This type of flooring might be ideal for you since it’s resistant to both moisture and wear. Also, it’s easy to keep in good condition and cleaning it requires little effort.

On the minus side this type of flooring is somewhat expensive and if it’s not finished right it can absorb water.

Floating wood tiles

Well, if you have not already heard of this material it is because it is relatively new. Floating wood tiles are made of a synthetic material that replicates the look of natural floor materials, such as stone and wood. The tiles are laminated for durability.

This flooring is very DIY-friendly; easy to install and uses a lock-in technology that doesn’t require any adhesive. In addition, if the floor gets damaged, floating wood tiles can easily be replaced. It is also a cheaper material that still offers a natural feel.

The big negative of this type of flooring is that it can be very slippery when wet. Also, it cannot be refinished like real hardwood or stone.


Bamboo is another durable and eco-friendly option. It’s also very easy to clean and maintain.

The most visible problem with bamboo flooring is that the color often fades over time due to sunlight. It’s also very susceptible to water damage and the adhesive used for this flooring can release harmful compounds.

Engineered wood

Engineered wood is referred to as composite wood and can be confused with hardwood. However, engineered wood is different in that it only has a thin veneer of hardwood on top of several layers of wood. Engineered wood flooring typically comes pre-laminated.

The benefits of this type of flooring are that it can be installed quickly and easily. Also, it is more resistant to moisture than hardwood flooring. Engineered wood flooring can be used over several different types of flooring, such as concrete and padding.

The problem with this type of flooring is that there are very limited options for refinishing and it’s not as durable as natural hardwood. Also, the edges can allow some water to come in.

Natural stone

Natural rocks can be precisely cut and used as flooring materials. Some of the common types of stones used are slate, granite, and limestone.

The positives of natural stones are that they add a timeless natural feeling to your home. Also, this type of flooring improves with age. Out of all the flooring options, this type of flooring is the most durable option.

The big negative stone flooring is that it’s very hard on your feet if it is in an area where you have to stand a lot. It also requires careful maintenance and can be very pricey. Also, when wet, stone flooring can be very slippery and danger for falls.

Porcelain/ceramic tiles

This type of flooring has been a very popular choice among people for centuries. Porcelain and ceramic tiles come in dizzying array of styles and patterns.

The positives of having porcelain and ceramic tiles is that the damaged areas can quickly be fixed. Also, it’s easy to clean.  This flooring is very durable and can withstand a lot of weight.

On the minus side, this option is not ideal for a living room. Any type of glass object will break if it’s dropped on porcelain or ceramic tiles.


Vinyl is the least pricey flooring material available for your home. For those with a small budget for house décor, this is the best way to go.

The positive aspects of vinyl are that it’s quite inexpensive and very DIY-friendly to install. Also, it’s easy to clean and very water resistant. In addition, the chemicals and the process used to make vinyl release less harmful chemicals than some other DIY flooring options.


Wall-to-wall carpeting is another flooring material that offers a a wide range of colors, styles, and patterns to choose from. Carpeting can be made from both synthetic and natural materials.

Carpeting provides a good noise dampener, so many highrise condos come with carpeting and the condo association may even require that certain portion of floors are carpeted. Carpeting also keeps your home warmer and cozier during the winter.

Installation of wall-to-wall carpeting is not a DIY project, but requires professional installation. Other negatives of carpeting are that they can wear out quickly when placed in high traffic areas and they stain easily. The maintenance requires frequent vacuuming, occasional cleaning with special shampooing equipment or hiring of an expensive carpet cleaning service.

Well, if you have been wondering what kind of flooring to use for your home, you now have a better idea of your options. With the positives and negatives of each type of flooring, your decision will be easy. Just make sure that when you compare the cost of different flooring materials, you also include the cost of labor that goes into the installation.

Our contributor, Emily Goldstein, is a stay at home mom with two kids. She has been passionate about interior design since she was a young child. When she’s not thinking of new ways to rearrange her apartment, Emily is taking photos, writing for or exercising.

Author My First Apartment

Posted by contributors bring their own special expertise to help our readers navigate their first condo experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments (2)

    • Seija Goldstein Seija Goldstein

      Excellent point, thanks. Sometimes you can mitigate the noise problems by adding area rugs with heavy padding.