Advisor: Pros, cons and costs of flooring materials

Home Advisor

Choosing flooring can be intimidating. Not only are there dozens of options to choose from, but there are also a number of important factors to consider with each material. This summary of the pros, cons and costs of popular flooring types will help you choose the best option.


Not only is hardwood flooring easy to maintain and restore, it can also be styled and stained to complement every taste. The downside to solid hardwood is it’s highly susceptible to water damage. Also, softer varieties may scratch easily.

Perhaps the greatest downside is its cost. According to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide, homeowners spend an average of between $2,545 and $6,480 to install hardwood flooring. As with all flooring projects, the cost will depend largely on the type of material and the square footage of the area you are covering.


Carpet is comfortable and easy to care for, making it a popular choice. One benefit is there are many styles, colors and textures to choose from. Disadvantages include its vulnerability to stains and water damage and a tendency to collect particles that aggravate allergies.

The average national cost to install carpeting is $1,595. Another cost consideration is carpet padding, which adds to the comfort and longevity of your floor.

Ceramic and porcelain tile

Ceramic and porcelain tile are well suited for any space. In fact, with the introduction of wood plank tile (tile that resembles hardwood), they’ve become increasingly popular for use in main living areas. The upside is most options require little maintenance. The downside is they can be cold on bare feet. Fortunately, the installation of radiant heat below ceramic and porcelain tiles can make them a warmer flooring option.

Subflooring and the inclusion of intricate patterns or designs, may also affect your project cost. The average national cost to install ceramic and porcelain tile flooring is $1,757.

Natural stone

Natural stone flooring — including granite, marble, travertine and limestone — is as classic and stunning as it comes. Unfortunately, natural stone is also as high-maintenance as it comes. While extremely durable, natural stone is also both soft and porous, making it susceptible to scratching and staining. But well-maintained, natural stone materials will preserve beautifully for decades.

It’s a good idea to consider the cost of ongoing upkeep when considering natural stone. The average national cost to install natural stone tile flooring is $1,588.