Hardwood and engineered wood flooring
Hardwood and engineered wood flooring

Adds most value to a home, but pricey

Wood flooring looks great and is durable with proper care. Although they are susceptible to scratches, dents and moisture, hardwood floors can be refinished multiple times, often lasting the lifetime of a home. Less expensive engineered wood flooring is also durable, but isn't as long-lasting since the top layer of wood can only be refinished one to three times. Though initially expensive, wood floors can add to the value of your home. Professional installation is usually recommended, but an experienced do-it-yourselfer may be able to handle the job.
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*Est. $5 per sq. foot and up Estimated Price
Laminate flooring
Laminate flooring

Durable, easier installation

Plastic laminate flooring doesn't look as nice as a hardwood or stone, but it can mimic the look for much less. Laminate floors are durable -- resistant to scratches, stains, UV light and dents. However, they are susceptible to moisture damage, so they aren't the best choice for kitchens or bathrooms. Laminate flooring uses floating installation, an easy do-it-yourself option, but it should be carefully installed, as poorly laid flooring detracts from the value of a home.
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*Est. $4 to $8 per sq. ft. Estimated Price
Stone
Stone

Elegant but cold and expensive

Stone flooring – including marble, granite and travertine – can look very elegant in the right home. Stone is an expensive flooring choice and, unlike wood, must always be installed by a professional, adding to the cost. All stone floors also require periodic sealing to maintain durability, but once sealed, stone floors are easy to clean and maintain. Stone works well in kitchens and bathrooms, but can feel cold to the touch and can be slippery.
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*Est. $15 to $30 per sq. ft. Estimated Price
Tile
Tile

Good for high-traffic areas

Tile is often considered as elegant as stone, but it's less expensive and with the right tools, can be self-installed by an experienced do-it-yourselfer. Tile is stylish and relatively durable, but it is also hard and noisy and can be prone to chipping and other signs of wear. Glazed tiles – available in most popular types – offer the best durability and easiest maintenance. Ceramic tiles are the most popular, though other types are available.
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*Est. $8 to $15 per sq. ft. Estimated Price
Vinyl flooring
Vinyl flooring

Most economical and easiest to install yourself

Although it is generally considered to be aesthetically inferior to laminate flooring, vinyl flooring is inexpensive, and tile vinyl (sometimes with a self-stick backing) is easy to install yourself (sheet vinyl usually requires professional installation). Vinyl flooring is also durable, resistant to UV light and easy to clean and maintain. And although tile vinyl is susceptible to scratches, it is also easy to repair.
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*Est. $2 to $8 per sq. ft. Estimated Price
Cork, linoleum and bamboo flooring
Cork, linoleum and bamboo flooring

Green flooring

Cork, linoleum and bamboo flooring are the most popular environmentally conscious options. Cork ($4 to $10 per sq. ft.) is harvested without killing the tree; it is inexpensive and works with any decor, but it is also susceptible to wear and moisture. Bamboo flooring (*est. $3 to $10 per sq. ft.) is made of a sustainable crop; it is more durable and has the look of wood flooring. Linoleum ($3 to $7 per sq. ft.), made of pine resins, sawdust, cork dust and limestone attached to a jute backing, is highly durable, but requires frequent finishing due to its porous nature, and it doesn't look as stylish as cork or bamboo.
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prices vary based on material Estimated Price
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