17 Best Flooring for High-Traffic Areas in Your Home: A Handy Guide


Not all areas of your homes have the same amount of activities, and at the same time, not all floors will get the same amount of beating. High-traffic areas of your home will tend to wear the floors faster than in other areas, and depending on the material, this leads to tearing, chipping, breaking, and ultimately having the need to replace it. Using just the right flooring will free you from the worries of maintaining, repairing, and replacing it that will cost money.

The usual high-traffic areas in your home are the kitchen, hallways, living, dining, and the other common areas of your homes where you entertain guests. From solid and engineered hardwood floors, porcelain tiles, luxury vinyl flooring, and laminate flooring, to natural stone, concrete, and cork flooring, there are a variety of floors you can actually choose from.

Most floor types are actually durable enough to use for a high-traffic area in your home, the only trick is to choose the right type of floor material for a specific condition and needs of the area. Understand that not all floors are made the same and that a floor that works well in one high-traffic area of your house might not work well in another area. For example, hardwood flooring might be durable enough to be used as flooring in your living room or kitchen but it might not last long as flooring in your toilets.

To help you choose the right floor, you should first identify the exact activities that will happen in the area you’re planning to install the floor in. And then identify the characteristics that you need to consider in a floor that will work well with those identified activities.

To better guide you, below are some of the common criteria to consider when choosing the right floor for a high-traffic area of your home.

Durability – a floor that lasts more than 20 years under normal wear and tear will be a good floor for high-traffic areas. Consider also its scratch resistance if you have pets, and abrasive or high-impact activities.

Water and Moisture Resistance – some areas of your homes will be exposed to high amounts of water, moisture, or humidity so consider a floor that have high resistance to water and moisture.

Ease of Maintenance – the amount of time and effort you need to put in to clean the floor can be a factor when choosing a floor. Obviously, a floor that needs less effort and less time will be a better choice. Also consider if the floor will need some kind of periodic maintenance to keep it protected from scratches, water and stains. Some floors need more frequent maintenance than others and these can be costly overtime.

Cost Effective – there are floors that will have higher upfront costs but lasts longer and will have very low upkeep costs. On the other hand, there are floors that are cheap, do not last as long, and will need frequent maintenance and replacement, which can be costly in the long run. The trick here is to consider all possible floors that are within your budget, and then just get the best quality material that you can get.

Beauty or Design – since you’re installing a floor for your homes, the available designs, colors, or look of the floor should complement well with the design or theme of the area you want to install it in.

I have existing articles on the 14 durable floors you can use for your kitchen and the 14 durable floor options for pets that you might also want to check out.

Below is a quick guide to the list of 17 best floors you can use for high-traffic areas in your home. Some floors excel in specific areas and conditions than others as I’ve mentioned a while ago and I shall discuss more of it later. Also included are some non-traditional floors that can also be used in your homes.

Floor MaterialAreas in Your Home You Can Use This forAreas in Your Homes to Avoid This in
1. Solid Hardwood Floors– living room
– dining room
– kitchen
– bedrooms
– lounge
– hallways
– rooms with dogs or pets with sharp claws
– wet / humid basements
– home gyms
– bathrooms / toilets
– laundry room
– mud room
– home workshop
2. Engineered Hardwood Floors– living room
– dining room
– kitchen
– bedrooms
– lounge
– hallways
– humid basements (not wet or flooded)
– rooms with dogs or pets with sharp claws
– home gyms
– bathrooms / toilets
– laundry room
– mud room
– home workshop
3. Strand Woven Bamboo Floors– living room
– dining room
– kitchen
– bedrooms
– lounge
– hallways
– rooms with pets
– wet / humid basements
– home gyms
– bathrooms / toilets
– laundry room
– mud room
– home workshop
4. Engineered Bamboo Floors– living room
– dining room
– kitchen
– bedrooms
– lounge
– hallways
– humid basements (not wet or flooded)
– rooms with pets
– home gyms
– bathrooms / toilets
– laundry room
– mud room
– home workshop
5. Laminate Floors– living room
– dining room
– kitchen
– bedrooms
– lounge
– hallways
– rooms with pets
– wet / humid basements
– home gyms
– bathrooms / toilets
– laundry room
– mud room
– home workshop
6. Ceramic and Porcelain Tile Floors– living room
– dining room
– kitchen
– bedrooms
– lounge
– hallways
– rooms with pets
– wet / humid basements
– bathrooms / toilets
– laundry room
– mud room
– home gyms
– home workshop
7. Cork Floors– living room
– dining room
– kitchen
– bedrooms
– lounge
– hallways
– rooms with dogs or pets with sharp claws
– wet / humid basements
– home gyms
– bathrooms / toilets
– laundry room
– mud room
– home workshop
8. Linoleum Floors– living room
– dining room
– kitchen
– bedrooms
– lounge
– hallways
– rooms with dogs or pets with sharp claws
– wet / humid basements
– home gyms
– bathrooms / toilets
– laundry room
– mud room
– home workshop
9. Vinyl Floors– living room
– dining room
– kitchen
– bedrooms
– lounge
– hallways
– rooms with pets
– wet / humid basements
– bathrooms / toilets
– laundry room
– mud room
– home gyms
– home workshop
10. Carpet Flooring– living room
– dining room
– kitchen
– bedrooms
– lounge
– hallways
– rooms with pets
– wet / humid basements
– home gyms
– bathrooms / toilets
– laundry room
– mud room
– home workshop
11. Natural Stone Floors– living room
– dining room
– kitchen
– bedrooms
– lounge
– hallways
– rooms with pets
– wet / humid basements
– bathrooms / toilets
– laundry room
– mud room
– home gyms
– home workshop
12. Terrazzo Floors– can be installed in any room, wet, dry, or with abrasive or high-impact activities.
13. Concrete Floors– can be installed in any room, wet, dry, or with abrasive or high-impact activities.
14. Epoxy Floor Coating System– can be installed in any room, wet, dry, or with abrasive or high-impact activities.
15. Pebble Washout or Exposed Aggregate Floors– can be installed in any room, wet, dry, or with abrasive or high-impact activities.
16. Artificial Grass– living room
– dining room
– kitchen
– bedrooms
– lounge
– hallways
– rooms with pets
– home gyms
– wet / humid basements
– bathrooms / toilets
– laundry room
– mud room
– home workshop
17. Rubber Floors– can be installed in any room, wet, dry, or with abrasive or high-impact activities.

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17 Best Flooring for High-Traffic Areas in Your Home

All the floors listed below can be used for high-traffic areas in your house, but not all of them will perform the same. Some don’t work well in wet or humid areas, and not all are recommended to use with pets or areas involving any high-impact or abrasive activities. While there will be floors that can be used for any situation, they might not be as aesthetically flexible as the others.

1. Solid Hardwood Floors

Solid hardwood floors are durable floors that have a timeless look and feel. It works well in just about any high-traffic room in your house and will stand up to the heavy wear and tear. Combined with the right finish and sealant, it can last for more than 100 years. Because of its thickness, it can be sanded and refinished several times to bring it back looking new.

While it’s a durable floor, it can easily accumulate scratches which is why it is not an ideal floor to use if you plan on having pets or dogs. Their claws can easily scratch on the floor. Avoid using this floor also in home gyms or workshops for the same reason.

These floors are also susceptible to water damage and can easily swell or warp if it gets exposed to high changes in humidity or gets soaked for a long time.

Solid hardwood floors can be expensive compared to the other floors on the list, it is easy to clean and maintain. A regular sweep or vacuum is normally enough to keep it clean. You do need to have it periodically refinished, normally once every 7-10 years, to keep it protected from scratches, water, and stains.

2. Engineered Hardwood Floors

Engineered hardwood floors are pretty much the same as solid hardwood floors and you wouldn’t really notice the difference between the two types once they are already installed. The key difference is in their structure and how they were made.

Solid hardwood floors are indeed what it’s name states. It is one solid piece of hardwood material from top to bottom, around 3/4″ or 19mm in thickness. On the other hand, engineered hardwood floors consist of a hardwood floor veneer layer on top, typically around 3-7mm in thickness, and over a plywood core.

The plywood core makes engineered hardwood floors more dimensionally stable. Solid hardwood floors tend to contract or expand with extreme changes in moisture and humidity, which makes them unsuitable to areas with such conditions such as in basements. The plywood core in engineered hardwood floors greatly reduces this concern. This makes them usable in areas such as in basements, as long as the area doesn’t get flooded or soaked in water, the floors will do well.

Unlike solid hardwood floors though and because of its thin wood veneer, you could only sand and refinish engineered hardwood floors for a few times only, typically 1-2 times.

Other than that, engineered hardwood floors will function the same way as solid hardwood floors. They are durable floors that can stand up to the normal wear and tear of a typical active house. Just don’t use them in areas exposed to abrasive or high-impact activities, such as rooms with pets, or for home gyms or home workshops as they can easily accumulate scratches and can get dented. They are also susceptible to water damage just like solid hardwood floors.

3. Strand Woven Bamboo Floors

Strand woven bamboo floors can be compared to solid hardwood floors. Similar to solid hardwood floors, it’s one solid piece of bamboo material from top to bottom. Don’t confuse them with the “classic” bamboo floors as they are constructed differently and have different qualities. While classic bamboo floors are constructed by gluing together strips of bamboo side by side, strand woven bamboo floors are made by compressing bamboo fibers under extreme heat and pressure to create a very dense and hard material. This makes strand woven bamboo floors far more superior than the “classic” bamboo floors.

Strand woven bamboo floors are rated as 3-4 times harder and more hard-wearing than solid hardwood floors. They can resist scratches and dents better. This also makes them ideal floors to use for high-traffic commercial spaces.

While they are more durable than solid hardwood floors in resisting scratches and dents, it is still not recommended for you to use them in rooms with abrasive or high-impact activities. If you have pets but you really want the look and feel of hardwood floors, then go for these floors instead. They will still accumulate scratches but not as quickly and as easily as hardwood floors.

These floors are very easy to clean and maintain, regular sweeping and vacuuming are usually all you need to do. And, should you ever need to, strand woven bamboo floors can also be sanded and refinished to bring it back looking new.

Also, similar to solid hardwood floors, they are also susceptible to water damage and can contract and expand with extreme changes in moisture and humidity.

4. Engineered Bamboo Floors

Engineered bamboo floors can be compared to strand woven bamboo floors as how you compare engineered hardwood floors to solid hardwood floors. They are quite the same and it can be impossible to detect the difference once they are already installed. The key difference is the structure of the floor materials.

Engineered bamboo floors have a thin veneer layer of strand woven bamboo over a plywood core. The plywood core makes the flooring system more dimensionally stable than the solid strand woven bamboo floors. This makes them suitable to use in areas with high humidity such as in basements.

The plywood core also makes it possible for wider floorboards. This can address situation when your design calls for the use of wider floorboards.

Engineered bamboo floors pretty much functions the same way, and have similar qualities to strand woven bamboo floors. It is also a very good, and much more durable, alternative to hardwood floors.

5. Laminate Floors

Laminate floors are often chosen as a durable and affordable alternative to hardwood floors. It has a plywood core, with a top wear layer over a high-quality image of hardwood or stone. The plywood core makes laminate floors dimensionally stable while the wear layer gives the floor a high scratch and stain resistance.

The high scratch-resistance of laminate floors makes them an ideal floor to use for pets as they will not scratch so easily. They can still get dented if a heavy object drops on it though so using this for your home gyms or home workshops isn’t recommended.

It’s very easy to clean and unlike the wood floors above, it doesn’t require any periodic maintenance. You can’t sand or refinish it though, and once the wear layer becomes worn out, replacing it is the only option. Depending on the product, this floor can last between 10 and 30 years before it starts wearing out.

6. Ceramic and Porcelain Tile Floors

Ceramic and porcelain tile flooring are made from a mixture of mineral clays and water, and then baked for a certain amount of time to produce a dense and hard material. They are hard-wearing, waterproof, and stain-proof. A very good floor to use for high-traffic areas in your house.

Ceramic and porcelain tiles, though similar and are usually confused for the other, are different. Porcelain tiles are superior than ceramic tiles. They are made denser and harder making them a better floor to use for areas with heavy traffic, even for commercial use.

Both though are relatively cheaper than wood floors and they are available in a multitude of sizes, colors, textures, and designs. They also have designs that mimic the look of hardwood and stone floors.

Being waterproof and stain proof, they are great floors to use in wet areas such as in basements, laundry, and bathrooms. Water will not damage them even when they get submerged.

They are also great for pets as they will rarely get scratched if they do not get any at all. They can chip off though if a hard object falls on them so avoid using them in home gyms or other rooms with high-impact activities.

7. Cork Floors

Cork floors are one of the all-natural floor finishes you could use for your home. They are resilient floors, which means they have a little “give” in them. It has a bit of cushion that dropped glassware won’t break as easily in them as compared to the other hard floors.

It can stand up well under the usual wear and tear activities in your home. It can last up to 25 years as long as it is well maintained and you keep it dry and away from extreme moisture.

Because of how it looks, scratches won’t show up easily. While this is the case and you can use them generally for pets, avoid using them if you have big dogs with large claws as cork flooring can get gouged and punctured. The also can be permanently dented with heavy objects, so avoid using them in home gyms and workshops as well.

8. Linoleum Floors

Linoleum floors are another all-natural, and resilient flooring product like cork. It is a bit denser than cork and won’t get gouged or dented as easily. They usually come in sheets and are available in a variety of colors.

It is more hard-wearing than cork but scratches can easily show up on its surface. If you don’t have any pets or if you’re not using this for any abrasive activity, then this floor will last long in any area of your house. It can last up to 40 years and more if it is kept clean and well maintained.

Linoleum floors, just like any natural product, are susceptible to water damage, so avoid using this in areas that gets extremely wet or humid.

9. Vinyl Floors

Vinyl floors are usually confused with linoleum floors. Vinyl is fully synthetic and is basically made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or a type of hard plastic. While linoleum floors are normally available in sheets, vinyl floors come not only in sheets but are also available in tiles, and planks forms.

Vinyl floors are more DIY friendly than linoleum. They are also waterproof and stain-proof. You can use them in wet areas such as in bathrooms, basements and laundry areas.

Luxury vinyl flooring are another subset of vinyl floors. They can come in stick-and-peel systems or rigid cores with a snap-together systems. Luxury vinyl flooring have designs that usually mimic the look of wood or stone. They look impressively realistic that a lot of homeowners install them in their homes.

Luxury vinyl floors have high scratch resistance, making them an ideal floor if you have pets in your homes. While this is the case, they can still be dented and may not be suitable for home gyms and workshops.

10. Carpet Flooring

Carpet flooring can be installed as a wall-to-wall system, which is the broadloom type, or in tile form, which is easier to install. This can work well in areas you would like to keep the noise down. It is soft and warm to walk on.

This is a great floor to use in most dry areas of your homes. Though you can use this for pets, it can easily stain and you may find yourself cleaning up messes your pets make.

11. Natural Stone Floors

Natural stone floors are great floors to use if you want to add a look of elegance in your homes. It is very durable and will last a lifetime. They are hard-wearing and with very minimal upkeep.

It is on a higher price point but with a very low upkeep costs, and the additional value it gives to your home, it can be a very good investment to make.

There are a variety of natural stones to choose from each with different qualities. Most of them though have high scratch resistance, water resistance and stain resistance. They will perform well in any area of your house, even in wet and humid areas.

They can chip off if a heavy object drops on it, so avoid using them for home gyms or home workshops.

12. Terrazzo Floors

Terrazzo floors are composed of composite materials of different stone chips, glass, and mixed in a cement binder. It is usually poured on site and hardens into a very durable floor.

It is hard-wearing, waterproof, stain proof, and scratch proof. It is very dense and will not break or chip off as easily as other hard floors. You can literally use this in any area of your house. Even for your home gyms and workshops.

While this floor can look elegant, it can be a bit pricey and is usually reserved for areas of your house where you typically entertain guests for practical reasons.

13. Concrete Floors

Concrete floors are very hard-wearing flooring you can use for your home. They are cheaper than terrazzo floors and is great for industrial or minimalist look designs.

As they are waterproof, stain-proof, and high scratch-resistant, they can be used for any area of your house, wet or dry. You can use them even for areas exposed to high abrasive and high-impact activities such as in home gyms and home workshops.

Although limited in design options, concrete floors can be stained, stamped, polished or textured to match the look you’re after.

14. Epoxy Floor Coating System

Epoxy floor coating system is sort of a step up to concrete floors. It is a chemical coating that is usually poured over concrete. It hardens into a smooth surface, that is hard-wearing, scratchproof, waterproof, and stain-proof. It is also a high chemical-resistant floor material.

It can be used for any area of your house and the design you can do with it is highly customizable. It can be a great flooring to use for your garage or home workshop because of its high resistance to chemicals. Cleaning is also very easy.

15. Pebble Washout or Exposed Aggregate Floors

Pebble washout or exposed aggregate floors are poured concrete with the aggregates or pebbles showing up on the surface. It is as hard-wearing and durable as concrete floors. It is usually used for rustic type of designs or if you want a spa-like feel.

It can be a good flooring to use in your bathrooms or toilets, as well as for your garage or home workshops.

16. Artificial Grass

Artificial grass or artificial turf is normally used for the outside but it can also actually work indoors. Although the look may not work well in other rooms of your house, this can be used for play rooms, and home gyms.

Since it’s artificial, it is water and stain proof, and can be cleaned easily. You can also use this as an alternative to carpets that is easier to maintain and as equally soft to walk on.

17. Rubber Floors

Rubber floors are highly resilient floors that work well for a home gym setup. Scratches won’t easily show up, and it’s waterproof, and scratch-proof as well. Although you can also use this for any other room in your house, its look and limited design options may not be something to get excited about.

It is hard-wearing and can absorb heavy impacts from heavy objects which makes it an ideal floor to use in home gyms. You can also use this for your home workshops though it can get punctured by sharp objects.

Angelo

He is an architect for more than 20 years. He is passionate about design and architecture and enjoys sharing his knowledge and information with people as well.

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