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Alternative Flooring Pros and Cons

Alternative Flooring

Choosing flooring for a home update or remodeling project is exciting — there’s so many options to choose from! But who says you have to go the traditional route with hardwood, laminate, or carpet? For some, alternative flooring is the way to go.

The most common types of alternative flooring include:

  • Cork
  • Rubber
  • Concrete
  • Bamboo
  • Glass

There are benefits and disadvantages to each of those listed above. Whether your current flooring is worn out, scratched up, or simply outdated — weigh your options to see if any of these alternative floors will suit your lifestyle and design.

Alternative Flooring

Alternative Flooring

Pro: Sustainable & Environmentally Friendly

Cork Flooring

If reducing environmental impact is important to you, options like cork and glass flooring are ideal. Cork flooring is made sustainably, and glass floor tiles are made from recycled glass and porcelain terrazzo. You may also appreciate that bamboo is grown sustainably, too — it’s a fast growing, renewable resource.

Con: Cold

Without a heated floor system, concrete floors can be cold on bare feet. This may not be ideal, especially in homes located in colder climates. When heated floor systems are installed, concrete floors become warm and comfortable, but these systems can be costly.

Pro: Comfortable

Both cork and rubber floors have a cushiony or springy feel. Rubber makes a great option for laundry rooms or kitchens — it’ll feel comfortable against your feet while folding laundry or cooking a meal. Cork floors are a happy medium between hardwood and carpet. If you want something soft with the look of wood, cork is the answer.

Con: Installation

Because alternative flooring options are less common than traditional flooring like hardwood, tile and laminate, finding contractors knowledgeable about installation is sometimes challenging. This is especially true when factoring in your location and budget. The cost of installation can also be higher than other types of flooring, since it is so specialized.

Pro: Resistant

Many types of alternative flooring can stand up to everyday wear and tear of busy households. Glass floors are scratch and heat resistant, and rubber can take on plenty of mess and abuse. Plus, there’s a reason concrete floors are used in industrial settings — they can withstand almost anything.

Con: Price

Cost of alternative flooring is all over the board. For example, cork ranges from $3 to $8 per square foot, which is slightly higher than the average cost for hardwood flooring. Bamboo is along the same lines, from $2 to $8 per square foot. Concrete floors can start as low as $2 per square foot, but depending on added heating systems, they can go as high as $20 per square foot.

Pro: Low Maintenance

Messes happen, especially in popular rooms like kitchens, family rooms, and bathrooms. Most alternative flooring is easy to take care of and doesn’t require expensive cleaning products. It’ll last longer and hold up better than flooring that stains easily, such as carpet.

As you consider flooring for your renovation, do the pros outweigh the cons? Consider your options carefully and talk to your contractor about what would work best for your budget and space.

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Alternative Flooring

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