How To Buy Flooring For Your Home

Updated: Aug 24

The purchase of floor covering can not only be an overwhelming task, but also quite expensive. Before you run out to a store and shop, it's a good idea to understand the different types of flooring that stores sell.

The Top 5 Types of Home Floor Coverings:

  1. Carpet: Carpet is still the king. It is the most economical floor covering in the market place. You can get all kinds of different styles and colors. If you're looking to purchase carpet, here are a few questions that you should consider: Does your room get high traffic or low traffic? Do you have pets that sometimes cause "accidents?" Will the family be laying on the floor, watching tv? What kind of pad do you want? All of these questions are important. Depending on your situation, you might want to look at carpet that has a great stain protection, or you might need a carpet that has a great "no crushing" warranty. Plus...don't forget about the carpet pad. It is very important. Don't try to save money by going cheap on the pad.

  2. Luxury Vinyl Tile (commonly referred to "LVT"): LVT is the fastest growing product in floor covering. Go in to any flooring store, and you will see that every store dedicates a lot of square footage to LVT displays. Luxury vinyl comes in tile looks as well as plank looks. These days, most of the products are waterproof. They are installed with either a glue down installation, or with a click together mechanism (that requires no adhesive). There are tons of styles and colors. LVT is great for every area of your home. New home builders are using more and more of it.

  3. Hardwood: Good old fashion hardwood floors are still very popular. They add value to your home, and come in different wood species and thicknesses. You can get engineered hardwood for homes that have a cement sub-floor, or solid hardwood for wood sub-floors. Hardwood is not good for areas of the home that could potentially have moisture issues. Hardwood is not a great option for basements or bathrooms.

  4. Ceramic Tile: a great product for entryways, kitchens, and bathrooms. Tiles come in a variety of sizes and colors. Ceramic showers have become extremely popular. One of the downsides to ceramic is the product is very cold on your bare foot. Some people don't care about this, others do.

  5. Sheet Vinyl (Linoleum): This product is still around, but not nearly as popular as it once was. Stores used to have rolls and rolls of linoleum in their stores. Nowadays, you might find one little display in the corner of a store. Luxury vinyl tile has taken over this segment of the market place. However, sheet vinyl is still a great product for a kitchen or bathroom.

So You Have Decided On The Type Of Floor You Want...Now What?

Don't just go wonder in to a store and start looking around. Bad idea. Here's why: every sales person that works in a flooring store gets paid on commission. If you walk in and start talking to someone, they will register your name and you will be their customer for life. You will always be subject to the stores retail prices and sales promotions of the day.

At this point, you might be asking yourself, well, what else is there? What other price can you get?

How To Buy Flooring For Your Home: The Big Trick...

Most stores have a person that works in the contract / commercial world. These sales people call on apartments, work with realtors, house flippers, commercial office parks, schools, hospitals, etc... These folks work on commission too. You want to get in touch with this person.

Do you really think when you hear a store advertise "buy one get one free," "no money down," (or our favorite) "free installation weekend," that you are saving any money? Of course not. Quite frankly, stores mark-up their floor covering so high, they can offer you free anything. Nothing is free. If a carpet costs a store $1.00 a square foot to purchase, and they are selling it to you for $15 a square foot, they can offer all kinds of made-up savings.

Outside sales people work in a different marketplace. Commercial jobs can't be marked-up like a retail job. Where a store might mark-up a retail job 40%, a commercial job might only be marked-up 15%.

But.....My Job Is Not Commercial?

It does not matter. As we said earlier, all sales people work on commission. So, here is what you do to get a killer price on your flooring: call the store and find out the name of the person that handles the commercial sales. Then, you ask to speak to that person. You introduce yourself, and ask if you can set-up an appointment to meet them in the showroom.

Turtle Bay Vinyl Plank

The commercial sales person will be able to give you better pricing. They will be able to give you access to products that are not even being shown on the retail floor. You will now have a connection for better pricing on every floor covering job you want to do in the future. The bottom line: do whatever you can to get with the commercial department of a store.

How Do I Decide On A Product?

So now you have determined the type of flooring you want, and you have positioned yourself with the right sales person. Let's take a look at the process of effectively selected the right product. Going in to a floor covering store can be quite overwhelming. There are so many options, selecting the right product can be a monumental task. Every manufacturer has their own line of products. Each product line has their own marketing terms for warranties. Each competing brand promotes their products as "the best." Where in the world do you start?

Keep in mind you have already narrowed down the choices. Don't let the number of displays intimidate you. You have already figured out the "type" of product you want. Remember our 5 types of flooring (carpet, LVT, hardwood, ceramic & sheet vinyl). You can now concentrate on just the "type" of flooring you need. Plus, now you have a professional commercial sales person that is helping you. Rely on this person to show you the right products in their store. The sales professional can help you with installation questions, and product performance information.

In today's marketplace, manufacturer's compete very hard for showroom space. In order to compete, product brands need to offer support to stores on such things as product warranties, customer service and product durability. What does that mean for the customer: don't get caught up in things like, "which brand is better?" Why? Because there is no best brand. In today's floor covering stores, if a store is displaying a product....the warranty and durability of the product is not going to be an issue.

So, What Are The Factors To Consider In Picking Out A Product?

You need to determine your product selection based on two factors:

  1. Price: Get with your flooring professional and have them figure out the amount of material that you will need for your project. They can accomplish this by setting-up a home measurement, or you can bring in a drawing of the room (to give them an idea of the square footage needed). Give the sales person a budget amount of what you are willing to spend. The sales person can start directing you to the samples in the store that will fit your budget.

  2. Do you like the style and color? Start by making a "maybe pile" in the store. Pull out every sample that you think might work. Once you have gone through all of the displays in the store, you will end-up with 10 or so "maybe's." Then, you look at your maybe pile and pick 3-4 samples that you like the best. Take those samples home. Put the samples in your space and let them sit there for 2-3 days. If one of the samples sticks have your winner. If none of the samples work, go back to the store and repeat the process. Never pick-out a sample in the floor covering store. You always want to take the sample home. The lighting in your home will always be completely different than what is in the store.

That's it.

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