Choosing a new floor for your home or building isn’t as daunting as many people tend to believe. While some floors are more difficult to install and maintain than others, people often overlook the many options that are the complete opposite. The truth is that there are plenty of flooring options that are so easy to install that you can even do it on your own.
The easiest flooring types to install are luxury vinyl tiles (LVT), laminate, engineered hardwood, carpet tiles, and cork plank. Any flooring technician can get these floors installed quickly and easily in your home. Alternatively, you can install these materials yourself if you prefer to take the DIY route. Still, be sure to compare each option’s positive and negative qualities before choosing one.
This guide will walk you through our top 5 picks for the easiest flooring to install. In each section, you’ll discover the essentials of that flooring type and how it’s installed.
Still, it’s crucial to remember that each flooring type comes with its fair share of pros and cons.
Let’s get started!
1. Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT)
Our first pick on this list is luxury vinyl tile (LVT) flooring. This option is sometimes known as luxury vinyl plank (LVP) instead, and it’s undoubtedly been a popular option for many homeowners in recent years.
One reason driving its popularity is that you can get LVT flooring that looks exactly like stone or hardwood but without the same extravagant cost.
LVT flooring can mimic stone or wood because it consists of a print film layer with the hardwood or stone design you want. That layer is sandwiched between several other layers, giving LVT flooring its durability and other positive qualities.
Aside from being easy to maintain and very pleasing to the eyes, LVT flooring is also known for being one of the easiest floorings to install.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) Flooring?
LVT might be a popular option with many people. Still, you should weigh the benefits (pros) and drawbacks (cons) to see if they are ideal.
Here’s what you need to know:
Benefits of Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) flooring:
• Easy installation: Of course, luxury vinyl tile (LVT) wouldn’t be one of our top picks if it wasn’t easy to install. Most importantly, you can place LVT over pretty much any type of subfloor, whether that’s wood, concrete, or existing vinyl flooring. Besides that, you can also choose to glue it down or just let it float.
• Visual options: LVT is such a popular flooring option because you have a long list of choices for how it’ll look. Remember: LVT flooring has a print layer responsible for how it looks. So, you can choose prints that look like wood or stone, with a wide selection of colors and patterns (e.g. herringbone, chevron, etc.)
• Durable and low-maintenance: Last but not least, LVT flooring is incredibly durable, giving you loads of peace of mind after installation. Regular vacuuming and wiping with a damp cloth is enough to maintain its amazing look.
Drawbacks of Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) flooring:
• Slippery: Still, no flooring option is perfect. For starters, LVT can be pretty slippery when wet, so you’ll have to be extra mindful to clean up any spills quickly.
• Non-biodegradable: If you’re a homeowner concerned about sustainability, then you should know that LVT flooring is non-biodegradable. Sure, it’ll last a long time. But when the day comes to remove and replace it, the material cannot be reused or recycled.
• Damage from subfloor: Earlier, you saw that LVT flooring can go over almost any subfloor, and that’s true. However, if the subfloor is not in perfect condition, it’ll affect the LVT flooring that you place above it. There might be gaps, an uneven appearance, or uneven areas on the LVT flooring.
2. Laminate Flooring
Next on our list is laminate, which has many similarities with vinyl flooring. That’s because laminate and vinyl flooring both consist of several layers, including one that carries the design and color you’ve chosen for your floor.
Besides that image layer, laminate flooring also has an inner core board and an overlay that protects the entire floor panel from moisture and scratches.
What sets laminate flooring apart from vinyl is the material that it’s made of. While the core of vinyl flooring is made of PVC (essentially a type of plastic), the core layer in laminate flooring is made with highly compressed wood fibers.
Laminate flooring has many positive qualities, and it earns its place as one of our top picks by being quick and easy to install. You can read our guide on how to install laminate flooring for more information.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Laminate Flooring?
Naturally, laminate flooring has a few benefits and drawbacks that you should consider before investing your hard-earned money in them.
Those benefits and drawbacks include:
• Easy to install: Earlier, you saw how laminate shares many similarities with vinyl flooring. Among them is that both are easily installed the same way. You can install laminate flooring by yourself by laying down the planks on top of an existing floor.
• Durable: Another attractive quality of laminate flooring is that it’s durable and requires minimal maintenance. Once you’ve installed it, the floor can handle scratches, heavy foot traffic, and even UV rays.
• Eco-friendly: Remember: the core layer of laminate flooring is made from highly compressed wood fibers. So, when the time comes to replace the flooring, you can rest assured that your laminate floor is biodegradable. Not only is laminate flooring incredibly easy to install, it also offers peace of mind to environmentally-conscious homeowners.
• Liquid damage: Unfortunately, that core made from highly compressed wood fibers also makes laminate flooring susceptible to liquid damage. Excess moisture can cause the laminate planks to buckle or break down if left for too long. To prevent this, you’ll have to invest a little extra in added waterproofing.
• Can’t be refinished: Laminate flooring can last a long time, typically from 15-25 years. But once it starts to wear out, there’s nothing that you can do to save it. Refinishing it is not an option, so you’ll have to remove those planks entirely and have a new floor installed.
• Artificial look: Laminate flooring can mimic several different materials like wood and stone. Despite today’s high-quality printing technologies, the floor will still look somewhat artificial. So, if you’re expecting a high degree of authenticity in the way your floors look. In that case, laminate flooring might not be the best option for you.
3. Engineered Hardwood
Wooden floors have always been popular with home and building owners alike. However, most people would prefer an authentic-looking wooden floor at a lower price point that’s also easy to install.
The solution to that? Engineered hardwood flooring.
This type of flooring consists of several layers made of wood. It starts with a veneer layer (or ‘wear’ layer) on top. Underneath it is one or more layers of strengthened composite plywood that act as its core.
Some versions of engineered hardwood floors use oriented strand board (OSB) instead of composite plywood. This option involves wooden strands glued together and then compressed to form the core.
No matter which type of core it has, engineered hardwood produces a floor like solid wood that’s affordable and, more importantly, much easier to install.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Engineered Hardwood Flooring?
Despite being more affordable, engineered hardwood still has pros and cons that you need to be aware of.
Let’s take a closer look at some of them:
• Affordable: A solid wood floor is beautiful, but it’s also incredibly pricey. Engineered hardwood floor provides a slightly more affordable alternative that gives you an authentic wooden floor look without draining your wallet.
• Durable: Engineered wood flooring consists of several different layers instead of one solid piece of wood. That offers the floor more protection and durability, especially against temperature changes and moisture. In other words, engineered hardwood flooring isn’t as sensitive as a solid wood floor.
• Eco-friendly: Engineered hardwood flooring is also a more eco-friendly option. The flooring uses less actual hardwood per plank than a solid wood floor. Plus, if you buy from environmentally-conscious suppliers, the wood will likely come from sustainable sources (be sure to check, though!).
• Maintenance: A gorgeous wooden floor doesn’t come easy. Even with engineered hardwood flooring, you’ll have to maintain it regularly to keep its quality up. Regular care allows you to manage dents, fading, and scratches, making your floor last longer.
• Limited resurfacing: The excellent news with engineered hardwood flooring is that you can resurface it if you have to. However, the bad news is that you can likely only do it once or twice before the top layer erodes and you expose the core layers. Therefore, your resurfacing options will depend on that top layer’s thickness.
• Quality issues: Some suppliers are more honest than others regarding quality control and sustainability. Ideally, you’ll want to buy from a supplier that uses high-quality materials taken from sustainable sources. Unfortunately, you’ll pay top dollar to get the floor you want.
4. Carpet Tiles
Carpet tiling is another flooring option that’s easy to install and popular with DIY-ers. These have been around even before vinyl and laminate floors were popular, though they’re used more in commercial settings nowadays.
They’re an excellent way to add texture and tone to any environment, no matter where you put them.
Carpet tiles are pretty straightforward. They’re individual tiles or squares of carpeting that you can slot together to cover your floor. These tiles also consist of several layers, including pile fibers, a non-woven backing layer, and a reinforcement layer to help maintain their shape.
As a flooring option, you’ll be glad to know that carpet tiles come with virtually unlimited options for designs and colors. So, aside from being incredibly easy to install, you can also express some of your creativity by mixing and matching designs you like.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Carpet Tiles?
Again, not all flooring options will suit all spaces or tastes, even if they’re super easy to install.
So, here are the benefits and drawbacks you should keep in mind before choosing carpet tiles for your floor:
• Versatile: Carpet tiles are incredibly versatile, thanks to the endless options of designs, shapes, and even the materials you can choose from. Whether you’re redoing the floors in your office or in your bedroom at home, you’ll find something that suits your tastes.
• Cost-effective: This flooring option offers cost-effectiveness that many others don’t. Installation is easy, so you don’t have to pay experts to do it for you. Besides that, these tiles are so easy to transport that you can even have them shipped to you in a box.
• Durable and low maintenance: Lastly, carpet tiles are also incredibly durable and low maintenance. They can take a lot of punishment even in areas with plenty of foot traffic and heavy furniture. Plus, regular vacuuming is enough to keep it looking excellent.
• Modular appearance: Despite everything else, carpet tiles are still just that: they’re tiles. That means placing them next to each other will make them look modular and non-uniform. You won’t get the flat, seamless look that other flooring options provide.
• Loose fibers: These tiles are made from fibers instead of hard materials. So, you’ll have to deal with loose or fraying fibers from time to time. That’s especially true as the tiles get older and experience normal wear and tear.
• Negative perception: Even with all the benefits that carpet tiles offer, they still give off a less-than-luxurious perception. That might be fine for some commercial and industrial uses, but perhaps less so if you’re trying to impress guests in your household living room.
5. Cork Plank
Cork plank flooring is another option that’s been around for a long time. However, its popularity has been growing thanks to a new generation of buyers keen on eco-friendly solutions.
The raw material is harvested from the cork oak tree and ground up. Then, manufacturers bond that material using resins and form it into sheets. Those sheets or planks are the ones that will eventually end up on your floor.
Without question, cork plank flooring is effortless to install. That’s why it has earned a spot on our list of top picks.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Cork Plank?
Cork planks come with plenty of benefits that make them worth your investment. Still, you’ll have to weigh them against the drawbacks that come along with it.
Here are the good and the bad about cork plank as a flooring option:
• Exceptional softness: Cork, being the way that it is, provides an outstanding level of softness that you won’t find with many other flooring materials. That softness translates to added comfort when walking on the floor, especially when barefoot.
• Possible to refinish: All flooring materials start to wear out over an extended period. Some, like cork plank, can be refinished. That way, you’ll be sure to get the most out of your investment before you have to replace the flooring with something new.
• Low maintenance: Keeping cork planks clean takes minimal effort. You only have to clean it once a month, and you can choose from dry or damp mopping methods to do so.
• Risk of damage: Unfortunately, the softness of cork plank flooring is a double-edged blade. While it does provide extra comfort to your feet, it also makes the material very easy to damage. For instance, heavy furniture can very easily cause divots in the cork flooring, while pets can cause scratches and other damage, too.
• Needs waterproofing: Besides that, moisture can spell disaster for a cork plank floor. So you’ll also need to invest additional funds in waterproofing or water sealing to protect the floor and make it last as long as possible.
• Fading: Lastly, exposure to direct sunlight and its UV rays can cause sections of the cork flooring to fade. That’s especially true around some windows and glass doors that receive a lot of direct sunlight throughout the day.
At this point in the guide, it should be clear that you don’t have to go through a lengthy and painful installation process just to enjoy a beautiful floor. Instead, you have plenty of amazing options to choose from, all of which you can even install on your own.
Still, before choosing any kind of flooring, you must always do your homework. After all, the floor you choose will be with you for at least a decade. So, take as much time as you need to compare its positive and negative qualities before deciding.
At the end of it all, any flooring you spend your hard-earned money on should fit your visual tastes. But, more importantly, they should also fit into your priorities regarding the ease of installation and the regular care needed in the future.