Phase 2: Planning
Figuring out what you need and want
So you’ve decided to get new floors—great! Now what?
As with most complicated projects, the first phase is crucial. It’s when you do all of your initial prepwork—like planning and identifying your goals—and, it sets the stage for how successful you’ll be later on.
What type of floor will work best for your project? Select the right kind by doing research based on your wants and needs.
During this research and consideration part of the process, focus on the following factors:
- Location in home
- Style (e.g., color, texture, and finish)
- Price and warranty
- Design tips and trends
Among interior design consultants, the general rule of thumb is to use just three different flooring materials throughout your home. By limiting your choices, it will help you avoid a haphazard look, create uniformity, and make it easier to match when doing other decorating. How that mix of different flooring types breaks down within your house is up to you; however, in some rooms certain floors are more fitting than others.
Check out our room-specific flooring guides to learn more about which choices work best based on different locations in your home:
Don’t forget to think about how you will be using the room where you’re getting new floors. Usage factors in when you think about durability. Factor in special considerations, such as:
Are you getting new flooring in a well-used room and need to find an option that can withstand the stress from frequent footsteps?
Check out which flooring is best for a busy home »
How likely is it that you’ll have to deal with spills in the room you’re remodeling? Is it near an entryway in your home? Will you be eating and drinking in the room? Do you have pets?
Dealing with a tough carpet stain? Read what experts recommend »
Humidity, moisture—it’s crucial to consider environmental factors like these, and whether your room is prone to dampness, as you evaluate options. Is there potential for big water messes or tiny spills? Do your new floors need to be 100% waterproof or just water resistant?
Updating your bathroom? Why waterproof flooring is a smart choice »
Do you have kids and need kid-friendly floors? If so, how old are your children? Is safety a concern because they are learning to walk and need soft and forgiving flooring if they fall? Is comfort a priority because they are older and love playing video games while sitting on the floor? Is their health your focus because they have allergies and require easy-to-keep-clean or naturally antimicrobial floors?
Redoing a child’s bedroom? Get more tips »
Is noise reduction one of your priorities with new floors? Do you need flooring that helps with the absorption of sound waves?
Are you thinking about adding radiant heating under your floors? Are you interested in flooring that keeps drafts at bay during the cold winter?
When thinking about your new flooring, focus on your big-picture style goals as well as your lifestyle. Even if a floor looks good, that doesn’t mean it will be the best fit for how you use your home.
Do you want floors that are timeless or trendy? Subtle or eye-popping? Sophisticated or casual? Formal or cozy? Taking into consideration additional factors like color, texture, and finish will help you get the look you want.
Renovating a cramped space? Discover the flooring installation tricks that the pros use to make small rooms look larger »
If interior decorating isn’t your area of expertise and you need guidance breaking down the pluses and minuses of all the options (like whether or not you should go for dark hardwood or choose solid wide planks), you’re in luck. Many fine flooring stores offer free design consultation services.
These experts can help you understand the benefits of different style features and work with you to prioritize your needs. That way, when the time comes to make a purchasing decision, you’ll have all the information you need to make the best selection for your budget and goals.
Flooring makes a big difference when it comes to keeping your home up-to-date. Learn more about what’s on trend this year:
Price & Warranty
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to how much money you should budget for new floors. Costs can vary based on quality, type of flooring, installation requirements, and more.
In general, when you start your shopping, you can expect to pay less for carpeting and resilient than you will pay for tile or hardwood floors.
While you're thinking about how much you’d like to spend on your remodeling project, keep in mind that your flooring choice has the power to dramatically change the overall look and feel of your room. Budget accordingly.
Learn the three things to consider before making your flooring budget »
Here are some additional questions to keep in mind when planning your budget and how much you want to spend on new floors:
- Do you want the floor to last for the lifetime of your home, or do you plan to update again after a few years?
- What kind of coverage do you need in a warranty?
- Will you need to purchase new tools or equipment to keep your floors clean?
Picking out flooring for a newly constructed home? Make a smart buying decision with our tips for finding budget-friendly floors »
Your new flooring budget will need to cover more than just the materials. Don’t forget about installation-related labor expenses during your estimating, too:
- Do you live in a remote area, far from your vendor and requiring special travel?
- Does your project necessitate involving a general contractor?
- Are you removing the old flooring and disposing of it yourself? (E.g., some older homes may have lead or asbestos issues requiring testing and remediation.)
- Who’s doing the work to add the finishing touches? (E.g., who’s handling mounting the room’s woodworking or transitioning between rooms with different types of flooring?)
- Have you saved for any unexpected prep work that may be necessary to prepare the subfloor before installation? (E.g., your subfloors should be level; dips and high spots are non-starters that can hold up your installation.)
- Will any permits or inspection fees be applicable? Are there any special building code regulations that you’ll need to follow?