Top 5 Home Floor Choices for 2020

top portland real estate flooring options

Are you sick of your linoleum? Any homeowner in Portland who has explored new flooring options lately might be dazzled by the array of materials on the Portland real estate market in 2020. While engineered products and vinyls might provide the most bang for the buck, flooring made from natural materials has gotten a big boost from new technology as well. Here’s a quick guide to what kind of performance to expect out of today’s floors, and our top picks for 2020’s best flooring options.

3 Things New Floors Can Do For Your Home

You might think of flooring as simply the stuff that you walk on. As real estate agents, we find that floors do a whole lot more. 

1. Floors Define Space

A change in flooring material sends a subconscious signal to the brain that you’ve entered a new space — even if there are no walls around it! Applying this principle can make a big difference in the many Portland homes out there with an open floor plan. These homes can sometimes feel vague, with a lot of undefined space. Using flooring to create “rooms” can be as simple as adding a rug to the living area, or as intentional as transitioning from textured vinyl tiles in the kitchen to engineered bamboo flooring in the dining room. 

Be careful not to have too many different types of flooring in your home. Floors define your home and so your home can feel disjointed and confused if there are more than three or four different types of flooring! In particular, try not to have two different types of hardwoods, or two different types of carpet. Ideally there is only 1 version of each type of flooring in your home and not more than 3 or 4 different versions total.

This technique can also be used in reverse. Portland home designer Pangea recommends using the same flooring material in spaces that transition from indoor to outdoor. Not only does this make the room feel bigger, but it can actually create the feeling that you’re outside when you’re in! Check out their great article on this concept at Houzz.

2. Floors Insulate and Soundproof

Did you know that your flooring choice can actually help or hinder your home’s energy efficiency? Some floors, like hardwood, wool carpet, cork and rubber, are great insulators. They help keep you home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter by restricting heat transfer through the floor. These flooring types also absorb the most sound, a great idea for multistory homes with kids! 

Engineered wood, tile and thinner carpets generally have the least insulative power, but they can be improved by using a thicker material (eg. marble tile) or adding a good underlayment. Or, consider adding radiant floor heat — great for tiled bathrooms!

3. Floors Improve Health and Safety

With an aging population, it makes sense to invest in a flooring type that is less likely to cause slips — or provides a softer landing. New vinyl products even have grooves or raised areas that improve traction, while rubber and cork offer a nice bounce. 

When it comes to safety, fire is another concern. Different flooring types have different levels of fire resistance — be sure to ask when shopping around. Finally, when choosing a flooring product, consider the VOC content of the product. VOCs are Volatile Organic Compounds that can be dangerous when inhaled; the most common is formaldehyde. Consumer Reports found that engineered lumber and laminate flooring have the highest levels.

Top 5 Flooring Materials for 2020

Whether you are moving into a Portland home and want to make it yours with some new flooring, or you’re getting ready to sell and want to make some updates, here’s our real estate agents’ guide to the best products on the market today. 

1. Hardwood Flooring

The classic option is still the best. Real wood is durable, no-VOC, beautiful, easy to clean and nice to walk on — what’s not to love? Some vintage Portland homes have beautiful hardwood floors of old-growth fir that was logged by the first settlers in the area, and it’s lasted a century or more. Today, there are many reclaimed wood suppliers in the area offering beautiful hardwood floors that don’t cause any new trees to be chopped down. Oak wood is a good option for new wood flooring that has a low environmental impact. Read more about why to use hardwood floors in your Portland home here on our blog.

2. Luxury Vinyl Floors

The advantage of luxury vinyl can be summed up in one word: Options! It comes in planks, tiles or sheets, and is manufactured by layering a resilient vinyl backing, vinyl color and photographic film, and a wear-resistant top layer. People love it because it can mimic stone, tile or hardwood incredibly well, it’s waterproof, and many products are more affordable than the tile or wood they mimic. It lasts for 10-20 years, longer than carpet but about the same as laminate. Quick warning though, luxury vinyl can emit a high level of VOCs when first installed, and has been criticized for being toxic to manufacture and difficult to dispose of. Hopefully improved technology will produce greener luxury vinyl options.  

3. Rubber Floors

Rubber? Yes, the stuff that comes from trees — though often, homeowners will be purchasing a synthetic rubber flooring, or one made from recycled rubber tires! Either way, it’s an eco-friendly product and has a lot of advantages as a flooring material: It’s durable, waterproof and kid-friendly. Walking on a rubber floor is a virtually silent experience and, as mentioned above, it insulates well. The downside of rubber is that it’s often expensive, and may not be available in the colors, textures and styles that vinyl offers. 

4. Cork Floors

Although cork has been around as a flooring product for decades, recent advances in engineered cork have boosted it to the top of the eco-friendly flooring list in 2019. Like rubber, it’s bouncy and comfortable and makes a good thermal and acoustic insulator. But unlike synthetic products, it comes directly from tree bark that is harvested without killing the tree. For that reason, color and design options are limited. Cork is priced similarly to hardwood flooring. 

4. Concrete Floors

Got dogs, kids and sports equipment? Concrete might be your perfect flooring answer. Poured, dyed and polished concrete can provide a dazzling look, and it’s affordably priced. It will last a lifetime with minimal maintenance, and of course its durability can’t be beat. Those concerned about concrete’s coolness might look into radiant floor heat, but also consider that concrete provides great thermal mass, helping your home stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. 

Looking for the real estate agents with home design expertise and reasonable commission rates? You’ve found us. Talk to our top buyers’ or sellers’ agents today!

November 16, 2019

Stephen FitzMaurice

Stephen FitzMaurice, Realtor is a top 5% real estate agent in the U.S. and a top 1% agent in the Portland Metro. Principal Broker in Oregon, Managing Broker in Washington he has been licensed since 2003 for residential real estate sales in the Portland Metro area. Call him direct: 503-714-1111.

Pay less (4.5% commission max.) and get more with his top 1% listing team or buy your next home with his excellent top 1% buyer’s team. We work from Salem, Oregon to Vancouver, Washington and beyond. Check out our full services areas on the top menu.