A house on the lake is the source of all good things: fun on the water, campfires, cool nights by the fireplace, boat rides, kayaking, tubing, water skiing, paddle boarding. A home on the water can also be a bit of an enigma when it comes to choosing the best flooring that can handle the constant foot traffic of guests and pets—and all the water that gets tracked in!
Luxury vinyl may be the newest product on the market, but don’t count out the “new kid on the block.” These floors are incredibly durable, can handle the heaviest amounts of foot and paw traffic, and are easy-to-clean. Many luxury vinyl floors are water-resistant or even waterproof (ask your salesman for details). Newer luxury vinyl products are being built to handle the hottest and coldest areas, making them ideal for rooms that aren’t air-conditioned or heated (again, ask your salesperson about the temperature range for your preferred luxury vinyl floors). For the handiest lake house owners, luxury vinyl floors can be installed as a do-it-yourself project.
Tile floors come in a variety of colors and looks, ranging from long planks to the classic square tiles. Porcelain tile is water, odor and mildew resistant, making it an ideal tile for in a sunroom, or around the front or garage door. New tile products also come in the look of wood, making it almost impossible to tell the difference (but without worrying about water damage!). To keep tile floors warm under foot on cool nights, consider installing radiant floor heating under tiles which naturally conduct the heat (for other flooring ideas that can be installed over radiant heat flooring, read this list).
Modern sheet vinyl products have come a long way from their traditional predecessors, both in style and durability. Sheet vinyl is easy-to-clean and install, and can take as much water, foot and paw traffic as lake house life can throw at it. New sheet vinyl floors resemble the look of wood, tile, or stone floors.
If softness is a priority, consider carpet tiles. Carpet tiles are durable and look great. Depending on the method of installation, carpet tiles can also be pulled up and replaced when needed (such as when stained). Carpet tiles can also be installed in a pattern, making it a fashionable choice for any lake house.
Traditional hardwoods can be installed in main areas of a lake house but comes with disclaimers. Hardwood floors can be damaged and stained by water, and shouldn’t be installed over concrete slabs; moisture in the slab can warp and permanently damage wood floors. Engineered hardwoods, which can withstand moisture from a slab and looks just like real hardwood. Engineered wood floors are also extremely durable and easy-to-clean. Depending on the thickness of the floor, some engineered wood floors can be sanded and refinished. Unfortunately, these floors can be stained or damaged by standing water; because of this, it’s best to install these floors in interior rooms away from exterior doors (especially doors that get a lot of wet paw and foot traffic).