If you’re Googling “Wisconsin Floors,” you’re looking for tough flooring that can withstand snow, rain, hot, and cold. Wisconsin floors need to be durable, but also has to look gorgeous—and stay looking gorgeous—for as long as it is installed.
Fortunately, there are quite a few floors that check off all these boxes, including luxury vinyl plank, wood, tile, and carpet. Rubber flooring is also a great option for home gyms. The list of flooring options for Wisconsin homes is long. Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to narrow down the list by considering these factors when choosing the best Wisconsin floors.
Foot and Paw Traffic
One of the most important factors to consider is the amount of foot and paw traffic that the room receives. Main living rooms, kitchens, hallways, entryways, and mudrooms are all considered high traffic areas. These spaces need incredibly durable flooring that can withstand a large amount of foot traffic and pet nails—and still look new.
The best flooring options for all of these spaces are luxury vinyl plank (which looks like wood and tile) and porcelain tile. Both hold up very well in high-traffic areas. Durable carpets are another great option for main living rooms and hallways, especially if they are dark colored and low-pile. Wood floors are also very durable, though many products are not suitable for high-moisture and spill-prone areas (i.e. mudrooms, kitchens, basements, etc.) For homeowners worried about water, waterproof wood floors are a good flooring option for spill-prone rooms.
Spills and Moisture
Water spills and moisture are a part of daily life (especially on rainy and snowy days), but they can be incredibly damaging to flooring. Wood floors are prone to warping and damage from water spills and moisture seeping through a concrete slab. For that reason, hardwood floors are not good options for rooms built over a concrete slab, like a basement. Fortunately, engineered wood, laminate, and luxury vinyl plank are all good options for basements.
Humidity and moisture are also a factor when choosing flooring for a bathroom, laundry room, or mudroom. Luxury vinyl plank, tile, and sheet vinyl are all good options for these rooms because they hold up well in moist environments. Some sheet vinyl can even withstand minor flooding. All of these options are also a fairly easy do-it-yourself project. Ask a local flooring professional for flooring options that are water-resistant (and made for DIYers, if applicable).
In some rooms, the feel underfoot is an important part of choosing the right Wisconsin flooring. Carpet is a popular option for bedrooms because homeowners love the soft feel underfoot. For homeowners who want the softness of carpet and relief from allergies, some carpets are hypoallergenic or trap allergens. Tile is a good choice for rooms with underfloor radiant heating because it naturally conducts heat.
Some flooring not only feels good underfoot, but is also a green choice for homeowners. Some carpet is made from sisal, a renewable grass. Other carpet products are made from recycled products, which are durable and green. Bamboo floors are made from bamboo, which is fast-growing and renewable plant. These green options look and feel like their non-green counterparts. (Ask a local flooring professional for green flooring options.)
For do-it-yourselfers, choosing the best flooring for a room is also based on the ease of installation. Luxury vinyl plank, laminate, tile, sheet vinyl, and engineered wood flooring are all fairly easy DIY flooring projects. There are even some carpets made for DIYers that don’t require stretching.
Luxury vinyl plank, laminate, and engineered wood flooring can be installed as a floating floor without adhesive. Some of these floors may require specific underlayment or sub-flooring; ask a local flooring pro for specific manufacturer guidelines and recommendations.
Flooring is a long-term investment, which is why maintenance should be a key part of choosing a particular floor. Most modern floors are fairly low-maintenance. Carpet requires a regular vacuum and annual carpet cleaning. (Find out how often carpet needs a deep clean.)
Most hard floors (i.e. wood, luxury vinyl, laminate, etc.) require a regular sweep or vacuum and an occasional dry mop. Homeowners should ask a local flooring pro for the specific care instructions recommended by the manufacturer so the warranty is not voided.
Since vacuums are a key part of floor maintenance, it’s also important to purchase a vacuum that won’t damage the flooring. Some vacuums with abrasive bristles scratch or damage flooring; ask a local flooring professional for vacuum recommendations to ensure that the floor stays looking new. Steam cleaners are also not recommended for wood flooring because moisture from the cleaner can damage the floor.
Generally, carpet, laminate, sheet vinyl, and tile are less expensive flooring for Wisconsin homes. Some floors are also available in remnants for smaller rooms. Remnants are the remains of a roll or box of flooring, and are sold at discounted prices. (Visit a local flooring store for budget-friendly remnants.) Typically, remnants are ideal for small offices, bedrooms, bathrooms, or laundry rooms and are available at most local flooring stores.