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10 Questions to Ask Before Buying a New Floor

A living room with a white sofa, two blue armchairs, a sisal rug and light hardwood flooring.

Updated September 15, 2020

Holly H.

By Holly H.

Your flooring options are endless. Our list of questions will help you assess your home’s flooring needs to narrow the choices quickly.

1. Where is the room located, and how will it be used?

An entryway that's painted white on top and bright blue on the bottom with dark wood floors.

Ground-level and basement spaces are more susceptible to moisture than those upstairs, so consider the impact on your flooring choice. Also, if the room will serve as an entry area for your home or a play area for pets and kids, look for flooring that can handle wear. If the floor needs to support a wheelchair, walker or cane, make sure the flooring material will allow easy, unobstructed movement.

2. What is your climate?

An overhead shot of a living room with a fireplace, sisal rug and Spanish tile in blue and beige.

Wood can warp and buckle, and carpet can mold in humid environments. Tile makes a great alternative, is easy to clean and maintain, and comes in a variety of textures, colors and sizes to suit your personal style.

Check out our Tile Buying Guide.

3. Will you have to redecorate?

A living room with coral walls, navy curtains, a navy floral rug and heathered oak floors.

Color is a major consideration when buying a new floor because it impacts the entire room. Lighter flooring can make rooms feel larger but show stains and reveal wear. Darker flooring can make rooms feel cozy but show dust and pet hair. Neutral tones accommodate colorful décor, making it easy to change down the road.

4. Will your new and existing flooring coordinate?

An open living room and kitchen with rose-painted walls, light furniture and wood floors.

Consider how the new flooring will complement your overall interior style and decorating scheme. Blending materials and creating interesting transition spaces with patterns or materials may solve your design dilemmas.

5. What level of floor care is required?

A living room with yellow walls, cream carpet and a large brown dog lying on top of it.

Are you willing to make the new flooring’s maintenance schedule a part of your life? Ask what is involved in cleaning and upkeep, and factor things, like refinishing and steaming into your decision.

6. Does anyone in your home have allergies?

A living room with rattan chairs, a light blue sofa and a navy, light blue and white patterned rug.

Hard-surface flooring collects fewer dust mites and allergens. Add warmth and visual interest with easy-to-clean rugs.

7. Do you have, or plan to install, a heated floor?

A large bathroom with a white freestanding tub, dual white vanities and marble-look tile flooring.

Not all flooring options are compatible with subfloor heating. Consult a flooring expert for help exploring the best options for you.

8. Can you install new flooring yourself?

A modern living room with a fireplace, light tiled walls, a beige sofa and dark tiled floors.

New flooring installation is more than lining up boards and tile. Determine whether or not you can identify and repair a faulty subfloor, if you know how to safely dispose of old flooring and if you can return unused boxes or pieces to the store. Some flooring may require professional removal.

9. Have you factored in additional costs?

A bedroom with light white and gray walls, linen furniture and light hardwood floors.

Installing new flooring may also require you to replace existing trim and thresholds. Also, if you’re having flooring installed professionally, you’ll need to include this extra expense in your budget.

10. Can you refinish the existing floor?

A mother and baby walking on a hardwood floor.

Research your refinishing options. You may be able to bring your floors up to date with a new stain.

To find out more, read Learn How to Refinish a Hardwood Floor.

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