Best Floors for High Traffic Areas

Heavy traffic demands that you install a tough, durable and solid flooring that can stand up to the wear and tear of high traffic and continue to look good for several years. After all, who wants to have new flooring installed in a hallway or kitchen, only to have to pull it up and replace it a couple of years later?

Here are the top types of flooring for high traffic areas in your home.

Tile Flooring

There are many reasons that ceramic tile has been in use for more than 5,000 years, and one of them is durability. Tile is classed by its hardness. This helps consumers determine where it can be used. The Porcelain Enamel Institute standards are used to rate tile on a 1-5 scale with 5 being the hardest and most durable. If you’re planning to use tile in a high-traffic location, choose tile that is rated either 4 or 5 on the PEI chart. You’ll get many decades of resilient, attractive performance from this high traffic flooring. Modern manufacturing and design has taken tile to a whole new level, need tile but wanted wood? No problem, just take a look at the great range of wood look tile now available.

Concrete Flooring

Concrete flooring doesn’t have to look like a sidewalk or a parking lot. Today’s concrete flooring options include acid-stained, etched, stamped and tinted concrete as well as concrete floors with embedded tiles, stone and other features. For example, using an acid-staining process, concrete flooring can be made to look like natural stone flooring such as granite. Use the right stamp along with tint and make a concrete floor to simulate flagstone pavers.

Natural Stone

Of course if you have the budget there’s no need to lay concrete flooring that looks like natural stone when you can just go ahead and install the real thing. Both the cost of the materials and installation are quite high but the natural look is something special. Not all stone floors are super resilient though. For high traffic areas stick with stronger varieties of stone like granite, limestone and sandstone.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring uses a photographic image applied to a laminated wood base to replicate wood flooring, stone flooring, tile flooring and other types of floor covering. If you choose laminate for high-traffic areas, look for a product with a thick wear layer of melamine resin. Options range from 6-15mm and where the floor sees a lot of feet you’ll do better with 12mm or 15mm laminate flooring.

At home, high-traffic areas include foyers, entryways and main hallways. In commercial settings, they can be even more numerous. When you need flooring that will continue to look good where traffic is the heaviest, tile flooring, concrete flooring and laminate flooring are your best choices.

Engineered and Solid Hardwood

And finally, just because wood can scratch and dent doesn’t mean you should instantly rule it out as a possibility for high traffic areas. Especially when you are buying pre-finished wood flooring, its worth bearing in mind that it’s the finish applied to the floor that provides the protection and many modern finishes are rock hard! Even with solid hardwood floors, if you choose a species of wood with a strong hardness rating and a strong finish it’s going to be very durable and resilient.

If by ‘high traffic’ you mean three dogs, high heels all the time or stomping grit and gravel in from outdoors continually then okay, woods not your best choice, but high traffic without these exceptions should be just fine. Click here for the best flooring for pets.

What do you consider the best flooring for high traffic areas in your home and how did you choose the flooring? Let us know in the comments section below or email us direct by clicking here.

Learn more about Tile, Concrete, Stone and Laminate Flooring

  • Hippie Home Improvement – Cool website that highlights all types of home improvement projects, interior design techniques and even includes a section about apartment remodeling.
  • The Angle –  Great place to find remodeling and makeover ideas that also gives you tips for saving some money.
  • Homedit – Interior design and architecture website that can help you come up with some new and creative ideas to update your space.
  • Houzz – Great article on the pros and cons of different natural stone flooring.

2 thoughts on “Best Floors for High Traffic Areas

  • March 21, 2021 at 6:27 pm

    I have a 2400 sq. ft. home in Colorado (4 seasons) with Harwood (kitchen/Entryway) and carpet everywhere else (even bathrooms -ooohhh-Noooooo) – I want an easy care, high durability, scratch resistant floor throughout the house (flow is important) and I am looking to get a dog (in the next year or so) – not sure if I should go with Tile or Vinyl, or Bamboo – what do you suggest?

  • January 15, 2019 at 8:38 am

    I would like to replace carpet on second floor of my house with porcelain tile. Will this be to heavy structurally fire a second floor approximately 1200 sq ft.


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