How to Choose the Right Floor for Your Apartment


Replacing the outdated floor in your apartment is an important decision. The materials you select can add character, charm, and value to your space.

The wrong flooring can make your apartment feel dated, cramped, and unwelcome.

If you rent, check with your landlord first before replacing the apartment floor. Your lease may not allow this action.

When you own your apartment, HOA rules, and similar association policies may limit some choices. Please remember to verify what is allowable before proceeding.

Once you have a green light, these factors are what you’ll want to review.

Essential Factors to Consider with Apartment Flooring

Installing a new floor can be a significant expense. Even if you DIY the project, the materials alone could set you back a few thousand dollars. 

That’s why you must get everything right on the first attempt. Achieving success happens with these considerations.

1. How durable is the flooring?

Apartments can have a lot of in-and-out movement, especially in NYC. You’ve also got the weather we get each year to consider. The materials should be attractive, easy to clean, and practical for your building. Installing heavy tile requires a different foundation than laminate, vinyl, or linoleum.

The most durable flooring choices need to be in your high-traffic areas. That’s why you’ll see the expensive materials around entryways, mudrooms, and hallways in many apartments and homes. Cheaper items can go in your less-used rooms.

2. What is your budget?

Your flooring choices often rely on what you can afford. If you’re thinking about subletting, a practical concern should enter this part of the conversation. Exotic marble may not be the right choice in an entry-level space, but a top-floor residence may not want hardwood because of how heat naturally rises.

A practical solution is a carpet for many apartments. It installs quickly, feels soft under the foot, and is reasonably easy to clean. Carpeting can also cover damage to older floors while being cheaper than refinishing hardwoods.

3. What color do you prefer?

Flooring comes in almost every conceivable color today. You can choose whatever meets your home décor preferences. From an apartment living view, options that use neutral colors tend to work the best. Earth tones with lighter walls appeal to most people, ensuring that the value you get back from this upgrade can help the unit pay for itself.

When choosing Earth tones, your flooring’s darkness should depend on how much natural light you receive. If there aren’t any windows in the room, a light taupe hue may be your best selection.

If you get lots of light, a darker material is worth considering.

4. How does the room function?

Please remember to consider the reasons why you use a specific space in your apartment before selecting a flooring option. If you have carpet in your kitchen, how easy will it be to pull stains out of that material?

The classic problem found in many NYC apartments is the carpeting that gets installed in the bathroom. Although the material can feel soft and luxurious, that space is also the dampest room in your home.

What happens if your toilet or tub leaks? How much moisture comes from the water vapor you have from each shower?

It doesn’t take long for mold or mildew to start forming underneath the carpet because of this issue. Even if you have a high-quality product with natural spore resistance, the subfloor and joists can start rotting and warping due to long-term moisture exposure.

And if you have kids – what happens if someone misses the toilet?

As a general rule, the kitchen and bathroom should have vinyl, linoleum, or tile. Some laminates may have enough water resistance to be usable.

Pros and Cons of Using Cork

One of the most exciting flooring materials to come about in recent years comes from the bark of the cork oak. This choice comes as tiles that you can glue to each other or directly to your subfloor.

Although a future update would need to tear it all out with extensive labor, this green product is an affordable hardwood alternative. It reduces noise, is environmentally friendly, and works extremely well in areas without heavy furniture.

It’s perfect for a kitchen installation when you aren’t moving your cabinets.

Cork flooring is susceptible to water damage, which means it needs to get sealed. It can also have some durability concerns, so try to keep it out of high-traffic areas. 

The right floor for your apartment is ultimately what you want to have around each day. If you love something that you see, just make sure your subfloor can support it. Your contractor or an installation specialist can answer any additional questions you may have or offer a quote for services. 


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