The Best Flooring Options For High-Traffic Areas

Rooms that see the heaviest foot traffic need flooring that can withstand the wear and tear of constant activity. Tile, laminate and engineered hardwood are all great options.

Concrete floors are another option that are durable and can even be designed to look like other materials. Carpet with a commercial warranty is also a good choice.


High-traffic areas, like hallways, living rooms and kitchens, take on a lot of wear. For that reason, you need a flooring that will be able to withstand the wear and tear of foot traffic while maintaining its good looks. A durable, stylish option for high-traffic areas is laminate. Laminate floors are easy to clean, and they hold up well against scratches, scuffs and dents. The thickness of a laminate floor’s wear layer is a key factor when determining its durability. For heavy-traffic areas, opt for a laminate with a thicker wear layer, such as 6-15mm.

The decorative layer of a laminate floor allows for a range of visual designs that mimic wood, stone and tile flooring. Manufacturers have made great strides in making the decorative layer look very authentic, and it’s possible to achieve a wide range of styles that will suit any home décor.

For a long lifespan, choose a laminate with a water-resistant finish. In addition, a laminate with a melamine core is less prone to warping and swell when exposed to moisture.

Some brands of laminate are considered to be higher quality than others, so do your research. A few of the better-known manufacturers of laminate are Pergo and Mohawk. Both produce water-resistant, varied style laminate floors with AC4 (abrasion criteria) ratings that are suitable for heavy-traffic areas and residential or light commercial use.

While many people do not consider hardwood or engineered wood to be a tough flooring material, it is actually one of the most durable materials for high-traffic areas. As with laminate, it is important to maintain your hardwood or engineered wood floor with a regular cleaning regimen. Sweep regularly, and wipe up spills as soon as they happen. Also, it’s a good idea to add rugs and mats to high-traffic areas and add pads to the bottom of furniture legs to protect the floor from scratches.

The best thing about wood is that it adds value to a home, and the maintenance regimen for this type of flooring is typically very low. However, it is a natural material, so it does require periodic sanding and refinishing to prolong its life.

Engineered Hardwood

When you’re looking for a flooring material that can handle a lot of foot traffic, scuffs and scratches, it’s a good idea to look for durable hardwood floors. They look beautiful, are moisture-resistant, and add monetary value to your home. They also stand up to heavy furniture and pets better than most other materials.

Wood floors need to be treated with a little more care than other flooring types, but they’re still one of the most durable options on the market. In fact, there’s even a type of wood floor that stands up to moisture and heavy foot traffic: engineered hardwood.

Engineered hardwood uses a ply/HDF core and multiple wood layers to create a sturdy, attractive floor. Because of this, it’s often more affordable than solid wood floors and can be used in a variety of rooms in your house. Engineered hardwood is also eco-friendly because it makes use of wood materials that would otherwise be wasteful. It uses less attractive woods for the ply/HDF core and then uses a mix of different types of real hardwood to cover it, including more durable oak or hickory.

The wear layer of an engineered hardwood floor is called a lamella, and it can be cut in two different ways to give you a slightly different look. Lamellas can be flat-sliced or edge-grain laminated. The flat-sliced option produces a more consistent appearance, but the edge-grain laminated floor is more durable and can be refinished several times during its lifetime.

In any case, the lamellas are all glued together to form a solid surface that resists warping caused by humidity and moisture better than traditional solid wood floors. This makes it a great choice for damp areas like kitchens.

Most people choose to install engineered wood as a floating floor, which locks into place over the subfloor without needing to be secured to it. You can also install it by nailing or gluing the planks to the subfloor, but this is a method that should be left to professionals if you aren’t comfortable with power tools.


Vinyl is a popular flooring option for high-traffic areas, because it’s durable and affordable. It can be resurfaced to refresh its look, and it also feels soft underfoot and helps dampen sound. It’s typically easy to clean, and it comes in a wide array of colors and patterns that can mimic the appearance of wood or other materials.

Laminate flooring combines layers of medium- or high-density fiberboard, with a photographic layer that can replicate the appearance of wood, stone, tile and other materials. If you choose laminate for a high-traffic area, be sure to select one that is tough enough to stand up to heavy foot traffic and resist scratches and other damage. Look for options with thick wear layers of melamine resin — 6-15mm is best, depending on how heavily the floor will be used.

Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) is another great choice for high-traffic areas, because it’s extremely durable and offers a variety of premium textures. It can also be designed to resemble ceramic tiles, stone, wood and other materials, so you can create the look of expensive stone floors at a fraction of the cost.

If you’re looking for a more natural appearance, solid hardwood is a good choice for high-traffic areas. It’s available in a wide range of styles and finishes to suit any decor, and it can be refinished to restore its appearance if needed. However, solid wood can be scratched by sharp objects like furniture or pet claws, so it’s important to protect it with rugs and place felt pads on the bottom of any furniture.

Engineered wood is similar to solid hardwood, but it’s made up of multiple layers of wood veneers bonded together. This makes it more stable than solid wood, which can warp or cup due to changes in humidity and temperature. It’s also easier to refinish than solid wood, so you can keep your flooring looking new for years without needing to redo it completely.


Tile is a natural fit for high-traffic areas, and it’s especially durable in places where moisture is present. Bathrooms, kitchens and mudrooms are examples of rooms that require a resilient floor that can withstand water and constant use. Ceramic tiles and porcelain tiles are a great choice for these types of spaces because they’re highly scratch-resistant and can be glazed to resist staining. Plus, they’re waterproof—an important feature for areas that frequently see wet boots and shoes.

Tile floors are also easy to clean, making them a smart option for busy homes. They’re available in a wide array of colors and designs, and the surface can be sanitized with a steam mop. Another benefit of tile is that it’s naturally anti-microbial and resistant to mold and bacteria. And if you don’t like the look of solid-color tiles, there are many wood-look tiles on the market.

Porcelain and stone tile, in particular, offer design flexibility. They’re fired at high temperatures, which makes them dense and durable. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes, and the color runs all the way through its layers so it won’t fade over time. Plus, they’re rated for durability on the Porcelain Enamel Institute scale (PEI) from 1 to 5 with 5 being the hardest and most durable.

Even though wood flooring often receives a thumbs-down in the durability category from Consumer Reports and Floor Critics, it’s not a material to rule out. It depends on the species, the quality of its finish and whether it’s pre-finished or engineered. Solid-wood floors that are sanded down and refinished multiple times can last for decades, so they’re a wise investment.

Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) is another good option for high-traffic areas. Its core layer is made of medium- or high-density fiberboard and topped with a photographic layer that can replicate the look of materials like wood and stone. It’s water-resistant and easy to maintain, so it’s a popular option for bathrooms, kitchens and mudrooms.

Ultimately, it’s a good idea to discuss your specific needs with a professional flooring specialist before choosing a flooring type for your home or business. You may check out this Salt Lake City-based epoxy flooring company. They’ll help you understand how different floorings, such as epoxy, hold up to wear and tear and they can make recommendations based on your preferred aesthetic and budget.