8 Most Durable Flooring Options for Heavy Foot Traffic

Long-lasting flooring is also economical

Dog Scratching Wooden Floor

Takamitsu GALALA Kato/Getty Images

Floor installation is an expensive, time-consuming project, and you don't want to have to replace it every few years. You might need especially durable flooring because you have kids or pets. But even if you live alone, you don't want to have to deal with frequent scratches and dings on your floors from everyday life.

Here are eight of the most durable flooring options to suit your lifestyle.

1. Bamboo

Bamboo is a type of grass. While this grass is incredibly difficult to remove from your yard, it becomes surprisingly effective and attractive when turned into flooring. The secret to bamboo flooring's sky-high durability lies in three factors: stalk placement, adhesives, and quality of bamboo.

Most off-the-shelf bamboo flooring is made by laying the bamboo grass stalks cross-direction. Strand bamboo flooring is often called woven strand bamboo flooring for good reason: Strands of the bamboo stalks are pulled apart and more tightly integrated with adhesives. The element that truly makes a bamboo floor hard is the adhesive. More adhesives mean a tougher bamboo floor.

Unfortunately, the quality of the bamboo is difficult, if not impossible, to determine when shopping for bamboo floors. Better-quality bamboo that is harvested at the right time will be more durable than bamboo that is rushed to harvest or harvested too late.

2. Resilient Flooring/Vinyl

While resilient flooring may be a term invented by companies to market their products, the term describes this type of flooring well. Also known as vinyl flooring, this classic product is 100% moisture-resistant and laboratory-engineered to last for a very long time.

Sheet vinyl is your best bet if pure resilience is your priority. In small rooms, you can skate by with just one seam or, if the room is small enough, no seams at all. Because seams are one factor that contributes to flooring deterioration, the reduction of seams becomes an important point. Plank resilient and tile resilient flooring run a close second in terms of durability because of the greater number of seams.

Many designs mimic other flooring types so if you're looking for a durable flooring option for a rental property that is relatively easy to install, looks good, and comes at an attractive price point, consider resilient flooring.

Vinyl floor
The Spruce / Margot Cavin

3. Ceramic and Porcelain

Durable in some ways—but categorically not in other ways—ceramic and porcelain tile win out over other types of flooring largely because of their appearance. Tile holds up very well against scratches and spills. But drop something heavy on it, and it will undoubtedly crack. Still, tile looks good and offers many design options. So many homeowners are happy to take the chance with the occasional dropped item that could crack it; one cracked tile can be replaced without disturbing the rest of the flooring.

Expert installation helps with durability. An improper underlayment or voids remaining below tiles can contribute to cracking. Lack of underlayment or poorly grouted tile, too, will introduce moisture below the tiles, swelling the subfloor and creating movement that cracks the tile.

Tile floor
The Spruce / Margot Cavin

4. Laminate

Laminate is becoming more durable as manufacturers improve its wear layer and base. That top layer—the transparent wear layer—can be amazingly resistant to scratches from dog claws and furniture. AC, or Abrasion Class, ratings tell you how durable a laminate floor will be. Ranging from AC1 (moderate) to AC5 (heavy), these numbers—usually found in the specs section of a product description—let you know how well the laminate will hold up against traffic.

Despite laminate's abrasion resistance, the moment the dishwasher leaks, a large portion of your kitchen floor just might suffer. For high-moisture environments, it is possible to buy waterproof laminate flooring. However, because waterproof laminate dispenses with all wood content, it essentially obliterates the line between laminate flooring and resilient flooring. So if durability is your priority and you are debating whether to purchase vinyl or laminate, go with vinyl.

Laminate floor
The Spruce / Margot Cavin

5. Solid Hardwood

Solid hardwood is some of the longest-lasting flooring largely because it can be restored to perfect condition. Hardwood, even the hardest, will scratch. Are the scratches and gouges part of solid hardwood flooring's character and natural beauty? It all depends on the eye of the beholder.

However, should the floor become scratched, it can be deeply sanded with a drum sander. After a pass or two with a drum sander, most solid hardwood floors can be brought back to their original smooth appearance. Then, they can be stained and sealed again to look like new.

Hardwood floor
The Spruce / Margot Cavin

6. Engineered Wood

Engineered wood flooring lasts as long as its thin veneer top lasts. Engineered wood's veneer will scratch just as much as solid hardwood, yet it cannot be sanded as frequently.

To help engineered wood last longer, use plenty of throw rugs, area rugs, and runners. Reconsider using this flooring if you have large-clawed pets. Or take precautions to protect your flooring in the key areas where the pets spend most of their time.

Engineered wood floor
The Spruce / Margot Cavin

7. Concrete

Concrete floors provide a uniform surface for commercial use and are a trendy staple of restaurants and clubs. The reason is durability. Concrete is the most durable indoor flooring. While concrete might not work for all areas of your home, it can be a worthy addition to certain spaces that will benefit from a moisture- and scratch-resistant flooring.

Concrete floors are typically stained to order and can look quite lovely. But comfort can be lacking. Unless radiant heating is installed, concrete is cold. And unless mats and area rugs are introduced, concrete will always be hard underfoot. Plus, unless those soft floor coverings encompass a significant portion of the room, the sound will reverberate.

8. Natural Stone

Natural stone is an extremely durable flooring. After all, the stone materials last for thousands of years in nature. This alone should be a vote of confidence for natural stone's ability to weather anything that comes its way.

Travertine and other natural floors vie with concrete for durability. However, some stones, such as marble, can look worn sooner than you might expect, especially if they're in a high-traffic area.