Flooring is an often-overlooked part of home renovation, yet it has just as much impact on style and function as paint colors or furniture. It’s also a big investment and, when done right, can last decades. When choosing new floors, homeowners must weigh their personal aesthetic with the room’s purpose and the occupants’ lifestyle.

Whether you have kids, pets or just a lot of activity at home, a floor should be durable and easy to clean. It should also resist moisture and look good long after it’s installed. The most popular flooring types for active households include natural stone, hardwood, laminate and tile.

Wood flooring is popular in many different styles, from traditional oak or maple planks to rustic knotty pine or modern reclaimed wood. Hardwood is warm and comfortable underfoot and is easily cleaned and sanitized. It is a great choice for busy family rooms or bedrooms and can be refinished to refresh its appearance.

Laminate is an affordable option that looks like wood, tile or stone and requires less maintenance. It’s available in grain styles to resemble pine, cherry, oak and maple as well as slate, marble and travertine. Scratch-resistant, waterproof and heated options are also available.

Tile is an excellent choice for kitchens, bathrooms and mudrooms. It’s stain resistant, withstands heavy traffic and is easy to clean. Tile is also available in a variety of textures, hues and finishes to fit any aesthetic. Glazed porcelain, for example, is versatile enough to stand up to a modern kitchen but can be used in a more traditional space, too.

A growing trend in homes today is luxury vinyl tile (LVT), which is synthetic and can mimic the look of tile, stone or slate. It’s waterproof and simple to install, so no grout sealing is required. Many LVT products are designed to resist moisture and the rigours of daily life, making them a good choice for busy households with children and pets.

Other durable flooring options for active households include linoleum, cork and concrete. Linoleum is a resilient and antimicrobial material that’s also biodegradable and comes in a range of patterns and colours, including bold geometric prints. Cork is an eco-friendly flooring choice that’s warm underfoot and muffles sound, but it’s also abrasive and may not be the best choice for families with young children. Concrete is a versatile and stylish option that can be stained or polished to create a unique design, while poured concrete is an affordable alternative that’s ideal for basements or concrete slabs in high-rise buildings.