Paving contractors can be hired to install a concrete or asphalt driveway at your home, office or property. They can also repave an asphalt or concrete driveway that has been damaged by time, weather or heavy loads. When you are looking for a driveway contractor, request quotes from at least three professionals who are in good standing and have great customer reviews. They should do a site visit and write you a bid, detailing the work involved, materials needed, approximate length of the project and estimated cost.
The site for your new driveway will determine costs and the work required for your contractor. First, the ground must be excavated to lay a clear path. This means removing any trees, bushes and stumps. Next, the driveway contractor will grade the area, making a level surface for the concrete or asphalt. To ensure proper drainage, driveway contractors should install a sub-base of compacted gravel (or similar) 4 inches-8 inches deep, depending on your soil type. Then the concrete or asphalt may be poured and smoothed over the top. Your driveway contractor should recommend an appropriate sealant for your climate and advise you on curing time. When hiring a paving contractor, check out our tips for smart hiring on Thumbtack.
Because unsealed concrete is porous, it readily absorbs liquids, leading to unsightly stains and freeze-and-thaw cycle damage. For this reason, it’s important to seal concrete that will see spills or outdoor weather.
The best option for garage floors and other high-traffic areas is epoxy, which forms a hard and extremely durable surface on top of concrete. Epoxy, acrylic, and polishes are often used on indoor floors, while acrylic-resin sealers and reactive penetrating sealers are used on outdoor surfaces to repel water and salt. Locate a concrete contractor in your area to help find the best solution.
Here are four popular types of flooring you can install in your home.
Solid wood flooring:
Solid wood flooring is made up of 100% wood, and has a very natural look and feel. It can add value to your home and. It can resist wear and tear, and be sanded and refinished multiple times. However, solid wood is susceptible to humidity and water damage. When it’s humid, solid wood could expand and if there’s a flood, it will be hard for the wood to return to its natural shape.
Laminate wood flooring is an artificial product that mimics real wood flooring. Its core consists of fiberboard material, topped by an image print layer and sealed with a clear protective film. Laminate flooring is UV-resistant and less expensive than solid hardwood (approximately $3 to $7 per square foot to install). However, it also has a lower-quality feel, is unable to be sanded and refinished, has a lifespan of around 25 years and will invariably have a repeated print, according to Consumer Reports.
A laminate hardwood floor is popular in living areas like dining rooms and kitchens. Their quality has improved dramatically in recent years, making them an attractive alternative to more expensive flooring types. Laminate flooring can also be scratch-prone, easy to clean and maintain, and resistant to moisture.
Vinyl flooring is made completely out of PVC plastic and is an excellent option for moisture-prone areas like bathrooms and kitchens. It is durable, comfortable and inexpensive. Vinyl plank flooring and vinyl floor tiles can also imitate stone, tile and wood. However, it is fairly easy to spot vinyl flooring as synthetic. Install luxury vinyl plank and sheet vinyl flooring in areas where moisture is a concern.
Engineered wood flooring:
Engineered wood flooring often has a plywood-core substrate and a genuine hardwood veneer as its uppermost layer. Engineered wood floors are more impervious to humidity than regular hardwood, meaning that it’s less likely to expand, warp and buckle, according to Consumer Reports. However, it can dent easily. The best engineered hardwood has a thicker veneer, as well as a quality that allows it to be sanded down and refinished to increase its lifespan. It can be as durable as solid hardwood, and it’s often an affordable choice for many homeowners.
If you need help choosing the best flooring for your home, reach out to the top flooring companies near you.
Here are some examples of average costs:
- The national average cost to hire a concrete specialist is $2,750, but that price can vary greatly depending on the work needed to repair and resurface your concrete driveway, the square footage of the project, current costs of concrete, and regional labor rates.
- Driveway contractors average $2-$3 per square foot to smooth and resurface your asphalt driveway.
- Resurfacing concrete driveways averages $3-$10 per square foot. Pricing can depend on repairs needed, project size and geographic location.
- Nationally, the average cost for resurfacing a 500-square-foot driveway ranges from $2,000 to $5,000.
- Sealant for a concrete drive can cost $20-$80 per gallon.
- Sealant for an asphalt drive averages 25 cents per square foot.
The best finish for concrete floors depends on your personal taste. An acid stain is a bold, varied look with lots of texture and the potential for earthy tones and a natural stone appearance. A water-based stain might not last as long as an acid stain, but it gives you the choice of many different colors. Epoxy is great for high-traffic areas, kitchens, bathrooms, basements and garages. It provides a glossy, damage-resistant, non-slip coating on your concrete floors. To find out which finish is the best for your concrete floors, contact a concrete contractor near you.
If you’re ready to install new floors in your home -- or replace old flooring -- you’re probably wondering where to start. After all, there are many options to choose from: hardwood, vinyl, tile, laminate, linoleum and the list goes on. If you’re stuck on which type of flooring you should choose, start with learning the pros and cons of several popular options.
Engineered vs. Solid Wood Flooring:
Typically, engineered wood flooring is better than hardwood when it comes to humidity -- it’s less likely to expand. It’s also easier to install engineered wood, and it can be more moisture-resistant when compared to solid wood. Solid wood, on the other hand, can be more durable. Plus, you can refinish and sand it multiple times. If you have engineered wood, you’ll only be able to sand it maybe once or twice.
Hardwood vs. Laminate Wood Flooring:
Solid hardwood flooring is an authentic product — full-thickness, high-grade wood with all of its textures and imperfections. Wood floors add considerably more value to your home, with a 70% to 80% return on investment, according to Realtor.com. Unlike laminate floors, they can be repaired by sanding and refinishing.
Laminate wood flooring is much more affordable than hardwood, as it is made from composite wood, an image of hardwood’s texture and a clear protective layer. It's resistant to both sunlight and moisture. While it’s harder to repair, hardwood laminate better resists scratches.
Laminate vs. Vinyl Plank Flooring:
Laminate and vinyl floors are both synthetic products that imitate high-quality flooring materials like wood, stone and tile. Vinyl floors are made entirely from PVC plastic and may come as planks, tiles or sheets. They are inexpensive and waterproof. Vinyl plank flooring is a great choice for moist areas like bathrooms, kitchens and entryways, while laminate flooring is a good choice for living rooms, bedrooms and other non-wet areas. Vinyl flooring is also a bit easier to clean and maintain.
Laminate consists of a fiberboard core, a printed image layer and a clear protective film on top. Laminate floors are susceptible to damage if there is excess moisture. However, laminate flooring is superior to vinyl flooring in terms of its aesthetic quality, so you’ll have an easier time making your floor look like real stone, wood or ceramic. Laminate flooring is also more environmentally friendly than vinyl.
If you need more help choosing flooring for your home, reach out to the top flooring companies near you.
When installing flooring in your home, keep in mind that some materials are better suited for certain rooms while others are not. Use this guide to help you make the best decision for your home.
Best Flooring for Basements
Basement flooring should be highly resistant to moisture, as many basements are below grade. Choosing the best flooring for basement spaces depends on what they’ll be used for. For example:
- An epoxy basement floor is a durable finish for concrete.
- Vinyl basement flooring is generally waterproof or water-resistant.
- Laminate floors can be an affordable option, but they’re often not 100% waterproof.
- Ceramic tile floors are also water-resistant.
If your basement isn’t moist, carpet tiles are also an option — just make sure to use a moisture barrier.
Best Flooring for Kitchens
Kitchen flooring does more work than almost any floor in the house, so you’ll want to choose a durable floor. The following are among the best flooring types for kitchens:
- Porcelain tiles can be fashionable, moisture-resistant, and cost less than stone or wood to install.
- Vinyl flooring can withstand dents, is generally inexpensive and it’s easy to install.
- Linoleum flooring can be durable, easy to maintain and affordable.
- Wood flooring could be damaged by dropped pots and pans, furniture and pets. However, hardwood and engineered wood floors in kitchen spaces are still popular among homeowners.
Best Flooring for Bathrooms
Bathroom flooring must withstand high moisture levels while also being comfortable on bare feet. Here are some of the best flooring options for bathrooms:
- Porcelain tiles are generally comfortable, waterproof, stylish and less costly than stone or wood.
- Vinyl flooring is waterproof, cost-effective and can imitate wood convincingly.
- Natural stone can be expensive, but it’s typically hard and durable.
Reach out to a flooring installation and repair professional near you to see which type you should install in your home.
If the concrete job is 100% outdoors, a concrete contractor will not need to enter your home. However, certain jobs may require a professional to enter your home, including pouring a slab floor or laying a foundation for a fireplace or other heavy object.
If a contractor needs to see the inside of your home during the consultation, you can ask to video chat and share photos through email and text messages to reduce exposure. Put a plan in place as you talk to local concrete contractors.
Waterproof or scratch-resistant flooring is typically the best flooring for dogs. This includes:
- Vinyl: Vinyl may not add much to the value of your home, but it is resistant to scratching, stains, dents and accidents. Plus, it’s an affordable option.
- Tile: Tile is generally water-resistant and scratch-proof, and more affordable than hardwood or stone.
- Laminate: Laminate is not truly waterproof, but it is tough and often more scratch-resistant than other wood floorings.
Remember that solid hardwood is susceptible to damage, including dents, scratching, licking and accidents. But if you want to install wood floors, the best hardwood floors for dogs are typically made out of maple, Brazilian walnut or bamboo.
For more tips on choosing the best flooring for dogs, talk to one of the best flooring installation professionals near you.
The national average cost to install flooring is $5,500, with prices ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 . Your cost can be much lower or higher depending on the type of flooring you select, the square footage of the project, and other important variables like demolition and repair work needed.
Here are some examples of floor installation costs, depending on the material:
- Laminate flooring: $300 - $4,000
- Vinyl flooring: $1,000 - $4,500
- Radiant floor heating: $1,000 - $10,000
- Wood flooring: $1,500 - $10,000
- Bamboo flooring: $3,500 - $9,000
Reach out to the top flooring installation specialists near you to get an accurate, free estimate of how much it will cost to install flooring in your home.