Last updated: August 5, 2021

Welcome to our big flooring test 2021. Here we present all the floor coverings we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best floor covering for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a floor covering.




Summary

  • According to the motto "Spoilt for choice", floor coverings can give a room that certain flair and create a beautiful atmosphere. But there is no end to the range of floor coverings available.
  • In addition to conventional floor coverings such as parquet, PVC or carpet, there are now also floor coverings made of bamboo. When choosing a floor covering, aspects such as the place of installation and the use of the covering, as well as energy aspects, should be taken into account.
  • Floors made of wood, tiles and vinyl are still at the top of the popularity list, due to their long life and compatibility with underfloor heating systems.

The Best Flooring: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying flooring

What should I look for when buying flooring?

When buying a floor covering, you should make sure that the requirements of the respective room are met by the floor covering.

As with other furnishings, the choice is usually decided by personal preference and taste. The maintenance intensity or the effort involved in laying the floor covering is often disregarded.

The choice of flooring should be adapted to the type of room. (Image source: 123rf.com / 27592609)

Before buying your new floor covering, there are mainly pragmatic reasons to consider. As the beautiful Persian carpet in the bathroom is unlikely to survive for too long.

Simply put, the flooring must be suitable for the conditions of the room.

The flooring in the bathroom and in the kitchen should be water-repellent according to the requirements. If you want to have warm feet in winter, underfloor heating is usually necessary.

However, this is not compatible with every floor covering. In addition to the pragmatic and visual requirements that must be taken into account when choosing a floor covering. Care must also be taken to calculate the right amount of offcuts in order to save unnecessary costs.

The individual floor coverings differ greatly, which is why different things need to be considered for each floor covering. This is explained in more detail in the following guide.

What types of floor coverings are there?

The floor gives us the necessary support in every situation of our lives, whether we stand on the cold tile early in the morning or rest on the fluffy carpet, the floor is there.

Floor coverings have changed a lot over time, many new types have been added and the variety of options has increased, but the demands on the coverings are also growing continuously.

Floor coverings must be beautiful, easy to maintain, safe, harmless to health and energy-efficient.

Laminate

Laminate flooring is almost indistinguishable from parquet flooring in purely visual terms. Unlike parquet flooring, inexpensive laminate flooring consists of several layers.

Only the top layer is made of real wood, while the layers underneath are usually made of medium-density fibreboard. Despite its relatively low price, laminate is very robust.

This makes laminate particularly suitable for the kitchen, children's room, hallway or hobby workshop.

Another advantage of laminate flooring is that it is easy to install and is usually connected to the floor using a simple click system.

Classic carpet

The classic carpet conveys a feeling of warmth and security in living rooms, the soft surface of the carpet gives the user a pleasant feeling when walking.

Especially children and animals love to play on the soft surface. In addition, carpets are significantly more slip-resistant than smooth floor coverings.

When it comes to the material of carpets, there is a choice between natural fibres such as wool, coconut fibres or sisal and synthetic materials such as polyester or nylon.

Parquet

Parquet is only parquet if the floor has a real wood wear layer of at least 2.5 millimetres. Whether it is maple, pear tree, ash or oak is irrelevant.

Unlike laminate flooring, parquet is relatively expensive. However, parquet has a very long life. A good parquet floor can last for several generations if it is regularly sanded and sealed.

In addition, solid wood flooring has the ability to absorb and release moisture. This is why it is now often installed in bathrooms.

In addition to moisture, parquet flooring can also store heat and thus reduces energy costs.

Did you know that the thicker the wood layer of the parquet floor, the more often it can be sanded and sealed?

A good wood layer has a thickness of at least 3.5 mm, which can be sanded down a maximum of 1X. An excellent wood layer, however, has a thickness of at least 6 mm and can be sanded up to 2 times. This means that the parquet could theoretically be used for at least 30 years. Since sanding is due approximately every 15 years.

PVC/ Vinyl flooring

Vinyl floors can be found in almost every hospital, but similar to laminate floors, the design of vinyl floors can also be freely created. Vinyl floors convince with their robust surface, which is more resistant than wooden floors.

The new vinyl floors also no longer contain any harmful softeners and are therefore also suitable for allergy sufferers.

Cork

Similar to PVC, cork is able to take on any imaginable look, be it wood, stone or concrete. The advantage of cork is that it has good insulation, which makes it impermeable to water.

In addition to these properties, cork also has good impact sound insulation, which is especially important in a household with many children.

In addition to these floor coverings, there are other types, which you can find out more about in the literature.

Which floor covering is suitable for underfloor heating?

If you like it nice and warm under your feet, you either always walk around with grandma's hand-knitted socks or you equip your floor with underfloor heating. But which floor is best suited for this?

Underfloor heating tends to be suitable for any floor covering. However, there are floor coverings that have better thermal conductivity than others because of their structure. The thermal conductivity determines how well the material absorbs heat, passes it on and releases it back to the floor.

The greater the thermal conductivity, the more suitable the material is for underfloor heating. In addition: The thicker the floor covering, the longer it takes for the heat to reach the top.

This means that with thick floor coverings the temperature of the circulation water must be higher, which causes correspondingly higher heating costs.

Thermal conductivity and the thickness of the floor covering together give the thermal resistance. The lower this value, the better the heat dissipation. The maximum permitted value must not exceed 0.15 m2K/W.

Here are some examples of heat transfer resistances of floor coverings:

Floor covering Thickness in mm Thermal conductivity in W/(mK) Thermal resistance in m²K/W
Carpeting 4-15 / 0.05-0.15
Laminate 9 0.17 0.05
Ceramic tiles 13 1.05 0.012
PVC 2 0.20 0.010
Mosaic parquet 8 0.21 0.038
Strip parquet 16 0.21 0.08
Multi-layer parquet 11-14 0.09-0.12 0.09-0.15

Another influencing factor is the way the floor was laid. With floating floors, air is created between the covering and the screed, which increases the thermal resistance.

What does flooring cost?

As we have already learned, there is a wide variety of floor coverings with different materials and installation systems. Accordingly, the price per square metre can vary greatly for one and the same type of covering.

The following overview illustrates this once again.

Flooring Price per €/m²
Cork 15-50
Laminate 10-25
Parquet 30-70
PVC 15-30
Carpet 10-80
Tiles 20-130

Decision: What types of flooring are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, a distinction can be made between the following types of flooring:

  • Flooring with impact sound insulation
  • Glue down flooring
  • Flooring with click system

The different types are discussed in more detail below.

What distinguishes a floor covering with impact sound insulation and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Especially households with lively children who like to move around are recommended to use impact sound insulation.

The purpose of impact sound insulation is to reduce the volume of impact sound, but also of other noises such as moving furniture.

Advantages
  • Better living comfort
  • Positive effects on sleep
  • Positive side effect: thermal insulation
Disadvantages
  • Complex installation
  • Additional costs

The reduction of noise pollution is intended to improve the living comfort in one's own household and that of the neighbours living below one.

After all, who wants to be constantly disturbed by noise from other rooms or flats?

Similar to flooring, impact sound insulation comes in a wide range of materials.

  • Mineral wool
  • Polystyrene rigid foam
  • Wood fibre boards
  • Cork

What are the characteristics of glue-down flooring and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Glue down flooring is mostly used for vinyl, laminate or cork surfaces. This installation method is quite simple and quick.

By gluing the floor, a firm connection to the subfloor is created. As a result, there are no cavities that could increase the impact sound.

Advantages
  • Acoustically ideal
  • Easy to glue down
  • Long life
Disadvantages
  • More cost-intensive
  • Health concerns
  • Can only be walked on once the adhesive has dried

Glued floors are therefore usually quieter. However, the adhesive used can release harmful substances, which can have a negative impact on health.

What distinguishes click system flooring and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Flooring with a click system enables tiles, laminate, cork or parquet to be laid quickly.

The click system gets its name from the sound it makes when it clicks into place. Floors with a click system have a high fitting accuracy, but must be additionally fixed with adhesive in rooms with heavy traffic.

Advantages
  • Easy installation
  • High tolerance to unevenness
  • Can be walked on without waiting
Disadvantages
  • Additional impact sound insulation required
  • Not very resilient

In contrast to gluing, the click system creates a hollow space, which is why it is recommended to always use a click system with impact sound insulation. So that walking noises do not cause annoying noise later on.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate floor coverings

To find the right floor covering, you should consider the following criteria before buying:

  • Material
  • Comfort
  • Healthy living & hygiene
  • Moisture absorption

The following sections take a closer look at the individual buying criteria and show what is important when buying.

Material

This is one of the most important criteria when deciding on a floor. The choice of material is very extensive; at the beginning of this guide we have already presented the most common flooring materials in detail.

Although we have given you pragmatic reasons to make your decision, in the end other personal factors play a big role in the decision.

Comfort

Everyone describes comfort individually, for some it is a quiet noise-free house and for others it is a fluffy carpet on which they can lie down in the late evening.

Floor coverings differ greatly in texture, but so does the feeling of comfort. Therefore, we cannot tell you which floor covering promises the most comfort for you.

Healthy living & hygiene

This point is mainly aimed at people with house dust or mite allergies, as they are primarily affected.

However, the term "healthy living" also refers to impact sound, which can have a negative influence on sleep, so a floor should be chosen that allows impact sound insulation.

There are also floors that are fixed with harmful adhesives, which you should be aware of, especially if you have children in the house.

It is especially important for allergy sufferers to choose a suitable floor covering. (Picture source: 123rf.com / 68553748)

Moisture absorption

The moisture absorption of floor coverings differs from material to material. Therefore, the choice of the floor covering should also be adapted to the place of use.

There is no point in having a beautiful Persian carpet in the bathroom if it cannot absorb moisture properly.

For the bathroom, we recommend floors that absorb moisture well, such as parquet, tiles, stone or marble floors.

Facts worth knowing about flooring

What do I have to consider when cleaning/maintaining a floor covering?

Everything you need to know about cleaning and caring for all types of floor coverings can be found in our "Further reading" section.

How do I install parquet flooring correctly?

You can choose between different installation methods for parquet flooring: Nailing/screwing, floating installation and full-surface gluing.

Floating installation

This method is quite simple, in which the parquet flooring, which is equipped with tongue and groove, is simply laid on the floor without being firmly connected any further.

The stable hold is ensured by the interlocking of the wooden boards. However, additional impact sound insulation should be laid as an underlay mat, as the impact sound is very loud due to the hollow space.

Nailing and screwing

The method of nailing and screwing is an old practice that is nowadays almost only used in listed buildings.

With this method, the screws or nails are shot into the groove with a pneumatic nailer and thus sealed. However, this requires a certain expertise.

Gluing parquet flooring is very widespread and very popular.

Which flooring is suitable for allergy sufferers?

If you have the misfortune to be allergic to house dust and mites, it is not easy to live within your own four walls. However, the right floor covering can make this a little more pleasant.

When buying a floor, allergy sufferers should make sure that it has as smooth a surface as possible.

For example, marble, tile or stone flooring is recommended because it attracts little dust and is very easy to clean.

Picture source: 123rf.com / 35540000

Why you can trust me?

Reviews