5 of the toughest DIY living room flooring options

5 of the toughest DIY living room flooring options

Living room flooring has to be tough enough to handle all the foot and paw traffic and water that Wisconsinites track in (both two-legged and four-legged). It also has to be beautiful enough to impress guests and host many important family gatherings. These living room floors check off both boxes, plus are a fairly easy do-it-yourself project for handy homeowners.

Engineered wood

Engineered wood floors are a beautiful wood floor that is manufactured in layers. The bottom layers are a solid core that make it a good candidate for almost any room, including basements and main living areas. The top layer is solid wood; some engineered wood floors are produced with a thick top layer so it can be sanded down and refinished.

These wood floors are incredibly durable, though they are susceptible to water damage if water is left standing on the floor. Engineered wood floors are long-lasting and a good candidate for open concept living spaces. If installing in an open concept area with a kitchen, homeowners should ask flooring pros about water-resistant engineered wood floors that are less susceptible to water damage.

Engineered wood floors come in a variety of colors and styles that can match with almost any décor. The floors come in traditional narrow and modern wide planks in dark and light tones.

For do-it-yourselfers, some engineered wood floors are manufactured in products that are fairly easy to install. These engineered wood floors do come with some instructions that ensure a smooth installation. (Always ask a flooring pro for additional manufacturer recommendations to avoid voiding the warranty.)

Luxury vinyl plank

Luxury vinyl plank floors are a living room flooring option that offers all the beauty of wood without worry about water damage. These floors closely resemble wood floors and are durable enough to withstand water puddles and heavy foot (and paw) traffic.

In open concept homes, LVP floors are ideal because they can be installed in a living room, dining room, and kitchen. Luxury vinyl plank flooring is water-resistant and easy-to-clean, perfect for a busy household.

LVP floors come in products that are easy-to-install, making them a popular choice for do-it-yourselfers. The floors should be brought into the space before installation and need to be installed over a level subfloor. (Use these other luxury vinyl plank floor installation tips for a quality project.)


Laminate floors have evolved over the years into a durable and fashionable living room flooring option. These floors are constructed in layers that make it extremely tough while still adding the warmth of wood to a space.

Modern laminate floors come in water-resistant products that make it suitable for open-concept homes. These floors only require a regular sweep and dry mop to keep theme looking new.

These floors are a top choice for do-it-yourselfers because some laminate floors are typically installed as a floating floor without adhesive. (Floating floors should be installed with an expansion gap to avoid any damage from cupping.) Many laminate floors are manufactured to snap together and require few tools during installation.

Porcelain & ceramic tile

Tile may not be the first living room flooring that comes to mind, but it is a great option for Wisconsin homes with radiant underfloor heating. These floors naturally conduct heat and cool so it feels very comfortable underfoot.

Many tile floors come in styles that resemble wood or stone tile. If homeowners are worried about the grout staining, the tile can be installed with a dark grout that hides dirt and spills. These living room floors are fairly easy to clean and maintain, requiring only a regular sweep and occasional mop. Because it is durable and easy-to-maintain, tile floors are an ideal living room flooring for open concept homes and busy households.

Tile flooring is fairly easy-to-install, requiring grout, tools, and spacers. The subfloor should be prepped before installation and additional subflooring may need to be installed. Typically, floors can be installed with a sealer that eliminates any need for additional maintenance.

Sheet vinyl

Sheet vinyl is one of the most durable floors on the market. It can handle all the foot and paw traffic and water that gets tracked in by a busy household. Unlike tile, sheet vinyl is soft underfoot.

These stylish vinyl floors also come in a variety of styles and can even resemble wood. The installation does require adhesive and may be more complicated than a floating floor. It is easy to maintain with a regular sweep and occasional mop. Sheet vinyl are one of the most water-resistant floors available, especially because it is not installed with seams.