Choose the Best Flooring Option for Your OBX Beach House

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The right flooring in your home can help you capitalize on both style, function, and long-term usage of your space. Whether you are constructing a new beach house of your dreams, renovating a vacation rental property, or updating your home’s kitchen or bathroom, the right flooring option can breathe new life into your home.

Fortunately, there is a wide range of high-quality flooring products available that are specifically designed to thrive in an oceanside environment like the Outer Banks. That’s why our design-build construction services specialize in helping you discover the right building materials and flooring options for your Outer Banks beach house that combine functionality, longevity, and your unique, coastal design aesthetic.

What is the Best Flooring Option for a Beach House?

One common question our clients often ask us is, “What flooring option will work best for our beach home?”. Our extensive experience has identified some of the best flooring options that meet the unique demands of beachfront living on the Outer Banks.

We consistently recommend homeowners install ceramic and porcelain tile flooring, luxury vinyl plank (LVP), luxury vinyl tile (LVT), and concrete or stone flooring. Each of these flooring options is able to withstand high humidity levels, sand infiltration, and heavy foot traffic.

Flooring Considerations for Outer Banks Homes

If you want to choose materials for your Outer Banks beach home that will last for years to come there are some flooring considerations you will want to prioritize. While there are various flooring options available, it’s essential to select the most suitable one for each part of your home.

Here are 5 factors to consider if you want to make an informed decision about the best flooring options for your property.

#1: Foot Traffic Durability

Beach houses often experience heavy foot traffic, especially during peak seasons. Choosing a flooring type that can endure the demands of constant use and retain its appearance is vital especially if your Outer Banks home is a vacation rental property.

With numerous guests, children, and even pets walking on the floors regularly, you’ll need flooring options that can withstand heavy use and still maintain their appearance. Look for materials that are known for their durability, and resistance to scuffs, scratches, and general wear and tear, to ensure that your floors can handle the demands of a busy property.

#2: Location in Your Home

The location in your home where you are installing flooring will help you consider how much foot traffic you can expect to have in each area. From here you can decide the type of flooring each space in your house requires.

Different areas of your beach house with have different functions and uses compared to others.  If you are renovating your home, our design-remodel process can help you identify problem areas and suggest solutions to prevent them from happening in the future. If new flooring is ever an option you should consider the function and traffic of each space.

For example, high-traffic areas like entryways and kitchens may require more moisture-resistant and easy-to-clean options, while bedrooms may benefit from carpets. Hopefully, we all can agree that carpeting in the bathroom is not the best idea, and waterproof options like tile and luxury vinyl are a much more hygienic option!

#3: Coastal Style

Incorporating a coastal style is another design and aesthetic choice you will want to consider with your home’s flooring options. You may want to capture the essence of coastal living with natural materials, light and airy colors, weather and distressed finishes, or beach-inspired patterns.

Coastal design tile accents in an Outer Banks beach house custom home build

#4: Water and Sand Resistance

It is important to select flooring options for Outer Banks homes that can effectively withstand the challenges of sand and water. Moisture-resistant materials that can handle abrasive textures and corrosive elements ensure the integrity and longevity of your beach home’s floors.

Sand has a way of finding its way into every nook and cranny, and salty water can leave behind damaging residue, especially if flooring materials are not properly sealed and coated for protection.

#5: Cleaning and Maintenance

When selecting flooring materials for your beach house, you will also want to consider the cleaning and maintenance requirements associated with each option. Some flooring materials, like natural hardwoods, may require periodic sealing and finishing treatments to enhance their longevity and protect them from moisture, stains, or sun damage which is a reason why we rarely recommend them for beach homes.

You may also want to opt for stain-resistant flooring materials that make it easier to clean spills and prevent permanent staining. Choosing flooring that is easy to clean requires less effort to maintain and will help easily keep your beach house looking pristine.

The Top Beach House Flooring Options

When it comes to flooring options for your Outer Banks beach house, several excellent choices offer durability, moisture resistance, and aesthetic appeal depending on the area of your home you are installing them in.

Consider the following top flooring options for your coastal home.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Engineered hardwood flooring is an ideal choice for beach houses as it provides the timeless beauty of real wood while offering enhanced durability and moisture resistance. The flooring’s layered construction is resistant to changes in moisture and humidity.

The material prevents floors from warping, making the material suitable for coastal environments like the Outer Banks. The stability of the floor’s materials makes it suitable for both upper-level and ground-level installations.

Engineered hardwood floors give the appearance of a real wood finish in this Outer Banks custom sound side home.

You get the authentic look and feel of wood with engineered hardwood floors. The top layer is made of natural, real wood in a variety of species, finishes, and colors. Engineered hardwood flooring can even be refinished to expand its lifespan multiple times depending on the thickness of the top layer.

Natural Bamboo Hardwood Flooring

Natural bamboo hardwood is an environmentally-friendly flooring option that is a great choice for beach house floors. The moisture-resistant material grows fast and is sustainably harvested.

Bamboo flooring also has distinct grain patterns with natural colors that complement coastal designs and are surprisingly practical and scratch-resistant. High-quality and well-manufactured bamboo flooring when properly installed will last in your home for many years to come.

Ceramic or Porcelain Tile Flooring

Ceramic or porcelain tile flooring is a popular choice for beach houses on the Outer Banks because of its exceptional water and sand resistance. The tile is inherently waterproof and works well in bathrooms, kitchens, and entryways. The non-porous surface absorbs water which makes sand and stain clean-up easy.

Ceramic tile flooring in the bathroom of an Outer Banks custom home construction
Ceramic tile floors in the bathroom of a beach house in Southern Shores.

Tile is extremely customizable too. From natural stone to vibrant patterns and colors, you can find tiles that perfectly complement your space.

Not to mention, tile has natural cooling properties. Nothing feels better than walking on cool tile floors after burning your feet in the hot sand.

Luxury Vinyl Plank or Tile Flooring

Luxury vinyl plank (LVP) or tile (LVT) flooring is one of the most versatile and cost-effective flooring options for beach homes. If you want elegant natural stone or the look of authentic hardwood at a fraction of the cost, luxury vinyl is for you.

Luxury vinyl is an alternative to natural stone and wood. You can choose from various colors, textures, and finishes, that require simple maintenance and repel stains.

bathtub south nags head outer banks rental home
Moisture-resistant luxury vinyl tile (LVT) flooring in a beach house rental in South Nags Head

LVP and LVT are designed with 100% waterproofing in mind. Unlike laminate flooring that is made of and is suitable for areas with water exposure like bathrooms and kitchens. The durable construction of the material makes the flooring incredibly low-maintenance with simple cleaning routines.

Many vacation rental property owners opt for luxury vinyl flooring not only for its high-end aesthetic appeal and resiliency but because of its budget-friendly costs. Luxury vinyl floorings also come with a light commercial warranty which means they hold up very well to high traffic areas.

Outer Banks custom kitchen design with island and luxury vinyl plank floors (LVP)
Luxury Vinyl Plank Floors from the Melton Ranch Remodel.

Low Pile or Commercial Grade Carpet

Carpeting is a popular choice for many homes, but in some highly-trafficked places like the main area or entryway of a beach house, they are usually a no-go! When we do recommend carpet we encourage homeowners to opt for a low pile or commercial-grade carpet that will hold up a lot better to traffic and with sand.

Natural Stone or Concrete Tile

Natural stone or concrete flooring is another durable option that adds a modern and sleek touch to beach houses. Concrete or stone flooring is incredibly durable and low maintenance. The flooring requires minimal maintenance and can withstand spills and water when sealed correctly.

Concrete and stone tile flooring is a contemporary design choice that you can customize in a variety of colors, patterns, and finishes. You can polish, hone, and texturize stone and concrete flooring for an uneven or glossy appearance.

Stone tile floors keep this bathroom cool and water-resistant.

Many consider concrete or stone flooring for their beach houses in sub-grade or basement areas. They are also popular in kitchens and bathrooms. You may want to add carpets or rugs to give some cushioning to these areas.

Floor Maintenance and Cleaning Tips for OBX Homes

Regardless of where you live or where you install new flooring in your home, you can preserve the longevity of your flooring. For Outer Banks homes proper flooring maintenance and regular cleaning are essential to keep your floors in excellent condition.

Depending on the type of flooring you install periodic maintenance may be required especially for hardwood floors that may need refinishing or protective coatings. You can ensure that your floors remain in excellent condition, and withstand the challenges of beach living by

  • Regularly sweeping and vacuuming
  • Using rugs and mats
  • Following Flooring Manufacturer Guidelines

Selecting the right flooring for your custom Outer Banks home build or remodeling project is crucial for creating a functional, durable, and aesthetically pleasing space. We can help you weigh factors such as foot traffic durability, water and sand resistance, cleaning and maintenance requirements, and coastal style to help you make informed decisions about the flooring options that best suit your needs.

Whether you choose engineered hardwood, ceramic or porcelain tile, luxury vinyl plank, laminate, bamboo, or concrete and stone, each option offers unique benefits that can withstand the challenges of the coastal environment. By following proper floor maintenance and cleaning practices, you can ensure that your floors remain in optimal condition, providing long-lasting beauty and enjoyment for years to come.

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