The current trend in home design is to integrate wood or wood-like flooring into new homes or renovations. However, with so many options to choose from today, it can be overwhelming walking into a flooring store. So, where do you start and what should you choose? Let’s take a look at the three common types of flooring that have a wood grain look. Each one has different characteristics that may be suited for a different need.
Most people are familiar with hardwood flooring, as it’s been used for centuries in homes, but what is hardwood flooring exactly? Hardwood flooring is made up of natural wood that is usually ¾ of an inch in thickness. There are many different species of wood that you can choose from for your flooring, and since only natural wood is used in the manufacturing, that means you can sand the entire floor down and re-stain it later instead of ripping out the entire floor when needed. Depending on the type of hardwood flooring you choose, it could add value to your home because it may be considered a premium option. In our Alberta climate, we have such huge temperature and humidity changes that causes hardwood to expand and contract significantly. The cost of hardwood can be more expensive than its various alternatives and depending on the wood species you go with, it can be very susceptible to scratches and even dents. Another issue is that wood is very susceptible to water damage. Simply put, it’s a luxury and authentic item, but comes with requiring care and maintenance to stand the test of time.
Laminate flooring is a man-made product where a high-resolution image, whether wood or another material, is attached to high-density fiberboard then covered with a clear layer for durability. The benefits of laminate flooring are that it is a cost-effective option compared to hardwood flooring. A really good example is a dark walnut floor—if you were to go with a hardwood option then this would carry a pretty hefty price tag compared to laminate flooring. Installation of laminate flooring is also fairly straightforward and can be done as a DIY project. The disadvantages of laminate flooring are that some people see it as a cheaper flooring option and like hardwood flooring, it’s also very susceptible to water damage.
Luxury Vinyl Plank
Luxury vinyl plank flooring is also a man-made product that uses vinyl as its base instead of a high-density fiberboard. This product has truly gained significant market share in the last decade because of its high durability and waterproof properties. Its price point is also very attractive, and with various options of different wood looks coming out every year it’s easy to see why this has become so popular. The disadvantage of vinyl flooring is that depending on the type of flooring you choose, it will most likely need a good subfloor below it.
When choosing a floor type you need to consider what the room is used for with traffic and moisture, but also know the budget for the renovation. Talking to your contractor and your local flooring stores will be the best resource to make sure the floor you choose is be suited for you home, the use in the room and your budget.