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Feb 15

How to Determine the Right Floor for You

Hardwood flooring is trendy, versatile and alluring. There are many different types of hardwood floors from solid and engineered hardwood flooring to vinyl, laminate and bamboo. Each style of hardwood has unique uses and characteristics. Deciding what type of flooring works best for you depend on the style of your home, what level of foot traffic you get and your budget.

Solid Hardwood

Solid hardwood flooring is wood that can be sanded and refinished repeatedly. It is made from one solid piece of lumber and is known for its durability. It can last hundreds of years if it is cared for properly. Hardwood floors can be made of several different types of wood from pine and oak to cherry wood and walnut. This type of flooring requires upkeep and routine maintenance. The solid hardwood is not as kid-friendly as other types of hardwood flooring. It is not recommended for those with pets unless you are meticulous people and are always on top of cleaning and maintaining the floors. If the finish is not thick enough hardwood can be scratched easily, especially the softer woods. Water can damage solid hardwood and cannot be left on the floor for long periods of time so this type of flooring is not recommended for the kitchen or bathroom that sees a lot of water on the floor.

Engineered Hardwood

Engineered hardwood flooring is more kid and pet-friendly than the solid hardwood. The engineered wood is made of three plies or sheets that are cross laminated together to form planks. This type of flooring has cheaper wood as the base and the more expensive higher quality wood is used as the top layer of the wood pieces. Most engineered wood flooring is prefinished and ready to install. Engineered hardwood flooring offers the beauty and elegance of solid wood without the high price. The floor is easier to take care of and more family friendly. Some engineered wood floors can be refinished, but most of the time when they wear down they are replaced. Because it is laminated with a thick coating it can withstand water and moisture better so this style of hardwood is more moisture resistant and a better choice for the bathroom and kitchen areas that tend to have water readily accessible.

Vinyl Plank Flooring

Vinyl plank flooring is a relatively new type of floor that has a look of hardwood, but the vinyl does not require the upkeep that hardwood requires. It is durable and less expensive than other types of hardwood flooring. There is vinyl plank flooring that mimics wood such as hickory, oak, chestnut, pine and cherry. It is family friendly because it resists abrasions and water damage. Vinyl plank flooring typically clicks together for installation. This flooring also maintains a warmer temperature and does not feel as cold to the touch or to tired feet in the morning. Vinyl is extremely durable as long as it is not penetrated with sharp objects. If something is dropped on a vinyl floor it typically will not break or chip the floor like it will with hardwood and some laminates.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is available in wood style. Wood is the most popular look for laminate floors. Laminate comes in many different finishes and thicknesses. Beveled laminate floor is when the edge of the plank does not remain level. The beveled look more closely imitates real wood floors. Laminate flooring comes in different types of finishes from matte to high gloss and there are also different designs and textures. The price for laminate is often lower than solid or engineered wood flooring and if it is treated laminate it is family friendly and requires less maintenance than traditional “real wood” floors. Laminate is a popular choice in the residential building industry because it acts somewhat like vinyl, but it is closely related to the hardwood family.

Bamboo

Bamboo flooring comes in solid wood form, engineered bamboo flooring and laminate bamboo flooring styles. The solid bamboo flooring is distinctive. Because bamboo is a grass rather than a tree it has aesthetics and characteristics that clearly set it apart from wood flooring. Bamboo has many benefits besides being environmentally friendly it is strong, resilient as well as moisture and stain resistant. This kind of flooring material is easily accessible because the bamboo replenishes and grows faster than trees so it is not frowned upon as much by environmentalists. This type of floor especially the engineered bamboo flooring is another family-friendly choice as long as it is cared for properly.

If you are looking for kid-friendly, family-friendly flooring choices then engineered hardwood flooring, vinyl planks, laminate and engineered bamboo flooring are the best choices for the needs of family homes. Solid hardwood flooring, laminate and solid bamboo flooring is the best choice for those who want a more elegant look and homes that do not have as much traffic. Older people or those with a higher budget who want a more “showy” style of flooring can benefit from solid hardwood, solid bamboo and other more expensive wood flooring choices. The best rule of thumb when choosing a floor for your home is to take into consideration the climate and living circumstances including foot traffic and other conditions such as indoor pets and the number of people going in and out of the home. Once you have determined the living conditions then you can explore options that will fit into the budget you have to work with and the “look” or style of decor you are seeking.

 

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