Does wood flooring really have to be wood?

Greg Stevens

There’s minor doubt that hardwood flooring — regardless of whether gentle or dark, extensive plank or herringbone pattern — insert a distinct experience of nostalgia for how we feel of property. Shag carpeting and linoleum could appear and go, but hardwood is right here for the period.

Or is it?

While a 2017 home owner study by the National Wood Flooring Association located that 66 per cent of respondents mentioned wooden floors would be in their dream property and 79 p.c consider it would maximize the value of their property, it would surface to be a lot more aspirational than reality. A lot of much more home owners have carpet (75 per cent) and tile flooring (58 per cent) than wood (52 per cent).

“Solid wooden flooring is a issue of the previous,” reported Jen Pinto, senior inside designer for Jackson Structure & Remodeling in San Diego. “They really do not provide it off the shelf any longer, and most sellers and installers will tell you to remain away from it. As beautiful as it is, it does not maintain up effectively with moisture and about time can buckle with the all-natural growth and contraction of the materials. If needed, it can be custom made-created. The pleasant factor about it is that it is intended to be sanded down and refinished, so an outdated good hardwood can be produced to look like new.”

For all its elegance, hardwood is quite significant-upkeep, specially if you have a whole lot of foot targeted visitors, not to mention young small children and animals, who can scratch it up and go away tough-to-clear messes.

But if regular hardwood is oh-so-20th century, the wish for its heat and naturalness remains. So it is no shock that aspiration and practicality have merged in the flooring marketplace for all those who adore the hardwood seem but not the price tag, maintenance or vulnerabilities of accurate hardwood flooring.

Now, any property owner on the lookout to put in new flooring can get a hardwood glimpse from quite a few extremely different styles of items, such as engineered hardwood, laminate, porcelain tile, luxury vinyl tile and bamboo. Every single has pros and downsides based mostly on your family.

Engineered hardwood

A kitchen in a newly designed home has engineered hardwood floors in a light tone.

Engineered hardwood flooring arrive with a assortment of finishes, these as urethane, which is exceptional for major use, and an oil finish, which has a normal matte come to feel.

(Jackson Style and design & Remodeling)

Where by conventional sound hardwood is just that — all wooden — engineered hardwood has a veneer of hardwood but is composed of various slender levels of backing, typically plywood, but it also could be fiberboard or unfinished hardwood. In accordance to Pinto, the layers add stability to the total power of the material.

There can be troubles with good hardwood floors contracting and growing, but engineered hardwood’s composition would make that a non-issue. It also comes with diverse finishes. Urethane and oil finishes are quite preferred, Pinto stated.

“Urethane is excellent for hefty use and does keep up fairly properly with dampness,” she stated. “Oil finishes are lovely and have a pretty organic matte feel to them. It is a great deal extra highly-priced, and it does require some routine maintenance since it will will need to be re-oiled every single couple several years. But if it scratches, it can be buffed out really perfectly with the oil the next time it receives touched up.”

But there is a disadvantage to engineered hardwood: humidity publicity. You really do not want to get it wet. That helps make it a lousy prospect for bogs and for regions where by dampness can be tracked in from outside the house.


Like engineered hardwood, laminate planks are layered components, but alternatively of a wood prime layer, it has a significant-definition photographic wooden-search layer, finish with graining, and sits previously mentioned a humidity-resistant, stabilizing base layer topped by a core of higher-density fiberboard, all completed in resin.

Laminate flooring comes in a selection of textures and finishes. It can be sleek to resemble polished woods, embossed with a pressed sample to insert a wood-grain texture or hand-scraped for an antique wooden search. It also can have a shiny superior gloss or matte-like minimal gloss, which receives better marks for hiding tiny scratches.

But there’s no refinishing laminate. If any injury occurs, the plank requirements to be replaced.

Porcelain tile

Porcelain tile is prized for its practicality and is scratch-resistant, stain-resistant and water-resistant.

Porcelain tile is prized for its practicality and is scratch-resistant, stain-resistant and drinking water-resistant. Contrary to engineered wood, even though, it is cold and challenging on bare feet.

(Jackson Layout & Remodeling)

Porcelain tile planks can resemble wooden, even with a textured grain. They arrive in a assortment of kinds, hues and types — from modern to rustic. They are scratch-resistant, stain-resistant and h2o-resistant.

“They’re the most long lasting,” claimed George Larson, a profits affiliate at Santee-based Rayo Wholesale Ground Masking Provide. “You can place it in every single area, which includes the rest room, and not fret.”

Luxurious vinyl

Luxury vinyl flooring is considered a budget-friendly option that looks like real wood and is softer underfoot than tile.

Luxury vinyl plank flooring is considered a budget-friendly solution that appears to be like like true wooden and is softer underfoot than tile.

(Jackson Style and design & Transforming)

Vinyl wood-glance planks have come a extensive way, like wooden-seem porcelain tile. Pinto mentioned luxurious vinyl looks and feels more like authentic wood than porcelain but has some of the similar qualities of tile in the perception that it is routine maintenance-absolutely free. It will not stain, it’s moisture-resistant and it is considerably softer to walk on than tile, but it could scratch specified the suitable situation.

“If a pet digs at it or a sharp object is dragged from the floor with more than enough force, then the vinyl can scratch and … that plank will will need to be changed,” she explained.

Budgetwise, it is a good option to wood, she additional, and it retains up perfectly with young children and pets.

Larson is a fan of luxurious vinyl: “It’s fewer income to set up. It’s a lot more tough than other individuals. Designers like it simply because, considering that it is a water resistant flooring, they do not have to chop up the floor through the property with tile in the kitchen and loos, wooden flooring in living rooms and carpet in bedrooms. You can put it in every area and not fear. With out a question we provide more luxury vinyl plank than something else correct now.”

But Pinto pointed out some downsides, such as challenges with it holding up with out warping in extreme temperature fluctuations. And if a house gets daylight for long periods with out any window covering, the solution could buckle and warp.


Think of bamboo as your eco-pleasant option. It has a little bit in common with engineered wood in that, as a grass, it’s also engineered, with strands of grass shredded, then pressed together working with warmth and glue to kind floorboards.

According to HGTV, there are a few styles of bamboo flooring: horizontal, in which strips are layered and pressed collectively with those quintessential bamboo knuckles in the graining vertical, which offers a cleaner glance thanks to the bamboo strips being turned sideways to be glued jointly and woven or stranded, in which shredded strands of the grass are compressed with resin. They produce a hardwood-like area and are the most resilient range of the three.

“It’s a tough substance and normally far more waterproof than hardwoods, but not water-proof like porcelain or luxury vinyl,” Pinto reported. “It is pet-friendly and rather uncomplicated to keep due to the fact you do not require to seal it. Like hardwood, you will need to thoroughly clean up spilled h2o or liquid because it’s not water-proof and is extra inclined to dampness.

“It’s an possibility to consider if an individual would like a little something more pure or earth-welcoming or wishes to reach a more present day/modern glance in their house. But numerous customers want something additional water-proof and adaptable, so it is not some thing we order as often as the other sorts of flooring we discussed.

“If a property owner does want to invest in bamboo flooring, they need to make positive they are buying it from a reputable retail store/producer so they can make sure quality command and make positive they are getting genuine bamboo flooring.”

Things to think about

Deciding upon among these diverse kinds of fake hardwood might feel overwhelming. A fantastic designer or salesperson need to inquire you all the ideal inquiries about your life style and funds to assist tutorial you to the best decision for your home, Larson reported.

But Pinto has some views for householders to take into account:

Luxury vinyl plank is the top seller right now at Rayo Wholesale Floor Covering Supply.

Luxury vinyl plank is the top seller ideal now at Rayo Wholesale Ground Covering Provide, according to sales associate George Larson. “You can set it in each space and not be concerned,” he claims.

(Jackson Design and style & Reworking)

  • Look at the sheen. Anything super-shiny will reveal any scratches or imperfections.
  • If you want your area to search greater, take into account wider planks when contemplating reliable or engineered hardwood. Pinto suggests that glimpse also makes a area more stylish.
  • Seem at the core of an engineered hardwood plank to make guaranteed it’s a pleasant-quality plywood, as opposed to MDF or particleboard. That will enable boost the integrity and energy of the veneer on leading.
  • Make absolutely sure you get a nice urethane finish on engineered hardwood. She prefers urethane to an oiled end for servicing reasons.
  • For porcelain tiles, remain among a 6- or 7-inch-huge plank and in between 36 and 48 inches in length. The moment they are installed, those dimensions will make the planks search much more reasonable. Also, Pinto prefers a little bit of texture on them, not just for the search but because it would make it nicer to stroll on the ground and helps avoid slipping.
  • If you put in luxurious vinyl, be absolutely sure to hold the home windows protected when the sunshine is shining into the place to steer clear of fading and warping. Also, when deciding on a vendor, glance at the back of the plank to be sure the underlayment is now connected to make set up much easier and a lot less highly-priced. Pinto also recommends getting a vinyl manufacturer that incorporates a stone main, as opposed to a plastic or distinct type of vinyl core. The stone can help make the solution much more structurally secure, primarily when there are temperature fluctuations that could normally cause the vinyl to warp or buckle. ◆

Next Post

The Best Memorial Day Furniture Sales for 2022

Popular Mechanics; Courtesy Christopher Knight Home Summer’s unofficial kickoff may be in the rearview mirror, but several major retailers — including Wayfair, Amazon, and Walmart — still have plenty of fantastic deals on indoor and outdoor furniture. While some pieces from Memorial Day furniture sales may be sold out, prices […]
The Best Memorial Day Furniture Sales for 2022

You May Like