Does wood flooring genuinely have to be wooden?

Does wood flooring genuinely have to be wooden?

There’s minor question that hardwood flooring — no matter whether mild or dark, huge plank or herringbone pattern — incorporate a really particular emotion of nostalgia for how we consider of home. Shag carpeting and linoleum may perhaps appear and go, but hardwood is below for the duration.

Or is it?

When a 2017 property owner study by the National Wood Flooring Affiliation uncovered that 66 per cent of respondents reported wooden floors would be in their dream home and 79 p.c believe it would raise the worth of their property, it would appear to be much more aspirational than fact. Considerably extra homeowners have carpet (75 per cent) and tile (58 percent) flooring than wood (52 per cent).

“Solid wooden flooring is a point of the earlier,” explained Jen Pinto, senior interior designer for Jackson Design and style and Remodeling in San Diego. “They really do not offer it off the shelf any longer, and most distributors and installers will inform you to keep away from it. As beautiful as it is, it does not maintain up nicely with humidity and about time can buckle with the normal enlargement and contraction of the content. If vital, it can be tailor made manufactured. The good detail about it is that it is meant to be sanded down and refinished so an aged reliable hardwood can be manufactured to glance like new.”

For all its elegance, hardwood is very significant maintenance, specifically if you have a great deal of foot targeted traffic, not to mention modest kids and animals, who can scratch it up and leave tough-to-thoroughly clean messes.

But if traditional hardwood is oh-so-20th century, the want for its warmth and naturalness remains. So, it is no surprise that aspiration and practicality have merged in the flooring sector for those people who enjoy the hardwood glimpse but not the charge, routine maintenance or vulnerabilities of true hardwood floors. Nowadays, any home-owner wanting to put in new floors can get a hardwood look from quite a few pretty diverse styles of products, like engineered hardwood, laminate, porcelain tiles, luxurious vinyl tile, and bamboo. The possibilities are a blend of aesthetic preferences and way of life, given that every single has professionals and downsides based on your house.

Engineered hardwood

Where standard stable hardwood is just that — all wood — engineered hardwood has a veneer of hardwood but is composed of various skinny layers of backing, generally plywood, but it could also be fiberboard or unfinished hardwood. According to Pinto, the levels insert stability to the overall strength of the material. Where by there can be challenges with solid hardwood flooring contracting and growing, engineered hardwood’s composition makes that a nonissue. It also comes with diverse finishes. Urethane and oil finishes are extremely preferred, explained Pinto.

Engineered hardwood flooring come with a selection of finishes, this sort of as urethane, which is optimum for weighty use, and an oil end, which has a purely natural matte sense.

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“Urethane is wonderful for hefty use and does hold up pretty nicely with humidity,” she defined. “Oil finishes are lovely and have a incredibly natural matte really feel to them. It is much additional high priced, and it does demand some maintenance due to the fact it will need to be re-oiled each and every handful of many years. But if it scratches, it can be buffed out rather properly with the oil the following time it gets touched up, reasonably conveniently.”

But there is a disadvantage to engineered hardwood: dampness exposure. You really don’t want to get it moist. That would make it a bad candidate for bogs, of course, but also for locations where by dampness can be tracked in from outside the house.


Like engineered hardwood, laminate planks are layered elements, but alternatively of a wood leading layer, it has a superior-definition photographic wooden-seem layer, full with graining, and sits above a moisture-resistant, stabilizing foundation layer topped by a main of superior-density fiberboard, all concluded in resin.

Laminate flooring comes in a wide variety of textures and finishes. It can be clean to resemble polished woods, embossed with a pressed sample to add a wooden grain texture, or hand-scraped for an antique wooden seem. It can also have a shiny large gloss or mattelike small gloss, which receives better marks for hiding little scratches.

But there is no refinishing laminate. If any destruction takes place, the plank wants to be replaced.

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 water-resistant. Unlike engineered wooden, although, it is chilly and tough on bare ft.

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Porcelain tile

Porcelain tile planks can resemble wood, even with a textured grain. They come in a assortment of kinds, colors, and types — from modern to rustic. They’re scratch-resistant, stain-resistant and h2o-resistant.

“They’re the most durable,” explained George Larson, product sales associate at Rayo Wholesale Floor Covering Source. “You can put it in each and every area, together with the rest room, and not fear.”

When Pinto was doing the job with a consumer with younger boys on a new building dwelling, the couple went into the venture with a deal for engineered wood flooring. But immediately after acknowledging that they ended up heading to put in a huge 3-panel doorway in the living place that would open to the backyard and its pool, Pinto had a heart-to-heart with them.

If pool parties are in your future, porcelain tile's water-resistant qualities make it an attractive option.

If pool get-togethers are in your future, porcelain tile’s h2o-resistant traits make it an eye-catching alternative.

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“You’re attempting to get this indoor-outside area that looks really flawless and clean, but if you’re heading to have a bunch of folks above here for a pool social gathering, do you genuinely want all all those soaked ft monitoring water in from the pool on your wooden ground?”

The obstacle was weighing the practicality of the porcelain tile in opposition to the much more reliable glimpse of the engineered wood, recognizing that tile is chilly and difficult and not as comfortable on bare ft. The couple did pick the tile — and Pinto added radiant floor heating together with place rugs in the residing place and kitchen to heat up the place.

Luxury vinyl

Vinyl wooden-appear planks have come a prolonged way, like wooden-look porcelain tile. Pinto claimed luxury vinyl appears and feels extra like serious wooden than porcelain but has some of the exact characteristics of tile in the sense that it is maintenance-cost-free. It won’t stain, it’s humidity-resistant and it’s considerably softer to walk on than tile, but it could continue to potentially scratch supplied the ideal predicament.

“If a pet digs at it or a sharp object is dragged versus the floor with enough strain, then the vinyl can scratch, and then at that point that plank will need to have to be replaced,” she mentioned.

Budgetwise, she added that it is a terrific substitute to wooden. And it holds up excellent with kids and pets, also.

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

Luxurious vinyl plank flooring has enhanced a terrific offer and is deemed a budget-pleasant selection that seems like real wooden and is softer underfoot than tile.

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Larson is a lover of this product. “It’s fewer money to set up. It is a lot more sturdy than other folks. Designers like it mainly because due to the fact it is a water-resistant ground, they don’t have to chop up the flooring all through the property with tile in the kitchen area and loos, wood floors in residing rooms, and carpet in bedrooms. You can set it in every room and not worry. With no a question we market more luxury vinyl plank than nearly anything else appropriate now.”

But Pinto did place out some disadvantages, together with issues their team has experienced with installation of the product more than time, and with it holding up without the need of warping in excessive temperature fluctuations. And if a space is quite open up to sunlight, like an complete wall of glass, and it will get blasted with daylight for lengthy durations of time with no any windowcovering safety, then, she mentioned, the item could most likely buckle and warp.


Feel of bamboo as your eco-pleasant alternative. It has a little bit in prevalent with engineered wood in that, as a grass, it is also engineered, with strands of grass shredded, then pressed together using heat and glue to type floorboards. According to HGTV, there are three sorts of bamboo floors: horizontal, in which strips are layered and pressed collectively with those people quintessential bamboo knuckles in the graining vertical, which provides a cleaner search thanks to the bamboo strips remaining turned sideways to be glued together and woven or stranded, in which shredded strands of the grass are compressed with resin. They make a really hard, hardwood-like surface area and are the most long lasting wide variety of the a few.

“It’s a tough substance, and normally much more water resistant than hardwoods, but not water resistant like porcelain or luxurious vinyl,” Pinto defined. “It is pet helpful and fairly simple to maintain since you really don’t require to seal it. Like hardwood, you need to clean up up spilled h2o or liquid because it is not water resistant and is much more prone to moisture.

“It’s an option to take into account if somebody desires some thing additional normal or earth-welcoming or needs to realize a additional fashionable/modern look in their house. But a lot of clientele want one thing much more waterproof and adaptable so it’s not one thing we get as generally as the other styles of flooring we reviewed. If a home owner does want to purchase bamboo flooring, they need to make sure they are acquiring it from a dependable shop/producer so they can guarantee high-quality manage and make absolutely sure they are paying for legitimate bamboo flooring.”

Components to consider

Deciding on between these diverse forms of faux hardwood could seem overpowering. A excellent designer or salesperson, explained Larson, need to ask you all the correct thoughts about your life-style and budget to help information you to the most effective choice for your household. But Pinto has some ideas for owners to think about:

Luxury vinyl plank flooring is seen in a long vertical view from the front door, stretching to the kitchen.

Luxurious vinyl plank is their prime seller right now, explained George Larson of Rayo Wholesale Floor Covering Source. “You can place it in just about every home and not fret.” It does have some don difficulties in intense heat.

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  • Glance at the sheen. Anything at all super-shiny will reveals any scratches or imperfections.
  • If you want your house to appear even larger, take into consideration broader planks when thinking of strong or engineered hardwood. Pinto claims that appear also can make a house additional sophisticated.
  • Look at the main of an engineered hardwood plank to make positive it’s a pleasant high quality plywood core, as opposed to MDF or particleboard. That will support strengthen the integrity and energy of the veneer on best.
  • Make sure you get a nice urethane finish on engineered hardwood. She prefers urethane to an oiled end for maintenance factors.
  • For porcelain tiles, stay concerning a 6- or 7-inch-broad plank — and amongst 36 and 48 inches in duration. At the time they are set up, individuals proportions will make the planks search more practical. Also, Pinto prefers a bit of texture on them, not just for the seem but mainly because it would make it nicer to wander on the floor and aids prevent slipping.
  • If you install luxurious vinyl, be sure to maintain the windows lined when the sunshine is shining into the area to steer clear of fading and warping. Also, when picking out a vendor, search at the back of the plank to be sure that the underlayment is previously hooked up, to make set up much easier and fewer high-priced. Pinto also recommends finding a vinyl manufacturer that incorporates a stone main, as opposed to a plastic or distinct kind of vinyl main. The stone aids make the product far more structurally safe, specifically when there are temperature fluctuations that could in any other case induce the vinyl to warp or buckle.

Golden is a San Diego freelance writer and blogger.