The Differences in Wood Flooring

May 27, 2018

Hardwood Flooring... 

is made from solid, natural wood and can be purchased in a big variety of natural wood species.  Contemporary hardwood is typically made with a tongue and groove, which is often glued or nailed into place.  It comes in a variety of differently sized cuts and is made from real solid woods, giving it natural grains and tones, from light browns, to neutral grays and rich reddish bronzes. Oak and maple are the most common hardwoods used, but many exotic hardwoods are now available on the market for a unique and beautiful look.  Wood doesn’t absorb the temperature of surrounding materials, so (temperature-wise) it’s reasonably comfortable under foot.  If you drop a dish, wood will dent, although the dish might not break as it would on concrete or tile.  Your stiletto heels can dent most hardwoods as well, and your dog’s nails can scratch it.  On the plus side, your hardwoods can last through a number of refinishings, and last for many, many years.  Hardwood is very difficult to install, and is best left to professionals.






Engineered Wood Flooring usually plywood (or high density fiberboard- HDF) and a top layer of hardwood veneer which is glued to the core.  It has all the natural characteristics of the selected wood species.  Like hardwood, engineered wood will dent and scratch.  The veneer of real wood can’t be matched by any laminate in terms of appearance.  The cost is often just under or equal to the cost of hardwood.  Engineered wood doesn’t absorb the temperature of surrounding materials, so (temperature-wise) it’s reasonably comfortable under foot.  On most brands, the top veneer is 1/4” thick at most, so a minor sanding or light refinishing will be tolerated, but not refinishing a whole floor every ten years.  Some brands on the market will take 1 or 2 sandings, but their price may exceed hardwood.  Due to its dimensionally stable base layers, engineered wood stands up better to moisture than traditional hardwoods, so works in some basements and bathrooms, as well as households with children or pets.  Engineered wood flooring is somewhat difficult to install.




Laminate Flooring... made of thin, pressed wood board with an image of wood on top covered by a clear "wear layer" to protect the image.  Is it considered real wood, you ask? Well, the very thin veneer skin on top is real wood.  Even though laminate flooring is composed of a majority of wood fibers, none of this wood is in its natural state.  There is a common misconception that laminate is made of plastic, and this isn’t true. Laminate planks are typically 3/8” thick and are installed using a tongue and groove locking system, meaning you can install or uninstall with ease.  When you walk on it, you hear a shallow tap on it, however.  Laminate is the easiest for a DIY project, but brings back less returns if you're thinking of resale value in a few years.




Questions to Consider When Selecting Your Flooring

1. Is the installation in a basement or bathroom?  If so, then you need to eliminate hardwood from your selections.  Both engineered and laminate will cope with some moisture.
2. Is the installment going in a space with pets or children?  Accidents of the liquid variety can ruin hardwood and even engineered hardwood.  Light scratches can be sanded out of engineered hardwood once or maybe twice, while hardwood can be refinished numerous times.  Depending on the brand name and variety selected, wood is more easily scratched than laminate.  Laminate cannot be repaired, however should it be scratched.
3. What is your budget for this project?  Installation is a hidden cost, sometimes running even more money than the product itself.  Expect to pay at least double the cost of product for installation.  Even if you find $.99/sq. ft. Pergo on sale at Home Depot, it’s going to have to be installed by someone with healthy knees and a strong back.  You can expect to pay between $650 and $1,000 to install 100 sq. ft. of flooring here in the Northwest.  If you’re willing to DIY it and aren’t a pro, then consider laminate or wood engineered flooring as your most reasonable option.
4. Are you looking for a low maintenance option?  With wood, you trade beauty for a bit of maintenance.  For true low maintenance, then laminate is the best choice.

In conclusion

What questions pop up for you when considering these three options?  Send us a message at [email protected], with a picture of your selection.  We always make time for our readers.  Need more help?  Give us a call or send us a message.  Check out this website for further information. 

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