No matter if you are updating your home or building, you need to choose your flooring with care. Wood, laminate, and vinyl flooring are always good choices. Each of these flooring types has benefits and challenges, and knowing these can help you choose the best area of your home to use them in.
Traditional Hardwood Flooring
The solid wood boards that get nailed down to a subfloor are a classical flooring type that comes in an array of beautiful and sustainable wood types to choose from. The boards average half to three-quarters of an inch in thickness; the thicker the board, the more durable it is. The most common boards are around two inches in width, but the farmhouse look with much wider planks gains favor with every passing year. The hardwoods, oak, and maple are among the most commonly chosen; however, the more expensive exotic varieties such as Brazilian cherry can be worth the investment for the aesthetics.
Finished or Unfinished?
The wood planks can get purchased finished or unfinished. Choosing the unfinished can allow homeowners to get precisely the color they want for their floors if you are prepared to sand, stain, and seal the floorboards yourself after installation. Prefinished wood flooring typically costs less and involves less work. Also, the factory-installed finishes are usually more durable than anything you could do yourself.
Tips for Choosing Sustainable Wood
All wood is a renewable resource, but it does not always get harvested in eco-friendly ways. When trees get cut down, and new ones do not get planted, it contributes to global warming and causes the availability of that type of wood to go down. To ensure that sustainably sourced wood gets used for your flooring, make sure to look for the certification by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) or the SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative). Reclaimed wood is another good source and comes from old buildings or homes that are torn down or gutted for remodeling.
Pros and Cons of Hardwood Flooring
Most people love the look of solid wood flooring. It is durable and provides a long service life as it can get refinished an average of up to five times to remove scratches on the surface. If you have a high traffic area in your home, the floorboards are ready to handle it. Many real estate experts also add that hardwood flooring can add value to the house’s resale value. This type of flooring is easy to maintain, sweep regularly, and clean up any spills promptly. The downside to hardwood floors is the typical reaction to high humidity or excessive moisture, meaning it is not a good choice for bathrooms, kitchens, or laundry rooms.
This flooring type has a look and feel of hardwood flooring, but it gets constructed differently. The boards are made from inexpensive plywood with a thin sheet of natural wood veneer on top. Some backings of this type of wood have recycled fibers mixed with stone dust to increase the board’s rigidness. The veneer piece on top can emulate any wood grain wanted, making it easy to get the look desired, including expensive exotics. Engineered floorboards are much more water-resistant and can be a solid choice for basements, kitchens, and other areas that hardwood is not a good fit. Due to these floorboards’ flat nature, they can get installed directly over concrete substrates without the need for a separate subfloor. The drawbacks to this flooring type are that it can only be refinished a single time, and the veneer top layers can scratch and dent easily.
The Best of Both Worlds: Laminate Floorboards
Laminate flooring is like a combination of the best features of both hardwood and engineered boards. The construction of this floorboard type is similar to engineered; however, the top veneer layer is sealed under a clear plastic coating. The image can look like wood, stone, tile, or just about any other material desired. This flooring type is excellent for high traffic. However, it cannot get refinished and does not hold up well to water.
If you are in the market for wood flooring, consider the area of the home you want this flooring and the amount of daily use the floor will get to help make the best choice for your individual needs.