Does wood flooring really have to be wood?

Does wood flooring really have to be wood?

There’s tiny doubt that hardwood flooring — regardless of whether mild or dim, extensive plank or herringbone pattern — add a pretty unique feeling of nostalgia for how we think of residence. Shag carpeting and linoleum might come and go, but hardwood is below for the duration.

Or is it?

Whilst a 2017 house owner study by the National Wood Flooring Affiliation observed that 66 {a57a8b399caa4911091be19c47013a92763fdea5dcb0fe03ef6810df8f2f239d} of respondents stated wooden floors would be in their dream property and 79 p.c imagine it would raise the price of their dwelling, it would appear to be much more aspirational than fact. Significantly extra property owners have carpet (75 {a57a8b399caa4911091be19c47013a92763fdea5dcb0fe03ef6810df8f2f239d}) and tile (58 percent) flooring than wood (52 {a57a8b399caa4911091be19c47013a92763fdea5dcb0fe03ef6810df8f2f239d}).

“Solid wood flooring is a thing of the previous,” explained Jen Pinto, senior interior designer for Jackson Style and design and Transforming in San Diego. “They really do not promote it off the shelf any more, and most vendors and installers will tell you to keep away from it. As gorgeous as it is, it does not hold up properly with humidity and in excess of time can buckle with the purely natural enlargement and contraction of the substance. If essential, it can be personalized built. The pleasant point about it is that it is meant to be sanded down and refinished so an outdated good hardwood can be produced to glance like new.”

For all its beauty, hardwood is pretty superior servicing, primarily if you have a great deal of foot visitors, not to mention compact young ones and animals, who can scratch it up and go away hard-to-clean messes.

But if regular hardwood is oh-so-20th century, the drive for its heat and naturalness stays. So, it’s no surprise that aspiration and practicality have merged in the flooring market place for these who like the hardwood search but not the expense, servicing or vulnerabilities of real hardwood floors. Today, any property owner seeking to set up new flooring can get a hardwood seem from several incredibly various sorts of products, which include engineered hardwood, laminate, porcelain tiles, luxurious vinyl tile, and bamboo. The alternatives are a blend of aesthetic choices and way of life, considering the fact that every has pros and disadvantages based on your family.

Engineered hardwood

Where by standard sound hardwood is just that — all wooden — engineered hardwood has a veneer of hardwood but is composed of a number of skinny levels of backing, mostly plywood, but it could also be fiberboard or unfinished hardwood. In accordance to Pinto, the layers include balance to the overall energy of the product. Exactly where there can be troubles with strong hardwood floors contracting and increasing, engineered hardwood’s composition will make that a nonissue. It also arrives with distinctive finishes. Urethane and oil finishes are incredibly preferred, reported Pinto.

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

Engineered hardwood flooring arrive with a wide variety of finishes, these types of as urethane, which is ideal for large use, and an oil end, which has a all-natural matte sense.

(Jackson Design and Transforming)

“Urethane is good for hefty use and does maintain up fairly perfectly with humidity,” she stated. “Oil finishes are attractive and have a quite all-natural matte experience to them. It is much additional highly-priced, and it does demand some upkeep mainly because it will will need to be re-oiled each individual couple decades. But if it scratches, it can be buffed out really effectively with the oil the following time it gets touched up, relatively quickly.”

But there is a downside to engineered hardwood: humidity exposure. You really don’t want to get it moist. That makes it a undesirable applicant for bathrooms, of program, but also for regions the place humidity can be tracked in from exterior.


Like engineered hardwood, laminate planks are layered supplies, but in its place of a wood major layer, it has a significant-definition photographic wooden-glance layer, full with graining, and sits previously mentioned a moisture-resistant, stabilizing foundation layer topped by a core of higher-density fiberboard, all completed in resin.

Laminate flooring arrives in a selection of textures and finishes. It can be easy to resemble polished woods, embossed with a pressed sample to incorporate a wooden grain texture, or hand-scraped for an antique wood glimpse. It can also have a shiny large gloss or mattelike reduced gloss, which will get better marks for hiding compact scratches.

But there’s no refinishing laminate. If any damage occurs, the plank requirements 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 h2o-resistant. Contrary to engineered wood, although, it is cold and tough on bare ft.

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Porcelain tile

Porcelain tile planks can resemble wooden, even with a textured grain. They appear in a wide variety of designs, colours, and designs — from smooth to rustic. They are scratch-resistant, stain-resistant and drinking water-resistant.

“They’re the most durable,” said George Larson, gross sales affiliate at Rayo Wholesale Ground Masking Supply. “You can place it in each and every area, which includes the rest room, and not fret.”

When Pinto was functioning with a customer with youthful boys on a new development home, the few went into the undertaking with a contract for engineered wooden flooring. But immediately after knowing that they ended up heading to install a enormous a few-panel door in the residing space that would open up to the backyard and its pool, Pinto experienced a coronary 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 events are in your upcoming, porcelain tile’s drinking water-resistant features make it an desirable alternative.

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“You’re making an attempt to get this indoor-outdoor area that seems really flawless and clean up, but if you’re going to have a bunch of people in excess of below for a pool occasion, do you seriously want all all those damp toes monitoring h2o in from the pool on your wood ground?”

The problem was weighing the practicality of the porcelain tile versus the additional authentic glimpse of the engineered wood, figuring out that tile is cold and tough and not as comfortable on bare toes. The couple did decide on the tile — and Pinto included radiant floor heating alongside with place rugs in the living room and kitchen to warm up the house.

Luxurious vinyl

Vinyl wood-search planks have arrive a extensive way, like wood-appear porcelain tile. Pinto said luxurious vinyl seems to be and feels far more like authentic wood than porcelain but has some of the exact same qualities of tile in the feeling that it is maintenance-no cost. It won’t stain, it is moisture-resistant and it’s considerably softer to walk on than tile, but it could nevertheless probably scratch supplied the ideal predicament.

“If a pet digs at it or a sharp item is dragged in opposition to the flooring with more than enough stress, then the vinyl can scratch, and then at that stage that plank will will need to be replaced,” she explained.

Budgetwise, she added that it’s a terrific alternative to wood. And it retains up fantastic with young children and pets, far too.

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

Luxury vinyl plank flooring has improved a good offer and is regarded a funds-friendly choice that appears to be like like actual wood and is softer underfoot than tile.

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Larson is a enthusiast of this merchandise. “It’s fewer cash to set up. It is additional strong than other people. Designers like it mainly because due to the fact it is a water resistant floor, they do not have to chop up the ground in the course of the house with tile in the kitchen and bathrooms, wooden flooring in residing rooms, and carpet in bedrooms. You can put it in each individual area and not be concerned. Without having a question we provide extra luxurious vinyl plank than everything else correct now.”

But Pinto did stage out some disadvantages, including difficulties their crew has had with installation of the material around time, and with it holding up with no warping in excessive temperature fluctuations. And if a place is pretty open up to daylight, like an total wall of glass, and it will get blasted with sunlight for prolonged intervals of time with out any windowcovering protection, then, she said, the solution could likely buckle and warp.


Imagine of bamboo as your eco-pleasant alternative. It has a bit in prevalent with engineered wood in that, as a grass, it is also engineered, with strands of grass shredded, then pressed together applying heat and glue to kind floorboards. According to HGTV, there are 3 kinds of bamboo floors: horizontal, in which strips are layered and pressed jointly with all those quintessential bamboo knuckles in the graining vertical, which delivers a cleaner appear thanks to the bamboo strips currently being turned sideways to be glued alongside one another and woven or stranded, in which shredded strands of the grass are compressed with resin. They generate a tough, hardwood-like surface area and are the most strong wide variety of the three.

“It’s a really hard content, and generally more water-resistant than hardwoods, but not water resistant like porcelain or luxury vinyl,” Pinto described. “It is pet pleasant and reasonably straightforward to retain due to the fact you don’t need to seal it. Like hardwood, you require to clean up up spilled h2o or liquid considering the fact that it’s not water-resistant and is much more prone to dampness.

“It’s an possibility to consider if another person desires something more organic or earth-helpful or would like to obtain a extra present day/modern day glimpse in their room. But several clients want a thing extra watertight and multipurpose so it’s not a thing we purchase as typically as the other sorts of flooring we discussed. If a homeowner does want to order bamboo flooring, they really should make confident they are acquiring it from a reliable retailer/manufacturer so they can make sure quality command and make sure they are acquiring legitimate bamboo flooring.”

Aspects to look at

Picking between these distinctive sorts of faux hardwood may well look overwhelming. A excellent designer or salesperson, stated Larson, ought to request you all the right thoughts about your way of living and spending plan to help guide you to the most effective conclusion for your household. But Pinto has some feelings for homeowners to consider:

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

Luxury vinyl plank is their leading vendor suitable now, claimed George Larson of Rayo Wholesale Ground Covering Offer. “You can place it in each individual space and not worry.” It does have some wear problems in severe warmth.

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  • Appear at the sheen. Something super-shiny will reveals any scratches or imperfections.
  • If you want your space to glimpse larger, look at broader planks when thinking of solid or engineered hardwood. Pinto says that seem also can make a area far more elegant.
  • Look at the main of an engineered hardwood plank to make positive it’s a awesome quality plywood main, as opposed to MDF or particleboard. That will help strengthen the integrity and power of the veneer on major.
  • Make guaranteed you get a great urethane finish on engineered hardwood. She prefers urethane to an oiled end for routine maintenance factors.
  • For porcelain tiles, stay amongst a 6- or 7-inch-extensive plank — and involving 36 and 48 inches in length. When they are mounted, these dimensions will make the planks look additional real looking. Also, Pinto prefers a bit of texture on them, not just for the glance but since it tends to make it nicer to wander on the ground and will help reduce slipping.
  • If you put in luxurious vinyl, be positive to continue to keep the windows included when the sun is shining into the home to avoid fading and warping. Also, when picking out a seller, seem at the again of the plank to be positive that the underlayment is currently hooked up, to make set up a lot easier and a lot less highly-priced. Pinto also suggests getting a vinyl model that incorporates a stone main, as opposed to a plastic or distinctive kind of vinyl main. The stone will help make the merchandise far more structurally secure, particularly when there are temperature fluctuations that could if not result in the vinyl to warp or buckle.

Golden is a San Diego freelance author and blogger.