The Best Type of Flooring for You
Choosing the right flooring options for homes takes more than just finding the right look. With the wide range of flooring materials available, it’s best to consider how each flooring option is constructed and how it works to find the best type of flooring that meets all your needs.
Natural hardwood floors are made from a single piece of wood from top to bottom. The organic look and feel of a real wood floor is one of its biggest advantages. This high-quality, high-end type of flooring can increase a home's value and never goes out of style. It comes in a variety of species and can be stained, sealed or finished to fit your design personality. It can also be refinished repeatedly and will never need replacing. If you want to bring the outdoors in, solid wood floors are a great choice.
Engineered wood floors are also made of real wood but are constructed differently to provide a variety of benefits. Some benefits include better resistance to expansion and contraction, the ability to know in advance the exact color and texture of the floor and a better option for basement installations. They have a top layer of real natural wood and a plywood base construction. Once installed it is difficult to tell them apart from traditional hardwood. When considering an engineered wood floor, keep in mind the thickness of the top layer. This will determine how many times it can be sanded and refinished when needed. Today’s sanding machines, abrasives and surface treatments allow this to be done several times.
Laminate flooring consists of four layers: a high-density fiberboard (HDF)) as the main core layer which provides durability, with a balancing back layer on the base to protect against moisture and balance the floor. The top of the HDF is finished with a decorative paper or design layer and then laminated on top with a clear protective layer. While it’s easy to clean, inexpensive and resistant to stains and scratches, laminate is particularly sensitive to moisture. A damaged laminate floor will most likely have to be replaced.
Tiles are a good choice if you are looking for something durable, long-lasting and water-resistant. However, tiles have no bounce or give and can cause aches in your feet if standing for longer periods of time. They can also be slippery if the surface is wet. Grooved or structured varieties provide a textured surface to prevent slipperiness. Tiles are also known for being cold when walking on them barefoot, especially in winter. If cold is a concern, radiant heating can be installed to make tile floors more comfortable.
Luxury Vinyl Floors
Luxury vinyl can mimic natural surfaces like wood and stone. It is composed of several layers that are fused together under heat and pressure: a vinyl backing, a vinyl core, a printed design film and a protective polyurethane coating. It comes in planks, sheets or tiles and can be laid over existing floors. It is extremely durable, waterproof, low maintenance and very budget friendly. However, luxury vinyl flooring also has some drawbacks. While it’s warmer than ceramic tiles, it is hard and can be slippery. It is also sensitive to UV light and high levels of sunlight can discolor or fade the floor with time.