Choosing a floor surface impacts home life very personally. How does a floor feel to your bare feet first thing in the morning? How will it hold up with pets and kids in the house? How much care will it require?
Wood flooring offers an appealing warmth that’s lost with tile or stone flooring, and is easier to keep clean than carpeting. But which wood floor would be best for your home?
Engineered vs. Solid Woods
Narrowing down your choice to wood is only the first step. Many options for wood flooring bring a variety of pros and cons to the equation.
Solid hardwood planks have long held a cachet of status, and the wider the plank, the more desirable (and expensive) the result. Oak, walnut, maple, and cherry are all good hardwood choices for durable flooring. The concern with solid woods is how they shrink and adjust over the years in reaction to fluctuating temperature and moisture levels. The wider the planks, the fewer seams there are to absorb movement adjustments, and the more likely floors may appear somewhat warped over a long period of time.
Engineered wood planks are manufactured layers of wood with multi-directional grains, topped with a layer of real hardwood. The engineered layers help each plank react with more stability to minute changes that could induce movement in traditional hardwoods. Because less actual hardwood is required for these planks, engineered wood floors typically offer a noticeable cost savings over hardwood flooring.
For a wood floor look without the high price tag, today’s laminates offer finishes that look very close to real wood flooring. Laminate can cut your costs by about half, but its longevity falls far short of real or engineered wood.
Choose the wood flooring type that best fits your use and budget.
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