June 23, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — Whether you’re picking out flooring for a new home or making room renovations in your existing house, you will want to select the solid surface that fits your interior design and lifestyle.
If you are looking for the warmth and durability of real wood for your floors, the choice will be between solid and engineered woods.
Solid Wood is when trees are milled and cut into whole pieces, strips, or planks. This wood can also be laid in patterns and finishes can be installed on-site or in the factory. However, a factory finish often holds up better. The pros of solid wood include its durability, versatility, and timelessness. It can also be refinished and comes in a variety of colors, textures, and widths. The cons with solid wood include the higher price of the product and how it can be negatively affected by moisture and temperature.
Engineered Wood is five to seven thin layers of solid wood (veneer), plywood, and fiberboard that are fused together with heat, glue, and pressure. Most engineered woods have a factory finish applied when the product is created. The pros of engineered wood include its more affordable price compared to hardwood and the fact it can be installed in more places than hardwood. Cons include the thin veneer of engineered wood which might not be as durable quality wise and can’t always be refinished.
If you are looking for a versatile and cost effective flooring option that’s also Do-it-yourself (DIY) friendly then you might want to consider laminate or vinyl.
Laminate is created by imposing a high-quality digital photo onto high-density fiberboard that gives the impression of wood or another material. The pros of laminate include its affordability, availability in a wide variety of looks and it’s easy to install. On the cons side, laminate is less durable and more susceptible to moisture than vinyl. And many kinds are not suitable for bathrooms or basements.
Vinyl is luxury vinyl planks resembling wood and generally 4 to 6 inches wide. Luxury vinyl tile actually resembles ceramic or stone and some can actually be grouted. The pros of vinyl include the ease with which it can be installed over most subfloors that are in good shape like wood or old vinyl. It’s also inexpensive yet durable and long-lasting. Cons involve the biodegradability of the product and sheet vinyl is very hard to install and might require the expense of a professional installer.
If you need flooring that will stand up to moisture and this is a “must” in bathrooms and kitchens, then you will want to choose tile. If natural stone is out of your price range then today’s porcelain and ceramic varieties can offer amazing copycat looks. And, there’s also the new wood-look tiles that give you the look of real wood anywhere you put it down.
Ceramic and porcelain is created when clay, minerals and water are mixed, compressed and fired at very high temperatures in a kiln. The pros are ceramic is normally the least expensive non-vinyl tile but porcelain has more strength than ceramic tile. On the cons side, tile can be expensive and a difficult DIY to install for a first-timer.
Now, it’s time to get walking on your new floor. You’ll want to decide if you can afford a professional installer or DIY. However, before you try going it alone or with help from friends and family, make sure and get tips and advice from a reputable flooring dealer or online at Better Homes and Gardens.