Hardwood Flooring Options: Pros & Cons

March 19, 2018

Planning the remodel of your home can be overwhelming, but one of the common overlooked design elements is flooring. You have picked out your cabinet color and backsplash, but the flooring doesn't mesh well with the new design materials. This is an all too common design dilemma! Ideally, you should work with a designer to help ensure a cohesive overall look for your new remodel. 

Check out the pros and cons of the different types of hardwood flooring on the market right now. Which one would you choose? 

 

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Image via Sullivan's Floor Covering, Inc.

 

1. Engineered Hardwood

Engineered hardwood has become increasingly popular over the past decade for many reasons. It has the look of solid hardwood flooring, but is more economical.

Pros:

Engineered hardwood consists of a plywood under base with a top veneer of actual pre-finished hardwood on top. It gives you the look of actual hardwoods, but is a fraction of the cost.

Cons:

There are downsides to engineered hardwood that should be considered. Because it is made of a plywood underlay, should it get wet, it is very hard to restore it back to it's original condition. Engineered hardwood can also only be refinished a few times before you sand down to the plywood. If you are planning on staying in the home for a very long time or if you have pets that have accidents, it's worth it to pay for actual solid hardwood floors. 

 

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Image via Spinnaker Development

 

2. Laminate Hardwood

Laminate hardwood is a top choice for homeowners that are on a tight budget or are looking to have the look of hardwood in a high traffic area. 

Pros:

Laminate hardwood consists of melamine resin and fiberboard, with a hardwood looking veneer on top. It gives you the look of actual hardwoods, but is a fraction of the cost. It is also more resilient to scuffs and marks from pet paws and shoes. 

Cons:

There are downsides to laminate hardwood flooring that should be considered before installing them. One of the biggest downsides is that should laminate flooring be scratched there is no way to repair them. Because the overlay has the consistency of plastic, you cannot use a stain marker to hide small scratches or blemishes.

 

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Image via Armstrong Flooring

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Image via Croma Design Inc

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Image via Webber + Studio, Architects

 

3. Bamboo & Cork Flooring

Bamboo and cork flooring have been making their way onto the flooring scene for the past 10 years, but only recently are they starting to be more prevalent in residential applications. The main reason is cost, with bamboo and cork costing almost half of solid hardwood flooring. 

Pros:

The biggest pro of these two types of flooring is the cost. The second is that both materials are made from renewable resources, meaning bamboo and cork grow quickly and do not have as much of a negative impact on the environment as solid hardwood flooring does. 

Cons:

Like engineered hardwoods, bamboo and cork are difficult to refinish. Bamboo is easier to sand and stain than cork, which can be very difficult to patch and repair. Both of these material options are also very susceptible to water damage. 

 

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Image via Priestley + Associates Architecture

 

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Image via Meadowlark Design+Build

 

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Image via Kristin Petro Interiors, Inc.

4. Solid Hardwood Flooring

Engineered hardwood has become increasingly popular over the past decade for many reasons. It has the look of solid hardwood flooring, but is more economical.

Pros:

Engineered hardwood consists of a plywood under base with a top veneer of actual pre-finished hardwood on top. It gives you the look of actual hardwoods, but is a fraction of the cost.

Cons:

There are downsides to engineered hardwood that should be considered. Because it is made of a plywood underlay, should it get wet, it is very hard to restore it back to it's original condition. Engineered hardwood can also only be refinished a few times before you sand down to the plywood. If you are planning on staying in the home for a very long time or if you have pets that have accidents, it's worth it to pay for actual solid hardwood floors. 

 

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Image via Olde Wood Ltd.

 

 

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Image via BABA Antique Wooden Floors

 

5. Porcelain Tile

More and more homeowners are choosing the look of hardwood with the convenience of tile. 

Pros:

Unlike regular hardwood floors, tile that looks like real hardwood, does not require the same type of maintenance as solid hardwood. Porcelain tile is easy to clean and pet friendly, as it will not scratch from pets nails.  

Cons:

Tile floors can become very cold underfoot in the winter time. One way to remedy this is to install radiant heat under the tile. It can be controlled with a thermostat in the same way that you control your air conditioning. 

 

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Image via Daltile

 

 

 Interested in a free estimate, or would like to know how Lensis Builders, Inc. can make your home even better, give us a call at 703-367-8999 or fill out a short contact form. If you’re looking for inspiration for your next project, visit our Pinterest page.   

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