New flooring is a big investment. Hardwood, bamboo, cork, laminate, vinyl…what’s the difference? Finding the right product can be tough, so here is a basic guide to help you choose the right floor for you and your family!
Solid Hardwood – milled from solid wood and comes unfinished (apply your own stain) or prefinished (one less step, easier installation).
Engineered Hardwood – real hardwood layers with a plywood fiberboard backing. Extremely stable, which means it can take on wood’s natural movement in high-moisture areas.
“Hardwood flooring is renowned for its natural beauty and durability. Its classic good looks harmonize with any architectural theme or interior design, and it’s an especially good choice to create visual room-to-room continuity for homes with open floor plans.” (HGTV Flooring Guide)
“Bamboo is tough and durable. Because it comes from plants that are easy to grow and regenerate quickly, bamboo is considered a sustainable material and an environmentally friendly flooring choice.” (HGTV Flooring Guide)
Bamboo produces new shoots without the need for replanting, and gives you a stunning, unique look. For increase durability, try strand bamboo. It’s twice as hard as oak, making it an optimal choice for busy homes. It stands up to the wear and tear of foot traffic, active kids and even pets.
Cork is produced by peeling away bark without destroying the tree. “Cork has a warm, natural appearance and is comfortable underfoot.” (HGTV Flooring Guide)
Plus, the benefits are awesome! Cork is resilient which relieves stress in the back and legs when standing. Spend a lot of time in the kitchen? Cork might be right for you! It also takes on the temperature of the room, so it’s warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It is great for sound deadening, reducing sound between rooms and floors. Maintenance is simple. Just sweep and spot clean!
Laminate is a fiber core board with a photo on top. It’s easy to install, comes in array of colors and varies in thickness. You can even get that handscraped, rustic look. It’s very scratch resistant, which is great for those who are tough on floors.
“Low-maintenance laminate flooring offers an enormous variety of styles, colors and patterns.” (HGTV Flooring Guide)
Vinyl has a natural looking grain, is extremely water-resistant, and easy to install! Simply peel and stick or click-together and you’re done.
“Vinyl tiles…are called resilient flooring – they’re flexible and slightly soft underfoot. They’re tough, durable and virtually maintenance-free. Vinyl comes in an array of colors and patterns at relatively modest cost.” (HGTV Flooring Guide)
Keep your style and preferences in mind when choosing flooring. Some other things to consider are color, width, texture, species and grade. What do you like?
Color: light, medium, dark
Width: 2¼”?, 3 ¼”?, 5″?
For larger rooms, some advise that you use a wider plank, and for a smaller room, a narrower plank. Another consideration is fixed-width or variable plank width for a more dramatic appearance. It’s all about what you like!
Texture: smooth, handscraped
Handscraped or distressed selections are available for almost every type of floor (except cork).
Species: tree type
Pattern, lines, swirls, overall character and grain…everyone’s taste varies. Australian Cypress Hardwood has a variety of tones with exquisite dark knots for a rustic feel. Qing Spyder Strand Bamboo is simple and dark. What’s your style?
Grade: Select, Natural, Rustic
- Select- most uniform plank, smallest knots, longest average length
- Natural- some color variation, mineral coloring, small pin knots
- Rustic- large knots, most color variation
For more assistance picking out your floor, visit your local store or call Sales at 800-476-0007 and a representative can help!