Wood or Wood Knot
Hardwood floors are luxurious, beautiful and add value to your home. They do require some care and a certain amount of restraint as to what activities you permit to take place on them. High heels, roller blades, large dogs, rowdy kids etc. may/will take a toll on them! Fear not there are other options!
People are making a huge effort to remove carpet from their homes in favor or hard surface materials. I am often (and I mean OFTEN), asked about the various types of wood flooring available. In the show room I work from, there are literally hundreds of choices when it comes to hard surfaces. So let’s cover a some of those options and things to remember when making your selection.
Location Location Location
What we know as true hardwood, is NOT what you want to use in a humid southern climate. The deal is, wood shrinks and expands. For western and northern climates that are often dry, this is not an issue. However, here in the south it won’t take long before it is buckling all over the place.
Wood You Like Choices?
The solution? Engineered hardwood. This is a layer of wood over a core material that is layered much like plywood. These layers are placed in different directions which causes them to pull against one another, keeping the product stable in our swampy weather. The price of your “hardwood” will depend upon the thickness of the top layer or wear layer. The thicker the wear layer, the more wood, the higher the cost.
Buyer beware! Sure, you can get great deals on these products at local discount suppliers..but they are not always worth the savings. Some of the great deals you see have paper thin wear layers. They can look great when you first install them but will not look great for long. Especially if you have kids, pets, etc. By the way, with that super thin wear layer, there is no chance to sand refinish! You will be through that wear layer and into the plywood core with a few swipes of some sand paper!
Discount wood also comes with other problems. The pallet you receive may have many damaged or unusable boards, or even many short boards. Most people are after the nice long plank material which is scarce to find at discounters. You really do get what you pay for. And good luck getting some of them to stand behind their products. They are known for blaming the installer for your “issues”. Think of hardwood floors as an investment for your home and shop carefully!
Wood It Work?
Tile, with the appearance of a wood grain, is an option that comes in many colors, textures and price points. It is also available in many different widths and lengths. Due to the length of the planks and laborious process (with all of the leveling that must be done), expert installation IS required. They need to be perfectly leveled to avoid “lip-page” which can lead to trip hazards.
It is an almost indestructible material and requires very minimal care. No need to worry about the toddler with the big wheel careening through the family room here! Another option, porcelain tile, is especially durable if your family is rough and tumble like mine!
Okay, there is always downside, right? Yep, tile is cold and extremely hard. In the south where temperatures are well above 80 for most of the year, not such a concern. However, in the winter months, where things get chilly, so will your tile. A few well placed, seasonal area rugs can remedy this problem for you. All things considered, the ‘wood look’ tile is gorgeous and a great option for carefree living.
Option #3…..LVP (or Luxury Vinyl Planks)
This is a product I am very excited about! It has been on the commercial market for quite awhile, used primarily in commercial applications like medical facilities, shopping malls and restaurants. Finally, it is surging into residential projects as well.
There is nothing I don’t like about this product for a busy home. It is so effortless to care for and nearly indestructible! It is also cost effective in both material and installation cost. I really believe this product will be pushing laminates right out of the market place! Here is why: Unless you use an high grade sound membrane beneath it, laminate sounds like plastic when you walk on it. This adds cost $$$ to your project. Add to the fact that it “clicks” when you walk in it so you always know it is laminate. Manage to scratch it? That’s it. Not repairable. At least to the satisfaction of most. You’re done.
Just like wood, LVP comes in planks, and ALL of them are long and beautiful. LVP is also soft, quiet and warm underfoot. It comes in hundreds of colors, lengths, widths and textures. It is very easy to install and very affordable compared to wood or tile. The only possible draw-back is you do need a smooth floor to accept the material, specially of you are using a thinner gauged product.
Remember that issue with scratched laminate? Not an issue with LVP! If you can manage to scratch it, you just pull up the damaged planks and replace them with new ones! So, I suggest buying an extra box or two and have them stored them in the attic.
Wood You Do It?
I hope I have addressed your questions about wood and ‘wood look’ products. Just to let you know, I have intentionally paid no mind to the images I have inserted into this article. There are images here of wood, tile and LVP in no particular order! See if you can call them out! If not…..CALL ME!