When you’re considering a new wood floor for your home, you’re likely to encounter a seemingly endless array of options. Classic hardwoods like Cherry and Maple now have competition from engineered wood floors that look like solid hardwoods, and laminates offer many custom colors and finishes.
If you’re in the market for a new wood floor, take a look at how these flooring types differ:
Traditional hardwoods such as Birch, Maple and Black Walnut can be stained to match decor or finished in a clear coat that allows the wood’s natural color to shine. Hardwood floors are the best choice if you’re remodeling a vintage home and want to stay true to the home’s original features.
Dogs and cats can inflict a lot of damage on hardwoods, in the form of scratches and urine stains. Some hardwoods are susceptible to wear in high-traffic areas, or to fading in sunny rooms, and because they may warp due to high humidity or moisture, they may be less ideal for basements.
If exotic woods like Brazilian Cherry or Santos Mahogany appeal to your design sensibilities, you may be able to save a little money by choosing an engineered wood floor instead of a solid hardwood floor.
Engineered wood planks have a base layer composed of sturdy plywood or fiberboard, with a top layer of hardwood veneer. One important point to note is that engineered floors cannot be refinished again and again, as hardwood floors can. But if the top layer is at least 3 millimeters thick, you should be able to refinish the floor two times.
Laminate flooring is composed of synthetic materials, and the top layer is a printed overlay, meaning it can be finished to resemble any type of wood. Designed to resist moisture, laminate flooring can be installed in basements, kitchens and bathrooms.
Laminate is more resistant to scratches than many types of hardwood, although if it is scratched, it can be repaired only by filling the area with a matching putty. Because laminate is one of the most affordable flooring options, it’s a popular choice for homeowners looking to quickly improve the look of their home before putting it on the market.
Once you decide which qualities are most important to you – such as low price, durability and moisture-resistance – choosing a new floor may be a lot easier.