Understanding Your Wood Flooring Options

Hardwood flooring brings a certain elegance and timelessness to any home while also offering a durable, easy-to-clean surface that holds up well under heavy foot traffic and excessive wear and tear. There are many types of hardwood flooring options from which to choose, and understanding a few vital differences between them might help you better determine the right option for your home as well as your budget!

Solid hardwood

As the name implies, solid hardwood floors are a thick plank of a particular wood species. These planks are typically glued or nailed to the home's subfloor, or they might have a tongue-and-groove design so that they snap in place and float over the flooring surface beneath them.

A homeowner can sand down and resurface solid hardwood floors many times over the years, depending on the thickness of their chosen plank. While solid hardwood is typically the most expensive choice, being able to refinish it repeatedly also means you'll replace it less often than other flooring options.

Engineered hardwood

Engineered hardwood is a thinner plank of your chosen wood species, glued to a piece of inexpensive wood to create a plank thick enough for flooring. While engineered hardwood offers the look and feel of real wood, it can only be sanded and refinished so many times before it becomes overly thin. Once the plank has reached a certain depth, it then needs replacing rather than refinished.

The bottom section of engineered wood floors are often cut to accommodate a tongue-and-groove installation process, making them easier to snap into place. If you decide to install your new hardwood floors on your own, consider engineered hardwoods for this reason, as nailing or gluing individual wood flooring planks is cumbersome and requires some technical skill and know-how.

Laminate flooring

Laminate flooring is not real hardwood, although it often looks like genuine wood. Laminate floors have a high-definition picture of another flooring surface, such as wood, stone, or tile, covered with a thin layer of plastic.

The upper plastic layer of laminate flooring is very durable and can withstand scratches, scuff marks, food stains and the like, making it an excellent option for homes with children, large pets, and heavy foot traffic. Laminate flooring is also recommended for kitchens and bathrooms, where high humidity levels damage genuine wood. However, note that laminate flooring cannot be sanded and refinished; if it's ever heavily damaged or you simply tire of the look, you'll need to replace your floors altogether.

For more information on timber flooring, contact a local home improvement store.