Hardwood Vs. Other Hard Surface Flooring Options

When you walk into a home, one of the first things that you may notice is the flooring. The right type of flooring can make a big difference in how your space looks and feels. We offer several hard flooring options at Area Flooring & Tile, Inc., including popular selections like hardwood, luxury vinyl, laminate and engineered hardwood.

Before you decide which option is best for your space, it’s essential to know the differences, benefits and considerations for installing each type of flooring.

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What Is Hardwood Flooring?

Solid Hickory hardwood floor

Solid hardwood flooring is the original and most traditional hard flooring option. Hardwood flooring, as the name implies, is made up of 100% solid wood flooring boards. These boards are about 3/4 inch thick and milled with tongue-and-groove edges that interlock together. There are many factory pre-finished wood flooring options or unfinished hardwood that can be stained and finished to complete the look of your space.

Advantages of Buying Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood is a tried and true flooring option known for its classic look and feel. One of the main benefits of hardwood flooring is its appearance. Composed of genuine, durable wood with a beautiful and natural texture, hardwood can be stained and finished for an abundance of appearance options.

Hardwood flooring is generally fairly easy to repair compared to its counterparts. Imperfections in the wood can be sanded down and refinished without the extra costs associated with removing the flooring and installing something new.

Other Considerations to Installing a Hardwood Floor

For many, the main hesitation in buying hardwood flooring is the upfront expense. Because hardwood is composed entirely of natural wood, the average price of solid hardwood is more than other manufactured hard surface options.

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What Is Engineered Hardwood Flooring?

Full room with engineered hardwood flooring

Partially made up of real wood, engineered hardwood is created by applying a thin veneer of real hardwood over top-quality plywood and other non-wood materials underneath. Engineered hardwood flooring is constructed to allow for wider planks, which allows the hardwood to be more dimensionally stable with less expanding and contracting due to environmental variations.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring’s Benefits

If you live in a more humid climate, engineered hardwood would be recommended over traditional hardwood, as its plywood construction makes it more stable and less susceptible to warping. Being more stable, there are many popular wide plank options to choose from.

Additional Factors

The plywood underneath engineered hardwood floors and their surface veneer is vulnerable to swelling if exposed to moisture. Always wipe up spills as soon as they occur, as standing water may damage engineered hardwood.

Engineered Hardwood Estimate

What Is Laminate Flooring?

Rustic Oak laminate flooring

Laminate flooring is a multilayer composite material that resembles natural wood. It’s designed to stand up to wear and tear while adding value to your home.

Generally speaking, laminate flooring includes three layers, including a base layer, a photo-realistic, high-resolution image layer and a protective wear layer.

Benefits to Expect From Laminate Flooring

Laminate is a cost-effective flooring solution with an uppermost layer offering high-level scratch resistance. Laminate floorboards’ top coating is resistant to pet claws, rowdy kids and high traffic. Ultraviolet (UV) resistance also means the color will stay fresh over time.

Laminate flooring is easier to keep clean, install and maintain. Developments in laminate flooring technology feature unique embossing to mimic natural wood’s texture and appearance accurately.

What to Note Before Choosing Laminate vs. Hardwood

Laminate flooring’s top layers cannot be sanded down, as doing so would destroy the resilience of the floorboards and bare the photographic layer.

Another consideration is that laminate flooring may not be suitable for bathrooms or other damp areas. Since it contains wood byproducts, it is not impervious to the effects of moisture.

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What Is Luxury Vinyl Flooring?

Unlike solid or engineered hardwood, luxury vinyl flooring is composed of 100% synthetic material and generally made up of a stone composite core with a vinyl layer and wear layer on top, often with an attached pad. In PVC vinyl, a vinyl sheet is printed with a surface layer multiple times and may range from 4 millimeters to 8 millimeters in thickness.

Shasta Luxury Vinyl Plank

The wear layer on top of luxury vinyl flooring is what keeps the flooring durable over time. At Area Flooring & Tile, Inc., most of our products have wear layers between 12 and 30 mils for exceptional longevity compared to the products in big-box stores, which usually have layers measuring 6 mils or less.

Luxury Vinyl vs. Hardwood or Engineered Flooring

Luxury vinyl flooring has several advantages. Like engineered hardwood, vinyl flooring utilizes a click-and-lock method of installation, which is a relatively easy installation process. Additionally, vinyl flooring is a highly affordable flooring option, and works well in damp or humid areas since it contains no wood.

The biggest advantage of luxury vinyl flooring is that it is 100% waterproof. The entire floor is water-resistant, from the top wear layer right through the rigid center core. This makes it the ideal flooring solution for spaces such as cafes, restaurants, bathrooms, kitchens and basements, as spills and surface water won’t affect the flooring.

Vinyl flooring is incredibly durable and can stand up to heavy traffic, making it a popular option for larger commercial spaces. Many households and businesses love that luxury vinyl flooring is easy to maintain. Weekly mopping and regular sweeping is all that’s needed to keep your floors in top shape.

Other Factors on Luxury Vinyl

Because luxury vinyl flooring is not composed of natural wood, it can be less attractive, especially when it wears. While vinyl has come a long way in appearance, it still doesn’t replicate hardwood entirely and can look less realistic than real hardwood options.

Get A Luxury Vinyl Estimate

Reach out for Help Deciding Which Flooring Is Right for You

Deciding on the right hard flooring for your home doesn’t have to be a difficult or expensive process. The professionals at Area Flooring & Tile, Inc. are always happy to go into further detail and showcase the different flooring options that can best fit your needs.

Get your new floor installed by the experts at Area Flooring & Tile by contacting us today!

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White marble flooring
Crisp, shining white tile flooring
Green, brown and dark grey carpet samples
Light brown/tan wood grain flooring
Various luxury vinyl samples in different patterns and shades of brown
Light wood grain floor that is reflecting bright light
Kitchen sink area with dark grey countertop and various fruits
White cabinets with silver rectangular handles
A modern bathroom with a white sink, drawers, bathtub and floor with a big green leafy plant on the counter
A natural stone wall made up of various shapes and colors of stone