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Looking to Change Your Floors this Spring? Consider These Flooring Options

Here's the skinny on some great wood flooring products from hardwood, to laminates and engineered hard wood!

With spring right around the corner many homeowners are getting ready to renovate.  One  area that always generates some confusion is wood flooring or its counterpart, laminate flooring.  Here is some helpful information that will give you a broader understanding of the different products available today.

Laminate or Vinyl Wood - Depending on the grade and quality of this product imitation wood can give you the look and feel of real wood with an added durability factor.  Some of the newer products out in today's market are quite beautiful and look very much like the real thing.

Laminates are easy to install yourself provided that you follow the manufacturers' instruction carefully and do the required prep work.

Engineered Wood - This type of flooring is made up of thin layers of wood which is glued together.  It gives the appearance of solid wood flooring and comes in a variety of wood, including some exotic woods.  It's a great way to get the look of an expensive wood floor at a fraction of the price.

Unlike a solid wood floor, engineered wood can only be sanded once or twice in its lifetime. Be sure to check with the manufacturer before purchasing the product to make sure it is best suited for your needs.  It is also very sensitive to moisture so make sure that your environment is moisture free.

Solid Wood - There are dozens of different woods to choose from.  Exotic woods have gained popularity over the past five years making them more readily accessible for homeowners.  In fact, there are many pre-finished floors (flooring finished in the factory) that cuts down on the installation and finishing process.  Here are a variety of different woods you can choose from:

  •     Brazilian Cherry - Also known a Jatoba is quite durable and has a reddish brown tone and lots of grain.  Its popularity has increased significantly over the past several years.
  •     Brazilian Walnut - Also known as Ipe is extremely durable and water resistant.  This South American wood has a rich brown color and is sometimes used for outdoor decking projects.  It is not always available as a pre-finished project.
  •     Maple - Readily available and quite affordable.  Its light blonde coloring goes well with many contemporary designed homes.
  •     Merbau - This type of wood has gained popularity because of both its durability and distinctive red-brown coloring.  It pairs nicely with earth tones as well as vibrant color schemes.
  •     White Pine - While this wood offers a rustic feel it is a soft wood making it susceptible to dents and dings.   It is not recommended for a high-traffic area.
  •     Red Oak - Red oak is reddish in color and one of the most popular flooring options in the United States.  It is a dense wood with a course grain that is extremely durable.
  •     White Oak - Harder and more durable than Red Oak and with a bit more character, White oak is often brown with a grayish cast. It remains another very popular wood flooring option.
  •     Bamboo - While bamboo isn't exactly a wood product consumers and distributers are treating it as such.  Bamboo is actually a grass which matures rather quickly (3 to 5 years) and helps preserve our forests because it is easy to grow.  Bamboo flooring comes in many different colors; the darker bamboo often resembling black walnut.  It also comes in vertical as well as horizontal patterns.  Bamboo falls into the "green' category and is environmentally friendly.  Be careful when choosing the right product.   Engineered bamboo flooring is more durable than 100% bamboo flooring.  It is not recommended for areas where dents could easily occur.  While bamboo is gaining appeal be cautious--if the price sounds too good to be true it is.  It's best to make sure your dealer is reputable.

With so many options out there it is extremely important to do your homework before investing in wood or wood flooring aternatives. Remember to take into consideration your lifestyle, weather conditions in your area and the ideal look you are after.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Denise Williams March 21, 2012 at 07:05 PM
For a much less expensive option, a novice DIY skill set and an afternoon's work, try grout able peel and stick vinyl squares. They have a 25year warranty, look exactly like ceramic but are softer, warmer and easier to care for. We've had them for 4+years in the kitchen, hallway and two bathrooms. Contractors have knelt down to feel them because they couldn't believe they weren't ceramic.
Linda Kemp March 22, 2012 at 12:39 AM
Denise, What a great find! I have heard about this type of flooring but I have never met anyone who has worked with them. It sounds like you've had good results. Great information! I will pass it on! Linda
Mark March 23, 2012 at 02:10 PM
If you are going with hardwood, Hanks Floor Service out of Lisle is OUTSTANDING. They have done several jobs for me and am extremely happy with the quality craftmanship and friendly service! http://www.hanksfloorservice.com/
Mary April 16, 2012 at 03:33 PM
can you name a brand and style you used or would recommend? how can i find more information? thanks!
Linda Kemp April 16, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Hi Mary, Thanks for the reading the article! When I researched flooring products my intent was to give the reader information on all of the different options that exist. I don't necessarily endorse any one particular brand. My advice would be to search the Internet for a particular flooring product you are interested in any then call around and visit with flooring experts. Don't be pressured into making decisions based on price alone. Then based on all the information that you have compiled go ahead and choose a flooring product that suits your lifestyle. Sometimes you need durability as well aesthetic features. My best to you! Linda Kemp
Fred Rodriguez November 30, 2012 at 07:15 AM
With the great number of choices available in the market, there is always a type of flooring for every environment. However, I think it will be good if one could introduce slip resistance floor plates in bathrooms as this will greatly reduce the probability of home accidents.

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