Having hardwood floors installed will increase the value of your home and is a great selling feature. Hardwood can be very durable but may also dent easily. The good news is that it can be sanded and refinished several times after many years of wear and tear, as opposed to needing new floors down the line. Consumer Reports writes that prefinished wood flooring, although it may be up to 40% more expensive, will save time and money in installation costs. It also holds up better than unfinished wood that must be sanded and sealed from moisture on-site. Remember that wood naturally swells, so you would not want to install it in basements or other damp spaces.
All of these great features, unfortunately, do not come for free. Solid hardwood flooring is the most expensive of its kind. It also involves cutting down the most trees of any of the listed wood flooring products. Engineered wood is another option which involves a thin veneer of real wood over structural plywood. It is still real wood, but is manufactured using fewer trees. However, it does not wear as well as solid wood or laminate flooring.
Other benefits of laminate flooring are the lower cost in comparison to hardwood and the environmental aspect of saving trees.
Some laminate flooring can resist dents, scratches, and discoloration quite well. However, you cannot sand and refinish a laminate floor like you can hardwood. Therefore, if you plan to save money and trees by buying laminate then make sure you get a solid, trustworthy brand. Some cheaper laminates do not hold up as easily and if the top layer is worn through you will need new flooring.
Vinyl Wood Flooring
Vinyl flooring can be made to look like wood and is the cheapest option. It is very durable and holds up well against dents, scratching, stains, and discoloration. The biggest complaint consumers have regarding vinyl is that, despite the plethora of color and pattern options, it still looks like vinyl. If you plan on walking barefoot on this floor you will notice the cold, rubbery feel as opposed to the warm, hardwood feel of laminates and solid wood flooring. Another concern is VOC’s- Volatile Organic Compounds. You may have seen “Low VOC” paint advertisements and the like. This means that vinyl releases gases during and after installation that may be toxic to humans. VOC’s also occur in nature and the flooring installed in your home would not produce enough toxins to cause health concerns, but you will probably be able to smell it for some time after installation. Low VOC vinyl flooring is available, as well.
All in all, these three types of “wood” flooring each have their plusses and minuses. The type of flooring you choose is up to you. It depends on your budget, whether or not you want to increase the value of your home, and your environmental concerns.
This post was written by Leanne.
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