4 Alternatives to Wood Flooring

While nothing quite beats the quality and allure of hardwood flooring in a home, it is one of the most expensive options, and many varieties are difficult and costly to maintain. If you’re looking for the feel of hardwood, but not the price tag or the upkeep involved, here are four options that might do the trick:

1. Laminate wood flooring. Laminate consists of layers of particleboard with a sealed photographic layer on top. A good quality laminate can often pass for wood both in terms of how it looks and feels. That is why the price can vary from quite affordable to pricey for more high-end varieties. The installation process is the same as a wood floor, with each board joined through a tongue and groove joint. Keep in mind that while laminate is more durable than hardwood, if it is damaged, it cannot be sanded down and repaired the way actual wood can.

2. Engineered wood flooring. Very similar to laminate in that it is made of layers, the difference with engineered wood flooring is that the top layer is a thin layer of actual wood, and the underlying layers are made of plywood. This means that engineered wood can indeed be sanded down, but only once or twice during the lifetime of the floor. So while hardwood floors can last for generations, engineered wood floors have a finite lifespan of about 20 years when taken care of. Also, when it comes to cleaning, the process is the same for hardwood, so don’t expect to save any time there.

3. Wood tile flooring. Perfect for bathrooms where humidity could cause the wood to warp, ceramic or porcelain wood tiles look just like wood, provided the grout lines are kept extremely thin. Environmentally sustainable and less expensive than hardwood, be careful not to drop anything on wood tiles, which could cause it to crack or chip.

4. Vinyl wood flooring. Finally, vinyl wood flooring, which is 100-percent plastic, can sometimes look just like wood, but not always. Completely resistant to moisture, it’s a great choice for bathrooms and laundry rooms. It’s also cost effective and easy to clean.

So evaluate your room and your budget, and choose wisely!

Source: Real Simple