Timeless, beautiful, and durable. Those three words sum up the characteristics and aesthetic of wood flooring. You can experience this product in many forms, shapes, colors, textures, patterns, and variations of material. So how do you know what is right for your home and lifestyle? By reading this article of course. Today’s blog post will break down the details, so you can find the perfect wood flooring that works for you.
The classic tried and true hardwood floor is a great addition to any home. While it can be more expensive up front, this product will hold its value in your home. The grade and method of cutting the wood planks affect the cost. Plainsawn is the most common option at more value-oriented pricepoint while Riftsawn is a more custom feature. Because it is a natural product, some grades of hardwood can have unique variances like knots, color variation, and mineral streaks. With such vast options available, you are bound to find one that’s perfect for your home.
The durability of a true hardwood outlasts all others. Each species has a hardens rating that shows you its durability over time. A hardness of 1300 + is industry standard. If your wood floor is at the lower end of the spectrum, don’t sweat it. Everyday maintenance is quick and easy. If your hardwood is chipped or scratched the fix includes coloring in the affected area with stain. You should be aware of a key piece of maintenance regarding hardwood floors. They need to be refinished every 7-10 years in order to maintain a scratch-free look. Most hardwoods are thick enough to be refinished 4-6 times in their life.
You’re probably thinking, we just talked about hardwood isn’t this the same thing? Nope, not quite. Engineered Hardwood is constructed from a high-density fiberboard base with a thin wear layer of real hardwood on top. Using a high-density fiberboard base makes engineered hardwood more resistant to temperature and humidity changes than solid Harwood. This is an exciting feature for those of you living in the pacific northwest. It means we can install this stuff anywhere, like a finished basement. You are able to choose from different wood species, colors, textures, and wood grains to create a look with engineered hardwood that fits with your style.
Care of engineered hardwood includes basic maintenance like sweeping with spills cleaned as soon as possible. Engineered hardwood is resistant to moisture, not puddles of liquid. This could cause irreversible damage on your floor. While engineered hardwood is durable the thin wear layer requires care when cleaning. You should never use wax-based cleaners, harsh detergents, or steel wool to clean engineered hardwood flooring. Depending on the thickness of your wear layer, you can refinish engineered hardwood floors. The smallest wear layer that can handle this is 2mm for 1-2 times. If you try to refinish wood thinner than 2mm, you will damage your product beyond repair.
Laminate is a synthetic flooring made from infusing thin layers of wood or fiberboard with heat, pressure, and adhesive. The possible looks are endless. Laminate is constructed of a top wear layer which protects your flooring for 15-25 years from kids, pets, and high heel shoes. This covers the decorative layer which sits on top of the fiberboard core. You can use this flooring anywhere, so long as it has a water-resistant coating. It is also stain and fade resistant and only requires the occasional sweep or vacuum. Laminate is neither moisture or water resistant.
This is one of the most durable products out there. If your kids spill their juice and you find it hours later, no problem. Maybe your cat knocks over a large potted plant and your floor is covered with dirt and ceramic pieces. Your floor will look as good as the day it was installed.
Vinyl is a long-lasting, cost-effective, and durable product. It is easy to maintain with moisture resistant and a softness underfoot. This is the kind of flooring you need when your household is active and the floors never stay pristine for too long. It comes in two varieties: Sheet vinyl and tile vinyl.
The drawbacks to sheet vinyl are sensitivity to sunlight and inability to be refinished. Over time the wear and tear will make your floor look dull, faded, cause yellowing, or create cracks. If any damage occurs the entire floor must be replaced at one time.
Luxury Vinyl Tile
The durability of tile vinyl is comparable to sheet vinyl. Scratch’s and heavy traffic are no match for this product. If an area becomes too damaged and worn your maintenance team can easily replace a tile without ripping up the whole floor. This product gives the end user more creativity to mix, match, and create a unique product for their space. The patterns have more variety than sheet vinyl, mimicking options like hardwood and laminate. Not all vinyl tiles are waterproof. WPC, or wood plastic composite vinyl tile has a waterproof core and is naturally resistant to moisture. We’re talking 100% waterproof.
The Disadvantage of All Vinyl Products
No matter how amazing this product may sound it’s important to note its construction. Vinyl products are made with harmful chemicals that slowly release toxic chemicals called VOC’s into your spaces. This can lead to respiratory problems, eye irritation, or asthma reactions. The level of toxins released depends on the makeup and age of the floor, with most toxins released after installation.
Vinyl is not biodegradable and does not break down naturally in a short period of time. A recycling plant is unable to dispose of vinyl products at this time so the majority of it ends up in a landfill.
The moral of the story, no product is perfect. There is a place and time for this product. Make sure vinyl is right for your family, budget, and area of use before committing to long-term applications.
This is a durable product worth keeping in your back pocket. It can take a hit, scratch, spill, or anything else your life drops on it. The lifespan of porcelain tile is around 15-20 years and is 100% waterproof and extremely fire resistant. Its durable, with a variety of colors, textures, and finishes that mimic the look of wood. Some tile has a wood grain texture to it creating a more authentic replica of wood. Porcelain tile is stain resistant, crack resistant, and does not yellow over time or have adverse effects from the sun.
The drawback to tile is the temperature. Cold tile throughout your home may be great for warm places like Arizona and New Mexico. For the Pacific Northwest, we recommend installing porcelain tile in bathrooms, maybe as a heated floor for those cold rainy days.
The biggest drawback to tile is maintaining the grout. Keeping those cracks pristine involves mopping and scrubbing semi-frequently. If unkept they can become discolored over time.
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