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Hardwood Floor Alternatives (To Consider)

Engineered Wood Versus Laminate Wood Tiles

An exposé on which type of wood alternative might be best for your home in Tillsonburg:

So You Want Wood Floors…

But, NOT Wood…

If you are building a new home or remodelling an old one, the kind of floor you choose is one of the most important decisions you will make. There are several considerations when it comes to picking the right floor for your particular home and situation, it isn’t all just about looks (though, that certainly helps!).

You also have to factor costs and other pragmatic considerations into the decision like the longevity of the flooring and how it will be used. Glossy, ceramic tile may look great, but you don’t want to put in your bathrooms, or you’ll end up slipping and falling.

Wood Flooring in Tillsonburg
a variety of types of actual hardwood available

Over the past decade wood-looking or faux-wood tiles have become increasingly popular as they offer people all the beauty of hardwood floors without all the maintenance and at only a fraction of the cost.

But the choice is no longer between just real hardwood versus faux-wood floors, because today there is more than one wood alternative available! Thanks to Flooring Canada Tillsonburg, all the wood flooring you need is right at your fingertips!

Let’s assume you already decided that yes, you want SOME KIND of wood-looking flooring, and go from there.

Types of Faux-Wood Flooring

Here are three of the most popular types of faux-wood floors.

Engineered Hardwood or Wood-Look Tiles

Engineered Hardwood or wood-look tiles are durable ceramic tiles, some of which have a thin layer of real wood overlaying on top. Overall, these tiles look just like the wood look you’re craving with endless options and price points. When it comes to appearance and colour choices, you can’t go wrong with thee tiles, they look so good that some people even prefer their appearance to real hardwood floors.

Engineered wood-look tiles are easy to maintain and can handle all the element, even the ones that include a layer of real wood are usually waterproofed so as to ensure they don’t get stained or ruined by a little water. If you haven’t looked into this hot new flooring, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Pros of Engineered Hardwood or Wood-Look Tiles

Cost: Engineered hardwood is often less expensive due to the plywood base. With solid hardwood, you’re paying for an entire plank made up of that material, whereas with engineered, that expensive layer is on top where everyone can see it — showing you off, making you look fancy, but the less costly, durable plywood is holding it up.

Possible DIY installation: No contractor? No problem! Some engineered wood is installed with a tongue and groove system – the material can either be loose laid or installed with glue. You still may want to consider using a contractor though as this is not an easy job. But, if you are committed to saving the extra money, at least doing it yourself is an option.

Versatility: Engineered wood can be installed on all levels, and it comes in a variety of different colours and options.

Less Expansion and Contraction: Compared to solid hardwood, engineered hardwood is less likely to expand and contract. However, upon installing the product, we advise that you leave about ½” space for expansion. That way if it does expand and contract, then it has “breathing” room.

Green: Because engineered hardwood uses either none of only a fraction the amount of lumber used by real hardwood floors, it’s a far better choice for those who are attracted to the aesthetic appeal of hardwood floors but who do not want to have a negative environmental impact.

Cons of Engineered Hardwood or Wood-Look Tiles

Once you Are Done, you Are Done: Unlike solid hardwood which can be refinished, engineered wood has a thin wood veneer on top. Attempting to refinish the engineered wood could potentially damage the product.

Mindset: Some people prefer to know that hardwood is strictly made out of wood, just like purchasing designer jeans, you want to make sure it’s authentic. Though engineered wood is not made out of 100% solid wood, it still gets the job done and, usually, at a lower cost. It’s all in how you see it – would you rather take a price cut and still have a stylish floor to show off rather than paying for those designer jeans with a higher price tag?

Laminate Tiles

Laminate flooring is a cure-all when it comes to tiles and, while they may not be the most luxurious choice, they CAN and DO often look great and they are always one of the cheapest and most durable options available. There are tons of gorgeous and affordable laminate options that come in textured true-to-wood looks that can fool almost anyone. Easy to clean and maintain so that you can keep your house and floors looking great without slaving away all day.

Scrubbing a floor? No thank you. Also, laminate is a fairly easy DIY project so you can save yourself some extra $$ on both the product and install. There is even a new trend in the flooring world called “Luxury Laminate,” which stresses that these new kinds of laminate tiles are so good you genuinely can not tell the difference between them and other wood-alternatives—which, in turn, means that you can not tell the difference between them and real hardwood floors.

Laminate Wood Types

Pros of Laminate Flooring

Very Durable: Laminate flooring’s supreme durability makes it a good option for high-traffic areas or homes with kids and pets.

Provides a uniform look, even more than hardwood: Laminate floor planks often have some surface detail to further mimic a natural hardwood look and can have the look and feel of a hand-scraped hardwood, embossed wood, distressed hardwood or come in textured or smooth. Unlike real hardwood, you’ll see consistent quality across all laminate flooring boards.

Somewhat water-resistant: Advances in construction are improving laminate’s water-resistant capabilities. While it’s still not as waterproof as other wood-look options like vinyl flooring, most new laminate floors can withstand topical moisture. Proper installation helps keep water from seeping through the planks.

Can be installed over radiant heating systems: You won’t find this feature with most hardwood flooring options.

Low-Maintenance: Simply mop or sweep up messes as needed. No floor waxing is ever necessary.

Easy to install: Laminate flooring is designed to be installed as a floating floor, meaning that it is not secured to the ground underneath, but rather “floats” by the means of an interlocking design.

Easy on the feet: Most laminate installations include underlayment, which can make the floor feel more comfortable underfoot.

Inexpensive: Laminate floors are an affordable alternative to hardwood floors. Lower price and lower maintenance? Sounds pretty good right?

Cons of Laminate Flooring

Not as waterproof vinyl flooring: While laminate flooring has come a long way in its water-resistant capabilities, it still cannot tolerate standing pools of water. Unlike vinyl, laminate’s water resistance works from top to bottom rather than bottom to top. If you have moisture issues with your subfloor, you’ll still need a vapour barrier.

Not great for full bathrooms or basements: Since these areas are prone to leaks and flooding, you’ll want a more water-resistant floor. You can make your laminate floor more water resistant by installing an underlayment and vapour barrier as well as using the glue-down installation method.

Sound: If installed poorly, laminate floors can create a hollow, empty sound. Every product comes with thorough installation instructions, and if you’re really worried, you can always hire an expert. Plus, a good underlayment can make for a quieter laminate floor.

Soft Wood Foam Tiles

One last choice that deserves mention is soft Wood Foam. Soft wood foam tiles aren’t trying to be hardwood. They are foam, but they offer a great wood look with lots of hidden benefits. They are great for families with kids and pets. They are the easiest to maintain, super affordable, and they are great for insulation! The best part…

If one section of your floor gets damaged, you just pop a new tile in. If you have little ones running around, you won’t have to worry about them falling because you’ll have a great soft surface that keeps your home looking and feeling great. Think of softwood foam as the new, fashionable alternative to having an ugly shag rug or wall-to-wall carpeting in the room your kids play in.

Foam Wood TileConclusion

There you have it, the differences and pros and cons of hardwood floor alternatives. Engineered hardwood wins on appearance. Laminate wins on cost, and soft wood foam tiles win if the room is for young children who enjoy playing on the floor.

The ultimate flooring store in Tillsonburg is: Flooring Canada Tillsonburg!