Stylish and durable under your feet
Carpet installation comes and goes in fashion trends, but hardwood flooring is always in style. It's versatile and is available in so many designs that it can complement any decor, from contemporary to country. Depending on your tastes, hardwood flooring can be a pricey endeavor, but it's well worth considering in your home redesign.
Hardwood Flooring Guide
When you're choosing hardwood flooring, you have two options: natural hardwood flooring or reproductions such as engineered hardwood flooring or laminate hardwood flooring. Both are attractive, but there are several key differences that could affect your decision:
Budget. You'll find the hardwood flooring price point to be much cheaper on laminate and engineered flooring than it is on natural hardwood flooring. Typically, you can find cheap laminate flooring for up to 25 percent less than authentic hardwood. If you're on a budget but don't want to rule out natural wood completely, you could always buy out-of-stock discount hardwood flooring or opt for unfinished rather than prefinished hardwood flooring.
Look. Natural, engineered and laminate flooring all offer a great look. In natural woods, bamboo hardwood flooring and other types of exotic hardwood flooring are the more contemporary choices, while oak hardwood flooring suits nearly all design styles and themes. In laminates and engineered flooring, the style options are equally as plentiful, and you'll be hard-pressed to notice any difference in the two. Laminate flooring features a photographic image of real wood grain that is a great mimic of the real thing, while engineered flooring layers real hardwood onto a plywood backing. When you complement your floor with a decorative area rug, no one will notice the difference.
Durability. One perk of laminate flooring is that it holds up much better than natural wood and even engineered hardwood flooring. Over time, natural flooring can warp, and fixing the problem often means replacing the floor. The surface of laminate flooring itself holds up to traffic and bumps much better than natural wood, and replacing a damaged area is as simple as putting in a new piece of flooring – remember to buy a box of extras when you make your purchase!
Hardwood Flooring Installation
The rules for installing hardwood flooring also change depending on your choice between laminate or engineered and natural hardwood. If you're having a professional do the work, you don't have to worry, but for those DIYers out there, keep these hardwood flooring how to points in mind before you choose your flooring:
- First, it's important to know that natural hardwood flooring isn't a good choice for bathrooms and basements, where sweaty toilets and other moisture problems can be an issue. If you do want to install hardwood flooring in these rooms, laminate is your best choice.
- Second, note that laminate installation is a much quicker process. The tongue-and-groove method allows the pieces to pop together, without need for glue or nails.
- When you're ready to start your installation, whether you're laying natural hardwood or laminate, be sure you read the manufacturer's instructions. Consult a pro at the hardware store if you have any questions.