Joe Zago, founder and President of The Carpet Guys has written an in-depth look at hardwood vs wood-look flooring options. This blog will answer many of the pro/con questions you may have about which type of flooring would be best for your home.
Different Types of Hardwood Flooring
There are two types of hardwood flooring, solid and engineered. Engineered floorings core is made of multiple thin layers of wood that are stacked on top of one another in a crisscrossed grain direction to help it gain more directional stability and resistance to expansion and contraction due to changes in humidity. These thin layers of wood are compressed together like the construction of plywood and then topped with a stained and protected top layer to showcase its remarkable beauty. Engineered wood, due to its very stable construction allows wider planks to be installed in Michigan and other variable climate states with far less chance of warping, cupping, or gapping than traditional ¾ inch thick solid hardwood.
Solid hardwood floors are constructed of one single piece of lumber all the way through. Although this is the most natural type of hardwood floor, it is the least stable and it is not recommended to install a natural ¾ inch thick hardwood floor with planks wider than 3.5 inches due to expansion and contraction with seasonal humidity changes which will most likely result in large gaps between the planks in the dryer winter months and often cupping, peaking, and swelling of the planks as they mash into each other as the boards expand during the summer months. Solid hardwood can be sanded down, stained, and refinished 2-4 times before needing to be removed and replaced whereas engineered hardwood can only be screened and refinished 1-2 times due to the thinner top layer. Natural hardwood, however, is much softer in most cases and easier to scratch or dent due to its natural properties whereas engineered hardwood is much tougher to dent and scratch due to its high density and high compression construction and can have much harder coatings baked on at high temperatures as opposed to natural hardwood having a liquid finish brushed on and then air-dried.
Laminate Flooring as an Alternative to Hardwood
Being that both options of flooring are very beautiful, natural hardwood floors, as well as engineered hardwood floors, are both very popular choices for Michigan homeowners. However, both options are prone to scrapes and scratching damage since wood is still soft and can be scratched by heavy foot traffic, pets, sliding chairs, and furniture being moved across it when cleaning. For this reason, laminate flooring was invented a few decades ago to solve the problem of fading and easy scratching. When laminate flooring was first brought into the market, it was a huge hit. Laminate flooring was literally flying off the shelves of just about every home improvement box store retailer however consumers soon found out that laminate flooring didn’t look or feel like real hardwood floors once they were installed. They often would be noted as making a hollow ticking sound when you walked across them. Laminate flooring was also extremely vulnerable to water damage from something as minute as a dog dish spilling or a glass of water falling on the floor.
Because of these vulnerabilities and characteristics, laminate flooring quickly became a trend that soon faded away to non-existence however the problems with natural hardwood flooring remained.
Laminate Made Better
Over the last 20 years, Mohawk Industries, Shaw Flooring, and many other well-known manufacturers have invested millions of dollars into the recreation and advancement of laminate flooring to finally come up with a solution to the expensive inefficiencies of natural hardwood and engineered flooring as well as overcome the problems with laminate flooring from the past. After many years of trial and error, millions upon millions of dollars spent on expensive research, development, and testing, laminate flooring is now the hottest selling hard surface flooring on the market and for very good reason. High-quality laminate flooring is now able to be made in 12MM thick planks which can withstand extremely heavy amounts of foot traffic and still maintain extreme durability. Laminate flooring is more than 10 times harder to scratch than natural hardwood floors since they can have an aluminum oxide coating baked on at temperatures that would be impossible for natural hardwood to withstand during the manufacturing process. Laminate woods are much more realistic looking than ever before, yet they remain for the most part, almost completely stain-proof and extremely scratch-resistant. New laminate flooring is also completely fade-proof in areas where natural sunlight through a glass door wall would often discolor and darken almost any natural hardwood floor in just a few short years thus causing a need to be sanded and refinished at a very high cost to the homeowner.
One of the greatest advancements to laminated flooring was the introduction and now perfection of waterproof laminate floors. Mohawk Industry mills a very special type of lumber from Loblolly Pine which is from the southeastern United States. The Loblolly Pine Tree grows in mostly lowlands and swampy areas and is great for laminate flooring due to the genes of the lumber which are very resistant to moisture absorption. Additionally, these new laminate planks are coated on all four sides with a waterproof wax bead within the locking joint which keeps surface water from penetrating between the planks and into the core of the board. For a demonstration video of Mohawk’s revolutionary waterproof laminate flooring follow this link:
Since Mohawk created its waterproof wood laminate flooring, many other manufacturers have also created other versions of high-quality waterproof laminate flooring options to refloor your home with. The Carpet Guys have several high-quality laminate flooring options to choose from. With these great advances in flooring technology, you can now refloor your living space with confidence knowing you can put down a beautiful natural wood looking floor without the worries of the past. The Carpet Guys have been rated for 9 consecutive years as the best place to buy flooring in Michigan by the reader’s choice awards.
Why Should You Consider Laminate Flooring
Thank you Joe Zago for contributing this great article on hardwood and wood-look options to refloor your home with. If you’re interested in any of the amazing flooring types that Joe recommended, please Be Wise, Call The Carpet Guys at 855-4-MY-GUYS (855-469-4897) or fill out our Free In-Home Estimate form.