Many consider hardwood floors the gold standard of the flooring industry; after all, many old, affluent homes boast real wooden flooring. The reality, however, is that hardwood floors are rather costly and impractical. The great news is that there are a few alternatives to hardwood, and they come with far more benefits.
The Downsides of Hardwood
The authentic feel of real wood in the home adds an element of rustic sophistication. The “natural” look can indeed create a relaxing, warm and homely atmosphere. Unfortunately, the limitations of real wooden flooring far exceed the benefits. Some of the snags to hardwood floors include:
- Hardwood is one of the most expensive floor types on the market.
- Wood does not perform well with a lot of moisture as it becomes weak and may warp or buckle. Moist planks might also foster mould growth.
- Wooden flooring requires regular cleaning with specialised products and polishing every few years.
- Hardwood that suffers damage like scuff marks and scratches must be refinished.
- Wood floors that experience high traffic and much movement will soon show damage.
- Wood is always prone to termite infestations, so regular inspections and maintenance must be done.
- Those who prefer a quiet environment will find hardwood floors rather noisy underfoot.
- Wooden flooring is much less environmentally friendly compared to other flooring options due to how many trees are used.
The Available Alternatives
The above disadvantages are far too high maintenance and costly for most homes. Industry innovators have thus come up with new solutions that emulate the real thing without all the drawbacks. The three most popular affordable alternatives to hardwood floors are:
1. Laminates: Made from four layers fused together by heat and pressure, laminates are exceptionally popular. While laminates do contain a softwood fibre layer, the decorative layer of the plank creates the 3D effect that simulates wood. Laminates are highly durable, stain-resistant, versatile, and indistinguishable from real hardwood floors.
2. Luxury vinyl planks: Also known as LVP, luxury vinyl planks are just like laminates in that they are made from several layers. The core of luxury vinyl planks, however, is made from PVC vinyl. LVP floors are popular due to being waterproof, flexible, and easy to maintain.
3. Engineered wood: This floor type is made by bonding several thin layers of wood together, with a wear layer made of solid wood. Engineered wood also looks just like hardwood, but it performs much better. Tolerant of temperature variations and humidity, engineered wooden flooring is suitable for most households.
Find Your Ideal Solution
If you are still unsure about which alternative would work best for your home or business space, then professional assistance is recommended. At Top Carpets and Floors, we have over 30 years of experience with carpeting, laminates, luxury vinyl planks and engineered wooden flooring – so we have your questions covered. Each of our products is carefully selected from brands renowned for their quality and affordability, and we make installation a breeze too. For expert advice and world-class services, visit a branch nearest to you.