If you are looking to make changes to your home or you are building a new one, you may want to know the pros and cons of the various types of flooring available on the market.
The types of flooring most people use in their houses are hardwood, engineered wood, laminate and ceramic or porcelain tiles. There are a number of factors when choosing the flooring for your home, such as appearance, cost, installation and cleaning difficulty, the room and the location.
Hardwood flooring is notable for its elegance and durability. When properly maintained, it will greatly increase the value of your home, and it will probably outlast you. The species of trees its made of include maple, oak, black walnut, or if you want something more exotic, acacia, Brazilian cherry, Moroccan cherry, eucalyptus or mahogany. It is a great choice when installed in houses with open floor plans, contributing to the optical room to room continuity.
Another advantage is that it is quite easy to clean, needing only regular vacuuming and a solvent-based cleaning once a year. The main disadvantages of solid hardwood flooring are its cost, the fact that it is harder to install and is not suitable for bathrooms or basements, due to the high levels of moisture.
Engineered wood flooring is the most commonly used around the world. It is made of two or more layers, while only the top one, the lamella, is made of real wood and strengthened by cheap plywood.
Being more resistant in changes of temperature and humidity, it means it can also be installed in basements, bathrooms, kitchens and over in-floor heating pipes. It is easier to install when compared to hardwood, thanks to a patented installation system. However, unlike solid wood flooring, it cannot be sanded and refinished multiple times, and it has a short life expectancy. Although installing it is easy, the edges of the panels can allow water to infiltrate.
Laminate flooring is for people who want the look of wood or stone, but only want to pay a fraction of the cost. Similar to engineered wood, it is made of multiple layers, though the top one is a plastic coating adhered over a photograph.
Today’s technology can produce photo-realistic finishes that make it seem almost identical to real wood or stone. However, it has lower durability compared to other floors, and it can be very slippery.
For detached homes, a combination between hardwood and engineered wood or ceramic tiles for the bathrooms is normally the best choice. In the case of a condo, because the floors are all made of concrete, hardwood flooring requires a sound proofing material, turning it into a very expensive option. You can either go with engineered wood or laminate, as they are both great picks for an apartment.
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