Everyone loves the look of hardwood floors: beautiful, classic, and versatile. But the truth is that hardwoods aren’t right for every situation. Say you need a durable floor that can handle moisture (like in a bathroom or laundry room), or you want one that will absorb sound (for an apartment or condominium). In such cases, there are materials other than wood that may better serve your needs. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get the look of hardwoods. These days, flooring manufacturers produce a variety of products that mimic the look of wood – and you might not be able to tell the difference!
Here are three of our favorite hardwood look-alikes for homeowners in the Columbia area.
Luxury Vinyl Planks
Today’s luxury vinyl flooring comes in different forms, including sheets and tiles. However, the plank variety is ideal if you’re trying to replicate the look of wood floors. Vinyl planks are specifically designed to mimic hardwood with realistic details like texturing and beveled edges.
Vinyl is a great choice for several reasons. It’s very durable, low maintenance, and affordable – with proper care and installation, vinyl floors can last significantly longer than other materials. Vinyl flooring is also quieter and easier on the feet than hardwoods or tile, which can be loud, rigid, and (in the case of tile) cold. One downside? Vinyl can contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which may be a concern for families with small children.
Wood-Look Porcelain Tile
Porcelain tile designed to mimic wood is one of the newest trends in the flooring industry. Realistic grain patterns and textures make it hard to tell the difference by eye alone. Wood-look tile is extremely versatile, since it has no problem in high-moisture environments like bathrooms. It’s also easy to clean and maintain, and if any damage occurs, it’s easy to replace one tile without redoing the whole floor.
If you’ve ever walked on a tile floor first thing in the morning, then you’re already aware of the downside to wood-look tile. Tile is a cold and rigid material, so it’s not as easy on the feet. One solution? Have under-floor heating installed before your tile so you can have warm floors at any time of day.
Laminate Wood Flooring
Laminate wood flooring has been around for a while, and has gained popularity with good reason. It comes in a wide variety of patterns and colors, making it easy to replicate whatever wood you want. It’s also affordable, easy to install, and very durable. And unlike hardwood flooring, laminate floors are water-resistant, making them a safe choice for kitchens and laundry rooms.
The thing to remember is that not all laminate products are created equally. Since the invention of laminate in the 1970s, many manufacturers have tried to produce low-quality laminate at cheap prices. To make sure that your laminate floors meet quality standards, check that they have the seal of the North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA).
Ready to explore the wide range of wood-look flooring options? Give us a call today! Floor Coverings International Columbia East offers free in-home estimates for those in the Columbia, Cayce, Blythewood areas.