A Guide for Man-Made or Synthetic Flooring Options

Educating yourself about the various options available for flooring in your home might seem like a daunting task. There are so many wonderful ways to create the perfect floor to coordinate with the overall design of a room or entire home. A smart way to go about it is to first learn the basic attributes of what makes each flooring type a smart choice. Use this guide to begin your research process. When you’ve narrowed it down to a few favorites, visit our store to learn more about each of them.

Porcelain or Ceramic Tile

Hard glazed squares made of porcelain or ceramic. This material has been well loved and used for a few centuries because it has so many valuable attributes. It is highly durable, strong, and stain resistant. It’s available in a wide variety of colors, and if it does happen to chip or crack it’s fairly easy to replace broken pieces. (This would be an unusual occurrence because of its durability.) It’s also quite easy to clean and sterilize. Learn all about tile in our Introduction to Tile.

Carpet

Carpet is made of either wool or synthetic materials. It is ideal for rooms where comfort is the number one priority. It can positively contribute to air quality by way of trapping some debris and pet dander until it can be vacuumed away. It insulates warmth well during seasonably cold weather, and it also serves to help reduce loud sounds and noise. If you would like to learn more about this, visit our Introduction to Carpet!

Engineered Wood

Engineered (aka composite wood) is manufactured by a veneer layer of hardwood overtop of several wood layers beneath. A big benefit of this material is that it can be installed fast, making it ideal for time-crunched projects. It’s easily installed over subflooring, including padding or concrete. In addition to other areas in the house, it works quite well in basements and below grade spaces because it is quite resistant to the effects of moisture. Learn more about Engineered Wood on our website.

LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile)

LVT is a synthetic polymer flooring material that is very budget friendly. It can be glued or nailed over subflooring, and it’s easy to install. It’s easy to clean and water resistant, while also being durable and flexible. Visit our Introduction to Vinyl to learn more!


What’s the Difference between Solid and Engineered Wood Floors?

If you want hardwood flooring in your home, there are numerous choices available for homeowners today. Laminate floors are not really wood, but a type of plastic made to look like wood. That is easy to understand. But how to you know the difference between solid and engineered hardwood, flooring? Which is the best product, and which one should you install in your home? Both solid and engineered hardwood floors are made of real wood, unlike laminate. There are several other differences between the two types of floorboard, however, that you need to consider depending on your home’s subfloor and where in your home you intend to install them.

Solid Wood Floors

Solid wood floorboards are made out of a single piece of wood. The top of the wood is finished, but the grain and color go straight down to the bottom of the board. You can therefore refinish and sand down the top of the board as many times as you’d like without disturbing or ruining the floor.

Solid wood floors are subject somewhat to moisture, meaning that they swell with moisture and shrink again when dry. This means that they cannot be installed below grade or in finished basements, because the moisture levels would cause the boards to warp over time. They also may not work well on concrete subfloors because concrete doesn’t totally block moisture. Even a moisture barrier only helps to a point.

Engineered Wood Floors

Engineered wood floors are made of hardwood, just like solid floorboards. The difference is that they are made up of several different layers of wood, each running a different direction. Only the top layer is meant to be finished. These boards can be sanded and refinished only a few times before you get to the layer below.

What makes engineered wood floors so beneficial is the way that the layers run in different directions. This means that the boards are much more stable in humid and wet conditions, and they are less likely to swell and warp. Therefore, you can install engineered wood floors anywhere in your home, including below grade and in finished basements. They can also work well with a concrete subfloor.

Appearance

When installed, both types of hardwood floors look identical. You cannot tell the difference between them from looking at their surfaces. Therefore, it’s best to base your decision on the stability or longevity of the boards and which one will work better in your home.