- Laminate: Laminate flooring is made by compressing layers of fiber-wood together and placing an image or pattern, giving the appearance of true wood, tile, stone, etc., and then applying a protective coating to preserve the image and durability. This choice can be a very cost effective option for flooring and is available for easy installation. Some brands offer a waterproof core to be used where water may be a probability. When choosing laminate opt for the click-lock which allows the planks to click together. This type of flooring can be laid over existing flooring and is ideal for family rooms and other high trafficked areas. However, even top quality laminate will not match the look, feel, or durability of real wood floors but they are considered a less expensive alternative. As always we suggest you research your brand and end use.
- Solid Hardwood: Solid hardwood flooring are sold in planks and are made from solid pieces of wood. Pieces range in size and are made to be from 18 to 20 mm thick. The planks are manufactured and with a tongue and groove and joined together on installation. Some wood naturally can be stronger or harder depending on species. The harder the floor, the less susceptible it is to dings and scratches. The good news is that these surfaces can be sanded and refinished multiple times to restore the natural beauty and maintain your homes appeal.
Solid hardwood can swell in moisture conditions and contract once dried. Such swelling can alter the appearance and cause problems. The cost of solid wood floors does vary based on the species of the wood. However, solid wood floors do add value to your home.
- Engineered Hardwood: Engineered hardwood is constructed by using three to four layers of wood glued together to produce a 14 mm thick plank. A true wood surface about 4 mm in thickness is applied to the top to allow it to be sanded and refinished a certain number of times to remove signs of damage, wear, and tear.
Engineered hardwood construction produces a more stable product. The greater stability means it is less prone to traditional changes from temperature and humidity conditions in the room. This type of flooring is more attractive than a laminate floor, but it is also less expensive than solid hardwood floors.
- Cork: Cork Flooring is environmentally safe and sustainable. This wood is also a good application for rooms where people tend to gather for extended periods of time. Cork is quiet reducing noise in highly trafficked areas. It is soft and comfortable and is great at absorbing shock. Cork is also insect resistant and hypo-allergenic which makes it a naturally healthy choice.
The only downside of cork can be the cost. Cork Floors are derived from the harvest of the oak tree bark which are widely grown in Spain, Portugal, Algeria, Italy, Morocco, and Tunisia.
- Bamboo: Bamboo Flooring is derived from bamboo grass stalks and can be found in a variety of styles or finishes to accommodate most decor choices. Because it comes from a grass and not a traditional wood it is naturally resistant to moisture. Bamboo is a great choice if you are considering building green because the plant grows faster, it replenishes it resource quickly and does not contribute to deforestation. Bamboo is considered quite durable, however, it is also considered to be a brittle wood which is often more susceptible to dings and scratches than more traditional woods and requires more care in installation. Because bamboo is primarily grown in China the cost of import and installation can make this choice a little pricier.
- Slate: Slate is a natural stone flooring material that is quarried from out of the earth. Slate is a durable, finely foliated, and brittle stone, which comes in a wide range of colors, depending on the location and minerals of the slate in question.